Rodd Wayne Weisbrodt recently completed the 14-week Targeted Initiative for Older Workers job skills training opportunity at the College of the Rockies Invermere campus to upgrade his computer skills and become a competitive applicant in today’s market.
Now, Weisbrodt has plans to open up the Columbia Valley Community Radio Station over the course of the next two years after conducting feasibility studies to engage the public.
He is hoping to use Invermere as the main office for the non-profit community radio station with satellite studios in Canal Flats, Radium Hot Springs and Golden.
“Anybody who’s got a laptop can be set up with the SAM Broadcasting program,” said Weisbrodt. “From there, people can use broadband internet to hook up to the radio station from anywhere.”
He is hoping to enlist volunteer broadcasters from the community to host shows about news, arts and entertainment, as well as First Nations storytellers and musicians.
In addition, there is a possibility the Columbia Valley Community Radio Station may offer entertainers a safe space to record independent music.
The next steps to ensure the program can be launched include: applying for grant money; setting up a non-profit radio society; recruiting an interim board of directors; applying for an FM radio licence from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC); and becoming affiliated with the Canadian Community Radio Society.
“The process with grants from this point on will probably take about a year to get up and running,” said Weisbrodt, noting the CRTC application will also be time-consuming. “The CRTC is fairly gung-ho on community radio. It’s pretty much a slam dunk, as far as they’re concerned, as long as you’ve got all of your ducks in a row.”
Community radio, he added, is classified as third tier radio, which means it’s heavily dependent on public engagement.
“Community radio is in the community,” said Weisbrodt. “It’s about the community and it’s by the community.”
The Peach City Radio Station in Vernon is a strong example of what Weisbrodt hopes to create in the Columbia Valley.
“In my opinion, they are shining example of what community radio is all about,” he added, while explaining he had a 15-year career in radio with work experience in Victoria and Creston as well as in Calgary.
“I’ve had my 15 minutes in the spotlight and now I want to stay behind the scenes,” said Weisbrodt. “Now, (the project is) all about the royal ‘we’… it’s a fabulous opportunity to not only learn the radio business, but to gain some experience in public speaking and gain some confidence in working with a microphone or talking to people. Community radio has always been a huge stepping stone for some people.”
He is eager to see the Columbia Valley Community Radio Station develop a multi-faceted channel that appeals to both locals and tourists alike.
“I feel that radio has to get back to the basics of where it all started… if a station is local with local content, that’s what people will tune into and that’s the exact niche of community radio because that’s what it’s all about.”
He is optimistic about approaching the administration at David Thompson Secondary School to involve students with the project to create learning opportunities in scriptwriting, public speaking and media for youth.
“I want to create learning opportunities for young people because there are a lot of different grants available to teach kids about public speaking, the radio business, how to speak into a microphone, how to write scripts and there’s a lot of different programs like that,” said Weisbrodt, noting there is a substantial grant available if the high school becomes involved in the non-profit community radio station.
“We’ll be going for everything.”
For more information, visit the “Columbia Valley Community Radio” page on Facebook or https://InvermereCommunityRadio.wordpress.com.