Tofino’s community radio station Tuff City Radio 90.1FM has been off the air since Feb. 15, 2018. Broadcasting was silenced because the station owner, McBride Communications, did not pay the lease on the transmission tower for several years. (Nora O’Malley Photo)

Tofino’s Tuff City Radio silenced

Tower landlords CBC shut down transmission

Tofino’s airwaves are experiencing a rather extended lull.

Tuff City Radio , which usually broadcasts at CHMZ 90.1 FM, has been off the air since Feb. 15, 2018.

Station manager Cameron Dennison released a statement to Tofino business owners on March 20, 2018 that said the transmission was shut off because McBride Communications failed to pay its landlord, the CBC, for use of the tower space located on Barr Mountain.

“I learned in early January that CBC had not been paid for over eight years by McBride Communications. CBC issued several warnings to McBride Communications, which I was not made aware,” Dennison wrote in his statement.

Currently, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) license for Tuff City Radio is owned by Matthew McBride. McBride also owns the CRTC license to Ucluelet’s community radio station, Ukee Radio CIMM 99.5 FM.

“I really, really love [Tuff City Radio]. It’s a bummer. I was going into my fourth year. Everything was starting to take off and now it’s shut down because this guy didn’t pay his bill,” Dennison told the Westerly News over the phone.

Dennison said in his statement that negotiations and even communications with CBC are impossible as his name is not on the CRTC license.


Cameron Dennison, Tuff City Radio station manager

Local musician Geoff Johnson worked for McBride from 2008 to 2013 when it was broadcast as Long Beach Radio.

“Similar things have happened before,” said Johnson.

“In my time, there was a fiber optic line that ran from the radio station to where the broadcast equipment is that we also had to pay a service charge to Telus. For, I assume it was years or months, the bill wasn’t paid and we got knocked off the air because of it.”

Johnson, who was a morning show host and station manager, quit Long Beach Radio after McBride failed to pay him for six consecutive weeks.

“He owed me $9,800. I wasn’t paid until I served him papers,” said Johnson.

Dennison told the Westerly he has submitted a letter of intent to McBride Communications to purchase the licenses for both Tuff City Radio and Ukee Radio.

Before Johnson left the station in June 2013, he also considered purchasing the stations from McBride.

“I asked him to give me a number for what he thought the radio stations were worth when I quit and he said something kind of ignorant that implied half a million dollars,” said Johnson. “I really hope that’s not the situation now. It’s those kind of numbers you can’t negotiate.”

“I want Cam to own it. I want it all to make sense. Community radio is valuable for the community. I don’t want to see it go dark for two years, which is realistically how long a process like this could take,” Johnson said.

Dennison said he is in the process of raising funds for the purchase.

Jamie Osborne manages Ukee Radio.

“As far as Ukee Radio is concerned, we are not affected because we are separate entities. We’ve always had a good relationship with McBride. Once Ukee was able to take over and have it’s own radio station, we were able to flourish,” said Osborne.

Johnson added that writing a letter to the CRTC might help concerned listeners get their radio station back.

“Letters have some power. [The CRTC] looks for that sort of thing,” said Johnson.

The Westerly reached out to McBride on two occasions, but he was unavailable for comment.

Just Posted

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

Food Bank teams up with Ucluelet RCMP to spread holiday spirit

“We feel very well supported by the community.”

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Most Read