Opinion: Campus radio uplifts our community

(Courtesy Alan Levine/Creative Commons)

(Courtesy Alan Levine/Creative Commons)

Campus radio is more than just a group of students chilling in a studio and listening to cool music. Although that’s what the stereotype may be (thanks to pop culture and cheesy teen movies of the ’90s and early 2000s) there’s more to campus radio than you may think.
Ryerson has a campus radio station called The Scope. It’s been streaming online for three years, but starting March 30 the station will officially be on the dial in Toronto.

The station welcomes all members of the university and the GTA community to volunteer as broadcasters to present original programming.

Before I go on, I will make a disclaimer. I volunteer at the station as the host of my own show, The Plug-In. But I am not paid, nor do I profit in any way from writing about The Scope. Being involved at the station has given me insight into why campus radio is important for a community, or in this case, at Ryerson.

Campus radio plays an important role because it brings the community closer together. I’ve personally witnessed people build friendships from collaborating on something at the station, whether it’s on a radio show or a project, or helping out at a station event.

Aside from providing volunteers the opportunity to make valuable social connections, another benefit of having a campus radio station is that it allows volunteers, especially media students, to make valuable professional connections.

The Scope once brought in CBC Radio veteran Bernie Lucht to give a workshop to volunteers about radio storytelling, which provided a valuable networking opportunity.

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in media — or perhaps just want to brush up their journalistic chops — could make that connection with Lucht for professional advice or as a potential reference for future jobs.

Campus radio stations also allow students of all programs to discover a new passion. When I became a volunteer at The Scope, I was in my second year and had no prior experience in radio. Having a radio station on campus gave me the chance to experiment with audio production and performance. After covering different news stories, public service announcements and eventually hosting my own music-related talk show, I finally knew that I had the perfect outlet to express myself.

Without campus radio, people who might not otherwise have the chance to discover their passion would be cheated of such an opportunity. Unless you’re going into a post-secondary program focusing on radio broadcasting, there aren’t many other places students can go to try their hand at the craft.

Unless you’re going into a post-secondary program focusing on radio broadcasting, there aren’t many other places students can go to try their hand at the craft.

Furthermore, having campus radio enriches the community by informing students and staff about what’s new on campus. It’s another medium of delivering campus-community news to students, and one that people can listen to on the go.

Plus, having the chance to listen to what’s new in the local music scene is great.

Having an element of sound is definitely something that can’t be done in any print edition of a school newspaper or magazine.

And speaking of music, campus radio stations help pave the way for aspiring musicians. Smaller stations such as these give new and local artists much more play time than any commercial radio station would.

With all these neat things happening on campus radio stations, they boost morale and spread school spirit.

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