New Alberta Radio Station in Fort SaskatchewanThe Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave its approval on January 10, 2012 to an application by Golden West Broadcasting to operate an FM station in Fort Saskatchewan broadcasting on the 107.9 Mhz bandwidth with a format of classic hits, classic rock. Lyndon Friesen, Golden West president, said the decision will allow the company to firm up its plans with a view to hitting the airwaves in about a year’s time. We are delighted and excited with this decision,” he said. “There’s always a question as to whether or not you’ll be allowed to proceed, but we are delighted the commission agreed with us that Fort Saskatchewan is its own unique community and we look forward to being heavily involved in the community.”

The CRTC approved Golden West’s application this week over objections filed by three Edmonton-area radio corporations, a private numbered company and one individual. The Edmonton radio corporations, Newcap, Rogers Broadcasting and Astral Media all objected the application saying Fort Saskatchewan is part of the Edmonton radio market and the station would not be able to survive without drawing advertisers from the capital city.

The big boys always have a fear that when you set up on the door step of a big city that you will use it as a back door to their market,” said Friesen. We have a 55 year history of living right next door to bigger centres and that’s never been part of our game plan. We focus on the communities we serve and if we ever lose that focus it would hurt us big time.

The CRTC ruled the Fort Saskatchewan station’s broadcast beacon, rated at 11,000 watts, would be too small to cover the Edmonton market and the radio station would have to serve the local radio market. It further barred Golden West from soliciting ads from Edmonton businesses.

The commission also noted the Fort Saskatchewan area does not have a dedicated radio station and the six hours a week of local news coverage set the application apart from other radio stations that focus primarily on Edmonton in their news coverage. Mayor Gale Katchur cheered the announcement saying it was an indication growth and expanse of opportunities of the city.

I think it’s a sign of the exciting times that are ahead for the community,” she said. “What I really think is exciting for the community is that they’ve committed to 100 per cent local hiring.

Friesen added that included on-air, news people as well as sales and office staff.

The numbered company asked the CRTC to set aside the application in order to allow the company to develop a proposal to provide radio service Fort Saskatchewan and Lamont have the commission choose the best proposal between the two.

The CRTC attached some conditions to Golden West’s broadcast licence, including an additional contribution of $93,500 over seven years to a fund to develop local talent over top of the station’s national talent fund requirements

Friesen said the extra money will be distributed by the local radio station to support Fort Saskatchewan musicians and he has already talked with Shell Theatre about programming opportunities.

See original article on Fort Saskatchewan Record.