Surrey nets first English-speaking radio station, My Surrey FM

Published: August 11, 2014

107.7 FM will become My Surrey FM within a few months’ time. File photo/Surrey Now.

CHRISTOPHER POON
SURREY NOW

SURREY — More than six months after numerous applicants vied for the rights to a much-coveted radio frequency to be based in Surrey, South Fraser Broadcasting has been granted permission to start their own station on 107.7 FM.

The station will be called My Surrey FM and will be the first English-speaking radio station based in the City of Parks. According to president of South Fraser Broadcasting Suki Badh, My Surrey FM is expected to go live within the next six months.

“We want to do it all properly and I’d rather delay the launch a little bit in order to get all the infrastructure in place,” said Badh, who has two years to launch the station following the Canadian Radio and Television Commission’s decision.

Badh said he was excited for what the station means for Surrey, as he envisions the station as being something to connect the city’s varied population.

“Considering all the backgrounds we come from, be it Filipino, Scottish, Irish, Caucasian, South Asian, anything and everything will be covered in a language that 94 per cent of Surrey either speaks or understands,” explained Badh. “What’s really going to differentiate us is our news and spoken word. It’s going to be all about Surrey, first and always, and it’ll be issues like transportation, growing pains, what happened at city council what’s happening all over Surrey.”

South Fraser Broadcasting was chosen out of 11 applicants who all made their case to the CRTC in January about why they should be awarded the frequency. Other applications included South Asian-specific broadcasting, talk radio and top 40 stations, but ultimately the CRTC went with South Fraser Broadcasting, which will focus on adult contemporary music, as well as news, sports and weather. Community outreach will also be a part of the programming, according to Badh.

In its decision, the CRTC said South Fraser Broadcasting’s service “will fill a programming void by introducing a first local English-language service dedicated to a Surrey audience. The new service will serve the needs of Surrey residents by offering local news and community information. As a new entrant to the Vancouver radio market, the applicant will enhance the diversity of news voice in the market.”

Badh said the 107.7 FM frequency will be strong enough to cover all of Surrey as well as a few other communities south of the Fraser.

“We are ecstatic to be able to contribute to the growth of Surrey, one of Canada’s fastest growing communities,” he said. “The city is becoming one of the best places to live in the Lower Mainland, thanks to the philosophy of sustainable development, championed by Mayor Dianne Watts and her council.”

During the January CRTC hearing, various community figures came forward in support of South Fraser Broadcasting, including representatives from the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce and Coun. Tom Gill. At the time, Gill was criticized by other applicants saying the city should not be endorsing any one application, something Badh said was unfortunate.

“There was some verbal abuse and threats made at the hearing and it took a lot of courage on Coun. Gill’s behalf because he wanted to see something broad and inclusive to all,” said Badh. “That might not have sat well with some individuals.”

However, Badh is happy that everything worked out and said he’s looking forward to bringing a new voice for Surrey to the airwaves.

“Surrey gets a lot of notoriety on Vancouver stations due to drug busts, or murders or something negative, but there’s lots to celebrate about Surrey and this station will reflect that diversity and Surrey is a vibrant community that’s about to take off,” he said.

In addition to providing more Surrey-based content for locals, the South Fraser Broadcasting has also committed to providing $700,000 towards Canadian content development over the next seven years. That money will go towards initiatives such as funding a stage at Surrey’s annual Fusion Festival, journalism and broadcast scholarships at local post-secondary institutions and music programs for the Surrey School District.

Read more Surrey news at thenownewspaper.com.

cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

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