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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 90-693

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Decision

Ottawa, 8 August 1990
Decision CRTC 90-693
Consideration of Eleven Competitive Applications For a New FM Radio Station to serve Toronto or the Oshawa/Durham area, Ontario
The applicants are listed in the appendix to this decision
Following a Public Hearing in Toronto beginning on 3 April 1990, a majority of the Commission approves the application by Rawlco Communications Ltd., representing a company to be incorporated, (Rawlco) for a licence to carry on an English-language FM radio broadcasting transmitting undertaking at Toronto, operating on a frequency of 92.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 4,700 watts to broadcast locally-produced programming.
The Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 1994, subject to the conditions stipulated in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
At the Toronto hearing, the Commission considered 11 competing applications, ten of these were competitive in terms of their target market, another competed for technical reasons. The Commission notes that each of these applications, submitted in response to a call issued by the Commission on 31 July 1989 (Public Notice CRTC 1989-93), represents a thoroughly prepared and comprehensive proposal. The 11 applications included five for a Group III (Country and Country-oriented) radio service, four for a Group IV Black or Dance and Rhythm and Blues station, a Group IV proposal which would provide an eclectic mix incorporating pop, folk and jazz music and an application for a Group I Adult Contemporary station to serve Oshawa/ Durham and an area east of Metropolitan Toronto.
The proposal submitted by Robert Marshall, representing a company to be incorporated (Marshall), proposed an Adult Contemporary station to provide locally-produced programming to Oshawa/Durham listeners which was predicated on the use of channel 222. The adjacent frequency (channel 223) was proposed by the Toronto applicants. Due to signal quality concerns, only one service can be approved.
The Commission notes that, because of the scarcity of unused FM frequencies in Toronto and the surrounding area, its objective is to maximize the benefits that the public would derive from any new station. It is the Commission's view that the public interest would best be served in the allocation of channel 223 for use in the Toronto area and, accordingly, denies the Marshall application.
The applications which were competing with Rawlco for a licence to operate an FM station in Toronto are also denied. While each of the competing proposals was of high quality, a majority of the Commission has determined that, given the complete absence from the Toronto FM spectrum of both a country station and country music, a country musical format will contribute the most to programming diversity, to the development of Canadian talent and to the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole. Nonetheless, the Commission recognizes that the applications which proposed Black, Dance or an eclectic mixture of pop, folk and jazz music would have also contributed to the variety of radio services available to Toronto listeners.
The Toronto Market
The Toronto area is the largest and the most diverse radio market in the country. The Toronto market, composed of over 3.4 million potential listeners, is currently served by 10 local AM and 14 local FM stations offering a wide variety of broadcasting services. The music formats presently available in the city on the FM band include album-oriented rock, middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary, easy listening and classical music.
The Commission has carefully examined all aspects of the Toronto market, in particular the availability of services and listener preferences, as well as the economic growth potential of the market and its impact on the financial position of existing radio stations.
The importance of this market is demonstrated by the fact that, in 1989, Toronto's AM and FM radio stations accounted for 14% of total radio revenues in the country. Not only is Toronto a very large market, it has also been one where the profit margin of Toronto stations as a group has been significantly larger than the Canadian average in recent years. The Commission has also considered the economic projections for the Toronto market. For the future, the Commission is convinced that the radio revenues in the market will continue to rise from the approximate $111 million in 1989 to a level that will be significantly higher by 1995. This position is based on general economic conditions forecast for Toronto by institutions such as the Conference Board of Canada as well as long-term growth trends exhibited by the radio industry in the Toronto market.
In line with the research and analyses provided by the applicants, the projected advertising revenue for radio, the overall strength of the market and of its prospects for growth, the various interventions received, both in support of and in opposition to the establishment of a new FM station and in light of the discussions at the hearing, the Commission is satisfied that the introduction of a new FM radio service in the Toronto market can be achieved without creating undue pressures on existing broadcasters.
