Local radio proponent speaks out

The applicant for a new local radio station in Prince Rupert says he is disappointed and surprised that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunic-ations Commission (CRTC) decided to give Astral Media the 99.1 FM frequency over the proposed station.

The applicant for a new local radio station in Prince Rupert says he is disappointed and surprised that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunic-ations Commission (CRTC) decided to give Astral Media the 99.1 FM frequency over the proposed station.

“I thought we had a good chance of getting the service. The CRTC generally favours local radio, but I guess not in this case,” said Barry Wall, whose application included plans for classic hits and 126 hours of local programming.

“The late Ted Rogers always said ‘find a need, fill a need’. That’s what we tried to do with this was to get Prince Rupert a local station. Unfortunately we came up against one of Canada’s biggest broadcasters, who have a lot of clout…I think the CRTC let down the people of Prince Rupert. They don’t understand the dynamic in town in that the market is served by an out of town group.”

Given the role of the economy in the decision of the CRTC, Wall said plans for the station may have run their course.

“I don’t think [we’ll be carrying on]. Basically the CRTC said that the economic climate of the community doesn’t warrant a new station, Astral Media said they couldn’t make money with a second radio station so that’s not likely to change,” he said, noting that the idea may be revisited if the Prince Rupert economy grows significantly.

“There was a lot of time, thought and money that went into this station…We took a chance. It wasn’t a slam dunk by any means, but it’s like poker: You play your best hand and hope it works out.”

While thanking everyone who supported the idea and the application of the station, Wall said there was at least one positive that came from the process.

“If anything our application spurred Astral Media to do something with the AM station…It’s a small consolation that Prince Rupert will be getting a better signal and sound from Astral Media now,” he said.