Indigenous media organizations vying for radio licences in five Canadian cities are in the capital region this week to make their pitches, and two of them hope to serve Ottawa.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is holding public hearings in Gatineau to consider applications for radio licences in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
In June 2015, the federal broadcast regulator revoked radio station licences held by Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) due to “severe” and “repeated” non-compliance issues, resulting in five frequencies becoming available in those cities.
A CRTC panel is now considering proposals from:
- Wawatay Native Communications Society (Ottawa and Toronto).
- First Peoples Radio Inc. (Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver).
- Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (Calgary and Edmonton).
- VMS Media Group Ltd. (Calgary and Edmonton).
- Northern Native Broadcasting (Vancouver).
The Wawatay Native Communications Society was the first organization to make a presentation to the CRTC on Monday. The independent media company — which formed in 1974 to preserve and enhance the language and culture of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation — is hoping to secure licences in Ottawa and Toronto.
The organization runs a radio network serving 50 First Nations, a trilingual newspaper, and television production studios serving Indigenous communities in northern Ontario.
Wawatay’s president said the communications organization now wants to expand into urban markets because it’s where many Indigenous people live today.
“Our people are here. You see them every day on the streets, in workplaces, in professions, sports, industry. We’re here,” said Mike Metatawabin, president of…