“My name is David and I saw your piece on Shaun van Eck where you mentioned Baden Hall’s interview. I recently had an email ping pong with the man and am amazed by the eventual turn it took. It started of lightly enough but turned pretty wild quite quickly. This guy is entrusted with an open access public microphone? I have a feeling this will get completely out of hand.”
That was the way David’s [not real name)] email began, sent to me on January 4 2013, 6 weeks ago. He later admitted to being abrasive in his response because he “was quite taken aback by the man’s [Baden Hall’s] obvious psychotic attacks.”
The emails from Baden Hall are deeply disturbing yet, at the same time, I wondered if this was an elaborate hoax put in play by Baden as retaliation for what I related in The Big Arsehole of Knysna FM. Paranoia, for sure…but a healthy dose of it necessary considering the loonies and bad people I attract – my activism sometimes feel like the only streetlight at night in a town occupied by suicidal moths.
This alleged tourist, David Skinner, says that his attorney has advised him not to reveal his identity. In his words, “I’d rather not run the risk. Nobody will be denying it happened, nobody will challenge the veracity of the info and nobody can possibly change the outcome of what transpired through any form of manipulation. They admitted it, so there’s no need to test the actual information. My hands are tied. Yours are not.”
That, unfortunately, means that I can’t reveal most of what I’ve been told. This includes a bunch of accusations against Baden Hall. But I did send some of those to Baden Hall for comment. He defended himself but, in maintaining the bizarre twists in this whole story, said his defence was off the record.
What I can share with you is a series of emails between Baden and David. Justin Halliday, real or not, is a third party entering this web. Is Justin real or maybe even Baden attempting to warn David off by saying that Baden is essentially crazy? I emailed Justin but got no response.
Since a series of emails best documents what happened, I’m going to simply copy and paste the most relevant which will hopefully provide you continuity and jigsaw pieces aimed towards the bigger picture. You, however, for now, will have to make your own mind up as to what it all means. I will have to spend more time on this so that I best present the truth of a situation where no one will give me the whole truth – necessary so that I don’t use my insurance unnecessarily defending myself against a lawsuit.
Read on, my intrepid readers:
Hi, David. I appreciate the contact. I firmly believe in stopping bad things and bad people so that others don’t have to share the misfortune. Please don’t let this reflect on your overall opinion of our town. It’s because there are so many good things here that i fight for them (you can see the beauty side at www.loveknysna.com). In some defence of the station, they are small and mostly volunteers who earn income if they find advertisers for their show. In no way, however, does that excuse Baden Hall, especially since he is not only a DJ but runs the production team. I promise to pursue with station owner and Knysna Tourism. I appreciate being told about it because only with knowledge can we fix things.
Oh, by the way, I love Knysna and have been coming down there for 12 years and I enjoy listening to Knysna FM when there. Thank you for taking an interest, but, most of all, thank you for all the work you do down there on the Keep and Love Knysna. Nobody else is doing anything remotely like it. I am a civil rights activist, which is why I enjoy your website; Knysna Keep, regularly.
Here are the emails between Baden Hall and the tourist.
It starts benign but then takes a mad turn
which does our town and Knysna FM a major disservice.
Horrible seagull sounds with the fisher dude’s interview.
* * *
Thanks for the feedback. Will endeavour to track down the offending birds and formally issue them with a FIRST WARNING NOTICE. 🙂 🙂 If the upset you again, I will move for their dismissal!
* * *
Thank you for that one. At the same time, would it be possible to find someone to read the news properly please? The chap who did “read” the news today at 11 was unbelievably bad. It reflects on your listenership heavily. If I were an advertiser on your station and I heard that news bulletin, I would definitely consider NOT having my product or service connected to that level of unprofessionalism. I understand that a small station cannot afford the big guns but delivery of this nature would have a negative impact on peoples decision to dish out their meagre ad-spend with you.
I’m not trying to be rude, I am trying to be constructive. I have a good track record of advertising within the radio and TV industry and do, at least, have a vague clue about what I am saying.
Use it, don’t use it.
* * *
Please advise what part of the “news Read” that you felt was “bad”. Just stating it was “bad” without pointing out the specific area of concern is not at all constructive.
* * *
Fair enough, I’ll put it plainly. The chap who read the news does not have the voice to carry it off, does not read with authority and the hesitant, sing-song approach demeans the gravity with which the news should be read, especially about the suicide death at Van Staden’s bridge. It is a voice unused to radio and comes across as extremely amateur. The voice would never be considered for a professional commercial radio station in this day and age. I was left feeling that the person behind the microphone did not understand exactly what they were saying and was merely uttering the words before them, without contextual comprehension.
