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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 2000-425

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Decision CRTC 2000-425

 

Ottawa, 31 October 2000

 

Télémédia Radio inc.
Hull, Quebec and Hawkesbury, Ontario
- 200003187

 

Application processed by
Public Notice CRTC 2000-95
dated 7 July 2000

 

Addition of an FM transmitter at Hawkesbury to rebroadcast the programming of CIMF-FM Hull

 

The Commission approves in principle the application by Télémédia Radio Inc. to add an FM transmitter at Hawkesbury to rebroadcast the signal of French-language radio station CIMF-FM Hull. The Commission, however, denies Télémédia's request to operate the transmitter on frequency 107.7 MHz, channel 299A. The Commission directs Télémédia to submit, within two months of the date of this decision, an amendment to the proposed technical parameters predicated on the use of another frequency. The revised application must address the zone of interference caused by CBF-FM Montréal and interveners' concerns discussed in this decision with respect to the local radio market of Hawkesbury and region.

 

The applicant's rationale

1.

Télémédia submitted the present application to establish a transmitter at Hawkesbury, Ontario using the frequency107.7 MHz to rebroadcast the signal of its station CIMF-FM, which is located in Hull, Quebec. According to Télémédia, the transmitter is needed to maintain CIMF-FM's service in those portions of its currently authorized service area which would become subject to interference from CBF-FM Montréal when it implements its power increase recently approved in Decision CRTC  2000-175.

 

Interventions

2.

Two commercial radio licensees filed opposing interventions: Radio Nord inc., licensee of CHPR-FM Hawkesbury and CJGO-FM Lachute, Quebec, and Tri-Co Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of CJSS-FM and CFLG-FM Cornwall, Ontario. According to these interveners, approving Télémédia's request would allow a marketable CIMF-FM signal into the Hawkesbury/Alexandria markets even though the station will not be providing any local programming in exchange. Moreover, given the region's depressed economy, permitting CIMF-FM to access these areas could adversely affect the interveners' existing stations and, consequently, threaten their local programming.

3.

A number of low-power, unprotected community radio stations operating in the area as well as community groups and individuals opposed the proposed use of the frequency 107.7 MHz.

4.

Radio communautaire de Prescott-Russell inc. and Radio communautaire Cornwall-Alexandria inc., licensee of CHOD-FM Cornwall, claimed that 107.7 MHz is the last Class A frequency available in the Hawkesbury region. With this in mind, each plans to file a proposal with the Commission as soon as possible to extend their signals to cover the entire region. They claimed that their prospective applications will contain a continued strong emphasis on local programming. In contrast, Télémédia's application does not propose any local programming. Both interveners argued that Télémédia's application should at least be subject to a call for competing applications and a subsequent public hearing.

5.

Radio communautaire Cornwall-Alexandria inc. pointed out that the transmitter proposed by Télémédia would be located outside CIMF-FM's currently authorised primary (3mV/m) and secondary (0.5mV/m) contours. Neither contour reaches Hawkesbury. For this reason, the intervener questioned if, in fact, Télémédia's application is an attempt to gain new territory without the benefit of a public hearing.

6.

Seaway Campus-Community Radio Ltd., licensee of CISD-FM Iroquois, Ontario, that currently uses 107.7 MHz, opposed the present proposal on the grounds that it intends to submit an application for a power increasethat would expandCISD-FM's coverage based on the same frequency. The Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club and several individuals strongly supported maintaining CISD-FM's service.

7.

In addition to opposing the proposed use of frequency 107.7 MHz by Télémédia, the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada (ARC) argued that CIMF-FM does not respond to the needs or reflect the diversity of communities in the Hawkesbury region. ARC claimed that Télémédia's proposal is contrary to Order in Council P.C. 2000-511 and Public Notice CRTC 2000-74 which raise questions regarding the best measures to provide the widest range of French-language broadcasting services in French linguistic minority communities while still reflecting the diversity of those communities.

8.

For its part, Société Radio-Canada supported Télémédia's proposal as it will allow CBF-FM to implement the power increase approved in Decision 2000-175. CBF-FM will then be able to reach an additional 400,000 people in the Montréal area. At the same time, CIMF-FM's listeners in the Hawkesbury region can continue to benefit from a quality service.

9.

Télémédia responded that its application is not a request for a new commercial radio station. It simply wants to maintain CIMF-FM's service to the Hawkesbury region on the same basis as it has for over 30 years. Télémédia also referred to a comment made by the Department of Industry that with CBF-FM's power increase, there is a possibility of a large zone of interference to CIMF-FM.

10.

With regard to the interveners' claims that 107.7 MHz is the last class A allotment for Hawkesbury, Télémédia noted that the Department of Industry does permit the addition of frequencies to the FM allotment plan. Télémédia added that a preliminary examination of the Hawkesbury region indicated that it would be possible to find a certain number of acceptable Class A frequencies at technical parameters comparable to those proposed in its application.

11. é

Télémédia also disputed ARC's claim that the present application is contrary to Order in Council P.C. 2000-511 and Public Notice 2000-74. Denial of Télémédia's proposal would, in fact, contravene them by removing a French-language service from Hawkesbury.

 

The Commission's determination

12.

The Commission is satisfied that a rebroadcast transmitter is required to enable CIMF-FM to continue to provide a quality signal to listeners in that portion of its authorized service area that may experience interference from CBF-FM once it implements its approved power increase.

13.

The Commission notes that there are several unprotected, low-power frequencies available in the Hawkesbury area and, as Télémédia maintains, it may be possible to find other acceptable class A frequencies. Nevertheless, 107.7 MHz is the last protected FM frequency open in that region under the Department of Industry's FM Broadcasting Allotment Plan. In the Commission's view, this frequency should remain available for use by a future licensee to establish a full-power, local station in Hawkesbury that will provide local programming to residents of the area.

14.

Accordingly, the Commission approves this application in principle. It authorizes the licensee to add a transmitter at Hawkesbury, but denies the technical parameters proposed. The Commission directs Télémédia to submit, within two months of the date of this decision, and after consulting with the Department of Industry and CRTC staff, revised technical parameters predicated on the use of another frequency. The proposed frequency must satisfactorily address the interveners' concerns discussed above and resolve the reception difficulties within the predicted zone of interference thereby enabling CBF-FM to proceed with its authorized power increase.

 

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: www.crtc.gc.ca