We have renewed our focus on increasing youth engagement and added new multicultural programming to our schedule. In the past year we have created a new community recording studio project where youth can access mentorship, studio facilities, technical help and digital promotion for their musical ideas. We’ve increased the frequency of in-station events, giving local artists a place to host performances free of charge while supplying a sound system and a platform to promote their ideas. Even our sonic makeup has morphed with the times. Since I’ve been working at Co-op Radio, we have gained two new hip-hop-oriented shows, two electronic music shows and a variety of programs that dive deep into experimental rock music with amazing Canadian content.
We’ve also brought back some of the magic of radio of years past, with more live on-location remote broadcasts. Whether we are broadcasting live from Fortune Sound Club or the Vancouver International Film Fest, we love to push ourselves to produce engaging content. It’s fun to think that when we started, the story wasn’t so different. Thankfully we don’t need to cart the reel to reel recording from the blues club downtown to the transmitter on Burnaby mountain anymore.
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As time moves forward, the question remains: what is the purpose of a community radio station? Community stations provide just that, a sense of community. A place for people to connect, find their inner voices, and share their stories with each other. A place for culture to emerge from a grassroots place, somewhat removed from the ever-looming influence of marketing and money. A place for the truths that are too uncomfortable to admit anywhere else. A place where people can come regardless of their background and amplify voices which are often silenced.
This is my perspective on my experience at Co-op Radio. After sharing conversations with people who have volunteered at other stations across the country, it seems that there is a certain feeling that links all of these community stations, a sense that the truth still exists somewhere, and that we can connect over our passions together on air.
If you are a person who enjoys community or campus radio, please consider supporting your local station. With ever shrinking grant budgets, increasing property taxes and shifting media sources, your support can ensure the stories of the people, from their own perspectives, can be preserved.