Template:Infobox Radio Station CIRR, branded as 103.9 PROUD FM, is a radio station in Toronto, Ontario, licensed to serve the city's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, launched in 2007. It is the first radio station in Canada targeted specifically to an LGBT audience, and the first commercial terrestrial LGBT radio station in the world — all earlier LGBT radio stations, such as Joy Melbourne in Australia, Radio Rosa in Denmark and SIRIUS OutQ on satellite radio, were operated by community non-profit groups or aired on non-traditional radio platforms.
The application was filed by Evanov Communications in 2005, and approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on April 5, 2006. Template:Ref The company first applied for this licence in 1999, but was denied in favour of Milestone Radio's CFXJ, Canada's first urban music station. The 2005 application received widespread support from the city's LGBT community. The station proposal was originally branded as Rainbow Radio, and the name PROUD FM began to be used in promotional announcements and job advertisements in early 2007.
PROUD FM's programming is a predominantly contemporary hit radio format, with dance music, rhythm and blues, Latin and world music programming evenings and weekends. The station will also dedicate 28 hours per week to news, talk and other information programming, and its program content will be partially overseen by a community advisory committee.
The station will also fund a $5,000 annual scholarship to journalism, art or music students at Humber College and Carleton University, and a $30,000 stage showcase for musical artists at Toronto's Pride Week celebrations.
Other hosts on the station include Deb Pearce, Shaun Proulx and Cajjmere Wray. Comedian Maggie Cassella was also part of the station's original roster of hosts, but is no longer with the station as of August 2007.
The application has faced a number of controversies, both within Toronto's gay community and among outside groups.
Pink Triangle Press, the publisher of the city's LGBT newspaper Xtra!, was originally a partner in the application, but pulled out in December 2005. Pink Triangle alleged that Evanov was not genuinely committed to serving LGBT audiences, but was instead proposing an LGBT station as a "bait and switch" manoeuvre to get the company into the Toronto market (where reception of the company's existing contemporary hit radio station Z103.5 is unreliable), with the intention of dropping LGBT programming and converting the station to a mainstream format shortly after its launch. Evanov has stated a commitment to serving LGBT audiences, but refused Pink Triangle's request to have the commitment reiterated in a legally binding contract. Template:Ref
Following Pink Triangle's withdrawal from the application, Evanov threatened to hold Pink Triangle legally liable for any losses incurred by the company if the CRTC failed to approve its application.
Several interventions opposing the application, as well as National Post columnist Lorne Gunter Template:Ref, noted that the CRTC had not issued an open call for other applications, alleging that the application was given special treatment by the CRTC for "politically correct" reasons. Some commentators, in fact, have directly linked the station's approval to the CRTC's denial in 2003 of a licence for a Roman Catholic radio station in Toronto, alleging religious discrimination. In the licence approval, however, the CRTC noted that because the 103.9 frequency is second-adjacent to Evanov's own Z103.5, and Evanov would therefore have to give its consent to accept a zone of radio frequency interference to Z103's signal, the company would effectively have had veto rights over any competing application for the frequency. (The Catholic station, conversely, was one of eight applicants for a single frequency, which was awarded to the multicultural station CJSA-FM.)
Further intervenors, including several major commercial radio companies, indicated that the station's proposed format did not offer a sufficiently clear distinction from other commercial radio stations already broadcasting in the Toronto market.
Other critics have also suggested that the application does not do enough to take into account the diversity of musical tastes and programming interests in the LGBT community, and that as a low-power signal many people who live away from the Church and Wellesley area may not even be able to receive the station at all.
- Template:Note CRTC decision 2006-128
- Template:Note "Radio partners split", Xtra!, January 5, 2006
- Template:Note "Radio Free Canada", National Post, April 10, 2006, reprinted by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
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