CJSW station manager Chad Saunders said the record-setting feat showcases the freedom of independent radio.
Katy Anderson/the Gauntlet

CJSW volleys for world music record

DJ plays 103 songs in just one hour in basement of the U of C's Mac Hall

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The lads and lasses down at CJSW have sent out a new campus radio challenge across North American airwaves. CJSW librarian and host of the Tuesday night show "Each One Teach One" Devin Friesen has set an unofficial record for the most songs played within an hour-long period last week.

"The initial idea was started by an EP I own by a band called Parts and Labour," explained Friesen. "It has 50 songs in 29 minutes. I've played the band on my show a couple times, but I began to wonder how I could play the songs from the EP. I figured that I could probably play 10 or 11 in a row, then said, 'Why don't I just have a show full of these kinds of songs?'"

One hundred and three songs later, the goalposts have been set. With songs by local favourites like the now broken-up Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome and the still-thriving Women, like all programming on CJSW, the show had a distinctly local flair. Station manager Chad Saunders said that while the challenge was all in good fun, it showed how much more freedom campus radio has to do something different than their corporate peers.

"It's a cry for attention," laughed Saunders. "Not on Devin's behalf--we're asking people to listen to CJSW. Our friends in commercial radio probably play 100 songs a week, we're doing 100 in an hour. We've got more musical diversity in an hour than any commercial radio in the country in a week."

Friesen explained it would be almost impossible for him to normally play all 103 tracks--on both vinyl and compact disc--in the DJ booth and so he had to turn to other means to get the show off the ground.

"I prepared everything on my computer using multi-track recording software to mix everything together and pre-produce most of it before the show," he said. "There were a handful of things I played regularly, but for the most part, I just had to press play and watch the volume levels."

Competition from other campus radio stations is already beginning to heat up. Saunders said Jersey City and Winnipeg have attempted to beat the record, but there was an especially cheeky message coming out of Vancouver.

"CiTR in Vancouver told us, 'Okay Saunders, the battle is on,'" he added . "'[Music Director] Luke [Meat] and I will try and one up you. Consider yourself served.'"