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On the air with a kiss

Sanikiluaq starts new, positive, radio station

Nathan VanderKlippe
Northern News Services

Sanikiluaq (Dec 17/01) - Callers to Sanikiluaq's newest radio station are greeted with a kiss. Two of them, in fact: "Kunni, kunni" (meaning "kiss, kiss" in Inuktitut), the station's standard greeting message.

The new station, CKJJ 105.1 FM, broadcasts from the day-care centre. It was designed as an alternative to the hamlet's other station, 106.1 FM.

"Young people complain they don't like the local radio station because people get on and harangue about them," said John Jamieson, who serves on the day-care centre's board of directors. "We want ours to be a positive radio station that only airs nice things that are happening in the community."

The station will be put to a wide variety of community uses, including story-reading, instruction on parent skills, broadcasting of community events and perhaps homework help. Janitors may even be able to use the airwaves to give out information about lost and found items.

Jamieson, who is the high school principal, hopes the station also will serve as a training ground for students.

"It's a great educational tool, and that's primarily what we want to use it for. (Part of that) is to develop our students, develop their presence on the radio."

The radio equipment cost about $18,000. It was installed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and has an effective range of seven kilometres. The hamlet has waited for its installation since 1999.

The school also bought 100 FM radios to give away to homes in the community.

The station itself will be run by volunteers, except for a small sum to pay for student help in scheduling and management.

In the future, Jamieson said he hopes to put another $4,000 toward purchasing a video camera and some basic TV equipment to run some programming on the cable TV community access channel.