Don’t Feel So Alone with the Radio On

How CJSW went from a group of antisocial outsiders to the heart of a community

Tucked into a corner on the top floor of the University of Calgary’s MacEwan Student Centre, the offices of the University of Calgary Student Radio Society — better known to the world as CJSW — are unassuming, even antiseptic. The station is welcoming almost despite itself, exuding a low-key warmth that nearly makes up for the cold cement floors, hospital-green walls and generally stark interior. It is clearly a lived-in space, with colourful station advertisements coating the walls and whiteboards spilling over with ideas and inside jokes, but the overall impression is something else, something that verges on a dirty word when applied to an institution like a campus radio station: it looks very… professional.

It’s a far cry from the station’s former digs two floors below, in the basement of MacEwan Hall. Those subterranean offices, which housed the station from late 1967 until the move to the current quarters in 2008, came much closer to the stereotypical college radio station. They were cramped and claustrophobic, sunless, stained, and filled to bursting with press photos and stacks of CDs. Those old offices were something to curse at, to struggle against and to overcome. The new ones are the kind of space you grow into.

If you listen with the right ear you can hear that same difference over the airwaves, too — and not just because of the station’s much-vaunted 18,000 watt signal, upgraded from 4,000 watts in 2014. The difference in CJSW’s sound is about status as much as signal strength. What began as a refuge for punk rockers and ‘pataphysicians to push back at Calgary’s stiff, stifling culture has become a respected part of the city’s media landscape and a pillar of the local community.

Even beyond its broadcasts, there is hardly a cultural institution in the city that isn’t in some way connected to CJSW. Its alumni have gone on to found BeatRoute, Swerve, and the late Fast Forward Weekly, and have helped to shape the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Sled Island, to name just a handful of examples. Today, the station represents a side of Calgary that, until very recently, was all but invisible to anyone outside of the city, and even to most who lived there. For Calgarians who refused to buy into the city’s reputation as a home for oil companies, part-time cowboys and little else, CJSW has served as a spotlight on a vibrant — though certainly struggling — counterculture. Its signal doubles as one of the few gateways into an otherwise hidden community.

Because of that, the community has also given back to the station on a scale that’s unprecedented for campus radio in Canada. For nearly 15 years, CJSW’s annual Funding Drive has brought in over $150,000 annually, and usually more than $200,000. In 2015, the total topped $250,000 — a record for Canadian campus radio, and more than double the next-highest total. The station still hosts the voices and sounds of the alternative, but as its audience has grown and Calgary’s political and social culture has begun to shift. It is no longer an outsider, exactly.

Respectability was hardly a foregone conclusion when the station was first struggling to get onto the airwaves. Even survival seemed like a long shot. CJSW’s FM license came partly out of the station members’ desire to be heard, but it was also spurred by necessity, a way to avoid the demands of a skeptical students’ union and a disinterested, occasionally antagonistic student body. It was a scheme, in other words, and in the best possible sense of that term.

Thirty years on, through a combination of good luck and good decisions, that scheme has worked out in a way that its founders could hardly imagine. But getting to that point was no simple task.

Personality crisis

In the late 1970s, CJSW was going through a transformation. For decades it had seen itself as a training ground for commercial DJs. Its broadcast was limited to a handful of speakers throughout the campus, a channel on cable FM, and an AM “carrier current” signal pushed to the university’s residences, essentially allowing students to pick up the station through their electrical outlets.

As a home for aspiring radio professionals to find their voices, it had worked well. A number of station members, including Calgary’s first female music DJ, had even found work with the CBC thanks to their experience at CJSW. But there was a new generation of members coming in without any aspirations towards commercial radio. In fact, their goal was about as far from commercial as it came. People like Allen Baekeland, Bill Reynolds and Grant Burns, each of whom would take a turn as Station Manager between 1979 and 1986, had been inspired by the punk rock and new wave records making their way into North American record shops. That sound, and that spirit, is what they wanted to hear at CJSW.

“They didn’t want to play what was being played on any mainstream radio anymore,” says Burns of his CJSW cohort at the time. “They wanted to play all the cool shit that was coming out of England.”

Few people have had more impact on the trajectory of CJSW than Burns. As Station Manager from 1982 through 1986, he wrote the applications to the CRTC — Canada’s regulatory body for radio — that got CJSW on the FM airwaves; he also helped the station separate itself from the Students’ Union by fighting for an independent levy. And while he’s no longer as involved in the station’s management as he was in those days, he’s stayed on the airwaves, co-hosting Road Pops with Kevin Brooker for essentially the entirety of CJSW’s FM life.

