By Rachel Woodward, September 1 2016 —
Since 1955, CJSW has been an outlet for the University of Calgary and surrounding communities to bring local music and community to the airwaves. The station grew in scope when they moved to FM radio in 1986.
“Everyone had these memories, these tales and funny inside jokes that had been going on in the station for 30 years, but we hadn’t actually put them into a timepiece,” says CJSW comminuty development coordinator Kendra Scanlon. “I started this project off in January of last year with former station manager Myke Atkinson, and we started this project as something that could bring together a story that otherwise hadn’t been collected.”
Scanlon curated We Make Radio: 30-Something Years of CJSW 90.9 FM alongside Atkinson in order to create a short commemorative piece, which eventually evolved into a 160-page book. The book tells the story of the station’s history and memories alongside it.
The project collects photographs, letters, stories and archival pieces in an attempt to place the history of the station into a single item as a thank-you to the local music community. The station compiled stories from old members and volunteers to create a scattered history.
Letters from listeners making donations and portraits of past station managers fill the pages alongside short stories and archival photos that show the colourful history of the organization.
“It’s a thank-you. We wanted people to know how much we appreciated their involvement with what we loved and cared about so much,” Scanlon says. “We hope that it acts as a testament to the strength of the Calgary community, the importance of alternative media and the sub-cultural aspects of this city.”
The free book is available at various locations across the city, including record stores Hot Wax, Melodiya and Blackbyrd Myoosic, as well as bookstores like Pages and Shelf Life.
Scanlon hopes the book serves as a snapshot of the station’s foundation and a history of the triumphs and trials associated with being a community radio station for over 30 years.
“We hope it acts as a testament that community is the only thing that drives Calgary, she says. “Without it, we see things fall through the cracks and somehow CJSW has been this place where people choose to spend their time, fall in love [and] commit many, many hours of their week just to see something happen in the city that they love.”
For more information, visit cjsw.com/30years