Campus radio stations in Ontario worry about losing funding

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Most stations get 75 to 80 per cent of funding from student fees, advocate says

Barry Rooke, the executive director of the National Campus and Community Radio Association, says campus radio stations are feeling anxious about the potential for students to be able to opt-out of non-essential fees.(Supplied )

Campus radio stations in Ottawa — and across the province — are trying to determine how to survive if the Ontario government moves forward with its plan to slash the student fees that fund them.

Under the “student choice initiative” announced in January by the Progressive Conservatives, post-secondary institutions would have to give students the choice to opt out of fees for programs or services the government deems to be non-essential.

Beginning in September, newspapers and campus radio stations, such as Carleton University’s CKCU and the University of Ottawa’s CHUO, may lose funding once this cost-cutting option is introduced to students.

Most campus radio stations get about 75 to 80 per cent of funding from student fees, said Barry Rooke, the executive director of the National Campus and Community Radio Association, an organization that represents stations across the country.

“It’s overall just a very scary thought,” he told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning Monday.

“[The stations] might become rotating playlists, [they] might become music blocks, which then pulls away from the character of what the station is actually.”

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