CFRC community radio celebrated their 100th birthday on Friday, a milestone marked by only a handful of radio stations worldwide.
Current staff and volunteers were joined by Mayor Paterson, MPP Ted Hsu, Queen’s Vice Principal Patrick Deane and former longtime CFRC Station Manager Steve Cutway among other guests to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Canada’s second oldest radio station, the single oldest among campus stations.
The station was once owned by Queen’s University, and to this day still resides on Queen’s property and in some ways bridges a gap between Queen’s and the general Kingston community.
As a native of Kingston, CFRC Station Manager and Executive Director Dinah Jansen cut her teeth in radio at the campus station and was able to return to Kingston to helm it in 2017.
She says particularly for a station like CFRC which relies on so many volunteers, the passion and effort put into day to day operations shines through on the air.
“Really being able to share their voices, their ideas, their perspectives, their creativities, and their passions,” Jansen said.
“And I think that moves a lot of people to also want to be able to contribute in their own ways on our airwaves but also to continue to support the station.”
Those contributions come in the form of optional Queen’s student fees, but primarily from fundraising and donations which Jansen says makes up the majority of the station’s budget.
This year the station also tapped into the Local Journalism Initiative, providing the funding to expand CFRC’s news broadcasting and add more news programming to the station’s airwaves.
With individuals having more curation over their programming over the years, CFRC has showcased a wide variety of music, and Jansen says the personal input of hosts has helped the station to often be ahead of the curve with musical trends.
“We started out with a little bit of programming that was covering sports and then maybe a little bit of classical music,” Jansen said.
“The programming really developed over the years as more and more students got involved to bring musical interests and new kinds of music.”
On Friday, former station manager Steve Cutway also presented achievement awards to Jim Birch and Wayne Vermette, both veterans of 40 consecutive broadcasting years at CFRC.
Alex Freedman, Executive Director at Community Radio Fund Canada, also spoke on Friday saying that his organization is responsible for finding funding to help stations like CFRC push to do more and be better.
He says when he sees an application from CFRC, it’s often easy to approve.
“I evaluate projects across the country from campus and community stations coast to coast to coast,” Freedman said.
“You know when you get an application from this station – that it’s going to be good, that it’s going to do something, that it’s going to have an impact on this community.”
Following the celebrations, CFRC is launching its annual funding drive with a goal towards modernizing their website and funding a radio theatre camp for youth next summer.