CRTC revokes license of CKLN-FM Toronto


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on 1/28 revoked the license of Ryerson University’s CKLN-FM 88.1, a community-based campus radio station. The license holder, CKLN Radio Inc., was found to have been in breach of numerous regulations. It was also unable to convince the Commission that it could operate the station in a compliant manner going forward.

It looks like CKLN was trying to get things back on track on 1/18, as the website listed a classified ad for a full-time Station Manager.

CRTC began investigating CKLN in July 2009 after receiving numerous complaints about the station’s governance structure, day-to-day management and operations, programming and ability to remain on air. At the time, the station experienced significant infighting and the volunteers, staff and management were locked out of the studio premises by the building manager. During the seven-month lockout, CKLN-FM broadcast an intermittent loop of programming without any ongoing community involvement or oversight by the licensee.

In addition, during this period the Ryerson Student Union withheld student levies, instead holding the monies in trust and paying certain costs on behalf of the licensee. Further, Brookfield Properties Ltd., the building manager for First Canadian Place, denied anyone associated with CKLN Radio access to CKLN-FM’s transmitter at First Canadian Place. As the licensee was unable to conduct necessary repairs to the transmitter during this period, the station suffered from significant signal deficiencies.

Once it resumed normal ops, CKLN lacked any significant quality control for its programming and there was little involvement from the student body despite its status as a campus radio station. It was also unable to meet some of the basic requirements of all license holders, which include the submission of audible on-air tapes, program log and other records, and complete annual returns.

“Holding a broadcasting license is a privilege that comes with responsibilities and regulatory obligations,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “CKLN Radio was given several warnings and opportunities to come into compliance. Each time, it demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to address our concerns. Taking away its license is the only appropriate course of action in this case.”

The Toronto Globe and Mail reported while the decision passed by majority vote, one CRTC commissioner, Louise Poirier, “firmly opposed” revoking CKLN’s license and said intermediate steps should have been taken before taking the station off the air. She said the decision is “unwarranted and inequitable” and creates a precedent regarding how to deal with stations that are non-compliant. A university spokesman told the paper the station was basically a tenant of the student campus center and Ryerson University has no interest in and nothing to do with its future.

The decision follows a proceeding that included a public hearing, which was held on December 8 and 9, 2010.

RBR-TVBR observation: The station is still streaming and its website is up and running. So it looks like CKLN, in whatever form it transmits, will remain. This is an increasing problem here in the states as well. The appeal of being behind the mic is not what it used to be to college students—especially to fill the late night and early morning hours. Many of them get the same thrill with a shared Pandora stream, Live 365 stream or MySpace music page. But if you want a student-run radio station that isn’t airing NPR 24/7, then the station has to follow the rules set in place by the FCC to be of public service, etc.