I received an email last night informing me about the testing of the new FM station CARN 98.7 FM here in Toronto. Strange name I thought, is that short for carnies or Carnival, I'm assuming the latter. The email went on to state "CARN is aimed at servicing Toronto’s vibrant Black and Caribbean population in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding environs."
Now not to heap scorn on CARN and its developers, props to you all cause it sounds like it wasn't an easy road to get on the air but I will readily admit that I am a bit skeptical about any new station purporting to be aimed at the Black and Caribbean population of the GTA. Why you ask? Well once bitten twice shy is what I would say.
Way way back in the day about 10-15 years ago when mi hair was still black, full n lucious and mi knee bones din used to mek noise when I walk and I was still in University all we had in Toronto to listen to black and Caribbean music was a few specific shows usually early, early in the morning or late late at night on the local college community radio stations. Big up CIUT, CKLN and CHRY, the one at York that nuhbody east of the DVP can pick up clearly at all. We also had WBLK out of Buffalo which was our defacto rnb, mainstream hip hop station.
Along came an enterprising businessman who fought with the CRTC (Canadian Radio Television Commission) and with great support from the entire black and Caribbean community of the day won the rights to have our first ever Urban station in Toronto. Horns blew, trumpets sounded, high fives were exchanged etc. Finally we thought, 24-7 music from all over piped into the diaspora. Calypso, reggae, african riddims, zouk in abundance! Yipee, hurrah, huzzah etc etc etc.
The station FLOW 93 point something started off in fine fashion. In the early days it was living up to what we thought it was going to be. We was getting calypso, dancehall, reggae, zouk, all sorts of African tunes, real hip hop, nice r n b and all was well with the world. Almost had me believing that "If you believe it you could achieve it." Cue the R.Kelly why dontcha.
And then like so many dreams and schemes from entrepreneurs and businessmen who are quite like politicians in their own right, the dream turn sour. I remember one trip from downtown to Scarborough spent listening to Flow where I heard the same three or four rnb top forty songs about three times in the space of a 40 minute journey. And FLOW has since been like that continuously. Calypso and dancehall once again relegated, not a peep of african music and nothing but girbage (that is gibbrish mixed with garbage, I juss mek dat up add it to de lexicon) pumped steadily. Pure payola top 40 radio type crap.
So when I hear about CARN 98.7 like I said sorry I don't mean to be harsh but I think back to the days when Flow was supposed to be doing what CARN say they going do and to how my youthful idealism soon got crushed by the reality that this radio station thing ain't about no love of community is about getting that cash. How long before CARN becomes Flow Too. hmmmm