On the Air: the value of community radio for local artists

Campus & community radio plays an integral role in fostering local music communities, and is a tool for artists that should not be underestimated. By providing listeners with content alternative to commercial radio, community stations are adamant in their support for local artists (& that’s where you come in!). 

Campus & community stations like CKCU, CHUO and CKDJ are on the constant lookout for local releases to spin, and just when you thought gaining radio-play was a bucket list fantasy, you’re on the air! Submitting music to community stations is not a grueling process - its really is as simple as emailing in your digital file or mailing out your CD.

In addition to submitting music to the station, it may prove even more effective to submit music directly to individual radio hosts. As advocates for alternative media, community stations tend to feature diverse, genre-specific programming, and by putting in that little bit of extra time into researching which show best suits your sound, you can ensure that your ideal audience is reached. 

Community stations not only offer artists air-time for their music, but music-related programming can also provide valuable opportunities for on-air artist interviews. While interviewing live on the airwaves can be intimidating for some, for emerging artists this can be a great way to practice verbal communication, build confidence, and (of course) promote new projects. Again - do your research and decide which program(s) will best suit your vibe.

OK, great. Your community radio station has got you on rotation, and you’ve gotten some interviews under your belt. End of story, right? Wrong. The value of connecting with community radio doesn’t end there. While community stations may spend the majority of time on the airwaves, they also play an active role out in the community by participating in events and presenting shows. Becoming involved with community radio as an artist will immerse yourself into the local scene and allow you to develop relationships with artists and industry workers in your city. 

You can find your local campus & community radio stations here : 

CHUO (bilingual, based at the University of Ottawa | Université d’Ottawa)

CKCU (based at Carleton University)

CKDJ (based at Algonquin College, exclusively plays local music)


Nicole Ives-Allison