Alberta, Northern Alberta
CFWE-FM (Aboriginal), Edmonton/Lac La Biche, Aboriginal Multi-Media Society
CFWE-FM went on the air. It was the only local radio service in the region and operated a community radio training program in conjunction with Employment and Immigration Canada.
It should be noted that the Society received a licence on August 7, 1986 for the television network which by this time was producing three hours of programming a day, Monday to Friday, from studios in Edmonton and in Lac La Biche. The programming was transmitted to 26 rebroadcasting stations of the CBC’s CBXT-TV throughout the province of Alberta.
On the same date, CFWE-FM was given approval to add transmitters at Anzac, Brownvale, Beaver Lake, Chipewyan Lake, Caslan, Fox Lake, Fishing Lake, Fort Vermilion, Grouard, Gift Lake, Horse Lake/Hythe, Heart Lake, Kehiwin, Kikino, Peerless Lake, Sandy Lake, Trout Lake, Whitefish Lake/Atikameg, Alberta. The transmitters would operate on 89.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 10 watts.
On September 29, CFWE-FM was authorized to add the following transmitters to its licence: VF2084 Cadotte Lake, VF2085 Conklin, VF2086 Elizabeth Metis Settlement, VF2087 Fort Chipewyan, VF2089 Frog Lake, VF2090 John D'Or Prairie, VF2091 Little Buffalo, VF2092 Loon Lake, and VF2094 Cold Lake First Nations/Premières nations de Cold Lake.
On October 17, the CRTC approved the application by Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta for a broadcasting licence to operate a new English and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM radio station to serve Edmonton, along with 36 transmitters to serve communities across Alberta. AMMSA operated CFWE-FM, a radio station with studio facilities in Edmonton, which distributed its signal via satellite to a network of 35 FM transmitters serving isolated or underserved Aboriginal communities in Alberta. At this time, none of its transmitters served Edmonton. CFWE-FM's programming was specifically oriented to the Native communities it served and reflected their culture and interests. In the present configuration, CFWE-FM and its transmitters met the exemption criteria set out in Public Notice 1998-62 and were exempted from licensing and most sections of the Radio Regulations, 1986. In its application, AMMSA indicated that it wished to implement an originating station in Edmonton, add a new transmitter in Fort McMurray and continue operating the existing 35 transmitters. The Commission noted that, under AMMSA's proposal, CFWE-FM and its FM transmitters would no longer meet the exemption criteria. Further, given the incumbent commercial radio stations in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, AMMSA would need to obtain a broadcasting licence to operate a Type B Native radio station to carry out its proposal. AMMSA affirmed that it has no plans to change the focus of its programming. It committed to continue serving the needs of Aboriginal peoples in small communities throughout Alberta and indicated that it was seeking to attract Aboriginal people who had moved to the urban centres of Edmonton and Fort McMurray. Under the Native Broadcasting Policy, Native undertakings were defined by their ownership which, through their not-for-profit status, allowed for membership on the board by the Aboriginal population of the region served. The Commission was satisfied that AMMSA was a not-for-profit corporation, which provided for board membership by the Aboriginal population of the region served by the proposed undertaking. The Native Broadcasting Policy specified that the orientation of Native undertakings should be toward an Aboriginal culture reflecting their needs and interests. AMMSA's proposed Native Type B FM station would operate in a country music format that would appeal to Aboriginal people both in urban areas and in smaller communities. In each broadcast week, the proposed station would offer 116 hours of local programming and 23 hours of spoken word programming. The applicant committed that, in each broadcast week, at least 7 hours of spoken word programming would be in an Aboriginal language, 20% of all musical selections would be performed by Aboriginal talent and 5% of musical selections would be in an Aboriginal language. Given the significant Aboriginal population in Edmonton, which was projected to continue to grow, the Commission was of the view that an additional Native radio station in that market would provide a social benefit through the increased exposure of Aboriginal cultures and perspectives. Further, the Commission considered that approval of AMMSA's application would contribute to the fulfilment of the objectives of the Broadcasting Act that the Commission ensure a place for Aboriginal persons and programming that reflected the Aboriginal cultures of Canada within the Canadian broadcasting system as resources become available for that purpose. The Edmonton transmitter would operate on 98.5 MHz (channel 253B1) with an average effective radiated power of 9,300 watts. The transmitter at Fort McMurray would broadcast on 94.5 MHz (channel 233B) and have an average effective radiated power of 10,700 watts.