Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-229

Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-229

Ottawa, 8 August 2002

Trinity Television Inc.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Application 2001-0005-8
Public Hearing at Winnipeg, Manitoba
4 February 2002

Proposed religious television station for Winnipeg

The Commission approves an application by Trinity Television Inc. for a religious television station to serve the Winnipeg area. In addition to primarily Christian-oriented programming, the new station will offer programming each week that will reflect a diversity of religions and points of view.

The application

1.

The Commission received an application by Trinity Television Inc. (Trinity) for a new English-language religious television station. The new station would be primarily Christian in orientation, serving Winnipeg and surrounding areas.

2.

Trinity is a not-for-profit corporation registered as a charitable institution with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. It is also the licensee of CHNU-TV, a religious television station serving the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, launched in September 2001 following its approval in New religious television station for the Fraser Valley, Decision CRTC 2000-218, 6 July 2000. Trinity is also involved in the production of Christian-themed television programming.

Interventions

3.

The Commission received over 1300 interventions and letters supporting Trinity's application. These interventions were submitted by program producers, religious organizations and citizens living in the Winnipeg area who supported Trinity's proposal to present religious and family-oriented programming. Supporting interventions were received not only from Christian organizations and churches, but also from the Islamic Social Services Association, the Jewish National Fund of Canada, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg/Combined Jewish appeal, and a past president of the Hindu Society of Manitoba.

4.

Interventions in opposition to the Trinity proposal were submitted by Mr. Shane Strachan of Vancouver, and Martha Fraser and Manuel Erickson of Langley, who expressed general concerns with the religious nature of Trinity's broadcasting in British Columbia.

5.

Interventions in opposition were also submitted by the licensees of three Winnipeg television stations, namely CKND-TV, CKY-TV and CHMI-TV (the Winnipeg private television licensees), which are owned respectively by Global Television Network (Global), CTV Inc. (CTV), and Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. (Craig). In reply, Trinity addressed the concerns raised by the interveners. The matters raised by these interveners and Trinity's reply are discussed in the following section of this decision.

Commission analysis and determinations

Issues

6.

The Commission considers that there are three main issues to be examined in evaluating this application:

· Whether the applicant's proposal is consistent with the Commission's policy framework for religious television broadcasting set out in Religious Broadcasting Policy, Public Notice CRTC 1993-78, 3 June 1993 (the Religious Broadcasting Policy).

· Whether the proposed new religious television station in Winnipeg would have an undue negative financial impact on the existing television stations serving Winnipeg.

· Whether the applicant's proposed commitments related to Canadian programming, closed captioning, described programming and industry codes are adequate in light of the Commission's regulations and policies.

Compliance with the Religious Broadcasting Policy

Religious programming

7.

Trinity proposed to operate the new station as a religious television service, primarily Christian in orientation. Trinity indicated that all programming on the proposed Winnipeg station would be religious programming as defined in the Religious Broadcasting Policy and stated that it would be prepared to accept a condition of licence to that effect.

8.

The Religious Broadcasting Policy defines "religious" as "anything directly relating to, inspired by, or arising from an individual's relationship to divinity, including related moral or ethical issues." The Religious Broadcasting Policy defines a religious program as "one which deals with a religious theme, including programs that examine or expound religious practices and beliefs or present a religious ceremony, service or other similar event."

9.

The Commission considers that it is appropriate to require Trinity, by condition of licence, to adhere to its commitment to ensure that all programming will be religious programming as defined in the Religious Broadcasting Policy.

Balance programming

10.

The Broadcasting Act (the Act) specifies that the programming offered by the Canadian broadcasting system should provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern. The Commission generally takes the view that balance will be achieved where, within a reasonable period of time, a reasonably consistent viewer or listener is exposed to a spectrum of views on issues of public concern. In the Religious Broadcasting Policy, and in Introductory statement to decisions CRTC 96-773 and 96-774 - Denial of applications for broadcasting licences to carry on new, religious television programming undertakings at Toronto and Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario, Public Notice CRTC 1996-152, 4 April 1996, the Commission set out guidelines for achieving balance in religious programming.

