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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 93-51

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Decision

Ottawa, 10 February 1993
Decision CRTC 93-51
Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc.
Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa, Ontario - 920583200 - 920971900Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc.Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - 920584000 - 921019600
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 30 November 1992, the Commission approves the applications by Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. (Pelmorex) and Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. (Telemedia) to amend the Promises of Performance for CJQM-FM and CHAS-FM Sault Ste. Marie.
Pelmorex and Telemedia, the two private broadcasters operating at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, have been experiencing significant financial difficulties due, in part, to the intense competition from the four U.S. radio stations operating in the adjacent city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The Commission notes that the proposals approved herein are the third step in the licensees' three-part plan to restore economic health to their broadcasting enterprises at Sault Ste. Marie. This plan is described in Public Notice CRTC 1992-62 dated 11 September 1992, entitled "Service Agreement between Telemedia Communications Ontario Inc. and Pelmorex Broadcasting Inc. regarding the operations of CHAS-FM and CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario" (the Service Agreement). As a first step, Telemedia and Pelmorex have discontinued the operation of their AM stations, CFYN and CKCY Sault Ste. Marie. Secondly, Telemedia has moved CHAS-FM to the Pelmorex premises. Under the Service Agreement described in Public Notice CRTC 1992-62, CHAS-FM will be managed by Pelmorex on behalf of Telemedia. As a third step, Pelmorex and Telemedia asked the Commission to grant CJQM-FM and CHAS-FM flexibility with respect to certain programming commitments to enable the stations to compete with the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan stations.
The Commission notes that, taken together, the four Sault Ste. Marie radio stations recorded average losses before interest and taxes of $475,260 during the 1987-1991 period. Further, the total population within this market is less than 100,000 and that, before the AM stations' recent closures, approximately 35% of the tuning by those making up the potential audience is to U.S. stations. For these reasons, the Commission is satisfied that the licensees' requests meet the guidelines for assessing applications for programming flexibility from licensees of radio stations operating in small markets and border markets, as outlined in Public Notice CRTC 1992-3 dated 16 January 1992.
Accordingly, the Commission approves the following changes to the Promises of Performance for CJQM-FM and CHAS-FM :
- a reduction in the amount of news to be broadcast weekly by CJQM-FM from 7 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours;
- a reduction in the amount of news to be broadcast weekly by CHAS-FM from 7 hours 45 minutes to 3 hours;
- a reduction in the amount of Spoken Word material to be broadcast by both stations from 15% to 10% of all programming during each broadcast week.
Pelmorex and Telemedia also proposed to broadcast a minimum of 700 distinct musical selections per week, to employ a maximum weekly repeat factor of 24 and to broadcast a maximum weekly hit percentage of 85%.
In accordance with Public Notice CRTC 1992-72 dated 2 November 1992 entitled "A Review of the CRTC's Regulations and Policies for Radio", the Commission relieves both stations of their commitments with respect to the number of repeats and distinct musical selections. Moreover, in the circumstances, the Commission has decided to exempt CJQM-FM and CHAS-FM from any regulatory requirement with regard to the level of hits.
The Commission notes that CHAS-FM will retain its Group I format (Pop, Rock and Dance) and CJQM-FM its Group II (Country) format. Moreover, the Commission notes that the licensees will continue to broadcast a weekly minimum Canadian content level of 30% on each station as required by the Radio Regulations, 1986.
The Commission reaffirms the particular importance it attaches to Canadian talent development. As part of its application, Pelmorex stated that it would maintain its $11,500 direct cost budget for Canadian talent development for CJQM-FM. The Commission expects Telemedia to commence direct expenditures in support of Canadian talent development on behalf of CHAS-FM when the station achieves a positive operating income.
The Commission also approves the application by Pelmorex to amend the broadcasting licence of CJWA Wawa, by changing the program source from:
 "...programs received part-time from studios located at Wawa, and part-time from CKCY Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario..."
to: "...programs received part-time from studios located at Wawa, and part-time from CHAS-FM Sault Ste. Marie".
The Commission also approves the application by Telemedia for an English-language radio network licence for the purpose of broadcasting programming originating from CHAS-FM Sault Ste. Marie on CJWA Wawa. The Commission will issue a network licence expiring 31 August 1997, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
Prior to 31 August 1992, CJWA Wawa was a part-time rebroadcaster of CKCY Sault Ste. Marie. The present application is intended to provide replacement programming for CJWA originating from CHAS-FM Sault Ste. Marie during the hours when it is not originating programming locally.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming, 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.
The Commission acknowledges the intervention submitted by Steve Butland, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, and is satisfied with Pelmorex's reply thereto.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General