Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio by Brian Fauteux (review)
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Reviewed by
Brian Fauteux. Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. viii, 224. $29.99

Historical works on community media should be commended as there are few publications that broach this topic. Music in Range focuses on campus radio to find out where it emerged and which factors allowed it to reach communities beyond university campuses. However, it falls short of providing the reader with a satisfying outcome to this quest as it attempts to cover too much ground. The reader might have been more sympathetic to the many leaps and bounds between ideas that are never fully developed had the introduction clearly stated the intent of providing a cursory overview of various topics related to campus radio.

The context provided about the campus-community sector in chapter two is helpful given the limited documentation available on the topic. However, the policy lens used to explain this sector's emergence and regulatory framework seems short-sighted. Although this section is generally well developed, lawyers and policy enthusiasts might feel slighted in the hop, skip, and jump approach that fails to systematically explain and list all relevant policy and regulatory documentation. This chapter, along with chapter five, could have constituted material for a separate book about campus radio regulatory policy.

A cursory discussion of the larger political and economic context of Canadian broadcasting follows, but it excludes a formal framework for the analysis presented. Chapter four then describes the history of three particular stations (CHMA, CKUW, and CITR) within their specific communities. This part is very interesting and descriptive as it paints a portrait of the stations both on and off the air through interviews. Unfortunately, the flow and readability of this section then return to a drier policy discussion.

Since 2010, campus and community stations have been under the fold of a single policy. Music in Range neglects to explain the importance of [End Page 250] stations being on a campus and actually seems to encourage their downfall by reinforcing the community/non-profit mandate rather than the need for campus stations in the life of a university or college campus. The distinctions between campus and community stations are not thoroughly explored as both types appear to be an extension of one another.

Chapter five provides an overview of CKNL's station woes until its licence was finally revoked. Although this story helps the reader to understand issues within the sector and, particularly the life of community radio in Toronto, it seems out of place or, at the very least, decontextualized in the book's greater narrative design.

The next chapter returns to localism by looking at the important link between campus stations and local music scenes. The author uses the three stations mentioned earlier to highlight factors that have allowed campus stations to branch out into the community. However illustrative, the examples given tend toward generalizations about how these links develop and can be created.

Music in Range ends with an overview of how information for the book was obtained and reemphasizes the mandate of the campus-community sector. Future research that argues for continued expansion of this sector is also presented. However, few forward-looking solutions are presented in relation to technological advancements that would enable community media to evolve as new platforms become available and listeners are mostly left out. Some comments with respect to the Internet are made, but these are not sufficiently fleshed out.

Music in Range succeeds in pointing out misconceptions. This is important as strong ideas still remain among Canadians about what campus and community radio represent. However, it is disappointing to see a contemporary book not incorporating an anti-oppressive stance. Much of the book's language and vocabulary sadly reinforce the negative stereotypes and false ideologies that continue to stigmatize this sector.

All in all, Music in Range is an exploratory overview of campus radio that leaves the reader wanting to know more. Is this the consequence of an author wanting to include as much as possible in his first book? Or is it simply the result of an exploration of a topic that has not yet garnered enough attention to...


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