The broadcasting licence for Tofino’s community radio station Tuff City Radio 90.1FM is up for renewal. (Westerly File Photo)

West Coast’s FM radio licences up for renewal

Deadline for comments on broadcasting rights for both Tofino and Ucluelet is July 29.

  • Jul. 20, 2019 12:00 a.m.

The broadcasting licences for both Tofino and Ucluelet’s radio stations expire on Aug. 31.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced on June 27 that it intends to consider renewal of the broadcasting licences for CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd. Tofino and CIMM-FM Radio Ltd. Ucluelet.

Deadline for submission of interventions/comments/answers is July 29. The CRTC will hold a hearing on Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. at the Commission Headquarters in Gatineau, Que.

The full notice can read on crtc.gc.ca.

CHMZ-FM Radio Tofino and CIMM-FM Radio Ucluelet are corporations wholly owned and controlled by Matthew McBride.

McBride also filed an application for authorization to change ownership and effective control of the English-language Tofino and Ucluelet Commercial FM Radio stations to Cameron Randall Dennison.

Following the transaction, Dennison, the longtime station manager for Tuff City Radio 90.1 FM, would become the licensee of CHMZ-FM Tofino and of CIMM-FM Ucluelet. In April 2019, leading up to the pending broadcasting licences change in ownership, Dennison took over the airwaves of 99.5 FM Ukee Radio from station managers Jamie Osborne and Tara Hickie.

Hickie sent an email to the Westerly the week after Dennison gained control of Ukee Radio. The email stated that Osborne and Hickie, who operated 99.5 FM Ukee Radio under the business name High Tide Records, had been trying to negotiate with McBride for the licence to CIMM-FM Radio Ltd (Ucluelet) since they aired their first show on Canada Day 2014.

“Our intention, which we made clear from the very beginning, was to eventually have the opportunity to purchase the [broadcasting] licence from [McBride] when he was ready to sell,” wrote Hickie.

She said there was “disappointment and heartbreak” after learning that McBride was going to accept an offer for both stations from Dennison.

Pursuant to the purchase agreement, notes the CRTC Broadcasting Notice, Dennison’s company 1193833 B.C. Ltd. would acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of the share capital of CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd. and CIMM-FM Radio Ltd.

The purchase price is $108,755.

Dennison said he was unable to comment publicly on the deal due to legal restraints.

Geoff Johnson, a local musician and frequent contributor to both the Ucluelet and Tofino community radio stations, shared his thoughts on the upcoming CRTC public hearings.

“It could end with the Tofino licence being renewed and the Ukee license not being renewed or some other mixed outcome,” said Johnson.

“I suspect the CRTC will approve the renewals on the condition of the sale, but there’s a possibility the licences will be renewed and Cam’s purchase won’t be approved. That would have some huge fallout I’m sure. I believe the outcome will be heavily dependent on public input. It’s going to be interesting, either way.”

READ: Tofino’s Tuff City Radio silenced (March 27, 2018)

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