11.

The applicant confirmed at the hearing that, if licensed, it would accept conditions of licence requiring that it broadcast at least 18 hours of balance programming each week. Balance programming is programming devoted to providing differing views on issues and events presented during the station's primary programming, and includes the presentation of different religions. Trinity indicated that balance programming would include at least 12 hours of original Canadian programming, and at least 7.5 hours of the weekly balance programming that would be broadcast during the period from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

12.

Trinity also made a commitment that 2.5 hours of the 18-hour weekly requirement for balance programming noted above would consist of locally produced, original faith-specific programming of a non-Christian nature. As part of its application, the licensee stated that it has contracts with seven multi-faith program providers, and that its brokered programming will represent the Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jewish faiths, as well as Aboriginal spirituality.

13.

At the hearing, Trinity proposed to broadcast a maximum of 26 movies per year that would be calculated as part of its balance programming requirement. While scheduling movies as balance programming is not a traditional approach for religious broadcasters and does not provide a local perspective on religious issues, the Commission notes that 26 movies would not represent a significant portion of the station's total annual balance programming. It therefore considers that Trinity's proposal to broadcast of an annual maximum of 26 movies as part of its balance programming is acceptable.

14.

In order to monitor the balance programming provided by the station, the applicant undertook to establish a Programming Balance Committee. The mandate of the committee would be to preview all programming on the new station and to make recommendations to station management on programming changes, schedule changes and remedial actions in cases of infractions against Trinity's or the Commission's balance policies. The committee would consist of five members of the local community drawn from five different faith groups. All members of the committee would be independent of the station, and appointed by the licensee's Board of Directors. To ensure continuity, the committee members' terms would be staggered.

15.

The applicant also undertook to create a full-time position of Director of Programming Balance. This person would work with the balance committee, content producers and station management to ensure that Trinity's and the Commission's balance policies are reflected in all aspects of the station's programming and operations.

16.

In addition to the safeguards provided by the balance committee, the licensee indicated that it would encourage viewer feedback. To that end, Trinity would maintain an Internet website, a 24-hour viewer response line and a 24-hour TDD line, all available to log viewer comments and complaints. These would then be addressed by an appropriate staff member or by the balance committee.

17.

The Commission is satisfied that Trinity's proposals for the broadcast of balance programming are consistent with its Religious Broadcasting Policy. It considers that it is appropriate to make Trinity's commitment to broadcast a minimum of 18 hours of balance programming each broadcast week a condition of licence. At least 12 hours of this 18 hours of balance programming must be original Canadian programming, and at least 2.5 hours of weekly balance programming must be original locally-produced Canadian programming from a faith-specific non-Christian perspective. The licensee must also, as a condition of licence, ensure that at least 7.5 hours of original Canadian balance programming is broadcast each broadcast week between 7:00 p.m. and 11 p.m. Further Trinity must by condition of licence submit, within 60 days of the end of each broadcast year, a report listing, for each week of the broadcast year, the title, broadcast date, broadcast time and duration of its balance programs, along with a brief description of each program that describes how it served to fulfil the terms of Trinity's conditions of licence on balance programming.The Commission considers that these reports will be helpful to all interested parties in monitoring a religious broadcaster's compliance with its commitments related to balance programming.

18.

The Commission also expects Trinity to establish the Programming Balance Committee and Director of Programming Balance, as discussed above.

Impact on existing Winnipeg television stations

Concerns of interveners

19.

The Winnipeg private television licensees were concerned that approval of Trinity's application would have an undue negative effect on the financial situation of the existing Winnipeg over-the-air television stations. They submitted that private television stations in Manitoba were already experiencing declining revenues and profitability, and considered that licensing a new Winnipeg television station in a time of economic uncertainty would add unnecessary stress to the local television market.

