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Open Access Community radio contradictions in Canada: Learning from volunteers impacted by commercialising policies and practices

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Community radio has been defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as promoting non-profit ownership of stations and volunteer participation. The increasing commercialisation of community radio in Canada, evident in changing station practices and regulatory policies, has resulted in the erosion of volunteer run governance and programming. This article draws on community media, anti-oppression, and third-sector studies literature to investigate the experiences of volunteers from two stations, CHRY in Toronto and Radio Centre-Ville in Montral. Current Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations define community radio by virtue of its place in the communities served. This article concludes that reducing the engagement and empowerment of volunteers in community radio programming and governance limits the place of community radio in the community. The authors will also identify best practices that are needed to re-centre community radio within the community while ensuring a sustainable non-profit community broadcasting sector.
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Keywords: CHRY; CRTC; Commercialisation; Governance; Radio Centre-Ville; Volunteers; community radio; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lebanese American University, Lebanon 2: Community Media Advocacy Centre, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Alternative and Community Media (JOACM) publishes research which helps explain the shifting media environment, and the ways in which people use alternative forms of media and communication. Issues of concern to the journal include the nature and distribution of media power; access to and participation in media; media practices of communities and social movements; and the possibilities of emerging technologies and new media.

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