CHUM Ltd. has joined two other parties in filing an application to offer a subscription radio service. The company filed a surprise application with the CRTC on the February 16 deadline. Peter Miller, VP of planning and regulatory affairs of radio and television at CHUM, confirmed the application last week. The company’s bid for the service comes in the wake of the CRTC’s late-December call for applications to offer a subscription radio service undertaking. The private broadcaster joins two ventures backed by American satellite radio heavyweights XM Satellite Radio Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. While XM and Sirius plan to use their respective satellite constellations to beam the programming to homes and automobiles, CHUM has opted for a terrestrial approach. Miller tells RoW that the company will not use satellites to transmit its signals and instead will use a terrestrial wireless network. "It’s over-the-air terrestrial digital subscription radio," he explains. Miller refused to provide any further details of the company’s plan because the proceeding is still before the commission and none of applications are publicly available. If CHUM plans to offer a national service, the company will likely have to expand its current terrestrial radio tower infrastructure. The two satellite radio ventures will also need to build out terrestrial in-fill network of repeaters in major urban areas to provide uninterrupted coverage (RoW, Dec. 16/03). Sirius Satellite has partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Standard Radio Inc., while XM Satellite teamed up with John Bitove, a well-known Canadian entrepreneur.