CHIP FM paid to swap its frequency

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Francois Carrier & Allyson Beauregard (Tr. AB)

FORT-COULONGE – At the end of 2015, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a plan proposed by Torres Media’s CIDG-FM (Dawg FM) to pay CHIP FM, the Pontiac’s community radio station located in Fort-Coulonge, more than $100,000 to swap frequencies.

Francois Carrier & Allyson Beauregard (Tr. AB)

FORT-COULONGE – At the end of 2015, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a plan proposed by Torres Media’s CIDG-FM (Dawg FM) to pay CHIP FM, the Pontiac’s community radio station located in Fort-Coulonge, more than $100,000 to swap frequencies.
The action will see CHIP FM change from 101.7 to 101.9 while CIDG-FM, an Ottawa commercial radio station, will change from 101.9 to 101.7. The change will allow CIDG-FM to increase the station’s power from 5,500W to 19,500W which will significantly improve its signal in the
southwest to areas like Nepean and Stittsville. Previously, CIDG-FM suffered interference with other radio stations, which had a significant impact on their advertising revenue.
The agreement had already been announced last March by the two stations, but the CRTC had to analyse the file before officially approving it. CHIP FM will use the funds from the swap – a little over $100,000 over three years – to update its image and improve its promotional and advertising strategies.
The frequency swap will not affect CHIP FM’s distribution. However, as a
precaution, there is a clause in the
agreement that would allow it to be
terminated if the station witnesses major changes. Torres Media will take care of all of the expenses related to the deal.
Aside from the frequency change, CHIP FM will see no other changes; CHIP FM’s French-language license with the CRTC remains the same as well as their policies and values for the promotion of linguistic duality in the Pontiac. The mandate of the organization within the community will also remain the same.
A long process
Torres Media first approached CHIP FM at the beginning of 2012 to try to create a partnership.  “Initially, the communication was difficult, but with the new CHIP FM administration, talks were resumed in 2013 and a partnership approach was adopted,” explained Yves Trottier of Torres Media. In addition to the financial
compensation paid to CHIP, exchanges of expertise concerning, among other things, certain advertising strategies are part of
the agreement.
“The board members did their 4homework; they carefully considered Torres’ offer while keeping in mind the interests of Pontiac residents as well as the radio station. We made a counter-proposal and they agreed. We then instructed our director to meet with local stakeholders: the MRC, political stakeholders, the station’s financial partners, and CHIP members at the AGM. Everyone agreed given that the mandate of the station will remain the same and the radio content will be greatly improved,” said CHIP President Michel Bélanger.
Change effective in 4 to 6 months
The frequency change should be carried out between April and August 2016. Although engineers will work on the antenna of the DAWG FM station, for CHIP, there will be no major modifications required.
Belanger invited listeners to get involved: “We need to update our image and it’s clear that this time, we must consult the community. After we changed our logo a few years ago, some members did not like the way it was done. It’s impossible to please everyone, but we will consider all comments to reach a consensus.”
More money for listeners?
CHIP FM Director General François Carrier confirmed that eventually the CHIP bingo prizes could increase and
promotional activities are likely to be more generous due to this agreement. “This is another opportunity to offer more to the audience and continue the improvements we started in September 2012. It’s clear we had nothing to lose and much to gain in this partnership,” explained Carrier.