Evanov Communications (ECI) says it’s planning to “integrate” its Toronto LGBTQ+ station Proud 103.9 (CIRR-FM) with Z103.5 (CIDC-FM), licensed to Orangeville, ON, on Sept. 1.
“The media landscape has evolved significantly since Proud FM first went on-air in 2007,” the company said in a statement. “When the station launched, it was the world’s first commercial radio station targeting the LGBTQ+ audience. The past 16 years have not only seen new outlets and platforms emerge to serve the community, but also existing services pivot to target this audience. At the same time, all broadcasters are now contending with the challenges of increased competition, a difficult economic climate, and the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Both stations play a Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) format. Proud FM undertook a brand refresh in 2020 that saw Elvis Duran and the Morning Show added to the lineup, the widely-syndicated morning show originating from iHeartMedia’s Z100 (WHTZ-FM) in New York City. Evanov says Proud FM announcer Jaret Sereda, who has been helming afternoons, and Tyler Carr, who hosts Weekend Pop-Up Party (also doing double duty as a morning co-host on Energy 106 (CHWE-FM) Winnipeg), will both move over to Z103.5 as part of the integration. Sereda, also Proud FM’s brand manager, will host a daily feature weekday mornings and afternoons with entertainment news and community updates, while Carr will take on the weekend shows on Z103.5.
Evanov has made repeated attempts to move or modify CIDC-FM’s signal over the years and was accused as far back as 2005 during the application process by original partner Pink Triangle Press, publisher of Xtra! magazine, of trying to use CIRR-FM as a back door into the Toronto market for Z103.5.
More recently, the CRTC denied a technical application in early 2020 that would have seen the stations swap frequencies to boost Proud’s signal in Toronto and have the lower power station re-focus on serving Orangeville. The applications resulted in a joint intervention from Corus Entertainment, Bell and Rogers Media, in addition to opposition from CKMO-FM, Brock University Student Radio, the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA), and Bayshore Broadcasting. The CRTC ultimately concluded the proposed changes would undermine the integrity of the commission’s original licensing process for each station and neglect CIDC-FM’s city of licence.
As of publication, Evanov had not responded to a query on the status of any new applications regarding its planned changes that might be before the commission.
“ECI is proud of the part it has played in the evolution of the LGBTQ+ community in Toronto,” the company stated. “We look forward to being able to serve the community on Z103.5 and our other platforms in this next chapter in our commitment to inclusivity.”
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