Radio Ville-Marie needs $100,000 to get on air in Gatineau

By 
  • February 19, 2010
{mosimage}A new Christian radio station in the Ottawa-Gatineau region could be on the airwaves some time this year, as long as the $100,000 price tag for broadcasting doesn’t stand in the way.

On Sept. 23, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a request for the archdiocese of Gatineau to broadcast French language programming from Radio Ville-Marie , a station based in Montreal.

The new frequency is another success for Radio Ville-Marie as it already has half-a-million listeners across Montreal and through its satellite stations in the dioceses of Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Victoriaville and Rimouski. It also saw a nearly 25-per-cent listener increase online last year, said Jean-Guy Roy, director general of Radio Ville-Marie in Montreal.

“It’s based on interest in a station that has values, that has spiritual, humanitarian, social and cultural content,” Roy said.

Radio Ville-Marie, celebrating its 15th anniversary, was started in Montreal by a former Radio Canada journalist who oversaw its religious content. The station features a variety of programs exploring current issues through a spiritual lens.

“We are very happy,” said René Laprise, communications director for the Gatineau archdiocese. “I think it’s a need in the area.”

Like other dioceses that broadcast Radio Ville-Marie programming, the Ottawa-Gatineau region will be required to produce at least one show locally, which could benefit local students looking for opportunities to combine French, journalism and faith, said Laprise.

The new radio station, slotted for 1350 AM, would also give another platform to the church and an opportunity to be present, he said, as most of the programming is Catholic in nature.

French Catholics in the Ottawa-Gatineau region have been trying to get the frequency to broadcast Radio Ville-Marie programming since 2000. With requests for an FM frequency denied twice, the archdiocese has been given a licence to broadcast on the AM band. Once in place, it will be able to reach French Catholics within a 25-km radius.

Currently, pamphlets abound at the back of French parishes on both sides of the Ottawa River with an appeal for help in raising $100,000 within the next three years. The first $80,000 will be necessary for the purchase of broadcasting equipment and the remaining money for yearly operational expenditures. To save costs, the archdiocese will share space on an existing antenna used by another broadcasting organization, Radio-Enfant. 

“The antenna will accommodate two frequencies broadcasting at the same time, a first in the region,” said Marc Leman, president of Radio Ville-Marie Outaouais.

“An engineering firm specialized in broadcasting communications did the study for us, presented it to Industry Canada for approval and finally  to the CRTC. The study was long and hard and expensive but fruitful.”

To donate or find out more, contact Leman at (613) 824-5608 or at mhleman@sympatico.ca . To hear the radio station online, visit www.radiovm.com.

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