In spite of being a small team, the group of volunteers collecting funds for Kanehsatake’s community radio station were successful in raising big.
After being brought back on air following extensive damage to its station in 2017, Reviving Kanehsatà:ke Radio (RKR) embarked on a mission to build-up the community’s one and only broadcaster.
Two fundraisers held during statutory holidays on June 24 and July 1 allowed for the mighty team of Kanehsata’kehró:non to raise over $14,000.
However, before any fundraising could begin, RKR had to set out to protect its broadcasting license.
When the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rendered its decision and approved RKR’s application for a new license in mid-June, the local station staff knew this meant it was time to launch the next step.
“With the priority being for us to get a station – an actual physical building – we always knew that there were lots of costs involved in the process,” explained RKR board member Cathy Beauvais. “We’re applying for different grants, but of course, we still have to come up with a good portion of the money.”
Along with the building, Beauvais pointed out that a new transmission tower is also needed in order for the radio’s signal to reach all of the community’s territory.
A quote obtained last year estimated that a 180 foot-tall tower, antenna and transmission equipment would cost around $165,000. However, the hefty price tag doesn’t include the costs associated with a new building.
Although Mark Bonspille is not directly involved with RKR, he said that as a member of Kanehsatake, he felt vested in helping the station, which provides the community with a local news broadcast, Kanien’kéha programming, and career opportunities.
“We need a way for the community to be able to communicate information with one another and this is why we have to get our radio station up and running,” he said.
As a means to achieve this, Bonspille proposed using a simple model to raise money: street fundraising.
During the two fundraising events, upwards of 10 volunteers set out, bucket in hand, on either side of Route 344 where they waved down vehicles.
“The generosity of people was incredible – as soon as we told them it was for our community radio, everybody wanted to donate,” said Beauvais. “At the end of the day, we just couldn’t believe how much money we had raised.”
The board member expressed how shocked she and other volunteers were when it came time to calculate the money amassed.
With over $8,000 collected during the first day, and just over $6,000 on the second – the fundraisers were nothing short of a success.
While more events are anticipated to take place throughout the summer, Bonspille said that he is confident in the community’s ability to achieve any goal it sets out to accomplish.
“There’s so much potential with that station – not only as a business, but as something for the community to take part in,” expressed the Kanehsata’kehró:non. “Right now, we have to move forward and the only way to do this is to get out there and do it ourselves.”
Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door