SHEET HARBOUR – After several years of broadcasting online – and more recently receiving an FM license – Sheet Harbour Radio is venturing into live broadcasts.
Dan Goodsell, a musician with years of experience performing and a desire to volunteer, has introduced a live segment on Friday afternoons, featuring clients and staff from Gerald Hardy Memorial Society (GHMS) – where adults with varying intellectual abilities run a thrift store and the Rainbow Foodbank.
Goodsell was invited last fall to join the station as a volunteer but – due to performing gigs on cruise ships over the winter – he was unable to commit. But, once COVID-19 halted cruises, he had time.
“I am very interested in radio and it gives me an opportunity to express my artistic side,” he told The Journal. “I am not shy and feel I had something to offer.”
Goodsell has tremendous respect for the work of GHMS and what it offers the community.
“It is a no-brainer for me to speak from there and give the clients their moment in the sun. People started out a little shy but – once they got used to it – there was no stopping them,” he said.
Goodsell said he loves heading there on Fridays for 3 p.m. and broadcasting live at 94.7 FM, while the clients introduce their music selections and offer on-air chats about specials or sales the store is offering.
“The people are very special and amazing. They dance around and enjoy the experience and add life and spice to the radio. It is a way for us to feel connected to the community,” he added.
The station operates daily – from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. – offering recorded programming prepared by volunteers. Each segment targets an audience, offering what Goodsell referred to as a “mish-mash” of music.
Classic country is broadcast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Saturdays singer-songwriter Nathalie Ladouceur focuses on a younger audience.
Goodsell plays classic rock and his target is, “… pretty much anybody willing to listen.”
The broadcast, which comes from a small band radio license with a 50-watt antenna, reaches between 800 to 1000 listeners.
The entire crew is made up of volunteers, with an executive that includes a president and treasurer. They and volunteer programmers meet every Tuesday over Zoom and discuss objectives.
“Kudos to Ed Empringham and Mark Krause, the founders and backbones of the station, as it takes a lot of time and they are very committed. The objective of the station is to keep locals informed, entertained and involved,” Goodsell said.
2020 has been a rough year and Goodsell is conscious of how COVID-19 has affected families and their ability to celebrate Christmas in the normal and traditional ways.
“I am looking to make a new tradition – so I have invited 14 people from the community to read a verse from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and it is going to be broadcast on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. We are just going to enjoy it and – who knows – we may throw in a little humour.”
Goodsell has set a goal to get more people listening to the station. He wants people to say to each other – “Did you hear what they said on the radio?”
He intends to add some humour and a few songs; he is looking for requests.
“If you want [to hear] a favourite song, a shout out, birthday request, or a special thank you to somebody, email me at email@example.com.”
Goodsell also wants to obtain equipment required for live broadcasts. He currently supplies his own, but he intends to reach out to other programmers who are interested in developing more content and doing interviews in the community.
“We are always looking for additional sponsors, and you don’t have to be local,” he said.
“Our antenna is low wattage, so we rely a lot on Wi-Fi to get our message out. We are heard all around the world at sheetharbour.airtime.pro.”
COVID-19 protocols have limited interaction with students at Marine Drive Academy. Students have had an interactive relationship with the station, learning technical aspects, as well as broadcasting and programming their own segments.
“I am interested in teaching them – in the new year, hopefully – how to go live. I’ll supervise, but let them run the show. They’ll learn how to prepare their music ahead of time and how to chat on air. There is prep involved, but it is an artistic outlet for kids not interested in fast cars, fishing or four wheelers.”
To get more community involvement and a larger audience, Goodsell has two ideas he is bringing to fruition in 2021.
“The first is a radio theatre, where a group will voice a show written [by] and based on the community. It’ll include sound affects and we want people to sit around their radio and listen. It will be super-duper fun,” he said.
Goodsell is also promoting Bill’s Garage – a classic country show that will feature local entertainers and their music.
“I’m looking for some fiddles and guitars and, hopefully, some banjos as well. It’ll be a little work to get this together – live – especially with COVID rules, but I think it can be done and can be a lot of fun.”
Sheet Harbour Radio is recruiting volunteers and sponsors, accepting donations and always looking for help.
“No one should say ‘I can’t make a difference,’… because they can make a difference,” Goodsell concluded.