Thirty years on, Burns still carries himself like a professional mischief-maker. There’s a sense of controlled chaos in his demeanour, as if he’s perpetually weighing the merits of one plot or another. When he talks about CJSW’s early days, he alternates between irreverence and awe, simultaneously downplaying his role in creating the station and marvelling at just how much he got away with.

As he remembers it, Burns came into CJSW just as the tide was turning. There were still a few “radio-nerdy guys” at the station with aspirations of working at the CBC, but they were increasingly the minority. Baekeland had become passionate about the British music scene after going to school in London, and armed with imported copies of the New Music Express, he was helping the station change form.

“We started charting music that was charting in England or London,” Burns recalls. “This is pre-Internet. So people would go on a trip to San Francisco or New York or to London and they’d bring back music and bring it into the station, and it would get aired on CJSW before it got aired anywhere else.”

As those international trips were somewhat impractical, CJSW also started to reach out to Calgary’s independent record stores for sponsorship, getting the most recent releases in exchange for creating a market for them among their small but dedicated audiences. The station’s public affairs and news broadcasts started to decline in favour of music that was leagues away from anything played on commercial stations. For the fans on the fringes of Calgary’s culture, it was a godsend. But not everyone appreciated the new direction.

Working for the clampdown

In every retelling of the CJSW story, the enemy is the same. Like a comic book supervillain, the University of Calgary’s Students’ Union is there at every turn, arguing for programming changes, threatening to revoke funding, even attempting to destroy the station through an underhanded late-night lockout. More so every time the story is told, they are the straight-laced bureaucrats, the upright authority pressed against the forces of art, freedom, and rock ’n’ roll.

There’s a kernel of truth to that take, as even the SU members of that era will admit, but the reality is more convoluted. The SU was hardly united in its opposition to the station. It was also hardly the only group that was unhappy with the station’s new approach. As it comes up on the 40th anniversary of the punk movement, it’s easy to forget just how unpleasant that music was to many audiences at the time. While the DJs rushed to embrace their newfound musical freedom, CJSW’s listeners didn’t necessarily appreciate the shift.

Part of the issue was that, for the most part, CJSW’s audience was not listening to the station by choice. The station could be picked up by any AM receiver in the university’s residences, but despite handing out fliers to the students living there, Burns acknowledges that “very few of them listened to us.” Instead, it was the loudspeakers on campus that attracted the largest audiences.

“Our main broadcast outlet in those days, to my mind, was the loudspeakers outside of Mac Hall,” Burns confirms. “And on a summer day, a nice day, there’d be a lot of people sitting on the lawn, doing homework or throwing a Frisbee, hanging out. And that’s who we broadcast to.”

The trouble was, the students in earshot didn’t always want to receive that broadcast. In a letter to the Gauntlet, the University of Calgary’s student newspaper, one student in the early ’80s described the station’s broadcasts as “an infringement on my right to silence and sanity,” and wanted to know “how soon the radio station could be shut down, disbanded, silenced, terminated, etc.”

It wasn’t an isolated complaint, and the SU took the students’ concerns seriously. Early in 1980, the Gauntlet reported that the University of Waterloo had shut down its campus station for “not serving the student population.” It seemed reasonable to ask if CJSW was any better at meeting student needs.

“The stuff they were playing was stuff that no one wanted to hear,” says Patrick Mahoney, the Students’ Union Vice President Finance in 1980 and now a Calgary-based lawyer. “When it was suggested that they play things the community wanted to hear, there was no interest in it.”

“It was a real punk rock station, a private club,” Mahoney added, describing their attitude as, “We’re gonna do what we want, and not care about anyone else.”

The SU’s eventual answer has become one of the station’s defining stories. In April 1980, a week before the end of the winter semester, the SU voted to close down the station. Even 35 years later, the decision still inspires anger and hurt feelings on both sides of the issue. As they tell the story, the station’s staff at the time saw it as an act of war, a midnight coup intended to take the station back from the fringes by force.

