Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today

Edmonton Licence Hearing

The Edmonton licence hearing has opened. What follows is the preamble to 106.5 RED-FM’s proposal earlier this week.

Introduction: Bijoy Samuel: Good Morning. I am Bijoy Samuel, Vice-President/ General Manager RED FM.

I will now introduce our team.

To my immediate right, is our President Kulwinder Sanghera, who has been involved in the South Asian Community for over 30 years. His vision is to serve the ethnocultural communities in multiple cities with engaging radio programming. He is well experienced in building high quality and successful Ethnic Radio Stations.

Sitting beside him is Pooja Sekhon- our Chief News Reporter and talk show Host who's been with RED FM Vancouver for almost a decade with a Masters in Journalism from Delhi, she has over 16 years of news reporting experience.

Next to her is our very popular and multi-talented host from Red FM Calgary- Gurpreet Rattan, an award winning international radio presenter with over 13 years of broadcasting experience and a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication.

On my left is our legal counsel Mark Lewis from Lewis Birnberg Hanet LLP. - who's extensive experience in broadcasting dates back to 1968.

Next to Mark, is Kevin Drew, a radio personality with 15 years of experience on CKER, and he will be part of our on-air team here in Edmonton.

In the second row, behind Kevin, is Tony Senghera- our Sales Manager, who has strong relationships with national advertising agencies and Ethnic advertisers in Calgary.

Sitting beside Tony, is Almin Kassamali from the Calgary based research and strategy firm StyleLabsInc. with operations in Edmonton and New York City.

Next to him, is Irene Querubin- She has a degree in broadcasting and is the host of the Filipino program at RED FM Vancouver. She is actively hosting events in the community. Previous to RED FM she has worked in Filipino Media, including TV and Print.

Next to her, is our Calgary Station Manager- Michael Pedersen who joined RED FM from the very first day RED FM came into operation.

As we all know, the ethnic communities of Edmonton have been underserved for a long time. In 2008, RED FM and few others appeared before the Commission for a Licence to operate an ethnic station in Edmonton.

Here we are again in 2016, this time, the demand for Edmonton’s 2nd ethnic radio station is

stronger. But the economic environment is also challenging.

Let me explain the situation.

On one hand, we see that ethnic groups have grown in size and they have their needs. On the other hand, is the business case- given the economic climate of Alberta, it is important to pause and analyze which of these groups-either individually, or in combination- have enough advertisers to financially fuel and sustain a radio station?

Is the need of the Edmonton market such, that the new radio station should serve just one core ethnic group or multiple core target audience?

What does the Edmonton market need?

We believe the answer is: RED FM!

We are here today because we believe we have the right solution for the Edmonton market.

The difference is in our local programming vision, our quality of application, our choice of core target audience that provides a strong business case, our commitments to CCD and the

proven fact that we go beyond the role of a conventional radio station; and the icing on the cake is- our Alberta experience and synergies that are very important in this economic climate.

We will now provide more details on each of these distinguishing points.


First, let’s look at our business plan.

While choosing our core target audience, we have strategically balanced underserved needs-vs-business case.

Our core audience are the South Asian and Chinese ethnic groups. They have the right combination of underserved needs, audience size and an ecosystem of businesses to financially fuel our radio station.

The Filipino community has also grown in population; however due to its limited size of businesses, the Filipino community will be our secondary audience.

When you combine the South Asian, Chinese and Filipino groups of Edmonton, they are about 152,760 people.

It is interesting to note that there are two radio stations in Calgary serving an audience of a similar size.

Further, upon successful licensing of RED FM in Edmonton, the increase in programming for these three groups will be comparable to the total hours of programming presently available in Calgary.

Next let’s talk about the impact on the incumbent, CKER FM, who is also serving the South Asian and Chinese ethnic groups.

We have undertaken extensive consumer and business research to ascertain market needs, demand and impact on the incumbent. We commissioned StyleLabs, a research and strategy firm to conduct an Advertiser Survey, Consumer Needs Analysis & Focus Groups, Ethnic Content Consumer Study, and The Filipino Supplement.

We also commissioned custom reports like Statscan’s “Selected Statistics & Projections for the Visible Minority Groups in the CMA of Edmonton,” and Conference Board of Canada’s “Medium-Term Economic Outlook for the Edmonton CMA.”

The sample size of our consumer survey was very large. StyleLabs surveyed 1183 people belonging to the South Asian and Chinese ethnic groups.

The research clearly shows that 52% of the sample does not listen to CKER FM. 64% of non-listeners said that they would tune into the new station.

And that’s why there is a tremendous radio universe expansion opportunity from these non-listeners.

Existing Listeners: Amongst the existing listeners of CKER FM, the quantitative data and the focus groups confirmed that respondents do not want a radio station to “migrate their listenership” but rather to “augment their consumption”.

It is our position that we will not be competing head-to-head for their audience as we have designed our programming schedule to complement that of CKER FM.

Advertising Impact: In terms of the advertising impact, the existing ethnic radio-advertising universe is very small. Just under 15% of the respondents surveyed currently advertise on ethnic radio in Edmonton -- continue here.

Digital Killing the Newspaper Biz

Canadian media are facing a “crisis” as market forces shrink newsrooms, leaving fewer journalists to report the news vital to a vibrant democracy, the chair of Torstar warns.

John Honderich, chair of the board of Torstar which publishes the Toronto Star, the country’s largest daily circulation newspaper, had blunt words Thursday for MPs studying the state of media in Canada.

“My message to you is a simple one: there is a crisis of declining good journalism across Canada and at this point we only see the situation getting worse,” Honderich told MPs on the Canadian Heritage committee in Ottawa – continue here.


Sound Bites

-- The FCC has substantially liberalized its review process allowing foreign ownership rules in US broadcaster endeavors. The ruling is one that could possibly re-shape Canada’s broadcast ownership landscape.

-- Minister Joly’s Heritage town hall hearings to shape future Canadian content policy drew blank notice from broadcasters at the Vancouver stop earlier in the week. One notable voice in attendance, after a long-haul flight from the UK, was Bruce Allen who never seems to skip a beat when it comes to watching over the careers of his long-standing act.

-- Scott Eagleson, part of the early CFNY-FM team in Toronto as well as Vancouver’s Coast 1040 has joined He will be a contributor to the music streaming service’s DJs Signature Series. The show will be called Scott Eagleson’s Further and promises to call on a vast library, showing that all music shares the same roots.

-- Post Media has fired its eight Vancouver tabloid 24 Hours’ staff and shuttered the office, but will continue printing editions that forthwith are to populated by Vancouver Sun and Province content.

-- CBC is reaching out from its bunker. In Nov. the pubcaster’s News site will ingest ‘opinions’ from the public. The idea is to feature “a mix of regular freelance columns and commentary on news and current affairs, representing the widest range of viewpoints available in this country.” It should be noted that the Corp.  earlier this year took stiff measures to censure its feedback section online after it became a soapbox for hysterical rants and oft offensive anti-social ramblings posted by a clan of anonymous typists.

-- Monday’s debate broke the all-time US TV viewing record for presidential showdowns: At least 84M viewers tuned in, according to Nielsen data released on Tuesday. That number doesn’t include those who logged on to watch through online streaming coverage. The prior record was for the 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.



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