The End of an Era, Reflections and Explanations re #MushroomFM

You might find it helpful to read this post in association with my previous post, in which I talked about my departure from Mushroom FM and what putting it together with the help of a group of super talented people has meant to me.

As I said when I wrote that post, I have been in negotiations with a number of people regarding the future of Mushroom FM. You can put up a server and get a bunch of people to broadcast on it. That’s easy. But what made Mushroom FM such a class act was our particular brand of Internet radio. There was a cohesion, a quality, a sense of community and innovation, some core values about how the station is managed, a need for good knowledge of social media and how it could be used to take the station forward, and it was very important to me that a bunch of values that were at the heart of Mushroom FM would be understood, accepted and promoted by anyone to whom I handed over the brand. As the person who founded the station and recruited all the team, that decision has occupied a lot of time and thought over the last few days.

Since Mushroom FM operated on its own server, good knowledge of some of the technical aspects was important too.

I had a number of well-qualified internal candidates that I’ve been negotiating with over the last few days who i felt confident would have the support of the vast majority of the team, another important consideration, and I would have been delighted to have handed the brand over to any of them. Unfortunately, all of them know jus how much is involved, in terms of the commitment of time, to take it on. I feel deeply saddened about that, yet I accept it. Just as no one has a right to expect me to put in this kind of commitment forever, nor can I expect anyone else to take on this massive voluntary task.

I gave brief thought to some external candidates, but concluded that risked fracturing the team, and if we were going to continue, i wanted to minimise departures.

The Mushroom FM presenters are some of the most incredibly dedicated, talented, wonderful people I know, and while we all won’t be together under the Mushroom FM umbrella anymore, I know how this Internet radio thing gets in your blood, and I feel confident and excited about the fact that you will hear from the vast majority of them again elsewhere.

Caity and Sam closed Mushroom FM with absolute class, and I am so proud of them, even if they did play Baker Street as the last song 😉 a brilliant touch.

And all but a tiny fraction of the presenters remained professional to the very last on Twitter, I’m so proud of them for that. It reflected one of our core values of keeping it civil and professional, no matter what the provocation. As for the tiny minority who didn’t, well, it just goes to show we all make recruiting errors.

I know both listeners and presenters will be disappointed, I am too. But I’m sure you’ll hear your favourite people cropping up soon. I’d far rather quit when we’re at the top of our game and leave memories untarnished, then take a risk that might see the station deteriorate.

To everyone over the last 3.5 years who has been a part of this team at any time, thank you for all you contributed. To those who listened, you are just the best. I’m looking forward to not having such a full-on commitment, but I am sorry I couldn’t find someone to whom I felt totally comfortable handing the brand to, and I’ll miss the shroom a lot. It’s been a big part of my life, just as it’s been a part of many others’ lives, these last three and a half years. But boy, we did it well, and we can always be very proud of that.

14 Comments on “The End of an Era, Reflections and Explanations re #MushroomFM

  1. That doesn’t excuse your actions, just leaving the station high and dry like that. Do you even have a clue how your actions affect others? I don’t think you do. Someone very dear to me is absolutely devastated at your selfish action, and it’s all your fault, utterly and completely. No wonder you are the most despised figure in the entire blind community. This is not hyperbole, either. I honestly can not name one single solitary person that can say they actually like you. I hope you’re happy, you’ve just further cemented your place as the worst person in the whole of the blindness community.

    • While everyone has a right to express an opinion, yours is completely uncalled for in this venue. While you may have a saddened friend, everything in life has to evolve and change.
      Jonathan is nowhere near the most hated person in the blindness community. Your gross generalization does neither of you credit.

      To Jonathan and the rest of the Mushroom team, You definitely have much for which to be proud. Please don’t let this one bad apple destroy the wonderful creation for which you have given your hearts. Many in your listening public appreciate your service and thank you for your years of thoughtfully planned programming. May we find you all in new and exciting venues soon.
      Thank you all for a job well done!!!

