Mayor John Tory writes in support of Black ownership CKFG-G98.7FM

Intercity Broadcasting Network, a Toronto-based company that operates  Radio Station G98.7-FM  which was placed in” investigative receivership “ on June last year, has been ordered  by an  Ontario Court to be sold.

The station which  has a large Caribbean listenership, is reported to be deeply in debt

  1. Farber & Partners Inc. has been authorized to conduct a sale and investment solicitation process (“SISP”) in its capacity as court appointed Receiver of IBN.

In the following letter to  Peter Crawley of  A. Farber & Partners Inc., Toronto Mayor John Tory notes that the possible change of ownership of the station to a non-Black group puts at risk “the essence and spirit of the station and the expectations of Toronto’s Black community, which numbers more than 440 000 in the City of Toronto.”

Mr. Peter Crawley

Farber & Partners Inc.

1220 Sheppard Ave E Suite# 300,

North York, ON M2K 2S5

John Tory

Dear Mr. Peter Crawley,

I am writing to you to register my view that in the course of proceedings to deal with the disposition of the broadcast license for CKFGM-G98.7FM that the CRTC upholds the original mandate of CKFGFM-G987FM, that of being a Black-owned, Black-led and Black-serving radio station.

Since it began broadcasting in 2011, G98.7 FM has been critical in not only dissemination of information to Black communities throughout the Greater Toronto Area, but more importantly, in the creation of a cultural hub.

More than a source of information, G98.7 FM has been a source of inspiration, entertainment and education for Black Torontonians. It has provided Black communities with a powerful vehicle to amplify Black voices, stories and experiences, a true symbol of diversity and inclusion.

The sale of the station and the possible change of ownership to a non-Black group puts at risk the essence and spirit of the station and the expectations of Toronto’s Black community, which numbers more than 440 000 in the City of Toronto alone.

We are in a very unique and significant moment where we all must strive to not just do better but do what is right. Preserving the intrinsic nature and indispensable quality of this station constitutes what I believe to be the right thing to do.

Representation on the airwaves is as important as representation within our institutions. The original ownership, management and content conditions associated with the G98.7 license were put in place to do just that, ensure the representation of Black Torontonians and their voices. Ownership by a non-Black group will impede the ability and agency of Black Torontonians to speak for themselves at a time when it is extremely critical to our resolution of serious race-related issues in Canada’s most populous region.

I also note that considerations of letting G98.7FM fall out of the hands of Black communities are taking place during the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. The governments of Canada, Ontario and the City of Toronto have all officially adopted and recognized the International Decade, which specifically encourages  states to “promote the positive role that political leaders and political parties, leaders of religious communities and the media could further play in fighting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance by, inter alia, publicly recognizing and respecting the culture, history and heritage of people of African descent.” In my opinion, allowing G98.7FM to lose its ownership, management and content connections to our Black communities is inconsistent with that intent and with the original purpose and intent of the license itself in a marketplace where mainstream broadcast models are numerous.

I have enjoyed the privilege prior to being Mayor of being both a broadcaster and a broadcast executive. I understand it is a struggle for underrepresented groups to successfully operate a license in a changing media world and in a very competitive marketplace. It is also a struggle for some of those same underrepresented groups including Black Canadians to find their way onto the airwaves at all. Those continuing realitie are not reasons to abandon a critical objective obviously considered when the G98.7FM license was awarded: the need to ensure in the world’s most diverse city that diverse communities were included in broadcast ownership, management and on air content.

Those objectives are now more relevant than ever as we grapple with issues of racism and discrimination. Our success in addressing those issues, as we must, will depend on a media which is more representative, greater public awareness and a greater understanding of one another. The original G98.7FM license conditions were intended to move us forward in all of those areas and should be maintained to the greatest extent possible.

Thank you for your consideration of this submission. Sincerely,