ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-306
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Route reference: Part 1 applications posted on 6 June 2013 and 6 August 2013
Ottawa, 9 June 2014
Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC
Gaspé and Rivière-au-Renard, Quebec
Applications 2013-0789-3 and 2013-1122-4
CHNC-FM New Carlisle – Changes to technical parameters for the transmitter CHGM-FM Gaspé, and addition of a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard
The Commission approves the applications by Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC to change the technical parameters of CHGM-FM Gaspé, a transmitter of the French-language commercial radio station CHNC-FM New Carlisle, and to add a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard.
As a result, listeners will once again have access to the signal of CHNC-FM as well as to greater musical diversity.
- The Commission received an application from Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC (the Coopérative) relating to the French-language commercial radio station CHNC-FM New Carlisle (application 2013-0789-3). The Coopérative applied:
- to increase the average effective radiated power (ERP) of CHGM-FM Gaspé, a transmitter of CHNC-FM, from 257 to 2,540 watts (maximum ERP from 468 to 2540 watts);Footnote 1
- to change the antenna radiation pattern of CHGM-FM from directional to non-directional; and
- to increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain (EHAAT) from 73 to 76.2 metres.
- The Commission also received an application to amend the broadcasting licence for CHNC-FM in order to add a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard (application 2013-1122-4). The new transmitter would operate on frequency 106.7 MHz (channel 294A) with an average ERP of 325 watts (maximum ERP of 520 watts with an EHAAT of 195.3 metres).Footnote 2
- The applicant indicated that the proposed changes are necessary to enable it to recover the station’s initial coverage area and regain some of the listeners that were lost when the station converted to the FM band.
- The two applications were considered together. The Commission received interventions in opposition, as well as an intervention providing general comments. One of the opposing interventions was filed by an individual and did not directly address issues relating to these applications. The public record for each application can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca, or by using the application numbers provided above.
Commission’s analysis and decisions
- After examining the public record for these applications in light of applicable regulations and policies, the Commission considers that the issues it must address are the following:
- whether the licensee has demonstrated a technical need for the proposed changes;
- whether the proposed changes represent appropriate technical solutions;
- whether the proposed changes make appropriate use of radio spectrum; and
- whether increasing the power of CHGM-FM and adding a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard would have an undue financial impact on the community radio station CJRG-FM Gaspé and on its programming.
Technical need for proposed changes
When the licensee of a radio station files an application to change that station’s authorized technical parameters, the Commission expects it to present compelling economic or technical evidence that the current technical parameters are not adequate to provide the service as originally proposed.
The applicant indicated that it lost a portion of the station’s coverage area when it converted its signal from the AM to the FM band in 2008, as authorized in CHNC New Carlisle and its transmitter CHGM Gaspé - Conversion to the FM band and addition of FM transmitters in Carleton, Chandler and Percé, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2008-51, 3 March 2008 (Broadcasting Decision 2008-51). According to the applicant, the residents of Rivière-au-Renard cannot receive the station’s FM signal. It further submitted that the hilly terrain along the shore near Gaspé allows only sporadic coverage. As a result, the applicant wishes to resolve the signal gaps in Gaspé and recover the coverage area lost at Rivière-au-Renard. The applicant filed letters in support of its applications.
Radio Gaspésie inc. (Radio Gaspésie), licensee of community radio station CJRG-FM, opposed the application for technical changes to CHGM-FM, stating that the Coopérative did not file evidence of observed signal problems and did not demonstrate the extent of the problems with its coverage in Gaspé and the surrounding area. In its reply, the Coopérative provided a realistic detailed map showing the inhabited areas where coverage would be recovered by the proposed changes. Radio Gaspésie did not oppose the application to add a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard, but did provide comments on that application.
By comparing the station’s initial coverage area before the FM conversion with its present coverage, the Commission determined that residents in the Rivière-au-Renard area are unable to receive the station’s FM signal. In addition, some portions of Gaspé and the surrounding area that were previously served by the station’s AM signal cannot be adequately served by its FM signal.
The Commission therefore finds that the applicant has demonstrated a technical need for the proposed changes. Furthermore, consumers would again have access to the signal of CHNC-FM and to greater musical diversity.
Appropriate technical solutions
The applicant proposed to use a new non-directional antenna and a more powerful transmitter to replace its transmitter CHGM-FM at Gaspé and to relocate the existing transmitter to a new retransmission site at Rivière-au-Renard.
The applicant stated that it has considered alternate solutions, including a new transmitter site, to be able to serve the two communities. However, the hilly terrain around Gaspé Bay complicates this option.
The Commission notes that the applicant has taken steps to minimize overlap in the primary coverage areas of its transmitters in the region, namely, CHGM-FM, CHNC-FM-3 Percé and the proposed transmitter for Riviére-au-Renard. The map provided by the applicant shows that the only primary coverage overlap occurs over water. In regard to possible interference resulting from the proposed increase in CHGM-FM’s power, the applicant, in its reply, committed to resolve any ensuing problems in the region identified in its application.
