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July 27, 2022 11:33 am  #1


CRTC: No Room For A New Commercial Station In Newmarket, But...

It's taken a while but the CRTC has determined what I think most of us suspected - there's no room in the (New)Market for another station. So Frank Torres' application for a new commercial radio outlet, first covered here last November, is denied. 

But there's a huge "but" in this denial and it's intriguing. Turns out while the Commission is ruling out allowing a for-profit station in the city, they're not ruling out a community outlet there. Which brings us to CHOP-FM, a low power entity that operates out of Pickering College. It made an application for a stronger signal out of the school and THAT the Commission is willing to consider. 

CHOP argues that since a campus station wouldn't solicit anything more than a tiny amount of advertising (if any at all) it wouldn't roil an already crowded GTA market. 

Needless to say, there was immediate opposition to the idea from Evanov, which operates CKDX (aka Lite 88.5), the only commercial station currently licenced to Newmarket. 

"It argued that the Toronto radio market has been experiencing a steady decline in revenues that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and that there is no indication that the market will recover even once the pandemic ends.

"Evanov pointed out that its station CKDX-FM faces stiff competition from Toronto radio stations whose signal extends to Newmarket. Evanov expressed the view that even the proposed community station would compete with CKDX-FM for the dwindling share of advertising revenue in Newmarket.

"Evanov also claimed that converting Pickering College Campus Radio’s campus station into a community station would undermine the integrity of the Commission’s licensing process."


But the argument didn't wash with the CRTC and now they're going to hold a hearing into possibly boosting the power and licensing CHOP as a semi-new more powerful station in the area. 

But where are they going to put it? They currently occupy 102.7, which is also the same frequency where two other GTA-area stations currently reside - CJRK-FM, an ethnic station in Scarborough and CJFB-FM in Bolton, a 1,000-watt commercial outlet known as The Moose. 

This one will be fascinating to watch, if only because 102.7 has to be the most overcrowded frequency anywhere in Canada. Three stations within a figurative few miles of each other on the same spot on the FM dial? What could go wrong? 

The date for a possible hearing on the CHOP application will be announced in the near future. 

CRTC Newmarket Decision

You can find out more about CHOP-FM here, but its website notes it's already unique in all the country. "Pickering College is the only JK-Grade 12 school in Canada with a CRTC-licensed radio station." 

And the school itself has a remarkable radio history. The station's equipment and funding were donated by the Waters family, the former owners of the CHUM empire. And it boasts that former student Ted Rogers Sr., who started CFRB and whose son became the owner of Rogers Communications, made his first Morse Code broadcast from Pickering College back in 1921.

The video below is narrated by a voice familiar to many here - the veteran Ted Yates.