Re-ignite the radio at the Boost the Broadcast BBQ on Saturday, June 1

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
May 24th, 2013

“We have a vision,” said Marty Unger of the Rossland Radio Coop who has taken the reins along with new RRC president Austin Delaye since founder Marty Cancilla blew this pop stand for a three year stint in New Zealand. 

“We have the ideas about what we want to do,” Unger said, “but the only way we can achieve our vision is with community support, listener support, and some money.”


And what is that vision? One way to find out is to join RRC supporters of all stripes in the first street party to hit Harry LeFevre Square by Ferraro’s this spring, kicking off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, and running until 5 p.m. With the exception of Winter Carnival, this is the first street party since we all posed for Larry Doell’s shiny new downtown photo shoot last fall.


That brand new Harry LeFevre stage is going to get a foot stompin’ by live musicians that may well include the likes of Brad McKay, Gabe Gaudet, David Hartman, and Buzz Reed, not to mention el presidente Austin Delaye and Marty Unger himself.


The RRC will have the barbecue stoked and sizzling Ferraros hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie-dog and burgers, all served with scrumptious side of potato salad at an unbeatable $5 per plate. Other event sponsors include the NDCU and the Flying Steamshovel.


“It’ll be awesome. People are going to be like, ‘That’s the best [expletive] I’ve eaten in my life!’” Unger said.


A table full of radio schwag—mugs, coolers, shirts—will inspire people at the adjacent RRC “logo contest” where radio revellers (and especially their children) can take colourful pens to paper and come up with new radio art ideas for logos, shirts, and whatever else comes to mind.


You can get the schwag for free if you’re lucky enough to win the “sweet RRC prize pack” in the raffle. Tickets are $2 for the 3 p.m. draw, and prizes also include Bonfire clothing and a free radio membership.


A vision for the ages


“A lot of people don’t even know we have the station,” Delaye laughed wryly. “We want to be more visible in the community and get more local involvement. We want people to know that they have a voice within the community.”


He said it’s time to pull together “motivated people to help us achieve the long term plan of a better stronger signal and better programming.”


In the short term, the RRC needs funds to hire a savvy web tech to bring www.rosslandradio.com back up to snuff since their web-streaming up and died about three weeks ago.  “We’ve had it working great,” Delaye said, “but we don’t have anyone with the capacity to get the web site running again, and we don’t have any money to pay a tech to make it happen.” 


Just today, however, the universe may have provided with Chad of Kootenay Networks IT turning up at the station. In a last-minute update, Unger called the Telegraph to report, “Chad has worked out so many kinks and has our web streaming up and running smoothly. This guy is ninja, and I love him!”


With enough funds raised, the station hopes it will be able to support a part-time position “to keep our computers running smoothly, keep our webpage updated and interactive, and keep our streaming functioning properly to reach not only local communities, but the world.”


The long term plan that Unger and other RRC members really drool over is the dream of turning the dial to 101.1 FM anywhere in Rossland-Castlegar-Trail-Montrose area and picking up the station’s music and news, clear as crystal.


To achieve this goal, the station will need to purchase a repeater, secure an agreement with a landowner in a good spot for the repeater—such as the top of Red Mountain—and the station will also have to buy a stronger transmitter so the broadcast can reach the repeater from anywhere in Rossland. Some on council would like to sell the building RRC currently calls home, a move that would likely require the station to find another headquarters.


An appeal for assistance


“We have a vision,” Unger said, “but we also need the motivation and ideas of other people, people who can help us create a proper plan moving forward. We need people who want to see their community strengthened. We have such a valuable tool in the radio station, we just don’t have the money or enough volunteer hours to make it all happen.”


Hence the barbecue’s main theme: “Boost the Broadcast.” Unger and Delaye hope the party boosts the RRF with raised awareness, new members, and new funds.


First and foremost, Unger said, “We’re hoping to up our memberships and create a solid core of volunteers.” Members can have their own radio show, access the music database, promote local events [and personal agendas] on their show, and get discounts on radio schwag and at radio-sponsored events.”


With a better signal that’s broadcast over the larger Lower Columbia region, Unger expects the radio would attract many more people interested in running radio programs, and so more, better and more diverse shows.


On the path to their vision, RRF has set themselves a $10,000 fundraising goal to achieve by the end of 2013.


“We certainly realize we need to take small steps to achieve success with our radio station, but we have to move towards acquiring the equipment needed to strengthen and boost our signal to reach neighbouring communities, and to create a part-time computer tech position,” Delaye explained.


The plan is in it’s early stages yet, Unger admits, and the group is not shy to make an appeal: “We are seeking guidance from people in the community who have the skills to help our small team of very motivated individuals make the RRC a station recognized as having quality broadcasting.”


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