Fundraising time!

This is long, but it is important, and I don't make these sorts of entries often. I would consider it a personal favor if you at least go to the effort to read it… Thank you.

OK, I think that most of you who read my page regularly know that both Andrew and Saira do radio shows on CHRY college/community radio, as I did as well when I was still there. Now, I think it's important that people understand WHAT they are supporting when they donate to stations like CHRY, who is currently in the midst of their fundraising week.

Saira does what is known as open format radio. That means that she's not limited to a particular genre or even a “list of demands” (that is, high rotation factory songs) from the record labels. She has the freedom to simply play good music of all sorts. In addition, she has a mandate to play new music and local music that might not otherwise get airplay… So as a result, listeners who don't live in that sad aural prison of listening to factory music get to hear something great.

Now here's the scary thing: open format radio is dying off. When I was still doing a show, they were the norm, and they were why people loved college radio. Now there are less than a dozen open format shows (across I think three stations) in the Toronto area, and those are being threatened. Even though they have listeners, these stations are volunteer staffed (Saira and Andrew have worked there for about a decade without being paid) and funded by donations from listeners.

The station told Andrew they expected him to raise $500 on his show; I think that less than 30% of that was reached. Saira's show is longer and she's expected to raise over $1000. It's important that we at least come close to send a strong message to the station that people value open format radio.

Also, CHRY 105.5FM is just a little station — 50 watts — broadcasting to northern Toronto and the burbs. However, they have what's called an “unprotected” frequency, which means that a large commercial station, say broadcasting at 105.3FM can literally drown out CHRY legally. Without successful fundraising, stations like CHRY will cease to exist.

Many of you have even listened to her show before — you can click here to go to the CHRY site and listen to a live streaming broadcast. Anyway, if you have a credit card (you can mail in a m/o too, but we all know no one does that), please consider donating. The minimum is just $5 or so Canadian — that's only about $3 for Americans. If you think you can spare that, please call (Saira's show is between 11PM and 2AM EST today, so if it's not during those hours make sure that they know you're donating for Saira Chhibber's “Superfly Show”):

Help if you can!

If it's busy, please try again — a little station can't afford to put in megabanks of phones like you see on public TV. I should also mention that all donations are tax deductible and you will get a receipt (so consider throwing in a dollar for the mailing cost if you can afford to). Also, there are “rewards” for donations like cool CHRY t-shirts (if you have been to BBQs over the years, I'm sure you've seen me wearing mine) and records and other cool stuff — just ask when you call.

Oh, and when you call, let them know that you're an internet listener. I'm sure they'd be glad to know that there are people all over the world that support them, plus there's a lot of pressure to kill internet broadcasting. Thanks!

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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