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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-431

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-431

  Ottawa, 28 August 2003
  Fondation radio enfant (du Canada)
Gatineau, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario
  Application 2002-0764-8
Public Hearing at Québec, Quebec
8 April 2003
 

French-language AM radio station in Gatineau and Ottawa

  The Commission approves the application by Fondation radio enfant (du Canada) to operate a not-for-profit French-language AM radio station in Gatineau and Ottawa, with programming oriented to children and youth.
 

The application

1.

The Commission received an application by Fondation radio enfant (du Canada) (Radio enfant), a not-for-profit company, for a licence to operate a French-language AM radio programming undertaking in Gatineau and Ottawa at 1250 kHz with a transmitter power of 1000 watts during the day time and 100 watts at night.
 

Ownership

2.

Radio enfant is a not-for-profit corporation without share capital that is incorporated under federal legislation. The company will be controlled by its Board of Directors, the members of which will be elected for a one-year term. To ensure continuity in the company's management, the Commission encourages the applicant to elect members of its Board of Directors for a term longer than one year.

3.

The applicant stated its intention to implement a structure based on broad participation that is modelled on community radio to ensure that young people, the educational community and associations participate directly in the station's management and production.
 

Programming

4.

The applicant stated that the new station's programming will target children from 5 to 13 years of age, although some programs will be aimed at teenagers 14 to 18 years of age. Programming will be by and for young people, and will reflect the educational objectives of school programs.

5.

The applicant stipulated that "[TRANSLATION] three people will be assigned to programming and hosting. Production will be computer-assisted and partly automated. The production team will also support the teams of young people. Priority will be given to these positions to ensure quality through competence." The applicant plans to acquire five mobile studios so that it may broadcast live from schools and other locations frequented by young people.

6.

Information and news will be local and focus on the station's youth target audience. Information will focus primarily on school, municipal, cultural and sports activities of interest to young people. The applicant stated that a station reporter, a team of youth reporters and correspondents across Canada and throughout the international Francophone community will have full responsibility for gathering, processing and broadcasting news.

7.

The station will also air open-line programs which, according to a commitment made by the applicant, will comply with the Policy regarding open-line programming, Public Notice CRTC 1988-213, 23 December 1988.

8.

During the school year, a large percentage of the station's programming will originate from participating schools in Outaouais region in Quebec and Ontario, and to a lesser degree, from the Canadian school system. On weekends and during holidays, community organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and youth centres, will be invited to make radio programming a primary activity. Music, song and mini-programs such as short stories, tales and educational and informative messages will be presented. During the summer, Radio enfant will broadcast live from parks and public places. Festivals and other events will also be covered live by young people.

9.

Music programming will be primarily from the pop, rock and dance category. Musical selections will be different from those heard on other stations, and will focus on selections for children and teenagers. The station will present several music genres, including world beat, that is, international music for youth.

10.

The applicant added that the station will offer coaching and training to young people, and that it intends to invest in the production of sound recordings by young people. Annual compilations will be produced as a way of showcasing them.

11.

The applicant will devote 80% of all musical selections broadcast to selections from sub-category 21 (Pop, rock and dance) and 9% to musical selections from category 2, other than those from sub-category 21. The applicant will also devote 11% of its musical selections to selections from category 3 (Special Interest Music).
 

Financial resources

12.

The applicant stated in its application that it is counting on diverse sources of revenue, other than traditional advertising. Advertising aimed at children will comply with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children and with the applicant's policy on advertising that emphasizes activities and products essential to child growth, safety and well-being and does not include products (lotteries, alcohol, tobacco, films) not intended for children. The applicant is counting on, among others things, sponsorships, local financial support, contributions from institutions that work with children and educational production services in schools and colleges. It will also focus on fundraising campaigns so as to be less dependent on advertising dollars.
 

Access to contributions to Canadian programming

13.

The applicant is asking the Commission to authorize broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) and programming undertakings to allocate to Radio enfant a percentage of their mandatory contributions to the production of Canadian programming. It stated that that Radio enfant was created in the form of a foundation for that purpose and that it will manage the funds in compliance with the Commission's rules. The applicant indicated that it has approached broadcasting undertakings, asking them to add Radio enfant to the initiatives that benefit from their contributions.

