Rossland Radio Co-operative (RRC) requested on Monday that the city help their cause with an in-kind donation of equipment and time to help move a 17-metre radio tower from 2nd Avenue to the RRC’s new headquarters on the east side of the Miners’ Hall.
The RRC was recently approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to jump up to a 20-watt low-powered community radio station license from a five-watt demonstration licence first approved in 2008.
But RRC director Marty Cancilla pointed out that the 20-watt boost hasn’t yet had that much of an effect because the “big chunk of rock” on the north side of Columbia gets in the way of the signal.
The tower donated to the RRC by Bert Jones, combined with the extra power, should give a stronger signal and clearer coverage in homes and cars, helping to spread the signal across all of Rossland and up to the ski hill, and down the hill to Warfield and some of Trail.
To avoid the cliff opposite 1807 Columbia Ave., the group has already considered and rejected other costlier options such as a repeater station.
Once a “proper and suitable location” for the tower is selected and “we’re ready to go,” Cancilla said, “we’ll move the tower and place it.”
“People will actually be able to listen to our radio station,” Cancilla said, spelling out the goal.
Although the group has had some success fundraising, recently donating a chunk of change to the Rossland Food Bank, Cancilla explained, “We are unable to pay for [the tower move] as costs for rent and broadcasting equipment and licenses are what we have to focus on to keep this project going.”
He suggested that the best approach might be to dig out the foundation with the help of public works’ new “vacuum digger,” lay the tower on its side, and move it, an operation he expects should take a day or two.
Coun. Kathy Moore asked about insurance, and Cancilla responded that the radio has property and liability insurance, and “I know the city has lots of insurance,” he said.
Mayor Greg Granstrom wondered if this might be extra work for little gain and asked, “What about leaving the footing in and pouring a new one?”
Cancilla wasn’t sure this option would save money and effort, but agreed, “We definitely want to look into different options for the footing.”
In any case, the mayor said, “We cannot make a decision at this time, it will come back to council for a decision. Staff will give their recommendations on what they can do and how it will be possible.”
The CRTC also recently approved to broadcast 10 more hours a week and the RRC is looking for locals to host shows.
Prospective radio hosts, whether for music or talk radio, should visit www.rosslandradio.com or call the station at 362-0080.