October 12, 2021
The CRTC has shot down plans for a German radio station in northern Alberta, claiming it would prevent residents from fully participating in Canadian society, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
“I do not understand why they would do this,” said Abram Zacharias of La Crete, Alta., who applied for a license on behalf of local townspeople.
Residents petitioned for a part-time, 50-watt FM license to broadcast local programs in German. There were no objections from commercial stations in neighbouring towns.
“I am very disappointed,” said Zacharias.
“A 50-watt approval is usually not difficult, especially as a non-profit community service.”
The hamlet of La Crete, 700 km northeast of Edmonton, is not home to a single francophone according to Census data. Of some 2,000 residents more than two-thirds, 64%, identify as German-speaking Mennonites and more than a tenth of townspeople speak German at work.
The local Chamber of Commerce calls the century-old hamlet “a unique bilingual community with German and English as the two dominant languages.”
It is home to a Mennonite Heritage Village.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission in its decision said ethnic radio stations must typically broadcast in multiple languages though “in this case it would not be practical” since La Crete residents only spoke English and German.
The CRTC said nevertheless it was concerned German news, talk and music shows would not “help the local community to better participate in Canadian society or bridge the cultural gap with the existing English-speaking community.”