The Musical Format: A Sound Choice
The Commission stated in the call for applications (Public Notice CRTC 1989-93) that diversity is one of the fundamental concepts of the Commission's FM policy. It was therefore incumbent on the applicants to demonstrate that the services they were proposing would add to the diversity of FM radio services in the Toronto area.
After careful examination of all the evidence and research submitted by the applicants, the Commission is of the view that a number of musical formats represent potentially viable options for the Toronto market. The determination of what musical format would be authorized flowed from the Commission's consideration of the particular musical programming which was offered by existing services and the extent to which a given application would add to the diversity and quality of radio services in the area.
The Commission notes that all the research studies commissioned by the applicants revealed that country was the preferred radio format for listeners over 35 years of age and four of these studies indicated that support for a country FM station is particularly strong in the 25 to 54 age group. It is also a fact that there is currently no FM radio station serving the Toronto market dedicated to country music.
The Commission, nonetheless, appreciates and acknowledges the views expressed at the hearing and in the written interventions from members of Toronto's multicultural community, including representatives of the city's Black population, and their strong support for the applicants proposing either a Black or Dance musical format. The Commission is sensitive to the wishes of these multicultural groups which constitute a growing segment of the city's population, and has considered seriously the request for a radio service that would reflect the specific needs and interests of the ethno-cultural communities, including the Black listening audience.
At the same time, a majority of the Commission is of the view that many of the plans proposed by the Black or Dance applicants, particularly with respect to the musical programming, may be accommodated by existing Toronto radio stations. The Commission notes that Dance music material is currently available through a number of Toronto stations.
Further, a majority of the Commission agrees with those country applicants who stated that the absence of a country-oriented FM in Canada's largest radio market has impeded the growth of country music in Canada and the recognition and development of Canadian country music artists. It is satisfied that a country station should not cause undue harm or hardship to existing broadcasters in the area. Rather, a majority of the Commission is of the belief that the introduction of an FM country voice in this city, which is also the heart of the English-language music industry, will foster interest and, in turn, increase the listening audience for this distinct type of music.
The Commission also notes the significant amount of Canadian musical content proposed by the country applicants and the favourable level of exposure and promotion of Canadian talent that would ensue from broadcasting these levels of Canadian music.
In light of all the foregoing, a majority of the Commission is convinced that a country and country-oriented station would at this time best add to the diversity and provide Toronto FM radio listeners with a true musical alternative.
The Rawlco Application
Consistent with its practice in considering any set of competing applications, the Commission examined the present proposals from a variety of perspectives. In each case, it assessed the preparation of the application, the specific musical and spoken word elements, the relationship of the applications to the objectives of the FM policy, the adequacy of the allocated resources, both human and financial, and the applicants' precise plans for the promotion of local and other Canadian musical talent.
Based on all the evidence available to it, a majority of the Commission is satisfied that Rawlco's proposal for a Group III station is of superior quality and best meets the Commission's long-standing criteria. This proposal has accordingly been approved. The Commission notes that this authority will only be effective and the licence will only be issued at such time as the Commission receives documentation establishing that the company has been incorporated in accordance with the application in all material respects.
Rawlco proposed to provide Toronto listeners with a country FM radio service with musical emphasis on a "New Country" sound, targeted to listeners between 25 and 54 years of age. This growing segment of the population currently composes approximately 48% of the city's total population.
At the hearing, Rawlco characterized the proposed contemporary sound as that which "remains faithful to its traditional country heritage in its attention to instrumentation, melody and lyric, but embraces the production values of today's music, with songs that are relevant to the urban experience...". Rawlco also stated its intention to create a distinctive sound and progressive, "hip image for country music". Artists such as k.d. lang, George Fox, Michelle Wright, Randy Travis, K.T. Oslin and Roseanne Cash form part of what Rawlco described as an expanding group of New Country musicians. The Commission notes that the station will feature rock-influenced country artists and its musical mix will be distinct in Toronto.
