Moola for music

By Patrick Boyle

Leaves are falling, midterm exams are approaching and University of Calgary poster boards are plastered with posters bearing clever slogans and whimsical artwork.

The staff and volunteers at CJSW, the campus radio station, are gearing up for the 17th annual funding drive, set to kick off Sat., Oct. 20. For many students, the event is an integral part of campus life synonymous with great music, intelligent commentary, and a lot of T-shirts.

"This is the most important funding drive ever," said Station Manager Chad Saunders. "The first couple of years aimed to put the station on the FM dial. Right now, we’re going through the biggest transition in CJSW’s history with the fact that we’re building a new radio tower. The tower alone will cost us about $100,000. "

Saunders added that renovations and equipment upgrades are also on the horizon, all of which will be paid for by the funding drive.

According to Saunders, students’ primary motivation for pledging their money to the campaign should be the station itself and the unique, non-commercial programming.

"CJSW is unlike the ‘Power 107s’ of Calgary," he said. "We’re not paying people to listen to our radio station. We’re not repetitious. The programming alone is the number one reason why people should support us."

Along with stellar programming, however, donations will be rewarded with a multitude of gifts. In addition to the T-shirts, toques, and hoodies (all emblazoned with the funding drive logo), the station offers the "Friends of CJSW Card." The card is honoured at a bevy of Calgary businesses including liquor stores, grocery stores, restaurants, bookstores and even an adult superstore.

The funding drive is one of two primary sources of money for the radio station. This year’s goal for the campaign is $120,000 and it shouldn’t be hard to meet. Last year CJSW set a new record for Canadian campus community stations by raising more than $150,000 in one week.

The other source of funds is a $3 per semester levy paid by students. Since CJSW collects a levy, students might wonder about the necessity of the funding drive. However, Saunders explained, the funds collected from the levy (between $120,000 and $150,000) just barely covers the sum of the salaries of CJSW’s staff.

"Although we have one of the highest rates of funding, the student levy we collect is one of the lowest in the country," added Saunders. "The radio station at Carleton, for example, gets $12.75 per student per semester. To make matters worse, it’s tough to get government funding in the West, as opposed to somewhere like the Maritimes. As such, the funding drive becomes far more important."

Saunders further described why the funding would be put towards a new broadcasting tower. Last year, the station’s lease expired on a 1900-watt transmitter on the SAIT campus. After some negotiations, the signal was broadcast from that tower until Sept. 1, 2001. Since then, the station fell back on a less powerful 300-watt standby tower. Saunders hopes the proceeds from this funding drive will cover the $100,000 price tag of building a new tower on top of the U of C Social Sciences building within the next year.

"With moving the tower to the U of C campus, CJSW can increase broadcasting power from 1,900 watts to upwards of 3,000 watts," explained a wide-eyed Saunders. "We can continue to expand and improve our signal and programming for U of C students and all of Calgary."

Pledges can be made by calling the CJSW pledge line at 220-8114.

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