Multicultural broadcaster Neeti P. Ray, who owns CINA-FM Windsor and CINA 1650 AM Mississauga, among other stations, is the successful bidder for Toronto’s G98.7 (CKFG-FM), pending CRTC approval.
Until that happens, Intercity Broadcasting Network (IBN) will continue to manage and operate the station, under the supervision of the receiver. In the meantime, Ray has put up $250,000 in interim financing.
As outlined in a court filing by receiver A. Farber & Partners, the winning bid includes a written commitment to continue to operate the station “in a manner consistent with the mandate to serve the Caribbean and African communities of Toronto with its spoken word and music format.”
“IBN is not viable without a restructuring and recapitalization. The Proposed Transaction will allow the radio station to continue to operate in its current format, while enabling potential payment in full to all secured and unsecured creditors as well as partial payment to holders of preferred (and possibly common) shares in IBN,” the receiver stated.
Should the Ray bid be rejected, Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited, which operates faith-based station Joy 1250 (CJYE-AM) and multicultural station CJMR 1320 in Oakville, ON, was the selected back-up bidder.
No Black-owned bids submitted
According to the documents, A. Farber & Partners received and reviewed 14 non-binding letters of intent, 11 of which were invited to submit binding offers on the station. Despite a petition to keep the station Black-owned and numerous letters of support from Toronto Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford, among others, the court filing reveals that no bids from Black-owned groups were submitted.
“The Receiver is aware of the importance of the G98.7 FM station to Toronto’s African and Caribbean communities…the SISP did not result in the receipt of any bids from members of the Black Community. As such, the station’s only realistic prospect of survival is through a sale to a purchaser that is outside of the community.”
A. Farber & Partners said Ray’s bid reflected his understanding of the responsibility of taking over the only Black-owned station in the region.
“As a broadcaster servicing targeted ethnic communities for many, many years, Mr. Ray understands the sensitivities around such issues. In fact, Mr. Ray would be happy to see a Black ownership group succeed in this process. However, if that is not the case and Mr. Ray is the Successful Bidder, he will take control of the station (subject to CRTC approval) with an acute understanding of the station’s position and importance to the community. In such case, he will abide by all terms and conditions of the broadcast licence, not only because he is required to do so but because he believes in the product and the community. He will ensure that the station continues to service the Black Community and strive for continuity by sourcing the best possible on-air and management talent from the cultural community which the station services. We have been asked to underscore Mr. Ray’s commitment to maintaining and ensuring the growth of a strong and accessible broadcasting voice for the Black Community within the broadcast region, should he be the Successful Bidder.”
Delford Blythe, one of G98.7’s founding shareholders, had intended to bring a motion to terminate the bidding process and approve a transaction pursuant to which he would acquire IBN’s assets, but ultimately decided not to proceed with court action. Blythe, who currently serves as station manager, is among the former employees with lawsuits pending against Intercity. The receiver noted that Blythe’s $2.2 million claim is expected to increase substantially “in light of the passage of time since the issuance of the Notice of Application and the additional information that has been made available to it through the receivership proceeding…”
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