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CKLN Holds a Moving Sale

CKLN, Ryerson's campus-community radio station, lost its frequency after a tussle with the CRTC. On Saturday, they sold off their vintage vinyl.

Collectors rifle through CKLN's vinyl collection. Photo by Steve Kupferman/Torontoist.

When CKLN 88.1 FM, Ryerson University’s campus-community radio station, lost its frequency on April 15 after a protracted dispute with the CRTC, it seemed possible that the broadcaster’s 28-year run had come to an end. Now, rather than fold, the station is transitioning to a new phase in its history—but not before shedding a little weight.

On Saturday morning, CKLN sold off a portion of its large vinyl collection, amassed over nearly thirty years. The sale took place in a lounge in the Ryerson Student Centre, where the station had kept its studios until, at the beginning of August, the building’s management issued an eviction notice. According to the Ryerson Eyeopener, CKLN’s student levy (a fee collected from every Ryerson student that covers most of the station’s operating costs), will be held in trust until students can vote on whether or not to continue paying it.

CKLN will be opening up a new studio at the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre, where it will continue as an online-only broadcaster.

On Saturday, about 5,000 albums were stacked on folding tables, and priced between $1 and $10. Within minutes of the sale’s 9:00 a.m. start, the room was filled with bargain hunters, many of them current or former CKLN volunteers. They flipped frantically through piles of battered sleeves, vying for the rarest and most valuable records on offer.

The albums for sale weren’t the entirety of the station’s stash. “We will retain 10,000 records,” said Jacky Tuinstra-Harrison, the station manager CKLN hired to guide it through its regulatory woes. Proceeds from the sale, she added, would support outreach and DJ training.

Grey Coyote, owner of Paradise Bound, a Kensington Market used book and music store, was one of the first to arrive, and also one of the first to leave. He trundled about 150 albums out the door in a wheeled shopping cart.

“There were good finds,” he said, but he was slightly dismayed with the fact that nearly every record sleeve had the letters “CKLN” scrawled across it in black permanent marker. “You’re not looking at any VG-plus-plus to near-mint records, at all.”

Albums with CKLN markings on them will undoubtedly be turning up on music-store shelves in Toronto for years to come—reminders of the eclectic radio broadcaster that once was.

Michael Clifton, a jazz programmer at CKLN for three and a half years, didn’t mind seeing the records go. “They’re coming into the hands of some people who are going to give them a second, or a third, or a fourth life,” he said. “That’s what records are about. They’re not supposed to sit in somebody’s basement and collect dust.”

Phil Dellio, a programmer at CKLN for five years, bought an armful of records for his personal collection.

“Some of this stuff, if you found it in She Said Boom or something, they’d probably want seven, ten dollars for it,” he said. Hoodoo Man Blues by Junior Wells and an album called “Aardvark” by a Canadian band named Kensington Market, were among his favourite finds of the day.

He didn’t know quite how to feel about the partial dispersion of the station’s music collection. “You know, mixed feelings,” he said. “I guess it’s sort of sad.”


Correction, 5 p.m.: This article originally identified an album called “Kensington Market” as being by a band named Aardvark. In fact, Kensington Market is the band name and “Aardvark” is the name of the album.

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