The Role of Volunteers

Interested in radio?

Volunteers are a vital element in the operation of a community station. Vernon Community Radio will need 30 or more active volunteers to become involved in writing, hosting, editing and producing programs. Other volunteer areas will include promotion, social media engagement, commercial writing, production and public service.

But ... what if I have no formal training?

No experience or formal training? No problem. A core part of our business plan includes professional trainers as part of our paid staff. This is a great opportunity for persons of all ages to learn about radio broadcasting. Funding for volunteer training is available to the Society through the Canadian Community Radio Fund, a resource funded by Canada's private broadcaster contributions to Canadian Talent Development. http://www.crfc-fcrc.ca/en/

What the CRTC says about volunteers

In 2011, the CRTC conducted research into the role of volunteers in community radio. 


Among the findings:

  • The average community station has 61-volunteers.
  • Where the market is less than 100,000 persons, the average is 38.
  • An average of 45-hours per week of programming is produced by volunteers.

What do volunteers do in a station beyond programming?


In short, everything.


A review of responses provided by campus and community stations surveyed by the CRTC suggests that volunteers perform an astonishing array of functions for their stations, from programming and computer maintenance to fundraising and sweeping floors. These volunteer services are summarized in the categories set out below.


Governance - 100 percent of respondents

  • Sit on the Board of Directors; participate in station committees, such as the Programming Committee or Fundraising Committee; strategic planning. Virtually all stations responding to the survey suggested that volunteers play some role in station governance.

Fundraising - 94 percent of respondents

  • Virtually all community radio stations are engaged in fundraising and rely on volunteers to carry out duties such as soliciting memberships, organizing fundraising events, applying for/reviewing/seeking grant money from various organizations, calling bingo, and organizing/hosting radiothons; chasing down and securing sponsorships for shows.

Training - 75 percent of respondents

  • Many stations indicated that they rely on volunteers to handle the bulk of training, which can include training new volunteers in the technical, on-air and policy/management elements of a station.

Outreach and Community Presence - 84 percent of respondents

  • Volunteer outreach activities include: representing a station at or hosting local events such as concerts, festivals and parades; delivering station information to businesses and residents, maintaining a presence on the web through podcasts, blogs and a website.

Station Administration - 100 percent of respondents

  • Volunteers handle a wide array of administrative duties, including station management or assistant management; reception; program and music administration; data entry; translation; regulatory and policy research; bookkeeping and financial administration.

Programming Support/Music Department - 90 percent of respondents

  • Cataloguing and processing CDs; reviewing music; maintaining a current music library; archiving, including transfer of formats; editing; behind-the-scenes field recording/ research/ production; handling prerecorded station ID's and stings; upkeep of all databases; contacting local promoters for arts listings and events; helping to arrange interviews for on-air staff; arranging artists appearances on-air; arranging sponsorships for programming; graphic design; producing ads; creating promotions for station events and local events; critiquing host and show content.
  • Gathering information on news, sports and community events.
  • Keeping the station current on social media accounts such as Facebook and twitter was mentioned by a number of stations, particularly campus stations.

Station Maintenance - 70 percent of respondents

  • This category can include everything from equipment maintenance and repair (noted by many stations as a necessity on the part of volunteers) to building repairs or renovations, to janitorial services such as cleaning and shovelling snow.

PSAs - 68 percent of respondents

  • Although generally associated with programming, a large number of stations indicated that volunteers are actively engaged in the development and production of Public Service Announcements - which can form an important bond with the local community.

Other Station-based Activities - 56 percent of respondents

  • Best summarized in a comment from one station: "Volunteers also organize many of our parties and retreats, which are key to maintaining a good atmosphere and happy working environment…"