Volume 94, Issue 103

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Get tuned

Editorial Cartoon

Get tuned

Video may have killed the radio star, but after a recent national accolade, Western's own radio stars are shining brighter than ever.

Earlier this week, CHRW 94.7 FM was named the best campus radio station in the nation at the Canadian Music Week conference in Toronto. This is the second time in six years the station has won this award. In addition, CHRW has also been recognized for its Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union coverage.

Yet because of its status as an alternative form of media, CHRW may be destined to a life of obscurity, where marginalized communities across both campus and the city manage to ascertain a little airtime. Therein lies a shame of gigantic proportions.

Let's accept the role of alternative media is to provide venues for people with little interest or connection to the mainstream. Specifically, "alternative"– a label which adequately suits campus radio, provides a home for two, closely related groups – artists and listeners.

For many artists, especially those working independently of major corporations, campus radio is their best venue for reaching perspective audiences. By the same token, campus radio provides audiences access to music and artists they do not receive via mainstream radio stations.

Most people would agree Canadian content is important to Canadian radio as a whole. For the same reasons, campus radio stations are critically important to the campuses they serve.

Furthermore, part of the beauty of CHRW is its ability to mirror Canada as a whole for the station's multicultural programming reflects the makeup of the wider Canadian society. Instead of following a rigid, restrictive mandate, CHRW opts instead to be a collection of different niches or groups.

Yet many Western students continue to choose one of London's other radio stations, which are only too happy to blanket the city's airwaves with mainstream monotony with names like Britney, Shaggy and that Creed band. Now that it has been recognized as the best campus radio station in Canada, the Western community needs to get behind the station.

Why can't you hear CHRW in the Atrium? Or in The Spoke? Or while you're paying $16 for a soggy chicken wrap at the CentreSpot? Because the Western community, with its love affair for the mainstream fully in tact, doesn't seem to support anything outside of the norm.

But now that the station has won this award, students should acknowledge the successes of CHRW and all of its many volunteers and staff by finding them on the dial and giving them a fair shake. With such a wide variety of programming, there is clearly something for everyone.

Alternative media has an integral role to play on our societal stage. A look at what the sidebars of society have to say will undoubtedly yield some interesting findings. Afterall, if you're not a supporter of alternative media, then why are you reading this newspaper?

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