CKUT Radio, Montreal’s pre-eminent anglo campus-community radio station, is celebrating 20 years of broadcasting. To mark this important anniversary, CKUT is hosting Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio, a major independent media conference featuring multiple workshops from alternative broadcasters, filmmakers, journalists and media activists who will be converging on Montreal from across North America.
Amy Goodman, the New York City-based host of Democracy Now!, will speak in Montreal to kick off the conference at McGill University on Friday, Oct. 19.
"In a time of war, independent media institutions are essential, as independent media can hold power accountable through providing alternative information," explains Goodman from New York. "A 20th anniversary is very exciting," she says concerning CKUT’s birthday, "an excellent opportunity to celebrate the power and potential of independent media."
Democracy Now! is a dynamic independent TV/radio program broadcasting on over 450 stations in North America, described as "the largest public media collaboration in the U.S.," according to the program’s website.
"It is essential that we continue to build a challenge to the corporate media," explains Goodman. "Today the media are the most powerful institutions on earth, more powerful than any gun or missile; the Pentagon has deployed the corporate media and we have to take it back."
Media concentration remains an issue of concern for independent media activists in Canada, as the expanding reach of media conglomerates like CanWest Global Communications or Quebecor Inc. are viewed as a threat to the presence of independent voices critical of corporate or state policy in Canada.
"CKUT Radio continues to offer programming and volunteer opportunities that are unparalleled in the city," says Kristiana Clemens, CKUT’s music programming co-ordinator. "This conference is an attempt to celebrate 20 years of independent community radio in Montreal while also celebrating Media Democracy Day, which takes place each October, with a conference which will bring together both academic and grassroots perspectives on the importance of independent media."
For the full conference schedule, visit www.ckut.ca/redefiningmedia.php.