From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Frequency88.1 MHz (FM)
FormatCommunity radio
OwnerCKLN Radio Inc.
First air date
Last air date
April 15, 2011 (28 years)

CKLN-FM was a community radio station based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

From 1983 to 2011, CKLN Radio Inc. was licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as a campus-community FM radio station affiliated with Ryerson University, and broadcast at 88.1 MHz on the FM dial with the call sign CKLN-FM. It ceased FM broadcasting on April 15, 2011, after its licence was revoked on January 28, 2011[1] and continued as an internet radio outlet until it ceased operations on December 26, 2011.[2]

In its final months, most of the internet broadcaster's programs were produced in the Regent Park neighbourhood of Toronto.[3] After CKLN was officially dissolved as an organization, its remaining resources and volunteers were transferred to Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre, which launched Radio Regent, a new Internet radio operation, in early 2012. After a round of licence hearings on new applications for CKLN's old frequency, the CRTC awarded the licence to Rock 95 Broadcasting, which launched CIND-FM under the name Indie 88 in September 2012, while a new campus radio station for Ryerson University was launched as CJRU in 2016.


CKLN began as a closed circuit station set up in 1970 as Ryerson Community Radio, its broadcasts piped to loudspeakers around campus. In 1972, it became independent of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts department and adopted the call letters CRFM.[4][5] In 1978, the station adopted the call letters CKLN and was broadcast through campus via closed circuit cable.[4] It was licensed as an over the air FM broadcaster by the CRTC in 1983 as a Ryerson University-based campus-community radio station and assigned the frequency of 88.1 MHz on the FM band and allowed to retain the CKLN call letters.[4] Ryerson had announced that it would close its earlier radio station, CJRT-FM, in 1973 due to financial constraints; that station was saved in 1974 by the Ontario government headed by Bill Davis in 1974 as a government funded public radio station without formal ties to Ryerson.[4]

Among CKLN's early accomplishments was the launch of Ron Nelson's new show The Fantastic Voyage in 1983,[5] Canada's first radio show devoted to Rap.[6] The program was influential in promoting and developing many of Canada's early hip hop stars.[7] According to poet Clifton Joseph, the show was "the single most important agent responsible for the breaking of rap music in Toronto and laying the groundwork for the emergence of Canadian rap artists such as Michie Mee and Maestro Fresh Wes."[8]

Other artists such as Blue Rodeo and k.d. lang received airplay on CKLN prior to being picked up by mainstream radio.[5] The Globe and Mail says of the station that "it sat at the forefront of independent music and radical politics in the city for more than three decades, working with a shoe-string budget, and yet it somehow always managed to survive."[5]

In the 1980s, the station helped create a news service to share content among left-wing stations worldwide including those run by the African National Congress and the FMLN in El Salvador. The station aired live coverage of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.[5]

CKLN was the first broadcast outlet to air Toronto's Gay Pride Day Parade.[5]

In its coverage of the Rwandan genocide, CKLN aired an investigation of the colonial history behind the events.[5]

In 1985, the station was estimated to have 50,000 weekly listeners. By 1991, its audience had grown to an estimated 140,000 listeners a week.[4] In 1989, The Toronto Star voted CKLN as "best radio station" in its annual Sammy awards.[4] In April 1992, one student successfully petitioned for a referendum to decide if the station should continue to receive student funding; CKLN won the referendum.[5]

Former station manager Adam Vaughan, later a Member of Parliament, said in a 2015 interview that "What was great about CKLN is that it combined the strength of Ryerson with the diversity of Toronto... The diversity of the city and the diversity of the voices and the culture on air came to define CKLN and it was a huge part of our success." He added, however, that "The station, after I left, got very heavily invested in identity politics. And instead of bringing diversity together, groups kind of started to fight with each other and it was hugely problematic in terms of trying to unify an audience... You could see the station drifting further and further away from a position of strength and experimentation into bitterness and at times, straight up incompetency."[9]

