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The history of

Valley Heritage Radio

The little station that could...

In 2001 Vic Garbutt was approached to lead the efforts of a volunteer board to look into the possibility of starting a community radio station here in Renfrew County. Vic and His wife Linda, co-founders of the station, took the challenge on and started attending all fairs, events and anything to do with country music in the Valley, looking for signatures to support the project. They were able to obtain more than 12,000 names on the survey.

An engineer’s survey was required to make application to the CRTC for a broadcast license and this survey was going to cost $10,000. This money was raised by requesting $100 each from 100 people and organizations. This list of 100 became the founding donors of the station (see full list below).

In 2004 the application to CRTC was approved and our 98.7 FM frequency was awarded. The next task was to raise the funds necessary to get the broadcast equipment and find a home for the station. The station in order to apply for a Trillium Grant required an elected board, not a volunteer board, so the founding donors were assembled to elect a new board of directors.

After researching different locations (Gillan Road in Renfrew, Arnprior and others), a decision was finally made to rent the old Mack MacKenzie body shop on Burnstown Road. Studio construction and clean-up in this old automobile body shop began immediately.

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The Valley Folks Respond

We needed approximately $337,000 to purchase the broadcast equipment. We researched many different options to borrow the money, but as with most new business start-ups, we were not able to to secure the funds. We then turned to the people of the Ottawa Valley and requested $1,000 loans at 6% interest.

The Valley people responded and started lending VHR the money required. The board had given the project a deadline of June 2006 to raise the money required or the project would be shut down and all money returned to the lenders.

The board meeting of June 2006 arrived and the money was not all secured. There was still $30,000 required. A board member mentioned an interest in loaning the balance, but required 24 hours to make arrangements. The decision to shut the project down was postponed until the following day. And we raised enough money! Due to these loans from the people of the Valley and one understanding supplier, the broadcast equipment was ordered.

A condition of our licence was that we were to be on air no later than September 2006. The provision to apply for an extension was in the decision, so we applied for the extension. We would not be able to get on air by the September deadline as we had to purchase our own tower when the original deal for rental on a nearby tower had fallen apart. Due to this change of tower location we needed to change our antennae specs, and it had to be reordered.

Valley Heritage radio started broadcasting in test mode for Industry Canada on Dec 11, 2006 and went officially on air on January 15, 2007. The first song ever played on our new station was Vic Garbutt’s Waltz, by Calvin Vollrath. 

Station history compiled by Jim Long

Our Founding Members

Louise & Jim Allen

Betty & Harold Burgess

Bill Connelly

Stephen & Tanya Dennee

Vic & Linda Garbutt

Norma Grace

Harry & Jean Haley

Hartley & Jean Henderson

J.D. Swallow Heating

Henri Lacombe

Mr. & Mrs. Terry Little

Barry & Ellen Martin

Bruce & Waneta Murray

Jerome Recoskie

Bill Ryan

Ralph & Muriel Verch

Marion Anderson

Jean Calberry

Brent Cook

Doris Desjardin

George Cowan Enterprizes Ltd.

Allan & Barbara Gravelle

Dennis Harrington

Louise & Arnold Hoare

Bob & Julie Johnston

Ron Lang

Lonny Lytle 

Ken & Cora Matacheskie

Northern Sons

Renfrew County Federation of Agriculture

Eric & Anita Schubrink

Jacques & Martine Waisvisz

Terry Shean

Renfrew County Fiddlers

Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame

The Griffith Ridge Runners Hunt Camp

Walter & Eleanor Guyea

Phyllis Hein

Roxanne & Jim Huyer

Charlie Kitts

John & Barbara Legrow

Frances Marshall

Ronald Moores

Gene & Terry Pierce

Larry Robinson

Al & Llynn Steggall

Bill Wimperis

John & Vicky Yakabuski

Wesley Bomhower

Mike Cloutier

Larry & Joanne Delaney

Muriel Freamo

Leonard Grace

Peter & Wanda Hoafichuk

W.B. Helman

Audrey Jamieson

Len & Irene Kuiack

Larry & Daisey Lennox

Gerry & Annabelle Marshal

Glen Moulton

Jennifer Pierce

Revel & Helen Robinson

Brian Tracey

Ken Reynolds Agency

Alex & Linda MacDonald

Joe & Anne Leggs

Gary & Rose Latendresse

Cornelius John Hunt

Irene J. Hunt

Kate Jones

Ray & Sally Cook

Douglas Cowden

Lowell & Margaret Montague

Bob & Connie Badgerow

Harriet Belliveau

Brian Blackmore

William Cambron

Jack & Gail Cameron

Carroll & Theresa Cashmon

Dale & Jean Gillan

Bryson & Beryl Robinson

Bev & Merv Wilson

Jack MacTavish

Jean Green

Greg & Joan Grieses

Howard & Charlotte Hayes

Barry Spicer

Lorne H. Davis

Arnold & Barb Dickon

Mike Fahey

Douglas Flemming

Carl & Lois Gilchrist

Wilfred Gilchrist

Dalton Hein

Shirley Pearce

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