Radio station to launch in August

Red Deer’s newest radio station is scheduled to launch next month; for a more precise date you might have to watch the Westerner Days parade.

Manager Daryl Holien checks out his radio station’s new control room Monday.

Manager Daryl Holien checks out his radio station’s new control room Monday.

Red Deer’s newest radio station is scheduled to launch next month; for a more precise date you might have to watch the Westerner Days parade.

Harvard Broadcasting Inc. is already broadcasting music on a test basis on its 100.7 FM frequency. Daryl Holien, the local station’s general manager and program director, did not want to disclose the official launch date, other than to say it will be early in August.

This and other information, including the station’s name, will be unveiled during the Westerner Days parade on July 21.

“We’re actually putting a float in the parade,” said Holien, adding that signs at the station building will go up the same day.

That station is located at 3617 50th Ave., the former premises of The Dispensary pharmacy. Holien said those facilities are ready to go, with most of the station’s staff — expected to number 15 or 16 — already in place.

Harvard began testing on July 5, playing mainstream adult contemporary music.

“What you’re going to hear during the test is basically what the radio station is going to be,” said Holien, adding that the station will provide hourly news updates as well as sports, weather and other information.

Its target audience is 25- to 54-year-olds.

“I think there’s a pretty big niche there that we can carve out a pretty good living here.”

Holien said the radio station’s signal should reach listeners north of Airdrie and near Nisku, with Rocky Mountain House and Stettler also within its transmitter’s range.

Harvard, Touch Canada Broadcasting (2006) Inc. and L.A. Radio Group Inc. all received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in 2008 to operate radio stations in Red Deer. L.A. Radio Group commenced broadcasting at 101.3 FM under the name Kraze FM last July.

Mark Imbach, operations manager with Touch Canada, said the earliest his company will begin broadcasting in Red Deer is early fall.

“We’re working our way to get there and it certainly is a priority for us,” he said, pointing out that Touch Canada has been acquiring equipment and has secured tower space for an antenna.

Touch Canada plans to broadcast gospel adult contemporary music — focusing on 25- to 49-year-olds — at 90.5 FM. That’s the same format as its other stations in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

L.A. Radio Group, which is owned by Troy Schaab (also known as Troy Stevens) and his wife Sonia Sawyer, also operate Lacombe-based CJUV-FM, or Sunny FM.

Harvard operates a number of radio stations in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com