Former Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons (pictured) says his defamation action against 94.7 The Pulse will not close the community radio station.
94.7 The Pulse is part of Diversitat, also known as Geelong Ethnic Communities Council, a registered charity and a not-for-profit community service organisation.
The Pulse and former volunteer presenter Greg McHenry are accused of making defamatory remarks about nightclubs owned by Mr Lyons in July 2017.
Despite the station issuing an immediate apology and suspending the presenter, a writ was issued in the Supreme Court last month seeking “aggravated damages.”
Station Manager Leo Renkin says the impending legal action could close the community broadcaster.
He told listeners: “Once you get into the court system (cases) often drag on for quite a long time and take up a lot of time, resources, money.”
Renkin says such action would be devastating for The Pulse and it may have to shut its doors.
Recently the station announced a crowd funding appeal to help with legal costs, as well as ‘Radio Rescue’ an entertainment fundraiser to help cover legal expenses.
Darryn Lyons has questioned why the station is running a crowd funding appeal for its legal bill, saying it makes no sense. He told the Geelong Advertiser: “I understand that Diversitat has insurance and it does not make sense to me why it would not rely on its insurance.”
While maintaining that he has made every effort to try and resolve the issue, he says he felt forced to issue proceedings as the limitation period in which to bring a claim was close to expiring.
Lyons insists that he is still trying to resolve the matter, on terms that are fair to both sides, before the case proceeds any further.
In a related, but separate, article in the Geelong Advertiser today, the presenter at the center of the incident has broken his silence. Greg McHenry, a 66 year old pensioner, has told the paper:
“I have apologised to Mr Lyons for my comments. They were unacceptable and I was wrong…
“As an experienced broadcaster I should have known better, but I let my emotions get the better of me.”