CJLO’s FM Repeater Application Q&A (Updated)

Q: Why does CJLO want another signal?

CJLO, currently broadcasting at 1690AM in the Montreal area has recently applied to the CRTC for the addition of an FM transmitter in order to reach downtown Montreal. The transmitter would act as a repeater for the current 1,000 watt 1690 AM radio transmitter located in Lachine. The new transmitter would be located on top of the Concordia University Hall Building and would broadcast at 100 watts of power. There will be reduced coverage due to received interference. Our current transmitter can be heard in most parts of Montreal, outside of the downtown core.

CJLO is a Campus/Community radio station and we receive the majority of our budget from the Concordia Student body by way of fee levy approved by a student referendum ($0.34 per credit for undergraduate students).

In line with our philosophy to remain as transparent as possible, we would like to take the opportunity to explain some facts about the proposed request we made to the CRTC for our FM repeater project. If you have any other concerns or questions, feel free to send an e-mail to feedback@cjlo.com.

A: While the 1000 watt signal that CJLO broadcasts on 1690 AM covers a large portion of Montreal, the coverage is extremely restricted in downtown Montreal due to signal absorption by the many high buildings in the core part of the city, namely Concordia’s downtown campus. On a comparison level, many stations in Montreal that use an AM frequency broadcast at 50,000 watts of power, using highly directional antennas directed towards downtown Montreal.

Q: Why don’t you just use a 50,000 watt transmitter? Wouldn’t that solve your problem?

A: It would improve our signal, but all AM stations have trouble downtown. As well, CJLO simply would not be able to afford the cost of the electricity that a transmitter of that size would require. Even if we could afford that amount of power, a 100 watt nested repeater located on the top of the Hall Building would provide a higher quality signal. For further information please see appendix 4.4 in our application to the CRTC, pages 49 & 50.

Q: Who and what does CJLO represent?

A: CJLO has always been a Campus/Community station. We provide countless services to the communities that we serve, such as a free community calendar for not-for-profit organizations across the Montreal area. We work with many of the Concordia student groups funded by fee levies, and we support organizations such as Head & Hands, Queer Concordia, The Co-op Bookstore, and countless others. We are also staunch supporters of the local music scene, so much so that we were awarded “Best Champions of the Local Scene” by CMJ (College Music Journal) at their annual awards ceremony, which recognizes the best in North American college radio.

Furthermore, we offer a broadcast home and offer great representation to a number of vibrant cultural communities. One of these is the large Caribbean community in Montreal. Our Saturday line-up features The Live Wire Show, Caribbean Callaloo, Anatomy of Caribbean Music and More Fyah, just to name a few. All of these wonderful shows provide a powerful voice to the community offering music, community updates, event promotion and interviews.

We don’t stop there. We are always playing the best new music from around the world, and our own backyard, whether it’s Alternative; Hip Hop; Indie; Metal; EDM; World, or any other style under the sun, CJLO is always at the forefront of what is new, happening, and never heard on commercial radio!

Q: Will the new frequency affect my ability to listen to Vermont Public Radio (VPR)?

A: It depends. CJLO’s FM transmitter would be 100 watts. If you compare that to another Montreal station like CKOI 96.9 FM, who transmits at 307,000 watts, you can probably discern that we are only looking for a small transmitter.

WVPS, which is owned by Vermont Public Radio (VPR) is an absolutely amazing radio station, with a plethora of great programs and a similar mandate to CJLO as a community broadcaster. Their transmitter operates at around 47,000 watts, is located in Vermont and is not easy to hear in many parts of Montreal. CJLO would operate at 100 watts and would cover a radius of a few city blocks to reach the main Concordia campus. If you are driving through downtown, we might interrupt WVPS’ signal in your car for a short a time. However, if you live outside of the downtown area (such as in the West Island, NDG, or Westmount), your signal should not be affected.

Our transmitter would sit atop the Henry F. Hall Building at 101.4 metres, surrounded by other tall buildings and Mount Royal, thereby limiting the range of the signal. If you live as close to our transmitter as Westmount, you will likely still be able to listen to all of the programming at WVPS. Should your home signal to WVPS be affected by our transmitter, you will be able to listen to WVPS online at http://www.vpr.net/ where you can hear all of their programming, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Q: Why is this transmitter so important?

A: CJLO is a Campus/Community station that is licensed by CRTC Decision 2006-58 to serve all of the Concordia student community. However, the station cannot be heard on, or around the main campus of the university’s Sir George Williams campus. Over the years that we have been a licensed station, one of our biggest complaints from students is “why can’t I hear you downtown?”

In 2011, CJLO went to the student body by way of referendum to raise our fee levy. We launched this campaign to help fund the exploration of the option of a repeater on the downtown campus. The student body approved this question and our funding was increased in order to sustain this project.

Concordia students want to be able to hear us. With the majority of Concordia’s students working, studying, or socializing downtown, being able to broadcast to them is crucial to our mandate.

Q: Is CJLO important to Montreal and its communities?

