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Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
Various Broadcast Applications/
Plusiers demandes en radiodiffusion
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Westin Edmonton Hotel l'Hôtel Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street 10135, 100e rue
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton (Alberta)
June 21, 2006 Le 21 juin 2006
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès‑verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio‑television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Various Broadcast Applications/
Plusiers demandes en radiodiffusion
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Michel Arpin Chairperson / Président
Barbara Cram Commissioner / Conseillère
Rita Cugini Commissioner / Conseillère
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseiller
Stuart Langford Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Chantal Boulet Secretary / Secrétaire
Joe Aguiar Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
Anne-Marie Murphy/ Legal Counsel /
Shari Fisher Conseillères juridiques
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Westin Edmonton Hotel l'Hôtel Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street 10135, 100e rue
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton (Alberta)
June 21, 2006 Le 21 juin 2006
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
Frank Biegel 670 / 3881
Dan Balisky 672 / 3896
Lorne LaRochelle 674 / 3905
Grande Prairie & District Multicultural 680 / 3946
Mamawenowak Society 684 / 3959
Arts Culture Heritage and Music Festival 688 / 3977
Arjun Roy and Justin Staffen 694 / 3993
Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival 714 / 4095
Arlene Miller 719 / 4114
Greg King 728 / 4152
Mike Townsend 731 / 4166
Peace Wapiti Academy 747 / 4244
Summerslam Sports Ltd. 751 / 4261
Amanda Ford 753 / 4268
Grande Prairie Storm Hockey Club 755 / 4280
REPLY BY / RÉPLIQUE PAR:
Standard Radio Inc. 766 / 4355
Crude Communications Inc. 767 / 4361
Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. 768 / 4370
Sun Country Cablevision Ltd. 772 / 4388
Bear Creek Broadcasting Ltd. 776 / 4417
O.K. Radio Group Ltd. 777 / 4428
Newcap Inc. 784 / 4467
Allan Hunsperger (OBCI) 785 / 4475
1097282 Alberta Ltd. 792 / 4524
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
1182743 Alberta Ltd. 795 / 4543
Standard Radio Inc. 851 / 4875
Vista Radio Ltd. 907 / 5301
Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. 964 / 5680
Gatineau, Quebec / Gatineau (Québec)
‑‑‑ Upon commencing on Wednesday, June 21, 2006
at 0837 / l'audience débute le mercredi
21 juin 2006 à 0837
3873 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
We are now starting Phase III of this public hearing and I will have the secretary make the introduction.
3874 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3875 Phase III is the phase where other parties appear in the order that are set out in the agenda to present their intervention.
3876 For the record, I would like to indicate the intervenor CIRPA listed on the agenda has informed the Commission that they will not be appearing at the hearing.
3877 Also, two of the appearing intervenors who were listed on the agenda after the Fort McMurray presentations have informed us that they have inadvertently referred to the wrong application on their intervention. They intended to intervene on behalf or in support of the Grande Prairie application of Allan Hunsperger, which is Item 2 on the agenda. Therefore, these two intervenors will be called this morning along with the ‑‑ on the list of intervenors in support of Mr. Hunsperger.
3878 So I would call Mr. Lorne LaRochelle; Mr. Frank Biegel of the company 313894 Alberta Limited on operating as Magnum Electric and Mr. Dan Balisky; Peace Farm Power John Deere. These three intervenors will be appearing on support of Mr. Hunsperger.
3879 Starting with Mr. Biegel, if you would start your ‑‑ make your presentation? You have 10 minutes followed by Mr. Balisky and Mr. LaRochelle.
3880 Please go ahead.
3881 MR. BIEGEL: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and staff, my name is Frank Biegel.
3882 My wife and I have been a resident of Grande Prairie and area for the past 45 years. We are blessed with four children and now are proudly grandparents of 18 grandchildren.
3883 I own and operate an electrical contracting business for the past 35 years, employing up to 45 people.
3884 I have experienced Grande Prairie as a medium‑sized town, from a medium‑sized town to a city of today, in this period of time from the local radio station of one to two stations as well as several remote stations.
3885 When I heard of the possibility of a Gospel radio station coming to this area I, as well as many of my Catholic Church supporters, got quite excited about it. I spoke to my children and grandchildren about it. They all were also excited about this as most of them sing and play instruments as well as a recreational pastime. Yes, Gospel music is most of their favourite songs. I then asked some of them to write down points and what their reasons were for wanting a Gospel persuasion radio station in our city, and the following are some of the answers I got: Promote and support our young people with good moral values.
3886 We desperately want and need a station like this.
3887 We feel out of touch with our Christian persuasion.
3888 To stay informed locally and nationally.
3889 The forgotten north needs an outlet for Christian music.
3890 To promote love, compassion and encouragement of our families; to promote a sense of worth to the children of our country; to promote family life and values; to promote encouragement and advice for young families living in this fast‑paced world.
3891 Put emphasis on family entertainment rather than secular adult innuendos in song, in advertising and in news.
3892 I really think that this type of station would be supported by thousands in the area by both young and old. We have been going to Gospel jamborees throughout the area for the past 10 years and there is always sell‑out attendance at these functions.
3893 I plead with you for your support, that Grande Prairie is ready for a Gospel radio station and ensure that the results will be rewarding to the listener.
3894 Thank you for your attention.
3895 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3896 MR. BALISKY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the CRTC.
3897 My name is Dan Balisky and I have lived and resided in the Grande Prairie area all my life. In fact, my father came in Peace River Country in 1912 and our parents raised 10 children, and our family has been very active in the community, offering our time to many of the organizations in the community. I have been the past president of the Chamber of Commerce; past president of our local Rotary Club; past chairman of the QEII Foundation Hospital Board and chairman of our local church board.
3898 We as a family operate several businesses in the area and many of my associates and friends feel very strongly that we need an alternative in a radio station such as a Gospel radio station. We feel that this would give us a change from what we already now experience in Grande Prairie, and I feel that as a fast‑growing community, the families in our fast‑growing community and the affluence that they are all facing now, there needs to be a stronger moral support in many hurting families and especially in our younger age.
3899 In our business we feel that we would use it as an advertising lever as well. I also feel that there are many Gospel artists that do not have the opportunity in presenting their talents in a radio station such as they would have in a Gospel radio station.
3900 There are many Gospel jamborees in the area and they are well attended. In fact, they are out ‑‑ oversold and it is Gospel jamboree and people are attending them very easy.
3901 I trust that you would seriously consider this application for Grande Prairie as we really feel that the alternative is necessary.
3902 We want to thank you for your time and our presentation. Thank you.
3903 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Balisky.
3904 Mr. LaRochelle.
3905 MR. LaROCHELLE: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and CRTC staff. My name is Lorne LaRochelle. I'm a local resident of Grande Prairie since 1994. I live there with my wife and two children. We currently own and operate Superior Car and Truck Washes.
3906 I would like to thank you for the opportunity of coming before you today. There are many reasons why I would like to see a Gospel radio station broadcasting for Grande Prairie.
3907 First of all, I believe that it would add value to our Grande Prairie community to have a radio station that emphasized and actively promoted a lifestyle that reflects high moral standards. This would benefit the whole community by sending a positive message and influence to teens, young adults and adults alike.
3908 Secondly, such a radio station by virtue of its Gospel influence could have programming that focuses on practical tools for everyday living. For example, by having programs aired that give suggestions to parents on how to raise responsible children or how to strengthen relationships in the family and community. We all need that.
3909 The third reason is that I believe there are many individuals who would enjoy the type of music that such a radio station would air. Again, this type of music tends to be positive and uplifting. I enjoy it and I know of hundreds of others who feel the same.
3910 The fourth reason is as a local resident and businessman such a radio station would provide a much‑needed venue for advertising. I would love to advertise in such a positive and uplifting environment.
3911 I trust that you will give very serious consideration for this request for a Gospel radio station in Grande Prairie. I will definitely be a supporter of it and, again, I thank you for your time. Thank you.
3912 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. LaRochelle.
3913 Commissioner Cram.
3914 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
3915 And I apologize. My father never remembered my first name so I'm very bad at names. The gentleman in the blue shirt, one of 10 children; what was your name again? I'm sorry.
3916 MR. BALISKY: Dan, Dan Balisky.
3917 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mr. Balisky.
3918 You were talking about Gospel jamborees and you were talking about the Grande Prairie region, are you?
3919 MR. BALISKY: Yes, yes.
3920 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Can you tell me the number of jamborees during any given year?
3921 MR. BALISKY: Well, I know that there are two in the area. The biggest is in Beaver Lodge, Alberta which is about 30 kilometres from Grande Prairie.
3922 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And do you go to them?
3923 MR. BALISKY: Yes, attended them every year.
3924 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And how many people would there be there?
3925 MR. BALISKY: Well, I know that there is about 300 trailers so I don't know how many people.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
3926 MR. BALISKY: I think up to 4,000 people.
3927 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Oh, okay. Thank you very much. Sorry for not noting your name.
3928 MR. BALISKY: That's fine.
3929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Langford.
3930 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
3931 This question is to any or all of you. It's just a kind of general question.
3932 We have licensed a number of Christian music stations across Canada and some include as well religious broadcasting. You know, they do church services on Sunday and some have what they call brokered programming where they actually sell some of their airtime to ministries, some from the States, some from Canada who want to get their message across and we have no problem with that. I mean, I think people should hear the messages they want.
3933 But what we try to encourage and, in fact, what we insist on is what we call a balance in those messages so that along with a Christian perspective you perhaps hear some values from other religions, the idea being that people in the community ‑‑ the general idea being that the people out in the community who aren't Christians but have their own values, have their own religions but perhaps are not numerous enough to have their own radio station, at least get their views aired and that builds a kind of tolerance or the hope is it will build a kind of tolerance.
3934 I just wondered if any of you would like to comment on that, how you would feel about that radio station adding that kind of element to their programming?
3935 MR. BALISKY: I think there are many denominations that would make use of it. We are not the owners or operators. We wouldn't have the right in saying what type of programs they would have, but I would not be opposed to have some alternatives and different balances as you indicated.
3936 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Anybody else? How about you with your children? Do you think that would be good for them to get this kind of perspective?
3937 MR. BIEGEL: Yes. I would certainly be in favour. If it was my station I would be in favour of creating a balance of that nature. Certainly, their being open to other persuasions, I think, is acceptable as far as I'm concerned.
3938 MR. LaROCHELLE: I think I have a common goal. With our business we are here to build the community and this to me is just another avenue to build, build into the lives of the people in the community.
3939 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Those are my questions.
3940 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3941 Thank you very much, gentlemen.
3942 Mrs. Secretary.
3943 THE SECRETARY: I would now call on the next panel of five supporting intervenors to come forward: Grande Prairie and District Multicultural Association, Mr. or Miss Someh Niengor ‑‑ sorry for the spelling ‑‑ Mamawenowak Society, Ms Darlene Cardinal; Christopher Thiessen from the Arts Culture Heritage and Musical Festival; Justin Staffen and Arjun Roy and Geoffrey Whittall from the Grande Prairie Regional College.
3944 THE SECRETARY: We will start with the Grande Prairie and District Multicultural Association.
3945 If you could please introduce yourself before you speak and perhaps spell out your name for the record if it is different than what is in the agenda? Thank you.
3946 MS NIENGOR: Good morning. My name is Someh Niengor and if you have a problem memorizing it or remembering it, it rhymes with "Sunny" but with an "m" and you spell it S‑o‑m‑e‑h N‑i‑e‑n‑g‑o‑r.
3947 I was born and raised in Grande Prairie. I presently work at the Grande Prairie and District Multicultural Association as the DiverseCity Project Coordinator.
3948 In 2004 a community needs assessment was done in Grande Prairie and surrounding area. The study was funded by Alberta Human Rights and Multiculturalism Education Grant program. The project enabled the understanding of issues faced by visible minorities, aboriginal people, newcomers and immigrants to Grande Prairie. Key findings from that study showed that racism and discrimination shows up most frequently in social interactions, employment and in local schools. From these findings key perceived strategies were introduced and this project was named the DiverseCity Project. The project focuses on three components of our community: the corporate sector; the educational sector and the public through a public awareness campaign.
3949 The reason I am here today is because I believe that Sun FM's mandate to the community is in line with our mission at the Grande Prairie and District Multicultural Association and if granted the opportunity they would use their new radio station "Mercury" to continue to advocate and to help and to support the disenfranchised in our city. Through Sun FM they have established themselves as a reliable, trustworthy and irreplaceable source by creating awareness around social issues. They acknowledge their social responsibility by advocating for the voiceless. An example of this would be "Kev's Kids" which has impacted many children and many families from diverse backgrounds.
3950 It is because of their sensibility and sensitivity to community issues that I felt comfortable in approaching Tom Bedore and Katy O'Connor about the issues we are facing at the multicultural association and, indeed, they were receptive.
3951 Our community is small and to the extent unexposed to diversity and different cultures. Immigrants and visible minorities from many different backgrounds are pouring into Canada and into Grande Prairie. As a result it's causing a clash and ignorance of different value systems, perspectives and beliefs and it's creating a misunderstanding between cultures which leads to fear and ignorance which in turn leads to intolerance.
3952 In partnership with Sun FM's team, we have begun creating and airing stories of discrimination online on Mercury. One of the stories highlights an aboriginal youth receiving a new bike for his birthday. The first time he rides his bike he overhears someone say "that bike must be stolen". That youth no longer rides his bike and he no longer wants to claim his aboriginal heritage.
3953 I am confident by continuing to air the stories of discrimination on Mercury we will be creating awareness about the impact of racism on individuals.
3954 As I said before, I grew up in Grande Prairie and went to school there as well. My brother and I used to walk to school with each other every day. At that time our elementary school was across from a junior high school. Everyday on our pathway to school there was a group of about 15 youth that used to hail racial slurs upon us. These hurtful words reminded us everyday that we were different and that we didn't belong. It stripped us of our self‑worth, our self‑esteem and it dampened our human spirit.
3955 One day I was home after school and my brother's friends rode their bikes up our driveway. I could see right away that they were absolutely distraught. Tears and mud had dried to their faces. I knew something serious had happened. They informed me that my brother had been hit by a van downtown about three blocks from our house. I took off, running downtown right away. When I arrived at the scene there was about 30 people crowded around, including the kids that used to harass us. I pushed my way through the crowd and was completely unprepared for what I was about to see. My brother was lying unconscious in the middle of the road. His clothes had been cut off. His arms and legs were broken. His head was busted open against the pavement as he lay in the pool of his bodily fluids. I completely lost it and I went down on my knees in grief and complete anguish overtook me. In that moment, though, a beautiful thing happened. A girl from the group that used to make fun of us ‑‑ when I had no one else she came and she put her arms around me. In a single moment as our bodies touched and forgiveness and compassion overtook us, as the colour of our skin and our differences melted away, through tragedy and deep sadness we both realized that together we are part of one race, the human race.
3956 I feel that any program and event or in this case a radio station that is willing to promote diversity, multiculturalism and combat racism and discrimination should be seriously considered. The new station Mercury has made it their mandate to break down barriers.
3957 Please approve their application so together we can reaffirm Canada's vision to eliminate racism and build a society where one's heritage and individuality is a source of pride and inspiration.
3958 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3959 MS CARDINAL: Tansi. Happy National Aboriginal Day. Today is National Aboriginal Day.
3960 My name is Darlene Cardinal, President of Mamawenowak Society and also the sole proprietor for Dar Car Developments.
3961 I am a resident of Grande Prairie and have longed for a station that would hear the voices of aboriginal people.
3962 Mamawenowak Society promotes the education of the rich aboriginal cultural heritage to showcase the talents of the aboriginal people by hosting a talent show of jigging, fiddling and vocal talents. We have hosted a workshop to educate non‑aboriginal people.
3963 In the Grande Prairie area I am recognized as one of the aboriginal elders. Today is National Aboriginal Day which we celebrate and educate our brothers and sisters. I was scheduled to teach a cultural workshop at Hythe High School today and I cancelled because I felt being an intervenor for the application of a new radio station is very important and explained to the organizations that this would be beneficial to the aboriginal people. There is a growing population of aboriginal people in Grande Prairie and they are coming from all parts of Canada.
3964 It is my understanding that the proposed radio station has committed to ensure that aboriginal voices, music, stories and news will be a part of regular programming of the station. What a wonderful and meaningful milestone for our community to have finally met. This station could play a major and pivotal role in addressing racism and breaking down barriers within our north‑western communities. Presently, there is no radio station in the region even attempting to meet these goals. With this new radio station we can.
3965 Throughout history as well as in the present day, aboriginal news either does not make mainstream media or it is grossly inaccurate and in some cases downright racist. The stories behind standoffs, land claims and settlements are not shared, leaving the general public to fall into a trap of looking at aboriginal peoples through negative stereotypes and coming to uneducated conclusions of the issues. To have a radio station sharing educated and unbiased views is not only a dream of aboriginal people but I believe it is a dream of all Canadians.
3966 As well, in regards to educating our aboriginal youth, they need to hear voices from our communities on the radio. This, I feel, would go a long way in ensuring aboriginal pride and help our people to raise up and hold their heads high. The sharing of stories and culture would also be an exemplary tool in supporting the non‑aboriginal community in learning, understanding and sharing in our rich culture. Everyone would win and be encouraged to move forward together.
3967 In regards to entertainment there are many very talented artists who do not get a chance or airtime on mainstream radio. Singing and drumming is an ancient art form within aboriginal culture that has always been meant to be shared. We as aboriginal people would be most honoured to finally have the opportunity to share our gifts within the mainstream.
3968 As well, many of our communities have very talented contemporary rock, pop, rock and roll, hip hop and alternative artists and have received recognition and accolades in the U.S.A. but are basically unheard of here at home. Some examples of these musicians are Medicine Dream, The Richard Gaucher Band, Brian Taylor, Red Fish, The Black Bird, Wheels of Fire, Kath and the Tom Kats and my son, Stoneface, et cetera. That's my son's band.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
3969 MS CARDINAL: Sun FM has been a great support to the aboriginal community with what they have on hand. They have been very obliging in making community announcements of our events, conferences, National Aboriginal Day celebrations and so on. In the past they have emceed the Spirit Seekers conference and have supported requests that we have made.
3970 Sun FM has been a willing partner and we sincerely believe this will continue once the new radio is up and running.
3971 Sun FM has been beneficial but the new radio would be a new flavour and once the news is out the people will make that effort to listen to the new station.
3972 Mamawenowak has submitted a proposal to the City of Grande Prairie to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary in 2010. The proposal that was submitted was to tie in with the city's celebration and National Aboriginal Day by having a week long of hosting a Métis celebration and pow wows. Speaking to Tom about these great events has been noted and mentioned that they would like to promote the events. This new station will be inclusive to our voice.
3973 On behalf of the Mamawenowak Society (Gathering of People) I thank the panel for hearing our voices and to take great consideration in bringing to us the station that will make new roads and bring forth positive changes for the people in northern Alberta.
3974 Thank you.
3975 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Cardinal.
3976 Mr. Thiessen.
3977 MR. THIESSEN: Good day, ladies and gentlemen of the panel.
3978 In case it is still misspelled on your pages, it is Thiessen T‑h‑i‑e‑s‑s‑e‑n, and I thank you for taking the time in having me here today to speak on behalf of Tom Madore and Mary Driver's team application efforts in operating Mercury Radio as the new commercial FM station to serve the Peace Region.
3979 As I said earlier, I am Chris Thiessen and I'm a local promoter for music in the Peace Region. I also serve as the public relations coordinator of the Grande Prairie Regional College Students Association. On top of that, I am also the master vision and production coordinator for a local not‑for‑profit music genre festival entitled "Peace Starts at Home" which raises money for various shelters, charities and local music programs within the Grande Prairie and Peace Region area.
3980 The reason I am here in support of the Sun FM group's application has everything to say about the people who are there from the DJs to the accounts team to creative and right up to management. All these people have throughout the years and, in my most recent involvement with Sun FM over the past few years, shown an integritous commitment to cultivating the music scene and artistic growth and exposure of our local talents.
3981 To speak of this, when I first approached Sun FM in advertising for the Peace Starts At Home Festival and approached them in regards to the Battle of the Bands promotional fundraising concepts I was greeted with buoyant excitement and positivity in my initial meeting with Brenda McFadden of the Accounts and Kristy Ravindall of Creative. But however, as is the case with most relationships, as rosy as our courtship was in the beginning, actions in the past came to bite me in the behind as in the weeks prior to the meeting, I had the opportunity to promote our event by word of mouth on stage at a Battle of the Bands at the Howler Student Lounge at the GPRC and in attendance that evening was a local beer representative from Labatts who liked the gist of the idea so much that he approached a group of bars in the Peace Region and took the idea as is own.
3982 When I informed Brenda and Kristy that day of our battle dates the colour seemed to drop from their faces at the same time as it did in the room as when I informed them that when we were planning to run our shows, they informed me that they recently had a paid contractual obligation to the Labatt group to promote their battle in Fort St. John and Peace River at the same time as the Peace Starts at Home battle dates were going on. Obviously, I was disappointed and I left and sought out other advertising with another broadcaster in CKUA.
3983 But as chance would have it, the Labatts promotion folded and a week before we started running our Battle of the Bands promotion I received a phone call from Brenda McFadden very excited and asking if I still wanted to promote through Sun FM in regards to the Battle of the Bands. In order to make up for lost time and showing a true belief in what I was trying to accomplish in the City of Grande Prairie they gave me a three for one price matching of what I paid for at CKUA, provided band interviews twice a week of the bands participating in the Peace Starts at Home, played their music on the radio station as well as volunteered many of their hours from the DJs side of their group to judging and making sure that the Peace Starts at Home was efficiently run.
3984 I have also had the opportunity of working with Sun FM in promoting other events such as Heritage Days with the Grande Prairie and District Multicultural Association last year and reviving it for the first time in seven years, as well as promoting the touring independent talents that come through the Peace Region as well as numerous college events at which I work for the Grande Prairie Regional College. Of all these, Sun FM has shown the same courtesy in providing numerous airtime spots for all the talents that have participated.
3985 My thoughts on Sun FM's application for local talent in our community and in having Mercury as their new radio station and why I feel it is the best application that is presented is because what I find is a common consensus in my travels around Grande Prairie is that Sun FM is stretched very thin in how much airtime they have to promote everything that the people want from pop rock to rock to new music to programming that promotes the actual bands themselves. There is just not enough hours in a week to provide it through one radio station and they have shown over the past two years of my involvement with them that they are a very capable group that is willing to get behind new music and are very capable of running and organizing that as well as another station.
3986 I have had the opportunity in the past to work with them on their independent spotlights, which is known as "Beaver Tales" on Sunday in Grand Prairie, and I'm very excited about their proposal to run a feature independent interview and talent show on the Monday through Friday programming at the 11:30 that is proposed in their application. It gives the people of Grande Prairie, at least the musicians and the independent talents more time to promote themselves and be heard and seen.
3987 In regards to them contributing to the area talent development workshops within Grande Prairie, I think that is a great opportunity for all the artists in our community to learn how to properly promote, market and create their music so that they may be heard and can move their voice out throughout our country and also provides them a valuable opportunity in the approach of grant writing when it comes to certain organizations like FACTOR.
3988 And in saying FACTOR, as another part of their application, their seven‑year contribution to FACTOR forms for Alberta artists is also a great asset to the people in northern Alberta, at least the musicians as well; in regards to the fact that as a former band manager of two bands in Grande Prairie and seeking out FACTOR funding, I realize that it is very hard to get the necessary supply of the demand, I guess, of the dollars that are available through FACTOR. Most Alberta artists are overlooked for people in Ontario, Quebec; as well as British Columbia in regards to the statistics. Just having that money available to Alberta artists gives all these musicians a chance.
3989 In that regard too, and their proposal for the Rock the Peace CD and how it can be used to benefit the entire community, as a whole it is a great promotional tool, I believe, for all the bands to promote themselves as well as each other and with the advent of new technology the bands can then take that compilation CD as well and burn themselves a demo disk of two of their own songs if they wish to promote themselves as themselves and get their voice out into the community.
3990 In total, I do believe that the Mercury radio proposal is the best proposal that is out there and I thank you for hearing me and for taking the time to listen.
3991 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Thiessen.
3992 Mr. Roy and Mr. Staffen.
3993 MR. ROY: Good morning. Thank you very much for allowing us to speak on behalf of Tom and Marie's team for the proposed licence for a new rock station in Grande Prairie.
3994 I am Arjun and this is Justin. We are both performing musicians, budding promoters and the co‑owners and producers at our new studio in town. Apart from these joint endeavours we are involved with music in other capacities as well.
3995 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Excuse me.
3996 MR. ROY: Yes?
3997 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Sorry, but I'm getting old. Could you speak up just a little louder?
3998 MR. ROY: Oh, definitely.
3999 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thanks very much.
4000 MR. ROY: Perhaps I will do that. Okay.
4001 So aside from those endeavours I also teach guitar lessons and I recently started ‑‑ well, actually, a couple of years ago started a music publishing company in order to help promote my work and that of others that I collaborate with.
4002 MR. STAFFEN: My name is Justin.
4003 I have been a progressive and contributing member of the music scene in Grande Prairie for a long time promoting many shows for its benefit. I own a sound reinforcement company and a recording studio for the past few years now, recently teamed up with Arjun, and am constantly helping bands get their music heard.
4004 I used to teach film lessons in the past and plan to pick it up again in the future. Sun FM has always been a big part of the local music scene. The annual star search they put on was always a big motivation for bands to get good recordings. One of the bands I was a part of (Bella Bella) had won the star search that Sun FM puts on annually. The result of that was mind altering; opening for major acts, money and lots of radio play.
4005 One of the biggest tools a band can have is a radio station on their side. Every band I have played in has benefited greatly due to how important Sun FM feels the music scene is.
4006 MR. ROY: For me, I have courted success with my band on stage as well as on the radio. Thanks to Sun FM we have had two singles on the air and we have been featured many times on their independent music shows and due to Sun FM's support of those singles we were able to raise our profile in town as well as in the surrounding areas and due exactly to that exposure we were able to reach a huge demographic of fans that a hard rock band really doesn't have access to. Since then, we have gained a following of fans that runs the gamut from teens and tweens all the way up to grownups and their parents.
4007 For all that success ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ however, the fact that we are a hard rock band rather limits the avenues of possible radio play due to the format of most stations. While Sun FM has been kind to us and there are a lot of great bands in town whose music is simply too heavy for any of the current formats, promotion on featured Indie‑music themed shows is one thing but really getting a radio station behind you and getting your songs on the air is really unbeatable.
4008 Not only that but the way the musical climate has evolved in recent years has created a huge demand for all sorts of rock music. A look at any list of charts always turns up a variety of harder‑edged music making up a huge part of any programming; classic rock guys like Wolf Mother and Sam Roberts; modern rockers like Godsmack and, of course, Nickelback and even heavier music are popping up on a much bigger level. Genres of rock, metal and everything in between are enjoying success at a really unprecedented scale and it's because of all that that Sun FM's proposed format for the new radio station sits so well with us; a mixture of the rock music of today and the support for local music is exactly what listeners need right now.
4009 Though the choice of music itself is a huge factor in separating this application from the others, there are further reasons why we are here to support this application. The suggested support for the local music scene as well as the developmental ideas to nourish the musicians within our scene is perhaps the biggest reason for our support.
4010 Firstly, Mercury FM would have more of an emphasis on playing local content. As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of bands whose music is of a very high standard, but the heaviness of their work stands in the way of truly getting the bands heard. Mercury, being a rock‑oriented station, would be a great place for the bands to start building some buzz and raising their profile.
4011 Secondly, the proposed annual Rock the Peace compilation CD, funded by the new station, featuring a selection of the area's bands, is a wonderful idea that would be a great asset to any band and would go a long way to get their music out for the people to enjoy. Not only would the artists get their songs on disc, but their time spent in a recording studio would be essential for the development of a well‑rounded artist.
4012 While it's true that the compilation CD is not specific to any single artist, the concept has been around for a long time from the record company sampler discs ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ from the record company sampler discs from the past to the proven success stories from the underground punk and hardcore scenes of today. Such a compilation CD would be a great promotional tool in the hands of the artists who will not only be able to push themselves but an entire network of talented musicians.
4013 MR. ROY: And lastly, the proposed workshops put on in conjunction with ARIA would be invaluable in helping the musicians to mobilize themselves in terms of publicity, promotion; networking and even the recording and song writing processes. Justin and me have both been recording for the past few years and we have been trying to put on shows. We have managed to pull it off but for the most part it's been a learning process. If such workshops were set up to educate the musicians the learning curve would increase exponentially and we would be armed with all the tools necessary to help ourselves further our own careers.
4014 And that's it. Thank you so much.
4015 THE CHAIRPERSON: (Off mic) Thank you, Mr. Roy. Thank you, Mr. Staffen.
4016 Mr. Whittall?
4017 MR. WHITTALL: Good morning. My name is Geoffrey Whittal. I have been a music instructor at Grande Prairie Regional College since 1990. Thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of Tom and Murray and their team's application for a new FM modern rock station.
4018 I put several reasons for my support of this application in the letter that I faxed to the CRTC, and I would like to amplify some of my comments. Sun FM has proven over the years to be an excellent corporate citizen. Their management has ensured that they are locally prominent, involved in numerous causes of direct benefit to the community, and active in promoting musical events and especially local musicians in Grande Prairie. These are all laudable reasons for supporting this application.
4019 There are several additional reasons that cause me to provide support to the Sun FM application.
4020 First, this application is the only one in this process that is focusing a majority of airtime on the presentation of new rock music. Grande Prairie has a young population; according to the 2001 national census our median age is slightly less than 30 years, while the median age across Canada is over 37. With an influx of young workers into the oil patch in the past few years I expect that Grande Prairie's median age has dropped even lower.
4021 Providing music that is aimed at a younger audience is significant in a city such as ours. A radio station that plays mainly new rock music is aimed at the right demographic in Grande Prairie ‑‑ younger people who are actively searching out new music that will become part of their lives, not older people looking backward to the music of their youth.
4022 As a college music instructor who teaches courses in popular music, I often hear my students commenting on the lack of opportunity to hear lots of cutting edge music on local radio. Radio stations act as gatekeepers, and in a small and isolated market like Grande Prairie their effect is real and more significant than it would be in a larger centre with more stations than Grande Prairie.
4023 An average radio station in North America adds perhaps three new songs a week to their playlists. For young people who are interested in what is new, and that is a common situation in all recent generations, this is a frustration. Only three stations in this application process have indicated an intent to broadcast a significant amount of new rock music. The Sun FM application is the only one of those aiming top broadcast more than 30 percent new rock music. They are aiming for at least 60 percent. This will provide listeners with a much greater chance to hear a significant amount of new music.
4024 This is also consistent with their stated intent of funding new music efforts by local and other musicians, in the form of funding for FACTOR and ARIA. In contrast to others, this funding is most appropriate in this application because it is for a station that is planning to play a lot of new rock music. This sort of funding creates a beneficial situation where it will help people attempting to successfully create the music that is being programmed on the station. A modern rock focus and funding FACTOR and ARIA logically go hand in hand. A classic rock or classic hits focus and that sort of funding do not logically go hand in hand.
