‘The Canalside Radio’ starts with focus on Orleans, eastern Niagara

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 October 2022 at 8:31 am

Internet-based station runs 24-7 with music, community updates

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Randy Reese of Medina shows the app on his phone where people can listen to his Medina-based radio station, now available 24 hours a day.

MEDINA – Medina native Randy Reese admits he is a man of many interests.

He has had his own comedy club in Buffalo, done improvisation comedy, worked as a state fraud investigator and written a novel and a couple of screen plays.

But his real love is radio. And that has led him to start a radio station in Medina.

As licenses are no longer given to low-power FM stations, Reese is broadcasting through the Internet on thecanalsideradio.com.

Reese’s interest in radio developed while he was in high school, and they had a high school radio station. He attended Penn State, but left after three semesters.

“It wasn’t because I bailed out, but because I was at the radio station all the time,” he said. “It was an AM station, and I fell in love with radio, eventually becoming a station manager.”

Eleven years ago, he moved to Boise, Idaho and he and his wife were driving through a town that had a low power FM radio station.

“I started going up once a week and doing a blues rock show,” Reese said. “Last year we moved back to Medina and I thought, ‘This is what Medina needs.’”

He knew the only way to do it would be on the Internet.

“That’s how a lot of people get their entertainment today, anyway,” he said. “I thought it would work.”

He has been up and running for six months now. He said it took a while to get the bugs out.

Reese said he loves old-time radio, and the format of his station is music from the 1960s to today. He plays songs not usually heard by musicians on other stations.

“They are good songs by good bands, such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company, today’s Canadian Indy Pop Band and the Monowhales,” he said. “I know people like to hear their favorite songs, but I like to expose people to songs they might not have heard before.”

During the day on Monday through Friday, he airs local news, courtesy of Orleans Hub, makes local community announcements and the weather, Reese said.

He also does a couple of specialty rock shows and a 1980s-themed show for an hour each. On weekends is going to try and do some specialty shows and syndicated shows, such as CBS Mystery Theater. A program called “Legislative Gazette” airs happenings in the New York State Legislature.

Another science program is called “Big Picture Science.” On Saturdays he offers Celtic Rock.

“I try to make it as community-centered as possible,” he said.

He also has the ability to cut in with late-breaking news.

He plans to have contests. People can also request songs from the website that are in his database. He is also planning local features, as well as a local history program once a month.

His long-term goal is to put the radio station in a store front downtown and have other DJs do their own show.

His target area is all of Orleans and eastern Niagara counties.

To keep the station going, he will have to solicit advertising. People can submit community events for non-profits free of charge, but those who want to advertise can do so for $50 a month, which buys them two spots a day.

They can sign up on the Canalside Radio’s website by clicking on “advertise with us.”

“I just love Medina and Orleans County,” Reese said. “I moved away and came back with my wife from Boise and stepson Alex.”

His wife Ann is studying to be a nurse and works part-time at Medina Memorial Hospital.

“She loves the hospital and the small-town feel,” Reese said.

The radio station also has an app that can be downloaded to a phone. Go to the app “Simple Radio” and search for “The Canalside Radio.”

While Reese is optimistic the radio station will be well-received, he plans to keep his day job in Federal Transit grant management.