Don’t Cut C-KUT!!!

UPDATED VOTING PERIOD: Vote YES to CKUT from TUESDAY Nov 9 at 9 AM to MONDAY Nov 15 at 5 PM.


CKUT 90.3 FM needs a majority YES vote in order to continue being your campus radio station!

Since CKUT’s inception as a licensed FM radio station in 1987, McGill students have played a vital role at their radio station. Students do everything from producing radio to sitting on the station’s board of directors to participating in collective management. Many McGill students have found their niche at CKUT, which has helped launch many careers in a variety of creative and media-based fields. Notable alumni range from award-winning journalists like Adrian Harewood to musicians like Grimes!

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, CKUT managed to shift the entirety of its 24/7 programming grid to a virtual operation. Student programmers learned how to transform their bedrooms into recording studios, and gained even more hands-on audio editing skills in order to make their shows from home. Now, producing a radio show at CKUT is more accessible than ever, and students have the skills to create wherever they go.

CKUT provides students with essential resources and training in radio broadcasting, production, podcasting, and more. The station also offers employment and internship opportunities, acts as a creative vehicle for student research, and organizes and promotes a variety of community events on and off-campus. CKUT needs students to reaffirm their belief in the value of their campus radio station by voting yes in the existence referendum.


What is CKUT?

CKUT began as Radio McGill in 1966, though its roots as a student radio club go back to the 1940s. At that time, you had to plug in on campus to listen to the closed-circuit broadcast. In the late 1980s, Radio McGill entered the bid for FM broadcasting rights off the giant CBC tower on top of the mountain. We were up against Concordia’s radio club, but we won our prized spot on the FM dial. The station received a licence from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to broadcast on the FM dial at 90.3 FM in 1987, and the call sign “CKUT.” In the following school year, the station became an official McGill fee levy organization, meaning we began collecting student fees to grow and support running a radio station. CKUT broadcasts 5700 watts at 90.3 MHz (91.7 cable) to the greater Montreal area (a 200 km radius – reaching as far as upstate New York). We have a diverse array of programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also stream at, and on radio listening apps.

As a campus-community radio station, CKUT’s mandate is to provide an essential service to those in the greater Montreal community whose needs are not met by mainstream radio. CKUT functions not only as an alternative to the status quo, but also as a viable community resource. In the absence of a journalism department at McGill, CKUT serves as a training ground for student populations in all aspects of media production and thus provides an essential educational service to McGill as well as the greater Montreal community. Instead of being a voice for the voiceless, the station exists to pass the mic – being more of a mic for the mic-less. We aim to uplift and broadcast an array of voices, lived experiences, and perspectives that are under or misrepresented in mainstream media. Much of our current programming was started almost 30 years ago by McGill students. To this day, CKUT’s student members continue to generate content and develop collaborations between a wide variety of campus organizations. This essential student involvement enriches and diversifies CKUT’s programming grid and solidifies our reputation as Montreal’s Best Radio Station as voted by the Cult MTL Readers Poll.

What is the referendum about?

A referendum is a routine voting procedure, where the SSMU (Students’ Society of McGill University) gathers a list of questions relating to undergraduate student life and fees and polls the undergraduate student body to determine future decisions. The question of CKUT’s existence is required (by McGill adminstration) to be put on the ballot every five years.

This is the full question that was drafted for CKUT by McGill Administration, that will appear on the ballot this year:

«Do you support CKUT continuing as a recognized student activity supported by student fees with the understanding that a majority “no” vote will result in the termination of student fees to CKUT?”

What do I get out of my fee to CKUT? What benefits do students have?

Students enjoy a plethora of benefits, including access to the largest alternative music archive in Montreal (78,000 physical releases and counting!), de facto journalism school (interview skills, writing for radio, documentary making, experimental radio art, DJ mixing, live sound engineering),and numerous employment opportunities through work-study jobs and permanent staff positions. Whatever your ‹thing› is, there’s a place for you to do it CKUT. We currently have a number of students working on archiving and organizing our vast collection of physical posters, flyers, and memorabilia over the years, as well as digitizing tape recordings of old programs that are of cultural significance.

We have been producing student podcasts focused on academic research and other creative ideas distributed via streaming platforms like Spotify and Google Podcasts. We currently have a student podcast program where students can pitch a concept, and CKUT helps bring it to life with them. As a member of CKUT, you can also vote at the Annual General Meeting and run for the Board of Directors. Last but not least, members get bragging rights for CKUT’s title of the city’s #1 radio station, as voted by the Cult MTL Best of Montreal Reader’s Poll and was included in the top internet radio station in an article by the U.K.›s Telegraph!

I never use any of the services provided by CKUT, so why should I fund it?

CKUT is a crucial part of the McGill experience for a large number of students. With the absence of a journalism school at McGill, CKUT provides students with the opportunity to gain crucial media-related skills to kick start their creative careers. For a modest opt-outable fee, you can enhance what you learn in the classroom by meeting and collaborating with our talented and diverse roster of CKUT volunteers and using our resources and equipment. CKUT is also a gateway to discovering culture, music scenes and emerging artists in Montreal. We champion local and Canadian music on the airwaves, giving many artists a start they wouldn’t have gotten on mainstream radio. The wide array of programming also acts as a learning and listening resource for students looking to learn more about their city, or enhance their education. A university campus should have a multitude of lively activities that speak to a diverse range of student interests and concerns. Although a single student couldn’t possibly partake in all of these opportunities, we provide all of the options! Even if you personally don’t plan on using our services, we hope you’ll affirm the right of other students to do so. It’s also important to note that the fee is opt-outable! Even if you vote YES on the Fall 2021 ballot, you can still opt-out of CKUT’s fee in any given year if you choose to do so.

Student radio has been a crucial part of McGill’s campus for 100 years – it would be an incredible loss to wipe the slate clean on this immense legacy.

What happens if the majority of students vote no?

Student fees make up the bulk of our operating budget. On average, it’s been over half of our funding. Losing this referendum would mean that CKUT as we know it would cease to exist, and if it managed to survive in some small way, it would no longer be associated with McGill in any way or be mandated to provide volunteer, programming, training, or employment opportunities to students. Voting ‹No› would sever the station’s ties to the university. McGill would lose its campus radio station.

Vote YES for the organization that makes McGill about more than just the classroom.

Vote YES for the organization that offers vocational training for a fraction of a course fee.

Vote YES for the organization that has supported students for 30+ years.

Vote YES because McGill students deserve a diverse and vibrant campus life.

Vote YES for CKUT!

Word Around Campus

Prof. Darin Barney

Prof. Eric Lewis


The McGill Daily

Adrian Harewood