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Indie Toronto wants to be home to indie music on the radio

Posted by Guest Contributor / April 10, 2012

Indie Toronto RadioSince CKLN had its license revoked a few months ago, 88.1 FM has merely been static on the radio dial. But that's set to change. Enter Indie Toronto, a new radio project spearheaded by the Barrie-based Central Ontario Broadcasting company (which also owns Rock and Kool FM) that wants to give Canadian indie musicians and their hundreds of thousands of fans their own place on the Toronto FM radio dial.

Four years ago, the team behind Indie Toronto applied for a similar radio format in Vancouver. It didn't pan out as their application was not approved by the CRTC. In Toronto, however, they have reason for optimism. The main selling point has to be that the playlist on Indie Toronto would be substantially different from the other radio stations operating here. Everyone knows that most mainstream dials toggle between the same top 40 songs with choices that can be as limited and predictable as a playlist at a nightclub. Journey's end of the night Don't Stop Believing, anyone?

Lately, I've been tuning into Indie Toronto's online stream to get a better idea of what to expect. There were tracks by The Rural Alberta Advantage, Bahamas, Bombay Bicycle Club and Bon Iver, to name a few.

A recent article in Macleans talked about "Why indie acts are everywhere, except on the radio". Dave Farough from Corus Entertainment was quoted as saying "It's not radio's job to break new music. In some cases, listeners want to hear new music. But in most cases they just want to hear what they like".

I put this statement to Dave Carr, the program director of Indie Toronto, who begged to differ. "The job in radio is to introduce great bands to the listeners and make them familiar. What will set Indie Toronto apart from the other radio stations is that 60% of our playlists will consist of emerging artists from Toronto and across the globe."

Of course, before they get that coveted radio dial Indie Toronto needs a license to broadcast on the airwaves. You can show your support by liking their Facebook page or sending them an e-mail. Up next is a hearing in May but it will likely not be until much later this year until any decisions are made. Competition will be stiff with over 30 applicants for the spot.

Would you support Indie Toronto or an "indie" radio station on the FM dial? Add your comments to the thread below.

Writing by Charissa Tosio



overdue / April 10, 2012 at 02:03 pm
about time! excited!
-d. / April 10, 2012 at 02:22 pm
"It's not radio's job to break new music"?

Poor John Peel must be spinnin' in his grave.
Meg / April 10, 2012 at 03:06 pm
"...The playlist on Indie Toronto would be substantially different from the other radio stations operating here."

Really? Do you listen to CBC? 99.1 FM plays all the artists mentioned in this article, and the morning and afternoon Toronto shows feature local talent in particular. So, I don't think you can really say indie acts get NO air time on radio.
JB replying to a comment from overdue / April 10, 2012 at 03:41 pm
Exactly. Maybe this will get 102.1 to attempt to keep up with new acts, put some variety in their playlists, and stop recycling the same 30 songs over and over, all day long.
meg / April 10, 2012 at 03:43 pm
do it! i'm so sick of "Moves like Jagger" and Drizzy Drake.
Jer / April 10, 2012 at 04:12 pm
Some potential here for something good. Hope it gets approved, better than static!
Cliff S / April 10, 2012 at 04:22 pm
Meg wrote: "Do you listen to CBC? 99.1 FM plays all the artists mentioned in this article."

I hate to break it to you, but one song played between stories or guests does not turn a current events/news show into the home of indie music. CBC Radio 3 or some shows on CIUT 89.5 do a far better job of highlighting and breaking Indie acts.

A dedicated full-time fm home would be welcome though.

