Features  Free-form grassroots radio bridges communities

CKUT Radio is made up of a group of people so diverse that it is impossible to speak for them all when wrestling with the question, “What kind of McGill do you want?” 
Yet it is precisely this diversity of thought, feeling, and expression that seems so crucial for the vitality of this university. 
In CKUT’s studios, people whose voices are distorted, under-represented, or absent in the mainstream media come together for an empowering act of self-expression. This, in turn, allows for dialogue between the diverse elements of a fractured social system, where political divisions such as racial profiling and police violence are a harsh reality.

This sense of empowerment is vital for students at McGill, who often experience the alienating sense that they represent nothing but another number to the administration. Similarly, in cavernous lecture halls, the imperative is for students to listen quietly, not to engage in debate and dialogue.

McGill once treated community radio as an asset, fighting to win CKUT its FM license in 1987. Today, the University seems to regard grassroots media as a liability. For example, in 2007 McGill refused to renew its legal relationship with CKUT Radio McGill unless the station removed “McGill” from its name.

This is part of a broader trend that is apparent at McGill, where the administration seems increasingly hostile to groups that they fear may scare away potential corporate sponsors.

The University we want includes a powerful organ of eclectic cultural and political expression that reaches beyond the ivory tower. At CKUT, our hundreds of volunteers would be incapable of making this happen if not for the support we receive from McGill’s student body.

Erin Weisgerber is the CKUT’s Funding & Outreach Coordinator
David Koch is CKUT’s Interim Community News/Production Coordinator and a recent McGill graduate