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Timeline: Why CKLN Radio’s Broadcast License Was Revoked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.

Comments

  • http://piorkowski.ca Jarek Piórkowski

    I'm really glad the CRTC is doing important work taking semi-rogue student radio stations off the air. I am finally convinced they demand only the best, most customer-friendly behaviour and actions from communications and telecom operations in Canada.

  • Functionalist

    What a spectacular failure of running a radio station!

    However, when you mentioned failure to comply with federal broadcasting standards, I was hoping this was about a radio station that refused to censor its music. In that sense I was disappointed. Down with censorship.

  • wklis

    Radio? Who needs radio when you can get the station on the web.

    http://www.ckln.fm/

  • http://twitter.com/roymurrayphotos Roy Murray

    Thank God we have the CRTC to protect us from such intransigence.

    It's all about the coveted space on the FM dial and corporate interests are rubbing their hands. There's a great deal of interest in CKLN's frequency and somehow CKLN has been manipulated into donating its crown jewel to the likes of Rogers or some other purveyor of pap.

  • NewtonianGhost

    The timeline above fails to mention that CKLN was sandbagged by a lawsuit launched by a vindictive ex-programmer shortly after coming back on the air in 2009. The financial drain caused by the need to fight this case and the need to eliminate a huge debt inherited from the old Board meant that CKLN was unable to hire staff which led to compliance problems.

  • AirBender

    Hey Anonymous Last Ditch CKLN Apologist;
    Nice try but the above report does mention the lawsuit. What it doesn't mention (because it doesn't go back to 2008) was the role that the Ryerson Student Union played in the takeover of CKLN by a cabal of left wing wackos specifically withholding the student levy to force the station into bankruptcy, which is the sole reason there was a debt, and which the new regime bragged had been paid off as soon as they got the levy back, last year. The real reason for all the litany of fuckups was the complete incompetence of the new regime which the report lays bare. As well as their belief that the rules didn't apply to them. A belief they still have, I was listening to one of them on the air yesterday complaining about how unfair it was that CKLN should have to follow the same rules that everyone else does.Welcome the real world, it's damn well about time.

  • NewtonianGhost

    AirBender, it was the old regime who locked out dozens of programmers, failed to file Annual Reports for several years (because they failed to have an auditor do audited statements) and also failed to respond to scores of listener complaints. The new guys made mistakes but the bulk of the problems were from the mess left by the old regime that left CKLN. They were sandbagged by a lawsuit by a vindictive ex-programmer and had to spend money fighting that while also paying down a debt left by the old board who did things like hire themselves into management positions and make boneheaded moves like blow $20 K on an ad in Sway magazine. You really think the Barnes/Phillips/Josie cabal have no responsibility for what happened? They certainly haven't admitted any. Coincidentally, the guy behind the lawsuit that kneecapped CKLN has been working closely with the former Board for the past year trying to bring down the station. Yet, the CRTC conceded that there had been improvements in the past year. Why won't you?

  • AirBender

    Say; is that Station Manager gig still open?

  • NewtonianGhost

    The moron who broke into CKLN and instigated the final lockout also has some degree of responsibility. Apparently, he's even boasting about bringing CKLN down. With psychopaths like that gunning for CKLN, what chance did the station have?

  • AirBender

    “The new guys made mistakes but the bulk of the problems were from the mess left by the old regime that left CKLN.” Wrong; the CRTC report, which I've read, specifically does not say that. It deals with a series of complaints, fuckups, finger pointing, and broken promises since your group took over. I say your group here since given the specific claims you make you must be one of them hiding behind a fake name. And you talk about taking responsibility? If you had no idea how to run a radio station you should have thought of that before taking one over. Just because left wing activists have the ability to organize demonstrations and riots and post shit on message boards does not mean you have the ability to actually run a business. It turns out that yelling at the police through a bullhorn is not the same as broadcasting. Who knew?

