At CJRU 1280AM, Ryerson University’s non-profit campus and community radio station broadcasting from Toronto, Canada, listener engagement is part of the station’s mission. From curated lectures and discussions to a “music discovery approach” that encourages and promotes new Canadian artists, CJRU is a hub of listening pleasure – and precisely the type of station Airtime Pro is proud to support. 

CJRU has been using Airtime Pro to broadcast since 2013. The station is mostly run by volunteers – Ryerson students and community members – and airs a variety of music and talk-radio programming. Station managers pay particular attention to the training and onboarding of new volunteers, providing access to equipment and a media hub to share their work. They offer a wide range of volunteering opportunities including programming, production, outreach, web writing, live broadcasting, graphic design, and more.

We recently caught up with Elissa Matthews, CJRU’s Station Manager, to hear her insights and advice for other smaller college stations around the world looking for inspiration.  

What were the steps you took to bring your station to where it is right now? Simply stated, what are the real secrets behind making your station successful?

I think time and consistency. We’ve been broadcasting online since 2013 and on our terrestrial signal since 2016. We continue to grow the station and add new shows and volunteers slowly. 

What were the biggest challenges CJRU faced so far?

How to continue to broadcast throughout the pandemic. We’ve been able to find a way to keep all of our djs engaged and make programming from home. 

How do you attract new listeners / grow your listenership?

Recently we’ve been putting more time into community outreach and making new partnerships with other arts and community organisations in Toronto. We’ve found that word of mouth and grassroots efforts have been the most effective for us. 

What’s the internal decision process on programming, marketing, financing etc.?

We are a non-profit organisation with a board of directors. All major decisions go through our board of directors. Our station manager handles day-to-day, hands-on management of the station. Our Programme Director handles our programming schedule.

How have you monetised your station so far?

We sell advertising using traditional time blocks. 

How has Airtime Pro helped your station and vision?

Airtime Pro has helped us create a back end to build our grid out on.

Which are your favourite Airtime Pro features that you utilise and take advantage of?

Having multiple users that can be assigned different permissions and assigned to specific programme blocks.

What tips would you give to people who want to start a campus radio station?

With dedicated people, a good idea, and a little bit of stable income you can do a lot. Look for stable sources of funding to keep you going.

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