Grant helps Gabriola radio to develop programming

A $17,850 grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada has put the bid to broadcast CKGI – Gabriola Co-op Radio on a whole new wavelength.

Gabriola’s community radio society is now in the process of hiring a director of spoken word and will start training volunteer announcers in 2013.

“We’re right at square one now,” said Ken Zakreski, society president.

The society will be using the grant money to develop a curriculum and training manual for CKGI under the guidance of the director. The position is an eight-month contract worth $9,000. The remaining money will be used toward the hiring of assistants, purchase of recording equipment, printing costs, and travelling expenses.

In November 2011, the society was awarded the use of 98.7FM by the CRTC to establish community radio on Gabriola Island. Under CRTC criteria, CKGI will be required to produce a high volume of spoken word content, which can be difficult and expensive to produce, Zakreski said.

Spoken word content includes everything from news reports to documentaries to spoken word entertainment, like Radio After Dark.

“We’ll start by training volunteer groups and in-house volunteers that are established with us and new volunteers on how to produce spoken word,” Zakreski said.

Until the society can secure the funds and permissions for a full-sized tower, programming will be shared via podcast on the society’s website, and through shared air-time on CHLY 101.7 FM.

“We’ll be a little bit unique in the fact that we are starting a radio station without a studio and we’ll be running a distributed studio model where people share their shows over the Internet and share studios around the Island,” Zakreski said. “We’re referring to it as ‘kitchen table radio’.”

Zakreski said it has been a long road to get to this point and is thankful for the support of the community.

“It’s exciting because it’s a scarce resource, FM is not widely available like the Internet,” he said. “We are living in interesting times, and we [will be] able to provide reportage on those to our community, that’s another reason why it’s exciting.”

A membership drive will be held the first three Saturdays of January, starting Jan. 5 at Folklife Village Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Annual memberships cost $20, while a lifetime membership costs $1,000. For more information, please visit

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