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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-260

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-260

Ottawa, 30 August 2002

Sask-Alta Broadcasters Limited
Lloydminster, Alberta

Application 2002-0073-3
Public Hearing in the National Capital Region
3 June 2002

New low-power tourist information service in Lloydminster

The Commission approves the application by Sask-Alta Broadcasters Limited to operate a low-power English-language FM radio station in Lloydminster, Alberta that will provide a tourist information service.

The application

1.

The Commission received an application from Sask-Alta Broadcasters Limited (Sask-Alta) for a licence to operate a low-power English-language FM radio station in Lloydminster, Alberta. The applicant indicated that the station would broadcast tourist information consisting of a continuous 15-minute programming segment that would be repeated from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight. A maximum of six minutes per hour of commercial messages would be broadcast. The proposed station would operate at 98.9 MHz (channel 255LP) with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.

2.

Sask-Alta is the licensee of CKSA, CITL-TV and CKSA-TV, Lloydminster.

Intervention

3.

The Commission received an intervention opposing Sask-Alta's proposal from 912038 Alberta Limited ("912038" or "the intervener"). The intervener is the licensee of CKLM-FM Lloydminster, on-air since 2001.

4.

912038 did not consider that it was appropriate to grant a licence for a tourist information service to a commercial broadcaster that already operates a radio station and television stations in the market. It was further concerned that the new station would draw commercial advertising from the market at a time when the intervener's station, CKLM-FM, had not yet proven its commercial viability.

5.

912038 noted that the proposed station would offer up to six minutes of advertising per hour. Given the limited expenses involved in operating a tourist information service, the intervener was of the view that the applicant would earn a profit from the station. The intervener considered that a tourist information service should be a not-for-profit venture, and it would be better if the licensee were a local not-for-profit organization.

6.

912038 was further concerned that the agreement between Sask-Alta and the City of Lloydminster would give the applicant exclusive rights to promote its own community-oriented ventures while blocking any participation by the intervener in the proposed station.

7.

Finally, 912038 expressed certain concerns about the technical operation of the station. It noted that Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2002-4, 26 March 2002, indicated that the applicant would provide the service via a "continuous tape loop." The intervener noted that the applicant had proposed to use a different sort of technology to provide the service in the proposal it made to the City of Lloydminster and the Lloydminister Tourism and Convention Society. The intervener further noted that, while the applicant proposed that the station would offer a 15-minute program, a drive through the core sections of the city takes only between 9 and 12 minutes.

The applicant's reply

8.

In reply, the applicant submitted that its proposal was developed jointly between itself and the City of Lloydminster and that it was chosen to provide the service after the City of Lloydminster requested a number of parties, including both the applicant and the intervener, to contribute proposals. The applicant indicated that it viewed the proposed station as a community service rather than a commercial concept that would compete with existing conventional radio stations serving the community.

9.

The applicant was of the view that, under the terms of the Commission's policy document A Licensing Policy for Low-Power Radio Broadcasting, Public Notice CRTC 1993-95, 28 June 1993 (the Low-Power Radio Policy), there is nothing that restricts ownership of a tourist information station to not-for-profit corporations.

10.

With respect to advertising revenues, Sask-Alta noted that it did not expect to sell out all of its available advertising time. It further noted that advertising on the station would be restricted to tourist-related items.

11.

With respect to the intervener's concern that it could not participate in the proposed station, the applicant indicated that there was nothing in its agreement with the City of Lloydminster that would preclude the intervener from using the service to promote its own community-oriented ventures.

12.

With respect to concerns raised about the technology that the service would use, the applicant indicated that it plans to produce the service using a computerized drive system rather than using a tape format. It considered that computerized technology would allow the system to operate more reliably and efficiently.

13.

Finally, the applicant indicated that the signal of the proposed station would not only be available within the city core, but also for a few kilometres outside the city limits. It therefore considered that those within and passing through the community would be able to hear an entire 15-minute message. Sask-Alta indicated, however, that it would be receptive to suggestions by the City of Lloydminster for adjustments to the length of the message at any time.

Analysis and conclusions

14.

As pointed out by the applicant, the Commission's Low-Power Radio Policy does not restrict the ownership of non-conventional low-power radio undertakings such as tourist information services to not-for-profit corporations. However, in order to prevent such undertakings from competing with conventional radio stations, such as the one operated by the intervener, the Low-Power Radio Policy states:

.licensees of non-conventional low-power undertakings will be subject to a condition of licence that defines their programming in such a way as to ensure that they do not change their programming and begin to offer the same services as conventional licensees without Commission approval.

15.

The Commission therefore considers that it would be appropriate to impose conditions of licence stipulating that the proposed station be used solely for the purpose of broadcasting pre-recorded tourist information messages, and that no musical selections be broadcast except as incidental background music. The Commission notes that the applicant's proposal to broadcast a maximum of six minutes per hour of commercial messages is consistent with the level of commercial messages that the Commission has approved for other tourist information services. It considers that it is appropriate to impose this commitment as a condition of licence.

16.

The Commission further notes the applicant's statement that there is nothing in its agreement with the City of Lloydminster that would preclude the intervener from using the station to promote its own community-oriented ventures.

17.

The Commission does not consider that the applicant's plan to generate the service using computerized facilities rather than a tape-loop constitutes a material change to the application, and is satisfied with the applicant's response to concerns raised about the length of the messages that would be broadcast by the station.

18.

In light of the above, the Commission considers that the station proposed by Sask-Alta conforms to the terms of the Low-Power Radio Policy. It is further of the view that the proposed station would provide a valuable public service to tourists visiting the Lloydminster area. The Commission therefore approves the application by Sask-Alta for a low-power English-language FM radio station in Lloydminster on frequency 98.9 MHz (channel 255LP) with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.

Issuance of the licence

19.

The Commission will issue a licence to Sask-Alta Broadcasters Limited effective 1 September 2002 and expiring 31 August 2009, subject to the conditions set out in the appendix to this decision.

20.

The Department of Industry (the Department) has advised the Commission that, while this application is conditionally technically acceptable, it will only issue a broadcasting certificate when it has determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.

21.

The Commission reminds the licensee that, pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, no licence may be issued until the Department has notified the Commission that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.

22.

Furthermore, 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. The undertaking must be operational at the earliest possible date, and in any event no later than 24 months from the date of this decision, unless a request for an extension of time is approved by the Commission before 30 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.

23.

Given that the technical parameters approved in this decision are for a low-power unprotected FM service, the Commission also reminds the licensee that it will have to select another frequency if the Department so requires.

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 2002-260

 

Conditions of licence for the low-power FM radio programming undertaking serving Lloydminster

  1. The licensee shall use the station solely for the purpose of broadcasting pre-recorded tourist information messages.
  2. The licensee shall not broadcast more than six minutes of advertising material per hour.
  3. The licensee shall not broadcast musical selections, except as incidental background music.

Date Modified: 2002-08-30