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)


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 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)

Community Radio Fund gives out its first funding

Those of you who know me know that I have been involved in community radio for nearly 15 years now. And you might also know that I began working with some very fine folks to start the Community Radio Fund of Canada about 5 years ago. You may even know that I started working for the fund just over one year ago.

So it is with much warmth in my heart that I am spreading the news far and wide — 20 stations/associaitons are getting the first ever funding from us! Woohoo! Cheers cheers and more cheers!!! Champagne to all!!!

Here is the official press release.


For Immediate Release
May 20, 2009

CRFC Grants 20 Broadcasters $160,000 in Major Boost to Community Radio Sector in Canada

Ottawa – The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) is extremely pleased to announce its first group of funding recipients through two programs launched earlier this year:

Radio Talent Development Program:
CFAD 92.1 FM, Salmo BC: “Salmo Community Radio Local News/Public Affairs Forum” $4,700
CFUV 101.9 FM, Victoria BC: “Women’s Collective Coordinator – Summer Position” $2,970
CHLS 100.5 FM, Lillooet BC: “Radio Legends” $9,750
CHOQ 105.1 FM, Toronto ON: “Dossiers Choq” $7,350
CIVR 103.5 FM, Yellowknife NT: “Recueillir et diffuser l’information locale, territorial” $10,000
CJAI 92.1 FM, Stella ON: “Local Oral History Broadcast Project” $2,320
CKBN 90.5 FM, Wôlinak QC: “Culture rurale” $9,600
CKOA 89.7 FM, Glace Bay NS: “The Celtic Connection Documentary Series” $10,000
CKUT 90.3 FM, Montréal QC: “Training Track at June 2009 NCRC” $8,650
CKUW 95.9 FM, Winnipeg MB: “The Winnipeg Files training/production module of Green Planet Monitor” $5,000
NCRA (national): “GroundWire Community News Network Capacity Improvement” $8,500

Youth Internship Program:
CFRG 93.1 FM, Gravelbourg SK: “Stage radiophonique pour un jeune” $8,000
CFRO 102.7 FM, Vancouver BC: “Aboriginal Language Learning Programming Mentorship” $10,000
CHES 101.5 FM, Erin ON: “EDHS Partnership” $10,000
CHLI 101.1 FM, Rossland BC: “Be The Voice” $9,960
CJBE 90.5 FM, Port-Menier QC: “Stage en production” $10,000
CJPN 90.5 FM, Fredericton NB: “Jeunesse radiophonique” $7,500
CJRG 94.5 FM, Gaspé QC: “La tournée régionale” $9,160
CKDU 88.1 FM, Halifax NS: “Youth Now Radio” $10,000
CKJM 106.1 FM, Chéticamp NS: “Formation de jeunes pour la relève” $5,000

The Radio Talent Development Program and the Youth Internship Program are made possible by a contribution of Astral Media Radio through a CRTC contribution mechanism totalling $1.4 million over seven years. The goal of both programs is to develop innovative local interest programming while providing mentorship, education, and/or training for broadcasters.

Each year, $80,000 is available under each program to the campus and community radio sector. This year, the CRFC received a total of fifty-four applications.

The CRFC would also like to thank the Selection Committee for their work in assessing the applications. It was not an easy task as all of the applications were deserving. None of these committee members are affiliated with any potential recipient, including as volunteers:
– Carolyn Brown, Manager, Journals Program of the National Research Council Canada
– Jonathan Browns, Cultural Planner, Arts Collections of the Public Arts Program of the City of Ottawa
– Annabelle Cloutier, Directrice générale of l’Association des producteurs francophones du Canada

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

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Melissa Kaestner, CRFC Executive Director, (613) 321-3513, m.kaestner [at] communityradiofund.org

The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) is a not-for-profit funding organization that solicits and distributes funds geared toward the development and sustainability of local community radio broadcasting in urban and rural Canada. Its goal is to provide the sector with the resources needed to continue providing local programming and community access, as well as for the development and enrichment of this vital component of the Canadian broadcasting system.