Making radio permanent in Kanehsatake

·2 min read

In the most recent stride toward establishing a permanent radio service for Kanehsata’kehro:non, Reviving Kanehsatà:ke Radio (RKR) obtained approval for a new broadcasting license last week.

On May 11, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that RKR would be allowed to continue its operation that was brought back on-air in April 2020, following extensive water damage to the old station’s building in July of 2017.

To this day, the 101.7 FM station still does not have a building to operate from.

“We succeed in making radio flying by the seats of our pants, using whatever we have,” said the station’s project manager, Karahkóhare Syd Gaspe. “Everyone’s in their own homes, with a microphone, recording from inside their closets.”

Although not ideal, Gaspe expressed that the method of operation is temporary, until a new transmitter tower and building can welcome the RKR staff.

However, before construction can begin on the proposed site, located next to the Kanesatake Riverside Elders Centre, the station manager explained that a second CRTC decision about protecting the radio’s frequency is needed in order to move forward.

“If we aren’t granted that protected status, then all our efforts won’t really be worth it because we can get bumped by another radio at any time,” said Gaspe, adding that the financing for the station is also dependent on this decision.

As a 30-watt, low-power station, this change of status would not only provide frequency protection, it would also allow RKR to increase its broadcasting signal to 51 watts – offering complete coverage for the community.

“We want to be able to offer a radio service at all times, but especially during times of urgency,” said Gaspe. “The idea is to have the studio next to the antenna, so we can ensure that we can provide that service as best as possible.”

Until a decision is announced, Kanehsata’kehro:non can still tune into 101.7 FM for their favourite English and Kanien’kéha programming.

Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door