The Commission notes that musical diversity will be further broadened by Rawlco's commitments whereby the station's musical component will be predominantly current and be drawn from a music playlist of 850 distinct selections. The Commission expects Rawlco to respect these important programming commitments.
As part of its application, Rawlco undertook to limit the maximum number of musical repeats broadcast on the station. In this respect, it is a condition of licence that no non-Canadian musical selection broadcast on the new Toronto station be repeated more than 14 times during any broadcast week.
Of all the applicants for this Toronto area licence, Rawlco proposed the highest level of enrichment programming at 15 hours per week, and, in respect of news, the highest of all the country applicants at eight hours each week. In this respect, Rawlco has scheduled a significant number of newscasts throughout the broadcast day, evening and night-time hours. The full-time news staff of 12 will also provide at least seven and a half hours of locally-produced public affairs programming.
Moreover, this new station will offer special programming of interest to children. Every Sunday morning, Rawlco will broadcast a two-hour, locally-produced show entitled "Toronto's Kidstuff" featuring topics of interest to young listeners and interviews hosted by youths.
The proposed levels of foreground and mosaic programming and Canadian musical content are considerably higher than the levels required by Commission regulations and policies. Specifically, Rawlco has undertaken that, in its first year of operation, at least 32% of the category 5 music it broadcasts will be Canadian, rising by 2% each year to a level of 40% in the fifth year. In this way, Rawlco intends to ensure the exposure of Canadian talent and "enhance the Canadian (country music) industry."
A majority of the Commission agrees with Rawlco that the programming proposal will foster interest and appreciation of a distinct form of musical expression that is currently under-represented in the city. It has also been noted that the proposed levels of Canadian music exceed the minimum levels suggested by the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) in its written intervention. The proposed format has also received support from the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), members of the artistic community and potential listeners in the Toronto area. A commitment to showcase Canadian music is again evident when considering Rawlco's significant initiatives totalling some $800,000 for the development of Canadian musical talent.
As part of its initiative "Taking Country to the People" program, Rawlco proposes to stage an annual country music festival in Toronto; showcase local artists at free, outdoor concerts; and actively promote country artists which it claims would in turn increase the availability of country music material in the city's retail music recording outlets. Rawlco has allocated an annual direct budget of $317,000 for this initiative alone.
Canadian country musicians will also be assisted as part of Rawlco's "Canada Country Stars" and "Toronto Country Stars" series, at a direct cost each year of $275,000 and $138,000 respectively. Rawlco indicated at the hearing that these programs are designed to help launch the professional careers of new country talent and will include "an intense week of tutorials, career counselling, rehearsals, performances, appearances, photo sessions, showcases and recording sessions".
The Commission has also taken into account Rawlco's extensive broadcasting experience, its performance record in the industry, and the solid financial foundation upon which it will build its new Toronto FM operation. The Commission acknowledges the numerous interventions in support and in opposition received in respect of the Rawlco application as well as the others. The Commission notes Rawlco's response to the intervention received from CHAY Limited and has no concern that the new station will cause undue technical harm to the signal provided by CHAY-FM.
It is a condition of licence that the applicant adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) 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.
In accordance with paragraph 13(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission will issue a licence to the applicant if it is in receipt of written notification from the Department of Communications (DOC), within twelve months of the date of this decision, that it will issue a Broadcasting Certificate. No licence will be issued if the Commission does not receive this notification within said period or, where the applicant applies to the Commission and satisfies the Commission that it is unable to obtain said notification before the expiry of this twelve-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. It is a condition of licence that the authority granted herein be implemented within twelve months of the date of receipt of written notification from the DOC that it will issue a Broadcasting Certificate or, where the applicant applies to the Commission and satisfies the Commission that it cannot implement its authority 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.
