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Community radio needs more community support

AMHERST – Communities are linked together in many ways, and one of those links has come to a breaking point.

Lisa Emery (left), chairperson of the CFTA volunteer board, and Bev Estabrooks, sales manager at CFTA, recently spoke of the challenges facing the radio station, especially the renovations needed at the building.


“The bottom line is we’re getting very close to being closed. It’s a serious situation we’re in,” said Bev Estabrooks, sales manager at CFTA FM Radio.

A few years ago, CFTA moved to a new location on the corner of Church and Albion Street in Amherst, and many renovations are still needed.

“This is our third winter going into this building without any heat. It’s been run on electric heaters,” said Estabrooks.

At a glance, the building looks great, but a closer look reveals many deficiencies.

“The stairs are not finished, the siding is not finished, and there’s no heat or air conditioning,” said Lisa Emery, chairperson of the CFTA volunteer board.

Also, many of the rooms in the building don’t have a fixed ceiling, leaving insulation exposed.

Ron Bickle, operations manager at CTFA, said the broadcasting side of CFTA works well, and the transmitter works great.

“People see is this and they think everything is fine,” said Bickle, gesturing towards the front of the main floor where many of the controls are situated. “But the ceilings aren’t done. We can’t get our air conditioning system put in until the power box is upgraded, and that costs $1,200.”

CFTA started broadcasting from the back of a van on top of Fenwick Hill five years ago.

It is a not-for-profit, community based organization, with four paid employees, and many volunteers.

They have many fundraisers. Some are successful, while others are not. A good example is bingo.

“The last two fundraisers we’ve had are bingo, and there will be another bingo on Oct. 2, because we have taken a break over the summer,” said Estabrooks. “But it hasn’t been supported to the point where we’re going to be able to maintain it.”

New fundraisers include a 60/40 draw.

“The winners get 60 per cent of the pot. The first draw is Aug. 22. It’s a year long game,” said Estabrooks.

Tickets for the draw are $5 for one, or three for $15.

The draw is every second Monday.

Other fundraisers include a birthday bash on Friday, Sept. 9.

“We’re going to stay on the air Friday night right through to Saturday morning and take requests. We’re going to call it Toonie Tunes,” said Bickle. “For this day only, if you want to hear a tune and dedicate it, you pay $2. If you want five songs you can give $10 and give us a list and drop the money off or give us a pledge.”

They will also have live, on-air entertainment during their birthday bash.

Estabrooks reminds people that CFTA always welcomes people into their studio.

“Anybody can walk through our doors at any given time and talk about their cause,” said Estabrooks.

People can also play music, make public announcements or just visit.

“We honestly believe we are making a difference, and we’re digging our heels in and we’re determined to keep this afloat,” said Estabrooks.

For more information on fundraisers, how to donate, or how to help with renovations, or how CFTA can better serve the community call 902-6601079 or email


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