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ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-644

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Route reference: 2011-96

Ottawa, 7 October 2011

Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Application 2010-1684-0, received 19 November 2010

CFEQ-FM Winnipeg – Technical changes

The Commission approves the application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. to modify the technical parameters of the English-language specialty radio station CFEQ-FM Winnipeg.

The application

1.      The Commission received an application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. (Golden West) relating to the English-language specialty radio programming undertaking CFEQ-FM Winnipeg. Specifically, the licensee proposed to modify the station’s technical parameters by changing its class from A to C1, by increasing the effective radiated power (ERP) of its transmitter from 920 to 100,000 watts, by changing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 92.1 to 223 metres, and by relocating the transmitter to the same site where the transmitter for CHVN-FM Winnipeg, its other specialty radio station, is located. The licensee also noted that the station’s frequency and specialty format would remain unchanged.

2.      Golden West indicated that approval of the proposed technical changes would result in a reliable and consistent signal to existing listeners. It further indicated that approval of the application would allow it to repatriate listeners who may have abandoned CFEQ-FM due to the inconsistent reception, as well as gain new listeners who may be on the fringe of the current authorized contours where the signal is unreliable. It added that relocating the transmitter for CFEQ-FM to the proposed location would allow it to achieve significant synergies and cost savings.

3.      The Commission received an intervention in support of the application, as well as an intervention from several individuals opposing the application, to which the licensee did not reply. These individuals stated that approval of the proposed technical changes would put CFEQ-FM in competition with other commercial broadcasters, and questioned whether the licensee has provided sufficient proof that the station is not adequately serving the Winnipeg market with its existing technical parameters. They also reminded the Commission that CFEQ-FM was granted a short-term licence renewal due to non-compliance with its Canadian talent development (CTD) contributions for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years. The public record for this proceeding can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca under “Public Proceedings.”

Commission’s analysis and decisions

4.      After examining the public record for this application in light of applicable policies and regulations, the Commission considers that the principal issue it must address is whether Golden West has demonstrated a technical and/or economic need for the requested technical changes.

5.      When a licensee files an application to change its authorized technical parameters, the Commission expects that it should present compelling economic or technical evidence that its existing technical parameters are not adequate to provide the service as originally proposed. In the present case, the Commission considers that technical need has been demonstrated by the numerous complaints, included as part of the application, from listeners within the station’s current technical parameters, who have experienced on-going reception challenges.  

6.      Furthermore, the Commission considers that the proposed technical changes will help CFEQ-FM overcome the financial challenges that it has faced as a result of its inadequate signal coverage and the highly specialized nature of its specialty format, which requires it to devote 95% of all musical selections during the broadcast week to selections drawn from subcategory 35 (Non-classic religious). In addition, the Commission recognizes that approval of the proposed changes would allow Golden West to achieve significant cost savings and synergies by sharing a transmitter site with its other specialty radio station, CHVN-FM.

7.      In regard to the opposing intervention, the Commission considers that the licensee has provided sufficient proof that it is not adequately serving Winnipeg, the community it was originally licensed to serve, with its existing technical parameters. It further considers that the proposed changes will not have an undue negative impact on incumbent stations in the market, given CFEQ-FM’s highly specialized format. Finally, the Commission is aware that CFEQ-FM is currently under a short-term renewal due to non-compliance with its CTD contributions for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years, and notes that this non-compliance issue was dealt with during the station’s licence renewal process, as set out in CFEQ-FM Winnipeg – Licence renewal, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-418, 30 June 2010.

Conclusion

8.      In light of the above, the Commission approves the application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. to modify the technical parameters of the English-language specialty radio programming undertaking CFEQ-FM Winnipeg, by changing its class from A to C1, by increasing the ERP of its transmitter from 920 to 100,000 watts, by changing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 92.1 to 223 metres, and by relocating the transmitter to the site where the transmitter for CHVN-FM Winnipeg is located.

9.      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.

10.  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.