4025 Sun FM has had significant news coverage for many years. The local newspaper covers local events but not until the following day. When Grande Prairie had a tornado in July 2004 Sun FM was covering it live. When we had a water main problem in the fall of 2005 once again Sun FM was covering it live. They were my source of up‑to‑date information about what I should be doing to deal with those situations
4026 Sun FM is a music‑based radio station but when something critical happens in our city their news reporting replaces the music. In other words, they have live reports when they would normally be airing music. This becomes particularly important in a community like Grande Prairie that has only two radio stations and no local television stations. Breaking news is firmly in the domain of radio.
4027 Plans in this application are for a three‑person news team. When added to the news services already provided by Sun FM, this will provide the combined stations with a greater ability to cover sports, local news, emergencies, cultural events and more.
4028 Along with the material in the letter I wrote supporting this application, the aspects that I have spoken of today are substantive reasons why Sun FM's application for a new station should be supported. The music to be broadcast will be appropriate to the young and changing nature of our region's population, the funding plans for this application are most appropriate and beneficial to working, not retired, i.e. classic hits musicians, and news coverage that is already very good on Sun FM should expand and improve with the addition of a new voice for news in Grande Prairie.
4029 Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak here.
4030 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4031 Mr. Williams.
4032 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Mr. Whittall, where do your students find the cutting edge music you refer to now?
4033 MR. WHITTALL: They find a small portion of it on Sun FM. They are also hitting a lot of internet sites, Pitchfork Media, My Space and the various other sort of networking areas and new media sites.
4034 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
4035 Ms Cardinal, are there aboriginal radio stations broadcasting into your region now?
4036 MS CARDINAL: No (spoken off mic).
4037 Sorry. No, there is ‑‑ not that I know of. I haven't heard one. I know there is one in Lac Laberge but it doesn't reach Grande Prairie at all.
4038 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay.
4039 MS CARDINAL: And the only one that we watch is APTN. That is on TV, but then you don't hear nothing about the Grande Prairie and there is no ‑‑ I haven't watched anything about showcasing any of the aboriginals in our area.
4040 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you for that, and happy National Aboriginal Day to you, Ms Cardinal.
4041 MS CARDINAL: Yes, and I know it's National Aboriginal Day today but Mamawenowak celebrates ‑‑ we celebrate it on June 25th which is the fourth Sunday, which we respect the four powers and the four directions. So it's at Muskoseepi Park on Sunday ‑‑ a little promo here.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4042 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In the north we celebrate it on the longest day, June 21st, today.
4043 MS CARDINAL: That's true, and I am one of the signators that signed in Ottawa and I really fought for June 21st, but then when we started thinking about the attendance ‑‑ so we were looking at the family and being aboriginal is very family‑oriented in our beliefs and values. So we planned on having it on the fourth direction, fourth Sunday and this way the families, the parents and the school children are able to attend whereas 2010 is June 21st. So it just falls in perfect there.
4044 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. Well, in spite of your wise counsel, your spirit and enthusiasm make me think you must be a very young elder.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4045 MS CARDINAL: Well, I'm on the sixties there with a very young spirit.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4046 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4047 Mrs. Cugini.
4048 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Good morning and thank you all for taking the time to come to Edmonton to make your presentations. Please repeat your last name. I don't want to mispronounce it. I'm used to having my last name mispronounced but you know I just want to be able to pronounce your name properly.
4049 MS NIENGOR: Niengor.
4050 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Gor?
4051 MS NIENGOR: Yes.
4052 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Niengor is your complete last ‑‑
4053 MS NIENGOR: Like g‑w‑a‑r.
4054 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Oh, Gwar, right, thank you.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4055 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Do you have the ethnic makeup of the Grande Prairie region?
4056 MS NIENGOR: I don't.
4057 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: You do not at this ‑‑
4058 MS NIENGOR: I don't have that with me. We know that over 100 different countries are represented in Grande Prairie. We also have about 16 different cultural groups in Grande Prairie.
4059 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And do you have any sense of what is the predominant ethnic group in the region?
4060 MS NIENGOR: Predominant ethnic group would, of course, be aboriginal.
4061 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Right.
4062 MS NIENGOR: And then Somalians as well are a growing cultural group in Grande Prairie.
4063 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And I understand that from what we have heard over the past two days that there aren't a lot of media outlets in Grande Prairie to promote your activities and that you are basically 100 percent reliant on radio at this point because I understand there is no local newspaper and no daily newspaper in the area and certainly no television station.
4064 What has been your experience with the other radio station in the area ‑‑ any of you ‑‑ in terms of promoting your activities, sponsoring your events and so on?
4065 MR. THIESSEN: Well, in regards to the Peace Starts at Home, outside of the radio advertising which has been really beneficial to promoting the local music scene we do have a local newspaper called the Daily Herald‑Tribune. The lady there, Diana Rennie, she's really big on trying to promote the arts and very much follows Tom and Murray's hearts in trying to promote the local art scene.
4066 We also work very heavily with a bunch of graphic designers to create posters which we plaster around the downtown area and sometimes people there don't like it too, too much, but it's just to get the awareness around. But again, yes, we are pretty much 100 percent solely reliant on ourselves as well as whatever we are provided by the radio.
4067 But in regards to CJXX we have not really approached CJXX in promoting the rock scene since it is a country music station and my experience with CKUA last year was that as much as they are big into promoting the festivals, I think we were just too far north in Grande Prairie for them to really put any emphasis on our goals and agendas with Peace Starts at Home and for promoting our artists as they have an entire province to cover.
4068 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: What is the attendance for your festival?
4069 MR. THIESSEN: Last year we had about 600 people attend and this year in some of our Battle of the Band shows we had upwards of 400 people attending, and that's a mixture between all ages and no minor shows. We are expecting it to grow this year to upwards of 1,000 to possibly 2,000 people down in Muskoseepi Park being that it is a free event.
4070 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And how many bands participate in the Battle of the Bands?
4071 MR. THIESSEN: We have 12. This year I spoke to 25 and last year I spoke to 16. So there is definitely a growth ratio in the Grande Prairie and Peace Region area for new bands and especially young bands who really learn a lot because we try to diversify who is listening to them on our judging panels between business, our representatives, teachers and just straight‑up bands and then people from the music industry.
4072 What we are really looking to try to do with the event is to cultivate, you know, their talent and allow them to get better by hearing the constructive criticism of many different groups.
4073 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And are they primarily rock bands?
4074 MR. THIESSEN: Yes, they are primarily rock bands that are involved in the Battle of the Bands which is called "Peace Begins With Us". That is the fundraiser for the Peace Starts at Home festival which features a whole litany of different genres that are represented in the Peace Region from reggae to jazz to country to folk to ‑‑ well, this year we are going to feature a haircut as well which really doesn't fit into a genre of music but ensures entertainment.
4075 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So it is a pretty diverse array of music genres that are represented in the Grande Prairie area?
4076 MR. THIESSEN: Very much so. It seems like there is this artistic magnet that has just come into Grande Prairie over the past few years because we have a lot of really talented people coming out of the woodwork from everywhere, from B.C., from Toronto, from Newfoundland, you know, from all across Alberta simply because of the growing population and the workforce ability to find themselves a decent paying job and employment.
4077 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: That always helps.
4078 MR. THIESSEN: Yes.
4079 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
4080 Miss Cardinal, you wanted to add something?
4081 MS CARDINAL: Yes. We have approached the other ‑‑ CJXX ‑‑ and we didn't quite get a good response. But I'm also coming in from the aboriginal side, is that we ask which stations do our advertising and one of the comments a couple of times I have received that the aboriginal people's self‑esteem, values and you know the dysfunctions that we are having. And one of the stereotypes that we keep hearing is cowboys and Indians and thinking that CJXX is country so they were trying to avoid that, you know, and I know a lot of aboriginal people do listen to country music and there are a lot of country artists, aboriginal.
4082 So we have to eliminate or downsize the comments. So we have gone to Sun FM and had all our advertising done through them, but this last year, May 14th, we had a fundraiser for Mamawenowak for Mothers Day brunch and they did advertise, announce on the radio for us. So we are not ‑‑ you know, we are giving everybody a fair chance.
4083 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you, thank you. Those are my questions.
4084 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Whittall, you mentioned in your presentation this morning that you have studied a number of the applications that are on this record and one of the questions that we have debated over the last couple of days is how many stations, how many new stations could Grande Prairie support. The general view by the applicants was two and some thought about even a third one of a specialty nature.
4085 If the Commission was to grant more than one licence have you thought about another format that will also meet anybody else's goals or answer to that ‑‑ another format than the one presented by Mercury that will complement the radio offering in Grande Prairie?
4086 MR. WHITTALL: Yes, I have, actually. From my perspective, just about anything else would fit. Honestly, I can't comment on the business model of where things would overlap in the sense of adding new genres of music. My perspective is that the more choice we have; the more opportunity we have to listen to different music the better.
4087 So in addition to rock if it was classic hits or easy rock I don't see that that would be an issue or a confusion for listeners. I think it would just add to the richness of the region and provide people with more choice.
4088 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4089 Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your presentation.
4090 Miss Secretary.
4091 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4092 I will now call on the next panel of five intervenors to come forward, and I would ask Mr. Connell of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival; Arlene Miller; Doug W. Crerar from the Grande Prairie Regional College; Greg King and Mike Townsend.
4093 THE SECRETARY: We will start with Mr. William Connell of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival.
4094 I would like to remind you that you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4095 MR. CONNELL: Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, thank you for allowing me to appear before you this morning.
4096 I'm here in support of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group's application for an FM licence in Grande Prairie. Although I support this application, the main reason for my appearance before you is to emphasize the importance of the Save the Music Foundation which is an integral part of this application. Let us be quite clear. This is not just a project that satisfies the requirements of this application. This foundation which will develop Canadian talent goes far beyond that.
4097 The Save the Music Foundation has the potential to change music and music education in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. By supporting music education you will improve the quality and the volume of Canadian talent but, as you will also hear, improving music programs will do much more.
4098 The purpose of this foundation is not to provide plans to operate music programs. That is a responsibility of our provincial governments which hopefully will see fit to increase funding to education in our provinces. The Save the Music Foundation will enhance and enrich music programs by supporting new incentives for teachers and students, by developing new learning and performance programs and by instituting new performance opportunities to help develop Canadian talent.
4099 All of these initiatives will of course meet the Commission's criteria for developing Canadian talent. The Save the Music Foundation will operate at arms length from the Pattison Broadcast Group with a board of directors in conjunction with the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival. This board of directors will at all times be cognizant of the Commission's criteria and operate the foundation within the rules of CTD.
4100 The Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival, now in its 15th year, takes place annually at the band centre. This festival is one of the most respected and prestigious festivals in Canada. The festival will be an integral part of the Save the Music Foundation and will give the foundation instant credibility and acceptance by music programs across western Canada.
4101 The foundation will utilize and enhance many of the programs presently offered at the festival; programs such as TPDP which is a teacher's mentoring program; clinic and performance programs for students and unique concert opportunities for performing groups. The financial support of the foundation will enable us to expand these programs right across both provinces as well as add new incentives for travel and performance and new programs such as the Best of the West.
4102 The Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival has a proven track record in developing Canadian talent. Students who have attended this festival have gone on to a variety of performance careers from performing with Maynard Ferguson's Big Band to Stella Salido who was in Broadway production of Les Miserables; from Linda Brown who is a permanent member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, to Russ Broom who is Jann Arden's lead guitar player; from Pat Beliveau touring with the Dorsey Band, to the Cherko Brothers who perform with Shania Twain.
4103 If you are serious about developing Canadian talent in the long term you must get to the grassroots. You must get to the music programs. You must get to the music kids.
4104 A point I would like to stress is how encompassing this foundation will be. The Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival in a small way has developed talent every year working with three and a half to 4,000 students annually. This foundation has the potential of working with 300,000 students annually. If you want to develop Canadian talent there is no better way to do it than working with 300,000 music students.
4105 Also, the foundation will be supporting all forms of music both vocal and instrumental. Every genre of music will be affected from pop to rock, from jazz to classical, from folk to country.
4106 When the Save the Music Foundation starts to take effect you will see a growth of strong music programs. As teachers improve programs will become more successful which will in turn attract more students. With the help of the foundation we may see four or even 500,000 kids involved in music programs in our two provinces. As this pool of music students grows so too will the volume and the quality of Canadian talent.
4107 Across North America only 3,000 ‑‑ or excuse me ‑‑ only 3 percent of music students become professional musicians. The other 97 percent of music students may not be performers but they will have a strong influence on the radio broadcast industry. It is a documented fact that music students listen to music 50 percent more than non‑music students. Not only do they listen to more music, they also listen to a much greater variety of music. It is these music students that will listen to the radio far more than their peers. With the support of the Save the Music Foundation not only will you see an increase in Canadian talent but you will also see an increase in the listening program because of these music students.
4108 The Save the Music Foundation, like the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival, will be a living organization which will adjust and adapt to the needs of young musicians. We will develop new programs tailored to helping those young superstars. We will work in partnership with school districts and community and church organizations and parents and students. Unlike other incentives such as CARA and CADME and private organizations such as the Mannix Foundation, which we applaud, this foundation will have set programs and long term goals.
4109 With your approval of this application and if we do our job, my belief is that this foundation will be around long after we are gone.
4110 In conclusion, the Save the Music Foundation is unlike anything that has been proposed before. This is not merely a funding organization. This is a music education development program to help develop Canadian talent. The potential of this foundation is immense. Please do not let this pass by.
4111 Thank you.
4112 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4113 Ms Miller.
4114 MS MILLER: Thank you to the CRTC for this opportunity. I am excited to be here as it is not often an average Canadian is granted the opportunity to speak to the issuing of a new radio licence for northern Alberta. Good morning.
4115 My name is Arlene Miller and I have worked and lived in Grand Prairie for over 35 years. I am part of the business community as I am involved in no less than 11 small businesses. I have raised and schooled my children in this centre for the north. I have watched it grow from a small town to a regional centre. I am proud to be a part of this community that we call Grande Prairie.
4116 My family and I believe in contribution and giving back to the community we earn our living in. I have held board positions on the Downtown Association, the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce, the Grande Prairie Regional College Foundation, as well as I am a past member of the Opera Broadcast Association. I also believe in the motto "Service Above Self", the motto of my Rotary Club.
4117 During the past year some of the causes that my family and I have been a part of include The Big Toy Box, a charity that gives toys to needy children at Christmas; the Relay for Life, a 24‑hour cancer relay; Kids With Cancer; the Community Foundation of Greater Grande Prairie and the Food Bank.
4118 CJXX Radio and the Pattison Group are involved in the causes that I have mentioned. They don't judge an event or cause on its sexiness or how it serves them but how it serves our community.
4119 I am also very proud of my accomplishments as a broadcaster for over a decade as the general manager of CJXX Radio. In this capacity I was asked to attend a think tank session for the Grande Prairie Public School Board in the early 1990s during these government cutbacks.
4120 Therefore, I feel I can speak to the social and economic fabric and structure of our community and its future needs.
4121 As I mentioned, in the 1990s the provincial government cut funding to education to everything except essential academic programs. Music programs throughout the school system were eliminated.
4122 I can't tell you how impressed I am to see a western‑based initiative of the Pattison Group and how they support children and music. How does a talented kid from western Canada who is gifted in music know how to access funds without programs like this? How can the broadcast industry support itself or more importantly the music industry in Canada if we are not constantly developing an interest in music? This application helps to create and sustain Canadian talent.
4123 The second point in the application is the commitment to news and the spoken word. I hear time and time again from the average Canadian or the average citizen of Grande Prairie that they wish the news lasted more than 30 seconds and broadcast had more local information. It seems to be the wish of the people of northern Alberta that radio be an information medium. A wise broadcaster once said, "If you can't be international you have to be a local". In Grande Prairie we can't be international. We have to be local.
4124 The spoken word and news commitment in this application is far and above all the other applications before you. Its local content serves as a bridge, bringing together all the elements that make Grande Prairie the greatest place to be. And by the way, "The Greatest Place To Be" is the City of Grande Prairie's slogan.
4125 It is a privilege to be granted a broadcast licence by the CRTC and it is my opinion as a former broadcaster and, more importantly, a citizen of northern Alberta, a wife, a mother and a grandmother that the granting of a licence to the Pattison Group is a mutually‑beneficial relationship with the broadcaster and the community. We in the community support this application and they in turn have shown their support and commitment in their application.
4126 Thank you.
4127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mrs. Miller.
4128 Mr. Crerar.
4129 MR. CRERAR: Thank you very much. My name is Doug Crerar.
4130 Thank you very much, bonjour, tansi and thank you for the opportunity to speak here.
4131 I teach history and native studies at Grande Prairie Regional College. I have been a writer and educator there for 16 years and want to start with my own roots in rural Ontario because I was raised one of the demographics, still remembering being raised in the one‑room schoolhouse in the country south of Ottawa, where radio became an avenue to national, regional and international perspectives. We had the advantage south of Ottawa of having both CBC and CFRA which was a very different station than it is now, famous then for its rock music; wide, comprehensive news coverage and, of course, the incendiary open line show by Lowell Green.
4132 The point here, though, is that when I moved to Grande Prairie I discovered a radio station equally committed to regional coverage which had interest in news, public affairs and in‑depth reportage. It was very exciting to discover actually that both stations had a reputation for this and I did ‑‑ at times was consulted and acted as an interviewee on Sun FM, originally known as CFGP, but in the mid‑1990s as that station moved into its current configuration I discovered there was more interest in accessing faculty to comment on public affairs and more interest in broad news‑making reportage coming from the Pattison Group CJXX.
4133 My relationship with the radio began in a community that saw radio as a connection and as more than entertainment and it continues in my commitment to what the Pattison Group is proposing to do here and what they have already done.
4134 The role of a radio station in our region is that of a morning paper. This station in particular has done an excellent job of providing the kind of news that is not canned or packaged or provided by commercial news or wire services but actually has a news desk. The station has a news desk with reporters and the news director is in fact an educated individual with a wide interest in world affairs, regional affairs and provincial affairs.
4135 As a result, what we need in Grande Prairie is a station which has the function of a morning paper to bring people as they prepare for work, school or other occupations to provide both the local events and some regional coverage but also to connect the world with our region and to access local individuals often in the community or in the academic community of the college who can provide commentary, in‑depth explanations, who can actually ask and sharpen the questions for community discussion that need to be done.
4136 For example, the role of the newsroom here is to bring resource people from the region to the attention and to the perspective of the regional listener so that they have access to follow up with them perhaps through the college or other institutions, something that I was able to do myself with CFRA and which I know individuals in the Peace Region can do with CJXX.
4137 It links, therefore, the people of the region with the news, with the world and with a perspective that our citizens need to make effective contributions as informed members of our community, questions like:
4138 Why are we in Afghanistan?
4139 Are we the light infantry for the American empire?
4140 Are we in many ways a puppet state?
4141 Are we in fact irrelevant in the international community or is in fact our pride we take in peacekeeping and other activities really a self‑indulgent nostalgia or a self‑congratulation?
4142 How do we understand the concern of First Nations people across Canada and in our own region and how do we understand and how do we deal with often public statements by Canadian officials or by other officials we pick up on our connections with American media on broad sweeping generalizations about land claims and so on?
4143 The answer, of course, is that you can take what is provided in the canned, pre‑packaged media coverage that can be purchased through wire services, that can be repeated in the news in the Daily Herald‑Tribune which is about a day or two behind what is reported in the radio and accessible immediately to the listener, or one can also add value to that by engaging local individuals who have some knowledge, travel and some expertise in those areas.
4144 The point, then, is that without dependence on the wire services or pre‑paraphrased pre‑packaged commentary, this station is a news provider as well as a news purveyor to consumers, to audiences in the region and it is heard. The feedback I receive, the feedback others receive of the coverage for news and commentary from CJXX is widely heard in the region and widely appreciated.
4145 CJXX has a track record, a track record which there is a commitment to perpetuate and, I think in many ways, revise and improve in the new application. They satisfy the Broadcasting Act's concerns around Canadian cultural and social objectives.
4146 This is Canadian interpretation of news. This is regional interpretation of news. This is the linkage which brings reporters from the station to hear people like Gwynne Dyer speak at our college, to involve people in the region who are involved in various causes, to have an audience in the region and to link the world through people living in our region is well connected with the world despite its portrayal as an isolated and rather northern in‑service region resource here as the wood and drawers of water and pumpers of oil to the rest of the world.
4147 Actually, there is a number of people in the Peace Region who are connected internationally through NGOs, through involvement in a number of other causes and activities who brought their expertise to the Peace to enrich the region and who are available for commentary, for advice and, in fact, in some ways for criticism of what is often filtered through by the pre‑packaged media available to most people on a commercial station which does not have a focus or a commitment to accurate news.
4148 This valuable, in‑depth addition to standard news coverage allows the vision of the Pattison Group to maintain their track record of in‑depth reportage and to further improve it. This convinces me that I want to offer support for this.
4149 I think it's important to say that the college community is also committed to this kind of vision and so I'm here to support the application.
4150 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Crerar.
4151 Mr. King.
4152 MR. KING: Bonjour, tansi, good morning and Happy Aboriginal Day. My name is Greg King. I am Métis and I am from the Métis Nation of Alberta and their education sector advisor.
4153 I was originally supposed to be celebrating National Aboriginal Day today but I took this morning off, if you will, to be here. The rest of my office is shutdown and they have all gone out to Métis Crossing, which is our version of Fort Edmonton, if you are familiar with Fort Edmonton, which is an historical site. It's northeast of here, near Smoky Lake, one of the first settlements here in Alberta. They are sort of helping to paint the barn and cut the grass and do that kind of thing today.
4154 So what would take me away from doing manual labour at actually something that is quite a joy, a pride of our nation here in Alberta? That's something else. It is a shared vision. I think it's equally important.
4155 But let me talk a little bit about who am I first. Well, I am a former teacher, used to be physics and biology. I'm told those aren't Métis subjects but I disagree.
4156 I come from a long line of proud Métis, proud aboriginal people, and growing up and trying to find ways to sort of make ends meet and find my formal education was a challenge. Well, it comes down to dollars and cents sometimes trying to find the money and it's not unique to Métis students. It's not unique to Canadians in general.
4157 But what I found is that there weren't a lot of opportunities specifically for Métis students. There are millions of dollars set aside for aboriginal bursaries and so forth but not many of them are Métis‑specific. In Alberta up to this point there has only been one Alberta‑wide scholarship that has been made specific to Métis students. There is an old saying that the Métis are Canada's forgotten people; a little bit of truth to that, I think, and that we sort of all get lumped together into this nebulous mass, these Métis that are just sort of absorbed into this idea of aboriginal.
4158 I sit on many boards. I have had the opportunity to influence the social studies curriculum here in the province and work quite closely with Alberta education to try and sort of dispel this myth.
4159 Just a causal example ‑‑ I know it's not quite on topic, but it's sort of why I am here ‑‑ talking about residential schools and how aboriginal students weren't allowed to practice their religion or language but for the Catholic Métis that was a little bit of a different experience. Not all Métis were Catholic and not all Métis necessarily spoke French or English for that matter, but for those that did they were not represented in that kind of thinking back and thinking about aboriginals as this nebulous pan view of our group.
4160 The recognition that the Pattison Group has given already in one of its affiliates down in Medicine Hat to and working with the Métis local there and establishing its Métis‑specific scholarship has been very empowering for that group and it is speaking to a need that isn't often addressed. So too they proposed to have in Grande Prairie, set up a Métis scholarship to encourage Métis students to become represented in the broadcast world.
4161 I'm here to speak on behalf of those future students and to encourage the Chairman and Commissioner, other Commissioners and staff here to think carefully about the investment that the Pattison Group is proposing. It's not just this investment alone, of course. They are very committed to investing in the community as a whole.
4162 But this kind of specific recognition is rare and private investment in the community, especially our community, is rare too and it is something that we have been working towards, to work with government and the private sector and our own community to foster a greater sense of community and to really enrich all of our lives.
4163 Just in closing, I would like to thank the Pattison Group for asking me here to help support them and thank you, Chairman, and Commissioners, for allowing me to speak here today.
4164 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. King.
4165 Mr. Townsend.
4166 MR. TOWNSEND: Yes, good morning.
4167 I am Mike Townsend. I have been a member of Music Alberta Board, Alberta Band Directors Association Board; presently the secretary for Phi Beta Mu International Band Directors Fraternity.
4168 I am a 35‑year band director in the Grande Prairie Public School District and I have conducted the Grande Prairie Marching Band the same 35 years. I have been supervisor of the Grande Prairie Public School District for the past 27 years.
4169 I have worked with Ken Norman and others at CJXX since the inception of their station. They have always been very supportive of what I do in the school district and in the community with the marching band. These people mean what they say and they can be relied upon to keep a commitment.
4170 The main reason that I am supporting this application today is the excitement about the Save the Music Foundation. It is of special interest to me, of course. I have read the Appendix A that has been supplied and I support all the ideas put forward in the Save the Music Foundation.
4171 School music is a necessity, not a frill. School music is where music talent and talent ID begins. Many of the performing professionals in the music world today got their initial exposure and developed their love of music through the school music program. There are some working bands in Alberta today; Captain Tractor out of Edmonton; Emerson Drive. Both of these bands have musicians that came through the Grande Prairie public and the Grande Prairie Catholic high school system. A lead clarinet player of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is one of my former students.
4172 I believe that if we are going to create more of Canadian talent, working Canadian talent out there, we need to expand the base. We need to expand it down at the bottom, not at the top, and the efforts through the Save the Music Foundation is going to do that.
4173 Save the Music Foundation is a western Canada project. It is aimed at the talent in the west. It is being promoted by radio stations in the west. These stations, Pattison Group, have made a commitment to put back into their business area funding to help develop future music talent and to keep music in the schools. There is no other program in Canada that I know of like that, that I have become aware of in the past 35 years.
4174 In closing, I have attended the Rocky Mountain Music Festival and can attest to its value and to its worth. Thank you.
4175 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Townsend.
4176 Commissioner Cram.
4177 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4178 I'm sorry. I have been writing people's names down so I don't ‑‑ but the first speaker, I didn't hear your name.
4179 MR. CONNELL: Willie Connell, Willie Connell.
4180 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Cong?
4181 MR. CONNELL: Connell.
4182 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
4183 You said that music students listen to music 50 percent more than non‑music students. Now, I have heard about it raising your IQ by 10 points and that you get better in math and I am living proof that that's not true.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4184 COMMISSIONER CRAM: But where did this study come from? Can you tell me the source?
4185 MR. CONNELL: Yes. I found that out through MENC, Music Educators National Convention web page. They link with all sorts of organizations, music organizations and that is just one of you know many, many statistics and facts that are on that web page.
4186 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And does it ‑‑ like I was a classical musician. Would it mean that I would listen to just classical music or does it mean that I listened to all different genres?
4187 MR. CONNELL: No, it was interesting. I was just at the Music Educators National Convention in the United States three weeks ago and there was a session on developing music with children and one of the presenters there at that time said that what they had found out was that music students, even although they may be studying in one area they are more apt to listen to all forms of music than non‑music students.
4188 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So what we need to do in order to address that demographic that is leaving radio and not listening to it, which is high school kids, is teach them music.
4189 MR. CONNELL: Yes.
4190 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
4191 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are all except Mrs. Arlene ‑‑ you are all educators and I would say Mrs. Cram raised a good question. It's a fact that in North America that the younger generation have left radio to get their music from other means and those are at least the statistics and the outlet that BBM provides us with and so over the years we have been able to make the necessary comparison and the conclusion that the younger generation are listening to iPods, to the internet and other means.
4192 Do you by your own ‑‑ because you seem to all have music activities, have found out ways or suggestions to make to the broadcasters what they should do to recuperate the younger generation and bring them back to radio ‑‑ any one of you?
4193 MR. CRERAR: As a non‑musician, although I have some skill with the tape recorder and the record player and the mystical device called the CD, my experience with students in general is that they are actually by nature curious and by disposition eager to learn, although most teachers wouldn't admit that after they do the marking.
4194 The point would be that they have their tastes. They have their peer group. They have their own ways of using technology. The cohort we are educating now is far more technically adept than even my generation which invented many of these devices.
4195 The point would be, though, that these students also are often glad and eager to be touched by something other from teachers, from community leaders, from the media that adds value as to their curiousity. If Aristotle said, "Man by nature desire to know", we know that students by nature desire to get stuff and to learn stuff and one way to do that is by providing a catchy but also outside the box interpretation.
4196 I mean, if you look at the post‑millennial, post‑modern generation we are looking at now, they can smell a package, that carefully‑managed, modern marketing technique a mile away and they usually detest it. That's why most institutions are failing right now because they depend on modern style packaging with all the consultants, with media surveys, pollsters, market needs assessments and so on. What these students want is something outside the box that attacks something with relevance and that can't be done by pre‑packaging. That has to be done not even with market surveys, and with all due respect to those who disparage classic rock, there is a place for the old rock because it asks the questions that are still with us today.
4197 So I think the question is radio will live as radio is relevant and the relevance has to leave the marketing ‑‑ the box behind and to say (a) you matter, you are important; (b) we have the people right around us who can connect what you think is dead with what you think is the package and say inside all that there is a place for individuals.
4198 Radio is people. Education is people. When all the surveys rise and fall and political regimes abusing and prostituting education, as a historian I'm still trying to understand what the purpose is, the real agenda is behind something called social studies because I think, in the end, we only blend and fall into watering down of things when we start leaving people behind and go to systems.
4199 What I like about this station is that it's not a system‑driven concept. It's not a package‑driven concept. It says what do the people ‑‑ what do they listen to, who are they and how can they be part of this station, which is why their reporting teams go to the scene, talk to people who travel, who have been around who are also however committed to the region and emerge from the grassroots like I did in the Ottawa Valley and have other people in the region say this person is just over there at the college. This person lives in Grande Prairie. What is their phone number? Could they come to our school? Could I go to their college? Could we, in listening to their station, hear them again?
4200 It's these people contacts, just as in the music world that we are going to catch the attention and keep radio relevant.
4201 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4202 One of the intervenors who is not appearing here, which is the Canadian Independent Record Producers Association, is saying that Pattison, rather than put their money into Save the Music Foundation should send their money to CARA because Save the Music Foundation is a duplication of CARA.
4203 I know that you have alluded to CARA, Mr. Connell. Do you have any comments to make on that?
4204 MR. CONNELL: Yes, I think there is a major difference. I mean, CARA has been around for a while and we applaud what they do just like CADME in Calgary.
4205 The music foundation that we are establishing, the Save the Music Foundation, has set programs. We are just not giving money for people to apply for instruments or to travel. We are looking at education and saying, "How can we improve education? "What can we do to make education stronger so that kids are more involved in music so that we can develop more Canadian talent?"
4206 We have specific programs that we are going to be offering. It's almost like ‑‑ you know, like a university class‑type thing that we are going to offer programs. We are just not going to be offering money to buy products. We are saying through our experience and through our contacts that we will be setting up programs, we will be doing things that will improve music. You know, it may be such ‑‑ if you think of it as like a night school class kind of thing, we are just not going to be funding.
