One ‘Pirate’ Cross Border Punjabi Station Agrees to Close


Radio India To ‘Cease & Desist’ in 120 Days

courtesy  October 16, 2014.


The managing director of an Indian radio station — Radio India’s Maninder Gill. [PNG Merlin Archive]


NB ..Radio Punjab Ltd. of Surrey and Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Inc. of Richmond recently agreed to sign “consent” agreements that allowed them to avoid a CRTC hearing Wednesday. 

GATINEAU, Que. — One of B.C.’s “Pirate Radio” broadcasters boasted earlier this month of his powerful political connections, a vast public following prepared to take to the streets to rally on his behalf, and his plan to fight for his right to keep operating all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

But Radio India’s managing director, Maninder Gill, humbly capitulated here Wednesday under pressure from Canada’s regulator of the airwaves.

“I changed my mind, ” Gill told a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission member questioning his change of heart.

Gill heads Radio India, one of three largely Punjabi-language B.C. stations broadcasting to Lower Mainland audiences without a licence by using U.S.-based radio transmitters.

Gill, while saying his station “fills a void” and is the “chosen vehicle” for politicians anxious to reach B.C.’s South Asian voters, admitted he’s been operating for years in violation of Canada’s Broadcasting Act.

He and a representative, Andrew Forsyth, appealed to the CRTC to give Radio India 120 days to wind down operations, avoid the costs associated with a quick closure that could lead to bankruptcy, and prepare a submission for a future AM licence on the 600 frequency in the Lower Mainland.

“Mr. Gill does want to come into compliance, but shutting everything down at once would devastate too many people and diminish the hope of ever revitalizing the service,” Forsyth told a panel of three CRTC commissioners.


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