Early this year the Ontario Government announced a new change in university tuition fees giving student the ability to opt-out of any fees deemed non-essential under the Student Choice Initiative, which included campus radio. With no consultation or warning before the announcement, CJAM FM staff and volunteers were left scrambling to raise funds in the few months before the fall semester began to ensure financial stability.
At the University of Windsor, CJAM FM has seen a 29% opt-out rate for the 2019 fall semester. This represents a decrease in the student levy fund of about $15,700 for the station. If the opt-out percentage remains the same for upcoming the winter semester, the station will lose roughly $31,400 this school year. “This is in the average range for campus radio opt-outs across the province,” says Station Manager Brady Holek. “We aren’t happy to see this funding go, especially since we only had a few months notice, but things could be a lot worse, and we have been preparing since the Student Choice Initiative was announced.”
Earlier this year CJAM made the tough decision to cut their Music Director job, held an emergency fundraising drive, and has been rallying the community to make sure the station can maintain basic operations. “It’s been incredible to see so many members of the community stepping up to help us out,” says Holek. “After CJAM announced that its funding was in jeopardy, I started getting calls from venue owners, local unions, and listeners who wanted to help us out in any way they could. Thanks to this support CJAM has created a cushion against the funding shortfall. We’ve received a lot of help, especially from the Green Bean Cafe and Dominion House Tavern. The events we held at these two venues alone have helped generate upwards of ten thousand dollars. Alongside ticket sales, a lot of bands have been playing for free, or handing their portion of the door back to the station.”
CJAM is now preparing for their annual fall fundraiser that beings on Friday November 8th and ends on November 15th. “The fall fundraiser is extremely important for us because it represents a significant portion of our annual budget. While effectively combatting the loss in fees makes us optimistic, the fundraiser has always represented approximately 30% of our annual budget and is essential in maintaining our ability to broadcast.”
CUPE 1393 has also been a major contributor to CJAM FM, sponsoring the 2019 fall fundraising t-shirts. “This is huge for us,” says Holek. “Without CUPE 1393 sponsoring the t-shirts we would not have the ability to provide them as a thank you to our donors.”
The continued local support has Holek looking forward to CJAMs future. “We are very lucky to have so many community supporters who believe in the promotion of local, independent, non-commercial music and programming. If the past few months have shown me anything, it’s that local artists, venues, and the community at large believe in the CJAM mandate.”
Donations to the station can be made online at this secure link, by calling in at 519-971-3630 in Windsor and 1-855-344-2526 in Detroit, or in person during the fundraiser between 9am and 7pm.