CRTC invites comments on HD Radio - Could this lead to Hamilton getting our own CBC Station?

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is inviting public comment on studying the implementation of HD Radio in Canada.

The CRTC is the federal regulator of broadcast airwaves.

Hamilton doesn’t have our own CBC station and many in our community, myself included, are seeking a CBC radio station for Hamilton. Currently, we’re the largest community in Canada without our own CBC station. We do have a online site branded “CBC Hamilton”.

Limited Space on the radio dial

The problem for Hamilton is our proximity to Toronto which crowds our airwaves and makes it expensive for CBC to open a Hamilton station with a space on the radio dial.

Negotiations in the past for CBC to acquire or share the dial with local college radios stations have failed, in large part due to CBC restrictions that would eliminate many local programs presently broadcast by the college radio stations.

HD Radio allows for digital sub-channel for a Hamilton CBC

HD radio doesn’t free spectrum and won’t allow for more conventional radio stations on the dial, it does allow for a digital signal to be broadcast in the spectrum bordering the analog signal.

This creates the opportunity for a Hamilton CBC station to reach HD radio-compatible radios using the existing signal of one of our two Hamilton college/university radio stations.

The model would be similar to Kitchener-Waterloo and Saskatoon – local for a few hours in the morning with national and provincial programming for the remainder of the day.

Hamilton gets local CBC programming in the morning without losing existing local programs. CBC gets access to Hamilton airwaves and the ability to provide Hamilton with provincial programming in addition to existing Toronto programs.

With Hamilton City Council already on record supporting a Hamilton CBC station, let’s hope our Council sends a letter to the CRTC asking them to explore HD Radio to see if it provides Hamilton an opportunity to get more local programs over the airwaves.