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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-572

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-572

  Ottawa, 14 November 2003
  Astral Radio Atlantic Inc.
Bathurst, New Brunswick
  Application 2003-0391-7
Public Hearing in the National Capital Region
29 September 2003
 

CKBC Bathurst - Conversion to FM band

  The Commission approves the application by Astral Radio Atlantic Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a new English-language FM radio programming undertaking at Bathurst.
1. 1. The Commission received an application by Astral Radio Atlantic Inc. (Astral) for a broadcasting licence to operate a new English-language FM radio programming undertaking in Bathurst, New Brunswick to replace its AM station CKBC.
2. The applicant operates CKBC as the only local commercial English-language station in Bathurst. The local market is also served by CKLE-FM, a French-language commercial radio station.
3. The new station will offer an adult contemporary music format. The local programming will include news, weather, sports and community information. The applicant notes that there will be no change in the language of the station, its programming and its service to the Bathurst community. Recognizing CKBC's history of serving the bilingual Bathurst market, the applicant will continue to broadcast some French-language programming, up to a weekly maximum of 9 hours.
4. The station will operate at 104.9 MHz (channel 285B) with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts.
 

Fulfilment of benefits and Canadian talent development expenditures

5. As part of its application, Astral was questioned on its plans related to the new FM's contribution to Canadian talent development with specific reference to:
 
  • the unfulfilled portion of the inherited benefits described in Acquisition of assets, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-90, 25 April 1997 (Decision 97-170);
 
  • the unfulfilled portion of the benefits described in Transfer of control of 3903206 Canada Inc., of Telemedia Radio Atlantic Inc. and of 50% of Radiomedia Inc. to Astral Radio Inc., Decision CRTC 2002-90, 19 April 2002 (Decision 2002-90), and
 
  • the annual contribution of the new FM station as part of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Canadian talent development plan (CAB/CTD).
6. Astral stated that the new FM's portion of these expenditures will be as follows:
 
  • $12,000 in each of the years 2004 and 2005, representing the unfulfilled portion of the inherited benefits flowing from Decision 2002-90;
 
  • $25,000 in each of the years 2004 to 2010, representing the portion of the benefits flowing from Decision 2002-90, and
 
  • $400 in each of the years 2004 to 2010, representing the annual contribution under the CAB/CTD plan.
7. Based on these plans, by condition of licence, the station would contribute tothe fulfilment of benefits and Canadian talent development, an annual minimum expenditure of $37,400 in each of the years 2004 and 2005 and an annual minimum expenditure of $25,400 in each of the years 2006 to 2010.
 

Interventions

8. The Commission received 11 interventions in regard to this application, 10 of which expressed support. One intervention opposing Astral's proposal was submitted by Radio de la Baie Ltée (Radio de la Baie). The intervener is the licensee of CKLE-FM, a French-language commercial radio station in Bathurst.
9. The intervener expressed concern with Astral's plans to broadcast French-language programming on the new station and argued that Astral's plans to broadcast the station's FM signal at an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts was unwarranted.
10. Related to Astral's plans to broadcast French-language programming, the intervener cited its intervention at the time of CKBC's last licence renewal, published in Licence renewal for CKBC, Decision CRTC 98-531, 23 December 1998 (Decision 98-531). At that time, Radio de la Baie opposed the continued carriage of French-language programming and advertising on CKBC, based on potential financial harm to CKLE-FM. The intervener suggests that these concerns remain valid. The intervener argues that authorizing the new FM to broadcast French-programming and advertising while operating as an English-language station would give the new FM a competitive advantage over CKLE-FM, which operates exclusively in French.
11. With respect to the intervener's concern related to the new FM's signal, the intervener argued that the 20,000 watt FM power proposed by Astral to replace CKBC's existing service area was excessive and that it believed that this power level would enable the applicant to serve non-Anglophone areas, in particular, the Acadian Peninsula where the population is largely Francophone.
 