  • AirBender

    Oh; and the report also doesn't mention (again because it doesn't cover 2008, and to be fair there must be space considerations, even on a blog) the tactics your group used the grab power which included filing a barrage of CRTC complaints and frivolous lawsuits, all of which openly bragged about on your own message boards and blogs. And now you're outraged to find yourselves on the receiving end of the same abuse you so enjoyed dishing out? Boo-Fucking-Hoo! Here let me introduce you to Karma, she works slowly but she's thorough.

  • NewtonianGhost

    Airbender, aren't you hiding behind a fake name? Yet another example of you doing what you accuse others of and shifting the onus onto them,

  • NewtonianGhost

    The CRTC report specifically talked about the failure to file annual reports in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Who was in control in those years “Airbender”? It was your board. It talked about the failure to respond to complaints in 2008 and 2009. Who was in control in those years “Aibender”? It was your board. It talked about the failure of the logger system in early 2010. Who installed, set up, and failed to maintain the logger system “Airbender”? It was your board and specifically the engineer who also was the chair of your board. Yes the new board made mistakes but by failing to take the responsibility for the legions of mistakes and failures of your board, and yourself, “Airbender” you're just playing games, just like you are now by signing up under an anonymous name and attacking others for being anonymous as well.

  • AirBender

    Nice record keeping. 2007 was your previous left wing board when according to the party line CKLN was all sweetness and light, 2008 was the one you people hobbled with lawsuits and sabotage and 2009/10 is all you. BTW You're the ones promising “accountability” and “responsibility” and not taking any. Given the harassment tactics you types so enjoy and your well documented history of threatening people there's no reason to give my name to a bunch of professional bullies. But what's your problem Andrew? Afraid of getting sued again now that you don't have RSU's money to hide behind? At the end of the day your name is all over this clusterfuck. You may try and deflect through message boards but the CRTC's report is damning and won't go away that easily.

  • NewtonianGhost

    The 2009 report was you, my friend, and couldn't be filed because you guys never did the audit for 2008 or 2009. The 2007 audit was done but you guys never filed the annual statement. And you guys never responded to complaints made to the CRTC in 2008 and 2009. These, along with going off the air, something that happened after your board fell apart and started locking each other out – and then breaking into the studios – were the main items in the Broadcast Notice of Consultation for the CRTC hearing.

    Again, I don't hear you taking any responsibility at all for what you did, whether it's locking out dozens of broadcasters, going to war with the student union, going to war with your staff, hiring your cronies as station manager, program director and fundraiser (who only raised a pitiful $8K, not even enough to pay for his salary). Instead, you come on here and elsewhere to vindictively boast about bringing down a radio station and you're so proud of your accomplishments that you do so using a “fake name” but hope you can avoid being called out on that by attacking others first.

    Class act, as always.

    If you have any integrity why don't you tell us who you are? What are you ashamed of “airbender”?

  • AirBender

    Taken from an industry message board;
    “As for their website statement and other articles I've read, the people in charge are continually blaming “previous management” for all the problems. That sounds an awful lot like a newly elected government getting into power and then insisting they can't keep their campaign promises because the other guys left things in such a mess.

    It just doesn't fly. It appears they had the chance to make things right and they either were too incompetent to do it or didn't think the CRTC would go that far. New management or not, they gambled and they lost, coming up double zero at the broadcasting dice table.”

  • AirBender

    Wait there's more;
    “Their hearing was rather pathetic. Clearly the volunteers weren't well prepared. Their legal counsel was a law student, still attending law school. She seemed to be out of her “comfort zone”.
    Now Andrew why don't you tell us why this is all someone else's fault. Or better yet how about changing the subject.

  • AirBender

    And here's another one commenting on the Torontoist story (which btw is actually the most detailed of any I've seen);

    “Wow, what a fascinating read. It makes what happened at CHSC look like a minor malfunction. Two Boards of Directors openly fighting amongst themselves, no logs kept, student volunteers being thrown out of a station their funds help to support, lockouts, shutdowns (with a loop programming of jazz playing for several months during the dispute!), transmitter screw-ups with no maintenance, foul language being aired, and failures to answer even the most minor complaints from the CRTC are just a few of the things outlined in the decision.

    I'm no fan of the Commission, but based on what I just read I'd tend to agree with the revocation. These guys certainly were given every chance to fix things and they either weren't experienced enough or didn't care – or both.