A: CJLO is an integral part of Montreal. Here are a few reasons why:

  • CJLO is a proud sponsor of many of Montreal’s festivals, including but not limited to: POP Montreal, St-Ambroise Fringe Fest, Nuit d’Afrique, Fantasia Film Festival, Heavy MTL, Pouzza Fest, One Man Band Festival, MUTEK, and so many others. 
  • CJLO is regulated by the CRTC, which means that we gladly play a minimum of 35% Canadian content. We feel it is an absolute privilege to give exposure to Montreal’s diverse and talented music scene, as well as represent Canadian artists across the country. To quote our Volunteer Coordinator, “we are an incubator of Canadian talent.”
  • CJLO has won many awards from CMJ (one of the world’s most important platforms for the discovery of new music) including: Station of the Year; Best Student Run, Non-FM Radio Station; Best Team Effort; Best Use of Limited Resources; and Biggest Champion of the Local Scene. That’s not even including all of the awards that our Music Directors have won! These awards cement CJLO’s contribution to providing the best in new music and as one of the best Campus/Community radio stations in North America.
  • CJLO has been ranked as one of the best college radio stations by the Huffington Post (the only Canadian radio station to receive such an accolade).
  • CJLO was the only Canadian radio station selected to represent Canada at the first annual International Radio Festival in Zurich, Switzerland.
  • CJLO has claimed the ranking of #2 Best Radio Station in Montreal for two years in a row from Cult MTL (Montreal's authoritative alternative newspaper and website for the Anglophone cultural community).
  • Many CJLO volunteers and broadcasters have gained invaluable experience in journalism, broadcasting, sound production, marketing, and communications and have gone on to have successful careers in the broadcast, news and music industries.
  • CJLO has been awarded over the past several years with a funding grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) to offer our annual after school program which provides over ten weeks of free training to Montreal high school students in broadcasting. These students get hands-on, high quality experience to give them a taste of the radio world, and often a career path that they would not have considered prior to taking part in the program.
  • CJLO has held some successful and highly accessible concerts, such as our 10 year anniversary party with great Canadian bands like Juno Award winners Wintersleep, Polaris prize winners F**ked Up and former Edmonton Poet Laureate, Cadence Weapon.
  • CJLO often gives free advertisement spots for local not-for-profit organizations and often helps these organizations in any capacity we can, such as supplying music, volunteers, community calendar announcements, live and remote broadcasts from events, etc.
  • CJLO has recorded countless bands in our studio. We have had many local, national and international artists stop by to record music with us and have released albums for a “pay what you can” cost to help promote this talent.
  • CJLO launched the Artist Outreach Program. A program run through the station to produce radio-quality EPs for bands that have the content but may not have the financial means or technical skill to produce their music in a radio acceptable format. With this project, CJLO provided a stepping-stone for local artists in the Montreal community to learn about getting their music played on the radio and creating a physical product that they can use to achieve this goal.
  • CJLO released “You’re Related,” a compilation album of Montreal artists, covering songs by other Montreal artists. What better way to introduce people to the many amazing acts in Montreal?

(UPDATE) VPR said that CJLO’s repeater would make enough interference to block them from all of Montreal. Is that true?

If you are referring to the VPR website, which says, “while it is true that CJLO's 100-watt station would only have clear reception within a few-block radius, the surrounding area within an 14-kilometer radius will likely experience interference that makes it impossible to hear either station. A map showing the "area of possible co-channel interference with WVPS" is included on Page 28 of CJLO's application to the CRTC…” we may be able to provide a bit of clarification.

Page 28, refers to the following

This page seems to have sparked some concern as the radius of interference shows a “14-kilometer radius” of interference. Some clarifications to make are:

  1. The radius shown has a maximum radius of 14-kilometres; however the affected area would be much less, givin the following... 
  2. Maps of this sort are required documents by the CRTC.
  3. This map assumes that Montreal and surrounding areas have no topographical abnormalities (no mountain, no hill, no valleys, no rivers).
  4. This map assumes that there are no physical obstructions whatsoever (no buildings anywhere in Montreal, no trees, no roads, etc).
  5. This map assumes that the Hall building (where the transmitter would be located) is the single highest point in Montreal at 101.4 metres (reference point, CBC’s transmitter is on top of Mount Royal at 233 metres, and has a “very short candelabra tower” which is 100 metres in height).
  6. If points 3, 4 & 5 are true, then there would be an interference zone of 10 kilometres if the transmitter were operating at optimal performance under optimal conditions.
  7. If points 3, 4, 5, & 6 were true, then the interference from the proposed transmitter contours would not exceed 3mV/m (0.003 watts per metre) or 0.5mV/m (0.0005 watts per metre) at the outer edge.

Given the above and that points 3, 4 and 5 are not reflective of the landscape of the broadcast area, we cannot assume that the level of interference will match the 10km radius, but only a small portion of it.

*** Furthermore, and most importantly, the area in question (shaded area on page 28), shows the “Area of possible co-channel interference FROM WVPS (FM), Burlington, VT (47 kW, 827 m).” What that means is that CJLO will not be able to be heard in that contour because WVPS’s signal will be too strong and ‘drown out' CJLO’s signal. 

What steps, if any, has CJLO taken to work with the CRTC to find another less occupied frequency?

The CRTC does not work with organizations to find frequencies. That onus is on the applicant. For the application, our broadcast consultant, who has 51 years of experience in the field, and the late Mr. D.H. Macaulay, eng. Looked at all frequencies and found that 107.9 FM was the only viable option as the proposed broadcast area has very bad reception for WVPS.  More information can be found in the application, appendix 4.4, Alternate Solutions (pages 49 & 50). 


CJLO prides itself as being considered a voice for Concordia, Montreal, Quebec, and Canada. We believe that no one in Montreal should be limited from hearing us, no matter where on the island they may be. We appreciate all of the support from the Montreal and Concordia communities over the years and hope to be a strong voice for these communities in the future.

For more information or should you have any other questions not covered in the above, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at feedback@cjlo.com

Or you can call the Station Manager, Mat Barrot at (514) 848-8663.


UPDATE (June 11, 2014)

As the time for interjections has passed, we would like to thank all of those who stepped forward in support of CJLO. 

We have submitted our answers to the interjections in opposition to our application, to the CRTC which can be found on the CRTC Website. 

You can also consult the following PDF, which is what was submitted to the CRTC.

Thank you for you continued support of CJLO.