CKUT gets fee increase

75 cent hike will go toward deficit

CKUT, McGill’s only radio station, secured the 75-cent fee hike on Friday they had been seeking from graduate students since March 1.

While the PGSS elections committee has not yet been informed of their margin of victory, CKUT faced few obstacles during their campaign. They did not face opposition from a “No” committee, which was widespread in other referendums this elections season.

“That made life a lot easier,” said CKUT fundraising head Erin Weisgerber.

She said the increase will bring between $10,000 and $11,000 to the station’s strained finances. “This will go a long way toward the deficit,” Weisgerber said.

The station ran an $18,973 deficit last year. Costs have skyrocketed in recent years, as rents have increased and revenues have plummeted.

CKUT rent for both their projection tower, owned by CBC, and for their transmitter has increased by several thousand dollars since 2007.

Sub-carriers, the small radio-stations that pay to use the outer fringes of CKUT’s signal, have also presented fiscal problems this year. One station defaulted on a $20,000 debt. All of the other sub-carriers have been reluctant to pay CKUT what they owe the station, according to Weisgerber.

Ad revenue has also dropped significantly, she said. Government advertisements about H1N1 buoyed revenue this year, but Weisgerber expects low ad income in the coming years.