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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-39

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-39

Ottawa, 14 February 2002
Multivan Broadcast Corporation
Vancouver, British Columbia
CFMT-TV, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited
Vancouver, British Columbia
Applications 2001-0795-5 and 2001-0782-2
15 October 2001 Public Hearing
Vancouver

New multilingual ethnic television station to serve Vancouver

The Commission, by majority vote, approves the application by Multivan Broadcast Corporation for a new television station in Vancouver. The competing application by CFMT-TV, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, was technically mutually exclusive, and is denied. The new station will be owned by local investors of ethnic origin with strong broadcasting, business and community backgrounds.
The new station will contribute to the community through the broadcast of diverse programming for and by Vancouver's ethnic communities, and will enjoy the support and participation of an advisory board made up of local residents.
The Commission considers that the approval of Multivan as a locally owned and managed ethnic broadcaster will contribute to a diversity of voices in over-the-air ethnic television broadcasting in Canada. Notwithstanding the strength of the CFMT-TV application, the Commission considers that local and ethnic ownership of this over-the-air television station will enhance the attainment of the objectives of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy and that licensing Multivan is an important step in recognizing the increasing diversity of Canada.
The new station will offer:

· at least 60% ethnic programming during each month,

· entirely ethnic programs between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. daily,

· a level of at least 60% Canadian programming overall, and 50% during the evening hours (6:00 p.m. to 12 midnight),

· at least 55.5 hours per week of local programming,

· programming directed to at least 22 ethnic groups, using a minimum of 22 distinct languages,

· 28 hours of original news programming each week, half of which will be locally-oriented,

· a two-hour business report in the Cantonese language each week,

· programs featuring lifestyles, current affairs, entertainment, children's programs, drama, health, cooking, comedy and music,

· a minimum of 10 hours each week of programs acquired from independent producers in British Columbia,

· foreign ethnic movies, drama, comedy and sports programming, and

· English-language programming that will reflect multicultural diversity, in line with the Commission's position on such programming, set out in the television policy (Public Notice CRTC 1999-97).

In this decision, the Commission sets out the background to the process in which the two applications were considered, examines the strengths of each proposal and the reasons for the approval of Multivan. It also describes the programming and operational plans for the new station, and the ways in which the new service will provide a valuable addition to the Vancouver media.

Background

The Order-in-Council, the call for applications and the public process

1.

In Order in Council P.C. 2000-1551 dated 13 September 2000, the Governor in Council requested that the Commission report on the earliest possible establishment of an over-the-air television service to reflect and meet the needs of the multicultural, multilingual and multiracial population of the Greater Vancouver Area. In response to the Order, the Commission issued Public Notice CRTC 2000-145 on 20 October 2000, inviting written comments on the matter from the public. The Commission received over 500 written submissions, virtually all expressing strong support for the establishment of an over-the-air ethnic television service in Vancouver.

2.

Subsequently in Public Notice CRTC 2001-31, dated 28 February 2001, the Commission issued its findings on the need for an ethnic television service in Vancouver. It noted that, although ethnic television programming is available in the market, very little is locally produced or locally oriented. A good portion of what is available is foreign, and is distributed by cable or satellite, thus obtainable only through the payment of a fee in addition to the cost of monthly basic service. The Commission concluded that the licensing of an over-the-air television service that would reflect the needs of the multicultural, multilingual and multiracial community of Greater Vancouver was a priority. It also determined that the market could support such a new service. Accordingly, in Public Notice CRTC 2001-32, the Commission issued a call for applications under its Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, for an over-the-air ethnic television station to serve the Greater Vancouver Area.
Regulatory and policy framework for ethnic broadcasting

3.

The Broadcasting Act (the Act), sets out a number of objectives for the regulation of broadcasting in Canada, including the stipulation that the Canadian broadcasting system should portray the circumstances and aspirations of all Canadians and reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society. In pursuit of that objective, the Commission has, among other things, licensed numerous ethnic radio services across the country, and two ethnic conventional television stations. CJNT serves Montréal, and CFMT-TV operates in Toronto with retransmitters in Ottawa and London. In addition to conventional broadcasting services, the Commission has also licensed a number of ethnic specialty services.

4.

