Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

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Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby Dave L » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:34 am

During the last few days a pirate radio station popped up in the vacated frequency of 90.1 in Tofino.

http://mixlr.com/tuff-city-radio/

While the frequency allocated to MCMI aka Matthew McBride, Cameron Dennison has set up an unauthorized transmitter site in a garage, devoid of Industry Canada and CRTC approval. After three days of sporadic airchecks, the call sign "CHMZ 90.1, Tofino" was not heard once. Instead, the moniker "Tuff City Radio, 90.1" is inserted occasionally. Infrequent paid ads and liners have run.

The unwitting residents of Tofino are enjoying the station, which admittedly is a far cry from the horrible performance by McBride during the last decade, but under the wrongful impression they've acquired the rights or operating in a lawful manner.

The transmitter installation and location is not Industry Canada approved nor gazetted. There is no application before the CRTC, no technical brief approved by Industry Canada, nor is the work being done by a certified P.Eng. Operating a pirate radio station from an unadvertised location under the guise of a licensed undertaking is a menace to navigation and increase the risks for interference of emergency co-channel dependencies. Two years ago, a twin engine aircraft crashed on Vargas Island following a missed approach to airport at Long Beach. Occasionally, aircraft flying IFR will use the NDB and the radio station to make their approach. Fixing on an erroneous target undoubtedly may lead to other accidents.

What's the real status of CHMZ? The licensee has been non-compliant on numerous levels for previous years. In fact, never been compliant, having neglected to address previous orders imposed at other renewal hearings. The station's transmitter was removed from the CBC tower, not having a legal right to be there in the first place. Likewise, subsequent to to a co-operative management plan with all users, the tower underwent numerous upgrades. McBride did not participate in this process and the equipment was removed, causing CHMZ to go dark. No effort has been made to restore the service by McBride.

How did the antenna end up on the CBC tower in the first place? I submitted the original application for CHOO-FM on behalf of Pete Moffat, who falsely represented to me that he had permission "from the town" to use the center lobe of the CBC tower. We had no portable GPS unit in those days, so I plotted the advertised position on a marine chart and included it in the application. A few months later, Moffat got tied up with soon-to-be convicted fraudsters of the HRDC scandal who took over the application process and had it fast tracked by the CRTC, hence entrenching the TX location to Industry Canada and NAVCAN.

I am disappointed with Cameron. It has been my advice to him (for years now) to apply to the CRTC for a commercial license, especially given the bad behavior by the current operator. Had he done this, he'd be on the air now, legally. Like the logging protest days of old, these people are under the wrong impression that usurping a process is how things get done. Again, he'd rather listen to Pete Moffat, who failed (miserably) his undertaking in Tofino, yet feels entitled to a radio station at everyone else's expense using public airwaves.

Meanwhile, back in Gatineau, the CRTC has summoned McBride to fish or cut bait (for the umpteeth time) on all his licenses.

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2018/2018-196.htm

CKPM, CFPV, CIMM and CHMZ have been put on notice that the licenses will expire on August 31/2019. The only active station is CIMM in Ucluelet, but McBride does not have effective control. Two do not have detectable carriers, though Port Moody may be dark as well at this time. All the while the CRTC still moving forward as though the stations are operating. McBride may choose to give notice to abandon or re-apply, but the latter requires bringing the stations into full compliance. Nothing in the notice provides for transfer of ownership or a technical amendment to the transmitter location.

The CRTC has failed this community (miserably) for the past twenty years and it looks like we'll have to suffer a few more, so long as the commission upholds McBride and nobody else. It's discouraging to operate by the rules and impress them upon others, when the regulator itself is complicit in blocking new applications and handing out olive branches to negligent operators.
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby skyvalleyradio » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:42 pm

good gawd what a horror show! Running such a high profile pirate in a tiny community is a sure fire way to get caught. The result will be that Cam will blow his chances & NOT get considered as an applicant for a legal license. Oh well...you've at least tried to explain the gravity of the situation & the path he should have followed to get a Tofino station on air. Any idea how much RF he's running??
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby GrumpyOldMan » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:37 pm

Hmm. Apparently you can operate a pirate ethnic radio station in the US, bleed it into Canada, take business away from compliant Canadian license holders, and then be granted both and FM and AM license to operate in Canada. So perhaps Cam has the right idea!
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby Dave L » Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:24 pm

skyvalleyradio wrote:Any idea how much RF he's running??


