As the sole radio station in the area that promotes nothing but local artists, Algonquin’s CKDJ 107.9 continues to stay committed to the Ottawa music scene.
A community license written up in the fall of 2014 allowed the college to produce a 24-hour radio cycle, playing content morning to night. This is from the 18-hour, 6 a.m. to midnight regime that has been the case in the program since the early 1990s.
“It was a no-brainer,” said coordinator and graduate of the course, Dan Pihlainen. “It gives students more opportunities for experience so they can get a job when they move on from here.”
The radio broadcasting course preps students for work in the telecommunications industry of today. There are two stations at the college which run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Both are operated and programmed entirely by students. Ottawa’s New Music CKDJ 107.9 plays over the FM dial in addition to its AM counterpart AIR A.M 1000.
First-year program music director, Maddy Eisenberg, 20, says how important supporting local music content is, which is something you don’t hear enough about.
“There is a variety of styles that we play. Not only are we learning everything from talking on the radio to producing commercials, we’re gaining the experience we need to have to land a job in today’s field,” said Eisenberg.
Students record three or four hour radio shows to be played throughout the day. These shows each have content geared toward specific audiences playing everything—folk, country, metal, top-40—any style or genre so long as it meets the “local artist” specification.
Pihlainen says that students need to have a lot of skills to succeed in this course. “They need to have some deep-down skills because it takes more nowadays than just having a great voice.”