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AM Stations Have New Options


By Cris Alexander

I love AM radio. It’s been a lifelong thing for me, starting when I was a kid and AM was all we had. Then in my teen years, I got a ham license and was fascinated by amplifiers and antennas, and positively intrigued by the arrays of towers in the fields around my hometown. Once I got inside one of the stations and had a peek at the glowing tubes behind the glass in the transmitter, I was inexorably on my way to a career in broadcast engineering.

Cris Alexander

Somewhat ironically, my first jobs in radio were at FM stations. They sure didn’t want to give a kid a job on the all-important AM stations, but the FMs, which few people had receivers for anyway, were a good training ground where mistakes could be made with little consequence.

It was really close to 10 years before I did anything at an AM station, having spent those years working mostly in television, but I found I still had a love for AM — and that continues to this day.

With AM somehow part of my genome, I am especially saddened by the state of affairs at many AM stations these days. AM is the victim of progress, among other things — progress in technology and progress in the form of population growth.

I won’t take the time to discuss either of these issues and their various facets in these pages. Instead, I will focus on the options that AM stations and licensees have in today’s challenging environment.


In recent months, I have had discussions with several individuals about AM siting issues. Stations many times lose their land leases or have to sell their land for economic reasons. Landlords and station owners find that the dirt under the AM tower or towers is worth far more for another purpose than as an AM site.

Many times, this news comes with little warning, and stations don’t have a lot of time to find another site. The other side of this double-edged sword is that it isn’t easy to build a tower anymore, even out in the middle of nowhere (I have recent and excruciating experience with this!).

Tighter ASR regulations, in addition to NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) and NPA (Nationwide Programmatic Agreement) compliance, can add years to the tower approval process. Add to that the state and local environmental, zoning and land use regulations that many venues have in place, and you may find that it will take three or four years just to get all the approvals needed to build — if you can get them at all.

None of that regulatory compliance is cheap. The cost can easily exceed the cost of the tower or towers. The sad economic reality can well be that it’s just not worth it. The earnings potential of the AM station over five or 10 years may not come close to paying for development of the new site. All of that pushes AM station owners to look at other options, one of which may be shutting the station off and turning in the license.


“Collocation” is a word that has gained popularity with local regulatory bodies in recent years. I have found that some local planning bodies have the word written into policy or even codified into statute. If an applicant comes to them wanting to build an antenna support structure of any kind, their first question is whether it can be collocated on an existing site. The bar is often set fairly high for this, making collocation a much more attractive route than new construction.

Of course, these rules and policies were written mostly to address the cellular proliferation of the past 20+ years. AM (or any broadcast) use was not even a factor; but a tower is a tower, so AMs get lumped in with the rest and have the same burden of proof as to why they can’t simply hang their little antenna on the side of the 60-foot LTE monopole behind the Wal-Mart.

That being said, it’s a pretty rare thing for an AM station to be the only broadcast outlet in a town, especially in urbanized areas, and that opens up the possibility of some kind of collocation.

Fig. 1: These cabinets contain diplex filters, ATU and prematch components to allow two 15 kW AM stations to share the tower.


The easiest kind of collocation to do is with another AM station. If the tower is tall enough to present a reasonable impedance and the two stations are sufficiently far apart in frequency (>120 kHz), diplexing two AM stations together is a fairly simple matter of using pass/reject filters on each frequency. Fig. 1 shows cabinets enclosing the needed components.

Even if a tower might otherwise be considered too short for the frequency of the station to be collocated, there are things that can be done to make it work. Reactance can be resonated with shunt components to raise the impedance, and broadbanding networks can sometimes be used to produce a better VSWR bandwidth.

Until February 2016, stations didn’t often have this option. The FCC’s minimum antenna efficiency standards required in most cases for an antenna to produce at least 282 mV/m per kilowatt at 1 km. Fifty-five electrical degrees was about as short as you could go and still meet the standard.

