Community Update

We had a table at the Apple Festival and Fall Fair this year, and we were treated with visitors both local and from afar. We made contact with MLA Gary Holman amoung others at the Fall Fair, and he subsequently paid us a visit at the Apple Festival – so we took the photo op to promote GICRS (Gulf Islands Community Radio Society). We also made many new connections and have increased our membership to the society to over 135 members.  We have about 25 folks total who are active on our committees and board of directors.  There are three committees in total:

Programming Committee: This is a team of people working on outlining programming requirements and methods of proposing and reviewing programming proposals.

Music Committee: The Music team is working on building the music library, and ensuring all music is correctly tagged and coded for CRTC requirements. They are also the team heading up the internet radio efforts, including loading and scheduling the music.  Listen on-line at:

Technical Committee: This team of technical experts are currently working on laying out the vision for technical equipment requirements for the studio, and eventually will help with the tower equipment. This is our newest committee.

We now have a studio space for the society. The Senior Centre has offered us a room which we are currently converting to a radio studio.  The studio is also being used as a meeting place for the various committees as well as the Board of Directors.

Please feel free the check us out at and we are always looking for not only volunteers, but contributions to the effort including equipment as well as monetary contributions. Thank you!



Thank You!

We would like to sincerely thank all of the people who donated to our Kickstarter Campaign back in May and June.  We were able to reach our $12,000 goal, and the money is being used to pay for our nearly complete engineering study!

We would like to list those supporters who donated to the campaign – we had donations large and small – and every single bit helps the effort to get live radio back in the Gulf Islands.  We feel very confident that we will be successful in our effort to get live radio in the islands.

Thank you to our Kickstarter Donors!

Carolyn Coles
Kathy Murphy
Distractions Kate
Jesse Howardson
Katrina Riccartto
Jordan Clark
Don Clogg
Sarah Cordes
Todd Boston
Debbie Magnusson
Maria Geck
Hans Lussenburg
Theresa Shafer
J.J. Pearson
Sally Holland
Liv Lamour
Sam Chaffee
Larry and Cindy Souza
Vera Algoet
Shalon Sugden
Tom Shiffman
Aaron Hailman
Eden Buday
Premilla Pillay
Bruce Hamer
Debbie Harris Funfer
R.J. Jones
Marga Ashley
A Good Life Design
Emily Verlinden
Sue McKenzie
Rob Pingle
Catherine Diakiw
Daniel Van Koughnett
Stephen and Nicole Kelly
Hannah Brown
Lisa MacIsaac
Mary Lowery
David Hart
Matt Steffich
Andrew Fosyth
John Moore
Sean Moore
Ray Higgs
Erika Verlinden
Jim MacLeod
Galen Armstrong
Damian Inwood
Anonymous (3)

Without everyone’s help this project wouldn’t happen. We are so pleased with not only the local support, but the support of friends both near and far. The board feels very confident that not only will the CRTC application be approved, but that the local island community will support this effort through  commitments from the community to meet the financial requirements to make this dream of live FM radio owned by the community a reality!

We also want to recognize all of the volunteers who have contributed many hours to date.  Every volunteer is gold to the society, and we want to give them a word of recognition as well!

Thank you!

The Board of Directors
Gulf Islands Community Radio Society




Keep them Laughing in Heaven Arvid Chalmers!

It is with great sadness that Salt Spring Island lost one of its most beloved comedians in Mexico last night. Arvid Chalmers passed away while on stage in Melaque Mexico. Arvid was dearly loved for his candid and clever humour.  He and Sid Filkow often shared the stage, and would have the crowds in peals of laughter.

Arvid’s most beloved character he portrayed was dowdy Maggie MacCaffery of Scottish Heritage (pictured here). Maggie charmed everyone, with her local gossip, sometimes lusting after Sid’s character Les, and always with a sprinkle of gentle truth or practicality.  Maggie was definitely the world’s best woman at ironing.

Arvid’s claim to fame with local radio was when he did a skit during the opening celebration of CFSI going on-air, and translated CFSI to “Can’t Find Saltspring Island” Radio. That turned out to be one omen that plagued CFSI on Salt Spring Island throughout its five years on-air.

We at Gulf Islands Community Radio Society would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Arvid’s family as well as those near and dear to Arvid. May he continue creating great roars of laughter in heaven.

The Board of Directors
Gulf Islands Community Radio Society



Survey Results Very Positive

THANK YOU to the Gulf Islands Community and all of those people who took part in the recent Gulf Islands Community Radio Society’s survey. We finished compiling 429 surveys which were gathered from late October through December!

One thing that is apparent is the local station is missed and the vast majority of people are enthusiastic and behind bringing a live station back to the Gulf Islands!

