NEWSCO Managing Director ‘sets record straight’ after host of popular Sunday show resigns

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OBSERVER: Managing Director of NEWSCO Ltd, Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts, has sought to clarify any claims that the management at Observer and former radio host Kieron Murdoch have any bad blood towards each other following news that Murdoch, the long-time host of the popular Big Issues show resigned over the weekend.

Watts said that he has nothing but respect for the young journalist and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.

“Now, let me say I have absolute respect and regard for young Kieron. He’s a bright young man, he has a future ahead of him and he has ways to go. He is a sharp, sharp knife, but he needs to understand as well, too — and I am not knocking him — but he needs to understand as well that at the end of the day, you work for somebody, you don’t have the final say.

“However, like I said I wish Kieron nothing but the best. He started here, he grew here, and I love the dude. Big up to Kieron; he is going places. I have nothing negative to say about Kieron,” Watts said.

He further called on those in the public domain who have been making hateful and negative comments towards Murdoch to cease and desist from doing so.

Watts, who is also the United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St George, also addressed recent comments made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne and other members of society who have suggested that the longstanding media company is seeking to operate as a dictatorship, and is politically influencing staff and its listenership against the Gaston Browne-led administration by silencing the freedom of the press and independent voices.

Watts said that for a long time he has taken a hands-off approach in the company, but for this particular matter, he felt it was necessary to intervene, following concerns of his own and others from the Board.

He explained that “while he is all for democracy and giving people a voice”, he still has all right as a member of management in a private media entity to make any policy decisions that he deems necessary, and nobody can tell him what to do, as he would have sacrificed a lot to keep this media house on the air, despite the attacks and attempts from Gaston Browne and his minions every day to see its demise.

“In my opinion, the election bell has been rung, and as they call us a UPP-affiliated station, well, it’s not a UPP-affiliated station, because it is an independent station. It is owned in part by a candidate for the UPP, a candidate on the UPP’s ticket.

“This candidate has decided, now, that nobody will use this station to keep me out of office, and anybody who has an issue with that, my door is open to accept more resignations. I have never interfered in any program, but you are going to tell me that I don’t have the right?” Watts questioned.

Watts said that this media house, despite those who may decide to leave, and despite the attacks, will continue.

“Observer is bigger than any individual. What Observer means to this nation has more importance than any individual. We can be replaced, but not Observer,” he concluded.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Observer may continue but not with any real credibility. It is now seen as an intolerant talk radio station that will not suffer opinions from politicians of parties other than the UPP. Contrary to what Serpent has stated, Observer is not independent and this is evident from the fact that only UPP politicians and points of view are allowed. Barring Max Hurst and Gaston Browne from Observer Radio because Serpent does not like what they might say on air or that it might affect his electioneering is clear evidence that Observer has become a mere mouth piece for Serpent’s wants and needs. This radio station has become a joke.

    • Dunston Serpant is exposing his saw dust brains to the public. He just a big mouth filled with hot air. Having anyone of the ABLP candidates on a show at Observer would be the perfect opportunity to shoot them some hard core questions……. SMH!! Come on Serpant your dunceness is causing me to jump ship also….. You are just not fit to be at the helm!

  2. Harold Lovell, Serpent is showing Antigua what he is really like and it will hurt your party’s election chances. He is an intolerant person with dictatorial tendencies. Not good.

    • You Laborites are the greatest since bun bread.
      You have some of the tiefingest candidates, the vilest leader and the worst record of governance,and you are asking questions about the suitability of the UPP to run Antigua?

      Have to agree you all have a lot of balls. More than the UPP.
      Some of the things you do, the UPP would never think of doing them since they full of lie, underhandedness and dishonesty. And tiefingness.
      God bless you all and your depraved leader.

  3. Serpent is dragging down the UPP and ruining this country’s hope of getting rid of Gaston Browne. The man was right to quit over his integrity as a journalist. “This candidate has decided now that nobody will use this station to keep me out of office”. Serpent, we do not want another dictator. This statement alone shows you are not fit to be in any office other than your own personal office. You have discredited the Observer. You have dragged it down to your own petty levels. It likely will not recover. I, for one, would have loved to hear this young man interview Gaston Browne, and not because I want to hear what Gaston says but it would be interesting to hear how he posed his questions and what direction the interview took from an impartial and serious journalist. Serpent, you have messed up. Your ego has taken over and egotistical people have ruined this country for too long. You must get off your high horse.

  4. It is said, “If u want to see a person’s true character, give him/her a little power.” This decision shows the thin-skinned nature of the Managing Director of Observer Radio. If he doesn’t want to get criticised, then his incursion into politics may be a huge mistake.

