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Gay Radio Station Hoped for Toronto
To be North America's First if CRTC Application Successful
ONLINE:  MONDAY JANUARY 24, 11:23 AM EST (GMT-5).

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IF chosen in the upcoming hearings for the licensing of new frequencies on Toronto area radio, an application for gay programming will launch the first GLBT radio station in North America and only the second of its kind in the world.

The hearings are to be held between January 31st and February 18th at the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in Toronto.  Seventeen applications have been submitted for the FM and AM frequencies sought by the Community.

Support has come in from individuals and groups around the world as well as CityTV's Q Files.
 
 
"We're still responding to negative interventions," Keith Maidment, who is championing the effort, told gayottawanow.com recently.  "But we have strong speakers on [our] panel and independent [positive] interventions."

The application, which includes some 34 tasks, requires that responses be made to all filed opposition, or "negative interventions."  Mr. Maidment said that among them were eleven from one religious organization.

But support for the possible station, to be known as Rainbow Radio, has been huge.  "MCC, PFLAG and many others [have filed] positive interventions," explained Mr. Maidment.  Support has also come in from individuals and groups around the world as well as CityTV's Q Files, a gay and lesbian television weekly.

"[If successful] we're going to include internships for broadcasters, a creative talent showcase, community access programming, a speaker's corner, web-hosted audio streams, and establish a foundation for the Community with the first $50,000 donated from CKMW," added Mr. Maidment.

That radio station, also known as Hits 103.5, is backing the application and is the last independent FM station in Toronto.  It features extensive multicultural community programming on its AM division.  The plan is for CKMW to provide the corporate infrastructure for Rainbow Radio.

The Native and Black communities are also in the running and will likely use arguments similar to Rainbow Radio's.
 
 
Keith Maidment works for Hits 103.5 in marketing.  He's a former night club promoter and has spent time in the sports circuit.  He described himself as "a very positive person."  He's also a full-time fire fighter in the city.

Mr. Maidment and supporters are hoping the CRTC's requirement to consider community programming in its licensing decisions will combine with Rainbow Radio's plans for such and CKMW's experience in doing so to obtain the license.  Many applications have been submitted for the two frequencies sought, however (93.5 FM and 740 AM), and the decision could go either way with respect to which band the successful parties are granted.

The Native and Black communities are also in the running and will likely use arguments similar to Rainbow Radio's.  In fact the former and a member of the latter recently announced their mutual support and changed their applications so as not to compete with each other for desired slots, the Globe and Mail reported on January 7th.  Aboriginal Voice Radio and Share Newspaper (of the Black community) have told the CRTC they're giving it a chance to do "two good deeds at the same time."

The CRTC is expected to issue its decision in May.  If successful, Rainbow Radio should be on the air by Toronto's Pride 2000.  It plans to splash launch by being the second supporter of that celebration behind Labatt's.

Mr. Maidment may be reached at keithm@hits1035.com.