By September 2003, following the departure of station manager Conrad Collaco,[10] CKLN was teetering on the brink of insolvency. As a result, the Ryerson Students' Union bailed out CKLN of $110,000 in debts.[9][11] An earlier proposal by Collaco to deal with the station's financial problems with a $6 increase to the student levy was not approved by the student government which cited various issues such as the lack of audited statements, the lack of airtime for Ryerson students or acknowledgment of Ryerson on the air.[9]

In August 2005, CKLN shifted its broadcast studios from the basement of Jorgenson Hall at Ryerson University to the second floor of the newly constructed Ryerson Student Campus Centre.[12]

Internal conflict and loss of licence[edit]

In November 2007, CKLN's board appointed board member Mike Phillips as interim station manager. It had been over four years since the position had been filled.[10] On December 21, 2007, CKLN program director Tim May resigned "suddenly and questionably"[13] and within days CKLN's board appointed board member Tony Barnes as interim program director without first advertising the post.[13] The new hires, and the manner in which the hirings were carried out, proved unpopular with some and resulted in a special general meeting being called, which was attended by over 150 members,[14] more than 90% of whom voted to impeach the board of directors.[15] The management and board of CKLN viewed the Special General Meeting as illegitimate along with the impeachment vote and subsequently dismissed several dozen volunteer programmers as well as two paid staff,[15] including the station's news director,[16] who was allegedly told she was being fired for not seeing "eye to eye" with the board.[15] Station manager Mike Phillips claimed that members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Ontario Coalition Against Poverty had stacked the February meeting and defended the dismissal of volunteer programmers by arguing, "If you have people decrying the station that is allowing them to go on the air, and breaking CRTC rules in the process, that can't be allowed to go on for very long."[16]

For a time, the station had two rival boards of directors, both claiming to be the legitimate management. The first board, which hired Barnes and Phillips, was chaired by Josie Miner[10] while a second board led by Arnold Minors was elected by opponents of the first board.[17] The Ryerson Students' Union, which administered a student fee that, at the time, provided the station with 60 per cent of its budget, withheld funds until the conflict between the two rival boards was resolved.[18] Responding to this action, the first board initiated a statement of claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice naming the RSU and Ryerson University as defendants.[19]

With CKLN's financial situation deteriorating due to the RSU's withholding of funds, and with members of the first board fighting among themselves, on February 28, 2009, CKLN's studios were made inaccessible except to a faction on the first CKLN board and those they chose to admit. Live programming was suspended and previously aired material was repeated in its place.

On March 1, 2009, two individuals, Paulette Hamilton, one of the members of the first board who had been locked out the previous day, and Daibhid James, a programmer, were arrested after they "barricaded themselves into the radio station's studios."[20] Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy reacted to the incident by stating that "I think they've overstayed their welcome if that's the welcome that we have on our property. I don't like it, I don't want it, and we don't need it here."[20]

Later that month, the Ryerson Student Centre board voted unanimously to close the station until both sides of the dispute could negotiate CKLN's future.[21] The Palin Foundation, which governs the student centre,[22] consists of representatives of Ryerson University, the Ryerson Students' Union and the Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson (CESAR).[23]

During the period of the lockout, which lasted until mid-September 2009, CKLN broadcast unattended loops of previously aired programs, jazz and pre-recorded speeches. Dead air was heard for sometimes weeks at a time.[24] In June 2009, CKLN's broadcast antenna was damaged resulting in the signal strength being drastically reduced. CKLN's online stream was still operational through this period.

