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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-199

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-199

  Ottawa, 2 July 2003
  Radio Communautaire Missisquoi
Lac-Brome, Quebec
  Application 2002-0640-1
Public Hearing at Montréal, Quebec 3 February 2003
 

English-language FM community radio station in Lac-Brome

  In this decision, the Commission approves the application by Radio Communautaire Missisquoi for a new English-language Type A community FM radio station in Lac-Brome. The Commission, however, directs the applicant to submit, within six months of the date of this decision, an application proposing the use of 99.1 MHz (channel 256A) or another frequency.
 

Introduction

1.

The Commission received an application by Radio Communautaire Missisquoi (RCM) for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language Type A community FM radio programming undertaking in Lac-Brome at 98.1 MHz (channel 251A) with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 800 watts.

2.

The Commission considered this application at a public hearing held in Montréal from 3 to 19 February 2003. At the hearing, the Commission heard six other applications in connection with the Sherbrooke market. RCM's application was technically mutually exclusive with a competing application by Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. (Cogeco) to operate a French-language FM radio station in Sherbrooke at 93.7 MHz (channel 229B) with a transmitter in Magog at 98.1 MHz (channel 251B).
3. At the hearing, RCM stated that it had reached an agreement with Cogeco concerning their competitive applications for the use of 98.1 MHz. Consequently, RCM amended its application requesting the use of an alternative frequency, namely, 99.1 MHz (channel 256A), and proposed to operate with an ERP of 800 watts. The applicant, however, did not file the technical documentation required by the Department of Industry (the Department) in support of the amendment to the application.
4. Of the six applications related to the Sherbrooke market, the Commission today approves four applications: the present proposal for the operation of a community radio station in Lac-Brome, two proposals for the operation of new French-language commercial FM radio stations in Sherbrooke (Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2003-197 and 2003-198) and the request for the addition of a transmitter to the broadcasting licence for a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio station affiliated with the network, La Première Chaîne (Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-200).
5. The criteria used by the Commission to evaluate the applications considered at the 3 February 2003 public hearing are set out in Introductory statement to Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2003-192 to 2003-203: Applications related to radio stations in the Province of Quebec, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2003-33, 2 July 2003 (the Introductory Statement). In the Introductory Statement, the Commission also addresses the various proposals that were technically mutually exclusive and the general interventions to most of the applications, and states its conclusions on the capacity of the markets in Montréal, in Sherbrooke, in Trois-Rivières and in Saguenay to support the addition of one or more new radio stations, taking into account the competitive state of each market.
6. The present decision addresses the particulars of RCM's application.
 

Programming overview

7.

RCM proposed to broadcast 84 hours of local programming in each broadcast week of its first year of operation, increasing to 105 hours in each broadcast week of the second year. All of the programming to be offered by the proposed station would be local programming. Initially, all of the programming would be station produced. However, the applicant indicated that it might eventually trade up to approximately 20% of its weekly schedule with the community-based campus radio station, CJMQ-FM Lennoxville, operated by Radio Bishop's Inc.

8.

RCM confirmed that its programming would reflect the diversity and different interests of the community to be served. While the primary language of broadcast would be English, the applicant made a commitment to devote at least 15% of the programming aired in each broadcast week to French-language programming and at least 5% to German-language programming.
 

The interventions

9. The Commission received an intervention by the Townshippers' Association in support of RCM's application as well as interventions by S.O.S. Québec Radio-Télévision and Communications Michel Mathieu opposing RCM's application, but supporting Cogeco's application. The opposing interveners considered that, given the significant Francophone population in the region, any station licensed to serve the Lac-Brome area should offer more French-language programming.
10. In response, RCM noted there are a number of French-language radio stations serving the Lac-Brome area. The applicant pointed out that the only English-language radio service authorized to serve the area is a proposed transmitter in Cowansville, awarded to the CBC in 2002, to broadcast the programming of its national English-language Radio One network from CBME-FM Montréal.
 

Evaluating the application

11.

The Commission has considered the merits of RCM's application in light of the provisions of Community radio policy, Public Notice CRTC 2000-13, 28 January 2000 (the Community Radio Policy).
12. The Community Radio Policy requires that community radio stations provide access to the airwaves for all members of their community and broadcast diverse programming that meets their needs and serves their interests. The programming must include music by new and local talent, music that is normally not broadcast by commercial radio stations, local information and spoken word programming.
 

Spoken word

13.

As stated in the Community Radio Policy, the Commission expects that at least 15% of the programming aired in each broadcast week by a Type A community radio station be spoken word with an emphasis on community-oriented spoken word.

14.

RCM made a commitment to devote at least 30% of the programming aired in each week to community-oriented spoken word programming. The spoken word programs will include at least one hour of news programming to be offered daily, including weekends. Of the news programming offered by the station, 70% will be local and will cover Cowansville, Sutton, Lac-Brome and surrounding areas, while the remainder will be regional and will cover the Eastern Townships and the neighbouring Montérégie area. The station will also broadcast programs that focus on community issues and special local events as well as interviews and information bulletins.

15.

RCM will offer a call-in program that will give listeners opportunities to call the station and provide their input. In order to adhere to the Commission's Policy Regarding Open-Line Programming,Public Notice CRTC 1988-213, 23 December 1988, the applicant proposed implementing a delay system operated by an experienced technician.
 

Special interest music

16.

The Community Radio Policy requires community radio stations to ensure that at least 5% of all musical selections played in each broadcast week are from category 3 (special interest music). RCM made a commitment to devote at least 40% of all its musical selections to selections drawn from category 3.

17.