I've been on Clayoquot Island so I don't have a full view of the pattern, but it's on freq w full quieting/stereo. It's reported as audible in Ahousat too, so that's got to be 50 watts at the minimum, especially if it's mounted on a garage as their social media post states. They were all over the place at first, as could be expected then settled into otherwise decent levels and something-for-everyone tunes. Mostly AAA, but some other mixes. Quite listenable, really. Some Tuff City Radio or other voice liners, scarce ads (if not promos). No IDs. No call signs 0/30. That suggests the STL is a hard wire to the TX and the RF/beam are the same QTH as the studio.

The currently advertised position https://tafl.mckie.ca/?detail=0000135773&prov=BC which is the old location on Barr's Mt.
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby Dave L » Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:03 pm

GrumpyOldMan wrote:Hmm. Apparently you can operate a pirate ethnic radio station in the US, bleed it into Canada, take business away from compliant Canadian license holders, and then be granted both and FM and AM license to operate in Canada. So perhaps Cam has the right idea!


If that were true for domestic pirates, I'd be be on the air in under 15 minutes, but I'm a by-the-book proponent so at the very least admonish him and his peeps to keep it clean.
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby skyvalleyradio » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:35 pm

...and I'd be on the air in 10 minutes! :groovy: Thanks Dave for the excellent description of TCR's coverage. A rough comparison could be done with the VOAR translator on 92.5 - it's listed as 46 watts with antenna 13M AGL. I think I've seen this while in Tofino & if I'm looking at the right antenna - it's on a light-duty 30' Delhi tower.

How startling to learn that Peter Moffat is egging Cam on with this misguided venture. As a one-time licensed broadcaster, he should know the consequences Cam faces if/when he gets caught. Sounds to me like Peter still has some issues to CHOO on having failed at running a successful local station. Cam also will blow any goodwill & community support from leaders & first responders once word gets out that this is an unlicensed station. Cam may even get a visit & warning from Officer Friendly there to suggest he stop BEFORE the paperwork shows up from Ottawa, and Cam has all his equipment seized & forfeited.

Dave & I have discussed this before & taking the route of starting a tourist FM station would have been a good way to enter into local broadcasting, build up some advertising & support from the community by offering up info usable to local residents and visitors to the west coast. Run 50 watts in Tofino with perhaps a 2nd 50 watt signal located at the Tourist Info Center at the "T" junction on the highways. With a bit of ad revenue under the belt, the next step towards a commercial license would be possible.
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby Dave L » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:14 pm

skyvalleyradio wrote:Dave & I have discussed this before & taking the route of starting a tourist FM station would have been a good way to enter into local broadcasting, build up some advertising & support from the community by offering up info usable to local residents and visitors to the west coast. Run 50 watts in Tofino with perhaps a 2nd 50 watt signal located at the Tourist Info Center at the "T" junction on the highways. With a bit of ad revenue under the belt, the next step towards a commercial license would be possible.


Full disclosure, that's happening. I'm their technical/industry consultant and a producer since they started eight years ago. The technical brief is included in a much larger brief to Industry Canada with major upgrades to the facilities on MT. Ozzard. Given the community lost services with closure of Tofino Coast Guard Radio at Amphitrite Point, they were enthusiastic about providing space on the legacy equipment. Tourist radio uplinked from the current R-Town studios in Ucluelet, but covering all of Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds. We interviewed the technicians (retired or otherwise), who put us on to the chief. **big shout-out to the techs!!** If anybody knows WTF is going on, it's them, they keep it all running under not so nice conditions from bad weather or head office. The chief engineer has been terrific, though. Amiable as can be. He's delighted doesn't have to take out the old tower and the hard line to it. If anything, saved demo/disposal costs on something that was otherwise fully serviceable. We gave him the diagrams and the gear and he wrote us in. The stick's ready to go up. Might even be up. Rack space, power, boom. We're good. We started in late Feb and pending it's final decision at this moment.

Point being, start to finish in six months, by the rules. It actually only took a just few days. Piece of cake. We applied from scratch... one week after the CHMZ stick came down. :tail
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby skyvalleyradio » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:50 pm

That is wonderful news, Dave! Good luck getting underway! The coverage from Mt Ozzard will provide a quality signal with minimal output power. Although somewhat restricted from that of a commercial broadcaster, Tourist-info/Environment (road, weather) stations need not be boring. With the right production, plenty of rotating clips & the recognition that listeners to these often tune in for short durations, a west coast based station could be a lot of fun! And yes...if you're careful about it & don't abuse, it IS possible to have a little music on one of these stations. You have local bands, musicians & First Nations story-tellers to draw from to provide a little entertainment. Meanwhile, it's an opportunity to do some ad sales, build bridges with the community, it's leaders, first-responders & citizens of note or character. McBride has his day coming & it's a waiting game for the commercial licenses to inevitably get deleted. Meanwhile, a dedicated team can provide some reliable & much-needed info to residents & visitors alike. Be sure to consider having highway signage made up to announce your presence. As soon as drivers are SAFELY at the bottom of Kennedy Lake hill, you'll want them tuning their vehicle FM receivers to the new signal. Keep us posted on progress! :rockon:
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby dmehus » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:31 pm

