By Andrea Maclean and Avary Lovell
An Eyeopener survey has revealed that only two per cent of students listen to the campus radio sation, even though CKLN receives 60 per cent of its funding from tuition fees.
Last month, students at the University of Waterloo voted to pull funding from their campus station, CKMS, which collects an $11 fee.
These two events are making some students to call for CKLN to up its student content or risk having its funding cut.
“There is a serious disconnection between the funding that the students give to CKLN and the amount of programming given to students,” says fourthyear journalism student Jeff Semple, a former a volunteer at the station and a former member of CKLN’s board of directors. “If students are contributing more than half of funding, why are they not getting half the programming?”
The majority of CKLN’s funding comes from a $9.63 levy students pay as part of their fees at the start of each year. However, only 50 of the station’s 300 volunteers are students. And in a survey of 205 students this week, only four said they listen to CKLN, and 98 said students shouldn’t keep funding the station.
Wayne Shipley, a second-year Radio and Television Arts student, has the skills that CKLN needs. Instead, he works at SPIRITlive, an Internet radio station staffed by fellow RTA students, and he doesn’t want to be a part of CKLN. “I’m uninterested because it is so hard for students to get involved with it,” Shipley says. “That’s why I like to be involved in SPIRITlive, because it’s all student run.”
Semple agrees that it’s hard for students to get involved, saying there are very few time slots for student programs and those that are available are short or at early hours.
“CKLN is called a campus community radio station but, for the most part, it is a community radio station,” he says. “There aren’t enough student opportunities.” However, Rebecca Tucker, a CKLN board member, third-year journalism student and Eyeopener contributor, says that the station is trying to be more accessible to students.
For instance, the station is looking at having communications students work at CKLN as part of their course work. CKLN is also working to give students more prime-time spots, she says. “People on campus don’t realize how lucky they are to have a radio station that has lasted as long as it has and has [a good] reputation … and [students] don’t make use of it,” says CKLN station manager Mike Phillips. “We have various time slots to shuffl e around and to formulate to be used by student programming.”
Tucker says pulling funding from CKLN could be disastrous, and that the process of getting students back into the station requires time.
“We’re not turning a deaf ear. It’s not because the students fees are where we get a lot of our money from, but because it’s a campus station,” she says. “It’s going to be just as long a road [getting students involved again] as it was fi ltering students out. It’s not going to be a change that people will see at the drop of a hat.”
The station has been mired in infi ghting this year — last month, its staff voted to impeach the board of directors for appointing one of its own to a top job at the station.
It has also struggled with fi nancial problems for many of its 30 years in existence.
In 2003, the RSU had to bail out the station after discovering that CKLN owed $100,000 in unpaid taxes.
But Semple is against cutting CKLN off.
“I think that CKLN is a potentially great resource for Ryerson. It would really be a shame if we did pull our funding, but Ryerson students need to put pressure on CKLN to open up slots for students.”