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Donations to jazz radio shows fall while CKCU exceeds funding target

Carleton University's community radio station CKCU FM (93.1 / ckcufm.com) ended its annual funding drive on Sunday, November 10, receiving $134,473 in pledges and exceeding its goal of $127,000. Donations to long-running jazz programs were down significantly, however.

CKCU FM exceeded its 2013 fundraising goal but donations to jazz shows fellAccording to CKCU station manager Matthew Crosier, $992 was donated to Swing is In the Air, $500 to Rabble Without A Cause (RWAC), and $1843 to In A Mellow Tone.

The annual fundraising campaign raises money to pay the $40 per hour it costs to operate the largely volunteer-based CKCU. This includes equipment purchase and maintenance, electricity (for the radio transmitter and station), rent, music licenses, “CKCU On Demand” streaming audio and archives, and a small core staff.

2013 donations to Swing is In the Air ($992) reached less than one-half the target of $2300, down from 2010 donations of $3141. This was the first fundraising drive that followed the sudden death in early January of longtime host Jacques Emond. Emond had hosted the show for 30 years and was also widely known and loved in the jazz community as the longtime programming director of the Ottawa Jazz Festival.

With new hosts, Swing is In the Air saw a format change this year, with even more airtime given to interviews with, and newly released music by, local musicians. It is now hosted by Vince Rimbach and Ralph Hopper, and occasional guest hosts.

Rabble Without A Cause's donations fell this year to $500, from $780 last year and $850 in 2011 according to host Bernard Stepien. RWAC serves a smaller audience, focusing since its inception in the mid 1970s on avant-garde jazz, and being the primary local radio show where this music is aired weekly. According to Stepien, RWAC allocated 21% of its programming “to local musicians of all styles and level of development” this past year, an increase over 10% in the past.

In A Mellow Tone is hosted by jazz advocate and veteran radio broadcaster of 37 years Ron Sweetman and others, and airs for two hours each week. It continued to raise the most funds, at $1843, down from $3287 in 2010. Although Sweetman has increasingly rotated the host seat with other hosts, the program has largely maintained its music-focused format, introducing “listeners to the entire history of jazz, from its beginnings to the latest innovations" with “every program having a focus: on a musician, a city, a festival, an instrument, a record label or on recent releases.”

Crosier told OttawaJazzScene.ca that “We can't say thanks enough for all the support the station has had and from Jazz fans in particular.”

It's not too late to donate to the campaign. CKCU is still accepting donations, which can be made online at
https://www.ckcufm.com/secure/pledge/. Donors are reminded to include the name(s) of the jazz shows they want to support on the donation form so the donation is properly credited.

You can also listen to past CKCU jazz shows on the Internet anytime. Click the link to a specific date on each radio show's page to see program details and listen to that show's archived recording.

   – Brett Delmage

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