Government Changes Could Shut Down Campus Radio Stations And Newspapers
The Ontario Government’s recently announced Student Choice Initiative could be the end of campus radio stations and newspapers. Under the new initiative, students will have the ability to opt-out of any fees considered non-essential by the PC Government.
Currently, the University of Windsor’s campus-community station, CJAM FM, has received $5 per full-time undergraduate student per semester since students democratically approved the fee in 1983. The student funding represents between 60-70% of CJAM’s annual budget.
“If campus media is deemed non-essential it will be the beginning of the end for campus newspapers and radio across the province,” said CJAM Station Manager Brady Holek. “Along with the services we provide, students will no longer be able to gain experience and skills that lead to job opportunities in broadcasting, journalism, and the music industry.”
Across Ontario, more than 15 campus radio stations, 150 staff members, and 3,500 volunteers across will be affected by these changes.
“If we lose even a portion of our funding, we will lose jobs. Currently we have two full-time and one part-time employee. The opportunities we offer students will be put on hold as we try and maintain basic federal compliancy as a radio station,” says Holek.
To raise awareness, CJAM and stations across Ontario have released a petition to deem campus radio an essential fee under the Student Choice Initiative.
“If you give students the option to save money right as they are paying tuition, a lot of them will take it, especially first year students who may have never even been to the campus before. I realize students do not have a lot of money to begin with, but it places organizations like us in bi-annual uncertainty. It will cause massive cutbacks for campus media across Ontario, and many students will realize too late that they have lost opportunities not only on campus but after graduation,” said Holek.
Copies of the petition can be found at CJAM FM, Green Bean Café, and Dr. Disc records. A printable version is also available on the CJAM website, www.cjam.ca.