Nearly fifty people packed the program room at the Salt Spring Island Public Library for the Gulf Islands Community Radio Society’s first members’ meeting on the 6th of February. Radio enthusiasts gathered to meet the board of directors and volunteers who laid out the current plan to build and run a community radio station serving the islands. “The turnout was fantastic,” said society president Radha Fournier, “It’s great to see such enthusiasm coming from the community!”
The meeting began with Fournier introducing the team and paying tribute to the Society’s President Emeritus and founding member, Richard Moses. She reviewed preliminary results of the recent survey, and announced the society would soon begin broadcasting online.
Operations Coordinator Dan Miller debuted the current budget and financial plan through 2024. Miller went over the hardware costs and operating expenses, making the case that the station would likely need one or two full time employees. He reviewed the basics of the radio business model, concluding that the main challenge was going to be keeping costs low, whatever revenue or business model was adopted by the station.
Secretary Cindy Jacobsen pointed out that the current budget does not yet include every available source of revenue, such as donations and grants. She then paced attendees through the CRTC application process necessary to start a radio station, laying out the society’s timeline. The first priority was an engineering survey of the islands, she said, to examine available FM frequencies and identify transmitter requirements. Jacobsen said that the goal of the first fundraising drive, to begin in about a month, was mainly to pay for the engineering study, but also to equip a small mobile studio for live internet broadcasting.
Scott Harris, Treasurer, detailed the society’s wish list of everything from radio station supplies to bookkeeping skills and announced the formation of two operational committees to begin work immediately. Immediate objectives include starting the online broadcasts as soon as possible, as well as preparing for the transition to FM, pending the application’s approval. Harris said addressing the need for an office/studio space was also a current top priority.
Vice president Don Elder related two delightful anecdotes pointing to the future of radio in the digital age. Both conventional radio, as well as “digital reach,” he said, will best work together to serve the unique demographics of the Gulf Islands region.
Radha Fournier concluded with thanks to the crowd for their support, and reiterated her call to action. This is the time to get involved, she said, to help make the dream of a community-owned, volunteer-driven radio station become a reality.
“The feedback has been very positive,” Fournier said after the event, “Momentum is definitely building!”
To sign up as a member of the society, and to become a volunteer, please visit the membership page.