20.

The Winnipeg private television licensees submitted that Trinity was projecting much higher revenues relative to market size for Winnipeg than were projected for CHNU-TV, which serves the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia. The interveners were concerned that this revenue would come at the expense of existing Winnipeg television stations.

21.

The interventions by CTV and Craig also expressed a concern that involved Trinity's Fraser Valley station CHNU-TV. CTV and Craig noted that Trinity's original plans for CHNU-TV called for 100% religious programming. However, the interveners submitted that, since its launch in September 2001, CHNU-TV had introduced mass appeal-type programs that fell outside of the Commission's definition of religious programming. Craig additionally expressed the view that, should a similar strategy be employed with a newly licensed Winnipeg religious station, economic harm to existing Winnipeg television licensees could result. However, in the course of discussions at the hearing, Craig representatives allowed that they were unable to put forward any particular suggestions or wording that would address their concerns.

Applicant's reply

22.

Trinity responded that its new station would have "no measurable" impact on existing stations. It anticipated that donations and revenues from brokered programming would contribute over 50% of the station's total revenues in each of the first seven years of operation.

23.

Trinity noted that the vast majority of its overall advertising revenues would be "new revenues," drawn from three main sources:

· Organizations that have not been traditionally well-suited to television advertising and which have a specific religious target market,

· Advertisers that target rural audiences and specific communities in Southern Manitoba that are presently without an effective advertising venue; and

· Advertisers interested in market saturation that will advertise on the new station without reducing spending on other venues.

24.

With respect to concerns raised about programming on CHNU-TV, Trinity explained how, in its view, the Fraser Valley station was fully in compliance with the terms and conditions of its licence. Trinity acknowledged that a block of "retro" programs such as "Andy Griffith", "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Dick Van Dyke Show" was being broadcast on CHNU-TV, but expressed the view that such shows reflected "family values" and dealt with moral and ethical issues. Additionally, Trinity explained that it interspersed the programs with a Christian comedian who provided scriptural context for the programming.

25.

Trinity also acknowledged that CHNU-TV was scheduling U.S. oriented programs such as "60 Minutes", "Dateline" and "Prime time." It noted, however, that during program breaks an in-studio host highlights the spiritual and religious implications of the issues being raised, and invites viewers to call in following the programs to discuss the issues. Trinity indicated that it had had a unique opportunity to acquire these programs for the Vancouver market, but doubted that it would have a similar opportunity in the future.

26.

Trinity stated that it had no intention of competing with conventional local Winnipeg television stations in the acquisition of programming. The applicant indicated that it would be prepared to wait until all other players in the market had put together their program schedules before purchasing rights for any programs that fit its programming vision.

The Commission's assessment

27.

The Commission notes that Trinity projected that, during an average week in its first year of operation, the proposed station would be watched for a total of approximately 323,400 hours. Based on the total viewing hours in the Winnipeg Extended Market, Trinity estimated that this viewing would represent a share of the market of approximately 1.7%.

28.

In the Fall of 2001, the viewing shares of the three existing Canadian conventional religious television stations were under 1% in their markets of operation. Given the audience share projected by Trinity and the viewing shares achieved by the existing religious conventional television stations, the Commission does not consider that the new station will have an undue negative impact on the viewing levels to the existing over-the -air television services in the Winnipeg market.

29.

The Commission estimates that the four local television stations in Winnipeg, including the station operated by the CBC, had total revenues of approximately $45 million for the fiscal year that ended 31 August 2001. The Commission notes that Trinity's projected national and local advertising revenues for the first year of operation represent only 1.6% of the total 2001Winnipeg over-the-air television advertising revenues, and that the revenue projection increases represent only 2.7% of the 2001 total by the seventh year of operation. Based on these projections, the Commission concludes that the financial impact of the Trinity television station in Winnipeg would not be significant.

30.

