While campus radio station CiTR is increasing student funding and embarking on technological challenges, two of their longest-serving staff won’t be along for the ride.
CiTR has announced a restructure of the Music Director and Program Coordinator positions, ending the tenures of Luke Meat and Bryce Dunn. Meat had served as Music Director since 2004 and Dunn as Program Coordinator since 2000, though both had been involved with the station well before becoming paid staff.
According to a statement made by Board of Director’s Chair Janis McKenzie, the decision was made to reflect “the importance of a renewed focus on students as listeners and as programming participants and the need to adapt to and lead technological change.”
Funds brought in by the referendum earlier this year were an “increased vote of confidence” and bring the “challenge of even greater accountability to the student segment of our campus radio community,” added McKenzie in the statement.
Penny Clark, outgoing President, echoed McKenzie in saying that the decision to restructure was “hard, but made the most sense.”
Last semester, Clark campaigned in favour of the “Yes” vote for raising student fees in the March referendum. The question passed with 52 per cent of the vote, increasing the CiTR fee from $4 to $5 per student. Though the station was relieved to receive the extra funding, the low margin by which it passed was startling for the Student Executive.
“The referendum was important because it didn’t pass by very much, so we take that as a warning signal from students that they’re feeling disengaged from their club services,” said Clark.
In a meeting with staff and programmers on Thursday, those in favour of the decision reiterated the need for greater student involvement, something the old positions weren’t equipped to coordinate. “Dedicated volunteers are what help a not-for-profit like CiTR grow.
Volunteers require challenging and interesting responsibilities that give them a personal stake in the station,” Clark said. “We had positions that were designed to run the station but we need positions that are designed to draw volunteers into station operation.”
Student programmers currently represent 11 per cent of CiTR’s on-air talent, a figure Clark called a “big problem.” In comparison with other campus stations, CiTR ranks among the lowest in terms of student-produced on-air content.
Station Manager Brenda Grunau said those in Thursday’s meeting represented “the successful volunteers, but there are a lot more unsuccessful volunteers who aren’t here. We’re good at recruiting volunteers, but not keeping them.”
Clark added the station is looking for ways to become more user-friendly and student accessible by making it “easier to get shorter term or less frequent shows. It’s hard to commit to a regular schedule.”
But no one is quite sure yet what the restructured positions will look like. Further meetings and consultations will take place before the redefined positions are to be posted in July.
Janis McKenzie thanked Meat and Dunn “for their passion, dedication and valuable service to CiTR.” Nardwuar the Human Serviette, CiTR’s most notable programmer, offered a motion to give Meat and Dunn honorary lifetime memberships to the station.
“Luke and Bryce were really integral to CiTR. They gave everything to CiTR and they taught me about music,” he said.
“You don’t want to lose people like that.”