Welcome back Radio Ryerson

It’s the tale of a school which prides itself on hosting the premier radio and television arts program, but doesn’t have its students working the campus airwaves. The story becomes lore when its FM radio licence gets revoked.

Putting the irony to rest, radio at Ryerson is back. What was previously CKLN-FM has been revamped to include a clear Ryerson presence on the station’s board. Currently, the station, now called The Scope at Ryerson, is awaiting approval from Industry Canada before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can determine whether or not it deserves a broadcasting licence for the second time.

At The Ryersonian we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

While we wait for news on the fate of its application, The Scope will launch an online multimedia test page later this week. This will allow students to provide feedback on the new programing, based on six hours of original content each day. But  will it benefit Ryerson?

Though CKLN was found to be in breach of numerous regulations of its licence, a key factor determining its cancellation last year stemmed from a lack of involvement from Ryerson’s community, despite operating under the status of a campus radio station.

Years ago CKLN was taken over by radical activists, leading to the station’s independent ownership. It functioned separately from Ryerson, but because it sat within our campus borders, still received funding from the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). Why did students have to pay for a station that excluded them?

Clearly, Ryerson doesn’t mind funding campus radio. During the CRTC’s investigation of CKLN in 2011, a referendum saw 86 per cent of students vote in favour of financially supporting their bid for the frequency.

But the community radio station gave students nothing to show for their money. In 2000, CKLN passed bylaws to prevent the university’s administration and faculty from sitting on its board, in contravention of CRTC statutes, and despite having been branded as “The voice of Ryerson.”

This time around, the campus station will have students and staff on board. That alone provides enough reason to support this new venture. Ryersonian reporter Rebecca Williams discovered that of the board’s nine seats, six will consist of those from the Ryerson community including university officials and elected students.

The RSU has budgeted $275,000 towards The Scope for this school year. While the station will still operate independently from the university and the Faculty of Communication and Design, its efforts to involve our campus community in the early stages are promising.

The next step is ensuring Rye’s student body will have a chance to contribute to the airwaves. The station is a great way to spawn well-trained students, from volunteers to professionals, so long as students are not discouraged from participating at the station, as they might have been in the past.


This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on April 3, 2013.

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