Why some students don’t tune in to music award shows

(Sara Collaton/ Flickr)

(Sara Collaton/ Flickr)

Ryerson students appear to be a small minority among the 1.4 million viewers who tuned in to watch the Juno Awards on March 30.

Though the Junos was the most-watched program on television among teenagers on the night it aired, it was only the third most-watched program among persons aged 12 to 34, a spokesperson from Bell Media said. The stats raise interesting questions: do post-secondary students even care about the Junos? And do student views reflect the views of the millennial generation as a whole?

Based on information gathered from students on campus, many neglected to tune in to the annual award show that honours Canadian music.

And it seems it’s not just the Junos they’re prepared to ignore, but all music award shows. “I don’t tend to be an award show kind of person,” said Ryerson MBA student Nicole Karolyi.

Karolyi expressed a sentiment common among students, that she didn’t watch the Junos because she does not have cable. But Karolyi later admitted that having cable would have not made a difference. “I wouldn’t schedule my life around watching a TV show. It’s so streamable and downloadable,” said Karolyi.

Mikaila Wenuzenki, a first-year student in environmental and urban sustainability, shared Karolyi’s sentiment. “I watch highlights in the end in the end to know what happened but I generally don’t watch award shows,” said Wenuzenki.

According to Rajean Hoilett, Ryerson Students’ Union’s vice-president equity and future president, award shows simply don’t fit into the schedule of a student when they have school workloads to manage, on top of working unpaid internships and part-time jobs.

“Students here are busy with a lot of things,” said Hoilett. “I think that there’s a lot of things trying to grab a student’s time, and that might take away from [a] student’s ability to take time off and maybe watch the Juno Awards…to be able to take part in some of those leisure activities or de-stressers.”

Even the students who did watch it happened to just stumble upon it while flipping through channels. “To be honest, I just saw it was on TV and then I was interested in it, so I just decided to watch it. It was a natural occurrence, I didn’t plan to watch it, it just happened,” said Will Campbell, a fifth-year business student.

Contrary to popular belief, students may be considered a demographic separate from the rest of the millennial generation tuning into awards shows. Kate Taylor, who is a feature writer for the Globe and Mail arts section and a former journalism and the arts instructor at Ryerson, said that Ryerson students are the least likely demographic to watch the Junos. When it comes down to music awards, Taylor says they are mostly a teen phenomenon.

“People in their 20s have a reputation of being low consumers of TV, for the rather obvious reason that they’re out doing other things,” said Taylor. She said teens and people over 30 consume more TV than students around that age. “I would be very careful to conclude that the millennial generation isn’t interested, especially from [students].”

Though the Junos viewership among Ryerson students was low, the awards show were considered quite popular this year. According to Scott Henderson, vice-president of communications at Bell Media, the three main companies behind the award show – CTV, CARAS and Insight Productions – were all pleased with the audience the broadcast received.

Eric Alper, who is the director of media relations at eOne Music Canada, has attended the Junos 11 times and says that Canadians in fact do care about the award show. While Taylor said that the 1.4 million viewers the award show received is fairly good for a program of its kind, Alper says he expected nothing less. “I think Canadians care [about the Junos] and I think that people like to watch people win awards.”

Alper says some programs, like the MuchMusic Video Awards, do skew to younger audiences by only having certain artists on the show. But that is not the Junos’ intention, he said. This year, the Junos featured performances by artists like Tegan and Sara, Dean Brody, The Sheepdogs, Walk Off the Earth, Serena Ryder and Classified.

“I think that there are people who truly care about Canadian music and they want to support it, and I think that there’s a segment of the audience who really only cares about that one specific band that they’re looking for,” said Alper. “I think that [people] just want to get into the experience and watch something that is purely Canadian for them and by the people that are based in their own country.”

While Campbell tuned in for only about an hour of the awards, he still supports the Canadian music industry as a whole. “In general yes, I do care about it,” said Campbell. “Obviously I like to see Canadian bands come up and do well.”

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