Since the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission gave approval to CHTK to flip the station from the AM band to the FM dial in the beginning of the year, many people living in Prince Rupert have wondered when this change will actually occur. Earlier this week, the Prince Rupert Northern View spoke with Astral Radio to figure out when CHTK will be heard on its new FM frequency of 99.1.
“The transmitter has to be built, then install it, and then there has to be a period of testing.” Commented Janine Kraft, who is the Radio Branch Director at Astral Radio and Television, adding that there was also another station getting a FM flip, and they were higher on the list of priorities than Prince Rupert.
According to Kraft, the new transmitter will be installed sometime in September with testing going on for thirty days after installation. Kraft said that Astral Media is expecting a tentative date of October 21, 2011.
CHTK will still be operating on the AM station for about three months after the switch to FM, when it can be heard on both the AM and FM frequency during this time. Kraft explained that this will be done to allow a smoother transition for people, as well as to ensure that in case of any interferences with the new frequency it can be easily switched back to AM while making the changes.
If everything goes as planned the old AM equipment will be taken down, as it has been deemed condemned, meaning that the tower cannot be climbed, re-lit or maintained.
Astral Media had wanted the change for quite some time, as the AM equipment was aging, and according to the general manager of Astral Media in the region, Brian Langston, the company wanted to provide a better quality of service, something that the FM band can better offer.