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DECEMBER 11, 1998


Uvic radio station "makes noise" off-campus

by John Lee

It's been on campus for 17 years, broadcasts from the student union building, and accepts funding from the University of Victoria's student society, but CFUV FM102 is more than just a university radio station.

The station has listeners across Greater Victoria, and is picked up on cable from Whistler to Washington State. More than half of the 150 volunteers who keep it on the air are not students. And Offbeat Magazine, CFUV's listings guide, is delivered to outlets across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

"We want to avoid the term college radio," says CFUV manager Magnus Thyvold. "We think of ourselves as a campus-based community radio station," he adds.

For Thyvold this means reflecting the diversity of the wider community through a variety of programs and presenters. "People expect student radio to be full of extreme music and views, but that's only a small part of what we do," he says. "So many of our presenters come from off-campus that we have a much broader perspective, with shows from blues to folk to classical."

Many of CFUV's off-campus volunteers are active in the local community and, adds Thyvold, they come to the station because they're passionate about the music.

Amanda Heffelfinger, who presents world music on the station, agrees. She was busy raising children when she started at the station four years ago.

"CFUV gives someone like me, with an offbeat taste in music, a chance to play and learn about the music I love. I can't think of anywhere else in Victoria I could do that."

And the wider community does listen, Heffelfinger adds. "My doctor told me he'd heard me on the radio," she laughs.

During the station's recent fund drive, which raised a record-breaking $20,100, there were calls from across Greater Victoria, including one from an office at the legislature saying that CFUV is "on all the time down here."

This kind of community support doesn't surprise Thyvold, who says that in a recent survey by UVic marketing students of 400 randomly selected radio listeners across Victoria, 17 per cent said they listen to CFUV at least once a week. "That's a very healthy figure for a small station like ours," he says, adding that CBC's figure in the same survey was around 35 per cent.


The arrival of the new CBC station in Victoria has had little impact on CFUV, says Thyvold. "What we do here is completely different from the CBC."


According to Heffelfinger, that's why CFUV is so important. "There is more attention paid to non- mainstream ideas and voices at CFUV, and we have much more local coverage than the CBC."

Thyvold, though, is not complacent. "It's always a challenge to make sure people know we're here, and there are still some misconceptions about CFUV," he says. "Our diverse programming can have a downside because we don't have an easy slogan that represents what we do. We're not just a rock station, and we're not just a jazz station."

CFUV FM102 broadcasts 24 hours a day on 101.9 FM, 104.3 FM cable, and on RealAudio via their Web site <http://cfuv.uvic.ca>. For more information on volunteering call Magnus Thyvold at 721-8607.

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