ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 11 May 2012
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Volume 5, 11 May 2012
TRANSCRIPTION OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
To consider the broadcasting applications listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-126, 2012-126-1, 2012-126-2 and 2012-126-3
Room 200 ABC
105 Princes' Boulevard
11 May 2012
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 Contents.
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.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To consider the broadcasting applications listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-126, 2012-126-1, 2012-126-2 and 2012-126-3
Crystal HulleyLegal Counsel
Lyne CapeHearing Manager
Room 200 ABC
105 Princes' Boulevard
11 May 2012
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
16. MTSD Broadcast Inc.1090 / 6823
17. Radio 1540 Limited1142 / 7164
PANEL OF INTERVENERS
1. Acoustic Soul Productions1156 / 7245
2. Russian Carousel Cultural Centre1159 / 7257
18. S. Sivakkumaran, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated1192 / 7463
PANEL OF INTERVENERS
1. Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre1211 / 7570
2. Parichay1214 / 7588
3. Wadjin Khan1217 / 7603
--- Upon commencing on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 0911
6820 THE SECRETARY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Are we ready to start? Thank you.
6821 We will start today with item 16 on the Agenda, which is an application by MTSD Broadcast Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Toronto.
6822 On this panel today we have Mr. Nav Mangat and Mr. Frank Rogers. Gentlemen, you have 20 minutes for your presentation.
6823 MR. ROGERS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
6824 THE CHAIRPERSON: Hang on. Is there a handout?
6825 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6826 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just hang on.
6827 MR. ROGERS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff. My name is Frank Rogers, the Agent, and together with Nav Mangat, the President of MTSD Broadcast Inc., we are pleased to appear before you to present our application for what we believe is a radio station that will serve the South Asian community and Punjabi community as a whole.
6828 Before I continue, several other members that were supposed to be here -- and I just want to make this aware to the Commissioners -- are stuck overseas, but we would be more than willing to -- any questions we cannot answer we will put in writing and make sure that you get them as soon as possible.
6829 We recognize there are many ethnic programs served on Toronto and GTA stations, but with the exception of CJMR AM in Mississauga and also what should have been CHIN in Toronto there really isn't a full-time station to serve this community.
6830 Now, this is a good time to admit to the Commissioners, since it has come up in previous presentations during this hearing where the Commissioners have asked questions of some of the applicants for a lack of radio experience, I must say this on the surface could hold true with this application, but it would be farther from the truth.
6831 This group of dedicated businessmen and women that make up MTSD Broadcast Inc. came out of their belief that there is a fractured radio programming in the Punjabi and other minority cultural groups trying to provide service. They are trying to provide service, yet, upon closer review, most are playing music and many are even using their sources overseas to provide a lot of their content. In all due respect, this falls short of what we feel would be the best use of the 88.1 Toronto frequency for an ethnic station.
6832 Before we continue I would like to point out how well respected many of our MTSD Broadcast Directors are.
6833 For example, our Chairman, Mr. Harpreet Sethi: innovator, entrepreneur, visionary. As one of several developments under Harpreet's banner, his Radisson 100-room luxury hotel has won the 4 key rating from the Hotel Association of Canada. His real estate developments, another success story in residential, commercial and industrial development, over 200 commercial condos, including an 18,000 square-foot retail operation.
6834 When it comes to the hospitality in the entertainment business, Harpreet promotes, organizes, hosts and sponsors numerous cultural and community events. A successful and well established immigrant, Harpreet is well known for his generosity and volunteer work for numerous charities in the community.
6835 Harpreet finds ways to give back to the community, notably his sizable donation of $500,000 to the William Osler Health Centre, one of Canada's largest hospitals, all the way to a $10,000 donation to the Salvation Army towards the purchase of toys for needy children, just to name a few of his ventures. In 2012 he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce.
6836 Other directors have successful businesses, do many hours of community work, and one has over 20 years of broadcast experience. MTSD has negotiated, upon CRTC approval, for a management team consisting of personnel who have between 20 and 30 years of radio experience. Combined with top-notch, successful business directors with substantial net worth will complete the management team.