On July 9, 2009, in a statement by Chris McNeil, president of CESAR and chair of the Palin Foundation, CKLN was provided a deadline of July 24, 2009 for the station to elect a new board of directors or risk eviction.[25] The July 24, 2009 meeting and elections were held, but became the subject of a legal action filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Commercial Court by former CKLN board member Mary Young claiming it was "improper and illegal".[26] On December 14, 2011, the legal action against CKLN was permanently stayed and a motion by Young to launch a derivative action was dismissed with Young ordered to pay CKLN $10,000 in costs.[2]

Licence revocation[edit]

Even before CKLN resumed scheduled programming in late September 2009, the CRTC expressed concerns over the station's inability to comply with licence requirements during the dispute, such as playing the aforementioned loop for several months in 2009, its failure to properly submit on-air logger tapes, program logs and complete annual financial returns since 2007, and that the CRTC licence for CKLN had been transferred to a third party without authorization.[25][27]

In March 2010, the CRTC called CKLN to a hearing for May 12, 2010 in which the licensee was to " cause why the Commission should not take steps to suspend or revoke the broadcasting licence in question or why the Commission should not issue mandatory orders requiring the licensee to comply with the Regulations and its conditions of licence..." The hearing was postponed in part due to ongoing mediation efforts in the aforementioned Mary Young case.[28] The CRTC made it clear soon after the postponement that CKLN would be called to a hearing by no later than the end of 2010. During this period, the CRTC required the station to file monthly progress reports on its efforts to improve its licensing compliance.[29]

The CRTC called CKLN to a hearing that took place in Toronto over a two-day period beginning December 8, 2010.[30]

On January 28, 2011, the CRTC revoked the licence of CKLN-FM due to continual breaches of the Broadcast Act and violations to their conditions of licence, ordering them to cease broadcasting by February 12, 2011.[25]

Calling the decision "premature, disproportionate and inequitable", CRTC Commissioner Louise Poirier issued a dissenting opinion stating that she was "firmly opposed" to the decision and that licence revocation "should not have been used as a first step for this station";[31] according to Poirier, "the Commission has never revoked a licence without first issuing a mandatory order or reducing the licence term."[32] The decision was also opposed by the National Campus and Community Radio Association, which stated in a press release that the commission "could have taken other reasonable steps to ensure regulatory compliance while allowing CKLN to continue serving the community".[32]

CKLN has stated that most of its regulatory failures were committed by former staff who were no longer with the station.[33] CKLN appealed the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.[34] On February 11, the station was granted a temporary stay,[35] allowing it to remain on the air pending the Federal Court's decision on whether or not to grant the station leave to appeal the CRTC's order.[33]

On April 15, 2011, the Federal Court of Appeal announced that it would not be hearing the appeal and said the station must cease broadcasting on 88.1 FM immediately. CKLN continued broadcasting and podcasting via the internet as its exclusive outlet from that point.[36]

Reaction to loss of licence[edit]

CKLN station manager Jacky Tuinstra-Harrison said that the CRTC failed to follow its own policy of graduated discipline: "The CRTC could have followed their own policy, but did not; they did not pursue avenues such as warnings, fines, mandatory orders or other options against CKLN, but moved directly to the most serious of measures- revocation. We were not at any point offered alternatives" and that the claim that "CKLN's 'demise' could have been avoided is an admonishment, which could have been made to any of the last six CKLN boards".[37]

On April 18, 2011, in his inaugural television broadcast on Canada's Sun News Network, as well as his column in the Sun Media newspaper chain, conservative commentator Ezra Levant claimed that the CRTC's decision on CKLN was just another oppressive example of arbitrary government bureaucracy and interference into the lives and businesses of ordinary Canadians.[38]

Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan said: "It's just astonishing that the CRTC can do this to a station that's been true to its mandate, that's sustained its commitment to community-based programming, the damage it does to communities served by this station, you couldn't even begin to quantify."[5] Vaughan told the Toronto Star that "It's very sad that the CRTC couldn't sit down and work with this clearly volunteer organization and give them the benefit of the doubt and help them solve the problem rather than simply render a very tough decision against them."[39]

