Tuesday, June 3, 2008

CJNU and the CRTC

Three months ago, on March 2, 2008, I wrote a post about my favourite radio station - CJNU. They are currently broadcasting on behalf of "Habitat for Humanity", but they are also facing the possibility of loosing their spot on the FM radio dial within the next six months or so.

The CRTC is meeting in Winnipeg Tuesday and Wednesday (June 3 and 4) at The Fort Garry Hotel, to hear licencing applications on behalf of four groups. There are only two viable spots left on the FM dial (104.7FM and 106.3FM). 104.7FM is the one that is used 28 days/month by CJNU. As this is not a full time or full power station it could loose the position to one of the applications. CJNU has filed an intervention and also plans to present its position at the hearing on Tuesday afternoon. The hearings are open to the public. You can view the intervention document by going to; http://www.cjnu.ca/ and clicking on the CRTC.PDF file.

Some may well ask why CJNU did not file for one of the full time licenses. Well as long time listeners of nostalgia radio well remember, a previous incarnation (CKVN)of the station did file and was granted a license in 2002. More than 100 listeners (including myself) attended the hearings. Well over 2,000 of us loyal listeners wrote letters of support on behalf of the station in the months leading up to the hearings. The new station was known as CHNR and went on air full time late that year, but was unable to make a full time go of it and eventually ended up selling the station to a larger company that changed the format.

That was a very sad day for the many longtime fans. A year or so later the seeds were planted for the creation of a co-operative owned nostalgia station. This station hit the air about 18 months ago and has been on the air at 104.7FM for the 28days/month format ever since - with sponsors lined up into 2009.

By the time the co-op learned that the CRTC was calling for applications, they didn't feel they had time to take it to the general membership and put together a solid proposal. Also several members were justifiably skittish about going through the process again. We love our nostalgia but - once bitten, twice shy.

Saturday's Winnipeg Free Press featured an excellent article by columnist Morley Walker, called; "Just give 'em their Benny Goodman...they don't want trouble".
You can find the article at; http://www.cjnu.ca/ Mr. Walker makes a great point in that 20% of the population of this city that are considered to be seniors, but that for the most part are rather set in their ways and therefor not advertised friendly. He also points out a possible solution:

"The CRTC has set aside Wednesday for another matter. It has called on the carpet the principals of 107.9 FM, the hip-hop playing educational station Flava-FM, who are accused of several misdemeanours. Licensed in 2004, they haven't been on the air since last year.

A solution that has occurred to several people is for the CRTC to allot 107.9 to one of the new applicants, or perhaps even to CJNU."

For the record, I am 50 and started listening to nostalgia in my late 30's when the format first hit the city. I fell in love with this music and would be heartbroken to loose this station. Yes, I have many Cd's and a lot of music on my PC and mp3 player, but I love hearing the announcers talk about the artists, hearing the tidbits of history and trivia about the artists and the times. There is no where else that I can hear such variety and consistently be introduced to old classics that are new to me. My musical tastes have been greatly expanded and truly enriched by this little station of 45 watts and its rotating cast of dedicated announcers, technicians and volunteers. As someone who is legally blind, I love listening to radio classics which are often referred to as "theater for the mind"!

The youngest announcer, Scott Best is only 18 but he knows his nostalgia music and he is just one of the many talented voices of the station. Most of the fan base may be old enough to be his grandparents but there is a definite revival of the older music thanks to the talents of crooner, Michael Bublé, Rod Stewart's collections songs from the American Songbook and other talented artists. This station fills a niche in the radio market in Winnipeg. We aren't asking for a lot, just give us our Nostalgia Radio....PLEASE!!!


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