ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-159
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Route reference: Part 1 application posted on 8 August 2014
Ottawa, 23 April 2015
Radio Markham York Incorporated
Markham and Aurora, Ontario
CFMS-FM Markham – New transmitter in Aurora
The Commission denies an application for a new FM transmitter in Aurora to rebroadcast the programming of the English-language commercial radio station CFMS-FM Markham.
- Radio Markham York Incorporated (Radio Markham) filed an application to amend the broadcasting licence for the English-language commercial radio stationCFMS-FM Markham to add an FM transmitter in Aurora.
- The transmitter would operate at 91.7 MHz (channel 219A) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 45 watts (maximum ERP of 150 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 179.5 metres).
- Radio Markham stated that adding the transmitter was necessary for the financial viability of CFMS-FM. It noted that the transmitter would allow the station to secure regional advertising buys and that expanding the service into Aurora and parts of Newmarket would reflect the interconnectedness of communities within the regional municipality of York.
Interventions and applicant’s reply
- The Commission received interventions supporting the application. The Commission also received interventions opposing the application by two individuals who noted that CFMS-FM was licensed to serve the Markham market and not the entire York Region. The public record for this application can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca or by using the application number provided above.
- In reply to the opposing interventions, Radio Markham again noted the interconnectedness of the communities within the York Region and stated that the transmitter would benefit listeners in Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Aurora. The licensee added that CFMS-FM would maintain service to Markham as its primary market.
Commission’s analysis and decisions
- When a licensee files an application to change its authorized contours, including by adding a transmitter, the Commission expects the licensee to present compelling technical or economic evidence justifying the proposed technical change. In light of this expectation and the information provided in the application, the Commission considers that the issues to be addressed are as follows:
- whether the applicant has demonstrated a compelling economic need for the proposed transmitter;
- whether the addition of the new transmitter is necessary to provide the service as originally proposed; and
- whether the proposal makes appropriate use of radio spectrum.
- Radio Markham stated that CFMS-FM faced financial challenges due to its lack of coverage within the key York Region communities of Newmarket and Aurora. The licensee submitted that the station would be more marketable to potential advertisers if its signal reached the entire York Region. Finally, it indicated that CFMS-FM would operate at a loss for the next three years whether or not the application were approved, but that the losses would be more significant in the case of a denial.
- The Commission notes that it is common for stations to operate at a loss in the first few years of operation, as is the case with CFMS-FM, which launched on 5 February 2014. In light of the preceding, the Commission is of the view that the licensee has not presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate a compelling economic need for the addition of the transmitter.
Providing the service as originally proposed
- Approval of the proposed transmitter would significantly expand the coverage area of CFMS-FM relative to its originally authorized contours.Footnote 1 The revised coverage would notably include the market of Aurora and parts of Newmarket, both in the York Region.
- By contrast, the original application for the station proposed to serve Markham, parts of Richmond Hill and Vaughan, but neither Aurora nor the entire York Region. While that application made reference to emphasizing local news from Markham and the York Region, this region was submitted not as the principal market for the proposed station but rather as the larger regional municipality in which the station would operate.
- Accordingly, the Commission considers that the licensee has not demonstrated that the proposed transmitter is necessary to provide the service as originally proposed.
Appropriate use of radio spectrum
- The Commission considers that the use of one of the last known frequencies for a rebroadcasting transmitter may not be the best use of frequency 91.7 MHz in a radio market characterized by a scarcity of available frequencies.
- In light of all of the above, the Commission denies the application by Radio Markham York Incorporated to amend the broadcasting licence for the English-language commercial radio programming undertakingCFMS-FM Markham to add an FM transmitter in Aurora.
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