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Queen’s radio station future uncertain after student referendum

Click to play video: 'Queen’s radio station CFRC off the student fee list after referendum' Queen’s radio station CFRC off the student fee list after referendum
Queen's campus radio station could lose half it's budget after student referendum – Jan 31, 2020

It’s been a tough several months for Queen’s University campus radio station.

CFRC took a financial hit when the provincial government tried to dictate which student fees were mandatory or optional.

A court challenge ended up with the provincial government’s policy overturned but not before the radio station suffered a funding cut.

READ MORE: Optional tuition fees leads to students opting out of services

Now the radio station has had its funding impacted again.

Every three years, the AMS and the Graduate Society hold a referendum to give students a say on what fees they pay.

CFRC didn’t get the support board of directors president Dave Cunningham was hoping for.

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“In our particular instance, we’re not even on the list now.”

Starting with the next school year, CFRC will receive no fees from students to help the almost 100-year-old broadcaster meet its roughly $200,000 budget, says Cunningham.

“Come September, we will probably lose about half of our budget, if not a little bit more.”

Some of that dwindling student support may come down to changing media appetites.

First-year engineering student Sasha Andresen says he only listens to the radio for the weather, and even that is rare.

“I haven’t listened to the radio personally in about six months.”

READ MORE: Queen’s and community groups react to optional student fee court ruling

Andresen’s friend and fellow student Ethan McMurchy shares that sentiment.

“There’s podcasts and everyone just has to listen to their own music while walking back and forth from class.”

CFRC volunteer Rachel Mendl says losing the radio station would be tragic for the university and the broader community.

“I think campus community radio is like a hugely important resource that we have, for independent artists, and you know like weird talk shows and various things that wouldn’t make it on to other media outlets.”

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The station’s board and committees will be meeting next week to develop a stable funding plan, according to Cunningham.

He says they will shortly begin discussions with all of CFRC’s stakeholders.

“Staff, volunteers, students at the university as well as the administration, alumni and listeners.”

That support will be desperately needed so CFRC can celebrate 100 years on the air in 2022.

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