    Observer Radio has now become what they (Observer) used to accuse ZDK of being. It is clear that Serpent, even before he attains power, has shown that he will be the typical politician – surrounding himself with ‘Yes’ people to soothe his giant ego.

    Mr Murdoch does not deserve to be mired in the partisan quagmire at Observer. He was a breath of fresh air. He will be hugely missed. I fully expect that he will be ‘replaced’ by someone of the elk of a Dane Knight, who fits the expectations of the Managing Director (and his party)

  5. Why is Observer held to a different standard than different radio stations? As recent as 2 weeks ago Gaston was saying the station broke, can’t pay dem bills and all kind of negative stuff. Which business owner would give the enemy a chance to attack them. Just stop with the self righteousness. Where was DNA the week before when Gaston was caught on camera giving hand outs. DNA needs to go back under their rock and stay there.

  6. He is the managing director!
    He has the right to decide who he wants on his station.
    He has that right.
    The host has decided that he no longer wants to abide by those rules..
    So be it!
    Let the prime minister go on his platform and spew his diatribe and explanation.
    I agree with serpent. Good luck Murdock.

    • Your so foolish what will & can he offer our country as a wannabe politician …. NOTHING. All they do is curse and not say how they can Make Antigua and Barbuda better.. UPP need to wheel and come again ✖️5 then ➖ 6 then ➕4 then ➗after find the square root for the party before they can get my vote. Serpent is a talk show host will and can never be a politician . Ah you better wake up I wan that young man to interview him and you will see how ignorant he is.

  7. A fu he station! De man do wha he wan fu do. Anybody can tell anyone ar u wa fu do wid far u business.

    Leave Serpent alone and go larn wan skill and tap depend pan people.

    Some ar u so damn self righteous. Like ar u wudden do de same dam ting.

    Gastan no fu get no air play Observer unless he “MAN” enough to tek de real deal. “Knight at Night.”

    Prime time. From 6PM til Marning cum…he no ready fu dat. Dat a who can handle he. Mizza Knight. Mek um happen. You go bruk WhatsApp , the internet and de switchboard. All an Antigua. Who dey a foreign and who local ready fu dat.

    RUMSHOP radio in hab no listeners. He losing de independent vote and all de polling show dat. No put he tarl pan Observer unless he wan fu tek knight.

  8. Jumbee_Picknee says…

    This back and forth is simply DADLI DUTTY POLITICS of, The Mighty Sparrows…”Two Little Children Playing…”

    Jumbee_Picknee’s Version…
    …two dutty politicians playing
    …both a dem, wanting to win!
    …Gaston bend dung to pick up dirt’
    …to throw at Serpent to gauge his worth
    …but, Serpent did not know what to do!
    …so, he made a decision to try Hoodoo
    …as he crying, I can SOU-SOU pan you too
    …even though, I got my hand in one hole
    …and, you playing and dabbling in two!

    Or is it
    …he bend dung to pick up sand
    …then the other try to turn him around
    …and, grab his hand!
    …shouting! Hey you,
    …how come I’m playing in one hole
    …and, you’re playing in two⁉️

  9. That 🐍 🐍 🐍 can’t manage 26 ACRES, so how he gonna manage a radio station???

  10. SERPENT: I stand with you! THESE PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR YOU ARE WORKING AGAINST YOU.
    OBSERVER is a private entity and you have a right to set the rules!
    ABS is a public media house yet they have banned the main opposition. How IS IT WE DON’T HEAR ABOUT THIS.

    Ms Imhoff came into your house to cuss you. Is she helping you to pay your bills? Does she criticize ABS.
    Ms Imhoff, you are a hypocrite!

  11. He listens to that Barracuda from Freetown that makes no sense. Serpent you acting like a servant now. Knight is a clown and you just entered his circus. You had Gaston in the palm of your hand and you let him go.. anyway when you dunce you just dunce..

    • @Biteme:As one local artist would put it:”When u no know. U jus no Know.” You making yourself a court “JESTER.” Lard pupaw!!

  12. Serpent it might be easier for you to move to St Kitts and rekindle your past romance with Eboni rather than get involved in Politics.

    • @John Public. Did he even study the child?? Mourners at his mama’s funeral fart fu see he had de nerve fu put the boy name under “grandchildren”

      Some man really hab hart jack.

  13. His words: “This candidate has decided, now, that nobody will use this station to keep me out of office, and anybody who has an issue with that, my door is open to accept more resignations. I have never interfered in any program, but you are going to tell me that I don’t have the right?” Watts questioned.” In other words: OMG exists now (Before it was to get rid of ALP) to ensure serpent et al get elected. Hopefully their audience will be guided accordingly

  14. Serpent, you are giving the ALP ammunition against you, and at the same time shooting yourself in the electoral foot by showing the voting public that you are not tolerant and hence not fit to be in office. You think you are helping yourself when you bar people from Observer but you are not. You are just showing us all your true self which is a person completely unready to serve in government. We do not want people with dictatorial and autocratic tendencies in government.

