ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-472

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-472

  Ottawa, 28 September 2005
  Blackburn Radio Inc.
Wingham, Ontario
  Application 2004-1568-9
Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2005-56
7 June 2005

CIBU-FM Wingham - Technical change

  The Commission approves the application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to change the authorized contours of its radio station CIBU-FM Wingham.

The application

1. The Commission received an application by Blackburn Radio Inc. (Blackburn) proposing to change the authorized contours of the radio programming undertaking CIBU-FM Wingham by increasing the average effective radiated power from 21,200 watts to 70,140 watts and by decreasing the antenna height.
2. Blackburn's original application for a licence to operate the Wingham FM station was approved by the Commission in English-language FM radio station in Wingham, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-406, 10 September 2004 (Decision 2004-406). In its licence application, Blackburn had indicated that the station would serve Huron County, Southern Bruce County and a small portion of Perth and Wellington Counties, an area essentially matching that defined by BBM Canada as the Wingham Central Market. The Commission noted in its decision that "approval.would provide residents of Wingham and a large surrounding area with access to a third radio service", to complement those offered by Blackburn's existing stations CKNX and CKNX-FM Wingham.
3. On 20 December 2004, Blackburn filed the present application to change the station's technical parameters. In announcing its receipt of that application (Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2005-56, 7 June 2005), the Commission stated that the licensee wished to improve the station's signal quality to its listeners in Wingham. The application more specifically identified Blackburn's intent as being "to provide Wingham and its surroundings with an FM stereo signal that would use channel 233 to its maximum potential." In subsequent correspondence filed as part of this application, Blackburn stated:

What motivates our application is the wish to provide a signal that reaches the listeners in our Central Market with a format that is completely different than any other service in the area. What permitted us to file it now was the change in Industry Canada's1 restrictions concerning second and third adjacencies.

4. In April 2005, pending the Commission's disposition of the application to change the station's authorized contours, Blackburn put CIBU-FM into operation on the frequency 94.5 MHz (channel 233 C1) with an effective radiated power of 21,200 watts, as had been initially approved in Decision 2004-406.


5. Many individuals submitted interventions describing their dissatisfaction with the over-the-air reception quality of the CIBU-FM signal, and expressing support for approval of Blackburn's application to increase the station's authorized contours. The Commission also received two interventions opposed to approval of the application. One of the opposing interveners was Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation (Bayshore), the licensee of CFPS-FM Port Elgin, Ontario. The other opposing intervener was Burlingham Communications Inc. (Burlingham), the licensee of CIWV-FM Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario.
6. CFPS-FM Port Elgin is a new station. It commenced operation in May 2005, less than two months following the on-air date of Blackburn's CIBU-FM Wingham. The service provided by Bayshore's CFPS-FM replaced that previously offered by a Port Elgin transmitter of Bayshore's AM station in Owen Sound, CFOS. Bayshore is also the licensee of CIXK-FM and CKYC-FM Owen Sound. Its licence application for CFPS-FM Port Elgin was approved in Adult contemporary FM radio station in Port Elgin, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-67, 17 February 2005. On the same date, in Adult Classic Hit FM radio station in Kincardine, with transmitters in Goderich and Port Elgin, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2005-68, 17 February 2005, the Commission approved an application for a second new FM station in Southwestern Ontario, namely that by Brian Cooper and Daniel McCarthy, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Cooper/McCarthy).
7. Bayshore essentially based its opposition to Blackburn's application on two arguments, one being that the proposed power increase for CIBU-FM would be of no benefit to listeners in Wingham. The second argument was that approval would have a serious impact on the new local service offered by Bayshore in Port Elgin and that to be offered by Cooper/McCarthy in Kincardine.
8. CIWV-FM Hamilton/Burlington operates at 94.7 MHz (channel 234B), which is a second adjacent channel to that occupied by CIBU-FM. Burlingham claimed in its intervention that approval of Blackburn's application would cause interference to the "already established coverage and commercial activity" of CIWV-FM. The intervener further alleged that the application offends a January 2002 agreement between itself and Blackburn, whereby Blackburn "agreed to protect CIWV-FM to full class B parameters or 65 km from its transmitter site."