In accordance with its approach for other community radio stations, the Commission requires the applicant, by condition of licence, to devote, during each broadcast week, a minimum of 5% of its musical selections to musical selections from Special Interest Music (content category 3), as defined in Revised content categories and subcategories for radio, Public Notice CRTC 2000-14, 28 January 2000, as amended from time to time.
 

Canadian talent development

18.

The Commission considers that community radio stations have an important role to play in the development, support and exposure of local talent. The Commission expects community radio stations to continue to undertake initiatives to promote and feature music by new Canadian and local artists as well as artists whose music is seldom heard on other stations.

19.

RCM stated that it would provide community access to the airwaves and support local Canadian talent development by promoting and featuring local talent and artists through interviews, talk shows and live broadcasts of artistic events and other special programs, such as one featuring Canadian artists and performers exclusively, and others that will be produced by children and youth from the community. The applicant will record local talent and broadcast these recordings on air at later dates. It will also make its studios available to local artists to record their own work and will provide scholarships and grants to young people for talent shows and contests.

20.

The Commission finds that RCM's plans and commitments, as outlined above, are consistent with the Community Radio Policy. The Commission expects the applicant to implement the initiatives described in its application to support Canadian talent development.
 

Station ownership and control

21.

Pursuant to the Community Radio Policy, a community radio station must be owned and controlled by a not-for-profit organization, the structure of which provides for membership, management, operation and programming primarily by members of the community at large. RCM is a not-for-profit body incorporated in the Province of Quebec on 16 December 1998.

22.

RCM confirmed that membership in its organization is open to anyone in the community to be served by the proposed radio station. The applicant stated that its board of directors represents a wealth of experience and that it has retained local resource people from a variety of backgrounds to assist in planning and developing the proposed station. The applicant, nevertheless, indicated that, currently, there are three vacant seats on its board of directors. The Commission expects the applicant to submit the names, addresses, citizenship and position of the persons who will fill these seats.

23.

The Commission is satisfied that the application is consistent with the provisions of the Community Radio Policy concerning ownership and control of the proposed community radio station.
 

Volunteer participation and training

24.

The Community Radio Policy provides that volunteer participation is a key element in the operation of a community radio station. Accordingly, the Commission expects community radio licensees to take the necessary measures to facilitate community access to their programming, promote training in the community, and train and supervise community members who want access to the airwaves.

25.

RCM stated that it will advertise on radio and in local newspapers and flyers to invite members of the community to participate in the proposed station. The volunteers will be involved in all aspects of the operation, including live-to-air and pre-recorded broadcasts, managing the studio and administration. A full-time paid station manager will be responsible for training and supervising volunteers to ensure that they operate the station in accordance with its licensing requirements.

26.

The Commission is satisfied with the applicant's proposals regarding the use of volunteers to operate the station and expects the applicant to give effect to the measures designed to encourage the participation of volunteers.
 

The Commission's conclusion

27.

Based on the record of this proceeding, the Commission is satisfied that the proposed station will provide community access to the airwaves. The Commission considers that the station will increase the range and diversity of programs available to residents of the Lac-Brome area by offering a local programming service in English, French and German that will be distinct in style and substance from that provided by the existing commercial radio stations in the market. In the Commission's view, this service will reflect the needs and interests of the communities the applicant proposes to serve. Accordingly, the Commission finds that the proposed station will meet the Commission's expectations regarding the objective, role and mandate of a Type A community radio station.

28.

With regard to the interventions by S.O.S. Québec Radio-Télévision and Communications Michel Mathieu, the Commission notes that in Commercial French-language FM radio station in Sherbrooke, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-197, released today, the Commission has approved Cogeco's application to operate a new French-language FM radio station in Sherbrooke with a transmitter in Magog. Furthermore, the Commission notes that the Community Radio Policy specifies that the programming offered by a community station should be relevant to the communities served, including official language communities in a minority environment. The Commission finds that the radio service proposed by RCM will provide local, community-oriented programming not otherwise available to listeners in the Lac-Brome area.

29.

In view of the foregoing, the Commission approves the application by Radio Communautaire Missisquoi for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language Type A community FM radio programming undertaking in Lac-Brome. The Commission, however, directs the applicant to submit, within six months of the date of this decision, an application proposing the use of 99.1 MHz (channel 256A) or another frequency. As discussed earlier in this decision, RCM proposed 99.1 MHz (channel 256A) as an alternative frequency at the hearing.

30.

The Commission reminds the applicant that, under the Community Radio Policy, the licensee of a community radio station cannot decrease or increase the number of broadcast hours per week by more than 20% without prior approval from the Commission.

 

Issuance of the licence

31.

The licence will expire on 31 August 2009 and will be subject to the conditions set out in New licence form for community radio stations, Public Notice CRTC 2000-157, 16 November 2000, including a condition of licence stipulating the minimum level of category 3 music to be broadcast.

32.

The licence for this undertaking will be issued once the applicant has:
 
  • filed, within six months of the date of this decision, an application proposing the use of a frequency and that it is acceptable to both the Commission and the Department. Any request for an extension of time must be approved by the Commission and should be submitted in writing within the six-month period;
 
  • 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 the decision following the public process with respect to the applicant's proposed new frequency.

33.

The Commission notes that, other than the CBC's transmitter authorized for operation at Cowansville, there is no station licensed to broadcast in English in all or part of the market to be served by the new station. Accordingly, the licence for the new community radio station will be Type A, pursuant to the Community Radio Policy.
 

Employment equity

34.

The Commission considers that community radio stations should be particularly sensitive to employment equity issues in order to reflect fully the communities they serve. It encourages the applicant to consider these 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 

Date Modified: 2003-07-02