The principal components of the Commission's policy on ethnic broadcasting were set out in Public Notice CRTC 1985-139, entitled A Broadcasting Policy Reflecting Canada's Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. The Commission reviewed the policy in 1999 and published its revised Ethnic Broadcasting Policy (the ethnic policy) (Public Notice CRTC 1999-117). Among other things, the policy provides a framework for the licensing of an array of radio and television services in languages relevant to numerous ethnocultural communities.

5.

The Commission considers that the electronic media remain powerful tools for shaping Canadian identity and that, within the broadcasting system, programming for and by ethnic communities is vital to enabling the participation of all Canadians in society. The Commission is of the opinion that ethnic ownership of services within that system will result in greater participation in the media, and by extension, greater participation in society by members of ethnic communities. The Commission concludes that such participation will enhance the ability of ethnic Canadians to have an effective influence over how images and ideas about ethnic communities are presented and how those groups are portrayed to Canadians in general.
Ethnic broadcasting services currently available in the Vancouver market

6.

The Vancouver and Victoria extended market is currently served by five conventional radio stations offering ethnic programming. There is an additional five radio services that employ the subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) facilities of existing FM stations to provide a variety of ethnic programs to audiences equipped with SCMO decoders.

7.

In addition to these radio services, five different ethnic specialty television services are available in the market by cable or through the national direct-to-home (DTH) distributors Star Choice and Bell ExpressVu: Talentvision, a predominately Mandarin-language service; Fairchild TV, a predominately Cantonese-language service; SATV, a service that provides programming in South Asian languages; Telelatino, an Italian- and Spanish-language service; and Odyssey TV, a Greek-language service.

8.

A special programming service offered to subscribers of Shaw Cablevision in the Vancouver area also directs programming to the ethnic communities of White Rock, Delta, Ladner, Vancouver and North and West Vancouver. The linguistic profile of this service changes seasonally, but it tends to serve between 20 and 25 language groups at any given time.

9.

Finally, as part of a benefits package related to the recent acquisition of CKVU-TV Vancouver by CHUM Limited, the Commission accepted a commitment by CHUM to produce 12 hours per week of local non-news programming, of which six hours would be ethnic and/or aboriginal programming.

Assessment of the applications to serve Vancouver

10.

In response to the call for applications to serve the Greater Vancouver Area (Public Notice CRTC 2001-32), the Commission received competing applications from Multivan Broadcast Corporation (Multivan) and from CFMT-TV, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited (CFMT-TV). Since both applicants proposed to use the UHF channel 42C in Vancouver, the two applications were considered to be technically mutually exclusive.

11.

The five principal shareholders of Multivan, a British Columbia corporation, are Robert H. Lee (22.5%), James Ho (22.5%), Geoffrey Y. W. Lau (22.5%), Joseph Segal (22.5%) and Douglas Holtby (10%). The shareholders include local investors of ethnic origin with extensive local business experience. One shareholder has extensive experience in mainstream television broadcasting, including in Vancouver; another has experience in local ethnic radio broadcasting, including ownership in CHMB Vancouver.

12.

CFMT-TV is a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited (Rogers), which is in turn part of Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), one of the largest companies in the Canadian broadcasting system. RCI is involved in several sectors of Canada's broadcasting industry: radio, television and distribution undertakings. Rogers owns and operates a number of radio stations in markets across Canada and is also the licensee of the multilingual and multicultural television station, CFMT-TV Toronto. CFMT-TV also has retransmitters serving London and Ottawa.

13.

As part of its consideration of the applications for a new ethnic television service in Vancouver, among other things, the Commission examined the business plans of each of the applicants, programming plans, the potential synergies available to each applicant, plans for advisory boards and public input, other initiatives such as scholarships, and proposals for investment in and use of independent production. It also examined various issues raised in the proceeding surrounding the ownership of each applicant.
Business plans

14.

Both Multivan and CFMT-TV presented viable business plans. Each applicant also demonstrated clearly the financial capacity necessary to fulfil its respective business plan.

15.

Multivan expected to attract advertising dollars from a variety of ethnic-language advertisers, including those new to television and those who cannot afford current market rates. By the fourth year of operation, Multivan expected that Chinese and South Asian advertisers would account for $2 million and $1.8 million, respectively, in advertising revenues.

16.

