Will CKJR-1440 Wetaskiwin ("W-14-40") Survive?

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Will CKJR-1440 Wetaskiwin ("W-14-40") Survive?

Postby jon » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:52 pm

Locally, here in Edmonton, it is considered "Common Knowledge" that W-14-40 (CKJR-1440 Wetaskiwin) gets the Lion's Share of its revenue from the block of South Asian programming that begins at 6:00 p.m. weekday evenings, plus some additional programming on weekends, all paid by the owners of the new CHBA-580 in Edmonton. The CRTC decision made this morning to award the new multilingual station license to CHBA is based, in large part, on the programming moving from CKJR to CHBA.

Given recent Newcap cutbacks, I could certainly see them abandoning CKJR, most likely surrendering the license to the CRTC, though I will admit someone like the owner of Wetaskiwin's CIHS-FM might be interested in buying CKJR. Though the CRTC may not grant the transfer given that the same owner lost his FM license on Saltspring Island.

Unlike other Newcap small market stations in Alberta, CKJR cannot be switched to FM because Newcap already owns nearby CFCW-FM (CAM-FM). With CFCW AM and FM both doing a good job of serving Westaskiwin, there just is not enough ad revenue left over to support CKJR. Especially in the current Oil-based economy.

A radio station on 1440 would also be a nice fit for the large merged Native reserve near Wetaskiwin, but it might just be more trouble than it is worth given how long they have run their own FM station without CRTC or Industry Canada approval or paperwork.

The only remaining question is whether one of today's "Losers" -- other applicants for a Multilingual Edmonton Station -- come to CKJR's rescue and buy large blocks of time. It seems more likely that they would buy time on the new CHBA-580.
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Re: Will CKJR-1440 Wetaskiwin ("W-14-40") Survive?

Postby radiofan » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:17 pm

At some point New Cap should consider adding HD to one of the Edmonton FM sticks and adding CFCW and CKJR as HD-2 and HD-3. This would give both stations superb coverage in Edmonton.
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Re: Will CKJR-1440 Wetaskiwin ("W-14-40") Survive?

Postby jon » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:19 pm

Too bad that they cannot add CFCW-FM (CAM-FM) as an HD channel, as that would make a lot more people happy. Of course, Newcap won't do that as they promised to not compete in Edmonton with CAM-FM.

Many Edmontonians who do listen to CAM-FM now will likely give up soon when the new French FM comes on the air on 97.9, with CAM-FM on 98.1. This should only be a problem in Central Edmonton as the new station only has 180 watts to protect CKWB-FM in Westlock-Barrhead, on the same frequency.

As for CKJR, if the CRTC does not object to Newcap selling CKJR ads in Edmonton, an HD channel on CIRK-FM or CKRA-FM could really help over the next few years as more and more vehicles hit the road with HD Radio.
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Re: Will CKJR-1440 Wetaskiwin ("W-14-40") Survive?

Postby TRENT310 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:53 pm

The CFCW AM audio already hops once through Highway 21 Looma transmission site from WEM over multiplexed digital STL, 2 stereo pairs dropped at that site for the local FMs, then the remaining channel goes over analog FM UHF for the last hop down the highway, so it could be easy to accomplish IBOC subcarriers of CFCW-AM from CKRA or CIRK without too many major changes should they decide to go that route.

As much as I still miss the old format on CKJR to this day, their recent re-alignment of their Contemporary Country (Real Country network) stations and the classic Country format (CFCW network) make it extremely unlikely CKJR would ever re-join either of those "streams" ever again. Plus the area is covered by CKGY already (although not sure if they specifically target the market or not). There are limited musical formats that still succeed on AM, and they're running one of them now. Does CKJR have any local programming percentage stipulation attached to their conditions? I know although the ethnic programming may have brought in lots of different listeners, they also lose their regular and casual listeners during those hours. Not unlike how people would tune away from CFCW's Zabava program on Sundays for example.
It's a shame to even discuss closure of this station, as the airchain sounds great on CKJR. Engineering is handled out of Edmonton region as well. I hope most would agree with me that the audio on CKJR has far better bandwidth and processing than even CFCW AM itself. And as far as I can tell it had not been plagued with major technical issues that say CFOK or CKKY used to suffer. CKJR also fills the niche that CHQT left when they went to all-news, and their programming and even on-air branding to a certain extent closely matches the Cool880 days.

I don't have experience in the talent, business, and financial side of the broadcast radio industry as some of you guys do, I'm typically concerned about the technical delivery of the services so I can't comment much on whether this is a good business move or not.

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