Humsafar Radio approved for commercial radio licence

By Tracey Arial

LaSalle entrepreneur Jasvir Singh Sandhu has another success under his belt. Last month, the CRTC approved a commercial licence for his LaSalle-based South Asian station. Radio Humsafar will broadcast on 1610 AM.

“Our launch date depends on the technical aspect of things” wrote Sandhu, who is president and co-owner of the station, in an e-mail. “Our goal is to be on-air as soon as possible.”

Sandhu has two years to get his latest venture on the air. Part of his challenge will be installing a new antenna somewhere nearby.

Humsafar already broadcasts in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu 24-hours-a-day on its website, It also reaches 24,000 Montreal homes via satellite radio. Its commercial operations will reach four times that number. It will also include more English-language programming than it has now.

According to its application, it will:

“Direct ethnic programming to at least 10 cultural groups in at least eight different languages each broadcast week. Its service would target principally the South Asian community, with a focus on the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. Humsafar also indicated that of the programming broadcast each broadcast week, 126 hours would be devoted to ethnic programming, 84 hours of which would be third-language programming. It also proposed to broadcast 42 hours of English-language programming each broadcast week.” 

Sandhu’s popular two-hour talk show on the station will also get more reach, although some two million people already listen to him via partner stations across North America and in India and Australia.

The LaSalle entrepreneur also has many other businesses on the go with various partners, including a production company with his brother, a Southeast Asian newspaper, the French-language Laval radio station CJVL, and a construction company.

He’s also the North American distributor of Punjabi Plus TV, which includes 20 channels from India, Pakistan and elsewhere.
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