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Local family buy radio station in Barriere

CHLW 93.1 FM The Bear has been sold to a resident of Barriere
Ken Brown has just purchased The Bear CHLW FM radio station in Barriere. He is pictured here with his wife Leah and 12-year-old son Bond. The family has resided in Barriere for the past 10 years.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Barriere resident Ken Brown when asked how he feels about owning his own radio station?  “This is a new adventure and I am pretty happy.”

It was announced early this week that Brown is the new owner of the The Bear CHLW FM in Barriere.

Confirming that the radio station has been sold to Brown was seller Steve Shannon.

“The radio station will continue to be known as The Bear and the call letters will remain CHLW FM,” said Shannon,  “The format of the station will remain the same with a continued emphasis on local involvement.”

He noted that the sale of the radio station is subject to CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications) approval and that will take eight to 10 months. The CRTC regulates all Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications activities.

However, Brown says the application process is already underway and both he and Shannon are confident the approval will go through.

Shannon says that Brown will officially take over the station on Monday, May 1, but between now and then Brown will be learning all there is to know about the station.

“Ken will be trained over the next five weeks to ensure a smooth transition,” said Shannon, “He is currently employed at Gilbert Smith Forest Products and will continue working there on a full time basis while also managing the radio station.”

We asked Brown why he took on the radio station while he has a full time job in the community.

“When I heard the radio station might shut down I didn’t want that to happen,” said Brown, “I’m also planning ahead for retirement day and this would give me something to do, and I hope I can eventually hand it over to my son.  I also wanted to do something for the community, and I think the radio station is good for the community. Sometimes you just have to do what feels right.”

Brown says he grew up in South Hazelton, B.C., then spent 10 to 15 years in Vancouver.  Along the way he met his good wife Leah; then in May of 2007 they made the move to Barriere.

“At the time I was putting out resumes for employment and dropped one off at Gilbert Smith on our way through Barriere,” said Brown, “We really liked Barriere but it looked like there were no jobs at the time, so we started to drive over to the mill at Agate Bay.  On the way we got the call from Gilbert Smith that they had a job for me.  So we turned around and went back to Barriere and haven’t left since.”

Brown says he has been with the mill 10 years and has another 12 to go before he will retire, and adding, “They are a great employer to work for”.

The couple’s son, Bond, is coming 12 this year, and Dad is excited to be planning the radio station purchase around handing it over to his son in the future.

“I want to do something for the community, and for my family, and my son,” tells Brown.

Does Brown have a background in radio?

“No, but I used to play in a band and I listen to and enjoy all kinds of music,” answered Brown, “I really enjoy the music that the station plays, and I look forward to being able to control the sounds.”

Brown is already learning the ropes under the guiding eye of Shannon, and is enjoying the opportunity to learn under someone with the veteran broadcaster’s experience in the industry.

Shannon started The Bear radio station from scratch, receiving approval from the CRTC on Dec. 10, 2013.  The station officially started broadcasting on Jan. 6, 2014.

Shannon says he is looking forward to taking a break for awhile and plans to drive across Canada with a possibility of hosting a talk show back east.

“I need a vacation,” said Shannon, who also said he has all the confidence in the world that Ken Brown can take over the station and service the community over the air.

The new owner says he is currently forming a company called The Barriere Radio.

“We are really looking forward to this adventure, we want to help the community. We love it here, and I have my wife, my son and the Lord.”