Latest NewsELMNT FM stations say they'll be forced to close without further support

ELMNT FM stations say they’ll be forced to close without further support

First Peoples Radio (FPR), which operates ELMNT FM Indigenous radio stations in Ottawa and Toronto, says without further tangible benefits support, they will be forced to close.

FPR has filed a Part 1 application with the CRTC requesting the redirection of $2 million ($1 million per year) of the $30,104,028 tangible benefits package approved by the commission to support CFPO-FM and CFPT-FM.

“This support is essential for FPR’s survival,” wrote Chair and CEO Jean La Rose, in the CRTC application. “This would set back the cause of Indigenous radio in these key urban markets, perhaps irreparably. It would result in the loss of a consistent source of Indigenous radio programing, including programming that includes the substantial exposure of Indigenous artists, Indigenous language programming, and other substantive programming by and reflecting Indigenous Peoples.”

Licensed to operate in 2017 and launched in 2018, FPR’s application says building audience support for the new services in competitive markets like Ottawa and Toronto takes time and investment, which unfortunately was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic had a huge impact on ELMNT FM’s operations and revenue base,” states the application. “Until 2020, FPR had been showing slow but steady improvement in revenue with advertisers becoming familiar with the brand and target audience. Then, when COVID-19 hit and Canada’s urban markets ‘locked down’, practically overnight advertising revenue dried up. This required FPR to dip deeply into its reserves and line of financing to maintain the stations’ viability. The stations have never fully recovered from that setback. They remain behind financial projections. They continue to operate at a loss – and have recently cut back significantly on staff to stay viable. This is not sustainable.”

FPR says despite making efforts over the last two years to diversify the not-for-profit’s funding base and expand advertising revenue, including pursuing government funding to support Indigenous content, efforts have been unsuccessful or insufficient to meet operating requirements. The station undertook significant layoffs last October.

Without redirection of its existing tangible benefits package from Stingray, FPR says the stations are not sustainable and must close.

The deadline for interventions is Sept. 1.

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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 -

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