Sawdust City Brewery and Hunter’s Bay Radio are hoping they’ve formed the perfect Muskoka pairing.
Last month, Hunter’s Bay Radio began broadcasting out of their new studios from inside of the 20,000 square foot Sawdust brewpub, and according to both parties – so far, so good.
“It’s gone extremely well thus far,” says Jeff Carter of HBR. “The studio looks great, and we’re now broadcasting out of one of Gravenhurst’s cultural hubs, right in the middle of the main street.”
Sawdust City puts on numerous events, concerts and festivals throughout the year, and since opening in the summer of 2015 Sawdust has become a social centrepoint of south Muskoka.
According to Jake Baranik of Sawdust City, HBR was a perfect fit because, like Sawdust, HBR has placed a strong emphasis on their Muskoka roots.
“Sawdust City Brewing Company is a big supporter of local,” says Baranik. ”When the opportunity to support something as unique and great as Hunters Bay Radio came along we didn’t hesitate.”
Baranik says Sawdust City does their best to connect with the entire area of Muskoka whenever possible, and having HBR move right into their home provides another avenue.
“We feel like HBR is the perfect way to let residents of Muskoka know about new beer releases, events and other news happening at the brewery,” he says.
Baranik says the two biggest events that Sawdust hosts during the year are their annual FUNKFEST and Oktoberfest. He has plans to include HBR in both as much as possible
“I don’t want to spoil the surprise too much here, but we plan to have HBR play a big role in FUNKFEST 2017 this Canada Day,” he says.
For HBR’s part, Jeff Carter says having a studio in Gravenhurst gives them a chance to truly get the pulse of the community.
“We were offered space at the brewery last year, with the objective of providing a space for the community to get involved learning the radio business and making content that reflected the needs of the community,” he says. “We’re going to be recruiting people for various roles, teaching them how radio works and getting their input as to what is important to them so we’re flexible. We also want to have the option of doing live music performances and the stage at Sawdust fit the bill.”
Carter says HBR’s mandate is to serve all of Muskoka/Almaguin. Gradually expanding their studios outwards from Huntsville is one of the most effective was to meet that mandate.
“Hunters Bay Radio received a community radio licence to serve the Muskoka/Almaguin area,” he says. “We felt that in order to better serve the communities in the area, it was easier to have different points of presence that were closer to people who were volunteers or guests. It made it easier to produce content and gain involvement rather than ask people to drive to our main studio in Huntsville.”
HBR’s first attempt at a satellite-type studio was one they had based out of the former Nipissing University’s Muskoka Campus in Bracebridge. While the campus’s unexpected closure signaled the end of that venture, there are plans in the works to move into the revamped Muskoka Foundry in Bracebridge later this year.
What can Gravenhurst listeners expect from HBR? Carter says it’s the same thing an increasing number of Muskokans are tuning into every day across the region and beyond.
“Local news and information, what’s coming up in the community, sports shows, music shows and the widest variety of music in the area,” says Carter. “Gravenhurst has a funky vibe and we think we’ll fit right in.”