Community radio is alive and well in the Peach City and slowly working toward a full-time broadcasting licence.
Dave Del Rizzo, the current president of the Peach City Community Radio Society, said the group has a busy year planned out, including another broadcast weekend and continuing to expand their Internet presence.
“One of the most exciting things is that a lot of our programmers have been inspired and are producing content; there is a lot of new material showing up on our website now,” said Del Rizzo, adding that the volunteers have been eager to work on their ideas for programs. “Now that our website is more polished, it’s very easy to have programs up there and available for people to listen to.”
One of the goals the society has for the year is to start streaming over the Internet, rather than just having individual programs available for downloading. That, he said, should happen by the end of March.
“That is going to serve a lot of purposes for us,” said Del Rizzo. Besides making community radio more available, he expects it to give the volunteer group more experience in operating a station and meeting broadcast regulations. “My opinion is that it is going to give us a lot of the practice we are going to need to do the things we will have to when we are broadcasting.
“Even though we don’t have to with an online screen, we are going to try to put those good practices to work and get everyone going through the paces of a real broadcast.”
When it comes to getting on the air, Del Rizzo said the society has laid out some goals there as well. They hope to be submitting an application for a broadcast licence in the fall, but are also making plans to have another broadcast weekend in conjunction with a special event.
In the past, PCCRS has worked with the Meadowlark Festival and the Penticton Museum for these special events. This year, the plan is to put together a production with the Okanagan Vinyl Fest in September.
Before the group is able to begin full-time broadcasting, said Del Rizzo, the PCCRS needs to find a permanent location.
“We will hopefully be reaching out to all sorts of groups in the community in the next little while and starting dialogue, just to let them know,” he said. “Hand in hand with that we will have to look at raising money.”
While the society has been working on bringing community radio to Penticton since 2010, Del Rizzo said they need to keep building their profile.
“I have to say, to a man, people always tell me that Penticton needs community radio and they are behind us. The word is out there about us,” Del Rizzo said, adding that, unfortunately, there are still people unaware of the society and its goals.
“That is the challenge, to continue to educate people and to bring them the awareness that this is our effort, this is our goal. But more importantly, we are just looking for people in the community to understand what we are doing and appreciate it,” he said. “That is the challenge in the next little while is to really put ourselves out there and make sure that everybody who is in a position to help us knows about what we are doing.”