KRPI 1550 Ferndale programming change

Programming on “border blaster” 1550 KRPI Ferndale is undergoing change. For several years now, the station has been leased full-time to Surrey BC based Sher-E-Punjab Broadcasting who provide a full-service Punjabi-language music & talk format competing with other South Asian stations in Vancouver. Sher-E-Punjab, along with 2 other BC South Asian broadcasters transmitting on Whatcom Co AM’s was admonished by Canada’s broadcast regulator – the CRTC – and threatened with fines for continuance of these arrangements. In spite of this, the CRTC later granted a license for a new facility on AM 600 to Sher-E-Punjab. Other South Asian broadcasters submitted competing applications, but were denied. 600 kHz has been dormant since 2011, when long-time occupant CKBD flipped to the FM band as many other Canadian AM’s have done. The new Nautel transmitter is in place & ready to go. The CRTC has just granted a power increase for this facility, for 50 kW days & 20 kW nights. The power increase ruling will be the ‘green light’ for Sher-E-Punjab to move their programming from KRPI to their new signal on 600 with calls CHOF. It’s probable that one of the other unsuccessful applicants for 600 may end up on Ferndale’s KRPI, instead of a badly needed local service for Whatcom Co & Bellingham residents. With all of Bellingham’s AM & FM owned by one company – Saga Communications, some diversity in ownership & programming would be welcomed. The only other commercial signal in the market is 106.5 KWPZ, and this is primarily of interest to those of the Christian faith. Aside from some local news & talk on 790 KGMI, plus local sports play-by-play on 930 KBAI “K-Bay”, Saga’s stations do little to inform or entertain residents in the far northwest corner of our state with local, relevant programming.

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Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

1 thought on “KRPI 1550 Ferndale programming change

  1. From the Internet Archive ( we reclaim some of our Lost Comments:

    Steven Smith says:
    August 14, 2018 5:01 pm at
    I agree with your editorial comment at the tail of this post.

    mikec says:
    August 14, 2018 7:30 pm at
    It’s pretty sad, Steven. Even the once mighty voice of local news, talk, opinion & full-service programming – KGMI is mostly a syndicated talk machine now with CBS providing most of the news.

    Steven Smith says:
    August 16, 2018 9:44 am at
    My first radio job was at Koqt 1550….1000 watts daytime signal. 1970…played Mor. Then went beautiful music briefly. Then it was taken over by Hillcrest Chapel and programming gradually moved to Christian music and sermons. Pastor Richard Ellison, in retrospect, did an amazing job of gaining power increases and improving the facility to 50k. In part that involved moving to Ferndale. One weakness that I think they were unable to overcome was the night signal is very sketchy in Bellingham, which might work if the full focus is cross border signal. But at one time he and I briefly discussed swapping stations. It never got into finances, we were the lesser power station by far, but his station’s poorer night signal in Bellingham would have made it harder for us….like turning off the tap at night in our primary marketplace and source of revenue.

    mikec says:
    August 16, 2018 2:36 pm at
    Fascinating tales, Steven! I’m not sure what the situation was back then, but KRPI’s current night parameters are 10 kW into 3 towers with deep nulls to the south & to the east. The bulk of the signal is WNW. Downtown, Fairhaven & Lummi Island all appear to suffer with poorer coverage as a result. I always found I couldn’t hear KOQT in it’s 1 kW days until almost upon their tower beside I-5 driving through Bellingham. At least KBFW could be heard reasonably well in daytime in other areas.

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