CJLO set to tower over competition 

By Wendy Smith

It’s been a long time coming, but Concordia finally has a voice on the AM dial.

And that’s music to CJLO station manager Chris Quinnell’s ears.

Chris Quinnell and Brian Joseph are licensed to spin as CJLO hits the airwaves. Magnifying glass

Chris Quinnell and Brian Joseph are licensed to spin as CJLO hits the airwaves.

The campus radio station has been broadcasting on the internet for a number of years now, but securing a spot on the airwaves was always an overarching goal, Quinnell said.

CJLO applied for a license in 2002, got the go-ahead from the CRTC in March 2006, poured the foundation for its tower in November 2007, and finally flipped the switch last Monday at 7:59 am.

During those six years of roadblocks and unanticipated snags, the broadcast landscape has changed considerably, with many radio stations closing or choosing to move to a web-based platform.

But Quinnell remains adamant that the old-fashioned radio dial is the most effective way to reach people. “We’re now on the air, so anyone with a five dollar radio can listen to us. To listen online, a person would need to have a computer with internet access and all the technical requirements to play streaming audio. Computers may be getting cheaper, but there’s still that barrier to listening to us. And it’s not portable,” he said. “These days, you can buy a relatively cheap MP3 player with a radio built in. So it’s easier to get to people who are walking, jogging, or taking the bus.”

CJLO showcases predominantly local, underground artists. Any Concordia student with a particular musical vision can walk through the station’s doors on the Loyola campus and pitch a program. If they lack experience, no matter, said Quinnell - he and the other station execs are happy to walk would-be DJs through the basics of broadcast. Past CJLO alumni have gone on to successful careers in the music biz, managing bands or becoming professional music columnists.

Currently, over 100 campus and community volunteers are pumping out an eclectic array of tunes each week. CJLO’s music vault is crammed with over 12 000 CDs, while its MP3 database contains over 90 000 songs.

“There is a ridiculous amount of good independent music out there,” said Quinnell, “but you have to sift through to find it. Our job is to condense the good stuff in one place for people who want an alternative.”

“We’re trying to inspire other people with the music we play,” said program director and hip-hop aficionado Brian Joseph, whose parents gave him his first tape recorder at the age of three. “The greatest advantage of underground radio is that we are all a family.”

Both Joseph and Quinnell, who are Concordia alumni, are eager to create more synergies with other university departments and faculties.

“I would like to broadcast sporting events, because a lot of students come here from out of town to play on our teams, and it’d be cool if their parents could listen to the game back home as it happened,” said Joseph.

Plans to recruit students from the Journalism and Music departments, as well as the John Molson School of Business, are also in the works.

Tune in to CJLO at 1690 AM. Check out www.cjlo.com for more details.


Concordia University