Saturday, September 22, 2012

Benefits of Community Radio: 

by Mallary McGrath

Some may say that an area such as the Cape Shore is suffering due to its dwindling population and outmigration of youth. We see the class sizes at Fatima Academy decrease year after year, the number of new homes is not what it was and there exists an obvious emptiness to those who are skeptical of the area's future. Owning a pride of place, feeling fortunate to be able to see, smell and touch the ocean and knowing that you see the same sights generations before you have seen is a special thing. Expressing these feelings of fortune to the world as one is simple with the use of modern communication but expressing pride of place together as multiple communities, as a united front of proud people can be a challenge.

However, community radio events that have become annual events on the Cape Shore allow for such expression of pride. During past broadcasts we have had children telling us on air why they like living on the Cape Shore followed by interviews with senior citizens relaying life stories of gardening, fishing and survival. Combinations such as these being broadcasted over the air waves and on the world wide web are extraordinary means of communicating our stories, our way of life and our pride of place.

Speaking from a town councillor's perspective, I believe that community radio is a particularly unique opportunity to facilitate promotion of the Cape Shore area, communication among the towns and discussion, as it not only encourages discussion but allows it to take place among interested individuals. Cooperation between communities is vital to sustainability and the sharing of ideas and initiatives can enhance council's performance as a devoted team of volunteers. A community radio event inevitably triggers thoughts of pride of place and excitement in the community for an event that will broadcast them to the world; their voices, their opinions and their way of life will be in the spotlight. In many cases, discussions lead to analyzations which can ultimately lead to strategies being implemented for betterment of the community.  

The more I learn about community radio and the more I listen, the more I realize that while I believe the Cape Shore area to be a very special place it is not alone. There are communities such as those on Bell Island and Fogo Island dealing with outmigration and other challenges faced by rural areas but while these problems exist there also exists a definite awareness of how special the community or communities are. While proud residents acknowledge the declining population we also promote the area through the use of community radio and choose to look beyond to the sustainable aspects of the community and the positive characteristics. On air discussions are venues of creativity and allow voices to be heard.