Vancouver, August 22, 2005
NRI, (non-resident Indian) Kulwinder
Sangher to launch FM 93.1 MHz radio station in Canada
in January 2006 for at least 15 ethnic communities
"This is to show our obligation to show our
community support," said Sanghera from the SABC
(South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc.) station
in Newton. "I'm very excited to have this opportunity.
I think it's good news for Surrey." The new station
will broadcast in 15 languages for at least 15 ethnic
Though SABC will broadcast 75 per cent of its programming
in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, other communities will
be represented, including many that signed a 20,000-signature
petition in support of the planned station.
Sanghera knows a lot about serving the community.
For more than 15 years, he has been involved in ethnic
television programming, including hosting a daily
show for Vision TV for more than six years. As well,
he has worked with local Indian musicians and helped
launch them around the world. This is another reason
why he wanted to get a hold of a radio station frequency.
Sanghera, who is delighted over his new venture,
is no novice in the field as he already owns a recording
and video production studio named 'Music Waves' and
had produced several national and regional television
"I've helped launch local Indian artists, and
I couldn't get them airplay locally," said Sanghera.
"They are internationally known, but not locally.
That's why I thought, 'Why not set up my own radio
To continue his support, Sanghera has pledged at
least $30,000 a year to go toward Canadian talent
development, including funds for the Surrey India
Arts Club and launch of an annual talent search.
All of this and the station itself are in a bid to
serve Surrey in the long term.
"Our future plan is to serve," Sanghera
stated simply. "(Surrey) is a growing city. It
is our duty to make immigrants aware and comfortable."
SABC will continue to serve until at least Aug. 31,
2011, when the licences will need to be renewed with
A new dawn for
BROADCASTING I Early next year, the face of Lower
Mainland radio will change significantly when two
new ethnic stations, one AM and one FM, go to air.
BusinessBC reporter Marke Andrews profiles the two
individuals who will bring their vision to the airwaves.
Vancouver, Saturday, August 20, 2005
PRESIDENT: KULWINDER S. SANGHERA
Researching his successful bid for an ethnic FM radio
licence, Kulwinder Sanghera stood on street corners
and visited community halls in every area of the Lower
Mainland, trying to find out what people wanted from
a radio station. He spoke to Iranians in North Vancouver,
Russians in Coquitlam, Portuguese in East Vancouver,
Punjabis in Surrey.
One message became absolutely clear.
"They all wanted to have a station that would
let them know what's happening in their community,"
says Sanghera, 39, whose new ethnic station, CFMW,
goes on the air at 93.1 MHz early in 2006.
The FM station will add another media hat to Sanghera's
list of credits, which includes running Music Waves,
a Surrey recording and video production studio, and
producing national television shows, including Des
Pardes, for Vision TV, and regional TV shows for Shaw.
Born in Punjab, India, Sanghera arrived in Canada
with his family in 1979, where they eventually settled
in Abbotsford. The entire family picked berries in
the summer, the six of them living in a one-room cabin
on the farm, saving up enough, along with Sanghera's
brother's personal savings, to buy a house in Surrey.
Sanghera always had an interest in the arts, and
joined the Surrey Arts India Club in his teens, performing
traditional Indian dances at concerts, parades and
festivals, including Expo 86. He studied electronics
at the B.C. Institute of Technology.
By the late 1980s, Sanghera was organizing cultural
events, which also included the South Asian community's
singers. The latter group desperately wanted to record
their music, and urged Sanghera to start a record
company. In 1990, he opened Music Waves with his brother,
Surinder Sanghera, first as a hobby, then incorporating
the company in 1996.
Music Waves' first two artists were B.C. singers
Manmohan Waris and Debi Makhsoospuri, for whom the
company brought in musicians from England -- a hotbed
of Indian music -- to play on their recordings. During
this period, Sanghera supported Music Waves by videotaping
weddings. It didn't take long for him to merge the
two media, making music videos of his artists at the
(Sanghera still makes wedding videos, although he
will be abandoning that line once the FM radio station
gets off the ground.)
Over the years, Music Waves has put out a thick catalogue
of CDs. As good as the music is -- white-hot bhangra
artist Jazzy B is one of the label's artists -- there
was a major stumbling block. Radio stations would
not play the music.
"The U.S. and Canada have been very, very good
markets for South Asian music," says Sanghera.
"But we never got any airplay. We would take
out full-page advertisements in the two national newspapers
that were published in Surrey and get our orders that
This lack of airplay for Canadian artists with South
Asian roots was the reason Sanghera pursued an FM
Sanghera first heard that the CRTC was taking applications
for an ethnic FM licence on Sept. 16, 2004. The deadline
for applications was Oct. 5, which gave him all of
three weeks to put together his bid.
"Every lawyer I called about this said, 'You're
out of your mind. An application takes so much work.
You don't have enough time,'" recalls Sanghera.
So Sanghera and his general manager Bijoy Samuel
dug in at the Music Waves studio, working day and
night on the proposal. They e-mailed their work back
and forth to Toronto lawyer Mark Lewis, who vetted
the documents as they came in. They made the CRTC
deadline just minutes before it expired.
The licence was granted to Sanghera on July 21.
The new station will broadcast in 15 languages for
at least 15 ethnic groups. The Monday-Friday programs
will be done in six languages, with the others slotted
for weekend shows. Content will be 70 per cent music
programming -- particularly music for youth -- with
talk shows taking up 24 per cent and news five per
TV hosts Baljinder Atwal, Tarannum Thind and Amrik
Cheema will also host the radio talk shows which,
Sanghera says, will avoid political and religious
issues and concentrate on subjects like immigration,
gender, violence and drug problems.
The station is currently negotiating with Rogers
and CHUM to share their broadcast towers.
Because many of the region's ethnic businesses have
avoided mainstream media, Sanghera feels there is
a rich advertising base (one failed FM applicant stated
at the CRTC hearings that South Asian businesses in
the Lower Mainland represent a $4-million market).
However, there may be one more hurdle that Sanghera
will need to clear prior to going to air. Though nothing
had been filed at press time, he has heard that one
failed applicant, Radio India, will lodge an appeal
with the CRTC by the Sept. 4 deadline.
* Radio India owner Maninder Gill was not available
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