On Friday morning at 7 a.m., nine years of handwork will come to fruition with the flick of a switch when Peach City Radio goes live on the FM dial.
The community radio station known as CFUZ will broadcast on 92.9 FM, offering up a mix of local stories and interviews and music. The station can be heard clearly throughout Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Naramata and as far away as Summerland and Vaseux Lake areas.
“We’re totally excited and a little bit stunned that it’s actually here,” said Jackie Del Rizzo, president of the Peach City Community Radio Society.
Del Rizzo said a lot of behind the scenes work has been done over the last nine years to get to this point.
“The organization started in about 2010. It was just a small group of people that wanted to bring community radio to Penticton,” she said.
For the first few years, the community radio station did periodic live broadcasts. A lot of fundraising went into getting to the point where the station could go live 24/7 in an online format in early 2014.
“The focus is to have Penticton and area residents creating content, so you might hear your next door neighbour create a show about cooking and then your brother who likes heavy metal might create a show,” she said. “We already have a wide variety of shows, but we’re always looking for more people to come forward and get involved. We have a show that discovers local authors, a couple of blues shows, jazz shows and a couple new and independent music programs. There’s something for everyone.”
A successful campaign was launched the same year called Raise the Radio. In over two years, the society fundraised about $36,000 to build a sound booth and purchase needed equipment. The society also puts on the annual Okanagan Vinyl Festival, which acts as a key fundraiser for the organization.
In 2015, the society applied to the CRTC to obtain a community broadcasting license.
The application process took more than a year. Del Rizzo explained that a community broadcasting license is similar to a campus radio licence because it is neither commercially-owned nor publicly-owned – but rather a non-profit society.
“We did a lot of research and a lot of talking to friends and mentors at campus and community stations across Canada. We learned a lot of bits and pieces that we didn’t really have a clue about. It’s quite something to build a radio station from scratch with a group of volunteers all learning the business,” she said.
Since they’ve had the licence, work has continued to increase content, and develop unique broadcast opportunities.
There are currently 70 members and about 24 regular contributors that volunteer their time to tackle the regular work of the station.
In recent years, Peach City has received grants to offer unique programming including one underway that will highlight the efforts of community organizations doing work in the community.
The station calls the Cannery Trade Centre home and the tower and antenna are visible atop the eastern end of the building. For those that enjoy the online streaming, that will still be available at www.CFUZ.ca.
Anyone interested in getting involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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