    They're supposed to sign-off for good by the end of the broadcast day on Feb. 12th.

    My four favourite parts of the conclusion are:

    -The admission by one of CKLN's officials that they didn't know what a program director does and had to get information from competitors CHRY and CIUT about what that position actually entails.

    -Someone actually simulcast a Seattle FM station's Internet stream over CKLN's airwaves, without permission or the knowledge of the Washington outlet, and without knowing what the playlist was, because a local host here didn't show up. To make matters worse, the people in charge never even knew it was happening.

    -An admission that the station had both a fundraiser and a CRTC hearing coming up – and that officials couldn't deal with both, so they chose the fundraiser.

    And

    -Accusing a listener who complained about some programming that he was trying to 'stir up trouble with the CRTC' and responding to the already disgruntled citizen that they hoped he'd “have the guts” to meet with them.

    By the way, CKLN's web page (which as of this posting makes no mention of the decision) has them advertising an opening for a new station manager as of Jan. 18th. I know things are bad in the industry right now, but if you're looking for work, I wouldn't suggest applying for this job!

    In typical government fashion, the CRTC document is long, rambling and in places boring. But it's also a real insight into the background of a truly troubled broadcaster and definitely worth a read.

    There's enough intrigue there for a movie script. Except who'd believe it?”

    Fellini perhaps? Monty Python?

  • AirBender

    Thought we were done? Oh no no no ;
    “This morning I had visited the same page I had last night and it was offline, but it is obviously back up and running now.

    Reading what's there now, well, aw, pity the poor mis-managed station. If they were serious about staying on the air, they should have operated the station properly and not treated it like some joke. Especially after reading the Torontoist, I have no sympathy for CKLN and its remains.

    First CHSC, and now CKLN. I hope these two revocations send a loud and clear message to other broadcasters thinking about treating their stations like some sort of joke. Having a broadcasting license carries a ton of responsibility, not to be taken lightly. It's not Wayne's World.”

    That about some it up, unless you'd like to once again tell us why it's all someone else's fault. And while you're at it how about tossing in some more of those completely unattributed figures, that was all very enlightening.

  • AirBender

    Oh what the Hell let's have one more;
    “I can't claim first-hand experience in CKLN, but from what I understand career activists and other 'lifers' had become entrenched in management and then factionalised — each clique exploiting the station's 'democratic' governance structure for their own benefit.

    At some point the grown-ups have to come in.”

    Keep in mind those are posts from your fellow “radio executives” all with community radio experience and none with the slightest sympathy or respect for you. Now why don't you go back to organizing G20 riots.

  • ParkdalePong

    Radio and TV stations break the rules and their licence requirements all the time, whether it's language, deliberately not having a local newscast, having too many ads in an hour and they also make mistakes like not filing the right paperwork. These violations always get ignored or, at worst, result in a shorter licencing period or “mandatory orders”. According to news reports CRTC conceded that CKLN's been improving in the last year so it's hard to understand why they would take this sort of dramatic action without first taking one of the steps I just mentioned.

    The fact that corporate radio execs are gleeful about this shouldn't be surprising. The Toronto FM band is full and media companies have been hungrily eying any available frequency and Toronto's not alone.

    What the CRTC is doing here is establishing a new precedent for non-profit community radio stations. The bar for you, they're saying, is much higher and if you make any mistake or go through any internal difficulty then we'll take away your licence at the first opportunity, no second chances, and we'll give your licence to a commercial broadcaster instead.

    The message is clear, if you're in a crowded radio market and your a community station you have a big target on your back. The real question now is which community station in which city is next to go.

  • Orby

    Left wing activists? I've been there a long time, never met any. You mean Norman Otis Richmond? He's beyond communist and proud of it. That false polarity argument is the product of a bad education. The station maintains a populist voice that becomes fainter in world media every year. The Torontoist timeline is told like a satirical rant. A fairer picture emerges upon close examination of the economic and legal constraints under which the station has been bravely functioning since last year.

  • helarrys

    stop investing so much time in your bitterness… move on.

