Community Involvement and Connection through Radio

By Hannah Brown |

The years of Salt Spring Radio were fun and hopeful years.  People involved with the station had many dreams for its role in the Salt Spring Community.  Many of them were realized.

Our fire captain, Chief Tom, sometimes stepped in to co-host a show and, at other times, would come in to share safety concerns within the home and community and to suggest emergency measures to help in times of disaster.  Working farmers  hosted show and shared with us their wisdom and hopes for the future of food production here on the island.  Active musicians played for us and enhanced our programmes.  Visiting actors and musicians from around the world were invited in to promote their upcoming shows.  It was a potpourri of delightful offerings to our community and they responded in kind.  Island interest groups were always welcomed to express their views, respectfully.  Our MP, Elizabeth May, phoned in every Sunday to speak about current issues in our riding and beyond.  Local concerts were often taped and re-presented by the station.  We even re-ran, no less than three times, the wedding ceremony of two of our broadcasters, Sue Walker and Larry Woods.  It was, in all ways, a model for community involvement and connection, at all levels.

While shopping, many people, would come up and tell me how much they enjoyed our programming, often people who I had never met before.  The radio was our commonality.  People gave suggestions for programming that they would like to hear and freely voiced their opinions on the opinions expressed in the broadcasting that they had heard.  I, myself, loved tuning in to hear the voices and programming of people known to me.  It was a delight to phone into the station and comment on something they’d said or played or to just tell them how much I was enjoying the show.  There’s not a doubt in my mind that community radio has a very active role to play in and for the community.  I think that many many would agree with me.

As a broadcaster, it allowed me to pursue one of my hobbies…researching and listening to music of the early blues Queens and to share this with an appreciative audience.  I also had the fun of co hosting a morning show with two of my friends, Radha Fournier and later Catherine Gardiner.  Banana Joe, our wonderful community PARC’s Employee and expert in Tropical Plants would phone in, every Friday, with a weather report and comment on community events.  It is a time that I remember fondly.  In the end it’s a win win situation for all in the community.  I hope that our capable and hardworking group of radio aficionados is able to resurrect community radio here on Salt Spring.