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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 89-830

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Decision

Ottawa, 7 November 1989
Decision CRTC 89-830
La Radio Communautaire du Comté
Rimouski and Mont-Joli, Quebec - 890702400
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region on 27 June 1989, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence to carry on a French-language FM community radio station at Rimouski, with an auxiliary studio at Mont-Joli, on the frequency of 96.5 MHz (channel 243B) with an effective radiated power of 6,400 watts. The licence will be subject to the conditions set out in this decision and in the licence to be issued, and will expire on 31 August 1994.
In accordance with the applicant's proposal and the Commission's policy statement contained in Public Notice CRTC 1985-194 - The Review of Community Radio dated 26 August 1985, a special Type B FM community radio licence will be issued for this station, which is to be operated in the Group IV musical format.
The applicant wishes to establish a regional community radio service in the regional county municipalities (MRCs) of Rimouski-Neigette and Mitis, which have populations of about 50,000 and 20,000, respectively. Rimouski and Mont-Joli are the main urban centres, and Rimouski is also the regional administrative centre. The area is currently served by CBC AM and FM stations and two private station, CFLP and CIKI-FM Rimouski,which are operated on a joint basis. Station CIKI-FM began broadcasting in February 1988, and operates in the Group IV dance music format. Mont-Joli has no local radio service.
Until September 1987, the Rimouski area also had a community radio station, CKLE-FM Rimouski. Owing to CKLE-FM's serious and persistent non-compliance with its commitments, the Commission announced in Decision CRTC 87-753 dated 17 September, 1987 that the station's licence would not be renewed. The Commission nonetheless indicated in the same decision that it would consider other applications to carry on a community radio station in the market in question provided that the applicants make "commitments commensurate with the human and material resources available in the communities to be served".
At the Public Hearing in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, on 5 July 1988, the Commission considered a similar application filed by the same applicant. In its Decision CRTC 88-812 dated 17 November 1988 denying that application, the Commission said there were serious doubts that the project could be implemented as proposed, owing mainly to uncertainty relating to financing and the level of human resources in view of the very onerous commitments made in the Promise of Performance. The Commission also indicated that some aspects of the proposed musical format, particularly with regard to musical diversity, were inconsistent with the policy on community radio.
In assessing this application, the Commission took into account the dynamism and tenacity demonstrated by the applicant, the wide support which the project has received from the people and organizations within the community, and the information set out in the application, including the measures proposed in response to the concerns expressed by the Commission in Decision CRTC 88-812.
With regard to financing, the applicant's proposal calls for total capital expenditures of $210,983. The applicant submitted a letter dated 11 April 1989 from the Quebec Planning and Development Bureau (OPDQ) confirming that the project is eligible for two $75,000 grants, one each from the Quebec Department of Communications and the OPDQ, under a general development agreement for the Lower St Lawrence region. The applicant also submitted a letter from the Mont-Joli Caisse populaire saying the Caisse is prepared to make a $75,000 loan to finance the capital costs of the station. The applicant said at the hearing that a fundraising campaign had raised about $20,000 from municipalities, MRCs and the general public in less than five months and it is confident it will reach its objective of $50,000 after the licence is issued which would allow it to diminish the loan necessary to finance its capital expenditures. It is further noted that the applicant had about 515 members at the time of the Public Hearing. In light of all the above, the Commission is confident that the applicant will have the financing and community support required to implement the station.
The applicant's forecast calls for total operating revenues of $283,000 in the first year, including $182,000 in local advertising. Other revenues are to be derived from annual fundraising campaigns, benefits, and government subsidies. The Commission notes that the applicant foresees that advertising will represent on average, 75.4% of total annual revenues, and it encourages the licensee to diversify its sources of income as much as possible over the coming years in order to limit the effects of advertising on programming.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee broadcast a daily average of no more than 4 minutes of advertising per hour, with no more than 6 minutes in any given hour, pursuant to the Commission's community radio policy for Type B stations.
