Local Spotlight: More Than Just Radio!

How a local radio station draws together an informed, creative, active and open community.

By Janet Newbury

israel palacio via Unsplash

When I think about post-growth initiatives in my own community, CJMP 90.1 FM — community radio for Powell River and British Colombia’s Upper Sunshine Coast — is one of the first things that come to mind (I am pleased to report, there are others as well!).

Having a locally driven radio station, in itself, is such a wonderful asset to the rural town of Powell River. The station’s shows include a wide range of music as well as news and public affairs, and can be accessed by radio wave or podcast.

The radio shows, however, are but one dimension of the station’s mandate. As a member-based society, the radio station’s vision is to contribute to “an informed, creative, active and open community with CJMP-FM as its hub.”

And they seem to be taking this as a very serious goal! Here are some of the ways CJMP is working towards this inspired vision:

Organizational structure

CJMP is membership based, and entirely volunteer driven. Its meetings are public, its minutes are made public, and everyone — I mean everyone — is invited to join the society and to participate in programming, meetings, decision-making, fundraising, event planning, and events.

Leadership and mentorship

For those who are interested in hosting a program, but have no experience, the door is still open. The Training Wheel is a show that features those community members who would like to learn the ropes, with great support and guidance along the way.

Public events

Community, of course, happens on the ground, not solely on the airwaves. And CJMP has done an incredible job of tapping into, fostering, and celebrating community through many, many, public events and initiatives. Providing a stage for musicians at the Blackberry Festival, sponsoring poetry slams to feature local talent, broadcasting live shows from public events such as Canada Day celebrations, bringing Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis to Powell River for a public conversation … these are some of the many ways CJMP really does contribute to the cultivation of “an informed, creative, active, and open community.”

Engaging in matters that matter

CJMP services an area of land that sits on traditional Sliammon (Tla’amin) territory. As such, recent treaty negotions were of great importance to all of us living on this land. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find information that reached beyond rhetoric as the date of the vote drew near. CJMP offered a significant service to this community by providing a platform for Sliammon people to speak and be heard, and for dialogue about this complex matter to take place publically. This is just one example of the many ways CJMP is engaging the wider community in matters that really matter.

Through not only what it does, but the way it does things, CJMP deserves the spotlight to be shone on it for a little while. In fact I think a lot of learning can come from watching how CJMP’s programming and community events develop in direct response to the passions, skills, and interests of its members and the wider community. It seems to me to be great example of how beginning with what we’ve got already might be the most productive and inspiring way to create the world we’re seeking.

Originally published in June 2012. To find out more about the Post Growth Institute, visit our website.

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