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.

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!

World Class Radio Show in Our Own Back Yard

By Jason Cressey |

I started the ‘Off The Beaten Track’ show as soon as CFSI began broadcasting – realising a dream I had to unite two passions (travel and radio) in a weekly half-hour slot.  Going into the studio, armed with notes, photos and music that I’d picked up on my travels was a wonderful way to relive memories and share the passion, experiences, tips and insights I’d gained in 25 years of travelling to nearly 150 countries.  Over my five years with the station I reported on destinations from Antarctica to Nanaimo – both far and near – and the audience feedback I received was always very encouraging.  I had people who overheard me speaking to friends on the ferry come over and say “I know that voice – and that accent!  You’re the travel guy, aren’t you!”.  Always very rewarding and humbling to know the shows were being appreciated by many travellers – both adventurers and armchair alike!

The folks at CFSI were always so helpful from the beginning at showing me how things worked and allowing me to eventually prepare shows and edit pre-recorded pieces that were often described as being ‘good enough for syndication’ – a quote from two or three people during my time at the station.  I miss the experience and the opportunity to be a part of radio on Salt Spring – and I’ll be among the first in line to resurrect my show when radio returns to this wonderful island.

Overall, my experience with CFSI was my first sustained experience with community radio and, for me, was a very positive one at that.  To be able to go and pursue the passion of radio in my own island back yard, and to connect the big-wide-world with my local community, really mattered to me.   Community radio fills a different need – and a different niche – to large-scale commercial radio… it’s like talking and listening to friends: my experience of both broadcasting on an tuning in to CFSI was always one accompanied by a warm and familiar feeling.  It’s like a radio-wave comfort blanket that gently settles over the island, and our community would be all the richer for it to return stronger and more cohesive than before.

Local Radio Experience results in Studying Broadcasting at University

By DJ Andrew Walker |

I joined CFSI FM back in early July of 2012. A few days prior to receiving my own show at the tender age of 17, I had moved with my family from Calgary to Salt Spring. Yeah, THAT old story…

For me, I have always had a passion for music, as well as radio. So when I heard there was a community station on the island, I drove to the studio to see if I could do anything to help out. There, I met the station manager (Dave Gordon), Operations Manager (Mike Cherry) and the owner (Gary Brooks). I just remember being completely star struck, seeing all three of them in a small room chatting away.

From that moment on till the last week of summer every Saturday night, I played non-stop dance music for two hours commercial free. I had listeners ranging from the island, to around Alberta, and the occasional listeners overseas. The very last week of August, I was moved to Thursday nights at 10pm, which was fantastic because the high school there had Fridays off and I could imagine the high schoolers wouldn’t know what to do on a Thursday night, so it gave me the opportunity to play party music and showcase what I was all about.

Flash-forward to September of 2013, I decided to kick things up a notch. I changed my show completely, renaming it “Euphoria & Entrancement” and had the first hour dedicated to house music, and the second hour dedicated to trance. I also brought in world famous DJs from across the globe to even do a half hour guest mix (electronically) on the occasion.

For me, September 20th 2012 was probably the most memorable night I can remember at CFSI. A few days prior, the community was in shock hearing about the tragic death of Ryan Plambeck. I decided to give back by dedicating the first song on my show to Ryan, “Don’t You Worry Child” by the EDM group Swedish House Mafia, followed by a moment of silence. The request line as well as Facebook and Twitter for the station was INSANE. I took as many call ins and dedications live on air as well as song requests. That is one night I will never forget.

Thanks to CFSI, I am now enrolled in my second year at Mount Royal University studying Broadcasting. As well, I was signed to a DJ company that throws some of the biggest events across Alberta that draw thousands of people. I also have been able to have more special guest DJs/Producers on my radio label that I could not have done if it weren’t for CFSI and their great staff.

The people of Salt Spring, as well as the rest of the Gulf Islands need a radio station. I was in shock when I found out that CFSI was no more this summer! I believe that every person on the island has a story to tell, and we have an audience for that. If it goes through, I can’t wait to hear what interesting stories and music they have to show!

Best of luck! You at Gulf Islands Community Radio Society have my full support!

Andrew Walker
Founder/DJ at Euphoria & Entrancement

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 7.28.20 PM
Andrew working his musical magic