Unsurprisingly, the SU didn’t see it in those terms, although they acknowledge it probably looked like an attack. As they recall, their actions were hardly unprovoked, having been spurred by complaints about a student-funded station that seemed unwilling to compromise. Bruce Ramsay, the president at the time, recalls that “no one on council wanted to close the radio station,” but that the motion was a way of forcing some issues and getting the station “back on track,” though he doesn’t recall the specifics. In the coverage of the lockout in the Calgary Herald, Students’ Union Vice President of Finance Richard Seto was quoted as being frustrated with a system where “disc jockeys play what they want,” rather than a more structured system that would include more news and less music.

Tag Goulet, who succeeded Ramsay as president after the incident, believes it all came down to the students. “My sense was that the reason we even did anything about it at the time was because of complaints,” she says. “The guys who were the leaders of the station, my perception was that they were very much [of the opinion that] ‘students really should be listening to what we like,’ as opposed to ‘let’s have lots of different alternatives for students.’”

Both Mahoney and Goulet also downplayed the antagonism between the station and the SU, although they only dealt with the lockout’s aftermath and couldn’t comment on the events themselves. For their parts, Mahoney DJed on CJSW before becoming VP Finance, while Goulet recalls getting along well with the station staff after the incident, and went on to become a volunteer at Toronto community station CIUT; both believed in the station in principle, even if they didn’t always agree on the details.

Even Burns acknowledges that the station and the Students’ Union weren’t always at each other’s throat. He laughs as he describes an SU party where the station’s DJs sincerely tried to cater to what they assumed would be the crowd’s safer sensibilities, only to discover that wasn’t why they’d been invited. “We were playing all the mainstream stuff we thought they wanted,” he says, “and they were like ‘Go get some Clash! Go get some B52s!’ We’d play ‘Rock Lobster’ and people would just fuckin’ freak out!”

However sympathetic its individual members could be to the station’s iconoclastic tendencies, the SU and CJSW were clearly pushing in different directions. With the station staff increasingly dedicated to battling against what they saw as the mediocrity of the mainstream, and with the SU providing the station’s budget and making up 50 per cent of its board of directors, something was going to have to give.

Electioneering

If CJSW really wanted its independence, the first step was for the station to decouple itself from the Students’ Union, at least financially. As long as their funding was coming through the SU, the station would always face questions of accountability and accessibility. And the odds were they wouldn’t like the answers they were given.

“In those days, our seven grand [station budget], it came from their general fund,” Burns explains. “So when the SU used to get $28 per student or whatever they got, they had to give seven grand of that to us. They resented funding something that they didn’t listen to. They didn’t like the culture of it.”

The solution Burns proposed to the station’s membership was counter-intuitive, to say the least. The main source of the tension between CJSW and the SU stemmed from the perception that students were being asked to pay to indulge someone else’s private club. To fight that perception, CJSW would put the issue to a referendum in the 1982 student election, asking the students for a $2 direct levy, which would not go through the SU. They would, in other words, explicitly ask the students to fund their private club. It wouldn’t be an easy sell.

“I don’t think a lot of the campus has ever been into what was played at that point,” confides Don McSwiney, a young station volunteer at the time of the referendum who would go on to lead the station for nearly a decade through the ’80s and ‘90s.

Clean-cut and dressed in a business-casual polo shirt befitting his current role as the director of communications and marketing for the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Kinesiology, McSwiney comes across significantly more straight-laced than Burns. In truth, he looks more like the star of a newspaper soap-opera strip than the second-longest-running Station Manager in CJSW’s history. But like Burns, McSwiney’s importance to the CJSW story can’t be overstated.

“I’m almost fearful to put it down in writing,” he says of the station’s campaign strategy, “but it was a political thing. We just had to win one per cent more. If you had blocks of people voting for you, then you could make things pass.”

Unlikely as it may seem, CJSW’s core staff at that time did know student politics. In the 1980 SU election, they had run a slate of candidates under the banner of the Calgary Institut de ‘Pataphysique. Their campaign had been an absurdist stunt — Goulet, who ran against Burns for SU president that year, likens the Institut to the federal Rhinoceros Party — and campaign promises to put a dome over the campus or to buy the RMS Queen Mary so students could learn at sea had rightly attracted only a tiny percentage of the vote. But the experience itself had been educational, teaching the staff about the campus’ political process and giving them ideas for drumming up votes.

Outwardly, the 1982 student levy campaign was similar to the SU run two years earlier. At various points, McSwiney describes the campaign as both “pretty crazy” and “a little surreal and silly,” but the staff and membership also knew that the station’s life was at stake. They campaigned hard, joining intramural clubs, and involving themselves in the student community in a way that would have seemed impossible only a few years before. Ultimately, they won the students’ trust — and their money — with one notable exception.

