CJLV can’t become an ethnic station, CRTC rules

Radio Laval (CJLV 1570AM) won’t be turning into yet another ethnic third-language radio station.

The station that has been mainly oldies music since it launched in 2003 had applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to modify its license to increase the amount of third-language programming it would be able to broadcast, from 15% to 40%. The goal was to change its format, pick up an ethnic audience and pull the station out of perpetual deficit.

But on Tuesday, the CRTC issued a decision denying the application. The denial was for two main reasons:

  1. While it agreed that CJLV was in a money-losing situation, it was unconvinced that the proposed change would rectify that, particularly because the request to change format came only months after the station changed ownership. It’s now owned by a subsidiary of Radio Humsafar.
  2. The CRTC has recently ruled that adding more ethnic stations in the Montreal area would be harmful to the five existing stations in the market. Last fall the CRTC rejected three applications for ethnic new stations, including one by Radio Humsafar, which said at the time it would run it along with CJLV.

In its application for the CJLV license change last August, which it qualified as “urgent”, owner Jasvir Singh Sandhu said he had invested “over $500,000.00” in the station over the previous year, but that he was not prepared to throw more money away. The actual cost to acquire the station was only $200,000. Financial statements submitted with the application showed revenue of $182,251 and expenses of $438,255 (about half of which was salaries, benefits and commissions).

The proposed format would have been 60% local programming, with the remaining 40% third-language programming being half Spanish and the rest split between Creole, Chinese, Portuguese and Greek.

In the application, the station said if the proposed change was not approved, shutting the station down might be their only option.

5 thoughts on “CJLV can’t become an ethnic station, CRTC rules

  1. Sheldon

    No surprise here. I think they could turn off the transmitter tomorrow and very, very few people would even notice.

  2. Goaltender Interference

    I think when I left Montreal, its listenership went down by 1/12. Still, I miss “Radio Boomer” as I drove down the Metropolitain (which was the only place I could actually receive the signal strongly enough to hear it.) I never got to listen to francophone 60s and 70s pop growing up, so I always found their playlist to be hilarious!

    Come on CRTC, smarten up! Nobody wants an AM license at the end of the dial — if they’re willing to keep it on the air, you should let them play whatever they want. Why shouldn’t Spanish listeners get an actual choice of what station they listen to? The CRTC shouldn’t be making decisions based on protecting existing stations’ monopolies.

  3. Sheldon

    I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have applied for a station targeting just one specific ethnic group in the city. CPAM 1610 AM is catering to the Haitian community; the Arabic station on 1450 kHz AM is doing the same thing for their community. However, it would be interesting to know just how these two stations are doing financially. The Haitian station has an approval to move to 1410 kHz with higher power but have not done it, I believe simply because they can’t afford it.

    Is the East Indian community in Montreal not large enough to support a station for their own community? Apparently not. I think Humsafar was including other ethnic programming in their application simply because they would broker part of their airtime to these communities to create a source of revenue for themselves in order to help generate the programming for their own specific target audience.

    I think there are so many people, many in ethnic communities, who feel that they can simply put a station on the air and it is automatically going to be supported by listeners and, more importantly, advertisers, but they soon find out that it is a business like any other and trying to keep their heads above water is much more difficult than they expected.

    Other ethnic stations are doing similar things to stay afloat

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have applied for a station targeting just one specific ethnic group in the city.

      The CRTC doesn’t like those kinds of stations for some reason. They insist that ethnic stations have programming in multiple languages and targeted toward different ethnic groups. CHOU 1450 treats various Middle Eastern ethnic groups as separate, while CJWI also targets French-speaking African groups and has some Latin American programming as part of its license.

      Personally I think the CRTC should review its ethnic broadcasting policy and allow stations to have one or two languages. I don’t think space (particularly on AM) is at such a premium that everyone couldn’t be accommodated.

  4. Pingback: CRTC approves two new ethnic radio stations in Montreal serving south Asian community | Fagstein

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