  • helarrys

    Does the demise of a community radio station mean that much to you? Stop investing so much time in your bitterness. Move on.

  • AirBender

    Newsflash; it's news, hence the article and subsequent postings. There's nothing forcing you to read or post if you think it's not worthy of your time. You move on.

  • AirBender

    Umm… CKLN as satire? Slapstick maybe, that would certainly explain things.

  • radioheader

    Airbender, you're just a vindictive troll. Don't you have anything better to do with your life than gloat over someone else's misfortune?

  • radioheader

    Airbender, you're just a vindictive troll. Don't you have anything better to do with your life than gloat over someone else's misfortune?

  • radioheader

    And which character are you in this satire?

  • AirBender

    We wont know for sure til it happens of course but most people in the know expect the CRTC to hold the frequency for another community station of some sort. There are a few possibilities of groups that have been waiting around. The idea that there is some evil corporation just waiting to grab CKLN's 250 watts is unlikely. The signals on the far left of the dial in every city are reserved for non-profits, it's unlikely the CRTC will change that.

    And if you can actually name a “corporate” station with record as bad as what's described above that has gotten a free ride then I'd like to hear about it. Last year The Aboriginal Voices Network was stripped of some of it's stations because of serious fuckups and another in St. Catherines was also shut down and a few years ago a couple stations in Quebec and another in Manitoba and yet another in Markham and most of them had less screw ups than CKLN. This is not a game people, the CRTC takes this stuff seriously. The problem with the CKLN crew is that they never did. And that's their own fault.

  • AirBender

    The one with a sense of humour obviously

  • AirBender

    Is it my fault I can read? Did you not read the actual article? It's one thing to not read or understand the CRTC's ruling, it's long and has big words, but the Torontoists synopsis is clear as a bell. You people remind me of those Micheal Jackson zombie fans who protested at his child rape trials; “But we like his records! He can't be guilty!” Grow up! Your heroes are fuck ups.

  • AirBender

    As for the idea that the CRTC shoiuld have let them off with mandatory orders, on the surface that doesn't seem out of line. But in reading the ruling it's clear that when the CRTC gave CKLN a series of orders in 2009 those were in fact mandatory, and CKLN should have known that. I mean when you have CRTC reps actually knocking on your door tell you to get your shit in order the light bulb really should go on. That doesn't happen every day you know.
    I am not a particular fan of the CRTC, I find the recent ruling on internet carriage infuriating and they copped out in dealing with the cable companies in 2009 in their dispute with TV stations. However they are not stupid people and it is a big mistake to treat them as if they are and can be blown off with a bunch of bullshit. That is what CKLN did, and now they are going down for it.

  • radioheader

    Laughing at other people's misfortune is not having a sense of humour. Self-centred, vindictive and malicious, yes, but not a sense of humour.

  • radioheader

    You should try to restrain your gloating or people might mistake you for this guy http://twitter.com/DiamondDaib

  • radioheader

    Being hateful isn't funny. If you keep it up people will start thinking you're this guy. http://twitter.com/DiamondDaib

  • radioheader

    BTW AirBender, does CIUT know you're going all over the internet gloating about another community radio station's demise?

  • NewtonianGhost

    Hey Anonymous “AirBender”, you know that this statement is entirely inaccurate – the May hearing wasn't adjourned because CKLN “couldn't get their act together” but because they were being sued by one of the former Board members and the Judge involved didn't want the CRTC hearing to derail judicial mediation. The law student who spoke was not “legal counsel” and didn't pretend to be, she spoke because she was a programmer who loved the station and her presentation was well received.

  • NewtonianGhost

    The new Board made mistakes and has admitted that, but they were also trying to clean up a huge mess left by their predecessors, which you and your friends refuse to acknowledge or take responsibility for, and also had to simultaneously fund the defence against a lawsuit in Commercial Court.

    The new Board has admitted a number of mistakes. Can you admit any of the mistakes the previous Board did? Even one?

