Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’

The mind is an interesting thing. I think what makes it so interesting, though, is that it isn’t JUST the mind working alone. It is your heart, your soul, your body, your home, your relationships … it all works together.

I’ve been in a bit of a slump for the past month or so. Funny enough, I’ve been going to the gym pretty much every day since the middle of January, and while I love it and the energy it brings, the rest of me/life hasn’t been coming along for the ride.

But yesterday, as if someone (that being me) flipped the proverbial switch, I seemed to reconcile it all at once and started pushing forward. And it happened as I was making a tutorial on how to use a CMS to update my organization’s website (Community Radio Fund of Canada) for our new program officer. I was imagining presenting it to the new employee when it hit me … starting next week, I’m going to have another full-time permanent employee working with me in the office.

No joke, it has been 10 years almost to the day that I have been working alone in an office. There have been temporary assistants, project coordinators, and summer students, not to mention almost countless board directors and other volunteers. But since I started the office for the NCRA on February 25, 2002, I have been working in isolation in my office. So when I started imagining orienting a new staff person, imagining walking down our little hall to talk to her about our daily goings-on, maybe chatting over lunch in the board room once in a while, … well, I started to get a bit excited.

What an excellent way to chase away those mid-February blues. On my way to work this morning, I realized I hadn’t noticed I had been in a funk. My winter was quietly slipping away and I hadn’t been paying attention. Total denial, really. But now everything feels back on track.

Plug time: For any community radio folks following this, if you haven’t already, visit the CRFC‘s website to subscribe to our newsletter or to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. (Links updated November 2013)

The Times and How They Are Indeed Changing

What a busy summer! I’ve barely had time to recover from a wonderful Maritime summer vacation, going full time at my job (and what a life change that will be!), getting ready to move from my apartment, and just thinking about what the future holds for me. The big news that sparked all of this recuperating, reflection, and rethinking? After a year of letters, conversations, and a hearing, the CRTC issued its new Campus and Community Radio Policy in July!

It (of course) contains various regulations for campus and community broadcasters, such as how much local spoken word they need to produce, or how much Canadian music they need to play. But it also includes a mechanism for some much needed funding for the sector. And who will be managing and distributing those funds, you might ask? The organization I work for — the Community Radio Fund of Canada. What a proud moment for me. For sure, I have played my part in that. But I also think back to the summer of 2004 when four or five people first started talking about a radio fund. What a journey it has been since then. It’s amazing how it feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

For those who are interested and have not yet seen it, here’s the CRTC-published policy as well as a press release from my organization. And congrats to us all!

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-499: Campus and community radio policy (July 22, 2010)

CRTC DECISION PROVIDES BOOST FOR CAMPUS-COMMUNITY RADIO, BUT A LOT OF WORK STILL TO BE DONE

A First for the Sector: $775K annually from broadcasting industry

Ottawa, July 22, 2010 — The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) is pleased to announce that the campus and community radio sector will receive vital funding following the decision released today by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on the Review of the Campus and Community Radio Policies.

The Commission approved part of the CRFC’s request for mandatory funding from the private broadcasting sector through contributions to the Canadian Content Development (CCD). Once in place, this will mean that the CRFC will likely receive $775,000 annually. This funding will then be distributed through the CRFC’s programs to more than 140 stations and their representative associations.

“This is a encouraging step in funding for the sector,” said CRFC President Ian Pringle. “With this funding, we will be able to begin providing more meaningful support to stations across the country as they work to better serve their communities, tackle the challenges of 21st-century broadcasting in innovative ways and give voice to Canada’s diverse experience where it is the richest – at the local level.”

Since its inception in 2007, the CRFC has already distributed more than $300,000 to support 42 local programming and training initiatives across the country. From youth radio camps, to a series about local history, to training immigrant women to tell their own stories, these projects have had immediate and direct impact for stations and Canadian communities.

The CRFC thanks the Commission for recognizing the importance of campus and community stations, both in the broadcasting system and for Canadians. With this funding, our stations will be able to better serve their local communities by producing strong locally relevant Canadian content.

However, this funding is just a start in helping the CRFC fulfill its mandate. Pringle notes: “We did not get everything we asked for, but this decision remains a step forward in the growth of community programming. There is a lot of work still to be done, and we are ready to take it on.”

The CRFC also believes that this funding will have a significant and meaningful impact on the promotion of local Canadian talent. For decades, our stations have been committed to providing exposure and airplay emerging, independent, local, and/or niche musicians. By strengthening campus and community stations, the Commission and the private broadcasters are also directly contributing to the Canadian music industry.

For more information about the CRFC, please visit www.communityradiofund.org.

Good show, C/C Radio. Good Show!

Last week, people from all across the country appeared at the CRTC hearing for their review of the campus and community radio policies. From the joint presentation of national associations (NCRA, ARC du Canada, ARCQ) to small rural stations to those that are in Canada’s largest cities, it was truly an event. I was even happy with my own presentation from the Community Radio Fund of Canada.

I was truly beaming with pride as I listened to presentation after presentation. Everyone was unique, and had different perspectives and solutions, which was very important to this process. But what blew me away was the sense of a national community. Simply amazing. It really felt like we were a sector. We were strong, open, honest, well spoken, and we made an impression with the Commission. Our messages were clear. We were together while still being individuals. Again, simply amazing.

When I started working at the NCRA in 2002, we had 17 members and no real relationships with other associations. The attendance at the NCRA’s national conferences was quite small, and there was not a lot of communication between the organization and the members (although there were individual board directors who certainly kept the lines open). In these last 8 years working at the national level, I’ve seen a lot of changes and a huge growth. Sure, I played my part in that, but it cannot be attributed to any one individual. In fact, there are so many that have played a part in this growth, I can’t even count everyone. And that was evident in what I saw last week at the hearing. So cheers to us all! And here’s to hoping that when the decision comes out we will all be dancing in the streets!

CRTC Community Radio Hearing starts today

Big day for campus and community radio in Canada! Stations, associations, and other organizations will be appearing before the CRTC today. I’ll be appearing with the Community Radio Fund of Canada on Wednesday.

To listen online, visit the CRTC website at www.crtc.gc.ca. Look for the text “LISTEN TO A HEARING.” And here is the complete agenda.

Good luck to everyone!

CRTC Policy Review news for Campus and Community Radio

One of the reasons I’ve been hanging out more in the physical world is that I was working on the submission of the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) to the CRTC Policy Review for our sector. One month and 22 pages later, here we are. And more than 100 stations, organizations, private broadcasters, governement agencies, and individuals submitted their thoughts as well. More information in the CRFC posting below.

CRFC Participates in Review of Campus and Community Radio
Friday, 16 October 2009

In July 2009, the CRTC launched a review of its Campus and Community Radio Policies. The CRFC filed its comments today outlining the funding reality of the sector and some possible solutions to help lessen its financial stresses. The CRFC is recommending a funding model for both the campus and community radio stations and the CRFC that includes funding from the federal government as well as Canada’s private broadcasters and distributors. You can read the CRFC’s comments here. The CRTC hearing for this process will begin on January 18, 2010. (Links updated November 2013)