Prince George's community radio station, the volunteer-based CFIS-FM, has been approved for upgrade.
The national broadcast regulation agency, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), granted the not-for-profit society the next level in licensing, allowing CFIS-FM to boost its signal and be available for a larger audience.
Since 93.1 CFIS-FM first went on the air in 2007, we have been operating with a five-watt developmental community license, said Reg Feyer, the station's co-founder, operations manager and only employee. With the approval of a 500-watt upgrade, we will be able to expand our reach to all of Prince George.
Some physical work must be done before the signal gets stronger. Some equipment must be purchased, installed on a tower, and tested, then the bigger switch gets flicked. The end of October is the estimated time for the signal boost.
One of the region's largest broadcasting figures gave the development his thumbs up. Terry Shepherd, the one-time president and manager of Cariboo Central Interior Radio (owners, at the time, of CJCI and CIRX plus others in a broadcasting chain across the north) offered his congratulations.
"As a broadcaster and former colleague of yours I have watched with interest and admiration as you built your station," he told Feyer. "Well done."
The community station got the help and support of virtually all media outlets in Prince George due in part to its non-competitive mandate. Although they are permitted to sell advertising, the CRTC insists that community stations only offer shows that are markedly different from the commercial stations in the area. The shows are produced and presented largely by volunteers and the budgeting is based on its society status.
Providing locally-produced programming and a strong mix of [baby] boomer-oriented music to all of Prince George has been our goal since day one, said society president Bill Ollinger. The society is committed to the promotion of local sports, cultural, community, and not-for-profit society events and programs, to increase awareness and education. We are very thankful to the staff and all the volunteers who have dedicated their time to build such a strong presence in the community, and we look forward to more success in the future.