PRESENTERS including John Leslie have been locked out of a community radio station after a row with the station’s managers.
Edinburgh’s 98.8 Castle FM saw around 50 of its staff walk out after a dispute over the running of the station earlier this year.
But when presenters went to the studios to demand to be allowed back on air they found the doors locked and the offices apparently deserted.
The volunteer-run station hosted former TV presenter Leslie’s return to the airwaves in November last year, after the star had spent a decade in the showbiz wilderness after lurid claims about his private life.
He was among the station’s presenters to walk out in the row, which first erupted at its general meeting in January.
Calls were made for the station’s chairman Michael Templeton to stand down, and police are also probing.
A group of the presenters went to the studios at what would have been Leslie’s drive-time slot but found doors locked with no signs of life.
Jazz show presenter Edwyn Newman said: “As far as we could work out, the studio was locked, the chairman’s room and the middle floor looked abandoned.
“We were able to get into the building and up the stairs, but the studio was locked up which is a strange thing.
“I don’t know if the plan was to lock people out, but we didn’t get to speak to anyone.
“I stopped presenting last year, but I am a legitimate and paid up member so I’m allowed to go in and out.
“It’s a community station and it’s important that it survives and prospers.”
The station, which boasted around 200,000 listeners at the height of its relaunch last March, saw a vote of no confidence in Mr Templeton.
Ralph MacGillivray, who has the Sunday afternoon slot at the station, said: “I had a show planned for St Patrick’s Day and I had to cancel it because I couldn’t get in and broadcast.
“I’d got guests lined up, but I managed to tell them on time.
“I’d been before with other presenters and said ‘we just want to come in and do our show while this gets sorted out.’
“We were told in no uncertain terms not to come back. It’s all because of the vote of no confidence.”
The station’s bosses advertised on Gumtree for new broadcasting talent, and they are thought to have drafted in other presenters to fill the vacant slots.
Ian Schofield, who has hosted a show on the station for six years, said: “We have every right to be in the station and do our shows.
“It’s a really great station and set up, but this is as bad as things have ever been.”
Leslie has said about the row earlier this month: “It’s not good. It’s a ghost station at the moment, simple as that. It was going really well and it’s a shame it’s stopped now but it’s not appropriate for DJs to carry on while this is going on.
“If you are running a charity station then it has to be well run. I just hope that something is going to be sorted and we start again but it doesn’t look like that’s possible at the moment.
“I don’t think it should be lost to the city, that would be a real shame.”
No-one at Castle FM could be reached for comment.