“As CJAM 99.1 FM – the campus and community radio station of the University of Windsor – has not received a levy increase since 1980, do you support a levy increase of $3.00 per semester to begin in Fall 2018; followed by an annual inflationary increase equivalent to the inflation rate provided by the Canadian Federation info Students?” – this is the question posed to full time University of Windsor Undergraduate students.
CJAM 99.1 FM, the non-profit campus and community radio station located on the University of Windsor campus, has not received an increase in their student levy funding since 1980. “Currently we receive $5 per semester from each student, and while we gather roughly 25-30 thousand dollars from our generous community each year during our fundraising drive, and obtain government of Canada grants on a regular basis, after so many years, inflation is catching up to the organization,” states Station Manager Brady Holek. “With a $3.00 per semester increase, CJAM will be able to create two new jobs and expand one part time position to full time.”
Over the past year CJAM has significantly expanded the programming offered to University of Windsor students, integrating academic programs, student organizations, and student services into it’s daily programming. As a part of the third year Digital Journalism course curriculum, students curate and host The 30 News: Radio Edition, a weekly live news program. CJAM also works with the Nursing Department, having two fourth year students create a weekly health promotion and awareness talk show as a part of their Community Clinical Placement. Pro Bono Students Canada also hosts a weekly program featuring discussions from law students regarding their community placements; helping to increase access to justice. CJAM is also proud to support Lancers sports and athletics through its two sports programs, The Round Table and WinCity Sports. Campus services such as Afrofest, the Peer Support Center, Womxn’s Center, and Walksafe are also supported through special programming and public service announcements.
“Our small staff has been actively working to engage students more than ever,” says Program Director Carley Schweitzer. “CJAM is a unique space because while we offer free training in audio engineering and broadcasting, it’s not specifically designed for only one area of study. Any student can get trained at CJAM and obtain public speaking skills, organizational skills, and help bolster their resume with relevant experience before they graduate, all while having an element of fun. We want to offer more to students by giving them job opportunities that will get them started on their career trajectory. We have so many talented journalism students coming in weekly to broadcast news stories, it be great if some of them didn’t have to move away to find a job once they’ve graduated,” says Schweitzer.
With the proposed $3 increase in the student levy, CJAM would be able to hire on a full time News Director who would coordinate with volunteers to produce news programming that would cover the campus as a whole. “The need for and importance of responsible journalism is not something to be understated and CJAM FM wants to become a training ground for it. The creation of a News Director position would greatly strengthen the connection of CJAM to the student body on campus. It would be fantastic to have news programming operated by a recent graduate, focusing on campus topics from a student perspective. So many things are happening around campus all the time, and most students aren’t even aware of them,” says Holek.
The fee increase will also go towards hiring a part time Volunteer & Events Coordinator at the station. “Being one of the smallest staffed stations in the sector, with two full time and one part time employee, the school year presents a challenge to us in terms of making time for all the interested volunteers who want to be a part of CJAM each semester. On top of that, we want to make sure students know we are here by holding some events on campus, but sometimes wrangling our over 120 current volunteers takes precedent,” states Program Director Carley Schweitzer. A part time Volunteer & Events coordinator would assist the Program Director in training new volunteers, help coordinate studio booking, and spread the word through volunteer recruitment and hosting events on and off campus. “This person would be instrumental, specifically with all the new campus based programming we’ve created. We have new people every semester who need to create specific content for their courses or projects. A Volunteer Coordinator would be a great asset to the station to help increase and maintain this type of focused programming,” says Schweitzer.
Funds would also go towards making the now part time Music Director job a full time one. “The Music Department is working at full capacity. Being a unique border city station, the CJAM music submission numbers are extremely high, and CJAM prides itself on being the first station to chart new and upcoming artists on an almost weekly basis. Something that sets CJAM apart from streaming services and podcasts is our dedication to bringing our listeners that new music first,” says Holek. Promotional CDs are sent to the station before their commercial release and fans get to hear the tracks first on CJAM. “Our submission process is going need an overhaul in the very near future as more and more labels are releasing music digitally rather than physically. It’s going to take a lot of time to navigate how this change over will take place, and is currently impossible with the Music Director just able to finish day to day tasks as it is,” says Holek.
The campaign period for the referendum mirrors that of the University of Windsor Student Alliance elections, from Wednesday March 7th to Tuesday March 13th, with online and in person voting taking place the 14th and 15th. “We know there have been some pretty huge referendums in the past few years on campus but we believe that given the amount of time since our last increase and the small dollar amount, CJAM is worth the money. What we are asking for is $3.00 per semester that will go towards creating jobs for students and recent graduates. Current staff all started here as University of Windsor students or community volunteers. We hope to continue that tradition as we head into the future,” says Holek.
This coming November, CJAM FM will be celebrating 35 years broadcasting on FM, but the organizations history goes back as far as the 1950’s when a small music appreciation society was created. This flourished into a carrier current signal around the campus, an AM broadcast, and eventually an FM license. Currently the CJAM FM student President, Brittany Webster, is creating a documentary highlighting that history, with interviews from CJAM members who have gone on to lead successful careers in radio, television, copyright collectives, and much more. “CJAM has a very proud history of being the alternative voice in Windsor and Detroit, and I’m proud to say we offer learning opportunities that have led many on career paths that shaped their lives. To celebrate 35 years of FM by creating new job opportunities would go a long way to help us continue to redefine radio and reach higher ground in Windsor and Detroit,” says Holek.
CJAM Staff from left to right: Music Director Gin Ebony, Station Manager Brady Holek, Program Director Carley Schweitzer