CRTC awards community radio license to Wotstak (Woodstock) First Nation

by | Nov 17, 2023

Skigin Radio Inc. approved to operate low-power Indigenous FM radio station

The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved an application by Skigin Radio Incorporated to operate a low-power, Indigenous FM radio station to serve the Maliseet People of the Wolastoqiyik territory. The station, under the licence, would be a not-for-profit entity.

A release issued by the CRTC in October noted that Skigin Radio is a non-profit organization governed by a board and has agreed, under the new licenses, to broadcast 112 hours of local programming and 14 hours of wrap-around programming each broadcast week. The station would also devote 104 hours to musical content, promising that 20 per cent of musical content would be Indigenous. The remaining 22 hours of airtime would be dedicated to spoken word programming, targeting children and youth and education, religious, news and public affairs programs. The board has promised to have 100 hours of English-language programming, with 20 hours of programming in various Indigenous languages (Wolastoqey, Mi’kmaq, and Ojibway) and six hours of French-language programming.

The 50-watt station will operate at 107.7 FM, serving a region from just below Hays Falls to Hartford and from East New Bridge to MacKenzie Corner.

Skigin Radio promises to broadcast programming developed for and recorded by the Indigenous population.

As part of their application, Skigin said it would support Indigenous content development, including giving opportunities for studio recording time to Indigenous artists and showcasing such talent on and off reserve events. The radio station stated it would also promote Indigenous talent online, in pamphlets and in a newsletter.

In handing down its decision, the CRTC noted there would be little to no economic impact on stations in the area.

“The proposed station’s FM service contours would encompass Woodstock First Nation and surrounding areas. According to the applicant, the proposed station would be supported by government grants or funding, its Band Council, advertising revenues and fundraising,” said the CRTC decision document.

“The proposed station’s primary contour would be entirely encompassed by Bell Media Radio Atlantic Inc.’s commercial station CJCJ-FM Woodstock. However, the population in the overlapping area would comprise only 6.4% of the population within CJCJ-FM’s primary contour. In light of the above, and given the nature of the proposed service, the Commission finds that approval of this application would not have an undue economic impact on any incumbent stations.”

Under CRTC rules, the station must devote 35 per cent of its music to Canadian content. Under the license agreement, Skigin Radio must be operational within 24 months of the granted license, which would be on or before Oct. 19, 2025.

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