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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 2000-184

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Decision CRTC 2000-184

Ottawa, 6 June 2000
Radio CKYK-FM inc.
Alma, Quebec – 199912168
Application processed by
Public Notice CRTC 1999-194
dated 9 December 1999

Summary

The Commission approves the application to amend the broadcasting licence for CKYK-FM Alma by changing the frequency from 95.5 MHz (channel 238B) to 95.7 MHz (channel 239C1) and by increasing the effective radiated power from 50,000 watts to 100,000 watts.

The applicant's position

1.

Radio CKYK-FM inc. proposed to operate CKYK-FM Alma, in the Lac Saint-Jean region, on the frequency 95.7 MHz (channel 239C1) rather than on the present frequency 95.5 MHz (channel 238B), and to increase the station’s effective radiated power from 50,000 watts to 100,000 watts. The licensee also proposed to relocate its transmitter to a new site near Larouche, approximately 43 kilometres east of the current site. The Commission notes that this would change the station's contour, expanding it into Jonquière and Chicoutimi in the Saguenay region.

2.

The licensee indicated that these changes are intended to improve CKYK-FM’s signal quality in Alma and will not affect the station’s programming.

Background

3.

In Decision CRTC 93-6, the Commission approved the operation of CKYK-FM. Shortly after the station went on the air, the licensee applied to add transmitters at Alma and in an area east of Jonquière, for the purpose of improving the reception quality of CKYK-FM’s signal in those areas. In Decision CRTC 94-657, the Commission authorized the operation of a new transmitter at Alma, but denied the proposal for the Jonquière area. The Commission denied the Jonquière proposal because it considered that the introduction of another FM signal into the Saguenay radio market would have an undue negative impact on existing local radio stations.

4.

In Decision CRTC 96-761, the Commission denied the licensee's application to amend CKYK-FM's technical parameters and to relocate its antenna. That application was similar to the present application in all respects. Because the licensee's previous proposal was intended to gain access to the Saguenay market, the Commission examined that application in light of the Radio Market Policy (Public Notice CRTC 1991-74). The Commission took into account the fragility of the radio market at the time. Approval of the application would have been in contrary to that policy, which stipulated that the introduction of an additional commercial station must not unduly affect the ability of existing commercial stations to discharge their programming obligations.

5.

Consistent with its desire to encourage competition and choice, the Commission determined, in its new Commercial Radio Policy (Public Notice CRTC 1998-41), that it would no longer apply the criteria set out in the Radio Market Policy. Accordingly, the Commission examined the present application in light of the new Commercial Radio Policy, taking into account the benefits that approval could bring to the communities concerned and to the broadcasting system as a whole.

Interventions

6.

The Commission received two interventions in support of this application. It also received five opposing interventions: three from broadcasters in the Saguenay region and two from their staff unions. Radiomutuel inc., licensee of CKRS Jonquière and CJAB-FM Chicoutimi (these stations are now owned by Astral Communications inc. – see Decision CRTC 2000-5) and Télémédia Radio inc., licensee of CFIX-FM Chicoutimi, opposed the application for essentially similar reasons. Both interveners argued that, despite the improvement in the financial health of the Saguenay market since 1996, the profitability of their stations remains fragile, and expanding the contour of CKYK-FM's signal into the Saguenay region could weaken it further. They also pointed out that the licensee's proposal is more intended to capture part of the Saguenay market than to solve technical problems.

7.

Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc., licensee of CKTV-TV and CFRS-TV Jonquière, also opposed this application. In the intervener's opinion, CKYK-FM wants to broadcast to both the Saguenay and Lac Saint-Jean regions. The intervener considers that the introduction of CKYK-FM in the Chicoutimi/Jonquière market would decrease the available advertising base and threaten the delicate equilibrium in the Saguenay market.

8.

In response, the licensee submitted that the interveners are integrated, diversified and consolidated undertakings of national scope, with substantial revenues. The licensee maintained that the residents of Alma are entitled to a signal of much better quality. It also argued that its proposal will allow the community life of the Lac Saint-Jean to reach into the Saguenay, just as that of the Saguenay area now reaches the Lac Saint-Jean region. According to the licensee, its proposal would meet a need, clearly expressed by the people of the Saguenay region, for an alternative to the FM radio services currently available in that area.

9.

The Syndicat des travailleurs et des travailleuses de CFIX-FM and the Syndicat des employé(e)s de CKRS-CJAB also opposed the application by Radio CKYK-FM inc. Both unions argued that approval of the application could lead to a reduction in available advertising revenues in the Saguenay region and could affect the already low profit levels of several communications undertakings in the area. The interveners added that programming quality could suffer as a result, and that the survival of local radio stations could be threatened.

10.

In response, the licensee pointed out that it would draw no more than 3.4% of the radio advertising base in the Saguenay region, whereas the Saguenay stations take a third of the overall advertising base available in the Lac Saint-Jean region. Finally, the licensee argued that its proposal [translation] "offers all these benefits and many others with minimum impact on the market, since it does not involve the introduction of a new station and no new inventory will be added in the regional market." As to the argument that the licensee would compromise its mandate to serve the people of the Saguenay region, the licensee reiterated its firm commitment to maintain the local flavour of its station's programming.

The Commission's decision

11.

The Commission approves the application. In reaching its decision, the Commission has taken into account the interveners’arguments and the licensee's responses to them. The Commission also considered the licensee's firm commitment to maintain the current orientation of its programming. The Commission expects the licensee to abide by its commitment. It is satisfied that this approval will enable CKYK-FM to improve the reception quality of its signal at Alma and to eliminate the imbalance which has existed in the Saguenay/Lac Saint-Jean market for a number of years. It will also give listeners in the Saguenay region increased programming choice through a locally-owned service.

12.

Finally, this approval takes into account the changes in the Commission's policy on competition in the radio market since 1996, as well as the economic forecasts and the improvement in the financial health of the market since then. The Commission is therefore satisfied that this approval will bring benefits to the communities concerned and to the broadcasting system as a whole.

Other matters

13.

The Commission hereby authorizes the licensee to operate the undertaking on the basis of the contours and particulars resulting from the above-mentioned changes.

14.

The Department of Industry has advised the Commission that this application is conditionally technically acceptable. The Department will only issue a broadcasting certificate once it has determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.

15.

In accordance with section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the above-mentioned amendment will only be valid when the Department of Industry certifies to the Commission that its technical requirements have been met and that a broadcasting certificate has been or will be issued.

Related CRTC documents

  • Public Notice 1998-41Commercial Radio Policy 1998
  • Public Notice 1991-74Radio Market Policy
  • Decision 96-761Licence amendments – denied
  • Decision 94-657Addition of a transmitter at Alma - approved; addition of a transmitter in an area east of Jonquière - denied
  • Decision 93-6Approval of a new FM station at Alma
Secretary General
This decision is to be appended to each licence.  It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be examined at the following Internet site: www.crtc.gc.ca