The Ongoing History Of The Bay Pt.5
Six years ago, (May 18, 2014) we made the switch from a little online radio station to truly local FM Radio Station. But, it was a long journey to get there – more than 5 years in the making.
As you may know, Hunters Bay Radio started life as a small online radio station and despite our initial struggles, we survived, but realized that we were ahead of our time – technologically speaking. We realized that if we were to grow, we needed an FM licence and a tower to transmit from. We are nowhere near having affordable high speed internet in everyone’s home or cars. Until that happens, the old standby FM signal is the way to go.
Don’t get me wrong – we have lots of listeners – all over Canada and the world for that matter, who listen to us online. Once we announced our plans to make the switch, we even got complaint letters from our loyal listeners, who didn’t like sharing our programming with a wider audience. To them, it was like a secret little club.
So once we decided to make the switch, we consulted with the CRTC who advised us to hold off for about a year, as there were regulation changes afoot in the Community Radio sector, and it would be wise to wait and get licenced under the new rules. We were advised not to put in an application for a commercial licence, as that would potentially open the listening area to another commercial entity – more likely a giant entity, who wanted very badly to get access to the market – and our application wouldn’t stand a chance against this kind competition. After all, we wanted to offer a difference to the kind of programming that our current giant corporation and competitor already plays – The Moose is 4 stations in Muskoka/Parry Sound/Haliburton and is owned by a company in B.C. which owns 40+ stations.
So began our work of laying the groundwork – formally changing our status to a not for profit corporation. That status would allow us to apply for a community licence once the new regulations were adopted.
The next steps involved getting financing for the project, which would cost in excess of $150,000 just at the tower, with a lot of “in kind” donations. That seemed a lot harder than it should have been and all the local banks talked a good game – encouraging financing and turning us down one after the other. It seemed that this project was just too risky.
We were even turned down by our current federally funded loaner the first time around.
It seemed that all was lost, and we’d never get “the stick” in the air. But, after being encouraged to re-apply, and with some collateral, we got what we needed, and the first step was underway.
To read other excerpts in the Ongoing History of The Bay, Click here: https://muskokaradio.com/featured/