CFSI-FM, Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. (Satnam Media)

CFSI-FM2013107.9340Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. (Satnam Media)
CFSI-FM2008107.9340Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. (G.S Brooks)


On October 22, the CRTC approved an application by Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. for a broadcasting licence to operate a Specialty FM radio programming undertaking to serve Salt Spring Island. A competing application by 0759969 B.C. Ltd. was denied. Encompassing 180 square kilometres, Salt Spring Island was the largest of a group of islands located in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and mainland Vancouver. Salt Spring Island was known as one of North America’s best small arts towns. The Island’s economy relied heavily on tourism, but also supported an agricultural community. Its population had grown steadily over the past 16 years, increasing from 7,871 in 1991 to its current level of approximately 10,500. Salt Spring Island currently did not have a local radio station. “The Driftwood”, a weekly local newspaper that has been in operation for 47 years, was currently the only local media outlet in the community. Two attempts to establish competitive newspapers had been unsuccessful. Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. indicated that the proposed station would be controlled by Messrs. Gary Brooks and Richard Moses. According to the biographical information included with the application, Mr. Brooks had an MBA and experienced a successful entrepreneurial career before moving to Salt Spring Island. Mr. Moses, the proposed program director, worked at CJRT-FM Toronto in the 1970s and at CKUA-FM Edmonton in the late 1980s. SSI Radio proposed to establish an English-language, Specialty commercial FM radio station that would operate at 107.9 MHz (channel 300A) with an average ERP of 340 watts. At least 33% of the musical selections broadcast by the station would be drawn from category 3 (Special interest music). SSI Radio indicated its willingness to accept a condition of licence stipulating that at least 25% of the category 3 musical selections broadcast in each broadcast week be Canadian, which exceeded the minimum requirements set out in the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations). At the same time, SSI Radio stated that it would strive to increase the Canadian content level of its category 3 musical selections to 50% of the broadcast week. SSI Radio further indicated that up to 6% of the broadcast week would be devoted to musical selections featuring emerging artists. With respect to local reflection and spoken word programming, SSI Radio’s proposed station would offer 123 hours of local programming weekly including varied musical selections as well as information and discussion programs. The station would also broadcast 60 minutes of Aboriginal programming and 90 minutes of religious programming weekly. The applicant also indicated that it planned to involve volunteers and local talent in operating the station. The Commission’s analysis of SSI Radio’s proposed technical parameters revealed that its station would cover the northern part of Salt Spring Island and provide good coverage of Ganges and other populated areas of the Island. The Commission therefore considered that this applicant would be capable of fulfilling its projected advertising revenues, which are more modest than those of 0759969 and which take into account a well established competitor, the local newspaper. While the station’s proposed 0.5 mV/m contour would also encompass some smaller communities along the coast of Vancouver Island, the Commission does not consider that this additional coverage would generate any incremental advertising from local businesses operating in these communities. The licence would expire 31 August 2014.


CFSI-FM began on-air testing on June 15. It would have a Classical/Jazz/Variety format when it signed on.

Live programming on the station began on September 14. 


On July 6, the CRTC approved the application by Salt Spring Island Radio Corporation to change the authorized contours for the English-language commercial radio programming undertaking CFSI-FM Salt Spring Island by decreasing the average effective radiated power from 330 to 130 watts (maximum ERP from 970 to 700 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 215.6 metres). The implementation was subject to the notification by the Department of Industry. The Commission noted that the new technical parameters reflect those established following construction of the transmission facilities and that the station’s coverage area will be significantly reduced as a result of this technical change.


On September 23, the CRTC approved the application by Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. to amend the licence for the English-language specialty radio programming undertaking CFSI-FM in order to operate a low-power transmitter at Mount Bruce, to serve the residents of south Salt Spring Island. The new transmitter would operate at 102.1 MHz (channel 271LP) with an average effective radiated power of 20 watts and an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 391 metres. The licensee stated that because it could not serve the south end of the island, it was suffering economic loss as a result of advertisers not wanting to pay for sponsoring ads that could not be heard by the entire island population. Further, it noted that CFSI-FM’s credibility and the support from first responders and emergency services were in jeopardy as a result of the poor signal coverage. Finally, the licensee indicated that due to variable mountainous terrain, there was no single location that would provide coverage to the entire island.


CFSI-FM-5 Salt Spring Island (102.1 MHz) began broadcasting. It simulcast CFSI 107.9 Salt Spring Island and was used to resolve signal issues on south side of the island.


107.9 CFSI (and CFSI-FM-1 South Salt Spring) changed its branding to GREEN FM. The format remained Eclectic.

The CRTC approved the change to the ownership and effective control of Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. from Gary Stephen Brooks to Satnam Media Group (BC) Ltd., a corporation wholly owned and controlled by Sukhdey Singh Dhillon. Salt Spring was the licensee of CFSI-FM Salt Spring and its transmitter CFSI-FM-1 Mount Bruce.


The CRTC issued mandatory orders to CFSI-FM to comply with six sections of the Radio Regulations. It renewed the station’s licence for a one-year term, to August 31, 2015. 


On June 25, the CRTC revoked the broadcasting licence for CFSI-FM Salt Spring Island and its transmitter CFSI-FM-1 Mount Bruce. The revocation would be effective 25 July 2015, and the licensee would have to cease broadcasting by no later than the end of the broadcast day on that date. The revocation followed the Commission’s decision to impose six mandatory orders earlier in the licence term. In spite of these orders CFSI-FM continued to be in non-compliance with its regulatory obligations. As a result, the Commission had no confidence that the licensee would be able to operate in compliance with its existing or any new regulatory obligations for the remainder of the current licence term or for another licence term.

The story continues elsewhere…
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