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Vernon community radio station locates broadcast home

Currently streaming online, Valley-FM 97.9 will broadcast live from a 29th Avenue downtown studio
Vernon’s 97.9 Valley FM community radio station has entered into a lease with the Okanagan Screen Arts Society for studio space on 29th Avenue behind the Towne Theatre. (Contributed)

Vernon’s planned community radio station has secured downtown studio space.

Valley FM, known by call letters CFAV, and to be located at 97.9 on the FM dial, will soon broadcast live from 29th Avenue, behind the Towne Theatre, after the Vernon Community Radio Station Society reached a friendly agreement with the Okanagan Screen Arts Society, which owns and operates the historic theatre.

“There’s a public entrance, offices, washroom facilities. It’s in a real nice area,” said community station board of directors member John Trainor of Armstrong, a former radio newsman at CJIB in Vernon and CJOR Radio in Vancouver.

The community station is currently streaming over the Internet from its website, Former Beach Radio announcer Melanie O’Hara has been programming the station and will be part of the live launch.

Other names expected to appear on the live station will be longtime Vernon radio announcers Frank Martina and Duane Grandbois.

“The goal, of course, is to set up a proper studio so we can go live,” said Trainor. “We have fundraised to the point we have the equipment to stream, but we are still gathering equipment for live radio, and it looks like we have a good source for that.”

The local radio society has signed a lease for the studio with the Screen Arts Society, a move Trainor calls “symbiotic.”

“They are a non-profit society, just like us, scrambling for funding like we are,” he said. “We can see fundraising opportunities with the society. We’re in the same business of communication, so that’s really cool.”

Being a community radio station will mean local programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Valley-FM will be hoping to train members of the public to be on the radio.

“There’s a lot of interest,” said Trainor. “The tough thing the last couple of years is there’s been a hard time getting anybody excited about anything when you couldn’t get together physically.

“My particular interest is to train some citizen journalists. It’s not like it used to be when at every single city council or regional district board meeting, there would be a table of journalists covering the event. That’s gone for the most part. This will be a huge opportunity to get the public involved again.”

Trainor said the radio society will also encourage people to email ideas for programming to

“We are looking forward to getting up and running as a live radio station for the community,” he said. “Once we’re close to being live we’ll put out a call for people to come forward and apply to cover news events. We’ll train them for that.”

Trainor said the society has its licence from the CRTC, and is being overseen by a very active, enthusiastic board of directors.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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