The applicant proposed to broadcast a total of 140 hours weekly, 70% of which is to be produced at the Rimouski studios and 30% at Mont-Joli. It said this ratio corresponds roughly to the population breakdown of the two areas and represents a realistic estimate of the human resources available in each community. It is a condition of licence that the licensee honour its commitment to devote at least 30% of its broadcast time to programs received from the Mont-Joli studios. The Commission also expects that programs produced at Mont-Joli will be scheduled in a reasonable manner during the course of the broadcast day and that the station's program log will indicate the origin of all programs broadcast. The Commission also noted that applicant's undertaking at the hearing that the proposed 16% foreground and 33.6% spoken word programming will be produced in equal shares by the Rimouski and Mont-Joli studios.
The Commission suggests to the applicant that if the proposed total weekly broadcast time of 140 hours presents difficulties to the point where the licensee is in a situation of non-compliance and cannot honour its programming commitments, the station should reduce its total broadcast time to a level where it is in compliance at all times. The Commission reminds the licensee of the community radio policy which provides that, depending on the individual needs of each community and the availability of volunteers and community groups, any community station may increase or decrease its broadcast week by 20% without having to apply for a licence amendment. The applicant proposed to assign seven full-time employees to programming, news and information, which appears to be a more realistic figure than the five proposed in the previous application. It also said at the hearing that permanent staff at Mont-Joli would consist of one person assigned to news, one as program host, and another as administrator.
With regard to the availability of volunteer workers, it said that more than 50 persons had taken introductory radio courses given by journalists and radio specialists over the past 18 months. The applicant added that it was also counting on the active participation of local organizations in preparing some programs so that it could meet the proposed level of 23 hours 35 minutes of enrichment (Category 3) programming.
With regard to news and information, the applicant proposed to broadcast 3 hours 18 minutes of news weekly, including 75% local and regional news, and 9 hours 50 minutes of public affairs programming comprised of interviews, discussions and open-line programs on economic, social, cultural, educational and community issues in the region. The Commission noted that a professional journalist is to be hired and local resources are to be utilized, including individuals and organizations who will produce their own programs as well as the journalists from the weeklies and exchanges with community television stations in the region. The Commission notes that this community radio station will be owned and controlled by a non-profit organization which is organized in such a way as to permit members of the community at large to become members and get involved in station management, operations and programming. The applicant is encouraged to continue to recruit new members and facilitate their participation.
In accordance with the policy on community radio, the Commission also expects this station to develop innovative forms of community-oriented programming. It further expects the station to offer distinctive programming which deals with issues of interest to specific elements of the population it serves, including interest groups and the individuals towns and villages in its coverage area. The Commission noted the applicant's plan to produce one program a year from each municipality in the two MRCs.
With regard to the proposed Group IV musical format, the applicant indicated at the hearing that its objective is not competition, but rather complementarity based on diversity. Following discussions on this subject at the hearing, the applicant indicated that the proposed levels of 49.3% Subcategory 51 (Pop and Rock - Softer) and 38.2% Subcategory 52 (Pop and Rock - Harder) music are maximum levels, and it is prepared to increase the levels of the other musical subcategories. In accordance with the goal of musical diversity referred to in the community radio policy, the Commission, expects the licensee to achieve greater diversity in its musical selections. Similarly, and following discussions on this subject at the Public Hearing, the Commission imposes a condition of licence requiring that the maximum repeat factor for popular (Category 5) music selections be 10 rather than 18 as proposed in the application. The Commission notes that the applicant pledged to broadcast at least 65% French-language vocal music.
The Commission took into account the many interventions in favour of this application by individuals and organizations in the area, as well as the opposing intervention by La Compagnie de Radiodiffusion Rimouski Ltée, licensee for CFLP and CIKI-FM Rimouski.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee adhere to the self-regulatory guidelines of the Canadian Association of Broadcaters (CAB) on sex-role stereotyping as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
It is also a condition of licence that the licensee 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.
It is a condition of this licence that construction of this undertaking be completed and that it be in operation within twelve 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 period and that an extension is in the public interest, within such further period of time as is approved in writing by the Commission.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General