Referring to previous boards of directors,[5] outgoing Ryerson Students Union president and CKLN director Toby Whitfield observed: "There's been so much infighting for so many years, people lost sight of the purpose of the station. The privilege of having a licence is amazing, and I think that's what was missing," adding that the current board had gotten more students involved.[5]

Move to Regent Park[edit]

On August 2, 2011, in a statement posted on CKLN's website, it was announced that the Palin Foundation would evict CKLN on August 27, 2011.[40] It was confirmed officially by CKLN on August 4, 2011, that, after the eviction, CKLN internet streaming would emanate almost exclusively from the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre, a community group which offers media training programs for economically disadvantaged youth in the neighbourhood and which had already produced a weekly program for broadcast on CKLN for a number of years.

According to then station manager Jacky Tuinstra-Harrison, "They have a social mission which is very similar to ours, which is to have citizens participate in their media.... It's a wonderful opportunity to expand on our social mission, representing marginalized communities or communities that don't get to represent themselves a lot in mainstream media."[41]


At a CKLN membership meeting held on October 11, 2011, a motion was passed to seek court approval for the dissolution of CKLN Radio Incorporated.[42] Court approval for dissolution was granted on December 14, 2011. ceased operations on December 26, 2011, with most of its programs and volunteers moving to Radio Regent, a new internet radio service owned and operated by Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre and unaffiliated with CKLN Radio Inc.[2]

Fate of 88.1 and new Ryerson application[edit]

On September 28, 2011, Evanov Radio Group (via licensee Dufferin Communications) submitted an application to move CIRR-FM (which carried a contemporary hit radio format targeting the LGBT community) from 103.9 to CKLN's former frequency on 88.1. Per its competitive licensing process, the CRTC issued a call for competing applicants,[43] and received 27 submissions in total.[44] The applications included submissions by MZ Media, Astral Media, Newcap Radio, Larche Communications, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Trust Communications, Intercity Broadcasting, CHIN Radio/TV International, La Coopérative Radiophonique de Toronto and numerous ethnic broadcasters, as well as a new student group from Ryerson University that planned to relaunch the station with a new governance model.[45]

On September 11, 2012, the license was awarded to Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd., which launched its new station CIND-FM on the frequency in 2013.[46][47]

In 2013, Radio Ryerson Inc. launched The Scope,[48][49][50] an internet radio station whose application for an AM radio licence was heard by the CRTC on September 25, 2014[51][52] and was granted by the CRTC on December 11.[53] The new station began broadcasting on 1280 AM, with the call sign CJRU, on March 31, 2016.[54]

In 2016, the CKLN-FM call sign was taken by Newcap Radio for a transmitter in Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, which operates as a rebroadcaster of CHVO-FM in Carbonear.

CKLN alumni[edit]

