The English-speaking community in the off-island area is going to get its first local radio station within the next year.
On Friday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved an application from Dufferin Communications to launch a commercial radio station serving Hudson/St. Lazare at 106.7 FM. The station’s signal, from a 500-watt transmitter on a tower on Harwood Blvd. in St-Lazare, would also reach into Vaudreuil, Oka and parts of the West Island.
“We’re really, really excited,” Dufferin, vice-president Carmela Laurignano, told The Gazette.
The company first applied for the licence in February 2010 and has been patiently waiting for a hearing and a decision. In the meantime, the Toronto-based company also won a licence for a French-language AM radio station in Montreal serving the gay community.
Programming on the new Hudson/St. Lazare station, whose brand name has not yet been decided, would be similar to The Jewel, Dufferin’s network of stations with easy-listening music from artists like Céline Dion, Michael Bublé and Tony Bennett, though Laurignano said they would try to make the programming here as broad-based as possible since it will be the only station in its market. She also said it would have much more news and information than other Dufferin stations. The application calls for four hours and 22 minutes a week of news, of which half would be local to Hudson/St. Lazare, including a calendar of local events.
Laurignano said the company hopes to have the station on the air by next fall, and looks to hire between 15 and 20 people in various positions.
“It’s our intention to hire locally,” she said, adding that they have been bombarded by job queries since the application for the station was published by the CRTC in February.
The application got the support of the Town of Hudson, which passed a unanimous resolution at a town council meeting in February. But it was opposed by other radio stations concerned about competition in the Montreal market.
“The area is very much one that stands on its own (and is) separate from the Montreal area,” Laurignano told The Gazette in February.
As part of its application, Dufferin commissioned a survey that showed most people in the two towns don’t identify themselves as Montrealers and feel existing radio stations don’t adequately cover news from that community.
By next fall, that should change a great deal.
To read the CRTC decision, click here: