Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Did Red River College Kill Free Speech?!

Apparently Red River College killed free speech today; at least that's what now-unemployed talk-radio host Marty Gold and his fans are saying.

In an unexpected turn of events, Gold's soap box -- The Great Canadian Talk Show -- was pulled from the airwaves today. Red River College's radio station, 92.9 KICK FM, will no longer host the afternoon show.

The circumstances of Gold's departure are still unclear, but he and his team have already taken to Facebook and the show's blog to "protest the censorship" that they feel is taking place.

"...two Red River College employees and two commercial radio general managers who are on the executive committee of Kick FM, made a decision without any involvement of anyone else on the Board, excluding student and community representatives from the process.

- They claim the station needs to focus on "student outcomes" and
want to exclude all volunteer radio programs (like the recently elevated to CFRW Illegal Curve Hockey show, Beer for Breakfast and Breaking and Entering on Saturdays, and The Winnipeg Free Press’s Stop The Presses) and on the job training. No fewer than 7 students and volunteers trained on TGCTS went on to garner professional jobs as a result of that training in journalism and technical operations. Many others started their own radio programs."

I can understand that Gold is upset, but it is important to point out that 92.9 KICK FM is a non-profit teaching facility. Students, like myself, pay good money to learn how to use the radio equipment and gain on-air experience. I don't think anybody can argue that "focusing on student outcomes" isn't a valid reason to cancel Gold's show.

Gold argues that seven people have landed industry jobs by working for the Great Canadian Talk Show. However, the counter to that statement can be that many current students prefer to gain radio experience by having their own radio shows. -- I know I would prefer to have my own radio show than op for Marty...

Either way. I'm glad the board of directors have decided to "focus on student outcomes." Even if it meant that some people are not happy with the decision that was made, I think this entire situation is a damn good indication that my best interests (as a CreComm student) are being served.

Good luck in the future Marty...


  1. If you'd prefer to have your own show, then why don't you ask for one?

    Rick Baverstock
    Station Manager

  2. Shells, at least four of us second-years have asked for their own shows and gotten them very quickly, and at least three groups of first-years have done the same. In any event, if they're going to cancel anyone's show, why would it be the one belonging to the station's most popular host? And even if you don't like Marty, do the ends justify the means? Absolutely not; neither Marty nor Rick was informed about the decision until it was made.

  3. As far as I am concerned it only makes sense to have students do most, if not all of the functions of a campus radio station.

    I am not a student of RRC and have never heard the show in question but if it was hosted by a non-student, then it was the correct decision to open up that opportunity for someone who could get use of the training. It just makes sense.

    I think Shelley would have an interesting show.

  4. As much as I understand the fact that Kick is a student station, Marty did everything he could to promote student's shows.

    He would have them on air during his show to talk about what was coming up, or if the host wasn't available, he'd at least mention their show was on the agenda that evening. I'm a former show host at Kick and found Marty very helpful and willing to give advice, as well as give every opportunity to advertise my show.

    I agree with Rick's comment that all students have to do is ask for a show. Kick does everything it can to get students on the air. However, there are some students that don't want a show, and want to board op instead. There are some that start with student shows, but a lot of students learned through Marty. Having an experienced host that can handle any minor glitches (sometimes stemming from the board operator training), helps the "trainee" gain confidence that a little mistake won't ruin the show, and doesn't have to be a big deal.

    The last thing I'll say is that focusing on student outcomes isn't always the best way. So what if only seven students got jobs directly from Marty's show? With the communications industry the way it is, students in Red River's Creative Communications program are taught to be strong in many different areas of the industry. Some students may have a real interest in radio broadcast production, but because of the lack of jobs, may move on to something in a different field, like public relations.

    I think the impact of Marty leaving will be felt soon enough. Perhaps not right away, but it will have an impact.

  5. I just want to add my two cents here as well. In order to have your own show, you need someone to operate the sound board for you, or you need to know how to do it yourself. Only students who've been trained in the studio to use our sound board can do the technical stuff for their own shows.

    Marty's show gave me the training to host my own show last year. He didn't mind that I left his show for my own - he felt that he was there to be a stepping-stone for students.