There were signs of life at CKLB offices yesterday in Yellowknife, where a pipe steamer thawed frozen sewage pipes and some staff were in their offices.
But the radio director says he doesn't know when the station will start broadcasting local programming again, despite receiving over $550,000 in funding since an August shutdown, including $102,500 from the territorial government.
Since the station shut down, the Native Communications Society, which runs CKLB, has received $464,000 in federal funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. It's also received $102,500 from the Government of the Northwest Territories' Department of Education, Culture and Employment.
According to Canadian Heritage, the Native Communications Society committed to broadcasting 59 hours of original content per week, including 37 and a half hours of aboriginal language programming. The department says funding can be taken back when recipients don't deliver on their commitments.
ECE says under its contribution agreement with ECE, the Native Communications Society agreed to "...continue to improve communication, awareness of cultures and aspirations of aboriginal people in the N.W.T., produce radio and television programs that strengthen and revitalize Aboriginal cultures and languages through communications technology, and provide daily Aboriginal language and cultural content using radio broadcasting."
CKLB has broadcast no aboriginal language programming for the past five months, with the only local programming on the station a weekly show that's part of a government campaign to help young people avoid drugs and alcohol. Instead, it broadcasts pre–programmed country music and ads from the South.
The CBC attempted to speak with CKLB and the Native Communications Society, but Les Carpenter, CEO of the station, declined comment, saying he doesn't like the stories CBC has done on CKLB in the past.
J.C. Catholique, Chair of the Native Communications Society, says he may comment after getting more information at a board meeting next month.
Dates CKLB received core funding from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage (CH) and the N.W.T. Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE):
*Does not include advertising revenue, other federal and territorial funding, donations, and funding from aboriginal organizations
Source: Canadian Heritage; Education, Culture and Employment
ECE also provided apprenticeship training valued at approximately $50,000 in 2013/14.