Rossland Radio Ramps It Up to the Next Level
If you have tuned into 101.1 FM lately, you may have noticed that our own little radio station isn’t so little anymore. With the recent changes and improvements in the station it is shaping up to be exactly the kind of creative outlet that Rossland needs. In the few yearsthat Rossland Radio Co-operative has been on the air, it has developed into much more than a small internet radio station. In many ways Rossland Radio, “Your Voice in the Wilderness”, is building bridges.
It wasn’t until last winter that the station went FM. Before then Rossland radio was heard exclusively online and has only been licensed as a co-operative radio station since 2006. It was a big move for the station and for the town of Rossland. Thanks to grants from both the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Columbia Basin Trust, Rossland Radio was able to move from being solely an internet radio station to hitting the air waves.
With the new frequency has come more progress. Rossland Radio has new and better quality equipment, T-shirts with the new logo, and more community involvement.
Neeson Champion, of Bendigo, Australia, became immersed in the station just as the transition to FM was happening. Champion started out as a member and volunteer at fundraisers, but soon became a programmer and recently wrapped up a six week internship. Originally in Rossland because of the winter ski season, Champion now feels a very strong sense of belonging in the community and plans to stay.
“It’s helped with personal and professional development,” said Champion about his experience with the station, noting that he has found, “confidence to talk on air.”
Dubbed, “Be The Voice”, the internship program was essentially made to improve equipment and create new projects. As well as Champion, Zoe Wagner was hired as a six week intern and Jackie Allard was taken on as Project Co-ordinator for a five month internship. The program was said to be very open-ended, with projects ranging from finding ways to run more efficiently to synchronizing the music.
Perhaps most importantly, the main goal of the interns was to gain the interest and participation of Rosslanders. During the last couple of months the station has been working on a proposal for Rossland Secondary School. The proposal includes a power point presentation to be given at the school and tours of the station. This fall Rossland Radio plans to hire six interns from the high school to become involved with the co-op and spend a couple of hours a week learning the ropes. The goal is to help the students to develop their own shows so they can potentially become programmers. The proposal has recently been given to the school and the project is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
Project Co-ordinator Jackie Allard is looking forward to the winter and more developments still to come. The New Years Eve party last year was extremely successful and Allard is currently planning for the Hallowe’en event next month. It will be a fundraiser held at the Miners Hall with a live D.J.
It’s looking quite likely that Rossland Radio will soon be moving out of its current home in St. Andrews church. If all goes according to plan, the station will be moving into a new location in the Rotary Health Centre beside the Miners’ Hall before the snow falls.
With 130 members and counting, the small station is reaching listeners at an incredible rate. If things keep progressing the way they have been, success rates will be high with the first annual member drive planned to happen this fall. The aim of the drive is to gain the interest and participation of the community of Rossland and increase the number of members.
“People who are aware support it,” Said Allard, “I think it can bring the community together. It’s a good outlet.”