The West Island could get its first radio station since the days of CFOX.
Well, not exactly.
Christian Hit Radio, which owns Ottawa’s CHRI 99.1 FM, has applied to the CRTC for a small transmitter at Lakeside Heights Baptist Church in the heart of Pointe-Claire.
The 51-watt transmitter (the lowest power that can be used on a protected frequency) at 90.7 FM would rebroadcast CHRI’s programming entirely and have no original programming, operating similarly to existing retransmitters in Pembroke and Cornwall, Ont.
In its application, posted Tuesday by the commission, CHR mentions the recent sale of WYUL 94.7 to Christian broadcaster EMF, and says “although CHRI-FM welcomes the abundance and diversity of Christian content, in order to have this diversity we need to have at least more than one station broadcasting this content in a given region.”
With an antenna on the cross above the church, the signal would cover much of Pointe-Claire, and parts of Dorval, Beaconsfield, Kirkland and Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
Its coverage beyond that would be severely limited by two factors: having to protect second-adjacent channel CKUT-FM 90.3 (which has given its approval for this project provided any interference issues are dealt with) and another lowish-power transmitter, CJPB-FM, on the same frequency less than 15 kilometres away in St-Laurent. CJPB-FM, a community radio station, was approved in 2016.
CHR says it considered other possibilities for a transmitter, including on AM and at 88.1 MHz, the channel formerly used by a tourist information station at Trudeau airport in Dorval.
“We have also looked at the possibility of AM transmission but it is very difficult to install an AM operation in Pointe-Claire and considering an AM operation from the south shore to reach this area is prohibitive,” CHR writes in the application. “We have also considered HD Radio but we consider that the technology is not mature and promoted enough in Canada.”
The 88.1 plan was seriously considered, but eventually ditched because they could not get approval from CBC, which has a Radio One station at 88.5.
The CRTC application is accepting comments for the next month. You can file comments at crtc.gc.ca, under Open Part 1 Applications.