“I think the only place we lost was in the residences,” McSwiney says. “That was the one place where they were forced to listen to CJSW, because it came through on carrier current, so it overloaded all other radio. And that’s the place we lost.”

For the rest of the campus, though — the ones who didn’t actually have to listen to them — the issue seemed settled. Whether it was because they believed in the station, admired its hard work on the campaign, or simply couldn’t be bothered to vote against the motion, the students had given CJSW the independence to pursue its own direction.

Community radio

With its financial security established, at least for the time being, the next step for CJSW was to procure an FM licence. Previous administrations had tried and failed, applying to the CRTC in 1974 with a proposal that Burns says was too similar to the commercial stations already on Calgary’s airwaves. The idea had been floated on and off through the next few years — as Burns puts it, “right away, you could kind of see the potential of the thing” — but it was only when CJSW attended the first National Campus Radio Conference in 1981 that the idea truly gained momentum.

CKCU, the station at Carleton University in Ottawa that hosted the conference, was, in Burns’ words, “a pretty serious station.” They had an FM licence, and in fact were the first campus and community station in Canada to receive one. In practice, they acted as an extension of the university’s journalism program, requiring students to train on an internal broadcast before being allowed to speak to the community. By contrast, the closest thing to formal training at CJSW was what was called “CJSW gold,” a photocopied list of essential albums that the station required its new recruits to listen to before their first time on air. Stuffy as it seemed, the Ottawa station provided a model for CJSW to follow.

The conference also gave Burns a chance to speak with CRTC representatives about the licensing process, and in turn, they suggested that he talk to other recently successful stations in Edmonton and Vancouver.

Where Ottawa was inspiring for its professionalism, CITR in Vancouver provided a different sort of lesson to Burns — less an inspiration than a cautionary tale. Burns explains that “there was this thing that the CRTC was doing where they were letting campus radio stations get Class C licences that were 50 watts,” which was less than one tenth of one per cent the strength of a commercial station. The signal was weak enough that it simply couldn’t be picked up beyond the campus. “I guess the idea was, you’re a campus radio station, you’re going to broadcast to the campus, so you don’t need to broadcast any further away than the campus.”

For Burns and the CJSW crew, that wouldn’t do. If they were going to jump through the hoops required to get an FM licence, it wasn’t just to be able to say they had a licence — they wanted to send their subversive signal deep into the heart of Calgary. McSwiney put it simply, saying “We wanted to be heard. There was no doubt. I can’t emphasize that fact enough.”

Fortunately, there was another possibility. The reason Ottawa’s CKCU was able to broadcast beyond its campus was that the broader community was explicitly included in its mandate. Never one to miss an opportunity, Burns was keen to learn more about community broadcasting. The next year’s NCRC conference was being held in Montreal; since Quebec already had a strong network of community radio stations, it was the perfect place to suss out the format.

“They had an interesting approach to it,” Burns says of the Quebec stations. “They were much more serious-minded than we were, but I realized when I started looking at the other licences and what the potential was, that if we wanted to get a Class B licence and be more than 50 watts, we’re going to have to include the community.”

If that sounds calculated it’s because it was. The gestures towards embracing the campus during the levy campaign had been, at least in part, a way of keeping the radio club safe. This new move towards including the broader community was almost entirely a way to ensure the station could get its licence. Which isn’t to say the community programming wasn’t welcome at the station, just that the management was being cautious.

“I wanted to balance it,” Burns says of the community programming, “because it didn’t fit with the aesthetic of the punk rock and new wave and all the young people who wanted to listen to us. But I felt like we had to do it to get our licence.” With that in mind, ads were placed in newspapers inviting proposals for new shows. Nick Diochnos, CJSW’s music director at the time, was Greek, and so was tasked with finding hosts for a Greek show. The SU’s accountant was Italian, so Burns asked her to find a host for an Italian show. Suddenly, the station’s voice was a little less insular, and a little more inclusive of other under-heard communities.

Once again, Burns’ instincts proved right. On September 6, 1984, the CRTC granted CJSW a licence to broadcast on 90.9 FM in Calgary, at a level of 1,900 watts — nearly 40 times the signal strength of CITR. There were provisions, of course. Four hours per week needed to be dedicated to ad-free community programming. News programming would be included, which would “focus primarily on the campus’ interests and concerns.” The independent music the station played would have to include “a significant amount of traditional and special interest music, particularly classic and jazz.” But CJSW was going to be heard.

