ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 90-994

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Decision

Ottawa, 27 September 1990
Decision CRTC 90-994
New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Limited
Saint John, New Brunswick - 881605000
Following a Public Hearing in Halifax commencing on 21 November 1989, the Commission denies the application to amend the broadcasting licence for CHSJ Saint John, by increasing the daytime power from 10,000 watts to 50,000 watts and the nighttime power from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts.
In Decision CRTC 85-29, New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Limited (NBBC) was authorized to change its frequency from 1,150 kHz to 700 kHz. Subsequently, in Decision CRTC 87-991, NBBC was authorized to relocate its transmitter site to Seaview, New Brunswick, to facilitate implementation of the 700 kHz frequency previously authorized. According to NBBC this change was necessary because of potential re-radiation problems expected from power lines located in the vicinity of the original site at Longview.
In the present application, NBBC contended that the proposed power increase is necessary to increase its signal strength in the central area of Saint John, which it claims has been inadequately served since the relocation of the transmitter site.
This application was originally published in the Canada Gazette under Public Notice CRTC 1989-42. Following receipt of five opposing interventions from area radio broadcasters, the application was scheduled as part of the 21 November 1989 Public Hearing.
At the hearing, Radio One Ltd., licensee of CIHI and CKHJ-FM Fredericton, opposed the proposed increase noting that CHSJ's proposed coverage would include Fredericton and would result in a duplication of the country music programming of CKHJ-FM. It stated that the small, already-saturated Fredericton market could not support a new service and that further fragmentation would threaten the financial viability of Radio One Ltd.'s stations. The intervenor also stressed that NBBC had not fully considered all possible technical alternatives for its proposal.
In its intervention, Annapolis Valley Radio Ltd., licensee of radio stations in the Annapolis Valley, expressed strong concerns about the loss of advertising revenues for its stations which it claimed would result from the extension of CHSJ's signal into Nova Scotia. It therefore requested that conditions of licence be imposed on NBBC to prevent the sale of advertising by CHSJ in Nova Scotia.
The Commission also acknowledges the interventions from Radio CJLS Limited, Radio Atlantic (CKCL) Ltd. and Radio Atlantic (CFNB) Ltd., licensees of radio stations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, raising concerns about the penetration of CHSJ into their respective markets and the impact on their advertising revenues.
In reply, NBBC reiterated that the purpose of its application was to strengthen its signal in its principal market area and that it did not intend to "solicit advertising in areas not previously canvassed for local advertising revenues".
Subsequent to the hearing, at the Commission's request, the Department of Communications (DOC) conducted a study of the strength and quality of the existing CHSJ signal in its central market, the results of which were submitted to all parties. Among the findings of this study it was established that, although the signal is weak in some areas, it does meet the minimum specifications prescribed by DOC for service in the urban environment. In addition, DOC's evaluation indicated conclusively that CHSJ's signal quality was excellent at all locations monitored. Moreover, analyses conducted by the Commission and DOC revealed that at a 50,000 watts transmitter power, CHSJ would deliver a strong local grade (higher than 5 mV/m) signal to the Annapolis Valley. In the Commission's view, this could cause market fragmentation in the region and threaten the financial viability of existing stations.
Furthermore, based on figures indicating a recent increase in the size of CHSJ's audience and an improvement in its financial situation since the antenna relocation, the Commission is not convinced that there is a financial need for the station to increase its listenership and recognizes the potential financial impact that such an increase might have on stations outside the Saint John market, in particular those in the Annapolis Valley. The Commission notes in this regard that, although the licensee did not propose to solicit local advertising in the areas it does not currently serve, it still had intended to accept advertising from these areas and also to solicit national advertising.
Based on all of the foregoing, the Commission is not convinced that there is any compelling reason to approve the proposed increase in CHSJ's power.
The Commission, however, encourages the licensee, in consultation with the Commission and DOC, to explore other technical alternatives to strengthen its coverage in the Saint John market without extending its signal significantly into other markets.
Alain-F. Desfossés
Secretary General

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