First Peoples Radio is a not-for-profit broadcast company operating 95.7 ELMNT FM in Ottawa and 106.5 ELMNT FM in Toronto. It is dedicated to promoting Indigenous artists, with 30 percent of the music aired on the station each day coming from First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists. FPR also airs Indigenous language content, news, and spoken word programming.
Since its launch in 2018, the company has faced significant challenges in penetrating very busy markets such as Ottawa and Toronto. However, the biggest was undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic. It greatly affected the stations’ ability to promote its content at public gatherings and through various means given the periods of lockdowns and restrictions. It also brought many sectors of the economy to a standstill, limiting the stations’ ability to sell advertising and, in turn, generate revenue.
The stations also struggled with an audience measurement system that does not fairly measure the participation of a diverse audience, specifically Indigenous, Black and People of Colour.
Because of these challenges, the stations have been forced to take drastic measures to ensure the company’s survival. This week, seven employees from both stations were let go. This was not an easy decision. A robust, fulfilled workforce is key to the success of an organization such as ours.
The stations will continue to operate with minimal announcer intervention, and focus strongly on their eclectic music mix, talk and language programming. In effect, we are moving to a music format that will prioritize the music content to respond, in part, to our audience requests for more music and less talk.
Supporters of our brand might be wondering what they can do to help to ensure the survival of their favourite radio station. Playing ELMNT FM’s Catch the Ace, which gives players the chance to win a weekly cash prize, as well as a progressive jackpot, will help financially support the station. You can also share the stations’ websites and online music presence to allow new audiences to discover our unique blend of music genres and artists. You can find us at www.elmntfm.ca and we are available on Alexa, IHeart, Radio Player and other streaming services.
Though we may now be a smaller team, we remain dedicated to promoting Indigenous music, stories, voices, and languages.