Friday, August 29, 2008

Letter of Support from CKUT in Montreal

August 28th, 2008

Dear colleagues in community radio:

This letter has been signed by numerous volunteer and staff members of CKUT 90.3fm in Montreal who are deeply disturbed by the recent events that have changed the programming as well as staff and volunteer make-up of CKLN 88.1fm, one of Toronto's oldest and boldest campus-community radio station. We are writing to support of the work of Kristin Schwartz and the recently banned members of CKLN.

We hope that our experience as a sister-station in the campus-community radio sector can assist you in evaluating some of the concerns that have led most recently to the firing of Kristin.

CKUT Radio in Montreal has been greatly inspired by the work of CKLN's News Department over the last decade. We have collaborated on numerous occasions to produce and share content that amplifies progressive perspectives on critical issues, including regular reports as well as special focus programming around International Women's Day, LGBTQ Pride, and Prisoner Justice Day (all of which Kristin helped to coordinate for years).

Since 2003, CKLN has also collaborated with CKUT, to host the national Homelessness Marathon, a talk radio show that takes place in the middle of winter and is hosted outside from the frozen streets of Montreal. CKLN volunteers have not only contributed airtime to this marathon, but also provided local content in addition to broadcasting the marathon live locally on the streets of Toronto, ensuring that poor people have access to this important national platform. CKUT's news department has also relied on reports from CKLN on numerous issues that provide our listeners the opportunity to hear from Toronto's poor and working people, racialized people, women, queer and trans people, youth, disAbled people, and others who are underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream media.

Kristin and CKLN volunteers have also played a key role in the development of GroundWire, a national news programming currently airing monthly across Canada. Kristin's rich experience in the community news sector has been invaluable to the development of this important vehicle for community news producers across Canada. Her time on the board of the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA) helped to create space for GroundWire to grow. Today, GroundWire is produced collectively by stations across Canada, with more than 30 contributing producers (including some of the banned volunteers of CKLN). One of the goals of GroundWire is to develop news departments across Canada and create space for students, youth and community members to learn about broadcasting to air their news productions nationally. Much of the mandate of GroundWire has been influenced by Kristin's decade of experience at CKLN with its volunteers and listeners.

Finally, the firing of Kristin is a grave violation of her rights as a unionized worker with a 10-year history as a paid-staff person at CKLN. We understand that there are concerns about Kristin's working relationship with the current board of directors and for this reason she was terminated, effective immediately. Kristin is a leader and her history with CKLN should be a vital asset to the current situation at CKLN, not the opposite. Our sector deserves to have committed, experienced people like Kristin who are firmly rooted in the mandate of campus-community radio. We all owe it to ourselves and to our sector to work through whatever problems exist, on the basis of sound information and respect for a person's contributions and rights.

In solidarity,

CKUT's Community News Collective
-Christian and Charlotte, producers of Travel Against Canada
-Evan Light, former NCRA board member
-Tariq Jeeroburkhan, host and producer of the Friday Morning After
-Jaggi Singh, No One Is Illegal Radio
-Beza Seife
-Aaron Lakoff
-Sarah Mangle
-Caitlyn Chappell
-Shayla Chilliak
-David Koch
-Courtney Kirkby
-David Parker
-Anabel Khoo
-Stefan Christoff
-Melody Lotfi
-Laurin Lui
-Noel Thomas
-Charlie O'Connor

CKUT's Steering Committee
-Marc Montanchez, Technical and Production Coordinator
-Gretchen King, Community News and Production Coordinator
-Julie Delorme, Financial Coordinator
-Joanne Penhale, Volunteer Rep
-Andrea-Jane Cornell & Alex Moskos, Music Resources Coordinators
-Charlotte Scott, Spoken Word Coordinator
-Louise Burns, Sales Coordinator

CKUT's Board of Directors
-Dr. Darin Barney
-Allan Youster
-Don Wilkie
-Alexander Deguise
-Lawerence Joseph

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