With a little help…

“It was like the revolutionaries actually winning,” McSwiney says of the station’s first days on air. “I remember marching in the Stampede Parade that year where we crashed the parade. It was a perfect 30 degree day, and we got some cheap painting suits which we spray-painted, and we walked through the crowd tossing albums and candy. It was triumphant.”

The station had officially hit the airwaves on January 15, 1985 with a broadcast of the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” (although test broadcasts had started a week earlier with a long-forgotten jazz song chosen by the station’s engineer), and immediately they started to make their presence known. Articles in the Calgary Herald and the Globe and Mail profiled the new station, and while Burns admits that this was at least partly due to “friends in the media,” he’s also adamant that “we got the ink because we deserved it.” The station also immediately started to push into the Calgary community, eager to make itself known.

“We were really trying to get noticed,” Burns says. “We put posters up, we put fliers up. We had banners at gigs. I tried to MC things when I could. We participated in media challenges down at the mall. We’d go to media ski days. We wanted people to know we existed, because we always believed in the station and thought people should listen to it.”

Even as the joy of their newfound presence spurred on the station, though, changes were in the works. Burns was exhausted after four years of wheeling and dealing to get the station its licence and its independence. Working in a cramped basement office with no sunlight didn’t help either. “Fed up and burnt out,” Burns stepped down as station manager a year into CJSW’s tenure on FM.

It wasn’t a smooth transition. The station management’s top two choices for Burns’ replacement both turned down the job, and the managers who followed, despite good intentions, weren’t up to the task. Over the next four years, the station’s finances spiralled out of control. Despite an increasing presence in the city, ad revenue was almost non-existent, and sponsorship was, in McSwiney’s words, “a piss in the bucket.” By 1989, when he was hired as Station Manager, things looked bleak.

“There was a huge deficit when I took over,” McSwiney says. “I got wind from one of our DJs who was also on the Students’ Union that there was a motion that was going to come forward to sell off our assets, kick us out of the space, and sell the transmitter. Some of that stuff, legally, they couldn’t do, but some of it they could. They owned a lot of that stuff — they bought it back before we were listener-funded, so that was a real threat.”

Beyond the financial threats, the station was also worried about its licence. A series of listener complaints had soured the station’s relationship with the CRTC, and there was concern that their probational licence might not be renewed.

“We were on thin ice,” is how McSwiney describes the situation. “I didn’t want to be the Station Manager that came on board, lost the licence, got shut down and had everything sold. Saying it now, that was probably a 70–30 proposition that would happen as opposed to not happen. That was my feeling talking to people on the Student Union.”

As far as anyone at the station could see, there was only one possible solution. The station’s annual Funding Drive, held each October since CJSW began its FM broadcast, had been officially scrapped by McSwiney’s predecessor. While the $13,000 the drive brought in most years was helpful for the station’s general upkeep, it took months to organize, and the administration had felt the funds weren’t worth the hassle.

Seeing the state of the station, McSwiney was inclined to disagree.

“I didn’t see how we could have a campus and community radio station where the community didn’t pay anything,” he says. “Philosophically, it was wrong. Practically speaking, we were broke.”

Clearly, the system used in the previous Funding Drives not working. Most years, the station encouraged pledges by encouraging listeners to give the station their loose change, emphasizing that every small donation helped. That was technically true, but it failed to capture the full extent of the station’s need — with their assets on the line and CJSW’s future in question, asking for $3 donations was not going to make the difference.

Once again, the answer to the station’s predicament was to open the doors to Calgary’s cultural community, this time reaching out to the city’s independent businesses for support. The request wasn’t for donations, though. Instead, taking a page from the PBS fundraising playbook, McSwiney and his staff established the Friends of CJSW program, encouraging businesses to offer discounts to CJSW donors in exchange for promotion throughout the year. The “friends card” would be available for $25 — a considerably higher request than the station had made in the past. But it would also identify the donors, the businesses and the station as part of the same community, all working towards the same goal.

The results were immediate. Despite organizing the 1989 Funding Drive on a tight deadline, the donations quickly rose. As it turned out, as much as the Friends card helped, the key also seemed to be the community programming.