4207 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr. Townsend (off mic).
4208 MR. TOWNSEND: Yes, I am a guy from the field. I'm actually active teaching, doing this stuff, and have for many years.
4209 CARA is something I know nothing about. I don't know what you are talking about. If there is a program that already exists I don't know that.
4210 When I got the invite to speak on behalf of the Pattison Group it is because of this Save the Music Foundation that sort of lit me up because now there is something that looks like we can access and help to promote music in the schools and ultimately develop the talent in the west. It's because it is a western program that it needs to be done. So many things go down east and never come back out west.
4211 Thank you.
4212 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4213 Mr. Langford.
4214 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4215 Mr. Crerar, I have been listening to you. I read your intervention and you mentioned in both of them it was kind of ‑‑ I guess kind of ‑‑ that this sort of public service educational deep in‑depth news approach of the Pattison station would serve students' needs and would be of great aid for students and you felt that this is something that students want and something that students need to have this. You were even quoting Aristotle, you know, this great ‑‑ it was better than Plato, I suppose, but ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4216 MR. CRERAR: More practical but not as cool.
4217 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: ‑‑ this great curiousity.
4218 And yet, the disconnect I am finding here is that the student association for the very college where you teach supports another one of the applicants. They support the Crude Communication application and I just wonder why that would be. I mean, maybe you can help me understand why you speaking on behalf of the students want ‑‑
4219 MR. CRERAR: I think it's the nature of Canadian pluralism.
4220 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: ‑‑ something else.
4221 MR. CRERAR: Yes, I think it's the nature of Canadian pluralism right now and the way in which the funding and the managing of information is handled.
4222 Students by nature are alternative thinkers, college students in particular. But I'm thinking about the high school students and the public school students who will listen to the radio with mom and dad in the morning maybe even in the barn or on the tractor who are thinking about this and who will come after these.
4223 College students naturally have their tastes. We have a large international community from Nigeria, from the Orient. We also have students who are wanting to transfer and move on out to other communities; to leave for national service to work in NGOs, and in a way although they often listen maybe even in their closet to country and western, there is also other ways in which those stations are the community stations.
4224 Those connections are the community connections out of which that matrix arises students who think bigger, who think with a regional international perspective and who will go on to do other things. They are the ones who want to know more but won't always get that except they'll get the latest rock news, the latest internet buzz, and that's nice. But in the end when they emerge they are saying, "But what do I do with my life?" It's the old question, how do I get a job or how do I find my way in the world?
4225 And the answer is it's probably not going to be in Grande Prairie if you are thinking of education. You are going to be looking at leaving at some point to engage the larger province in the nation.
4226 That's why so many of the students that I am teaching are on their MP3 when they should be listening to my lectures, are listening to something they got from the internet. When that's put away and they look at the larger perspective of their life track they also appreciate the fact that people close to them physically, voices they can hear, people they can visit, people they can talk to are actually from there, in there and have a voice to the radio station that looks after people.
4227 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: If they are listening to their MP3s, this sort of guardian class, future guardian class of students who are looking for something more, looking for something extra that you speak of, surely they are not listening to in‑depth coverage? They are not turning on their MP3s for a download of a Gwynne Dyer lecture and I wonder whether they won't be finding that sort of thing on As It Happens on the CBC.
4228 I was interested to hear Ms Miller say that, you know, you can't be international here but you can be local and that's what you can provide. It seems to me that you are reaching ‑‑ the way I am hearing you anyway, that you are saying quite the other thing; that the value added for you is this international connection which to me then I see a double disconnection, a disconnection between you and Ms Miller, a disconnection between you and your own students. I am having trouble actually in assessing the Pattison application, seeing it fit into this niche that you are speaking about.
4229 MR. CRERAR: Well, maybe the mental matrix you are working from ‑‑ remember that students don't go in straight lines. Linear logic is not a gift. It's something that is imparted sometimes. People hear and think on a broad scale. Their minds are shifting; incidents, memories, collections and often is focused on charismatic people in the end who are the most influenced.
4230 They may be interested and they put a lot of money as consumers into one kind of media, one phase in their life, but at another point they are also listening to everything and in spite of us teachers they learn. They also of course describe CBC as "nerd radio" or "geek radio". On the other hand, every now and then when they hear their voice on it they tune in.
4231 I think there is a way in which you are right. There is a disconnect, and it's generational and it is institutional and that's why radio stations that try to keep perpetuating even the music they are in trouble.
4232 I think the one thing that bridges that, especially in our region, is the people connections that are made by hearing their voices, by hearing their questions communicated. And it may be only on the bus ride to school. It may only be at the morning breakfast table. It may be at night sometimes, but often the solution is that they don't wear their MP3 all the time and if they keep the volume up they will be deaf soon anyway.
4233 Seriously speaking, people are not parallel. They are thinking along several lines at once. They are taking in information at all ages in different ways and they are trying to line up some linear ‑‑ all comprehensive or totally connected series of sequences or services is actually part of the problem with the modern project. Most of the time people are actually, sometimes even what could be called at the clan level socially, and that interaction includes interaction with parents, interaction with teachers. Teachers after all are the most significant adult in many students' lives outside the parents, sometimes in spite of the parents, and those relationships involve a generational cross that sociologically appears not to be a connect until you talk to someone like Reginald Bibby or others who are doing work with these cohorts and discovering that there is an interest longitudinally over generations as well as their own particular fads at the time or their own particular interests.
4234 We have people today that have the technology to become very intensely informed on very narrow subjects and every now and then they come up for air, you might say, and say, "Yes, but what is the big picture?" And the answer is people who can connect you with that.
4235 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, folks, those of you from Pattison who do the programming, there is your challenge.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4236 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Those are my questions. Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman.
4237 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Langford.
4238 Thank you, Mrs. Miller. Gentlemen, thank you for your presentation.
4239 We will move to the next cohort of intervenors.
4240 THE CHAIRPERSON: Miss Secretary.
4241 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4242 I will now call on the next panel of supporting intervenors starting by Anil Padayas of the Peace Wapiti Academy; Mr. Graham Johnson of Summerslam Sports Ltd.; Amanda Ford of the Grande Prairie Regional College Students Association and Mr. Rick Nordstrom from the Grande Prairie Storm Hockey Club.
4243 We will start with Anil Padayas. You have 10 minutes for your presentation.
4244 MR. PADAYAS: Thank you. Good morning to the panel.
4245 My name is Anil Padayas. I am from Peace Wapiti Academy in Grande Prairie, and our academy is not a private school but a public school. We are approximately 400 students from grades 9 to 12. I am currently the vice‑principal at Peace Wapiti Academy.
4246 As you probably heard, there is a growing population that is occurring in Grande Prairie and area. There are two other high schools in that area. The one right beside us has a population about 1,400; another high school that is a Catholic high school that has a population of about 800 students.
4247 Our school draws from the surrounding area. We are a regional school division and we draw from outside of Grande Prairie, the surrounding areas, farms, acreages and the smaller communities that surround us.
4248 Our school offers a variety of programs, sports programs; football, basketball, volleyball, track and field, badminton, all those things that are fairly common in high schools. We also have a strong academic program offering scholarships and university entrance programs. We also offer trades in mechanics, building construction, welding and so forth. We also offer a dynamic fine arts program that involves drama, music and choral. We also have a general learner's student population as well which offers special needs programs to students.
4249 We also offer something called work experience for students that gives them an opportunity at a high school level to earn credits. In the province of Alberta for a student to achieve a high school diploma they have to earn 100 credits in terms of the courses they take and the courses they take usually end up having five credits per course and students earn these credits to help them achieve their high school diploma.
4250 Now, work experience allows them to go out into the work field and have an opportunity to work in a specific area and learn about that industry, whatever that might be, and earn credits based on whatever that trade or industry is.
4251 I'm here to support Crude Communications for many reasons and I will highlight them now.
4252 First and foremost, they are a locally‑owned company; business owners, families and parents and students that more than likely will be coming to our school and supporting our school in terms of what happens in the community and region.
4253 Crude Communications allows our school or gives us an opportunity to do announcements for school events, coverage of local activities, sports and fine art programs.
4254 Also, Crude Communications allows us an opportunity for independent artists to develop their skills and showcase them through their broadcasting.
4255 But most importantly, as I was speaking of work experience, one of the things that education right now is trying to give students an opportunity to do different things, and I believe that a local broadcasting company would allow our students an opportunity to try what the radio and broadcasting industry has to offer and in turn maybe ‑‑ and somewhere down the line give them an opportunity as a profession somewhere in the future.
4256 The biggest impact; once again, as I say, work experience in terms of allowing students an opportunity to be in the broadcast industry and try to see if that's their niche in terms of what they want to do in their future plans.
4257 Also, we as a school offer band and choral programs that allow students an opportunity there to approach Crude Communications and have some time, airtime, so that they have a chance at being able to air to the community.
4258 Thank you.
4259 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Padayas.
4260 Mr. Johnson.
4261 MR. JOHNSON: Good morning. My name is Graham Johnson. I am a local music promoter in Grande Prairie.
4262 I have a company called Summerslam Sports. It has been a music festival and sports tournament for the last seven years. We have had pretty much everybody in Canadian music that is in the top categories over the few years. Last year our headliner was Great Big Sea; 54‑40; Sam Roberts who is a multi‑Juno award winner. This year of the headliners we have three of the top five Juno nominated for band of the year are our headliners.
4263 Besides that I have also put on hundreds of small, medium, large concerts through both the music festivals and also my association with a small 500‑seat music venue that I was involved with, with my father Byron Johnson, which is still in existence today.
4264 I have never felt so popular than until this process started. I have been approached by pretty much a majority of the applicants that you have and I wanted to sit on the fence because it's an interesting process that we are going through here, and until I read all of the applications did I decide that I wanted to support the local guys. I have some involvement in the community besides all of the music that we put on and in that involvement I realized today that the local ownership is crucial. Our city has grown considerably over the past few years and it's the only time that you see people that we grew up with ‑‑ I have been in Grande Prairie for 40 years and when I go to non‑profit organizations or community‑run events it is the only time today where I run into my old friends.
4265 So therefore, I truly back the local owners, Gord and Donna from Crude Communications. I have worked with them before on other events and they do a tremendous job. I think it's important that they get the support from guys like me and I look forward to working with them in other music and community events, whether it be through the ball association that he is the president of or anything that I am involved with. He is always there to help me out and it's important that I have a voice when I put on my small events as well as my large events. He has shown me the support in the past.
4266 That's all I have to say. Thank you.
4267 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4268 MS FORD: Good morning. My name is Amanda Ford and I was born in Grande Prairie and have recently just moved back after growing up further north of Grande Prairie to continue my education in college.
4269 As well as a student at the Grande Prairie Regional College, I am an executive member of the Grande Prairie Regional College Students' Association and I am here on behalf of Crude Communications.
4270 The Grande Prairie Regional College Students' Association is a constituted non‑for‑profit organization that represents students' interests.
4271 The organization is run by students for the students; services that we provide range from health and dental plans to our Room of Plenty food bank to campus activities.
4272 As the vice‑president of social programming at the students' association for my second consecutive year, it is my responsibility to coordinate; run affordable on and off campus events for all our students. Our campus lounge is a venue for many of our numerous events throughout the school year. In addition to our monthly events Howlers is also a popular hangout spot for our students before, after and in between classes.
4273 Grande Prairie is a city with an extremely strong and demanding economy and there is no immediate end in sight to its enormous growth. As Grande Prairie's economy and future continues to prosper, it is clear to say that education is a very important variable to the city's development.
4274 In Grande Prairie our enrolment is beginning to decline. I have a ‑‑ it seems to be that Grande Prairie is very large and numerous jobs are opening up and people are coming or dropping out of high school and just landing into these jobs and not wanting to continue their education further. To me, education is our future. We are continuing to learn every day and to get the future knowledge for these jobs out there you need to go to school.
4275 As a student leader it is my duty to fight for post‑secondary improvements and Crude Communications is willing to help us do this by setting aside funding for scholarships and giving students the opportunity to work hands on in their industry. This opportunity could potentially open up new doors for implementation of new broadcast‑related programs at our college.
4276 Education, as I said, is very important to every aspect of life and society needs to really begin to see its true importance so that we can help. So with the help of Crude Communications I truly believe that Grande Prairie Regional College along with local high school, we can convey this message to our local and surrounding communities.
4277 I would like to thank you for this opportunity to support Crude Communications who was willing to help us positively change our organization and the surrounding community.
4278 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4279 Mr. Nordstrom.
4280 MR. NORDSTROM: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and CRTC board.
4281 My name is Rick Nordstrom. I have been married for 27 years. I have four children and a very patient wife named Patricia. We have resided in Grande Prairie for 13 years. We have watched Grande Prairie double in population and understand that it may double again in the next five years.
4282 Having spent approximately 30 years in new home construction, I have decided to spend the next five years developing young hockey players. I have sat the past six years on the minor hockey executive as a volunteer. I am also one of the original founders of the Grande Prairie Storm Junior A Hockey Team and at present I am the governor representing the Storm in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, also as a volunteer.
4283 The Grande Prairie Storm is a non‑for‑profit community‑owned Junior A hockey franchise operated by volunteers. We are one of 16 franchises in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The Alberta Junior Hockey League extends to four corners of the province from Grande Prairie in the northwest to Fort McMurray in the northeast, to Canmore in the southwest and Drumheller in the southeast.
4284 We are beginning our eleventh season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and they have led the league in attendance every year and have been one of the top‑drawing teams in all of Canada since we have joined the league. We have over 1,600 season ticket holders and an average of almost 2,500 fans per game. We play a 60‑game schedule, 30 games at home and probably three or four exhibition games plus playoffs.
4285 We have been a success because we have made ourselves an important part of Grande Prairie community. We have gotten a lot from the community but we also give a lot back. Every year we contribute approximately $20,000 to minor hockey in Grande Prairie; open the doors to our facility for local, non‑profit groups to fundraise at our Storm games; find sponsor tickets for tickets for all minor hockey players in schools in the Peace Country; spread our players throughout the community to volunteer to help those in need and are involved in many other activities in our community.
4286 It has been the mandate of the Grande Prairie Storm that the community comes first. That was never more evident than in the 2004 Junior A national championship, the Royal Bank Cup, which Grande Prairie hosted in 2004. Profits from the Royal Bank Cup reached approximately $400,000. None of that money was kept for general operations of the Storm. It was all given back to the community. Over 20 groups and organizations in Grande Prairie area, many of them non‑hockey related, were presented with the funds generated through the Storm's hosting of the Royal Bank Cup.
4287 Grande Prairie is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. We are still able to maintain the community pride and ownership because we support each other. Local people shop at local business and local business support local groups, organizations and teams like Grande Prairie Storm.
4288 Since the Storm was formed back in the mid‑1990s we have had a great relationship with our two local radio stations, Sun FM and Big Country XXFM. They have supported the Storm not just through sponsorship avenues but by giving the team outstanding coverage through their news and sports department. They have helped make us the number one entertainment draw in the Peace Country and we certainly appreciate it; support their bids to expand their operation in Grande Prairie.
4289 The Grande Prairie Hockey Team also feels comfortable in putting its support behind another local group, Bear Creek Broadcasting Ltd. We are very familiar with the Bear Creek group. We have been very impressed how they have contributed both volunteerism and financially to many of the community events in Grande Prairie over the years. They are a big part of Grande Prairie community and have proven track records when it comes to getting the job done and giving back to the community.
4290 Crude Communications Limited, locally owned and operated by Gord Gavin and Donna Pringle, both deemed very active in our community, has given us every indication that they want to become part of the Grande Prairie community, a bigger part of the Grande Prairie community. Crude is the only applicant that has made a commitment to broadcasting Storm games if they are awarded the licence to set up shop in Grande Prairie. We appreciate their commitment to the Storm.
4291 The Storm Hockey Club also wishes all applicants well. We are prepared to work with whatever group is granted a licence and hope they become a successful part of the community we are so proud of.
4292 Thanks very much.
4293 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Nordstrom.
4294 Commissioner Cugini.
4295 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Good morning.
4296 Mr. Johnson, you said you organize hundreds of events ‑‑
4297 MR. JOHNSON: Yes.
4298 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: ‑‑ throughout the Grande Prairie area, and is that on a yearly basis?
4299 MR. JOHNSON: No, no, over the last 15 years.
4300 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And on a yearly basis how many events would you put on?
4301 MR. JOHNSON: I have two outdoor music events but then, again, involvement in the restaurant music venue anywhere from 20 to 70.
4302 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And those two outdoor events ‑‑
4303 MR. JOHNSON: Yes.
4304 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: ‑‑ they are primarily rock music?
4305 MR. JOHNSON: Yes, yes, one in ‑‑
4306 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And ‑‑
4307 MR. JOHNSON: I'm sorry. ‑‑
4308 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Go ahead.
4309 MR. JOHNSON: One in particular, the event called "Summerslam" which will be held in three weeks is now a premier event in Canada. It will have perhaps 16 to 20,000 people throughout the weekend and it is my primary business during the year.
4310 The rest of it, to me, is just supporting the other music events and supporting music itself to stay in the business, but this is my Stanley Cup, is this Summerslam Sports Weekend, again, three weeks from tomorrow.
4311 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And who are the three headliners?
4312 MR. JOHNSON: This year there is actually five headliners. The event has become so popular. Our Lady Peace is the Saturday night. Friday night is Blue Rodeo. Thursday night is Theory of a Dead Man and David Wilcox, Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Stabilo. If you look at any Top 40 right now, whether it be country, classic rock, modern rock, alternative rock, one of those bands is in there somewhere.
4313 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Those are pretty big names.
4314 MR. JOHNSON: Those are big names.
4315 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: In Canadian music.
4316 MR. JOHNSON: Yes, thank you. I appreciate ‑‑
4317 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: How do you get them to Grande Prairie?
4318 MR. JOHNSON: Well, hard work; hard work and a lot of years of battling it out. So I understand this process very well. I understand how important it is and I will pay the price for sitting at this seat, believe me.
4319 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you. Thank you very much for your contribution.
4320 MR. JOHNSON: Yes. You are very welcome.
4321 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: That's all, Mr. Chair.
4322 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4323 Mr. Johnson, you have mentioned you have been approached by numerous groups and you choose to support the local owners.
4324 MR. JOHNSON: That's correct.
4325 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you have been talking with most of ‑‑ which format will complement the market offering in Grande Prairie because we have been told by numerous applicants if not all that there was place for more than one station in the market?
4326 So from your own perspective which format will be a good complement to the current radio offering?
4327 MR. JOHNSON: Two, two. One is absolutely classic rock. There is no question about it because of the age demographics in Grande Prairie right now. And the other one truly is community oriented.
4328 Radio in Grande Prairie is truly the glue that keeps us together and it is so important. Our town is changing unlike anything you guys have probably ever seen and we truly need a community voice, absolutely, so important. And because business is so big and it's very difficult to advertise if you are a small owner/operator of a company but we need a community‑based radio station.
4329 And then as far as the music is concerned, because I know I listen to the radio living in Grande Prairie not for music ‑‑ I listen to find out what is going on, you know, what is Rick Nordstrom doing with the Grande Prairie Storm? I am very involved in that particular organization and have been. That's why I listen to the radio.
4330 I also listen to hear what else is going on in the music world. So classic rock right now is ‑‑ it's crucial we have a classic rock station and it's also crucial we have a community‑run station.
4331 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4332 Miss ‑‑ I don't remember your name. I apologize, but ‑‑
4333 MS FORD: It's Amanda Ford.
4334 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have heard some ‑‑ Grande Prairie College, the professor articulated ‑‑ Mr. Crerar talking earlier about the disconnect between, well, the adults and the younger generation and I had a question for him saying that ‑‑ and you are here representing the students that there is an understanding ‑‑ it is measured that the younger generation have stopped listening to radio, rather they use their MP3s, iPods or other internet or other means to get their music and now you are here representing the students saying that they support Crude Communication.
4335 What kind of comments could you make and what could you tell the broadcasters that will allow them to recapture the younger audience?
4336 MS FORD: Well, there is no doubt that students and people in general do love music. I believe that students use the radio and even television to figure out what new music has come about and then they do go to other sources like the internet and download that music so they can use it on their, you know, MP3 players. It is just an easier way to carry around their music because you can hold more on it.
4337 I don't find that a lot of students mainly use radio for finding out what is going on in the world or the rest of Canada. They will tune in to the local news reports or in the newspapers to find that out. They would rather just hear strictly music with no commercials and that's what would make them happy.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4338 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: No problem there, Mr. Chairman.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4339 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: We just take out the word "commercial" from commercial radio and we are ready to rock and roll.
4340 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Thank you.
4341 And we will go to the last intervenors.
4342 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4343 And just for the record, Miss Bonnie Bell from the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre will not be appearing today.
4344 Therefore, we now call on the last appearing intervenor, Mr. Paul Husband from the Progressive Marketing Alliance to come forward, please.
4345 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Paul Husband, if you are present in the room?
4346 Then I gather that this is the list of our appearing intervenors for the day, Mr. Chairman. This completes Phase III of the process.
4347 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4348 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4349 THE CHAIRPERSON: And before moving to Phase IV we will take a 15‑minute break.
4350 So we will be back at 11 o'clock.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1042 / Suspension à 1042
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1108 / Reprise à 1108
4351 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4352 We will now proceed to Phase IV in which applicants can reply to all interventions that were submitted on their application. Applicants will appear in reverse order.
4353 I will then ask Standard Radio Inc. to come forward for their reply.
4354 THE SECRETARY: For the purposes of our transcript, I would appreciate it if you could identify yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4355 MR. FORBES: I am Marty Forbes, Vice‑President, General Manager of Standard Radio, Edmonton, and have nothing further to say.
4356 Thank you.
4357 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Forbes.
4358 Mrs. Secretary.
4359 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4360 I will now proceed with Crude Communications Inc. and, again, if you could introduce yourself before speaking. Thank you.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4361 MR. GUAVIN: Good morning. My name is Gordon Gauvin. I am with Crude Communications.
4362 I would just like to thank my intervenors for travelling all the way down from Grande Prairie. It is 465 kilometres away. It's a bit of a trip for all of them and I appreciate that.
4363 I would also like to thank the Commission staff and the Commissioners for being part of this process. It has been very interesting and very educational. Thank you.
4364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Gauvin.
4365 Mrs. Secretary.
4366 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4367 I would now call on Vista Radio Ltd. to come forward.
4368 I gather they are not in the room. Then we will proceed with Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd.
4369 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Arnish, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4370 MR. ARNISH: Thank you, Madam Secretary, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Commission staff.
4371 I will be reasonably brief here this morning.
4372 Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we are pleased to have this opportunity to comment on interventions filed in this proceeding. There was one negative intervention filed against ours and all other applications in this proceeding by the Canadian Independent Recording Industry Association. We provided a written response to that intervention in a letter dated June 8th, 2006.
4373 In our appearance in Phase I of these proceedings the Chair requested further comment from us in response to the comments of CIRPA that our Save the Music Foundation funding would be better suited if provided to the CARAS MusiCan program.
4374 As indicated in our written response, we do not believe, based on discussions with music educators in western Canada and in the markets we are applying for licences in that the MusiCan program will meet the targeted objective of the Save the Music Foundation of creating funding in western Canada for support of the best of the best of high school music programs and other initiatives which the fund will support in western Canada.
4375 Mr. Chairman, it is somewhat frustrating to us that CIRPA would be criticizing a program which so clearly attempts to meet their objective of supporting music education in Canada. The Commission, we believe, should encourage the efforts of broadcasters and all players in the system to come up with effective approaches to talent development which may be of local or regional relevance and importance.
4376 Commissioner Cram asked us yesterday why money would be available to British Columbia from the initiative and we responded that some of the funding for the initiative would come from benefits related to transactions in British Columbia. Our concern highlights the point. We are trying to return some of our CTD funding to communities and regions which we are being licensed to serve. That is why it is important that the fund be headquartered in the region of Canada that we operate in. We do not believe that in all cases Toronto‑based organizations should have a monopoly on the management and distribution of CTD funding.
4377 While we do recognize the value in some areas of a consolidation of CTD funding, in this situation building relationships with highly successful agencies like the Rocky Mountain Music Festival will establish a unique, progressive and, we expect, highly successful catalyst to Canadian talent development which we believe the Commission will be proud to have participated in creating.
4378 There are no Canadians more passionate about Canadian talent development than music educators such as Mr. Chapman and Mr. Connell who appeared in support of our Save the Music initiative. We are pleased to have their support for our vision and commitment to this initiative.
4379 I would like to quote from the letter written in support of our application by Edmonton‑based committee and independent recording artist Samantha King:
"My heart is completely involved in standing behind and endorsing the Save the Music Foundation for high school and music programs in Alberta. Save the Music Foundation is an extremely vital tool that addresses Canadian talent development at its most infinite grassroots stage and it will raise the quality of music education in western Canada." (As read)
4380 In closing, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we would like to thank the numerous individuals, businesses, elected officials and community groups which took the time to write letters, sign petitions and commit to appear before the Commission to convey their support for our application for a new licence to serve the community of Grande Prairie.
4381 And, finally, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, I wish to thank you and Commission staff for running a great hearing. It has been very fair and very effective.
4382 Thank you very much.
4383 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Arnish.
4384 Miss Secretary.
4385 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4386 I would now call on the next applicants, Sun Country Cablevision Ltd. on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to come forward.
4387 THE SECRETARY: Again, if you could please identify yourself for the transcript and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4388 MR. GRAY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission and staff.
4389 My name is Walter Gray. I am a director with Sun Country Cablevision on behalf of a radio company to be incorporated at Grande Prairie.
4390 I appear this morning to set the record straight as a result of comments that were made by Crude Communications during Phase II. We weren't in the room at the time. The transcript is not yet available. However, we have been told that we were characterized as not having told the truth about our interest in doing Grande Prairie Storm hockey broadcasts.
4391 What I would like to do is re‑read the seven or eight lines from our prepared script heard yesterday concerning the comments we made. Starting out we said:
"We want to broadcast the Grande Prairie Storm Junior A hockey games. We have a letter on file with the Commission from the business manager of the team following our meeting with the manager coach of the Storm, expressing interest in our desire to do those broadcasts." (As read)
4392 And then we said:
"It's win‑win. It adds remarkably to community spirit. Frankly, we are surprised that the games are not now being broadcast." (As read)
4393 We never did state or say that there was any contract. I can tell you that we met with the manager coach, told him that we did have an interest in doing the broadcasts and should we be licensed we would like to enter into arrangements with them.
4394 At this hearing we heard that there is a second applicant and only two applicants only, of course, interested in doing the broadcasts and the other applicant is of course Crude Communications.
4395 This morning we heard a volunteer director just a few moments ago, Mr. Nordstrom, state before the Commission that only Crude Communications had showed interest in doing the Storm broadcast and, of course, that is not correct.
4396 So I just wanted to set the record straight. Sun Country is very community minded, is very interested in doing the hockey play by play and should we be licensed we would then make the case that 100,000 watt FM station could probably reach a larger audience than a 50‑watt station.
4397 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Gray. We also heard from Mr. Nordstrom that whoever gets the licence they are interested in having the Storm hockey games being broadcast. So they are showing an interest to be broadcast not only by yourselves or Crude or by anybody else.
4398 So thank you for coming.
4399 Mr. Langford.
4400 MR. GRAY: Thank you.
4401 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you.
4402 Just to complete the record on this, do you have the letter with you from the Storm that you referred to?
4403 MR. GRAY: Yes, I do, actually and it's on your file. But I have it here, yes.
4404 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Perhaps you could just ‑‑ it looks short from here ‑‑ could you just read it into the record today?
4405 MR. GRAY: Yes, I could do that.
4406 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you.
4407 MR. GRAY: "The Grande Prairie Storm
Junior A Hockey Club supports the Sun Country Cablevision Ltd. bid for a radio broadcasting licence for Grande Prairie. As you are no doubt aware, Grande Prairie is one of the most viable and fastest growing areas in Canada. With a population expected to be 75,000 or more in the next five years there is a need for more radio stations in our city. Our citizens are served by two stations at present, Sun FM and Big Country XX and they both do a fine job but the market is certainly ready for more radio.
We are confident Sun Country Cablevision Ltd. will make a commitment to the local sporting community which includes the Grande Prairie Storm and provide listeners with local sports news they want to hear.
We look forward to being able to turn our radios on in the near future and hear a third or perhaps even a fourth radio station." (As read)
4408 And this was signed by the business manager, Mr. Don Moon. The meeting we had where we asked for a letter of support but specifically did not ask to make reference to the hockey play by play was with their coach manager on May the 18th.
4409 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much. That completes the record on that for my point of view.
4410 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4411 MR. GRAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. We are very impressed with the proceedings that occurred here. You are obviously well researched; interested in helping the Grande Prairie market and so are we.
4412 Thank you very much.
4413 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Gray.
4414 Miss Secretary.
4415 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4416 I would now call on Bear Creek Broadcasting Ltd. to come forward.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4417 MR. TRUHN: Thank you, Madam Secretary, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. I don't really have anything to add other than to say thanks for the opportunity to make our presentation. It was a new experience for me.
4418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you identify yourself?
4419 MR. TRUHN: Sorry, Ken Truhn, President of Bear Creek Broadcasting.
4420 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4421 MR. TRUHN: Thank you.
4422 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Truhn.
4423 Miss Secretary.
4424 THE SECRETARY: We will continue with O.K. Radio Group Ltd., if you would come forward, please?
4425 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Bedore, could you introduce your team?
4426 MR. BEDORE: Certainly. My name is Tom Bedore. I am the General Manager of Sun FM in Grande Prairie.
4427 To my far left is Murray Driver, our Sales Manager; and Stuart Morton who is the Operations Manager of our Edmonton radio station, Sonic FM.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4428 MR. BEDORE: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission and thank you for allowing us to have one final word.
4429 Just before we start our brief interventions I would like to report back on our homework. You asked us to go over the spoken word. We proposed to verify the amount of spoken word each week. We have provided a spread sheet to the secretary of the hearing, Madam Boulet, that outlines the spoken word programs.
4430 Mr. Langford, you were correct. We had short changed ourselves.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4431 MR. BEDORE: The chart shows that regularly scheduled spoken word makes up eight hours and 44 minutes per week and this consists of four hours, 25 minutes of news information and our scheduled newscast; two hours and 50 minutes during our specialty music programs and a minimum of one hour, 29 minutes of specific spoken word features. And then, in addition, there are a number of seasonal features that we hadn't talked about that would add at least another 20 minutes of spoken word to the week. Finally, we estimate that the jock talk would make up another two hours per week.
4432 Now, I would like to address the interventions to our application. We were pleased to note that there were no interventions opposing our application.
4433 Rather, there were a large number of supporting intervenors, over 400 letters or petitions and five others that took the time to appear at the hearing and we would like to thank them for their support. They came from a wide spectrum of the Grande Prairie community and collectively they expressed their appreciation for the strong community involvement of the Sun FM team over the many years we have served this community; their support for the current strong news offerings we provide for our proposals to broaden and deepen our coverage, the need for a new rock station in Grande Prairie that would reflect not only how young our community is with a median age of 29.7 in 2001, but also the growing music scene; their support for our Canadian talent development initiatives that they believe are appropriate to the emerging artists in our community and also the need for a new radio program the reflects the aboriginal community and gives exposure to aboriginal rock musicians and; finally, their appreciation of our efforts to support worthwhile projects in our community and in particular for our new initiative with a diverse city project to spread their message of tolerance.
