Peach City Radio board members Ian Mackinder and Dave Del Rizzo broadcasting live from the 2014 Okanagan Vinyl Fest.

Peach City Radio board members Ian Mackinder and Dave Del Rizzo broadcasting live from the 2014 Okanagan Vinyl Fest.

Peach City Radio faces big challenge

Penticton community radio will have a licence hearing before the CRTC Jan. 8.

After nearly four years of planning and development, Peach City Community Radio is facing its biggest challenge yet.

Dave del Rizzo, president of the community radio society, said they have just received word that their licence hearing before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has been scheduled for Jan. 8. As well, the period for public consultation that the CRTC requires is now open, until Nov. 20.

“Community members have a chance until that date to submit letters of support on our behalf, telling the CRTC why they think that a broadcast community station would be important for Penticton,” said del Rizzo. “It can be done electronically, so it’s very easy, and we would very much appreciate the support from the community.”

Del Rizzo said he will be putting links up on the Peach City Radio site at peachcityradio.org for people that want to write a support letter.

This is the latest in a series of announcements from the community radio society, who launched their first major fundraising drive at the end of September.  The goal of the Raise the Radio campaign is to generate the estimated $30,000 required to establish a physical presence for Peach City Radio, including purchase of broadcast equipment, as well as outfitting of a studio space.

That studio space will be in the PenMar Theatre, currently undergoing renovations to become the Valley First Community Arts Centre. Peach City Radio hopes to open their new studio space in the renovated building in early 2015.

Del Rizzo said this is an important step after years of building their capacity and infrastructure.

“One of the reasons it took so long is because we had to secure a location,” he said. “We are very excited about that and cementing that relationship allowed us to move forward and submit the [CRTC] application.”

A hoped-for side effect of submitting the CRTC licence application, according to del Rizzo, is to lend the operation a little more legitimacy for people who are not sure about what Peach City Radio is all about.

“We are here, we are real and we are going to make this happen,” said del Rizzo. “We would like to encourage people to think  outside the box of different ways they can make community radio work for them. Come and talk to us about it.”

One of the ways Peach City Radio will be working for the community is at the upcoming Chamber of Commerce candidate forums on Oct. 28 and 30.

“We have offered our services to livestream the mayoral and councillor forums,” said del Rizzo. “We bought  some equipment and we did a trial run at the Okanagan Vinyl fest. Now we are looking forward to providing this type of service to the community for significant community events, where not everyone can have a chance to be there.”

More info for individuals, businesses and community groups interested in supporting the creation of a volunteer-driven community radio station is available online through peachcityradio.org.