A local fountain of music, culture, and information




Our devices can bring music and news from almost everywhere in the world. But most of the content is corporate-driven—selling to us, collecting our data, locking us in algorithmic sameness. Missing from that model is connection to community, access by under-represented voices, and the invitation to expand our horizons in music, culture, and ideas. An informed community is an empowered community.

Enter CVOX, the Comox Valley’s new community radio station, now streaming at Though it’s currently still a fledgling, interest in the project suggests a soaring future for the ‘vox’ of the Valley. The incubation began late last spring when a small group met at the Bayside Cafe, with a shared ideal of creating a non-commercial, local-focus fountain of music, culture, and information.

“We’re surrounded by community stations—Powell River, Cortes, Hornby, Nanaimo,” says Jamie Bowman, who initiated the project and later became board president. “Why not here? Our community has a deep pool of artistic, talented, and interesting people.”

The group registered as a non-profit society, developed CVOX branding, sought knowledge from other stations, joined the highly supportive National Campus and Community Radio Association, and began laying foundations.

Since then, more than 60 people have filled out online volunteer forms. Ten teams have been organized to look after elements like fundraising, tech, talk, music, and socials.

“It’s a fast-growing, very exciting, and excited group of people,” says Mike Werth, CVOX operations manager. “Some of us knew each other, but many of us are meeting for the first time. Yet a thread joins us: we’re all good listeners and hungry for more meaningful talk and better music that’s more local and more diverse.”

The power of radio

Radio has “the power to build community,” says choral leader and CVOX board member Wendy Nixon Stothert. “To survive and thrive, it’s essential for humans to feel a sense of belonging. We can grow compassion and connection in our Valley by listening to each other’s stories and ideas. Community radio gives us a way to shine light and give voice to the many, many innovative thinkers and creators in our midst that can help us forge a path together.”

For now, the all-volunteer station is online only, even though FM-broadcast equipment is available. CBC alumnus Jean Sarrazin brought not only his extensive experience to the board, but also his gear from a community station he had set up in Ontario.

“We intended to be both on-air and online. But a few months in, the CRTC decreed no new on-air applications would be considered for two years,” says Bowman. “We now see this time as a gift, to build the station before going to FM.”

CVOX: Comox Valley community radio

CVOX programming

CVOX locally produced shows include CV Setlist with Jenn Geddes, Death Wish Disco with Craig Allison, Random Play with Doug Cox of MusicFest, and some podcasts. Programming manager Marc Gerrard has been adding programs from other community stations, such as The Lovecast by Dave O Rama, The Conversation Lab, Cheeze Pleeze, and CanQueer. And the local offerings will expand as new CVOX shows come online, including talk, music, and late-night DJs.

Anyone can propose doing a program by signing up as a volunteer and filling out a form under “Proposals” on the CVOX website. “We anticipate a lot of great shows, along with the joys and challenges of growth,” says Werth.

CVOX has no studio yet, so hosts are recording and editing shows from bedrooms and basements. “We do need a CVOX studio, a centre for production and community-radio energy,” says Bowman. “We have very limited funds, so donated space would be very much appreciated. And we’re not shy about recognizing sponsors.”

For board member Craig Allison, “the beauty of community radio lies in liberating DJs from the constraints of commercial stations, fostering genuine exploration, and shedding light on often-overlooked local talents.”

Allison was deep in the UK music scene before moving here. “In my formative years, specialist radio programs became my haven for exploration,” he says. “Learning from individuals who devoted their lives to uncovering exceptional tracks, whether old or new, played a pivotal role in shaping my journey as a budding DJ and music enthusiast.”

The CVOX mandate

For the CVOX team, community radio is intentional, curated with diversity and local content up front, meant to entertain, educate, and engage. “I love the variety of shows in good community radio—the personal stories, intelligent discussions, and music that sometimes makes me dance or go ‘wow!’” says Werth.

That’s what they’re building here. As Allison says, they’re motivated “to ensure that we establish a platform not only for the incredible musicians and bands in the Comox Valley but also for DJs and music enthusiasts from all walks of life, both past and future.”

Tune in and find out for yourself.