Time Warp: Radio at Rye

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Instead of digging up mildly amusing facts from the university’s past, this week we’re looking at the history of something that made headlines this week: radio at Ryerson.

CKLN, the radio station housed on the second floor of the Student Campus Centre, is slated to vanish from the airwaves on Feb. 12. The station had its licence revoked on Jan. 28.

But CKLN wasn’t the first radio station at Ryerson. Before the squabbling and scandals at 88.1 FM, there was CJRT.

CJRT launched in 1949, with a policy of “humor, satire and drama.” It was operated by Ryerson, and functioned as a training environment for what later became known as RTA students. By 1965, the station had grown beyond campus affairs, operating from 7  a.m. until midnight. It evolved into a commercial-free, non-profit station with a unique vibe. In the 1970s, tuning in to 91.1 FM meant enjoying a schedule of classical and jazz music, with the occasional news segment. CJRT also offered a program called Open College. Aspiring students could switch on the radio and learn about a host of topics, some of which were for course credit at Ryerson and at least one other college.

But cutbacks in provincial funding squeezed CJRT to death. Ryerson poured money into the station until 1973, when the university simply couldn’t handle the cost. The provincial government eventually stepped in to rescue CJRT.

In February 1975, the station was incorporated. None of the members of CJRT’s board were affiliated with Ryerson.

Today, CJRT is a non-profit jazz station in Toronto.

— Aleysha Haniff

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Source: Ryerson Library Archives

Photo by Chelsea Potter

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