Letter to MP Template: META bans CFRC social media
August 9, 2023
Mailing Address of MP Constituency Office Here
How to find your MP: https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en
Dear Name of MP
Re: CFRC 101. 9 FM, local & regional news, and access to campus station content
As you may be aware, CFRC 101.9 FM at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario is the longest running global campus broadcaster and the second oldest radio station in Canada broadcasting since 1922. Its captures Brockville-Belleville, ON and Westport, ON-Watertown NY in its broadcast area in addition to many thousands of listeners nationally and internationally on its online stream. I’m writing as an active volunteer/avid listener to CFRC 101.9 FM from my community (name of community) in your riding (name of riding).
CFRC, like all other campus and community radio stations across Canada, is a critical source of local news; talk radio; free, accessible musical entertainment; and translatable job-skills training in research and communications for students and community members alike.
I am extremely concerned that CFRC’s social media channels on Facebook and Instagram (known together as META), have been banned in META’s recent response to Canadian federal legislation: Bill C-18 Chapter 23: An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada. CFRC, as a campus broadcaster, is required by virtue of its CRTC licence to carry local news programming and it is impacted by META’s response to federal legislation. News links and ALL content posted by CFRC is now no longer viewable on Facebook or Instagram by people in Canada. Access to local news, events, initiatives and musical programming on campus/community radio is incredibly important for me and listeners to inform/stay informed and also provide/enjoy wonderful entertainment by CFRC’s many volunteers who share the latest and local independent news and music that isn’t accessible elsewhere.
YOUR PERSONAL INPUT ON WHY CFRC AND ITS ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA MATTERS TO YOU HERE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS A COMMUNITY LISTENER OR VOLUNTEER
While recognizing the utility of social media in sharing breaking news digitally and beyond CFRC’s broadcast schedule with the community, I also understand that CFRC’s annual fee levies from students at Queen’s University and its annual Funding Drive revenues are closely linked with discoverability and access to announcements on social media. The station’s ability to communicate news and fundraising initiatives upon which its core operational funding rests, is imperilled by META’s blockage of CFRC from communicating with its social media followers. While the station has an FM signal to reach its current audience, not everyone is tuning in up to the minute 24 hours a day. The importance of social media to promoting and amplifying station programming, initiatives and critical breaking local news is huge. Followers can click a link to a story on CFRC’s website and learn more about local news and upcoming programs that its many dedicated volunteers and its news team produce every day. People who have not listened to the station can discover it through social media as well and become active listeners and supporters through student fees and its funding drive.
Facebook and Instagram are, in this day in age, quite critical to every media source’s discoverability, CFRC’s included. I care about CFRC, but know others in my community access their news and entertainment on other local radio stations and online news resources, and like me, are also impacted by META’s blockage of free access to information in response to federal legislation. I’m writing in support of CFRC, but also recognize others in my community get news and entertainment updates from other local news sources who publish content on Facebook and Instagram. CFRC and all other news broadcast and publication sources in your riding, and across Canada, need your support.
Further, I understand CFRC 101.9 FM is also a community hub. Local arts groups and community helping organizations rely on CFRC to help them spread the word on not only their services and volunteer opportunities, but also upcoming events and initiatives, communications the station shares regularly on social media on behalf of its community partners. If CFRC (and ALL other local news organizations) are unable to share information via Facebook and Instagram, this will also have tremendous impact on discoverability for local organizations (be they nonprofits or grassroots groups) to communicate about their group and its initiatives. Not all local organizations are blessed with funds to pay for advertising and CFRC provides opportunities for community groups to communicate with the community at no cost. Airtime on CFRC through free PSAS, free social media posts, and free interviews in its news and musical programming is critical for residents to know about upcoming community events, concerts and festivals and helping services available to people in need. Further, airtime on CFRC ensures local and regional listeners remain informed about what is happening in their civic culture-knowledge that is absolutely critical to participating in and making informed democratic decisions at local, regional, and national levels.
CFRC runs on its core operational budget of about $250,000/year with 1 full time and 2 part time staff members who support 125 volunteers. CFRC also has a grant-funded Local Journalism Initiative program journalist on staff full time, at least until next spring. CFRC (and other campus/community stations in Canada) absolutely require additional core and stable funding that would allow them to sustainably produce local news and musical programming that keeps our community both informed and entertained.
In the short term, would you support reallocating advertising from web giants to community radio?
Can you support CFRC and other campus/community stations in the long run by supporting the Community Radio Initiative, which will provide core and stable funding for stations like ours across the country?
Can you also support the renewal of the Local Journalism Initiative, funding for which was not included in this year’s Federal Budget? Without this renewal, CFRC will not have funds available to pay a full-time journalist to research and produce broadcast news content. Without core stable funds, CFRC cannot maintain a full roster of full-time staff to support all aspects of station operations including administration, programming, repairs and maintenance, and sales & marketing.
Can you also support re-engagement and reasonable federal negotiations with META? All Canadians deserve free, and freely accessible information about local news and programming via their preferred print, online, and radio platforms including CFRC 101.9 FM. Every community member in Kingston and the Islands and our surrounding regions also need access to CFRC’s social media so it can inform them of critical and breaking campus and local news updates outside its broadcast schedule and to inform them about services and events in the region that are meaningful to them.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration. Access to campus/community radio programming and social media is especially important now as news desks, local radio broadcasting and print media across the country continues to recede with layoffs and office closures meaning that thousands of Canadians across Canada have no access to local news period.
Community member/volunteer full name
Volunteer show name/date time
Dinah Jansen – CFRC 101.9 FM Radio Queen’s University (email@example.com)
Barry Rooke – National Campus and Community Radio Association (Barry@ncra.ca)
Alex Freedman - Community Radio Fund of Canada (Alex@crfc-fcrc.ca)
Pascale St-Onge - Minister of Canadian Heritage (firstname.lastname@example.org)