In the FCC’s initial AM Revitalization effort, the minimum antenna efficiency standard was reduced to 215 mV/m per kilowatt at 1 km. Curve A in §73.190, Figure 8 (see reference [1] at the end of the article) only goes down to about 18 electrical degrees (0.05 wavelength), and that corresponds to about 214 mV/m, so presumably a 19-degree antenna would meet the minimum antenna efficiency standard. That really gives stations some options. The lower efficiency could be made up for with transmitter power (and electricity usage).

A station on 600 kHz could, for example, diplex with a station on 1550 kHz that uses a 90-degree (158-foot) tower and still easily meet the minimum antenna efficiency standard.

Of course, we’re talking about non-directional daytime operation here. At night, the vertical plane radiation pattern comes into play, known as the “function of theta.” Short towers are notorious “cloud burners,” radiating a lot of energy well above the horizon. A full-time non-directional AM station that moves from a quarter-wave tower to one that’s 30 or 40 degrees tall will have to reduce power at night to keep from raising the night limits of all the other stations on frequency, particularly those within a few hundred miles.

Can directional stations diplex together? Certainly, if the tower lines and spacing are right for putting the lobes and nulls in the right places. Years ago, I had a 5 kW 1290 kHz station in Portland that diplexed into all three towers of a 50 kW 1520 kHz station. The tower line and spacing were just right and it worked. That kind of thing is rare, however.

How about a non-directional AM diplexing on one tower of another station’s directional array? That’s fairly easy to do, although pass/reject filters and detuning components will be required at the unused towers for the relocated station. It’s also possible to use as a directional antenna just a few towers of another station’s array that has more than that, again provided that the tower line and spacing are right, and again with the understanding that pass/reject filters and detuning components will be required on all the unused towers.

Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Urban Fare “Stuff-The-Truck”


Vancouver, B.C. NOVEMBER 20, 2017 (Roundhouse Radio 98.3) Roundhouse Radio, in partnership with Urban Fare will be kicking off their “Stuff-The-Truck” Campaign benefiting the Greater Vancouver Foodbank Society this upcoming weekend.  Entering into the third year in partnership with Urban Fare, Roundhouse Radio will once again be collecting non-perishable food items and cash donations at various Urban Fare locations around Downtown Vancouver. In the previous two years, this campaign has seen five thousand pounds of food and a collective thirty thousand dollars in buying power donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

Beginning Saturday, November 25, 2017, Urban Fare will have Food Bank collection boxes in stores and $20 Grab-n-Go Donation Bags.  The Roundhouse Radio Street Team will be on location each weekend from 10am-5pm stuffing their loveable delivery truck “The Beast” to help feed those less fortunate this holiday season. Donate as part of the campaign and you could win a $500.00 Urban Fare Gift Certificate!


Drop off your donations at an Urban Fare location any time from November 25-December 17, 2017 or at Roundhouse Radio (714 Alexander Street in Railtown) and many thanks!

Location:             Vancouver Urban Fare Locations (various)

Date:                     November 25 – December 17, 2016 (weekends)

Time:                    10:00am – 5:00pm (Street Team on site)

November 25 & December 9, 2017                Urban Fare (Shangri-La) 1150 Alberni Street

November 26 & December 10, 2017              Urban Fare (Yaletown) 177 Davie Street

December 2 & December 16, 2017                Urban Fare (Coal Harbour) 305 Bute Street

December 3 & December 17, 2017                Urban Fare (False Creek) 1688 Salt Street


Learn more aboutView post the complete Roundhouse Radio experience at www.roundhouseradio.com
Learn more about the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society at
Learn more about Urban Fare at www.urbanfare.com

Whoa — A Radio Station Is Advertising A Baby As A Contest Prize


While most radio show call-in contests have prizes like concerts and movie screenings, one Florida station is giving away something else: The possibility of a baby.

