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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 2001-591

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Decision CRTC 2001-591

Ottawa, 17 September 2001

Fawcett Broadcasting Limited
Fort Frances, Ontario 2001-0294-7

19 June 2001 Public Hearing
National Capital Region

Conversion of AM radio station CFOB to FM

1.

The Commission approves the application for a new English-language FM radio station at Fort Frances to replace AM station CFOB. The terms and conditions of licence are set out in the appendix to this decision.

The proposed service

2.

The new FM station will continue to offer CFOB's current format of "adult contemporary" music and information programming. It will continue to broadcast 79 hours of local, station-produced programming each week that includes a strong local news and information orientation with a particular focus on Fort Frances and the surrounding area.

The market

3.

CFOB is the only local radio station presently serving Fort Frances. As a station located in a single station market, the new FM station will be exempt from the requirement that, in order to solicit or accept local advertising, one-third of its programming must be local (Public Notice CRTC 1993-121). The licensee indicated, however, that it intended to continue to provide local programming, including local news and information.

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4.

Fort Frances is located in a border market that is currently served by six commercial U.S. radio stations broadcasting from International Falls, Minnesota and nearby areas. The applicant stated that converting CFOB to FM will give its listeners access to a higher quality sound that is inherent with an FM signal. Offering a better quality signal will allow the station to compete effectively with these U.S. signals and repatriate local listeners.

Simulcasting

5.

Generally, in applications involving similar AM to FM "flips", the Commission authorizes the applicant to broadcast simultaneously on the AM and FM bands for periods of between three to six months. The Commission allows simulcasting on two stations in the same market to give the licensee the opportunity to advise its listeners about the conversion of the AM station to FM.

6.

In the present case, the applicant initially requested authorization to broadcast simultaneously on its current AM frequency and the proposed FM station for a period of 24 months. It later revised its proposal and requested permission to simulcast on the AM and FM bands for six months, and then to broadcast a pre-recorded tape loop message advertising the new FM station on the AM frequency for another 18 months. The applicant would then surrender its licence for the AM station.

7.

The applicant considered that it needs an extended simulcast period because many of its listeners are seasonal residents or visitors. It noted that Fort Frances is a "four-seasons" tourist area that attracts visitors all year round.

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8.

The Commission is not convinced that allowing the applicant to use both frequencies for a total of 24 months is in the public interest. Accordingly, the Commission denies the applicant's request.

9.

The Commission considers that a simulcasting period of six months from the date of implementation of the new station would allow the applicant adequate time to advise its listeners of CFOB's move to the FM band. At the same time, the Commission recognizes the special circumstances of the Fort Frances radio market. Accordingly, the Commission has decided to authorize the applicant to broadcast a pre-recorded tape loop message on the 640 AM frequency for an additional six months following cessation of the simulcast period. A condition of licence to this effect is set out in the appendix to this decision. At the end of this 12-month period, the Commission expects the applicant to surrender the AM licence for cancellation by the Commission.

Related CRTC documents

. Public Notice 1999-137 - New licence form for commercial radio stations

. Public Notice 1998-41 - Commercial Radio Policy 1998

. Public Notice 1993-121 - Local programming policy for FM radio - Definition of a single-station market

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

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Appendix to Decision CRTC 2001-591

 

Terms of the licence for the English-language FM radio programming undertaking at Fort Frances

 

The Commission will only issue the licence, and it will only be effective at such time as:

 

· the licensee confirms in writing that it is ready to begin operation. This must take place within 12 months of today's date. Any request for an extension to that deadline requires Commission approval and must be made in writing within that period.

 

· the Department of Industry, having advised that the application is conditionally technically acceptable, has determined that there is no unacceptable interference with NAV/COM services and indicated that it will issue a broadcasting certificate (section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act).

 

The licence, when issued, will expire 31 August 2008.

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The station will broadcast on the FM band, on the frequency 93.1 MHz, channel 226B, with an effective radiated power of 21,000 watts.

 

The Commission notes that this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act and therefore files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada.

 

Conditions of licence

 

The licence will be subject to the conditions specified in the licence to be issued, as also set out in Public Notice CRTC 1999-137. The licence will also be subject to the following condition:

 

1. a) The licensee is authorized to simulcast the programming of CFOB on the new FM station for a transition period of six months following implementation.

 

b) The licensee is authorized to broadcast a pre-recorded tape loop message on the 640 kHz AM frequency to advertise the new FM station for a period of six months following cessation of the simulcasting authorized in a) above.

Date Modified: 2001-09-17