By Loreth Beswetherick
Lillooet, a town half the size of Whistler, has successfully lobbied to have CBC’s Radio Two signal broadcast on its airwaves. So has Hornby Island and so have many other communities across B.C.
Robert Anderson, a Whistler homeowner and professor of communication at Simon Fraser University, sees no reason why the resort with a population of around 9,000 can’t do the same.
Anderson is now looking for allies in his efforts to bring the Radio Two signal and a bit more culture into town. He said the FM signal could help stimulate local musicians, raise standards of music generally and provide an opportunity to broadcast local concerts plus news of local music and artistic events.
He noted Hornby Island organizes concerts that are broadcast live on CBC Radio Two and he said other towns that have brought the strains of advert-free classical music to their communities are much smaller and poorer than the resort.
"People who were courageous and far-sighted beat their drum in much smaller communities and they got support. They did it. Whistler surely has their capacity?"
He said three steps are required to bring the signal to town. The first is to establish a Whistler re-broadcast society which would apply for the licence. The second is to accept help from the CBC in making the licence application, and the third is making the transmitter work. The last step will require some fund-raising. Once established the transmitter will need to be maintained. Anderson said the CBC has already offered its assistance if the community indicates it is ready.
"I am seeking allies in the effort to form a re-broadcasting society, work with the CBC and raise the money."
Anderson said if there are 200 in the valley who, like him, like to hear the sounds of jazz on a moonlit night and listen to classical music instead of "blah, blah" talk on morning radio, that number should suffice.
"We can also get some skilled assistance from where I work," said the professor. "There are also many experienced people in the valley. An existing registered society can adopt this project, providing it clearly identifies it as distinct from its other work, and the process will be even easier."
He said once a society has got over the initial start-up costs, membership fees would likely be minimal. He didn’t have an estimate cost of setting up the transmitter.
"CBC said they would look at the state of the transmitter. They said we shouldn’t put a value on it until they do a really close assessment and they wouldn’t do that until they have a letter of intent from out society," said Anderson. "I think that because there is no advertising the existing broadcasters shouldn’t feel threatened by a little classical music."
Anderson is asking anyone with ideas, encouragement or questions to give him a call at 905-6423, at his office at (604) 291-4265 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org