Monday, March 28, 2011

What the RSGB needs now...a personal view

I normally try to steer this blog away from ham radio politics. In my opinion, too much time is spent on politicing rather than advancing the hobby. And in a way, I suppose, that's what this blog post is about.

The RSGB website today carries a statement that the General Manager, Peter Kirby (who, incidentally is no relation of mine...) has 'left the Society's employment after the discovery of financial irregularities on his part'.

More than that, I do not know.

Peter had a difficult job to do, one which I would not wish to attempt. But it seems to me that with Peter's departure, there is the opportunity for the RSGB to be run by someone who has a vision of amateur radio in the 21st century.

It would be good to see the society taking a lead with inspiring people to take part in amateur radio. There is much new and good in the hobby and many new ways (blogging, social media just to pluck a couple out of the air...) to inspire and engage people. Under Peter's stewardship, it seemed to me that the society was stuck in a 1970s (maybe) time warp - of headmasterly toned communication with similar 1970 styled communication methods being employed.

The RSGB needs, desperately, to freshen their image! I know many people, deeply involved with the RSGB that read this blog - people that can communicate their passion. These people are just the one's who should be writing the society's blogs, tweets, Facebook updates - as well as the GB2RS audio and video podcasts/YouTube videos.

My wife Julie just popped in to ask what I was blogging about. I told her. As she put it - financial irregularities in the UK's National Radio Society? It hardly paints a positive view of the hobby, does it.

Along with my hopes for a more visionary approach to the hobby, it is good to see that Don Beattie, G3BJ has assumed (for the time being) the role of RSGB's General Manager. A safer pair of managerial hands I cannot imagine, belonging to a REAL radio amateur.

Today represents a REAL opportunity for the RSGB.


Julian said...

Hi Tim.

I hope that more information will be posted before there is too much speculation. Presumably something definite has been found since he has "left the Society's employment" rather than been suspended. I feel sad, though I never met the guy, but he has been GM since forever and a lot of positive things have happened under his managership.

As for what should happen now, I agree, it is a difficult job for anybody as this is a hobby that encompasses many diverse interests with not a few conflicts, the only common theme being that they involve the use of radio. Whatever course the RSGB pursues, there will be those who oppose it.

The RSGB is not perfect, but I have always been quite happy with the job it has done over the almost 40 years I have been interested in amateur radio. I don't think it should change too much, personally.

Dex said...

I did not renew my RSGB membership last November because I simply did not feel that the Society were being proactive enough in profiling the hobby, and didn't seem that interested in changing with the times. This decision taken after swapping emails with various members of the board. I have to confess that I found it difficult to "force myself" not to renew, after all the RSGB are the only organisation we have which collectively represents the needs of Amateur Radio Enthusiasts, whether you are a member or not, everyone benefits. We should all want to support the Society, and should be happy to pay our dues each year. But they have to earn the right to take my money.

Generally speaking, it seems to me that there needs to be some significant restructuring/reorganisation within the Society, it could do an awful lot better then it is currently doing. Its irrelevant what the details are regarding Mr. Kirbys leaving the RSGB, clearly he's done something dishonest and has been caught, hence his leaving the job. I'm sure more details will emerge at the now rearranged AGM. Those members in attendance will no doubt be asking the questions.

I just hope they take this opportunity to revamp things and make the Society a place that every Amateur in the country would be eager to join. We need them, but we need them to be much better in my opinion.

I'm not going to be joining again, until I can see some ambition, vision, enthusiasm and motivation from them. I hope they can muster up the vigour to do something, but I'm not holding my breath at this stage. Believe me, I really want to rejoin, but I won't at the moment. Perhaps when they replace Mr. Kirby, they will bring in someone younger, with a bit more talent who can run the place like a business whose aim is to satisfy its various Stakeholders.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim.

From what little information has leaked out already, this sounds like a straightforward fraud issue but as it involves the General Manager, there could well be governance issues lurking in there too.

RSGB members deserve a 'full and frank discussion' with those in charge. The specific details may be sub judice but it is entirely reasonable for the membership to expect clarity on the actions taken to tighten up procedures in order to put things back on an even footing. Any less will hasten the exodus from the national society, which is a bad thing for amateur radio in the UK.

I have enormous respect for Don G3BJ. Given his corporate experience and standing in the international ham community, I'm quite sure Don will do whatever has to be done.

Gary ZL2iFB


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