Programming on “border blaster” 1550 KRPI Ferndale is undergoing change. For several years now, the station has been leased full-time to Surrey BC based Sher-E-Punjab Broadcasting who provide a full-service Punjabi-language music & talk format competing with other South Asian stations in Vancouver. Sher-E-Punjab, along with 2 other BC South Asian broadcasters transmitting on Whatcom Co AM’s was admonished by Canada’s broadcast regulator – the CRTC – and threatened with fines for continuance of these arrangements. In spite of this, the CRTC later granted a license for a new facility on AM 600 to Sher-E-Punjab. Other South Asian broadcasters submitted competing applications, but were denied. 600 kHz has been dormant since 2011, when long-time occupant CKBD flipped to the FM band as many other Canadian AM’s have done. The new Nautel transmitter is in place & ready to go. The CRTC has just granted a power increase for this facility, for 50 kW days & 20 kW nights. The power increase ruling will be the ‘green light’ for Sher-E-Punjab to move their programming from KRPI to their new signal on 600 with calls CHOF. It’s probable that one of the other unsuccessful applicants for 600 may end up on Ferndale’s KRPI, instead of a badly needed local service for Whatcom Co & Bellingham residents. With all of Bellingham’s AM & FM owned by one company – Saga Communications, some diversity in ownership & programming would be welcomed. The only other commercial signal in the market is 106.5 KWPZ, and this is primarily of interest to those of the Christian faith. Aside from some local news & talk on 790 KGMI, plus local sports play-by-play on 930 KBAI “K-Bay”, Saga’s stations do little to inform or entertain residents in the far northwest corner of our state with local, relevant programming.
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