By CH Smith
“Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”
– Frank Zappa
CJSW was once a small but formidable threat on the airwaves of Calgary. Now it’s “Bigger Than You Think.”
Starting Fri., Oct. 17, the 2003 CJSW Funding Drive will be in full swing, hoping to raise $160,000. Money will help expand the University of Calgary’s nationally renowned radio station, which now sits quietly in the bowels of MacEwan Student Centre.
Over the last two years, the funding drives brought in enough cash for a new 4,000-watt signal transmitter located on Broadcast Hill. This increased the potential listening audience from around 600,000 to over a million listeners in and around Calgary. CJSW Station Manager Chad Saunders is happy with the new tower, not only because it’s bigger and stronger than the old one, but also because it means he can finally move on to other projects, including expansion.
“One hundred per cent of this year’s funding drive is directly going towards the expansion project, which will see CJSW move from its silverfish-riddled dungeon dwelling in the basement of old Mac Hall, and into the third floor shell which was recently built during the MacEwan Hall expansion,” said Saunders.
Finding the money for a large capital budget is difficult for a radio station with no advertising and little help from the provincial government. Sadly, bills don’t pay themselves, so CJSW turns to listeners for support once a year.
“We were within three weeks of going off the air two years ago,” emphasized Saunders. “Without the support of our listeners, we couldn’t have survived. So people need to understand how important their pledge is and that each pledge makes a difference.”
CJSW does not see the need to criticize commercial radio in Calgary. Rather, it fills a niche as an alternative choice for listeners bored or sick of commercial radio.
“It’s a station that represents the culture of a lot of Calgarians and is often overlooked and under appreciated,” explained Saunders. “CJSW is important because of its role in the community through its multicultural programming. Take a look at the cultural diversity of Calgary, and CJSW is the only broadcaster to address it on a musical front, through spoken word programming, through news programming and in other areas.”
CJSW is a station striving to be different, original and conscious in all that it broadcasts.
It also realizes people rarely part with their hard-earned money and so as always there is a great list of incentives. Twenty-five dollars will get you the infamous Friends of CJSW Card for discounts all over Calgary. With more money, one receives more swag (t-shirts, toques, mugs, etc.).
There are also some great events planned during the funding drive which Saunders thinks will cater to everyone.
“The midnight matinee of Rock ïœ| Roll High School starring The Ramones will definitely be a crowd favorite,” said Saunders. “It’s Saturday night at the Globe Cinema and there will be some great prizes for best Ramones costume.
“We are also bringing in Saskatchewan’s own hip hop phenom EPIC. He raps about CBC Newsworld anchors, getting welfare in two provinces and all things Canadian. So check that one out for sure.”
To pledge, call 220-2599 or visit the CJSW office in the basement of MSC near the Den.