When Valley Heritage Radio crackled to life on the airwaves for the very first time on January 15, 2007, even the most die-hard supporters and organizers weren’t sure what the future would hold for the community-owned radio station.
The behind-the-scenes work had been going on for years – from the monumental task of filing for a radio licence to countless hours of fundraising – but the journey was just beginning. A lot of hard work had been completed, and there was more to come. Much more.
And for some of those who were there when the seed was planted to grow a new Valley radio station, hitting a 10-year milestone is a major accomplishment.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be going strong after 10 years,” said Lesley Galbraith, the current programming and production manager, who was also the first person hired at the station. “We had no idea what the response from the community was going to be, but once we were on air, the response was overwhelmingly positive and the growth has been mind boggling.”
Galbraith said that even from the earliest days, the station’s philosophy has remained constant.
“We are all about the communities we serve and our listeners. We’ve grown and have gotten better because we hear back from people about what they like and don’t like. We gear our programming to what the people want, and so far it has worked wonderfully,” she said.
BIRTHDAY PARTY IN RENFREW
Sunday, January 15 marks the 10th anniversary of Valley Heritage Radio going on the air, and to celebrate the station is hosting a party at the Renfrew Armouries from 1 to 5 p.m.
The afternoon will feature some of the Valley’s most popular country musicians for an afternoon geared to pay tribute
to everyone involved with the station from conception to what you hear on the air today.
The day’s musical line-up includes performances by Neville Wells, the Rogers Family, the McMunns, Jennifer Johnston, Mike Cloutier, Howard Hayes, Al Cruise and some of the regions’ top fiddlers will provide a Tribute to Ottawa Valley Fiddling. The Ottawa Valley Hall of Fame Band will be the house band, and that group includes Brian Hebert, Al Bragg, Rodger Coulombe, Dale Ducharme, Mike Hamelin and Mark Lemieux.
As well, Roy Berger, one of VHR’s volunteer DJs, will be attempting a Guinness World Record for push-ups. He currently holds three world records, and will be looking for a fourth in front of friendly crowd.
A number of the station’s on-air personalities, along with staff, volunteers and Board members will be in attendance to show their gratitude to the listeners, advertisers and supporters from the past 10 years.
“We wanted to celebrate in a way our listeners would appreciate. And that’s with great Valley music, a dance floor, a cold beverage and a snack,” said station manager Jason Marshall. “We invite listeners and friends of the station to come to the party so we can show them how important they are to us. Without the support of the people of the Ottawa Valley and the Pontiac, we wouldn’t be on the air today.”
Jim Long, the station’s events and volunteer coordinator, has been connected with VHR from the very earliest days, and he knew that good things could happen. If the station could overcome all the hurdles needed to actually get on the airwaves.
“Everyone involved saw the potential of the station, and we knew we just had to get on the air to appeal to a much larger group,” said Long. “And thanks to the people of the Valley loaning us their hard-earned money, and the commitment of our phenomenal volunteers, Valley Heritage Radio became a reality.”
Long also invites people to come out Sunday to celebrate the station’s milestone.
“We’d love to see some faces from the past, and anyone who has been part of this journey,” he said. “We all did it together. And we’d like to celebrate this special day together.”
VHR’s 10th birthday is Sunday, January 15th at the Renfrew Armouries. The doors open at noon, and the fun begins at 1 o’clock. Tickets are only $10 each and are available at outlets throughout the Valley, or by calling the station at 613-432-9873 or 1-888-532-9870.