The Commission considers that the proposed parameters for the transmitter at Riviére-au-Renard are adequate to serve the region well. Further, the Commission considers that the proposed technical changes for CHGM-FM will expand coverage in the Gaspé area while reducing interference problems.
Accordingly, the Commission finds that the applicant’s proposals constitute appropriate technical solutions.
Use of spectrum
Since the use of the frequency 99.3 MHz is already authorized for the Gaspé station, the Commission considers that the proposed change will not have an impact on the availability of frequencies in Gaspé and the neighbouring markets.
Moreover, the applicant proposed to use the frequency 106.7 MHz (channel 294A) for its transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard. The Commission notes that two allotments are still available at Rivière-au-Renard and Gaspé.
In light of the above, the Commission finds that the licensee’s proposals make appropriate use of the radio spectrum.
Financial impact on the community radio station CJRG-FM and on its programming
- The Gaspé Peninsula radio market is served by, in addition to stations of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, two players that each operates an originating station and several retransmitters, namely, the Coopérative and Radio Gaspésie.
- CHNC-FM and its transmitters essentially cover the eastern (Gaspé) and southern portions of the Gaspé Peninsula, while CJRG-FM and its transmitters cover the eastern (Gaspé) and northern portions. Apart from Gaspé, the two stations serve two different markets.
- Radio Gaspésie opposed the application to increase the power of the transmitter CHGM-FM due to its concerns over the financial impact that approval could have on the Gaspé market.
- In regard to the addition of a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard, Radio Gaspésie was not opposed to the proposed change, but filed a comment noting its concern over the combined impact of the new transmitter and the proposed power increase for CHGM-FM. In particular, Radio Gaspésie expressed concern that this combined approach would eventually lead to an application to operate the transmitter CHGM-FM as an originating station, which would have a more disruptive effect on the balance of the advertising market in Gaspé.
- The Coopérative stated that it did not intend to venture beyond its market area for the transmitter CHGM-FM and the proposed transmitter for Rivière-au-Renard. The Coopérative also stated that it did not plan to broadcast any programming specific to the transmitter CHGM-FM and the proposed transmitter for Rivière-au-Renard. If approved, the transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard would rebroadcast all the programming of the originating station CHNC-FM.
- In the Commission’s view, several factors suggest that approval of the two applications filed by the Coopérative would not have a significant financial impact on the incumbent stations, especially CJRG-FM. More particularly, as noted in Broadcasting Decision 2008-51:
- CHNC has been serving the southern coastal corridor of the Gaspé Peninsula bounded by the Matapedia Valley and Cloridorme for several decades, and over the years has developed an audience and a clientele in the various communities served; and
- a significant portion of the station’s advertising revenues comes from markets other than New Carlisle.
- Since CHNC-FM is already present in the market, approval of the application to increase the power for the Gaspé transmitter would bring about a relatively modest increase in the population served. The Commission therefore considers that the station’s capacity to generate additional revenue in Gaspé would be limited.
- In regard to the addition of a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard, there are currently no originating stations serving this market and the Commission did not receive any interventions opposing that application.
- The Commission notes that CJRG-FM is essentially a “regional” station in terms of coverage area, generated revenue, programming, and advertising sales. CJRG-FM is therefore in a good position to compete against CHNC-FM.
- In light of the above, the Commission considers that the factors cited earlier would offset the potential financial impact on the community station CJRG-FM. Accordingly, the Commission finds that approval of the applications filed by the Coopérative would not have an undue financial impact on CJRG-FM or on its programming.
- In light of all of the above, the Commission approves the application by Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC relating to the French-language commercial radio programming undertaking CHNC-FM New Carlisle in order to:
- increase the average ERP of CHGM-FM Gaspé from 257 to 2,540 watts (maximum ERP from 468 to 2540 watts);
- change the antenna radiation pattern of CHGM-FM from directional to non-directional; and
- increase the EHAAT from 73 to 76.2 metres.
- The Commission also approves the application by the Coopérative to amend the broadcasting licence for CHNC-FM in order to add a transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard. The new transmitter will operate on frequency 106.7 MHz (channel 294A) with an average ERP of 325 watts (maximum ERP of 520 watts with an EHAAT of 195.3 metres).
- The Commission reminds the licensee that, pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, this authority will only be effective when the Department of Industry notifies the Commission that its technical requirements have been met and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.
- The transmitter at Rivière-au-Renard 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 9 June 2016. In order to ensure that such a request is processed in a timely manner, it should be submitted in writing at least 60 days before that date.
*This decision is to be appended to each licence.
- Date modified: