News from Rob Dunger at Felixstowe Radio

Thank you Dr Thérèse Coffey

Well, it’s taken me five years at Felixstowe Radio to reach this stage. For five days in January my social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter saw a considerable increase in traffic. It seemed that my work on my radio programme, and a certain picture on Facebook, had polarised opinions in a dramatic way.

Let’s start with the radio. I had secured an interview with Suffolk Coastal MP and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Dr Thérèse Coffey. The interview was to be recorded on Friday afternoon, to be broadcast on Monday on Felixstowe Radio. I am quite proud of how I use and integrate social media into my radio work so, accordingly, I announced on social media that the interview was to go ahead.

Within minutes, responses and messages were appearing which questioned my choice of guest. The situation escalated with social media users not only criticising my choice of guest, but personally attacking my work, my lifestyle and my politics. On the last point, I can say that nobody knows my political choices and, as an interviewer, I aim to treat all my guests equally and fairly. The onslaught continued.

Conversely, support for me flooded in with people concerned that I might have been hurt by the abuse. It has happened to me before and I have learned to shrug it off. I totally agree with free speech but I still needed to delete some messages and block four people. Looking back, I am flattered that my work, whether you agree with my choice of guest or not, generates so much interest in our fantastic town!

Now to deal briefly with the picture I posted on Facebook. If I post a picture of a kitten, I get no reaction. Reactions provide content for my radio programme. Reaction creates interest and thereby listeners. This particular photo was of two people shopping in a supermarket while wearing pyjamas. The question I asked was: ‘Does this happen where you live?’. Just to clarify, I am not ‘filling my pockets’ and I do not ‘mock people with disabilities’.

That’s put the record straight. Five people are now blocked, I am OK and even more people know about Felixstowe Radio.

Rob Dunger, presenter and producer at Felixstowe Radio /  

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