  • Ralph Benmergui - former CKLN news director and producer (1980s), later a host on CBC Television, CBC Radio, and CJRT-FM[55]
  • Kolter Bouchard - former CKLN host and board member, as of November 2018 afternoon drive co-host on CFNY-FM.[56][57]
  • Tanya Kim - Ryerson graduate and former voice-over artist for CKLN promos and announcements circa 1998, current co-host of CTV's etalk
  • Kirk LaPointe[58] - CKLN station manager (late 1970s), later managing editor at the Vancouver Sun, CTV, The Canadian Press and the National Post. From 2010 to 2012 he was ombudsman for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Vancouver mayoral candidate in 2014.
  • Eun Sook Lee - CKLN News Director (1990–1991), and Station Manager (1992–1993). Currently the Executive Director of the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund.
  • Min Sook Lee - CKLN news director (1996–1998), later a documentary filmmaker and political candidate[59]
  • Jeffrey Morgan - Authorized biographer of Alice Cooper and The Stooges
  • Alex Narvaez hosted Off Da Tracks on CKLN, currently the lead host on Complex Canada.
  • Dames Nellas DJ'd, currently afternoon drive-time/evening DJ on CKFM-FM in Toronto.[60][61]
  • Ron Nelson - host of The Fantastic Voyage and Reggaemania, CKLN Board chair from 2009 to 2011. Currently a concert promoter, producer, and lecturer at York University.
  • Richard Paul - host of Latin Party, later a host of Two New Hours on CBC Radio
  • Norman "Otis" Richmond - host from 1983 until 2011 of various programs including Diasporic Music and the flagship news magazine Saturday Morning Live, longtime news director
  • Kobena Aquaa-Harrison - hosted Sounds of Africa (1989 - 2010) replacing founders Sam Mensah and Thaddy Ulzen. Later president/ artistic director Music Africa/ AfroFest, Michèzo! founder, writer WORD Magazine. Composer/ performer for film, theatre, dance, television, stage
  • Paul Romanuk - DJ and hockey play-by-play announcer (Toronto Marlies) from 1981 to 1985, later a sports broadcaster with TSN and Hockey Night In Canada.
  • Adam Vaughan[62] - CKLN station manager (1985–1987), later a municipal affairs reporter for CBLT and CITY-TV, city councillor, and then a Liberal Member of Parliament (Trinity—Spadina)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CRTC revokes licence of Toronto campus radio station". Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  2. ^ a b c CKLN Radio Inc is dissolving but your favourite shows and hosts are moving to Radio Regent" Archived 2012-04-15 at the Wayback Machine, website, December 20, 2011
  3. ^ CKLN
  4. ^ a b c d e f "A timeline of Ryerson's radio history, 1949-2014". Ryersonian. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "CKLN: From revolution to radio silence; Ryerson's campus station may have lost its broadcast licence, but volunteers hope its 30-year history can put 88.1 back on the dial" by Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail, May 21, 2011
  6. ^ "CKLN board ‘not going to lie down’ after licence revoked". Toronto Star, January 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Dead air for Ryerson community station". Toronto Star, April 16, 2011.
  8. ^ "Ryerson radio vital to city's music life"[permanent dead link], Toronto Star, April 1, 1992
  9. ^ a b c "When Rye High ruled the airwaves". The Eyeopener. January 21, 2015. Archived from the original on January 22, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "CKLN finally hires Station Manager" Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. The Eyeopener, 2007-11-06.
  11. ^ "CKLN gets new lease on life: Summer board elections end power struggle over Ryerson radio". The Varsity, September 7, 2009.
  12. ^ "RYERSON STUDENT CAMPUS CENTRE (formerly Oakham House)". Archived from the original on 2011-04-12. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  13. ^ a b "CKLN Hire in Hot Water Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine", eyeopener, January 29, 2008
  14. ^ "Fightin’ words" Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine, eye magazine, February 27, 2008
  15. ^ a b c "CKLN tunes out volunteers" Archived 2011-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, The Varsity, September 28, 2008
  16. ^ a b "Out of tune at CKLN", Now Magazine, August 26-September 2, 2008
  17. ^ "Deadlock and dead air on Ryerson's radio" Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, eyeopener, September 9, 2008
  18. ^ "Live Ryerson radio to hit the airwaves again" Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. The Ryersonian, September 16, 2009.
