Broadcasters at 98.7 FM The Lake (CICV) recently celebrated the long-awaited raising of their new broadcast antenna, which will allow local DJs to air their programs across the Cowichan Valley.
Once the new 70-foot antenna goes online, it will provide the station with a major increase in power, taking the broadcast strength from five to 50 watts. Radio Cowichan chairperson Mike Bishop said that he expects The Lake to be heard as far as Crofton, Duncan, Cobble Hill and Shawnigan, once it is put in use within the next week. The signal will also finally reach Youbou.
The construction of the broadcast tower, which is located on the corner of Deer Road and the Youbou Highway, marks the biggest improvement to the station since it first hit the airwaves five years ago, after debuting as an online station.
“It’s terrific to see it physically go up, to see that finally come to fruition,” Bishop said.
Along with the stronger signal, Bishop also hopes 98.7 the Lake (which will soon be switching frequencies to 97.5 FM) can also serve the community during emergencies.
“It’s nice to be an entertainment station, but we’re gearing up to be an emergency station as well,” Bishop said. “When we have a drought or an earthquake hits we want to be able to get through to people and to coordinate with the fire department and Search and Rescue.”
Programmers at The Lake have been busy hyping up the new tower and frequency change since May, and Bishop said that listeners can expect some changes in programming as well, which he referred to as “phase two” of the upgrades, to take place down the road.
Bishop previously expressed interest in working with the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation to develop an on-air language program in conjunction with their upcoming language classes.
“We’re not exactly sure what those changes are going to be yet, but the ultimate goal is to have a daytime set of programs people can tune into during the working part of the day,” he said. “I hope to hear people throughout town tuning in, to walk into one store from another or get into their car and hear the same show.”
The crew at The Lake will soon be holding an open-house at their recording studio, located at Lake Cowichan School, to commemorate the occasion.