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Author Topic: CRTC demands “Pirate Radio” station Radio India shut down at midnight  (Read 1394 times)

Offline myteaquinn

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Vancouver Sun
By Peter O'Neil
November 13, 2014 

OTTAWA — Canada’s regulator of the airwaves took another step Thursday in its crackdown on B.C.’s “pirate radio” industry, ordering Radio India to shut down by midnight.

Radio India, Sher-E-Punjab and Radio Punjab were targeted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in August after complaints of unfair competition by licensed B.C. broadcasters.

“We will not tolerate any business or individual that is broadcasting illegally in Canada,” Tom Pentefountas, chairman of the three-commissioner panel that heard arguments from Radio India last month, said in a statement.

Maninder Gill, the managing director of Radio India that is owned by his sister, did not respond to interview requests Thursday.

The two other stations last month signed “compliance agreements” last month, but the CRTC hasn’t made public the terms of those deals.

Some observers are questioning whether the CRTC’s tough talk is being followed up with action.

One of the CRTC-targeted, Washington-based transmitters that has for years sent Punjabi broadcasts into the Lower Mainland, KRPI 1550 AM, is still on the air but is no longer identifying itself on-air as Sher-E-Punjab.

“There seems to be a story here as nothing has changed for Sher-E-Punjab,” said Suzanne Rosser, a member of the Cross Border Coalition made up of Canadian and U.S. residents opposed to Sher-E-Punjab’s operations.

Sher-E-Punjab was run by the Richmond-based Badh family, which had to prove to the CRTC that it had sold its interest to, and severed its relationship with BBC Broadcasting, the Washington company that owns KRPI. BBC had been majority-owned by Bhag Khela, a longtime business associate of the Badhs and a resident of the U.S.

A number of people who have followed the CRTC action closely claim Khela is related through marriage to the Badhs. Members of the Badh family have refused Sun requests to explain the transaction.

The CRTC, meanwhile, has refused to provide details of the compliance agreement because it “contains personal, financial and commercially sensitive information,” spokeswoman Patricia Valladao said Thursday in an email.

One listener, Jaspal Atwal, told The Sun Thursday that the Sher-E-Punjab name has been removed from the Richmond building where Sher-E-Punjab programming was produced but the hosts and programs remain unchanged despite the compliance order.

The Sher-E-Punjab name hasn’t completely vanished. The station ran an ad in the Surrey-based Indo-Canadian Voice newspaper last week boasting that “Sher-E-Punjab, your first owned & operated South Asian AM Station.”

One of KRPI 1550’s hosts, Harjit Gill, told The Sun Thursday that the staff are going to eventually be moved to Ferndale and will have to obtain visas to work in the U.S.

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Offline BoomboxDX

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I've been following this story on another forum, and am well aware of the three stations involved, as all three are in my state, and two of them are relatively high powered AM stations which can be easily heard any night of the week.

The amount of the CRTC's microregulation is mindboggling, especially when they're trying to kill a couple stations that serve an underserved Canadian audience. The Vancouver BC area has a fairly large South Asian population, and two of the three stations mentioned put in fairly large signals towards Canada, and apparently the CRTC was aware of this when the stations were bought and re-engineered. If you look at KRPI and KVRI's Radio-Locators you'll see the vast majority of the signal goes north.

There are apparently two stations on the Canadian side of the border that serve the South Asian population there (an AM and an FM), but according to CRTC rules they have to have a certain amount of programming in other languages, as well as a certain percentage of Canadian made music (and I guess there isn't a plethora of Canadian recorded Punjabi music) -- which puts the American based stations at an advantage. The American border blasters can play whatever sourced music they want, and have their stations all Punjabi all the time.

The smartest thing I think the owners of the two 'pirate' stations can do is move their studios over the border and tell the CRTC where to go. They may lose a bit of revenue because of it, but the audience is obviously there, and people are listening to the stations.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 1348 UTC by BoomboxDX »
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