U of T station accuses CKLN of dodging bills

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By Shirley Lin

The University of Toronto’s radio station (CIUT) has been paying years of CKLN 88.1 FM’s electricity bills totalling to thousands of dollars, alleges the U of T station manager.

But current board members at CKLN say they’ve been paying their own electrical bills and don’t owe CIUT 89.5 FM any money.

Barry Johnson, CKLN board member, believes an accounting error could be the cause of this confusion after speaking to the landlord from which CKLN leases its transmitter space.

Earlier this month, CIUT station manager Brian Burchell threatened to cut off CKLN’s power unless the cash-strapped campus-community station paid up more than $11,000 by Oct. 14.

According to Burchell, the outstanding money dates back to 1995.

But now that all parties are talking, Burchell has withdrawn his ultimatum.

“We’re proceeding with the utmost of caution and patience with the view to ensuring we’re on the right path and we have no desire or interest in terminating CKLN’s power,” said Burchell.

Burchell first notified CKLN of outstanding bills about six months ago. But after no response from CKLN until September, CIUT warned they would shut off power earlier this month.

Both stations lease space for their transmitters from Brookfield Properties at the tower site on First Canadian Place, but share the same power meter.

CKLN has its own agreement with the management of First Canadian Place, who assesses the station’s electrical bill separately, charging for power usage on a monthly basis, said Johnson. The agreement has been negotiated over those 15 years.

Although all three parties are in talks, CIUT’s approach has CKLN board members irked.

“The way CIUT went about this, demanding cash from us, showing us no evidence…and then threatening us, I just think it was wrong,” said Johnson. “We’re literally just trying to get back on our feet and to have the demand and a threat against us like this is just crazy.”

Brookfield Properties could not be reached for comment.

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