14.

In this respect, the Commission notes that Radio enfant is not an eligible organization pursuant to Contributions to Canadian Programming by Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings, Public Notice CRTC 1997-98, 22 July 1997 (Public Notice 1997-98). The Commission notes that Public Notice 1997-98 clearly states that contributions by BDUs to the production of quality Canadian programs should not be directed to the production of radio programming. The Commission therefore denies this component of the application.

15.

The Commission notes that, as a licensee and organization providing radio programming to children and youth, Radio enfant will contribute to the objectives of section 3.(1)(i) of the Broadcasting Act.

16.

The Commission notes in this respect that the financial contributions paid to Radio enfant as benefits relating to transfers of ownership in broadcasting could, in general, be acceptable to the Commission, subject to the applicants specifying how the anticipated financial support for Radio enfant would be spent in a way that would strengthen and promote the development of Canadian talent, and especially the children and young people targeted by the service.
 

Eligibility for CAB contributions to Canadian talent development

17.

The applicant also asked to be recognized as an eligible third party for CAB contributions to Canadian talent development. In Contributions by radio stations to Canadian talent development - a new approach, Public Notice CRTC 1995-196, 17 November 1995 (Public Notice 1995-196), the Commission noted that the CAB supported the Commission's proposed definition of eligible third parties, which included "FACTOR, MusicAction, national and provincial music organizations, performing arts groups, schools and scholarship recipients." The Commission notes that, in compliance with current practice, all monies allocated to third parties should be directly related to the development of Canadian musical and other artistic talent.

18.

Furthermore, in Public Notice 1995-196, the Commission determined that grants to schools will generally be eligible expenditures for purposes of Canadian talent development only when directed to arts faculties to purchase instruments or undertake performances, or when such grants are used to fund other projects related to the development of musical and artistic talent. Scholarships will qualify as Canadian talent development expenditures only when they support students engaged in music, journalism or other artistic studies. Grants to those organizations offering courses in broadcasting or devoted to the continuing education of radio station staff will not qualify.

19.

The Commission notes that the applicant has applied for a local broadcasting licence targeting a youth audience, and that the proposed station does not meet the eligibility criteria set out above. Therefore, in light of Public Notice 1995-196, the Commission finds that Radio enfant does not qualify as an eligible third party for CAB contributions, and denies this component of the application.
 

Interventions

20.

The Commission received two interventions opposing the application: one from the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (l'ADISQ) and the other from CHWO Radio Limited (now known as Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited), the licensee for CJYE Oakville, Ontario.

21.

In its intervention, l'ADISQ stated that:
 

[TRANSLATION] given its characteristics, the Radio enfant proposal does not seem to fit within one of the generic types of radio stations set out by the Commission in its policy and regulations. However, l'ADISQ is of the view that with respect to Canadian content, French-language music content, and the development of Canadian talent, the applicant's proposal is completely consistent with the activities of commercial radio stations.

22.

L'ADISQ therefore requested that, to ensure equitable treatment of other regulated radio licensees, the Commission apply the criteria it uses when evaluating competitive applications for new commercial radio services, i.e., impact on the market, competition within the market, diversity of news sources within the market and the quality of the application.

23.

L'ADISQ also opposed the recognition of Radio enfant as "[TRANSLATION] an activity eligible for contributions and tangible benefits allocated by broadcasting and distribution undertakings to Canadian programming." Finally, l'ADISQ maintained that, because the applicant will have access to the advertising market in Gatineau and Ottawa, the Commission should encourage it to provide a plan for contributing to Canadian talent development corresponding to the market category, and to pay those contributions to MusicAction.

24.

In response to the l'ADISQ intervention, Radio enfant pointed out the non-commercial nature of its proposal, and noted that it will provide a new source of information programming. The applicant also reiterated its intent to comply with and exceed all CRTC Canadian content regulations, and pointed out, among other things, that over 70% of its programming will Canadian, 20% of which will be devoted to children's songs produced in the schools, and that 98% of its musical programming will be in the French-language. The applicant emphasized the significant Canadian component of its proposal, given the participation of over 200 schools across Canada, and the fact that its programming will be accessible via satellite services. Finally, the applicant reiterated its commitments with respect to Canadian talent development, and specified that its participation would not be in the form of financial contributions to MusicAction, but would instead constitute direct investment in radio programming produced by children. The applicant added that the non-commercial nature of its proposal does not make such financial contributions possible.

