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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 86-434

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Decision

Ottawa, 8 May 1986
Decision CRTC 86-434
Licensing of a New Private FM Radio Station to serve Hamilton
Armadale Communications Limited Hamilton, Ontario - 851024000Robert E. Redmond on behalf of a company to be incorporated Hamilton, Ontario - 851083600Burlington Broadcasting Inc. Burlington, Ontario - 851097600
At a Public Hearing in Toronto on 16 December 1985, the Commission considered applications by the three parties noted above, each seeking authority for use of the frequency 102.9 MHz in the Hamilton area.
One of the applicants, Burlington Broadcasting Inc. (Burlington), is the licensee of CING-FM, which was licensed in 1976 to provide a service directed primarily to the City of Burlington. The applicant requested authority to change the frequency of CING-FM from 107.9 MHz to 102.9 MHz and to reduce the station's effective radiated power from 50,000 watts to 15,000 watts. Burlington indicated that the proposed changes were necessary to overcome technical problems affecting CING-FM coverage in the Hamilton-Burlington-Oakville area. The technical concerns raised by this applicant, together with possible means to resolve them, were discussed at some length at the public hearing.
The Commission notes that the frequency 102.9 MHz is the only Class B FM frequency alloted to Hamilton under the Canadian FM Broadcasting Allotment Plan, and considers that it should be retained for use by a new, complementary Hamilton radio service. Accordingly, the Commission denies Burlington's application for licence amendment. Burlington, however, in consultation with the Department of Communications and the CRTC, may choose to examine alternative means such as discussed at the hearing to improve CING-FM's service.
The other applicants, namely Armadale Communications Limited (Armadale) and Robert E. Redmond on behalf of a company to be incorporated (Redmond), both proposed the use of frequency 102.9 MHz to provide a new FM radio service to Hamilton. Their applications were submitted in response to a call issued by the Commission in Public Notice CRTC 1984-255 dated 15 October 1984. Armadale proposes a Group I station featuring Pop and Rock-Softer music while the Redmond proposal is for a Group II station which would feature Pop and Rock-Harder music.
Based on all of the evidence available, the Commission is satisfied that the broadcast market in Hamilton can support the operation of a new FM radio station. At the same time, the Commission notes that more than 52% of radio tuning by Hamilton residents is to out-of-market stations, according to Fall 1985 BBM figures presented at the hearing.
The Commission considers that the successful repatriation of these listeners will require that the licensee of any new FM station in Hamilton be familiar with the market and fully committed to developing a complementary program service that is strongly local in focus and orientation. The prospective licensee should also be well financed and able to withstand possible shortfalls in projected revenues.
Although both of the competing applicants are experienced broadcasters and have put forward attractive proposals for new programming services in Hamilton, after a careful assessment, the Commission has determined that Armadale corresponds more closely to the criteria noted above and is better positioned to establish and maintain a viable new FM service in Hamilton.
Accordingly, the Commission approves the application by Armadale for a broadcasting licence for an Englishlanguage FM radio station in Hamilton on the frequency 102.9 MHz (channel 275) with an effective radiated power of 40,300 watts. The Commission will issue a licence expiring 30 September 1990, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
The competing application by Redmond is denied.
Armadale is the licensee of CKOC Hamilton, as well as of AM and FM radio stations in each of Regina and Winnipeg. The company is effectively controlled by Michael C. Sifton of Gormley, Ontario. CKOC has been in operation since 1922. Over the years, the ownership and management of CKOC have established a solid record of local community service and involvement. Armadale's past performance and its reputation for fulfilling its commitments formed the basis of supporting interventions presented at the hearing by Mayor Robert M. Morrow on behalf of the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra represented by Boris Brott, and by the Honorable Ellen L. Fairclough speaking for the Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals Foundation. Their strong endorsement of Armadale's proposal for a new FM station at Hamilton was repeated in more than 120 letters received by the CRTC, and this broad-based community support has been taken into account by the Commission.
The Commission has also taken into account Armadale's proposals for a high quality local programming service. The proposed service will provide more than 14 hours of enrichment material per week, and will offer 22% foreground and 69% combined foreground and mosaic programming. Traditional/Special Interest (Category 6) music will amount to more than eight hours per week. Armadale described plans to staff the station with seven announcers, two "enrichment specialists" and six news people. The station will broadcast 6 hours 37 minutes of news per week with a strong emphasis on coverage of local events. Programs will also include a locally-oriented weekly half-hour public affairs magazine entitled "This Week in Hamilton".
With respect to its support of local Canadian talent, Armadale made a commitment to allocate $80,000 per year for the production and live broadcast of regularly scheduled music programs featuring Hamilton choral groups and other local artists. The Director of the Hamilton Philarmonic Orchestra will provide advice to the station in this regard. The applicant stated that the station will assist in the taping and syndication of many of this orchestra's Pops and Classical performances. The applicant will also provide opportunities for outstanding participants at the annual Kiwanis Music Festival to record their performances for broadcast on the station.
In addition to the above, Armadale will allocate $40,000 per year for other initiatives in support of local Canadian talent, including grants to a number of local artistic organizations, scholarships for students in music and journalism courses, and funding for the production and broadcast of radio dramas in conjunction with the Lighthouse Theatre of Hamilton.
The Commission also notes Armadale's commitment to allocate a budget of $5,000 for the development of effective community access programming:
We will be engaging a local Ombudsman who is well known to various parts of the Hamilton community, who is going to be responsible (for) making access programming work in this station.
The Commission will follow with interest Armadale's implementation of each of the initiatives described above.
At the hearing, Armadale stressed the differences between the service provided by its existing station CKOC and that which will be provided by the proposed FM station:
Our AM station is a regional top-40 station serving primarily those 34 and under. Our FM will be a local station serving virtually exclusively those 35 and older. There should not be a lot of cross-over of audience or clientele ... On FM, our emphasis will be on the Hamilton/Wentworth region.
Armadale also outlined how its proposed FM service will differ from that provided by CKDS-FM, Hamilton's only other FM station. It noted that the new station will rely much more heavily on musical selections from past repertoire than CKDS-FM, and that the service would be targeted to an older audience than that sought by the existing Hamilton FM station. Armadale also stated that the new station will provide a more traditional MOR sound than CKDS-FM, with a greater emphasis on instrumental selections.
The Commission notes that the Group 1 music format encompasses a wide variety of distinct sounds ranging from instrumental and easy listening to soft rock. In this instance, the Commission is satisfied that the service proposed by Armadale will contribute to the diversity of radio services available in the Hamilton market without unduly affecting other local broadcasters.
There was a brief discussion at the hearing regarding the applicant's plans to make the station's SCMO capacity available for use by the City of Hamilton. In the absence of developed programming plans, the Commission considers that it is premature to authorize the use of the station's SCMO facility at this time.
It is a condition of this licence that construction of the station be completed and that it be in operation within twelve months of the date of this decision or such further period as the Commission may, upon receipt of a request for extension before the expiry of the said twelve months, deem appropriate under the circumstances.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General