End of student fees could be demise of campus radio station
For more than three decades, campus radio station CJAM has been the voice of the University of Windsor, thanks in part to its financial support from students.
But that could soon change.
Post-secondary students will soon be able to choose which campus organization to fund after the provincial government laid out its tuition changes in 2018.
And the staff at CJAM worry their audio levels may have peaked if something isn't done.
"In Ontario, we have a really strong campus media situation, with 19 stations that just do radio," says Brady Holek, the station manager at CJAM, which hit the airwaves in 1983.
"CJAM is basically a different radio station almost hourly,” he says.
It has about 80 different programs, hosted by volunteers.
It can also be a launching point to something bigger, such as being the voice of Leafs Nation.
Joe Bowen is the radio play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Maple Leafs and he got his start at CJAM while attending the Univeristy of Windsor.
“He sat down and did an interview with us and basically said that without CJAM he wouldn't have gotten into sports broadcasting," Holek says.
But recent changes to post-secondary tuition could set campus stations back.
In January, the Province announced tuition fees would be cut by 10 per cent and universities and colleges will have to give students the option of what additional fees they pay, such as those that fund campus organizations.
Holek and CJAM are pushing back.
The group will be sending a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, hoping campus radio will be an essential fee.
“Hundreds and hundreds have already come in. We're hoping to get a lot more," Holek says.
CJAM currently has two full time workers and one part time.
But it's not just jobs that could be affected.
Carley Schweitzer says the station offers an opportunity to all students and not just those hoping to land a job in broadcasting one day.
"We make a connection with the nursing department through no scrubs, which is a placement for fourth year nursing students."
Taya Guarnaccia feels she is caught in the middle. She is president of the board of directors at CJAM, but also a student, which means she would save money by opting out of the service.
But that's not an option she's considering.
"I don't mind a couple extra bucks on my tuition for something that will get me some work experience."