By Jeff Lagerquist
CKLN’s microphones will be silent at Ryerson on August 27 after nearly 30 years of community and campus broadcasting.
Lawsuits, infighting, and a battle with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) have led the Palin Foundation and the RSU to serve the station with letters of default, requiring CKLN to leave the SCC and student fees to be held in trust.
“We can’t get insurance and we are no longer FM broadcasters. We can no longer meet our agreements,” said station manager Jacky Tuinstra Harrison.
CKLN agreed to terminate its lease agreement with the Palin Foundation, which governs the SCC, in an August 3 meeting. CKLN has been unable to secure an insurance policy because of ongoing lawsuits involving former board members and volunteers. The Palin Foundation is named in one of these cases.
A separate agreement with the RSU stipulated that CKLN must provide opportunities for student broadcasters in order to receive funding from student fees.
CKLN officially lost its license to broadcast on the 88.1 FM frequency in January of last year over breaches of CRTC standards. Broadcasting continued on 88.1 FM until April 15 and have since continued online. CKLN has decided not to reapply for the license because of ongoing issues.
“The agreement between the RSU and CKLN referenced ‘high-frequency broadcasting.’ All of that has been lost over the last couple months,” said RSU president Caitlin Smith.
Current student fees include a $10.35 levy to fund CKLN. The station has faced regular criticism over a lack of student involvement.
“I would say we are a mid-sized student club with a lot of community members. We have about two dozen [students] in training and another 20 on-air,” said Tuinstra Harrison.
Fees will be held in trust by the RSU until students are asked to vote on their use.
“It’s our responsibility to protect the money that students are paying them. We already have SPIRITlive for online broadcasting,” said Smith.
The RSU is currently circulating an online survey to gauge the demand for community radio. Ryerson has not expressed an interest in applying the 88.1 FM frequency.
Although no longer a part of Ryerson, CKLN will continue broadcasting to online listeners. Equipment and resources have been slowly shifting to a new location at the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre located at 38 Regent St.
“I think it’s an excellent fit. Our young people have been producing a radio program on CKLN for years,” said Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre director Adonis Huggins on CBC’s Metro Morning.
CKLN is already training volunteers in the centre’s broadcast studio.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to expand on our social mission. We want to help marginalized communities and groups not represented in traditional media,” said Tuinstra Harrison.
Photo by Lindsay Boeckl