Jacaranda FM has denied that it made any commitments to be Joburg Pride’s radio partner this year and says that its position has been taken “out of context”.

The radio station has been lambasted by the Joburg Pride Board, which accused it of informing Pride at the last minute that it would not partner with the event this year.

Pride has also said that Jacaranda’s justification that Joburg Pride is “not a brand fit” suggests that it has sidelined the gay community as not being part of the station’s desired listenership.

In a statement, Jacaranda FM General Manager Kevin Fine said that the station decided in 2011 not to work with Joburg Pride in 2012 “to create calendar and airtime space” for two other events in Pretoria that it wanted to host this year.

“In April this year senior management of the Jacaranda team met with [Joburg Pride] organisers to consider involvement in this year’s festivities. However at no point was any further commitment given to the event… Furthermore there were no written agreements in place between Jacaranda FM and the Gay Pride organising committee,” said Fine.

He admitted, however, that it was only on July 17 that the station informed the organisers of Joburg Pride that Jacaranda would not be partnering with the event as it had in the past.

Fine did not explain why, if the station decided to end the partnership with Pride last year, it continued discussions with the Board this year and only confirmed its lack of interest in July. This, Joburg Pride says, left it too late for the event to approach other radio stations.

Fine added that the term “‘brand fit’ has been taken out of context as it applies to the fact that the station wanted to host mass participation events in Pretoria. It is by no means a reflection on the lifestyle or sexual preference of our gay community.”

Tanya Harford, Chair of Joburg Pride, rejected Jacaranda’s response. “This is the third version of events we’ve been told. It’s just another attempt to spin the issue, which is that we’re ‘not a brand fit,’” she said.

“If it was the case that they dropped Pride because of these other events, why not tell us that? Why put us through telling us that we are not a brand fit?” Harford asked.

Despite the blow to its marketing, Joburg Pride said that the event will go ahead as planned on October 6 at Zoo Lake Sports Club.

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