Five Canadian cities will be home to new Indigenous radio stations, the CRTC has announced.
The commission said Wednesday it has granted licences for the stations, which will serve Indigenous audiences in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto.
"This decision comes at a crucial time, not only because it comes in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, but also because of the many major issues that affect these communities," read a statement from Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC chairman and CEO.
Those issues include "the disappearance and murder of Indigenous women, water quality on some reserves and Indigenous youth suicides," he said.
Filling a void
Three organizations will operate the new stations, the CRTC said.
Northern Native Broadcasting, which currently operates in the Yukon, will establish Vancouver's new station.
"I'm proud to announce that the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society [of Alberta] was successful in our applications for radio licenses in Calgary and Edmonton," announced the society's CEO, Bert Crowfoot, on Facebook.
"We'll be the same power as all mainstream stations."
Toronto's and Ottawa's new stations will be the domain of First People's Radio, which marks the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network's move into radio.
APTN had actually applied for licences in all five of the regions, which were left vacant by the recent demise of Aboriginal Voices Radio.
The panel had also considered applications from Wawatay Native Communications Society and VMS Media Group Ltd.
Indigenous languages a priority
The public hearings were held in the national capital in March 2016.
"In the view of the CRTC, these three organizations best demonstrated how their programming would reflect the interests and meet the needs of the Indigenous communities in their respective markets," the CRTC's statement read.
In that announcement, the CRTC also said that the new stations must broadcast in at least one Indigenous language.
The new stations will broadcast on the following frequencies:
- Vancouver 106.3 FM.
- Edmonton 89.3 FM.
- Calgary 88.1 FM.
- Ottawa 95.7 FM.
- Toronto 106.5 FM.