Melissa Todd writes about being suspended from community radio

Melissa was let go from a community radio station after details of her work life were published in Kent Online.

The Daily Star recently picked up the story and now Melissa explains more for us:

“When a local newspaper wrote that I worked as a dominatrix as well as volunteering as a newsreader on Academy FM, [Academy FM suspended me](

I was extremely upset by their decision. I don’t take rejection well. I realise very few do, but my reaction to rejection borders on the pathological. And I liked being a newsreader. I’d done it for two years and I was good at it. I never once mentioned my kinky life on air, or said anything remotely salacious.

No one ever complained about the content of my broadcasts. I liked reading local news items and shaping them into my own vernacular, developing opinions and becoming informed about national news stories. Callers often mentioned how much they liked my absurdly posh voice, recalling the BBC of old, which delighted me.

Also, I was busily undertaking my DJ training and hoping to get my own show – Melissa does Musicals, or some such. Yes, my predilection for kink isn’t even my worst moral failing: I love musicals too.

The Daily Star picked up the story (two months later, although they still reported it in their ‘latest news’ section, the cheeky tinkers). Then the proper fun started. Assorted community radios started gossiping online that my suspension was a publicity stunt – heavens, if only I had the brains and creativity to engineer that – while others, sensing a good thing, asked me to join their own radio gang.

There are many more ambitious community radio stations than there are DJs to serve them, and I was suddenly, in a very limited sense, a minor celebrity, in the community radio world. Somer FM wanted me so much they’re coming to Broadstairs to interview me for an hour-long special about my extremely dull life, the poor devils.

I went with Cinque Ports FM, because they’d been consistently supportive for months, asked me first, and I liked the cut of their jib. Now I’m presenting Melissa’s Love Lounge 10pm-1am every weekday. Smooth tunes and kinky anecdotes.

You should sue Academy, Radio Scarborough man said, but that sounds expensive and tiring, and I don’t think they’re bad people, only cowardly. But then, cowardice and evil so often have similar consequences as to seem indistinguishable.

Why can’t I be a sex worker and a newsreader? There is no reason. I managed both admirably for two years. In making this choice Academy are perpetuating the stereotype that women must choose between using their sexuality and their brains, when in my extensive experience combining both tends to bring the best results. In taking away my work, albeit unpaid, then breaking off all lines of communication, they seem to be attempting some sort of medieval shunning of the sinful woman. This othering only serves to limit themselves, and limit the appeal of their radio station.

I only ever wanted to write, but fate keeps pushing me in different directions. From nervous newbie two years ago, working on Academy honed my skills and gave me the confidence to realise I can, when necessary, speak eloquently and expansively, and that talents exist and expand when people are given opportunities. These last few months have seen me recognise the truth of the reverse: that confidence and talents dwindle and wither when opportunities are snatched from us.”

This article first appeared in eRADIO – the weekly radio industry newsletter. Register for the next edition here.