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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-11

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-11

Ottawa, 25 January 2002

Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Application 2001-0297-1
Public Notice CRTC 2001-91
8 August 2001

Change of frequency for the new FM radio station at Moose Jaw

In Decision CRTC 2000-398 dated 2 October 2000, the Commission denied an application by Golden West to change the technical parameters of a Moose Jaw FM station licensed to it in 1999, but not subsequently constructed and put into operation. The amendments proposed in the current application essentially duplicate those contained in that earlier proposal.

The denial of that earlier proposal was based on the Commission's determination that approval ".would have resulted in a fundamental change in the station's market". As discussed below, subsequent Commission decisions concerning the ownership and/or the technical parameters of various radio stations serving Regina have transformed the radio market in southern Saskatchewan to a degree that effectively alters and diminishes the concerns that prompted the earlier denial, and justifies approval of the current application.

1.

The Commission approves the application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. (Golden West) to amend the broadcasting licence for the radio programming undertaking at Moose Jaw approved in Decision CRTC 99-473 dated 19 October 1999, by changing the frequency from 93.7 MHz, channel 229C1, to 100.7 MHz, channel 264C. The Commission also notes that the licensee will relocate its transmitter to a site near Disley, Saskatchewan, some 35 kilometres north-east of the transmitter location proposed in the original application.

2.

The Commission authorizes the licensee to operate the undertaking based on the contours and particulars resulting from the above-mentioned change.

3.

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

Interventions

4.

Interventions to this application were filed by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. (Harvard) and Rawlco Radio Ltd. (Rawlco). Each of the interveners is the licensee of one AM and two FM radio stations in the much larger market of Regina, some 68 km east of Moose Jaw.

5.

Harvard opposed the application. It noted that, with implementation of the proposed technical changes, the 3 mV/m contour of the applicant's station would completely encompass the City of Regina. The intervener further noted that the proposal by Golden West is essentially unchanged from that denied by the Commission in Decision 2000-398. It argued that the amendments would fundamentally alter the intent of the original licence, and would give the station "an unfair advantage over the current Regina radio stations".

6.

Rawlco, on the other hand, supported the application by Golden West. It noted that, whether the proposed FM station were to operate with the original or amended technical parameters, it would provide a strong signal to Regina residents. Nevertheless, this intervener did not believe that the station would have a significant impact on Regina stations. It also suggested that the greater availability of the station's signal to people in rural southern Saskatchewan would be in the public interest.

Golden West's reply

7.

In responding to Harvard's intervention, Golden West reiterated Rawlco's observation that the Moose Jaw FM station would provide a good quality signal to Regina regardless of whether it were to operate with the original or the amended technical parameters. The applicant emphasized, however, that it has "no plans to target Regina in [its] programming or business plan". It further stressed that the primary motivation for its application is the substantially lower construction costs it will incur under the proposed amendments, since these amendments contemplate use of an existing broadcasting tower to house the transmitter. At the time of its reply, Golden West also noted that certain applications related to changes in the ownership and/or the technical parameters of various radio stations serving Regina were either then before the Commission or had recently been approved. It argued that approval of its own application was justified in light of the increased level of competition that would confront its Moose Jaw station following approval of these Regina applications.

Commission's determination

8.

The Commission notes that, in the time since its denial of the first application by Golden West for licence amendment, several changes have indeed occurred in the radio industry in southern Saskatchewan. The changes noted by Golden West include decisions approving the departure of Craig Broadcasting Systems Inc. as radio station licensee in Regina and the consolidation of the ownership of all of that city's radio stations in the hands of either Harvard or Rawlco. As noted above, each of these companies now holds licences for an AM and two FM radio stations in Regina. Specifically, Harvard owns CFWF-FM, CHMX-FM and CKRM. For its part, Rawlco is licensee of CIZL-FM and CJME, as well as of a new FM station. This new station is scheduled to commence operation later this year, following the conversion to the FM band of a third Regina AM station that will then cease operation.

9.

Rawlco's new FM station will provide a 0.5 mV/m signal contour that will completely encompass Moose Jaw. In contrast, the primary service contour of the AM station it will replace provides coverage to Moose Jaw during daylight hours, but falls short of that city at night. Other decisions issued in the period since the denial of Golden West's first application for licence amendment include approvals of technical amendments to the licences of each of CFWF-FM, CHMX-FM and CIZL-FM. All three other Regina FM stations now provide 0.5 mV/m contours that encompass the City of Moose Jaw, whereas before they did not.

10.

There is evidence that the three existing Regina FM stations captured significant audiences in Moose Jaw before implementation of the technical amendments mentioned above. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to expect that the impact of these stations, together with that created by the presence of a fourth Regina FM signal in Moose Jaw and the enhanced ability of both Harvard and Rawlco to compete following consolidation of radio station ownership in Regina, will increase the economic pressures experienced by Golden West in its own market. Accordingly, the Commission is satisfied that approval is justified.

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

Date Modified: 2002-01-25