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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 88-486

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Decision

Ottawa, 2 August 1988
Decision CRTC 88-486
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Kelowna, British Columbia -873750400Prince George, British Columbia -873751200
Following the 7 March 1988 Public Hearing in Victoria, the Commission approves the application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the broadcasting licence for CBTK-FM Kelowna (AM network), by changing the program source from programs received from CBU (AM) Vancouver to programs received part-time from studios in Kelowna and part-time from CBU (AM) Vancouver, and to amend the broadcasting licences for the undertakings listed in Appendix I to this decision, by changing their authorized program source to rebroadcast the programs of CBTK-FM Kelowna, British Columbia.
The Commission also approves the application by the CBC to amend the broadcasting licence for CBYG-FM Prince George (AM network), by changing the program source from programs received from CBU (AM) Vancouver to programs received part-time from studios in Prince George and part-time from CBU (AM) Vancouver, and to amend the broadcasting licences for the undertakings listed in Schedule 1 of Appendix 2 to this decision, by changing their authorized program source to rebroadcast the programs of CBYG-FM Prince George, British Columbia. In line with Decision CRTC 88-485, issued today, however, the Commission denies that part of this application in respect of the proposed change in the authorized program source of the undertakings listed in Schedule 2 of Appendix 2. Accordingly, the program source of those undertakings will continue to be as presently authorized.
The Kelowna and Prince George applications, taken together, constitute a further element of the Corporation's British Columbia Radio Improvement Plan (the B.C. Plan) (see Public Notice CRTC 1988-124 of today's date).
At the Victoria hearing, the Corporation noted that, of 19 areas identified in a storefront study which followed its 1983 English Radio Development Project, five were in British Columbia: Victoria and Vancouver Island; Kelowna and south/central B.C.; Kamloops and north/central B.C.; Prince George and northern B.C.; and Trail/Nelson and southeastern B.C. Under its B.C. Plan, the Corporation would establish either production or contributing bureaus in four of those five locations. The Kootenay area in southeastern B.C., described by the CBC as one of the "areas which cannot yet receive the attention they deserve", would "remain a priority for the immediate future, funds permitting".
The Corporation proposes to establish storefront production bureaus in Prince George and in Kelowna. Each bureau will be staffed by four persons and each will produce a 3-hour weekday morning program (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.). These two programs will replace the existing regional morning program originating from Vancouver which will be cancelled. The new morning show from Prince George, which the CBC referred to as Daybreak North, will be available to listeners in the Cariboo and Peace River districts. The new Kelowna morning show, Daybreak South, will be available to listeners in the Okanagan and the Interior south of Quesnel, and from the Kootenays east to the Rockies.
While not the subject of specific applications, the Corporation also intends as part of its B.C. Plan to establish two-person contributing bureaus in Prince Rupert and Kamloops to provide additional regional input to the Prince George and Kelowna morning shows, respectively. The Commission addresses the matter of the proposed Prince Rupert contributing bureau, which would involve a downsizing of the existing operation in that city, in Decision CRTC 88-485, also issued today.
As for the creation of a contributing bureau at Kamloops, prior Commission approval is not required.
According to the Corporation, staffing for the CBC's new bureaus is to be accomplished through the redeployment of existing CBC personnel currently working in Vancouver or Prince Rupert.
Coverage of events outside of each production centre will be provided by the reporters working out of the contributing bureaus as well as by a network of stringers and freelance contributors which the Corporation intends to employ. The new bureau system will be coordinated by a producer located in Vancouver. Part of the function of this provincial co-ordinator will be to run a "B.C. info-tape operation, which the CBC described as "a kind of internal syndication service so that items produced in one location can be broadcast in another". According to the Corporation "there will be daily feeds from Vancouver and Victoria for use by the Interior shows, and Kelowna and Prince George will trade items everyday and some of those will also be heard in Vancouver".
In addition, the CBC plans to simulcast special events and important matters of provincial interest as well as to involve the hosts of all its B.C. morning shows in a weekly, live "round table" discussion of regional stories.
Interventions
The Commission received over 45 interventions addressing the CBC's applications to amend the licences of CBTK-FM Kelowna and CBYG-FM Prince George and its overall bureau plans. The majority of these interventions were filed by individuals residing within British Columbia's Interior, many of whom, including some 3,470 who signed petitions to that effect, opposed the Corporation's plan to cancel the existing Vancouver-based regional morning show, Daybreak, and the resulting loss of the current Daybreak host, Bob Sharples. Many of these interveners also described their appreciation for the regional rather than local nature of the Daybreak program and expressed their concern that, should the CBC be permitted to proceed with its B.C. Plan, they would no longer have access to news and public affairs programming that is provincial in scope and which they feel contributes to a sense of community within the province as a whole.