CFMT-TV also expected to attract revenues from a variety of ethnic-language advertisers and projected that its proposed station would garner approximately $1.8 million in Chinese-language advertising and $1.4 million in South Asian advertising in its fourth year of operation. These estimates were based on individual rates specific to each community, and sell-out rates based on the experience of the applicant's Toronto ethnic television station.
Programming plans

17.

Both applications offered balanced and well-rounded plans for ethnic programming, proposing to offer quality programming in a wide variety of genres, and targeted to a large number of groups, with an emphasis on news and locally-oriented programs. While Multivan proposed to offer a lower amount of English-language, non-ethnic programming each week (40 hours) than did CFMT-TV (50 hours per week), both applicants committed to provide at least 60% ethnic programming.

18.

Multivan's programming plans called for service to at least 22 distinct ethnic groups, using a minimum of 22 languages, and accepted both commitments as conditions of licence. The applicant stated that 100% of all programs between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. would be ethnic, and accepted a condition of licence to that effect. While it stated its intention to broadcast more than 60% ethnic programming, starting with 68% per month, Multivan committed to the mandated level of 60% on a monthly basis, set out in the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987 ("the Television Regulations").

19.

CFMT-TV proposed a service to be known as LMTV (Local Multilingual Television), that would offer programming directed to 24 distinct ethnic groups in 24 languages. The applicant indicated that it would accept a commitment to serve at least 22 ethnic groups using a minimum of 18 languages, as conditions of licence. CFMT-TV committed to devote 60% of all programming each month to ethnic programming, as mandated by the Television Regulations. As part of its application, CFMT-TV also stated its intention that 100% of all programs between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. would be ethnic programs, however during the hearing, it agreed to accept a condition of licence that 75% of all programs broadcast during that time period would be ethnic programs.

20.

Each of the applicants also committed to broadcast the minimum level of Canadian content required by the Television Regulations (60% overall, and 50% in the evening broadcast period).
Synergies

21.

Each of the applicants has potential synergies, specific to its corporate structure. One of Multivan's principal shareholders also has extensive ownership ties to Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation ("Mainstream"), licensee of Vancouver ethnic radio station CHMB. According to Multivan, this relationship will provide efficiencies in the sale of local advertising and the sharing of local news gathering resources. In addition, the applicant indicated that Mainstream's understanding of the local ethnic advertising market would be a valuable asset. The applicant also stressed that its principal shareholders have extensive connections throughout Vancouver through their lengthy involvement in community affairs and other businesses.

22.

In the Commission's view, CFMT-TV's proposal for Vancouver would benefit from its expertise in operating an ethnic television station, and in particular from the ability to access ethnic programming produced for CFMT-TV Toronto and made available in Vancouver at no cost, as well as the shared acquisition of program rights to non-ethnic programming from third parties. In addition, there could be advantages in selling national advertising for combined broadcast in Toronto and Vancouver.
Advisory boards and feedback mechanisms

23.

Each applicant presented plans for an advisory board that would serve as a bridge between the community and station management, and provide feedback on programming, budget and other activities.

24.

Multivan's thirteen-member advisory board is in place, and has already provided input on matters such as the programming proposals and community relations for the new station. The Multivan board is made up of representatives of a variety of ethnic groups, with varied experience in community affairs, ethnic broadcasting, other media, culture and business.

25.

CFMT-TV's application proposed an eight-member board and noted that a Chairperson and a Vice-chairperson had already been appointed.

26.

In addition to plans for the use of advisory boards, both applicants detailed plans for receiving feedback and input from audiences. The feedback mechanisms include the use of web-sites, telephone, e-mail, roundtables, focus groups, town hall meetings, and information co-ordinators.
Other initiatives

27.

Both applicants proposed to offer scholarships to aid in the development of young ethnic talent in the fields of journalism and broadcasting. Multivan proposed to offer a minimum of $210,000 over the licence term, and CFMT-TV promised to spend $500,000 over the same time period.

28.

CFMT-TV proposed to offer a total of $500,000 in direct support to community groups for the production and broadcast of third-language public service announcements, and to provide $1 million in funding over the licence term to non-profit community groups serving ethnocultural communities.

29.

The CFMT-TV proposal also included plans to spend $1 million over the licence term for an independent "portrayal ombudsman". The plans for the ombudsman's role included a mandate to deal with complaints concerning the portrayal of ethnocultural groups in the electronic media in British Columbia.
Independent production

30.

