March 16, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 86  

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Students, not community

Most campus radio stations are recognized for their ability to tap into the independent music scene and stray from the all-too-familiar Top 40 mix. Although CHRW 94.9 FM is no exception, it is a station that could use some polishing in order to appeal to a greater number of students, something the University Students’ Council has recognized.

What direction does the station need to take in order to achieve this goal? CHRW prides itself on its ability to embrace diversity and offer a “cure for corporate radio.” And it does — to an extent.

All students at Western are required to contribute to campus media as part of their student fees. TV Western and CHRW are grouped together, costing students a total of $14.07 a year. Since each student helps fund our campus station, CHRW should focus on achieving a broader appeal.

However, when the average student decides to rotate the dial to 94.9 FM, they likely won’t hear samples from independent artists, but rather receive a taste of some multicultural or specialty program.

The ability to appeal to smaller groups and cultures is important, but by allotting Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to such programming, along with specialty shows scattered throughout the week, the station is only successful in alienating more listeners than it attracts. When programming becomes too specific, it fails to appeal to the average student.

Some people may tune in for the “S.O.F.A./Rock Christian Radio Show” and “Splendors of the Catholic Church,” airing Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m.; however, all the other students who wanted to hear some catchy, quality indie sounds on a lazy Saturday afternoon are left disappointed.

Common sense would indicate that Christian beats would be better reserved for a time other than Saturday afternoons. Evenings and weekends, when most students aren’t attending lectures, would be the ideal time to include a wide mix of music. At the very least, popular tracks could be integrated with the rest of the music.

It would be beneficial for CHRW to take a closer look at their programming schedule to determine peak hours of listening, and fill such time slots with sounds enjoyed by people looking to discover some new indie music. Also, the station needs to ensure people are knowledgeable about the topics on air; for example, the genre of music.

At the same time, shows like Wake-up Western have successfully integrated music, interviews and loose discussion regarding campus issues.

Fanshawe College’s station, 106.9 FM, seems to appeal to more students than CHRW, and this is a problem that needs to be fixed. CHRW needs to establish a plan of action, but the basic request will always remain the same: play more music, please.



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