College Radio Matters
It is because of CHMR 93.5 FM, Memorial University's college radio station, that I am talking to you today. It was there that I first came face-to-face with a microphone and had my voice transmitted. There where I first felt some of my aspirations kindle and take hold, and there where I experienced my first, goof-ups, dust-me-offs and conquests. Together the staff and volunteers trained me gratis to become a news reporter and disc jockey.
I am also here today because I have recently learned that some members of Memorial University's student community wish the station closed.
The reason? Well, no big surprise here: cartwheels, beans, mullah, dollars and cents…or lack thereof. That's the bottom line for a lot of things anywhere, but the end of the line for a lot of things here in Newfoundland.
The question then is, will MUN Radio be silenced?
The answer is a definitive no.
At least not if the people of MUN Radio--the people who are there now and the people who have come through it--have anything to say about it. And as far as that goes, not at any cost.
The reasons are obvious and legion, but one quote from The Great Western Ballroom comes to mind: "If you're like a typical college radio station, bursting at the seams and dilapidated in Goodwill store furniture, you're probably not much of an expense, and you're worth every cent anyway."
Some would choose to just simply call this a money issue. I would not. I am much more inclined to call this a student issue: specifically, a student's rights issue. It is the right of every student to have a different perspective, to learn valuable skills, and to find his or her voice. College radio is about a bunch of young people with varied backgrounds who share a driving desire to learn and express themselves. These college radio stations are the welcome mats and breeding grounds of future artists and intellectuals. Not only has college radio been known to foster the careers of many up and coming Canadian musicians, it also promotes the growth of student political and social activism and initiates the ambitions of future writers, politicians, musicians, actors and journalists. You could walk the halls, for example, of any CBC Radio station in the country and find a MUN Radio veteran.
The slogan of CHMR 93.5 FM, MUN Radio, is "Newfoundland's Only Alternative," and believe me, it is. The inside of MUN Radio has always hummed with many alternative music artists, young student radicals and open minds.
The only honest excuse--as I see it--for a member of the Council of Student's Union to recommend the closure of this and any other college radio station, is sad and simple: certain people in positions of power have not yet taken the time to really look inside.
For commentary, I'm Robin Grant in St. John's, Newfoundland.