Scott Duke

Stoke FM: coming soon to a radio near you

It took Scott Duke all of three days living in Revelstoke to decide he wanted to start up a community radio station in town.

“I’m just not 100 per cent keen on the radio stations that are out there,” he said. “I have nothing against any of the radio stations that are currently in town and I’m not trying to compete with them at all, it’s just so that listeners of Revelstoke have alternative choices.”

Duke, 29, who hails from Mississauga, Ont., moved to Revelstoke for the 2009-10 ski season and decided to make the town his permanent in home last fall. He sold his Ontario businesses, moved across the country and bought a home in Clearview Heights.

Since settling here permanently in November he started up Duke’s Dogs, selling hot dogs and sausages from a food cart around town, and is now working on establishing Stoke FM.

So far he has set up a board of directors, registered as a not-for-profit society and purchased a transmitter from a community radio station in Nelson, B.C.

While Duke has no experience in radio, he has started several businesses in the past, including Basecamp, a wakeboarding centre in Ontario cottage country.

“I’ve run six different companies so I have experience with start-ups,” he said, adding that several of the board members have experience in radio and all are involved in the music industry.

The station will mostly play music, though the CRTC requires at least 20 per cent of the content to be spoken word.

“The vision is to play music that caters to a youthful audience and to have an open voice for the community.” he said. “The other half is a not-for-profit and any profits are made are invested back into the community.”

Community radio differs from commercial radio in both content and mandate. CRTC policy on community radio states:

“Community stations should offer programming that is different from and complements the programming of other stations in their market. Their not-for-profit nature and community access policies should assist them in contributing to the achievement of this objective.”

In addition to the spoken word requirement, community stations are not allowed to play pop music, “Which is not a problem because we’re not looking to play pop music,” said Duke.

The CRTC policy states: “The programming broadcast by individual community stations should be varied and provide a wide diversity of music and spoken word.”

Duke is currently filling out the paperwork required to set up the station with both the CRTC and Industry Canada. He expects the approval process to take two to three months. In the meantime, he is planning on building a studio in the basement of his home and getting the transmitter set up. Work will also begin on programming and finding advertisers. He said he will consult with the community to see what it wants.

“Everything will be set up and ready to go,” Duke said. “The studio will be set up, the transmitter will be set up, all the technology will be set up and we’ll just be waiting for the green flag from them and we’ll be able to hit the air.”

The long-term plans include broadcasting on the Internet and archiving shows online.

Anyone with suggestions for programming can e-mail Duke at scottduke@stokefm.com

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