New recording and art studio, online radio station to nurture talent in Niagara

For all Mark King and Hawk Gurdal know, the next Justin Bieber or Bryan Adams might be waiting to be discovered in Niagara. If so, then the duo and their team of volunteers may be the ones to discover Canada’s next pop or rock star with the launch of the new studio and internet radio station in Chippawa.

Called 295 Studios, the company’s name is a nod to the single telephone exchange in Chippawa for years. King said the newly opened studio will be a gathering place for members and friends for rehearsals, and where young, raw new talent can jam and record songs with big names in local music, who volunteer and share their wisdom. Proceeds from the sale of the recordings will help local non-profit groups as well as the artist.

Located next to the art studio is the broadcast studio or control room, with a broadcast table formerly used by a local FM station 91.7 GIANT FM, which will soon go live 24 hours a day on a new station of Internet radio at www.northerntributesradio.ca. King said the slogan would be “Where Canadiana Lives”.

Gurdal said the radio station will promote not only Canadian music, but also artists, history and culture.

New talent will also be featured on the radio station, with recordings from up-and-coming musicians jamming with the volunteer veteran artists. There will also be interviews and reviews of various artists and Canadian culture.

“There’s a lot of talent in Niagara that never had a chance, but now they will have a chance,” King said.

“Some 17- and 18-year-olds will come and play with walls of fame and they’ll realize their dreams of recording and performing before they even graduate from high school.”

Local artists and photographers will also be featured in a mural gallery running from the ground floor of the Lions Club building to the studio upstairs. An open house was held on October 2 featuring local icons such as T-bone Little, Doug Roy, Max Hillier and Second Heaven.

King said it took thousands of volunteer hours to bring the project, four years in the making, to where it is now. Gurdal said he hopes the radio station, which is currently gearing up for beta testing, will be ready to go live within the next two months.

“Sometime before the new year, we want to broadcast around the world,” King said. “We can make a difference for newcomers locally and in the rest of Canada. Sitting here in the heart of Chippawa, we will broadcast from the village to the world.

“It’s been a phenomenal feeling for sure and the response has been incredible,” King said. “We have a very big team and we are expecting very big things.”

Gurdal and King said Niagara students will be able to earn their mandatory volunteer hours by helping out at the new nonprofit, and co-op students could do internships there.

UPDATE – Oct. 18, 2021: This article has been updated from a previously posted version to clarify which local station they got the radio card from.

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