| Mar 31, 2005

Feature article, March 31, 2005

Feature article March 31 2005

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Hill FM folds

Hill Community Radio, the volunteer group aiming to bring non-commercial, local FM radio to all Lanark County, has called it quits. There weren't enough volunteers to do what was required to build and sustain a community radio station.

The members at the final meeting in McDonalds Corners last Wednesday were solemn as they "watched a dream die" according to Cal Wallis. A resolution was passed to dissolve the not-for-profit corporation.

Lack of volunteers was only the first impediment to coming to air. There is only one FM dial position available in our region. For Hill Community Radio to be granted it, the CRTC would have to receive and approve Hill Community Radio's application very soon. This complicated document commits the group to performance promises they felt they could not fulfill without many more volunteers.


"We couldn't make serious commitments without a strong volunteer base, which we didn't have. Some of us, with some success, took a "build it and they will come" attitude about technical and studio stuff, but to make the crucial next step of licensing we needed volunteer commitment." said Peter Bunnett.

Since 2002, the group had paid its way with community fundraisers, memberships and donations. All financial obligations will be met.

Initially, much time and money was expended on engineering and research for two broadcasting tower sites, both of which were found to be unable to reach the entire county. A broadcast study had been completed, and two studios outfitted, ready for training and recording shows for practice and sharing with other community stations. While working to establish FM broadcasting, Internet web radio had been offered over Hill FM's web site this past winter. But takers were few.

A second broadcast study last year showed that the tower owned by the County of Lanark at Union Hall near Almonte was feasible. Hill Community Radio had requested County Council last fall to permit transmitting from this tower. A decision was pending at time of dissolution.

Hill Community Radio will surrender their non-profit status and vacate their leased building housing the studios in McDonalds Corners. Volunteers had collected equipment from groups and individuals to create studios here. Donated items will be returned or offered to volunteer organizations. A "last hurrah" cleanup bee will be held in April.

Hill Community Radio thanks all those who supported, and volunteered.

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