August 31st, 2020, Ottawa (Ontario) – The Minister of Canadian Heritage announced in May details of the $500 million COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations directly supporting community broadcasting. The details showed the new fund will bring $2million in emergency funding to help support campus and community radio broadcasters to continue serving Canadians at a critical time. It comes as stations are most needed but also have seen critical losses in advertising and fundraising revenue. Campus and community stations across the country can now apply through the Community Radio Fund of Canada.
“This support shows an understanding that campus and community radio is an essential service. This funding directly supports content creation by Canadians, sharing information they need in real-time, from a trusted local source.” says Barry Rooke, Executive Director of the NCRA/ANREC.
There are more than 180 community and campus radio stations across Canada serving nearly 3 million Canadians. These stations often broadcast to communities served by no other Canadian broadcaster in some of the most remote parts of the country. They also provide information and connect communities in more than 65 languages spoken in Canada.
“The people working in community and campus radios in Canada have produced more content, broadcasting remotely, while because of the economic conditions they have seen almost all of their revenues disappear since March,” said ARCC General Manager, François Coté. “At the same time, we saw a 15% jump in the number of people listening and greatly increased social media and online presence.”
“It is a challenging time to be a community broadcaster. Most of our stations closed to the public, staff and volunteers, and continue to broadcast from home”, says Association des radiodiffuseurs communautaires de Québec Executive Director, Martin Bougie. “Our medias’ digital transformation is accelerating and more investments are required.”
“This, and other support has kept our stations on the air, ensuring Canadians are brought together in this time of physical distancing. Community radio provides them with quick and accurate information in their language and by voices they trust. There has never been a greater need for community radio stations,” says Community Radio Fund of Canada Executive director, Alex Freedman.