Markham station not allowed to increase its reach
By Stephen Weir
Markham’s popular oldies radio station, 105.9 (the Region), has faced a setback in its efforts to expand its signal to reach more listeners in Pickering, Ajax, and Oshawa. The station, known for playing the best of the 80s, 90s, 00s; and providing extensive news and traffic reports, recently submitted an application to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) to construct a second transmission tower in Pickering.
The station boasts a lineup of seasoned broadcasters, including former TV stars Ann Rohmer (CP24) and Kevin Frankish (Breakfast Television). In addition to its English programming, 105.9 (the Region) offers a variety of third-language shows, including Tamil, through its HD services.
Although the station received significant support for its proposal, with nearly 40 letters backing Radio Markham’s efforts to reach more English-speaking and diverse communities, there were also dissenting voices. Several radio stations, including CHES-FM Erin, CJRK-FM Scarborough, and CJKX-FM Ajax, expressed concerns that expanding Radio Markham’s transmission could interfere with their own signals.
In its ruling, the CRTC said that Radio Markham had not sufficiently demonstrated a compelling economic or technical need for the proposed rebroadcasting transmitter. The commission found that the station had not shown a clear necessity for the additional tower within its existing primary coverage area.
Despite this setback, the CRTC did approve Radio Markham’s application for a broadcasting license to serve Markham. Currently, the station is licensed to cover Markham and reaches parts of Scarborough, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. The decision was met with disappointment by those who supported the station’s expansion efforts, including community groups, artists, radio producers, listeners, the York Region Municipality, and the Mayor of Markham. These supporters praised Radio Markham for its local focus and commitment to serving diverse ethnic communities.
The denied application means that for now, residents in Pickering, Ajax, and Oshawa will be unable to enjoy Radio Markham’s programming unless they reside within the existing coverage area.