CFRC celebrates 100 years of radio broadcasting

Community members gather for plaque unveiling

Mayor Bryan Paterson and Principal Patrick Deane were in attendance.

Community members gathered on Oct. 7 outside Carruthers Hall for the plaque unveiling of Kingston’s oldest campus radio station CFRC.

The event celebrated CFRC’s 100-year anniversary. It was hosted by CFRC Station Manager and Executive Director Dinah Jansen, who got her start at the station as an undergraduate student in 2005 with a spoken word program called Women’s Word.

“It’s great to get everybody out here and to celebrate what’s really an extraordinary thing to think of: a 100-year-old radio station originating on this campus among students and faculty,” Principal Patrick Deane said in an interview with The Journal.

Jansen recalled pledging on air in 2007 that if the station funding drive raised $10,000, she would get a CFRC tattoo.

“We raised about $15,000 and I have a CFRC tattoo,” she said at the event. “It was done live and in-person in the JDUC outside the AMS office.”

Others joined Jensen in reminiscing about their involvement with CFRC.

“When I first got into politics, one of the very first media interviews I ever did when I was running for city council was an interview right here at CFRC. I think that I was grilled harder in that interview just about any interview I’ve had since,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said at the event.

Meanwhile, MPP for Kingston and the Thousand Islands Ted Hsu recalled his brother, Bobby Hsu’s, jazz show on CFRC.

CFRC was recognized by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission in 1934.

However, wireless telegraphy began at Queen’s in 1902 by Professor of General Engineering James Lester Willis Gill at a spring convocation. By 1922, faculty and students in the department of electrical engineering had begun experimenting with the new medium of radio.

CFRC volunteers finally achieved full-time broadcasting when its transmitters were relocated from Fleming Hall to its current home off campus in 1990, bringing stereo at 101.9MHz live.

Veteran broadcasters on CFRC, Jim Birch and Wayne Vermet, were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award after 40 consecutive years of broadcasting.

“Although the base technology that supports the station has changed, the actual social function of what the station exists to do hasn’t changed much at all,” Deane said. “It’s one of those things that hold the [Queen’s] community together.”

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