Technically, 103.9 FM in Fort Myers, Florida — the station behind the giveaway — is advertising it as a “Win a Baby” contest. But it’s important to point out that this name is misleading: Whoever wins this contest isn’t handed a fully formed human baby child that is theirs for keeps. In actuality, the radio station will cover the costs of one round of IVF (retail value: approximately $20,000) for one couple struggling with infertility. There is no guarantee this will result in a baby. In fact, there is a 29.5 percent live-birth rate for the first cycle of IVF.

And this isn’t a giveaway to the 100th caller: In order to be considered for the prize, a couple must make a four-minute video that, according to the contest’s official rules, “will be judged on the content of the story and the compelling manner in which each video entry tells the story of the entrants and their desire for a baby as solely determined by the judges.”

More: Knowing When to Draw the Line on Fertility Treatments

The contest stems from the experience of one of the radio station’s hosts — Jason “Big Mama” Jones — who along with his wife is attempting IVF to conceive at a fertility clinic called IVFMD in Naples, Florida. According to the station’s website, “now they want to take a lucky couple on this amazing journey of in vitro fertilization.” If you want to enter, you need to be at least 21 years old and reside in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, Sarasota or Manatee counties in the Fort Myers area. Contestants must upload their videos by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 24.

While at first, this may appear to be a strange, even ethically dubious, contest, it’s actually not that far-fetched. For instance, people have been turning to other nontraditional ways of covering IVF expenses, like using crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter.

The contest shares a common trait with these fertility treatment crowdfunding campaigns: The creation and presentation of a compelling narrative to prove why they deserve to be parents. This does have the potential to become problematic, as couples in both circumstances may feel the need to prove they’re the “perfect victim” — in other words, that they’ve done everything right medically and financially, but despite that still can’t afford their dream of having children. It also excludes those who may not have the means to create a winning video.

More: Fertility Preservation Allowed This Woman to Have a Baby Post-Cancer

Along the same lines, it’s important to keep in mind that while technology surrounding assisted reproduction is always advancing, it’s still financially out of reach for many. Is giving people the option of having their IVF expenses covered by winning a radio contest really that problematic?

Again, it doesn’t solve existing inequities in the health care system or even guarantee the winning couple will walk away with a baby, but it might mean that two people who would like to be biological and genetic parents get that opportunity

Dave Wheeler Radios Without A Safety Net Sound Off Podcast


Matt Cundill

Dave Wheeler is the morning host at 92 CITI-FM in Winnipeg. Along with Rena Jae and recent addition Dave Turnbull, they continue to be one of Winnipeg’s top morning shows. I had the opportunity to work with Dave from 2006 to 2012 and really loved how he would create without a safety net: Not stopping the creative process to water down or negate an idea. Great ideas are refined and shared with the end game of making the listener laugh.

I was invited out to Dave’s newly built Safety Net Studios to catch up on life and talk about his accomplishments to date. We didn’t hold back discussing the parts of his career that wound up making news. Notably his departure from Power 97, his former co-host Phil Aubrey’s recent departure back to Power 97, and the online video incident from April 2016 – which led to the creation of Safety Net Studios.

I was invited out to Dave’s newly built Safety Net Studios to catch up on life and talk about his accomplishments to date. We didn’t hold back discussing the parts of his career that wound up making news. Notably his departure from Power 97, his former co-host Phil Aubrey’s recent departure back to Power 97, and the online video incident from April 2016 – which led to the creation of Safety Net Studios.

Yes this is a long podcast but there was a lot of catching up to do.

This episode is made possible from NLogic. bit.ly/2oLHQmQ.

Special thanks to Drew Dalby for permission on sharing the clip of how Rena Jae came to Winnipeg. That podcast is called the “Off Mic Podcast” and is now in the capable hands of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology who use it for teaching purposes. offmicpodcast.podbean.com/

New Web Radio Hits The Okanagan Boomer Public Radio


An online radio station that caters to the music of ‘pre-baby boomers’ has launched.