  • NewtonianGhost

    Well Airbender, the new Board fixed the transmitter which the previous Board had allowed to fall into disrepair and the new Board wasn't even around when the jazz loop was playing and the failure to respond to complaints occured during the previous regime so most of the points you raised actually do refer to the previous Board. But you don't acknowledge any responsibility?BTW, the “listener” who was accused of trying to “stir up trouble”, one Sid Whittaker, happens to be a close friend of one of the cronies of the old regime, the guy who was appointed fundraiser and only collected $8K and then broke into the station precipitating the Palin Foundation lockout, so the guy doesn't sound like an ordinary listener to me but like he was acting on an agenda.

  • NewtonianGhost

    Dissenting opinion of Commissioner Louise Poirier

    I am firmly opposed to the panel’s majority decision to revoke the licence for the campus radio station CKLN-FM Toronto, primarily because I am of the opinion that a mandatory order issued under section 12(2) of the Broadcasting Act should have been used as the first step for this station, which had had its licence renewed in 2007 for seven years and had never previously been in a situation of confirmed non-compliance. It should be remembered that CKLN-FM is Toronto’s first campus radio station, that it was licensed by the Commission in 1983, and that since then it has always been given full licence renewals. Immediate revocation, without first applying any other regulatory measure, is clearly inconsistent with the Commission’s usual practice. No other licences have been revoked in this manner in recent Commission history. Such revocations have always been preceded by either a mandatory order or a short-term licence renewal. The Commission is thus creating a precedent with respect to the principle of gradation of regulatory measures taken by the Commission when dealing with a licensee in a situation of non-compliance. This action is unwarranted and inequitable.

    I am also opposed to the revocation because during the hearing, the licensee and the volunteers present reasonably demonstrated and all stated under oath that CKLN-FM had corrected numerous non-compliances that occurred between 2009 and early 2010 in preparation for the show cause hearing that was scheduled for May 2010 and then adjourned to December 2010. The licensee also stated under oath that it would correct the remaining non-compliances in the coming weeks. The Commission should therefore have presumed that the licensee was acting in good faith and issued a mandatory order, all the while closely monitoring the station on a monthly basis, as is done in such situations, and informing the licensee that another hearing could be held in the coming months in the event of a new apparent non-compliance. I sincerely believe that the licensee had taken steps in the right direction and that with a little time it could have succeeded in achieving full compliance.

    Finally, I am opposed to the revocation of CKLN-FM’s licence because the Commission should have first waited until the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the Superior Court) settled the matter before it concerning the legitimacy of the current board of directors. A mandatory order would have given the Superior Court time to issue a ruling and avoid a potential appeal of this decision in the event of a ruling that the current board of directors was not the licensee’s legitimate representative. In fact, we adjourned the 12 May 2010 show cause hearing into CKLN-FM so that the dispute before the Superior Court could be settled. Given that the dispute has not been settled, we should have continued to wait, as we did at first, all the while ensuring compliance with our regulations.

    Let us examine the problems I raised above in more detail.

    1. The principle of gradation

    Although there is no specific policy on the revocation of a licence while it is still in effect, the Commission has always adhered to the principle of gradation of regulatory measures that it takes when dealing with licensees in situations of non-compliance. To my knowledge and based on the research conducted, I conclude that the Commission has never revoked a licence without first issuing a mandatory order or reducing the licence term at the time of renewal. Circular 444 (Practices regarding radio non-compliance) clearly reflects this practice of gradation, which is well established and has been applied in many cases. In support of this statement, below are descriptions of a few cases similar to that of CKLN-FM Toronto.

    When the Commission determined that CFAR Flin Flon was in non-compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations) and with a condition of licence, it first issued a four-year renewal (Broadcasting Decision 2004-334) and then, following a second situation of non-compliance, issued a two-year renewal (Broadcasting Decision 2008-149). As we can see, the Commission generally waits until licence renewal to deal with a licensee in a situation of non-compliance and it generally does so by reducing the licence term at its renewal. In this manner, the Commission acknowledges that a licence is a valuable asset, a privilege. However, the Commission also acknowledges that it cannot withdraw this privilege from a licensee without giving it necessary and reasonable opportunities to comply and without adhering to a diligent and predictable process.