4434 Mr. Chair, there was one comment provided by CIRPA that raised a number of points including a criticism of our application. I would like to point out that our application meets many of the suggestions that they raise. They suggest that a higher level of Canadian content is better. We propose 40 percent Canadian content. They called for a diversity of format. Our proposed rock format with an emphasis on new music will provide significant diversity. They would like to see support for industry associations including FACTOR and ARIA and we have earmarked monies for both of those organizations.
4435 This being said, they did criticize our Rock the Peace initiative. In part, their opposition is based upon a misunderstanding of what we propose. For example, they seem to believe that we will be collecting revenues from sales of CDs. They seem to believe we see this initiative as a means into the record business. We are sorry if we were not clear in our application. We have no intent of selling records or of entering their business.
4436 What we will do is provide young Grande Prairie musicians with a recording they can use as a calling card with radio stations and with record companies as they seek to progress in the industry.
4437 Contrary to what CIRPA seems to believe, our Rock the Peace initiative in conjunction with Peace Starts at Home has struck a chord with the music community in the Peace Country. As you heard in Phase III; that combined with our ARIA and FACTOR contributions that target northern Alberta, we hope that they will help to make sure that the next Nickelback does in fact come out of our part of the province.
4438 CIRPA has often been on record stating the necessity for airplay for new Canadian artists. Our 40 percent Cancon, our commitment to new music, the highest of any applicant here, our funding initiatives and our market‑proven band of the month initiative fully meet these criterion.
4439 This morning one intervenor stated that Grande Prairie needs a community station to reflect our community. We must disagree. We already have two community stations in Grande Prairie, the 25 men and women at our station and the over 20 people at the Pattison station all have long and deep roots in our community. I know because I have worked at both stations.
4440 I know the degree at which the ownership and management of both stations support our community involvement. The supporting intervenors this morning clearly demonstrated the appreciation Peace Country residents have for all our collective efforts. I believe more people listen to us but I think they are good too.
4441 The research that we submitted shows clearly that residents of Grande Prairie and area are very satisfied with the local news and information available to them. What they are also telling us, though, is that they need new musical choices and the expanded service that we promise to deliver to them.
4442 Thank you for your attention through this hearing and the opportunity to present our application to you. We would be pleased to answer any questions you might have.
4443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cram.
4444 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
4445 I was impressed with the fact that you already have the station on the internet. In the nightmare scenario that we would not licence you on the airwaves would you keep this station up on the internet?
4446 MR. BEDORE: We certainly plan to keep it running. I mean, the demand for it has been huge so we have no intention of stopping now, particularly because the one initiative that we have started with the diversity project we have created these vignettes that are airing right now and we are getting quite a reaction to them. We plan to air them on our existing station as well in the future but for a new station that's going to be our focus.
4447 We really think that we can have an impact on racism and discrimination in Grande Prairie. You might say that I am naïve to believe that this can actually happen but I firmly believe that we can have an impact.
4448 So yes, we will keep them on the virtual radio station.
4449 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
4450 MR. BEDORE: You are welcome.
4451 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4452 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Langford.
4453 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4454 You paint yourself as so responsive, you and the Pattison Group to your communities, and it is impressive and you have a long record. I was wondering, I thought maybe you might be responding to the student association, announcing you were going to drop all advertising and play only music.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4455 MR. BEDORE: I had no idea that's all we needed to do and everybody would listen to us.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4456 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It would be so easy. You would lead the ratings in no time.
4457 MR. BEDORE: Yes, sometimes the answer is right there in front of you.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4458 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And all you would have to do ‑‑ think of the money you could make working at Tim Horton's to try to make ends meet.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4459 MR. BEDORE: You know, lately I have been thinking a lot about Tim Horton's.
4460 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You have got to think outside the box.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4461 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much. Those are my comments, I suppose.
4462 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Bedore. Thank you.
4463 Miss Secretary.
4464 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4465 I would now call on Newcap Inc. to come forward with their reply.
4466 THE SECRETARY: Again, if you could introduce yourself for the transcript, please? Thank you.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4467 MR. MAHEU: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. Mark Maheu, Chief Operating Officer for Newcap, and Rob Steele, Chief Executive Officer of Newcap Radio.
4468 Mr. Chair, members of the Commission and Commission staff, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear in Phase IV. We really have not very much more to offer other than to take this opportunity on the record to thank those who intervened on behalf of Newcap Radio's classic hits proposal for the Grande Prairie marketplace. We look forward to the opportunity should we be granted a licence to get it on quickly and to do a good job and add to the diversity of the marketplace.
4469 And other than that, if you have any questions we would be happy to answer them.
4470 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Maheu. Thank you, Mr. Steele.
4471 Miss Secretary.
4472 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4473 I would now call on Allan Hunsperger, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to come forward.
4474 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hunsperger, at your convenience. Please introduce the member of your party.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4475 MR. HUNSPERGER: I am Allan Hunsperger and this is our Network Program Director, Mr. Malcolm Hunt.
4476 Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, Commission staff, we are here in Phase IV to hand in our homework as requested by Commissioner Langford during Phase I. Hopefully, you will give us a passing grade.
4477 I would like to clarify our current practices to deal with balance and then outline an additional proposal.
4478 Firstly, let me state that we propose to broadcast six brokered spoken word programs per week in Grande Prairie, totalling 15 hours per week. There are many, many other such programs available that we choose not to air due to the content or quality. Many of these brokered programs are aired on other stations which are not subject to the religious balance requirement. This is an example of how we carefully screen our programs to ensure that no offensive content is broadcast. We also receive daily cue sheets for our brokered programming.
4479 As we indicated on Monday, we will set up a telephone line to record and air listener comments. This will help us to achieve our balance goals. However, as Commissioner Langford pointed out on Monday, we recognize that there is no guarantee there will be sufficient listener comment to address both sides of any issue. In such cases we have committed to reach out into the community for alternative voices. In the case of Grande Prairie, the multicultural society and the community college should be two of many useful resources for such alternative views.
4480 Additionally, because we have operations in Calgary and Edmonton, we have all the additional resources available in these large centres to draw on if we are unable to find suitable expertise in Grande Prairie.
4481 MR. HUNT: Since Monday we have done considerable research regarding the national distribution of the six brokered programs we propose to air in Grande Prairie. We have been able to nail down this research with respect to five of the programs but no data was available for the sixth, "In Touch".
4482 The chart we have distributed to you illustrates the five other programs received widespread airplay throughout Canada, as you can see on page 3. "Focus on the Family" is aired on 122 stations across Canada. The others are aired on 73, 57, 29 and 29 stations respectively. The majority of these stations are not classified as religious by the Commission and have no specific balance requirements except those expected of all broadcasters by the Broadcast Act.
4483 We have also managed to research a number of recent Commission decisions dealing with religious stations and we were somewhat surprised to discover that in some cases the Commission has attached a COL requiring a specific minimum amount of balance programming per week. We have never discussed the COL with the Commission whether at public hearings or during paper processes.
4484 However, the most recent we could find was Decision 2006‑111 dated 29 March 2006 wherein United Christian Broadcasters Canada was approved for a specialty FM in Chatham, Ontario. Chatham's population is approximately 45,000 which is very similar to the size of Grande Prairie. The Chatham station has allocated 25 percent of its time, total air time, to the broadcast of religious spoken word programming. Our application allocates 12 percent of this type of programming.
4485 In the case of Chatham only the general COL was attached to the licence. Given the similar size of the two markets and the fact that we are proposing to broadcast less than half of the spoken word brokered programming, we believe that we should be treated in the same manner as the Chatham station with respect to conditions of licence.
4486 We again reiterate that we feel we have an excellent track record with respect to avoiding controversial topics, as evidenced by the fact that none of our stations have ever received a complaint about balance or any other matter. That notwithstanding, after much deliberation we are prepared to commit to produce and air daily in 60 to 90‑second vignettes about other world religions.
4487 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Langford.
4488 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, gentlemen.
4489 Just one thing I want to be clear on because I don't have the complete library of our own decisions here behind me.
4490 When you say that the Chatham station ‑‑ I'm just trying to find it ‑‑ you say only the general COL was attached to their licence, and what are you referring to as the general COL?
4491 MR. HUNT: Conditional licence to follow the Religious Broadcast Act, I believe.
4492 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be the policy.
4493 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That policy and it's my impression that that is precisely what we were asking you to do and now we may ‑‑ I or one of my colleagues may have misspoken but did you understand we were asking for something more than that?
4494 MR. HUNSPERGER: No, but we have already agreed to that.
4495 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Right.
4496 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes, absolutely.
4497 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yes, just trying to figure out, as my kids would say, why are you making such a big deal about this?
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4498 MR. HUNSPERGER: Well, we wanted to do as thorough ‑‑ much in our homework as possible.
4499 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, you had an "A" until you got to that paragraph but I will have to give it some thought. No, I am joking. I understand completely.
4500 So you are, in other words, quite comfortable with what you call the general COL regarding religious balanced programming should it apply to you. I mean, if you do straight music and no spoken word it is not going to be applicable to you anyway.
4501 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes, absolutely.
4502 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So you are completely comfortable with that and willing to adhere to it?
4503 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
4504 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
4505 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you.
4506 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
4507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Hunsperger.
4508 Miss Secretary.
4509 MR. HUNSPERGER: May I finish?
4510 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, sure.
4511 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4512 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I beg your pardon. I thought you had completed. I am sorry for interrupting.
4513 MR. HUNSPERGER: That's fine. I was finished on the balance issue.
4514 I just want to thank all our intervenors who wrote and sent emails on our behalf in support of the stations.
4515 We want to thank the three gentlemen who got up early this morning, and we want to thank Mr. Peter Tétrault who flew them down here and appeared before us this morning and I want to thank them for taking time out of their day.
4516 We also want to thank the other broadcasters during this hearing process who have expressed a positive intervention on our support, and we appreciate that.
4517 We want to thank the Commission and the Commission staff for all their work, and thank you very much.
4518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Hunsperger.
4519 Miss Secretary.
4520 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4521 I would like to ask the applicant 1097282 Alberta Ltd. to come forward for their reply.
4522 THE SECRETARY: And again, if you could introduce yourself for the record? Thank you.
4523 THE CHAIRPERSON: So at your convenience, Mr. Singer.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
4524 MR. SINGER: Good morning. My name is Ken Singer. I am Vice‑President and General Manager of Radio CJVR Ltd.
4525 First of all, I would like to thank the Chairman, Commissioners, CRTC staff for what has been a very professional and fair hearing thus far. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in Phase IV.
4526 We would also like to note that, Commissioner Langford, we handed in our assignment on Tuesday regarding spoken word initiatives and if appropriate I would answer any questions on that document at this time.
4527 We would also like to thank the intervenors who filed letters of support for this application in Grande Prairie and just generally thank the support of the Commission and hopefully we have supplied the answers you are looking for, and we thank you for the opportunity.
4528 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Singer.
4529 This completes Phase IV of the portion of the hearing regarding Grande Prairie.
4530 We will now hear the first applicant for Fort McMurray.
4531 Miss Secretary.
4532 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4533 I would now ask the numbered company 1182743 Alberta Ltd. to come forward for their presentation.
4534 THE CHAIRPERSON: While this group comes to the table we will take a five‑minute break.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1135 / Suspension à 1135
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1147 / Reprise à 1147
4535 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
4536 Please be seated.
4537 Mrs. Secretary, could you call the first applicant for the Fort McMurray portion of this hearing?
4538 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4539 We will now proceed with Item 11 of the agenda which is an application by the numbered company 1182743 Alberta Ltd. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Fort McMurray.
4540 The new station would operate on frequency 94.3 MHz (channel 232B) with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts (non‑directional antenna/antenna height of 54 metres).
4541 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Paul Larsen who will introduce his colleagues, and you will have 20 minutes for your presentation.
4542 Mr. Larsen.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4543 MR. LARSEN: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
4544 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and CRTC staff, good morning. My name is Paul Larsen and we are very excited to present our application for a new FM radio station to serve Fort McMurray. Before we start our presentation I will briefly introduce you to our panel.
4545 To my right is Rick Volpati. Rick is a 20‑year radio veteran whose experience ranges from on‑air announcer, creative and production manager and program director. Rick spent the past 14 years here in Alberta, working for Corus and Newcap in Calgary. If licensed, Rick will join our company as Director of Programming.
4546 Next to Rick is Desiree Daniel. Desiree grew up in a radio family so the business is in her blood, quite literally. Her radio experience includes sales, marketing and promotions at Silk FM in Kelowna. She previously owned her own company, coaching individuals and small business owners and is also a freelance writer. If licensed, Desiree will join our company as Director of Marketing.
4547 To my left is Mary Mills. Mary is the President of Norscot Holdings Ltd., my business partner in this application. And next to Mary is Brenda Stonnell. Brenda is Norscot's Chief Financial Officer.
4548 And, again, my name is Paul Larsen. This is my twentieth year in radio. I have held positions ranging from announcer to program director, general manager, and most recently president of six radio stations on Vancouver Island. I am a 50 percent shareholder and president of our new company, 1182743 Alberta Ltd., and if licensed will return to Alberta where I spent 12 years of my career to head up our new company.
4549 In our presentation today, we will touch on the vibrant Fort McMurray economy, the need for a radio service targeting the 45‑plus population in Fort McMurray and area, and how our exciting new radio station will complement rather than compete with the existing stations and benefit Canadian recording artists, the Canadian radio industry and, most importantly, benefit the Fort McMurray community.
4550 This application is the result of our deep‑rooted passion for radio. It was written entirely by us. Everything presented are ideas conceived by the people sitting at this table and is the result of our collective and lengthy service in this great business.
4551 We strongly believe that the future of radio in Canada depends on innovative young new leaders stepping forward with creative and exciting applications such as this one we are about to present.
4552 MR. VOLPATI: If licensed, our radio station will be called "The Lounge".
4553 The Lounge was inspired by the fact that many of the artists we will play are commonly labelled "lounge singers". It's a flashback to the Las Vegas lounge scene of the sixties and seventies, which our target audience remembers fondly.
4554 We call our format "modern nostalgia". Our format is not just old songs. At least 50 percent of our music will be newer than 1981 to comply with the hit/non‑hit rules. This exciting mix of new and old music creates an especially unique and exciting sound.
4555 Canadians are leading the way in the creation of this music style: artists like Michael Bublé, Matt Dusk and Diana Krall. Sadly, these great Canadian artists receive minimal airplay on radio, something we propose to fix.
4556 Of significance is the number of relatively unknown Canadian artists that will receive regular, prime‑time airplay on The Lounge, artists such as Dawn Aitken, Denzal Sinclaire, Andrea Menard, John Alcorn, Suzie Vinnick and there are many others that we don't have time to mention but named in our supplementary brief.
4557 The Lounge will also feature Canadian superstars such as Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Randy Bachman and Paul Anka who are still producing new music and touring. Even though these names are instantly recognized, they too suffer from a lack of radio airplay. The Lounge will play not only their established hits but also their new music.
4558 Canadian music will be predominantly featured in our programming, scheduled evenly throughout each hour. We will play 40 percent Canadian content weekly and to ensure significant airplay of newer Canadian music, 50 percent of our Canadian songs will be released in 2000 or later.
4559 Of course, The Lounge will also feature international artists, many of them lesser‑known singers, again ensuring diversity, names like Steve Tyrell, Renee Olstead, Jamie Callum; not household names but exceptional new artists recording great music.
4560 The Lounge will feature well‑known artists who are re‑recording great standards and new songs in the "standards" style; artists like Rod Stewart, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick, Jr. and others.
4561 And we will play the artists who originated and pioneered this music style; Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and many others.
4562 And we will play singers from the sixties, seventies and eighties, artists who despite their super star status receive very little airplay on radio, names like Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond and others. And again, we will play their new music in addition to the hits.
4563 The Lounge will blend these diverse music styles together to create an appealing mix of music, new and old, targeted to Fort McMurray's adult audience.
4564 MR. LARSEN: The Lounge will bring a new information voice to Fort McMurray. We will place a significant emphasis on spoken word relating to news, our music, the community and the lifestyle of Fort McMurray's adult population.
4565 If licensed, The Lounge will provide hourly, locally‑produced newscasts between six a.m. and six p.m. weekdays and eight a.m. to four p.m. on weekends.
4566 Our research showed the demand for news, particularly local news. 93.7 percent of respondents to our research said, "News and information specific to Fort McMurray is important" and we will provide it.
4567 In total, The Lounge will provide 93 newscasts per week, totalling four hours and 33 minutes.
4568 Other spoken word including weather and sports, oil and gas updates, market and business reports, arts and entertainment, will total another two hours and 30 minutes weekly.
4569 Fort McMurray's adult audience wants to hear about important topics such as municipal issues, cultural events, health and finance. The Lounge will air a daily magazine program called "Fort McMurray at Noon" to address this need.
4570 The Lounge will also feature a one‑hour weekend lifestyle program called "Life on The Lounge".
4571 We will air "artist spotlights" five times daily, featuring artists in their own words, connecting directly with our audience. At least 50 percent will be Canadian.
4572 The Lounge will feature old time radio shows nightly.
4573 Our spoken word will reflect Fort McMurray's diversity and provide listeners with a balance of news, entertainment and community information.
4574 Our spoken word programming totals 22 hours and 9 minutes weekly, approximately 18 percent of the broadcast week.
4575 On top of that will be announcer show prep, community ad‑libs and live interviews which will add even more spoken word dimension to The Lounge.
4576 We have made this strong commitment to spoken word based on what Fort McMurray adults told us in our research and because we believe it is the content that airs "between the records" that makes a radio station truly unique and engaging.
4577 MS DANIEL: It's amazing how radio has the power to work so closely with the community. The Lounge will be highly supportive of local events, charities, the arts and entertainment community and non‑profit organizations around Fort McMurray and area.
4578 Fort McMurray has a vibrant arts community. There are many annual festivals and events and The Lounge will be front and centre, broadcasting live from each of them. Some of these events include: Fort McMurray Literacy Festival; Many Tribes, One Nation; Canada Day festivities; annual Blueberry Festival; the Interplay Festival; Harvest Carnival, Heritage Days; Festival of Trees and many others.
4579 Fort McMurray is also home to the Keyano Theatre which has been the centre of arts and culture in the region for 25 years. Keyano Theatre offers a four‑play subscription season along with the Syncrude Arts Alive series which features national and international performers throughout the year.
4580 The Lounge will play a vital role through public service announcements to assist these important organizations and festivals with awareness and fundraising.
4581 We strongly believe that radio is a public service and The Lounge will take that role very seriously.
4582 MR. LARSEN: 84.4 percent of the adults we surveyed said "exposure and promotion of Canadian artists" is important.
4583 Our Canadian talent development starts first and foremost with airplay.
4584 A cornerstone of our indirect CTD initiatives is a commitment to play new Canadian music. We propose that at least 50 percent of our Canadian content will be songs released in 2000 or later. This guarantees airplay of a high percentage of newer Canadian songs and artists. This initiative is unique and exclusive to our application.
4585 Further, to demonstrate our commitment to Canadian music, we will play 40 percent Canadian content over the broadcast week.
4586 Canadian artists have told us clearly what they need from radio is very simple: airplay and exposure. The Lounge will ensure this through these two commitments.
4587 We are firm believers in Canadian talent development, both direct financial support and, equally important, non‑monetary means.
4588 Our direct CTD contribution will be $87,500 over the initial licence term which is a significant amount of money for a new company.
4589 100 percent of our direct CTD will stay in the Fort McMurray region. Our annual proposals include:
4590 Post‑secondary music and journalism bursaries for Fort McMurray students;
4591 Purchase of music instruments for Fort McMurray schools;
4592 Funding to FACTOR, which Canadian artists told us is a critical source of funding for development of their music, and our FACTOR contributions will come back to northern Alberta artists;
4593 Our original song competition will be of direct benefit to local and regional artists;
4594 And we have outlined in our application support for a number of other Fort McMurray initiatives.
4595 Our direct CTD commitments will be supported by significant on air promotional support, website exposure and other marketing.
4596 MR. VOLPATI: We also propose two significant indirect CTD initiatives; first is "The Indie Lounge", a weekly one‑hour program focusing on independent Canadian music. While we will be highly supportive of Canadian music throughout our programming, The Indie Lounge will give us a platform to explore artists more thoroughly.
4597 Second, is a unique educational proposal which we call "Future Broadcasters". If licensed, The Lounge will place students in actual paid jobs that will assist them in their education and development of their radio skills. These positions will include on air, news and production.
4598 Alberta's leading post‑secondary broadcast education institutions have reviewed our plan and will work with us to make our Future Broadcasters initiative a reality. Our industry is facing a shortage of skilled performers, created in large part by the elimination of positions in favour of voice tracking and automation. We are committed to helping replenish the pool of future broadcasters through this initiative.
4599 MS DANIEL: Fort McMurray is a culturally‑diverse city. It is home to one of the most northern Muslim mosques in the world, a Canadian Chinese school and an aboriginal friendship centre.
4600 The Multicultural Association of Fort McMurray is an umbrella organization which promotes ethnic diversity. In addition, there are over a dozen individual organizations that promote and offer activities and services relating to multicultural interests within Fort McMurray.
4601 The Lounge has already reached out to Fort McMurray's ethnic population and if licensed we will ensure that our programming is inclusive of Fort McMurray's entire population.
4602 Our news department will take into account the ethnic diversity of Fort McMurray and establish contact with the city's cultural communities to ensure The Lounge includes their news in our programming.
4603 Fort McMurray has a rich First Nations history. We will make a strong effort to foster a cooperative and open relationship with the aboriginal populations in the region.
4604 Our music format lends itself perfectly to reflecting cultural diversity. The vast and varied music styles that comprise The Lounge include artists and musicians from every background and region of Canada and beyond. We will encourage Canadian artists of all backgrounds to submit new music for airplay consideration.
4605 MR. LARSEN: Fort McMurray's economy is unlike any other, driven by the oil sands. Some $54 billion in oil sands projects alone are expected to be completed by 2011. The oil sands are expected to generate nearly two million barrels of crude oil per day, representing more than half of Canada's projected total crude oil production. By 2020 that total is predicted to double.
4606 Common economic indicators such as GDP, income levels and employment in the region are off the map, well ahead of national averages. However, this is due mainly to the disproportionately high weight the oil sands projects have in the economic picture of the region. This does makes it difficult to analyze the true economy of the region, so one has to take the "on the surface" numbers and do a deeper analysis to get a better understanding of the market. We believe the economy is healthy and growing but are well aware that the red hot oil boom is not the entire picture.
4607 The rapid pace of economic and population change has taken some toll on the area, particularly in housing. If licensed, we will be cognizant of the whole picture and do our best to help make the community an even better place to live and do business.
4608 Fort McMurray is growing rapidly due to the oil sands projects. The population growth since 2001 has been staggering. The 2001 federal census showed a total population of 41,466 for the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo which includes Fort McMurray. The 2005 municipal census indicates that population has grown to 73, 176, a 76 percent increase in only five years.
4609 The largest percentage increases have occurred within the 45‑plus demographics, the target audience for The Lounge.
4610 As you can see on the graph on the screen, the 2005 municipal census shows the Wood Buffalo/Fort McMurray population of adults aged 45 and up totals 19,172 and increased 42.9 percent between 2002 and 2005. By comparison, those aged zero to 44 increased only 20.3 percent.
4611 MR. VOLPATI: Fort McMurray is served by two local commercial FM radio stations, CJOK and CKYX, both currently owned by the O.K. Radio Group. There is also the CBC Radio One service and the provincial CKUA network.
4612 Ownership and market tuning is obviously dominated by O.K. Radio's two stations as they are really the only local choice. According to our research study, 60.2 percent of those aged 35‑64 tune into those two stations.
4613 The Lounge will increase local tuning among adults, attracting listeners with a format that is not available today. We will repatriate listeners from satellite and cable, internet radio, CDs and MP3s and people who have given up on radio because they have been unable to find their music.
4614 16.8 percent of the Fort McMurray adults we surveyed did not have a favourite radio station. We believe The Lounge will be able to fill that void without impacting any existing stations.
4615 Our research shows that 90.5 percent of 36 to 64 year olds would definitely or probably listen to our proposed radio station, The Lounge, and of those 34.4 percent indicated the station would become their favourite.
4616 93.9 percent of those surveyed feel The Lounge would be a positive addition to the radio spectrum in Fort McMurray, regardless of whether they would or would not listen to the station themselves.
4617 MR. LARSEN: Our group has given this application considerable thought and extensive planning. We invested in research to double check our instincts.
4618 Our proposed station will bring a new format to Fort McMurray, one with virtually no overlap with existing stations.
4619 We will provide significant news and other spoken word elements that are important to our target audience.
4620 And we recognize that operating a radio station does mean operating a public service. Community service will be the foundation upon which our company and our radio station is built.
4621 We realize that you do not often have a chance at this stage to hear the radio stations you are considering for licence. With that in mind, we would like to use the last three minutes of our presentation to play you a brief sample of The Lounge 94.3.
‑‑‑ Audio presentation / Présentation audio
4622 MR. LARSEN: That audio sample meets every CRTC regulation. It was 47 percent hit, 53 percent non‑hit, 40 percent Canadian content and 50 percent of the Canadian songs were from 2000 or later per our unique initiative to play newer Canadian music. The audio sample shows how well we will be able to mix our proposed music genres to create a really engaging radio station.
4623 We are proud of this application. We feel it is unique and innovative, qualities that we think are essential to the future of Canadian radio. We are young, experienced career broadcasters with 30 or more working years ahead of us to create compelling radio and we are hopeful to have that opportunity by being licensed to operate "The Lounge 94.3".
4624 Thank you for your attention and we are looking forward to your questions.
4625 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Larsen.
4626 I am asking Commissioner Cram to ask the first questions.
4627 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
4628 I will address my questions to you, Mr. Larsen, and then you can pass them over to wherever ‑‑ whomever you wish.
4629 MR. LARSEN: Thank you.
4630 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I wanted to talk about your target demo. You say on the second‑last page of your presentation today that 90.5 percent of 35 to 64 year olds would definitely or probably listen to this radio station. Is that your target demo or is your target demo 45‑plus?
4631 MR. LARSEN: When we did the research we picked 35‑64 to have a target group that was identifiable as a BBM type of sell. 45‑plus would be our focused target. We think we will have some 35 to 45 year olds that listen but they would not necessarily be our focus.
4632 So the focus of the radio station would be targeted to adults 45 and older.
4633 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. And I am sure you have been listening to Grande Prairie. What would be the median age?
4634 MR. LARSEN: I have given that quite a bit of thought in the last couple of days. I suspect somewhere around 48 to 49.
4635 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. Male? Female?
4636 MR. LARSEN: We believe that this format is going to attract pretty much an even distribution of men and women.
4637 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
4638 So if I have got it right, if you are going for 45 and over, you are essentially trying to attract the 19,172 people?
4639 MR. LARSEN: Exactly.
4640 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
4641 MR. LARSEN: We felt that there was enough population there looking at that total number who are not directly targeted by radio today and if we focus on that exclusive number we would have a good opportunity to attract a healthy proportion of them.
4642 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And what about demographics in the future? Have you looked at what would happen to this 45‑plus? I mean, what are the projections? I guess you can look at what it is now and what baby boomers are going into the 45‑plus.
4643 MR. LARSEN: I think what is happening is exactly that, we are on the beginning of this dramatic shift in demographics and people are turning 45 and 50 and 60 at a rapid pace and it's been well publicized and that same phenomenon that is happening worldwide is certainly happening in Fort McMurray as well. Any of the projections that we have looked at are general projections of how the overall population is anticipated to grow, but we suspect the 45‑plus portion would grow in proportion to the rest of the population.
4644 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. You should be in Saskatchewan. We have an over population of the higher, older demographics.
4645 So if you are looking at somebody 45 and over how many of those do you think would be attracted to some of this ‑‑ I will call it the "older music", Sinatra, Pat Boone?
4646 MR. LARSEN: What we have kind of found is people that are 45 years old, even to a lot of them Frank Sinatra is new music because it's a little bit earlier than what they grew up with. Definitely, the younger, even younger than 45 are attracted to a lot of this music, I think primarily because of the some young guys that remaking this music now like the Michael Bublés and Rod Stewart has now done four or five of his American Songbook revival records.
4647 So the old classics, the Sinatras and the Ella Fitzgeralds and the Ray Charles are really kind of that spice that would happen in our format that are worldwide phenomenon artists that ‑‑ you know, like the Elvises. There is nobody else like them so they will add a lot of spice and then the rest of the music is our glue.
4648 We have a healthy proportion of music from the seventies that that 45‑year old would have grown up with and the neat thing with a lot of the new music that is being redone is that these artists are redoing popular songs. So it is brand new music from a brand new artist but there is still some familiarity there, which is important to that 45 and older crowd.
4649 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
4650 Now, and I understand that you have actually ‑‑ you have this modern nostalgia format in Parksville, do you?
4651 MR. LARSEN: In my current capacity as the President of Island Radio, Parksville is one of our radio stations. It used to be a repeater. We decided to super serve the adult population in that region by putting The Lounge on the air. So yes, it is a current on‑the‑air station in Parksville, B.C. right now.
4652 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Now, the competitive situation is different from Parksville to Fort McMurray. Do you think that would make a difference in the reaction to this kind of format?
4653 MR. LARSEN: I don't think so. I think that we will be relatively alone in the upper end of the spectrum, particularly the 45‑plus. Certainly, a classic hits is a 35‑50, kind of playing in that same ‑‑ a lot of people call it the "sweet spot", I guess.
4654 But I think we have developed a format and we are the only applicant that is exclusively targeting that portion of the population. So I think regardless in Fort McMurray, being on our own we will have a good opportunity to attract an audience.
4655 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Probably your main competition would be CBC, I guess, or CKUA?
4656 MR. LARSEN: And the CKUA, I think that's likely the case.
4657 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And the interesting thing about that is that your news is four hours and 33 minutes and you say "on the hour"?
4658 MR. LARSEN: That's correct. We would do news on the half‑hour and morning drive and then hourly through the balance of the day.
4659 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And how long would that news package, exclusive of weather and sports and traffic be?
4660 MR. LARSEN: The way I broke down our spoken word ‑‑ that is exclusively news?
4661 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
4662 MR. LARSEN: Our morning newscasts would run four minutes in length, three‑minute updates at the bottom of the hour; the afternoon from midday period on would be two minutes, and then four minutes again at noon, four and five. But that's exclusively news and then sports and weather would be an additional component.
4663 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
4664 Am I understanding, and you know, I am just saying my understanding is that the older you get the more interested you are in news and this doesn't sound like what this demographic would want in terms of news, that they would want something more?
4665 MR. LARSEN: In fact, we have not commissioned our own research on this topic but there has been a lot of publicity about this exact topic in the industry trades lately, a lot of it coming from the United States but I think it is applicable here too.