6837 Here is another example of MTSD Broadcast going over and above. It was decided that over and above all the CRTC requirements for the CCD and any other funds they must provide that MTSD Broadcast would go one step further and with one of the many buildings that the group owns, one unit will be built as a community entertainment centre, consisting of a theatrical stage and a recording studio to provide a vehicle for emerging artists.
6838 Community groups will have access to this centre.
6839 Before I turn it over to the President I would like to note some of the high-profile and respected groups that are supporting MTSD Broadcast Inc. And you will find these letters that are already on the public file at the end of the presentation.
6841 MR. MANGAT: Thank you, Frank.
6842 Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff. My name is Nav Mangat. I am President of MTSD Broadcast Inc. and I am very pleased to be here today and would like to thank you for the opportunity to present our application.
6843 I would like to start off by providing you with a brief summary on who we are, why we embarked on this opportunity and what our team believes we can offer if we are the successful proponents.
6844 I was born and raised in the City of Toronto, educated here, have lived in the GTA my entire life, have been married to my wife Sandy for the past 14 years and share our home in the GTA with our two young children, Kabir and Noor.
6845 Professionally, I bring a different perspective to the table than many of my distinguished competitors. For the most part of my career I have either interacted or served directly with different levels of government. I have had the privilege to serve in positions within the Minister's office right here in the Province of Ontario, first as a Senior advisor in the Minister of Transportation's office, and subsequent to that as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
6846 Since 2007 I have successfully operated a private insurance business, which is family-owned and -operated, serving the needs of Toronto and surrounding regions. So the skill set that I have garnered in these various positions are universally applicable to many working environments.
6847 Strong leadership, sound fiscal management, the ability to effectively engage and connect with the public and understand issues of the day, as well as the ability to manage contentious matters and offer solutions are all concepts that complement any working environment.
6848 That is not to say that there are areas where these strengths may not adequately serve the requirements that are specific to this application. I am here to tell you that I am completely cognizant of that but am equally confident that the team around me in MTSD Broadcast has the necessary experience in this industry to further enhance our suitability to be the successful applicant.
6849 Let me explain why MTSD would be the most suitable applicant for 88.1 FM.
6850 First, we believe that with the financial resources available at our disposal we will be in a position to recruit the best of the best to make a station one of the most competitive, well-managed frequencies in the country.
6851 Second is our strength in radio. One of the key participants in our application is a 20-year veteran producer and broadcaster from within the Punjabi community. He has a stellar record of service to the community, having worked on numerous charitable causes and using his time on radio to touch on some of the challenges facing the South Asian community as it evolves.
6852 Third, our team consists of some of the most widely recognized Canadian entrepreneurs within the South Asian community who have demonstrated in their professional capacity the ability to start up, nurture, expand and maintain successful ventures even in these challenging economic times.
6853 Finally, we believe our ultimate strength is our social conscience. Individually and collectively we have had the privilege to serve in a number of honorary and voluntary positions with various organizations ranging from arts and culture organizations to charitable and not-for-profit organizations.
6854 Now, I would like to define why we embarked on this journey.
6855 While our application aims to serve various ethnic communities, our primary focus is the South Asian community, specifically the Punjabi community, which we believe has been severely underrepresented.
6856 With roots established for over 100 years in this country, the Punjabi community, with a population in Ontario in excess of 200,000, has worked tirelessly in achieving success in education, business, politics and philanthropy.
6857 Even in broadcasting there are many Punjabi producers on other radio frequencies who have established themselves and garnered much success. Yet, respectively, while they have succeeded in providing a platform for music and entertainment, they have failed to effectively address some of the constant and emerging social, cultural and economic challenges that are plaguing the community and, arguably, defining it.
6858 Which brings me to the crux of our argument.
6859 We believe that these challenges can only be addressed in a thorough and responsible manner through community ownership of a licence similar to what we see in other major diverse metropolitan cities such as Vancouver, New York and London, where there is a substantial South Asian/Punjabi population.
6860 To demonstrate my point of the value of ownership, I would equate it to the difference between how a landlord and a tenant would perceive the same property.
