© Star photo by Gary Kean
Jeff Keeping hosts “Sunday Night Geek” on Bay of Islands Radio every Sunday night at 8 p.m.
The board that runs Bay of Islands Radio feels it’s time for the community station to “get out of the incubator” and into the realm of FM.
The station had its humble beginnings in the office of professor Ivan Emke at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University back in 2009. Not long after, it moved to the DJ booth at The Backlot, the on-campus bar, since the booth at that point in time was used mostly as a storage area.
Throughout its entire existence, Bay of Islands Radio has been an online entity only, with regular shows webcast via the website www.boir.ca.
Almost since it was started, those behind the station have wanted to see it become an FM broadcast some day. The board of directors has addressed the legalities behind producing a licensed station, but they need a new home.
“There are a lot of logistical issues with trying to get to FM here in this particular location,” said Andrew Abbass, one of the board’s co-chairs during an interview outside the booth at Grenfell Campus that he referred to as the incubator. “It’s about time we started looking for something more permanent that can host an FM antennae and give us that full-fledged community station feeling.”
Establishing an FM radio station will require a location where Bay of Islands Radio can set up a transmitter, tower and antennae. There would also have to be space for the on-air personality to conduct the broadcast.
One problem with remaining at Grenfell, besides the infrastructure, is much of the radio signal would radiate into a surrounding wooded area. That, said Abbass, would not exactly maximize the coverage the station wants to have in the Corner Brook area.
Abbass said the board has been in discussions with some potential partners regarding a new site, but they are still willing to meet and talk with others who might be able to help the relocation.
The big difference will be people within range of the signal will no longer require a computer or smartphone or tablet and an Internet connection to tune in to the programming.
“Just the thought of being anywhere in the area and being able to listen to it — I think that’s pretty cool,” said Gardner.
Jeff Keeping isn’t on the board, but does do a weekly show called “Sunday Night Geek” and thinks going FM will definitely draw more people in.
“People are listening now,” he said. “That’s what I find interesting. We have had people come up to us from the community saying they heard the show or downloaded it and they thought the topic was interesting.”
When it does make the leap to FM, Bay of Islands Radio will continue to be broadcast on the web too.