4666 ABC Radio Networks in the United States just launched an FM news service and targeted to adults and their research showed that what the adults actually want is basically the headlines and the raw details and not the in‑depth information because they are still newspaper consumers, they are still television newscast watchers. But throughout their workday when they are in the car they want to have a cursory overview of what is going on in the world on an hourly basic and, most importantly in a community like Fort McMurray, they want to know what is happening in their community, which would be our focus with our news.
4667 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. So you are really targeting, if I can say, the non‑CBC types?
4668 MR. LARSEN: I think what we would do is we would complement the CBC and the CKUA really nicely. I think we would have a lot of cross‑tuning with those two networks and we would be an alternative choice for the consumer that perhaps wanted to hear music and some headlines and then they go back to the CBC for maybe some of the longer form programming.
4669 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What would be your goal in terms of ‑‑ you say, you know, they want news and they want local news. What would be your goal in terms of local news as a proportion of total news?
4670 MR. LARSEN: We were asked that question in deficiencies and in our response I indicated 90 percent, which seems like a high number but we or, I guess, I should say "I", classify local news as not only what is happening in Fort McMurray but the overall Wood Buffalo region. Northern Alberta we would classify as local news and then our regional would basically include southern Alberta, British Columbia; western Canada, national and international making up the balance. So 90 sounds high off the top but it does include some regional.
4671 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. And how would you collect ‑‑ like you would probably subscribe to broadcast news but then how would you collect the Alberta news?
4672 MR. LARSEN: A lot of news collecting nowadays is because we live in this instant society with ‑‑ the internet is a tremendous resource to look at sites for sourcing southern Alberta news, maybe the Calgary Herald or the Lethbridge Herald. The bigger stories generally make it on the wire through the broadcast news service. They have excellent regional reporters in the region.
4673 Perhaps we would try to establish contact with some other private commercial radio stations to see if they would be interested in sharing news content in the sense that if there was a big Fort McMurray story, perhaps we could file it to a Red Deer station potentially and vice versa, have an informal kind of network, networking idea put together like that to share some news content.
4674 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And I see in terms of the ‑‑ I am going to call it programming and news staff ‑‑ you have a total of six; three news journalists, two anchors and one reporter. Is that it for programming and news?
4675 MR. LARSEN: The six fulltime positions would be exactly that; three dedicated to news; a morning show program director; a midday and afternoon drive and the midday and drive announcers initially would handle some double duties like production.
4676 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Now, in terms of content, your programming, how much ‑‑ and you did have a schedule but if you can just give me the hours of voice tracking during the regulated day?
4677 MR. LARSEN: Yes, we would intend to be live from six p.m. ‑‑ or sorry, from six a.m. through to six p.m. at a minimum when we wrote this application. We would hope to do more eventually but given the business plan we confidently know we can do six a.m. to six p.m. initially, and then hopefully as we build the business add some evening live to that component.
4678 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. So the question was how much time is going to be voice tracked during the regulated time?
4679 MR. LARSEN: Sorry, seven p.m. to midnight Monday to Friday and four p.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.
4680 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And now the syndicated programming, how much will that be during the regulated week?
4681 MR. LARSEN: It will be one hour seven nights a week scheduled at nine p.m. and that's the classic old time radio shows.
4682 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Did you make a deal with CBC? At least in your application you said you were hopeful.
4683 MR. LARSEN: We have not had a firm commitment back from the CBC. Our original discussion got bogged down in their labour dispute earlier.
4684 We have had some interesting dialogue in that typically the woman that we are dealing with said typically, the answer is a flat out "no" right out of the gate. She was intrigued by our application and was to take it up the management chain a little bit and try to get a decision. So to the best of my knowledge that discussion is still going on. If we are fortunate enough to be licensed in the market at some point in time we will definitely pursue that.
4685 Our goal with the CBC programming was on Sunday nights they have a program called "Sunday Showcase" which is one‑hour radio drama but it's Canadian produced. It is Canadian actors and that type of material is almost impossible to source outside of the CBC.
4686 What we proposed to CBC was a cooperative relationship where we would co‑brand with them, we would promote when the show is available on the CBC network and really give them top line billing on that Sunday night show and use us as a vehicle to expose that Canadian drama content to a broader audience than just the CBC. So we are hopeful that the CBC will work with us.
4687 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Now, this is June. The strike was in October. Have you followed up at all?
4688 MR. LARSEN: Well, the wheels of motion at the CBC tend to be a little bit slow from what I have been able to experience, though we do get email communication from time to time and I have been led to believe that we are still in ‑‑ we haven't got a firm "yes" or "no" which, in my opinion, is still a good thing.
4689 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So in terms of the regulated hours that are not voice tracked or syndicated what will not be locally produced?
4690 MR. LARSEN: Everything in those live hours will be locally produced.
4691 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
4692 The one‑hour magazine and then the one on the weekend that too will be locally produced?
4693 MR. LARSEN: That's right. Our news director and morning anchor would be responsible for putting that content together. The noon‑hour show would be a community‑type show.
4694 So we would have ‑‑ a lot of the content would be people from the community coming in to be interviewed, you know, at an average of maybe between four and seven minutes. So we could fill that hour quite effectively by talking to community groups, non‑profits, starts in entertainment type of interviews.
4695 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And so the weekend one is that just a collection of what has happened on the week, during the week?
4696 MR. LARSEN: What I sort of envision for the weekend show is exactly that, almost like a best of the interviews from the week and if there are specific big events going on, on a particular weekend, that we would insert that new content into the weekend edition.
4697 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
4698 At the end of the day, you said you had 22 hours of news, information, lifestyle, radio, drama. If times get tough or if we over licence in the market, what goes first?
4699 MR. LARSEN: Well, the spoken word would be the last to go in my opinion because it is critical to attracting that local audience. Local news and information and that local content is so critical.
4700 A lot of that content, too, we would source from, again, community‑type people. So our stock market report might be a local person who works for Wood Gundy that would phone in the report, that type of thing. So we are not relying strictly on our own staff to do it.
4701 We are already proposing evening voice tracking. So I think our business plan would hold up and I would be hopeful that we wouldn't have to cut in any case.
4702 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. So the question is if you have to cut what goes first?
4703 MR. LARSEN: If we had to cut I suspect we would first look at something like automating or voice tracking the midday hours where we were still live in the morning show and live in the afternoon drive.
4704 COMMISSIONER CRAM: In the drive, okay.
4705 Now, you are ‑‑ if we gave you a licence for Fort McMurray you would be a standalone?
4706 MR. LARSEN: Yes.
4707 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And you also talked about the fact that your CTD was smaller because you are a small company.
4708 MR. LARSEN: M'hm.
4709 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You are going head to head with O.K. who has two, two stations there; potentially Rogers that is a very big ‑‑
4710 MR. LARSEN: Yes.
4711 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ company. That's if you are listening, Gary Miles, if.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4712 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Tell me how you think you can survive in a market like that, and don't forget that, you know, if it appears that you are right about your demographic, Rogers could just as easily change their ‑‑ Rogers and/or O.K. could just as easily change their format.
4713 MR. LARSEN: I designed this format in the hopes that we would be, for the most part, on our own pursuing it. My fear at these hearings is that somebody is going to think it's a good idea and jump on it before we have the opportunity.
4714 We feel we can compete as a standalone because we have identified a target audience that the mainstream players aren't going after. So we are hopeful that they will maintain, as they constantly say they will maintain their current formats and not do format changes in anticipation of new licences.
4715 So we are hopeful that that is true so that when it comes time, if we are fortunate enough to be licensed that that audience is still available for us to go after.
4716 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
4717 Should Rogers purchase be approved I note that they have started a talk format in Calgary.
4718 MR. LARSEN: Yes.
4719 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Very money intensive initially but would that ‑‑ if they had one of their stations here as a talk station, would that impact you more severely than anything else?
4720 MR. LARSEN: I don't think so. I think the talk station definitely has its own niche for people that want constant information. I think we would stick to our business plan and I really don't think that it would impact. The people that want the spurts of information would stick with us or I think what happens with news stations, even the way they promote it; listen two, three, four times a day, is intended to draw an audience for a brief period of time and then they drift back to their favourite station.
4721 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes, good point.
4722 Under Cancon it is 40 percent and 50 percent of all music will be newer than 1981, and of that 50 percent will be newer than 2000.
4723 MR. LARSEN: Right.
4724 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Would you accept that as a COL?
4725 MR. LARSEN: Yes, we would.
4726 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. CTD: $2,000 bursary for somebody in broadcasting. Now, you are aware that ‑‑ I'm sure this question has been asked of you before ‑‑
4727 MR. LARSEN: Yes.
4728 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ because you probably proposed the same. It is possible it is not CTD, official CTD.
4729 Would you be willing to redirect the money should we decide to licence you and also decide that this is not CTD?
4730 MR. LARSEN: Yes, we would. We would direct it to a journalism bursary which we know would count as CTD.
4731 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. Now, how would the monies be distributed for the other ‑‑ the other CTD; the Rotary Music Festival, the song competition?
4732 MR. LARSEN: Those came up in our deficiencies because one of our proposed initial contributions was deemed perhaps not to be fitting within the CTD criterion so we did propose back these additional ones.
4733 We see those as annual cash contributions to those organizations directly but with the stipulation that the money does go toward Canadian talent development. So whether it's a showcase, each of those events that we identified; the Rotary Music Festival, our original song contest and Music in Schools, can clearly fit into Canadian talent development.
4734 COMMISSIONER CRAM: On FACTOR, and I think you said it in the file and also today, contribution will come back to northern Alberta artists. Now, you did include a letter but it was not in my copy of the file.
4735 Does it refer to the fact that the monies would be incremental to those otherwise allocated to Alberta and that it will remain in Alberta even though the one year has elapsed?
4736 MR. LARSEN: Can I just read the letter? It's a short one.
4737 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes, sure.
4738 MR. LARSEN: It's from Heather Ostertag:
"Dear Ms Rume, I am writing this letter in support of the above‑mentioned application 2005‑1107‑3, Fort McMurray, Alberta on a non‑exclusive basis that if this application is approved 1182743 Alberta Ltd. will be contributing $1,000 annually for the first license term to FACTOR in support of Canadian talent. In this regard I am pleased to confirm that 1182743 Alberta Ltd.'s total contribution of $7,000 over the seven‑year licence term can be reserved for northern Alberta artists." (As read)
4739 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So it is not incremental to money that otherwise would have gone to Alberta artists?
4740 MR. LARSEN: It is the best commitment that I was able to get from FACTOR. I understand that this is their standard reply to request to direct funding to a specific area.
4741 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Unless they are pressed.
4742 MR. LARSEN: I am not big enough to press them yet.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires.
4743 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
4744 Numbers, finances; you said in your supplementary brief that you did research into average salaries for the market. Now, I recognize that time has moved on.
4745 MR. LARSEN: Sure.
4746 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What do you believe are the average salaries for the market now ‑‑ not average but the range, I guess.
4747 MR. LARSEN: Sure. Some of the key salaries are higher than what we would see in a market of that size, for sure; program director, perhaps news director; those key positions where from what I have been able to gather O.K. Radio has had to increase salaries as the cost of living has increased.
4748 Some of the announcer positions are not that far off from markets like Lethbridge or Medicine Hat or Red Deer, which are similar‑size markets. They may be incrementally larger but even on a percentage basis if a midday announcer, say on average is making $2,000 a month, if the average is 10 percent higher in Fort McMurray it is an extra $200. It is not enough to throw our business plan out of commission.
4749 So we are confident that we will be able to attract staff. It may be a younger staff which we would endeavour to really teach them our format and how to communicate properly with adults, but we will deal with that Fort McMurray specific if and when we have the opportunity to address it.
4750 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And what is the factor, what percentage factor for, say, the news director or the manager? Is it 10 percent, 20 percent?
4751 MR. LARSEN: Again, dealing with sort of loose numbers because certainly I didn't phone the manager at CJOK and ask what he pays his news director but through people that have worked at the station in the past that we have had an opportunity to talk to and whatnot the news director could be upwards of 20 percent higher than, say, in a Lethbridge type of market to attract a qualified candidate with some experience.
4752 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. And studio rental ‑‑ I think it is at page 47. You said $12. I am assuming that is triple net?
4753 MR. LARSEN: Right.
4754 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Like the vacancy rate has to be ‑‑ well, the residential vacancy rate is zero.
4755 MR. LARSEN: The residential vacancy rate is zero.
4756 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
4757 MR. LARSEN: The commercial vacancy rate is not quite zero. When I projected that number of $12 that was being able to find two locations approximately one year ago. I have not had the opportunity to pursue that in a one year later basis but that $12 triple net on that size of space was confirmed a year ago.
4758 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
4759 On your CTD, and I just sort of wanted to ask you philosophically, you say you are proposing a small amount of money because you are a small company. Should that be the way that we look at it or should it be that the Fort McMurray market is a fairly lucrative ‑‑ in fact, more than average lucrative market and for what you are getting you are not putting enough back?
4760 MR. LARSEN: Right. It is unfortunate for us that we don't know how lucrative the market is. We sort of have to take a guess on markets that aren't published. We are also targeting an age demographic and a format that is not going to be as lucrative financially, at least in the early going as some of the mainstream players that are going to be right in the key demos for revenue growth.
4761 One of the criteria in the licence COL is that we present a strong business plan and I feel that part of the strength of our business plan is that we need to see this licence through the early stages, through the first few years of perhaps some operating losses and we are just not at this point big enough to sustain four or five or six years of six figure losses because of a huge CTD contribution.
4762 I guess I also looked at where is the balance? This was a point of discussion that was raised in the radio review and I was fortunate enough to be asked to come to Ottawa and present my thoughts on the radio review and I did so verbally and in written form as well.
4763 I think this point of discussion is an interesting one because there is a tremendous imbalance between what the big companies with many, many stations and a lot of money can offer and what a new entrant can offer. In fact, the incumbent stations are required to contribute $400 annually as the CAB plan in that market size. So our contribution of ‑‑ I think it is 10 ‑‑ is it 10.5 per year ‑‑ is 30 times what the incumbent renewal rate would be after the seven‑year licence term.
4764 So I think in terms of our business plan in Fort McMurray, I base the CTD number after I determine what our revenue would be and what our programming and operational expenses would be and then what is a realistic and fair but still significant contribution for Canadian talent.
4765 So that is where my train of thought was when I came up with the numbers.
4766 COMMISSIONER CRAM: On that issue of not being a large company you talked about the construction up to 2011, and I have got to say my information which comes from our staff is that is when all the major construction will be completed, at which point the economic boom will not be bust but will certainly be slower.
4767 MR. LARSEN: Right.
4768 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And so you have got a couple of years to make hay.
4769 MR. LARSEN: M'hm.
4770 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And then there might be slim pickings.
4771 MR. LARSEN: Right. I think in the construction field, particularly, that is where we are seeing these huge increases in the younger end of the demographic. So young guys in their twenties, basically, that are coming to Fort McMurray to work for a few years make a tremendous amount of money and when the construction is finished they will return to where they came from.
4772 The 45‑plus population, in large part many of them are long‑time residents of Fort McMurray and the people that are in their late thirties and early forties now that will be 45 or older in 2011 plan for the most part to remain in the community where they grew up and have businesses and raise their kids. So we think that when the population peaks and comes back down again it is going to be on the younger end of the exodus and a lot of the older people who love it there will stay.
4773 COMMISSIONER CRAM: How many stations do you believe the Fort McMurray market can handle?
4774 MR. LARSEN: Again, I think it kind of depends on the revenue. If the revenues ‑‑ when I heard the numbers bantered around for Grande Prairie I almost fell off my chair because by traditional standards that market would be nowhere close to an $8 or $9 or $10 million market.
4775 In Fort McMurray, using the traditional methods that we would take in retail sales and multiplying out a factor and everything else, I came up with a figure of about $3.5 million in terms of the radio revenue available in that market. I may be way off base. I have no way of knowing, obviously, because it is not published.
4776 If it is $3.5 million, if that is the market, I think there is comfortably room for one new player. If it is substantially more than $3.5 million then I think we can start looking at more than one licence.
4777 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Substantially meaning $5 million?
4778 MR. LARSEN: I think at $5 million we could have two stations.
4779 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What would be your nightmare licensing situation?
4780 MR. LARSEN: Three or more. If I can, I will quickly get into where my nightmare situation in terms of our own company is ‑‑ because we don't have any radio licenses at this point in time. We may end up only with Fort McMurray. That is a difficult business plan for us and that is why, you know, we have stated at hearings that we are here to build a new company and we have applied previously in Calgary and Lethbridge. That hearing has happened already. We will be an applicant for ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ in Medicine Hat. So we are hoping to build a larger company.
4781 Nightmare would be us getting Fort McMurray by itself with two other competitors plus the two incumbents. That would be ‑‑ I would be grey or bald or dead, working at Tim Horton's part time to make ends meet.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4782 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Now, the alternate frequency question. You know that one.
4783 MR. LARSEN: I did have the opportunity to speak with our consulting engineer. There are, in addition to the frequency we picked, four other frequencies, channel 263B which is 100.5; 279B, 103.7; 283B, 104.5 and 290B, 105.9. All four of those would operate on the CBC site which we have approval to be on at the same wattage and the same antenna, so no impact on our business plan to pick one of those four other frequencies.
4784 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay, thank you.
4785 MR. LARSEN: Thank you.
4786 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mr. Chair.
4787 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cugini.
4788 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Good morning, just one question.
4789 Mr. Larsen, you did mention your presence and participation in the radio review and, as you know, there was some discussion over the definition of independent artist.
4790 And Mr. Volpati, I believe you mentioned in the opening statement this morning that you would be providing a weekly one‑hour programming focusing on independent Canadian music.
4791 What do you mean by that?
4792 MR. LARSEN: I define independence by artists that are not signed with a major label or even a major distributed label, an independent who is promoting their own music basically.
4793 When we look at the artists, the Canadian artists that make up The Lounge format, by and large they all have their own label. They are producing their own music. They don't have major distribution deals. So we think easily we will be able to focus that show on those types of artists and not the artists that are signed to big deals.
4794 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Would some of these artists come from the Fort McMurray area? Have you been able to do that kind of research to see if that kind of talent is available?
4795 MR. LARSEN: We are hopeful. The premise of our original song competition that we proposed in the license is to exactly find out who is out there in Fort McMurray and see if there are some artists there. One, I spent 15 years in country music as a programmer and Aaron Lyons is a young Canadian country music start that came out of Fort McMurray.
4796 So we find a lot of times in the small towns it is just that talent has trouble getting their voice heard. So we are hopeful we can find some talent in Fort McMurray and give them some exposure.
4797 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
4798 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4799 MR. LARSEN: Thank you.
4800 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Langford.
4801 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4802 I just wanted to ask you about your format choice. We saw this choice in Calgary as well. I was on that panel and we saw it, which doesn't mean that it's worn out or anything like that but it seems to me that you took great pride then and now in the sense that you have more or less developed this from scratch, and that's a good thing. You are out there. You are thinking originally and creatively.
4803 But I wonder, in a sense, whether the kind of very creative kind of juices that you have got flowing might be working against you a little bit in the sense that though you have come up with a very different sound you are still appealing to that same demographic that almost every other applicant here is trying to appeal to, too. They are appealing with a different sound but they are scrapping for that same slightly older market.
4804 And when I look at the StatsCan statistics on this area, the greater regional area including Fort McMurray, I notice that there is a huge sort of 15 to 24 group as well; 35 percent, maybe even as high as 38 percent; 37 to 38 percent which nobody seems to be looking for. Now, I know the argument they don't have as much money though they do have their parents' money. But still it's wide open.
4805 I wonder whether you gave that any thought, that demographic?
4806 MR. LARSEN: Sure. I mean, we thought long and hard when we looked at Fort McMurray about proposing this format in a market where the demographics trend younger. I think the general consensus that the young kids have given up on radio puts a fear into everybody that they don't want to pursue that as a target audience.
4807 In our case, what we have done, and on purpose, is identified a format and it's been our consistent format in each application for a very specific reason, that we want to be experts in this format coming out of the gate and hopefully build some momentum and then, at some point in time, if we are lucky enough to have several licenses in a few years under our belts, start looking at other formats that we would be good at programming.
4808 In this case, we can focus our complete attention on developing this product; programming a consistent brand in multiple markets for an age demographic that we know is going to rapidly increase over the next few years. If we can be a little bit ahead of the gate and be the experts in serving that audience we can fend off any competitors that want to kind of push into our territory later down the road.
4809 I kind of liken it to ‑‑ one of the companies that I have great respect for is WestJet Airlines. They started out flying only 737s 10 years ago with a very specific market plan. Today, they fly only 737s. Their pilots all know how to operate the plane. Their mechanics all know how to fix the planes. Everything is consistent.
4810 So for a young company out of the gate applying for four applications in a pretty short period of time, we feel we can be super focused and more successful by concentrating our energy and focus in this direction right now.
4811 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So is your plan then, simply put, has your plan been to come up with a format and then look around for towns that dovetail with that format?
4812 MR. LARSEN: In complete honesty, how it all came about was the call for ‑‑
4813 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: We always like complete ‑‑
4814 MR. LARSEN: I know ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4815 MR. LARSEN: ‑‑ real world examples was, I think, Commissioner Cugini in Ottawa.
4816 It all came about with the call for Calgary and I had spent quite a number of years in the Calgary market as a program director. Mr. Volpati had spent 14 years in Calgary. So it was an attractive market to apply and the demographics there clearly showed that that audience was wide open. So that was the start of our applications.
4817 Shortly before the deadline to file Calgary there was a call in Lethbridge and so we ‑‑ Lethbridge is in close proximity to Calgary; look at the demographics. It makes sense. Let's do it there too. A week later there is a call for Fort McMurray. Well, we are going to be on a heck of a roll here. Alberta is great.
4818 So I looked at the demographics in Fort McMurray. On the surface it was a bit scary but looking deeper, knowing that there were close to 20,000 people over 45, we thought we could make a good business plan there, and shortly after that Medicine Hat.
4819 So it has really been more that there has been all these calls for new applications that are triggering us to be here for the third time now.
4820 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: But to me, analogies are always a bad thing but you are like, you know, the prince wandering around with Cinderella's slipper looking for somebody's foot to fit it. And your initial reaction was the Fort McMurray foot did not fit but you have squeezed it a little and maybe stretched the slipper.
4821 You are sure about your digging deeper here that there is enough of a market, because we are looking at some pretty professional groups with a long, long history and nobody, nobody is touching your territory at all?
4822 MR. LARSEN: That is true. They are searching for a demographic that is perhaps more lucrative out of the gate and their revenue projections are certainly, some of them three, close to four times what we are anticipating. And I think that is why they are there, is because that is where the money obviously is out of the gate.
4823 So for us we are confident in being owner/operators that we can make a good business plan out of what we are doing.
4824 The demographic shift in the world is just fitting into our business plan nicely. It is just a known fact that the 45 and 50 and up crowd is going to surpass the under‑45 crowd here within a few years and that is just a fact of life.
4825 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Whether the advertisers will be attracted to them is another matter, I suppose.
4826 Let me paint you another nightmare. My colleague Commissioner Cram touched on it, but one more nightmare to keep you up at night thinking.
4827 Hypothetically speaking, assume we licence you but, you know, you are a newcomer. You have got get a plant. You have got to get equipment. It is going to take you a little time to launch. And before you launch, one of the incumbents that is up and ready to go says, "You know what? That Larsen guy is one smart cookie and we are going to steal his whole idea. We are taking the lot".
4828 Now, as I say, you touched on that. How nimble are you and where do you go, because you don't have the slipper anymore, for sure, to fit to the foot?
4829 MR. LARSEN: We are nimble enough and funded enough to go back and do some research and find out what the hole is, if it is CHR, if it is Hot A/C. I spent 15 years working in country music. That hole is filled in Fort McMurray currently.
4830 I was an assistant program director at a CHR station which became Hot A/C in Calgary. I programmed six different formats in my current role in Vancouver Island. And Mr. Volpati as well has experience in multiple formats.
4831 So we are confident that we can program and do great radio regardless of the format. This just happens to be the business plan that we have set out for ourselves out of the gate. Somebody steals our idea we would certainly react and compete and see the licence and be grateful to have a licence.
4832 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And let the air out of their tires.
4833 MR. LARSEN: Yes.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4834 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Those are all my questions.
4835 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4836 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel.
4837 Commissioner Cram.
4838 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So say we licence you and we accept this CTD because you are a small company and because the age demographic is not as lucrative, somebody, O.K. reprograms into modern nostalgia; you go into CHR, make a bigger bundle of money.
4839 MR. LARSEN: M'hm.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4840 COMMISSIONER CRAM: That is an interesting thought.
4841 MR. LARSEN: It's ‑‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4842 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Then, you know, that is the fault in the ‑‑ I mean, the philosophy of what CTD should be based on.
4843 MR. LARSEN: Sure.
4844 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Anyway, so have you got an answer for that?
4845 MR. LARSEN: It's not our intent to pursue another format. If somebody else pushes in that direction I would sort of say it is not our fault but ‑‑
4846 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You are making more money.
4847 MR. LARSEN: But my thought on CTD at the review, what I wrote was that because of this great discrepancy between what the big companies can offer and the little ones can offer it is the only component of CTD that doesn't have any kind of regulation or rules or formula. It is not a percentage of revenue. It's not ‑‑ there is no definition so it is kind of up to everybody to pick and choose what it is and the number keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
4848 From what we hear from the Commission you are interested in some diversity of ownership and continuing to see some new players and that type of thing but eventually if the number keeps growing and that is the benchmark, the new guys will all be priced out and that is just a simple fact of life.
4849 So we will see what comes out of the radio review regarding CTD too.
4850 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
4851 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4852 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, Mr. Larsen, you have the last two minutes opportunity that you have to tell us why you think the Commission should grant you a licence to serve Fort McMurray.
4853 MR. LARSEN: Thank you.
4854 26 percent of Fort McMurray and area residents are 45 and older. They total over 19,000 people and it is a rapidly‑growing demographic.
4855 This mature audience deserves a new radio station custom tailored to them and businesses that market to this impressive demographic deserve a targeted radio station to reach this audience. The Lounge will be both.
4856 We have done our homework and our research both in terms of our proposed format and our business plan. Our application meets the criteria outlined in this licence call as well as that outlined in the Broadcasting Act.
4857 We have presented substantial evidence to support demand for our station. Approval of our application will bring a new, independent owner to the system. Our programming will be of the highest quality and produced locally in Fort McMurray, will reflect and promote Fort McMurray's cultural diversity. We presented a strong business plan based on research, experience, financial control and a viable format.
4858 The Lounge will enhance rather than compete with the current landscape and we will bring an independent news and information voice to Fort McMurray. Our Canadian talent development will benefit new Canadian artists, many who have never been heard on the radio in Fort McMurray before.
4859 Our unique and exclusive commitment to ensure airplay of newer Canadian songs and artists and to play 40 percent Canadian content means more Canadian music and diverse artists on our station.
4860 We have the financial resources to build the facilities, launch and market The Lounge and see it through its early operating years.
4861 We are a young, energetic, experienced and well‑funded independent applicant with many working years ahead of us to contribute to the Canadian system. We are here at this hearing because we want to build a new dynamic modern broadcasting company and Fort McMurray is an important and strategic part of that plan.
4862 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, I respectfully ask you to give us the opportunity to be the newest Canadian radio company by granting us a licence in Fort McMurray and I absolutely appreciate your time and consideration.
4863 Thank you very much.
4864 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Larsen.
4865 We will break for lunch. You will all have sufficient time for lunch today because the members of the Commission have to participate in a discussion with their colleagues in Ottawa.
4866 So we will resume the hearing at 2:30.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1353 / Suspension à 1353
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1435 / Reprise à 1435
4867 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are resuming. Order, please.
4868 Madam Secretary, would you introduce the next panel, please.
4869 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4870 We will now proceed with Item 12 on the agenda, which is an application by Standard Radio Inc. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Fort McMurray.
4871 The new station would operate on frequency 94.3 MHz (channel 232B) with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts (non‑directional antenna/antenna height of 54 metres).
4872 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Marty Forbes, who will introduce his colleagues.
4873 You will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
4874 Mr. Forbes.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4875 MR. FORBES: Thank you kindly. And good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.
4876 Thank you for hearing our team once again.
4877 I would like to re‑introduce my team, as we have a few different people from our Grande Prairie application yesterday.
4878 Again for the record, my name is Marty Forbes, Vice‑President and General Manager of Standard's radio stations here in Edmonton.
4879 To my right is Diane Morris, Manager of Finances for Western Canada for Standard Radio.
4880 To my left is Jane Morrissey, a long‑time veteran of our Sales Department here and proudly a Newfoundlander who can certainly identify with Fort McMurray.
4881 To the left of Jane is Betty Selin, Regional News Director for Standard Radio in Kelowna. Betty will help us coordinate the news and information needs for the market.
4882 Behind me is Janet Lazarus from Research Strategy Group in Toronto.
4883 To the left of Janet is Steve Moore, who will handle programming and music questions. Steve is the Program Director of Easy Rock here in Edmonton and a radio veteran of 30 years.
4884 To Janet's right is Tim Murphy, another Standard Radio Edmonton employee, who works for Team 1260, our Sports radio station.
4885 We are here to apply for a Classic Hits radio station for the city of Fort McMurray.
4886 "Big, huge, enormous". I am quoting from the headlines of an Edmonton Journal article just two weeks ago. Any way you count it, the amount of cash flowing into Fort McMurray's oil sands is mind‑boggling.
4887 The National Energy Board forecasts $125 billion worth of oil sands projects are planned between now and 2015. They are projecting that the demand for workers alone would double, to 26,000, in the next five years and that Fort McMurray's population, which stood at less than 50,000 just four years ago, will approach the 100,000 number in the next four years.
4888 Melissa Blake, the Mayor of Fort McMurray is quoted in the article as saying:
"It is very satisfying, but on the other hand we could not be any more challenged than we are at this particular time. So as jobs go, this is the greatest job ever and it's the worst job ever."
4889 As a matter of fact, just last week the Mayor asked for an embargo on all future oil development in the area until infrastructure problems have improved.
4890 Ladies and gentlemen, Fort McMurray is one of the most dynamic cities in the world and is badly in need of a radio station that connects the community to the rest of Alberta, the rest of Canada and the rest of the world.
4891 As well as the obvious gas and oil explosion, it is also a very vibrant community going through massive growing pains on a day‑to‑day basis. Real estate is expensive; rent is too. And the legendary highway to and from Fort McMurray is dangerous and years away from being fully twinned.
4892 More and more families are either moving to the area or working full or part‑time in the work camps around the city, often supporting their families in other areas of Alberta or even back on the east coast of Canada. It's a gold rush of sorts, but the gold is oil.
4893 It has been several years since the introduction of a new radio service to the Fort McMurray community. Currently one operator runs both radio stations and has since day one of their operations.
4894 OK Radio Group should be recognized for their long and dedicated service to the community of Fort McMurray. However, it is time to recognize that the huge growth in the city and large influx of new residents means a new voice with a very strong background in news, information and community service would be most welcome.
4895 In preparing our application, Standard listened to the needs expressed by many members of this most interesting community for a radio station that will provide not only a brand new unduplicated music format but a station that is strong and focused on news and information services.