I got a note back from the receptionist’s desk telling me that most of the professional DJ’s were on leave and that the station had to use “what was available” to you. I did find that very odd that DJ’s are given leave at the absolute busiest time of the year which meant having to resort to using “whoever was available”. Does this mean the person does not usually do this kind of work?
I can guarantee you that most people would certainly not have to be informed of what “bad” meant after listening to that broadcast as was evidenced by all four of us in the car in Waterfront drive that morning. Entertaining it certainly was, but newsy, not so much.
I get the feeling that the writer of this note is the voice?
* * *
Did you borrow or steal the car in which you were driving? Anyone who feels that they have so much to say but can’t even afford their own domain name, and needs to resort to using el-ceapo web addresses, speaks volumes of how amateurish you really!
You are a real joke and a complete waste of oxygen.
I know who you are….and where you live. Be afraid…..very afraid!
* * *
Steady on old chap. No need for that kind of response. You asked for details and I supplied them. I’m sure you would not like this behaviour to be displayed across Knysna and Plett? Would you? I could possibly help there. veiled threats to the public? Not a good sign. I’m sure ICASA would, at the very least, frown upon such action. I know Willie Currie at ICASA and maybe I’ll ask him his opinion.
* * *
Boo-Hooooooooo!!!! Your drivel and purile kids vomit just merely demonstrates not only how wet behind the ears you, but more importantly, your little “playground” is only Knysna and Plett! How quaint! Possibly, when you finally wake-up and discover that you are so out of your depth, in terms of emotional, intellectual and mental capacity, not to mention your marketing! The funny thing is that when you finally wake up that you are trying to start a war armed only with a pea-shooter, you may cringe to further discover just what an absolutely jerk, onanist [Ed. – means masturbator] and wally you are.
For starters, where is the “threat”? Secondly, get your Hansard reference books out, because I can demonstrate to you legal case by legal case that you haven’t the foggiest idea of what you are talking about, and lastly, ICASA can only deal with complaints broadcasted OVER THE AIR…..they have no jurisdiction on what is communicated via e-mail.
Oh yes, please run to both Mr Ralph Sparg and Mr Gordon Hoffman, and others, with your little tittle-tattles. Once again, it merely demonstrates just how out of your depth you are, because I know who you are and what you are about, but you don’t know who I am. Isn’t that so much fun!
Given your clearly demonstratable diminished and borderline psychotic demeanour, do you honestly think that Mr Willie Currie will waste his precious time being influenced by dweets of your calibre!
It is so easy to hide behind a claim of a mere “criticism”…..you have a very well defined agenda of discreditation, and I can prove it!
Sweet dreams, honeybun…..oh, and yes, don’t forget the tweezers and magnifying glass.
* * *
I have written to Willie Currie over at ICASA outlining the journey that led to these last two offensive emails from Knysna FM and I have asked for a personal meeting with him when I get back to Johannesburg. I have worked with him at the ICTD in the past and am confident he will advise me of the best way to go forward with this formal complaint.
You have neglected to add your name to any of your emails but I am pretty sure you won’t be too difficult to track down. As a representative of Knysna FM, I am appalled that you had to resort to making illegal threats over a simple critical observation of a news broadcast. I sincerely hope all the station’s affairs are in good standing because this kind of attention usually brings with it a lot of paperwork and investigation.
Taking a bit of criticism as a radio station is standard fare across the globe, but making illegal threats is definitely not.
I shall be watching this sag a with more than j ust a little interest and sincerely hope you are not a part of this station next year when I get here. You don’t deserve to be part of a good team like that.
* * *
From: Big Daddy [aka Baden Hall]
Look-ee whats finally turned up! I just love it when a plan comes together! (That expression maybe a little before your time, but..what the heck, I love it none-the-less!)
Your suspicions were bang-on all along. The wolf in sheep’s clothing has finally been exposed, and like you said, push them hard enough for long enough, the chink in the armour will eventually split open, and the shit will come gushing out.
Just shows what happens when one not only learns history, but also learns FROM history, especially the WW2 stuff. I couldn’t put that book The Man That Never Was down. In spite of their fastidiousness and cleverness, the krauts swallowed the British bait literally hook, line and sinker. What is so amusing is that this is almost an entirely copy-cat plot that has since played itself out! BTW, do you have any more books of this particular genre? Could do with some more fascinating non-fictional war-related thrillers.
Thanks for making my day! I owe you big time! Looking forward to seeing you in a couple a days time when down from Jozi.
Till then, take care,
PS Jason is playing at Quay Four tomorrow evening. Will be doing a few numbers with him. Pity that you’ll miss him. Another time, maybe.
* * *
From: Justin Halliday <email@example.com>:
Hi Dave (Paul, Mark, Julian, Peter or whatever other name you use!)
