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Proud FM to boost signal strength in ‘gaybourhoods’

New deal with Bell will put Toronto LGBT radio station in homes across Canada

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved Evanov Radio Group’s application to boost ProudFM’s signal strength in downtown Toronto. Credit: Xtra file photo

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission approved Evanov Radio Group’s application to boost Proud FM’s signal strength in downtown Toronto in a decision released April 3.

The decision means that Proud FM’s signal will become more reliable and will reach a wider audience in the city.

“Our transmitter right now is at Yonge and Eglinton. We’re moving it to a location downtown, closer to the Village, Queer West, Leslieville — closer to areas we’ve identified as gaybourhoods,” says Bob Willette, programming director at Proud FM. “It should, theoretically, improve our coverage to those areas.”

The CRTC decision allows Evanov to increase its average effective radiated power from 50 to 107 watts and change the antenna’s radiation pattern from non-directional to directional — 50 watts has proven too weak to penetrate downtown Toronto’s forest of condos.

Proud FM’s inability to obtain a stronger signal had been a difficulty in securing audience and advertisers in the past.

The CRTC had previously approved similar changes in 2010, but Proud FM was unable to secure a lease on a new transmitter site.

Willette says that while there’s no official launch date for the new signal power, “it’s a priority for the company that we launch as fast as possible.”

Proud FM can also be heard via its app and streamed via its website, proudfm.com.

“We’ve been committed to providing a product for and by Toronto’s LGBT community since 2007. We have no intentions of stopping,” Willette says.

Evanov intends to launch a second LGBT-themed radio station this summer. The group received approval to launch Radio Fierté in Montreal in 2011, which will be Canada’s first French-language radio station dedicated to the LGBT community.