EMBATTLED radio station 2GB has been accused of running an aggressive “standover campaign” against the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and trying to force them to advertise on the network.
Union secretary Jim Casey said he had received numerous approaches from the station to advertise in a campaign supporting the FBEU in its battle against the state government over the fire services levy.
But he was shocked when the latest request came within hours of Alan Jones interviewing NSW Treasurer Mike Baird about the issue on his breakfast show on Tuesday.
The NSW government is calling for submissions on collecting the levy from individual households rather than insurance companies. The union is running a campaign, believed to be worth in excess of $200,000, opposing any changes to the levy.
At the end of his interview with Mr Baird, Jones read out the union’s website address and said they were opposing any changes, but did not call the union for a response.
By 3.21pm, Mr Casey said he had received an email from the station’s senior account manager Jeremy Bedwani asking whether he would consider using the station for an advertising campaign.
“Hi Jim, Did you hear the interview Alan Jones did this morning regarding the fire services levy? Have you considered using 2GB for your ad campaign just yet?” it said.
Mr Casey said the email was the station’s fourth attempt to persuade the FBEU to advertise on 2GB, with the first contact being made by Mr Bedwani on September 25.
“Radio station 2GB needs to be exposed for what they are doing: running a protection racket,” Mr Casey said.
“The message is very clear. If you are Treasurer Michael Baird, you can come on radio and get more than 10 minutes to make your case, but if you are the Fire Brigade Employees Union, you must buy advertising space for $500 per 30 seconds.”
Mr Casey said the union never had any intention of advertising with 2GB, with radio advertising being done on stations such as Triple M.
But Mr Bedwani said there was nothing inappropriate about his move.
Macquarie Radio Network’s managing director Robert Loewenthal also defended the email. “Jeremy is a sales representative at 2GB. He asked them if they had considered advertising with 2GB. That sounds like a pretty common question for a rep,” he said.