Canada’s only all-Jewish radio station closes, cites financial difficulties

MONTREAL (JTA) – Canada’s first and only all-Jewish radio station signed off for the last time after more than 15 years of struggling to stay financially afloat.

The station’s last broadcast was last Friday.

Radio Shalom, an AM and Internet-streamed station based in Montreal that broadcast 24 hours a day except on Shabbat, was forced to close, owner Robert Levy announced, after years of trying but failing to draw more listeners, ads and community support.

Critics, however, blamed it on poor management and too much religious, Sephardi-oriented content.

The station’s failure “lies completely on the shoulders of the management, who never seemed to be able to create the programming … required to appeal to the hearts and minds of the community,” Howard Silbiger, a veteran call-in show host at the station, posted on Facebook.

Also on Facebook, Sidney Margles, a retired professional broadcaster who once tried to help the station, blamed the closure on Radio Shalom’s propensity “to follow religious, Sephardi beliefs … such as no female vocalists on air.”

The almost all-volunteer station broadcast largely in French but also in English, Hebrew and other languages.

Stan Asher, who oversaw English-language programming, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the station’s closure.

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