‘A commitment to local media’: Fort Erie Radio holds ribbon-cutting ceremony and food drive

There is a lot going on in Greater Fort Erie.

“A town this size needs access to regular, reliable news. It needs a voice,” said Fort Erie Radio Program Director Brent Jones. “That’s what we’ve been delivering since we got started.”

The grand opening of Fort Erie Radio, held Friday morning, brought supporters to the station for a ribbon-cutting, to meet the team and to hold a food drive in support of two local organizations.

Fort Erie Radio, located at 43 Queen Street, began broadcasting with live hosts in May, although its news website was online even earlier this year.

Jones said he “couldn’t have been happier with the turnout” for the grand opening of the radio station.

“It’s kind of a surreal thing to come up with this idea last year to bring news media back to Fort Erie and then see it really take shape like this,” said Jones. “Lots of outlets claim to focus on Fort Erie, but here we are doing it daily, staffed by folks in Fort Erie, and actually located in Fort Erie.”

He thanked everyone. “The support so far from the town and this community has been overwhelming. A huge thanks to all our sponsors and advertisers, too.”

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop said he could see that the radio station had supporters out, along with staff members.

Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

“In a small town, people want to support the news businesses, the institutions, and in a day and age when communications have been reduced to digital, you are in the right spot,” said the mayor.

“When there are so many things going on in the community–so much activity and so much information–we are trying to get out to the public, every opportunity we have to get information out is important, and Fort Erie Radio is going to help us in that task.”

Fort Erie Radio Program Director Brent Jones, right, receiving a certificate from the Town of Fort Erie from Mayor Wayne Redekop at Fort Erie Radio’s official grand opening. Also seen are George McDermott, councillor, and Brenda Tyrrell, radio host. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

With that, the mayor officially congratulated Jones and his team on behalf of Fort Erie’s town council. He also presented a certificate to Jones.

“You have put together an excellent team,” said Owen Riel, who was there representing MPP Wayne Gates. “I know you’ve just recently started, but some of the programming you have put forward is really excellent.”

Fort Erie Radio Program Director Brent Jones receiving a certificate from the provincial government from Owen Riel, who was representing MPP Wayne Gates at Fort Erie Radio’s official grand opening. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

Riel, who also presented a certificate from the provincial government, added, “It is clear you folks have a commitment to local media and making sure our community stays tight-knit and informed. We’re all really for and appreciate everything.”

Beth Dennahower, constituent manager for MP Tony Baldinelli, offered her congratulations on behalf of the federal government.

Dennahower said she used to listen to Jones’ podcast and noted that it “was wonderful to see the progression.”

Fort Erie Radio Program Director Brent Jones receiving a certificate from the federal government from Beth Dennahower, constituent manager for MP Tony Baldinelli, at Fort Erie Radio’s official grand opening. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

Dennahower, who also presented Jones with a certificate from the federal government, added, “You guys do a lot of hard work.”

The ribbon cutting at Fort Erie Radio’s official grand opening. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

In addition to the ribbon-cutting, the event also served as a food drive and personal hygiene product collection for Strong Fort Erie Neighbourhoods and COPE.

Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

“We’re all about informing and entertaining Fort Erie residents, so it was important to us to tie our grand opening into supporting the community,” said Jones. “Strong Fort Erie Neighbourhoods and COPE are both doing so much good in our town.”

Jones added that he was “grateful for all the folks who came out today and gave so generously.”

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