by Kyle Wells firstname.lastname@example.org One year after saving Powell River’s only community radio station, organizers at CJMP 90.1 FM are looking back at their successes and getting ready to keep making waves as they move forward.
Out of the hard work and ingenuity of a group of committed volunteers, CJMP has grown from its humble beginnings into a cultural keynote of Powell River that shows no sign of slowing down. A scene is building around the station and the events that it puts on, bringing a variety of people from around the area together for a single purpose.
An article in the Peak from this time last year said CJMP needed $2,000 to get on the air and, ideally, $8,000 to fully outfit the station. Since then CJMP has raised more than $12,000.
The money has come from membership fees and donations from more than 300 members. It has come from money raised at events such as the People’s Prom and the evening conversation with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis. It has come from donations by local businesses who either give money for general use or sponsor a program.
When the station started organizers said they needed a single microphone and a basic mixer to get on the air. They are still aiming to obtain a professional broadcasting board at a cost of around $3,500, but have managed to obtain equipment over and above what the station initially required.
Currently, 20 live programs straight from the Powell River studio are broadcast on the air when a year ago there weren’t any. Podcasts from 10 programs from other stations are now available to CJMP. The station is streamed online for the world to hear.
“It has been incredible to see the community rise to it,” said Tony Colton, vice-president. “There was obviously a need for it because people are excited about it. And we can all come together. We can disagree, we can also have different points of view, different kinds of shows, but we all come together to push the radio forward because it’s something that we all believe in collectively. It’s amazing.”
Everyone involved with CJMP is a volunteer. Nobody makes any money and yet everybody puts an immense amount of time and energy into the station. Organizers describe the station as not just a successful broadcaster but as a cultural hub for the community that more and more people are turning to as a means to get involved, meet people and build a local scene.
“There’s been a lot of people doing so much work this year, it’s insane,” said Caitlin Richardson-Bryant, station director. “There’s been so many incredibly talented people who are really into it and devoted so much time that it’s been pretty easy and nicely done.”
Moving forward, CJMP organizers are hoping that some new talent and ideas are entered into the mix after their annual general meeting on Thursday, November 10. New shows are always desired too and can be on a wide range of topics that are relevant in Powell River. One example organizers gave of the type of show the station could use is a talk or phone-in show on fishing.
Organizers have the goal of being the go-to source in Powell River for information and entertainment specific to this area. They hope to expand with more live programming and more people involved, bringing even more voices to the station and really developing the project into the premier cultural centre of the community.
Money is still sought for continuous upgrading that the station is working on. They have the necessary equipment but are working on upgrading it, as well as acquiring backup equipment for when primaries fail.
From the start, the station has hoped to be able to upgrade the range of its signal as well, which still only really reaches Westview with any strength. To do this the station needs an upgraded licence and equipment, but it is a goal that organizers are still working toward.
“It’s a sense of pride. It’s a sense of achievement for us,” said Imtiaz Taj, volunteer programmer. “I think what CJMP as a group has done in the past year is phenomenal. They have achieved a lot in this past year, more than anybody expected.”
For more information, interested readers can visit the website.