David McGown letters to donors and Marie Slaight

The letter below from David McGown was sent to Donors on August 24 and 27, 2018

To Our Listeners and Donors:

We are writing to address two recent headlines focused on JAZZ.FM91’s Board of Directors and major JAZZ.FM91 donor, Marie Slaight: 1) The Toronto Star: Daughter of broadcast mogul Allan Slaight makes bid to gain control of troubled JAZZ.FM and 2) The Globe and Mail: Major donor accuses JAZZ.FM91 of mishandling sexual harassment allegations against former CEO.
Ms. Slaight and I met August 24, 2018 to discuss the concerns raised in three recent letters she wrote to the Board of Directors. I believe we both agreed that JAZZ.FM91 can only benefit from being strongly managed and governed. And I stand by the fact that we are doing just that.

In her three recent letters to the Board of Directors, Ms. Slaight has, however, made allegations against the Board. However well intentioned, these letters contain assertions that appear to be based on misinformation.

As some of Ms. Slaight’s letters to the Board were shared with the media, I have included my response for your information below. My letter was shared with the media after I was approached for interviews about Ms. Slaight’s letters. Over the past several months, a number of allegations have been made against JAZZ.FM91. We have taken each one seriously. However, based on the new perspective in the Toronto Star article, the Board of Directors is now left questioning why a small but vocal faction appears intent on overthrowing the Board.

Outside of our people, our most valuable assets are our brand and the place we hold on the CN Tower, which provides a strong frequency to a large geographic reach. It is one of the best in the GTA. Our physical assets have great value to competitors.

I can’t attest to the motives of another group who may be intent on replacing the Board or management. I can tell you that your current Board members have no financial interests in the broadcasting industry and have joined JAZZ.FM91’s Board of Directors only in support of its mission.

And that other group?

I am left to ask if they are looking for an opportunity to disrupt a relatively small charitable institution and grab what is an extremely valuable asset, the licence and broadcast reach of JAZZ.FM91. That could lead to JAZZ.FM91 turning into just another commercial broadcasting station. JAZZ.FM91 as your radio station, would no longer exist.

The current JAZZ.FM91 Board is comprised of well qualified volunteers with a breadth of skills to ensure that JAZZ.FM91 is appropriately governed. And we are nominating new Board members with skills in broadcasting, from the jazz world and with deep experience in fundraising and Board governance.

JAZZ.FM91’s team of 16 full-time employees and the Board want to give our listeners the best jazz in the world. We look forward to continuing our on-going evolution to remain among the world’s best. We will have some exciting programming news soon.

To all of our donors thank you.
For the love of jazz,


David K. McGown,
JAZZ.FM91 Chair of the Board

Below is a link to David McGown’s response to Marie Slaight

Letter to Marie Slaight — 23 August 2018