In the old days, when radios only existed in cars and living rooms, Dalhousie’s community radio station, CKDU 88.1 FM, raised money one way: over the airwaves.
Listeners called the station and donated cash in a frenzied week-long marathon.
“Old school asking for money on air still happens,” says Catherine Chapman, CKDU’s Funding Drive Coordinator, but it’s just one part of a month-long drive with wider goals for the station.
“Money aside, it's a big boost of CKDU into the community,” says Ms. Chapman. “During this whole month, we're out there constantly, having events or telling people about the pledge drive, letting Halifax know about the service we provide and why we are important."
In the age of social media, why is CKDU important? Well, Ms. Chapman says, “I think the number one reason is that anyone can come in and we'll teach you all about radio. You can have your own show. For free."
The change in funding drive reflects a new direction for the station, one that moves out of the broadcast booth and aims to bring the medium of radio right into the community.
"CKDU has done a lot of outreach this year,” Chapman says. “We've really started to be out there more, going to events and supporting different groups, more so than just writing a public service announcement or having you in for an interview."
"The eclectic mix of shows we have on air really represents the Halifax community," she says. The many fundraising events the station hosts across the city during funding drive reflect this diversity.
While getting your voice on the radio remains as free as starting a Twitter account, keeping the station on-air still costs money.
Everyone must raise $110 for every half hour they are on the air so CKDU’s army of volunteers are already out collecting pledges to meet this year’s funding drive goal of $26,000. This accounts for a quarter of the stations’ operational budget.
"It's really fun to see all the programmers step up. Like Alex MacAskill,” she cites, “he is doing this big event all by himself.” A high school student, he's designed posters, booked bands, rented space and made a radio ad for a six-band all-ages show in Sackville.
Most events feature live music or food and they’re held anywhere from the Dalhousie Art Gallery, to a bowling alley to the Italian Cultural Centre.
CKDU’s on-air pledge drive takes place October 1 - 7. A full list of fundraising events, prizes, and an online pledge form can be found at fundingdrive.ckdu.ca.
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