As discussed with one of the interveners at the Public Hearing, the Conference Board of Canada noted that troubles in the airline industry have shaken Winnipeg's economy, and that growth will be slow through 2002. Over the medium term, however, the Board predicts that a generalized North American recovery will lead to a rebound in economic activity in Winnipeg. The Commission notes that the predicted economic rebound in Winnipeg can be expected to coincide with the introduction of the new Trinity television station.

31.

As regards the interveners' concerns with respect to potential competition by Trinity for acquisition of popular foreign programming, the Commission is of the view that Trinity's business plan for Winnipeg clearly demonstrates that Trinity will not have the resources to compete with existing television licensees in that regard. It further notes Trinity's commitment that all programming broadcast on the Winnipeg station would be religious programming as defined by the Religious Broadcasting Policy.

32.

Taking into account all of the factors noted above, the Commission is confident that the Trinity proposal for a new television station to serve Winnipeg will not have an undue financial impact upon the existing broadcasters in the market.

Other commitments

Canadian programs

33.

The applicant indicated that each week's schedule would include more than 80 hours of Canadian religious programming, including 24 hours of original local content. The formats of proposed programs include news and public affairs, talk shows, call-in programs, entertainment, variety, drama and 19.5 hours of weekly programming devoted to children and youth.

34.

Trinity proposed to devote a minimum of 60% of the broadcast year to Canadian programs, and to devote at least 50% of the time between 6:00 p.m. and midnight to Canadian programming.

35.

Trinity also made a commitment to spend a minimum of $4.1 million over the licence term on the production and distribution of priority Canadian programming. The applicant also committed to spend an additional $105,000 over the licence term to support the Manitoba independent production industry, specifically in the area of script and concept development for new Canadian religious programming in all genres.

36.

The Commission finds that the levels of Canadian programming proposed by Trinity are consistent with the requirements for the broadcast of Canadian programs mandated by the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987.

37.

The Commission expects Trinity to adhere to its commitments to:

· broadcast 19.5 hours of weekly programming devoted to children and youth and maintain this level of children's and youth programming for the entire term of licence,

· spend a minimum of $4.1 million on the production and distribution of priority Canadian programming over the licence term and to devote an additional $105,000 to support for the Manitoba independent production industry, specifically in the area of script and concept development for new Canadian religious programming.

Closed captioning

38.

The applicant indicated that it would caption all of its news programming by the end of the first year of operation, and 90% of all programming beginning in the sixth year of operation.

39.

The Commission finds that these commitments are in line with its policy on closed captioning set out in Introduction to decisions renewing the licences of privately-owned English-language television stations, Public Notice CRTC 1995-48, 24 March 1995. The Commission considers that it would be appropriate to make Trinity's closed captioning commitments a condition of licence. The Commission notes that the sixth year of operation will fall within the second licence term for Trinity.

Described programming

40.

Video description, or described video, is one method of improving the service that television broadcasters provide to people who are visually impaired. It consists of narrative descriptions of a program's key visual elements so that people who are visually impaired are able to form a mental picture of what is occurring on the screen. These descriptions can be provided on the Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) channel.

41.

Given its limited resources, Trinity indicated in its application that while it would continue to work towards developing programs with described video, it was not able to quantify a commitment to such programming.

42.

The Commission considers that Trinity's proposal is appropriate for a small religious station and encourages the applicant to acquire and broadcast described versions of programs, wherever possible.

Industry codes

43.

Trinity indicated that it would adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) codes relating to gender portrayal, advertising to children and violence in television programming. The Commission considers that it would be appropriate to make these commitments conditions of licence.

The Commission's conclusion

44.

The Commission considers that the licensing of the station proposed by Trinity would further the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. The Commission therefore approves the application by Trinity for a broadcasting licence for an English-language religious television programming undertaking to serve Winnipeg, Manitoba. The undertaking will operate on channel 35B with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts.