Alain-F. Desfossés
Secretary General
APPENDIX/ANNEXE
Rawlco Communications Ltd.,
representing a company to be incorporated
Toronto, Ontario
894327600
Robert J. Marshall,
representing a company to be incorporated
Oshawa/Durham and an area east of Metropolitan Toronto
894319300
CHEZ-FM Inc., on behalf of a partnership to be formed
Toronto, Ontario
894350800
Canada First Broadcasting Inc., representing a company to be incorporated
Toronto, Ontario
894330000
Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
894311000
Milestone Communications Limited, on behalf of a company to be incorporated
Toronto, Ontario
894351600
J. Robert Wood, representing a company to be incorporated
Toronto, Ontario
890003700
Moffat Communications Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario
894331800
Twigg Communications Ltd., representing a company to be incorporated
Toronto, Ontario
894289800
Robert K. Whyte, representing a company to be incorporated
Toronto, Ontario
894310200
York Broadcasting Corporation
Toronto, Ontario
- 894352400
Dissenting Opinion of Mr. Keith Spicer, Chairman of the CRTC
With the greatest respect for the reasoning of the majority of my fellow commissioners, I must dissent from this decision which I believe ignores the principle of broadcasting diversity at its most fundamental: the need to serve today's multicultural, multiracial Toronto.
My dissent in no way reflects on the winning applicant, Rawlco, but rather on the format chosen by a majority of CRTC commissioners. Rawlco is a first-class broadcasting company, strongly committed to high-quality Canadian programming.
But neither Rawlco's reputation nor the desirability of giving a western Canadian company access to the Toronto market is as important, in my mind, as recognizing this fact: a Country format is not nearly as needed in today's Toronto as is a Dance and/or Black format.
Toronto in 1990 is not the city it was 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago. From predominantly Anglo-Saxon, then European, with a small but enterprising Chinese community, it has grown into a metropolis of many nationalities, including newcomers from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. At the same time, many previously unrecognized smaller nationalities with long antecedents in Canada have come to be recognized as well-rooted in our country. Canada's broadcasting system must adapt to these new realities and embrace these communities by echoing new themes, new accents, new values, new music.
The choice of a Country music format in this case merely adds to Toronto's audio spectrum another form of "traditional North American" music - already massively represented by Pop, Rock and Easy Listening stations. In effect, it excludes many other kinds of music from around the world conveying the traditions of peoples forming about a third of Metro Toronto's population. For example, the decision ignores the music of probably 200,000 Black Torontonians, largely from the Caribbean, constituting Canada's largest Black community.
In my view, this decision is a mistake even at the objective level of reflecting the market. The decision might have been realistic for Toronto 15 or 20 years ago, but not now.
More sadly, the decision ignores the new racial mix in Toronto, and indeed the sometimes difficult interracial climate we have seen there in recent years and months. Canada's broadcasting system must seek out opportunities to show respect and acceptance for communities which may feel insecure and left out in our society. One of the best ways is to give these communities a broadcasting voice, both to talk to their members and to the rest of their city. Such access to the airwaves adds to our broadcasting system diversity which is a key objective of the Broadcasting Act. And this diversity is not just a way of serving a specific audience; by opening other minds to a vital and growing dimension of Toronto, it is a way of serving the public interest - that is, the interest of all Canadians who make Toronto their home.
In a wider sense - and although I know all my colleagues are sensitive to this need - the decision does not seem to pay due attention to Parliament's clear wish that federal programs, policies and practices reflect a healthy, indeed realistic, multiculturalism. By "healthy" I mean a multiculturalism that seeks neither assimilation nor ghettoization (however reasonable and inevitable the latter may be in some transitional situations), but something like welcome into an evolving mainstream.
Both ideas in that formula are vital and complementary. Welcome into the mainstream means acceptance as true Canadians; evolving mainstream respects the right, for Canadians from untraditional or previously unrecognized backgrounds, to help reshape mainstream society, to work with all other Canadians to define a new centre, a new normalcy, a new Canada.
