Steve Shannon has a dream; and if everything falls into place over the next few months Shannon will soon be able to realize his dream – to retire into a small friendly community and to have a radio station within that community.
“I’m living my dream at this point,” Shannon told this reporter last week as he announced his intention to establish his dream within the community of Barriere. “I started thinking about this in 1969, and two or three years ago I fell in love with Barriere; so when I relocated to B.C. I decided on Barriere because I like the town, and I like everything about it.”
Shannon is no stranger to the radio industry. His radio career started at age 19, and continued actively on the air for 38 years.
“I got out for a couple of years, and then stepped right back into it,” said Shannon, noting that he especially enjoyed 18 years spent in Montreal in the radio industry, which also involved working with a number of charity organizations such as Toys for Tots. He also tells that he operated a radio school in Montreal for eight years, and his last radio position was in 2009 for station XL103 in Calgary.
Shannon says the wheels are already rolling to get the station up and running now his application has been submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). He notes that within the next three weeks he hopes to receive a date from CRTC which will be the hearing for his application. If everything is approved the target date for going live would be around May or June 2012.
Asked if he thought there would be any opposition from stations currently operating in Kamloops, Shannon replied, “I have to be big enough to pay the bills but not big enough to create hassles… It’s not going to sound like any Kamloops radio station.”
Shannon said he estimates the signal for his station would extend approximately 40 to 50 kilometers from Barriere, and that the focus of the station will be a music blend of light country, light pop, and light rock, with local community news and events, a morning show, uninterrupted music from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and an evening two hour spot for teens.
“I hope to speak to the high school and offer an opportunity for two students to participate on air at the station,” said Shannon as he explained that he would be willing to train the teens in the radio industry as a career choice.
“Of course I won’t be able to afford a full fledged newsroom,” said Shannon, “But I want there to be something of interest for locals, such as candidate interviews, and other local coverage.”
Asked where the station would be situated Shannon said he was seriously considering the old Improvement District Office next to the fire hall in Barriere. He also noted that it would require a 30 to 40 foot radio tower beside the building, or another option would be to hook into the TV transmitter that is about 34 kilometers out of town.
“If I did that I could also possibly look at including Clearwater in the station’s coverage, but that could mean I would then be looking at two licences,” said Shannon. “That would suddenly increase my costs quite a lot; not just for the towers but a long distance land line to that tower as well. My experience tells me that could be quite costly. For the first year I’ve really got to keep my costs down.”
Shannon says he wants to build a good product with his station and expects that will take at least a year.
“I want to create a product where people are knocking on my door, not me knocking on their door. It’s got to pay for itself; put coffee in the pot and pay the electrical bill – then I’m a happy puppy.”
Shannon says he welcomes input from the community, “be it negative, positive, or in between”.
He can be contacted by email at: email@example.com