Every couple of weeks “What’s The Frequency, Campus?” will highlight some of the intriguing shows and special programming happening on Toronto’s campus and community radio stations.
The differences between commercial radio and campus/community radio are vast. While the content is miles apart (you’ll never hear the same song played three times an hour on a community station), the two are also operating on wildly different budgets. Commercial stations are largely owned by huge media empires with money to spare, whereas campus and community stations have few funds and rely on volunteers to produce the majority of their content. According to the National Campus and Community Radio Association, some stations get by on as little as $5,000 a year, while others have budgets in the tens of thousands. Even the biggest, most well-funded stations usually have no more than $300,000 to go on—not a lot when you consider the things that has to pay for: salaries for the few staff positions that exist, the numerous fees broadcasters have to pay out, equipment costs and special events, just to name a few.
Campus and community stations scrape together their funding from various sources, and one of those is good, old-fashioned pledge drives. The University of Toronto’s CIUT 89.5 FM begins its membership drive today, and it runs until next Tuesday. The station is offering up a fistful of incentives for CIUT’s listeners to prove their love with money. Anyone who pledges $25 or more will receive a year-long subscription to the station’s newsletter, plus an entry into their grand prize draw, which could net you either their Arts and Entertainment Pack, featuring $600 in gift certificates for places like Come As You Are, Il Fornello, the ROM and the Bloor Cinema, or a Takamine acoustic guitar. Increasing pledge amounts are also rewarded with various kinds of CIUT swag. Plus, you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling from the knowledge that you’re helping out community-based media.
They’re also serving up special membership drive programming all week. Here’s a peek:
Tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., The Abstract Index will feature special guests, including the band superheavyREGGAE and Ken Aldcroft from the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto.
On Thursday at 1 p.m., Blissful Thunder hosts a live in-studio performance by blueVenus.
Innovations will have an interview with Leanne Cusitar, a sexual health educator and erotic artist on Saturday at 2 p.m.
On Sunday at 9 a.m., Evi-Dance will feature special guests, including former National Ballet of Canada prima ballerina Veronica Tennant.
The membership drive’s final day, Tuesday the 17th, will see a live in-studio performance by Sister Suvi. It happens at 1 p.m. on the show Music Factory.
Photo courtesy of blueVenus.