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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 94-436

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Decision

Ottawa, 22 July 1994
Decision CRTC 94-436
Balsa Broadcasting Corp.
St. Albert, Alberta - 932392400
Conversion of an AM station to FM
Following a Public Hearing in Saskatoon, beginning on 6 June 1994, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language FM radio programming undertaking at St. Albert, on the frequency 104.9 MHz, channel 285C, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts, upon surrender of the current licence for CHMG St. Albert.
The Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 1996, 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.
Balsa Broadcasting Corp. (Balsa) is currently the licensee of CHMG, a stand-alone AM station which serves St. Albert as well as Edmonton and several surrounding communities. The licensee will cease operation of this AM undertaking upon implementation of the FM service approved herein. Balsa indicated that it plans no major programming changes for the new FM station, and that it intends to continue to program "Oldies" or "Classic Gold" musical selections within the FM Group I format (Pop, Rock and Dance).
In support of its application, Balsa claimed that the conversion from the AM band to the FM frequency is required to enable it to "reduce and eventually reverse the succession of heavy financial losses suffered by the station since its inception". Balsa also argued that CHMG's survival as an independent operation on the AM band is threatened due to the technical inadequacy of its signal in the downtown core area of the Edmonton radio market. In addition, Balsa noted that, operating as an FM station, CHMG will offer musical diversity to the St. Albert/Edmonton FM band with minimal impact on existing FM stations, since the "Oldies" format is currently not available on FM in Edmonton.
Westcom Radio Group Ltd., licensee of CHED and CKNG-FM Edmonton, submitted an intervention stating that, it "does not oppose the movement of [CHMG] to the FM band", provided that Balsa does not switch formats. In response, Balsa reaffirmed its commitment to continue programming an "Oldies" or "Classic Gold" format if CHMG is moved to the FM frequency.
CFCW Broadcasting, a Division of NewCap Broadcasting Ltd., and licensee of CFCW Camrose/Edmonton and CKRA-FM Edmonton, submitted an opposing intervention claiming that the introduction of a new Group I FM station at this time would have a negative impact on AM radio in the Edmonton market. In response, Balsa stated that an approval would not result in the introduction of a new station to the Edmonton market, will increase listener choice to downtown residents of Edmonton who presently cannot receive CHMG, and, by vacating the AM band, will allow other AM stations in the market the opportunity to increase their share of AM listeners.
The Commission is satisfied with Balsa's response to these interventions. Furthermore, having considered all the available evidence, the Commission is satisfied that an approval will enable Balsa to resolve CHMG's financial and technical problems without having any significant impact on other radio stations operating in the Edmonton radio market.
The Commission reaffirms the particular importance it attaches to the development of Canadian talent and is satisfied with the annual budgets and the initiatives proposed by the licensee in this respect. It encourages the licensee, during the new licence term, to continue its efforts towards the support, development and on-air exposure of local and regional talent.
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled "Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy", the Commission announced that the employment 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.
It is a condition of licence that the authority granted herein be implemented within twelve months of the date of this decision or, where the licensee applies to the Commission within this period 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.
The Commission acknowledges the interventions submitted in support of this application by the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce, Welcome Wagon, the Arden Theatre, Edmonton Opera, and the Edmonton Trappers Baseball Club.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General