CFTA-FM, Community – Tantramar FM, Amherst

Tantramar Community Radio Society

CFTA-FM2011107.96,500Tantramar Community Radio Society


On September 11, the CRTC denied an application by Tantramar Community Radio Society for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language Type B community FM radio station in Amherst, Nova Scotia. The applicant indicated that the station would broadcast 126 hours of programming during each broadcast week. Twenty-five percent of the programming would consist of local spoken word, including news and topics of local interest, amateur sports coverage, weather, special events, municipal council meetings, emergency information and public service announcements. TCRS also proposed to devote 50% of its newscasts to local news and 50% to regional news. TCRS would provide training to volunteers with no previous broadcasting experience. Broadcasting and journalism students from institutions like the Nova Scotia Community College Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth would be encouraged to do their internships and work placements at the station. The applicant proposed to devote 80% of its musical selections to selections from content subcategory 21 (Pop, Rock and Dance), subcategory 22 (Country and Country-oriented) and subcategory 24 (Easy listening). The remaining 20% of musical selections would be drawn from content category 3 (Special Interest Music). The Commission denied the application by TCRS for the following reasons: the application did not reflect the objectives of a community radio station, as set out in Public Notice 2000-13; and the undue negative impact that the applicant could have on the advertising revenues and financial situation of CKDH, a commercial radio station in Amherst owned by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited.


On June 15, the CRTC approved an application by Tantramar Community Radio Society for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language Type B community FM radio station in Amherst, Nova Scotia. TCRS was a not-for-profit organization controlled by its board of directors. TCRS indicated that the station would broadcast 126 hours of programming during each broadcast week, of which 119 hours would be locally produced. The new station would allocate at least 58% of its music programming to category 2 music, consisting of 15% Pop, Rock and Dance, 20% Country music, 20% Easy listening and 3% acoustic music. Not less than 50% of musical selections from content category 2 would be devoted to Canadian content selections. TCRS also indicated that it would devote at least 40% of its musical programming to category 3 music. TCRS would devote 25% of its spoken word programming to programming such as emergency information, weather updates, public service announcements and coverage of municipal council meetings and special events. The applicant has committed to devote 40% of its news bulletins to local news and 40% to regional news. With respect to the promotion of local artists, TCRS stated it would promote and feature local talent and emerging artists from the Maritimes. TCRS would also help raise funds for local school bands to purchase musical instruments. The applicant indicated that volunteers would consist of community members and of students from institutions like Nova Scotia Community College. TCRS would train volunteers to contribute to the radio station’s activities. The licence would expire August 31, 2015. The station would operate at 107.9 MHz (channel 300B1) with an effective radiated power of 6,500 watts (non-directional antenna/effective height of antenna above average terrain of 123 metres).


CFTA-FM 107.9 signed on the air with a test broadcast at 1:07 p.m. on July 21. Under the test, CFTA-FM was playing a mix of popular music from the 50’s to the 90’s, mostly easy listening, light rock and country crossovers, with a sprinkling of East Coast and local artists. The full programming lineup was expected to be phased in over the coming weeks and would include classic country, bluegrass, easy listening, folk and blues music, talk shows and local sports. Volunteers would be the core of the operation, with two or three paid positions in a supervisory role. Studios and offices were located in a turn of the century building in downtown Amherst, that once was an automobile assembly factory. CFTA’s transmitter site was located at the 500 foot elevation on Fenwick Hill near Amherst. The station used a Nautel NV3.5 transmitter and Nicom four-bay antenna. A 120 foot composite pole from RS technologies served as the tower. CFTA-FM was approved by the CRTC in June 2009, but it took over two years to raise enough money to put the station on the air. Former CKDH Amherst co-owner Geoff des Gannes was involved with the new operation.

The story continues elsewhere…
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