To some extent, the station’s ethnic shows had originally been seen as an afterthought, a necessary part of CJSW’s licensing agreement. Burns had scheduled the shows on Saturday and Sunday mornings not because those were the times they wanted, but because most of the station staff were in bands that played on Friday and Saturday nights in the city’s burgeoning punk and R&B scenes (the station band was called, appropriately enough, The Patabeatniks). Simply put, none of them wanted to wake up on weekends, which meant the community programming was given those spots by default.

If CJSW saw those shows as tangential, though, the communities they served had a dramatically different view. To them, CJSW had become one of the few outlets where they could celebrate their cultures and talk about their issues in their own language. McSwiney made sure the hosts knew that, if they wanted to stay on the air, they couldn’t just rely on the student levy. If their communities were truly invested in the station, it was time for them to, well, invest.

“Karen Kiesel, bless her soul, she was my German host for many years,” McSwiney says, his voice swelling with affection. “She ran that Funding Drive with a military precision. She went out and she called it on the air, she said, you must donate if you want to keep this going. She made the listeners aware, this was a relationship they had with the station.”

Almost immediately, those communities proved they were an essential part of the station. Within a few years, the German and Italian programs were consistently among the most successful ones in the Funding Drive, with the other community shows not far behind. With their help, over the next decade, CJSW squared its account with the Students’ Union and started to invest in its own future. When McSwiney took over the station in 1989, it was “like any other shitty campus radio station in Canada,” in his words. When he stepped down in 1997, he was running “the Cadillac of radio stations in Canada,” a model for other campuses across the country.

A sound salvation

The 18 years since McSwiney’s tenure at CJSW have been anything but uneventful for the station. There have been highs — the station’s move from the MacEwan Hall basement to its current, state-of-the-art studios being a prime example — and there have been struggles, like the near-decade of negotiations and legal wrangling it took to actually make that move happen. Infighting and scandal have both been realities within the station, and as with any organization run by the young, enthusiastic and inexperienced, not every decision has been for the best.

Still, 55 years from its earliest incarnation as a student club at what was then called the University of Alberta in Calgary, and 30 years from its first FM broadcast, the station is stronger, more diverse and more vital to Calgary’s community than anyone could have imagined.

Each week, CJSW broadcasts over 100 programs, casting its musical nets wide to showcase doom metal, punk rock, folk, Afro-Caribbean and experimental noise. Its airwaves are home to specialty shows spotlighting Croatian, Eritrean and Filipino culture, alongside award-winning international programs like Alternative Radio. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the station provides a voice to a side of Calgary that is rarely heard outside the city’s borders. It is a place for the city’s progressives and activists, for its minorities and outsiders, for its fringe voices of all varieties.

Despite its prominent role in the community, the struggles to get on the FM dial and to stay there should serve as a reminder that CJSW’s place was never an inevitability — and neither is its future. If there’s one lesson to take from the folding of Fast Forward Weekly, the alternative newspaper that for nearly two decades acted as a hub for Calgary’s music and arts communities, it’s that the city’s independent institutions are anything but immortal. Keeping them alive takes constant effort. Keeping them vital takes an entire community.

CJSW helped build that community through a mix of foresight, compromise, and sheer luck, but once the station began to open its borders, it was smart enough to recognize the value of those new voices, and to embrace them. There are still shades of the early, antagonistic outsiders in CJSW’s current membership, in their distaste for the mundane and the mainstream, in their embrace of the fringe and the unexplored. But the difference between the station’s early days and its modern incarnation is obvious, and it’s a lesson that Burns himself sums up eloquently.

“It’s funny,” he says. “When I was Station Manager, I wanted everything to be super listenable. I never wanted us to play anything that would piss people off or make them turn the dial. And I don’t think I really understood what it was to have this enterprise, this community broadcasting, that everyone has their own voice. I was trying to make it have one sound, and I think I’ve learned over the years that CJSW is something else. It’s a whole bunch of voices. It’s 300 voices. And it really is a community in itself.

“And yeah, there’s gonna be stuff that you just can’t stand listening to. You’re gonna turn it off. And there’s gonna be a lot of stuff that you’re just gonna love. And you’re gonna have young broadcasters that say stupid things, and then you’re gonna have really intelligent ones. You’ll have people that piss you off. It’s all over the place. And it’s great. I listen to it more than anything else. Still.

“And I don’t have to. It’s not my job anymore, but I can’t stop. I can’t help it. I’m hooked.”