It’s been long said that video killed the radio star. But UBC’s own radio station just got a defibrillating shock of life with an all new space and plans for the future.
After nearly 50 years of operating in the old SUB CiTR finally made its move last week to their new home in the AMS Nest. Now operating in the first floor of the building right next to the main concourse, the long-running station is set to take on a new generation of student listeners and volunteers.
The transition was as substantial as it was necessary. The previous home of CiTR was a small, crowded web of hallways on the second floor of the SUB.
“The old space was … somewhat like rat maze, the offices were little doors in the hallways so it felt not open and bright,” said Brenda Grunau, the current station manager of CiTR. “Back then [live performers] performed in our lounge and for a few people to watch they’d have to cram themselves in the sides.”
There were plenty of other issues with the old space, according to Grunau. Equipment was outdated and worn, the spacing did not encourage collaborative work, and the location itself was very obscure which hindered CiTR's public profile. These problems were addressed head on in the new space in the Nest.
“It’s much more of an open concept … there’s access to natural light, people are sort of clumped in a large open spaces,” said Grunau, adding that the new set up not only looks good, but also adds functionality to events. “Our main wall is a foldable wall. It will open up when we have live bands play [and they] perform into the main hall of the building so we’re looking forward to live performances.”
The new station also includes a number of other perks including new equipment to work with and more accessible studios. However, one of the most important aspects of the location is that it contributes to the station’s strategy to accumulate more public interest.
“We’re off the main concourse, so people will be able to see into our main studios and see us broadcast 24 hours a day,” said Grunau. “Most people don’t know there’s a radio station on campus, and it takes a lot of effort to let people know we’re alive…. We’re expecting our volunteer numbers to go up significantly.”
Despite all the perks of the new station, CiTR's team fondly looks back on their old space. Last weekend, both current staff and alumni held a “wake” of sorts as a way to say their goodbyes. Interviews with former staff -- some of whom were around during the station's transition from Brock Hall in 1969 -- were also broadcasted regarding this transition.
“The old space was full of stickers, graffiti and posters of old shows. Alumni found their names written in chalk from the 1980s so a there’s fair amount of history in that space,” Grunau said. “We’ll definitely bring some old pieces of character from the old one to the new place.”
As important as it is to acknowledge the past, Grunau also looks forward to what the team cooks up in the future. Plenty of other new changes are set to take effect at CiTR. These include a new website in conjunction with with Discorder that will include a database on performers, CD reviews, photos and much more. The station also intends to put more effort into multimedia such as podcasts and videos in order to garner more student interest.
“We’re educating people that it’s not just FM radio that we do…. People have different ways of ingesting the content we produce,” she said. “We’re excited for our new space, and excited to get more people engaged in making radio.”