The western off-island communities of Hudson, Saint-Lazare and Vaudreuil could see their first English-language local station later this fall if the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approves a technical amendment so the station can change its transmission site.
Transmission Plan B
Dufferin Communications, which has a licence to operate a 500-watt English-language music station at 106.7 FM serving the region, was originally supposed to transmit from a Bell-owned tower on Route Harwood near Rue Thomas, which would have put it right in the Hudson community. But on April 29, Bell informed Dufferin that “the tower is now at its capacity and any additions will cause overload and reinforcement will be inevitable.” It also says that the location on the tower that Dufferin had been looking at originally has now been taken by an antenna being used “for public safety purposes.”
Rather than spend as much as $100,000 to reinforce the Bell tower, $50,000 to install a tower extension, and $40,000 to install a new transmitter shelter, Dufferin decided it would seek another tower nearby. Its search led it to a Rogers-owned tower on Chemin Sainte-Angélique near Rue des Liserons, about 5.3 kilometres southwest of the Bell tower.
Because it’s much farther from Hudson than the Bell tower, Dufferin is also seeking changes to the station’s pattern to compensate. Rather than an omnidirectional antenna at 500 watts, they would operate a (slightly) directional antenna with an average of 1420W and a maximum of 2650W. (Both the approved and proposed antennas would be at a height of 95 metres.)
“In order to maintain the 70 dBu contour in the same position over the target area of Hudson/St-Lazare, and in order to compensate for some minor terrain grazing, it is necessary to increase power to 2650 watts,” its brief to the CRTC says.
The new signal keeps about the same coverage in Hudson, but significantly improves the quality of the signal toward the west (Rigaud) and a bit toward the south (Saint-Clet). The larger 54dBu contour improves in all directions (more so toward the west), but the signal’s actual reach will mainly be limited by interference from other stations. Toward the east and south, people in the West Island, Mirabel, Beauharnois and Valleyfield will likely experience interference from WIZN (The Wizard) in Burlington, Vt., which operates on the same frequency. Toward the west, people in Lachute and on the other side of the Ontario border will hear interference from CKQB-FM (106.9 The Bear) in Ottawa.
Though the new signal greatly increases the population served, Dufferin warns that it doesn’t greatly increase the number of anglophones served in that population, since anglos in the area are concentrated around Hudson and Saint-Lazare.
Ready to go
Dufferin tells the CRTC that the Rogers site “is ready made and will allow us to implement the service within weeks of approval as all our other infrastructure and equipment are in place.”
Vice-President Carmela Laurignano confirmed to me that, indeed, the station could be on the air very quickly once this technical plan is approved. She said the tower is ready, the antenna is on stand-by, and programming is ready to go.
Because it was approved only last October, it has until Oct. 19, 2014 to launch, unless it asks for an extension.
Names of on-air talent are “confidential at this point,” Laurignano said, but some of the station’s 25 or so full-time and part-time employees have already been hired.
The station, which will carry the brand “106.7 The Jewel”, part of a network of such stations in southern and eastern Ontario, will air mainly music with an easy listening format (Céline Dion, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé). Its original application said it would have live programming during peak hours, including local newscasts, but voice-tracked programming outside of those hours. Its budget would be about $750,000 a year, based off mainly local ads that would cost between $22 and $34 a minute on average.
The application can be downloaded as a .zip file here. Comments are being accepted until Sept. 16, and can be submitted online here. Remember that all information submitted, including contact information, appears on the public record. There is no timeline for a decision, but if the CRTC does not find it controversial, expect it within weeks of the deadline for comments.
So will this easy listening format be programmed here or fed stuff or directives from TO, which is often the case with all these Toronto based corporations as we all know certain artists can be more popular in certain markets and less in others…..
If not, as there’s lots of starving listeners for that format, ever since The Beat has been trying to keep up with Virgin and even 92.9 aka Star 929 has gone hits like Beat and Virgin…thus making CHOM the only real alternative..
Do they have a website set up and any email address for Miss Carmela, if anybody wants to submit some ideas from the local angle..
As I understand it, the station will have local management, but the branding and type of music has already been set by Dufferin. I suppose the answer to that question is in the details.
I wouldn’t put Dufferin in the same box as Bell, Rogers and Corus. Dufferin is a smaller, family-owned company.
Until they announce who’s running the station, you can contact Evanov Radio (which owns Dufferin) directly at email@example.com.
TYPE of music is fair how about artists..Montreal has a wealth of emerging artists that would fit perfectly in that mold, or again will it be some company suit that dictates without keeping in mind a possible local favorite but not program them at 11 pm on a Sunday night when everybody is sleeping ready to start another week..??
I’m not familiar enough with Dufferin/Evanov’s other music stations to know how much time they devote to local artists, nor would that necessarily mean that the station in Hudson won’t be different. I guess we’ll have to see.
I think the move looks pretty good for them for a number of reasons. The interference to the south should be reasonable and light, giving them a bit better coverage in the western part of the west island, and at the same time giving them much better coverage into Rigaud area and beyond up until the hit interference that direction as well.
Dufferin downplaying the audience effect because of language is a bit off I think, however, as that is a much more bilingual area of Quebec and Eastern Ontario. If the music mix is right, there is likely an audience regardless of the language of the announcers.
Overall, a very good move – and one that shows that a new transmitter location doesn’t take an extra year to work out.
It depends on the transmitter and the location. For a local FM station like this one, the antenna is relatively small and doesn’t need to be very high. This contrasts with a 50kW AM station, which can involve several very large towers.
That would be true if the towers were already built and had to be taken down and re-arranged, but from what I can gather there they didn’t have anything up yet – so the change at best would be the time it would take to get the change approved. Otherwise, it would suggest that they were not going to be on the air in time anyway.
It should also be pointed out that for them to make the submission, they have to have already done the antenna / tower layout and be comfortable that where they are going to put those towers is sound and correct. I could understand a big delay if they were taking a whole bunch of work down to start over, but since that isn’t the case, a long period of time to change frequencies and pattern seems, well…
No press release. It didn’t happen.
I’m not sure whether you’re referring to this station or the AM one. In this case, they’ve already figured everything out with the Rogers tower, so it would simply be a matter of finalizing the deal and installing the antenna and transmitter.
No, I was referring to the AM station. If they were planning to be on the air soon, wouldn’t they already have those towers built up and about ready to go? I mean, I can understand delay if they first have to take towers down and then rebuild them, but if nothing is out of the ground yet, it seems like they didn’t have the ability to make it on the air in time to start with.
I think that is evidence enough to start with. They don’t appear to be in the position to go on the air on time, plain and simple. A chance of frequency at this late date…
I know. We’ll have to wait for a press release. Speculation and observation are just not part of this at all.
The towers were built up and ready to go. They’re the same towers used for CKGM on 990.
I have this thing where I prefer the “They said it didn’t happen, so I’m willing to believe that unless I see evidence to the contrary” line of thinking over the “There’s no evidence but I have a theory therefore it must have happened” one. Stupid mainstream media indoctrination.
Have they given any information on how people could apply for one of the remaining positions?
I don’t think they’ve actually posted positions yet publicly, but if you want to be pre-emptive you can send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What ever happened to “will be launching within weeks”? Is the station ever going on air?
Within weeks of CRTC approval. The CRTC hasn’t yet approved the application, so they can’t install the antenna.