Lachine makes airwaves: First commercial South Asian AM radio in Montreal

President of Radio Humsafar, Jasvir Sandhu. Photo: Photo Courtesy - Radio Humsafar

More than 10 communities will soon have public representation on Montreal frequencies. Radio Humsafar, an online radio station, received a permit from Lachine on Monday to put up their transmitters and should be broadcasting around late December on AM 1610.

The 24/7 ethnic station will have programming in at least eight languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Pashto and Gujarati. One-third of the programming will be Anglophone.

The license for the public station was approved by the CRTC last year. “We were trying to get on the AM band for a long time, said Humsafar’s president, Jasvir Singh Sandhu. “But it’s a long process.”

200,000 strong

A veteran of the radio industry since 1989, Sandhu has seen a need in the South Asian community for this type of programming for a long time. “There are more than 200,000 people belonging to this community, yet there is no conventional radio service,” he explained.

For at least 10 years, Sandhu rented air time from other stations, an hour at a time. “We had special programming, but the need is growing—the community is growing, but we have no representation on air,” he explained.

Programming on Humsafar AM 1610 will cover a wide spectrum, from talk to entertainment to news, and Sandhu should be hiring around 30 employees.

Online programming will be geared toward an older crowd, aged 50 and up, who may spend more time at home, Sandhu said.

The towers will be located on Cote-de-Liesse Rd. and 46th Ave. in Lachine, though the Humsafar head office is in Lasalle.



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