For the first time in a decade, Nanaimo’s only community radio station has extended its spring fundraising drive, keeping programs off the air.
Each year, CHLY 101.7 FM hosts both a spring and fall fundraiser with a goal of raising $25,000 each. This spring, the station received $17,000 in pledges and extended the drive an additional week, during which regular programming is suspended in favour of a telethon format.
Dylan Perry, CHLY program manager, said the money raised makes up the bulk of the station’s budget. It operates on $70,000 – $50,000 from the pledge drives and $20,000 from Vancouver Island University student fees.
“It’s not a crisis mode, per se,” said Perry. “It would get pretty desperate if the trend were to continue through the next fund drive.”
The station employs one full-time employee, Perry, and two part-time employees hired in the last six months.
Perry said the two-part time positions could be at risk if the trend of decreased pledges continue into the fall.
The majority of the station’s cost goes toward transmission fees and the rental of its studio, located at 2-34 Victoria Cres. near the China Steps.
The organization also needs to replace its radio transmitter, which is failing. CHLY doesn’t have a backup and if it was sent for repairs, the station would have to go off the air for about a month. The estimated cost of a new transmitter is $20,000-$30,000. Perry said the station would most likely get a loan to purchase the transmitter.
Perry said the station offers an alternative from the mainstream, giving listeners a chance to hear community content and a variety of music styles. Programs include health and wellness talk shows, news, performance art pieces and more.
Perry said the station is also an important platform that allows people to engage in a discussion about their community. People can call the station and debate issues on the air.
“We are giving access to the public to use the airways to get their message out,” said Perry.
To pledge the station, people can call the station office at 250-716-3410, go online to http://chly.ca or mail it to the Radio Malaspina Society, 2-34 Victoria Cres., Nanaimo B.C., V9R 5B8.
Meanwhile, the station remains banned from hosting events at the VIU campus.
The ban was initiated after its Halloween Party last year. University officials cited unacceptable behaviour, which included illegal alcohol and drug use and disrespect toward campus security. At the time, Perry said he was surprised because he felt the event went smoothly.
The two parties were supposed to meet in March to discuss the ban, but the meeting was scuttled because of the month-long faculty strike. Perry said the station hasn’t made an attempt to reschedule a meeting, but it is interested in speaking to university officials to determine where the communication broke dow.