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, valleyfm.ca. 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.
“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 email@example.com.