Radio. You assume it’s free. Or rather, you buy into the contract that when you turn it on it’s there and all you have to do to get your favourite music or sports or news talk is turn off your brain during the commercials. And it’s those commercials that pay for your free amusement.
That’s all well and good, but what about radio that matters, radio that is different from anything being done on any other part of the dial, radio that offers something more?
Shouldn’t you actually want to pay for that? Yes. You should.
Because while you can still turn it on and it’s there, it’s only there because people truly appreciate it and understand how important it is.
So, for the next week, from Oct. 19-26, Calgary campus and community radio station CJSW 90.9 FM — an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city for the past 30-plus years — are holding their annual funding drive.
It’s the one week a year when the music or commentary and conversation takes a backseat to the need for support on the station, where the volunteer DJs and show hosts put their hearts on their sleeves to ask the listeners to put their money where their ears are.
This year, the fine folks at CJSLovin’You are hoping to hit the $200,000 mark “for the sole purpose of making great radio, as well as maintaining and operating our state-of-the-art studios and listener-friendly website.”
This year’s campaign starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 and ends Friday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., with pledges being accepted by phone at 403-220-5000 or online at https://fundingdrive.ca/.
Here are the Top 5 reasons why you should definitely do this.
They play that. They play the stuff that you can’t hear anywhere else, on any other station in this city, and they do so in a way that’s passionate and thoughtful and informed. Punk, rock, EDM, experimental, funk, folk, hip-hop, metal, world, roots, rockabilly, roots, blues, ambient, country — if it’s something you like, it’s something they offer. You won’t hear the same songs repeated every 45-minutes and what you do hear will be for all the right reasons.
There are some other stations that give lip-service to supporting local music, and, sure, they do on a pretty minimal level. Yes, they should be applauded for that — any support of this city’s music scene should be seen as a good, good thing. But when it comes to CJSW, it’s not just an afterthought, it’s always been mandate and it’s part of that passion that powers the programming. The DJs play the music of the city in which they live. They go to the shows. They see the bands and artists. And they support the musicians, be it through on-air sessions or spinning songs from their albums and interviewing them over the airwaves. If you want to know the true sound of Calgary, the musical pulse of the city, it’s at 90.9.
In a general sense, it’s a station that brings this berg together just by being made by and for everyone. But in a more specific sense, CJSW also connects with programming targeted towards different, under-serviced segments of the population, giving them a voice. Be that shows for those from different arts groups and organizations as well as different cultures and ethnic groups — there are weekly programs for such communities as those from the Indigenous, Ethiopian and German populations in the city — as well as the marginalized, including LGBTQ, it’s radio by, for all and all for one.
OK, maybe you need something a little more tangible. Well, for those who require an answer to, “What’s in it for me other than 365 days of programming?”, almost every pledge earns you a reward. Minimally, you’ll get mentioned on air and each programmer also offers his/her/them/they own incentives, including mix CDs, handmade stuff and just shit they have and want to give to you. But, on top of that, beginning at the $30 pledge, you’ll get such things as a Friends Card, which gets you discounts and deals at local businesses around the city (food, booze, coffee, etc.), and as you up your love things progress to a T-shirt, toque, mug, sweater and more.
You want to be this. So you should do this.
CJSW’s Funding Drive runs Friday, Oct. 19 to Friday, Oct. 26. Pledges can be made by phone at 403-220-5000 or online at https://fundingdrive.ca/.