Campus radio station looks to leave AMS

CFRC in discussions to secede from student government before the station’s licence renewal in 2014

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The campus radio station is looking to break from the AMS.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the AMS and CFRC’s licence holder Radio Queen’s University is in the works.

If passed, CFRC will no longer be affiliated with the AMS in 2014. The MOU was brought up at Tuesday’s AMS Corporate General Meeting.

Currently, 40 per cent of CFRC’s revenue comes from a $4.93 mandatory student fee. Sixty per cent comes from non-AMS sources including grants while an additional 10 per cent is provided by the AMS in the form of deficit coverage.

CFRC is currently budgeted to run a $10,000 deficit, which is covered by the AMS.

Once CFRC is autonomous, it won’t receive this coverage however, talks are ongoing as to whether CFRC will still receive a student fee after leaving the AMS.

“There will be some transition period where there will be coverage of that deficit just to ensure that we’re not sending the service out in the cold,” Mitch Piper, chair of AMS Board of Directors, said. “It will give them time to adjust [while] the Board of Directors gets the ball rolling in trying to search out other sources of funding for the station, like advertising.”

Piper, ArtSci ’11, said the radio station will be granted full autonomy from the AMS by the station’s next licence renewal in 2014 if the MOU is signed.

Piper added that this will likely be done by the end of April. “The primary reason is a new [Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC)] requirement of ownership of management which does not allow those to be held by AMS,” Piper said at the meeting. “We need to work with CFRC advisory board to create a MOU that will outline the process of moving forward.”

Since its inception in 1922, CFRC has operated through the University and the AMS.

The decision to grant full autonomy to CFRC came after the CRTC passed legislation in 2010 that mandates all campus-community radio stations operate their finances and management independently.

“Primarily it’s a legal thing,” Piper told the Journal. “It’s important to make sure we’re following the laws and from the perspectives of the Board of Directors to [avoid] any risks.”

In October last year, Piper wrote a letter to CFRC representatives stating that CFRC would undergo a management restructure that would exclude non-students from applying for management positions.

On March 1, this plan was abandoned by the Board of Directors in favour of further discussions. Piper said the AMS acknowledges the original plan could have been detrimental to both the station and the AMS.

“The AMS recognizes … that sometimes we can’t do everything, we can’t be the best at everything, so to support those things sometimes you have to say we can’t control [them],” he said. “We hope for sure that CFRC gets another 90 years on campus and this will allow them to do that.”

According to Kristiana Clemens, CFRC’s operational officer, the MOU is still in discussion between CFRC representatives and the AMS.

“AMS reps and CFRC reps are meeting together to make a lot of lists and sharing a lot of research and documentation on trying to figure out what needs to be incorporated in this agreement,” she said.

Clemens said the station’s main goal for the MOU is to find an alternative to the deficit coverage currently provided by the AMS.

She added that this will most likely happen by increasing CFRC’s mandatory student fee.

“If we wanted to eliminate the deficit we need to get another small increase in the [student] fee,” she said.

She said the station is still determining what the fee increase will be.

“If we can get one penny for every year we’ve existed, that will be enough to stabilize our deficit,” she said. “The last time we increased our fee it was by $1.02, and if we increase by that much again it will put us in shape. At the high end is a fee that matches the fee that is received by the Journal.”

The Journal receives an annual mandatory student fee of $6.76.

The decision to raise the CFRC mandatory student fee will be voted on at the March 2013 Annual General Meeting.

Clemens said CFRC representatives are looking at other financially autonomous organizations on campus and other campus-community radio stations as models.

“Almost every other station in the campus community sector in Canada is independent of the student government and from that perspective we can look to those stations and model our independence,” she said. “Here at the University we are looking at organizations which operate independently from the AMS which receive student fees like the Union Gallery and the campus bookstore.”

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