Allan Holender has joined forces with Boomer Public Radio to create Okanagan Valley Radio.com.

The station will play music from the 40s, 50s and 60s, as well as jazz and the blues.

An online radio station that caters to the music of ‘pre-baby boomers’ has launched.

Allan Holender has joined forces with Boomer Public Radio to create Okanagan Valley Radio.com.

The station will play music from the 40s, 50s and 60s, as well as jazz and the blues.

Veteran radio personalities will host shows throughout the weekend.

Frank Allan, a radio host from New York, will host a four-hour musical extravaganza on the weekend called “Music Beat.”

Jazz musician, John Pizzarelli, and his wife, Jessica Molaskey co-host a Jazz show called “RADIO DELUXE.”

Holender will also host his own show called “A Boomer Home Companion” that’s a mixture of conversation and classic oldies.

“I think we have some of the best on-air talent in Canada. Veteran radio personalities who host what I believe are award-winning shows,” states Holender. “Combined with the programs already on BPR. I think we’ve created the best of both worlds.”

Okanagan Valley Radio.com prides themselves on being an independent, locally owned and operated station.

Okanagan Valley Radio.com programs will air on the Boomer Public Radio Network’s live stream and podcasts will be archived on the BPR web site at www.boomerpublicradio.com.

St Catharines: Layoffs At Local Radio Station



At least five people have been let go from a St. Catharines local Bell Media radio station as part of nationwide layoffs that have impacted at least 50 jobs.

While a Bell Media spokesman would not discuss specifics, Postmedia has learned that jobs were cut from the operations of 97.7 HTZ FM based on Yates Street, including show host and music director Paulie Morris, who has been with the station for decades.

“The reductions in St. Catharines were part of a restructuring of local radio and TV at Bell Media stations across the country. I’m not going to get into the specific numbers, but I can say that like other Canadian broadcasters, we are confronting rapid change in the media marketplace including new broadcast technologies and viewing options and fast-growing international competition,” said Bell Media spokesperson Matthew Garrow.

“As the media marketplace evolves, local radio and TV stations are facing significant declines in advertising, their only source of revenue. We need to reorganize and reduce costs to manage the impact. At the same time, we do not expect any changes in local programming.”

The union representing employees at many Bell Media radio stations, although not in St. Catharines, blasted both the company and the CRTC for the layoffs.

“This latest round of layoffs isn’t just Bell Media’s penny-pinching, this one has been directly caused by the CRTC,” said Unifor media council chair Jake Moore in a news release. “We warned the CRTC that tough licensing conditions would be required if big media companies were granted five-year licences for local news. They didn’t listen.”

The layoffs will have deleterious impacts on the CTV network — which is owned by Bell Media — sports broadcasting in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal, the union said.

“The federal broadcasting regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission granted the major TV networks five-year licence renewals on May 15, 2017. Then chair Jean Pierre Blais rejected any licence conditions of “local presence” that might have guarded against cutting on-air staff,” the union release said.

“These huge media companies were allowed by the CRTC to grow big and eat up smaller companies with the expectation that they would maintain a high level of local news coverage.”

Bell Media also owns CKTB 610 AM, based out of the same Yates Street building as HTZ FM.



Calgary: Longtime Radio Co-hosts Sign Off As a Trio After Quarter Century|Buzz Bishop To Join Mornings


Louis B. Hobson Calgary Hearald

Buzz Bishop to join morning show with The Coach.

After 25 years as Calgary’s ruling radio triumvirate, Don Stevens, Joanne Johnson and Jamie (the Coach) Herbison are parting ways.

On Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. on their popular XL103 show, Don and Joanne will hang up their headphones and say goodbye, not only to their countless fans but to Coach, who will stay on as host of the new morning show. He will be joined by Buzz Bishop and Heather Prosak in a new format.

