Couchiching radio station on air

Couchiching First Nation began broadcasting a new radio station Wednesday on 92.3 FM.
The plan is to broadcast Thunder across the airwaves—Borderland Thunder hockey, that is. The new station has a remote that will allow it to broadcast away games as well as ones here at home.
“One of our main goals is to broadcast Thunder games,” said Christine Jourdain, economic development officer for Couchiching. “[But] we wouldn’t be adverse to looking at Muskie games, either, if there was an interest.”
Though the station still is getting its feet wet, it does plan to air Friday night’s Thunder game against the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs. The puck drops at 8 p.m.
“We’re gonna try tonight’s game,” said Couchiching Chief Chuck McPherson, who admitted they don’t have a dedicated play-by-play person yet but will do their best.
“[For tonight], we just picked a guy off the street. We’re gonna try as many as we can. It’s a learning process,” Chief McPherson said.
There is another goal to starting the community radio station on Couchiching. Ten people, aged 16-25, will be selected next week to begin training there in the New Year.
Couchiching youth are been asked to submit letters of intent expressing why they’d like to be in broadcasting, said Jourdain.
“The goal was to get our youth trained on the radio station, and allow them to learn about broadcasting and look at broadcasting as a career,” she added.
The training project is funded through Shooniiyaa Biidoong—a First Nations service based in Kenora. The training will take 10 weeks, beginning Jan. 13, and will be done in the evening so the youth won’t disrupt their studies, said Jourdain.
The station is housed on the second floor of the multi-use facility at Couchiching The band is in the process of building a soundproof room and studio.
Primarily, the station will broadcast music—“pretty much anything,” according to Jourdain—and the hockey games.
They’re still in the process of building a music library but in the mean time, staff are bringing in their own music, as long as there is no profanity.
They will use an agreement to rebroadcast programming through the Wawatay station out of Sioux Lookout when there is no one manning the one at Couchiching.
The Couchiching station, which is licensed, is only broadcasting with 100 watts of power—giving it a range of 30-50 km.
The new station will have little to no news—though programming will be up to the youth in the program—and no advertising, for now. The band may entertain the idea of providing advertising space for Couchiching merchants if requested.
“This is gonna have some costs, like the telephone [hook-up with Sioux Lookout],” Chief McPherson said. “But we can do some fundraising to offset the operational costs. And if that means advertising, so be it.”
The chief said the cost of building the studio will be about $20,000.