Operating a community radio station has its challenges like the perennial stress of writing grant applications, finding advertisers and respecting the many regulations regarding content. Add to that a lightning strike last fall that damaged the station’s transmitter, the ensuing insurance claim and then the pandemic and you can get a sense of what kind of year Cathy Dery, the manager of the primarily English CIDI 99.1 FM radio station, has had.

The cancellation of this year’s Brome Fair meant the station could not interface with its listeners at its information kiosk where it gets important feedback about listening habits and music preferences. However, the pandemic impact has not been all negative. The government on air COVID related messages have meant some unexpected revenue and the crisis gave the station an opportunity to give back by offering free advertising to local merchants.

There have been many positive changes at CIDI 99.1 FM since Tempo last reported in 2017. The station is out of debt and The Voice of The Eastern Townships has added some new programming. Staffer Kelsey Renault hosts a talk show, Toast n’Coffee, every weekday morning from 8-9 and a music show Lunch Break from 12-1 p.m., while Holly Mueller coordinates the local news. Changes are underway to the station’s website, where you can listen live (www.cidi991.com), to increase its online presence.

An ongoing challenge for the station is finding volunteers to produce and host shows. CIDI 99.1 FM is grateful for the dedicated volunteers it does have like: Ralf Bushenbaum, longstanding host of the weekly show Burning Bush from the Hall of Flame who has record- ed over 569 shows; Davis Joachim who produces Great Canadian Jazz and My Kind of Jazz; and audio technician Yvon Grondin whose expertise makes these programs possible.

The station is excited about its recent newcomer, professional cellist Karen Kaderavek, who devotes approximately 20 hours a week to prepare her Sunday morning show Classical Music of the World. When asked what motivates her Karen’s answer: “a deep desire to share this wonderful music I love so much with people who may not know much about it.” Karen is promoting her Classically Latin theme for November 8th as “spicy – an antidote to blah November.”

Ralf Bushenbaum says the station is important for binding our community. It is where you can find out what is going on and it promotes local talent like Angel Forrest and Amos J. If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities or wish to offer some much appreciated feedback please contact Cathy Dery at cdery@CIDI991.com.