I am writing on behalf of the Board of the Prince Edward County Radio Corporation (CountyFM) to provide you with an update on our progress since the Annual General Meeting in January.
The last 3 months are perhaps best summarized by the adage “the wheels of justice grind slowly, but finely”.
The CRTC hearing on our license application, which had been scheduled for March 20th, was postponed because of a concern raised by Industry Canada about “frequency congestion”.
While the CRTC issues radio broadcast licenses, Industry Canada is the regulator responsible for approving frequencies. In simple terms, frequency congestion means too many stations trying to broadcast on the same frequency.
We have been in active communication with Industry Canada for the last month working to resolve this issue and recently they proposed a solution which would resolve their concern by having CountyFM broadcast on a frequency different than the one we initially applied for. Last week the CountyFM Board agreed to move forward with the Industry Canada proposal and we have asked our broadcast engineer to do the technical work required to finalize the new frequency.
Once our amended application is submitted in the next month or so, the CRTC is expected to reschedule the hearing to approve our application. It is worth noting that there no comments filed in opposition to our application, so it is likely that the CRTC will once again opt for an expedited “no appearance” hearing.
The Board is taking advantage of the delay we have experienced to work on a thorough implementation plan so that we will be also set to go as soon as the license application is approved. At this point in time, the primary focus of our planning is on technical areas (what studio and radio equipment will be required, and in what order) and fundraising (how much money will be required and how we will raise it). Detailed program planning to determine exactly which programs will get scheduled will take place closer to actually going on the air.
Recent applications from other community radio stations have taken between 9 and 16 months for approval by the CRTC. Right now, we are at the 10 month mark, so the time which our application is taking is not out of the ordinary by CRTC standards. Although the delay seems long, in fairness the CRTC also has much larger issues to consider such as Bell’s proposed multi-billion dollar takeover of Astral Media which could change the face of Canadian broadcasting.
In conclusion, we would like to thank you for your patience and continuing support as we work to complete the regulator process required to get CountyFM on the air!
On behalf of the Board,
Chair, Board of Directors
Prince Edward County Radio Corporation (CountyFM)