ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 98-105

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Ottawa, 7 April 1998

Decision CRTC 98-105

Radio Sept-Îles inc.

Sept-Îles, Quebec - 199714118Sept-Îles, Quebec - 199706438

Conversion of CKCN from AM to FM - application approved
New community radio programming undertaking - application denied

1. Following a Public Hearing in Québec beginning on 27 January 1998, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for a French-language FM radio programming undertaking at Sept-Îles, on the frequency 94.1 MHz, channel 231B, with an effective radiated power of 4,880 watts.

2. Subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2004. This licence will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.

3. The Commission denies the application by Radio communautaire de Sept-Îles, which was competing in terms of the proposed frequency and intended market. This applicant had proposed to carry on a French-language Type B community radio programming undertaking at Sept-Îles, on the same frequency of 94.1 MHz , channel 231B, but with an effective radiated power of 1,250 watts.

4. In Public Notice CRTC 1992-38 dated 29 May 1992 and entitled Policies for Community and Campus Radio, the Commission determined that a community station is characterized by its ownership and programming and the market it is authorized to serve. It is owned and controlled by a not-for-profit organization whose structure provides for membership, management, operation and programming primarily by members of the community at large.

5. The Commission notes that Radio communautaire de Sept-Îles's application, as filed, does not meet the criteria set out in Public Notice CRTC 1992-38, particularly with respect to diversity in the ownership and control of the station. Furthermore, the Commission notes that the application does not reflect a demonstrable interest among members of the community for the proposed station. Moreover, the Commission is not satisfied that a departure from its policy would be in the public interest in this case.

Radio Sept-Îles inc.'s application

6. Radio Sept-Îles inc. (Radio Sept-Îles) is currently the licensee of the radio programming undertaking CKCN Sept-Îles, which has been in operation since 1963. In support of its application, the applicant cited, at the hearing, several factors that have contributed to the deterioration of its financial situation and to the loss of a portion of its audience.

7. The applicant submitted that, owing to the station's obsolete equipment and the prohibitive maintenance costs that it entails, it is planning to replace its transmission facilities. In addition, the applicant stated that, since it will have to replace its existing technical plants, it would be financially preferable to replace them with an FM system, which, in addition to its other advantages, costs considerably less than an AM system.

8. The applicant also discussed the problems of signal interference caused by the high-voltage transmission lines erected near its transmitter site. It also mentioned the declining popularity of the AM format and the growing popularity of FM, and submitted that by broadcasting its programming on FM it could recover some of the listeners it has lost because of the lower sound quality of AM. Finally, the applicant submitted that the economic crisis in the Sept-Îles/Port-Cartier region has resulted in a smaller listener base and, consequently, a lower level of business activity for the station.

9. The Commission has considered the applicant's arguments and is satisfied that approval of this application will provide a better quality service to the Sept-Îles market and to improve its financial situation.

10. By condition of licence, the Commission authorizes Radio Sept-Îles to simulcast the programming of CKCN on the new FM station for a transition period of one month following implementation. This period will allow the applicant to inform its audience that the station is changing frequencies and to conduct the necessary technical tests. The Commission expects the applicant to surrender CKCN's licence at the end of the transition period for cancellation.

11. The Commission notes the commitment made by Radio Sept-Îles to broadcast at least 114 hours of local programming in each broadcast week. Its programming will be essentially the same as currently broadcast on AM, but will also include entertainment programs and programs about local history and regional artists.

12. It is a condition of licence that this station not be operated within the Specialty format as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1995-60, or as amended from time to time by the Commission.

13. It is a condition of licence that the licensee refrain from soliciting or accepting local advertising for broadcast during any broadcast week when less than one-third of the programming aired is local. The definition of local programming shall be as set out on page 8 of Public Notice CRTC 1993-38, or as amended from time to time by the Commission.

14. The licensee is required, by condition of licence, to make payments to third parties involved in Canadian talent development at the level identified for it in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Distribution Guidelines for Canadian Talent Development, as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1995-196 or as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission, and to report the names of the third parties associated with Canadian talent development, together with the amounts paid to each, on its annual return. The payments required under this condition of licence are over and above any outstanding commitments to Canadian talent development offered as benefits in an application to acquire ownership or control of the undertaking.

15. The Commission notes that, in addition to the amount referred to in the previous paragraph, and pursuant to the commitment made by Radio Sept-Îles and as agreed at the public hearing, it is a condition of licence that the licensee award a prize of $400 each year to the winner of the Gala des artistes de la relève de Sept-Îles.

16. It is a condition of licence that the licensee adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the CAB's Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming, as amended from time to time and accepted by the Commission. The application of the foregoing condition of licence will be suspended as long as the licensee remains a member in good standing of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

17. 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.

18. 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. The Commission notes that the licensee's application did not specify any employment equity measures for three designated groups: aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, or visible minorities. The Commission considers that the licensee should expand its efforts in this area.

19. This authority will only be effective and the licence will only be issued at such time as construction of the undertaking is completed and it is prepared to commence operation. If the construction is not completed 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 construction and commence operation before the expiry of this period, and that an extension of time is in the public interest, within such further periods of time as are approved in writing by the Commission, the licence will not be issued. The applicant is required to advise the Commission (before the expiry of the twelve-month period or any extension thereof) in writing, once it has completed construction and is prepared to commence operation.

20. The Department of Industry has advised the Commission that this application is conditionally 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.

21. In accordance with subsection 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission will only issue the licence and the authority will only be granted at such time as written notification is received from the Department of Industry that its technical requirements have been met, and that a Broadcasting Certificate will be issued.

22. The Commission acknowledges the intervention submitted by l'Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) with regard to Radio Sept-Îles inc.'s application as well as the interventions submitted with regard to Radio communautaire de Sept-Iles' application.

This decision is to be appended to the licence.

Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General

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