By Jonathan Fowlie
Ryerson’s campus radio station, CKLN, is having to rely on savvy negotiating with creditors and broken equipment just to stay on the air.
The station is still waiting for close to $800,000 in mandatory student fees that is promised to them in their contract with RyeSAC by Sept. 15 of every year.
“The big problem [with not having the money] is repairing equipment and having to juggle bills,” said Conrad Collaco, manager of CKLN.
“We’re lucky right now that some of our creditors are being flexible, but if they turn around tomorrow and say ‘I need payment by the end of the week or you’re off the air’ then we’re in serious trouble.”
Before RyeSAC can issue a cheque to any student service, such as CKLN, RyeSAC needs to first get the money from Ryerson administration.
In previous years, this payment has come towards the end of September, which Collaco said he’s come to expect.
Last year, for the first time, the fees were delayed until mid-October, which Collaco said created large budgeting problems similar to the ones he is facing right now.
RyeSAC President Darren Cooney said on Tuesday that he was unaware of this issue until early this week and therefore had not been doing anything to speed the process.
“I spoke to [vice-president of administration and student affairs] Linda Grayson and she didn’t think there was a problem,” said Cooney.
“I wasn’t aware [that CKLN is promised its fees by Sept. 15] until just a few days ago. We had always accounted for mid-October.”
Grayson shared this view, saying “my colleagues at RyeSAC are very happy with the way it is being done. There is no issue that they are aware of, or that I am aware of.
“If CKLN is having budgeting problems, then they need to talk to RyeSAC.”
Collaco did speak with RyeSAC two weeks ago in a meeting where he expressed his concern about the delay. On Sept. 13, RyeSAC issued CKLN an advance of $5,000 to deal with emergency expenditures.
Still, CKLN disc jockeys are having to deal with on-air CD players that skip, unreliable turntables and a mixing board that is long overdue for repair.
Collaco also said he’s had to cancel plans for live, on-location broadcasts and has had to delay most of his special promotions and advertising.
“We don’t want to be worrying in September and October about juggling bills,” he said. “We want to be worrying about how we can be of service to students.”
When asked when he expects to get the money from Ryerson administration, Cooney said “We’re still learning about the situation. You need to get the information first before we go upstairs and make our case.”