last updated May 15 2020
Community radio is about volunteerism, social engagement, independent music, learning by doing, community capacity building, citizen journalism and more. Here’s a quick sketch of NCRA/ANREC members, in all our diversity.
Total watts of broadcasting power: 192,000+
Staff: 225 (Full-time equivalent)
Volunteer force: 6,992 working an estimated 25,000 hours per week
Last updated – March 2019
Our volunteers are the cultural pioneers and opinion leaders of their local communities. Close to one-half of these volunteers are students and student leaders, they are opinion-makers, newsmakers, and trend-setters in their communities, and future leaders of Canadian culture and society. As well, the majority of these volunteers nationwide are artists, political and social activists, and members of multiple civil society organizations and grassroots movements.
Programming languages: at least 65 — English, French, Macedonian, Polish, Slovakian, Arabic, Hindi, Croatian, Serbian, Mandarin, Spanish, Cantonese, Somali, Polish, Italian, Ukrainian, Ethiopian, Hindi, Punjabi, Pakistani, Hungarian, Assyrian, Eritrean, German, Vietnamese, Romanian, Japanese, Korean, Klahoose, Portuguese, Amharic, Khmer, Polish, Kurdish, Azeri, Armenian, Tagalog, Turkish, Mandarin, Finnish, Swedish, Russian, Berber, Tamil, Haitian Creole, Bosnian, Bengali, Farsi, Somali, Eritrean, Cree, Hän, Algonquin, Nepalese, Tigrinya, Greek, Ethiopian, Eesti, Gaelic, Urdu, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Ojibway, Mi’kmaq
Estimated population within signal range of NCRA members: 23,771,000 Canadians, or over 75% of Canada’s population
Membership growth by year:
2002 – 26
2003 – 31
2004 – 36
2005 – 41
2006 – 40
2007 – 53
2008 – 55
2009 – 72
2010 – 82
2011 – 83
2012 – 85
2013 – 87
2014 – 89
2015 – 90
2016 – 97
2017 – 108
2020 – 109 members
Our members are as diverse as the communities they serve and respond to local realities/needs in their programming, their staffing, community development work, and their services and fundraising. There is no typical community-based radio station – all our members are exceptional!
Each dollar invested in Community Radio goes immeasurably farther in our community than money invested in other parts of the broadcasting sector, and a far greater portion of that investment will stay in the community where it is invested, since our volunteer base is comprised of community-minded, grassroots, engaged citizens who participate in the local economy and use creative solutions to stretch their operating dollars.
Much of this economic impact is not reflected on traditional balance sheets. For example, a large portion of the advertising on c/c stations is targeted and priced for local independent businesses and non-profit organizations and as such may also be discounted, played for free as a public service announcement or exchanged for goods and services in-kind.
Community-based radio stations are community-owned, democratically-governed, non-share not-for-profit corporations; therefore they are not subject to acquisition/relocation, they are structurally bound to the communities that they serve.
Snapshot of the NCRA/ANREC
The National Campus and Community Radio Association/L’Association nationale des radios étudiantes et communautaires (“NCRA/ANREC”) is a not-for-profit national association working to recognize, support, and encourage volunteer-based, non-profit, public-access campus, community and native radio broadcasters in Canada. We provide advice and advocacy for individual campus and community (“c/c”) stations and conduct lobbying and policy development initiatives with a view to advancing the role and increasing the effectiveness of our sector. Our goals are to ensure stability and support for individual stations, and to promote the long-term growth and effectiveness of the sector.
The NCRA/ANREC currently (April 2020) has 109 member stations. Most of our members are located in English-speaking communities, and broadcast predominantly in English, but serve a diverse range of cultural, social and linguistic communities. We have several Native B and French-language or bilingually-licensed members, although most French-language c/c stations are members of either of the French community radio associations: l’Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada (“ARCC”) and l’Association des radiodiffuseurs communautaires du Québec (“ARCQ”).
Of our 109 members, approximately 1/3rd have a Campus license, with 2/3rds holding a community license. Some members currently are developing to apply for licenses or are broadcasting online only and do not seek a CRTC License. Stations in our sector vary widely: some are in tiny rural communities with no staff, a small group of volunteers, and budgets of less than $5,000, like CJUC-FM in Whitehorse, YK, or CHBB-FM in Norris Point, NL; some are medium-sized with a few staff and budgets in the range of $150,000 to $350,000 like CKDU-FM in Halifax, NS; and a few are in large urban areas with up to seven staff, 200 volunteers, and an annual budget of more than $800,000, like CJSW-FM in Calgary, AB.
As an organization, we provide a variety of services and benefits. This includes but is not limited to:
- national distribution of music to stations (!earshot Distro)
- National charting system (!earshot Charts)
- National distribution/sharing of completed radio shows across members (Community Radio Exchange – CRX)
- National Advertising & PSA network and Podcasting
- Campus/Community focused insurance and health benefits
- Partnerships with third-party support and many more member benefits.
We work with a variety of organizations for special annual programming, produced by our members. This includes the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, Homelessness Marathon, and International Day of the Child Programming. Our members produce approximately 650,000 hours of programming each year and broadcast through AM, FM, Cable, Online, iHeartRadio and Radio Player Canada.
We also host an annual station manager summit, and our national conference is attended by over 100 people each year. The conference focuses on training, development and education opportunities. The conference also features our yearly awards ceremony, where programmers and stations are appreciated for the work they did over the past year.
The NCRA/ANREC is supported through membership fees, the Community Radio Fund of Canada and other fundraising activities. It is not affiliated with any government or commercial radio entities but works closely with stakeholders in the sector.