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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-231

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Route reference: 2011-694

Ottawa, 20 April 2012

Papoo Holdings Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario

Application 2011-1175-7, received 21 September 2011
Public hearing in Calgary, Alberta
6 February 2012

Ethnic commercial AM radio station in Ottawa

The Commission denies an application for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial AM radio station in Ottawa.

Introduction

1.      The Commission received an application by Papoo Holdings Inc. (Papoo Holdings) for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial AM radio programming undertaking in Ottawa, Ontario, targeting the Arab community. The new station would operate at 1630 kHz with a transmitter power of 1,000 watts, daytime and night-time.

2.      Papoo Holdings proposed to broadcast 45 hours of local programming in each broadcast week. During peak hours (6am to 6pm), the local programming would amount to 4 hours and 25 minutes per day. On the weekend, the local programming would amount to 4 hours per day. The remainder of the programming would originate from its sister station, CHOU Montréal.

3.      The applicant indicated that it would broadcast 124 hours, or 98.4% per broadcast week, of its programming in Arabic, while the remaining 1.6% would be in the Armenian and Persian languages.

Interventions

4.      The Commission received one joint supporting intervention regarding this application. The Commission also received an intervention in opposition to the application by Radio 1540 Limited (CHIN Radio), the licensee of the ethnic commercial radio station CJLL-FM Ottawa/Gatineau. The applicant replied to CHIN Radio’s intervention. The public record for this proceeding is available on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca under “Public Proceedings.”

5.      In its intervention, CHIN Radio submitted that approval of Papoo Holdings’ application would have a negative impact on CJLL-FM. In particular, CHIN Radio submitted that the proposed station’s 124 hours of new programming in the Arabic language would affect CJLL-FM’s ability to continue to provide high-quality ethnic programming since approximately 25% of that station’s revenue is generated from its Arabic programming.

6.      CHIN Radio further submitted that Papoo Holdings’ application does not meet the objectives for ethnic broadcasters set out in Ethnic broadcasting policy, Public Notice CRTC 1999-117, 16 July 1999 (the Ethnic broadcasting policy) and that the proposed station would not add diversity to the market.

Applicant’s reply

7.      In its reply, Papoo Holdings stated that approval of its application would provide the Arab community with the opportunity to listen to Arabic programming at almost any hour of the day, as opposed to the 35 hours currently provided by CJLL-FM. In regard to CHIN Radio’s claim that the proposed station would not bring diversity to the radio market, Papoo Holdings submitted that its programming would compliment that of CJLL-FM and that it would offer a diversity of voices, information and programming of interest to the public.

Commission’s analysis and decision

8.      After examining the public record for this application in light of applicable policies and regulations, and taking into account the interventions received and the applicant’s reply, the Commission considers that the issues it must address are the following:

  • whether the proposed programming reflects the objectives set out in the Ethnic broadcasting policy; and
  • whether the proposed station would have a negative impact on existing radio stations.

Does the proposed programming reflect the objectives set out in the Ethnic broadcasting policy?

9.      As set out in the Ethnic broadcasting policy, programming provided by an ethnic radio station must generally reflect and serve a broad range of ethnic communities in the station’s coverage area. The Commission notes that 98.4% of the programming proposed by Papoo Holdings would be in Arabic, while the remaining 1.6% would be equally divided between programming in the Armenian and Persian languages. As such, Papoo Holdings’ proposed station would serve almost exclusively the Arab community. The Commission further notes that according to the 2006 census, the Arab community represents 1 of 12 visible minorities in Ottawa-Gatineau, or only 16% of all visible minorities in Ottawa-Gatineau.

10.  In light of all of the above, the Commission is of the view that the proposed programming would not meet the objectives set out in the Ethnic broadcasting policy.

Would the proposed station have a negative impact on existing radio stations?

11.  Given the relatively small size of the Arab community (28,195 persons) in Ottawa-Gatineau and Papoo Holdings’ projected revenues, the Commission considers that the addition of a radio station offering ethnic programming almost exclusively in Arabic would have a considerable financial impact on CJLL-FM, which is required to serve 37 cultural communities in 20 different languages. The Commission notes that CJLL-FM already serves the Arab community in Ottawa-Gatineau by airing, in each broadcast week, 35 hours of Arabic-language programming.

12.  Moreover, the Commission notes that CJLL-FM is required to limit to 15 hours per broadcast week the regional programming that can be simulcast from its sister stations CHIN and CHIN-FM Toronto, while Papoo Holdings proposed to broadcast 81 hours of programming per broadcast week from its sister station CHOU Montréal and indicated that 42% of its newscasts would be imported from various international radio stations. In addition, Papoo Holdings failed to explain how programming targeting Montréal’s Arab community would meet the specific needs and interests of the Ottawa-Gatineau Arab community. The Commission also considers that CJLL-FM’s operational costs would be higher than those of Papoo Holdings because it produces 111 hours of local programming in each broadcast week, as opposed to the 45 hours proposed by Papoo Holdings. For the reasons listed above, the Commission is of the view that approval of the application proposed by Papoo Holdings would have a considerable negative impact on CJLL-FM.

Conclusion

13.  The Commission considers that the applicant’s proposal does not meet the objectives set out in the Ethnic broadcasting policy. Specifically, the Commission considers that the proposed programming would not achieve the range of programming diversity and community reflection in both music and spoken word required by the policy. The Commission also considers that approval of the present application would have a considerable negative impact on the existing radio station CJLL-FM.

14.  In light of the above, the Commission denies the application by Papoo Holdings Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial AM radio programming undertaking in Ottawa, Ontario, targeting the Arabic community.

Secretary General