By Adrian Morrow
Associate News Editor
CKLN appointed engineer Mike Phillips interim station manager on Monday, four years after the previous manager quit.
He’s taking over a radio station suffering internal turmoil — CKLN’s staff is trading accusations of being secretive with the station’s board of directors.
“About four years ago I said I would never take the job as manager at CKLN,” he said. “I took it now because I am determined to see CKLN safe, stable and reliable.”
The station has been without a manager since its previous chief, Conrad Collaco, jumped ship in 2003 to take a job with the CBC.
CKLN hired Phillips in 2001 to improve its technical operations. The 66 year-old has been working for radio stations and recording studios since the 1950s.
Originally from England, he’s gone around the world running studios. During one stint in Greece, he built an entire music-producing complex from the ground up, placing a recording studio at the top, mastering suites underneath, and a record-pressing plant at the bottom.
Several things have stopped CKLN from hiring a manager over the past few years. At one point, the station was about to fill the job but decided it would be unfair to bring in someone new while CKLN was still sorting out its finances — at the time, the station was still in the red.
Josie Miner, chairperson of CKLN’s board of directors, said the board tapped him to lead the station because they need someone to handle day-to-day operations.
“We need management in there now,” she said. “Mike is a very intuitive person. Mike will do the job.”
Both Miner and Phillips believe he’s the man to smooth over the recent clashes between the staff and the board.
Staff are irritated that the board has been meeting without them to discuss staffing and legal issues.
Miner, however, maintains that the board has to hold many of its discussions behind closed doors not because they want to shut anyone out, but because the information they discuss is sensitive and legal in nature.
“If it contains personal information about staff, it’s confidential. We’re tired of being painted as bogeymen,” she said.
“We don’t want to be involved in a personal fight. That’s not good for anyone.”
Phillips will serve as station manager for a year, after which the station will look into hiring a full-time manager.
“CKLN will open up the process to anyone who wants to apply,” said Chris Drew, a board member and VP Finance and Services at the Ryerson Students’ Union. “I expect that the board will advertise widely.”
Meanwhile, Phillips plans to spend the next year reviewing the station’s programming and fixing up its studio. The challenge is par for the course for him.
“I’ve been involved in some crazy things,” he said. “I can design a mixing console from a piece of paper up to the finished product, and then use it.”