The licensee's response

9. In responding to Bayshore's intervention, Blackburn noted the differences between the Adult Rock format of its Wingham station, the Adult Contemporary format of Bayshore's CFPS-FM Port Elgin and the Adult Classic Hit format to be offered by the station that Cooper/McCarthy is authorized to establish in Kincardine. Blackburn claimed that, because of the differences between the three formats, the technical change it proposed for CIBU-FM would have no impact on the other two stations.
10. The licensee also stated that Bayshore's characterization of Blackburn's underlying rationale as being to better serve listeners only in Wingham was a misreading of the application. Blackburn noted that, as a matter of economic necessity, its business model has always been to agglomerate the population in its Central Market, namely the residents of "Huron County, Southern Bruce (including Kincardine, Goderich and Walkerton), a small part of Wellington County (including Clifford and Harriston) and a part of Perth County (including Listowel and Mitchell)." According to Blackburn, its proposed change would enable it to reach an additional 20,081 persons in the Wingham Central Market. It added that only 4,891 of the additional potential audience within the new area to be served by the expanded local (3mV/m) contour reside outside of the Wingham Central Market.
11. Blackburn referred to the many interventions filed by area residents complaining about the inconsistent reception quality of the CIBU-FM signal. Blackburn noted that the Department of Industry's (the Department's) rules would now enable the applicant to remedy those reception problems. According to Blackburn, this and the other arguments it had advanced in support of its current application had much in common with arguments that had been used by Bayshore at the time it applied for a broadcasting licence to establish a new FM station in Owen Sound in 2001 (CKYC-FM). Blackburn had intervened in opposition to that application out of concern that the proposed station would provide a strong signal in the market served by Blackburn's existing Wingham stations. Blackburn noted the following statements made by Bayshore in response to its intervention in 2001:

Enabling a small local broadcaster to improve its service to its core audience is critical to allowing it to benefit from the Commission's multiple licence ownership policy, and, as such, to preserving diversity and local voices within our system. .


All broadcasters strive to improve their technical ability to reach as much of their BBM central market as feasible given the limitations of current broadcasting technology, and rightly so. Bayshore Broadcasting hopes to be able to reach a higher percentage of its total BBM Central Area with the addition of the proposed FM service.

12. In reply to Burlingham's intervention, Blackburn stated that it had entered into no agreement with Burlingham, written or otherwise, "to limit indefinitely the parameters of CIBU-FM in order as not to cause any interference to CIWV-FM." According to the licensee, the current application proposed "a legitimate increase in parameters within the required limitation specified by Industry Canada for the CIBU-FM station", a change that the Department had, in fact, declared technically acceptable under its current broadcast procedures and rules. The licensee added that any interference to the secondary contour of CIWV-FM created under the proposed amendment would be minimal, and that approval of its application would result in improved use "of the valuable Canadian FM spectrum in what is known to be the most congested area, from an FM Radio perspective, of Canada."

Commission's analysis and determinations

13. In the Commission's view, the licensee has presented reasonable and convincing arguments in support of its request to change the authorized contours of CIBU-FM. In particular, the Commission accepts Blackburn's contention that its primary purpose is to improve the CIBU-FM signal within the Wingham Central Market and to remedy, thereby, existing shortcomings in the quality of the signal as received over the air by many residents of that area. The Commission has also considered the fact that the Department has found the proposal to be conditionally technically acceptable.
14. The Commission notes that Blackburn provided no estimate of the incremental revenue it expected to earn as a consequence of the greater reach that the CIBU-FM signal would achieve following approval. At the same time, neither of the opposing interveners attempted to quantify the impact that approval of the application would have on their stations in Port Elgin and Burlington. Nor does the Commission have benefit of the views that Cooper/McCarthy may have as to the impact of approval on its proposed station in Kincardine. While it is thus difficult for the Commission, itself, to estimate with precision the extent of any such impact, it is satisfied that it should be relatively insignificant in the case of each of the three stations potentially affected, as regards both the size of the audience attracted to the station and the revenues that it earns as a consequence.
15. Accordingly, the Commission approves the application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to change the authorized contours of the radio programming undertaking CIBU-FM Wingham by increasing the average effective radiated power from 21,200 watts to 70,140 watts and by decreasing the antenna height.
16. 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.
17. The Commission reminds the licensee that, pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, this authority will only be effective when the Department 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 in PDF format or in HTML at the following Internet site:
1The Department of Industry
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