Is this what is meant by the term "pirate radio stations," that is stations not legally authorized to operate? :)

Let's sit back and watch how long it takes the bureaucratic wheels to shut the station down (and then wait and see if residents actually turn their furor to the CRTC and to Industry Canada!).

I can see our arts & culture PM, Mr. Trudeau, trying to avoid this as long as possible. ;)

Cheers,
Doug
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Re: Tuff City Radio pirate squats on 90.1 Tofino

Postby Dave L » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:17 am

dmehus wrote:Let's sit back and watch how long it takes the bureaucratic wheels to shut the station down (and then wait and see if residents actually turn their furor to the CRTC and to Industry Canada!).


My guess is the CRTC will do nothing in the meantime. Industry Canada maybe.

I'm waiting for the next notice from the CRTC on McBride's intentions. If he declines to renew, all four stations will expire on Aug 31, 2019.

If he wants to renew, he'll need to show cause. In that case, I'll will intervene. Mark my words, it won't be pretty. Some may think I doth protest too much, but believe me when I tell you, most don't know the half of it. This whole thing stinks of malfeasance.

Interesting you should mention resident furor. Tofino has a tendency to do that. Most of the followers of the station have no idea it's unauthorized. Even though ID's are not broadcasted at the prescribed intervals, I heard the CHMZ callsign a couple of times, which may have been inadvertently exported or otherwise fraudulent, especially if they're collecting cheques or donations under that guise. The CRTC doesn't care about cliques or protests, instead likely to defer to Industry Canada for take down. As far as the commission is concerned (at the moment) they carry on as though McBride is operating and compliant. McBride has made a mockery of the honor system in complete absence of enforcement.

When McBride was off the air 4 years ago for several months, I took out a file number and an application. When Cam Dennison squatted on the frequency, he enabled McBride by essentially hamstringing any future applications, including his own. I withdrew, because the CRTC renewed McBride, even though he was negligent and made no effort then (or since) to bring the station into compliance. A commission that is supposed to prevent monopolies and enforce the rules, created a monopoly and turned a blind eye to enforcing the broadcasting act which benefited an individual who neither earned nor deserved it.

As it stands and as far as this town is concerned, the CRTC has failed it's mandate. People went to jail over CHOO-FM (HRDC scandal and internally fast tracking the application) and the owner maliciously accused me of sabotage and called in a death threat while I was on the air one evening. All this and more after he was forcibly removed from the premises by his partners. The owner of CHMZ is a failure on every level. Crew, landlords and service providers are left holding the bag. One employee sued for a year of back wages, and prevailed. The rest, from all four stations (including me) were fired for having the audacity to ask to be paid. McBride eventually paid my wages, but neglected to reimburse for wiring, plugs, software, music database and small equipment I provided to build or re-build three stations. In response to a complaint by a town councilor, McBride claimed the station was sabotaged at a high level, that supposedly required two Telus trucks from Courtney two trips to repair. I asked the local RCMP for a file number for my records, but affirmed no such file existed. In reality, phone and cable were cut off and the rent was past due. I know this to be true, because the lineman from Ucluelet confirmed the STL was disconnected and had no knowledge of so called sabotage. The landlord told me the rent was months in arrears having been bilked on a phantom share offering (the same to me, but I knew it was BS) in lieu of payment. I was working with Seaview Cable at the time and privy to the status of the account. CKPM in Port Moody went dark several months ago, advertised on social media as a "power surge" and "trained professionals" were deployed in force. What's worse, people actually believe this crap, including the folks in Ottawa.

I'm 62 and getting close to retirement. I will not apply again, because the CRTC won't even hear it until McBride is entirely out of the picture. Allowing for two years of processes, no less a heavily scrutinized process with huge bonds and certified lines of credit they'll demand in retrospect of bad behavior, there is no hope for a compliant station in Tofino until 2022 at best. If they renew (which wouldn't surprise me in the least) add two more years of this nonsense, 2024 is not an unreasonable projection in light of the previous twenty years of sitting on their hands.

What a disgrace. :angryfire:
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