Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
April 23, 2024
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January 30, 2024
Volume 194 No. 5

Board Shuffle

Legendary County FM Board Chair J.J. Johnston steps down.
<p>County FM General Manager Craig Mills. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
County FM General Manager Craig Mills. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

County radio will never be the same. Chair of the Board JJ Johnston is reducing his profile at County FM.

The founder assures the many members of the community radio station and its listeners that he isn’t going anywhere far.

“This station means so much to so many, including me — but it’s time for fresh blood at the top. Rest assured, though, I’m staying in the pocket and I’ll still be doing a lot of the stuff I’m doing now,” said Mr. Johnston.

A County native, Mr. Johnston’s legacy in Canadian radio is legendary. He’s been part of award-winning and top-rated radio stations in major markets across the country. Returning to his stomping grounds and settling into semi-retired life, he’s been County FM’s Mr. Everything, from a morning host, to program director and chair of the volunteer board.

That will change later this year. Mr. Johnston was appointed an at-large Director of the Board at the station’s AGM, held at the Wellington Legion last Thursday, and will serve as interim Chair while a succession plan is put in place.

“We still need JJ and he’s going to stay as long as it takes to figure out who will be able to replace him,” said Vice-Chair Shelagh Hurley.


County FM elected three new directors to its volunteer board. Re-elected for two year terms were Ken Murray, Ms. Hurley, and Christine Winiarz Searle. Joining the Board for first time were Nancy Griffin, Geoff Craig and Mary Ann Farrell.

That group joins Mike Harper, Phil Knox, Mark Despault, Lynn Pickering, and Astrid Young, each of whom have a year remaining on their term.

In his annual report, County FM General Manager Craig Mills reflected on the station that boasts over 60 unique programs every week.

Over the past year, the station has improved its news gathering and delivery systems and has benefitted from Canada’s Community Journalism Initiative.

From an operations standpoint, County FM right-sized its emergency generator to ensure the radio can offer essential service during power outages. Mr. Mills pointed out that Wellington Dukes broadcasts are definitely an essential service.

The informative current affairs program The Grapevine continues to be the catalyst for the station’s popularity. County FM also brought the plight of the community’s hidden homeless to light with its “Voices from the Shadows: Homelessness in a Rural Community” multi-episode series broadcast in 2023.

“We continue to try and reflect and serve our incredibly diverse community,” Mr. Mills said.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 5 edition of The Picton Gazette
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