Together, and since earliest times, these ideas of entering and changing the mainstream have always spelt dignity for immigrants to Canada. They have also been strong aspirations of certain inadequately recognized communities. With the very rapid social and cultural changes in Toronto over the past generation and even decade, it is vital to send this signal of acceptance and opportunity to all neglected groups and to the latest of many waves of new Canadians who live there.
My regret at this decision is heightened by two other factors. On one hand, I think Toronto's multicultural and multiracial society might have been well mirrored by either of at least two of the local city applicants who were obviously very sensitive to such realities in today's Toronto. On the other, if Canada's message to newcomers and previously disregarded communities is indeed one of welcome to the mainstream, we have seriously weakened this welcome by giving away what is one of Toronto's last mainstream frequencies.
I believe the CRTC can and must and will find other occasions to express its support for today's, and tomorrow's, more diverse Canadian society. But this Toronto licence was a splendid opportunity to do so now, and I much regret that we missed it. I think this is particularly sad this year, at a time when an uneasy Canada needs to embrace - not ignore - left-out groups, and thereby foster a broader spirit of shared nationality.
By giving these groups a voice to speak to their members, to each other and to their entire city, a broadcasting licence is one of the most eloquent ways to prove that "traditional Canada" is listening to their message. That message is simply this: that we must recognize the equal dignity of all cultures, the strength for Canada of welcomed diversity, and the right of all citizens to contribute to our country as full-fledged Canadians.
Dissenting Opinion of Commissioner Rosalie Gower
I dissent strongly from the majority decision for the following reasons:
It is apparent from the written dissents to this decision that at least two of the three Commissioners who spent 9 days hearing these 11 applications, including the Chairperson of the panel, do not agree with the majority decision.
There were many excellent applications presented at this hearing, many of them, in my opinion licenseable, including those in the Dance, Eclectic and Country format.
However, both dissenting panel members, after listening carefully to the applications and interventions, specify Dance, not presently provided in Toronto on a dedicated Canadian station, as filling the greatest need in that market.
One of the cornerstones of the CRTC FM Policy is diversity - the desire to give listeners as varied a choice as possible. There were, at the time of the hearing, two AM Country stations providing this format to Toronto with good signals (one of these stations has since changed its format to contemporary hit radio (CHR) which in itself could be an indication of the lack of enthusiasm for more Country in the Toronto market). Therefore the majority decision ignores an excellent opportunity for increased diversity offered by more than one quality application. Dance music can presently be heard in Toronto but only by switching between stations - the only dedicated Dance stations are heard from the U.S. from which Canadian listeners could be repatriated.
Staff analysis shows that in the under 35 age group - Dance is the preferred format; in the over 35's, Country is preferred. Staff analysis also determined that of these two groups, the less well served is the 12 to 34 range, the younger demographic.
Moreover, further staff analysis shows that the two present AM Country stations show a much lower share of total listening hours than Country format stations in other cities. Is more Country, whether on AM or FM, therefore the best choice for Toronto?
In regard to support for musical talent: there are a number of Country stations licensed across Canada, including all the major markets, which give strong support to this genre of music. There are a number of Dance stations in some markets in Quebec but only one outside Quebec, in Vancouver. Not licensing Dance to fill the vacant niche in Toronto, leaves this genre of music relatively unsupported and promotion of Dance artists, much less effective. At the hearing, the panel heard from artists who are involved in the thriving dance clubs in Toronto explaining how useful a Dance music radio station would be in playing unknown labels and internationally recognized Canadian artists not known in their own country.
This is the last FM frequency available in the Toronto region, except for that used by the former CKO station. The future disposition of this licence is uncertain.
This is also the third time the Dance format has been proposed for Toronto listeners and denied: the first time the CRTC licensed Easy Listening, the second time it licensed Classical, and the third time it is again ignoring the desire of a large number of Torontonians for this missing format and licensing another Country station - Is this logical?
