When a community radio station that isn’t even on the air yet starts winning awards, it must be doing something right.
Earlier this month, two programmers from Peach City Radio received honourable mentions at the annual National Campus and Community Radio Association annual awards.
Craig Henderson, vice-president of the Peach City Community Radio Society, said even an honourable mention was a tremendous honour considering the company they were in, which included well-funded campus and long-running community stations.
“It has 92 members across the country, so there is a lot of great local radio being produced by this organization, a lot of experience and talent out there,” he said.
“For Tim Tweed, my colleague and I to get honorable mention, we were quite tickled.”
This was also Peach City Radio’s first year of submitting applications to the NCRA National Awards, which recognize exceptional efforts in volunteerism, participation and programming.
Henderson won an honourable mention in the Outstanding Achievement in a Documentary category, for Messages from a P.O.W., his look at the efforts of volunteers who received and recorded radio transmissions from overseas during Second World War.
Tim Tweed (a.k.a. Tenacious T), the society’s membership director, picked up his honourable mention in the Music Program category, for his Undercover episode I Have a Dream, highlighting music that celebrated Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.
Messages from a P.O.W. was an eye-opening project to work on, said Henderson, documenting the work of a different kind of radio involvement in the community.
During the Second World War, North American ham radio operators would listen to foreign radio stations — Berlin, Tokyo and others — and pick up messages about the condition of prisoners of war.
Those messages would be passed on — either as large 78 RPM records or perhaps just a postcard — to family members of the PoWs.
“We have all heard of recycling metal in times of war, recycling war bonds, that kind of thing, but this was a quiet civilian effort that was being done in Canada and the US and people mailing postcards and recordings to say I heard something, perhaps this was your husband or son and it sounds like everything is OK when they weren’t getting word through any official channels,” said Henderson.
Peach City Radio, Henderson said, is well on it’s way to broadcasting live.
They’ve already been streaming their broadcast online since February, and have created more than 500 programs, and trained many people locally to produce.
“We are very proud of the work we have done and the foundation we have built to date with both the inventory of programs and the training we have done. We will hit the ground running,” he said, adding that the society is almost ready to submit its CRTC application for a broadcast license.
“The future bodes well for reflecting Penticton and the South Okanagan back to the community and encouraging the community to make their own radio,” said Henderson.
“That is what we are all about, training folks to get involved and make programs on their laptops. Our ranks continue to grow and people are having a hoot making their own radio programs.”
Dave Del Rizzo, president of the society, said anyone interested in getting involved and making programs for Peach City Radio can get in touch at email@example.com.
“We are hosting and producing nationally recognized programming in the campus/community radio sector, and we can help you too, if you are interested in Penticton hearing your voice on Peach City Radio.”
Listeners can tune into Peach City Radio live through their website at www.peachcityradio.org.