Latest NewsNCRA/ANREC wants campus stations designated 'essential services'

NCRA/ANREC wants campus stations designated ‘essential services’

The National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA) wants all campus-based radio stations and established student media organizations designated as essential services, following a move by the Ontario government to allow post-secondary students to opt-out of non-essential tuition fees.

The association issued a press release Wednesday, saying it is deeply concerned that the changes could result in significant loss of funding for 19 Ontario campus stations, dozens of student media organizations like campus newspapers, and other key student services.

“The essential services designation would recognize the fees that go towards campus radio as mandatory and students would no longer have the option to opt out,” NCRA executive director Barry Rooke, told Broadcast Dialogue.

Rooke said he’s confident a case can be made for the designation as campus stations provide an important outlet for both emergency broadcasting and access to information, in addition to serving as a training ground for students to hone skills in broadcasting, podcasting and station governance.

“If these stations were partially de-funded, it would lead to a degradation of campus life and the communities these stations serve,” said Rooke, who indicated the association, along with student unions, are waiting to hear more details of the proposed changes at a technical briefing expected later this week.

The NCRA says campus radio stations in Ontario employ approximately 150 full and part-time staff, a majority of whom are students.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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