Nunavut community struggling with radio, TV broadcasts
Clyde River residents seeking service and repairs
A shortage of qualified technicians has left Clyde River without radio broadcasting for nearly four months — and the hamlet office with a slew of complaints about lack of service.
“The radio’s very important,” said John Ivey, senior administrative officer for the hamlet. For many residents, the radio is a primary source of information about the world outside the community of 1,000, in addition to local events.
“There’s a lot of demand for the radio to be on air, and it is tough not having it for sure,” he said March 24. “We want to keep in touch with the news and everything else that goes on.”
Clyde River normally receives transmissions from the CBC. But a faulty receiver has prevented the community from hearing anything from the national broadcaster. Other technical problems have kept community radio off the air as well, Ivey said.
“We’ve been exhausting a lot of money, energy and time, trying to get it working, but no success.”
The hamlet put out a call for qualified help throughout the Baffin region, including Iqaluit.
“They can’t seem to find a time to come in,” Ivey said. “We’re bringing in other people from other communities with experience in running their local radio stations.”
He eventually got a response from Igloolik, which sent one of its radio technicians. Meanwhile, the hamlet office is awaiting delivery of a new receiver from CBC in Iqaluit, Ivey said.
Just as the hamlet’s radio systems started showing signs of trouble last fall, Clyde River residents were also contending with poor cable TV service.
“Half the town didn’t have service, and they couldn’t fix it,” Ivey said, referring to Aarruja Development Corp., a hamlet-based corporation which used to offer the service.
“They were downsizing, and just didn’t want to deal with the cable service anymore,” mayor Jerry Natanine told Nunatsiaq News.
“All the cable equipment, all the wiring that’s going through town is really old, and to replace them would have called for a complete overhaul of everything,” he said.
The corporation decided last December to close its cable service, effective Feb. 14.
Residents now rely on satellite providers such as Shaw Direct and Bell Expressvu for all TV programming.
“The only option now is for people to buy satellite dishes,” Ivey said.
“Although it’s hard to get a signal sometimes, and to set it up properly, it runs for about as much as cable did.”
Monthly fees start at about $70 for basic service, he said, which was about equal to the defunct cable service.
The recent change means Clyde River is possibly the only community in Nunavut without cable service.
Arctic Cooperatives Ltd. typically offers cable TV services in hamlets with member-owned co-ops. Clyde River however, has been without a co-op for more than two decades.
Clyde River is not the only community in the Baffin region that has had to contend with radio broadcast issues in the past year.
Kimmirut’s radio station, like Clyde River’s, alternates between CBC and community broadcasts. It went without broadcasts for most of 2014 until the community co-op re-established service through its cable TV service.