An eager young volunteer falls for the siren song of CFUR community radio- and discovers the musical bounty of the North
Granted, they got me in a moment of weakness. There I was, bouncing between booths at UNBC Clubs Day, trying to keep the lost puppy look from creeping onto my face. After eight years away I’d just moved back to Prince George and I was feeling pretty disconnected. My old friends had long since gone their respective ways, and the UNBC campus wasn’t exactly a familiar environment. As for Clubs Day, well, there’s nothing like being surrounded by people who all belong to something to make you feel especially alone. I was starting to wonder what in God’s good name had brought me to leave my cozy Victoria community when a friendly looking guy with a big smile grabbed my attention. “I’m with CFUR,” he says. “You should check us out. Come on up to the station and I’ll show you around.” Yes! A friend!
A month later I find myself furiously volunteering my time in the colourful, poster-clad home of PG’s community radio. Taking a break from ripping CD’s to their digital archives, I get up and stretch. Ian, CFUR’s charismatic Program Director, gives me a funny look, “Gee Karl, you should really try to spend a bit more of your time here.” I know, I know. People keep asking me what show I want to do- clearly I must be desperate to get my hands on some airtime. “Oh, uh…” I mumble, “I haven’t really thought about it yet.” Truth is, going on air was never on my agenda. I’ll admit that my initial enthusiasm for community radio was really just a front for wanting to make a friend, but that was before I knew what was in store. Now I can’t help it. I’m hooked.
So what’s so sexy about CFUR?
Well, aside from the disarming good looks of its Station Manager, Music Director and Program Director… the music!
Soon after I first popped my head into their office a month ago, the CFUR crew got me going on archiving the station’s local music collection. Now northern BC’s got a lot of land and not a lot of people, and so for the purposes of archiving, “local” is essentially Williams Lake and up. As someone born and raised in Prince George, I’m embarrassed with how foreign the northern BC music scene is to me. Back in high school, I was too obsessed with my dad’s record collection or the new Strokes album to pay much notice to any home-grown talent, and only now am I starting to realize what I was missing. There’s some darned good music up here! Digging elbow-deep into CFUR’s local archives has given me a second chance to appreciate the wealth of musical talent born of this great northern land.
Whether it’s as a mighty wilderness landscape, an angry mill town, or simply as a broken heart, the voice of the North doesn’t hesitate to make itself heard through these songs. And the North always has something to say. From crooning jazz vocals to killer metal guitar riffs, from dance-your-butt-off ska beats to a ten-minute psychedelic electric guitar blues solo, from heart-wrenching to hilarious, the world of “local” is a veritable rabbit hole of otological indulgence. Whether you’re looking to psych yourself up, mellow yourself out, or finally let out some of those bottled up frustrations, the northern BC music scene has a little something for everyone. You don’t have to go far to find that perfect song waiting to hold your hand through it all.
The beauty of CFUR, and of community radios in general, is that they serve as a hub for music that can otherwise often fly under the radar. For artists, they’re a way to gain exposure, and for listeners like myself, they’re an awesome resource to explore and discover great new (and old) music that might be hard to find elsewhere. CFUR’s local archives are an awesome community resource, but right now they’re only the tip of a huge iceberg of potential. With the help of a recent grant, CFUR has undertaken the challenge of developing the Northern BC Audio Archive (NBCAA), an ambitious project meant to showcase northern BC’s many talented artists, and to serve as a library for local historical music. For more information on the NBCAA or if you would like to submit a recording to the archive, shoot an email to Station Manager Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know there’s a ton of great local music waiting to be archived- help feed my addiction and send it on in! It would be so flippin’ cool to see CFUR’s local archives expand into the full potential of northern BC’s musical talent.
If you’re ever looking to find me, a good place to check is the CFUR station, with headphones on and a grin on my face. If CFUR’s an old friend for you, then kudos. If CFUR’s something you’re just starting to check out, then welcome aboard and enjoy the ride.
So keep ‘er tuned to 88.7. And keep on pumping out that kick-ass northern home-grown.
Some folks to check out!
The Goat Island Extrapolation- http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/THE-GOAT-ISLAND-EXTRAPOLATION
This post written & created by Karl Domes - CCIS Agent, Reputed Magician, and one hell of a volunteer.