New radio fights for frequency

In News /

By Nicole Siena
Communities Editor

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.”

 

Comments

  1. I’m voting no to this “new” radio. I don’t see anything “new” in this plan. I’m sure that the original people that put CKLN together had the same hopes and dreams but they ended up being overwhelmed by non-students and lost the station.

    I would vote yes if it was clear that this new station was ONLY for students like a teaching radio station. The inclusion of outsiders is just not workable.

    There are so many better things that this money could be used for and if nothing better is found maybe just give it back to us. I’m sick of seeing more money going down the drain and returning this money to students would be a great start in reducing fees.

  2. The CRTC no longer allows “student only” or “teaching” stations. The few existing eduction only licences are being phased out. The only way Ryerson can get a radio station is if it’s a campus and community radio station. My issue with this proposal is it looks more like an admin run station than a real student station. Where’s the buy in from student clubs and faculties other than RTA? And why is it, if students are providing most of the money, do we have only 1/3 of the seats on this board?

  3. Dave, students get 1/3 of seats, Ryerson faculty gets another 1/3, and because of the conditions of the license, the community must have involvement, as well. The 1/3 of seats the community receives will be carefully selected by students and Ryerson faculty.

  4. CKLN is having its (possibly last) general meeting Tuesday at 6:30 pm in the Ryerson Student Centre – 55 Gould in room SCC-115. Since students are still members of CKLN they have the right to attend and vote at the meeting and decide whether the corporation should dissolve. Come out and exercise your voice and your vote.

  5. The RSU is initiating the referendum, paying for the costs, installing their own electoral officer and counting the votes. The same RSU that year, after year, after year sat on CKLN’s Board and had the power, it appears, to provide or withhold funds from CKLN if they didn’t approve. It’s the same RSU that professes to champion students’ rights, but left a legacy of nil student involvement for most of the past two decades at CKLN. The RSU didn’t care about, as Kolter Bouchard himself referred to in NOW magazine as, the “plethora of students who were unable to become a part of CKLN because a forty year old member of OCAP was unwilling to leave his or her time slot.”

    RSU want to lord over that $300K in cash, nickel and dimed from students, and re-establish the status quo, under a different name, with all their favourite, familiar people eventually put in charge once more, pulling their salaries and benefits once again.

    Yes, Kolter…”carefully selected” people as you say. “Carefully selected” by whom? Your co-host and NRR spokesperson Chris Shank in NOW says that this proposal is to be run by students for students. That’s not quite accurate, is it?

    As for you, Eyeopener…when will you decide THIS discussion has to be removed as you did in the case of the last CKLN article you published? Perhaps when the RSU threatens to withhold YOUR $450K of student funding because they don’t appreciate how it’s going?

  6. “a minimum of 3,000 students need to vote”
    What’s the source for this? I can’t find anything about a quorum rule for referendums in the RSU bylaws or the university’s referendum policy and I notice that last fall’s referendum passed even though only 2,300 people voted. When you consider that only 2,500 people voted in the RSU elections last spring a 3,000 quorum rule is excessively high.

  7. Should this come to fruition, I wish the new station good luck and best wishes. RTA students interested in radio *should* have some kind of live operation at which to make all the necessary mistakes and learn how to handle the day-to-day messes of such an operation. Students as a whole should have a space to spin music and run their mouths alongside the telecom cartel-owned stations. Heck, having student assistants to the programming, technical, and management staff would provide opportunities for gaining useful experience in dealing with partners, advertisers, sponsors, volunteers, and of course the CRTC. The last two production coordinators at CKLN were RTA grads (myself included), and although student involvement was nowhere near what we would have liked, the number of current and former students involved at the station was higher than is often claimed. I slapped a rough census together after the 2007-2008 board made a dubious claim during an all-staff meeting about increasing student involvement beyond a certain number of hours, but never released it for fear of being terminated. I may still have it on my computer at home.

    A lot of lies and half-truths were peddled in service of various personal agendas, and a lot of money was wasted on petty legal disputes and questionable, secretive dealings, particularly in the year prior and after my exit from CKLN’s paid staff. Any new station needs to have rock-solid volunteer behaviour policies, strict employee hiring bylaws that either meet or exceed the Canadian Labour Code, and a clear dispute resolution process, if it has any hope of avoiding the quagmire that brought down what promised to be, for a couple years anyway, a bright future for community radio. For cryin’ out loud, the bylaws that CKLN operated under for the better part of a decade included one statute that wasn’t even a complete sentence – mind you, if a rogue group of directors decides to blatantly ignore the bylaws and labour law, you end up with… well, what happened.

    Anyway, take the time to set it up right, and good luck!

    -mb, former production coordinator @ ckln, 2005-2008

  8. Before the RSU seizes our money for a new radio station how about publicly making available audited statements of how CKLN has used our money for the past 2 years? Then maybe we can trust all those who want our money and say “trust us”.

    There needs to be an audit of what the RSU does with our money and it needs to be made available to the university and all students.

    The RSU and the CFS have their own agendas and I don’t believe that it is in the students’ interests.

    I say no to wasting our money on something of no benefit to 99.99% of students, but only for the political agenda of RSU.

  9. Let’s not be naive. We’re dealing with the RSU here. The fix is in, as always. Rules are meant to be broken and twisted in favour of the CFS cult’s nationwide agenda. The students are there just to be used as stooges.

    Oh well.

    It gets them prepared for the real world.

  10. We don’t know how our money was spent on CKLN and now the RSU wants us to fund a new station?

    Before any referendum since the RSU was collecting money for CKLN and on its board they need to release the audited financial statements for CKLN for the past 2 years so we can judge for ourselves what was done with our money and whether we want to try that experiment again.

  11. Andrew I sent in the email as you suggested and there is no response.

    Are you sure they are making this publicly available?

    They won’t even answer an email.

    1. Actually Susan, it appears that you may not be a Ryerson student, contrary to your claims otherwise. Your email was sent from a hotmail account rather than a ryerson account and when I sent a response to what your Ryerson account should have been, based on the first and last name you gave me, it bounced. I asked you for an explanation and you haven’t given one.

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