A new sound will be hitting Whistler airwaves May 1.
Visitor Radio is an infomercial station which will broadcast on 88.7 FM for about a 10 mile radius. Its sole purpose is to feature where to go, where to stay, where to eat and where to play in the resort.
The radio station was recently approved by the CRTC.
Owner, Russ Wagg, has set up similar stations in Campbell River and Sault St. Marie with plans for another in Victoria. Wagg says Whistlers Visitor Radio will be formatted in similar style to CBC radio, with interviews and information on local businesses, restaurants and activities. The station will operate on a one hour loop, 24 hours a day. Segments will be hosted by long-time local, Ken Rezek, and changed up each week.
Wagg anticipates programming six to seven minutes per hour of paid advertising. In the past, when Vancouver stations CFOX and CFMI were given the go ahead to expand their broadcast to Whistler, an agreement was struck that the two would not infringe on the resorts already tapped advertising opportunities.
"Because were a low-powered station, our services will be completely different than what the more commercial stations are," says Wagg. "We dont play any music. Were not doing road and weather reports."
Wagg hopes to be able to cross-promote his service with local radio station Mountain FM.
"On my station, because I want tourists to listen to local radio, I might say After our show is over, tune in to Mountain FM for all your local news, sports, weather and road conditions," says Wagg. "It could be a very unique situation. It might be the first time in the history of radio where you have one radio station saying listen to another one."
Mountain FM General Manager, Terry Chan, says talks are in the very preliminary stages and although Visitor Radio provides a different service, its still competition. Losing listeners even for an hour all adds up, as do the potential advertising clients that may choose Visitor Radio.
Radio co-operation aside, Wagg already has his own advertising in place. Flyers will be put in rooms at participating hotels, ads will be frequent in local papers and magazines, and the Ministry of Transportation has agreed to several roadside signs identifying Visitor Radios frequency.
Visitor Radio can be reached at 1-888-763-7325.