DUTHIE replying to a comment from Cliff S / April 10, 2012 at 04:35 pm
Exactly! You want Indie? Listen to Dreaming in Stereo Friday afternoon's on 89.5
Jason Paris / April 10, 2012 at 05:21 pm
CBC is one of the applicants for 88.1, but I'm not sure why, unless they are going to broadcast Radio 3 terrestrially which would be even better than this Indie 88.1. Regardless, as someone who grew-up with the Spirit of Radio, this would be a huge improvement to our current airwaves in these parts. If not CBC, then please Indie 88.1!
Meg replying to a comment from Cliff S / April 10, 2012 at 06:30 pm
Cliff S : I was responding to the suggestion that these acts get "no" airtime. Admittedly, Radio One is not a music station, so you're not going to hesr as mucn. But jeez, at least they are playing some -- more than pretty much anyone else in town. You have to give credit there, perhaps even MORE so because music isn't the primary mandate for those shows, but they provide it anyway. And now the Song of the Week thing talks to the artists as well.
glenn storey / April 10, 2012 at 07:15 pm
there is only one radio station.
huskylord / April 10, 2012 at 07:41 pm
This is great news. Yes CBC radio is great, however this would be 24/7 of great indie music. More quality choice is a good thing.
Robyn / April 10, 2012 at 08:30 pm
Would definitely support! I too listen to CBC Radio 2 but more Indie music is always a good thing. I concur with Dave Carr, "The job in radio is to introduce great bands to the listeners and make them familiar." I have discovered tons of great music on radio.
sansie / April 10, 2012 at 09:29 pm
You want a great indie station? Indie 101.5, the mohawk college station in Hamilton. It can only be heard in and around hamilton, but it is a great indie station. Music is great, some of the on air could use some work though. Take notes!
Rebecca / April 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm
Yes! I would absolutely love this!!!!
Becks / April 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm
Bring on the dancing horses
Wherever they may roam
Nathan / April 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm
Yes. Anything to be rid of the wash of 92.5s. There's only so much of 'The Drive' I can take, and 89.5, though holding strong with a few good shows, can't do it all. It would be great to hear some local acts and artists.
brian cauley. / April 11, 2012 at 04:18 am
did everyone forget about CBC Radio 3? OK, it's not on FM but maybe that's because we keep cutting their budget. this is definitely a good thing for artists, i will simply always support public radio first as commercial radio always answers to the advertisers at the end of the day.
screasor / April 11, 2012 at 09:04 am
I agree we need more radio spots out there promoting new music. Although I find some of my favourites will play their share of new music, the greater percentage of their playlists are made up of recycled music. It's good to hear the old classics mixed in with the new but a station dedicated to new music would be a refreshing change.
Mika / April 11, 2012 at 05:22 pm
Serge / April 11, 2012 at 08:43 pm
This is a nice idea, but ultimately they are still going to be out there to pull in a profit. I am pulling for Rye High on this one -- CKLN did not work out, but Ryerson should have a radio station going. Between their radio program, their journalism school, the digital media zone, and everything they are doing downtown, there is a lot of potential they can bring to the airwaves. Including for indie artists.
fred replying to a comment from overdue / April 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Rob ford smokes crack and has sex with hookers. he smoke pot and hash everyday
Gerald / April 12, 2012 at 07:31 am
Wow... I would totally listen to traditional radio again!
Gerald / April 12, 2012 at 07:35 am
Let people know & support this!
Gline replying to a comment from Nathan / April 12, 2012 at 09:32 am
I don't have any problems with pop and (mainstream) dance like you do, all have their places in the world of music.

For me, what it's REALLY time for commercial radio to do is tell Bob & June Baby Boom, their children, and grandchildren to frack off and let new music like The National and Neko Case be heard on these oldies stations like Q107 and Boom 93.6 (or whatever frequency it's on.) It's time for this demographic and the people/organizations/ad agencies to wake up and deal with the world as it is and stop stranding North American culture in the past like a prehistoric insect stuck in amber. The Beatles, Elvis, Gerry & The Pacemakers, etc., are almost dead and gone along with the eras that spawned them, and it's time for these stations to go there as well.

If it were up to me, ALL Classic Rot stations would be killed off by legally using the Cancon laws to do it. All of these stations nationwide would be forced to play new local music like the (hopefully) upcoming Indie 88.1 in Toronto, and those that didn't would be forced off of the air, period. The world has changed, this is mother fracking 2012, and it's time for those trapped in the past-culturally and musically-to get with the program of living in the present. If that means having to hear wall to wall screeching techno, then so be it. But it is time that they do so.

If those who love the past so much want to continue to do so, they can do so-but not with the public airwaves. There's something called the Internet, which has a ton of music on in at certain file sharing sites as well as legal places like iTunes, and also a certain brick & mortar place called A RECORD STORE that contains CD's, LP's, and cassette tapes at which you can check out the past to their heart's content.
Amanda / April 12, 2012 at 04:09 pm
OH GOD YES! would totally support it!
Boris / April 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm
Would be nice to have a radio station devoted to strictly non-commercial electronic music (no, Z103-5 doesn't play it). Why do most European cities get to have them, and there is even one in Mexico City!
I say even make it "All Canadian Electronic Music station" :))
Gline replying to a comment from Boris / April 15, 2012 at 09:52 am
Ain't gonna happen, unless one of the other radio stations goes out of business, and an enterprising business person can get enough cash to buy said station and it's frequency and start up said non-commercial electronic music station.

What people REALLY need to do is write to their MP's and get them to bring back whatever law we used to have that prevented media companies from owning more than one station in a given market; maybe then, we'll have a diversity of music in Toronto and other cities in Canada.
Katie Jensen / June 12, 2012 at 09:56 pm
CBC Radio 3 has an unhealthy obsession with Joel Plaskett.
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