ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2000-363

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Decision CRTC 2000-363
Ottawa, 24 August 2000
New Brunswick Broadcasting Co., Limited
St. Stephen, New Brunswick – 199907036
6 March 2000 Public Hearing
in Moncton
New adult contemporary/country music FM station at St. Stephen


The Commission approves the application by New Brunswick Broadcasting Co., Limited (NBB) for a broadcasting licence to carry on a new English-language FM radio programming undertaking at St. Stephen.


Subject to the requirements set out in this decision, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2005. The Commission has granted a licence term that is less than the maximum of seven years permitted by the Broadcasting Act in order to schedule the renewal of this licence in accordance with the regional plan established by the Commission.


The licence will be subject to various conditions, including those related to levels of local programming, Canadian content, financial support for Canadian talent, and the use of hit material on the new station. These conditions are either presented below or will be specified in the licence to be issued. As noted in Public Notice CRTC 1999-137, standard conditions of licence are now set out only on the licence form.


The new station will provide the first local radio service available to residents of St. Stephen and Charlotte County. It will feature a blend of adult contemporary and country music targeted to listeners between the ages of 25 and 54. As proposed by NBB, the station will also offer locally relevant, informative and community-driven news, public service information and spoken-word initiatives. It will contribute to the Canadian broadcasting system by providing support and exposure for Canadian musicians and artists, and by repatriating Canadian audiences and advertising revenues now captured by radio stations in nearby Maine.


In Decision CRTC 2000-362 of today's date, the Commission has approved another application by NBB considered at the Moncton hearing, that being for authority to establish a new FM station to serve Saint John. The applicant is licensee of an existing FM station at Saint John, namely CHSJ-FM. It competes in that community with three other commercial stations (two FM and one AM) all owned by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited. As explained in further detail in the other decision, the Commission is satisfied that its approval of the Saint John application will redress the competitive imbalance that, in its view, has arisen in that market between the applicant's CHSJ-FM and the three stations operated by Maritime Broadcasting.


At the hearing, NBB confirmed that its plans for establishing the St. Stephen station were conditional upon receiving Commission approval in respect of the Saint John application. NBB argued that it would need the two revenue streams generated by its existing and proposed Saint John stations to support the operations of the third station at St. Stephen.


Maritime Broadcasting intervened in opposition to both the Saint John and St. Stephen applications. Although its concerns were directed principally to the Saint John proposal, it claimed that it was inappropriate of NBB to make its commitments for establishing a new station at St. Stephen conditional upon receiving approval of its Saint John application. According to the intervener, NBB could have brought a local service to St. Stephen by establishing a transmitter in that community to rebroadcast its existing CHSJ-FM service, complemented by local programming inserts.


The Commission wishes to emphasize that its decision to approve the Saint John application is based on the merits of that application. Nevertheless, it acknowledges the synergies and efficiencies that should result from the operation of the St. Stephen station in conjunction with the two Saint John stations. It therefore expects the applicant to proceed with implementation of the new local FM radio service in St. Stephen as proposed in the application.


Concern regarding the St. Stephen application was expressed in an intervention filed by CHSR Broadcasting Inc. The intervener is licensee of CHSR-FM, a community-based campus station operating out of the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton. The intervener's concern, echoed in a submission by the National Campus and Community Radio Association, is that the signal of the proposed St. Stephen station could create interference with the signal of CHSR-FM.


CHSR-FM is a low-power, unprotected station. This being the case, NBB is not obliged to offer any protection to the CHSR-FM operation. At the hearing, however, NBB made a commitment to hold discussions with the intervener with a view to finding "a timely technical solution" should any problems arise.


The Commission notes the opposing intervention filed by Courier Newspapers Ltd., publisher of the weekly community newspaper The St. Croix Courier. The Commission is satisfied with the applicant's response to this intervention.
Other matters


NBB indicated in its application that it did not intend to participate in the plan developed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for contributions by radio licensees to Canadian talent development. Under this plan, based on the size of the St. Stephen market, NBB would normally have been expected to contribute a minimum of $400 per year to eligible third parties (such as FACTOR, MusicAction, national and provincial music organizations, performing arts groups, schools and scholarship recipients) for the development of Canadian musical and other artistic talent.


Instead, the applicant committed to make direct expenditures on Canadian talent development totalling $14,000 over the course of the station's first seven years of operation, or $2,000 per year. Of this annual amount, $500 will be awarded as a bursary to a Charlotte County student attending the St. Andrews School for the Performing Arts, while $1,500 will be allocated to a direct grant program to assist Charlotte County area performers and artists. As discussed with NBB at the hearing, it is a condition of licence that it make yearly direct contributions of $2,000 to initiatives in support of Canadian talent development, as described in the application.


As also agreed to by NBB, and consistent with the commitment contained in its application, it is a condition of licence that the licensee, in any broadcast week, broadcast no more than 10% hit material as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1997-42 as amended from time to time.


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. In this regard, the Commission encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.


As proposed by NBB, the new station will operate on frequency 98.1 MHz (channel 251B) with an effective radiated power of 40,000 watts.


The licence will only be issued and effective when the new station is ready to begin operation. When the licensee has completed construction and is prepared to commence operation, it must advise the Commission in writing. If the station is not constructed and ready to operate within 12 months of today's date, extensions to this time frame may be granted provided that the licensee applies in writing to the Commission before the 12-month period or any extension of that period expires.


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.


In accordance with section 22(1) of the Act, the Commission will only issue the licence and grant the authority to operate when it receives notification from the Department of Industry that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.
Secretary General

This decision is to be appended to the licence. It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be examined at the following Internet site:
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