Students tuning out CFRC

Last week’s fall referendum saw all proposals passed except one—the increase of CFRC’s mandatory fee from $3.75 to $6.50. CFRC is Canada’s oldest continuously broadcasting station but its funding is low compared to the $10 national average for campus stations, says AMS Media Services Director Gillian Wheatley. CFRC’s budget took a hit two years ago when it became an AMS service and lost the University’s annual grant of $48,000.

CFRC is budgeted to post a $25,000 loss this year, although a repeat of their annual funding drive—which raked in $16,000 last year—may help.

Since its inaugural broadcast in 1923, CFRC has been a valuable institution linking the Queen’s and Kingston communities—one of few filling that role. It’s disheartening to see such a creative aspect of campus goings-on be effectively written off by its stakeholders. The responsibility for preserving CFRC falls to us as students, and the referendum’s results are a sad indication of where so many of our priorities lie.

The root cause of this apathy could be a number of things—it’s possible CFRC didn’t do enough to promote the station in the weeks leading up to the referendum. If students don’t know what the station does or that it even exists, they have no inclination to voice their support by marking off the “yes” box. At the same time, the station’s tight budget creates a cyclical effect because they lack the money to launch a campaign that would win them the financial support they need.

CFRC’s technological efforts—including internet archives and downloadable podcasts—are definitely steps in the right direction and will help to expand their audience. For those who feel all they’ve ever heard is alt/indie rock, archives and podcasts of the station’s diverse programming will revitalize the stations’s content and will strengthen its presence on and off campus.

If CRFC wants to garner increased support—and funding—from students, they need not just to be heard, but seen. Playing the channel in the QP or Common Ground would undoubtedly get people listening. But attempting to promote and educate students on CFRC only when advocating a fee increase isn’t going to excite anyone. CFRC needs to market itself if the Queen’s community is going to realize what they’re tuning out on.

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