04/09/2014 11:17 EDT | Updated 06/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Community radio station CIUT calls for help after transmitter dies

Community radio station CIUT-FM is in grave danger of losing its ability to broadcast after its transmitter died on Sunday.

It is now in a fight for its life to raise $160,000 from listeners to buy a new transmitter. Station manager Ken Stowar is calling it "the most important and necessary callout of its kind in the history of CIUT-FM."

The transmitter at First Canadian Place has been powering CIUT's listener-supported signal for 27 years — the majority of the station's lifetime, which began in 1966. The University of Toronto-affiliated station relied on the transmitter to reach its licensed coverage area including Barrie, Buffalo, Kitchener and Cobourg.

The station is still on the air, with a severely diminished signal and reach, after a radio engineer hooked up a power amplifier to an antenna in the building.

"CIUT needs a new transmitter, and it’s needed now," says Stowar. "The transmitter is the heart of any radio operation. Without one, one cannot live. Imagine television with the inability to view the picture."

Stowar says about one per cent of radio listeners donate to the station in normal fundraising drives. He estimates that if the station can get four per cent of listeners to chip in now, the money for the transmitter can be raised.

To donate, go to CIUT's donation page, call 416-946-7800 or 1-888-204-8976, or in person at the CIUT broadcast studios and office located in Hart House, University of Toronto.