In early February 2021, Bell Media made headlines when it was reported that the company was laying of swaths of staff.
Locally, Golden lost long-time radio host Chris Cameron, with the local station now being run alongside the Revelstoke station.
In response to the move, community members have been mobilizing to bring a volunteer-run co-op radio station to the airwaves, with Scott Weir, one of the driving members behind the charge, saying that they’re driven by the importance of local media.
“I’m a big believer in a small town like ours that it’s important to have locally owned and operated independent media to have our voices heard and have a public conversation around things with good information instead of just ramblings on Facebook,” said Weir.
“Being dependant on Revelstoke, they’ve done a good job ensuring that there’s some Golden content, but you can tell that we have lost a lot of local content through that switch.”
Almost six months later, progress is being made on a community-based radio station.
Weir says that a group has come together and recently went through a month-long co-operative building workshop, which has helped build out different documents and outline the process of building that will help them ultimately form a co-op radio station.
A co-op radio station is ultimately a bit different from a community radio station in terms of structure, with Weir saying they elected to take that route as the structure lent itself to the community needs more.
“It gives people a democratic structure and ensures that the radio is grassroots and local, both for the now and into perpetuity,” said Weir.
Next steps include gauging community interest, with a capacity survey currently underway to see what kind of content the community desires and the skills available in the community to help get programming off the ground.
They’re also looking to pull new members into the group, and will be looking at incoroprating their organization and fundraising down the road.
All in all, Weir anticipates that they’ll be able to get on the airwaves in early 2022.