Toronto
2 min

Radio ga ga

Gay & black bids vie for coveted FM spot

GIMME. Keith Maidment goes into lobby overdrive. Inset: Share magazine makes a play, too. Credit: Jan Becker

Two black radio stations versus one gay radio station.



That’s what it boils down to, with all three vying for the same available frequency, the much sought after 93.5FM slot on the radio dial.



“We are the number one contender when following the CRTC mandate,” claims Keith Maidment of Rainbow Radio, the company that’s launched a full-out assault on the CRTC and the homo community in the quest to capture the frequency.



Because public pressure can make a difference to the CRTC, petitions for the station dot coffee houses in the gay ghetto. And Maidment has gone to Ottawa to lobby MPs for support and has community groups like Equality For Gay And Lesbians Everywhere on board.



“We think that 93.5FM is a better use of frequency for the gay community because it is Toronto-centred.”



And a homo station, say backers, is needed more than a black station.



“We looked at the limited range of the 93.5 FM signal and determined that the best use of this frequency would be one that served the city of Toronto downtown area. When looking at the demographic and lifestyle composition of the city core, it became very apparent that there is an underserved segment of the population that desperately deserves equal access to the broadcasting system,” said Rainbow Radio president Bll Evanov in a press release.



The implication seems to be that gay men and lesbians live downtown, while (straight) blacks live on the outskirts of the city. And 93.5 is a frequency with a very small range.



Rainbow Radio is up against two prominent members of the black community: Denham Jolly and Arnold Auguste.



Jolly is an urban music heavyweight and president of Milestone Communications. Back in 1997, Milestone lost its second bid for a radio station by only one vote – a controversial mess that pitted a black station against the CBC.



Arnold Auguste is publisher of Share newspaper – arguably Canada’s largest ethnic newspaper serving the Caribbean, black and African communities. (Share never has any gay-positive content.)



Auguste did not respond to a request for an interview.



Carl Redhead, a 26-year-veteran-radio-broadcaster and one of five members of the Milestone Group, referred all questions to the mountains of documents filed with CRTC.



Milestone Radio spokesperson Jay McDonald. McDonald says: “Since its inception, Milestone has had the support of professionals in all fields and celebrities like Salome Bey, Maestro Fresh, Deborah Cox.”