Latest NewsAM dump by broadcasters 'tantamount to euthanasia,' says CINA Radio Group founder

AM dump by broadcasters ‘tantamount to euthanasia,’ says CINA Radio Group founder

The AM band is being prematurely abandoned by big broadcasters, says CINA Radio Group founder Neeti P. Ray, who is seeking approval to buy Bell Media’s AM stations in Windsor and Hamilton.

Ray, who operates South Asian news, talk and music station, CINA 1650 AM Mississauga, FLOW 98.7 (CKFG-FM) Toronto, and multi-ethnic stations CINA-FM Windsor and CKIN-FM Montréal, has entered into an agreement to purchase CHAM and CKOC Hamilton and CKWW Windsor.

Set to appear before a Feb. 8 CRTC hearing, Ray believes AM still has an audience to be served by smaller broadcasters.

“I’ve been in the AM business for many decades and I believe that the big companies like Bell cannot do what a small broadcaster like myself can – focus on AM and maximize use of the AM frequency,” Ray told Broadcast Dialogue. “AM has many alternatives to make it viable…my main concern is the manner in which AM is being dumped by broadcasters. It is tantamount to AM euthanasia.”

Image Credit: Alamy

Ray believes the AM band is being prematurely written off as unviable. He’s seeking to operate the Bell Media stations in question under their current conditions of licence.

“I believe AM still has some life left in it. There is no point in causing it to die sooner than it has to, whether it’s going to be 10 years or much longer…we don’t know, but AM is a very valuable frequency and I believe that I, or somebody like myself, could help resurrect these stations,” said Ray. “If I don’t buy these stations, it’s possible they likely would have gone off air, so instead of a premature demise, I believe these stations still have listenership and we will do what we can to serve them.”

CHAM-AM Hamilton is currently branded as Funny 820, CKOC-AM Hamilton as BNN Bloomberg Radio 1150, and CKWW-AM Windsor as oldies station, Motor City Favourites. Bell Media shuttered six other stations this year, with Dufferin Communications’ CKPC Brantford and Rogers Sports & Media’s 1310 CIWW Ottawa, among other AMs that went dark.

“The effort it takes to make an entity like AM viable, it needs that motivation and the belief that it still will be able to serve audiences. I believe that it will not be very motivating for a large broadcaster to spend much investment in AM. They have simply given up. AM can still broadcast Classic Country or Oldies, it can still carry news,” Ray continued. “820 was previously doing fairly well when it was Country quite a few years ago. Truck drivers could hear it from Belleville all the way to Woodstock…1150 was Oldies and it was doing well until things began to become neglected. It does not have to make millions of dollars, if it makes just enough to keep them going, I’ll be happy. It’s worth giving it a shot.”

Ray, who has been in radio for 43 years, says the AM lobbying effort in Canada hasn’t been strong enough, compared to the support for the band stateside, led by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

“The complacency is difficult for me to comprehend,” said Ray. “The broadcasters can dump them simply for business reasons because it’s more expensive to keep AMs. Unlike FM, you have to have transmitter towers and maintaining them, upgrading them, are expenses a big broadcaster can’t justify.

Ray would like to see government intervention.

“I think there should be requirements for automakers to include AM, and the electric cars…they have given up, it seems not enough research has been done on how the interference problem could be overcome. I’m rather saddened, it’s sort of fading earlier than it should and everything should be done to save it…it’s very valuable. It reaches much farther than any other frequency can. There has to be some way to escape death.”

The deadline for submissions on Ray’s application is Dec. 18.

Subscribe Now – Free!

Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 30 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.

The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Let’s get started right now.

* indicates required


Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

The Weekly Briefing - Subscribe Now – Free!

It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Events / Conferences