G-98.7 finally sold
New owner says station’s long term mission remains the same
Despite written pleas from the Prime Minister of Canada,, the Mayor of Toronto, community groups and a liteners’ petition, the financially stressed Toronto radio station G-98.7 is no longer in Black hands.
On Monday morning an Ontario Superior Court of Justice court spent just an hour reviewing the latest purchase offer for the last Black owned radio station in the Canada (Flow, Canada’s first Black FM station was sold off years ago).
And now, pending a licence review by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, Mississauga broadcaster Neeti P. Ray is the owner of the station that bills itself as a broadcaster “that Grooves.”
Ray already owns and operates multi-cultural stations CINA-FM in Windsor and CINA 1650 AM in Mississauga. The two stations provide programming in a variety of languages.
“While I prepare to undertake the task of bringing the much needed stability to G98.7, the long term mission remains the same as envisioned in its original CRTC application,” Neeti Ray told the Caribbean Camera . “It is to serve the Caribbean, African and Black communities of the GTA.”
“ As the licensee of G98.7 (CKFG) and custodian of the FM frequency, my responsibility, first and foremost, is to adhere to and fulfill G98.7’s Conditions of Licence.”
The station was launched about ten years ago by the late Jamaican Canadian broadcaster Fitzroy Gordon (he was the FG in the CKFG and the G in G-98.7’s).
Gordon died in 2019 and soon thereafter the station found itself in financial difficulties.
In June last year, the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice placed G98.7 FM under investigative receivership and the Toronto law firm Farber & Associates was charged with managing the affairs of the FM station and looking after its sale.
Over the summer politicians, community leaders and listeners called for the station to be purchased by members of the Black community. But Monday’s virtual hearing the court noted that not a single Black-owned bidder stepped forward during the long search for a purchaser of the station.
Delford Blythe, a chartered professional accountant was Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President of the station back when it was launched is currently station manager.
Blythe did approach a number of investors in Toronto to help buy the station but when the bidding process closed last month, there was no bid from Blythe or any other Black run consortium.
“I did whatever I could to put together my (bid). Unfortunately we fell short (and didn’t submit)” said Blythe.
Neither the Receiver nor Blythe would tell the Caribbean Camera, how much the new owners paid for the station. However, The Caribbean Camera learned that Ray made a $250,000 deposit.
Blythe will be staying on at the station manager until it changes hands.
Ray must now apply to the CRTC to get approval on continuing CKFG’s existing broadcast licence.
It could be up to a year before the CRTC holding a hearing.