CJSW (music adjective) funding goal

By Chris Albinati

The love poured in from all over the globe last week as CJSW’s funding drive crushed its goal of $225,000.

Pledges came in Germany, Norway and Scotland and a few pledges even travelled from as far away as Japan.

CJSW station manager Chad Saunders called this year’s funding drive “mind-blowing” and “a great success.” While funding drive is mind-blowing nothing can really prepare you for the type of roller-coaster ride it takes you on, he noted.

“Each broadcast day there’s about a thousand turning points where it feels like the phones aren’t ringing,” said Saunders. “And then…[Saunders imitates the crazy incoherent gibberish of DJs pitching extra incentives and awesome swag] suddenly you get a surge of calls.”

With the craziness over for another year Saunders reflected on the overall drive.

“For me there were a couple highlights,” he said. “One was the enthusiasm. We had a lot of young new programmers on air this time around and when you get one or two [funding drives] under your belt it’s good, but it takes three or four before you get into the full swing of it.”

The success of the funding drive was capped off with an eleventh hour pledge from former Students’ Union president and current musician John Lefebvre. On the final show on the final day of the funding drive, Lefebvre–who is currently facing charges of illegal money laundering in relation to his online pay site Netteller.com–gave his old friend Grant Burns, host of The Road Pops, a call on his show and pledged an unbelievable $25,000.

To put into detail the reaction of the people at the station was simple elation.

Adele Brunnhofer was one of two funding coordinators who helped captain the team effort this year.

“Personally, I didn’t believe it,” said Brunnhofer. “I ran over from our office to where we had people answering phones and started screaming, ‘IS THIS A JOKE?’ because I thought [Burns] might be making a joke and pulling my leg. Our music director, Mr. Myke Atkinson, pulled me aside and said ‘Shhhh’ because none of us could really believe it.

“I’ve talked to people who were so excited, people who didn’t believe it and also people who just didn’t catch it on-air.”

With the immense success of this year’s funding drive, there also came some very optimistic talk about the expansion and relocation of CJSW. For over ten years, the idea of moving the station to a new location in MacEwan Students’ Centre has been tossed back and forth between CJSW and the SU. Several issues have been factors in the delayed movement, the most recent being rising construction costs associated with Calgary’s booming economy.

CJSW member since 1990 and station manager since 2000 Saunders has seen every part of this ongoing struggle.

“What people need to remember, is that when it comes to expansion we’re not able to do a $200,000 funding drive and then put it into a $200,000 expansion account,” he said. “We have to cover all the expenses that exist and we have to put up with many of the factors that affect construction in this city.”

While Ottawa is a far cry away from the prairie hills that CJSW calls home, some recent news from Parliament Hill, announcing another one per cent drop in GST could be very helpful in the expansion effort, noted Saunders.

“If the timing is right, I think the reduction in the GST will help us a lot,” he said. “That two per cent doesn’t offset a lot of the inflation, but it could actually help us buy equipment for a whole room now instead of having to go towards taxes.”

With some positive talk now surrounding the expansion, the only sure thing that can be said is it’s definitely in motion.

“I hazard to pick a day,” said Saunders. “In the coming month of November we’re going to be sitting down with the architects at Gibbs Gage, looking at some of the sketches and schemes we’ve come up with, taking into consideration the changes we need to make. Once that’s in place, we’ll work with the project managers and get some contractors on board.

“We’ve been saying spring of 2008 is when we want to get everything going,” he countinued. “If I had to truly pick a day I would like to see things happening on Groundhog Day.”

At this point Saunders laughed at the irony of his statement.

“Of course, for us it’s been Groundhog Day, in the Bill Murray sense of the word, four, six, ten years running now, it’s been Groundhog Day around the talk of exp- ansion for a long time,” he said.