Radio Shalom shutting down on Friday

Radio Shalom 1650 AM, a small station serving Montreal’s Jewish community, is shutting down April 1 at 6pm, according to a post made Tuesday on the station’s Facebook page:

The station’s owner, Robert Levy, announced in December that he was unwilling to continue paying for its losses by himself, and warned that if no one else stepped up he would be forced to close it. Now it looks like he’s making good on that threat.

It’s unclear if the station will simply surrender its licence, opening up 1650 AM for another station, or if there’s still a chance someone might buy the station’s commercial religious licence and try something else with it.

The loss of Radio Shalom, which says it’s the only radio station in North America focused specifically on the Jewish community, will no doubt be felt by many others who appreciated the idea of it, even if they may not have been regular listeners.

8 thoughts on “Radio Shalom shutting down on Friday

  1. William Bockstael

    Well, if it is not supported financially by the Jewish community, the very community it serves then there´s no way around it, it has to shut down. It looks like the Jewish community did not give a hoot for the station, otherwise they would have come together and collect funds, or even better, make contributions regularly to keep alive their beloved station. I just hope my tax dollars are not used to fund religious broadcasting of any type. Maybe the Jews of Montreal did not care that much for it , after all….or are listening to Jewish radio online….by the way, in New Jersey there is a Jewish FM station and the signal can be picked up in some areas of NYC, so I doubt it is the only one in North America

  2. Irwin Block

    This station serves only part of the Jewish community, the traditional and believing part, not those who challenge precepts, look for renewal, and have conflicting views about the Israeli government. My mother loved listening to the music it featured. So, this is unfortunate, but let’s be clear, the content parameters of this station were limited.

  3. Mario D.

    I just do not think that there is a market for special interest radio in MTL. Never did listen to it myself but if it had such a specific and limited target audience it is not surprising that it did not reach enough people to generate income. There are dreamers out there who think that their view of how the community should be or think is wayyy bigger than reality.
    CRTC gives licenses to anyone willing to pay for it regardless on whether or not there is a market for it.

  4. Ileana Gehrenbeck

    There is no market for religious broadcasting in Montreal, Jewish or not, I listened to it once and felt as though I was back in 19th century Eastern Europe,living in a shtetl

    Z”L Radio Shalom

    1. Irwin Block

      The Jewish program on Sundays on CFMB was good, the broadcaster was Nachum Wilchevsky, a well known educator, and he ran a great program of Yiddish music, some hebrew, poetry, no politics. The market for Yiddish content died out. CF<B appealed to various ethnic communities, and it lasted for amany years. There were several attempts at Jewish programming on local TV speciality channels, and the result was awful – Israel right or wrong propaganda, nothing deep, very promotional. It takes guts and experience to run a Jewish radio station and expect to have an audience. Obviously these elements were missing. Leslie Lutsky does a good job on his weekly radio show. He is knowledgeable and honest and not out to sell any political lines.

  5. Dilbert

    Considering that the Jewish community is generally very supportive of it’s institutions, it’s pretty clear to see that Radio Shalom was not part of the great Jewish community and instead perhaps a niche station playing to a small part of that community. The inability for it to gain traction in the larger Jewish marketplace says a lot about it’s content and standing.

    I guess that leaves CJAD as the only Jewish radio station in Montreal now :)

  6. Beth

    Their decision to not allow recordings of women singing is just one example of how they represent only a small segment of the community. To my knowledge, only Stanley Asher played women singing Yiddish songs. I never once herad Debbie Freedman, Vocolot, Fran Avni, Ofra Haza, Nechama Carlebach, Chava Alberstein, and I could name so many more. Of course, some RAdio Shaolm people would run screaming from the room at the mention of Dana International…

  7. Neal Ford

    I’m just sorry to see yet another ration that dares to do something different going by the wayside. It would be nice, if say a deal could be struck that could keep some of the Jewish programming afloat, such as a shared time agreement with , say, Andre Joly & Daniel Poplin who have been trying to get a French language Christin station going, b At one point CKZW ( broadcasting on 1650 during Shabat. What if some partnership that benefitted both the Levy and Poplin/Joly could be worked out?


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