The two applicants offered the same number of hours of original independent production to be broadcast. The greatest difference between the applicants' plans for independent production is the size of their respective commitments to fund and develop productions. Multivan committed to expend $4.5 million for funding, plus an additional $861,000 for development over the licence term. Multivan also proposed that a portion of $900,000 of unallocated programming expenses would also be used for independent productions.

31.

CFMT-TV proposed to expend $27 million for funding and development of independent third-language productions. Productions funded through this proposal would also be licensed for broadcast on CFMT-TV in Toronto, Ottawa and London. The applicant undertook to air these productions on the proposed service on Sundays at 8:00 p.m.
Ownership of an ethnic television station

32.

The nature of the ownership of the proposed stations emerged as one of the key differences between the two applicants in this process. While both proposals called for local management, Vancouver residents, a number of them also members of Vancouver's ethnic communities, own Multivan; this is not the case for CFMT-TV.

33.

At the hearing, Multivan expressed its strong belief in the value of local ownership, stating:

".in the face of industry consolidation and convergence, it is also in the public's interest to ensure a balance in the system, and to encourage new ownership of broadcasting undertakings in Canada. We believe all of this to be particularly true in Western Canada where consolidation has eliminated the greatest number of local ownership voices."

34.

While Multivan agreed that there was no reason to believe that a conventional television station with ownership outside of the community could not do a good job of serving the community, it noted three factors that, in its view, would make local ownership of an ethnic station a better choice than non-local:

· a locally-owned television station would have a better understanding of the needs of the local market,

· local ownership would promote local production, and

· since the reality of ethnic communities in different Canadian cities varies, ownership in the community would offer a more complete understanding of those communities.

35.

Various interveners supported the idea of local ownership, embodied by the Multivan application. David G. McLean stated at the hearing:

"There's an old maxim in business, the best management in the world is the shadow of the owner coming through the door.. Local ownership in my opinion is the key to success of a multicultural channel, and the people who own it locally have to be successful. They have to have a track record. Each of the people that are behind - and there are five major principals behind this application. Each of them in their own right is highly successful."

36.

CFMT-TV and other interveners expressed the view that local ownership was not necessarily the determining factor. The applicant stated that local ownership is:

"something that has to be added into the mix and certainly considered and weighed. What the people we've talked to.I mean literally thousands of people now, what really counts for them is what they see on their television station."

37.

The applicant also stated:

".it's really the connection you have with the community and your ability to reflect their voice and their vision, as opposed to the straight ownership question."

38.

Multivan noted that all decisions concerning the station would be made in Vancouver. CFMT-TV stated that certain business decisions would be made in Toronto, albeit with input from Vancouver management.

39.

As noted, the majority of Multivan's owners are members of Vancouver's ethnic communities. Paul Pahal, in noting that the owners of Multivan were ethnic, stated:

"was that not the mandate for the station to exist?.(it) would be the only station owned by the very people it serves. They will no longer have access to the airwaves, they'll own the airwaves, have a voice and be able to make a big change. It will reflect the idea that you don't merely have to work and fit in, but eventually that you may have an opportunity to run and contribute greatly, positively to society."

40.

CFMT-TV's position, supported by a number of interveners at the hearing, was that ethnic ownership was one of a number of things to be considered in awarding the licence, and that its experience with Vancouver's ethnic communities was an important factor.

The Commission's conclusions

41.

The Commission concludes that either of the two applicants would have been equipped to establish an ethnic television station and to provide a viable service to the ethnic communities of Vancouver.

42.

The Commission recognizes that Rogers Broadcasting Limited, as licensee of the successful multilingual television station CFMT-TV Toronto, has experience in providing an ethnic broadcasting service in one of Canada's largest ethnic communities. The Commission also acknowledges the potential value of CFMT-TV's proposed funding for independent production, an important component of its proposal. The funding initiative could have contributed to a strengthened independent ethnic production industry, given the lack of funding currently available to producers of ethnic programming. A majority of the Commission is of the view, however, that the applicant's commitment to the scheduling of productions funded by the proposed initiative leaves doubt as to the extent of the on-air exposure of any resulting programming on the proposed service.

43.

