By Darren Lum
Published by April 23 2019
New Canoe FM president Tim Hagarty is hoping to take the Haliburton-located community radio station out to the streets more than ever with greater outreach broadcasts.
It’s part of an approach to connect with listeners and to attract new ones who may not be familiar with the station in communities outside of Haliburton such as Wilberforce or even Kawagama Lake.
“We need to be out more there in those communities. How do we get out there? It’s one thing to be on the dial. You’re sitting there and you got 5000 radio stations. You got ‘dut dut dut dut’ and you happen to hear one that plays a song you like [it’s] another one to go ‘I just met those guys.’
He realizes there is a challenge in finding volunteers to enact these outreach ideas.
That said he is aware the station has had on-site broadcasts but he wants to do more because he sees an added value in meeting potential listeners.
“If you’re physically present some where at least they’re going to pay attention right? They’re going to walk up and say ‘What are you guys up to? Oh you’re doing a remote from Agnews General Store in Wilberforce. Isn’t that cool.’ How do we get out there more in the community? …That’s something I’m looking at.”
He believes the station is strong and is supported by the community.
However he still wants to attract more people to serve on the board and to volunteer and join the 130-volunteer team. Maybe a dedicated set of people to execute the outreach broadcasts.
The station requires a diverse range of skills and offers a mix of jobs from front desk data entry categorization of music (the organization of the 20000 plus songs) including on-air and on-location announcing.
Hagarty was voted in by the radio station’s board of directors back in November. He spent four years on the station’s board and the music committee which decided what music goes on the air.
The retiree who has owned a residence here since 2010 has been an active volunteer in the community. He knows about collaborating in the community as he has served on the Glebe Park and Museum Committee since Feb. 2011 and as a director and lake steward for the Miskwabi Area Cottage Association since 2014. His professional background experience includes work in the corporate world as a director of capital services North America for Unilever North America an d purchasing manager/global teams for Unilever Canada.
Born and raised in Toronto Hagarty has had a soft spot for the Highlands ever since he was a child.
He remembers coming here in the summers starting in the late-1940s to visit Birch Point Lodge. Every year that he came it was like coming home. There was a strong sense of affection for the lodge and the setting’s beauty.
That same love is at the root of his efforts with Canoe FM.
He’s been volunteering at the radio station hosting the show Jazz on the 45th since 2010.
The station’s manager Roxanne Casey said her long-time friend is the ideal person to take the radio station into the new era for radio broadcasting. Although he was not the only one he is part of the station’s technical committee.
Part of Hagarty’s two-year term will include an effort towards reaching a greater audience and to be a viable media source for listeners.
Young listeners is one demographic Hagarty wants to attract more of and believes if given a chance Canoe FM can impress. He highlights the station’s specialty shows focusing on blues and jazz.
“We have specialty shows. They’re really good. I’ve had people on my show that go ‘[Wow] this is pretty amazing.’ I do the jazz shows up here and we have people call and send me emails ‘Can I play in Haliburton?’ Jazz?” he said.
The public will be surprised at the mix of music if they only know the station for what is broadcast during the day.
Future viability of the station has been a topic of discussion lately.
One of the questions raised by the station recently was will people be listening to radio in 10 years?
“The answer … is we think yes” he said. “We think there is a place for radio and continue to be a place for radio but there is also how do you receive it. People receive it on their phones. People receive it only God knows how? I still can’t figure out how it goes from one point to the other … is there a place for radio? Is there a place for Canoe FM right? I think we’re a local community oriented radio so the answer is ‘yeah I think we have the populace that will continue to support us and how they listen to us is what we have to figure out and make sure we give them that opportunity.”
He adds there has been “amazing” numbers related to Canoe FM listeners tuning in via the Internet.
A country music show every Saturday morning happens to be the most listened to Canoe FM show on the Internet he said surprised.
Relevancy is a key concern.
One area the station is interested in pursuing is podcast production. A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which are available on the Internet to users by download.
Hagarty said now the question is what do we podcast?
He admits this is not his area of expertise but said there are volunteers with the station who do have such expertise and connections. Additionally not knowing is a strength as he’s ready to defer to those that do which is what he learned during his career.
“However I’ve also believed in my career that I can’t know everything. Therefore you get people that know stuff” he said. “As a matter of fact if I don’t know anything I’ll be a better boss than not.”
There is also a push to be part of the free audio streaming service iHeartRadio. It enables listeners to hear music or podcasts on the computer tablets mobile phones or in the vehicle (Car Play and Android Auto) via the relevant app.
The affection he has for the community is at the heart of his passion to give back and is at the heart of his motivation to be president and take on more responsibilities.
“I keep doing the things I love to do” he said. “It’s nice to know that you can do some thing that you love to do and it actually has an affect on somebody … I think Canoe FM has a positive affect on the community and I think that’s why I’m still there. I believe in it. I believe in the people and I see the joy some people have when they show up [to volunteer].”