Starting a radio station from nothing is much harder than it sounds.
Just ask Dave Del Rizzo, the vice president of CFUZ Peach City Radio in Penticton.
Del Rizzo, along with Cameron Baughen, is one of the many hard-working volunteers who ensure the station can be heard from Peachland to Oliver every day on 92.9 FM.
But Saturday (Feb. 4) was time to reflect and celebrate, not work, as the non-profit community station acknowledged its four-year anniversary of being on the air.
“I think it’s important to raise awareness for community radio because, without all the people and volunteers, we can’t exist,” Del Rizzo said, inside the studio at the Cannery Trade Centre. “A lot of places in Canada don’t even have a community radio station, so it’s great to look back on what we’ve built here.”
CFUZ Peach City Radio celebrated the day with its annual “On-Air-versary” broadcast, with hosts accepting community donations for operating expenses and studio expansion.
One fan of the station even donated a turntable and dozens of old records to mark the occasion on Saturday.
During its anniversary broadcast last year, the station raised more than $15,000. This year, they hope to exceed the $20,000 mark.
Supporters of CFUZ Peach City Radio from as close as Vancouver to as far as Waterloo, Ont. donated to the cause on Saturday, Del Rizzo said.
“We know that a lot of people listen to us because we hear it through our social media,” he added. “We just hope the people that listen are inspired to donate.”
The station ran as an online-only format before officially debuting on the FM dial in 2019, with locally-produced talk shows and programming from several genres of music that highlight the region’s best talent.
Del Rizzo credits Baughen with coming up with the idea to start a community radio station in Penticton close to 12 years ago.
“It’s very difficult to establish a community radio station from nothing,” he said. “From scratch, we worked hard and did it.”
Saturday marked the conclusion of the first-ever Community Radio Week in Penticton, following a recent declaration from mayor Julius Bloomfield.