The Commission took the qualities of the CFMT-TV proposal fully into account, and balanced the experience, synergies and funding proposals presented by that application against the significant benefits of local and ethnic ownership attached to Multivan's application. The Commission is also confident that Multivan's programming proposals, its commitments to work with local producers, its representative advisory board, and its solid financial footing will contribute to enhanced television diversity in Vancouver.

44.

The Multivan ownership structure offers a team with broad and successful business experience, both within the broadcasting sector and in other fields. The ownership team also offers ethnic influences and extensive experience in Vancouver community affairs. The owners are high-profile members of their communities who live in and contribute to Vancouver.

45.

In coming to its conclusion, the Commission also noted the strong support for the Multivan application, expressed in a variety of interventions from a wide diversity of ethnic communities, producers and community groups in Vancouver.

46.

New, dynamic, and creative participants often introduce fresh concepts to the broadcasting business and offer new approaches to programming. The Commission is satisfied that, with the approval of Multivan as a new local ethnic television broadcaster, the over-the-air ethnic broadcasting system will have the better opportunity to evolve, grow and prosper through diversity. In addition to these potential advantages, the Commission considers that over-the-air ethnic television broadcasting, traditionally the highest revenue-producing component of the ethnic broadcasting sector, will benefit from the diversity of ownership that the entrance of Multivan will represent.

47.

The Commission reiterates that the essence of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy is to encourage the reflection of local communities, both to themselves and to the wider world. The Commission considers that financially strong, local and ethnic ownership, as represented by Multivan, will foster the representation of a variety of local communities, a reflection moulded by the very members of those groups. The Commission concludes that, given the community focus of an ethnic station, local ethnic ownership takes on special and vital importance.

48.

A majority of the Commission has come to the conclusion that there are clear and undeniable advantages to the local and ethnic ownership of an ethnic television station, and that these advantages, present in the Multivan proposal, outweigh the positive attributes of the competing application by CFMT-TV. The advantages include:

· the visible presence of owners in their own communities as well as the community at large,

· the substantial involvement of the owners in the community and the accountability to the community that flows from it,

· pride in local ownership,

· local decision-making,

· a clear understanding of the local ethnic market, and

· responsiveness to the unique communities to be served.

49.

These advantages take on a particular and decisive importance when considering the conclusions reached in Public Notice CRTC 2001-31:

"The vast majority of parties submitting comments strongly believe that the licensing of a new, over-the-air ethnic television service with a strong local component is essential."

50.

Notwithstanding the strength of the CFMT-TV application, the Commission considers that local and ethnic ownership of this over-the-air television station will enhance the attainment of the objectives of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy and that licensing Multivan is an important step in recognizing the increasing diversity of Canada.

51.

For all of these reasons, the Commission, by majority vote, approves the application by Multivan for a broadcasting licence for a multilingual, ethnic television programming undertaking at Vancouver. The majority is of the view that licensing Multivan is the better means of achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, the Order in Council and the call for applications to serve Vancouver. The Commission, by majority vote, therefore denies CFMT-TV's application.

Description of the new station

52.

Multivan's station, "MVBC" will be an over-the-air television service, offering ethnic television service to Vancouver. MVBC will reflect ethnic communities by directing a minimum of 60% of all of its programming to at least 22 distinct ethnic groups. Some ethnic programs will be in the English language, and at least 50% of all programs will be broadcast in one of 22 third languages. Multivan will devote at least 60% of each month, and, by way of a condition of licence, 100% of each evening between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., to the broadcast of ethnic programs. Multivan stated its commitment to exceed the 60% requirement, starting with 68% ethnic programming in its initial schedule.

53.

Multivan also committed to reflect multicultural and multiracial diversity in their non-Canadian English-language programming, in line with the Commission's interest in ensuring that broadcasting services reflect the nation's diversity. The licensee's commitment will ensure that the service presents multicultural and diverse programming throughout the day.

54.

As part of its application, Multivan made a commitment to work with various ethnic producers with whom it had already had discussions. Multivan also plans to offer some ethnic programming in English that will focus on the multicultural entertainment scene in Vancouver. The applicant also stated its belief that the new station will appeal in particular to young people.

55.

Like all Canadian television stations, MVBC will be required by the Television Regulations, 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.

56.

The new station will serve the local ethnic communities with an emphasis on locally oriented programs. An essential element of Multivan's programming plans was its commitment to broadcast at least 55.5 hours of local programming each week. The Commission expects the licensee to adhere to its commitment to broadcast a minimum of 55.5 hours of local programming each broadcast week. The licensee defines a "local program" as one that has been produced in the Greater Vancouver Area.

