Writings from the Wall – Peach City Community Radio Society– Radio 101

I recently watched a TEDX video by Clay Shirky on institution vs. collaboration. In his talk he discusses how groups get things done and how new technologies such as ‘tagging’ used by websites such as Flicker are giving way to less structured group participation and therefore less costs associated with coordinating group efforts traditionally under an institution. Clay states, “When you build cooperation into the infrastructure, you can leave the people where they are.” We see these structural changes happening all around us as people have the access to speak for themselves through blogs, online newspapers, you-tube videos, face book and online sharing environments for music, art and photos.

When I met with Dave Del Rizzo, President of Peach City Community Radio Society, we had a long weaving conversation about Peach City Radio’s two year journey from inception to their first broadcast with a temporary license last summer. We covered many topics from, why community radio vs. commercial radio, the CRTC and licensing, how best to fund a station, to the hours of work required for one hour of on air radio content and PCCRS upcoming events. PCCRS gears up for their second broadcast on the May Long Weekend, 2012. In conjunction with that broadcast their updated website will be launched that will have previously broadcasted content available as well as the ability to stream new content generated by programmers.

Throughout our conversation Dave and I kept coming back to the same theme, content.  I asked if PCCRS would come to an event that I was organizing. “Here’s the thing,” said Dave. “I can show you how to create your own content from the event to air on the May Long Weekend broadcast.” We had gone around this subject a few times but then my mind connected with the TEDX video and the light bulb went off. Local organizations have an opportunity here to learn how to create radio content and do it themselves, elevating PCCRS of the job of sending out ‘reporters’ and focus on providing the space physically and on radio waves for the community to share with and speak to each other. Creating their own content allows organizations to focus on the points that are important to them; it redirects control back to it origin and allows people to feel engaged and empowered about what they are doing within organizations as they have the additional say in how it gets communicated.

Last year PCCRS did just this, partnering with South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services (SOICS) in producing a show called “Immigrant Stories” which went on to win the provincial Riasat Ali Khan Diversity Award. PCCRS assisted the people telling the stories to create their own content and then aired it during their June 2011 broadcast.

In February PCCRS partnered up with The Elite Restaurant and hosted DJ nights where those in training to be programmers could try a hand at it live. They also held a vinyl drive in which 1500 records were donated to the station. Events like these have become a viable resource to keep those interested involved as the committed Board of Directors works on fundraising efforts to collect gear and a home needed to apply for a permanent license. Dave wants to engage the community in this very important step, “We are in the process of reaching out to organizations within the community.  Our goal is to establish a connection, let them know what we are all about, and what we are planning to do, to start the conversation.  We want to give as many local community organizations as possible the opportunity to continue that conversation and figure out how we can work together, whether it’s creating content for our station, or getting involved in some other way.”

Anyone wanting to participate in the May Long Weekend Broadcast will need to attend a Radio 101 workshop and an All Programmers meeting. Sign up for Peach City Radio’s mailing list to hear about these important dates. Check out their website for their full history and join their face book page. In April the Peach City Radio team heads to the Kootenays for the second Regional Community Radio Conference where the Board will network, attend workshops and see how others are making it happen.

Watch the full TED Talk here.

Join Sarah Fahey here, twice a month for her feature “Writings from the Wall” as she explores the whys, the hows and the people behind art and culture organizations in Penticton, intertwining their paths with the larger socio-political conversation that is happening in the country today. If you are a part of an arts organization in Penticton and are interested in having a feature story written about your organization please send an email subject titled: oook.feature to Sarah at artfahey@hotmail.com
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