Eusebius McKaiser lashes out at acting Primedia CEO for 'lying'

After Primedia did its best to clear the air on Monday about all the recent drama on 702, former radio host Eusebius McKaiser has once again lashed out at the station.

Primedia's acting CEO Geraint Crwys-Williams said on Bongani Bingwe's Breakfast show that the recent changes were due to a listeners' survey and that they were trying to mitigate the damage of losing listeners.

But Eusebius is not buying it.

Sharing his personal accounts on social media, the radio host who resigned in June, said Crwys-Williams was doing damage control in an attempt to respond to extremely negative public responses to the changes.

"Now that listeners and other stakeholders are disgusted by what has transpired, there's panic at Primedia. Even some advertisers have called the company to complain about their treatment of staff."

One such treatment is that of Aki Anatssiou, whose exit last week left many people scratching their heads. The veteran broadcaster's departure saw many former colleagues expressing their disdain at how he was treated in the end.

Eusebius listed what he says were numerous "lies" told by  Crwys-Williams during the interview.

According to him, management has refused to show staff members who have asked for a copy of the "listener survey" used to justify the line-up changes. He said his show was highly praised by the programme manager and all producers as it was one of the top-performing shows across all of Primedia's radio stations at that time.

"The podcast downloads for my show were consistently among the top three. At 702 as a station, it was only ever myself and Bruce Whitfield who consistently had the top and number 2 spot in terms of downloads."

He said the information he is giving out is important because listeners were actively searching for his show and podcast. Similarly with Joanne Joseph: "The same pattern was true of Joanne Joseph. Although she had been told, when she started, to patiently give herself up to five years or so to reach a drive audience finally used to her as a new fixture, she achieved that target way sooner because of her excellence," he said.

Joseph was replaced by John Perlman, whose exit was also shrouded in controversy. He stated that her show had the "human interest" and "lighter tone" that Crwys-Williams says the station was lacking. Pointing out features such as dating, sex, technology, world of work and literature corner, were both highly popular on his and Redi Thlabi's shows.

McKaiser also criticised the acting CEO for his comment that callers wanted to have a safe place to air their views.

"He is lying by pretending he has secret research that shows you, as listeners, didn't like me all that much nor did you like Joanne…

"All Geraint did was to be allowed to impugn Jo wrongly with the HINT that listeners are scared of her or she is impolite. That's bullshit."

702 says there needed to implement changes, which unfortunately includes retrenchments.

"702 is pretending there is a new strategy. There isn't. In the last conversation I had with the station manager she told me that her biggest problem right now is that she is unable to explain to someone who asks her, what the identity and place of 702 in the country and media landscape is.

"That was a very honest and self-reflexive comment. She is right," Eusebius said.

The opinionated columnist commented that there isn't really a company image. That the station has not defined itself, in turn, has translated into listeners and stakeholders being confused with the messaging, too.

He did, however, give praise to Perlman, who started the drive show this week saying he was probably ill-informed on why Joseph was leaving.

"John Perlman is excellent. He is one of the most generous media peers I have. I love being interviewed by him as an analyst and as a published author. He prepares nerdishly and is a master broadcaster. Many people also do not know how kind he is OFF AIR… They're both excellent and frankly, their differences are stylistic and negligible. Poor John was probably lied to when told why/where Joanne is going."

He did not mince his words when claiming that Joseph's departure was due to her reportedly bad relationship with the station manager, Thabisile Mbete.

Eusebius hoped that Bongani would press Cryws-Williams more on the issue and why Joseph didn't fit in the new strategy.

He reiterated that he had resigned and had not been fired.

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