57.

Multivan will provide 28 hours of original news programming each week, plus a weekly, two-hour business report in Cantonese. All news will be delivered in third languages, except for seven hours each week of English-language news directed to the South Asian community. Multivan will use nine news vehicles, two satellite trucks and two production trucks to gather local news from the lower mainland of British Columbia. The new station will also report from Victoria whenever the British Columbia legislature is in session. Approximately half of all newscasts will focus on local news, although national and international news, together with feature stories exploring issues related to police, legal, education, immigration, health and political matters, will also be broadcast.

58.

The non-news programming to be featured on MVBC will consist mainly of lifestyles, current affairs, entertainment, children's programming, light drama, health and wellness, cooking programs, comedy and music programming. The new station will offer approximately 12 hours each week of foreign ethnic programming consisting of light drama and comedy in Hindi, Cantonese and/or Mandarin languages, as well as international sports and international movies. In addition to the foreign ethnic programming, approximately 40 hours of foreign non-ethnic programming will be broadcast each week.

59.

As set out in the appendix to this decision, the Commission expects the licensee to ensure that at least 10 hours of third-language programming on MVBC during each week (with not more than five hours of repeated programs) is produced by independent producers from British Columbia.

60.

Interventions to the Multivan application were submitted by the licensees of the ethnic specialty services Fairchild and Talentvision, which serve the Chinese communities, and Asian Television Network, which serves South Asian communities. The interveners expressed concerns about potential competition between their services and a new over-the-air service targeted to the same ethnic groups. In response to those concerns, Multivan raised the possibility of accepting limits on programming directed to the two largest individual ethnic groups in the Vancouver area. Specifically, Multivan indicated willingness at the hearing to accept some limit on programs in South Asian and Chinese languages. The Commission has determined that limits on such programming are appropriate, and conditions of licence specifying these limits are set out in the appendix to this decision. The Commission is satisfied that these limits are generally consistent with the amounts of such programming contained in the licensee's proposed programming schedule.

61.

MVBC will interact with the community, be guided in its programming decisions, and shape its service to ethnic communities, through its Advisory Board. The Board members, all of whom have already been appointed, are drawn from several ethnic groups. MVBC also plans to hire approximately 135 staff members from the local ethnic communities it will serve. The Commission expects Multivan to ensure that its hiring practices reflect the diversity of Vancouver's population.

62.

The Commission notes the licensee's commitment to apply for authority to add a re-transmitter to serve Victoria, following approval of its application to serve Vancouver. The Commission encourages Multivan to make such an application as soon as possible.

63.

The licensee has committed to spend $861,000 over the licence term on the development of scripts and concepts for programs, and will offer a minimum of $30,000 in scholarships in each year of operation. In the appendix to this decision, the Commission has set out a number of conditions of licence, expectations, and encouragements related to these and other matters concerning the programming and operation of the new station.

Interventions

64.

The Commission acknowledges the interventions submitted concerning these applications, and has considered all of them in reaching its decision.

65.

The Commission notes in particular the interventions from producers of programming for the Shaw Multicultural service, and acknowledges the importance of those producers, and the opportunities for all producers of third-language programming that the new station represents.

Related CRTC documents

. Public Notice 2001-31 - Report to the Governor in Council on the earliest possible establishment of over-the-air television services that reflect and meet the needs of the multicultural, multilingual and multiracial population of the Greater Vancouver Area.

. Public Notice 2001-32 - An ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, British Columbia

. Public Notice 2000-145 - Call for comments concerning over-the-air television services in Vancouver - Order in Council P.C. 2000-1551

. Public Notice 1999-117 - Ethnic Broadcasting Policy

. Public Notice 1999-97 - Building on success - A policy framework for Canadian television

. Public Notice 1985-139 - A broadcasting policy reflecting Canada's linguistic and cultural diversity

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: http://www.crtc.gc.ca

 

 

Appendix to Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-39

 

Terms

  Subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2008. This licence will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
  The licence will only be issued and effective when the undertaking is ready to begin operation. When the licensee has completed construction and is prepared to commence operation, it must advise the Commission in writing. If the undertaking is not constructed and ready to operate within 12 months of today's date, extensions to this time frame may be granted, provided that the licensee applies in writing to the Commission before the 12-month period or any extension of that period expires.
  The new station will operate on channel 42C with an effective radiated power of 40,000 watts.
 