The three top features requested were all local:

  • Local Updates on ferries, weather, emergency preparedness.
  • News About the Gulf Islands
  • Gulf Islands Community Events Calendar

Of key interest were the words used to describe local community radio.  Here are some of the keywords repeated most often in the comments:

  • Local (137)
  • Community (110)
  • Inform/Information (51)
  • News (47)
  • Music (40)
  • Connection/Connecting/Connect (39)
  • Events (36)
  • People (34)
  • Radio (34)
  • Island/Islands/Islanders (33)
  • Our (29)
  • Issues (27)
  • Interest/Interesting (24)
  • Need (21)
  • Content (19)
  • Service/Serve (17)
  • Support (11)
  • Friend/Neighbour (11)

The biggest single favourite genre of music was Classical Music, however, there were 5 different breakdowns of Rock/Pop genres, and the Rock/Pop combination was about double that of the Classical Music genre. Following these genres were Jazz/Blues, followed by Folk and then Worldbeat.

There were 22 foreign languages represented from respondents, where they noted they were fluent in languages other than English.  The highest ranking in order were French, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese.

The majority of folks listen to FM radio at 322 responding yes to FM.  Following close behind are the AM camp with 210 folks saying they tune into AM radio. Internet Streaming and On-Demand (via Internet) were following with 92 and 72 respectively.

CBC had the most listenership and was by far the most preferred station. But there were a few notables, those being the former CFSI being the front-runner after CBC.  After CFSI as a favourite was NPR (National Public Radio) followed by “The Q” on 100.3 and “The Peak” on 102.7, CJJR “JR FM” on 93.7 for those listening to country and western, then a tie for The Co-Op Radio CFRO on 100.5, CFMI on 101.1 and CFOX on 99.3.

The number one reason for choosing the favourite station was the music. Other areas that were of key importance were Programming Content, News, and Quality of Service.

Community was seen as the primary difference between the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island – mostly that the Gulf Islands are smaller and close knit. Being geographically isolated was cited next, especially from the smaller islands’ respondents.  Lifestyle was also a key indicator of the difference as well as culture and services (or limited services).

Respondents noted that local community information was they key piece missing from current radio services available to the Gulf Islands.  Also noted was that there was no programming for their needs. And a good number of folks cited they simply weren’t aware of what all was available to them.

Most popular programming features chosen were Local Information (ferries, weather, and power outages), followed local news about the Gulf Islands, and a Gulf Islands Community Events calender.  Following these top three were: News (Canadian & International), Environmental Issues Programming, Traditional Music Programming, Modern Music Programming. Rounding up the programming features were: Instructional, followed by Talk and/or Call-in, Youth Programming, Seniors Programming, and bringing up the rear was Religious/Spiritual Programming.

We had good representation from the outer islands, having made two different Queen of Nanaimo runs to Tsawwassen and back, and through those trips making connections with several of the smaller islands’ residents who took upon themselves to solicit more surveys from their islands.

Thanks again to all who participated in the survey.

Connection is Part of Community Radio

By AmanDa Paska |

Community radio opened up for me new senses of meaning, adding purpose to my life.

When I think about a radio station within a community, I think about all the connections that I make when I have the chance to produce a show or co-host with someone. It feels so good to take part in a community. When networks spring up and endless possibilities and what to do next is your only problem, it makes it easy for you to live passionately and with enthusiasm.

It has shown me the depth of layers within the community if only you stop to listen to a program that reaches out and says something meaningful that may contribute to your life. There was finally a way for me to use my hands and mouth to share stories and share music that send chills down your spine, because that’s what happens to me when I listen to the radio. To be a part of that was better for me than anything and gave my life meaning and purpose.

I have begun to understand the responsibility behind the production of something that goes beyond walls into cars, homes and businesses alike. Music and talk radio unify our community and cultivating that seems to me to be growing healthy relationships.

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.

Radio: The Voice of the Community

By Peter Harnisch ~

My dream of becoming a radio host was realized when I was given an opportunity to host ‘The Shift’ on formerly Green FM on Salt Spring Island. And what an experience it was! ‘Green’ myself, my idea for a show was accepted and I was trained to do live radio! Absolutely thrilled, I was given creative freedom to develop the show, host some amazing guests and play some really cool music. What really made the experience magical was that I was able to work with many talented radio hosts that had a wide variety of shows and that I was being supported and trained by then fabulous station manager Radha Fournier.

Community Radio has such great potential and I feel that it would benefit Gulf Islanders in so many ways. The diverse and somewhat eclectic programming offered material that was current, relevant and touched the pulse of the Gulf Island communities. I so loved that the radio hosts and shows spanned the interests of a broad section of the community. The radio hosts were ‘real people’ that I would frequently run into on Salt Spring Island and we would often exchange programming ideas over coffee as to how we could bring new and exciting content to the listeners. Community radio helps give a community a voice so bringing radio back to Salt Spring Island has my full support!