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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 99-38

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Decision

Ottawa, 17 February 1999
Decision CRTC 99-38
Telemedia Communications Inc.
North Bay, Pembroke, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, Ontario - 199806113 - 199806121 - 199806139 - 199806147
7 December 1998 Public Hearing in Montréal
Acquisition of the assets of four Pelmorex radio stations
1. The Commission approves the applications by Telemedia Communications Inc. (Telemedia) for authority to acquire the assets of CHUR-FM North Bay, CHVR-FM Pembroke, CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie and CJMX-FM Sudbury from Pelmorex Radio Inc. (Pelmorex), and for broadcasting licences to continue the operation of these undertakings.
2. The Commission will issue licences to Telemedia, expiring 31 August 1999 in the case of CHUR-FM and CHVR-FM and 31 August 2004 in the case of CJQM-FM and CJMX-FM (the current expiry dates), upon surrender of the current licences. The licences will be subject to the same conditions as those in effect under the current licences, as well as to any other condition specified in this decision and in the licences to be issued.
3. Telemedia currently operates commercial radio stations in a number of markets throughout Ontario, including North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. Through these acquisitions, Telemedia will become the sole commercial radio licensee in both North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie by owning all three of each city's commercial radio stations. In Sudbury, it will hold three of the five licences. Pembroke is a single-station market.
4. The Commission notes that these transactions fall within the scope of its policy on the common ownership of radio stations, established in Public Notice CRTC 1998-41, Commercial Radio Policy. In markets with fewer than eight commercial stations operating in a given language, that policy allows a single licensee to hold as many as three stations operating in that language, so long as no more than two of those stations occupy the same frequency band.
5. In evaluating applications that would result in common ownership, the Commission requires applicants to address the issue of diversity of voices. The Commission is satisfied that in this case, the licensee's plans will not negatively affect the actual news coverage in any of the communities.
6. The total purchase price relating to this transaction is estimated to be $8,030,000 at the closing date. This total represents the sum of $7 million, plus the estimated value of accounts receivable and the value of expenses prepaid by Pelmorex. Based on the evidence filed with the applications, the Commission has no concerns with respect to the availability or the adequacy of the required financing.
7. The Commission notes that, although the applicant did not propose any tangible benefits, on a combined basis the stations involved have been unprofitable over the three years preceding filing of these applications. In accordance with its policy, first enunciated in Public Notice CRTC 1993-68 dated 26 May 1993 and most recently reiterated in Public Notice CRTC 1998-41 dated 30 April 1998, the Commission will forego benefits requirements for these stations. The Commission notes the important benefit associated with this transaction, that being the maintenance of the four stations as viable, local radio services to their communities. Accordingly, the Commission is of the view that approval of these applications is in the public interest.
8. With respect to CHVR-FM Pembroke, that station will operate in a single-station market as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1993-121 entitled Local Programming Policy for FM Radio - Definition of a Single-Station Market. In accordance with the policy outlined in the above-noted public notice, CHVR-FM is excluded from the policy requirements respecting local programming and advertising for commercial FM stations operating in markets served by more than one private commercial station, as outlined in Public Notice CRTC 1993-38 dated 19 April 1993. Consequently, CHVR-FM may solicit and accept local advertising, irrespective of the amount of local programming that it broadcasts.
9. With respect to CJQM-FM Sault Ste. Marie, the licensee is authorized to broadcast a weekly maximum of 30 minutes of French-language content consisting exclusively of advertising material. With respect to CJQM-FM, the licensee is also exempted from policy requirements with regard to the level of hit material.
10. With respect to CHUR-FM North Bay, the licensee is authorized to broadcast a weekly maximum of 30 minutes of French-language programming.
11. The application with respect to CJMX-FM Sudbury requested authorization to broadcast 30 minutes of French-language content weekly on that station. A similar request by the former licensee was denied by the Commission in Decision CRTC 96-665 (9 October 1996). At that time, the Commission noted that Sudbury was already well-served by an existing French-language station. The Commission is of the view that the situation remains unchanged, and the current request to add French-language programming is therefore denied.
12. By condition of each licence, the licensee must:
· 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.
· 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,
· not operate this station within the Specialty format as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1995-60, or as amended from time to time; and
· make payments to third parties involved in Canadian talent development at the level identified for it in the CAB's 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, concurrently with 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.
13. The Commission notes that this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act that came into effect on 24 October 1996 (1996 EEA), and therefore files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada. As a result of a consequential amendment to the Broadcasting Act, the Commission no longer has the authority to apply its employment equity policy to any undertaking that is subject to the 1996 EEA.
Secretary General
This decision is to be appended to each licence.
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