Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why is KICK FM off the air?

The reasons behind the decision to take KICK off the air and "return the license" to the CRTC is not what the "board of directors" would have you believe. A brief timeline of events paints a much different story that local journalists especially, and Red River College students, need to be aware of.

On the KICK FM website, it states:

As a result of recent changes to CRTC regulations regarding campus and community radio stations, and financial challenges, the Board of Cre-Comm Radio Inc has decided to discontinue over the air broadcasting effective Wednesday, July 4 at 4:00 pm, and will be returning the current broadcast license to the CRTC.

This statement is quite astounding. Let me run through it.

The CRTC did change their regulations, they decided that "instructional license" was no longer a category they wanted to have. However, KICK and RRC also knew this. They applied anyhow for a regular campus and community radio license, the same license that UMFM and CKUW operate under.

If they applied to renew their license as a campus and community station, then they must have been okay with the changes in policy. Why would an organization go through the process of renewing their license only to say later that they didn't want it?

Because public interventions happened. When you file for license renewal, the CRTC asks the public for letters of concern and support. Such letters were submitted to the CRTC. KICK FM even, until yesterday, had a countdown of the deadline and encouraged listeners to send letters of support to the CRTC.

In other words: they clearly wanted to continue the station and were perfectly fine with the policy changes that would be required in a move to a campus and community station, instead of instructional.

But they received submissions like mine, which you can read here. Also several others called on the CRTC to investigate corruption and impropriety of the Red River College officials who were involved in illegally cancelling The Great Canadian Talk Show, in plain violation of federal CRTC policies. 

Instead of facing these allegations, KICK and RRC have decided instead not to face federal scrutiny by the CRTC and risk having their license embarrassingly revoked, and instead close the license themselves. This was done with just 3 hours left for the public to submit documents to the CRTC.  

Lastly, the station has been in 6-figure debt for years and years. Why is it only an issue now, today, and not months ago when they filed for renewal?

Dean Graham Thomson, czar of KICK FM, still has a lot to answer for, it seems. To his students. Why should RRC students be denied the opportunities a radio station offers because of their administration's corruption and mishandling of a federal broadcasting license? Why did they feel they could intervene, subvert the role of the station manager (who had turned that station into what it was: successful) and implement their will?

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