|City||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|Branding||CKDU 88.1 FM|
|Frequency||88.1 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||February 1, 1985 (origins go back to 1964)|
|Callsign meaning||CK Dalhousie University|
CKDU-FM (88.1 FM, formerly CKDU 97.5 FM) is a radio station broadcasting in a campus radio format from the campus of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Licensed to broadcast to the Halifax Regional Municipality area, it broadcasts via a 3200 watt transmitter heard primarily to the urban core of Halifax. CKDU, which began broadcasting as an FM station in 1985, is operated by the not-for-profit CKDU-FM Society. Its mandate is to provide the Halifax area with an alternative to public and private radio broadcasting. On February 14, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. AST CKDU began transmitting at 3200 watts at 88.1 FM. Their former frequency was 97.5 FM after first receiving CRTC in 1984. CKDU is a member of the National Campus and Community Radio Association, and hosted the National Campus and Community Radio Conference in 1999 and 2011.
CKDU evolved from the Dalhousie University radio club, Radio Tiger, which dated back at least to the 1950s. In 1975 the station was dubbed CKDU and began broadcasting via closed circuit to Dalhousie residences from the Dalhousie Student Union Building (the SUB).
By 1985, the only place CKDU could be heard was from a speaker in the ceiling outside a bathroom on the top floor of the SUB. After a successful student referendum to fund the station, and approval from the CRTC, CKDU started broadcasting on FM as a 33 watt station. The signal was sufficient to cover the area around the university, with poorer reception throughout the rest of the city. At the time of launch the station was managed by Doug Varty, formerly of CHSR-FM in Fredericton, and Keith Tufts, later to found alternative performance venues the Club Flamingo and the Pub Flamingo.
The station's programming was initially heavily weighted to what was then considered "alternative" popular music, with a strong emphasis on such artists as Bauhaus, Ministry, Kate Bush and the Cure. In addition, the station broadcast several magazine style information programs as well as morning, noon and suppertime news/interview format programs. In late-1985, Mark MacLeod was hired after working at CHMA FM in Sackville, New Brunswick to become the station's program director. Working with other station staff, he diversified the station's music programming to include more jazz, multicultural, and other specialty musics.
In 2000 CKDU-FM received permission from the CRTC to upgrade its transmitter to a power of 3200 watts, and on February 14, 2006, the station became a high-power transmitter and moved from 97.5 FM to 88.1 FM.
On April 9, 2010, CKDU received approval to decrease its power from 3,200 watts to 2,460 watts.
The programming on CKDU tends to be eclectic. In-house policy is that anything that is heard on a commercial or public (i.e. the CBC) radio station should not be heard on CKDU. CKDU's license also prohibits it from playing selections that have made certain charts such as the Billboard Hot 100 chart, preventing it from entering into competition with local commercial Top 40 stations.
CKDU is one of the few radio stations based in the Maritimes where one can hear local hip-hop, live electronic music, liberal and anarchist news shows, and the like. CKDU also hosts a number of shows programmed by ethnic minorities in the Halifax area, frequently broadcasting in their native languages rather than either of the official languages of Canada. Generally programming on CKDU is either a regular program which occurs at the same time(s) every week or one-off shows. As a station regulated by the CRTC, CKDU is also bound by Canadian Content regulations.
CKDU relies on its membership both for its day-to-day operations and for programming. While all members of the Dalhousie Student Union are automatically members of CKDU-FM membership is also open to others who wish to pay dues and meet time, training and other membership requirements. It is reasonably straightforward to become a programmer at CKDU- one puts in approximately 10 hours of volunteer work doing things like staffing phones and putting up flyers and then one is eligible for CKDU membership and programming privileges after a short training course is completed.
CKDU is supported for the most part by the Dalhousie Student Union, however some of its operating budget comes from fundraising drives conducted each year and for sales of advertising and sponsorships. There are a few paid staff at the station, most of the programmers being members from the community. CKDU runs ad spots from a variety of advertisers, usually local nightspots and the like. The station also airs community announcements for no fee. The fundraising drives are conducted both by calling previous supporters of the station and by soliciting donations on air. On air donations are usually rewarded with prizes of some kind, supplied by the programmer or businesses, whose monetary value often equals the value of the donation. In addition, government and some other grants help with both general revenue and funding for specific projects.
CKDU is located on the fourth floor of the Dalhousie student union building (6136 University Ave.) and is accessible to the general public. The station consists of a main lobby/waiting room, three offices which the paid station administration uses for their day-to-day duties, the station's record collection room, a maintenance room, a production studio (PCR) and the Master Control room (MCR) itself. The booth is a small room containing the CD collection of the station as well as new releases for easy access by the programmers. The equipment consists of a pair of Technics SL-1200s, a mixer, a new mixing board, a number of CD and tape decks, an audio-enabled computer, inputs for external devices, and a reel-to-reel machine. The booth is furnished with numerous chairs for the programmers and guests.
CKDU presenters and alumni
- Buck 65 - hip-hop artist, hosted the show "The Bassment", later renamed "The Treatment"
- Jesse Dangerously - nerdcore hip hop artist and former host of "The Pavement", renamed from "The Treatment"
- Jane Farrow - worked as program director and show host, now works as a producer and show host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- Jay Ferguson of the band Sloan produced and hosted a music program on CKDU-FM in the 1980s.
- Skratch Bastid - hip-hop DJ, also hosted "The Treatment"
- Matt Murphy - hosted Little Orton Hoggett radio show, musician in The Super Friendz
- Lex Gigeroff - former manager in the early FM days, later credited as a creator of scifi show Lexx
- Mike Catano - member of indie rock band North of America amongst others
- "Promise of Performance: Why CKDU-FM is becoming a better alternative" from New Works Magazine, 1986.
- CKDU-FM history at Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CKDU-FM