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Update: VPR's Montreal Reception

Update for 1/27/15: VPR learned this week that the CRTC has denied the application by Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation for a new station at 107.9 FM in Montreal.

We are exceptionally grateful for the outpouring of support and hundreds of interventions filed on our behalf by our Canadian listeners, and thrilled that our Montreal audience can continue enjoying VPR at 107.9 FM! Read the story in today's Montreal Gazette.

Update for 5/30/14: The window to file comments with the CRTC closed on Monday. We heard from hundreds of VPR listeners in Canada and thank you so much for your support. We will update you again when we hear more from the CRTC.

Update for 5/20/14: We've added an interference map above that was prepared for VPR by the Montreal communications engineering firm of Yves R. Hamel & Associates, Inc.  It shows areas where WVPS listeners can realistically expect interference from the proposed CJLO signal.  This is based on reception models of actual terrain in and around the Montreal area.

The small pink area is where listeners can expect the CJLO FM signal totally in the clear.  The much larger purple area surrounding it is where listeners can expect to have both stations interfere with each other - the result being that neither station will come in clearly.

We are reaching out to CJLO with these results to see if we can work together to resolve this issue. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has submitted their comments to the CRTC - we've heard from more than 250 listeners in Canada who've notified us of their intervention. We hope you'll continue to spread the word before the May 26 deadline for comments.

Update for 5/15/14: Thank you for all your comments. VPR has an established audience in Montreal that has been enjoying our service for more than 30 years. While we certainly want to see CJLO to succeed in reaching and growing its own listener base, we are doing what we can to preserve the ability for Montrealers to hear VPR. In reviewing the maps included on CJLO’s application, VPR engineers reached a different conclusion about the impact the proposed repeater would have outside of its target coverage area.

However, in the interest of getting a third-party assessment of the situation, we are now working with a Canadian engineer to conduct an independent study of the possible effect, as well as to research and identify any possible alternatives to 107.9 FM that could be considered.

Update for 5/7/14: We've received some questions from listeners who've heard that CJLO at 107.9 FM would only interrupt VPR programming in a small area of downtown. While it is true that CJLO's 100-watt station would only have clear reception within a few-block radius, the surrounding area within a 14-kilometer radius will likely experience interference that makes it difficult to hear either station. A map showing the "area of possible co-channel interference with WVPS" is included in CJLO's application to the CRTC, which you can download here - application 2014-0336-0. 

Original Post, 4/30/14: Today we are calling on listeners to help preserve VPR's signal in Montreal.

Vermont Public Radio listeners in the Montreal region may lose their ability to hear VPR at 107.9 FM if the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approves a new 100-watt “nested repeater” station for Concordia University. The CRTC is an independent agency responsible for regulating Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications system.

CJLO (1690 AM) is operated by the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation. The organization has applied to add a 100-watt “nested repeater” for CJLO, operating at 107.9 FM from the Henry Hall Building on the campus of Concordia University. If it’s granted, the repeater would give CJLO a more listenable signal in downtown Montreal, but the area of service it would provide would interfere with Montreal-area reception of WVPS (107.9 FM Burlington), the only NPR station available in the city.

The 100-watt station that CJLO has applied for would make it impossible to listen to VPR in downtown Montreal, and it would interfere with VPR’s signal in the areas just outside of the downtown area, making it very difficult to listen to WVPS at 107.9FM. The CRTC doesn’t have to provide protection to WVPS, or any U.S. based signal due to an international treaty that provides no interference protection for U.S. signals on Canadian soil, and vice versa. As long as the new CJLO station doesn’t interfere with WVPS on the US side of the border, it can legally operate in Canada.

VPR is the only source of NPR news in Montreal. VPR also broadcasts programs from the BBC, American Public Media, and Public Radio International, as well as CBC programs such as Q with Jian Gomeshi and Spark. VPR has a considerable audience in the Montreal area, estimated to be around 20,000 people a week. VPR has more than 1,000 current members who live in Canada, 350 of whom live in the city of Montreal.

How You Can Help

First, share this blog post via Facebook and Twitter to help get the word out about this critical situation.

Second, please contact the CRTC to voice your objection to this new station. If you are a Canadian citizen and are concerned about losing access to WVPS 107.9 FM, we encourage you to call, email, or file your complaint online now. The process for is simple, and not very time consuming. It’s important to act before the May 26 deadline:

  1. Go to this page on the CRTC website.
  2. Find the application for an FM transmitter from Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation, CJLO, which is application # 2014-0336-0 
  3. Choose SUBMIT
  4. The next page is “Participate in a Consultation - Terms of Use” please select “I AGREE” then click NEXT
  5. The next page is “Participate in a Consultation – Type of Submission” please select “Option 1” then click NEXT
  6. The next page is “Participate in a Consultation – Submit a Comment” please select “Opposition” from the list
  7. Write your comments in the space provided OR attach your letter by selecting BROWSE, selecting the document stored on your computer, then clicking UPLOAD and then NEXT. (see sample letter/comments below.)
  8. Fill in the personal information that is required.

Please forward a copy of the confirmation email to community@vpr.net, as well as to the applicant's representative, Michel Mathieu, at lours2003@videotron.ca.

Here is a sample letter:

I am writing to express my concern about an application by Concordia University radio station CJLO in Montreal for a 100-watt station to broadcast at 107.9FM. The station would prohibit my ability to listen to NPR news on Vermont Public Radio at WVPS 107.9 FM from the U.S.

(Please add in your own words why you don’t want interference with VPR’s programming and news. List some reasons why VPR is important to you, i.e. specific programs, NPR News, BBC, CBC programs such as Spark and Q with Jian Gomeshi, announcements about cultural events in Quebec, etc.)

(Add any personal thoughts about how, as a Canadian citizen, you want access to a wide range of radio and television signals, including those from the U.S. and especially from VPR which you regard as a local station.)

Thank you very much for help – together we can certain that VPR can continue to have a strong broadcast presence in Montreal.