Lessons from Amherst Island Visit

During the Spring 2011, Conrad Beaubien, Gary Mooney and Rick Conroy visited Amherst Island to learn about their experiences in setting up their community radio station. Here’s what they learned:

Amherst Island is a small community with just 500 residents, but they can support their own community radio station.

Their station, CJAI 91.1 FM, broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They have a 250 watt Class B station which enables them to reach all 500 people on the island, plus an equal number on the mainland and on the eastern end of the County.

The station runs on an all-volunteer model which involves about 25 people in total.

The initial cost to set up the station was about $15K — with used equipment and donated studio space (barn) and antenna location (silo).

Their annual operating budget runs between $15K and $20K.

They cover their costs with revenues from sponsors, memberships and fundraisers.

If they can do it with 500 people, why can’t we do it with 25,000 people?