By Brad Fougere
Next fall the college radio station may be a 24/7/365 operation.
Algonquin’s radio broadcast program has applied to operate under a community radio license for their FM station at 107.9 CKDJ.
Program coordinator Dan Pihlainen is excited about the change.
“We’ll be filling a real niche in the marketplace, like we have been, but, at least now whenever you tune to the station you’ll be able to hear Ottawa’s New Music,” said Pihlainen.
The change in the license would demand a few changes from the current operations.
“We’ll still have volunteers who will be running the station but we’ll have a couple of paid staff that will be able to coordinate us, making sure that we have enough spoken word content,” said Pihlainen
About $20,000 has been earmarked to create the positions necessary to facilitate changes. The spoken word coordinators will work during the break in December and from April to September to ensure there is content sufficient to fulfill the license agreement, according to Pihlainen.
Second-year radio broadcast student Shaugn Best said the hope in applying is that very little will change for the program.
“I don’t really see any changes, I think it will continue running the way it has for years and years,” said Best, who holds a special projects position in the class this year. “It’s going to remain mostly in-house, from what I’ve understood.”
Best researched CRTC applications in the position trying to get ahead of any interventions that could be made during the application procedure.
National Campus Radio Association Executive Director Shelley Robinson is pleased with the decision by Algonquin.
“CKDJ and other campus instructional stations understand the value of having an FM signal license,” said Robinson who met with Pihlainen early in the summer to discuss the application.
“It could have been a scary thing for CKDJ to change everything from governance to programming,” said Robinson whose organization provides support to the nation’s community radio stations on and off campuses.
With the application complete, NCRA’s regulatory affairs director pored over the contents, sent back a few changes and the application was submitted for the Nov. 8 deadline. Robinson said the CRTC process could involve a request for information or clarification before the license is granted.
Best is pleased to have been a part of such a vital process while a student in the program.
“It’s been a new experience and it’s allowed me to gain that experience that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten just being a student here.”