Two new AM radio stations approved for Montreal


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced two decisions on a total of nine applications for AM frequencies in the Montreal area, five of which were for two clear-channel frequencies that have been unused since Info 690 and 940 Hits were shut down in January 2010.

The two new high-power AM radio stations, include a French-language news-talk station and a frequency change for TSN Radio 990, says The Montreal Gazette.

The CRTC gave (50-KW) 940 AM to 7954689 Canada Inc., a group headed by Montreal businessmen Paul Tietolman, Nicolas Tétrault and Rajiv Pancholy. The station will be used for a French news-talk format that promises 100% local programming and a budget that climbs to $10 million a year. It would compete directly with the 98.5FM (CHMP), news-talk and sports station owned by Cogeco Diffusion Inc. The group had also applied for a similar station in English to compete against Astral Media’s CJAD, but the commission denied that application because 690 and 940 were taken and the group would not accept 990 as the station’s frequency.

The other at 690 AM (50-kW), was given to TSN Radio 990 (CKGM), which had applied for a frequency change to improve its signal. At 990, the station is required to change its signal at night to avoid interfering with CBC stations on the same frequency in Winnipeg and Corner Brook, NL. TSN Radio owner Bell Media submitted dozens of complaints from listeners and advertisers about the poor signal at night, particularly in the West Island, when Canadiens games are on.

With 990 freed up, the CRTC awarded that frequency to Dufferin Communications Inc., which will setup a French-language music and talk station for Montreal’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community called Radio Fierté. Dufferin’s parent Evanov Communications Inc. owns 13 radio stations, but this will be their first one in Quebec. The group operates a similar LGBT station, Proud FM, in English on a low-power FM frequency in Toronto.

The decisions require the three approved applications to be operating within two years, but each has said it would like to be on the air by next fall.