Popular South African radio legend, Clarence Ford Monday bided farewell to Heart FM and his fans, after 24 years of service, with the station.
Ford said he was enroute to Heart’s studios in Green Point for his regular 12-3pm lunchtime show on Monday, when he got a phone call from program manager Vernon Nel, informing him of his dismissal. The phone call came just 40 minutes before his show was scheduled to begin.
“I got a phone call to say there is a letter that I must read. And the letter says my services are not required any longer,” he said.
Upon receiving the call, he also immediately phoned the station manager, Renee Redelinghuys for clarity. “I called her just to make sure I understood the content. He said Redelinghuys confirmed that his contract was terminated with immediate effect.
His dismissal stems directly from his revelations in a Weekend Argus Sunday exclusive that bullying by a senior manager resulted in his decision to leave the station. His departure from the station was only meant to happen at the end of February next year.
“I’ve had some run-ins with management. And there was a particularly bad one in February where I had to draw the line,” he explained.
“I cannot be in a space where my values are compromised. The February experience related to an attempt to bully on a public platform. And I was on the receiving end of that attempt. And I don’t take to bullies very kindly. And I met the bully halfway in a language only bullies understand. And I expected the response would be, let’s just call it an emotionally intelligent response. And that is exactly what has brought us to this particular time.”
He also added, “I demanded that they (management) rein in the bully and they refused to or didn’t feel it necessary. I said I can’t respect this kind of behavior. And if they’re going to remain silent, they would be complicit, and I couldn’t stay. And I made it clear given that scenario.”
The incident he refers to is with Denver Apollus, the head of radio innovation and the second most senior manager at Heart FM, who reports to Redelinghuys, the managing director.
The Weekend Argus story broke on Sunday morning. Ford went into work as usual for his 6pm show. Little did he know it would be his last.
“I obviously wanted a chance to say goodbye and I was deluded to think I’d be given the chance. It’s been a long ride and you obviously want to say thank you. There’s been a lot of love and it’s been a great journey. I don’t get to say thank you. It is score,” he said.
“I’m at peace. But I always wanted to say goodbye. I knew it was going to happen (that my time at Heart FM would end), I just thought it was going to happen at the end of February. And it’s come earlier, and I don’t get a chance to say goodbye.”
Apollus said Ford’s claim has absolutely no truth.
“It’s definitely not the reason for Clarence’s departure. I don’t even engage much with Clarence. I don’t know where the bullying comes from. He doesn’t even engage with management much,” he said.