Commentary | Why I love CKUT

Dear McGill Daily,

I write this fully admitting that I am a bit of a nerd: I grew up listening to the radio. The thing is, you probably did too. Mostly I heard public radio (NPR) in the U.S., but at the ripe old age of five I also happily proclaimed to my dad that the “oldies” station was my favourite. That was the nineties. Yet in the age of iPods, YouTube, Soundcloud, and torrents, I still listen to the radio.

Radio provides companionship, curation, and a sense of community on and off the airwaves. My love of radio inspired me to get involved with CKUT, McGill’s campus-community radio station, on literally the first day I arrived in Montreal, during an Orientation Week portable-recording workshop. This led me to get involved in almost all aspects of the station, including hosting a show (All Things McGill), being on the programming committee, and now being a member of the Board of Directors. Listening to CKUT provides an invaluable alternative perspective to McGill students (such as myself) and to Montreal at large, whether by helping you navigate the latest indie rock music better than Pitchfork ever will, or broadcasting the voices of the voiceless during the Homelessness Marathon each year, or by providing a forum for student-written radio dramas. It’s a perspective you’d be hard- pressed to find anywhere else.

Yet CKUT’s existence is precarious: increasing costs since its founding in 1987, combined with a decrease in revenues from advertising, mean that the staff run the station on a tight budget, sometimes with a deficit. This fact necessitates a fee increase question this semester – and while running a referendum of any sort is a long and difficult process, winning this referendum question is extremely important for the station to keep being as awesome as it is. We wouldn’t be asking our fellow students to open their minds, hearts, and wallets if it weren’t entirely necessary for the existence of the station.

To celebrate CKUT’s 25th anniversary this year, give the station the gift of a $1 fee increase. You should be proud of your station for rocking so hard all these years, and hopefully for many, many more.

Carol Ellen Fraser is a U3 East Asian Studies and German Studies Student, former SSMU Vice President Clubs and Services, and the current Chair of the CKUT Board of Directors. The opinions expressed here are her own. She can be reached at carol.e.fraser@gmail.com.


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