Fredericton’s community/campus radio station bolsters its weekly schedule with new original programming and syndicated shows from across the country.
Much like the community it serves, Fredericton’s CHSR FM has experienced countless ups and downs. However, through several shifts in staffing and volunteer positions, the station has remained an essential community outlet for countless emerging broadcasters, journalists, writers, musicians, poets, and artists of all disciplines. And just like many of the city’s businesses and arts organizations that are only now starting to experience some return to normalcy following the pandemic’s arrival, 2022 is shaping up to be a rewarding year for 97.9 FM.
For starters, 2022 has welcomed the return of popular host and music personality Erin Bond, who has rejoined the station as program director. Bond served as station manager for five years before stepping down last fall.
Though Bond’s departure left a sizable hole in the station’s original daytime programming – an issue further complicated by COVID-19 – her return will provide essential support to Station Manager Mark Kilfoil and help bring several new and returning shows to the air.
“Being program director is a totally new experience compared to station manager,” said Bond. “I now manage, schedule and coordinate all on-air programming, monitor our program logs to ensure we’re in compliance with CRTC regulations. Plus, going through the logs each week has also allowed me to bring back CHSR charting with !earshot each week.
“The role of volunteer coordinator has also been wrapped up into this position so I’m working more directly with our membership to offer them support and I’m now doing all the training with new members.” she said. “I also get to develop new locally produced programming with the help of CHSR’s newly formed programming committee. Basically, my goal is just to grow and improve CHSR. Where the station manager role was more outward facing, program director is very internal and collaborative with our membership.”
Among the many programs Bond delivered each week during her stint as station manager, Homemade Jams was easily her most popular. The show, which featured new music and interviews with musicians from across the Atlantic region, is now back as a regular part of the station’s weekday programming.
“I’m excited to get Homemade Jams back into the daily mix at CHSR,” said Bond. “I was still pre-recording two episodes per week to air Mondays and Fridays as a way to bookend the week with new music and mention live shows that were coming up around the city, but it felt a little limiting to play essentially only new releases.
“Bringing Homemade Jams back as a live show five days a week will allow me to still play the new releases, but also dig into other local albums I love that have been released over the last decade or so. I’m trying to keep the show as live as possible which will also allow me to engage with listeners in real-time and chat with more artists on-air.”
The station is also starting to see a resurgence in interest from the community with new members signing on and at least three new locally produced programs hitting the airways.
Campus/community radio veteran Tonya Price is one recent addition to the station’s growing list of on-air hosts. Price recently launched People Need Music, a weekly music magazine exploring Fredericton music makers, supporters and events on the calendar.
“People Need Music is based on the premise that music connects people and music creates community,” said Price. “It’s something that has been missed over the last two years. Music is truly the universal language!
Price got her start in campus/community radio back in the mid 1990s when she was studying at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University before moving to Ottawa where she remained involved in campus/community radio producing and hosting programs at CKCU FM.
“I returned to New Brunswick three years ago and recently felt the need to get back into radio,” said Price. “I love promoting local artists, culture creators and artists visiting Fredericton. I want to hear their stories and their songs. I love doing interviews.”
CHSR is also introducing a number of syndicated programs including the civic journalism program Viewpoints; Rabble.ca’s flagship radio program Rabble Radio; Round The World With Cracklin Jane, a weekly 2-hour radio show out of WSHD in Eastport, Maine; and NoeTheKulcha, a high-energy urban show that delivers multidisciplinary music and a talk platform for BIPOC identifying people. NoeTheKulcha is a production of Montreal’s CJLO was voted Best Radio Show by CultMTL in 2021.
“I think being in a new position has renewed some of my energy here, and I think my excitement talking about CHSR gets other people excited about CHSR too,” said Bond. “I feel like I can contribute to the station in a different way than I did before as station manager and be more directly involved with our membership, recruiting, and helping folks form their ideas into shows and podcasts. I believe this little shake-up of staff is exactly what CHSR needed.
New shows to hear on CHSR FM:
Homemade Jams | Monday – Friday at 4 p.m. (produced at CHSR)
Got U Covered | Mondays at 5 p.m. (produced at CHSR)
People Need Music | Thursdays at 5 p.m. (produced at CHSR)
NoeTheKulcha | Thursdays at 9 p.m. (produced at CJLO)
Viewpoints | TBA | (produced at CJRU)
Rabble Radio | TBA | (a production of Rabble.ca)
Round The World With Cracklin Jane | Sundays at 7 a.m. (produced at WSHD)
Listen local at CHSR FM