Way back in the dark recesses of the previous century – the 1980s, actually – UCC had a closed-circuit radio station, hard-wired from the studio to a limited number of outlets. As part of a media course that was offered at the school, the station was dismantled when the program ended.
The idea of reviving the UCC radio station kept cropping up throughout the ’90s, with a particularly strong push made mid-decade. Nothing conclusive happened, however, until the fall of 1997, when the Cariboo Student Society of the day initiated a referendum asking students if they would OK an additional fee to support the development of a new station. With an 88-percent ‘yes’ vote, the process was put into motion.
With the funding taken care of, the CSS (now TRUSU) hired a fulltime manager in February 1998. Work began securing a location – it was a battle, but we ended up with the perfect site in House 8 – planning renovations and researching used broadcast equipment. Over the next two years, the necessary gear was located and purchased or accepted by donation, then cleaned and installed. Extensive renovations of House 8 were undertaken in the summer of ’99, and after a lot of hard work done by Dave Coulter of NL/The River, Ron Wiebe of CBC and Hans Oelker, wiring the studios for broadcasting, closed-circuit operations began as Radio 8 in early 2000, using the campus cable system for signal distribution.
Application for a low-power FM licence was made to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) that summer, and our submission made it onto the agenda of the November 2000 hearing. Approval to broadcast as CFBX, at 92.5 on the FM band, was granted on February 16, and we cleared the remaining hurdles and officially hit the airwaves at 0800 on April 2, 2001. The official grand opening was held in conjunction with UCC’s Back-to-school BBQ in September 2001.
What we started with was a new, so-called “developmental licence” – limited to five watts of output but with relatively little regulation. Ours was the first campus developmental licence in Canada, the third developmental licence of any sort in the country (the first two, including one for Lillooet, BC, were of the community type), and the very first campus FM license anywhere in the BC Interior. We upgraded to a full campus license in early 2004, and received approval to increase our power to 420 watts in February of 2008.
The original Radio 8 was provided with a page linked to the CSS website in the summer of 2000. Thanks to the efforts and donated time and skills of Kirsten Grauer of Urgent Cow Productions and CFBX volunteers Julie Niven, Andrew Blackwell and Jacen Beers, the station had its first website at http://www.theX.ca – chock full of fascinating stuff and designed to provide hours of endless entertainment.
Shortly after UCC became Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in 2005, the site was upgraded to include a link that allows visitors from around the world to listen to the radio station, live on the Internet.
After a major upgrade in 2006, the website for The X was rebuilt by Andrew Sahaydak in 2017 and launched to include a number of new features, most notably our blog page.