When Mike Bishop says “it’s an exciting time to be involved in the radio station,” he’s certainly not exaggerating.
Bishop is the chairman of the Cowichan Valley Community Radio Society (CICV) board of directors, and the society has recently received a large grant and nearly completed a move to a new studio.
CICV received $8,000 under the Community Radio Fund of Canada’s (CRFC) Radiometres program in early July.
“This grant will be used to provide the station with needed continuity within its volunteer structure and with its on-air brand,” according to a press release from the CICV.
The funds will be used to prepare a training plan for volunteers and students interested in broadcast media, and the grant is also funding two part-time positions at the station.
The CICV announced Aug. 1 that it had hired David Gordon as its station manager and Catherine Duchene as the outreach and membership co-ordinator. They both started Tuesday, Aug. 6.
“David and Catherine will add greatly to the continuity of our little community-based FM station,” said Bishop. “At the present time, the station is run totally by volunteers, and there’s an awful lot to do with maintaining the station and keeping the station on the air and keeping the bills paid. The station manager will be able to keep the programming going at all times and keep the music all packaged together and make sure we’re following our Canadian Content rules. The outreach co-ordinator will be able to go out and make contact with businesses and see if they want to advertise. She’ll also keep a record of members who are able to volunteer and what they’d like to do.”
CICV will prepare a graduated training syllabus and ensure all volunteers have competent, measurable and sustainable skillsets tailored to their particular station function. Through the outreach portion of the project, they will encourage members of the East Indian community of Paldi and the Lake Cowichan and Ditidaht First Nations to join their volunteer membership to enrich and expand the locally-focused programming.
CICV has almost completed a move from its present small location to the large former band-room building at Lake Cowichan School, and Bishop expects they could begin broadcasting from the new studio this Friday.
“Physically, just about all the stuff is up there now,” he said. “We will have many, many problems, but we need to get up there to iron them out.”
Bishop says everything will move except the transmitter, and the station will broadcast to the transmitter by Internet for the time being. The second phase of the move is to move the transmitter and increase its power.
“We hope to have that done by the end of this calendar year,” said Bishop.
Funding from the CRFC Radiometres program will ensure CICV has the proper staff and training materials to offer a formal introduction to broadcasting for Lake Cowichan students, noted Bishop.
Bishop is excited about the opportunities that come with being located at the school.
“We will be able to offer hands-on training for students and tours for all ages — we’re thinking of having a DJ for a day contest; we could have a draw in each class,” he said. “We’re trying to get all kinds of things to build some interest in the station, right from the early ages up.”
Moving forward, Bishop says the radio station’s board of directors is looking to make CICV the go-to place for finding information when there is an emergency.
“After we get the day-to-day operations running with our employees, the board plans to work on emergency preparedness and get that going on,” he said, noting the station has the ability go off the grid if needed.
For more information about CICV, visit their website at cicv.ca or find them on Facebook.