In its last day of decisions for 2015, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has approved a plan proposed by Torres Media’s CIDG-FM (Dawg FM) to pay a community station more than $150,000 to swap frequencies.
The plan, which I told you about in May, goes as follows:
- CHIP-FM, a community radio station based in Fort Coulonge, Quebec, about 90km northwest of Gatineau, changes frequency from 101.7 to 101.9 MHz
- CIDG-FM, a commercial station based in Ottawa, changes from 101.9 to 101.7, and because the new frequency has fewer restrictions on it, the station can increase its power from 5,500W to 19,500W.
- Torres Media, which owns CIDG-FM, pays Pontiac Community Radio, owner of CHIP-FM. The amount isn’t disclosed in the application or decision, but a financial projection included in the application shows it’s at least six figures. It includes Torres Media taking care of all the expenses related to the application itself and the change in frequency for CHIP-FM.
As a result of the change, which also comes with a new transmitter site, Dawg FM would improve its signal considerably toward the southwest, areas like Nepean and Stittsville. The signal still wouldn’t be as good as the older FMs that have unrestricted allocations, but it would be able to fight on a slightly more even level.
Dawg FM, which broadcasts a blues/rock format and launched in 2011, has a 0.5% share among anglophones and 0.2% among francophones in the latest Numeris ratings.
With CIDG-FM moving to 101.7, Does this mean a Low-power FM station could be squeezed in on 102.1 between it and CBOX-FM 102.5?
Maybe (you’d need to do an interference analysis to be sure), but since it’s a second-adjacent frequency, if it’s in the primary contour of both stations it would need permission from both.
Will the new CIDG 101.7 change format when they change frequency and increase format? They applied to drop a bit of category 3 music which involves jazz and blues. Do you think they will change to mainstream rock or active rock to boost ratings? They should do it to fill the void that 106.9 CKQB left after they changed to top 40 hits.
This is strictly a technical change. Programming changes are up to the station within the limits of its licence conditions. But there isn’t really a relation between the two, unless the station decides to make a rebranding coincide with the improved signal.