Cache Creek / Ashcroft area radio listeners may have noticed that the local radio station CFMA – operated by volunteers from the Ash-Creek TV Society – was on hiatus for several weeks.
On or about November 13, an unknown person (s) broke down the door of the radio station tower on the hill above Cache Creek and smashed all the equipment inside, preventing the station to transmit in the foreseeable future.
Heidi Roy, president of the Ash-Creek TV Society, says she noticed on November 14 that the station was no longer on the air and went to investigate,
“I went to the Cache Creek studio to check, because sometimes the computer reboots and the station stops broadcasting. It was good, so I went up to the tower. That’s when we discovered the damage.
The tower door had been smashed in and someone attacked the equipment inside the tower with a heavy object such as a crowbar or a baseball bat. Roy says the RCMP have been contacted and sent a forensic team, although they were delayed due to the flooding situation in Merritt which began later on November 14.
“They checked the fingerprints and I think they got a partial one, but they weren’t able to match them with anything in the system.”
Roy says police have no suspects at the moment. She adds that the insurance will not cover any of the damages: “The studio equipment in the Cache Creek community room is covered, but the tower equipment is not.
The door had to be replaced and an electrical inspection performed because the vandal broke switches and outlets. Roy describes the damage to the equipment as “significant” and says they don’t think the transmitter can be fixed. She estimates that the total cost of electrical repairs, a new door and replacing damaged equipment will be approximately $ 14,000.
“We don’t have that kind of fund,” Roy says. She adds that the company has been thinking about fundraising, but says it might be difficult right now. “There are so many worthy causes, like the people affected by the Spences Bridge and Highway 8 flooding, and the people of Lytton and Merritt. We don’t know how generous people would be to a radio station at this time.
“We have some savings, but we don’t have the full amount. It’s difficult, because in the last two years we haven’t had any income. No one is buying ads because of COVID. “
Roy says any local business that donates $ 500 or more will get a year of free advertising on CFMA when the station is back up and running. Anyone interested in knowing more can email [email protected]
The station cannot resume airing until the equipment is replaced. “Maybe we could take some equipment from the Ashcroft Tower and use it, but then we’ll have to replace this equipment, ”Roy says. “It’s frustrating when it’s an organization that has been run for years by volunteers, and now it is hit with an act of senseless vandalism.
CFMA plays what Roy calls an “eclectic mix” of music: modern soft rock, country and old classics from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
“People approached us and asked us what had happened at the station. They’re disappointed because it’s their favorite station, and they listen to it all the time. If you like to listen to it, we need help.