Something in the Air: Rossland Radio Gets an FM License

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
October 23rd, 2008

Rossland’s airwaves are about to start buzzing with a new local radio channel in the coming months as the Rossland Radio Co-Op has been approved for an over-the-air FM license. Incorporated back in July of 2005, the co-op has been broadcasting over the internet for a year and a half, bringing its own brand of free community radio to the masses.

Marty Kincella proudly explained, “We’ve got our FM license approved. It’s a VLP FM license which means very low power FM. It’s a demo license at 5 watts. I think that power should reach most of Rossland.”

Broadcasting from St. Andrew’s United Church after a move across the street from the Fire Hall last winter, the fledgling radio station is looking forward to making the switch over to the FM dial as soon as they get their new equipment set up and functioning. The process to get to this point has involved steady work and dedication by the volunteer-run organization to dot the I’s and cross all of the T’s required to gain an FM license. Kincella describes the process in a nutshell.

“You have to get approval from transport Canada as far as your transmitter and tower height. You need to get technical approval from Industry Canada as far as the equipment that you’re going to use and then you have to get your license to broadcast approved from the CRTC. Once you have your application approved then you go ahead and purchase all of your equipment. You get it installed and working, then you have to get someone from Industry Canada to come back and test it to make sure you’re not too powerful and broadcasting at the right frequency.”

Rossland Radio is now awaiting delivery of its antenna, cables and 30 watt Omni link transmitter giving the station the capability to crank up the wattage as their licenses allow. They expect the equipment to arrive by the end of October and to be broadcasting live over the air by late December or early January.

The online station currently airs a host of programs; however, the station will be looking for more wanna-be radio stars in town to host their own shows rounding out a full schedule of local programming. What can we can expect to hear once the new station launches?

“It all depends on who comes forward and wants to do shows,” Kincella says. “Our prime directive right now is to fill up the schedule with what we can. Per show we need one third Canadian content, otherwise it all depends on your ideas. We don’t have a set genre; we’re not top 100 or talk radio. It’s open community, people’s free radio.”

Community Co-Op radio around the province is on a major upswing with many rural communities getting in on the radio game. Salmo recently got onto the FM dial, and Smithers is currently applying for the same 5 watt demo license as Rossland.

Looking down the road, the co-op hopes to expand its broadcasting range, expand into Trail, and become more of a regional radio service.

“We’re here to stay now I think, and we’re going to continue to grow. We’ve got three years at this 5 watt strength and then in that time we have to apply for the next level which is the 50 watt limit. Eventually we’d like to broadcast to all of Trail and possibly incorporate them more closely. It could become a Trail Rossland community radio or something like that,” concluded Kincella.

The station is always looking for more people to host shows. If you’d like to get involved during this exciting launch phase, check out the webpage at www.rosslandradio.com and send them an e-mail describing the type of show you’d like to do.

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