The Dance format encompasses a very wide variety of music, from Black rhythm and blues, to disco dance, Black reggae, calypso and salsa, soul, funk, hip hop, Hi NRG, rap, house, world beat, Afro and Latin Caribbean styles and Lambada. It is constantly evolving and mutating in the hands of the artists and DJ's and therefore has longevity as a style and the versatility to satisfy a wide audience with varying musical tastes.
The panel heard from a large number of intervenors but by far the largest number of interventions appearing and non-appearing were in favour of the Dance format. My last point goes to the nature of Toronto. As Mr. Bob Wood states in his application, in 1986 according to the Census, the ratio of visible minorities in Toronto was 25% and minorities over-all, 60%. Just after the turn of the Century, the ratio of visible minorities in Toronto will be nearly 50%. To quote Dr. Aghar of the Wood's application "Today people from over 100 cultural and racial groups have irreversibly altered the cultural landscape of this area".
At the hearing I became convinced that Dance music and Black music could have wide appeal, not just to general Toronto audiences and young people, but especially to ethno-cultural audiences whose needs are presently being partially met by U.S. stations or by browsing across a number of stations or by designated time slots on ethnic stations.
The especially attractive feature of at least two of the Dance applicants was that members of the ethnic community were not to be just passive recipients of the music, but active participants as shareholders with a voice in station policy and direction. Dr. Aghar spoke of this at the hearing "I do not think as a minority Canadian that in fact I should sit back and wait on 'mainstream' to begin to do it for us. I think what we need to do is to reach out, build partnerships at every level". And Mr. Redhead of the Milestone application also stated in presenting their application that this was "an opportunity to reach out to the mainstream and let the mainstream see the talent, the profiles of people, the contribution that they are making to Canadian society". Milestone particularly spoke of the stereotyping of ethnic portrayal, especially of the Black community saying "most of the news that is heard about our Community are negative. It does not help to build pride, self-esteem and self-worth".
Allan Greg of Canada First stated that "we have always revelled in our tolerance, clarity and understanding. Recently, however, we have noted a growing sense of isolation among various ethnic-cultural groups in our research".
Because of the present and future composition of Toronto and because of the untapped resource this rich market offers, this seemed to me an excellent opportunity to enfold the ethnic diversity of the City within a viable commercial enterprise, bringing new players into the broadcasting system as partners and offering a good chance of successfully meeting the musical and Spoken Word needs of a multicultural society with a fresh, new, different and diverse sound.
As a choice amongst Dance applicants, I would have approved Robert Wood's excellent application because of format, local shareholders reflective of the Community, broad share participation, good research, a new player, effective talent promotion, a strong experienced team, musical knowledge and programming proposals. In my view it was also the best reflection of the wide ethnic diversity of the Toronto population as demonstrated by ownership, music choice, spoken word orientation, community advisory committee, visible minority talent promotions and hiring practices.
Dissenting Opinion of Commissioner Beverley J. Oda
This minority opinion is in reference only to the format chosen. I recognize that, with the recent change of format by CFGM, this decision will now reintroduce the country format into Toronto. This however was not a factor at the time the Commission made its decision.
Since my views regarding the format differed with that of the majority, I did not participate in the selection of a specific applicant proposing a country music format and my comments are not related to any specific application.
I believe that the licensing of a dance format station would have better met the needs and desires of the local audience, recognized the demographic realities of Toronto and brought improvements to the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole. The significance of Toronto within the broadcasting system must be acknowledged due to its size, market potential and position as a centre of the Canadian music and recording industries. This fact should not override a responsibility to the local Toronto audience.