6861 As it stands today, every single Punjabi radio producer in Ontario, some of whom have been on the air for 20 years, house themselves as tenants on various frequencies.
6862 They have limited time allotments due to the high cost of renting space, restrictive guidelines on who they can and cannot approach for advertising revenue, thus preventing them from generating enough revenue from a few larger national companies, which in turn would enable them to spend more time on quality programming as opposed to more time on advertising the companies' names that are sponsors of their program.
6863 If producers who have been on radio for 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years cannot afford to talk about the real issues that are affecting the prosperity of the community, then what is the benefit of being on-air?
6864 It's not just about music and entertainment, it's also about education and awareness. Domestic violence, fraudulent marriages, alcohol and drug abuse, teen depression, these are all real problems that the community is facing without a strong social platform to discuss on.
6865 Most recently, an article in the "Toronto Star" indicated that most cases of diabetes in Ontario are from within the South Asian community. While many of the producers highlighted this news item, none of them were able to have a comprehensive discussion with an expert panel on hand to discuss and engage with the community on preventative measures such as better food and nutrition recommendations or living a more active lifestyle.
6866 There have been countless known cases within the community of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, topics that need to be discussed out in the public. We hear this time and time again, that communities have to take ownership of these issues.
6867 But why aren't they being discussed? Because the producers cannot afford to and the owners of the radio stations, again with due respect, do not have a vested interest in the community. Owning a licence affords us the ability to discuss these issues at length as we have a vested interest in the community, without constantly taking every decision based on profit and loss margins.
6868 There is not one radio station owned in this city or province by someone outside of the South Asian community that can stand here today and say, yes, we understand the challenges highlighted by you within your community, and yes, we have made concerted efforts to tackle them head on on our own time and money.
6869 If there has ever been any mention of these challenges or any charitable causes contributed to, it has been slowly accomplished by the producers at their own expense and time.
6870 Ladies and gentlemen, ownership affords us the opportunity to carry through with our proposed programming, which provides ample dedicated time, in addition to music and entertainment, to consistently educate and raise awareness on these social issues.
6871 Ownership avails us the opportunity to create a vibrant platform for production and promotion of emerging Canadian talent which would otherwise not see the light of day.
6872 Ownership enables us to focus on providing the necessary information, for example to seniors, on government-run social programs and services that are readily available for the elderly, who would otherwise have language and mobility barriers that would prevent them from accessing these services.
6873 Ownership affords us the time and resources necessary to meet the cultural challenges facing first- and second-generation South Asian/Punjabi Canadians.
6874 Ownership affords us the opportunity to serve the needs of the community without primarily looking at our bottom line.
6875 We will meet our financial objectives while balancing our programming needs by conventional subscriptions by small and medium-sized businesses and, more importantly, targeting national corporations who have already demonstrated their appetite to advertise on ethnic television programs in a substantial way.
6876 An example of this trend is evident on television, where many of the multinational companies such as Walmart, TD Bank, Scotiabank, TELUS Mobility and The Great Canadian Superstore now have their advertisements on various South Asian/Punjabi programs in Punjabi and Hindi. We believe that these same corporations and more will definitely entertain radio advertising on our proposed station as our programming balances entertainment and education with fiscal prudence.
6877 We welcome the opportunity to take your questions, and again, thank you for your time in listening to our presentation.
6878 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I will begin the questioning.
6879 I want to take you first -- I need a clarification. On page -- I don't know what page number it is. On one of these pages, I will read you the paragraph. It says:
"We believe that these challenges can only be addressed in a thorough and responsible manner through community ownership of a licence similar to what we see in other major diverse metropolitan cities ..."
6880 Do you mean community ownership in the context of a community radio station or do you mean community ownership in the context that there is a board and it's a private undertaking for ethnic radio?
6881 MR. ROGERS: Yes, it's a private undertaking, Mr. Chairman, with a board that will be always involved with the community.
6882 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. But it's not a community station?
6883 MR. ROGERS: No, it is not. "Community" refers to the community.
6884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6885 Then in the start, the lead-in to your presentation, you talk about some existing ethnic radio stations that serve part of the constituency that you are looking to address as well.