I have been providing movie reviews and industry tidbits for Don, Joanne and the Coach for 23 years, first at Lite 96 and then at XL103 and Coach promises he’ll keep a spot on the new show open for me.

It was in the buffet line at Stage West that Coach first tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I’d like to be their man at the movies. At that time, I only knew Don and Coach by their voices, but I had taught Joanne at Central Memorial High School.

I sat down recently with my three fast-friends for breakfast to chat about their careers and their time together on Calgary radio.

Don has been in the business for 55 years, or, as Joanne likes to point out, as long as she has been alive. He was 16 when he embarked on this career.

“I took a summer job at a TV station in Saskatoon. I hung out with the radio guys because they seemed like the real media gods to me,” says Don. “Instead of going back to school, I got a job at a radio station in Lloydminster and I’ve never been out of work since 1962.”

Coach began by doing sports announcing for his high school radio program in Niagara Falls.

“I’d practise at home, pretending the handle of my mom’s upright vacuum cleaner was a microphone stand. I did stints at university and college radios which got me into professional radio.”

Joanne was bitten by the radio bug while studying TV Crafts with Dave Cormack at Central Memorial.

“Dave was a real inspiration, not just for me, but for a lot of kids at Central who, on his recommendation, were accepted into SAIT’s Radio Arts Program.”

Don feels it was the dynamic that he, Joanne and Coach brought to their morning show that made it so popular for so long.

“We had completely different lives that really complemented each other. This meant we always had different things to bring to the discussion and different opinions on issue and music and artists.”

Joanne adds that each of them appealed to a different piece of their audience.

When I asked them to each pick a highlight of their 25 years together, I expected three very different memories, but I was wrong. Without hesitation, they all noted a day in 2003 when they shaved their heads for Kids Cancer.

For 24 years, Don, Joanne and Coach have headed up Golf-a-Kid to Camp which raises funds to send kids with cancer to a summer camp. Their efforts have raised $3.5 million for this charity.

“In 2003, we raised $260,000 alone for shaving our heads,” recalls Joanne. “A group of 50 women we dubbed The JoJo Sisters each put in $1,000 to kick-start that amazing campaign.

“People asked why, when I had my head shaved, I looked upward. I lost both my brother and my father to cancer which explains it all.”

Joanne says, that after 35 years in radio, it’s time to try something new. “I don’t know what that might be yet but I plan to sleep on it for a year.”

She’s off to Bali for a holiday in the immediate future.

Don plans to go to Palm Springs to golf and says he relishes the new freedom that retirement will give him.

“I won’t have to go to matinees to see movies anymore and I will actually be able to take in plays and concerts. I won’t miss getting up at 2:30 a.m.”

Not so for Coach, who will, after the big December farewell, go back to waking up Calgarians on XL103.

Joanne says she’ll be getting up at 8:55 a.m. for a while “just to check if Coach made it to the station.”

Bell Media Confirms Local Radio And TV Layoffs



Bell Media is laying off employees, including prominent on-air personalities, at radio and TV stations across Canada.

However, the company won’t say how many, who or where.

Unifor, the union representing on-air and broadcasting technicians at 17 CTV stations, estimates 50 jobs are being eliminated at Bell Media’s TV network alone in the latest round.

It says CFTO sportscasters Joe Tilley and Lance Brown, along with on-air personalities such as BNN host Michael Kane and Ottawa CTV 2 hosts Melissa Lamb and Lianne Laing, are among those affected.

The union said the cuts mean the end of local sports broadcasts as of Dec. 27 at CTV’s flagship station CFTO in Toronto, a move it claims has already been made at CTV stations in Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal.

In an email sent Monday, Bell Media spokesman Matthew Garrow confirmed a union report that a number of employees were told last week their jobs would end due to a reorganization designed in part to address declines in advertising revenue.

“Like other Canadian broadcasters, we are confronting rapid change in the media marketplace including new broadcast technologies and viewing options and fast-growing international competition,” he said.

