Located at the Loyola campus, Concordia’s very own volunteer-run, not-for-profit CJLO 1690 AM is the only radio station in Canada to have been invited to the First Annual International Radio Festival in Zurich, Switzerland. In fact, CJLO was one of only three radio stations in North America to be chosen. Music director and host of Hooked on Sonics Omar Husain says the station was chosen because it is not commercial, is free form, and represents a diverse array of programming.
This success is owed in large part to the passion of the volunteers.
“It’s just a really good professional radio station; everyone puts a lot of effort and research into their program and you can really tell when you listen,” says Husain. “It doesn’t sound like a volunteer radio station, it sounds like these are people who live and breathe radio.”
CJLO has won various industry awards and this is not the first time an opportunity like this has come along. In 2006, Husain spoke at a panel at the College Music Journal conference in New York City, an annual event the station always attends. They’ve picked up accolades at CMJ as well; CJLO was awarded the “Best Student Run, Non-FM Radio Station” award in 2008, and was deemed “Best Team Effort” that year and in 2009.
Station representatives have been invited to speak on panels at Toronto’s North By Northeast music festival, and even as far away as conferences in Australia.
Husain will be accompanied by program director and host of Phantastiq Cypha ,Brian Joseph. Most of their time abroad will be spent trading ideas with the other independent radio stations from around the world that broadcast in very different circumstances, but for much the same reasons. As two of five keynote speakers on a panel discussion on the state of international radio, they plan to discuss the future of radio.
Radio is “what we do well and why we’re here,” elaborates Husain, but he has a few other goals: “I have to bring back lots of chocolate. You can’t go to Switzerland and not bring back chocolate.”
Omar Husain’s Hooked on Sonics can be heard on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and Brian Joseph’s Phantastiq Cypha is on Fridays from 4-6 p.m. You can tune into their regular programming on the dial at 1690 AM, or online at www.cjlo.com.