Conditions

 

1. The licensee shall devote to the broadcast of ethnic programs 100% of the total number of hours broadcast between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. during the aggregate of the broadcast days in each of the four- or five-week periods in the calendar approved by the Commission and referred to in subsection 9(1) of the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987.

 

2. The licensee shall broadcast ethnic programs directed toward a minimum of 22 distinct ethnic groups monthly.

 

3. The licensee shall broadcast ethnic programs in a minimum of 22 different languages monthly.

 

4. The licensee shall not devote more than 20 hours per week during the period 6:00 a.m. to midnight, to the broadcasting of programs in South Asian languages.

 

 

5. The licensee shall not devote more than 20 hours per week during the period 6:00 a.m. to midnight, to the broadcasting of programs in Chinese languages.

 

6. The licensee shall expend, over the course of the licence term, a minimum of $4.5 million for the funding of independent productions by residents of British Columbia.

 

7. The licensee shall caption 90% of all English-language programming during the broadcast day, including 100% of all English news programming, beginning in the sixth year of the licence term.

 

8. The licensee must adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-role portrayal code for television and radio programming, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission. The application of the foregoing condition of licence will be suspended as long as the licensee remains a member in good standing of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC).

 

9. The licensee must 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.

 

10. The licensee must 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. The application of the foregoing condition of licence will be suspended as long as the licensee remains a member in good standing of the CBSC.

 

Expectations and encouragements

 

1. The Commission expects the licensee to broadcast a minimum of 10 hours of third-language independent production during each week. This programming will be produced by independent producers from British Columbia, and will consist of a minimum of 5 hours of original programming.

 

2. The Commission expects the licensee to expend a minimum of $861,000 over the licence term, on script and concept development, excluding overhead costs.

 

3. The Commission expects the licensee to broadcast a minimum of 55.5 hours of programming each week that has been produced in the Greater Vancouver Area.

 

4. The Commission expects the licensee to expend a minimum of $210,000 over the licence term, to fund a scholarship initiative.

 

5. The Commission expects the licensee to ensure that its Advisory Board consists of representatives from a variety of ethnic groups.

 

6. In addition to the requirements of condition of licence number 7 set out above, the Commission expects the licensee to caption 90% of all English-language programming during the broadcast day, including 100% of its English news programming, by the beginning of the second year of operation.

 

7. The Commission expects the licensee to caption, during each broadcast week, a minimum of three hours of programming in Chinese languages.

 

8. In Public Notice CRTC 2001-88, Representation of cultural diversity on television - Creation of an industry/community task force, the Commission called upon the CAB to develop an action plan for a joint industry/community task force. The role of this task force is to sponsor research, identify "best practices", and help define the issues and present practical solutions to ensure that the Canadian broadcasting system reflects all Canadians. In its notice, the Commission emphasized the importance of having the participation of all sectors of the broadcasting industry, including specialty services. The Commission therefore expectsthe licensee:

 

· to adhere to its commitment to contribute to the work of the task force;

 

· to contribute to a broadcasting system that accurately reflects the presence in Canada of cultural and racial minorities and Aboriginal peoples;

 

· to ensure that the on-screen portrayal of all such groups is accurate, fair and free of stereotypes in all programming, both ethnic and non-ethnic; and

 

· to ensure that its hiring practices reflect the diversity of Vancouver's population.

 

9. The Commission encourages the licensee to produce some of its ethnic programming with described video for the visually impaired.

 

10. The Commission encourages the licensee to acquire and broadcast programs with described video, wherever possible.

 

11. The Commission encourages the licensee to file an application for a transmitter to serve Victoria, as soon as possible.

 

Definitions:

  "Script and concept development expenditures" mean those expenditures, excluding overhead costs, that are incurred prior to the commencement of pre-production and before the financing of the project is in place. Spending on programs that are assured of going to air at the time of the expenditure is not considered as script and development expenditures.
  "Expend" and "expenditure" mean actual cash outlay.

