'That would be entirely inappropriate': Andy Cullen addresses accusations of Portsmouth editorial control over Express FM coverage

Andy Cullen has moved to put the record straight over accusations of Pompey’s growing influence over Express FM’s football coverage.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 4:00 pm

The radio station’s recent dismissal of popular Pompey Live contributors Liam Howes and Ryan Stillwell has proven controversial among some supporters.

Pompey have been stung by claims they are flexing editorial control and are to fund the employment of new presenter Robbie James.

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Now Cullen has sought to further clarify the situation.

Pompey’s chief executive told The News: ‘There was some suggestion that the club would be paying for one of the Express FM presenters, but that would be entirely inappropriate.

‘My understanding is Express FM are looking at three, possibly four, presenters.

‘The fourth may be Alan Knight, who obviously is paid by the club, yet works in his own way. If Alan wants to be involved then that’s up to him.

Andy Cullen has emphatically denied that Pompey have editorial control over Express FM. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP

‘The others will be somebody to host the show, Jake (Smith), and somebody from Pompey Women. Pompey Women aren’t on the club’s payroll whatsoever.

‘People were writing and saying they wanted something dedicated to Pompey pre-match and at a half-time on iFollow as they didn’t want to hear about Southampton and Bournemouth from Radio Solent.

‘Solent will continue to do the commentary on iFollow, but we haven’t got the resources to do it ourselves and recruit people. So the commercial team had a chat with Express.

‘Express said they wanted to freshen the show up – and we would pay a license fee for that to come in.

‘How that license fee is spent is entirely up to them. Who they hire to do it is entirely down to them. There is no editorial control over any of those people.

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‘If they want to use the license fee to spend on equipment, if they want to use it to fund presenters, if they want to use it to fund transport or travel, that’s a decision for them.

‘Apart from, technically, Alan (Knight), nobody is on the payroll of the football club.

‘It is absolutely, 100 per cent, Express FM’s show and we are happy to provide content if they want it. So, if they want to interview me, Danny, or the players, then we’ll do it.

‘What they want to say and do is entirely their decision. If they want to hire somebody, fire somebody, that’s going to be a decision for Miles and his team.’

Express FM stopped supplying Pompey match commentary in July 2018 following an agreement with BBC Radio Solent.

However, the station continued to provide debate and opinions pre-match, during half-time and post-match on iFollow until the end of last season.

Cullen added: ‘The owners, just as much as the fans, want to hear a dedicated Pompey show going out.

‘Obviously Solent are going to mention Southampton and Bournemouth because that is their programme.

‘It’s the same way as BBC Radio Three Counties talked about five clubs, while BBC Radio Norfolk was different as there was just one.

‘We want an independent Express FM to provide us with a programme which can be used with iFollow.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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