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VIVO Radio Signal Silenced by Industry Canada

Artist-run centre threatened with $25,000 a day fines

by Dawn Paley 2010 Olympics

Boombox // John Chevier™ CC2.0
Boombox // John Chevier™ CC2.0

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As part of their programming during the Olympic Games, VIVO Media Arts had planned to set up a low powered terrestrial radio signal during the month of February. Instead, VIVO, one of the few local cultural groups that rejected Cultural Olympiad funding, found themselves shutting down the signal just hours after their broadcast began.

The volunteers who launched the radio signal, which reached about 3km from the transmitter, weren’t setting up a pirate station.

“We went into the project with the understanding that broadcasts on the FM spectrum were entirely legal if they fell under a certain duration,” said Brian Beaudry, the co-producer of the radio project.

But it wasn’t the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission, the federal body governing broadcast media in Canada, that asked them to shut the signal.

“The CRTC hasn’t approached us yet, it’s something by the name of Spectrum Management and Telecommunications, and they’ve handed us a whack of documents and broadcasting procedure rules under the auspices of Industry Canada,” said Beaudry.

He described how three very polite representatives of Spectrum Management and Telecommunications entered VIVO and told them to shut down the broadcast until they could do some measurements on the strength of the frequency.

“Their main concern, it seemed like, or what they brought up in conversation with us was that it was possibly interrupting aviation navigation signals,” said Beaudry.

Presented with a choice between fines of up to $25,000 per day for VIVO and $5000 a day for individuals involved, the station’s producers opted to move the broadcast online while their lawyers look into the matter.

As for the visitors from Industry Canada, Beaudry said that they wore Vancouver 2010 jackets, handed out business cards emblazoned with 2010 the Olympic logo, and had 2010 email addresses. One of them “did mention, offhand at one point… That there were more of them in the city just as general procedure for the Olympics,” he said.

Click the link to listen to VIVO's live broadcast online: http://vivomediaarts.com/radio.php

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