“As the media marketplace evolves, local radio and TV stations are facing significant declines in advertising, their only source of revenue. We need to reorganize and reduce costs to manage the impact.”

Garrow said Bell is cutting its local sports presence but will continue to have sports in its local newscasts.

“With respect to sports, I can confirm that we are phasing out specific sportscasts and anchors wholly dedicated to sports as an editorial decision to transition sports coverage in response to evolving viewer behaviour,” he said.

Last January, Bell cited similar factors as it confirmed it was cutting an unspecified number of jobs at 24 of its locations across Canada.

Quality versus quantity

Howard Law, director of Unifor’s media sector, said the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, the federal broadcasting regulator, must take partial blame for the cuts because it has been issuing five-year broadcast licence renewals without imposing strong conditions to ensure quality local news continues.

“What the CRTC did not do, despite our urging, was to set regulations that enforced ‘quality’ over quantity, meaning that networks can continue to cut corners on staffing, actual news gathering, and allowing ‘talking heads’ current affairs shows to be called ‘news,”‘ he said in an email.

Bell Media is a division of BCE Inc., Canada’s largest telecommunications company. It owns 30 local television stations and 105 licensed radio stations.

Many media companies across Canada have been cutting staff to deal with increasing competition in advertising markets.

Early this year, Rogers Media moved to trim its workforce by four per cent or 200 jobs, in a bid to improve efficiency.

Newspaper chain Postmedia laid off 90 employees in January as part of a plan to cut $80 million in costs by mid-2017.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0431


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0431.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Will Corus Radio To Rebrand All AM Talkers To Global News Radio?


Corus Partners With Amazon Alexa


Global News, along with all of Corus Entertainment’s radio stations, will be among the first news “skills” to launch with Alexa.

Alexa is a voice-activated digital assistant developed by Amazon, similar to Siri on Apple’s iOS devices.

Amazon’s line of products that offer Alexa include; the Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, the Echo Plus, the Echo Spot, the Echo Show and the Echo Look.

To enable the Global News “skill,” simply say “Alexa, enable Global News.”

And after that, if you say “Alexa, ask Global News for the latest news,” Alexa will begin reading the latest headlines. You can also ask it to read the full story by saying “Alexa, read full story.”

Corus will also offer livestream skills from 30 FM stations. And Corus’ eight News Talk stations offer both live streams and flash briefings.

CTV and CBC will also be available via Alexa.

Alexa skills can assist with financial services, hobbies, interests and access to a number of services.

Amazon announces Alexa will be available in Canada in December

Newcap Kamloops NL Broadcasting Layoffs

By Tim Petruk Kamloops This Week


Four people were given their walking papers on Wednesday at a Kamloops radio station, bringing to six the number of NL Broadcasting staffers who have left the company or been laid off in recent weeks.

NL Broadcasting general manager Garth Buchko told KTW the moves were part of staffing changes that also left longtime sports director Rick “The Bear” Wile without a job last month, around the same time veteran music director Tim Tyler’s retirement was announced in an internal company email.

“We’re restructuring,” Buchko said. “It’s our news department and our sports department and Bear was part of that.”

Buchko would not say which departments were impacted by the four cuts made Wednesday. KTW has learned the employees let go were senior copy writer Chris Doherty, on-air personality Matt Bellamy and two employees in the traffic department. Doherty and Bellamy were both longtime NL employees.

NL Broadcasting — which owns Radio NL 610 AM, Country 103 and 97.5 The River — was purchased earlier this year by Newcap Radio, a Nova Scotia-based broadcasting company with 95 radio stations across Canada, including three in Vancouver and one each in Kelowna and Penticton. The sale was finalized in June.

In May, when the sale was announced, Buchko told KTW the message from Newcap to employees was one of stability.

“When Ian Lurie [chief operating officer with Newcap] was in last week, he said there’s no foreseeable changes. We have a strong, profitable business,” Buchko said at the time.

