ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-488
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Ottawa, 3 November 2015
Ash-Creek Television Society
Cache Creek and Ashcroft, British Columbia
Application 2015-0180-0, received 21 February 2015
Public hearing in the National Capital Region
22 July 2015
English-language community radio station in Cache Creek with transmitter in Ashcroft
The Commission denies an application for a broadcasting licence to operate a low-power, English-language community FM radio station in Cache Creek and a low-power FM rebroadcasting transmitter in Ashcroft.
- Ash-Creek Television Society (Ash-Creek) filed an application to operate a low-power, English-language community FM radio station in Cache Creek, British Columbia, and a low-power FM rebroadcasting transmitter in Ashcroft. The Commission did not receive any interventions regarding this application.
- The new station in Cache Creek would operate at 97.1 MHz (channel 246LP) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 21.4 watts (maximum ERP of 25.6 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain (EHAAT) of -29.7 metres). The transmitter in Ashcroft would operate at 99.1 MHz (channel 256VLP) with an ERP of 6.4 watts (non-directional antenna with an EHAAT of -33.5 metres).Footnote 1
- The applicant indicated that the station would broadcast 126 hours of local programming each broadcast week, including 50 minutes of newscasts targeting the local communities of Cache Creek and Ashcroft. Ash-Creek proposed to offer local news programming relating to two Aboriginal communities bordering Cache Creek and Ashcroft, namely, the Bonaparte Indian Band and the Ashcroft Indian Band. Moreover, the applicant proposed music programming that would consist of musical selections drawn from content categories 2 (Popular Music) and 3 (Special Interest Music), including Pop, rock and dance (subcategory 21), Country and country-oriented (subcategory 22) and Jazz and blues (subcategory 34) musical selections.
- After having examined the public record for this application in light of applicable policies and regulations, the Commission considers that the issue it must address is whether the proposed programming reflects the objectives, role and mandate for community radio stations set out in the Campus and community radio policy (the Policy).Footnote 2
Spoken word programming
- As set out in the Policy, the programming of campus and community radio should distinguish itself from that of the commercial and public sectors in both style and substance, and should offer programming that is rich in local information and reflection. The programming of campus and community radio is also expected to foster diversity in the broadcast of opinions, spoken word content and musical programming.
- Moreover, according to the Policy, locally relevant spoken word programming produced by campus and community radio stations is an important way for these stations to fulfill their roles and mandates in the communities they serve and in the broadcasting system as a whole. The Commission requires all campus and community radio stations to devote at least 15% of their programming each broadcast week to locally produced spoken word programming.
- The applicant committed to adhere to the standard conditions of licence for community radio stations set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2012-304. However, with the exception of a single current affairs program, Ash-Creek failed to provide descriptions of the majority of the programming to be broadcast on the proposed station.
- The Commission is particularly concerned with the incomplete details provided in the application regarding the proposed levels of spoken word programming. In its response to a Commission staff letter to clarify programming deficiencies, Ash-Creek referred to 50 minutes of “pure news” spoken word programming that would be broadcast throughout the week. No other details were provided with respect to the amount of spoken word programming that would be broadcast each week. Consequently, the Commission is unable to determine whether the majority of the programming would meet the necessary requirements under the Policy, such as offering a diversity of opinions, spoken word content and musical programming that would reflect the needs, values and interests of the Cache Creek and Ashcroft communities.
- The role and mandate for community radio stations outlined in the Policy includes a requirement for volunteer participation in the production of local programming and other aspects of station operations. Volunteers are an important part of community radio stations and are a key factor that distinguishes community radio from other sectors. Further, a minimum level of volunteer participation is necessary to ensure that a range of programming is broadcast and that the community is provided with access to the airwaves.
- In its application, Ash-Creek indicated that members of the community from local schools and first responder services would be invited to participate in the production of pre-recorded programming.
- While the applicant outlined measures that it would take to train and supervise volunteers, it failed to explicitly explain any substantial measures that it would take to facilitate access and participation from the community in on-air broadcasting, programming or station management activities. The Commission is concerned with the lack of details provided with respect to the applicant’s plans for promoting, encouraging and facilitating volunteer participation in the community.
- The Commission is therefore not convinced that the proposed station would provide sufficient access to the airwaves to members of the community or sufficient opportunities to engage in different aspects of station operations (e.g., on-air broadcasting, programming, station management activities).
Local talent development
- Under the Policy, community radio stations should offer programming based on the needs and interests of a community through the promotion of Canadian emerging talent, with an emphasis on local musical and spoken word talent.
- With the exception of a single current affairs program, the applicant failed to explicitly demonstrate any significant plans for the licence term with respect to the development of local talent in the fields of music and spoken word programming (such as projects to promote and feature music and spoken word creations by new Canadian artists, local artists and artists whose music is seldom heard on other radio stations). Moreover, the applicant’s plans for local talent development and volunteer participation do not demonstrate a clear understanding of the Policy and of the role and mandate for community radio stations set out therein.
- In light of all of the above, the Commission finds that the applicant has failed to demonstrate how the station’s programming would reflect the objectives, role and mandate for community radio stations set out in the Policy.
- Accordingly, the Commission denies the application by Ash-Creek Television Society to operate a low-power, English-language community FM radio programming undertaking in Cache Creek and a low-power FM rebroadcasting transmitter in Ashcroft.
- The Commission reminds the applicant that it can re-apply for a broadcasting licence to operate a radio programming undertaking at any time, and that any forthcoming application would be examined by the Commission on its own merits.
- Standard conditions of licence for campus and community radio stations, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2012-304, 22 May 2012
- Campus and community radio policy, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-499, 22 July 2010
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