Iqaluit could hear Christian radio

“God is taking a lead in this”



Ontario’s Christian music superstation wants to expand into the airwaves of Iqaluit.

CJLF-FM in Barrie, Ontario, filed an application last week with the CRTC, the federal body that regulates the airwaves, for permission to rebroadcast its station in Nunavut’s capital.

If approved, Christian music and discussion could be heard on 105.5 FM in Iqaluit. But don’t expect this soon: Station manager Scott Jackson said he expects the application process could take up to a year and a half.

The station, run by Trust Communications Ministries, receives revenue from advertising and donations. But Jackson said he wasn’t interested in money from Iqaluit. He describes the possible Arctic expansion as a “mission venture.”

“The role of the radio station is to introduce people to God,” he said

But that doesn’t mean they broadcast hymns. He describes the station’s music as Christian contemporary, and compares many of the artists they play to popular acts like the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Nickelback.

“The difference is that the lyrics are about God,” Jackson said.

The station’s programming also includes talks by Rick Warren about the Purpose Driven Life, Decision Minutes with Billy Graham, and highlights from meetings of the Promise Keepers, an evangelical organization dedicated to helping men put family first.

No local programming would be heard in Iqaluit. Instead, the Barrie station’s signal would simply be bounced to Nunavut, and sent through broadband Internet to a local transmitter.

So, why Iqaluit? The city’s population base, its potential to grow, and a shared time zone were all factors. But Warren says that God also had a direct hand in the decision.

Jackson visited Iqaluit last June, where he met Chris Keiths and Pentecostal pastor Wayne Moore. During his stay he inspected the roof of Nunastar’s eight-storey building, to see how well suited it would be for a broadcast antenna.

It turned out that a bracket to hold an antenna was already there. Next he would need a small room to store the transmitter. And, sure enough, beside the bracket stood a small room, just the right size.

All that needed to be done was install an antenna, connect both pieces of equipment with a cable, and drill a hole through one wall of the shed.

“There was a hole through the wall, the size of my finger, that’s just the right size,” he said.

“We’re taking this as an indication that God is taking a lead in this. It’s just too coincidental.”

To top things off, as Jackson prepared to leave, Moore told him his church would donate $10,000 towards setting up the station — a good chunk of the $25,000 Jackson says will be needed.

There are 35 similar Christian radio stations in Canada, and over 600 in the United States, Jackson said. CJLF-FM currently rebroadcasts to Owen Sound, Peterborough and Huntsville, which are all within a two-hour drive of Barrie. They’ve also applied to rebroadcast in Oshawa, 30 minutes east of Toronto.

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