Irrelevant CHRW needs to step up its game

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

There is a school of thought that considers it bad form to kick someone when they’re down.

However, I prefer a quick shot to the ribs as a way to rouse the fallen back to life.

Consider this my metaphorical kick to CHRW.

With the exception of live sports coverage, I don’t know anyone who listens to 94.9 on the London FM dial. The product 94.9 FM CHRW provides reaches no one despite having the potential to reach anyone with a radio or a computer, anywhere in London.

Because there is a fee of about $13 attached to every student’s University Students’ Council fees, I’ve spent $65 over my university career on something I’ve gotten absolutely nothing out of. Yes, I could have listened had I chosen to, but the only thing worse than wasting money is wasting money and time.

It is super any group that wants a time slot can have one on our all-inclusive campus radio. But how much is that worth if no one is listening?

The first thing CHRW would say in its defence is people are listening. We could argue anecdotally forever about who knows more people who do or don’t listen. Or CHRW could sign up for free ratings numbers to measure listeners.

A source from the radio station has told me it will not sign up to produce ratings, though. The reality of how few people listen would make it tough to justify continued funding.

Terrible ratings would actually be a blessing for CHRW. Instead of hiding behind the idea that the station is reaching some students, it would have a starting point to make sure it is improving. This would remove the temptation to maintain the status quo. Hell, maybe the ratings would even prove me wrong.

I’m not writing this out of some perverse media competition where I think my medium needs to be recognized as better than others. It should be noted The Gazette does distribution and pickup surveys. It pays attention to whether or not people are reading.

I would love to see CHRW pull up its socks so it can provide an alternative as well as a partner for The Gazette to better inform and entertain students.

Fanshawe College’s campus radio, 106.9 XFM, is widely heard around London. It has several advantages, including a broadcast media program, but CHRW has numerous advantages it does not, including a much larger student body and student council.

Campus radio stations have the opportunity to provide students and the London community something interesting and different from the mainstream. CHRW is wasting that opportunity.

Clearly the USC recognizes the need for change, since it has restructured funding for the radio station.

CHRW provides some excellent skills training for those hoping to pursue a career in media, yet it could be providing so much more for so many students beyond its volunteers.

CHRW needs to take a look at radically amending its operations. How amazing would it be to have a campus radio station you still tuned into now and then over the years? There is always hope I guess.

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