Legal threats in Highland Radio franchise battle

With a threat of legal action from current Highland Radio Board Chairman, Gerry Rabbit against its rival for the commercial radio franchise in Donegal it would now seem the battle is bcoming increasingly bitter.

When contacted yesterday spokesperson for the rival Donegal Commercial Radio Broadcasting consortium, Charlie Collins, said he had no comment other than to say ‘we are content to leave any decision in regard to our application with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Following the publication on line on Wednesday afternoon of applications for the local commercial radio franchise here Mr Rabbitt issued the following statement:”It has come to our attention that very serious inaccuracies of a defamatory nature may be contained in the submission application of DL Commercial Radio Broadcasting.”

He added:” Highland Radio are currently seeking legal advice on this matter and therefore would strenuously advise that any inaccurate details contained in this application should not be republished.”

Both consortiums have submmitted lengthy and detailed applications.

Galway man Mr Rabbitt has on his board of directors,, the station’s leading broadcaster, Shaun Doherty, who is also currently managing director, three members of his family, as well as local personalities Billy Patterson, once a member of the famed Pattersons folk group, and the director of An Grianan Theatre, Patricia McBride.

Mr Rabbitt has a long history in local radio having been initially involved in Galway Bay FM

Highland accounts state they have bank rserves of 82,547 euro and net current assets of 339,903

The DL commercial consortium has amongst its members some of Inishowen’s best known buisness people.

It’s main shareholder is Carn business man, Paddy Simpson who has extensive commercial interests both sides of the board. He employs more than 250 people.

Also included is the boss of Bridgend based E&I Engineering Philip O’Doherty.

Mr O’Doherty employs 575 people in Inishowen, London and Dubai. He was also recently included in the Sunday Times Rich List.

According to their application to the Broadcasting Authority the consortium already has in place all required funding for the full capital expenditure of establishing a new radio station with multiple broadcast centres, as well as the working capital required to begin operations.

It’s believed a decision could be made shortly on the franchise for Donegal but if the Rroadcasting Authority opts for oral hearings it is understood that could well delay any decision until the new year.