    A more significant case is that addressed in Broadcasting Decision 2010-614 and Broadcasting Order 2010-615 concerning licences held by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR Inc.). This case is particularly indicative of the Commission’s practice because when AVR Inc. appeared at the same public hearing as CKLN-FM in May 2010 to explain an apparent non-compliance, the Commission renewed those licences for two years and imposed a mandatory order. This was done after AVR Inc. had already been issued short-term renewals for a period of only three years (Broadcasting Decision 2007-121) with the imposition of additional conditions of licence. Consequently, to date AVR Inc. has been issued two licence renewals despite recurring non-compliances. It should be noted that one of the stations affected by this decision (CKAV-FM) operates, like CKLN-FM, in the Toronto market. The scarcity of frequencies in this market requires that we demonstrate restraint and take precautions before revoking a licence.

    Finally, Broadcasting Decision 2008-223, in which CJMS Saint-Constant received a two-year renewal following a second non-compliance with the Regulations, is yet one more example among so many others. This licensee recently saw its licence renewed for four years (deviating from the Commission’s usual practice), despite a third non-compliance.

    In closing this section, I would like to point out that in paragraphs 40 and 41 of this decision the Commission notes the improvements in CKLN-FM’s compliance. Any licensee would have expected a simple encouragement accompanied by a mandatory order rather than a regulatory measure as irreversible as revocation.

    2. Trust in the licensee

    At the hearing, the Commission took the exceptional step of having all participants swear an oath or solemnly promise to tell the truth. One can thus presume that this unusual element added to the veracity of the statements made by the members of the board of directors, volunteers and interveners. Many things may have changed since the week of 10-16 January 2010, the last period for which the Commission requested, among other things, the licensee’s program logs. The licensee stated several times, under oath, that it had remedied several of the non-compliances, including those related to its logs. The licensee stated that 25 of its 170 volunteers were students at Ryerson University and promised that it would change the date of submission of annual reports at its next board of directors meeting. It also agreed that it had to hire a general manager by February to oversee future compliance more effectively. These are just a few examples.

    Several of these statements were corroborated under oath by the volunteers in attendance. They stated that everyone was now very aware of the need to use appropriate and respectful language on the air, among other things, and that they were receiving training on the regulatory requirements. Also, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU), the station’s main source of funding, maintained its funding to CKLN-FM, suggesting its continued confidence in the station. In a democratic system, in which the students are the equivalent of taxpayers, they opted to trust the station.

    Paragraph 6 of Circular 444 concludes as follows:

    Where the Commission is not satisfied that the licensee has taken all necessary measu
    res to ensure that non-compliance will not recur, and where it considers that a short-term renewal may not in itself correct the non-compliance situation, it may also issue a mandatory order.

    While this policy may not apply directly to this case, its spirit should have been applied to CKLN-FM, as it always has been for previous licensees.

    The Commission is guided by the Broadcasting Act in supervising and supporting equitably all components of the broadcasting system – private, public, community and campus – to provide Canadians with the greatest possible programming variety. Despite a more problematic episode in 2009, CKLN-FM Toronto played, and up to now continued to play, a significant role in achieving this goal. Given the Commission’s mandate to foster the vitality of our broadcasting system, a constructive rather than a coercive approach would have been more appropriate in this case.

    Revocation should be used sparingly, for exceptional reasons in exceptional and serious situations and only as a last resort, i.e. after all other reasonable regulatory measures likely to put the licensee on the path to compliance have been used and have failed.

    3. The decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice

    Are the licensee’s representatives who appeared before us its legitimate representatives? We do not yet have an answer to this question because the matter is still before the Superior Court. Why not wait until the court has ruled on the matter before taking such drastic action? Revoking the licence causes irreparable harm to the licensee. While I do not wish to engage in making far-fetched conjectures, I believe that the principle of precaution should have been applied here as well. If the Superior Court determines that the representatives who appeared before us are not legitimate, could the licence revocation be declared invalid? And if a frequency reassignment proceeding were initiated in the meantime, what would the consequences be? It would thus have been preferable to wait until the dispute before the Superior Court is settled before considering the possibility of revoking CKLN-FM’s licence. In fact, some changes to the licensee’s general by-laws (representation of the educational institution on the board of directors) that the Commission would like to see made cannot be implemented until the process before the Superior Court has been completed. Why put the cart before the horse?

