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Shaw Communications Pushes Former Cable Radio Listeners to Extra-Cost ‘Galaxie’ Radio Service

Phillip Dampier May 21, 2012 Canada, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Shaw 8 Comments

Shaw is ripping the wires out of its analog FM cable radio service, formerly delivered free of charge to all Shaw subscribers.

Shaw Communications’ plans to abandon its analog cable FM radio service, delivered free of charge to basic Shaw subscribers, has been met with resistance by customers who appreciated the improved reception the service delivered.

Some noted Shaw is eliminating the free service and replacing it with one that requires a digital cable subscription to receive. Shaw:

Shaw previously offered customers access to FM radio stations free of charge with their coax cable connection, as part of their Shaw service. Given that many of our customers no longer use these stations, we are in the process of removing this service across our systems.

Removing FM radio stations allows us to free up additional bandwidth, which means Shaw can deliver faster Internet speeds, increased High-Definition content and more Shaw Exo On Demand programming. This change is part of Shaw’s dedication to providing our customers with leading edge technology through our superior Shaw Exo network.

How can I access my radio stations?

There are a number of options for customers to continue listening to radio stations:

  • Most radio stations offer their services via online streaming. We have provided links to local radio stations’ websites to allow you to stream their programming online. You can access these lists below.
  • You can also purchase a radio transmitter at stores like Best Buy or Future Shop, which will allow you to tune into your favourite radio stations. These devices cost as little as $30 and require an Internet connection to receive any “out-of-market” services. Installation can be as easy as plugging in the transmitter into the “Audio Out” feed of your computer, and gives you access to thousands of stations around the world.

We also offer a number of commercial free radio stations through our Galaxie service – customers with a digital box have access to up to 55 channels to enjoy a variety of music styles and offerings. To learn more about Galaxie, visit: http://vod.shaw.ca/music/galaxie_player/

The problem with both of Shaw’s options, according to readers who have contacted Stop the Cap!, is that they come at an added cost.

“Shaw would love it if we streamed those radio stations, which all count against our bandwidth cap, instead of listening to them for free on the cable radio,” says Irene Delasquay from Prince George, B.C. “Galaxie is just a music jukebox service that requires you to buy a digital cable subscription and rent a box to listen, and I don’t want all that extra equipment and expense.”

Some wonder why Shaw is discontinuing the service in the first place. Shirley and Meg Bonney told the Comox Valley Echo:

When we finally we able to speak to a person at Shaw we were told that they “didn’t think that many people were using the FM frequencies”. Had they ever inquired? Had they even tried to find out? Or had they just made a biased assumption – perhaps to try to force people to buy their digital black box in order to access even more of their own, commercial music channels?

We were also told that the CBC frequencies were a “gift” from Shaw.

Many readers who have been in touch with Shaw are being told their best alternative is streaming radio signals over a personal computer, but that presents a problem for some who don’t have a personal computer, have located it in an inconvenient room to listen, or who do not want to waste electricity running a computer just to listen to the radio.

While cable radio is no longer common in many parts of the United States, the vast expanse of Canada combined with an often-insufficient network of low-powered FM repeater transmitters, has made reception of commercial and certain public radio signals difficult, especially inside homes.

Roger and Isabel Thomas feel the loss hurts their ability to stay in touch with informative programming long-abandoned by commercial stations and cable networks:

The FM service provided us with daylong (and night-time) enjoyable, culturally stimulating, commercial free listening. It kept us abreast of national and world-wide events and allowed us to enjoy our selection of favourite music, eclectic though it may have been.

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Barb Goertzen
Barb Goertzen
8 years ago

This is the second time Shaw discontinued CBC in Brooks, AB (where we have no other radio CBC radio reception). In 2009 CRTC suggested Shaw ensure our radio be brought back as it was required under the Broadcast Act and Shaw maintained CBC had never been off air though I have a copy of Shaw’s email saying CBC was offair. Now, in 2012, a Shaw rep told me first they discontinued CBC because no one was listening. The second rep told me Shaw has no way of determining who listens to any stations. Internet cable through Shaw is very poor… Read more »

john h
john h
8 years ago

the FM radio band is not used in broadcasting for anything other than FM radio. With outside interference a problem for cable plants the free up bandwidth argument is getting a little old and tiring to listen to them. They are loosing customer due to their insincere media releases as it seems like a broken record. People are not as dumb as Shaw seems to think. If they just made an honest statement like we want to add it revenue that would probably get more respect. ps. thanks for over billing me over 100 dollars and then when i cancelled… Read more »

Rick
Rick
8 years ago

Vancouver’s Lower Mainland Shaw feed for FM cable apparently was killed today. While listening happily to KPLU (National Public Radio from Seattle) I suddenly found myself listening to a local Hindi language FM station. I quickly checked for my other preset FM stations on my receiver to find that none of them were available. The worst thing about Shaw’s customer service suggestions is, as others have pointed out, who wants to turn on their TV to listen to a radio station? Sure, those of us with a computer and internet feed can connect it to a sound system and stream… Read more »

kevin
kevin
8 years ago
Reply to  Rick

I just tuned into my cable radio from nanaimo bc and got no reception. the problem with shaw is you have to have an internet connection and your computer on. this sucks. thanks alot shaw for assuming no one uses this service anymore

Vicki
Vicki
8 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Your right Kevin…this is all BULL****..!! Cut off our radio reception with NO NOTICE..!! Then on their website, tell us to go to Best Buy or Future Shop to buy a $30.00 radio transmitter…well I just called BOTH stores and they do NOT have an item for your stereo…ONLY FOR CAR STEREOS..!!! Where the hell did they ever get the frigging idea that NO ONE listens to the radio anymore..??? Total BULL ****…..LIES, and BULL ****..!!! My husband and I are so damn angry..!!!!!!! EVERYONE out there that lost their service, PLEASE call Shaw and tell them this is BULL… Read more »

bob day
bob day
8 years ago

rogers told me teles cut their bandwidth teles says no someones lying what an asshole thingee thing to doo

Brian
Brian
8 years ago

How arrogant of Shaw once again to automatically change it services without consulting consumers. For many years I have used the FM service to my receiver. The equipment and room that I use the equipment in is away from my computer so it make streaming almost impossible plus such would tie up my computer resources. The FM equipment that I use is good quality and far superior to any equipment that I could stream an FM signal though. Now all is waster, thanks a lot Shaw once again you never think of the long term subscriber. Some of us boomers… Read more »

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