92.9 KICK-FM, (more formally known as CKIC-FM), operating under the aegis of Red River College, pulled the plug on itself at 4 p.m. Wednesday rather than submit to the further scrutiny of the CRTC in a licence renewal process.
That silence is the bitter legacy of Winnipeg Free Press editor Margo Goodhand, whose interference in the running of KICK-FM led directly to the demise of the station which had been on the air almost 10 years.
It was only a couple of weeks ago when Margo Goodhand made the surprise announcement that she was resigning as of the end of July. She was, she said, leaving her sweet post for parts unknown after five years at the helm.
However she managed to stay around just long enough to see the irreparable damage that she caused to the radio station, to the reputation of the college, and, worst of all, to the integrity of the journalism course it offers.
The day of her resignation, newspaper publisher Bob Cox dutifully trotted out the expected accolades.
"Under her guidance the Free Press was recognized repeatedly for its quality journalism and was named the best news organization in the country."
How hollow those words sound over the grave of KICK-FM.
In the midst of the 2010 civic election, Goodhand secretly contacted Stephanie Forsyth, the president of Red River College. Acting under the mistaken assumption that KICK-FM was a college-run station, Goodhand made her agenda clear.
The Winnipeg Free Press could take criticism; it was all for free speech, but....(There's always a 'but'.) But she wanted Forsyth to kill The Great Canadian Talk Show, one of the radio station's most popular programs which was currently grinding the FP into pulp daily for their pathetic election coverage.
Goodhand oozed contempt for the host, Marty Gold, then dropped the hint that, er, the Free Press had contacted a lawyer about a defamation suit.
In journalistic circles, they have a name for that sort of hint.
That 'someone' hopped to do Goodhand's bidding. Two weeks later TGCTS was cancelled without warning.
But....not so fast.
It turned out that radio host Marty Gold was a much better journalism teacher than Goodhand or her sister-in-arms Stephanie Forsyth imagined.
Gold filed a freedom-of-information request to see the record of why his show was cancelled so suddenly.
When the National Post called Margo Goodhand for a comment on the furor over the cancellation of TGCTS, she did what you would expect the editor of a respected newspaper would do. She lied through her teeth.
What talk show? Never listened. Gold? Who? Not me. Nothing to do with it. You got the wrong number.
What she didn't know was that the pile of emails contained the trail of bloody fingerprints from her to the body.
Deb to Graham. "Stephanie has received a complaint from the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, Margo Goodhand..." Deb Pokrant (Forsyth's secretary.)
Graham to Deb. "To cut to the chase, I don't think the college has the technical ability to remove him from the air, the station is a separate entity. However I think this could be done without too much trouble, either through a chat with Rick (the station manager...ed) or more formally through a board directive." Graham Thompson, Dean of Business
Deb to Graham. "By the way, KICK-FM has a board of directors and Cathy is currently on the Board." Deb
Cathy was Cathy Rushton, Vice President in charge of Finance.
But the citizen journalists did.
They started by going to Red River College and asking pointed questions about how and why TGCTS was cancelled.
He had a new excuse for why the show was cancelled every day.
Unfortunately, the complaints had to go to Stephanie Forsyth, who wasn't about to entertain complaints against her own decisions. So she did nothing.
But while the cabal of Margo Goodhand, Stephanie Forsythe and Erin Selby thought their stonewall tactics had worked, they hadn't counted on the ingenuity of those citizen journalists.
This mystery committee was operating in defiance of the radio station's own Bylaws governing the creation of committees. And certainly in defiance of CRTC regulations.
The various executives of the radio station and the College suddenly became extremely reluctant to discuss the "executive committee."
But they couldn't blow off the CRTC which began asking its own questions about the executive committee during the summer licence renewal process. KICK-FM informed the CRTC that all the records about this mystery committee had, ahem, been "lost."
They must have done a lot of squirming in the hope the CRTC would buy that whopper.
The board of KICK-FM finally decided that they didn't want anyone asking any more questions about the executive committee, and how it spent taxpayers money without any records, and how it made decisions without any minutes being kept, and exactly who attended their secret, impromptu meetings.
Now, remember, Graham Thompson at one point insisted that the decision to kill TGCTS was made to give students experience of being on air during prime time (the drive-by slot). Now the students won't be on air at all.
-- Margo Goodhand started out to shut down a radio talk show. Her interference wound up shutting down the whole radio station.
-- The Dean of Business at Red River College demonstrated he couldn't operate a successful radio business.
-- The President of Red River College interfered in the programming of an affiliated but allegedly independent radio station and managed to lose the station's broadcast licence , the college on the hook for over a quarter of a million dollars and the college journalism program offering radio training but without a radio station to train at.
-- The head of the journalism program has to defend a course that charges the same tuition but substitutes practice on a college-run internet feed (the modern-day equivalent of a p.a. in the cafeteria) for a real radio station broadcast into the community.
That's some legacy that Margo Goodhand is leaving in her wake.
She would much rather you remember her for helping start the Community News Commons , an ambitious project to train citizen journalists at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe.
We wonder ... will they use Margo Goodhand's attack on citizen journalism in Winnipeg, attempt to kill free speech through libel chill, destruction of a radio station training student journalists, and web of lies and coverup as Lesson No.1?