The annual CKUW Student Radio Marathon will take place this Nov. 8 from 6 a.m. to midnight. The marathon allows the voices of University of Winnipeg (U of W) and collegiate students, as well as faculty and staff to be heard all day on the station.
Victoria King, the program director of the event, is excited for the marathon.
“I think that for a lot of students, it’s exciting to make radio, and they’ve never done it before,” she says. “So it’s an opportunity to get in the studio, to check things out.”
She believes CKUW is a critical tool to engage students and, more than anything, to empower them.
“It’s just this amazing tool for people to tell their story, to hear their own voice, to make choices about the narrative that they’re putting forward for people to consume,” she says.
Participating in the marathon, however, does not necessarily mean people will only have to talk about student-related issues.
Program director Victoria King and CKUW volunteer co-ordinator Ugonna Chigbo.
“The idea is that some people are going to talk about student stuff,” King says. “But you can just come on and run a pop-culture team … Or last year, some people came on, and they were like ‘hey, I’m so and so. I’m just going to play my favourite music.’ So people can talk about whatever they want.”
Student groups are also more than welcome (and encouraged) to participate. The Wesmen men’s basketball team is set to join the marathon this year, and they will talk about basketball for an hour.
King, who is also a volunteer director on the Mouseland Press board, adds that signing up a student group to participate is a great way to raise awareness about that group.
Last year, the marathon included over 50 students across campus, spanning various faculties.
“That means, in one day, we had 50 different students come into the station, which is a really high number for us in a day,” King says. “We had regular programming for almost 18 hours straight that was live, that was produced with the Winnipeg community prioritized.”
The program has been improving each year and King, who is already in her second year of running the event, is confident this year will be even better.
King was also recently at a national radio convention in Calgary. She noted how beloved and celebrated the station in Calgary is in their community. It’s the kind of growth she’d like to see in CKUW with the help of the radio marathon.
“It shows in the numbers (of volunteers) that they have and the amount that they pull in during their annual funding drive, and I just feel like there’s no reason CKUW can’t get there,” King says.
Ugonna Chigbo, CKUW’s volunteer co-ordinator, sees the marathon as a way to gain new volunteers. Chigbo says he would like to recruit the keen individuals that want to continue volunteering with the station on an ongoing basis.
“I would say it’s somewhere between one to five (volunteers) that we get from the marathon each year,” he says.