Despite being located in the Mackenzie Place highrise, community radio station CKHR was only off air for short periods on the day of and the day after a fire on March 15.
“For the entire two days, we were maybe off the air for eight hours,” said Mark Lundbek, the station manager of CKHR.
“We were off the air twice,” he said. “Once, the day of the fire there were power issues and I had to go in and reset the system. And then the second night they cycled power for some of the rooms and happened to hit our breaker. So I had to go in and reset the tower again, the PC that basically runs our system.”
CKHR is located on the third floor of the highrise, where it has been for over a decade.
“There wasn’t any noticeable damage to the station, at all,” Lundbek said, noting he can get special access if required for things like setting sound levels.
Since the highrise has been closed by the fire, he has been overseeing broadcasts from an office at Super A grocery store.
“It’s nice. I enjoy it,” he said. “We get to interact with the public a little bit more and people have been quite surprised that there’s still a radio station, apparently.”
From that remote set-up, he uses the Internet to broadcast through the equipment in the highrise and a transmitter on top of the building.
Lundbek is somewhat hesitant to talk about the station at all, preferring to focus of the people still displaced by the fire.
“We’re worried more about the community that’s been displaced,” he said. “I mean the station can continue to operate.”
Lundbek has created a GoFundMe page on the Internet to raise money for people displaced by the fire.
It appears unlikely CKHR will remain in the highrise, if the building reopens.
“We hope to not,” Lundbek said. “We don’t want to, unless there are massive changes in the building and building management. We would rather not be in there. It’s just a bad place to be.”
The station manager said there are a couple of other possible locations.
“I can’t really talk much about that right now,” he said. “But we can say that it’s 99.9 per cent accurate that we will not be in the highrise after all this is settled.”
Lundbek said that CKHR has lost some of its visibility in the community partly because of its location in the highrise, which makes it more difficult to attract volunteers.