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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 93-636

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Decision

Ottawa, 30 September 1993
Decision CRTC 93-636
Standard Radio Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario - 930216700
New FM radio licence
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 6 July 1993, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language (Group I - Pop, Rock and Dance) FM radio programming undertaking at Ottawa on the frequency 106.9 MHz (channel 295), with an effective radiated power of 84,000 watts. The FM frequency 106.9 MHz was formerly assigned to the CKO Radio Partnership and utilized by its Ottawa station.
The Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 1997, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued. This term will enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of other radio stations in the area.
Standard Radio Inc. (Standard) is currently the licensee of CJSB Ottawa, which operates on the AM frequency 540 kHz. Following implementation, and for a three-month phasing-in period, CJSB will simulcast on 540 kHz the programming of the new FM station. At the end of this period, the Commission requires Standard to surrender the licence currently issued for CJSB.
The Commission believes that the proposed FM transmitter will largely resolve the existing technical problems of CJSB which Standard described as "the poor night-time signal coverage and excessive generalized interference on the day-time signal particularly in the western portion of the Ottawa Central Region". Moreover, the move to the FM band should result in an improved quality signal that can be received consistently, day and night, throughout the approved coverage area. In approving this application, the Commission has also taken into account the fact that CJSB has been unprofitable during each of its eleven years of operation under Standard's ownership. Given the technical and financial difficulties faced by CJSB, the Commission is convinced that approval of this application is in the public interest.
The Commission further notes the applicant's commitments to increase its annual direct contributions to the development of Canadian talent from $12,800 to $50,000, to substantially increase the value of air-time it devotes annually to free advertising promoting Canadian artists, and to implement enhanced spoken word programming.
Interventions in opposition to this application were submitted by Rawlco Communications Inc. (Rawlco), licensee of CFGO and CJMJ-FM Ottawa, CHEZ-FM Inc. (CHEZ), licensee of CHEZ-FM Ottawa and CFMO-FM Smiths Falls, and KEY Radio Limited (KEY Radio), licensee of CIWW and CKBY-FM Ottawa.
Rawlco, as an operator of several stand-alone AM stations, expressed sympathy with Standard's problems in Ottawa. Nevertheless, Rawlco was concerned that, at a time when the viability of AM services is in jeopardy in many communities, approval of this application would send a negative message to AM broadcasters nation-wide by calling into question the commitment of the Commission to the future of AM.
The Commission reiterates its full support for and confidence in the important role AM radio continues to play. At the same time, however, it recognizes the real technical difficulties faced by the operators of some AM stations. In the present case, the Commission also notes that CJSB is the only stand-alone AM in the Ottawa market, and as such is particularly vulnerable to the adverse conditions under which many radio broadcasters find themselves operating.
The primary concerns expressed by CHEZ and KEY Radio were related to the possible negative effects upon existing Ottawa broadcasters resulting from the introduction of another FM service into what they consider a volatile market.
The Commission has taken into account Standard's replies to the interventions, as well as its comments at the hearing, which gave emphasis to the fact that its plans are for a station "that plays a steady diet of hard rock music". The Commission notes in particular Standard's proposal to provide a heavier concentration of current releases from this genre, which it believes will make the new station unique in the Ottawa market.
The Commission also acknowledges the numerous interventions submitted in support of this application.
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled "Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy", the Commission announced that the employmeynt equity practices of broadcasters would be subject to examination by the Commission. It encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.
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 Department of Communications (DOC) has advised the Commission that this application is condi- tionally technically acceptable, and that a Broadcasting Certificate will only be issued once it has been determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.
In accordance with subsection 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission will only issue the licence, and the authority granted herein may only be implemented, at such time as written notification is received from the DOC that its technical requirements have been met, and that a Broadcasting Certificate will be issued.
It is a condition of licence that construction of this undertaking be completed and that it be in operation within twelve months of the date of receipt of the DOC notification referred to in the preceding paragraph 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.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General