First Peoples Radio, the not-for-profit operating 95.7 ELMNT FM (CFPO-FM) Ottawa and 106.5 ELMNT FM (CFPT-FM) Toronto, has made layoffs citing significant challenges compounded by the pandemic.
Among those caught up in the layoffs are 106.5 ELMNT morning show team Mark Strong and Jemeni, who were picked up by ELMNT FM in January, following their release from the former G98.7 (CKFG-FM), in addition to Wake Up, Ottawa hosts Jay Herrington and Aiden Wolf. Toronto midday host Al Lewis and Toronto station manager Andrew Johnson are also casualties. The ELMNT stations will move forward with “minimal” announcer intervention, according to statement released Friday.
Matthew Bisson will now oversee both stations and host an abbreviated morning show from 8 – 10 a.m., while Patrick LeGrow will continue to host afternoon drive from 3 – 6 p.m., and Cody Coyote will continue on evenings from 8 – 11 p.m., with those shows now airing in both markets.
Julian Taylor’s Jukebox will continue to air on both stations, but Taylor will now be independent. The stations will also continue to broadcast Indigenous Music Countdown, Block Party, and Indigenous Language Programming.
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First Peoples Radio launched the ELMNT FM stations in October 2018, which operate under the guise of independent holding company, Dadan Sivunivut, established by APTN’s Board of Directors in late 2019 to oversee its subsidiaries. Former APTN CEO Jean La Rose serves as Dadan Sivunivut’s president.
Dedicated to promoting Indigenous artists, 30% of the stations’ playlist is made up of First Nations, Inuit and Metis performers, in addition to airing Indigenous language content, news, and spoken word programming.
First Peoples Radio says the layoffs are indicative of “drastic measures” it’s been forced to take to ensure the company’s survival.
“This was not an easy decision. A robust, fulfilled workforce is key to the success of an organization such as ours,” the organization said in its statement. “Since its launch in 2018, the company has faced significant challenges in penetrating very busy markets such as Ottawa and Toronto. However, the biggest was undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic. It greatly affected the stations’ ability to promote its content at public gatherings and through various means given the periods of lockdowns and restrictions. It also brought many sectors of the economy to a standstill, limiting the stations’ ability to sell advertising and, in turn, generate revenue.”
“The stations also struggled with an audience measurement system that does not fairly measure the participation of a diverse audience, specifically Indigenous, Black and People of Colour,” it continued.
Well, it is official.
As of today I have parted ways with ELMNT FM.
Very much an amicable split, and one that beckons hope of new experiences on the horizon.
The past 4 years have been nothing short of amazing and humbling.
I take with me some of the most fantastic memories of
— Dark Corner Studios (@DarkCornerYT) October 13, 2022
First Peoples says the stations will shift to a more music-driven format to respond, in part, to audience requests for more music and less talk.
“Though we may now be a smaller team, we remain dedicated to promoting Indigenous music, stories, voices, and languages.”
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