It’s been a long time coming, but CJLO is finally on its way from being the little station that could to one of the big boys. Situated on Loyola campus, CJLO, owned by the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corp., was the end result of the merger between CFLI and CRSG in 1998, the latter being the former downtown campus radio station.
Though the staff is working on a 100 per cent volunteer basis, 15 per cent being non-students, Ryan Arditi, CJLO station manager says this is definitely a full time job. “I usually spend 40 to 50 hours a week here,” says Arditi, himself being part of that 15 per cent not studying at Concordia.
CJLO plays on the AM dial at 650 at Bonkif and at the Loyola student residence. However Arditi explains that they could rarely be heard there. With that range, it can attain between 200 to 300 listeners at any one time. However, this little station has recently made some big steps forecasting a brighter future.
In September of 2001, CJLO asked for an antenna to be able to broadcast publicly all over Montreal. After much waiting and anticipation, Concordia donated a part of the land on the Loyola football field in June 2002 to set up the antenna. “This was a break because we don’t have to rent land; it’s much cheaper for us,” says Arditi.
Money is a big concern for the station whose funding comes from the student fee levy, but airtime businesses and event organizers can now buy to advertise. CJLO gets 10 cents per credit to keep things afloat, which Arditi estimates is one quarter of the funding McGill’s station CKUT receives. In dollar figures, that comes out to three dollars a year, as opposed to McGill’s $10.
Although Arditi admits that they don’t see many advertising slots, he expects to see a turnaround once the antenna is ready and the CRTC approves their broadcasting license, especially when the sun goes down.
Sunlight interferes with transmission waves on AM and CJLO can only broadcast throughout the island during the day. At night, the antenna will carry waves to Toronto and New York, greatly increasing listener capacity.
“Our ultimate goal is to max out a 10,000 at any one time,” adds Arditi. More listeners bring more advertising, more exposure and more money to run the station.
“It’s going to change enormously the second we get a license,” says Arditi. Let’s hope so, because as it stands now, CJLO’s main listener outlet is Hingston Hall that is proving not to be very fruitful.
“I rarely listen to CJLO; the odd occasion when I am studying I will tune in, but the signal is really weak, so most of the show gets cut anyway,” says Kerry Thompson, a student currently living in residence.
However, with the much-anticipated arrival of the antenna, static and dead air will become a thing of the past.
The station’s current name will also soon become a distant memory. To those who invest so much time and energy into the station, the letters CJLO have little meaning. “It really doesn’t mean anything, just letters put together after the merger in 1998.”
Though he refused to reveal the new name, he did say the station will go back to the school spirit. As well, Arditi hopes that the station will be able to offer six or seven paid positions to heads of departments that he stressed, would be implemented slowly.
Now, while still awaiting an answer from the CRTC, which can take anywhere from six months to one year, CJLO’s DJs are doing their part to keep themselves and the station in the public eye. Once a month, ten DJs show off their talent at Le Swimming on St-Laurent blvd.
Brutopia on Crescent attracts a fair number of people when they play on the first Tuesday of every month. Felicity Hammer, a barmaid who has been working at Brutopia for the past couple of months says that there is definitely a larger turnout when DJ Dyllan and DJ Ilya come to show off their skills. “They are the only DJ’s that play here so it’s a nice switch from the usual. It makes a difference,” she says. She is also a fan of their beats and always stays around to hear them after her shift ends at 9 p.m.
Whatever profits the station makes from both will go to promoting the station through similar gigs and parties.
Airing from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, the station is ultimately looking to be on the air 24 hours. This dream, like all the others, relies on the approval of a broadcast license to become reality.
Two weeks ago, however, the city of NDG almost crushed all of CJLO’s hopes by refusing to allow the 75 foot tower to be erected because of a bylaw regulating a maximum of 49 feet. With such a new development, Arditi was taken aback by the news. CJLO can amend the bylaw, which he was told would be relatively easy to do. “If we have Concordia’s administration support behind us,” he adds.
Arditi says that CJLO will not back down and will fight to have the antenna erected, but adds that they would have to search for another site as a tower only totaling 49 feet would not be worth the investment.
However, this die-hard music junkie is not discouraged. Though he understands how important a broadcast license is for CJLO’s future, he still thinks the main goal is to be student-run, pay a few people to make sure it doesn’t fall apart and give everyone a place to learn. Concordia’s radio station has a long way to go but its little efforts along the way to become heard will ensure its success in the future as a broadcast with serious intensions.