Volume 93, Issue 21

Tuesday, October 5, 1999


Saugeen pub questions linger

Canada founds world's first online university

Police target rising numbers of youth in crime

Air waves muddled at U of T radio

Millennium and J.W. Little turn weekend profit for city

Homecoming hooplah kept low


Buzz Mecca

Air waves muddled at U of T radio

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Listeners of the University of Toronto's debt-ridden radio station, CIUT-FM, are going to have to get used to a change of tune, as the broadcaster recently sold off a quarter of its air-time to stay financially afloat.

Paul Kutasi, vice-president of U of T's Students' Administrative Council, confirmed the radio station closed its doors on Friday to facilitate a major overhaul of its programming operations.

The move comes on the heels of a recent deal signed with Virtually Canadian, an internet broadcaster, who is slated to go on air every night from midnight to 6 a.m., Kutasi said, adding the new program begins Oct. 13.

Kutasi said the SAC, owners of the radio station, were forced to make the deal to help the ailing radio station, as it was losing approximately $15,000 daily and was over $150,000 in debt.

"It was actually probably more than that. We had to secure a loan for $150,000 to consolidate the debt so we can turn around and start to make the station profitable," he said.

According to Kutasi, student involvement at the station was already dwindling, as only one show during the week was produced by students. "The amount of student involvement is minimal –we want to change that. With this change we hope to drum up student interest," he said.

John Walters, president of Virtually Canadian, said he was confident the move would help get students back into CIUT since the new programming will cater to a younger audience with a program of dance, techno and rave music entitled "One Groove."

Walters said Virtually Canadian has been working on the deal with the SAC for the last six weeks. "The deal has been finalized in principle but the contract will be finalized this week," he said. "We're delighted to be participating. We see this as a tremendous opportunity."

According to Walters, the takeover will mean the axing of some volunteer staff. "The time-slot we're taking is displacing about six volunteers who are not students," he said.

Tom Everett, programme director at CHRW 94.7 – Western's radio station, said he does not forsee a similar financial crisis arising at Western.

"I don't think it would come to that here. We generally break even. We're always close to the breaking even point, either we make a little or lose a little," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999