Community radios rock — they are a news hub for all local activities, culture and resources.
Hosted by community members themselves, people use these stations to connect listeners to the city they live in. These stations are often non-profits, volunteer-based and involved in community development, which is not always the case for other public radio stations. They produce engaging media content by encouraging creativity and diversity from hosts, while simultaneously giving a voice to the voiceless.
Saskatoon’s own community radio, CFCR, does a wonderful job of this. They are constantly connecting society and engaging the community.
The history of CFCR is tied to the University of Saskatchewan. The closure of the campus radio station CHSK-FM in September, 1985 was the fuel behind the start of Saskatoon’s community radio.
The Community Radio Society of Saskatoon was then born. The station began broadcasting on cable FM and the audio portion of channel 10 for free, with the help of their “White Knight” Saskatoon Telecable. The first test broadcast for CFCR was in July, 1991, and it was a success. Close to two months later the station had its first official broadcast on 90.5FM.
CFCR now has over 600 members and around 150 to 200 on-air volunteer hosts.
Community radio differs greatly from other stations — and for the better. Distinctive members of the community host and design programs under CFCR’s guidance. This process creates a platform for a wide range of music and topics, given the various unique radio productions. Within CFCR, there are over 50 different programs each week.
The Swing Shift plays jazz music selected by the multiple hosts that run it. F.I.R.E! is a program that discusses social justice, activism and anti-racism with members of the community. CFCR also has a program with stand-up comedians called The Stand-Up Sit Down show.
With non-commercial music of all genres, spoken word, comedy, discussions and news, the community radio offers almost everything.
For the listeners who tune in, community radio does not disappoint.
You are getting a curated playlist, most likely by artists you’ve never heard of, who you might see play live in the future — the community radio does not usually play “Top 40” music. The hosts prepare a different playlist for each program to share with their listeners, connecting with them through the love of new and old music.
From an economic standpoint, community radios have value to local businesses, both directly and indirectly.
Community radios educate listeners on local projects, news and social engagements, and run local business ads. They are also free to everyone, making it the cheapest form of media. It is accessible to a vast variety of people, including those who can’t stay up to date on current events through television, news articles and other forms of potentially costly media.
Community radio is more important than ever, especially during this time. Connecting people has never been such a necessity, and CFCR continues to do so. However, they greatly need support from the community, whether that be tuning in to 90.5FM, donating through CFCR’s website or phone, or attending the events they put on such as their annual fundraiser FM-Phasis.
Appreciate your local radio for all it provides and how much it contributes to the wonderful community in Saskatoon!
Graphic: Anh Phan | Design Editor