 

 

Dissenting opinion of Commissioner Cindy Grauer

  I would have licensed CFMT's application ("LMTV") for an ethnic television station in Vancouver. LMTV would have contributed more to the achievement of the goals of the Broadcasting Act, the implementation of the Ethnic Policy and the Television Policy, the multicultural communities in Vancouver, the system at large and the diversity of programming available to Canadians.
  LMTV offered $80 million in programming-related expenditures compared to Multivan's $54 million. This included a fund of $27 million dollars, comprised of $4 million for development and $23 million to fund in their entirety, each year of a seven year licence term, 20 third language dramas and documentaries by British Columbia Ethnic Independent Producers. This fund would have responded to the current lack of funding for Canadian third language television production, and would have provided vital support for the ethnic independent production community in Canada.
  The LMTV application also attracted public support that was far greater and more substantive than the support for Multivan. Virtually every ethnic organization in the community and many from across the country lent their support to the LMTV application. Intervenor after intervenor spoke of the eight years of committed and meaningful consultation that CFMT had engaged in with the community. It is clear from both the written and oral interventions that individuals and organizations alike have developed a deep respect for and strong and trusting relationships with CFMT. There is a very strong sense of community ownership of the LMTV proposal.
  I disagree with the view of the majority that local ethnic ownership should have been the determining factor in awarding this licence. While the majority's position on ownership is clear, the foundation upon which it rests is difficult to identify. Neither the Broadcasting Act nor the Commission's policies nor the Call for applications in the present proceeding attached any significance to local ownership. It is troubling to me that, in the current policy environment and given the criteria identified in the Call, the majority has chosen to base its decision on a previously unidentified factor.
  Local and/or ethnic ownership does not in and of itself ensure a commitment to or investment in the development of the creative talent in a given community. Nor does it ensure diversity. Nevertheless, had the two applications been comparable on their merits, or if the local ethnic community had demonstrated significant support for Multivan's application, a case could perhaps be made that the issue of ownership had merit as a determining factor. But that is not the case here.
  Finally, I do not share the majority's doubts about the commitment of LMTV to the on air exposure of productions that would have resulted from its Ethnic Independent Producers Initiative.
  During the hearing, CFMT was questioned by the panel about their plans to schedule and broadcast the programs. Their response is on page 103 of the transcript:
  Ms. Mirsky: "Its an hour (8:00 p.m. Sunday on LMTV) every week, it's a 52 week year, and as I said, it could be two half-hour projects or it would be a one-hour. So over the course of a 52-week year, there's ample opportunity for the regular scheduled programs. And I want to add that the CFMT licence fee is guaranteed and it's a pre-buy. "
  The majority has not given any reasons for its doubts as to scheduling. Given the response by the applicant at the hearing I have difficulty understanding where their doubts lie.
  For all these reasons, I would have awarded the licence to LMTV.

 

 

Dissenting Opinion of Commissioner Martha Wilson

  I disagree with the majority in this matter and would have licensed CFMT's application for an ethnic over-the-air television station in Vancouver for all the reasons articulated by Commissioner Grauer.
  In my view, the record demonstrates that there was overwhelming support for CFMT's application by the ethnic communities of Vancouver and British Columbia. It is a level of support that has been built up over a long number of years as Vancouver's ethnic communities have struggled to launch an over-the-air television service in the third largest market in Canada with the second most ethnically diverse population in the country. As Commissioner Grauer points out, the nature of the relationship between CFMT and Vancouver's ethnic communities is such that, notwithstanding the fact that CFMT would be the owner of the station, these communities feel a sense of ownership resulting from their input into and development of the application over the last eight years. In my view, this support by the major ethnic organizations and senior members of the ethnic communities should have played a larger role in the decision.
  The second area which clearly sets CFMT's application apart from Multivan's is with respect to their funding initiatives for independent production. These initiatives are significant, not only for the Vancouver ethnic communities, but for the entire third-language broadcasting system. With the funding proposed in CFMT's applicaton, third-language production - for which there is no other funding available in the country - would have taken a giant step forward across the entire ethnic broadcasting system. It is a missed opportunity on a very large scale.
  Ultimately, a decision has been made which relies on the principle of local ethnic ownership as the determining factor. While it is impossible to argue that ethnic ownership is not a positive thing, licensing decisions must be made based on a number of criteria which balance adherence to principles against the tangible benefits to the community and the system at large. In my view, the balance has not been achieved with this decision.

Date Modified: 2002-02-14