Community radio is one step closer to being on the air in Penticton, now that a local group of devoted enthusiasts was granted a broadcast licence for their community radio station after nearly a year-long application process.
Dave Del Rizzo, president of the Peach City Community Radio Society, said the length of time it took to process the application, which they submitted in August 2014, wasn’t unexpected.
“If you factor in how long to write the application and get the work together … the process has been ongoing for over two years on our end,” said Del Rizzo, noting that the society has been planning and preparing for this moment since the original group got together in 2010.
Del Rizzo added that community support played a big part in convincing the CRTC to approve the application.
“We were grateful to receive over 50 submissions from the community at large in support. It was noted in the decision that there was an overwhelming number of letters of support,” he said.
“We are very proud to have attained this licence, and to be the first community-run station in the Okanagan, something long overdue in this area,” said Del Rizzo. “We’re looking forward to making this station happen for the citizens of Penticton. This decision is a giant leap forward for our organization.”
It will be sometime yet before you are able to tune into Penticton’s community radio station, to which the CRTC has assigned the call letters of CFUZ (pun intended). Until then, listeners can continue to listen online to the award-winning documentaries, music and interview shows being prepared for the station by its cadre of volunteer broadcasters.
“It will be upwards of a year before we are on the air. Our call letters are something we can use immediately because they are assigned to us,” said Del Rizzo, noting that the 92.9 FM frequency has been reserved for the station when they are ready to go to air in 2016, initially with a 49.9 watt signal.
Del Rizzo said they are hoping to have a studio set up and be broadcasting a live-to-internet stream in six months.
“This will give our volunteers and our organization the experience necessary to facilitate a seamless transition from online and podcast formats to live FM broadcasting some months later,” said Del Rizzo, in their press release.
“There is so much work that needs to be done on our end to ensure that we remain compliant with the licence we have been granted,” he said. “We want to make sure that we have all that in place before we start broadcasting. It is a long process.”
Del Rizzo explained that changing to a live studio format will take some getting used to. Close to 30 volunteers are now experienced community radio hosts and DJs, but more will be needed in order to fill the 106 local hours of content specified in the CRTC licence.
To get there, the radio society will be pushing their fundraising campaign into high gear to reach their $30,000 fundraising goal, which will allow them to purchase the transmission and studio equipment needed.
“Our next hurdle is finding a location for a studio and building that studio. We won’t be able to broadcast anything before we have that,” said Del Rizzo.
For a studio, the society is looking for 350 to 900 sq. feet of space, with an accessible rooftop for a broadcast antenna and all-hours access for volunteer radio programmers and staff.
More information and contact links are available through the society’s website at www.peachcityradio.org.
“We truly feel that Peach City Radio over the FM airwaves will change how people interact within our community. We’ll build the infrastructure and have a station in place, allowing citizens to provide the content, and interact directly with the community on the FM dial,” said Del Rizzo.