Indie-rock station coming to Toronto

From The Toronto Star:

Toronto’s new radio station revealed Tuesday, Indie 88.1, will be an incredible boost to emerging Canadian talent and an audio gathering nook for those with inquisitive and discerning ears, says the new channel’s boss.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) stated Tuesday that it granted a licence to Barrie’s Rock 95 Broadcasting to replace Ryerson University’s old campus station CKLN on the 88.1 FM frequency. Dave Carr, operations manager for Rock 95, said the new English-language music channel will focus on independent and emerging artists.

“It’s explosive . . . it’s going to be incredible, says Carr. “Our mission is to give Canadian indie musicians and their hundreds of thousands of fans their own place on the Toronto FM radio dial. Indie artists are the industry stars of tomorrow and Indie 88.1 will simply help tomorrow come sooner.”

Carr says an opening date is still unclear but “as soon as possible” is his wish with “hopefully within the year” a reality. He added that a downtown Toronto storefront locale would be “wonderful.”

Carr says an indie station — showcasing artists not signed to major labels — has long been the dream of Rock 95 (which has been broadcasting in Barrie for more than two decades) and that it initially had hoped to have it on air in Vancouver by now.

“At the time it was clear to see that Vancouver owned indie,” says Carr, “but the scene has evolved and right now the focus is definitely on Toronto.”

The CRTC was on side with Toronto being the site as the newest station as well as the format.

“Even in the age of digital media, Canadian artists who do not have major-label support face a tough road to success,” says Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s vice-chairman of telecommunications and chair of the hearing panel. “Rock 95’s station will give much-needed exposure to those artists and listeners will have the opportunity to discover new talent.”

The new station won the application after promising to spend money supporting Canadian music over the next seven years, including:

• $295,000 for the North by Northeast festivals;

• $275,000 supporting the Polaris Prize;

• $275,000 backing Indie Music Week in Toronto;

• $275,000 for The Indies, the awards-show portion of Canadian Music Week; and

• $509,000 to a “Performer of the week” initiative, which would see Canadian indie band would vie for cash support according to fans’ votes.