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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 89-389

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Decision

Ottawa, 28 June 1989
Decision CRTC 89-389
High-Line Broadcasting Inc.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - 882114200Western World Communications Ltd.Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - 874041700
Following a Public Hearing in Saskatoon on 20 February 1989, the Commission approves the application by High-Line Broadcasting Inc. (High-Line) for a licence for an English-language FM radio broadcasting transmitting undertaking at Saskatoon on the frequency 102.1 MHz, channel 271, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts. The Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 1993, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
The Commission notes that High-Line proposes to operate the new station in a Group I (Pop and Rock-Softer) format featuring a minimum of 50% instrumental selections.
The Commission denies the competing application by Western World Communications Ltd. (Western World). This applicant also proposed to operate a new FM station at Saskatoon utilizing the same technical parameters as proposed by High-Line and in a Group I format with 97% vocal music.
High-Line is owned 100% by Albert Ethier Holdings Ltd., a private corporation wholly-owned by Mr. Albert Ethier. A life-long resident of Saskatchewan now living in Saskatoon, Mr. Ethier has varied business interests including oil and gas, construction, real estate development, chemicals and equipment manufacturing.
At the hearing Mr. Ethier stated that it has been his longstanding wish to own a radio station and he expressed his intention to expand his role in the industry in the future. High-Line presented a very thorough application complete with detailed market analyses and proposes an experienced management team to be led by Mr. Gordon Colledge, a veteran broadcaster who has managed stations in Cranbrook, Kelowna and Vernon, British Columbia and Lethbridge and Medicine Hat,
Alberta.Western World, which is wholly-owned by Saskatoon Telecable Ltd. and indirectly controlled by Mr. Clinton Forster, is the licensee of CJWW Saskatoon and CJUP Langley, British Columbia. It owns 100% of Balsa Broadcasting Corp., licensee of CHMG St. Albert, Alberta. Saskatoon Telecable Ltd. is the licensee of ten broadcasting receiving undertakings in the province of Saskatchewan, including the system serving Saskatoon.
The Saskatoon market is currently served by four commercial radio stations. CJWW, is a country music station; CKOM and CFMC-FM, both licensed to Rawlco Communications Limited, offer Top 40 and Group II (Pop and Rock-Harder) programming formats, respectively; and CFQC, licensed to Russwood Broadcasting Limited, is an adult contemporary station. Two CBC services, CBK and CBKS-FM, are also available in the Saskatoon market.
According to the estimates contained in the 1987/88 edition of the Financial Post's Canadian Markets, Saskatoon is the largest market in Saskatchewan with more than 206,000 residents, 48% of whom are over the age of 30. In assessing the capacity of the Saskatoon market to accommodate a new commercial FM service, the Commission has examined a variety of indicators, including the level of retail activity, the advertising revenues currently being extracted by existing local stations and the financial performance of these stations.
Based on the evidence, much of it corroborated by both applicants, the Commission is satisfied that the market should support the introduction of one new FM station at this time, without causing undue harm to existing broadcasters. In this regard, the Commission notes that Rawlco Communications Limited presented an intervention to both applications stating that its two stations reported "good" revenue increases in the past year and that the radio market in Saskatoon is "quite healthy" and "may be capable of supporting one additional licensee to complement the existing services...".
The Commission notes High-Line's projections that the proposed station will attract between 10% and 13% of total hours tuned and generate revenues of $900,000 in its first year of operation. The applicant stated that this would represent only 7.6% of the total available radio revenues in the Saskatoon market. The applicant also stated that the High-Line group of companies has "a fair amount of liquid assets available to inject into the broadcasting division" and that it has a line-of-credit available for use should its projections not be achieved. Based on the evidence, the Commission has no concerns with respect to the availability or adequacy of the required financing.
The Commission also closely examined the amount of diversity in the Saskatoon radio market and is satisfied that the High-Line station, which would broadcast a minimum of 50% instrumental music and represent a different news voice, will add an important element of diversity. Further, the Commission notes that there would appear to be potential duplication between the vocal music broadcast by CFQC and the music service proposed by Western World. In addition, the Commission notes that the day-to-day operations of the station proposed by Western World would have been highly integrated with those of its AM radio station CJWW, particularly in terms of news and information programs in view of the fact that the applicant proposed that the station would share certain staff. A highly-integrated joint operation would, in the Commission's view, contribute less diversity to the market than an independent licensee.
