Big changes at Stoke FM

Stoke FM founder Scott Duke is handing over executive director duties to Mike Murphy; two key employees let go; new board members sought

Scott Duke (left) is handing over top duties at Stoke FM to Mike Murphy.

Scott Duke (left) is handing over top duties at Stoke FM to Mike Murphy.

There are big changes afoot at StokeFM, with several key players stepping down and station founder Scott Duke switching to a background position.

The community radio station announced last week that Mike Murphy was taking over from Duke as the station’s executive director.

Duke has held the position since he launched the station in 2011.

Murphy, a graduate of the Humber College radio broadcast program has been co-hosting the morning show for the past few months. He will have big shoes to fill, as the station also had to let go of its two key employees – Sarah Peterson and Annie Hewitt, who handled the day-to-day operations.

The changes are the result of Stoke FM not receiving a key grant earlier this year, said Duke.

“Normally we’re supported by two means — our grant funding and support from business partners in the community,” he said. “This year, we didn’t get grant funding so we had to change things up. Where we had people in paid positions, that’s now a volunteer component.”

On top of that, much of the board of directors, which included Duke, Hewitt, Eve Northmore, Amy Flexman and Joey Norsworthy, is stepping down. Those five got the station started four years ago, but several have moved on to other things.

Duke said he will be staying on the board, but he will be trying to recruit new members. “I’m going to send some e-mails out inviting people to be on the board this week,” he said. “Other than that, people can apply if they want to be on the board.”

Duke said the station makes enough money to keep it running and pay one employee, but grant funding is needed to hire more. He added that with his jobs running a property management company and as city councillor, he doesn’t have the time to dedicate to the station.

“I want to see it go forward and continually get better and be a bigger part of the community, and for that it needs someone dedicated to it,” he said.

Note: Editor Alex Cooper is a volunteer with Stoke FM.