The Vernon Community Radio Society hopes to have its The Valley FM station operating if they receive a licence from the CRTC. (Photo submitted)

Vernon community radio push gains energy

Group in Vernon hoping to put ‘The Valley’ on the air in the North Okanagan

There’s a name and a possible spot on the radio dial.

Now, a planned Vernon community radio station is hoping to receive a broadcasting licence.

The brainchild behind the station enlisted social media to come up with a name for the station and pick a winner.

“The board narrowed things down to five and from those five, we launched a social media poll to pick the winner which is Valley FM,” said Gord Leighton, former Sun-FM general manager and 50+-year broadcast veteran, who is spearheading the drive to bring a community radio station to the North Okanagan by forming the Vernon Community Radio Society.

“There will be derivatives of the name, such as ‘The Valley,’ ‘The Valley Voice,’ ‘The Valley Vibe’ and others.”

Leighton is joined by a four-person board whose objective is to bring a community station that would serve Greater Vernon, from Coldstream through to the north end of Swan Lake, and – “hopefully,” said Leighton – to Armstrong. The board’s engineering consultant said to expect to have a radio transmitter operating at approximately 1,500 watts.

A technical brief will be prepared by a professional engineer to Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The brief will confirm a radio frequency, which Leighton says, at the moment, looks like the FM dial position would be 97.9 MHz.

“The technical brief will take up to six weeks, more or less, depending on a variety of factors,” said Leighton. “With a completed brief, our application to the CRTC should be filed before the end of June. After that, it’s a waiting game.”

Leighton said the commission could issue a licence without a public hearing if they deem the application to be in the public’s interest and straightforward. They could put the application on an agenda of a public hearing, or they could receive the application and defer it to a public hearing at a later date. In the meantime, the CRTC would issue a public call, inviting others to apply for either a commercial or community station.

“At the earliest, a CRTC decision could take 60-75 days,” said Leighton. “At the latest, and assuming the matter is slated for a public hearing, it could take six months.”

The CRTC, said an optimistic Leighton, rarely rejects applications for community radio stations.

One major hurdle facing the board is money. They will need around $100,000 to purchase equipment, renovate studio and control room space and install the necessary hardware.

“This will require a major effort by the board and as many volunteers as we can muster to create and execute fundraising events and reach out to the business community,” said Leighton. “We will only begin to do this once we receive licences.”

RELATED: Broadcast veteran discusses community station

Programming a community radio station is a hot topic among prospective listeners.

Leighton said The Valley’s music content will be 40 per cent Canadian and, as required by the CRTC, provide programming that is “demonstrably different from current offerings.”

“We will not be leaning heavily into pop and top-40 music,” said Leighton. “Nor will we be heavily reliant on music from the ‘80s and ‘90s,” referring to the programming offered by Vernon’s two FM stations Sun and Beach.

Leighton said an audience survey conducted by the board showed strong support for country music, new and traditional, as well as classic rock and alternative rock.

“Interest in niche genres was fairly evenly distributed with folk, jazz, oldies (’60s and ‘70s),” said Leighton. “Classical, hip-hop and bluegrass also scored a respectable level of interest.”

One important focus of The Valley will be to provide access to the airwaves by local talent.

“At the moment, it’s difficult if not impossible for aspiring singer-songwriters to garner local radio airplay,” said Leighton.

The community station, as per licence requirements, would include 15 per cent spoken word programming, which includes news, interviews and commentaries.

“We intend to include a daily Monday-to-Friday local open-line program, about 90 minutes in length, mid-morning,” said Leighton. “This will provide a platform for robust debate on issues of community importance.”

The community station will rely heaving on volunteers. The average number of volunteers at Canadian community radio stations is about 60.



newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

The Vernon Community Radio Society hopes to have its The Valley FM station operating if they receive a licence from the CRTC. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

The Camozzis: Sisters committed to wellness in Revelstoke

Imogen Whale Special to the Review To say that the Camozzi sisters… Continue reading

Glimpses from Revelstoke’s past

120 Years Ago: Revelstoke Herald, May 25, 1898 The local citizens celebrated… Continue reading

Just for Kicks Dance Studio in Revelstoke wows at year end recital

Just for Kicks Dance Studio performed their year end recital last week… Continue reading

Revelstoke’s Pipe Mountain Coaster set to open for May Long

Friday will mark the third opening day for The Pipe Mountain Coaster… Continue reading

Who to call about wildlife encounters in Revelstoke

Revelstoke is now entering the season where bears are accessing urban spaces… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Olympic gold medallist returns to Summerland

Justin Kripps brought his gold medal to Summerland Secondary Thursday

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read