Hey, u r quite a “who done it” dude! Not only have u snookered urself right into a corner, but u have been double-crossed by the very person who gave you all the “information”. Here’s y! That person also gave my mate all the information he wanted to know about u. The media industry is a very small industry. U shud know that!
U really should be careful with the people you associate with and get information from, bcuz that is how u r judged. The person who double-crossed you is a known schizo with psycho tendencies, who had to leave Jozi. The funny thing is that this person is persona non-grata at almost every radio station in South Africa! Now that makes you wonder! Even before my mate arrived from Jozi to live in Knysna, this person was slagging of their mouth to Ralph Sparg. Thankfully, Ralph saw right through the garbage being spewed out, and didn’t last very long!
U’ve just been used as this person’s useful idiot, bcuz this person is insanely jealous of my mates’ wife, not only is she beautiful and attractive, but she is also extremely talented in other areas. But the most laughable of all is that all the phrases and words that you have used since the 1st e-mail are the identical phrases and words used by this person! Co-incidence? There is no such thing! And the most hysterical of them all, is that all the so-called “disparaging” claims all came out of my mates’ OWN MOUTH when describing himself to this person……and the only person he describes himself to in such a way!. You are such a doos, y’know!
Dude, have you ever wondered why this person has never been able to have a relationship? Who wants to be in a schizo’s company who sincerely believes that the UFO’s are landing on Cony Glen Beach on the 21st December, and would be 1 of the 1st to “fly away” in a UFO. This person also believes that he/she is one of the few “enlightened” souls “just visiting this Earth”. He/she is the laughing stock of all Jozi, and now many in Knysna!!!! In fact, light bends when it flows past his/her head, bcuz of the “denseness”!I think we have discovered a local “black hole”…..right here in Knysna! Put bluntly, this person is the embodiment of EVIL.
All I can say is a huge thanks, dude! U have saved my mate quite a few bucks in the days to come. Possession is 9/10th of the law!
Oh, before I forget, maybe u should just check up the latest RAMs figures. Whilst everyone else’s figures are either static or falling, KnysnaFM listenership has increased nearly 150% in the last 10 months….that’s when my mate “joined” them.
Co-incidence? Once again, there is no such thing!
Karma is a bitch, hey!
Chill dude, and when I need a useful idiot, you have no problem in me contacting you, would you?
Baden referred to The Man That Never Was, a book based on Operation Mincemeat which dressing a human cadaver as a “Major William Martin, R.M.” and put it into the sea near Huelva, Spain. Wikipedia: “Attached to the dead body was a brief-case containing fake letters falsely stating that the Allied attack would be against Sardinia and Greece rather than Sicily, the actual point of invasion. When the body was found, with all the false pocket litter data, the Spanish Intelligence Service passed copies of the papers to the German Intelligence Service which passed them on to their High Command. The ruse was so successful that the Germans still believed that Sardinia and Greece were the intended objectives, weeks after the landings in Sicily had begun.”
I give full explanation to this in case Baden Hall is in fact playing word games as part of a hoax i.e. emails are misdirecting like a dead body did for the Allies.
No matter where the truth will eventually fall, these emails scream ‘crazy’ and ‘problem’. How could Gordon Hoffman and Ralph Sparg, owner and manager of KnysnaFM respectively, not respond to my complaint.
In fact, I spoke to Gordon Hoffman. He answered the phone when I phoned Knysna FM’s sister station, mcFM in Plettenberg Bay, today. He was deliberately unhelpful and kept trying to twist the conversation so that I was the problem. He also made contradictory statements such as:
- He’d not responded to me as my complaint had no merit.
- That it was between Baden and me (not Knysna FM) and that they had dealt with the matter internally [which would mean it had merit – of course, it did!).
When I said that it was normal for a company to respond to a complainant, he said that was my opinion only.
Let’s be clear why it is Knysna FM’s problem and how it has connected to others:
- Baden Hall acted entirely unprofessionally and made huge, unfounded accusations at a press conference called by Knysna Tourism. Knysna FM had received a press invite and Baden Hall was the only Knysna FM staff member in attendance.
- Knysna FM manager, Ralph Sparg, admitted that it was a fiasco and that Knysna Tourism had requested a meeting to sort such. He said he was going to meet them. That meeting never took place. And Ralph would not respond to my complaint but tried to make out if it was my fault.
- Baden Hall threatens to destroy me and warns me not to mess with a man with a [Knysna FM] microphone.
- Tourist David contacts me with a slew of emails wherein Baden Hall has cursed and threatened him. Baden is responding as a representative of Knysna FM and is using the edress of firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tourist David says that Gordon Hoffman has not responded to his complaint.
