CKRP-FM resumes broadcasting

Tom Henihan
South Peace News

Following a hiatus of over two years, CKRP Radio Rivière-la-Paix 95.7 FM, located in the Centre Chevaliers Falher, is back broadcasting, under new administration and with an expanded vision.

The CRTC issued temporary broadcast licenses to CKRP-FM Radio Rivière-La-Paix for special event programming from 1993-96, when the station was formally established.

The regional office of the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta ran the French language, community radio until November 2017, when the local ACFA ran into trouble and made the decision to close the radio station.

With the dissolution of the local ACFA board of directors at that time, the ACFA provincial headquarters in Edmonton, took over management of the local chapter.

In response to the radio station going off air, a number of local individuals formed a new, non-profit group Société CKRP Radio Rivière-la-Paix, with the mission of rescuing the station and running it themselves.

In 2018, Société CKRP accomplished the first phase of its mission when the ACFA turned over operation of CKRP 95.7 FM to the society.

Taking responsibility for the station and getting it on air again proved a more complex endeavour than the society had anticipated. However, the society took on the challenge and ultimately prevailed.

“It involved hours of planning, negotiations and grant writing to get the radio operating again. It took over two years before CKRP was back on the air,” says Gisèle Bouchard, a station director at CKRP.

“Because of this core group of individuals and their belief in the need to provide French-language radio for and by local staff and volunteers, we are now up and running,” says Bou- chard.

Beginning in May, CKRP will produce two shows every week, Reminiscing with local artists of the past, and Lore and Legends of the Peace Region series.

Reminiscing presents local artists of the past, features excerpts from a series of recordings from CKRP and from the Société historique et généalo- gique de Smoky River [SHGSR], as well as those provided by the community at large.

The show will also draw from other sources, such as amateur and professional local artists and feature biographies and interviews with the artists featured during the one-hour show.

Reminiscing airs live on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10—11 a.m. and reruns play on Saturday and Sunday at noon.

“We are still looking for more recordings as we’d love the show to run for as long as possible,” says Bouchard. “The staff at the radio station would love to hear from the audience, either during the second half of the show, by phone or by e-mail or through our Facebook page.”

Lore and Legend of the Peace Country, airs on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and on Sunday at 7 p.m. presently and from May 4, the station will add a second installment of the show, hosted by the station’s summer student Justine Dubrûle that will air Mondays at 7 p.m. and again on Fridays at 1 p.m.

The program covers all types of local mysterious and strange events from unexplained phenomena, tales of murder, to old wives’ tales, along with remedies and the origin of expressions.

“We like to think of it as a history lesson with a twist,” says Bouchard. “We’d love for people to share their stories with us. The SHGSR and CKRP have been working together to research and produce this local program.”

Société CKRP wants to involve community groups to do short sessions on air, outlining the work they do or the community function their organization provides. It is also working towards fixing its aging broadcasting equipment to include Peace River and other communities in the region.

Carmen Ewing heads the Société CRKP Radio Rivière-La-Paix and the society is looking for two additional board members, to join its current directors Jean Labbé, Gustave Ouelette and Lucielle Bussière.

CKRP is also looking for volunteers to serve in a variety of functions at the station.

Esther Picard served on the board until recently, when she joined the radio station’s staffs, sharing administrative responsibilities with fellow station director Gisèle Bouchard. Bouchard and Picard are co-directing the radio station with assistance from interne, Leslie Bujold-Morin, and summer student, Justine Dubrûle.

“Our new team is really looking to promote all types of events and happenings in the area,” says Bouchard.

“Though we broadcast in French, the radio station’s content has to reflect all of the greater Peace region’s realities. We choose not to limit the musical contents of the program to music in French if the musicians are local. We are featuring any musical artist that lives or has lived in our area and putting their music on the air.”

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