Castanet in the radio biz

Castanet is officially in the radio business.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Wednesday announced approval of the sale of Kelowna's The Juice FM to Avenue Radio Ltd., a sister company to Castanet Media owned by its founder, Nick Frost.

The commission approved the sale of CJUI-FM and its broadcasting licence from Vista Radio Ltd. for a purchase price of $650,000 plus working capital and assumed leases for a total transaction value of $1,296,460.

The transaction is expected to close on Oct. 18.

"When our viewers aren't online, we can now keep them up to date via the radio," said Frost. "With our (valleywide) newsrooms, we saw potential to bring a new radio service to listeners and fill a hole in the market."

The station will continue to operate as The Juice until Nov. 1, at which time it will relaunch as Okanagan Oldies 103.9. It's new format will incorporate news, talk and music, focusing on hits from the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

It will be brought in-house into Castanet's new studios on Lawrence Avenue and will operate in concert with the news website, sharing content both online and on the air.

The acquisition has also added to the operation's staff, both in sales and on-air talent.

Frost noted most other radio stations tend to "sound the same" and that Okanagan Oldies will cater to a broad demographic of listeners that is currently underserved.

"It's an exciting step in the multimedia evolution of Castanet," added Director of Content Jon Manchester.

The CRTC approval acknowledged Avenue Radio will "incorporate and expand the type of local programming currently provided by its online service Castanet.net in Kelowna in order to significantly increase the amount of news and spoken word programming offered on CJUI-FM and cover the entire Okanagan Valley."

The commission noted the transaction will maintain the operation of a local station and "strengthen the diversity of voices by adding local content, particularly local news."


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