Mi’kmaw First Nation finds out December 6 if it gets a broadcast license
Sometime next year, youth and elders at Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation could be acting as DJs and news announcers, sharing music and stories over their own FM radio station.
Paqtnkek (pronounced ‘BUCK-in-keg’) has applied to the CRTC for a license to build a low-power 50-watt station that would reach listeners in a small radius around the community, located about 20 kilometres east of Antigonish. If approved, the call letters would be CFPQ operating at 104.5 MHz.
“It’s a fairly rigorous process to meet the programming and technical requirements,” says Richard Perry, a former CBC News journalist and now communications advisor to Paqtnkek.
“We registered the non-profit Paqtnkek Radio Society with the NS Registry of Joint Stocks, we have a board of directors. Now we just need to piece together the studio gear required to get our signal to air.”
One of the first things Perry did was join the national campus and community radio association, which provides guidance for small stations trying to navigate the regulatory maze.
“Other fellow broadcasters have gone out of their way to offer advice and encouragement,” he says. “I especially want to thank George Marshall at new station CIYR-FM at Chapel Island First Nation and Dawn Liens, station manager at C99-FM at Membertou First Nation.”
If approved, the station would broadcast a mix of music and spoken word programming from six a.m. to midnight seven days a week, including shows in the Mi’kmaq language.
Perry says the CRTC application includes support letters from commercial stations CJFX in Antigonish and CIGO in Port Hawkesbury, as well as StFX President Kent MacDonald, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, and MLA Randy Delorey.
The on-air studio and production suite will likely be housed in a renovated Elders’ centre, just across the street from the Band administration office.
Perry says the application process for an FM station can take anywhere from six to 18 months, but because there are no such regulatory requirements for Internet streaming, the station can start broadcasting online when the equipment is purchased.
Anyone wanting to host a show will receive training in broadcast procedures and regulations.
“I’m really excited about seeing community members explore their own creativity,” says Perry. “It’s an opportunity for self-expression, and a chance to create a community hub for sharing information that’s relevant to people of all ages.”
Donors will receive an official CRA-sanctioned tax receipt.
For details, contact Richard Perry at richard.perry@ paqtnkek.ca.