CFRO-FM, Community – Co-Op Radio, Vancouver

Vancouver Co-operative Radio

CFRO-FM2012100.52,800Vancouver Co-operative Radio
CFRO-FM1975102.75,500Vancouver Co-operative Radio


The CRTC granted a radio licence to Vancouver Co-operative Radio on May 7 for a new FM staton, operating on 102.7 MHz with effective radiated power of 3,717 watts.


On April 15, after three months of test broadcasts, CFRO 102.7 began broadcasting. Stusios and offices were in East Vancouver at 337 Central Street. Effective radiated power was 5,500 watts from a transmitter site on Mt. Seymour. Co-op Radio was formed from two activist groups: Neighbourhood Radio and Muckrackers. Initially, CFRO was on the air for only six hours a day. By the end of the year, the station had increased its schedule of community based programming substantially.


Studer Revox Canada Ltd. donated replacement tape recorder heads to CFRO-FM. Chief engineer Bruce Whittington said the generous donation would greatly enhance the technical quality of CFRO – the only community radio station in western Canada.


On September 29 the CRTC renewed CFRO-FM’s licence. The Commission said it has, in general, been satisfied with CFRO’s performance during its current licence term. The station was called to a hearing to address a complaint that the licensee had failed to provide balance in its programming on matters of public concern. There were also concerns about the maintenance of logger tapes. The CRTC noted that, at present, over 200 volunteers were involved in the production of some 70 different weekly programs broadcast on CFRO-FM. Twelve hours of programming per week were offered in Cantonese, with a further hour in each of Armenian, Italian, Punjabi and Serbo-Croation. The renewal application stated that CFRO would continue to offer a format entirely made up of foreground and mosaic programming. It would also broadcast 42 hours of category 6 music (mainly jazz, folk and classical), and 16 hours of category 5 music which would be almost entirely non-hits.


On February 16, the CRTC renewed CFRO-FM’s licence to 31 August 2000. The licence term, while less than the maximum of seven years would enable the Commission to consider the next licence renewal in accordance with the Commission’s regional plan for community radio undertakings and to better distribute the workload within the Commission. This term was not reflective of any Commission concern regarding the licensee’s performance. As a part of this application, the licensee also requested to increase the minimum number of hours of the broadcast week devoted to ethnic programs of types A and B, from 17 to 20. The Commission approved this request and it became a condition of licence. It was also a condition of licence that CFRO-FM provide programming directed to a minimum of 8 ethno-cultural groups in a minimum of 8 different languages. It was a condition of licence that CFRO broadcast no more than 6 minutes of advertising in any hour of broadcast, and that it broadcast no more than an average of 4 minutes of advertising for every hour of broadcast up to a total of 504 minutes of advertising per week, in accordance with the community radio policy for Type B stations. The Commission noted that the station would broadcast a minimum of 40% Category 3 music (Traditional and Special Interest) as a percentage of overall music programming. 


CFRO received a short-term licence renewal on February 27. The CRTC wished to assess the station’s compliance with the Radio Regulations.


The CRTC renewed the licence of CFRO-FM. The station was told that during each broadcast week it may devote a maximum of 25 hours and 30 minutes to third-language ethnic programming. It may also provide programming directed to a minimum of 12 ethno-cultural groups in a minimum of 12 different languages.


The CRTC renewed CFRO’s licence on June 2. This was a short-term renewal. The Commission wished to review the Vancouver Co-operative Radio’s compliance with the Radio Regulations. As well, some opposing interveners expressed concerns about balanced programming. 


On August 31, the CRTC renewed the licence for the English-language community radio station CFRO-FM Vancouver to August 31, 2016. This short-term renewal would allow for an earlier review of the licensee’s compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986. 

On September 9, the CRTC approved the applications by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner), carrying on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, and Vancouver Co-operative Radio to amend the broadcasting licences for the commercial radio station CKPK-FM and the community radio station CFRO-FM Vancouver by exchanging their frequencies and changing their authorized contours. CKPK-FM would move from 100.5 (channel 263C) to 102.7 MHz (channel 274C), change effective radiated power from 2,800 watts average (maximum of 11,000 watts) to 51,000 watts average (maximum of 100,000 watts) and change effective height of the antenna above average trerrain from 570.7 to 590.4 metres. CFRO-FM would move from 102.7 (274B) to 100.5 (263C) MHz, reduce ERP from 5,500 watts to an average of 2,800 watts (maximum of 11,000 watts) and increase antenna height from 306 to 570.7 metres. As part of the applications, Co-op Radio proposed to change the antenna site for CFRO-FM to co-locate with the existing CKPK-FM antenna, while Pattison committed to providing technical, financial and marketing support to the community station amounting to $1,437,000 over a period of five years, including: rent payment for the new transmitter site; costs for technical brief, Commission application, new transmitter and maintenance; an annual payment of $125,000 (over five years); and outdoor advertising for the new frequency. The licensees stated that this proposal would allow CKPK-FM to make a more efficient and effective use of the 102.7 MHz frequency and to be on a more level playing field in the Vancouver commercial radio market, while ensuring the survival of the community station CFRO-FM. 


The frequency swap with CKPK-FM took place on September 10.


In June, CFRO-FM received CRTC approval to change transmitter site from the existing Fortis 41 m tower to the new Fortis 93 m tower on Mount Seymour (CBC site). 

The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.

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