4896 I will now ask Janet of Research Strategy Group to discuss what our research project told us about the needs of the listeners in Fort McMurray.
4897 MS LAZARUS: Thank you, Marty.
4898 The purpose of our study was to help Standard identify the most appropriate format for their plans to serve the Fort McMurray radio market. Our study showed that the Classic Hits format would offer a viable business opportunity for Standard.
4899 Fully three out of four adults surveyed, 76 percent, said they would try the Classic Hits format if it became available in the market. Half, 51 percent, said it would become their first or second choice station, while 29 percent said it would become their favourite station.
4900 Based on this favourite station response, we would project that a Classic Hits format has the potential to gain a 29 percent share of listening among adults 18‑plus in the Fort McMurray radio market. This audience would closely reflect the demographic profile of area residents.
4901 A Classic Hits station would also add diversity to the market. Among those who indicated that a Classic Hits format would be their favourite, 82 percent felt that there is no local radio station that consistently plays the kind of music that suits their tastes. This dissatisfaction is further reflected in the fact that 21 percent of potential core listeners to the Classic Hits format were tuning to non‑local radio on the internet in the week prior to being interviewed.
4902 Finally, the research indicated that Classic Hits listeners would be particularly receptive to Standard's plans to leverage the regional and national news resources for the Fort McMurray radio station. Over three in four, 78 percent, said that they would like to hear more news on the radio that would connect them to Alberta and Canada in general.
4903 All in all, the research indicates that Standard's Classic Hits format would be viable and would add a degree of diversity that would strengthen the local radio market.
4904 MR. FORBES: Thank you, Janet.
4905 Now to describe the Classic Hits format we propose, Steve Moore.
4906 MR. MOORE: The term "Classic Hits" traditionally brings to mind formats of radio stations across the country named "Bob", "Joe" or "Jack". This isn't that. Instead, this is a radio station that is being custom designed for Fort McMurray ‑‑ a station that will bring much more variety and musical diversity to the marketplace and a format featuring songs and artists who are receiving little or no play in the city today.
4907 The format draws from several charts from over the past 30 or so years, playing artists like The Eagles, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. But we will also play 20 percent new music, and 10 to 15 percent of our playlist will be emerging artists like James Blunt, KT Tunstall, Ben Lee and Daniel Powter.
4908 Our research shows us that this format will appeal almost equally to makes and females and this will allow us to look at just about all the record charts for our variety.
4909 Here is what some future listeners had to say about our proposed new station when we talk about music and their musical tastes.
‑‑‑ Audio clip / Clip audio
4910 MR. MOORE: Because Fort McMurray is affectionately referred to as the third largest city in Newfoundland, with nearly 20,000 East Coasters in residence, we will add additional musical diversity by playing 25 percent of our music by East Coast artists, such as Great Big Sea, The Trues, Bruce Guthro, Mary Jane Lamont and the East Coast Music Association's male artist of the year, Joel Plaskett.
4911 As you heard, we are offering a locally produced show called Back to the Rock, which will further highlight East Coast music while bringing news from home. This show will be broadcast on Sunday mornings, immediately following our magazine show, and will be rebroadcast Sunday evenings. With a 1‑800 phone number we can have families who are separated by time zones and jobs talking to each other by way of requests and dedications.
4912 Listeners in Fort McMurray or on the East Coast could access the program at the same time by way of our streaming audio and share these moments together.
4913 Most people in this room today will know that Standard Radio has a great history of supporting Canadian talent across the country. That will continue in Fort McMurray. Standard Radio station program directors and music directors were largely responsible for and very proud of kick‑starting the careers of artists like Daniel Powter, Nickelback, Amanda Stott, Ron Sexsmith, Tommy Swick, Julie Black and many others.
4914 Some of these artists have already gone on to international success and others are poised to do the same.
4915 MR. FORBES: Now I would like to introduce Jane Morrissey with information on our sales plan for the proposed Fort McMurray radio station.
4916 MS MORRISSEY: Fort McMurray and the Wood Buffalo area are the centre of an unprecedented oil sands boom in Alberta. As said, the municipality of Wood Buffalo population has almost doubled in the last ten years and expected to reach 100,000 people. It is a city and an area of northern Alberta that has a dual life. Billions of dollars in oil‑related expansion is under way with new announcements almost on a weekly basis, but it is also a local community growing at truly a break‑neck pace, with business growth that is happening in virtually area of economics.
4917 Like Grande Prairie, retail spending, population growth, building permits and new business licences show steady increases year over year and well above the Canadian national average.
4918 The Financial Post estimates the retail market for 2006 to exceed $770 million. Retail growth is averaging over 4 percent per year. Many of the major chains like Canadian Tire, Boston Pizza and Safeway already operate in Fort McMurray, with more to come.
4919 With no television and limited newspaper advertising, radio is a very viable advertising medium.
4920 We have talked to customers that have advertised in the Fort McMurray market and they tell us that the radio rates are some of the highest in the country for a market of its size. There is definitely a demand for radio in Fort McMurray.
4921 With unprecedented growth in Fort McMurray and no new stations in the last 20 years, we believe there is definitely room for at least one more radio station.
4922 MR. FORBES: With our news and information, Betty Selin.
4923 MS SELIN: Our news and information programming is one of the components that sets this application apart from the others. Our strength is our commitment to reflect the community of Fort McMurray and surrounding area.
4924 Sixty‑eight percent of the adults surveyed said they want more news about their local community. Sixty‑seven percent would like to hear more news that connects them to the province and the country, and we are providing that through a new independent editorial voice in the market with a network of reporters.
4925 We offer an opportunity for diversity in the market and will provide an outlet for those who don't currently have a voice like the Family Crisis Society's Unity House, the United Way and the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre, to name a few we have talked to, plus the East Coast connection that we have already touched on.
4926 Our team will focus on local news. But one of our other advantages is the strength of the Standard Radio news centres.
4927 There will be 62 newscasts per week, part of more than five and a half hours of news and public affairs information relevant to our audience.
4928 We would also have access to our award‑winning network of newsrooms across the country and especially just across the border in British Columbia. When news breaks, we will have access to sources that no one else has.
4929 As well, a partnership with CTV in both Edmonton and Fort McMurray has been established to allow information to flow between our operations. CTV will provide us with a 90‑second daily update to include in our Alberta Noon News. This report will highlight information from the Alberta Legislature and the oil and gas centres in Edmonton and Calgary.
4930 Major events like provincial or national elections, budgets or any major government announcements, Standard Radio Fort McMurray would have the ability to link up with our Standard news centres or our CTV partners to bring news to the city from the source.
4931 This application offers a unique opportunity, giving a voice to many groups in the community ‑‑ some I mentioned earlier ‑‑ through our Sunday morning News Magazine. Community stringers will be paid to provide content varying from current issues and community events to an inside look at the many cultures within the listening area.
4932 And with up to 20,000 East Coasters working in Fort McMurray, many of whose families are not with them, we want to help connect them to their home province through a special segment with content provided by the very popular Down Home Magazine.
4933 We also realize there are many shift workers in Fort McMurray who can't get local news on the web. Our website will be driven by Canada's leading interactive company and will include news, community announcements and podcasting of specialty programming, just one more way we can help our audience feel connected.
4934 We are also very proud of a new initiative in Aboriginal programming, and with details on that, Tim Murphy.
4935 MR. MURPHY: As we highlighted in our Grande Prairie application, we will mirror the entire Sunday morning News Magazine show and our commitments to serving the Aboriginal community of the Wood Buffalo region.
4936 Standard Radio is very proud that we have a partnership with Aboriginal Voices Radio in Toronto which will be rolled out to Fort McMurray. AVR continues to launch their radio stations across the country, with a goal of reaching First Nations people with both news and information relevant to Aboriginal residents both in urban centres and in reserves across all of Canada.
4937 Our plan is to receive special programming directly from the AVR radio station operating in Toronto that can be edited and presented to the Wood Buffalo community on our new radio station. We will supplement that programming with local news and air this on our Sunday morning News Magazine program in both English and Cree.
4938 In return, we will supply AVR with programming from northern Alberta that might be interesting to AVR listeners across the entire chain. This is very innovative programming and I will be responsible for working with both parties in order to ensure two‑way relevant communication.
4939 MR. FORBES: Standard has proposed significant benefits for the development of Canadian talent in the amount of $100,000 per year or $700,000 over the seven‑year licence term.
4940 The Classic Hits Talent Search. We would conduct an annual talent search and send that person to record at Edmonton's legendary Homestead Recorders with Barry Allen, winner of the Alberta Recording Industry Association Engineer of the Year.
4941 The person will win a cash prize of $10,000 and we will hold a special showcase with influential people in the music business as well. Standard will direct $15,000 per annum towards the Alberta Recording Industry Association. Standard will create a brand new $10,000 bursary program for students at either Northern Alberta Institute of Technology or Grant McEwen College in Edmonton. One specializes in radio and TV, the other in journalism. Our winner will have that choice.
4942 Standard will also create a fund that will support Canadians who are members of the four designated groups, $10,000 per year.
4943 FACTOR will receive $5,000 per year and we will request this money be targeted to benefit artists from northern Alberta specifically.
4944 Standard will direct $5,000 to Canadian Music week annually.
4945 And finally, Standard will create a scholarship program for Aboriginal students to attend one of Canada's leading post secondary courses at NAIT. This scholarship program will include practicum placement for the student.
4946 As well as our non‑cash benefits for Canadian talent, Standard's well‑known national free ad plan, which runs commercials promoting new Canadian CDs as well. This, too, will be part of our Fort McMurray radio station.
4947 We have presented what we consider to be a well thought out and strong application for our Classic Hits station, the key highlights of our application being:
4948 ‑ a new and strong voice for Fort McMurray;
4949 ‑ a brand new format never heard in the market;
4950 ‑ 40 percent Canadian content;
4951 ‑ a benefits package of $700,000 over the seven‑year period;
4952 ‑ a new and dynamic approach to news and information using Standard's newsrooms from across the country;
4953 ‑ a partnership with both CTV and AVR for news and magazine production;
4954 ‑ unique Aboriginal programming created to reflect the local community;
4955 ‑ new jobs and careers for broadcasters; and finally
4956 ‑ a realistic and achievable business plan.
4957 Growth in northern Alberta is at a red hot pace, and this community needs and can support new licences, especially where the applicant can connect the city with the rest of the province and the rest of the country.
4958 Standard Radio has the resources to adapt to the high cost of operation in the market and formats that are proven throughout the entire country.
4959 This concludes our presentation, and we appreciate the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.
4960 Thank you very much.
4961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Forbes.
4962 I am asking Commissioner Williams to start.
4963 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Good afternoon, Mr. Forbes and the Standard panellists.
4964 Your oral presentation and filed material is very complete. It seems to me, anyway, that the applicants are becoming very adept at anticipating our questions. This is actually good news, because I will only have a dozen or so questions because your application is quite complete.
4965 I am going to begin in the area of programming diversity.
4966 I note that your market research indicated that the Classic Hits station would be popular with the 25‑54 demographic, split evenly between male/female with a particular strength amongst 35‑plus year‑olds.
4967 However, I note that in your application you have not specified a target audience.
4968 Can you tell me what demographic will make up your core audience?
4969 MR. FORBES: I certainly will. I will have Steve Moore and possibly Janet help.
4970 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
4971 MR. MOORE: Our core audience would be the 35‑to‑54‑year‑old and we believe the median age of a listener to our station will probably be 42‑43.
4972 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You are even anticipating the Chair's questions. That's good.
4973 MR. MOORE: I have been sitting here all week.
4974 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You describe your proposed music format as offering Classic Hits that would serve Fort McMurray and your demographic, which you identified as being underserved by local radio.
4975 Vista and Newcap are also seeking to serve the same general demographic group with music that would seem to fall under your music range description. As an applicant in the competitive process, I assume you have reviewed the other applications.
4976 Could you please explain how you think your format differs from these others and can you give us any examples to demonstrate this difference.
4977 MR. FORBES: You keep hearing the term "unique" at these applications. I can safely say that this is the most unique market I've ever had the experience of researching and being involved in. It is a melting pot from the east coast, and an awful lot of Albertans and western Canadians as well.
4978 So custom designing a format was essential for this market. There was no kind of a format in a box that you could drop in.
4979 I am going to pass the rest of the question over to Steve, who would like to have set it up that way.
4980 MR. MOORE: I think the biggest difference is that we took a look at the market and the Classic Hits format and decided that while the format is traditionally gold based, we as a company really enjoy exposing our listeners to new artists and new music.
4981 So we have made a significant commitment, I believe, to 20 percent new music straight off the top, a commitment to 10 to 15 percent music by new and emerging artists, artists who have basically had no significant airplay in the last 18 months.
4982 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
4983 Given the dynamics of the Fort McMurray market whereby two existing stations are owned by the same licensee, from a competitive standpoint what additional challenges has this caused for you?
4984 MR. FORBES: I think it actually makes it easier. OK Radio Group has been a tremendous operator up there and has basically 100 percent share of the market with two 50 shares. To be able to research what was needed up there was absolutely crystal clear and there were very few obstacles in putting this licence together.
4985 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: The Aboriginal station from Lac La Biche has a seven share in that marketplace, so I guess those two 50s would be revised somewhat lower then. Right?
4986 MR. FORBES: Understandable.
4987 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In the call for application, the Commission set out numerous factors that are taken into consideration when evaluating applications for new stations in a given market.
4988 What would be your position in the event that after evaluating and giving the appropriate weight to all of the relevant factors set out in the call for applications, the Commission were to license two stations with similar formats?
4989 What would be your view on that?
4990 MR. FORBES: Again, we are very confident in what we presented here. I think the biggest caution is that you license a competitor who has strong resources, more so than a duplicate format. This market is so unique, it is going through such a growth period here that you need to assess these applications with a little bit more than just a music focus.
4991 What we are trying to do here is establish the need of connecting this city to the rest of Canada, the rest of the country and the rest of the world.
4992 So we are confident that our news and information services are as strong as our research with the music, and we would be very happy to have anybody in a similar style format to compete with.
4993 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: $125 billion in projects, I think you said, forecast over the next nine years, it is, and then the Mayor calling for an embargo on any future development until things calm down a bit, or I guess until McMurray obtains suitable infrastructure funding to meet the needs of rapid growth.
4994 What type of challenge does that pose to you?
4995 I am sure she doesn't mean your type of infrastructure. We would probably welcome your business. Is that what you ‑‑
4996 MR. FORBES: We are not in the oil business, sadly.
4997 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yes.
4998 MR. FORBES: One of the challenges as well ‑‑ and Commissioner Cram this morning had some research that was a few years old.
4999 Every time you go to make a move in a market like this and you pick up the Globe and Mail or the Financial Post, on the front page of the Business Section is a story that just trumps all of your research.
5000 Literally on Friday, June 16th, less than a week ago, this came out of the Alberta Energy Board. I know Commissioner Cram was talking about things softening by 2011.
"Bitumen production has jumped 59% each year since 2000 to 388 million barrels last year. There is still an estimated 174 billion barrels in the ground. It is important for Albertans and the world to know that we have merely scratched the surface of Alberta's oil sands reserves and only about 3% of our bitumen reserves have been produced since 1967." (As read)
5001 With more than $100 billion worth of projects planned, he expects bitumen production to increase to more than 1 billion barrels a year by 2015. It is not stopping.
5002 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yes, I understand it rivals, if not exceeds, the Saudi Arabia capacity for world oil supplies.
5003 MR. FORBES: The next line that I didn't read, sir, is:
"We have more potential energy content than the oil fields of Iran and Libya combined."
5004 It is staggering.
5005 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Well, it sounds like there is an opportunity in that area, to put it mildly.
5006 MR. FORBES: Or two or three.
5007 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Or two or three. You are anticipating another question.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5008 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I am going to move into the area of local and spoken word programming now.
5009 In response to deficiencies, you indicated that you would use stringers from the community for all your news and information programming. You also mentioned a street team which would attend all major events, reporting back to the radio station throughout the week.
5010 Could you explain how the stringers would be chosen and who will be part of the street team. Does this suggest you may not have traditional journalists or news staff responsible for gathering of news? And why have you chosen to present news in this manner?
5011 MR. FORBES: I will let Betty handle this, please.
5012 MS SELIN: Perhaps there is some confusion.
5013 The stringers are in addition to our traditional news team.
5014 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay.
5015 MS SELIN: Our traditional news team would consist of three fulltime staff. The news director would be the morning show co‑host. Then the second area position would be reporter afternoon host of the news. And the third position would be three‑day‑a‑week reporter and anchor the weekend news.
5016 The community stringers are the people that we are looking for within the community that are really in touch with what is going on, and they would help with the Sunday News Magazine.
5017 We would also have another stringer, perhaps two, that we have budgeted for that would cover the evening meetings, the school board, the councils, those kinds of meetings that you need to be at.
5018 So there are two different kinds of stringers: one that would cover hard news and one that would really be ‑‑
5019 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Community contact.
5020 MS SELIN: Community contacts, absolutely. More of a community advisor. We wouldn't be looking for broadcasters so much as people who were in the know in the community.
5021 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Plugged into the ‑‑
5022 MS SELIN: Exactly, plugged in.
5023 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: How do you plan on recruiting or selecting these stringers?
5024 MR. FORBES: If I could just add, Betty, in Edmonton The Bear, for example, has for the last 15 years had a program called "The Night Growler". What we do is take the top two students out of NAIT and give them paid summer jobs. As part of these jobs, they attend every function that is going on in the city.
5025 It is absolutely a wonderful opportunity for them. They go through regular air check sessions, they go through business sections, business training in our operation. And at last count, just from memory the other day, we sat down and found that we had hired over 58 of those students in Standard Radio Edmonton. And of those literally 50 of them are still in the business.
5026 So it's a heck of an opportunity for a young broadcaster to get in, get their feet wet, often living in the same city and then moving on to other areas of their careers.
5027 So it is a great opportunity and we would do the same.
5028 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: There would be a similar opportunity presented to Fort McMurray residents? Is that what you are suggesting?
5029 MR. FORBES: It would be identical.
5030 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Identical.
5031 MR. FORBES: Yes, sir.
5032 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay.
5033 MS SELIN: With regard to the community contacts, I have already spent several hours on the telephone seeking out the kind of people who are in the know with regard to what is going on.
5034 For example, Cindy Delore with the Family Crisis Society's Unity House, this is a direct quote from her:
"We are booming but our social programs are not keeping up."
5035 The Sunday News Magazine would be a long format program with in‑depth interviews.
5036 She listed off a whole group of people who she passed along their names and contacts to me, people who really have a story to tell, who really want to be heard.
5037 We have also talked to the YMCA. They have a couple of leadership roles in the community, one being child care programs. There is a need for one‑third more spaces than already exist in the community.
5038 They are also involved in immigration services because Fort McMurray is one of two host communities in Alberta for new immigrants. So that is another role that they play.
5039 So there is an opportunity for us there to talk to a number of cultures through the YMCA.
5040 Of course, they do the traditional programs for youth and teens. So we can reach many groups through that one organization alone, who have many people of course working through them; the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre and the Down Home Magazine providing that eastern connection.
5041 So we have done a bit of homework. We still have more to do, but we already have established some good contacts within the community.
5042 MR. FORBES: One of the stringers we actually have is Bobby Curtola, who has now moved to Halifax and has agreed to give us input into our Down Home program.
5043 MS SELIN: Sorry, he is Marty's contact, not mine.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5044 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: He is an Edmonton boy, isn't he?
5045 MR. FORBES: Pardon?
5046 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: He is an Edmontonian that has moved to Newfoundland.
5047 MR. FORBES: A legendary singer, Order of Canada.
5048 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: There's a bit of cross interprovincial trade going on then with personnel.
5049 MR. FORBES: That's correct.
5050 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I am going to move now into the area of Canadian content.
5051 In your January 9, 2006 deficiency response you accepted as a Condition of Licence to provide a minimum of 40 percent Canadian content in your overall Category 2 musical selections.
5052 What are your plans with respect to the broadcasting of Category 2 music Canadian content during Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., time period?
5053 MR. FORBES: We are happy to stay at that 40 percent.
5054 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Forty percent.
5055 Could you please tell us why the Commission should not impose a Condition of Licence that would see the station broadcast a weekly minimum of Canadian content of Category 2 music ‑‑ well, if you are happy to stay at 40, I guess we could impose a condition at 40 percent and you would be happy with that.
5056 MR. FORBES: Apparently we just have.
5057 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: All right.
5058 Moving along, Canadian Talent Development.
5059 You state that you will give $15,000 a year to the News and Information Magazine programming initiative. In your supplementary brief you explain the Sunday morning News Magazine program will pay community stringers to provide content each weekend.
5060 Why do you think this initiative should be considered as eligible CTD as opposed to a regular programming expense related to the development of station‑produced content?
5061 MR. FORBES: If I can almost give the same answer as I did yesterday, we firmly believe that the broadcasting system has to help the employment situation. If there is going to be an explosion of new licences across Canada, we do feel that we have to take some of these practicum students and pay them and teach them and help them get into the business.
5062 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In your deficiency response dated January 9, 2006, you indicated Standard would be prepared to redirect this funding to another initiative should the Commission find this contribution does not qualify as CTD.
5063 Could you please tell me how these funds would be redirected and to what type of initiative would you redirect these funds?
5064 MR. FORBES: Once again my same answer as yesterday. We have an agreement with NAIT; that if that did not qualify, we would be happy to redirect that to NAIT.
5065 They are having problems especially in obtaining new equipment to keep up to the state of the art changes that are happening in the industry.
5066 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: All right.
5067 What would be your position if the Commission were to impose this annual CTD redirection expenditure as a Condition of Licence?
5068 MR. FORBES: Again, not a problem at all, sir.
5069 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
5070 Let's talk about Fort McMurray's high cost of living.
5071 Can you explain to us how your business plan takes into account the relatively high cost of living in Fort McMurray and the zero apartment vacancy rate.
5072 For example, are you expecting to have to pay higher salaries for certain staff in order to attract them to the station and retain them, or subsistence allowances, or compensation of a similar nature?
5073 MR. FORBES: I will let Diane Morris handle that question.
5074 MS MORRIS: Well, if you had asked me a year ago, I would have said the plan that we submitted was reasonable and stand behind our expenses. But since the explosion that has happened since we submitted, I have relooked at all of the expenses and all the salaries and have had to increase them, not substantially but to be adequate to meet the market.
5075 So I have developed some new costings and I do have copies available if you want to look at them.
5076 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Maybe you could just give me a total percentage increase and then you can file the detailed information with staff.
5077 MS MORRIS: If you look at an hourly rate, I have probably gone from a low of $13.00 an hour, which we were proposing, to a low of $19.00; and as high as $27.00 now.
5078 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So that's about 50‑plus percent increase?
5079 MS MORRIS: Yes.
5080 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Wow.
5081 MS MORRIS: I went to the Wood Buffalo site ‑‑ they have an excellent website ‑‑ and they actually had a salary survey that had the exact OCCs and NOCs for the radio announcers and I actually got the salaries off of their website.
5082 So I am fairly confident that we would be able to hire with that.
5083 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So with those large percentage increases in salaries, and I guess other expenses, accommodation and whatnot, are there similar increases in your revenue projections?
5084 MR. FORBES: We were hoping that Mr. Morton would have left his rate card out for Fort McMurray here like he did with Grande Prairie.
5085 But absolutely the pressure goes on the sales department to reflect those gains.
5086 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
5087 I think you said two or three, but I'm going to ask you anyway.
5088 How many new radio stations do you believe Fort McMurray could support at this time?
5089 MR. FORBES: I think two is the magic number in this one as well, and again trying to have the formats as widely apart as possible.
5090 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Formats as widely apart as possible, and earlier you said they should be well capitalized.
5091 Is that a fair comment?
5092 MR. FORBES: I just hope we don't tread on each other, that's all. If each is a strong competitor and in for the long haul with a format that is not going to be changed or modified in the next two or three years, that is the biggest problem with launching new radio stations, when you think you have one format coming on and all of a sudden it is dramatically different.
5093 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Should we begin regulating format?
5094 MR. FORBES: No.
5095 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay; thank you.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5096 MR. FORBES: We can help out there.
5097 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You will fine. All right.
5098 MR. FORBES: With the deepest of respect.
5099 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I anticipated that answer.
5100 In the event the Commission decides not to license you for the frequency for which you have applied, have you considered the use of another frequency?
5101 If yes, which one; and if no, why not?
5102 MR. FORBES: Yes, we have researched and Kerry Pelser, who is in the audience from Allan and Associates, tells me that there are least five other viable alternatives.
5103 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In these five other viable alternatives, there are no restrictions on your capacity of meeting your signal coverage objectives?
5104 MR. FORBES: I don't think there is a problem at all. It is all on the CBC site.
5105 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: No negative impact on your business plan?
5106 MR. FORBES: No, not at all.
5107 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Well, that was quick. I am done, Mr. Chair.
5108 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Williams.
5109 Commissioner Cugini?
5110 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: No, I have nothing.
5111 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Langford?
5112 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5113 I have just a couple of quick questions.
5114 You talked about the market being able to hold two, support two, and you put some qualifications on them.
5115 Do you count in that the two specialty applications, the Kids one and the Touch one?
5116 MR. FORBES: No, I wouldn't have a problem if there was a third.
5117 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: As long as it is one of those.
5118 MR. FORBES: That is correct.
5119 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That doesn't impact on you.
5120 MR. FORBES: No, sir.
5121 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: All right.
5122 Another thing I wasn't clear on. It may have gone too fast and my brain is moving too slow. Einstein did some work on that but I'm no Einstein.
5123 You talked about your commitments to different sort of percentages of your music content, kind of supporting, if I can put it, or reflecting different realities; 10 percent would be new, 25 percent from Newfoundland, 40 percent of Cancon.
5124 Could you give me the list again. There were too many pieces, and I just want to make sure I have it clear in my mind.
5125 MR. FORBES: Not a problem. I will have Steve provide that.
5126 MR. MOORE: What we are proposing is 20 percent new music straight off the top, current artists. We are proposing 10 to 15 percent new and emerging artists, so artists that are just beginning their careers, that haven't had significant airplay in the last 18 months.
5127 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Could I just hold it there.
5128 Is the 10 to 15 part of the 20? This is where I start to lose it; sorry.
5129 MR. MOORE: It depends on the week, it depends on the month. It depends who is releasing.
5130 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It's like marriage.
5131 MR. MOORE: It depends who is releasing product. If Eric Clapton is coming out with a new song then he fits as new but not as new and emerging. If James Blunt, who has been around for about a year now, releases new music, then that would fall into both of those categories.
5132 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Maybe I will just get the numbers, then I will come back with the totality of my "mudification" afterwards.
5133 So 20 percent new; 10 to 15 percent...
5134 MR. MOORE: New and emerging.
5135 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: New and emerging; okay.
5136 MR. MOORE: Twenty‑five percent of our Canadian content would be from East Coast artists.
5137 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: This is going to go over big in Toronto.
5138 Okay, 25 percent of Cancon.
5139 MR. MOORE: And 40 percent of our music of course would be Cancon.
5140 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: East coast.
5141 So is that 20 a real 25 percent, or is it 25 percent of 40 percent, the East Coat?
5142 MR. MOORE: Well, in our Back to the Rock program, it would be 100 percent.
5143 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yes, but you are not answering my question, are you.
5144 MR. MOORE: In the broadcast week, it would be a guaranteed 25 percent of the 40 percent.
5145 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Okay. So let's say we have 100 songs, just to make it easy. Okay?
5146 MR. MOORE: Okay.
5147 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Of 100 songs, 40 songs are going to be Canadian. Right?
5148 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5149 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: How many are going to be from the East Coast?
5150 MR. FORBES: I'll help Steve out here. It is supply and demand, it sounds like an easy answer but that really what is what it is.
5151 With radio stations, Easy Rock, for example, takes off all of its regular music for an entire six weeks over the Christmas period. So we are playing Canadian music but it's not off of a current Canadian chart.
5152 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am not trying to say that we are going to come romping down on you and say where are your logs for the last 25 minutes and where is your East Coast song.
5153 But I am trying to get a sense. If all you played for a whole year were 100 songs, just to make it easy, 40 of those songs would be Canadian. Am I right?
5154 MR. MOORE: Yes, sir.
5155 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: How many of those songs would be East Coast?
5156 MR. MOORE: Ten.
5157 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Ten, okay.
5158 And how many would be new?
5159 MR. MOORE: Again, that goes back to what Marty was talking about, supply and demand. It depends who is releasing product.
5160 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: But 20 songs would be new for sure, just you are not sure whether they would be Canadian new or whether they would be somebody else new.
5161 Is that what you are saying?
5162 MR. MOORE: Exactly.
5163 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So we have 40 Canadian songs, ten of which are from the East Coast.
5164 Then you have 20 new, but some of that may already be counted in the Canadian and some of it may already be counted in the East Coast?
5165 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5166 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Okay. So now the 10 to 15 new and emerging, how would I distinguish those?
5167 MR. MOORE: The 10 to 15 percent new and emerging artists would be primarily artists that we would be watching for, that start out at the bottom of the charts, names that haven't had huge hit records.
5168 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So some of them might be in Canadian, some of them might be in East Coast Canadian, but all of them would be in new.
5169 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5170 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: All of them would be under the 20 percent new.
5171 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5172 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: There has to be an easier way to do this.
5173 MR. FORBES: It is called selector. The computers do take care of it but you do have to make sure. A Great Big Sea song could last 12 weeks on the chart, it could last 26 weeks. It could get played one time per day, it could played three times.
5174 If it crosses over into international ‑‑ I mean most of Celine Dion's. She will release a record. It's Cancon and it becomes an international hit.
5175 So it is not an exacting science and an easy answer to throw back.
5176 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: No. But still you guys throw these numbers out, so God bless us up here trying to figure out what they mean.
5177 MR. FORBES: We were hoping you wouldn't jump at it.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5178 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I don't see anything wrong with it. But I have to tell you, if the Chairman will permit me to editorialize, sometimes these numbers aren't as helpful as they could be.
5179 I don't know if there is a narrative way to do it. And I'm not being critical. I think this has been kind of built into the system of what happens in front of us.
5180 Once you actually sit back and you are listening to one of your colleagues do the question and you think: What does it mean really?
5181 What it means, I guess, is that if we were to send in some hob‑nailed booted auditor five years into your licence, you would be able to defend all these numbers. That is about all it means really, isn't it ‑‑ except for the 40 percent Cancon. That is cut in stone.
5182 But the rest of it is difficult, isn't it?
5183 MR. FORBES: Absolutely.
5184 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It would be all over the lot. Right?
5185 MR. FORBES: Absolutely. I started in 1970 when we had a box of records. You started at the back, played it, put it in the back. That's how we rotated records and we just had to make sure at that point that two out of those ten ‑‑ but it has become such a sophisticated science, especially in a competitive market.
5186 In Edmonton, for example, there are 23 radio stations. I can't imagine sitting down listening to 23 program directors try to describe how they rotate their records. It is very difficult.
5187 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, consultants take note. If somebody figures out a way to do this in English, or whatever official language you prefer, you could have an edge. This stuff is confusing.
