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ARCHIVED -  Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-138

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-138

  Ottawa, 8 April 2004
  Atlantic Broadcasters Limited
Antigonish and Inverness, Nova Scotia
  Application 2003-0991-5
Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2003-66
17 December 2003
 

CJFX-FM Antigonish - New transmitter in Inverness

  In this decision, the Commission approves in part the application by Atlantic Broadcasters Limited for authority to operate a transmitter of CJFX-FM Antigonish at Inverness. The licensee must submit for approval an application proposing the use of another suitable frequency other than 97.5 MHz (channel 248B).
 

The application

1. The Commission received an application by Atlantic Broadcasters Limited (Atlantic) requesting an amendment to the broadcasting licence for the radio programming undertaking CJFX-FM Antigonish, in order to operate a transmitter in Inverness. The proposed transmitter would operate at 97.5 MHz (channel 248B) with an average effective radiated power of 2,330 watts.
2. In CJFX Antigonish - Conversion to FM band, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-7, 8 January 2003, the Commission approved the conversion to the FM band of Atlantic's AM station, which had operated on 580 kHz since 1943. The new station, known as CJFX-FM, operates at 98.9 MHz (channel 255C1). Atlantic stated that, within days of shutting down its AM transmitter, it was made aware of a coverage deficiency in northern Cape Breton, where there is no other commercial service available. Atlantic stated that the proposed transmitter would "reinstate our radio service to northern Inverness County on Cape Breton Island", an area previously served by CJFX.
 

Intervention

3. The Commission received an intervention opposing Atlantic's proposal from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
4. The CBC stated that Atlantic's proposed use of 97.5 MHz (channel 248B) would be in conflict with the FM channel proposed by the CBC in its Long Range Radio Plan (LRRP) to implement its Radio Two service in Inverness. The CBC indicated that the parameters proposed by Atlantic would be technically mutually exclusive with the CBC's plans for Inverness. Further, the CBC stated that, if it had been consulted, it would have identified technical alternatives that could have been considered by the applicant that would not have had an impact on the integrity of the LRRP.
5. In reply, the applicant acknowledged the CBC's concerns, and stated that it had conducted a study of alternative frequencies that could be used to rebroadcast the programming of CJFX-FM in the Inverness area. It concluded that the best alternative for its use would be 102.5 MHz (channel 273B), and that it would be prepared to use that frequency.
 

The Commission's analysis and determination

6. The Commission recognizes that with the conversion of CJFX from the AM to the FM band, Atlantic has lost coverage to Inverness County in Cape Breton, and therefore approves in part the application by Atlantic Broadcasters Limited to add a transmitter of CJFX-FM at Inverness. However, the technical parameters proposed in the application are clearly in conflict with the CBC's LRRP, specifically, call sign LRRP-426 in Inverness. Accordingly, the proposed use of 97.5 MHz (channel 248B) by Atlantic is denied. In making its determination, the Commission noted the applicant's statement that Atlantic would be prepared to use an alternative frequency.
7. In Introductory statement to Decisions CRTC 2001-312 to 2001-320: Radio applications considered at the 20 November 2000 public hearing in Burnaby, B.C., Public Notice CRTC 2001-63, 9 June 2001, the Commission stated:
 

As a general observation, the Commission considers that, by keeping its Long Range Radio Plan up to date at all times, the CBC would minimize potential for conflicts between private applicants and the Corporation in the selection of frequencies. The Commission therefore expects the CBC to undertake reviews and provide updates of its Long Range Radio Plan on a semi-annual basis starting 31 August 2001.

8. In expecting the CBC to provide regular updates of its LRRP, the Commission's intention was to ensure that all broadcasters would have access to current information, and thereby avoid conflicts with respect to the use of specific channels between the CBC and other applicants.
9. The Commission notes that the LRRP updated in October 2003 clearly indicates the CBC's intention to use channel 248B for the extension of its Radio Two service to Inverness, Nova Scotia. The Commission strongly encourages all licensed and prospective broadcasters to familiarize themselves with the contents of the LRRP before filing applications in order to avoid conflict with that plan.
10. The Commission notes that, as noted above, subsequent to the intervention by the CBC, Atlantic made a commitment to use another FM channel instead of 248B. Accordingly, the Commission would be prepared to deal expeditiously with an application by Atlantic to amend the technical parameters contained in the original application.
 

Issuance of the licence

11. The Commission will only issue the licence, and it will only be effective at such time as:
 
  • The applicant submits, within three months of the date of this decision, an amendment to its application proposing the use of an FM frequency and technical parameters that are acceptable to both the Commission and the Department of Industry; and
 
  • Pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Department of Industry notifies the Commission that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.
  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

Date Modified: 2004-04-08