The CRTC has approved an application by radio veteran James Scott Clements for a broadcasting licence to operate Lunenburg, Nova Scotia’s first commercial FM radio station.
The station will operate at 107.9 MHz (channel 300B1) on the dial, with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 6,500 watts. The applicant is proposing to broadcast 126 hours of local programming per broadcast week, of which five hours and 39 minutes would be devoted to spoken word programming and one hour and 20 minutes to news. The station will air a Rock format, spanning the 1970s to present, with the majority of airplay post-1990 selections, targeting adults 25-54, skewing slightly towards male listeners. Forty per cent of the station’s playlist will be Canadian, with three per cent of songs each week featuring emerging Canadian artists.
Clements is the former owner of national country music database Trax Report and Principle Projects Label Services. He’s previously held various programming, management and production roles in radio with Rawlco and Harvard Broadcasting in Saskatchewan, Corus Entertainment in Hamilton, and MBS Radio and Acadia Broadcasting in the Maritimes.
“…for far too long, in order to hear rock-oriented music, the town’s residents have had to tune to radio stations in Halifax, which provide very little to no spoken word content that reflects the diversity of Lunenburg,” Clements argued in his application.
Acadia, the licensee of Oldies/Classic Gold station CKBW-FM in nearby Bridgewater (which rebroadcasts to the communities of Liverpool and Shelburne) and Country 100.7 (CJHK-FM) Bridgewater, was the lone intervenor against the application, questioning Clements’ claim regarding a void on the local FM dial, and submitting that in light of current economic conditions, including significant year-over-year declines in radio sector revenues, the applicant’s business plan was unrealistic. Acadia submitted that approval would “put further pressure on commercial radio revenues and profitability, including Acadia’s stations in Lunenburg County and elsewhere.”
In its decision finding Lunenburg County can sustain a new radio station, the CRTC stated that because of its proximity to Halifax, the area experiences significant out-of-market tuning and that a new station could provide an opportunity to repatriate some of that listening.
The new station is projecting a target of $313,000 in local advertising revenues in the first year of operation, to increase at an average annual rate of three per cent, with a projected profit in the first year of operation. Just 20% of those ad revenues are expected to come from existing radio stations.
“In the Commission’s view, the introduction of a new commercial radio station focused on the town of Lunenburg would add a unique voice to the commercial radio offering for that town,” stated the CRTC decision. “Further, and consistent with the Diversity of Voices Policy, the addition of a new, independent voice in the radio sector through the proposed station would promote plurality of ownership within the Canadian broadcasting system. Accordingly, the Commission finds that approval of this application would increase diversity in the market.”
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