  19. ^ The Varsity (newspaper), "CKLN sues Ryerson, student union" Archived 2011-08-23 at the Wayback Machine February 23, 2009.
  20. ^ a b "Levy: 'They've overstayed their welcome'" Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, eyeopener, March 3, 2009
  21. ^ "Students caught in the middle of conflict at CKLN 88.1 FM" Archived 2011-10-08 at the Wayback Machine, Ryerson Free Press, April 14, 2009
  22. ^ "CKLN Kicked Out Of SCC", eyeopener, August 6, 2011
  23. ^ 2007-2008 FULL- AND PART-TIME UNDERGRADUATE CALENDAR Archived 2011-10-29 at the Wayback Machine, Ryerson University
  24. ^ CRTC revokes licence of Toronto campus radio station Archived 2011-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. January 28, 2011.
  25. ^ a b c "CRTC yanks licence of Ryerson's CKLN radio". The Globe and Mail, January 28, 2011.
  26. ^ CKLN leadership battle continues Archived 2011-09-30 at the Wayback Machine. The Ryersonian, December 7, 2009.
  27. ^ CRTC letter to Thomas Slahta, CKLN lawyer, May 5, 2010
  28. ^ CRTC Transcript of Proceeding, May 12, 2010
  29. ^ CRTC letter to CKLN June 2, 2010
  30. ^ CRTC Notice of Hearing, October 13, 2011
  31. ^ "CRTC nixes CKLN's Licence", Now Magazine, January 29, 2011
  32. ^ a b "National Campus And Community Radio Association Unhappy With CRTC Pulling CKLN's Licence"[usurped]., January 31, 2011.
  33. ^ a b ""CKLN Will Remain on the Air, For Now", torontoist, February 11, 2011
  34. ^ "Ryerson radio station to appeal revoked licence" Archived 2011-02-09 at the Wayback Machine,, February 3, 2011
  35. ^ "Campus radio station remains on the air", Globe and Mail, February 12, 2011
  36. ^ "CKLN appeal shutdown". Toronto Star, April 15, 2011.
  37. ^ Tuinstra-Harrison, Jacky. "Response to Caribbean Camera article". Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  38. ^ Ezra Levant, "CRTC's a dinosaur: The last thing Canadians need is this group regulating the web". Toronto Sun, April 19, 2011.
  39. ^ "Troubled campus station off the air; CKLN was early voice of Canadian hip hop" by Cynthia Vukets and Ashante Infantry, Toronto Star, April 17, 2011
  40. ^ COMMUNITY ALERT: CKLN Facing Eviction and Urgently Needs New Space by CKLN Station Manager CKLN. August 2, 2011
  41. ^ "CKLN will move to online broadcasting". CBC News, August 4, 2011.
  42. ^ "An End to CKLN Corp Looming". The Eyeopener September 13, 2011]
  43. ^ "Call for applications – Radio stations to serve Toronto". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2022-10-01.
  44. ^ Calls for Broadcasting Licence Applications 2011. Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
  45. ^ "Stations vie for vacant radio licence". The Globe and Mail, December 18, 2012.
  46. ^ "Indie88, Toronto's newest radio station, puts the listener in charge". National Post. July 31, 2013. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  47. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-485, Licensing of a new radio station to serve Toronto, CRTC, September 11, 2012
  48. ^ "Welcome back Radio Ryerson". The Ryersonian. April 3, 2013. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  49. ^ "Radio Ryerson searching for a new home". Canadian University Press. January 16, 2013. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  50. ^ "New radio station in the works at Rye". The Ryersonian. April 2, 2013. Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  51. ^ "Campus radio poised for a return to the dial". The Ryersonian, September 12, 2014.
  52. ^ "The Scope tries to catch some waves". The Eyeopener, September 17, 2014.
  53. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-644". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, December 11, 2014.
  54. ^ "The Scope approved for an AM radio licence". The Eyeopener. No. December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  55. ^ "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 330: Ralph Benmergui". 26 April 2018.
  56. ^ "Kolter and Meredith". 102.1 the Edge. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  57. ^ "New radio fights for frequency". 5 October 2011.
  58. ^ "CKLN jockey Kirk LaPointe with recording artist Ronny Abramson, 1978." The Ryersonian, October 7, 2014.
  59. ^ Min Sook Lee (2014). Migrant Dreams: Documentary as Cultural Resistance for Social Change (Master of Environmental Studies thesis). York University. hdl:10315/30268.
  60. ^ "Biography". 25 August 2009.
  61. ^ "Dames Nellas".
  62. ^ "Dialing up CKLN". Now Magazine, December 2, 2010.

External links[edit]