New transmitter, website, event listings and board of directors mark eve of community station’s 25th anniversary

Kootenay Co-op Radio has hit one of the highest notes in its almost 25-year history thanks to the relocation of its new transmitter to the top of Elephant Mountain.

KCR’s Operations and Programming Manager Ed Zych and Columbia Wireless have installed a powerful new transmitter for the station, high atop Elephant Mountain.

KCR’s Operations and Programming Manager Ed Zych and Columbia Wireless have installed a powerful new transmitter for the station, high atop Elephant Mountain.

The new broadcast location allows the station to reach more communities and creates a higher quality radio signal. KCR’s longtime frequency at 93.5 FM now reaches Castlegar, Trail, Salmo, Ymir, Winlaw and the south end of the Slocan Valley.

“The expansion of the broadcast area aligns with Kootenay Co-op Radio’s mission to be a community and cultural hub for the West Kootenays,” says Ed Zych, KCR’s Operations and Programming Manager, adding that KCR’s mandate is to provide local news, spoken word and diverse music produced in the region.

“We’d love to hear from people in and around the West Kootenays, to see who’s listening and where our signal can reach.”

“This is also a good opportunity for people outside of Nelson who’d like to join KCR as a volunteer programmer,” says Amélie Sauquet-Davidson, KCR’s Advertising and Sponsorship Coordinator. “You can sign up, get trained and host a radio show that reflects the community you live in.”

Kootenay Co-op Radio’s new transmitter and its increased audience were just two of the major accomplishments celebrated at KCR’s recent annual general meeting.

Other achievements from 2023 include the station’s newly revised website — — and the Kootenay Calendar events listing, developed in partnership with Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism. 

“Hundreds of people check the calendar every day to find out what’s happening in the West Kootenays,” says Sauquet-Davidson. “But the interesting fact is all the return users. We’ve created a tool that people can use regularly, and it’s become a habit for a few.”

The Kootenay Calendar project wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism, she adds. “So much so that the calendar is also available on their website for Kootenay Lake communities. We’re proud that two non-profit associations have worked together for the benefit of tourists and residents.”

One of the highlights of the AGM was the announcement of Kootenay Co-op Radio’s 25th anniversary celebrations in 2024. The festivities begin January 2024 with the iconic Nelson Polar Bear Swim fundraiser. 

Support from locals will help Kootenay Co-op Radio continue to improve so it can better serve our region and help Friends of Kootenay Lake carry out important stewardship projects needed to improve the health of Kootenay Lake. 

Throughout the year, the festivities will continue with special events, fundraisers, outreach to members and activities to honour the past and the hundreds of programmers and guests who have taken a turn behind the mic.

Kootenay Co-op Radio’s new Board of Directors has also been announced. The board includes continuing directors Kathleen Cauley, Marco Pringle and Jaymes Bowman, and new members Hannah DeBoer-Smith and Sydney Huculak. 

“I’m truly honoured and excited to join the board of directors and look forward to contributing to the direction and continued success of our beautiful, community-powered co-operative radio station,” said Huculak. 

Michelle Oakley, board co-chair for the past four years, ended her tenure. So did outgoing board members Kim Bater, Bonnie Baker and Darren Davidson.

The 2023 Hall of Fame volunteer award went to Keith Wiley for his on-going commitment to KCR, most notably with the long-running show The Ecocentric

Volunteer Of The Year honors went to Nick Jones, the lead tradesman helping develop a live performance venue in the KCR station basement, at 305 Hall Street. With capacity for 30 people, the space will fill the community’s need for an intimate, affordable cultural space, right in the heart of Nelson.