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Erin Radio station to stay at 101.5FM

by Chris Daponte

ERIN

In light of a recent CRTC decision to deny four  applications for new Guelph FM radio stations, it appears Erin Radio will stay put at 101.5FM - at least for now.

“It’s status quo for us. We don’t have to do anything,” said Jay Mowat, chairman of Erin Radio’s programming com­mittee.

“I’m happy about that - it’s mostly good news for us.”

Blackburn Radio, the Guelph Broadcasting Corpora­tion, and Frank Torres, on behalf of SkyWords Media, had all applied for licences on 101.5, the only remaining FM frequency available in the Guelph area.

However, on Jan. 23, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommun-ications Commission denied all three applications, as well as a fourth to convert current Guelph AM station CJOY to the FM band.

In its ruling, the CRTC stated, “Based on its general concerns regarding small market radio stations ... and given the current economic slowdown, the commission is not convinced that the Guelph radio market could support the introduction of new commercial radio services at this time.”

And while Mowat is pleas­ed Erin Radio will remain at 101.5FM, he also acknowledges the 50-watt station is now on its own to finance a frequency change and power increase.

The prospective Guelph stations had all agreed whichever company won the 101.5 frequency would also cover Erin Radio’s costs to move to 88.1FM, including a new an­tenna, engineering documents and incidental costs like new signs and advertising.

The new owner of 101.5 FM was also to help Erin Radio in its application to become a protected frequency, which means increasing its power so it is not faced with the same situation again in the future. Stations that broadcast at 51 watts and higher are considered protected.

“Obviously, that’s all lost now,” Mowat said.

Personally, he would like to proceed with a power increase as soon as possible, although he noted others on the board of directors may have different  priorities.

But even if Mowat can get the executive to back him, increasing the station’s power will not be cheap.

He explained a preliminary engineer’s report will cost at least $5,000, though nothing is guaranteed. After the report is completed the station would then apply for a frequency change, as it can not increase its power at 101.5.

Then the station would likely have to find a new antenna location and purchase a new transmitter and antenna.

Given all the foreseen costs, Mowat said he would like to re-launch a fundraising campaign that was put on hold last fall when the Guelph companies applied for the 101.5FM frequency.

Erin Radio’s board of directors was expected to meet this week to discuss its options.

 

Vol 42 Issue 05

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Wellington County

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