Historically, Toronto audiences have not strongly supported country format radio stations. Audience surveys undertaken for applicants in these proceedings, including applicants for a country music station, indicate that dance music is preferred over country music by the overall Toronto population. CFGM, the only country music station in Toronto has achieved audience shares of 3% in 1987, 2% in 1988 and 3% in 1989. In light of these audience shares, after receiving access to a better signal and prior to any CRTC licensing action or policy amendments, CFGM changed its format from country to contemporary hit. This action may demonstrate that the industry itself has determined that Toronto is not a strong market for an AM country format radio station.
And the technically superior signal quality of an FM station may not overcome the limited audience support for country music. In Vancouver and Calgary, the AM country stations outperform the competitive FM country stations.
Dance music would have recognized not only the musical preference of the local audience, but, with its international roots and appeal, it would have better reflected the demographic realities of the multicultural make-up of Toronto. One audience study submitted provides evidence that those of minority ethnic background and heritage have a stronger than average preference for dance music over country music. Presently 56% of the population in this city are of non-English, non-French origin and this proportion is projected to increase even further in the future.
Furthermore, a dance music station would have met the needs of an underserved segment of the Toronto audience. A dance music station targets the 18 to 34 age group. Country station applicants proposed to target the 25 to 54 or 34 to 54 age groups. In terms of AM and FM stations, the under 34 age groups are less well-served in Toronto. A decision in favour of the dance format would have addressed this imbalance and provided an opportunity to repatriate those younger listeners presently tuning to three foreign stations which program Black/dance music.
Within the Toronto market, country music had been available on CFGM and CHAM, both full service Canadian country format stations. Dance music, however, is available only on a limited basis on contemporary pop music, student and ethnic radio stations through the broadcast of specific thematic programs which focus on a certain subcategory of the dance music genre, or the playing of songs which have attained a certain level of popularity, usually foreign hits. A full dance station would have consistently focused on dance music, covered a wider range of styles within the genre, and had an obligation to play Canadian dance selections.
The licensing of a dance format station would have better balanced the support given to Canadian music by the broadcasting system as a whole. On a national basis, the broadcasting system consists of 74 full country music stations operating in every region of Canada. Compared to this, only 10 dance music stations have been licensed nationally, nine of which operate in Québec. These nine stations make up a large part of their Canadian content by playing French-language recordings. The only station available to provide consistent support to Canadian English-language dance music is one recently licensed in Vancouver. A decision to licence a dance format station would have introduced a full service dance station into the Toronto market and addressed the present significant imbalance in support infrastructure within the broadcasting system. Full service stations committed to the music format are necessary to assist in the development of Canadian dance music artists whose exposure is presently severely restricted.
Finally, although AM stations are able to change formats without prior CRTC approval, it is my opinion that all available services, both AM and FM, should be assessed to determine the diversity offered and the effects of introducing a new competitive station in order to limit any undue negative impact, particularly on the AM sector of broadcasting.
In Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the licensing of new country FM stations caused initial audience declines, followed by increased tuning to the country format in general, which eventually benefited both the new and existing country music stations. In those cities, however, the existing AM stations began with relatively high audience shares. In Toronto, the impact of a drop in audience tuning to CFGM due to the introduction of a new FM country station would have been more serious than that experienced by the AM stations in the markets noted above. The limited audience support for country music in Toronto should have been considered in terms of the need to maximize audience shares by the existing AM country station.
Opportunities to meet other objectives of the Commission to strengthen, to provide diversity, and to ensure quality were present within the proposals put forward by the applicants for a dance music format. A chance to enhance the system by strengthening an existing broadcaster, by introducing new participants into the system or by expanding regional representation into central Canada was also part of one or more of the dance music applications.
All other aspects of any application for a new radio station which are considered by the Commission were of a significant level and quality within the dance music proposals and were comparable to those proposed by the country applicants.
I, therefore, believe that a decision in favour of a dance format station would have maximized the use of what may be the last FM frequency available in this market. It would have resulted in a better balanced opportunity to bring benefit to the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole while recognizing the musical preference of the local marketplace, reflecting the demographic make-up of the population and meeting the needs of an underserved segment of the audience in Toronto.