    4. Additional considerations

    Below are arguments I would like to add in support of my position.

    *

    None of the interveners at the hearing, I repeat, none, requested the revocation of CKLN-FM’s licence. All of them said that they would be satisfied with a mandatory order to bring the station into compliance. Only one intervener preferred suspension to give the licensee time to reorganize fully. Revoking the licence at this stage will not satisfy anyone. The potential winners could be future applicants who will have the opportunity to apply for CKLN-FM’s very desirable frequency in the much sought after Toronto market. Future applicants could have been among the licensees present at the hearing.
    *

    This campus radio station has no financial problems, given that the RSU was involved at all stages of the station’s restructuring and maintained its annual contribution of close to $300,000. The station repaid its outstanding debt recently, in addition to raising several tens of thousands of dollars at the end of 2010, demonstrating the community’s commitment to this station.
    *

    Although I appreciate the fact that Commission staff travelled to meet with the licensee in September 2009 to observe the problem up close and advise the licensee more effectively on the alleged non-compliances, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, a staff visit cannot be considered a first step equivalent to a mandatory order. When revoking a licence, the Commission must proceed very carefully. This is particularly true in this case given that the licensee was granted a renewal for seven years in 2007 and had always been granted full renewals since its creation almost 28 years ago.

    Conclusion

    To conclude, revoking CKLN-FM’s licence at this time creates a precedent that I cannot endorse. The regulatory measure that has been adopted is disproportionate to the fault. It would have been more transparent and more consistent with the Commission’s usual practices to issue a mandatory order accompanied by close monitoring of the licensee. This would have constituted fair treatment for CKLN-FM Toronto, which has served its community with credibility and passion since 1983 and which has always had its license renewed for full terms, thus leading to the conclusion that the Commission has never been significantly concerned with the licensee’s compliance with its regulatory obligations. At the hearing, the licensee clearly stated its firm intention to comply.

    Hastily revoking a campus radio station licence in Toronto, Canada’s biggest market, will not send a positive signal to the campus radio community, which consists of organizations comprised mainly of volunteers, who unstintingly contribute time and energy to give their community a voice. This decision is consistent neither with the Commission’s usual practice nor with the spirit of Circular 444. In my opinion, based on the evidence before us, the decision to revoke the licence at this time is premature, disproportionate and inequitable.

  • donphaseme_bro

    For the record, the 'industry message board' can be found at sowny.ca.

    AFIAK the shiteslinging in this thread is a) entertaining; and b) is emblematic of how CKLN has been running since at least the mid-90's (perhaps even earlier. I don't know).

    Every college/community station has its Drama, but CKLN turned it into Art.

  • NewtonianGhost

    “-An admission that the station had both a fundraiser and a CRTC hearing coming up – and that officials couldn't deal with both, so they chose the fundraiser.”

    I don't recall anyone saying this. I do recall that being said in regards to a harassment grievance made by former programmer Greg Duffell. Interesting that you would confuse the two.

  • AirBender

    I don't know Andrew why don't you ask? Don't know why they would care though. If you're looking to find another non-profit to infiltrate you might want to consider something other than radio.

  • AirBender

    People who are not funny really shouldn't critique humour. We wouldn't let someone weighing in at 300lbs give diet advice. And people who have no history in radio shouldn't take one over.

  • AirBender

    The point genius, is that you had an unprecedented six months to get your shit together and still didn't. Instead you fucked up some more. An unauthorized simulcast from Washington? Way to go. Insulting a listener who had the temerity to complain? Smooth one, very professional.

  • AirBender

    I like how “Newton” and “Herder” always “like” each others posts and use the same language. You would almost think they were the same guy using different names to give the illusion that he has support. Although judging from the t.v. news footage you are certainly obese enough to be two people.

  • radioheader

    You've guessed wrong Daibhid, I'm one of the thousands of other people who think you're a creep.

  • AirBender

    Just curious what does “AFIAK” mean? I can never keep track of all these internet/texting acronyms.

