The Big Idea: Giving a face to radio

For more than 30 years Mountain FM has been a staple on Whistler radio dials, but the station lacked a broadcast studio with a visible connection to local listeners.

Operations and sales manager, Joe Polito saw this as an opportunity and set to work on his vision for a radio station not just connected via the airwaves, but physically connected to the community.

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Being both seen and heard

Since 2005, Polito’s number one goal was to build a broadcast studio in the heart of Whistler Village, for everyone to visit, enjoy and use to get their message out, whatever that may be.

The most important element of Polito’s plan was the ability for the public to see his team in action, on-air. The vision was a Much Music style glassed-in studio, where people could gather to watch and listen to guests and bands with no obstructions.

The idea became reality with the official opening in September 2012 of a new studio just off of Village Common, behind Shoppers Drug Mart. The physical presence of the studio has amplified “the showbiz factor” and, at the same time, helped the station tune into their community, and build stronger relationships with businesses that are their neighbours.

Everybody’s on (air)

Polito’s team is fun, passionate, dedicated and most of all, they love where they live, which means even when they’re not on-air Mountain FM personalities continue to rep the adventure station brand.

You’ll find them in every corner of the community, from rocking the mic at charity events to sharing social media posts of epic après sessions, toonie races and countless other mountain adventures

According to Polito, radio people are “different.” The idea of punching the time clock just doesn’t apply. He explains that they just love being a part of the radio show, on-air and off; it’s in their blood.

Polito described their unique breed saying, “The job never stops, so like the station, everyone is on, all the time — we’re all a bit nuts.”

Creating a family culture

Between events, creative concept creation, promotions, special guests and social media, the spectrum of work can be tireless, so this radio crew has developed a station culture that mandates they treat each other like family where having fun is fundamental. This makes for an important reminder when they’re in the trenches. “If you’re not that person, you can’t be part of the family — simple as that,” Polito said.

This “all in the family” motto extends outside station walls. In the same way they support one another, they aim to support their community partners and clients like extended family. When locals feel a connection that leads them to check out what’s up at the station or pop in with an important message to share, then that accessibility will make their community stronger and ultimately more successful.

Polito on broadcasting from the Whistler Village studio:

“As with the Sheepdogs recently, we had a fun crowd gather to watch and listen, which was really cool! For us, it’s about creating a relationship with the community, and a trust.”

Make business easy — tune into The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber of Commerce showcasing a local business innovating in their sector.

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