  2. It was Jonathan’s money, time and energy that drove MushroomFM. It’s sadder than I personally expected, but the man deserves a life of his own. Knowing Jonathan, it has probably been hardest on him more than anyone. In spite of personal attacks like yours, Jonathan’s maintained professionalism and good graces beyond anyone else online, addressing issues without getting defensive. We’d all do well to learn from him.

    thank you, Jonathan, for all you’ve done for internet radio and the blindness community.

  3. Though I came late to the party, (just began listening about last March I think,) I really did enjoy the station and the variety of shows which it featured. All things must pass, I suppose, and I think we listeners should try to take it with good grace and to thank everyone involved with the station for all their creativity and dedication. As for Mr. Mosen being the most despised person in the entire blindness community, well! If I were him, I’d take that as a dubious honour and be proud of it! It’s a rare person who can manage to piss off an entire worldwide group of people like that! However, the above statement simply is not true, for as a member of this so-called community, which I seem to be by virtue of happening not to have a working set of eyes, I can well understand his own decisions and those of the others for not being willing to take on such a lot of work as has evidently gone into this station over the past few years.

    As with everything, of course, I’m sure there is more to the story, and I’m sure there are a lot of hurt feelings. I’m only sorry that it has had to come to such an abrupt end and that there does seem to be some residual anger.

    Congratulations to Jonathan and to all the other wonderful presenters who helped make the station what it was! I’m sure we’ll not have heard the last of many of them!

  4. Wow. So much hate for one person? It doesn’t seem right to me. And if someone is devastated over internet radio they should get their head examined. I personally think that Jonathan is cool. I used to listen to some of his shows years ago. Just too much hate for some guy who’s decided to get on with his life.

  5. I congratulate you on a job well done, Mushroom FM was a real pressure to tuned into, your determination to reach your goal has been admirable.
    Many of you not know that we have a hero in our midst.
    I am very proud to call you my brother!!

  6. I don’t know about the most hated person within the blindness community. That, might be stretching the truth by a tall order, I think, not on the good sides of a few of us, certainly. I do think in my opinion it could have been handled better, and in my mind should have been handled by the founder as opposed to being left to others to shut up shop and make the various announcements, etc. I don’t agree with subtle digs on a blog post on a web site that is in the main, meant primarily for business purposes either. This, again in my opinion flies in the face of the professionalism that was expected of the rest of us. People are going to be angry, people are going to want to vent and they’re going to want to do it on social media, be it publicly or privately. I have my own views on many things but they are not for here. The only view I’ll express however, is my belief that the entire thing was not at all well handled. There is always three sides to every story. That, is all I wanted to say.

  7. I’m very sorry to see Mushroom FM disappear so suddenly and without anything like the farewell I had presumed would be put forth in such an event. However, Jonathan Mosen and the whole Mushroom FM crew have brightened my life for these past years. I have a great many happy memories and choose to focus on these rather than the sense of loss I feel.

    Jonathan has given much to the blindness community over the years. Not least of which has been a cheerful and level-headed approach to things. I wish him every happiness. He’s certainly not hated one bit by yours truly. Doubtless, there was more discord behind the scenes than was publicly known about. That seems to be true of any internet radio station which has lasted even half as long as Mushroom FM did.

    Unlike when other online enterprises close down suddenly, we need not lose contact with those who we’ve become happily acquainted with. Personally speaking, I’ve made a lot of online friends who are on Twitter. If it wants to, the community can continue. Nothing stops the #mushroomFM hashtag from being used to facilitate continued conversation. I keenly look forward to hearing Mushroom FM broadcasters wherever they ultimately find new digital venues. Meanwhile, I sincerely wish very happy holidays to the crew and community of listeners of what was an awesome experience.

  8. I didn’t listen as often as some, but I did enjoy the shows I listened to. I’ve taken some time before writing this in hopes that I’ll word it as diplomatically as possible. I’ve read this blog post, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it explains a thing. I understand Jonathan wanting or needing to step back, but completely shutting down the station with essentially no warning comes across as highly unprofessional, and also a bit dictatorial. I get the impression that even though he was stepping back, it had to be run his way or no way, and that seems a bit ridiculous. Also, I think things would be a lot better if, for example, the station would have ceased broadcasting after a fairwell weekend or something. I mean, they always had these huge birthday events and things, so it would have been only logical/fair to go out with a bang. I primarily feel sorry for the broadcasters in this situation as it sounds like many of them had just as little warning of the closure as the listeners.

