Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Victor Marshall




The primary purpose of this thesis is ethnographic. It is a case study of the development of Canada's first non-profit, urban community radio station, CKWR-FM. The people associated with CKWR-FM sought to develop a citizen access facility, in which all programming would be done by local residents. Their station was owned and managed by a voluntary organization, Wired World, Inc., membership in which was to be widely open to area residents. Planned as a non-commercial facility, the station was to be financed primarily from local charitable donations.

In addition to its ethnographic intent, the thesis offers some insight into the process of organizing to effect social change, providing an opportunity to critique some of those aspects of organization theory concerned with voluntary associations. The thesis demonstrates the importance of understanding the development of such an organization from a social action perspective. Two organizational characteristics are found to particularly noteworthy in this case study. One concerns the meaning of voluntarism and the effects of a dependence on volunteers. The other concerns the relationship between government and the voluntary sector.

McMaster University Library

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