100.1 Moose FM (CKFU-FM) in Fort St. John is celebrating 20 years of broadcasting to B.C.’s Peace Region by relaunching with a refreshed sound.
One of the only low-power commercial radio stations in the country, serving the community of just over 20,000, owner and general manager Adam Reaburn brought in the Country station’s first program director, Chris Walker, this past fall following a staffing-up over the pandemic as the independent station weathered COVID-19 much better than its larger market counterparts.
“Throughout the pandemic he’s been lucky to be able to increase his team, both on-air and in news, and needed to relinquish some kind of control,” Walker told Broadcast Dialogue. “We adapted, bought new tech so that all of our hosts have a home broadcast kit and we stayed true to ourselves. Through the pandemic, they had two to three reporters at any given time between the station and Energeticcity.ca [Moose FM’s sister property and news portal]. We added our fifth reporter just a month ago and we’ve been keeping up with local news and reporting – more local and more about North Peace than anyone else – and I think that’s why our advertising partners have stayed with us, because we’ve kept the team on, we’ve been able to grow, hosting giveaways online and trying to host things as much as we possibly could.”
Walker, who arrived from Vista Radio in Kemptville, outside Ottawa, where he wore various hats including APD, is not a stranger to northern radio having previously worked as music director and morning show host for Arctic Radio in Thompson, MB. He said the station’s milestone anniversary presented an opportunity to put “every little detail under the microscope.” Those programming changes start with a tweak to a more current Country Hits playlist.
“We wanted to mark the 20th anniversary with new shows with bigger hits,” said Walker. “When I first got here, our music library was 9,000 songs – from local artists to b-sides released in the ’80s – and you would hear current hits once a month if you were lucky, so I wanted to bring our listeners the bigger songs that they’ve been wanting and requesting.”
The programming refresh also includes an earlier start for the station’s morning show team, Dub & Catarina, who will now be heard starting at 5:30 a.m., offering the region’s first available newscast and morning show of the day to appeal to early risers.
With live and local announcers from 5:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Moose FM is introducing new weekend and evening shows, including the syndicated Grand Ole Opry Show, Monday to Friday at 6 p.m. The station will bring podcasts produced by Energeticcity.ca to its airwaves Sundays at 5 p.m., featuring conversations with Indigenous leaders, storytellers, and influential members of the community, showcasing the history of the region.
The station additionally has plans to launch the Moose FM app to make it easier for listeners to connect via the web, interact with announcers, and take part in giveaways, contests and conversations.
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