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CKLN plans to appeal revoked licence

By Emma Prestwich
News Editor

CKLN 88.1 FM is slated to go off-air as of Feb. 12, but the organization’s board has plans to appeal the decision.

On Jan. 28, the Canadian Radio-Televison and Communications Commission (CRTC) announced the decision to revoke the station’s licence after several instances of non-compliance with the commission’s standards for broadcasting, including failing to fill necessary paperwork and a lack of balanced representation on the station’s board of governors.

A courier from the CRTC officially delivered the papers at around 3 p.m. Friday.

Before their licence was yanked, CKLN had been in the process of hiring a station manager after a lengthy legal process.

“It’s only now that we’re finally in a position of hiring someone,” said Marque Brill, a technologist with the station. “The timing is incredible.”

The board of directors, led by Lauren Speers, a programmer and law student at Osgoode Hall, has decided to appeal.

At CKLN’s annual general meeting on Monday night, Speers presented the station’s legal options for appeal.

The two options are to either hire a lawyer for an emergency appeal to stay the decision, or send a ‘renewal charter’ to the CRTC, committing to fix the problems

Speers, who mediated the discussion at Monday’s AGM acknowledged that the station had been non-compliant and that it was best for the station to stay on good terms with the CRTC.

“We can’t argue with the criticism they gave us, because it’s all true.”

Louise Poirier, the sole CRTC commissioner to disagree with the decision, wrote a four-page letter of dissent, which was attached to the end of the CRTC’s official statement.

Poirier’s letter noted that the normal procedure for a station that is non-compliant is to first issue a mandatory order before revoking the license, which the CRTC did not do. She said that the station had been under oath to fix the stated issues, and revoking a license immediately is not standard practice.

Some disgruntled community members and programmers think it’s all a big conspiracy against CKLN.

“I admit that it’s conjecture, but I think there’s political motivation,” Brill said.

Suzy Alvarez, a programmer with the station, said that in her personal opinion, corporate interests might have played a role in the decision.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” she said.

Peggy Rebout, with CRTC’s media relations, dismissed rumours that the decision had anything to do with commercial interests.

“The report is as detailed as it can be about the reasons for the decision,” she said.

However, the station’s desirable position on the FM dial is fueling speculation about who might take it over.

President Sheldon Levy said that Ryerson had no interest in buying the station.

Ryerson’s online station SpiritLive could not be reached for comment.

CKLN is currently funded by a $10 student levy. RSU president Toby Whitfield, who is a student representative on the CKLN board, said he has no idea where this money will go if the station shuts down.

Editor’s note: This story is now closed to commenting.

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