Clark County resident Gerald Gaule has operated Community Growth Radio since 2013, which is a station catering to the blind, disabled people, and veterans. The DJ has now opened a fourth stream which is made for Spanish speakers in the county and the Pacific Northwest.
Gaule was inspired to start the station after volunteering as a book reader for Omni Media, which was under the Oregon Commission for the Blind.
“(Omni Media) ran and operated several radio reading services online, and being a volunteer book reader, I got really into it helping people in that area,” Gaule said. “I was supervised by Jerry Delaney, who passed away a few years ago. In the year 2000, I ended up doing many other things from being musical director, operations manager, general manager, program director. I had several hats at one time and responsibilities for running their streams.”
He said he pitched an idea to Delaney and the board of Omni Media to apply for a non-commercial FM radio license to be the first station on the West Coast to feature programming exclusively for blind and disabled people. They turned the idea down, so Gaule took it upon himself to create CGR.
“I did this because I thought it was an area that needed to be touched. My contribution brings something worthwhile that was not really done out here, and somehow I had a deep passion to serve that area of the community that was not really served here,” he said.
Part of what makes CGR stand out is its addition of older music from the 1920s and before. He got that idea from the Evergreen Radio Reading Service in Seattle, which he said went off the air due to budget problems. The former president told him that Evergreen regretted not including old-time radio or nostalgic shows, which Gaule then incorporated into CGR on the station’s first network. The second network is more entertainment-focused, while the third appeals to veterans, discussing health or lifestyle issues, Gaule said. As for the fourth network, that’s where Gaule’s idea for the Spanish-speaking programs came in.
“I said ‘well, there’s no one around here including the Spanish-speaking stations in our area,’” he said. “I try to bring something above and beyond compared to our normal radio service.”
According to Gaule, the station has received positive feedback from listeners.
“It’s not about how many people I serve, but if I can at least give something worthwhile for a few minutes a day and hopefully make their day good, I’m happy with that,” Gaule said. “I don’t look at it like a numbers game like a lot of stations do. If I make someone happy for a day, I’m OK with that.”
In the future, Gaule aims to possibly have a local broadcaster carry the network.
“My job under Jerry (Delaney) was to find a local broadcaster to carry Golden Hours, and in 2008, Oregon Public Broadcasting dropped Golden Hours thinking nobody was going to listen to it. I felt the thousands and thousands of listeners who depended on Golden Hours were shortchanged, and I was so passionate in how unjustified it was,” Gaule said. “My goal is I would like to see a local TV broadcaster or Comcast locally carry the service so that way if someone doesn’t have internet, it’s an easy way to access the radio network.”
Information on CGR can be found online at cgrradio2.wixsite.com/cgrradio.
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