After five years of financial losses, a small, independent Saint John radio station has gone off the air.
Bob Pritchard, a former Toronto radio personality and the owner of CJRP 103.5 (Legends 103), signed off for the last time on Sunday morning.
His staff —about a handful of people — received notice on Friday.
Pritchard said he still believes in his "fiercely local" programming that he broadcasted out of his basement, but he couldn't bankroll the dream anymore.
"There's a nice conclusion for a career," he said, reflecting on what he thought was a solid plan when he left Toronto. "My wife and I will move down here, we'll be a mom and pop radio station, we'll do things that other networks wouldn't do. And we'll have a good time."
'We wanted people who lived here, who had a stake in being part of this community, and put them on air.' —Bob Pritchard, Legends 103 founder
"We'll make a little money doing it, and everything will be great."
Pritchard estimates he has since spent just over $800,000 on the station.
Despite the financial hit, Pritchard said the station and its talk shows did succeed in giving a voice to ordinary citizens and local talent.
"If you wanted to know about Saint John, you listened to us," said Pritchard. "We did specialty programming. We brought in people who could go into the community … we wanted people who lived here, who had a stake in being part of this community, and put them on air."
Clyde Wray, a Saint John poet, was invited to read some of his poetry on air.
"We had some really good reviews," Wray said. "Sadly, we are no longer going to be able to do that."
Meanwhile, Pritchard plans to take the next two weeks to consider his options for his 50-watt transmitter.
If no offer comes forward, he said he will have to surrender his broadcasting licence.