Dear Mr. Thomson,
With regards to the post on KICK's website regarding the station's governance:
As an avid listener to the station, I can say that there was nothing wrong with the station's governance. The station management has done an excellent job in providing a platform for eclectic and interesting student run programming.
"The Great Canadian Talk Show" provided local news, sports and discussion on a wide range of local politics and affairs that no other station in Winnipeg provided. From a listeners standpoint there seemed to be a lot of student involvement on the both the technical and reporting side. Mr. Gold actively sought student participation on the phone lines and there were also episodes where students challenged him in discussion. No one could ever confuse this show with commercial radio (and that is meant a compliment). "The Great Canadian Talk Show" and KICK fm provided the best election coverage on the radio dial. This is a great way to get future broadcasters prepared to enter the real world.
The interviews were alway top notch and with candidates and politicians of all political stripes participating and returning. If they were offended or upset then they never let on either on the show or on other media. Mr. Gold treated all his guests with respect and allowed them to air their views as well as engaging the community at large. The entire GCTS team had a well researched show where the listener was encouraged to their own research.
The show also provided a platform for groups as diverse as McDonald Youth Services and Canadian Blood Services to let the listener know what was going on with their efforts. This was valuable community service.
Judging from the shows many sponsors, it seems that the community agreed. The focus on local sports and personalites was welcome as well.
In the post on the website it is stated that the station would like to re-focus on the role as an instructional resource.
That is a great goal but it has already been accomplished some time ago. I was listening last Monday when the Cre-Comm students were running the show and thought they did a great job. Other shows like the morning programming have always seem to be run by students as well as a good portion of the evening programming, and weekend programming. During the day students do news and sports updates. The station has been a training ground for as long as I've been listening.
That being said, KICK FM is also on the public airwaves. You can receive this station from St. Norbert to almost as far as Selkirk. Just by being there then KICK is competing with commercial radio. That means there are listeners and that means criticism. KICK FM is not playing in a sandbox by itself. From the post on KICK's website, listener concerns are not valid. I disagree. How can RRCC be training students for the real world using a real transmitter broadcasting for a nearly 30 mile radius with a potential audience of nearly 700 000 people (and how many millions more by streaming audio) and say listeners do not matter. How are these students going to know what they are doing right or what they are doing wrong? Having a radio transmitter and internet stream is a responsibility and listeners come as part of the package.

On KICK I can hear radio like no other, music by local artists, points of view by local young broadcasters. Even the programs I don't like have a place on KICK, if the purpose is training, but then they also have to be able to take criticism and be aware of their responsibility to the listening public.

If the popularity of GCTS is anything to go by then the students were doing everything right and on commercial radio you would never pull a popular program that had real sponsors and real listening audience. A program that got to speak with a good portion of city council, the mayor, mayoral candidates, politicians on all sides, MPI spokespeople and that was just the surface. How could students not learn from this?
I am also a Red River College alumni (Med Lab 1996) and valued the time there. Our program offered hands on experience in a real high volume hospital lab where what we did mattered to peoples lives. If that responsibility is too much for the Cre-Comm program then let the students play in the sandbox and give the frequency to a broadcaster (commercial or community) that can handle it.
In the post on the website the focus is to be on student programming. Yesterday in the 4pm slot I listened to part of something called "Bad Buddha Radio". I hope that the trend of KICK FM is not to replace local programming with canned American podcasts of quasi religous satire where apparently all issues are solved by "dealing with them".
Will I stop listening to KICK? To be honest, I enjoy the music during the day (more Winnipeg content than anyone else!) , I like the local programs that focus on local artists like "Beer for Breakfast" and "Homespun". I like to support the home team when I can.
Like any other consumer in the market, I'll keep using the product until it no longer serves my need. But without listeners, what point is there to the station?
John H.