    So, as I said, while I suppose I can understand why this has happened, I think the way it was handled was about as far from considerate and professional as possible. I hope that those who wish to do so are able to continue broadcasting elsewhere.

  9. Hi all, like every one else I’ve enjoyed listening to MushroomFM over the last few years. Perhaps I didn’t listen as much as some others, but I enjoyed what I heard. On the closure itself, yes I would agree that it could have been handled better and with more consideration to loyal listeners and especially to presenters, but as previous posters have said, nothing lasts forever bla bla.
    So a big thank you to Jonathan and all the people that made it happen.

  10. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to listen to Mushroom FM as much as I would’ve liked to. I did listen to a few shows on there in the past. There were some shows that Jonathan and Julia dedicated themselves to which were excellent. I’m sure all the other DJ’s spent a considerable amount of time and energy into making the station as professional as it was as well.

    Someone else put it perfectly here. It was said that all things in life must evolve and change. It honestly saddens me to see that there was so much hatred and anger posted here about something that truly didn’t warrant either. There are many other things in this world to channel anger into.

    Jonathan, good luck to you and to the team who worked with you on your station. Have a wonderful day.

  11. I would just like to apologize for last night’s post. While I still strongly disagree with the way the closure was handled, my anger at the situation was also wrong. I should have waited for my emotions to cool down before posting as to be more diplomatic. I know I can’t undo what I said, but I do apologize, and I was out of line. Now, I’ll say what I should have said from the beginning.

    I do think the closure as a whole was done extremely poorly. What perhaps should have happened was something like this. Inform the staff and listeners that the station is closing in a week’s time, and arrange one last farewell event, much like the birthday events. As it was handled, neither the listeners or staff had much advance notice at all, and that’s the part that really angered me. But what’s done is done, and now we just have to move on. Again I would like to personally apologize to Jonathan for my inappropriate comments, both on here as well as twitter.

  12. I would just like to thank Jonathan and all the Mushroom FM team for their hard work. Even in the past few weeks my partner has been in hospital and I have enjoyed dipping into Mushroom FM for some light relief. Continuing use of the hash tag would be a good way to keep track of presenters. Even a dedicated twitter account for presenters to post updates of their new broadcasting positions to would be a good idea if it could be organised.

    I think that the problem with farewell on-air weekends etc as has been suggested on here, would have been a possible risk of some presenters taking the opportunity to vent on air (or indeed listeners taking the opportunity to vent online) about the closure etc and the station doing its dirty laundry in public, so to speak, which would help no-one and achieve nothing, not to mention being very boring radio. General practice is that people are not given final shows in radio as I understand it. We as the listeners (excluding presenters) will never know the fine details of how and why the closure came about or the negotiations surrounding the possible continuation of Mushroom FM under new management, and we have no business to know that either. All we can do is thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication and for bringing us so much joy and entertainment over the years. Thank you all.

    • Thank you to everyone who has commented, the majority of whom have left supportive and thoughtful comments at a time that is bitter/sweet. Some of the things said were warm and generous and I’ll always cherish them.
      To James, I’m not sure even which James you are and that’s fine, but you’re a legend. Clearly you’re disappointed about the closure as am I, but you tried to think about it from the point of view of the management team. You’re right, any drama that came from the Mushroom FM side of things, and it was extremely minor, was on Twitter, not on air. To the very last, the programming was classy. We didn’t want the drama to extend over any longer a period, we didn’t want anyone thinking there was hope for continuation when there wasn’t. These things are never easy but it’s great to see that at least someone has some appreciation for the issues involved.
      The one thing I’ll add is that I’m glad that those I approached to carry on managing seem to have largely been spared the personal attacks. All of us who could have carried it on have the right to call it a day when the time was right. It was hard work. Rewarding, but hard, and a hobby. And some of the craziness on social media since the closure gives just a taste of how hard it could sometimes be. I prefer to focus on the fantastic legacy, a legacy that closing the station in the way we did preserves.