By Natalie Pressman
Campus to Community Connection
Video may have killed the radio star, but a community like the one Carleton University’s CKCU radio station has built is unwavering.
CKCU has been a cornerstone of the community since it first hit the airwaves with Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” in 1975. As one of Canada’s first station’s with a campus community license, CKCU welcomes all Ottawa residents to not only tune in and listen, but also to participate by sharing their voice from the other end of the speaker.
“It’s a place where people bring their great passions,” says CKCU station manager Matthew Crosier. He says that being both a campus and community radio station creates a platform for plurality and diversity in content.
“Even in a world that is clearly now dominated by digital communication, to my knowledge there are no other places that have 200 different voices or more on a weekly basis. I think having so many different voices with so many different ideas and opinions in one spot is invaluable.”
Creating an Inclusive Volunteer Environment
As a station run almost entirely by volunteers, CKCU encourages community members to be creative and grow their skillsets while exploring new ideas. CKCU’s longest running show “An Indian Morning” began in November 1975, making it as old as the station itself. The average show, however, lasts about a year, due in part to the fact that many are run by students.
There are no qualifiers or barriers to entry in becoming a CKCU volunteer. The station runs volunteer training sessions several times a month where students or community members can learn about production and programming roles.
Jeff Pelletier became a CKCU host after joining a friend on air as a guest. “I had such a fun time on the show that I was invited back again. It then got to a point where I was less of a guest and more of a co-host,” Pelletier says.
While Pelletier never initially saw himself in radio, he says he has benefitted from the experience and gained skills to use both in and outside the studio.
“You get to learn a lot, you get to try cool things that really no other club or place on campus offers and you could possibly have your voice heard by people all around the world who decide to tune in.”
Over the years, thousands of people have had hands-on training from CKCU, which relies on its volunteers. That means that if you are interested in hosting, programming, producing, script writing, DJing events, managing social media or even just sorting CDs and records, there is an opportunity for you to find your place at CKCU.