Boycott urged in interference fight


One side argues that second-adjacent channel FM stations will cause interference; the other argues that’s nonsense. No, we’re not talking about the US battle over low-power FM stations. This new fight is in Canada, where the CBC is being threatened with a boycott for blocking construction of a station aimed at black Canadians.

The Caribbean and African Radio Network (CARN) got preliminary approval from the CRTC (the Canadian equivalent of the FCC) to operate on 98.7 mHz in Toronto, but only if it can work out potential interference problems with the CBC, which has its Radio One programming on 99.1. CARN claims that there will be no interference problems, despite being on second-adjacent channels, if it transmits from the exact same site as the CBC station, proposing that both be located atop the First Canadian Place building in downtown Toronto.

CBC is having none of it. "The proposal would negatively impact the quality and extent of coverage of CBC Radio One in the Toronto area," said CBC VP and Chief Technical Officer Raymond Carnovale in a letter a few months ago rejecting the co-location plan.

Stymied by the refusal of CBC to budge, CARN President Delford Blythe held a news conference this week in Toronto at which black leaders called for a boycott of Radio One, saying they are "disgusted, angry and ashamed by the selfishness of the CBC." A CBC spokesman responded that it has no objection to the proposed station, only to it occupying a frequency where it would cause interference.

RBR/TVBR observation: Does co-location cancel second-adjacent channel interference? It is an interesting question, but we’re not aware of any full-scale test in an actual urban environment to get the answer. Somehow, putting a new station on the air permanently two channels away from an existing one doesn’t seem like the best way to find out.