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Timeline: Why CKLN Radio’s Broadcast License Was Revoked

20110128ckln.jpg
A screen capture of CKLN’s website as of 3 p.m. today.


Today the CRTC revoked the broadcasting license of radio station CKLN—an independent community-run radio station located in Ryerson University’s campus (and largely funded by its student union) but not officially affiliated with that institution—citing the station’s failure to comply with federal broadcasting regulations for the past three years. The decision document announcing the revocation is an epic catalogue of alleged violations, some of them outrageous in their negligence. But the document is long, and you have stuff to do. So we’ve boiled the whole thing down to a series of key points.


August 13, 2007: The CRTC renews CKLN’s license for a term of seven years.
Between August 2007 and March 2009: CKLN is riven with internal disputes. The station fires staff and volunteers, and eventually elects competing boards of directors. (A case concerning the competing boards is currently underway at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.)
The Palin Foundation, the building manager for Ryerson’s Student Campus Centre (where CKLN has its studio), locks staff out from March 2009 until October the same year. During the lockout, rather than its usual programming, the station plays a recorded loop of a jazz program, complete with spoken commentary. CKLN is denied access to its transmitter at First Canadian Place, so broadcasts are intermittent.
July 2, 2009: After hearing complaints about CKLN’s alleged “ongoing difficulties with its governance structure,” CRTC staff sends a letter to CKLN requesting responses to the accusations.
September 14, 2009: CRTC staff members meet with representatives of CKLN to discuss the station’s compliance difficulties. Face-to-face meetings of this kind are not something the CRTC typically does.
September 17, 2009: CRTC staff sends another letter to CKLN, requesting information on the station’s operations and governance structure. The letter informs CKLN management that the station hasn’t filed its required annual returns with the CRTC for the past two years.
October 6, 2009: CKLN files its response to the CRTC’s letter of September 17. It promises to hire paid management staff and resolve its internal difficulties.
February 10, 2010: The CRTC sends CKLN a letter requesting tapes, logs, and program schedules relating to the week of January 10, 2010. CKLN sends the tapes on time, but files the schedules and logs almost two weeks late. The tapes are full of static, and they don’t match the logs. Later, the CRTC reiterates an unfulfilled October, 2009 request for tapes and logs from June 2009 (which was during the lockout period) and again CKLN sends them after the deadline. When a CRTC staff member asks why the material is late, a CKLN representative says that the person responsible for sending the stuff was “in the Caribbean for a month.
March 1, 2010: In response to the CRTC’s continued insistence on receiving those required annual returns, CKLN sends a letter saying that it has “no knowledge as to why the returns had not been filed,” and that they’ll be in the mail within a few days.
May 12, 2010: The CRTC adjourns a public hearing on CKLN’s alleged regulatory violations, but requires CKLN to file monthly reports beginning June 14.
July 7, 2010: A scheduled host doesn’t appear at the station for his or her show, and so a CKLN volunteer broadcasts the online stream of a Seattle, Washington, jazz radio show as a substitute. The CRTC takes this and other lapses as evidence that the station’s infighting is ongoing. CKLN has not hired management staff and is still controlled by a “working board.”
September 14, 2010: CKLN tries to file its annual return for the broadcast year of 2006/2007 with the CRTC, but sends in the wrong form.
October 13, 2010: CKLN tries to file four years’ worth of annual returns with the CRTC, all at once. But the data for each year goes only until April 30—the CRTC requires data ending August 31. CKLN promises to file corrected returns within a month, then doesn’t.
December 8, 2010: The CRTC reconvenes the previously adjourned public hearing on CKLN’s alleged violations. Ron Nelson, head of the station’s working board, tells the CRTC that the board has no experienced guidance. “We have never been a program director at a radio station before,” he reportedly said. “So we had to do a lot of consulting with the NCRA and other radio stations and their program directors, such as CHRY and CIUT, to find out how to do our job properly.”
January 28, 2011: The CRTC revokes CKLN’s broadcast license, effective February 12.

CORRECTION: January 28, 4:32 PM We originally identified CKLN as a Ryerson campus community radio station, which is misleading. The station is located on the campus, but it is not Ryerson’s official campus station. We apologize for any confusion.

CORRECTION: February 9, 10:54 AM This post originally stated that the CRTC had requested two sets of logs and tapes from CKLN: one set on February 10, and another set five months later. In fact, the latter set was originally requested in October 2009, and filed five months after that. The post has been corrected to reflect this.

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