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Internet radio host considering PAB station


Blake Priddle is an experienced radio host who is soliciting public feedback about starting an internet radio station to serve the Port aux Basques region. – Submitted photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES — Blake Priddle, radio host and published author who has worked in radio and media across Canada, has a potential new venture that he is in the process of researching. Media is a passion for Priddle and something he wants to share with Port aux Basques, so he has developed and released a questionnaire, to be filled out by residents in the community, discussing their possible interest in having a community radio station return to the town. “I had a conversation with somebody that lives in Port aux Basques, we had a conversation on the internet, about possibly starting a radio station, we thought it would be a good idea and I spoke with a couple of other folks that seemed to want a radio station as well, but in order to determine if there is enough interest, I think it’s worthwhile to make sure that the whole town is on board with the idea, or at least of the majority of the town’s residents are on board with the idea. That way we’re not jumping the gun and starting a radio station in a place where there’s no interest, so it’s good to do that research, to make sure the market is available,” said Priddle via telephone interview. “There’s 14 questions, and in a nutshell, one of the questions is whether you would listen to a community radio station if Port aux Basques had one. Another question is what kind of music do you like, what kind of programming would you like the station to have, if you could volunteer at the station would you do so? Things like that.” Another aspect of the questionnaire involves name ideas for the potential station. “I got some pretty good suggestions already including The Gateway, PAB Twin Mountain Radio, The Rockhouse, Gateway’s Finest, PAB FM, and my personal favorite, Sou’West Tunes.” Numbers have already started to trickle in from people who completed the questionnaire and offered some insight into how a community radio station might perform. “So far we have 42 people and Port aux Basques has a population of 3,000 people, 4,000 people, around that, and if we can get over half of the population to fill out the survey to determine if there is that interest, and if the survey says it’s a good market, then we really have a good business plan put together,” said Priddle. “It’s not for sure yet, whether or not I’m going to move to Port aux Basques to start a radio station. I just really want to make sure the market is profitable so to speak. Even if it is a not-for-profit radio station, I still want to make sure it has the listeners.” Priddle had one thing stand out that made him even more interested in Port aux Basques. “I found out just how autism-friendly Port aux Basques is, and I think the community has made a tremendous effort to make the community inclusive and welcoming for people of all ages, races, disabilities, not just people with autism, and that’s one of the reasons I got interested. It’s a shame that there’s no radio station because, even though traditional AM/FM stations may become obsolete in the future, we will still have internet stations too. I don’t think those will be going anywhere because online stations are still very popular.” The fact that a lot of smaller, community-based radio stations have shut down is something Priddle sees as detrimental to communities lying outside of urban centers. “With commercial radio stations, because of the way the economy is now, they’ve had to lay off a lot of employees and also because of how computers are taking over a lot of jobs. Some radio stations like, for instance, the station I did my high school co-op placement at, it only had two employees. The main radio host who did a variety of different jobs such as writing, the news, voicing commercials for affiliate stations, voice tracking, conducting promotions, sales, you name it, they do a lot. And going forward a lot of commercial stations are going to end up doing away with the local content and local news and just move ahead with syndication as a way of saving money. I think that’s another reason why a community station, as opposed to a commercial one, would be a better option for Port aux Basques,” said Priddle. “If you have maybe one or two employees with the rest of the jobs conducted by volunteers, then you wouldn’t have to worry too much about cutting costs when it comes to hiring employees.” Bringing local content and music is something Priddle has seen people get excited about. “I think what people like now, they prefer community-based radio stations, ones that put their community first as opposed to business interests. I’ve noticed that a lot of people really seem to enjoy community stations, especially ones that play independent music or locally based music because music is so terrible right now that most stations play.” There would be no limitations on what Priddle believes the community radio station could cover. “I think we would be able to cover all of it, and I think another great thing the station could do is broadcast events such as town council, much like they do in Corner Brook, and it could also be a good outlet to broadcast a play by play for the Port aux Basques Mariners. That’s the sad thing about a lot of the commercial stations nowadays, they just don’t bother with that kind of stuff anymore. They have a morning show with some local content and that’s it, if that,” said Priddle. “As of right now, most people that filled out the survey don’t appear to be interested in volunteering, but it’s still early. There’s over 3,000 people in Port aux Basques that can fill out the survey and I only have 42 people so far, so the results could all change if more people sign up.” The survey is available online at https://pollforall.com/Q/qqyrbl0j, and you can also contact Blake Priddle directly via email at: blake.priddle@bell.net.

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