No, Terrace isn’t getting a new radio station.
But if you happened to be scrolling through the FM dial during certain hours two weekends ago, you might have thought that we were.
That’s because radio aficionado and former Terrace DJ Larry Bishop was testing out a new audio system – and giving his friends one last broadcast.
“Just a guy trying to say goodbye to Terrace in a polite way,” said Bishop, reached by phone last week.
After cycling through stints at Coast Mountain Wireless, Bell Media and CFNR in Terrace since 2013, he is looking for a new job that may take him elsewhere.
“I didn’t expect hardly anybody to pick the station up. It was kind of a joke for my friends … people driving by in their cars would pick me up for a little bit and then I’d fade out,” he said.
The two test broadcasts – one, called MoJo FM and playing pop like Drake and Miley Cyrus, and the other, called Ice FM, a mix of comedy sketches and country – played intermittently on 107.1 over the weekend through a very low power transmitter from Bishop’s home studio.
The broadcast didn’t fall under the ‘pirate radio’ category because pirate radio stations are willingly breaking the law, he said, and he was careful to follow Canadian broadcasting rules and not interfere with the existing radio stations. That’s why his station was only available over a few block radius around his downtown Terrace home.
“If it was any more powerful or it was more consistent, then it would be illegal,” he said, noting that the several decades he has spent in media, the majority of that in Ontario, has given him experience with the complicated web of broadcast rules.
Reaction to the test stations was positive, he said, with many people calling in to ask him what was going on. Bishop announced his phone number over the air so people could call in and said he received emails as well.
“People were freaking out,” he said, adding it showed him there is an appetite for “Hot AC (adult contemporary)” music.
But “that being said, there’s no one who really wants to put any investment in it, take a chance on a new radio station – and you’re going after the big dogs,” he continued.
While Bishop said the broadcast was “just a one weekend thing” that allowed him to showcase his best stuff, have fun, and put his dream radio station on the air, if he could find investors, he would love to manage a station.
He also said he spoke with the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the government body in charge of regulating radio, television, cell phone and Internet services in Canada) who indicated it would license a new station in Terrace or Kitimat.
But Bishop cautioned even “if all was full steam ahead it could take a while to get a licence as the process is not easy.”