ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 98-40

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Ottawa, 13 February 1998

Decision CRTC 98-40

Atlantic Broadcasters Limited

Antigonish, Nova Scotia - 199702535

Licence amendment for CJFX

1.  Following Public Notice CRTC 1997-118 dated 17 September 1997, the Commission approves the application by Atlantic Broadcasters Limited (ABL) to amend the broadcasting licence for the radio programming undertaking CJFX Antigonish (the originating station), by authorizing the licensee to add a transmitter at Antigonish, operating on frequency 98.9 MHz (channel 255B) with an effective radiated power of 1,900 watts.


2.  In Decision CRTC 90-880 dated 12 September 1990, the Commission approved an application by ABL to relocate CJFX's transmission site some 12 kilometres north of Antigonish because of technical problems caused by residential and commercial developments encroaching on the perimeter of the old AM site. The Commission also approved an increase in CJFX's transmitter power. To implement this power increase, ABL was obliged to redesign CJFX's antenna radiation system with sharp protective nulls in the pattern in order to protect other frequency-related AM stations located west of Antigonish in Canada and the U.S.

The application

3.  In support of its present application, ABL stated that it has received complaints about poor reception of CJFX's signal from listeners located within the AM pattern nulls to the west of the transmitter site. ABL stated that it had investigated various options to correct the technical deficiencies in CJFX's coverage and claimed that the proposed FM transmitter operating initially at minimum Class B parameters offers the best solution.

4.  While acknowledging that switching CJFX from the AM frequency to a full-power FM frequency would have been a feasible solution, ABL argued that such a change would have disrupted the audience's tuning habits and could have had a negative impact on CJFX's listenership and revenues at this time. Nevertheless, in its technical submission accompanying the application, ABL stated that its medium-term plans are to convert CJFX to a full Class B FM facility and, at the time it wishes to shut down the AM transmitter, it would submit an application to the Commission to operate the FM station at full Class B parameters. In the long term, ABL plans to switch CJFX to digital radio broadcasting.

5.  In its opposing intervention, MacEachern Broadcasting Ltd. (MacEachern), licensee of CIGO Port Hawkesbury, did not object to ABL's proposal "in principle", but claimed that the application overcompensated for CJFX's technical problems. The intervener also claimed that:

 the proposed FM signal area significantly duplicates a very clear AM signal in [CJFX's] primary coverage area, i.e. the town of Antigonish. The FM coverage extends some 25 kilometres beyond Antigonish to the east, in an area which already has a strong signal.

6.  In response, ABL stated that its proposal will offer an efficient use of the frequency at the most economical cost. ABL added that the proposal is consistent with its long-term plans for CJFX.

7.  In approving this application, the Commission has taken into consideration the fact that the intervener does not oppose the proposal in principle and that approval will not have any negative impact on CIGO Port Hawkesbury.

8.  Another of the concerns which the Commission took into account in evaluating this application is the fact that approval will allow ABL to simulcast CJFX's programming on the new FM transmitter and will result in service duplication within CJFX's primary service area. The Commission's policy is not to permit long-term simulcasting of a station's signal on both AM and FM in a market. However, the Commission has previously authorised broadcasters in other markets to use additional frequencies, both AM and FM, to correct technical deficiencies in coverage or to improve signal reception quality.

9.  In this case, the Commission notes that the proposal is predicated on the licensee's plan to convert CJFX to a full power Class B FM station, in the medium term, and eventually to digital radio broadcasting. The Commission, nevertheless, is concerned about the duplication of service within CJFX's primary service area and expects the licensee to remedy this situation before the expiry of CJFX's current licence on 31 August 2004. The Commission expects the licensee to submit an application, before 31 August 2004, to amend CJFX's licence by deleting the authority for the AM transmitter and by increasing the technical parameters of the FM transmitter to full Class B status.

10.  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.

11.  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.

12.  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.

13.  The Commission acknowledges the intervention submitted in support of this application.

This decision is to be appended to the licence.

Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General

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