High rents force Proud FM to move
Skeleton staff will remain at Village location
Proud FM management has decided to move administrative staff out of its current Wellesley St location on Feb 6 due to the neighbourhood’s increasingly high rents.
However, managers insist Proud FM won’t move away entirely from the gay and lesbian village the radio station serves.
While business and administrative operations will soon move across town to the Evanov Radio Group’s headquarters at 5312 Dundas St W, Proud FM’s broadcast studios will remain at 65 Wellesley St E.
“We’re not the first ones to leave the Village,” says program director Bob Willette. “There are a number of businesses who’ve had to leave because of very high property prices, but for us, this represents a huge cost savings. The rent here was over $10,000 a month.”
Nevertheless, he says, “We feel it’s crucial to remain in the Village and be visible among the LGBT community downtown.”
But while the microphones will stay on, how much space the station will keep has not yet been decided.
“We’re still in negotiations with the property management company regarding how much we’re going to keep,” says Willette, “but we are keeping the reception area and the boardroom, which we’ll turn into a studio.”
Part of the restructuring, Willette says, is to help get new Montreal sister station Radio Fierté off the ground.
“We have to get that up and running over the next year or so.”
Also, he says, “we’re working with the CRTC to improve our signal, and we’re one of 27 applicants for the old CKLN 88.1 signal, which for us would mean better penetration in the downtown core, where we’re lacking.”
The CRTC gave Proud FM the go-ahead to increase its signal from 50 watts to 128 watts in June 2010.
Operations manager Bruce Campbell will continue to run Proud FM from his Dundas St W office. “We have Skype and email,” Willette laughs, “but I anticipate we’ll still need somebody ‘in charge’ at the studios. It’s all still very fluid right now.”