Steve Hill’s performance at the Blue Grotto last Thursday night was well-received by those in attendance. The solo blues artist’s show was only the first concert in a long list of fundraising events to be put on by campus/community radio station CFBX.
The radio station is hoping that with enough events, donations and community support, they will be able to move their transmitter to a better location, and thus be able to reach a wider audience with a clearer signal.
Currently, the transmitter sits on top of the radio station in House 8 at TRU. CFBX station manager Brant Zwicker has said that the location has worked so far in the radio station’s 14-year existence, but as the station gains popularity, they will need to be able to provide a clearer signal to a larger region.
“Kamloops already has a poor FM environment, with all the hills. Even though the station has 400 watts of power, one watt on a mountain is better than 100 in a gulley. Considering where the station currently is, we’re pretty well in a gulley, and because downtown is right below the campus, it’s the worst area for reception,” Zwicker said.
When CFBX first had the move on their radar, they had three optimal locations to choose from. However, now only the broadcast tower on Mount Dufferin and the Radio NL tower on Rose Hill are on the table. Originally, Zwicker was hoping to move the transmitter to the Telus microwave tower in Peterson Creek, but that has since fallen through.
“All the large radio companies, including Telus, have been quite receptive to the idea. Unfortunately what we had going with Telus just didn’t work out. The time, logistics and money involved was too much for both parties,” he said.
CFBX’s inconsistency in their playlists as well as their no-hits guideline has kept them well-respected and well-received within the local community. Zwicker has said that he isn’t afraid of running into competition with other local radio stations such as 98.3 CIFM or B-100 because of the non-profit nature of CFBX, coupled with its wide variance in programming. CFBX is still the only radio station in the region to offer internationally-flavoured programs.
Once the tower is moved, current audiences with a good signal shouldn’t hear a difference. All shows will still be live broadcast, with a microwave transmitter, transmitting the show directly to the new tower’s location. After that, CFBX fans as far away as Rayleigh and Dallas will be able to listen in.
That move however, may be as long as year away and the radio station still requires as much as $25,000 to make it happen. Though considering how much needs to be done, Zwicker prefers the long wait period.
“We need structural engineering reports and to start filling out the paperwork before this really gets going. But Steve Hill’s show will definitely give us some momentum. Once we’ve officially started our fundraising campaign, things will get rolling,” Zwicker said.
The idea to bring Steve Hill to town was originally pitched to the station by one of Hill’s promoters. Hill himself stated “If I can help someone out, and at the same time do what I love, I’ll always say yes and go ahead and do it.”
The solo blues artist has been nominated for multiple awards in the past. Hill was nominated for four Maple Blues Awards in January, and he won all four, including Album of the Year. Not long after, he earned the Juno Award for Blues Album of the Year, as well.
“I’m a one-man band, but I have as much gear on stage as a three or four person group,” Hill said. “I like to get people excited, and it seems that every show I go to, there is more and more people every time.”
Zwicker has promised that Hill’s show is only the first step in a long fundraising campaign to improve the quality and influence of the radio station. Although no solid schedule has been announced, Zwicker has said there will be more concerts in the new year, and CFBX will still be hosting their annual record fair in May. The station is also on the lookout for donations stemming from the community.
“Even if Telus can’t give us a tower, maybe they’d be willing to help us out financially,” Zwicker said.