With the help of a group of dedicated volunteers, Vancouver’s Tim Chisholm has combined a love of computer technology, music and radio to create Canada’s first online gay radio station.
The station, radiogay.ca, is now airing several times a week for the Vancouver queer community-and, indeed, for queers around the world if they’re interested.
In fact, says former Dufferin Hotel manager Cary Grant, who is handling the management aspect of the venture as well as doing current events commentaries, the vision is to extend the station in the future to allow broadcasts from anywhere on the planet.
“We’re going to have interviews with people in the community. We’re going to highlight community activities,” he says. “Once we get the site up and rolling properly, we could have broadcasts from anywhere in the world in any nightclub with all the technology that’s out there today.
“It’s a global thing even though we’re focusing on the western Canada aspect of gay life,” he continues. “We’re not quite there yet but we’re on-air.”
Chisholm, the DJ at The Dufferin, conceived the idea about three years ago. It was about a year back that he began sounding people out on becoming involved and started holding Sunday planning sessions at his home.
That home is now doubling as the station.
And, quips Grant, the kitchen has become the station’s sound booth. He calls it Studio K.
It’s stocked with Chisholm’s sound equipment, all of which is eventually run through a PC as the signal goes onto the Internet. Mac users beware, though: the station isn’t available to you yet. It’s coming, though, they say.
But, adds Grant, the station already has interactive features, such as chatrooms and message boards.
And it has pictures.
While colour TV has been around for decades, this marks the arrival of colour radio for Vancouver’s queer community.
The group has put in many hours to get the project up and running. Grant estimates the volunteers have poured more than $60,000 worth of sweat equity into the station.
“When we get this thing going and we’re producing money, we will take care of them,” he says.
As for Grant, having recently retired from business, he says Chisholm has turned him into a broadcaster.
“I’m the commentator. I’m kind of the curmudgeon of the crowd,” he says. “I get on there and voice my opinions on everything.”
A company, Romosa Media Group Inc, has been set up with a board of directors to run the station. It also has a four-person management team which meets once a week to discuss business issues.
Among those working on the project is Tim Mottishaw, the founder of Dawson Creek’s Pride group now studying at Langara.
Mottishaw had been examining starting his own online station but when a friend told him of radiogay.ca he called Chisholm and became involved.
“Rather than work against each other, let’s work together,” Mottishaw says he proposed. He sent the organizing group a sample of his radio show and was asked to one of the meetings.
“They loved it and invited me,” he says. “Trial by association, I guess.”
He says his shows, which he creates at home on his own computer and then submits to be broadcast from a CD, cover a wide range of music from Perry Como to hard rock, musicals to alternative sounds.
But, says Grant, tying it all together is Chisholm’s steady hand.
“Tim is a great DJ. He’s the ultimate professional in the radio business,” Grant says.