5188 Thank you, Mr. Chair. Those are my questions.
5189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5190 Commissioner Cram.
5191 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
5192 I am back to live‑to‑air programming. What part of your schedule is going to be live‑to‑air?
5193 MR. FORBES: I am going to offer up Steve Moore once again.
5194 MR. MOORE: Our intention is to do our morning shows live from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m., our afternoon drive show live from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. We will voice track our mid‑day show with a live body in the station doing other duties. And then our in the evening our intention is to run a syndicated program.
5195 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So live‑to‑air is going to be three plus five: eight hours a day.
5196 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5197 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And on the weekends, what is happening there?
5198 MR. MOORE: The weekends, we would have a voice‑tracked morning show on Saturday morning with a live news person in the building. We would have a live announcer from noon until 6:00 in the afternoon, and from 6:00 until midnight we would have a syndicated program.
5199 On Sundays from 8:00 until 9:30 in the morning we would have our Fort Magazine, which would be live with some recorded segments. From 9:30 to 11:00 we would have our Back to the Rock program, which again would be live with some recorded segments. From 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. we would have a live announcer. From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. we would have a Canadian syndicated program, and from 9:00 to 10:30 at night we would rebroadcast our Back to the Rock program.
5200 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And then all else ‑‑ and I am just going to go back to Monday to Friday.
5201 There is the eight hours a day that is live‑to‑air. And the syndicated programming is how long?
5202 MR. MOORE: The week night syndicated program would be four hours.
5203 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And then everything else would be voice tracking.
5204 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5205 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I guess I got taken ‑‑ I had to think about it last night. This syndicated program, is this this Canadianized American talk show host?
5206 MR. FORBES: We propose John Tesh, which is another product that Sound Source has that comes out of the United States as well, and is Canadianized. We actually customize the music list with the company so that it adheres to all requirements.
5207 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I was wondering how you Canadianized it. I was wondering if you asked the host to say "eh".
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5208 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I couldn't figure that out.
5209 MR. FORBES: I will request that.
5210 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And spoken word. I need news, either news/weather/sports, totals or just news totals. It doesn't matter.
5211 MS SELIN: The news component per week is five hours and 38 minutes. So weekday cast is three hours and 20 minutes, weekend casts of 48 minutes, and the Sunday News Magazine is 90 minutes.
5212 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The 90 minutes isn't in the five hours and 38 minutes.
5213 MS SELIN: Yes, it would be. That includes ‑‑ because news alone would be four hours and eight minutes.
5214 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
5215 MS SELIN: So then an extra hour and 30 minutes for the Sunday News Magazine.
5216 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. Other scripted spoken word.
5217 MS SELIN: That would be programming has other scripted word.
5218 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Well, it involves I guess ‑‑
5219 MS SELIN: We would work together on some shows like the Back to the Rock show. We would help make contributions to that. But there are a number of other spoken word programmings that Steve has planned.
5220 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
5221 MR. MOORE: We are proposing a program called Entertainment Express. It mirrors what we do here in Edmonton. It is a minute and a half each weekday for a total of 15 minutes per week, which basically lists off entertainment options in the community, everything from new movies that are opening to Little Theatre and charity events.
5222 We have a featured program that is basically a short form interview, called Inside Fort McMurray, which is interviews done with locals discussing local events. Again that is another 15 minutes a week with different segments each week day.
5223 We are hoping to do A Minute With the Mayor on Thursday mornings, where the Mayor calls in or comes in to the morning show and talks about some of the issues that the community is facing.
5224 We do a Classic Cafe show during the noon hour which features music from the 70's and 80's specifically. That has a little more spoken word content in it, a little artist background.
5225 Highway reports ‑‑
5226 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So number of minutes on the noon hour?
5227 MR. MOORE: That would be ten minutes per week.
5228 COMMISSIONER CRAM: All right.
5229 MR. MOORE: We are committing to 15 minutes a week for highway reports with travel conditions on routes in and out of the city, and probably somewhat longer reports in the winter time.
5230 We do a morning show feature called A Song You Thought We Forgot, where we dig back into the archives and dig out a song that hasn't been played on the radio for a long time. We commit ten minutes a week to that.
5231 We talk about what was going on in the news when that song was a hit when other songs were on the charts and then play the song.
5232 Then of course our Back to the Rock is our big local production, spoken word. Ten minutes of talk is what I have calculated for the hour and a half show.
5233 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. So 96 minutes, subject to check.
5234 Does that sound right?
5235 MR. MOORE: I haven't broken this part of it down. I have 14 hours and six minutes of spoken word per week. If you take away the news of about five and a half hours, the figure is pretty close.
5236 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I'm sorry, I hate to get messed up on numbers.
5237 There was five hours and 38 minutes of news. The other scripted that you just finished telling me was 96 minutes, at least based on my math.
5238 MR. FORBES: Subject to check.
5239 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So that adds up to about seven hours total.
5240 MR. FORBES: Commissioner Cram, we do have a grid that we would be happy to give to you that would make it a lot easier.
5241 COMMISSIONER CRAM: That would be perfect.
5242 MR. FORBES: I'm sorry. We should have done that. I apologize.
5243 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
5244 MR. FORBES: We will do that.
5245 COMMISSIONER CRAM: If you saw what O.K. filed just in Phase IV ‑‑
5246 MR. FORBES: You bet.
5247 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ that is the kind of thing I would be looking for.
5248 MR. FORBES: We will have that prepared. My apologies.
5249 COMMISSIONER CRAM: No, no problem.
5250 That is your homework. I can give homework too.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5251 COMMISSIONER CRAM: New music and emerging music. How do you define "new"?
5252 MR. MOORE: New music is anything that has been out within the last 18 months; from today going 18 months back.
5253 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay.
5254 I heard your definition of emerging, but it is not too helpful because it is really a subjective thing in terms of they haven't been really successful before or they are at the bottom of the charts.
5255 Is there anything that is harder about it that you can firm up in terms of a definition?
5256 MR. MOORE: The easiest way to explain it would be artists that have had no significant airplay in the last 18 months. We are coming out of a dry spell in music right now and there are some young, new and exciting artists who are, I think, really going to be big.
5257 So these are the new and emerging artists I am talking about.
5258 COMMISSIONER CRAM: All right, thank you.
5259 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5260 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5261 Mr. Forbes, when you appeared yesterday you had planned some Francophone programming for Grande Prairie.
5262 Do you have an idea of the size of the Francophone population in Fort McMurray?
5263 MR. FORBES: It is nowhere near the scenario that we have in Grande Prairie. It is very small compared to Grande Prairie.
5264 THE CHAIRPERSON: But your answer is limited to franco‑Albertan, I would suspect. I have never been in neither Grande Prairie nor Fort McMurray. I am only reading the papers like everybody else, and I am reading that there are numbers of Quebeckers who have migrated to one or the other location, obviously for work. They could be English‑speaking Quebeckers but I suspect that there is a certain number of them that are French‑speaking.
5265 But if you don't have the answer, you don't have the answer.
5266 MR. FORBES: There are probably a great number of transient workers in that area.
5267 THE CHAIRPERSON: I will say they are transient.
5268 MR. FORBES: Right.
5269 THE CHAIRPERSON: In both instances they are transient.
5270 MR. FORBES: Right. Whereas in the Grande Prairie area there are a number of full French communities.
5271 THE CHAIRPERSON: Coming back to the question that Commissioner Williams asked you regarding the opportunity for the Commission to grant two licences, and more, but say two commercial licences for the sake of the discussion ‑‑ but they could be the same format ‑‑ I notice that we have here six commercial radio operators that are appearing before us and three have chosen a format and three others have chosen another one.
5272 The question that we are trying to explore here ‑‑ and you are the lucky first ‑‑ is: What will happen if the Commission was to say grant a licence to two different groups but their chosen format was the same?
5273 Take your case of Classic Hits and we grant a licence to another group which also has requested Classic Hits, what will Standard do?
5274 MR. FORBES: I guess we would have a heck of a lot more news and information talk.
5275 No, that would be a bit of a precedent setting for a market that small, I would suggest. I don't know really what the answer would be to that.
5276 Again, we are very confident in the full service package that we are bringing to the Commission here and not necessarily the music component.
5277 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know that legal counsel has a question for you.
5278 MS MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5279 You have indicated that you have revised financial projections that you would like to file; just to confirm that you will be filing these immediately after your appearance.
5280 I would like to propose, members of the Panel, that we invite all other applicants to file their revised financial projections, if any, as soon as possible.
5281 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have also taken the undertaking of filing the programming grid, if you could do that at the same time so we could put it in the public record as well and circulate it to the members.
5282 MS MURPHY: So all applicants please file as soon as possible your revised financial projections, if any. Thank you very much.
5283 Those are my questions.
5284 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see, Mr. Forbes, that you are ready.
5285 MR. FORBES: Do I look that keen?
5286 Thank you kindly. My summation will be very brief.
5287 I think our application is very strong and speaks for itself. The Commission will hear throughout the next several applications a similar scenario as to what we have unfolded about this most unique city and the growing pains that it is growing through.
5288 I highly suggest to the CRTC that you license a broadcaster with strong resources and expertise and that that broadcaster has the wherewithal to grow along with the city.
5289 Standard Radio is such a broadcaster, and we have the resources, expertise and creativity to work in the current and future environment. In fact, like our research pointed out, by connecting this city to the rest of the country and to the rest of the world through information, public service and magazine programming, we sincerely think we can be part of the solution to the massive growing problems that they are going through in northern Alberta.
5290 We hope you will give Standard Radio a chance to shine in Fort McMurray.
5291 Thank you.
5292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Forbes, and thank you to your team.
5293 We will take a ten‑minute break and then go to the next applicant.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1534 / Suspension à 1534
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1551 / Reprise à 1551
5294 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
5295 Madam Secretary.
5296 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5297 We are now at Item 13 on the agenda, which is an application by Vista Radio Ltd. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Fort McMurray.
5298 The new station would operate on frequency 94.3 MHz (channel 232B) with an average effective radiated power of 10,700 watts (maximum effective radiated power of 15,300 watts/antenna height of 61 metres).
5299 Appearing for the applicant is Ms Margot Micallef, who will introduce her colleagues.
5300 You will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
5301 MS MICALLEF: Thank you.
5302 Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, CRTC staff, good afternoon.
5303 Before we start our presentation, I will introduce our panel.
5304 To my immediate left is Bryan Edwards, President of Vista Radio. To Bryan's left is Glenn Hicks, Director of news and spoken word for Vista Radio. Next to Glenn is Jason Mann, Vice‑President, Programming, and next to Jason is John Yerxa of Yerxa Research.
5305 To my right is Paul Mann, Executive Vice‑President, Operations.
5306 With that, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we are now ready to start our presentation.
5307 It is, once again, a privilege to appear before you with an application for a new FM station to serve Fort McMurray, another booming economy in Alberta.
5308 Vista is a young company but we have the benefit of 100 years of wisdom that comes from the combined experience of our founders and senior management team, and we have a big heart that balances our desire to do well with our desire to do good.
5309 We have submitted to you a strong application which will show how Vista will succeed at the business of radio in Fort McMurray and at the same time how Vista will serve the community.
5310 In putting together this application, we have endeavoured to meet the following criteria and, in so doing, meet the above goals and at the same time benefit the Canadian broadcast system.
5311 We intend to accomplish these goals, if you grant us a licence to serve Ft. McMurray:
5312 ‑ by introducing a distinct music format aimed at that portion of the population in Fort McMurray which is not being currently served;
5313 ‑ by introducing a new editorial voice to the community of Fort McMurray through Vista's extensive news and spoken Word programming;
5314 ‑ by making a meaningful contribution to Canadian Talent Development; and
5315 ‑ by building a strong business plan which stays true to our promise to be local and stay local.
5316 MR. EDWARDS: At this time Vista has 19 stations all situated in small markets across British Columbia.
5317 This application in Fort McMurray represents our continuing effort to expand our operation into Alberta, where most of our shareholders reside. You will be interested to know that North West Capital, one of our shareholders, is currently driving the development of an upgrader to serve the oil sands industry in Fort McMurray, which when completed in 2010 will contribute billions of dollars to the economy in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.
5318 You have heard us say how important "local" is to us ‑‑ and it is.
5319 You have also heard us say how much we have contributed to the local communities in which we operate.
5320 We cannot say it enough: the local community is very important to Vista and small markets are our business.
5321 We realize we have stressed these points extensively in our previous applications and for the sake of brevity we will not repeat all of our accomplishments in that area.
5322 MR. PAUL MANN: Why Fort McMurray?
5323 Some would say because it represents the "New Gold Rush". Much has been said, even more has been written, and plenty of thought has been applied to the challenges and the opportunities surrounding this most unrestrained economic region of Canada.
5324 In any event, there is a significant broadcasting opportunity in Fort McMurray and an opportunity to serve this rapidly growing community.
5325 What do we mean by rapidly growing?
5326 We mean a 9 percent increase in population in the past year alone, an increase of nearly 70 percent in the past half dozen years. Retail projections by the Financial Post, which put the estimated 2006 Fort McMurray number at $771 million, up $171 million since the last year's FP update.
5327 Further, we have history in a similar market and that history allows us to understand the unique challenges of a Fort McMurray: what we would be facing and thus how to operate in and serve this community.
5328 We have a realistic and conservative business plan.
5329 If you compare the business plan submitted with this application to the one we submitted for our Grande Prairie application, this prudent approach is clear. With scarcely $100,000 more revenue projected in this community than in Grande Prairie, we show operating costs in Fort McMurray at over 60 percent higher than we do in our Grande Prairie projected operating costs.
5330 Nonetheless, the growth of recent years and the projected growth of the seven years ahead all point to a need to increase radio service in the community. It is clear that the retail spending and population will be there to support it.
5331 MR. EDWARDS: If successful, Vista would operate a stand‑alone commercial FM radio station up against the OK Radio Group, a well‑established local broadcaster which presently owns and operates an FM combo.
5332 OK Radio currently operates CJOK which, according to our research, targets a broad group of radio listeners, in particular women, who appreciate Country music.
5333 It also operates CKYX which appears to focus primarily on current Rock, and the listeners are within the 18‑34 age demographic.
5334 The existing Stations ‑‑ Country and Rock ‑‑ cannot be all things to all people.
5335 MR. PAUL MANN: Our proposal is for a Classic Hits FM specifically designed to appeal to adults between 35 and 54 years of age, many of whom simply have no "pure" radio choice when it comes to listening to the music they grew up with.
5336 And the way we arrived at this choice was by commissioning Banister Research to find out what Fort McMurray residents feel is missing from their radio menu.
5337 MR. YERXA: In mid‑August of last year Banister Research conducted 400 telephone interviews with adult radio listeners in Fort McMurray, utilizing a questionnaire template which I designed to conduct format‑finder studies such as this one.
5338 In the case of Fort McMurray, once adult respondents were randomly selected, Banister first studied their listening behaviour. It then probed listeners' interests in six mainstream music formats and asked whether they could identify an existing local FM station delivering each one. The two most important calculations Banister performed with their data were to identify the percentage of listeners that expressed significant interest in each format, as well as the percentage that could not associate a local FM radio station with each format.
5339 By comparing these two results, one is able to identity the largest musical hole or opportunity in a market simply by examining the trade‑off between popularity and availability or, as I often like to say, between "more" and "less".
5340 In other words, the more popular but less available a music type is, the greater opportunity there is for that format in a given market.
5341 Using this approach, Banister was easily able to determine that Classic Hits represents the best format opportunity in Fort McMurray as it registered very high popularity but was also perceived by all adult respondents to be the most difficult music type to find on their local FM dial.
5342 MR. PAUL MANN: Vista was advised by Banister to go with Classic Hits. According to the research, it is:
5343 ‑ a format primarily targeted at those 35 to 54 years of age; and
5344 ‑ a mainstream format that will have the least impact on any of the existing commercial stations.
5345 It is also worth noting that a Classic Hits station would share a relatively equal percentage of its audience with CKYX and CJOK and would therefore not tend to impact either of these formats directly.
5346 Indeed, it should be stated that a Classic Hits FM would likely have the smallest direct impact on either one of the OK Radio Group properties, when compared to all of the other format options that were tested, which would once again suggest that it is the most distinct mainstream format option at this time.
5347 In terms of revenue, while we have indicated that up to 65 percent of our first year revenue would come from existing radio advertisers, the point here is that we expect these existing advertisers to substantially increase their radio expenditures once a distinct new radio option becomes available.
5348 MR. JASON MANN: In Classic Hits we have found a format that will appeal to 35 to 54 year‑old listeners by reintroducing many songs and artists with which they grew up, that are not being aired locally in any significant numbers.
5349 Probably best known as one of the "Bob" or "Jack" stations in larger Canadian markets, we are proposing a shade of Classic Hits very much along these lines for Classic Hits 94.3.
5350 However, given the significant male demographics in Fort McMurray, Classic Hits 94.3 will present a slightly more "Rock" than "Pop" based Classic Hits format.
5351 By carefully balancing gold artists like ZZ Top, Trooper, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp, Billy Joel, The Cars, John Mellencamp, Journey, Chilliwack, Madonna, The Police, Doug & the Slugs and Queen, our Classic Hits format will certainly appeal to the average 35 to 54 year‑old listener.
5352 Given our Cancon commitment, we will not only revisit past Canadian acts, but we will also present newer Canadian artists who are compatible with the overall sound of the station: artists like Daniel Powter, Matthew Barber, Bedouin Soundclash, The Suits XL, Melissa O'Neil, Alanis Morissette, The Philosopher Kings and Tomi Swick.
5353 Our view is that the insertion of the more up‑to‑date Canadian acts will add a variety and freshness to our format without violating the overall premise of Classic Hits 94.3.
5354 After all, the key to this station is that it will be providing a much greater amount of 1970s and 198Os music than the existing stations currently do and in so doing will be focused specifically on the adult 37 to 47 demographic and, more broadly, the 35 to 54 year‑old listeners.
5355 MR. HICKS: But Classic Hits 94.3 will also bring a very clear message about news and information to Fort McMurray: that "local is king".
5356 As already mentioned here this week, the Vista Group's very clear attitude and company‑wide philosophy towards news is to make sure we do what the CBC can't and doesn't do, and frankly what a number of commercial stations have lost sight of in recent years: keep it local and keep supplying plenty of it.
5357 The overwhelming assumption has to be that we are going to attract listeners to Classic Hits 94.3 because they know, day in and day out, that they are going to get news about what is happening down the street or around the corner.
5358 At Vista we actively lead, encourage and manage all our News Directors to think one way: if it is happening locally and has significance for even the smallest sectors in the community, we will cover all the relevant news, issues and angles.
5359 And we don't simply respond to events. Yes, if it is a real breaking story, we will react. But in small markets genuine breaking news events can be few and far between. That doesn't mean you feed the listener a diet of police press releases, yet another comment from the local MLA, or incessantly tap into wires because "that's all there is" or because the wire story is "better" or "more juicy".
5360 Doing local news means having to listen to everything that is out there and reflecting it.
5361 Essentially unless they are earth‑shattering or have real local resonance, out‑of‑market wire stories will always play second‑fiddle to the local story.
5362 It is a mindset with a small market news room. You either treat local like it is the biggest thing since sliced bread, or you risk alienating the very reason for your existence in a small marketplace.
5363 We get it! Vista understands this attitude better than anyone.
5364 Classic Hits 94.3 will deliver newscasts comprising a minimum target local content quota of 80 percent. That's four local stories for every five aired.
5365 That is what we do in our other small markets, and sometimes it is even more. Often we don't run a single national or international story in our newscasts.
5366 If granted a licence to operate in Fort McMurray, Vista will provide 92 regularly scheduled newscasts for in excess of six hours of news coverage a week.
5367 In addition to those 92 newscasts, we will broadcast another four hours of structured spoken word a week, encompassing regular weather and road conditions, hourly community service announcements, entertainment, community events, as well as specialty information that is specifically designed for the region ‑‑ such as the energy sector reports.
5368 Our research indicates that half of all adults aren't getting enough local news. They want more. They want to know what is happening in their town. In particular, in a community where there is as much change occurring on a regular basis as there is in Fort McMurray, radio plays an important role in maintaining stability and keeping the population connected to their community.
5369 Fort McMurray may be exploding, but with growth comes a need for the public to be better informed, better engaged, better respected about their issues and the news that matters to them. They will hear how it should be on Classic Hits 94.3.
5370 MR. EDWARDS: Vista is prepared to make a direct cash commitment of $525,000 over a seven‑year period, or $75,000a year, in support of Canadian Talent Development.
5371 Our contribution is as follows annually:
5372 ‑ Factor for $43,500;
5373 ‑ Star Maker Fund for $5000;
5374 ‑ Native Women in the Arts for $7,500;
5375 ‑ ARIA for $7,000; and
5376 ‑ Fort McMurray Public Schools, $12,000.
5377 For a total of $525,000 over seven years. And today I got it right.
5378 MR. P. MANN: As noted in our oral presentation of yesterday on the Grande Prairie application, we wish to re‑state that Vista Radio is committed to a barrier free, respectful workplace and corporate culture that offers equal opportunity and reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
5379 Yesterday we filed with the Secretary copies of our Employment Equity Policy as set out in the relevant section of our HR Manual.
5380 MS MICALLEF: Why Vista in Fort McMurray?
5381 We've said it and we've shown it in the communities we serve. Vista is an independent broadcaster focused solely on small and medium markets. We understand markets that are reliant on a single industry or a single employer. We understand markets that expand and contract. We understand populations that move in and out of markets depending on the economy. We understand and have experience working in and serving communities like Fort McMurray.
5382 And most importantly we have the financial wherewithal and the financial muscle to:
5383 ‑ deal with surprises and setbacks in getting and keeping the station on air;
5384 ‑ to weather any economic storms as may befall a boom and bust economy;
5385 ‑ to grow our business in a steady fashion; and
5386 ‑ to commit to the community of Fort McMurray for the long term.
5387 We have done our research. We know that the citizens of Fort McMurray need and want a new station offering Classic Hits ‑‑ a new and distinct format in this community.
5388 We also have shown that we can successfully operate such a station.
5389 We know that the citizens of Fort McMurray want more and better news and information, and we are prepared to provide it to them in the Vista way: with skill and enthusiasm.
5390 We are offering a package of meaningful and tangible CTD benefits that are aimed specifically at this community.
5391 Fort McMurray requires an experienced, financially strong operator:
5392 ‑ who can balance the uniqueness of this market;
5393 ‑ the uniqueness of the population base; and
5394 ‑ the challenges and opportunities which it offers.
5395 That operator is Vista. We hope you will agree.
5396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
5397 I will initiate the questions. Then my colleagues may come up with further questions.
5398 I am going to start with the financial aspects and the economics of your proposal.
5399 I am taking for granted that the projections that you have filed with your application are still the ones on which we should base our discussion and our decision?
5400 MR. P. MANN: Yes, Mr. Chairman, we are very comfortable with those projections. In fact, while we developed the initial business plan nearly a year ago and began the research at that time, we have updated elements of our engagement in that market since then. And as early as this past week, that includes at the levels where we are comfortable, for example, about what the national revenues are in that market this year very closely at least, we think.
5401 We are comfortable that the $6 million minimum at which we think the model is based on for the market is perhaps yet conservative as of today.
5402 And in areas such as rents in terms of office accommodation and how we have based our salaries and related operating costs, we are comfortable today, yes.
5403 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know in your oral presentation you had mentioned that you had put a 60 percent mark‑up over the application that you filed for Grande Prairie.
5404 You feel comfortable that the numbers on which the Commission is basing its review of the application are close to what the market will require to launch your proposed station?
5405 MR. P. MANN: Yes. Our salary costs and related operating costs in fact particularly salary costs, while we took them up from existing Vista operations for Grande Prairie, they are up another 60 percent over Grande Prairie, in fact. So we very carefully measured the increments.
5406 We also used real knowledge, if you will, in terms of where salaries of late have been tracking.
5407 So we are quite comfortable at the moment. That's not to say that is where they will be sitting a year from now. But based on today, we are.
5408 THE CHAIRPERSON: Based on today, you are.
5409 I am sure you have visited Fort McMurray before filing your application and probably before coming here?
5410 MR. P. MANN: Are you asking whether we have been there this last several months? No.
5411 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, you haven't been there.
5412 At the time you prepared your application did you investigate for lodging on one hand for employees but also for a business place to put the radio station?
5413 MR. P. MANN: Yes. And we updated that in the past week as far as checking on commercial space accommodation and specifically re‑checked again with Remax in Fort McMurray on the current rate range, specifically in the square footage that we budgeted. It is in the $22 to $26 range, $24 being the mid‑range for that square footage of commercial space right now.
5414 Similarly at the personal accommodation level, we updated what a one‑bedroom accommodation and above is going at. The one‑bedroom accommodation, unshared, is $1200 to $1400 a month at the moment.
5415 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am going to keep staying in Gatineau.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5416 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you did your business plan, what type of commercial rate did you figure out in your business plan?
5417 MR. P. MANN: In terms of the commercial square footage rate?
5418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5419 MR. P. MANN: $22 to $26 was the range as of this last week. When we based it at the time, we based it on $24. So we were right in the mid‑range, between $22 and $26.
5420 There is space this week available in that range ‑‑ not a lot of it, but there is some this week.
5421 THE CHAIRPERSON: There was some this week.
5422 MR. P. MANN: Yes.
5423 THE CHAIRPERSON: Obviously you didn't bid for any.
5424 MR. P. MANN: Of course not. Obviously all we can do right now is go on best estimates. We have tried to stay on the high side. Particularly in areas like utility costs, we have set the starting budget ranges considerably higher than we would on a percentage basis and other operations as well.
5425 THE CHAIRPERSON: When we reviewed the Grande Prairie applications, we asked all the applicants ‑‑ and we have already asked the first two applicants that we heard today ‑‑ how many new radio stations do you think the Fort McMurray market will sustain?
5426 MR. P. MANN: Mr. Edwards will take that one.
5427 MR. EDWARDS: We think probably we could accommodate two commercial licences in the market.
5428 The next question will be whether one of the specialties as well, and we don't see that as a problem.
5429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Say that we follow your answer and we were to come up to granting two new commercial licences, you applied for a Classic Hits format so you I suppose you will have to say the complementary one will be the AC applicants, I suspect.
5430 MR. EDWARDS: I think in this marketplace the criteria should be not so much format driven ‑‑ someone else has already alluded to it. Having had experience in the Yellowknife marketplace with zero vacancy and a lottery system for getting new construction built, we think if you are going to license two applications they have to be companies that have strong financial background.
5431 On format diversity, John Yerxa can answer.
5432 MR. YERXA: I will be brief.
5433 We basically identified two clear format opportunities in the market: the Classic Hits option, leaning slightly male, which is in the application; and more of a female targeted mainstream of Pop AC, which is of course reflected in the other applicants at this hearing.
5434 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have already asked that question and we will be asking it of other applicants.
5435 If the Commission was to come up with the decision to grant two licences but they happen to be to two organizations that are well‑structured, well‑financed and very capable but they happen to have chosen the same format and they make the assumption that you are one of the two, what would be your position?
5436 MR. EDWARDS: I guess whoever gets on the air first will capture the format.
5437 Throughout the company we run every format, so we would look for the remaining hole, and John has just identified it.
5438 THE CHAIRPERSON: But if you had to choose the other format, what will it mean to your business plan?
5439 MR. EDWARDS: I don't think that it will change the business plan that much. We would certainly continue with a strong emphasis on news and information, which is a foundation for our company.
5440 And on the revenue side, Paul...?
5441 MR. P. MANN: Yes. There may be obviously a more competitive aspect with three operators as opposed to two. That may impact rate overall.
5442 As far as the ability to sell either the AC format or the Classic Hits format, equally are well represented in the marketplace. From that perspective on the business plan, we don't think it would make a measurable difference.
5443 MS MICALLEF: Our research did identify two format holes.
5444 John, I don't know if you want to add anything more in terms of the research that you have conducted, but it might be useful in this analysis.
5445 MR. YERXA: If we were first in ‑‑ and again, this is very similar to Grande Prairie.
5446 If two applicants get licensed, there is this scramble. Obviously our first choice is the Classic Hits leaning more male, more reflective of the population which actually is about 55:45 female overall.
5447 But there is significant opportunity on the AC side. As the Commission is well aware, the AC format itself is one of the most popular formats in Canada. In Fort McMurray, however, given the male predominance as far as the population, it gives us more of an advantage to position ourselves Classic Hits leaning male. But there is really good significant potential there for an AC leaning female as well.
5448 THE CHAIRPERSON: I will move now to the standard question regarding music and programming, but keep in mind the discussions that we just had in trying to answer the remaining set of questions.
5449 I am not saying here that we are announcing that we are going to grant two licences. We are only investigating various scenarios, and that one we felt had to be discussed because all the applicants, again, are very well established applicants and they choose to be in one camp or in the other one.
5450 So usually the programming format is one of the consideration factors that we use. It is always one factor that we take into consideration in coming up with a decision, but we also have to investigate other alternatives since all the commercial applicants choose either one camp or the other. That may end up being the discriminator factor, but we also wanted to make sure that we had a balanced discussion that would allow for the Commission to have a better understanding of what could happen if were to choose two applicants that have chosen the same format.
5451 You stated in both your application and your oral presentation that with the format you have chosen you will be skewed more male and it will be 35‑54 target. And you have narrowed it in your written supplementary brief to be 37‑47 to some extent.
5452 Could you be more specific on the median age of your listener?
5453 MR. P. MANN: The 37‑47 target is essentially equal amounts on either side of the median number, which would be 42. So that would be the core.
5454 And then 35‑54 would be the broader target.
5455 As far as the male‑female skew, again it is pretty subtle and generally in line with the population base, which is 55 percent male, 44 percent female.
5456 John, would you like to add anything?
5457 MR. YERXA: Nothing to add.
5458 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have had an opportunity to review ‑‑ I am taking for granted here you have had an opportunity to review the applications of both Standard and Newcap who also have chosen a Classic Hits format.
5459 In terms of music, how will your service differ from those two proposals?
5460 MR. YERXA: With regard to dealing specifically with the other Classic Hits applicants, first of all, dealing with Standard, Vista will be putting its primary focus on the 70's and 80's. However, Standard, certainly according to the presentation which was just made, will be apparently focusing on a much more current music format and what may essentially be more Pop‑based, which actually reflects our alternative selection, our alternative format, and what is being proposed by the three other AC applicants.
5461 The fact is again that we have identified a Classic Hits format focused really primarily on the 70's and 80's leaning male and as I said, especially with their description of some of the aspects of the format, like John Tesh, which seems to be more within the domain of the Easy Rock, if I am not mistaken. It just seems to be more along that AC line, based on my interpretation of it.
5462 Therefore, it would leave Vista and Newcap. And I believe, based on my analysis of their applications, that we are going to be somewhat older in our skew. Given what was in their supplementary briefs, I believe that they are probably going to be about 30 percent 70's, 40 percent 80's. And we are flipped. We are a little more 70's than 80's based on my initial analysis of what they had written.
5463 MR. P. MANN: In addition to that, I might add that from my assessment of the supplementary briefs of those two competitors anyways, it would appear that Vista is offering and committing to near twice as much news and substantial more spoken word than Newcap and Standard as well.
