Thursday, June 19, 2008

Press Release: Volunteers Locked Out of CKLN Without Explanation

Dismissed Staff Members Disregarding Democratic Process

TORONTO, ON, May 8, 2008 --- At least a dozen CKLN volunteer programmers received letters from Mike Phillips this week, discharging them from the station.

“Please be advised that your volunteer services at CKLN Radio Inc are no longer required
[sic] effective immediately,” read the form letter. Phillips gave no explanation in the letter.

When longtime CKLN volunteer Verlia Stephens went to the studio Wednesday morning, she was escorted out by Ryerson security. Stephens hosts Limin’ in De African Diaspora every Wednesday from 11 AM to 2 PM. Stephens says Tony Barnes responded, “It is complicated,” when asked why security was booting her out and how the appeal process works. “The security guards were really uncomfortable because they knew I had every right to ask,” says Stephens.

Barnes, the former interim program director, along with former interim station manager Phillips, and former board members Josie Miner, Doug Barrett and Heather Morgan were dismissed by a membership vote on February 23, 2008. Over 140 community, volunteer and student members attended the emergency meeting in February. More than 90 per cent voted to dismiss the interim station manager and interim program director and impeach the non-student members of the board.

More recently, Morgan tendered her resignation. The other members in question, will not, however, recognize the vote. They refuse to step down from their positions. Phillips and Barnes continue to control CKLN radio station and its funds illegally.

Other volunteers who are being shut out include: Omme Rahemtullah (Saturday Morning Live), David Barnard (Lowdown to Uptown), Sharron Mcleod (Dat Dere), Chloe Onari (Dat Dere), Dale Whitmore (Word of Mouth), Don Weitz (Anti-Psychiatry Radio), Susy Alvarez (Word of Mouth), Usheak Koroma (Word of Mouth and Sounds of Africa), Heather Douglas (Frameline), Farid Omar (Saturday Morning Live), Barbara Goslawski (Frameline), Carmelle Wolfson (Radio Cliteracy), Claudia McKoy (Upsurgence), and Black Krishna (Rude Awakening).

More volunteers are expecting letters in their inbox later this week. Phillips has also told members that if they did not sign the new volunteer contract within the one-week period given them, their access cards to the station would be de-activated. Many of those who received letters have signed this contract.

Phillips called a volunteer meeting last Tuesday to hold annual elections. Volunteer Usheak Koroma took over chairing duties after Phillips would not recognize the flood of comments from the floor. Elections were held. Heather Douglas and Ron Nelson (Reggaemania) were elected the new volunteer representatives and former station manager Conrad Collaco was elected to the former core staff post.

A committee of volunteers organized elections last Saturday, May 3 to vote in new community representatives. Community members voted unanimously to elect Arnold Minors and Geoffery MacDonald to the two posts.

Phillips and Barnes say they will not recognize the newly elected board members.