- I email the whole story to Gordon Hoffman who does not respond despite several follow-up emails to Sue van der Gast, manager of mcFM, the other station Gordon owns along with 3 others.
- I inform Knysna Tourism on what has happened. They send an apologetic email to Tourist David and say that they will meet with Knysna FM (they did not).
It turns out that Knysna FM is not a member of the BCC (Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa) so I have emailed a complaint to ICASA.
Here is the email I had originally sent to Gordon Hoffman (do you consider this unreasonable?):
Considering that we’re both media, i wish we’d met before so that our first contact was positive. Wishes aside, my complaint is regarding KnysnaFM, Ralph Sparg and, in particular, Baden Hall.
For context, please read the emails below, starting from the bottom. Attached is the full email from Baden Hall. Thereafter, you can find his follow-up comment in the section beneath the blog at www.knysnakeep.org/why-shaun-van-eck-was-dismissed-part-3.
In case you’re unfamiliar with my name, I’m a blogger, activist and promoter. I have several websites which are all aimed at serving Knysna, from being information providers and tourism promoters to controversial issues such as corruption and maladministration (Shaun van Eck, politicians, police etc.). Last year, i put out 500 blogs. This month, I start the charity, Love Knysna Projects which aims at social upliftment, cultural integration, education and tourism boosting. My websites listed below:
- Love Knynsa! – loveknysna.com
- Knysna Crime Watch – knysnacrimewatch.co.za
- School Information Portal – knysnaschools.co.za
- One Knysna, Our Knysna – loveknysnaprojects.co.za
- The World, Opinion & Rock ‘n Roll – wickedmike.com
- Knysna Website Design – knysnawebsitedesign.co.za
- Truthseeking for a Stronger Knysna – knysnakeep.org
It is notable that KnysnaFM has not dealt with me in its existence. I have my theories on that but best left to another time so that the current, more important issue is sorted first.
I had held off taking this Baden Hall fiasco further as I’m sure most were busy with seasonal activities. I was also waiting to discover what happened with the meeting KnysnaFM was to have with Knysna Tourism (regards their issue with Baden) – apparently that meeting never happened. I had hoped that resolution there would’ve mitigated the situation and lessened my intended, blog response. In the meanwhile, I had asked around about Baden and it is obvious that he’s a wild card with a temper. Ralph would’ve been well aware of this.
On a personal level, I have an extra distaste for Baden after discovering that he’s also a salesman promoting Mannatech products. They are a company of questionable and ill-repute after having misrepresented themselves to the public. As disappointing as that fact is, it seems appropriate to find his attitude there.
Yesterday, on a Knysna FM level, the situation amplified when David, a tourist, forward me the threatening emails Baden Hall had sent him after David had made a complaint to the station regards poor handling of an apparently insensitive news reading involving a suicide. I never heard the broadcast so I have no opinion on it. I also realize that Knysna FM is an incredibly small station operating in a tough economic climate i.e. I understand that many staff are mostly volunteers or earning some monies if they find advertisers for their own shows. DJs such as Pieter Cloete and Mike Wood are to be commended for their growth on the radio.
However, the real issue, is that Baden Hall, representing your station, threatened David, a tourist, in a big way. That further impacts on the other tourists with him and those they will tell. David has sent you those emails and given me permission to blog it. Note that I have made a complaint to Knysna Tourism in the hope that they find a way to encourage the return of these tourists. I have emphasized to David that ours is a wonderful town and this scenario is not reflective of the whole. I also commend him for pursuing his complaint as we can only address and sort problems that we are aware of. I wish there were more people like him.
Note that I consider Ralph complicit. It’s been a month. He does not, as station manager, get to shrug this off – damn unprofessional and nothing to do with protecting or promoting the radio station or Knysna. The after-the-fact email from Baden stating that he represents himself and not the station was ludicrous.
I support Knysna FM for the sake of our town and I respect and applaud the challenges you and others must have undertaken to get the licence so I’m hoping that you will have an appropriate response so that I’m not forced to have an ongoing commentary online and report the station to the Broadcast Complaints Commission.
I would appreciate an official response via email but I also welcome, if need be, an off-the-record conversation if you wish to pop in next time you’re in town.
I may feel for some of the staff but they can’t hold my respect if they don’t question the station why the hell this was allowed to happen. A BIG FAT WHY? Could it, in some way, be tied to the weird rumour of ME FM 87.7 being resurrected and the staff jumping ship? Coordinated by Baden Hall, no less. Or is that story put out there to discover who talks?
As said, all allegations and other people’s truths. Whether elaborate hoax or shocking truth, Knysna is in need of a sanity wake-up. The centre is not holding!