April 15, 2011 was the day the music died. At 6:45 pm, without any warning, CKLN 88.1 fm was taken off the air, ending 28 years of community radio programming–five and a half for yours truly. I’ve been involved with the station for about as long as I’ve been living in Toronto, and this marks the end of a long, strange relationship, one that’s had its share of ups and downs, particularly within the last two years. In fact, this is the third time I’ve had to contemplate the end of my radio career since 2009–but this time ought to be the last.
I should mention that the station continues to broadcast online, and will do so for the foreseeable future (which might not be too long). And while I’m pretty convinced that I’m walking away, I’ve got some unfinished business to attend to first. Tonite is the 100th episode of Smokin’ Green, est. 2008, RIP 2011. After some potential guest spots fell through (not having a radio frequency will do that), I’ve decided to revisit Episode Number One, a “Where Are They Now?” of sorts with the bands who played that fabulous disaster of a music festival, the Sunday Stoner Rock Spectacular, 4/20/08.
After that, I’ll be sailing off into the sunset, I suppose. I just don’t think I can conjure up much of an audience for an online-only radio show airing from 1 to 3 am on a Saturday nite. I mean, who’s sitting in front of a computer at that hour, anyways? (Show of hands, please.) I’ve done online radio in a couple of different eras and different formats, and I’ve found that it’s always a challenge to get people tuning in, especially if you’re doing something a little bit different. Whereas traditional radio has a finite amount of space on the dial, on the web, the options are limitless (unless you’re one of those who believe the internet’s run outta space). There’s also the issue of bandwidth. Though it probably wouldn’t be a problem for my program, some of the more popular shows on CKLN might find that the station’s website can’t accommodate even their reduced listenership. I have no idea what their limit is for live streaming listeners, but I’m guessing it’s significantly lower than the number of people in Toronto who own a radio and vote NDP.
I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of online radio, mind you. But if I’m gonna be broadcasting online, I’d rather do it on an all-metal station where I’m not going on after pre-recorded dance music or country/bluegrass (been there, done that). An earlier timeslot would be nice, too. For practical reasons, most metal on the FM dial airs after midnite, since the CRTC doesn’t monitor any stations between the hours of 12 and 6 am. The day the CRTC starts regulating the music played on the internet will lead to a big breakthrough for the Pirate Party of Canada, I’m sure. Not saying it won’t happen, let’s just hope it won’t be anytime soon.
Anyways, I’m assuming that this evening’s online broadcast will be the exception, not the rule for yours truly. If CIUT or another community station comes calling, I’d pick up the phone, but otherwise, that’s all she wrote. Gone are the days of italic type at the end of these blog posts, I’m afraid.
That being said…
Be sure to tune in to Smokin’ Green tonite as we revisit some of Toronto’s biggest names in stoner rock, circa 2008. You’ll also wanna stick around to hear the Last Ever Song in Smokin’ Green History. (The title of this posting should give you a hint.) The only way to listen is to click on your preferred streaming option at http://ckln.fm/multimedia–the live player at the top of the page does NOT work.