5464 THE CHAIRPERSON: The incumbent CKYX‑FM station, appears to be offering a blended Rock format.
5465 Could you please elaborate on the differences between your proposal and what they are currently doing.
5466 MR. YERXA: From the information that we have gathered, the most recently actually off their website as of this morning, it appears that their format may be more similar to perhaps what they were proposing in Grande Prairie.
5467 It seems that they are more of a current‑based Rock format.
5468 Frankly, as broad as they are, that is a good thing if you are only one of two stations in the market. But I would suggest that their primary focus is at the younger end. Certainly our research reflects that.
5469 And any Classic Rock elements they play seem to be there more for texturing as opposed to a primary focus.
5470 I know looking at the website, for example, this weekend is their Best in New Rock weekend. They have a lot of references to the White Stripes, Green Day, Van Halen, the Killers. They are very current focused, I think perhaps along the lines of a number of their other stations that they run very well in the O.K. organization.
5471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5472 In your supplementary brief you are using the expression "family friendly". Could you elaborate on what you mean by "family friendly".
5473 MR. P. MANN: I think it is just a reflection of the demographic target that we expect to attract, being young parents. If you note the demographics, of children 5‑to‑14 in the marketplace, there is a lot of children. So we expect that there would be a lot of children listening.
5474 We would avoid the tactics of "shock jocks" and other sort of maybe more typically male leaning type stations.
5475 THE CHAIRPERSON: That answers my questions regarding the format and music. We will now discuss news, spoken word and local programming.
5476 You have provided us with a list of people or staff that you are contemplating to hire, and I suspect your business plan is based on those 16.5 employees.
5477 MR. P. MANN: That is correct.
5478 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can see that you will have 3.5 news people, one part‑time and three fulltime positions.
5479 What will be the role of these news people?
5480 MR. HICKS: We are going to take the following approach, Mr. Chair.
5481 We will have a morning show host, but the news director will likely be a person who, as per our ethic throughout the Vista group, will not co‑host the morning show but oversee proper news gathering all day.
5482 So the news director would be typically in the office at 8:30‑9:00 o'clock, working throughout the day, supervising, story hunting and, as I do as one of the news directors, go out to evening meetings and make sure the local contacts are built up upon.
5483 The second news position would probably therefore be the co‑host of the morning show. So news position No. 2 as you see marked there, the second fulltimer, would typically be a person coming in at 5:00 in the morning, being a good reporter news‑type person, to be a co‑host in the morning, to handle the breaking morning news stories, to make sure there is something for the noon deadline, to set up some angles and some things to chase early in the afternoon.
5484 And news position three, the third fulltimer, again mainly working through the day, available and working their 40‑hour‑or‑so week so they can also attend evening meetings.
5485 Obviously in a small community virtually every local and regional political scenario, most meetings are going to be in the evenings. People are volunteers. You have to have people out until 10:00/11:00 at night and come back and feed it so it is available the very next morning.
5486 Again that is what the third news position would be doing, and also probably handling a little bit of sport, handling some of the weekend stuff.
5487 But our budget does allow for that half position there, that part‑timer: again ‑‑ and I stress ‑‑ meetings and going to the functions and going to the airshed quality protest. That is big. That is like everything we do.
5488 So the part‑timer would be available to do that and to assist on weekend shifts as well. We work a roto system where we allocate a week in advance and people know they have to have flexi hours. That is what we do in our little newsrooms.
5489 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you have allocated sufficient funding to hire a good news director. I can see from the descriptions that you are giving that you are not necessarily looking to seasoned news people but some people with some experience.
5490 MR. HICKS: Before I hand this over to Paul from the financial aspect, yes, that is the drive at Vista. We like to make sure that the drive is to get a good news director in place. That is the king pin for us. And they help in training those people up.
5491 Obviously we expect to get young reporters in as well, because that is the affordability aspect. That news position two, three and Mr. or Mrs. Half there, they need to be brought through the ranks.
5492 Certainly the news director is somebody very important and we would expect to pay them quite well.
5493 I know Paul has the answer to the financial aspect of that.
5494 MR. P. MANN: We have budgeted a news director position that is 50 percent higher than our typical highest news director position right now in the current Vista operations.
5495 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have short answers.
5496 MR. P. MANN: I'm a short guy.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5497 THE CHAIRPERSON: But we appreciate short answers and to the point.
5498 Will you be developing synergies on the news side with the other Vista radio stations that you have, the 19 that you talked about earlier?
5499 MR. HICKS: From a news and spoken word point of view, Mr. Chair, again because our philosophy is so locally based for each of our stations, from a story‑sharing point of view, as I discussed with you yesterday, it is not a big deal. We encourage all our operations to keep an eye on what we are all doing, though, because it just helps improve the standard of how we are handling things locally.
5500 You can see somebody doing something on the island. You see somebody doing something in Grande Prairie, if we get that as well, and you are sitting in Fort McMurray. You look for potential ideas.
5501 There is one important synergy, though, and that is this whole idea about bringing people through the ranks. As we grow as a mini news organization within the Vista Group, if you like, we have a really good idea about local news. When we bring those young people into news rooms, the synergies could very much be moving people up the ladder. I think that is a logical synergy that I haven't heard spoken much this week.
5502 If people prove themselves in one operation, we are a small market, people can go out and perhaps become that important news director a couple of years down the line.
5503 So that is an obvious synergy there in terms of news and spoken word.
5504 I don't know if anybody has anything else to add in terms of the technical aspects.
5505 MR. P. MANN: I think we addressed many of these similarly yesterday. Bryan touched on some of the administrative areas we have gained on with new technology.
5506 And again the reason I believe I noted in this particular grid, just to clarify the point, we did not include the shared half‑time tech position within the 16.5 positions in this either.
5507 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate that.
5508 I heard in your oral presentation and I heard Mr. Edwards yesterday and you, and probably in the brief and also in broadcast dialogue, that Vista's news philosophy is local, local, local and more local.
5509 But what is happening about the non‑local items that are of interest to the community?
5510 MR. HICKS: Of course. And we don't ignore those.
5511 I made a point yesterday ‑‑ and I stressed through our organization ‑‑ that I have noted from listening to my competitors, from driving around B.C. and listening in recent years, the wires, the so‑called non‑local, the provincial, national, international stories, I think ‑‑ and I'm hoping this is the dawn of a new revolution in small market radio.
5512 Those wire stories are sometimes given far bigger precedent than they should on local news.
5513 So yes, if something big is happening, if Prime Minister Harper it appears was going to have his head cut off, then you bet it's going to go in the news.
5514 I don't want to sound flippant about it. That doesn't mean we ring the local Mayor up and say what are you doing to make sure you don't get your head cut off. That's not local.
5515 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's not the local ‑‑
5516 MR. HICKS: That's not the local reaction.
5517 We have heard this discussed by other professional news organizations here, that you use the national and international as a springboard for getting logical, relevant local issues. But yes, of course we have a wire service. Of course we have a finger on the pulse in terms of monitoring some of our favourite national, provincial, international websites so that we can be kind of aware of what is going on out there in the big wide world.
5518 And yes, we do follow those stories.
5519 I don't want to intimate for a second that we ignore provincial, larger regional and national stories.
5520 You know, I have to stress this is the Vista philosophy, Mr. Chair.
5521 Why would anybody tune to me at the top of the hour every day? Are they tuning into me because they think I am competing with the CBC or CNN? No way.
5522 They are tuning into me because they have a genuine interest about their community because they know I share that passion with them as well. And that is massive for us. I am absolutely dedicated to that. I feel very, very strongly about that.
5523 THE CHAIRPERSON: Throughout this hearing we also talked about other spoken word than news.
5524 And when you are talking about news, you are talking about news and sports. Are you including surveillance and road conditions?
5525 MR. HICKS: Certainly. And for the terms of this and the matrix that we have given you, the broken down bits here, when we talk about our news allocation, we are talking about news and sports.
5526 So when we talk about our weather and our road conditions, that is local spoken word, yes, a couple of hours' worth there a week.
5527 And we have other elements, if the Commission would like to take a look at that breakdown.
5528 We have, you can see, a lot of weather, a lot of roads seven days a week. We also have a specialist component.
5529 I don't want to harp too much on it, but obviously energy is important to Fort McMurray. You know, there are going to be lots of other community things happening.
5530 Fort McMurray is not necessarily a community that is just oil and gas. This is a community that is trying to evolve, trying to develop. People want to stick around for a generation or two.
5531 You get the Domesday people who may say well, watch out for the bust. But our local news and our reflective element, that Here's What's Happening piece you can see in the penultimate column there, Here's What's Happening, 30 seconds or so every hour, we want to hear a lot more about what the community is telling us.
5532 And it is not just the negative.
5533 And that is another thing that I am very, very passionate about. I have heard an awful lot this week about people saying well, you've got socialist views and of course you can't ignore those. You have an expanding Fort McMurray that is getting almost too big for itself.
5534 Of course there is crime and alcohol and drugs and family break‑up issues and infrastructure, and the roads can't handle the amount of traffic. But there are positive things out there as well, because this is a community.
5535 People have ‑‑ somehow in the last couple of days I have detected that Fort McMurray is this Dodge City that we are going to try and look after, going to try and be part of. And those are empty words for me. I think there is a lot of women out there, there is a lot of children, there is a lot of families, a lot of single parents out there. So there will be a lot of these Here's What's Happening community element news features that will be positive.
5536 That doesn't mean I am ignoring the potential negatives and the seriousness of what is going on.
5537 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am focusing on your ski and outdoor feature that I see that you want to broadcast a couple of times every day of the week.
5538 Is there a hill to go to ski? Or after they get the oil from the sands, will there be a hill again?
5539 MR. HICKS: There is enough money to build a Whistler out there, sure.
5540 But no, we have put that in as ski/outdoor/recreational.
5541 I think it is important to look at things like this for Fort McMurray. There is a lot of people going in working seven days on, seven days off, or 14 days on, six days off.
5542 People, certainly in the wintertime, like to know what are they going to do? It is a shift‑based working labour economy, a large part of it, 50 percent of it. People want to know when they are going out of Fort McMurray for five days, what is happening in the Rockies? How is the ski scenario going? In the summer, how is the fishing in the lakes and the water temperature scenario looking?
5543 So it is just something else we are throwing into the mix.
5544 We are aware of the type of community that Fort McMurray is. I think those are key, extra, important local elements to tell people about: where they can go on those important hard‑earned five days off.
5545 THE CHAIRPERSON: You also have a feature that you call Here's What's Happening. Is it a newscast of half a minute?
5546 MR. HICKS: I will let Jason talk on that.
5547 MR. JASON MANN: It is more community event type organization, fundraisers and that type of information, reflecting what non‑profit organizations are doing in the community, or if there is a car rally, that kind of information.
5548 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I am looking again at your table. You are projecting 92 newscasts per week for a total minutes of 375. You have also scheduled 622 other spoken word minutes, plus the recreational feature, the PSAs that you are looking at and other news features, for a total of 17 hours and five minutes of spoken voice.
5549 Am I reading your chart properly?
5550 MR. J. MANN: Sort of. The structured spoken word would be 10 hours and 20 minutes.
5551 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes?
5552 MR. J. MANN: And then, in addition to that, the 6 hours 45 minutes approximated for non‑scheduled spoken word. Happy talk I think ‑‑ sort of happy.
5553 THE CHAIRPERSON: Something happens during the happy hour?
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5554 MR. HICKS: Well, if they will let us run a live link into the bar, sure.
5555 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right.
5556 I looked into your CTD and I don't think I have that many questions because you were quite clear.
5557 Well, they have provided me with a list of questions, but I think your oral presentation and your submissions and your replies to the deficiency letter where surely inclusive, and you also committed earlier in your oral presentation to spread it over a seven year period rather than a licence term.
5558 MR. EDWARDS: That is correct, seven year operating period.
5559 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are ready to accept a condition of licence that will be structured in that way?
5560 MR. EDWARDS: Yes. And no, I don't think that Fort McMurray is a medium market.
5561 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is it a big market?
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
5562 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have proposed to allocate $85,000 through the seven consecutive broadcast years to the Fort McMurray school district for the provision of bursaries for less fortunate children who might otherwise not be able to afford music education as well as an annual music scholarship award.
5563 Could you provide a cost breakdown of that $85,000?
5564 MR. EDWARDS: Not at this time, but what would be appropriate as far as time lines if you required it?
5565 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I think crossing our fingers, we hope to terminate the hearing tomorrow at the end of the end, so if you could file it before we enter into Phase II it would be very well appreciated.
5566 MR. J. MANN: Okay.
5567 THE CHAIRPERSON: So he's going to be giving you some homework for tonight. Rather than going to dinner in a top Edmonton restaurant you will be working in your room.
5568 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you tell us who will be responsible to allocate these funds?
5569 MR. EDWARDS: Sure thing.
5570 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you tell us who will be responsible to allocate these funds?
5571 MR. EDWARDS: The school district.
5572 THE CHAIRPERSON: The school district.
5573 Will you have any input or is it money that you are going to cut a cheque and send it to them?
5574 MR. J. MANN: Virtually so. What I would propose is we would submit basically a draft budget. We have had discussions with them and they have noted that there is an equal need as we discovered in Grande Prairie and so exactly how it would break down I'm sorry, I wouldn't be able to provide probably an accurate confirmed finished number but an estimate we could.
5575 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, fine.
5576 MR. EDWARDS: If I may, just to clarify, I'm not sure we heard the correct question.
5577 This is a direct cash contribution.
5578 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5579 MR. EDWARDS: Yes, we would cut a cheque.
5580 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you say it is going to be distributed for bursaries, one hand, and also to cover the cost ‑‑ it's going to be strictly bursaries, or is it money that could be used to purchase musical instruments?
5581 MR. J. MANN: To a great extent ‑‑ this arms' length completely from us. This is a cash cheque being made and a bursary could go towards funding of music festival appearance or, in the event that they would require some musical instruments, new base drums or new trumpet for somebody, it would be available in that form as well, as I understand from our dialogue.
5582 THE CHAIRPERSON: What mechanism will you in place to make sure that the money has been used for the purpose of music?
5583 Because if you sent a cheque to the public school district and they think the roof has to be repaired and the priority is to repair the roof, what assures you that the money that you are giving them goes directly to the object that you have ‑‑
5584 MR. J. MANN: I will defer to Ms Micallef.
5585 MS MICALLEF: Thank you.
5586 We would have to reach specific agreement with the school board as to how we would monitor their spending and they would have to verify to us that in fact the money was spent accordingly. We have not worked out that level of detail with them. But there is a need, there is a desire and we are willing to fulfil that desire and that need, we just have to work out the mechanics with them, but that is very much on our mind as well.
5587 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so far they are responding positively to do that?
5588 MS MICALLEF: Completely, yes.
5589 THE CHAIRPERSON: You also have a commitment to fund native women in the arts. In many previous commissions decisions funding towards Aboriginal initiative has been taken to be more of a benefit to the broadcasting system as a whole rather than a direct CTD contribution.
5590 If the Commission was to come to the conclusion that it is not an acceptable benefit for the purpose of CTD commitment, what will your position be?
5591 MR. EDWARDS: Well, obviously we would accept that and we would increase FACTOR's amount by $7,500. We would, however, continue the commitment to the native women and the arts because we have already made it.
5592 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that you already have had discussion with the native women in the arts for that purpose.
5593 Could you provide some evidence of the commitments made by the native women of the arts? Do you have any written ‑‑
5594 MR. J. MANN: Oh, written. I'm sorry, we have requested that.
5595 MR. P. MANN: Yes, we have requested just a written affirmation of their agreement, or their verbal agreement with us that if approved the funds would be directed to use in western Canadian performances and appearances and of a music‑based nature in all cases. That was our only condition of them in making the offer.
5596 THE CHAIRPERSON: Obviously at this stage you haven't got yet a ‑‑
5597 MR. P. MANN: We do not have it in hand as yet. We have requested it, however.
5598 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have requested it?
5599 MR. P. MANN: Yes, we have.
5600 THE CHAIRPERSON: My last line of questions will have to do with your technical submission.
5601 In the event that the Commission decides not to license you on the frequency that you have applied for, have you considered the use of another frequency? If yes, which one?
5602 MR. EDWARDS: Well, there are several that are available. I'm not sure that we have chosen which one. It really depends on if there are two licences and what is left, but there are three or four remaining.
5603 THE CHAIRPERSON: Three frequencies.
5604 Those are my questions.
5605 Mrs. Cram...?
5606 COMMISSIONER CRAM: After a couple of days you should know what I'm going to be asking.
5607 Live‑to‑air. Thank you very much for your matrix.
5608 I'm looking at the fact that you are actually giving out weather until 10 o'clock at night. So are you going to be live‑to‑air until at least then?
5609 MR. EDWARDS: Yes, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, which means 10 hours of voice‑track Monday through Friday, and on the weekend we would voice‑track 12 hours each day, for a total of 34 hours a week.
5610 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So you are live, then, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ‑‑
5611 MR. EDWARDS: Yes.
5612 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ Monday through Friday?
5613 MR. EDWARDS: Yes.
5614 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And live on Saturday, Sunday when?
5615 MR. EDWARDS: Typically the answer is 6:00 to noon, but on Saturdays and Sundays we found 7:00 to 1:00 to be a better time.
5616 MR. J. MANN: The weather forecasts pat that would be general in nature and reflective of the upcoming day, and should there be any significant changes we do have a protocol in place for updating the information.
5617 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. So that's why when it's raining outside you are not going to have somebody saying, "And it's a lovely sunny day", okay.
5618 Thank you very much.
5619 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Williams.
5620 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Good afternoon, Ms Micallef and panel.
5621 Vista has applied in both Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray marketplaces. Your application suggests that you expect Fort McMurray to be more lucrative.
5622 Would that be a fair statement?
5623 MR. P. MANN: There is a start year projection that is about $100,000 higher in revenue. On the other hand, at the EBITDA level we actually go from anticipating being in the black in year in Grande Prairie to about $137,000 in the red in year one in Fort McMurray.
5624 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So you would say they were similar then?
5625 MR. P. MANN: I guess you would have to ‑‑ if you parallel the dollars plus or minus a similar opportunity, but we aren't pretending that we are going to be in the lack from day one.
5626 I think we also have to realistically consider that depending on when one might be licensed and get this on the air, any number of factors based on how Fort McMurray is particularly. Fort McMurray is operating right now, could change that bottom line yet again. It's mainly the cost side of the operation that would be...
5627 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I have take a quick glance at each of your financial projections on each of your applications and I guess you are showing a total revenue at year seven of $2.7 million from Fort McMurray, actually $2.8, $2.798, $2.8 million, and $2.1 million out of Grande Prairie.
5628 Anecdotally, I think we heard yesterday about this time in the afternoon actually that the Grande Prairie market might be quite a bit more lucrative. In fact, it has been suggested by others that Grande Prairie market might be quite larger than the Fort McMurray.
5629 How did you arrive your revenue projections?
5630 MR. P. MANN: At the $6 million for the market size.
5631 First of all, we have a pretty good handle on what the national business does in that market. As I stated earlier, we believe it is going to end up about $1.5 for this current fiscal broadcast year; 25 percent range as a percent for national business in may of the markets we work in is fairly average. That projection would be one way of suggesting that it is likely to be in the $6 million range as a conservative estimate on which to build a model.
5632 We also have a pretty good sense of the rates that are being achieved, which are in the $50 to $55 per station range at the national level, and of course because it is a one operator environment, at the retail level running what appears to be extremely heavy inventory. No reason to believe that the retail costs or the net local costs are dramatically that much lower than the national rates.
5633 So in taking into account that we believe there is likely a very high or close to sell‑off ratio running currently with the existing sole operator on those two stations, and estimating in the sort of $93 to $100 range combo, if you will, at retail rates balanced against that 25 percent expectation on national, 46 million became a reasonable model, all other factors unknown essentially, to base that model on.
5634 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: We heard yesterday that the trading area of Grande Prairie is approximately 250,000 population. What would the similar trading area be in the Fort McMurray area?
5635 MR. P. MANN: Well, I guess the major and most interesting difference is, the majority of the Wood Buffalo region at it impacts the market that is Forth McMurray is about 85 percent in the City of Fort McMurray, unlike the myriad of communities that exist in the Peace country which contribute to that much broader trading area, much moire like a southern Alberta in the case of, say, a Lethbridge where you are drawing on numbers of smaller secondary communities.
5636 The secondary communities within any kind of distance of Fort McMurray are extremely small and extremely limited without particularly any kind of local viable mainstream business base to add to a local business base.
5637 In other words, what we are saying is the business retail base of the market of Fort McMurray is what is largely within the boundaries of the City of fort McMurray.
5638 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So if you use your numbers at six million and the updated Grande Prairie estimated number, I think provided by an operator, of nine, I guess that would suggest to me that Grande Prairie is possibly a quite a bit larger market.
5639 MR. P. MANN: Well, and there is a function of rate there too, I believe, that would like be found to in real life be higher at the retail level.
5640 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. If you were successful in only one of your applications, Grande Prairie or Fort McMurray, which would be Vista's choice? Recognizing the choice if not Vista's, I'm just curious.
5641 MR. P. MANN: Well, we are going to be as candid as we always are and say Grande Prairie.
5642 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
5643 That is my question, Mr. Chair.
5644 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cugini...?
5645 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5646 I just wanted to pursue one line of questioning with Mr. Hicks for a moment. I heard you say earlier that one of the philosophies of Vista is to promote from within and that that may be the case for the news director, that you may take a Vista news director from another market and put them in Fort McMurray?
5647 MR. HICKS: Yes. We are obviously a fledgling company in the sense that we have only come together in less than a year and my role has been to go to the existing news directors and find out how they tick and if they are the sort of right people to push forward our local philosophy.
5648 And there has been a degree, even within the existing news directors, of a little bit of a retrain, because I would be the first to confess that some people have lost their way a little in the commercial news market in B.C. over the years and there is a sense of a need for a coming around in terms of why do we exist, guys and girls? What are you running that story instead of giving me more on the story round the street?
5649 So yes, the philosophy would be to train, to nurture and to get that whole local ethic going within. It's starting to happen now. We have had some quality news director briefings and the idea would be as our reporters get better at what they are doing, yes, you have that trade‑off, don't you. You have a great reporter who is operating in Courtney and gets to know everybody wonderfully well in Courtney and then all of a sudden you say to them, "But now you are going to Fort McMurray as a news director", well, that's a challenge.
5650 Mr. Langford can vouch for when you are in a big organization, as I have been, I have worked with BBC World Services, I have worked for South African Broadcasting Corporation, you get shunted off to Capetown, to Johannesburg, to Tel Aviv, to wherever, you have to learn the market, but that is your step up the ladder. You go in there and you take on responsibility like news directorships.
5651 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Have you had an opportunity to survey the market in Fort McMurray ‑‑
5652 MR. HICKS: No.
5653 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ to see if there are not necessarily news directors, because I can understand how you would want to have somebody who was experienced leading a team of reporters and news staff, but are there people currently trained, perhaps fresh out of school, who are available to be hired from the Fort McMurray are to work in the station?
5654 MR. HICKS: I haven't made that study. The logic with any of our positioning ‑‑ and we have done some recruitment obviously already and we have expanded to a modest degree some of our existing B.C. operations, you will always look in the local community first, yes.
5655 I would like nothing more than to have a conversation with an existing news director in the market and see if they are looking forward very much to escaping some of the traps that small market radio stations have gotten themselves into over the past couple of years and proving to me how passionately local they really are, because we can certainly offer them the salary, but I need these people to come around.
5656 MS MICALLEF: We also find that people find us. As they realize what markets we are operating in or as opportunities arise, people find us. So we may not know of somebody who is in fact qualified to either act as a news director or even work on our news staff who may in fact reside in Fort McMurray currently, but they will find us. Oftentimes, you know, they will realize that the opportunity arises and they will find us. So we are open to that.
5657 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
5658 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5659 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mrs. Micallef, it is your opportunity to tell us in a few words why do you think that the Commission should give you the licence for Fort McMurray?
5660 MS MICALLEF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission.
5661 Fort McMurray is an exciting and challenging opportunity and you have spoken with us today about some of the challenges that we and others would have to face if we had the privilege of being licensed to operate in Forth McMurray.
5662 The citizens of Fort McMurray want and deserve additional opportunities for additional music, diversity of programming, diversity of voices. They also are entitled to stability.
5663 We also believe that the incumbents are entitled to stability. So one of the most important things that we would ask you to consider is those applicants with a realistic business plan, with experience in markets similar to Fort McMurray and with expectations that are realistic.
5664 Vista's balance sheet is strong, strong enough to withstand any surprises. We have experience in markets similar to this.
5665 Vista's business plan is realistic. We don't use a template, we did research before we applied, and in fact are continuing to be satisfied with the research we have conducted and continue to conduct in supporting this business plan.
5666 Jason, Paul, Bryan and I are committed to this industry for the long term. We don't see Fort McMurray as a quick buck, in fact we believe that it is going to require a lot of patience and time and a lot of skill to work in that community.
5667 We also see, though, that the operator who is successful in operating that community would be rewarded with the knowledge that they have enriched an already vibrant community and we would like to be that operator.
5668 Thank you.
5669 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mrs. Micallef, thank you to your team.
5670 We will take a 5‑minute break and hear the next applicant.
5671 The next applicant will be the last one for today, so we will start tomorrow morning at 8:30 with the presentation by Harvard Broadcasting.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1702 / Suspension à 1702
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1714 / Reprise à 1714
5672 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Madam Secretary...?
5673 THE SECRETARY: Before we proceed to the next application I would just like to indicate for the record that Standard Radio has filed their revised projected financial forecast for their Fort McMurray application, as well as their news and information programming grid. The documents will be available on the application file in the examination room.
5674 We will now proceed with Item 14 on the agenda, which is an application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Fort McMurray.
5675 The new station would operate on frequency 102.9 MHz (channel 275B) with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts, non‑directional antenna/antenna height of 54 metres).
5676 The applicant has recently submitted to the CRTC clarification related to possible alternative frequency options.
5677 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Elmer Hildebrand, who will introduce his colleagues.
5678 You will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
5679 Mr. Hildebrand..."
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
5680 MR. HILDEBRAND: Thank you.
5681 Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission and Commission staff, thank you for having us here today for this important hearing.
5682 My name is Elmer Hildebrand, President and CEO of Golden West Broadcasting. I am also on the CWC Board, Secretary Treasurer of BBM, the Secretary Treasurer of the Radio Marketing Bureau.
5683 With me are Lyndon Friesen, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Golden West; and Keith Leask, long‑time Manager of Golden West's High River/Okotoks radio operation and a resident of Alberta. Also with us is Ken Goldstein, an economist well known in the broadcast industry.
5684 I have been in the small market radio business since 1957, so it will be 50 years next year.
5685 Lyndon Friesen has been with Golden West since 1975; and Keith Leask joined Golden West in 1983. We have a bit of history and stability going for us.
5686 The point we want to make today is this, and that is:
5687 Here is a little background about Golden West:
5688 Our Company has made a living on serving non‑metropolitan markets across the Prairies. We started in 1957 with a small AM station in Altona, Manitoba. Altona is the site of our Head Office and the community has seen steady growth since 1957 and today has a population of 3,500 people.
5689 From the austere beginnings in 1957, our organization has continued to grow, always by serving non‑metro markets. Today we operate AM stations in Altona, Steinbach, Winkler/Morden, Boissevain, and Portage la Prairie in Manitoba, plus AM stations in Estevan, Weyburn, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Shaunavon, Rosetown, and Kindersley in Saskatchewan, plus one AM station in High River/Okotoks, Alberta.
5690 Twenty years ago we started providing FM services to some of our rural communities and today we operate FM stations in Steinbach, Winkler/Morden, and Portage la Prairie in Manitoba, and in Saskatchewan we have FM stations in Estevan, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Kindersley, and a new FM station will be launched in Weyburn later this year, plus we have an FM station in High River/Okotoks, Alberta as well.
5691 We also have one specialty FM station in Southern Manitoba programming all gospel music.
5692 We are steadily trying to increase the number of FM stations so that our company will have long term viability if and when AM radio eventually fades off into the sunset.
5693 MR. FRIESEN: This item brings us to the plan to provide "local" radio service to Fort McMurray, Alberta.
5694 Fort McMurray has grown dramatically as a community in the last 10 years and now needs our kind of "local radio service".
5695 Today, people in Fort McMurray have a choice of only two private radio signals, and with the dramatic population growth in the city there is now a need for an additional "local" radio service. Golden West's philosophy, or Golden West's culture of community service radio, will be a breath of fresh air for the city. We will cater to a broad cross‑section of the community, and our news and public affairs will cover the social/cultural side of the community, as well as the obvious economic activity.
5696 What we will provide is "local ‑‑ every day ‑‑ seven days a week!"
5697 In monitoring the stations currently serving Fort McMurray, we find the lack of local news stands out dramatically. Today's residents of the area hear a lot of national and international news, with very little local news.
5698 We will turn this upside down. With 95 percent local news and 5 percent other news, basically, we will be local, live, local all the time. The same will be true for sports. Local will be first and foremost. It's what we do.
5699 This will be well in excess of 18 hours every week.
5700 Since a large percentage of people working in the area are from Newfoundland, we will take that into account when doing Canadian news stories. We will also plan to have a regular two‑hour Saturday night program specifically for Newfoundlanders.
5701 MR. LEASK: Our Canadian Talent Development Funds will be used to a large extent in helping "local" musical groups to further their careers. In addition to helping local musical groups further their careers at the financial levels outlined in our application, we are also going to set aside some of our CTD commitment to assist the Aboriginal community. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 people of Aboriginal heritage in Fort McMurray and area. We will help with sponsorship and CTD funds.
5702 We understand that the Commission needs to decide which of the seven applications looking to serve Fort McMurray will provide the best service to the area. There is no doubt that you will hear many promises during this hearing from all the applicants on how they will serve the area.
5703 MR. HILDEBRAND: We submit that when deliberating and finally determining which applicant will actually provide the best service, the Commission need look only at the track record of the various applications.
5704 Golden West's track record at providing real local "live service" to Prairie communities is well established. We have the experience, the people and the resources to give Fort McMurray the kind of community service that is superior by any measure to the other applications before you this week.
5705 We are ready to go to work and respectfully ask that our application be approved.
5706 We will be happy to answer any questions.
5707 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Hildebrand.
5708 I am asking Commissioner Langford to ask you the first set of questions.
5709 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5710 I do have some questions I prepared, but I do have one specific one coming just our of your opening remarks, which either means I haven't read your submission very carefully or there may be something new here.
5711 At the bottom of page 5 I believe it was you, Mr. Leask, who was making the remarks on the CTD commitments to assist Aboriginals, the Aboriginal community, and you end by saying at the end:
"We will help with sponsorships and CTD grants."
5712 And I have no problem with you doing that, but I don't find that anywhere else in your CTD commitments in your documents already filed. So am I to assume that is somehow going to work in your ‑‑ I don't know what, maybe your CD promotions or something like that?
5713 MR. HILDEBRAND: No. It's part of the Canadian Talent Development