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The Globe and Mail

CRTC yanks licence of Ryerson's CKLN radio

Ryerson University's 28-year-old community-radio station will fall silent in two weeks if the CRTC has its way.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission revoked CKLN's licence, which wasn't set to expire until 2014, saying the station wasn't complying with regulations.

Konrad von Finckenstein, CRTC chairman, said in a news release Friday that CKLN had been given several warnings and opportunities to clean up its act. "Each time, it demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to address our concerns. Taking away its licence is the only appropriate course of action in this case."

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The CRTC said the station had problems with in-fighting, which in 2009 resulted in the building manager locking out staff and volunteers for seven months, during which time the station looped old content.

But according to Andrew Lehrer, a member of CKLN's board of directors, things are getting better. He said the CRTC decision focused on old problems that had been remedied - such as the lockout and the station's failure to log all of its content.

CKLN has also adopted new bylaws, improved equipment, beaten down a substantial portion of its debt and was on the verge of hiring a new station manager, he added.

While Mr. Lehrer admitted there were still problems, he disputed the CRTC's claim that the station wasn't addressing its concerns. "This was the first hearing, and there were other options," Mr. Lehrer said. "They could have temporarily suspended our license. They went for the most extreme option."

While Ryerson Students' Union president Toby Whitfield refused to comment on the CRTC decision, he agreed that CKLN has been improving. "The last six months, they've definitely tried to reinvigorate themselves," he said.

Meanwhile, Ryerson spokeswoman Janet Mowat said the university has little to say on the matter. "At the end of the day, CKLN is an independent community-run radio station that happens to be located on the Ryerson campus, but that's about the extent of it."

However, the station does receive student fees - $10 a year from each full-time student. According to the student union president, that's about 24,000 students, or $240,000.

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Mr. Lehrer said they may appeal the CRTC's decision before the plug is pulled on Feb. 12.

"People have been phoning in crying," he said. "They're upset."

With files by Shane Dingman

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