Ontario's Student Choice Initiative threatens funding at campus community radio stations

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volunteer at CKMS Waterloo 2004

There are many media workers in Canada who got their start at community based campus radio stations. That possibility may not exist in Ontario if the Ford government’s new plan for student fees is implemented.

Ontario-based campus radio stations are fighting for their lives. The Ford government's surprise Student Choice Initiative will have a direct impact on campus based community radio stations, and some of them may close altogether.

Even though campus and community radio stations are independent non profit organizations, most are heavily dependent on student fees to pay the majority of the bills. The Student Choice initiative has the potential to severely cut into the revenue that stations need to survive.

Barry Rooke is the executive director of the National Campus and Community Radio Association. They’re deep into planning their annual conference in Toronto from June 4-6. In the midst of their planning, they’ve had to shift focus and mount a campaign to deal with this critical situation. There will undoubtedly be a lot of strategizing at the conference about this, but there's no time to waste. The reforms are slated to come into effect this coming September so they’re planning now.

Barry Rooke talked to Victoria Fenner about how the fee structure works and what could happen if the Ford Government’s new idea is implemented. 

Image: Volunteer in Campus/community radio station CKMS in Waterloo, 2003. Photo: Victoria Fenner

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