Golden West Broadcasting, a Manitoba-based company expects to be broadcasting from a Fort Saskatchewan radio station in about a year if all goes well at a federal government hearing this past September. “While Fort Saskatchewan is part of the metro Edmonton area it is its own community,” said Lyndon Friesen, president of Golden West Radio. “We think it makes great sense to operate a local radio station that focuses on the news and information specific to residents of Fort Saskatchewan.” Golden West Radio, of Alton, MB, appeared before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Sept. 16 for a hearing into its application to operate an 11,000-watt commercial radio station on the 107.9 FM frequency. Friesen said Golden West specializes in operating in small communities. The company’s 38 radio stations are located mainly in the prairie provinces.
“It’s a format that we’ve developed over time and one that we’re quite good at,” Friesen said. “It’s been our brand for 55 years and we always focus on the smaller communities and we leave the bigger cities to the other guys.”
Friesen described the proposed station as a “full power” broadcast location with a large enough range to cover the region and be picked up in Edmonton.
I look at Fort Saskatchewan as being very similar to a radio station we have in Okotoks, which is outside of Calgary,” he said. “We have zero focus on Calgary, and we find if we concentrate on the communities we are in, we provide a better service. The big city guys only come to smaller communities when there’s a tragedy or in a time of crisis.
The station’s music format will be a classic hits/classic rock format with an element allowing for new music programming.
I look at it as a broad mix of music that has an appeal to lots of people,” he said. “We’ve done our surveys in the market and the one thing that came out of that is there is broad support for what we would call adult contemporary. But, more important than the music is the local news and information. That’s where we have the broadest appeal.
Friesen said he doesn’t anticipate the CRTC will hand down a decision on its application until sometime early next year.
The hearing, to be held in Gatineau, QC, dealt with 37 applications ranging from speciality and ethnic television broadcasters and a variety of radio application for services across Canada. Friesen said once the application is approved, Golden West will build its station and assemble a broadcast team. “We like to draw our employees from the communities we work in, so I expect we’ll be drawing our employees from Fort Saskatchewan,” he said.
Only a year ago, Fort Saskatchewan celebrated its first official internet radio at www.fortradio.com. Playing such diverse musical acts as The Beatles, Lionel Richie, Lady Gaga, and Guns & Roses, Fort Radio plays top 40 hits from the sixties to the present in an attempt to draw in listeners from 18-65 a much different demographic than that of the radio station proposed by Golden West Broadcasting.