Word came out today that Canadian campus radio station KICK-FM (CKIC-FM) has heard from the regulatory agency Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that it is in danger of losing its FM license if it continues to provide radio training to students.
The Winnipeg-based station is located at Red River College and is owned by the non-profit Cre-Comm Radio Inc. The rumor is that this signals a bigger move by the CRTC in which they will be moving all instructional campus radio stations off of terrestrial radio. According to KICK-FM, “Even though the policy suggests the CRTC encourages Instructional Campus stations to continue using their stations to teach, it was made perfectly clear to us today that that is no longer the case. We were told that if we intend to train students, our current license, which expires Dec. 31, will NOT be renewed.” A post on KICK-FM’s Facebook page today stated:
“…today the CRTC informed KICK-FM that, under the new campus radio policy, we will no longer be allowed to train students for a career in radio. As you may know, our raison d’etre is training students from Red River College’s Creative Communications program.
So, what does this mean? It is doubtful that RRC will want to continue funding a radio station that does not work within its educational department. Therefore, it seems unlikely at this point in time that KICK-FM will remain on-air.
There is a possibility of moving the educational radio station to an internet-only feed. We will keep you posted.
It must be stressed here how disappointing this news is to us. I’m sure those students who are keen on pursuing a radio career with our assistance, and those in the local music community who we’ve steadfastly supported for the past 8 years, will share in our disappointment.”
KICK-FM added that, “the new policy is for the station to offer access only to community volunteers. RRC funds the station, but only does so because we help train students.” This is apparently related to CRTC’s revised campus radio station policy, which was released in 2010. The policy doesn’t explicitly require campus instructional stations to go off-air, so this news today is surprising. Based on my reading of the rules it would seem that KICK-FM should be able to request a change in its license status to a campus-based community station. Here are the relevant sections of the revised CRTC policy on campus stations:
“The Commission notes that there are currently only a few undertakings licensed as campus instructional stations. They are distinct within the campus and community radio sector as they operate with close ties to the administration of their respective post-secondary institutions and are often used as tools to attract students.
The Commission has not licensed a new instructional station since 2007. The Commission further notes that instructional stations are meant to train future commercial broadcasters. In the Commission’s view, such training could just as easily be provided through closed-circuit, carrier current or Internet-based broadcasting using much of the same studio equipment. Broadcasting schools that do not currently have a licensed station could therefore offer such training.
As a result, the Commission considers that it is not necessary to maintain a distinction between campus instructional and community-based campus stations. The Commission will not licence campus instructional stations in the future and will instead licence all such stations as campus stations in accordance with this policy.
All campus radio stations provide training to volunteers. The Commission notes the specific role that stations currently licensed as campus instructional play in training broadcasters who will work for commercial radio stations. The Commission encourages these stations to pursue this goal within the new campus station framework, or through alternative means of broadcasting (e.g. the Internet, closed circuit or carrier current).
At their next licence renewal, existing campus instructional stations will have the opportunity to request conditions of licence specific to their circumstances within the campus radio licensing structure.”
At Red River College, students in the Creative Communications program have had access to coursework in broadcasting, which has been augmented by the ability to work at campus radio station KICK-FM.