Jim Pattison Broadcast Group looks to grow out west

Private B.C.-based broadcast group trying to acquire nine radio stations

The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group is out to compete against bigger radio players in the wide, wide west.

The Kamloops, B.C.-based private company is currently trying to boost its roster of radio stations in Western Canada with news Thursday that it has notified the CRTC of its intent to purchase nine stations from Rawlco Radio.

The seven FM and two AM radio stations are located in Edmonton, Alberta and three markets in Saskatchewan: Prince Albert, North Battleford and Meadow Lake. In fact, seven of the nine stations are in Saskatchewan. Pattison chairman and CEO Jim Pattison commented that, like Rawlco, his company has “close ties” with Saskatchewan.

Pattison chairman Rick Amish said in a release that it’s a top priority for his company’s broadcast division to keep expanding its presence in Western Canada. He added that he had approached Rawlco Radio CEO Gordon Rawlinson “several times for many years” regarding such a deal, and that he’s excited Pattison now has the opportunity to “grow in markets that mirror our other Western Canadian radio and television stations.”

He added that Pattison’s history “has been built on acquisitions and new licences, as we are great believers in the future of radio. This purchase is part of our strategic plan to grow and expand in the west.”

Pattison currently has 33 FM radio stations and three conventional TV stations in B.C., Alberta and Manitoba, and recently acquired three radio stations from Bell Media.

The existing management teams at each of the nine radio stations will remain intact, and the entire staff will be offered roles with Pattison. Rawlinson commented that he was pleased with that commitment from Pattison, and that he believes Pattison’s style of running radio stations is similar to his company’s approach. “They have an outstanding reputation of providing excellent local ratio with a keen focus on community service,” said Rawlinson.

Pattison president Rod Schween said, pending the CRTC’s approval of the acquisition, his company is confident the new additions will allow it to “continue competing against some of Canada’s largest national players who are well-established in the West.”

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