By: Ted Simpson
Algonquin’s campus radio station has been selling the phrase, “Ottawa’s new music” for the past decade.This year it is taking those words to heart. CKDJ broadcasts at 107.9FM, live from the N-building at Algonquin. This year, the station has undergone a major format change, opting to play exclusively Ottawa-based music.
The change was spearheaded by the station’s current music director, Doug Ralph, a second year student in the radio broadcasting program.
“I feel like we’re saying something when we’re saying 100 percent local music, we’re committed to the people that are here in town,” said Ralph.
CKDJ sheds a spotlight on Ottawa’s much forgotten music scene. With local media giving little or no attention to local talent, the station moves into a unique niche that sets it apart from the competition. “Local is the best thing in any market,” said Ralph.
The station has only been back on the air for a few weeks, but the new direction has already made an impression on local musicians.
“From the people that have found out… they’re blown away,” said Ralph.
Lead singer of the band Hearts and Mines, Matt Luloff, was very impressed with the idea of CKDJ going local.
“Lately, with the help of innovative development programs and music enthusiasts like Doug Ralph, it seems as though more and more people are tuning in to college and university radio in search of something different, something unique,” said Luloff. “As a local musician and a music-lover, hearing that CKDJ is going 100 percent local is extraordinary news. This is huge for Ottawa and huge for local music. I can’t wait to tune in.”
Lead singer of the band Eagleson, Alex Depaul, said, ”It’s not easy getting out there sometimes, so we feel the station is really on our side.”
CKDJ is a learning tool utilized by Algonquin’s radio broadcasting students. Students gain experience by hosting radio shows and producing content for the station.
The station’s non-profit status gives students the freedom to think outside the conventional radio box, giving exposure to bands that might not sell advertising, but play an important role in Ottawa’s musical culture.
“It’s not about making money,” said Ralph.
The musical genres covered on the air stay true to the station’s previous mandate of playing hip hop and alternative or indie rock, so longtime listeners will feel right at home with the new format. This year simply brings the twist of highlighting Ottawa’s own talent.
CKDJ reaches most of West Ottawa on 107.9FM. They also offer live streaming at www.ckdj.net.