Opposing interventions were also filed by the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) and by private radio broadcasters in Kelowna and Prince George. These interveners opposed the CBC's plan to originate morning programs out of studios in Kelowna and Prince George primarily on the grounds that the new programs would increase audience fragmentation in their respective markets and thereby impact on advertising revenues flowing to local stations. They also questioned whether it was within the CBC's mandate to adopt a "sub-regional" approach to programming, and submitted that the Daybreak North and South programs would evolve into purely local shows and would unfairly compete with the programs of local commercial radio stations which do not have access to the public funds available to the CBC.
Support for the Corporation's bureau plans was offered by way of interventions from, among others, the mayors of Prince George and Nelson, the Prince George Regional Development Corporation, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. One intervener, Gerry Warner of Kamloops, wrote:
From a news point of view, this proposal can do nothing but improve an already good service. It's true that it will disrupt the highly popular Daybreak show on the air now, but in the long run I think the new bureaus will improve Daybreak as well.
In response to the interventions opposing the cancellation of the existing Daybreak program, the Corporation stated:
Daybreak is not being cancelled. It is simply being decentralized, turned from one morning show into two. This is not a cost-cutting measure. On the contrary, it is a means of improving our provincial radio service by devoting more resources to the all-important weekday morning period of our information programming. These changes will not result in greater isolation.
The Corporation stated that CBC listeners throughout British Columbia would continue to hear the same provincial coverage they do now on its province-wide noon and afternoon shows and on provincial newscasts. It further offered that with more of its journalists dispersed throughout the province, and with its proposed programming exchanges and live hook-ups, its coverage will better reflect regional issues and concerns.
As part of its presentation at the Victoria hearing, the CBC indicated that the present host of Daybreak, Bob Sharples, will continue to play a significant role as a regular contributor to the Corporation's radio programming in the province.
In response to the concerns of private broadcasters, the CBC denied that its proposals were predicated on significant increases in the size of its radio audience. According to the Corporation, "we have not developed this plan to increase an audience, but simply ... to better serve the audience we already reach". It pointed out that it is a non-commercial service and thus will not tap the existing advertising market in British Columbia.
With respect to what the CBC characterized as "fundamental misconceptions ... that CBC radio is seeking to overstep the bounds of its mandate by offering a local service which duplicates that of existing local stations", the Corporation stated:
The new bureaus will have regional responsibilities. They will be heard by many people far away from the community where the program happens to originate. They will not concentrate on local information, but on matters of interest to the entire region. For this reason, they will not duplicate but rather complement the local service provided by the local stations.
The Corporation submitted that its planned exchange of regional rather than local information "is explicitly included in the CBC's mandate under the Broadcasting Act".
Conclusion
The Commission considers that, for the most part, the establishment of these new bureaus in British Columbia represents a positive application of the Corporation's storefront concept. With the new storefront production centres and through the redeployment of staff, CBC service to much of the province will be enhanced and expanded. By originating programming for the Interior from two locations (Kelowna and Prince George) rather than one (Vancouver), the CBC will be able to offer residents coverage of more news and information items about their own area than is presently possible. With the addition of the contributing bureaus in Victoria and Kamloops, British Columbians will have easier and more timely access to information about events taking place throughout their province. At the same time, there will be increased exposure on the national CBC network of news and stories originating on Vancouver Island, in the Interior and in the northern part of the province, as well as a greater reflection to the rest of the country of British Columbia as a whole.
In the Commission's opinion, the Corporation's establishment of storefront production bureaus in Kelowna and Prince George in order to provide increased regional coverage of British Columbia is consistent with the CBC's mandate in the Broadcasting Act to serve "the special needs of geographic regions" and actively contribute "to the flow and exchange of cultural and regional information and entertainment". To this effect, the Commission has taken special note of the Corporation's undertaking that the focus of its programming from these stations will be regional rather than local:
The programming that originates from the new bureaus will be entirely regional in scope and emphasis. Each bureau is located in a major center within its region, but that is simply its base of operations.
... Obviously we are not going to inflict vast amounts of Kelowna or Prince George information on listeners hundreds of miles away, to whom it has little or no relevance at all.
