This week students at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia took over the campus radio station, VillageNow.net, in order to protest cuts to the radio program. According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, “College president Kathryn Laurin announced the suspension of the applied communication program last week in a round of deep cuts to programs and services. The 40-year-old program, which trains students in journalism, broadcasting, publishing and public relations, will stop taking new students in the fall.”
In this “occupy”-style event, students and station alumni spoke about cuts to the radio program.
The station, which broadcast on CKMO 900 AM as roots music station Village 900, left its terrestrial radio home on March 4, 2012 after the non-profit CKMO Radio Society, which operates the station, asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to revoke its license. It is now an online-only station known as Village Now. With looming campus budget cuts, the future of even the online-only station is uncertain. CKMO supporters (see a video interview with one supporter here) are trying to get the administration to retain the 40-year-old communications program.
Those devoted to radio at Camosun conducted the Occupy protest at the radio station, marched on the university president’s office, and have also posted a petition online. According to the “Save the Village,” petition,
“Camosun College radio VillageNow.net is under threat. We have been told it will end within the next 20 days. But we believe that it’s worth saving! Born in 1973 as the closed-circuit CAMO Radio, Camosun College’s radio tradition has been heard live throughout Southern Vancouver Island as both an AM and an FM radio station, and even across the world online as VillageNow.net…”
The petition goes on to argue that another important aspect of the station has been on-air radio training through the Applied Communication Program at Camosun College. A second online petition, “Save Communication in BC,” is focused on saving the communication program. In addition to the petitions, a show, “Occupied Night,” will air on VillageNow.net on Thursday, April 19 from 8 PM to 8 AM. Supporters can learn more on the SaveComm Facebook and Twitter pages. A short documentary about the history of the station can be heard here.
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