Next week will mark 1 year since the Banner claimed that Radio Aurora was nearly ready to hit the airwaves.
A promise as empty as the vacuum in which their voice emanates made doubly confusing since Radio Aurora is an established Armenian Radio Station no doubt where wanabe “Mayor” Gallo went to get all his facebook views.
By the time they came to town seeking a quarter of a Million dollar hand out to build not only a radio station but also a sound studio, the brainiacs behind what some have dubbed a “great idea” pivoted to produce an equally unispired name:
Considering a whole 4 months passed after this Banner article before they came begging to council, and that the president and CEO of this venture was reported to have been working tirelessly or a year and a half before that what they presented to council was tremendously overwhelming considering their ask:
Operating a community radio station obviously requires a business plan, yet when members of council asked to see said plan they were told one wasn’t available for them.
The lack of a business plan is even more curious when you learn that the Mayor handed them $3,5000 from his 2015 golf tournament and the Town of Aurora handed them a $1000 arts grant on February 15th:
So why not ask for $250,000, in the summer months when no one is paying attention?
Even when this was scuttled, they managed to have the town provide them a room and equip it with carpet and electrical at an upwards cost to the town of $10,000.
To recap, that’s $14,500 of resources to this supposed “great idea” without ever presenting a business plan.
And while council seemed more than happy to turn a blind eye to the lack of a business plan, the CRTC is less forgiving in how they conduct business. Last November the CRTC considered the Voice of Aurora’s application. Application # 2015-0579-4 consists 8 documents and is available in full online here.2 of these documents of this submission are dated prior to their appearance at council, 4 are dated a mere 4 days after.
Where they were unable to provide council with any parameters for their sound studio when the CRTC requested similar details they were able to provide this artistic rendering:
WTF is this?
Gregory Pepper built an entire full-scale replica of his basement recording studio out of cardboard while these guys vomited forth something from the bowels of MS Paint.
Sadly, it doesn’t get any better.
The document outlining the Financial operations is drafted in late August and deserves some scrutiny given that council was not afforded the opportunity. Let’s review shall we, starting with revenue:
This 7 year forecast projects $510,000 from local advertising. Its first year it will reap $25,000 but by year 7 it will be raking in $120,000.
Then notice how pathetically thin their fundraising projections are. Year one they will bring in a whopping $3,000. It takes them until year 5 until this figure hits double digits.
While they are unable to derive any meaningful revenue from fundraising they seem confident in their ability to make up for it in government grants, more like grant singular as they have identified one source: the Trillium foundation which they expect to receive $350,000 spread over 6 years.
The same Trillium Foundation that recently funded the York Region Amateur Radio Club
So did the almighty Voice of Aurora secure said Trillium grant? Nope
Now how does this outfit intend to dial back its 1st year expenses of $105,000?
An equally valid question is how this organization intends to get away paying its administration (which they plan for one part-time and possibly one full-time employee) the same rate of $66,000 per year for the next 7. Notice there are no step increases to address inflation. It reads as though someone opened up excel and just copied and pasted a bunch of cells to fill in years 2-7.
A strong comparison can be made to Kanye West’s proposed company Donda which Steve Colbert summed up in a recent show here:
The financials aren’t the only part of the radio’s plan that are ambitious as they are vague. Oh no, the programming is also like an eight-year–old imagining their dream treehouse:
I challenge you to scan your radio dials for a greater hot mess of ear diarrhea than this. Picture yourself being trapped in the waiting room of some office in town subjected to a blend of blathering cheerleaders droning about on about Neighbourhood Network followed up by Bryan Adams or some other god awful Socan.
Just look at that chart. Music you couldn’t care less about, and that this group has budgeted a whole $60.00 a month to spew at you. They even intend to “produce festivals and events of an artistic nature”:
So how do you fill those airwaves when you exceed your $60/month budget on Socan you may ask. Easy, go and pilfer free content from the internet: “We are really excited to have old radio from the ’40s”. That’s right, if The Shadow or Gunsmoke gives you a hard-on be sure to tune in from 10 to midnight Sunday.
You want news? They are prepared to deliver over 13 hours of richly infused local news, :
Because there’s no better way to spend 2 hours on your Sunday than listen to “Talk to council” or “Talk to your MPP”.
If by now you have amassed a growing list of questions those I’ve raised above and are also concerned that this “great idea” is all sizzle and no steak I have some good news for you. They have approached the town’s major “steak-holders”:
Considering they claim to have “solid and positive relationships” with local newspapers it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t be bothered to spell the names of The Auroran or Snap’d correctly. I’m willing to forgive the latter as it isn’t a newspaper anyways, but I understand that Steve Hinder is somehow involved in that enterprise. He also seems to be involved with this shit-show. Check it out. Here’s the Bored-of-Directors as presented to council in July:
And here’s a correction submitted to the CRTC:
I look through the list of directors and see absolutely zero experience in operating community radio. Where this group should be very vocal about their wealth of collective radio and broadcast experience I hear crickets.
By comparison the President and general manager of 105.9 are both seasoned broadcast consultants. Another key difference is that 105.9 conducted in-depth research and led focus groups to find out what York listeners wanted from a regional station. What the dinosaurs behind The Voice of Aurora are proposing reminds me more of this Dilbert strip:
Radio is a rapidly changing landscape, and the business plan that this group had kept from council but submitted to the CRTC is about 40 years out of date, with no proven audience and with no sustainability model to ensure expenses don’t outstrip revenues.
For our Mayor to pen a letter like this one:
suggesting a radio station is a “much-needed resource” and somehow this group is capable of engaging our youth in a particular medium when there is no evidence to support it only serves to make empty words synonymous with the Voice of Aurora.