In May, Lurie told KTW he had been interested in purchasing NL Broadcasting in previous positions with Standard Radio and Astral Media.

“Newcap has always wanted to expand in B.C. . . . When we looked at the stability of the economy, growth of the university, development going on, migration of people from Vancouver finding opportunities — we love the prospects for the town and the entrenched position NL has,” he said.

While Lurie acknowledged challenges of traditional media in the age of social media, he said in May that radio has fared better than newspapers and television.

NL had been an independent broadcaster prior to the sale. The station was founded in 1970.

Buchko said he’s not sure whether the restructuring is complete or more cuts are coming.

“I can’t answer that today, because no business can answer that,” he said. “But we’re pleased with our business and pleased with the staff we have. Only time will tell.”

Wile, who was inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame in April, had been with Radio NL for nearly 39 years.

“I’m staying in Kamloops,” Wile told KTW, noting the terms of his departure from NL prevent him from discussing certain details. “I’m not retiring. I’m too young to retire. I’ll pop up some place. I’ve been doing too much around Kamloops for 40 years to just shut it down.”

Also a longtime on-air NL Broadcasting employee, Tyler retired last month after more than three decades with the company. He had been the music director at 97.5 The River and Country 103.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include information from a story in May, when the sale of NL Broadcasting to Newcap was announced.

The #Radio: Change The World A National Radio Broadcast By KIDS About Child Rights


The #Radio: Change the World
A National Radio broadcast by KIDS about Child Rights:


Ryerson’s campus radio station in collaboration with the National Campus and
Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC) and youth advocates will lead non
profit radio stations across Canada in broadcasting the voices of youth in honour
of the United Nations National Child Rights day.

“From a young age I was always told that life’s not fair, and that’s very true. But I
believe that our society could do better,” says Ella, one of the youth voices
featured in the project.

In a year where residential schooling, youth suicide and the spectre of child
poverty have dominated national news, this broadcast is an effort to let young
people speak directly and tell their own stories and opinions.

“We are grateful to community radio and the NCRA/ANREC…. for its commitment
to child rights and amplifying the voice of Canada’s children,” says Irwin Elman,
the Chair of the Canada Council of Child and Youth Advocates. “It is an important
step towards remembering that the rights that come very easily to some children
are not afforded to all.”

Dozens of youth voices will be featured, on topics ranging from education to
suicide to LGBTQ+ teen issues and more.

“I am really excited about a segment we have where young people interview the
Premier of the Yukon and also a feature on a youth choir that sings in Inuktitut,”
says Jacky Tuinstra Harrison, part of the coordinating team at CJRU 1280AM.

“This type of grassroots movement not only helps the local radio station reach its
commitment to community programming, but it has an untold value outside of radio
on the impact of the lives of youth today in Canada. We are thrilled to help bring to
light some of the challenges youth in Canada, and around the world, deal with
today.”” says Barry Rooke, Executive Director of the NCRA/ANREC

The broadcast also features a special piece of music written to remember all the
youth who died this past year. Composed by artist Karis, the song is to be
released officially on November 20 and performed lived for the Senate breakfast
on November 22

Karis is a Ryerson student and advocate who uses music to empower young women. Karis has previously written and produced the music for the Toronto Youth Day Anthem.

Help #Radio Change the World on this year’s National Child Day.

The participating community radio stations are CHMR-FM (NL), CJTR-FM (SK), CICV-FM (BC), CILU-FM (ON), CJAS-FM (QC), CJLO-FM (QC), CKDU-FM (NS), CFUR-FM (BC), CJSF-FM (BC), CKUW-FM (MB), CJUM-FM (MB), CKCU-FM (ON), CKVB-FM (NL), CHYZ-FM (QC)

Media contacts:
CJRU 1280AM: Jacky Tuinstra Harrison jacky@cjru.ca 416-904-6889
NCRA/ANREC – Barry Rooke barry@ncra.ca 613-321-1440

Ontario Association Of Broadcasters Annual Conference


FYI Music by David Farrell

More than 200 professionals attending the Ontario Association of Broadcasters annual conference and awards program at the Toronto Airport Marriott were in ebullient spirits Thursday, but the big takeaway was much the same as that headlined in last year’s events.

