In a new column at his website, Reichman chronicles the sad story. The short version: Jean Ferre, the long-time owner of the station, passed away after a long and debilitating illness, which prevented him from properly establishing and maintaining a chain of command to continue operations, with the same freedom granted to hosts as he had always handled things.
A newly-hired host at the station had been given Ferre's administrative duties, and has ended up ruling the roost with an iron grip, firing Reichman after last tuesday's broadcast, which featured Reichman criticizing the new administrative policy of the station.
I've translated a portion of Claude Reichman's long article, below:
Jean Ferre had an admirable quality: for 19 years, he had Radio Courtoisie, which he had created back in 1986, play “all the right and all the talent.” Yet he had one fault: he did not prepare his successor.
I have hosted programs on this station for 16 years. Until recently, I had never worried about the legal structures of the station, being persuaded that Jean Ferré had taken all indispensable precautions.
In June 2005, with Jean Ferre’s state of health becoming a concern, I took the initiative to gather a few show hosts, notably Oliver Pichon and Jean-Gilles Malliarakis, in order for us to look after the future of our station, in the event, unfortunately foresable, when our president would no longer be around...
Jean Ferré passed away on October 10 2006.
On November 8 2006, Henry de-Lesquen [a newly-arrived host at the station] sent all radio hosts a letter through which he advised them that Jean-Gilles Malliarakis was no longer president of the editorial committee but “station director” and “placed under the authority of the administrative council and its president”.
This was a complete rupture with the manner in which the radio station had always been managed by Jean Ferre for 19 years. When he had been president of the editorial committee, he had never depended on anyone… and the program hosts had been as free as he had been. It was what he never stopped wanting and which he respected until his dying breath.
Yet here comes an administration council composed of individuals unknown to listeners and comprising of but a single program host, M. de Lesquen, recently hired by the station, assuming for himself the right to place “under his authority” several dozen program hosts, very well-known and appreciated by the listeners and of which many had been at the radio station for the last 15 to 19 years!
Four days later, November 12 2006, the participants of the station’s annual breakfast noted with besument that M. de Lesquen, surrounded by bodyguards keeping watch on access to the microphone, only allowing access to those supporters who had his pleasure, and refusing it to others, whom he supposed not to be in agreement with this methods. This is how I was not able to speak up and Jean-Gilles Malliarakis, even though he is responsible for programming, was kept from having
the chance to speak. We were no longer at Radio Courtoisie, but in a universe that strangely resembled those which one usually characterizes as dictatorships.
From then on, I could not keep silent, without becoming an accomplice in this mad drift. I therefore informed the listeners, as was my duty to do, during my November 14 2006 broadcast, of what was going on at Radio Courtoisie. M. de Lesquen immediately suppressed the two rebroadcasts of my program, and by letter on November 16, he informed me that “the administrative council has decided, unanimously, to cancel [my] Free Journal series from the programming schedule” and “specified that [I] would never again have access to neither the airwaves nor the offices of Radio Courtoisie”.
These are the facts. All are attested by incontestable documents and innumerable witnesses.
M. de Lesquen and the members of the administrative council of the assocation “Committee for the defense of the listeners of Radio Solidarity” are entirely responsible for these events. I have contented myself with denouncing these intolerable violations of the letter and spirit of Radio Courtoisie, as well as the freedom of information, from which they will be found guilty.
France's Blue Revolution continues on, with a protest scheduled for Monday Nov 27, to be held right in front of the offices of the radio station itself. The movement had just held their ninth public rally last Thursday, November 16th, in the teeth of an unfriendly rainstorm.
Deprived of this important bi-weekly rallying cry, it remains to be seen what long-term effect this sudden silencing will have on Claude Reichman's valiant and commendable efforts to restore balance and dignity to France's current passion for political correctness pratfalls. Will blogs and podcasting somehow fill the breach and keep the momentum going for the earnest reformers?
Much discussion of the future of the Revolution Bleue in french blogs, as you can imagine; we'll have more news on the subject throughout the week, as events warrant.