PICTON – Prince Edward County residents wanted a platform to broadcast their stories to the public, and they’ll soon have it.
The County’s first radio station, 99.3 County FM, is gearing up to hit the airwaves in September.
The community station, a room at the end of a long corridor in the County Farm Centre in Picton, is currently under construction. It will house everything from radio studios to administration offices, said the station’s interim general manager, Jim (JJ) Johnston, who joined the team in December 2013.
The idea for the station came from a group of County residents who wanted a way to share the stories of their rural roots in 2011. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected the application for a radio station with a frequency of 92.3 FM. Another study by Industry Canada showed that 99.3 FM was available in 2013. The CRTC approved the community radio station’s licence in January of this year.
Managing the community operation has been a new experience, Johnston said, but something he is learning as he goes along:
The County native comes from an on-air and radio management background, having helped start up stations across Canada. He launched his own media-consulting business, JJ International Media Management Solutions, in July.
The station is currently accepting volunteer applications for a variety of positions, including hosts, writers, fundraisers and administration. It’s aiming for 100-per-cent local content, Johnston added.
Treat Hull, a local real-estate agent, chairs 99.3 FM’s board of directors. The County is a vibrant community with an aging generation of crafters, artisans and winemakers whose stories need to be told before they pass away, he said.
Johnston gave QNet News a sneak peek of the station in the early stages:
For an extended look at the station, listen to the radio story aired on 91X FM on March 14: