New boss at CJSW 90.9 FM puts community first

After a year-long run with their long-time station manager Kai Sinclair, CJSW 90.9 FM, the community based FM and internet radio station, is now under the wing of Adam Kamis, a veteran of the Calgary music scene.

“So long as I don’t get an email saying I’m out of here before 5 p.m., I’ll be fine,” Kamis said in an interview at CJSW headquarters on Oct. 31.

It was the last day of his probation period with the popoular radio station.

CJSW has been gracing local airwaves since the 50’s, beginning on SAIT campus, and since the ’80s as an FM radio spear of progressive music, driven by the work of eager volunteers.

Always colourful. Posters of Calgary Transit advertisements line the walls of CJSW 90.9 FM, a community centred and community run radio station located on the third floor of MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta. Shot on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. (Photo by Ruwald de Fortier/The Press)

“We’re fuelled by the community, for the community,” he said.

Kamis has been volunteering with CJSW since he was 16 years old and still attending high school.

He also started playing in bands and getting involved in the music scene around that same time and still performs to this day.

He started hosting shows on CJSW 90.0 FM in 1998, with Sin City, and moved on to his current program, Failed Pilot, in 2006.

“You put in the work, you get the reward,” said Kamis.

He said he plans on continuing to host Failed Pilot every Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. while also working as station manager.

He has also worked in management at Broken City, a bar in downtown Calgary, and has been the events coordinator at the National Music Centre, which now finds its home in Studio Bell.

Doors are always open. Volunteers sign posters, CD’s and vouchers for discounts at local Calgary, Alta. businesses called friend cards in the front lounge of CJSW 90.9 FM headquarters. CJSW is community oriented and run radio station located on the third floor of MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta. Shot on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. According to CJSW station manager Adam Kamis, CJSW relies heavily upon volunteers to keep the station running throughout the year, to ensure that there are always volunteers on hand, doors are always kept open at CJSW. (Photo by Ruwald de Fortier/The Press)

Kamis said the CJSW position opened up in 2015, and although he was interested, he hesitated in applying to see through what would be a big year for the National Music Centre with the JUNO Awards and celebrations coming to the city.

In 2016, the position was still open, and Kamis decided to take the chance.

CJSW finally moved out of MacEwan Hall’s basement in 2016. The station relocated to the third floor of the building, to a spacious office furnished with colourful posters, merchandise and broadcasting booths.

A grand collection. Chad Saunders, previous station manager, left his collection of music behind at CJSW 90.9 FM after resigning from his position in 2014. CJSW is a community centred and community run radio station located on the third floor of MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta. Shot on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. CJSW recently finished their annual fundraiser for 2017 which will act as a third as the third and biggest stream of funding for the station. (Photo by Ruwald de Fortier/The Press)

“It [the basement] was really dank, in the bad sense of dank,” said Kamis.

CJSW also finished its annual fund-raising drive in mid-October, with the ‘Local 510 Arcade’ at the Local 510 Public Tavern on 7th Avenue S.W.

Kamis said that the reason CJSW has been so successful over the years is because of the support of the community, on the U of C campus and in the city.

Kamis said that CJSW can always count on that support as long as it remains committed to the community.

He also said that what sets CJSW apart from other independent radio stations is that it gives listeners “plurality of choice.”

“It’s a total salad bar of sound,” said Kamis.

In regards to the future of radio in an age of Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play, Kamis said he’s not sure as of yet what’s going to happen.

“People don’t know music the way they used to,” said Kamis.

“That’s an ask me in two, or three years kind of question.”

For the community. A vending machine that dispenses earplugs stands outside of CJSW 90.9 FM headquarters of the third floor of MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. (Photo by Ruwald de Fortier/The Press)

 

 

About Ruwald de Fortier 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ruwald de Fortier worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.

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