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Reviving Kanehsatà:ke Radio moving toward dials

Mike Mathieu, Alex Beaupré, and Sylvain “Syd” Gaspé are part of the Reviving Kanehsatá:ke Radio group looking to get the community’s voice back on the airwaves. (Natalia Fedosieieva, The Eastern Door)

The second Reviving Kanehsatà:ke Radio (RKR) meeting was held in the United Church in Kanesatake Tuesday, to provide an update and to discuss future programming.

Sylvain “Syd” Gaspé, a radio consultant and technical expert, was chosen as a chairperson, after an opening address by Travis Gabriel.

After a vote for the members of the board, Gaspé made certain announcements about funding.

He said Family Bingo at Christmas, organized by the Kanesatake Health Center, decided to support the radio station launch. No official amount announced, but it will be around $3,000, he said.

Radio McGill, Chase the Ace, and Radio Bingo are also willing to support the RKR.

“There are also other little projects that can happen to do specific things, so we just try to integrate the projects into the big one, so it will be beneficial for everyone,” Gaspé said.

Three grants available to apply to were presented during the meeting.

Gaspé said the US State Department offers up to $8,000 and the deadline to apply is January 11, however, this funding can only be granted by an alumni of the state department.

Alex Beaupré, a business planner, was assigned to gathering necessary information.

The Cultural Youth grant was presented by Mohawk Council Victor Bonspille.

He said there is an opportunity to get up to $25,000 from the Municipal Cultural Communications (MCC) as long as the project is culturally-based and beneficial to youth. The application deadline was January 10.

The third grant is the provincial Aboriginal Initiatives Fund (AIF). These funds are already available for RKR.

“We are happy to have in the community a fundraising initiative to support us in what we need at a certain level. AIF is one of the biggest funds that we can apply to,” Gaspé said.

He said since the last meeting in November many things have been done.

“The biggest news was the decision that came down from the CRTC on the Lachute radio station (LS) that was applying to use our frequency of 101.7 MHz,” he said.

Gaspé explained the CRTC denied LS’s application, which would have seen the community’s frequency taken over. The decision clears the path for Kanehsatà:ke radio station to pursue its recovery plan.

“We were using low-power unprotected frequency at 101.7, so legally they could do that, but we said, ‘we don’t want you to do that,’ because we would have to move, but we cannot move as there are no more frequencies in the Montreal area. So, we were already squeezed where we are, and we cannot do much on that frequency,” he said.

Gaspé expressed appreciation for Mike Mathieu, a radio consultant, the first who flagged the Lachute station’s application for 101.7 FM frequency and helped fight it.

“If it wasn’t for Mike Mathieu, we wouldn’t be able to work on a station here tonight,” he said.

“After seeing their initial application, Lachute doesn’t have much a chance if they reapply. The CRTC probably won’t see another application from Lachute for another year,” said Mathieu.

Gaspé believes the station needs a lot of support.

“We are starting pretty much at zero. Equipment is a bit savageable, even the antenna tower needs some work. We could be looking at half a million dollars, because we need a new building and new equipment. We need technical studies to be done, like engineering studies, which can run to $10,000 just for that,” he said.

As they don’t have a studio, the attempt is just to get something on the air by installing a simple transmitter and a radio receiver, which is in Kahnawake, Gaspé said.

“We have an agreement with Kahnawake to do that. We can just act as a repeater. At least we have something on the air. Once we manage that technically, then we can also ask the radio station in Kahnawake for some air time. They are willing to collaborate with us, so for example, a one-hour program will be appealed to both communities in a way,” he said.

Beaupré said the prime purpose of the business plan is to represent how the radio station with a community can make a difference.

“It is a great way to spread culture and language, and bring the community together,” he said.

Beaupré said estimations and costs were included in the business plan and many fundraising initiatives and grants are needed in order to launch a radio station.

“We are looking at, with the building and all equipment and operational costs, $750,000,” he said.

Beaupré said the further steps depend on collaboration with different organizations.

“The cultural department, the Kanehsatà:ke Crime Prevention youth program, the Health Center, Mohawk Council in Kanehsatà:ke – we want all these different organizations to come together to make this radio station possible,” he said.

It was decided to have meetings once a month, on the second Tuesday of each month.

“If we are meeting regularly, we will achieve more,” Gaspé said.

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