By Nicole Siena
Since CKLN was taken off the air by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) earlier this year, the frequency 88.1 has been up for grabs. This is this first time this frequency has been available in over 27 years and a group of Ryerson students and faculty have their eye on it.
Kolter Bouchard and Noorez Nunu Rhemtulla, two radio and television arts (RTA) students have spearheaded a campaign to use a portion of the $250,000 set aside for CKLN to apply to the CRTC for a student-run radio station. The $10.35, paid by each Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) member as a part of the 2011-12 tuition, has been put into an untapped reserve since CKLN can no longer access funds.
This new radio station, if accepted by the CRTC will have no affiliation with CKLN.
“A lot of people think that it’s the same group of people applying,” said Bouchard, who was a student representative on the CKLN board of directors in the past. “It’s outrageous that Ryerson had a radio station, but the people running it squandered it.”
“We want to be everything (CKLN) was not,” said Lorie Beckstead, the associate chair of RTA and the faculty advisor for the potential new radio station.
“CKLN wasn’t able to serve the Ryerson community. We want to ensure that none of that will happen again,” she said.
The frequency is available for open application and many others have already applied to get it.
“What we have going for us is that the dial is so crowded with commercial radio, that we have a real edge,” said Bouchard. “We’re offering something that none of these other stations can offer.”
Beckstead said that airwaves are public property. “It’s not fair when the airwaves are all the same.”
Bouchard and Rhemtulla both sat on the board of directors for CKLN as student representatives. But both stepped down this summer after realizing that being involved with CKLN was like “trying to bring someone back from a coma,” according to Rhemtulla.
If the station is accepted, it will consist of a nine-person board of directors. They will reserve three seats for students, three for faculty members and three for community members.
“Kolter and I were always on the same page,” Rhemtulla said. “When we both got on [the board of directors], we decided to do it for the students.”
Bouchard and Rhemtulla had talked to other CKLN members about having more student involvement and even broadcasting Rams sporting events.
“It wasn’t that they weren’t taking it seriously, it was that they weren’t taking it as seriously as us,” said Rhemtulla.
After stepping down, they began talking to other students and industry professionals about starting their own station.
“We have so many students who wanted to be a part of it, and then we couldn’t,” said Bouchard.
For the new station to be approved, a minimum of 3,000 students need to vote and more than 50 per cent must cast a ballot in favour of it.
But Bouchard vows that the station will showcase programming with students in mind.
“At the end of the day, students are paying the bills. We’re trying to serve the community. It’s student funded, and it really needs to serve the needs of students, first and foremost.”