And that is it is time broadcasters started listening to what audiences want and stop talking about audience-engagement in an era when audiences are drifting to a broader spectrum of online news, information and music services.

Audience-engagement, or at least what broadcasters like to describe as audience-engagement, is treading on thin ice.

Last year, a panel of millennials told the Connection 2016 attendees that they wanted more variety in the music programmed, are often-times bored with the chatter, uninspired by the delivery, and annoyed by the sameness of formats found on FM dial.

This year, Jeff Vidler’s Audience Insights’ consultancy and research firm assembled a panel of tech-savvy 35 to 54-year-olds, dubbed GenX-ers.

The first point broadcasters need to ponder seriously is that after a headline of hyperbolic huffing and puffing trumpeting the arrival of the Radioplayer and the iHeartRadio apps in Canada, the exercise was a bust. Only one of eight on the panel appeared to have heard of either, whereas most are currently content using the American aggregator TuneIn app that offers users the ability to listen to streaming audio from over 100,000 radio networks and radio stations worldwide, as well as providing a menu of available podcasts and audiobooks.

Local news and information are paramount to this audience block, and the kind of hamster-wheel news cycle taken to the extreme by CNN is a tune-out. Most everyone on the panel agreed that a local emphasis on news and information is welcome, and a package of ‘what’s going on in town’ is strongly desired.

The panelists have radios in their homes, but they don’t turn them on.

The Internet is the medium they use to find information, music, entertainment, and news; some use radio-specific apps, some don’t. In the car, they listen to what they want, and if they don’t like what they hear they are gone, gone, gone.

Commercials need to be tighter, shorter, and more entertaining. National spots that sound canned and cheesy are a tune-out factor. So is increasing the volume on commercial spots.

A couple of panelists complained about hearing too many commercials. Can broadcasters find new ways to capture revenue without running the same bank of ads per hour? It’s a problem, but Internet feeds and using social media offer new means of promoting products, events and commercial campaigns.

They will listen to the hits, for a period–but they want to hear more variety and, in stride with last year’s panel, would welcome blocks of music that veer from the 24/7 playlists.

One panelist mentioned a particular broadcast network and suggested the cutbacks in staff made it sound more “generic”.

Most all agreed that a big plus for radio over Spotify is that it sounds live and entertaining, and colourful on-air personalities on the radio are a big plus.

Another enjoys listening to an a.m. game-show, and most seemed in agreement that informed talk elements add variety. In fact, variety is something all seek out.

With Spotify, Tune-In and other choices, overall listening hasn’t changed for the panelists; meaning, broadcasters are going to have to be a lot more competitive and compelling in their delivery to capture a block of time that is fragmented by increased consumer choices.

On the upside, the panelists are listening to the radio, just not so much on a radio itself.

Curiously, the CBC didn’t come up in the conversations that moderator, host and panel deviser Jeff Vidler put together; this is not to say that X-ers aren’t listening so much as that the nemesis of private broadcasters wasn’t named. And perhaps for good reason given the audience in the room Thursday morning.

A thought in having heard the reaction to the panel by other attendees, and having listened to what was said myself is that broadcasters tend to hear with only one ear; that and the fact that there are too few in radio today in positions of influence and power who are either millennials or X-ers.

Wouldn’t it be fun and even exciting to listen to an hour or two weekly where these audience demos were invited to come in and help program a station? Who knows, it could be entertaining and even audience-engaging.

David Farrell has worked at the forefront of Canadian music journalism for over 30 years, founding and editing The Record in the 1980s, before launching FYI Music News..

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