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Taking Back Studio A for the People: The pioneeers back in action at CINQ/102.3FM, Radio Centreville Montreal (left to right) Kevin Cohalan, Hyman Glustein, Suzanne Perron, Nelson Becker
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What is Community Radio....
Back in the early 70's, diverse groups from across Canada met in Ottawa with CRTC officials to create a new type of broadcasting. Each of the groups represented a distinct community -- but all of them shared a common goal: to develop a new type of radio station that would serve the specific needs of individual communities.
It was then, 30 years ago that the first community radio station signed on. CINQ/FM Radio Centreville in Montreal was and remains, a neighbourhood radio station serving the inner-city with multilingual programming in French, English, Spanish, Portugese and Greek. It was founded by a community group dedicated to changing existing radio format from being a greedy cash-register/juke-box oriented behemoth and transforming it into an idea factory that would truly serve and not exploit its listener.
A few months after Radio Centreville signed on, Canada's second community station, CFRO/FM Vancouver fired up its transmitter to offer a community-operated English-language service.
Since then, about 120 community radios have sprung up, many in First Nations communities. Others, from both rural and urban Québec have gathered under the umbrella of ARCQ, the Association des Radio communautaires du Québec. Other Canadian stations are also now operating within academic institutions as community-campus stations while yet others function independently.
Today the CRTC has set out a policy for comminty radio in Canada which is designed to address the specific needs and aspirations of community radio.
What distinguishes community radio from any other service? There are many features that make the type of public radio unique, three above all:
Unlike the CBC, a government mandated service financed by taxation, community radio depends on listeners for financial support and for programming. Additional revenues come in the form of local merchants' advertising their products and services, sometimes in contests and bingos, but most frequently in listener donations and memberships that are vital in keeping community radio alive.
The survival of these stations is everyone's concern and today, thanks to the public, community radio can be heard from coast to coast to coast, in small villages and in big cities, in hamlets and on Reserves.
It is radio in action, touching the people it serves... by the people it serves.
CJRH in Action
Waskaganish Quebec: Walter Hester interviews former Chief Robert Weistche on the banks of the Rupert River, 2007