The applicant's reply

12. In reply to the intervener's concerns, Astral stated that its plans to continue to broadcast some French-language programming on its new FM is consistent with CKBC's operation in Bathurst for the last 50 years. It pointed out that CKLE-FM's original licensing decision did not note a concern related to CKBC's practice of broadcasting French-language programming.
13. The applicant reiterated the Commission's conclusion set out in Decision 98-531 that noted the station's long-standing service to the bilingual Bathurst market. It further noted that it would continue with the same programming as part of CKBC's move to FM and would contribute to diversity in the radio market by continuing to broadcast some programming and advertising in French.
14. The applicant stated that it designed its technical proposal to conform to the Commission's definition for a radio market, set out in An FM Policy for the Nineties, Public Notice CRTC 1990-111, 17 December 1990. (Public Notice 1990-111). In that notice, the 3 mV/m signal contour of an FM station and the 15 mV/m daytime signal contour of an AM station are specified for the purposes of defining the market of a radio station. Public Notice 1990-111 also refers to the Central Area as defined by BBM Bureau of Mesurement as an alternative definition of a radio market.Astral stated further that, while the existing CKBC AM transmitter covers Caraquet, Shippegan, Lamèque and Miscou, the 0.5 mV/m FM contour proposed in its application would be considerably smaller and would not have an impact in the Acadian Peninsula.
  The Commission's analysis and conclusion
15. In its evaluation of this application, the Commission has considered the views of the applicant and of the interveners.
16. The Commission notes that it received no opposing interventions from residents of Bathurst expressing concern with CKBC's plans to continue broadcasting French-language programming on the new FM. The Commission also notes that the broadcasting of French-language programming has traditionally been offered by CKBC and forms part of the licensee's programming plans as part of the station's conversion to FM.
17. As set out in Decision 98-531:
 

The Commission has considered the views of the intervener and of the licensee. It notes that CKBC has historically served the very bilingual Bathurst market with some French-language programming. The Commission reminds the licensee that, despite the service that it offers and plans to continue to broadcast to the area, its primary responsibility is to serve the English-speaking audience of Bathurst.

18. Furthermore, the Commission notes that, while the intervener argued that the continued broadcasting of French-language programming on the new FM would cause potential financial harm to CKLE-FM, the intervener failed to submit compelling evidence to justify this concern.
19. The Commission reiterates, however, that despite the service that it has traditionally offered and proposes to continue to offer, the licensee's primary responsibility is to serve the English-speaking audience of Bathurst.
20. Based upon an examination of the comparative map submitted by Astral which shows the locations of the proposed FM and the existing CKBC AM contours, the Commission concurs with Astral that its technical proposal conforms to the market definition guidelines that the Commission has set out in Public Notice 1990-111. In particular, the Commission notes that Astral's proposed 0.5 mV/m FM contour just barely encloses Grande Anse and falls well outside of Caraquet. The Commission further agrees with the applicant that while it is virtually impossible for an FM station to precisely duplicate the contours of an AM station, the proposed conversion of CKBC to the FM band would result in a better quality signal than that provided by the current AM service.
  Issuance of the licence
21. The licence will expire 31 August 2010 and will be subject to the conditions set outin New licence form for commercial radio stations, Public Notice CRTC 1999-137, 24 August 1999, and to the conditions of licence set out in the appendix to this decision.
22. 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.
23. The Commission reminds the applicant 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.
24. Furthermore, the licence for this undertaking will be issued once the applicant 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 14 November 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.
25. 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 2003-572

 

Conditions of licence

 

1. In each of the years 2004 and 2005 the licensee is required to contribute tothe fulfilment of benefits and Canadian talent development, a minimum of $37,400. In each year from 2006 to 2010 the licensee is required to contribute to the fulfilment of benefits and Canadian talent development, a minimum amount of $25,400. Included in these expenditures is the licensee's annual $400 contribution as part of the CAB/CTD plan.

 

2. The licensee is authorized to simulcast the programming of the new FM station on CKBC for a transition period of six months following the commencement of operations of the FM station. The licensee must surrender the AM licence for revocation by the Commission at the end of this period.

Date Modified: 2003-11-14