Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Sacked Fox to learn fate next week

Sacked One FM sports director David Fox’s future at the community radio station will be decided in a meeting on Monday.

MARC MCGOWAN February 5, 2013 4:05am

One FM’s football commentary team is unlikely to involve any of (from left) David Fox, John Ryan or Gary Harvey next season.

Sacked One FM sports director David Fox’s future at the community radio station will be decided in a meeting on Monday.

Fox had until yesterday to appeal One FM board members’ majority decision last month to dismiss him from the role he had for the past five years.

Jason Welsh and Mark ‘‘Stats Man’’ Owens are the station’s new co-sports directors.

Fox’s sacking arose from a verbal disagreement between him and Welsh last year.

Welsh subsequently wrote a letter of complaint about Fox, which included allegations of ‘‘bullying and harassment’’, to One FM board members.

Fox wrote a letter in response to Welsh’s complaint, but One FM chairman Mary Smith said the station’s board members and solicitor agreed Fox’s letter did not address the issue.

Smith also said there was a witness to the disagreement and that the complaint was about an isolated incident.

‘‘They were offered, in a letter, mediation — going by our constitution — but one party said no and the other party said they didn’t mind mediation,’’ Smith said.

‘‘We can only mediate if both parties agree. We did have another board meeting (after that) ... that’s when we sent everything to our solicitor.’’

Fox declined to comment before next week’s appeal hearing, other than to deny Welsh’s allegations.

‘‘I’m many things, but I’m not a bully,’’ Fox said.

‘‘When you’re a skinny kid with bright red hair and wore correction shoes, I know what it is like to be bullied.

‘‘I’ve witnessed bullying first hand and I just don’t do it and to be accused of it was the most demeaning thing more than anything else — and it’s unsubstantiated.’’

Welsh, too, declined to comment on the allegations.

‘‘The board’s made a decision on legal advice it was given and, due to that, I just can’t comment because of the sensitivity of the issue,’’ Welsh said.

‘‘It’s a situation that basically it had been a very tough and emotional time for me (in my work life) and I’m just glad that, moving forward, we can focus back on what’s most important — and that’s One FM.’’

Welsh said he planned to introduce new features for the station’s multiple award-winning football coverage, which includes broadcasting Goulburn Valley, Kyabram District and Murray football league games.

He said among the innovations would be incorporating SMS and Twitter feedback and he would also bring back the ‘‘around the grounds’’ post-game review due to popular demand.

Welsh is likely to have a completely new team at his disposal, though.

John Ryan and Mario de Santa-ana told The News yesterday they would no longer be involved if Fox was not, while Graeme Byrns, who said he was happy working with Fox was non-committal.

Another regular, Gary ‘‘Nipper’’ Harvey, said he was unlikely to be involved either way because he intended to spend more time in Melbourne on weekends during winter.

Smith said she retained fond feelings towards Fox and Welsh, despite the issue.

‘‘I get on very well with them and both have a lot to offer and have offered, but it is unfortunate that this has arisen and, as a board, we had to take action,’’ Smith said.

‘‘What (Fox’s) right of reply and rationale is (for his appeal), I have no idea, and I won’t know until next Monday.’’

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