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Surrey Gets English Radio To Be Run By Indo-Canadians

CRTC Finally Ended The Cruel Waiting Game For The Coveted FM License Which Had Nearly Dozen Indo-Canadian Companies Applying For Some Part Of The Radio Pie!

The CRTC decision put more than a dozen companies, nearly 90 percent of them Indo-Canadian backed bids, out of their misery with them saying goodbye to the hundreds of thousands spent in hopes to securing the coveted licenses. So while the losers are sulking, they can also thank their lucky stars that they didn’t win and now don’t have to raise millions to start and operate the station and slowly lead it to profitability.

By R. Paul Dhillon

SURREY – What’s the fastest way to lose a couple of hundred grand ($150,000-$200,000 Plus), bet it on a government radio license and a lost opportunity to be a media power-broker like some local desis have tasted with their radio licenses.

That’s the scenario which came to a screeching halt this week when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) declared South Fraser Broadcasting the winner in their stakes for the right to operate an all English radio station on the FM dial.

The decision put more than a dozen companies, nearly 90 percent of them Indo-Canadian backed bids, out of their misery with them saying goodbye to the hundreds of thousands spent in hopes to securing the coveted licenses.

There are rumours that a number of the losing companies will be filing an appeal but at this point the 107.7 FM dial belongs to the Badh family of Richmond and their company South Fraser Broadcasting, which will get ready to spend big money in trying to get the new station off the ground and building a Surrey-wide listening, but more importantly, advertising base.

That will be gargantuan task as radio is not really a happening medium and has been on the decline for years, especially in the mainstream.

It’s only in the South Asian community that it has taken off due to immigrant and elderly population as not many people under 40 even listen to radio. But it’s decline in the South Asian community is also evident due to decreasing advertising revenue and listenership.

Some pundits are predicting that the radio business will be finished in five to six years as social media and other forms of internet-based media gets stronger and stronger.

So while the losers are sulking, they can also thank their lucky stars that they didn’t win and now don’t have to raise millions to start and operate the station and slowly lead it to profitability.

While there are many negatives but the new station can make it work with the right mix of programming, hype, community reach and sheer luck with hopes of the economy improving in the coming years.

But the new station, even though it is fully English with a 15-20 percent other language content, meaning the station can put some ethnic English language content, will spell trouble for the existing Punjabi FM station, which will now have to split its revenue from corporate and community advertisers.

The English-speaking Surrey-based station will have an adult-contemporary format with a strong emphasis on Surrey news, sports and weather and will include community outreach.

Station president Suki Badh thanked many for their support, including the South Surrey Chamber of Commerce, the Surrey Foundation, and Coun. Tom Gill, who came in support of the proposal.

The new station has promised to provide $100,000 each year for the development of Canadian talent, including journalism scholarships, support to the Envision Jazz Festival, Canada Day festivities and the Fusion Festival.

While CRTC rejected all other applicants, including existing South Asian stations who wanted to expand or move on the dial, it did award another smaller FM license to an innovative community format  put forward by 0971197 B.C. Ltd.

Roundhouse Radio will operate a low power, speciality FM radio station in the City of Vancouver on 98.3 FM.

Roundhouse Radio’s key objective is to be actively involved in the City and to serve the needs of citizens who live, work and play in Vancouver.

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