On-the-Air in the Tri-Cities

CKPM is redefining the ‘local’ in ‘local radio station’ in the Lower Mainland, and they’re hoping you tune in to the Tri-Cities on the FM dial at 98.7. Owner Matthew McBride is no stranger to small market radio stations. He has started stations in Uclulet, Tofino and Pemberton, but starting a small market radio station within a larger market like Metro Vancouver is something new.

Port Moody Radio Station has Tri-Cities Focus

On Air sign

On Air sign at CKPM, the Tri-Cities new independent radio station.

“Why the Tri-Cities?” seemed a good place to start as I sat down opposite Matthew at the plastic folding table that has been pressed into service as a front reception desk during construction of the studio space. Matthew then explained that the Tri-Cities provided a unique situation where three distinct communities maintained their differences yet were geographically close enough together to also act as one unique ‘grouping’ of communities. This does seem to ring true in that, as a resident, I don’t give much thought to moving between Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, or feel any less ‘at home’ in any one of them. The same is true when it comes to Port Coquitlam’s May Day celebrations or Port Moody’s Golden Spike Days. I’d consider each of those local events in my community, though ‘community’ would have to equal ‘Tri-Cities’, in that case.

Dave Cannon, Morning Show on CKPM

Dave Cannon, Morning Show on CKPM

A Good Mix of Music

For now, CKPM is playing a lot of music with a small amount of on-air voice talent, but Mathew says they’ll be adding more talk and shows as the station grows and finds its way. And though the music mix is good with its adult-oriented favourites – not too soft, not too hard – it will be the content ‘between the music’ that will make all the difference and provide the local flavour. With a locally focussed talk show and on-air personalities that know and are a part of the Tri-Cities community, CKPM can establish a rapport and intimacy with local listeners that is simply impossible for a Metro Vancouver station that caters to all the smaller communities as a whole inside its broadcast range.

On-air personalities Zane Sampson (Program Director and Mid-Day) and Dave Cannon (Morning Show) are both living and working in the Tri-Cities so they can’t help but be interested in things local. With the studio located on Moray Street in Port Moody and its broadcast antenna literally on the top of a condo development at Newport Village, CKPM is right in the heart of the Tri-Cities. I set my dial to 98.7FM and listened to the new station most of the afternoon on a Saturday as I ran errands close to home and had no trouble picking up the signal while driving around. If you are further afield but near a computer, you can also listen online at www.ckpmfm.com.

The writing is on the wall - big plans for CKPM

The writing is on the wall – big plans for CKPM

Battling Red Tape

It was a long road and a lot of bureaucratic red tape to get CKPM launched, and Matthew has been working on it since 2008. Then, in December of 2012 with all the paperwork complete, it came time to ‘flip the switch’ and actually begin broadcasting. Unfortunately it literally started with a bang, as the transmitter blew due to a manufacturer’s defect. The transmitter was replaced and by late January they were up to full power. Matthew seems to take these setbacks in stride as he tells me the story but I am sure it made for some anxious moments!

The process has been slow and Matthew has every intention of continuing to take it slow and easy as he moves forward. His plan is to grow gradually and have the station develop a personality and a place within the community. It’s a process and there is a plan, the writing literally on the wall, in the form of long sheets of paper taped to the bricks of the not-quite-finished studio space. Perhaps as soon as March Matthew hopes to have a ‘Street Team’ in place to get out there in the community and take part in community events throughout the Tri-Cities. CKPM has already been involved in the ‘Golden Idol’ competition as part of Golden Spike days and that will likely continue and more event participation is definitely on the horizon.

The station is going to develop and change a lot over the next year as it finds its way and place within the community but CKPM will certainly be one new business to watch – I mean hear.

CKPM FM 98.7

#2-99 Moray Street, Port Moody

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  1. Great News for Tri Cities! Zane Sampson did a great job at Cowichan’s 897SunFM. He’s earned the big market. Good for Zane and CKPM!