Community radio advocates are calling for local support for their project to return local programming to the airwaves at 107.9 FM.
The Gulf Islands Community Radio Society has reached an important step in its quest, with a call from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission asking for public comments regarding the “market capacity and appropriateness” of having radio serve Salt Spring Island. Radio society president Damian Inwood said that if the CRTC decides the idea is viable, the federal agency will then open the opportunity to submit licensing applications.
“What we would like to happen now, is that anyone interested in having a radio station for the Gulf Islands to respond saying it’s a good thing for us to have,” Inwood said.
“There are lots of reasons we think it’s a good thing,” he continued. “There will be local voices talking about news and events that actually matter to us rather than being about Vancouver and Victoria all the time.”
Promotion of local musicians and organizations is another benefit of having a local station. Inwood further pointed out that radio broadcasting would have been helpful during last December’s major windstorm to inform people about what was happening and where they could access services.
Salt Spring’s former radio station CFSI broadcast on 107.9 FM from 2009 to 2015, when the CRTC revoked its licence due to noncompliance with Canadian broadcasting rules. Though the radio station was a commercial venture, it involved many volunteer hosts from the community, and some of those have kept up their programming with the Gulf Islands Community Radio Society though online streaming at www.islandsradio.ca.
An agreement to use the two radio towers previously used by CFSI is already in place. Inwood said the community station would also like to use the former station’s radio frequency. Whether the CRTC opens the call for licensing applications, however, depends on the current step.
The online comment form is available here. Commenters will need to accept the terms by clicking in the tiny box at the bottom of the page, which then opens to the form with options either to comment, register opposition or register support.
The radio society will have 15 days after the Jan. 15 commenting deadline to respond to any opposing submissions. For more information, see the Gulf Islands Community Radio Society page on Facebook.
For more on this story, see the Dec. 18, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.