Money problems follow CKLN to airwaves

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By Shirley Lin

Live shows are back on CKLN 88.1 FM, but the campus-community radio station is not in the clear yet.

After a year of controversy from funding and firings, current board member Peter Toh alleges former managers mismanaged thousands of dollars over the past two years. On top of that is the ongoing Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) review of CKLN’s license.

Fearing the death of the student funded station, new interim board members voted CKLN back on air at an emergency meeting on Monday.

“I think it’s what everyone’s been waiting for a long time,” said board member Barry Johnson.

“I’m excited for what’s going to come,” said ex-programmer of Reggaemania Lisa West.

“I hope from that CKLN will serve as it once did in its glory days.”

Toh, last year’s board treasurer, told The Eyeopener that about $150,000 in discrepancies were found between 2003 and 2008 when he conducted an internal audit. Toh said CKLN also owes Revenue Canada more than $55,000 in tax returns dating back two years.

There is missing paperwork for expenses made by former station managers and board members even after repeated requests, Toh said.

“I tried to present [the audit] to the board, but they never ever allowed me to present this report because they knew that it was trouble,” Toh said.

The largest chunk of unaccounted money came from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to build a third studio and purchase equipment, Toh said.

In March 2005, the government grant agency handed CKLN $60,000 over nine months.

Equipment bought cost $55,000 but with no receipts, according to Toh.

He said the remaining $5,000 was spent on moving CKLN to the Student Campus Centre.

Other transactions Toh questions include unregistered advertising revenue, unaccounted wages to non-CKLN employees, equipment rental and inconsistent wages.

A recent letter sent to the CRTC by former board members, including Phillips, accused some of CKLN’s paid and volunteer staff for the financial mess.

For now, CKLN can only move forward and deal with the problems, said Ron Nelson, interim chair.

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