CHLY Radio Quits Globe, Calls Special General Meeting

By Kim Goldberg
January 8, 2014
Last updated January 8, 2014

CHLY-SGM

NANAIMO—Last night, the Board of Directors for Radio CHLY voted unanimously to end the station’s relationship with the Globe Hotel by the end of this month on January 31.

This coming Monday, on January 13, a Special General Meeting of the Radio Malaspina Society will be held at 7:00 pm at the Coast Bastion Inn in downtown Nanaimo where the board will seek approval to borrow money to pay the station’s outstanding bills. All members are encouraged to attend.

The good news for members of Nanaimo’s financially beleaguered campus-community radio station is that the Globe’s owner has agreed to waive the $60,000 penalty for terminating the lease early. Radio CHLY just needs to come up with the rent and other costs it owes or will incur on the building up until January 31—a sum the board estimates to be approximately $15,000.

This information was presented in a report to the board last night by board President Gord Bibby, who had a December 26 meeting with Globe owner Mike Seargeant to discuss the terms of the station’s exit from the lease.

However, apart from the $15,000 required to wind up the station’s operation at the Globe, all other aspects of CHLY operations (which are still housed in the basement of the Queen’s Hotel a few blocks away) have left the station with $35,000 of unpaid bills.

So the station’s total debt is approximately $50,000.

At last night’s board meeting, board members said the station’s extreme indebtedness is due to the previous board and station administration diverting station operating funds to pay the lease on the Globe each month—a case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, as one member in the audience described it.

At CHLY's October 2013 AGM, 200 members packed the Shaw Auditorium to capacity  to cast their ballots ousting the old regime.(Photo © Kim Goldberg, 2013)

At CHLY’s October 2013 AGM, 200 members packed the Shaw Auditorium to capacity to cast their ballots ousting the old regime.(Photo © Kim Goldberg, 2013)

The slipshod state of the station’s financial management came to light last October at the station’s Annual General Meeting when former station treasurer and board member Greg Boulter showed up with no audited financial statement, no auditor, and insufficient documents to assess the station’s current financial situation. Boulter and former Station Manager Jesse Schroeder are no longer affiliated with the station.

The Globe Hotel, located at 25 Front Street in downtown Nanaimo, has been the source of much debate and contention for CHLY members ever since the previous Board of Directors began leasing it last spring.

The station’s plan for the Globe was visionary. It entailed converting the 125-year-old historic landmark into a multi-media production and performance space including live radio broadcasts, live-streaming video, a bar, restaurant, meeting place, and apartments.

Radio CHLY will depart the Globe Hotel on January 31. (Photo © Kim Goldberg)

Radio CHLY will depart the Globe Hotel on January 31. (Photo © Kim Goldberg)

The dream was spectacular. Had it been successful, it could have been a model for grassroots community organizing and community media everywhere—the legacy of the Occupy Movement, seizing control of the means of media production and distribution, and of culture itself.

But the plans and hopes for generating revenue at the Globe were no match for the monthly rent of $8,500 plus building expenses. And the challenge of organizing a team of volunteers nightly to staff the door, serve drinks, and run technical equipment was diverting significant attention and volunteer energy away from the station’s primary mission—namely, running a campus-community radio station and keeping a dynamic mix of locally produced music and spoken-word programs on the air.

The station will continue to broadcast from its long-time studio located in the basement of the Queen’s Hotel on Victoria Crescent.

The seven members of the board of directors who attended last night’s board meeting and voted unanimously to end the station’s relationship with the Globe on January 31 were: Gord Bibby, Nadine Wiepning, Cameron Wigmore, Jesse Woodward, Joani Isberg-Herron, James Booker, and Alex Kalmakov-Wellborn. Board members Mike Preston and Mike McCreight were absent. (A tenth board member elected at last October’s Annual General Meeting quit a few days after being elected. That position has not been filled.)

About Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg is an award-winning poet and journalist and the author of 7 books. Latest titles: UNDETECTABLE (her Hep C journey in haibun), RED ZONE (poems of homelessness) and RIDE BACKWARDS ON DRAGON: a poet's journey through Liuhebafa. She lives in Nanaimo, BC. Contact: goldberg@ncf.ca
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9 Responses to CHLY Radio Quits Globe, Calls Special General Meeting

  1. Kenny Brault says:

    Thanks for covering this and reporting the details (free of editorializing.) Attending the meeting myself You summed up “The dream was spectacular. ” but “the downfall of such an grand vision the challenge of organizing a team of volunteers nightly to staff the door, serve drinks, and run technical equipment was diverting significant attention and volunteer energy away from the station’s primary mission—namely, running a campus-community radio station and keeping a dynamic mix of locally produced music and spoken-word programs on the air.” That was the concern / warning that was voiced by the few dissenters , to the previous board and management at the April 2013 SGM to vote in favour yes / no for the lease of the globe. It was a great idea but this Communuity campus radio society is NOT the one to pull it off.

  2. Joy Lacey says:

    good reporting Kim

  3. james says:

    thanks kim.. your article is informative and paints a good overview.

  4. Joani Isberg-Herron says:

    Last night (January 13, 2014) there was a Special General Meeting of the Radio Malaspina Society to present the membership with a resolution. There was unanimous agreement on the vote to accept the following: “Be it resolved that the directors of Radio Malaspina Society be authorized to borrow up to $50,000 for the refinancing various debts and expenses previously incurred by the Society and to cover operating shortfalls until the end of the fiscal year 2014.” As I mentioned at the meeting, the SGM came as a result of people stepping forward to help this organization get out of the corner it had been painted into by the former board and staff which has led us to the brink of insolvency. Although loans have been taken out on behalf of the RMS unlawfully in the past, I brought forward my understanding of the constitution and Society act at a meeting where we were discussing the possibility of accepting these small and/or large loans and the belief that they needed to be approved by the membership through this process…no matter how small the loan might be. In ratifying this motion, the membership also ‘put to rights’ the loans that have already been negotiated by the former administration as well as allowing us to cover off the immediate bills that, if left unpaid, would have led to the folding of the RMS and thus the end of CHLY . Thanks to everyone who came out to find out the facts and who, I hope, will help to put any rumors or misconceptions to rest in explaining the situation to others who couldn’t be there last night.

  5. Jim Taylor says:

    Were there any terms or conditions tied to the approval of the $50,000 loan, and does it require personal guarantees? Is there a list available of how the $50,000 will be expended?

    • Kim Goldberg says:

      I don’t know the answer to any of those good questions, Jim, as I was personally unable to attend the Monday night Special General Meeting. And I have not seen those details posted.

    • Gord Bibby says:

      Having just caught up on this exchange, I can advise that no personal guarantees are in place for any existing loans or likely any future ones. Currently a $20,000 loan has been secured from a CHLY supporter and no further loans will be sought until a review is done in April to gauge the Society’s cash flow. The $20,000 will allow orderly payback of overdue accounts payables and other outstanding loans. A new budget has been drawn up which is forecasting income to be generated from ad sales, fund raising and student contributions. It is hoped the Society will be back in the black within the year.

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