Salt Spring Has It!

If there ever was a good place to put up a radio station, Salt Spring Island was it. The talent, the imagination, the experience, the sense of adventure made for a winning combination and sure enough in the Fall of 2007 the CRTC gave us the nod and it all came together. With funding from Gary Brooks, a New Yorker via New Mexico, and some experience from cohort Richard Moses the license arrived and the project began—they had two years to make it happen. And, almost to the day, it did. The two, with all the help they could muster, brought CFSI to life in September 2009.

Nobody thought he could do it, but Bill Nash, realizing a lifelong dream, kicked off his first Sunday “Sounds like Salt Spring” show and launch the program schedule that grew and grew with music shows like the zany Matt Steffich/John Bateman Monday evening “Speakeasy” that nobody could figure out but which grew on listeners something like a bunyan but more fun.

Fun and experimenting and grand variety were the fare. Bob Simpson, probably the best all-round radio man in the country, struggled, as Manager, to get the station organized and, with any luck, make it somewhat profitable (it was, after all, a Commercial station) and slowly a semblance of order began to emerge.

But suddenly, less than three years into the venture, Moses was gone, Simpson disappeared, engineer Mike Cherry wasn’t there—and all for different reasons. The biggest blow came with news that the station had been sold! Hope sprang eternal as Sukhdev Dhillon took the reigns, promising more money and new equipment, but the hope was short-lived. And, speaking of things nobody could figure out, less and less was seen of Dhillon as the station began to creak and groan, the paperwork stopped flowing (which somewhat irritated the CRTC ) and after the second summons to Ottawa they asked for their license back and on July 25 of 2015 it was all over.

But not for long! Two Dons suddenly appeared from seemingly nowhere: Don Robertson a retired lawyer who lives right next door to Don Elder and Elder himself, a former producer for the CBC (“Mister Dressup” etc.). In July of 2015 (the same month the license was pulled!) the two Dons managed to unearth Moses who had been contemplating a peaceful autumn and a long winter’s nap, and Radha Fournier who had almost single handedly kept the ailing CFSI operating for the last months of its life and had also just nicely recovered. The four began laying plans for a new and bigger and better radio station for Salt Spring. This one would be licensed as a non-profit Community station operated by and for not just Salt Spring Island but the whole of the Gulf Islands—an area recently named the Salish Sea.

How do you establish a radio station from scratch—with absolutely no money!? Well, ya gotta have heart! And so far—we’ got plenty o’ that!

A seven member Board, an official registration as a non-profit society, a web site and meetings happening every single week! And of course we must apply for a whole new CRTC license—an occupation in itself!

But old friends are reappearing (Dan Miller, Rob Pingle, Cindy Jacobsen, Scott Merrick, Scott Harris, Amanda Paska, new ones—the curious, the hopeful––waiting in the wings—and a brand new Sales Manager, (only to us—not to the State of Utah) debonair Frank Normile, also a former lawyer and radio hound and present owner of Glad’s.

You may join us if you wish. Watch for the survey-takers in various places around the island.

– rbm