Rossland Radio’s broadcast team got a little broader this week with the addition of its first paid staff.
Through a series of grants acquired this spring the community co-op station was able to hire on a summer internship coordinator position as well as two interns to boost the station’s efforts.
“We got funding from the Community Radio Fund of Canada,” explained station director Michelle D’entremont. “This was their first round of funding and we were successful as well as Salmo so we got close to $10,000 from that and the CBT Youth Initiative matched that so we were able to increase the weekly hours of the positions and get a bunch of equipment and T- shirts and stuff for them to use in their programming and outreach.”
Having started on July 6th, Jackie Allard was hired as the youth internship coordinator for a 20 week position to hire, guide and lead the new employees.
“We have three hired summer staff. They have just started this week and they are wicked, they are so pumped,” announced D’entremont. “They are going to produce new programs for us. Each of their programs are going to try and interview and highlight community groups to bring a little more community interest. They are also putting together a little outreach program and something we can take into the classroom or invite people to the station to learn more about it and radio in general.”
Diving into her new position head on Allard is excited about the summer ahead, taking the radio station to new heights and working with the two new interns Neeson Champion and Zoe Wagner.
Taking on the six week positions Champion and Wagner have brought their youthful energy and enthusiasm to the station already in their first week in the studio.
“It’s been going really well and we’ve been getting tons done. With three of us in the studio we can really get a lot done,” explained Allard.
One of the main focuses of the program with the funding having come from youth programs is to develop and implement an outreach program whereby the station aims to get more youth involved in community radio.
“The whole program is to bring more youth into the radio world and just get the word out about it as well,” noted Allard. “We were hired through a youth program and we got the money from youth grants so we are going to prepare a presentation to bring to the high school in the fall and from there our two youth interns will be in a couple of days a week after school to produce their own show and get the word out and hopefully next year become teacher programmers.”
The program’s other large focus is continuing to build more community connections and bring more local awareness to community groups and events going on around Rossland and the surrounding area.
“With their radio shows we’re going to try and get out into the community a little bit more and do some spotlights on the various community groups in town. One of the interns is going to the Starbelly Jam this weekend so he’ll bring the recorder along with him and do a story on that, getting some interviews with the musicians and relating the general feel of the event. Soon we also plan to start reading some headlines from the Rossland Telegraph as well to add a news element to the station.”
With their first experiences underway in t he studio and first test recordings of service announcements and weather forecast behind them the eager trio is off and running on their quest to continue growing the profile of Rossland’s only truly local radio station. The largely volunteer group has already been impressed with the difference having paid staff on hand can make.
“We had a station meeting last week and it was really cool that any suggestions that came out Jackie was writing them down, taking notes and making plans to go out and do them which was really cool. We’re really thrilled to have them,” said D’entremont.
Looking forward the next big plan in the works is to find and move into a new home for the co-op which has outgrown its current space in St. Andrew’s United Church on Second Ave. The hope is to take advantage of the city owned Rotary Health building on Columbia Ave. This week at council that dream took one more step forward as council unanimously agreed to consider a land use re-designation of the property from public and institutional to a C1 – Commercial Downtown Core by giving first and second reading of a draft OCP amendment. The next step in the process will be a public hearing on the rezoning scheduled for July 27th.
If the zoning goes through Rossland Radio would potentially be able to move into that spot in the fall if the city were to choose them as the tenants.
For now tune in to 101.1fm to hear the new interns take to the air with their first programs later this week and throughout the summer.