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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 95-701

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Decision

Ottawa, 2 October 1995
Decision CRTC 95-701
Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta - Régionale de Rivière-la-Paix
Falher, Nampa and Peace River, Alberta - 950687400
New community radio programming undertaking
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region held on 17 July 1995, the Commission approves the application by the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta - Régionale de Rivière-la-Paix (the Association) for a broadcasting licence for a French-language FM community radio programming undertaking consisting of an originating station at Falher on the frequency 95.7 MHz (channel 239A) with an effective radiated power of 671 watts, and the following two transmitters:
LOCATION/ENDROIT FREQUENCY/FRÉQUENCE CHANNEL/CANAL POWER/PUISSANCE
Nampa 102.9 MHz 257A 635 watts
Peace River 95.7 MHz 239LP/FP 13 watts
Pursuant to Public Notice CRTC 1992-38 dated 29 May 1992 entitled "Policies for Community and Campus Radio", the Commission will issue a licence for a Type A community radio programming undertaking. This licence will expire on 31 August 2000, and will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
The licence term granted herein, while less than the maximum of seven years permitted under the Broadcasting Act, will enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence in accordance with the Commission's regional plan for community radio undertakings across Canada and to better distribute the workload within the Commission.
The Commission expects community radio to develop innovative and alternative forms of community- oriented programming that contribute to the diversity and variety of radio services within a community. It also expects community radio to focus on all aspects of the community, by offering programming which examines issues affecting all of its members, as well as programs which deal with matters of interest to specific elements within it, such as neighbourhoods, surrounding towns, villages, and specific interest groups.
The Commission notes that the station will broadcast 126 hours of programming each week, of which 30 hours will be locally produced. The remainder of the programming will originate from CITE-FM Montréal.
The Commission approves the Association's request to broadcast a weekly minimum spoken word level of 8.5%, rather than the minimum weekly level of 15% required by the policies for community and campus radio (Public Notice CRTC 1992-38). In approving this exemption, the Commission has taken into account the fact that the programming originating from CITE-FM will consist mostly of music.
The Commission notes that the station will broadcast a minimum of 5% Category 3 music (Traditional and Special Interest) as a percentage of overall music programming.
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 considers that community radio stations should be particularly sensitive to this issue in order to reflect fully the communities they serve. 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 applicant 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 accepted 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 accepted by the Commission.
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 this decision 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 of time is in the public interest, within such further period of time as is approved in writing by the Commission.
The Commission acknowledges the intervention submitted by Peace River Broadcasting Corporation Ltd., licensee of CKYL Peace River, opposing the Association's proposal to broadcast English-language programming on the proposed station, to broadcast programming from CITE-FM Montréal and to establish a transmitter at Peace River.
In reply, the Association stated that the proposed station would operate in compliance with Public Notice CRTC 1992-38 stipulating that at least 65% of vocal music selections broadcast by French-language stations be in the French language. The applicant also explained that the proposed station will conduct on-air bingo games in both official languages for the purpose of raising funds for the station.
The Commission considers that it is inappropriate for this French-language station to target its programming towards a segment of the community which is already served.
However, as reiterated in Public Notice CRTC 1992-38, diversity of funding remains one of the six essential elements retained by the Commission in evaluating the viability of a proposed community radio project. In this respect, the Commission notes that the applicant expected to raise 42% of the operating costs of the station through the presentation of on-air bingo games.
As a result, considering that such an activity would benefit from the support of the community at large, the Commission will allow during the on-air bingo only, a brief introduction limited to a description of the rules, a repeat of the digit number, and a brief conclusion in the second official language, or in a native language. Such authority would be limited to on-air bingo games, as long as the funds are re-invested in the operation of the community radio station. The Commission notes that the applicant would be required to report those revenues separately, as part of its annual return. The Commission intends to review the impact of this authority on the station's programming at the first licence renewal.
Accordingly, the Commission denies the proposal to broadcast 1 hour 50 minutes of English-language programming each week, and expects the applicant to file, within three months of today's date, a revised Promise of Performance reflecting this decision.
The Association further stated that its proposal to affiliate with CITE-FM Montréal is consistent with Public Notice CRTC 1992-38. That public notice states that the Commission will continue to permit Type A community stations to affiliate with a network or acquire programming from other radio stations to avoid having to sign off at the end of the community station's local programming.
With regard to the intervener's concern that the applicant is proposing to establish a transmitter at Peace River even though the latest Census Canada survey shows that only a small portion of the town's residents are francophone, the Association stated that the transmitter would also provide service to residents in the surrounding areas. The Commission is satisfied with the applicant's response.
The Commission also acknowledges the intervention submitted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation opposing the frequencies proposed by the applicant for the station at Falher and the transmitter at Nampa. The CBC indicated that the frequencies 95.7 MHz (channel 239) and 102,9 MHz (channel 275) were included in its Long Range Radio Plan. The Commission has carefully considered the CBC's intervention as well as the applicant's reply and considers that approval of the proposed technical parameters at Fahler and Nampa is warranted and that it is in the public interest. The Commission considers that this approval will enable the applicant to avoid substantial additional expenses that it would likely be unable to meet. The Commission also notes that other frequencies remain available in the area. It therefore expects the CBC to amend its Long Range Radio Plan accordingly.
The Commission acknowledges the four interventions submitted in support of this application.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General