Evanov Radio hasn’t launched its first radio station in Quebec, but it’s already working on its third.
Earlier today, staff at CFMB 1280 AM were informed that the station has been sold to the Toronto-based company. The sale, for $1.125 million, has to be approved by the CRTC, for which an application was filed last Friday.
I have more details about the acquisition in this story for the Montreal Gazette, which appears in Wednesday’s paper, and this story at Cartt.ca, which gives a more national perspective about Evanov.
The sale ends a 52-year run for CFMB under the ownership of founder Casimir Stanczykowski and his family. After his death in a car accident in 1981, it was up to his widow Anne-Marie and son Stefan to manage it with business partner and minority owner Andrew Mielewczyk.
But Mielewczyk and Anne-Marie Stanczykowski are well past ready to retire, and Stefan Stanczykowski is a lawyer who wants to return to that practice. Though he describes the decision to sell as bittersweet, and it was originally turned down a couple of years ago, he said he believes it’s the best decision for the future of the station.
For its part, Evanov doesn’t plan any cuts among the station’s staff of about 50. The vision is to eventually move the station’s offices and studios to co-locate with Radio Fierté on Papineau Ave. downtown. And there could be shared programming with Evanov’s other multilingual stations, CIAO 530 in Toronto and CKJS 810 in Winnipeg (the latter was also founded by Casimir Stanczykowski, but later sold to Newcap, who sold it to Evanov).
Radio Fierté 980 AM and another station, The Jewel 106.7 (CHSV-FM) in Hudson/St-Lazare, are in on-air testing and set to launch once that’s complete, officially before Christmas but with major announcements in the new year. Both will employ about 20 people.
If approved by the CRTC, CFMB would become the 18th radio station in the Evanov group, of which 14 stations (15 including this one) were launched or acquired in the past 10 years.
I wrote more about CFMB in a feature story that appeared in 2012 for its 50th anniversary.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified the frequency of CIAO AM in Toronto. It’s 530, not 540.
Wish the the best if the sale is approved. I wonder if in the future they would add languages of the many First Nations living in montreal.
Probably not, unless people step forward and propose (and can commit to creating) programming in those languages. And one would think those people would be heading toward K103 or CKHQ before going to CFMB.
Sadly, even the Native community station, K-103 in Kahnawake, only offers very limited programming in their own Native language. There is little music content on the station, even though there are hundreds, if not thousands of Native artists in Canada and the U.S. who are out there struggling to get their music played anywhere. If Native stations like K-103 choose to basically ignore all of that music that is being put out there, then I doubt that anyone is going to come forward to do so on CFMB. It would be great if they did though. As for programming in the Mohawk tongue, known as Kanien’kéha, statistics show that currently it is spoken by around 3,000 people of the Mohawk nation in the United States (mainly western and northern New York) and Canada (southern Ontario and Quebec). There are groups, particularly in Kahnawake, who are teaching the Native language, but fewer and fewer people are learning it. K-103 used to carry Mohawk language lessons on the air, but those were dropped a number of years ago also.
Stations like CKON in Akwasasne and the Kahnesetake FM station are doing programming in Mohawk, but the most easily heard Mohawk community station in our region, K-103, in my opinion, tries to sound more like a Montreal based pop music station, at least in their music programming. Other than the weekly 1-hour Partyline Talk Show, the historical “We are the Iroquois” daily vignettes, and community announcements, I feel that the station is missing the opportunity to expose not only their community listeners, but non-Native listeners off the reserve, to the cultures, traditions, history, music and language of the Mohawk/Iroquois nation.
So, if it’s not being done on the major Native community station, I have my doubts that anyone will try to do it on CFMB, but it would be an excellent initiative if someone did.
The real issue is there’s no “first nations” language. Someone speaks Mohawk or Sioux or Syilx or some other specific language, or they speak a European language.
Even for those who speak a traditional language, they aren’t likely to know some other language. There are similar dialects between adjacent people, but move far enough and the language won’t have much in common. And that’s assuming someone speaks a traditional language. Many of the languages are nearly extinct, the result of maybe a relatively small number of speakers to begin with (all those specific dialects and languages may never have had a lot of speakers), then the disease that meant by the time of immigrants there were a lot less indians, and then all the time when effort was made to erase the languages.
Some, Navajo and Sioux, are relatively healthy because the number of speakers is large enough to sustain the language.
In other cases, lots of effort has been made in the last for forty years to reverse the tide. The Mohawk language programming on the Kanawake radio station is part of that deliberate action. Some kids recited Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream Speech” in one Salish dialect for Youtube this year. Robert Munsch has given permission for his children’s books to be translated into the various traditional languages.
So even if a radio station did broadcast in a traditional language, they’d have to decide who they wanted to reach and use that language. An urban setting is more likely to be a mix of people.
Perhaps the solution might not just to have a program in the Native language, but a Native produced program that includes some Native language but, at the same time using the time to speak to the public at large to educate them about the traditions, history, culture, music, etc. of the Native communities that we have living around us. Knowing that the Mohawk people of Kahnawake don’t just sell cigarettes from shacks along the 132 and the 138, and operate bingo and poker palaces on their territory, would go a long way to better understanding these people, the challenges they face, and how some of them struggle to hold on to their culture and traditions. Shouldn’t that be a major part of what stations like K-103 should be doing? Remember Aboriginal Voices Radio? They have a network of radio stations across the country. They had an outlet in Montreal that disappeared several years ago. This was a great idea in principle, but the whole network never really came close to meeting its goals and fully understanding its potential. I was amazed that when the station in Montreal existed, many of the people in Kahnawake told me that they didn’t even know about the existence of the station. It spent most of its time playing canned music programming and, at least on the Montreal outlet, had nothing in the way of programming for the Montreal area Native communities.
At least APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network does much more and it is available on the majority of cable and satellite TV services.
There are several ethnic radio stations in the Montreal region. They, and perhaps the university radio stations, might also be interested in carrying Native created, presented and produced programming. It just takes people who want to do it.
As far as I know only CKUT 90.3 airs a news program targeting the city’s native community on Tuesdays at 6pm