Fennell campus radio station gets new name
By Mark Newman, News Staff
The sound hasn’t changed very much, but the radio station at Mohawk College has a new name.
At noon on Wednesday INDI 101.5 FM became The HAWK.
“We’re still playing rock and roll and a lot of hard stuff, but it’s not as hard as before,” said, station manager Les Palango, who has been working with Ken Wallis, associate dean of the Mohawk’s media and entertainment department and Samantha Cook, the college’s radio broadcasting program coordinator, on the rebranding for several months.
The name change had been a closely-guarded secret at the Fennell campus.
Rebranding a radio station is nothing new for Palango.
He helped turn 95.3 CKDS FM into Y-95 (now Fresh FM) more than two decades ago and assisted with a frequency shift of a radio station inSarniain 1978.
Palango noted the new brand reflects the name of the college.
“For us, if we were going to name it something, because it’s Mohawk, we kept coming back to (The HAWK),” he said.
Once independently operated by the Mohawk Student’s Association, the campus station was taken over by the college about three years ago and Palango noted the new name reflects that reality.
“The fact (the college) is paying the freight made us think we shouldn’t be as independent as we were when we were with the students’ association,” Palango said. “The station will sound a little softer and a little more user-friendly and is probably a little more palatable to the upper management of the college.”
But that doesn’t mean there will be any big programming changes.
Palango noted the station’s diverse offerings which include Christian music, programs in Spanish and Polish along with jazz, oldies, punk, reggae, electronic and metal offerings will continue to be broadcast.
Listeners can also expect to hear more familiar artists like RUSH, The Tragically Hip, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin.
“But not play their hits because as a campus radio station we have a limit on the amount of hit material we can play,” said Palango, who noted their license limits hit songs at 10 percent of the weekly playlist or about one song an hour so they don’t compete with commercial radio. “We have to be an alternative to mainstream radio.”
Palango, who is the only paid staffer at The HAWK, noted the station’s budget is about $100,000 per year and they have about 55 volunteer broadcasters.
About 60 percent are college broadcasting students and the rest are from the community.
“When you compare that to commercial radio where they may have five announcers and the computer runs it the rest of the time, that’s a lot of people to manage, it’s a full-time job,” Palango said.
Broadcasting at 240 watts from a roof-top transmitter at the Fennell campus, The HAWK can be picked up in most of Hamilton along with parts of Burlington and Oakville.
According to the station’s marketing profile, it reaches nearly 5,000 listeners a week with most of them in the 18-49 age range.
Originally known as C101.5 FM (the official call letters are CIOI), the station’s license is held by the Mohawk College Radio Corporation, a non-profit entity that was set up in 1997.