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BBG Communications
1658 Gailes Boulevard, San Diego, CA, 92154
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Canadian Radio AM band

2009-01-05


A notable trend in Canadian radio in recent years has been the gradual abandonment of the AM band, with many AM stations applying for and receiving authorization from the CRTC to convert to the FM band. In a number of Canadian cities even, the AM band is now either nearly or entirely vacant. There is a reason for this FM switch. As Canada is more sparsely populated than the United States, the limitations of AM broadcasting (particularly at night, when the AM dial is often overwhelmed by distant signals) have a much more pronounced effect on Canadian broadcasters. AM radio stations have the additional protection that cable companies which offer cable FM services are required by the CRTC to distribute all locally-available AM stations through conversion to a cable FM signal. But, to date, cable FM only has a smaller slice of radio listeners in Canada.

Digital audio broadcasting, or DAB, like digital television is a technology fairly new and upcoming in Canada. Although there are currently 73 licensed digital audio broadcasters in Canada, not many consumers yet own digital radios, and the existing digital audio broadcast signals duplicate AM or FM broadcasts. No Canadian radio broadcaster currently offers an exclusively DAB signal.

On November 1, 2004, the CRTC began hearing applications for satellite radio services. Applications were filed by three outfits: one by XM Radio Canada, one by Sirius Canada, and one by the partnership of CHUM and Astral Media. These services, which were approved by the CRTC on June 16, 2005, were Canada's first official satellite radio services, although a small grey market already existed for American satellite radio receivers. Sirius and XM both went on air in December 2005. The CHUM-Astral service, however, was never launched until its license expired on June 16, 2007. CHUM stated that its business plan was based in part on the expectation that in the interests of Canadian content, the CRTC would have rejected the Sirius and XM applications, approving only the CHUM-Astral service.

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BBG Communications
1658 Gailes Boulevard
San Diego, CA, 92154
Phone:
Email: info@bbgcomm.com
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