CKIA, the survivor of the community radios

Photo: CKIA
If CKIA is going rather well at this time, nothing is ever taken for granted, especially not its funding, says the director general of the radio channel.

While community radio in montreal CIBL has laid off all its employees due to financial difficulties, the similar situation experienced in 2010 by the station CKIA, Quebec city, resurfaced. Return to the case of a station that has survived.

The winter of 2010 proved to be dark for the community radio station of Quebec, CKIA, installed in to 88.3 FM. Struggling with an accumulated debt of some 120 000 $ and which is in arrears in the payment of his rent from the complex Jellyfish : there was danger in delay. What had forced the station to lay off six employees and create a committee of survival.


“It is midnight minus one “, said at the time the chairman of the board of directors of CKIA, Bryan St-Louis, who had previously been an employee of the station.


The song resonates in harmony with that which is played unfortunately at this time at 101.5 FM. As CIBL, CKIA “is an urban radio has experienced difficulties, which has made the choice of not having any employee,” says the president of the Association des radios communautaires du Québec, Tanya Beaumont.


CKIA is raised, but it has passed four years without the employees, the time to repay debts, relocate and restore its financial health.


“Everything was here at the same time, remembers Mr. St-Louis, who is still chairman of the board of CKIA. It was not enormous sums, but when your only recurrent funding is the one of the ministry… We could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. It took work to plan very, very reduced for several years to be able to get out of it. “


Mr. St-Louis, with a small team, has managed the crisis for many months, in the evenings and on the weekends.


He believes that the layoff of employees was a good choice ? “It is never a good move. When there are no employees, there is a person who works on it full-time, who has a fine knowledge of records. It is we who signature checks, it is we who buy the toilet paper, we negotiated the move… We made it because we had no choice. “


One of the principles that have framed the revival of CKIA, says Bryan St-Louis, it was not ” leave too soon “. “It was well done the reboot, not to remain perpetually in crisis. We would have been able to re-engage people more quickly, but it would have given the radio that we wanted to do ? It may not be. “




Things are going much better today. CKIA today five active employees. Only the issuance Quebec, wake up ! broadcast every morning of the week, has a team paid.


The first to be hired officially in 2014, is the current director-general, Lorinne Larouche.


“I went in there a little naively, and perhaps it is this which has meant that I have had the pleasure ! she laughs. Everything was open, everything was possible, and the station, its mission, its values, I joined. “


Mrs. Larouche is defined more as a manager than as a beast of a radio. It is this that CKIA had need to raise, she said. “As long as it will not be well-organized, the rest will never. “


The other approach which has been expensive has been to bring CKIA to its core business : the radio, and not the production of performances, or organizing various activities. “We go back to the essence of what we are, that is to say, a community radio station. This was my line of thinking. “




If CKIA is going rather well at this time, nothing is ever taken for granted, especially not its funding, says Ms. Larouche. She deplores the fact that the subsidies are often per project, and for a year.


“The governments are in a logic where we don’t want that agencies are dependent on the udder of the state, if I may allow myself the expression. […] I appreciate the fact that we can go to collect $ 50,000 for a project, but the year after that, I have to pull the plogue on the project because I can’t [refinance]. It requires us to be constantly in motion, and the radio is a medium that is usual, and therefore it was hard to earn the loyalty of our audiences. “