  • AirBender

    Ohhh “Thousands”? Really? You must have great power indeed. That will come in handy as you prepare for your great “appeal” challenge of the big bad CRTC. What could possibly go wrong there?

  • radioheader

    Who said anything about CKLN? You're just as creepy everywhere else.

  • radioheader

    “Ohhh “Thousands”? Really?”

    Yeah, have you ever heard yourself on the radio? Creep-city! Sure thousands must accidentally here you each month before changing the dial.

  • paintingwalls

    According to the CRTC the “new” people had since October 2009 to fix CKLN. That's over 1 year and they couldn't do it. And this lawsuit they keep talking about, I bet if we got a chance to read it over we'd find it was totally legitimate. Hey “new” people let us read this lawsuit in full and make our own mind up.

  • AirBender

    Hey; I did hear Andrew on the air on Friday whining about the unfairness of it all. Imagine; CKLN had to actually follow the same rules as everybody else. So unfair! Now THAT was good radio!

  • helarrys

    Were you fired from CKLN or denied a job… which one was it? You're very angry and taking this all very personally.

  • Orby

    No one can read or reference the lawsuit because it is still before the court. It is a drain on CKLN's time and finances and has severely limited our ability to resolve pressing problems elsewhere. Come to the A.G.M. if you are part of the solution.

  • http://piorkowski.ca Jarek Piórkowski

    So. Campus politics!

  • paintingwalls

    I just got off the phone with the courts, lawsuits are PUBLIC, anyone can read a lawsuit by going to the appropriate building and requesting documents. I asked if there's any case where “no one can read or reference” a case that's “still before the court”, the woman said that doesn't happen because the courts are a public institution. I'm going to find out about this and whoever you are “Orby” you're either grossly misinformed or are purposely deceiving the public.

  • Bigthai

    This is what you get when you have hipster media douchbags running a station with no experience in the field. I have no experience in the radio field but I know when your boss (crtc) tells you to do something you f'ing do it! At my work I have the VP of my store come in once and a while and wants things changed around I do it to keep my job! When my sales are low and in the tank and I get asked “why that's case and find out a solution to fix it” I find a solution to get more sales to keep my job! My point is hipster douchbags don't have proper work ethic it doesn't matter if you are running a radio station, store or restaurant you do what you are told to survive at your work place. And the CRTC is your boss and you didn't listen so bang your fired!!

  • torontothegreat

    What's a CKLN?

  • Orby

    So go read it.
    No one can read or reference the lawsuikt because it is still before the court. It is a drain on CKLN's time and finances and has severely limited our ability to resolve pressing problems elsewhere. Come to the A.G.M. if you are part of the solution.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Thanks for the new trolls, Disqus. Ours were getting stale.

  • torontothegreat

    People that don't agree with you are not (by the very definition of the word) trolls.

    Person a: Yes, I agree with the status quo all the time

    Person b: I don't, I think a, b and c

    Person a: What?!?!?! Get lost troll/corporate schill/brainwashed idiot

    Sorry. It's getting really stale/old around here. It's beginning to warrant a name change, something like Godwin's Law, but pertaining to who calls someone a troll first, when it's a simple disagreement/difference of opinion.

  • http://piorkowski.ca Jarek Piórkowski

    I like these trolls better than some of our old ones…

  • http://piorkowski.ca Jarek Piórkowski

    I feel your cogent point was really strengthened by multiple uses of “hipster douchbags.”

  • Disabuser

    Read the hearing transcripts for yourself:
    Part 1: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/tran
    Part 2: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/tran

    BTW, the Torontoist timeline is one-sided, written as if by a CRTC technocrat. A timeline with more perspective would (among other things) emphasize the differences between the three recent periods of management. In the most recent period, as made clear in the transcripts, current management was working to redress (legitimate) CRTC complaints, plus get the financial, legal and programming houses in order.

  • g026r

    Campus politics meets activist politics. In my experience there's virtually no way it couldn't have devolved into a squabbling mess.

  • g026r

    Campus politics meets activist politics. In my experience there's virtually no way it couldn't have devolved into a squabbling mess.