Issuance of the licence

45.

The Commission will issue a licence to Trinity, expiring 31 August 2006. This expiry date is the same as the expiry date for CHNU-TV, Trinity's television station that serves the Fraser Valley and will permit the Commission to consider the licence renewal applications for the two stations at the same time. When issued, the licence will be subject to the conditions set out in the appendix to this decision and in the licence to be issued.

46.

The licence for this undertaking will only be issued once the licensee has informed the Commission in writing that it is prepared to commence operations. This undertaking must be operational at the earliest possible date and in any event no later than 24 months of the date of this decision unless a request for an extension of time is approved by the Commission before 8 August 2004. In order to ensure that such a request is processed in a timely manner, it should be submitted at least 60 days before this date.

Other matters

Cable carriage of the new station

47.

Under the provisions of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (the BDU Regulations), any local over-the-air television service is entitled to carriage on the basic service starting with the basic band (channels 2-13) of all local Class 1 and Class 2 cable distribution undertakings. In the interests of avoiding channel realignment and reducing disruption to cable subscribers, some television services waive the right to basic carriage, in exchange for a reasonable channel placement.

48.

At the hearing, Trinity referred to discussions it had had with Winnipeg cable distribution undertakings, and agreed that, if licensed, it would accept cable carriage between channels 2 to 13 on an impaired channel, and that it would waive its right to be carried on the basic band, provided its service was carried anywhere under channel 20.

49.

The Commission reminds the licensees of all cable distribution undertakings in Winnipeg that, under section 17 of the BDU Regulations, each such undertaking must carry the new Trinity service on the basic band, unless the distribution undertaking applies for and receives Commission approval by way of a condition of licence, relieving it of this obligation.

Employment equity

50.

In accordance with Implementation of an employment equity policy, Public Notice CRTC 1992-59, 1 September 1992, 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.

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

 

Appendix to Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-229

 

Conditions of licence for the Winnipeg religious television station licensed to Trinity Television Inc.

  1. All programming broadcast by the licensee shall be religious programming as defined in the Commission's Religious Broadcasting Policy, Public Notice CRTC 1993-78, 3 June 1993 as may be amended from time to time.
  2. a) The licensee shall broadcast a minimum of 18 hours of balance programming each broadcast week. At least 12 hours of this 18 hours of balance programming shall be original Canadian programming, and at least 2.5 hours of weekly balance programming shall be original locally-produced Canadian programming from a faith-specific non-Christian perspective.
  b) At least 7.5 hours of the 18 hours of balance programming referred to in condition of licence 2 a) shall be broadcast between 7:00 p.m. and 11 p.m, and shall be original Canadian programming.
  For purposes of this condition of licence, "balance programming" is defined as programming devoted to providing differing views on issues and events presented during the station's primary programming, and includes the presentation of different religions.
  3. The licensee shall submit, within 60 days of the end of each broadcast year, a report for each week in the broadcast year that includes the title, the broadcast date, broadcast time and duration of its balance programs, along with a brief description of each balance program that describes how the program served to fulfil the terms of condition of licence number 2.
  4. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on ethics and solicitation as set out in the Religious Broadcasting Policy, Public Notice CRTC 1993-78, 3 June 1993, as may be amended from time to time.
  5. The licensee shall broadcast no more than 12 minutes of advertising material per hour, including solicitation. For clarification purposes, this condition applies to all regular programming as well as all brokered or "paid to air" programming.
  6. The licensee shall close caption all of its news programming by the end of the first broadcast year of operation. The licensee shall also close caption 90% of all English-language programming beginning in the sixth broadcast year of operation.
  7. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on the depiction of violence in television programming set out in the CAB's Voluntary code regarding violence in television programming, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
  8. The licensee shall adhere to the provisions of the CAB's Broadcast code for advertising to children, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
  9. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the CAB's Sex-role portrayal code for television and radio programming, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.

Date Modified: 2002-08-08