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   www.islandsradio.ca 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
Valdy
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

 

 

 

Word is spreading about Gulf Islands Community Radio! Read the Members’ Meeting Wrap-up

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.

Why We Need Community Radio: Gulf Islanders Have Lots to Share, Lots to Learn

By Michael Morse |

Folks, we have a unique spirit that makes us want to be Islanders. Some of us have have been here all of our lives, but many of us have sought out this place from all over Canada and farther afield for its unique blend of people and island lifestyle.

For myself, I first came here as a young man back in the 1970s – it seemed like Heaven on Earth already back then, but work in my chosen field was hard to find, so I headed back inland, one thing led to another and a family came along; but I’m back to stay now. I never gave up that promise to myself that this was my TRUE home, and those other places along the way were just ways to get by until I could get back here.

We need our own radio station to celebrate our identity; both to give a voice to our local artists and people with something special to say to us; and to connect us to the bigger world out there beyond our little shoreline. After all, let us not get too insular and cut ourselves off from the rest of the World – we are Planet Earth citizens today as never before, as climate change and the digital age link us all together in ways we never imagined possible even only ten years ago. Keeping up with how that situation is unfolding and how we can best be part of it is becoming increasingly vital to our future.

Radio Builds Community Like No Other Medium, Says Local Advocate Dan Miller

By Dan Miller |

Among modern communication media most resembling ancient oral traditions of storytelling and song – which sustained, informed and entertained humanity for millennia – is radio.

My love of radio stems back to a childhood fascination with the first portable transistor radios in the 1960s. In those days, FM was the rising star that was hoped to save the medium after it was driven out of living rooms everywhere over the preceding decade by television.

Radio was not to be my profession for another twenty years, by then well past the glory days of FM, but just on the verge before another challenging new medium, the internet, made its rise in the early ’90s. While other traditional media struggle to cope, radio holds its own admirably and, while not unchanged, today thrives on the internet. Radio shares with the internet at least one key quality: hotness or immediacy.

Among the unique qualities of audio-only media such as radio, is that it’s likened to a theatre of the mind. Epitomized by the radio-plays of the 1930s and ’40s, radio gives the imagination of the listener free reign. Radio’s obvious strength is as a vehicle to deliver perhaps the most communicative of all human languages, music.

When it comes to helping build and strengthen local community, radio truly shines. Whether connecting local businesses to their customers, supporting local artistic and cultural expression, or providing timely and important information about local and current events, community radio can foster stronger bonds amongst neighbours, and help forge stronger regional identity, not to mention act as ambassador welcoming the many visitors that descend on the islands every summer.

Many ancient oral traditions teach that if something helps create stronger, healthier bonds between folks, it is probably wise. I am sure the ancestors would see the wisdom in creating a not-for-profit community radio station from scratch. Not only for today, but also for future generations. That’s why I am happy to help.

-Dan Miller (aka Dano Hammer)
GICRS Operations Coordinator
Former CFSI general manager
Former show-host of CFSI’s “Hip Hop on the Rock”

Radio Host JJ Pearson Recalls the Glory Days (and Welcomes the Future) of “Punk on the Rock”

By JJ Pearson |

Saltspring was more than a place for me. It was a lifelong dream to land on the rock with a little cafe or bed & breakfast since I was an 11 year old boy.

I was at my desk in the storeroom of my cafe in Indianapolis and I was less than satisfied with the growth of my little business empire , so I googled “business for sale, Saltspring Island.” I found what I thought was the perfect situation. I convinced my wife and family that it was the thing to do. My wife let me leave and my brother and his wife agreed to help me on what was planned as a possible three-year mission to establish my business of a bistro simply called “Beach,” named after our family’s vacation home on the Stacy family’s “Rainbow Beach Resort” next to Booth Bay. Eventually my wife, niece, nephew, four dogs, two cats, two Rats, a turtle & two fish were going to make the big move once I had the business established.

Right from the beginning it was obvious that I was severely under-funded for the endeavor which made the day-to-day operations rather stressful. Couple that with living in the converted attic of an outdoor workshop I affectionately called “the barn.” My only escape from the stresses were my nightly swims at the public pool on Rainbow Road and cuddling with my brother’s dog “Lila.”

I had been tuning into Green FM’s Saltspring Island radio at the restaurant daily  to give the place a local feel. I loved how one hour you could be listening to classical or jazz and then the next program was Farsi techno dance shuffle. You never knew what you were going to get when it came to CFSI.

I can’t remember exactly  how it first came about but  I was approached by the people at CFSI about using my Beach Patio for a weekly live remote during the now infamous Saturday Market. For my troubles I was offered some advertising spots and was told (rather matter of factly) I could probably  have a radio show if I wanted.

A RADIO SHOW?!!!!!

Me being a born-and-raised show-off, ex-touring punk rock drummer, guitar slinging, singing, cooking-crazy man I thought, “I have arrived at nirvana.”

Radha brought me in and gave me the crash course Radio DJ training program which consisted of her holding my hand (spiritually & physically) for a few nights to figure out how to run the SAM radio controls and away I ran!

Wednesday nights At 9:00 were mine!

“Punk on the rock” was my vehicle to bring my road stories and some of my favorite music growing up to my new friends and family on Saltspring. I loved preparing for my show, planning my playlist and trying to remember some funny anecdotes of my punk rock touring days. I threw in a generous portion of  selfish self promotion of my restaurant and some of the music I had recorded over the years and away I ran.

I had my theme song picked, I had my intro worked out: “Coming to you LIVE from HIGH atop the Merchant Mews Complex in beautiful Ganges, on the Island we call The Rock in the Salish Sea, it’s Punk on The Rock and I’m your host JJ Pearson!!!!”

I have arrived!!

After the inevitable demise of my little dream restaurant, my dear friend and aforementioned radio teaching guru Radha told me (I left the island and went back to Indianapolis to lick my wounds) I could still do my weekly show. I could inter webs in the shows, weekly, and Rahda would program them into the station’s playlist and “Voila” I was still in the radio show business!!

It was a sad day when Radha told me that no matter how hard all the people on Saltspring island radio tried  & that due to absentee ownership and lack of funding that Green FM was closing down. Maybe someday she would be able to get some people in the community together and make it happen again.

I sure do hope that Radha is successful in putting together the right people to successfully build another cultural-mosaic community radio station, not only for my selfish wishes of having my own show but for a forum to highlight the true beauty of that wonderful happy place known as Saltspring that we islanders call “The Rock.”

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.