TRURO – A request to expand a small town-based radio station has been denied by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The Town of Truro has a license to operate a two-watt FM station – CJIS 107.1 – primarily to broadcast emergency situations and town and council related news. Segments are recorded at town hall and then sent to, and broadcast from, the water treatment plant off of Young Street because of its high elevation.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills told the Truro Daily News the town requested an expansion of the radio system in the fall because “we (Regional Emergency Management Organization) felt the current (town) radio station was not strong enough.”
“We want to increase the power for a regional approach (especially) because extreme weather will increase,” said Mills.
The mayor said REMO learned last week that the request had been denied by the federally-based CRTC.
“We didn’t think it would be this big of a deal. We’ll go back to REMO to discuss it,” he said, adding it is likely an appeal will be made to the CRTC.
A CRTC representative told the Truro Daily News there were specific reasons for refusing the town’s request.
Annie LaFlamme, the CRTC’s director of radio policy and applications, said to increase the station’s power the obligation rests on the town to “demonstrate technological or economical need.” She said that was not done.
The request was also denied, said LaFlamme, because “it’s the responsibility to all broadcasters (in the area) to report emergencies” in a shared capacity.
A request may be allowed if a low-power station is elevated to a “protected power” status, which protects a small station from higher power frequencies taking them over. The town does not have that status.
Mills said if an appeal results in an expansion of the radio service, more public awareness would be required.
“If granted, we need to make sure all residents know about it. There are regular people who stumble over (the station) but we need to raise our profile,” said Mills.
The creation of CJIS “stemmed from hurricane Juan so we wouldn’t be caught again without media communication” in relation to severe weather, said Mills. He said local media outlets are not staffed 24/7, which necessitates another option such as the town-based initiative.
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