Radio station CHOU 1450 AM, which airs programming in Arabic, French and other languages from the Middle East, has applied to the CRTC for permission to setup a low-power rebroadcasting transmitter on FM to help alleviate reception problems in the city’s northeast.
The transmitter would operate at 104.5 FM with a power of 50 watts, from an antenna on top of the Sami Fruits building on 19e Ave., near Pie-IX and Jarry.
The station’s primary transmitter is 2,000 watts from the St-Laurent industrial park. In its submission to the CRTC, the station says it has looked at other ways to improve its signal, including increasing power with a directional antenna, but that adding another antenna to its main transmitter site isn’t a practical solution.
Montreal doesn’t have much empty space on the FM dial, so trying to squeeze in another station, even a low-power one, is bound to cause some problems.
The biggest source of problems here would be CBME-FM-1, the retransmitter of CBC Radio One at 104.7 FM in the west end. Because they’re so close together, there would be interference between the two. Because the CBC transmitter is more powerful, that interference would be closer to where the CHOU retransmitter will be located. CHOU’s broadcasting engineer mapped out the interference pattern like this:
Normally, this kind of interference would kill an application in its tracks, unless the other station agreed to accept the interference. But CHOU argues that, because CBME-FM-1 is a retransmitter designed to cover Westmount, NDG, Côte-des-Neiges and Hampstead, where the main CBC transmitter at 88.5 was apparently experiencing reception problems, people in affected areas will be listening to the station at 88.5 anyway and won’t mind not hearing the retransmitter.
We’ll see if the CBC agrees with that logic.
The CRTC is accepting comments on the proposal until Oct. 31. Comments can be submitted through the CRTC’s website here. Note that all information submitted to the CRTC, including contact information, becomes part of the public record.