25.

In its intervention, CHWO Radio Limited pointed out that the 1250 kHz frequency proposed by Radio enfant conflicts directly with its intent to implement a technical change that would involve use of that frequency to improve night time coverage of its station CJYE Oakville. The intervener proposed as a solution that Radio enfant use 1450 kHz, which, according to its engineer, would offer Radio enfant better night time coverage than the 1250 kHz frequency.

26.

In response, Radio enfant stated that it was open to any modification that could improve its signal in the intended service area, and that the issue could be reviewed once it obtains a licence.
 

The Commission's conclusions

27.

The Commission notes that as a not-for-profit commercial AM radio station, Radio enfant's licence would be subject to all the requirements set out in the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations), thus responding to most of the concerns expressed by l'ADISQ with respect to Canadian content and French-language vocal music.

28.

Given the nature of the service proposed by Radio enfant, and the commitments made by the applicant in its response to the l'ADISQ intervention, i.e., that 70% of its programming would be devoted to Canadian programs, 20% of which would be devoted to children's songs produced in the schools, and that 98% of its musical programming would be in the French-language, the Commission finds it appropriate to exempt Radio enfant from the obligation to make contributions to Canadian talent development according to the CAB plan.

29.

Furthermore, given the community nature of the new station, the licence will be subject to certain conditions of licence similar to those imposed on community stations with respect to the content of sponsorships and with respect to spoken word and music programming. These conditions of licence, which are appended to this decision, should also satisfy the concerns raised by l'ADISQ in those areas. The Commission notes that the station cannot be qualified as a community radio station because it is intended for a specific target audience, i.e., children and teenagers, and not the entire community as required by the Community Radio Policy, Public Notice CRTC 2000-13, 28 January 2000.

30.

With respect to the intervention by CHWO Radio Limited, the Commission notes that, based on the applicant's response, that there is the possibility of an agreement between the applicant and the intervener. From a technical perspective, the Commission notes that the Department of Industry (the Department) has approved the use of the 1250 kHz frequency by Radio enfant.

31.

The Commission is satisfied with the applicant's responses to the interveners. Given the preceding, the Commission approves the application by Fondation radio enfant (du Canada) to operate a not-for-profit French-language AM radio station in Gatineau and Ottawa. The station will operate on frequency 1250 kHz with a transmitter power of 1000 watts during the day time and 100 watts at night.
 

Issuance of the licence

32.

The licence will expire 31 August 2009 and will be subject to the conditions specified in New licence form for commercial radio stations, Public Notice CRTC 1999-137, 24 August 1999, with the exception of condition of licence No. 5, and the conditions in the appendix to this decision.

33.

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

34.

Furthermore, the licence for this undertaking will 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 28 August 2005. 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.
  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 2003-431

 

Conditions of licence

1.

The licensee shall devote, during each broadcast week, not less that 20% of its programming to Spoken Word programming (Category 1), including News (Subcategory 11) and Spoken word - other (Subcategory 12), focussing mainly on the community, as defined in Revised content categories and subcategories for radio, Public Notice CRTC 2000-14, 28 January 2000 (Public Notice 2000-14), as amended from time to time.

2.

The licensee shall devote, during each broadcast week, not less than 20% of its musical selections to selections from subcategories other than Pop, rock and dance (Subcategory 21), as defined in Public Notice 2000-14, as amended from time to time.

3.

The licensee shall devote, during each broadcast week, not less than 5% of its musical selections to selections from Category 3 (Special Interest Music) as defined in Public Notice 2000-14, as amended from time to time.

4.

The licensee may not broadcast advertising of products prohibited to individuals under 18 years of age (lotteries, tobacco and alcohol) and shall solicit sponsorships only from companies interested in providing educational and informative youth-oriented messages.

Date Modified: 2003-08-28