Among the specific program proposals put forth by High-Line are daily profiles of different local organizations; a feature on the local arts scene; and programs which will focus on the contributions of Saskatoon's ethnic peoples. Other features will cover topics of interest to students and senior citizens. The applicant stated that these proposals were based on suggestions offered in the course of extensive discussions held with over 200 community groups during the preparation of its application. High-Line intends to hire a full-time community services co-ordinator and create a community advisory Bbard "to keep us constantly in touch with the pulse of the community and ensure our commitments to the community are kept".
With respect to its plans for musical foreground programs, High-Line proposes to draw upon community resources to assist in the production of such programs as: a one-hour program of classical music to be broadcast each weekday evening; a two-hour Saturday evening jazz show which will be produced with the assistance of the Jazz Society; and a weekly two-hour program of the music of Saskatoon's ethnic communities.
Other musical programs proposed are: a two-hour program of gospel music to be broadcast Sunday mornings; and "Quebec On Line", designed to expose the music of Quebec artists and groups, which will be obtained initially from CILK-FM Kelowna and later produced by the proposed Saskatoon station. Other musical programs will frequently focus on Canadian artists and High-Line will publicize live performances by Canadian artists.
At the hearing, the Commission questioned High-Line about the availability of sufficient instrumental music and Category 6 music (Traditional and Special Interest), the latter of which is to comprise 7 hours 12 minutes of its weekly schedule. High-Line's application had indicated that it would obtain most of its Category 6 music from private libraries. At the hearing, the applicant assured the Commission that:
 the [Category 6] music is available for purchase ... we would make sure that we have it by the time we're ready to sign on.
The Commission notes that High-Line's foreground commitment of 15% greatly exceeds the 9% minimum for independent licensees set out in the Radio Regulations, 1986 and that its combined foreground and mosaic commitment of 50% is also far in excess of the 33% required by the Commission's FM policy. The Commission also notes that High-Line will employ a full-time enrichment editor.
The Commission expects the applicant to adhere to its commitment, made at the hearing, to schedule its foreground programming in a more even fashion throughout the broadcast week rather than concentrating half of this programming on Saturdays and Sundays as proposed in its application.
High-Line plans to broadcast 7 hours 46 minutes of news programming each week and will have a five-person news team. Among its plans are news magazine programs to be broadcast at noon on weekdays and on Sunday.
With respect to the promotion and development of Canadian talent, High-Line committed to a $5,000 annual expenditure for the 10 local concerts that will make up its Canadian showcase program. It noted that interest has already been expressed by The Saskatoon Concert Band, The Jazz Society, The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and The Lion's Club Band. High-Line also made a commitment to spend $25,000 in its first year of operation to establish a scholarship program for music students, for sponsoring travel to competitions and festivals, for bringing in outstanding musicans for lectures and workshops and for the purchase of instruments. This financial commitment will increase by $5,000 per year until it totals at least $50,000 per annum.
It is a condition of licence that the applicant adhere to the CAB's self-regulatory guidelines on sex-role stereotyping, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
It is also a condition of licence that the applicant adhere to the provisions of the CAB's Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
The Commission notes, as discussed at the hearing, that because of "the potential for interference to NAV/COM facilities" Transport Canada advised the federal Department of Communications (DOC) that the transmitter site proposed by High-Line was unacceptable. High-Line has since located a new site and on 3 April 1989 the DOC indicated to the Commission that the revised proposal is technically acceptable but that issuance of a Technical Construction and Operating Certificate for the proposed station is conditional upon the resolution of any problems involving interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.
It is a condition of licence that construction of this undertaking be completed and that it be in operation within 12 months of the date of this decision or, where the applicant applies to the Commission within this period and satisfies the Commission that it cannot complete implementation before the expiry of this 12-month period and that an extension of this period is in the public interest, within such further period of time as is approved in writing by the Commission.
In addition to the intervention by Rawlco Communications Ltd. addressed earlier in this decision, the Commission received 127 interventions, including two petitions, in support of the application by High-Line. Seven additional interventions were filed supporting Western World's application. The Commission wishes to thank the interveners for their participation in the public process, including those interveners who made presentations at the hearing.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General