  15. NEWSCO/Observer is hanging on by a thread as a profitable company. It is bare skin and bones at this point, and is not thriving because of, but IN SPITE OF the obviously retarded and/or intentionally ignorant management team/board of directors currently in place.

    The company attracts very little advertising (in comparison to its obvious potential), the people in charge are willing and empowered to sacrifice its growth for political risks, the handful of talent employed there appears fed up, disinterested and demotivated, and there is no obvious goal in sight (whether it be a certain figure for listenership/viewership, earning a certain figure for revenue, pivoting to more digital operations, or to be recognized outside of Antigua and Barbuda as a renowned media company etc).

    How can NEWSCO, a company that had the best head start in the race to success (compared to Pointe, Antigua Newsroom, Antigua News etc) – by virtue of the Observer brand already being ingrained into Antiguan and Barbudan culture – remain in the same place, or even worse than where it started?

    All that being said, the ‘handful of talent’ mentioned earlier includes the Big Issues host, and for a company that doesn’t attract ‘big name’ media talent, the management appears dumb enough to ostracize a young man that is likely to become renowned as such a talent in the future – talk about checkers and not chess.

    Without a doubt, The Big Issues, Observer AM, and the Good Morning JoJo shows are the best NEWSCO/Observer currently has to offer. With the exception of the sports show (at least to the naked eye), they’re all being affected by political interference, and not in a positive way. The producers/hosts appear to be pushing through regardless (tip of the hat to them), but there comes a time when enough is simply enough.

    Now, without even listing the vastly superior characteristics of the shows mentioned above (which should be obvious to even casual listeners), take a look at the rest of the station’s major programmes – those that are quite clearly not affected by any negative interference and are given free reign to ‘flourish’.

    DLP’s show: Archaic structure, small pool of ‘C-List’ guests rotated, interviews/discussions rarely of any national importance, regularly entertains ‘alleged’ perverts/deviants, host pretentious; not very knowledgeable about important matters, attracts very little advertising.

    Algernon’s show: Opposition politicking, geared toward gossip more so than important discourse, ‘slow’ co-hosts, host similarly pretentious, obviously not inviting to sensible/serious guests, little to no structure, attracts no advertising.

    Frank and Paul’s show: Very little structure, same opposition politicking, ‘lead’ host similarly pretentious and abrasive, not inviting to proper guests, discourse often of national importance but ‘watered down’ by politicking, attracts very little advertising.

    Knight’s show: No structure, opposition politicking, inviting to barely any guests of note, host not very smart; doesn’t solicit/incite intelligent discourse; has little-to-no critical thinking skills; literally mentions the Prime Minister or the ABLP in every other sentence, attracts no advertising.

    I will not even go any further with this rant, but to ask someone/some people out there who might read this, that have the necessary resources and vision – make the NEWSCO/Observer board a purchase offer they can’t refuse, so the company can finally get free from the clutches of the small-minded group that are holding it hostage, and it can start to fulfill its promise as a top-tier media company. Antigua and Barbuda would forever be in your debt.

  16. Kieron reminds me of pickerneerga who cannot have their way and wind up burning a shoe or skinning the cat. The last time a minister was allowed on observer the matter turned up in court.

    Free press my foot. People were NOT PAID and TEAR-GASSED when they were exercising their freedom a year ago. If observer interview FIRE in Dem studio AA bun e go bun dung. AWAKE, please.

  17. Harold Earl Edmund Lovell trackrecord:

    1980 LOST
    1994 LOST
    1999 LOST
    2004 won
    2009 won
    2014 LOST
    2018 LOST
    2023 LOSER

  18. Why have a panel discussion and then the PM is allowed to call in afterwards unchallenged? Is it his station? He has pointe fm to use as a soap box on Saturdays and Buford to play soft ball. Why didn’t the PM asked to be part of the panel.

  19. Well, what do the UPP loyalists have to say about dictatorship and Hitler. Isn’t this a typical example of a dictator? You do as I say or send in your resignation. A company is not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship. And the hell with so-called Press Freedom or Freedom of Speech. And none of the other members of staff have the guts to stand up with Kieron. Well Kieron mother is a lawyer, let’s see if she will be standing up for her son and take management of NewsCo to court for what can be deemed as an unfair dismissal. There are not many media houses that Keiron can turn to in this country for new employment. So as far as I see it, it’s either he begs back for his job, or he jumps ship and goes work for ZDK or Point FM.

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