With its broadcast signal coming in stronger and clearer, the South Slocan Valley TV Society wants to know: is anybody watching?
“We just want to see who uses the service, if it’s valuable to them, and go from there,” says Peter Kabel, a member of the society’s board. “We’re trying to get a little bit more of an idea of who’s using it in the community and that’ll guide us into the future.”
The society operates three transmitters down the southern part of the Slocan Valley. They broadcast five TV stations and two FM radio stations over the air, allowing residents to get a free signal.
The service has been provided for decades, and is paid for by property taxpayers in the area. The society gets about $26,000 annually through a grant from the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
The society cleared up some major transmission problems last year, and Kabel says now that the signal’s back to full strength, they want to find out who’s using the service, when, and why.
“We’ve done a lot of upgrades to the system, made it more reliable, developed a maintenance plan, developed a plan for future upgrades,” he says. “But during this whole time, we don’t have an idea of who uses the service in the valley.”
So the board has reached out on social media asking people to contact the society and let them know what they think.
He says he’s already received comments that the service is valued in the community.
“The people who’ve phoned me are very passionate saying that yes, they do use the service and really like it, and they know a number of their neighbours use the service,” he says.
“I spoke to a number of people who said that their income doesn’t afford them to have a Starchoice or Shaw package,” he adds. “It’s expensive, it’s $100 a month. This service is free, and it’s HD-quality reception with a set of rabbit ears, so it’s a good service.”
The survey has been launched just as the society board is about to change. Its president and another board member are retiring, and Kabel is looking for volunteers to replace them at the society’s upcoming AGM.
The new board will be considering plans for the society, including the possibility of further upgrades or adding more channels.
“But I don’t want to put all this effort into it if there’s only 10 people using the service,” he says. “I hope the ad will bring out a few more people to give me a call. Everybody I talk to says they like it and appreciate it. So if we can formulate a plan based on, let’s say, 100 people using it, then it’s worth it.”
If you’d like to offer your thoughts on the service, or support the society’s work by being a member of the board, contact Kabel at 250-359-7944.