The radio picture in the East Kootenay could fundamentally change in the near future, as two companies await word on their applications to open a new radio station in Cranbrook.
Both Clear Sky Radio, based out of Lethbridge, and Newcap, based out of Nova Scotia, have applied to operate a commercial FM radio station in Cranbrook. Clear Sky Radio Inc., an independent broadcasting company, operates stations in Lethbridge (CJOC-FM) and Medicine Hat (CJCY-FM). Newcap holds 88 broadcasting licenses in Canada.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to potentially serve Cranbrook, Kimberley and the entire East Kootenay region with a new FM radio station,” Clear Sky President Paul Larsen said. “Our company knows the area extremely well and we’ve heard loud and clear from local citizens their desire for an additional radio service.
“If we are fortunate enough to win this licence, we will bring to town a radio station with the highest professional standards that local citizens will be proud to associate with.”
Clear Sky has proposed a main signal at 107.5 FM to serve Cranbrook and Kimberley, and is also proposing local repeaters of the station at 107.9 FM in Fernie, 107.1 FM in Sparwood/Elkford and 107.7 FM in Invermere to rebroadcast programming from the Cranbrook station.
Newcap has proposed to add an FM transmitter in Fernie to rebroadcast Cranbrook programming.
Larsen said Clear Sky identified Cranbrook and the East Kootenay region as an ideal regional expansion market several years ago and applied for the station in September, 2011.
The CRTC, which regulates Canadian broadcasting, issued a call for applications on June 21, 2013.
Larsen said the application is currently in the ‘public comment’ phase of the process which closes 3 p.m., local time, on Friday, November 29. “There will be a public hearing in Vancouver the week of January 27, 2014, and we should have a decision from the CRTC by the end of May 2014.”
Clear Sky has a website up and running that details the application, allows the public to submit comments and support and even to listen live to a sample of the music the station would play. The website is www.summit107.com.
Larsen said if the application is successful, Clear Sky will open a local office/studio and create at least 12 new local jobs.
Other details about Clear Sky and Summit107:
• Adult contemporary/pop will be the music format.
• 5.5 hours of news content weekly is proposed, with newscasts 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 7 a.m. to noon on weekends.
• Clear Sky is proposing to implement a public warning system for the region “whereby authorized federal and provincial agencies could take over our airwaves with emergency messages in the rare event a natural disaster has an immediate threat on the communities.”
• Clear Sky would invest $210,000 in cash to develop Canadian talent. “Much of these funds will be spent locally with support to organizations such as the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival, the Symphony of the Kootenays, the local School District to purchase music instruments and more.”
As of press time, representatives of Newcap were not available for comment.
The current radio stations, The Drive and B-104, are owned and operated by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.