By Selina McCallum
After three years at CJAM Radio 99.1FM, the Program Director, Carley Schweitzer, is leaving her position.
Schweitzer is responsible for ensuring they are constantly on the air, all 80 individual shows run smoothly, all advertisements are played during shows, volunteer orientations and much more.
She has been a great leader as she helps people who know nothing about hosting and producing their own show become pros and feel confident afterwards.
Schweitzer laughs and reminisces on the first time she was on air by herself after learning how to use the controls.
“It was like taking the training wheels off,” she laughed. She remembers saying “oh my God I can do it!” after she got the hang of it.
Out of 80 shows, Schweitzer says its hard to narrow down which her favourite show is.
“It’s really hard as program director to say what my absolute favourite show is, because I do love all my shows in different ways, and we have so many different shows here at CJAM,” said Schweitzer. “If I have to pick it would be Sylvio and Soul, Vitamin R, and Revolution Rock.”
Schweitzer started out at CJAM as their Volunteer Coordinator. From being timid, Schweitzer says she has seen herself grow in the role as Program Director.
“I’ve really seen myself become so much more confident in the way that I just approach people generally,” said Schweitzer. “I’ve also seen myself become confident in speaking on the air freely. I may go on the air two to three times a week and I find that I can speak naturally without having to use a script.”
As Program Director, Schweitzer also has to be available all the time, as the radio never sleeps.
“I’m on call 24 hours a day. If something is happening at the station, or for some reason we’re off the air, some of our equipment isn’t working, it’s my responsibility to drop what I’m doing and come in,” Schweitzer said.
“I knew that was apart of the job when I started, but I didn’t realize that I might be at dinner with my family, and the station is off the air or somebody didn’t show up for their next program and I have to leave. That definitely was challenging but it was worth it,” said Schweitzer.
CJAM, which is governed by the Student Media and university of Windsor, was founded in 1977. CJAM is a nonprofit campus-based community radio station. They provide music and information programming not offered by mainstream commercial media in the Windsor/Detroit area.
CJAM has and continues to serve people and groups within the community who are underrepresented by mainstream media by allowing them to use CJAM as a platform to express their views.
“I think lifting those voices up is so important. It’s a lot of marginalized communities. We have an LGBTQ+ focused talk show program which is a very important to have in the community. We have a program hosted by two women’s studies majors. Bringing in that academia into a community light and putting things in terms where everybody can come to the table and understand that, it’s been really interesting to see,” said Schweitzer.
CJAM is in jeopardy due to the Ford Government making changes to post-secondary education. If a majority of UWindsor students choose not to support the student union and the services they provide, CJAM could potentially no longer exist.
Schweitzer says it would make a huge impact if CJAM no longer received student funding.
“With the funding cuts, these arts voices and voices of people that you’re maybe not hearing in other places, that’s going to be a huge blow,” said Schweitzer. “We definitely will be losing jobs if the student choice initiative does not include CJAM as an essential fee.”
Shows that are on CJAM that you may not find anywhere else in the Windsor community is one that talks about STEM research. Another one talks about the history of classical music. Students and community members who have a shows on CJAM do not only have a background in communications or media, but are from all aspects of life.
“The resource that CJAM provides is so important because you’re hearing student voices,” said Schweitzer.
Currently, Schweitzer has a huge question mark on her future as she ponders what she will do next, but she knows she has many skills to take with her on her journey.
“I have radio experience, interviewing, editing, and using programs like Adobe audition. As well as administration skills,” said Schweitzer. “These are skills I never thought I would learn when I came into CJAM but that’s what has been so interesting about this job.”
Schweitzer says working at CJAM has been joyful.
“It truly has been the funnest job I’ve ever had. Rewarding, and fun,” she said.
Although she is leaving as Program Director, her heart will always remain with CJAM.
“I’m feeling very excited for the next part of my life. I will continue to be a volunteer here at CJAM until I move out of town or I drop dead,” said Schweitzer.
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