The Commission reaffirms its position as expressed in Decision CRTC 88-181 renewing the CBC's radio network licences that, in view of the fact that the CBC is the only radio broadcaster able to speak to whole regions or provinces, it should ensure that regionally-directed programs address issues and provide coverage of matters relevant to the entire service area. The Commission will monitor the CBC's efforts to maintain a regional focus in its programming originating from its Kelowna and Prince George stations.
While the Commission considers that CBC service to many residents of British Columbia will improve dramatically as a result of the Corporation's increased presence in the province, it is concerned that the Kootenay area, which will not have a bureau of its own, will continue to be underserved. Accordingly, the Commission expects the Corporation to take the necessary steps to ensure that this significant area of the province is adequately covered and appropriately reflected in the CBC's regional programming.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General
APPENDIX 1
As noted in this decision, the Commission approves the application by the CBC to amend the broadcasting licences for the undertakings listed below, by changing their authorized program source to rebroadcast the programs of CBTK-FM Kelowna.
Call Sign/Indicatif d'appel Locality/Localité
CBYU-FM Alexis Creek
CBWA Ashcroft
CBYO-FM Barriere
CBKM Blue River
CBUD-FM Bonnington
CBXH Boss Mountain
CBRZ Bralorne
CBKS Cache Creek
CBYC-FM Canal Flats
CBUD Castlegar
CBUH Chase
CBRI Christina Lake
CBKZ Clearwater
CBUU Clinton
CBXH Cooper Creek
CBRR-FM Cranbrook
CBTE-FM Crawford Bay
CBRM Creston
CBRM-FM Creston
CBWD Donald
CBXW Edgewood
CBYX-FM Enderby
CBTN-FM Fernie
CBTF-FM Falkland
CBRD Field
CBTG Gold Bridge
CBXE-FM Golden
CBRJ Grand Forks
CBRO Greenwood
CBKW Jaffray
CBYK-FM Kamloops
CBUG Kaslo
CBKY Keremeos
CBRK Kimberley
CBUY Lac La Hache
CBUQ Lake Windermere
CBUL Lillooet
CBYE-FM Logan Lake
CBYL-FM Lumby
CBRE Lytton
CBTY-FM Lytton
CBUP Merritt
CBXA Mica Dam
CBXS Midway
CBUM Nakusp
CBYN-FM Nelson
CBUI New Denver
CBRN-FM North Bend
CBUS 100 Mile House
CBUS-FM 100 Mile House
CBUB-FM Osoyoos
CBKR Parson
CBTP-FM Penticton
CBRP Princeton
CBKV Radium Hot Springs
CBRA Revelstoke
CBYR-FM Rock Creek
CBUN Salmo
CBUC Salmon Arm
CBKN Shalalth
CBUJ Slocan
CBKX Sorrento
CBYS-FM Sparwood
CBTA-FM Trail
CBYZ-FM Vavenby
CBYV-FM Vernon
CBRL Williams Lake
APPENDIX 2
Schedule 1
As noted in this decision, the Commission approves the application by the CBC to amend the broadcasting licences for the undertakings listed below, by changing their authorized program source to rebroadcast the programs of CBYG-FM Prince George.
Call Sign/Indicatif d'appel Locality/Localité
CBUZ Chetwynd
CBKQ-FM Dawson Creek
CBDA Fort Nelson
CBUO-FM Fort Nelson
CBYJ-FM Fort St. John
CBUW Fort St. John
CBXU Hudson Hope
CBYY-FM Kersley
CBWF Mackenzie
CBXM McBride
CBRQ Quesnel
CBTU-FM Tumbler Ridge
CBKI Valemount
CBYW Wells
Schedule 2
As noted in this decision and in line with Decision CRTC 88-485, issued today, the Commission denies the application by the CBC to amend the broadcasting licences for the undertakings listed below, by changing their authorized program source to rebroadcast the programs of CBYG-FM Prince George. The program source of these undertakings will continue to be as presently authorized.
Call Sign/Indicatif d'appel Locality/Localité
CBKL Alice Arm
CBYA-FM Aiyansh
CBYD-FM Bella Coola
CBXB-FM Burns Lake
CBXR-FM Fort Fraser
CBUV Fort St. James
CBUV-FM Fort St. James
CBKG Granisle
CBYI-FM Hagensborg
CBUR-FM Houston
CBTD Kispiox
CBUK-FM Kitimat
CBKK Kitwanga
CBTM-FM Masset
CBTI-FM Moricetown
CBRH New Hazelton
CBYB-FM Port Clements
CBYQ-FM Queen Charlotte
CBRS-FM Smithers
CBKA Stewart
CBRC Terrace
CBTH-FM Terrace
CBRV-FM Vanderhoof