Several provinces have declared radio as an essential service. In many communities, their local radio station is a reliable and constant connection to their community and local updates for COVID-19. Community Radio has shown incredible resilience and perseverance in the past weeks. We want to thank stations, their volunteers and communities for making this possible.
The National Campus and Community Radio Association has taken concrete steps:The NCRA/ANREC staff are working remotely as the office is closed.
The National Community Radio Conference was cancelled.
Daily emails with resources and tools have been provided to stations.
In partnership with the Francophone Associations (ARCQ & ARCC) we have redoubled our advocacy efforts for support.
In this moment of crisis, stations nationwide have stepped up. News programming has increased in a large number of stations. Stations have refocused their programming on local coverage highlighting advice from local elected and public health officials.
The NCRA/ANREC signed an agreement with CBC News for stations to carry the Front Burner daily news podcast which has already been picked up by 20 stations. The Community radio sector has also launched The Response, a daily COVID-19 news update created by the journalists in our sector funded through the Local Journalism Initiative.
We’ve also been told that stations have created multiple localised PSA’s often teaming up with their local health authority in addition to carrying centrally created PSA’s. We want to encourage all Canadians to tune into your local c/c radio station on the AM/FM band, as well as online through smart speakers and other devices using TuneIn, RadioPlayer or iHeartRadio.
The Canadian government has taken strong steps in supporting our sector such as through the wage subsidy initiative. But it is vital that the government increase support to this sector as they are impacted by collapsing advertising, fundraising, and volunteering. Without additional support, the NCRA/ANREC estimates that up to half of those stations could close by 2021.
We want to thank all of those in the sector for their hard work. We know we will get through this, so please show some appreciation to your local station, as they do all they do for the communities they serve.
Barry Rooke & Luke Smith