The community's voice just got louder and stronger.
CFIS-FM, the community radio station at 93.1 on the dial, has been operating for its preliminary years with a signal strength of five watts. The roar of the crowd after a Cougars goal or a Grays home run is louder than that, but it served the station's purposes of getting their business model designed, a 24-hour a day programming schedule established, and all the requirements for CRTC licensing together.
That has now been done, a new transmitter has been installed on a tower with the help of the Prince George Amateur Radio Club, so the signal got boosted to 500 watts. The whole city can now pick up CFIS on home and vehicle FM radios.
"We were on a community radio developmental license, but now we are a legit, full-fledged community radio station," said operations manager Reg Feyer, who also hosts two shows.
Their license is in effect until 2020, which gives the not-for-profit board running the station plenty of time to establish their vision for the future.
"We are working on moving our operation down the hall at the Studio 2880 building so we can expand," said Feyer. "We want to upgrade some old equipment, get some new equipment, and build walls for our recording booths so different shows can be produced while other shows are going on. The open-concept office space is not a workable design for a radio station."
Outreach is going on to various community groups so the programming content is plugged into the personality of the community. There are already current affairs talk shows, sports shows including live baseball broadcasts, and a number of music shows. Feyer said this is in a constant state of renovation as the best show ideas and on-air talent is sought.
"What we need most is advertisers," he said. "We have a package deal with CFUR (UNBC's campus radio station) as well, which helps us sell ads and sponsorships for both stations. If you buy ads on one station, you get ads on the other for half price. That's a great partnership fit considering the demographics. They are aimed at youth and we are aimed at baby boomers."
There are other fundraising initiatives in the works or underway. They will hold a golf tournament at the Links Of Maggie May this fall, and they have 50-50 raffle tickets for sale right now. They have hired Greg Kauk and Al Wishart to represent the station for community outreach looking for sponsors and talk-show guests. They each have their own shows as well.
For more information on CFIS, visit their website or Facebook page, or tune in to 93.1 FM.