Sudbury

Laurentian University's radio station worried about future funding

Laurentian University's campus and community radio station CKLU is worried about the future of its funding. Recently the Ford government changed the structure of college and university funding. One of the big changes was the opt-out option for student ancillary fees, which were previously mandatory.

CKLU hopes the raise the money they need through Pledge Week

CKLU, Laurentian University's student and community radio station, is now located downtown in the university's McEwen School of Architecture. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Laurentian University's campus and community radio station, CKLU is worried about the future of its funding.

Recently the Ford government changed the structure of college and university funding. One of the big changes was the opt-out option for student ancillary fees, which were previously mandatory.

These fees helped to fund many campus organizations, like CKLU.

Now students will have the choice to pay only for the fees that choose to. Certain fees will still be considered mandatory such as health fees, however, the province hasn't said which other fees will be considered mandatory.

"If 51 per cent of the students say they want to pay their $10 towards CKLU then we only get 51 per cent of what we normally received and that's going to be a serious challenge for us," said Bill Crumplin, the host of CKLU's Earth Tracks and a professor at Laurentian.

Bill Crumplin hosts Earth Tracks on CKLU and Evan Elliot is the host of Two Cents on the Big Nickel (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

CKLU is hosting Pledge Week to help raise the funds they need to keep the station broadcasting. From Feb. 27 to March 6, the station will have special guests on-air, prizes donated from local sponsors and a live show over the weekend.

The station is worried that the funding cuts will not only disrupt broadcast, but the station is also in need of new equipment. 

"We don't have state-of-the-art stuff so the board of directors was anticipating putting together this fundraising campaign to help us upgrade some of our equipment but now with the Doug Ford situation, we're probably going to be using some of the funding to stay on the air because even a university radio station has costs that have to be covered," said Crumplin.

Laurentian student and the host of Two Cents on the Big Nickel, Evan Elliot agrees, he's also worried about the future of the station if its no longer going to receive the funding that it previously did.

"It's going to be increasingly difficult for us to broadcast without the sort of funding that we normally receive from the student fees when they would come in at 100 per cent," he said.

He believes community radio is important for the people and the for the university, it allows a certain level of creativity - the content can be a little rough around the edge - which might not be heard on commercial radio, he said.

CKLU really provides a voice for the community and for the university, said Crumplin, "it really is important for us to have both the community and the university presence."

He figured there would be funding shortages after the announcement by the provincial government, but he's worried that the cuts could mean the end of the radio station. 

"I think it really does serve a use for the community to get the opinions of us as disk jockey's, radio hosts... I think it just gives us a different forum and maybe a different angle than commercial radio is able to provide and that's really a strength, I think, of community radio," said Crumplin.

now