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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 87-136

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Decision

Ottawa, 20 February 1987
Decision CRTC 87-136
Eastern Ontario Broadcasting Company Limited Brockville, Ontario - 861601300
St. Lawrence Broadcasting Company Limited Brockville, Ontario - 861597300
Following a Public Hearing in Hull, Quebec on 1 December 1986, the Commission approves the application by Eastern Ontario Broadcasting Company Limited (Eastern) for a broadcasting licence for an English-language FM radio station at Brockville on the frequency 103.7 MHz, channel 279B, with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts.
Accordingly, the competing application by St. Lawrence Broadcasting Company Limited (St. Lawrence) is denied, the two applications being mutually exclusive on technical grounds.
The Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 1989, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued. This term will enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of other stations in the region.
On 10 March 1986 the Commission denied on programming grounds a previous application by Eastern for an FM licence to serve Brockville (Decision CRTC 86-191). In that decision, however, the CRTC encouraged the submission of applications for a local FM service that would repatriate listeners and advertising revenues to Brockville. Accordingly, on 23 May 1986, it issued a call for applications for an FM undertaking to serve this area (Public Notice CRTC 1986-124).
In response to the call, Eastern submitted a new application to operate a Group II station, designed to appeal to an audience between 18 and 34 years of age, on a joint basis with CFJR, while St. Lawrence applied for an independent FM licence and proposed to offer a Group I service to listeners over 30. Both applications were well-prepared and predicated on the need to repatriate the significant proportion of Brockville and area listeners currently tuned to out-of-market stations.
In assessing the respective proposals, the Commission has taken into account the small size of this market and its limited ability to support a new radio station, as well as the effect of a new service on the existing local station. In selecting Eastern, the Commission considers that, under the circumstances, the operation of a new FM service on a joint basis with the established station offers the best chance of success with the least economic impact on CFJR.
The Commission has also noted that St. Lawrence proposed music programming similar to that already provided by CFJR and by CFLY-FM, its Group I FM station in Kingston, which is available in the Brockville market. In the Commission's view, the Group II service proposed by Eastern should complement the existing AM service and will contribute more to diversity in this market than the service proposed by the competing applicant. It should also provide a local alternative to the Contemporary Hit station WPAC-FM Ogdensburg, New York which currently attracts a significant share of Brockville's audience and advertising dollars.
At the hearing, Eastern stated:
We will make our Canadian identity one of our strengths and our local Brockville awareness will permeate everything we do on the station.
Eastern indicated that at least 50% of its news would be devoted to local stories and described "Seaway Magazine" as the program that would most clearly establish its local Brockville identity. This 30-minute public affairs magazine presentation will be broadcast daily at noon, Monday through Friday, and will provide in-depth treatment of a variety of issues of local concern.
"Seaway Magazine" forms part of the applicant's weekly commitment to foreground format programming which at 20% exceeds the Commission's minimum regulatory requirement for joint licensees. The Commission notes that the proposed foreground programming will be predominantly music-based and station-produced.
Eastern's major commitment to foreground programming will be "Today's Special", a 60-minute presentation devoted to all aspects of rock music, to be aired daily Tuesday through Saturday. The applicant will use the Saturday edition of this program to assist the development of Canadian talent, recording artists from local clubs for subsequent broadcast. For this, it has allocated a budget of $2,000 in direct costs in the first year of operation.
In conjunction with the recordings done for "Today's Special", the applicant proposes to establish a contest for local talent. The winner will appear as the opening act in a station-sponsored concert to be held as part of Brockville's annual summer festival "Riverfest". Eastern has committed $3,000 annually in direct costs in this regard and will contribute a further $600 to FACTOR/CTL. The Commission notes that Eastern's annual budget for the development of Canadian talent will total roughly $20,800 in direct and indirect costs.
The Commission notes Eastern's commitment to 1 hour 30 minutes of traditional and special interest music per week, to be included in a Sunday evening jazz program. The applicant has indicated that it will draw on the expertise and extensive record library of the Brockville Jazz Club in this regard.
It is a condition of this licence that construction of the undertaking 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.
The Commission has taken note of the interventions and letters in support of this application as well as the opposing intervention from the CBC, requesting that both applications be denied until the CBC is able to provide a permanent FM service in Brockville. The Commission considers that approval of Eastern's application will permit the establishment of a local FM service at the earliest possible date.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General