KELOWNA - The Okanagan’s first college radio station doesn’t have a broadcast tower or FM licence, but they are attracting the attention of musicians and listeners across the valley.
Heatwave Radio launched online only three weeks ago. Still in the beta stage, they're not worrying too much about their analytics and they don’t really know who their audience will be. The programming is made up mostly of podcasts devoted to different genres of music and the students behind the microphones all have one thing in common.
“I’m just really into music and into my own opinions on music,” music director Easton Doran says. “Being able to share good music that people haven’t heard… is important to me.”
Heatwave currently features two talk shows and ten music shows. Off The Cuff is hosted by Jeff Bulmer and Alex Shaw and focuses on movies and video games. Treading the Void hosted by Chidi Agbo is an exploration of philosophical quandaries sure to imaginations of students. Doran himself hosts or cohosts nine of the ten music shows that range across genre’s like hip hop, classical, throwback, metal and more.
“We don’t exclude anything unless we deem it unlistenable,” Doran says. “We have almost every genre. If a student comes to us and wants to play something like calypso jazz, we’ll entertain it.”
The plan for a student radio station actually started four years ago by a student who has since graduated. Doran and others heard about it and jumped onboard over the last couple years. They broadcast from a sound booth in an office in University Centre, but have plans to expand both their programming and their reach.
“Ultimately we want to make it onto FM and be part of the music landscape,” he says. “We’d like to be competitive with the other stations that are already out there.”
Although they don't plan to exclude popular music and hits, Doran says their goal is to stand out as an alternative to what’s already available at other, larger stations.
“We want to be as diverse as possible,” he says. “We won’t be playing many cookie-cutter pop songs. There’s nothing showcasing local talent right now...we will.”
Although they identify themselves as a college radio station with campus news and events, Doran says they expect their diversity will appeal to non-students as well.
"I can’t think of a demographic that won’t appreciate it,” Doran says. “It will appeal to music lovers and I think musicians will like it.”
To help launch their site, Heatwave is teaming up with Level Nightclub for Thursday College Night. On Friday, Oct. 16, they are hosting a Tinder night, where clubbers use the Tinder app and set their radius to one kilometre. They are given cardboard hearts they can then give to someone they like.
"The Tinder party is something we came up with one day as a launch party theme just to get our name out there,” Doran says. “It’s about music and dancing and socializing.”
Doran says they will continue hosting the show online only but hope to host a live stream in January.
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