6886 And then you say in another paragraph a couple of pages later:
"Even in broadcasting, there are many Punjabi producers on other radio frequencies, who have established themselves and garnered much success."
6887 So is the issue that they are not addressing your issues as opposed to there isn't enough representation from the Punjabi or South Asian community in the Greater Toronto Area?
6888 MR. ROGERS: Two points, Mr. Chairman.
6889 Yes, there are many South Asian producers, but what is happening, they do not have -- and that's what Nav was speaking to -- they do not have the time or the money.
6890 They have to earn their brokerage fees to pay these other radio stations, so they have to concentrate more on commercials and they can't delve into some of the issues that we are going to delve into in our programming. They just don't have the time or the money.
6891 A lot of the producers are bringing in by satellite programs from overseas and just replaying them again on their station, even though, you know, it could be the music, it could be new stories.
6892 And I agree, news stories are important, but it should not just be a transfer of a satellite program for local content. We believe all our programming is going to be local content, Canadian content.
6893 THE CHAIRPERSON: So are you producing 7/24 programming or are you contracting out slots like what we normally see in the ethnic community where they sell off various hours or blocks to other producers to express their -- to their audience?
6894 MR. ROGERS: One of the things I would like to address is that we are going to be a little different because we are always going to maintain control.
6895 If, by chance, for some of the other ethnic groups that are mentioned we might not have the expertise, so we will go out and get the expertise, and whether that's part of a brokered program or part of a program that we are paying for, but it will have experts from the different cultural groups.
6896 MR. MANGAT: If I could also add to that, Mr. Chair.
6897 A majority of our programming that we have proposed reflects what I have talked about in terms of the social and cultural challenges that the community is facing and that type of programming we want to tackle head-on with our own programming only because we recognize that today, while there are broadcasters and producers on existing radio frequencies, they don't have the luxury of being able to delve deep into these issues, because at the end of the day, as Frank mentioned, they are more concerned about having to pay their bills as opposed to talking about real issues, which we could afford to do so.
6898 THE CHAIRPERSON: So your real main claim to fame, if you get a licence, is you can address issues that others may have failed to addressed --
6899 MR. MANGAT: Absolutely.
6900 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- not that you feel there is a lack of voice in the Punjabi community or South Asian community?
6901 MR. MANGAT: Absolutely. It's difficult to sort of explain, but there are people who have been in the radio industry for 20 or 30 years, but again, they don't have the luxury of the resources available to talk about these issues because they are more concerned about having to pay their bills.
6902 We are going to be in a position where we would be able to talk about these issues without constantly looking at our bottom line.
6903 MR. ROGERS: If I could add to that, too, one of the more simple explanations is that if you have a $10,000-$20,000 bill to pay the radio station for the privilege of being on the air one or two hours a day, you really don't have the time to say, Oh, okay, I want to delve into this for 10 minutes, when I could sell six minutes of commercials because I have to pay this big fee to the radio stations.
6904 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6905 You talk as well in your opening remarks about a team around you and a participant with 20-year veteran producer and broadcaster experience within the community. I don't see him here.
6906 Can you elaborate on who this person is and where they are and what their experience levels are?
6907 MR. ROGERS: That's one of the persons that's stuck overseas.
6908 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that person is a Canadian living in Canada?
6909 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6910 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is part of the community right now and is a broadcaster --
6911 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6912 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- on a different radio station?
6913 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6914 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that the issue?
6915 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6916 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Are you familiar with our Ethnic Broadcasting Policy?
6917 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6918 THE CHAIRPERSON: One of the requirements is to have an advisory board. You didn't discuss it at all in your supplementary brief, as to how that would be composed, who would be on it, how often it would meet, how you would deal with the governance issues, all those issues that are all within the framework of our ethnic policy.
6919 Can you address those issues here today?
6920 MR. MANGAT: Yes, absolutely, Mr. Chair.
6921 Our intent is we will have an advisory committee set up that will regularly meet with staff and any producer or broadcaster which we are going to be engaging with on our station to reinforce the rules and guidelines that we have been provided with to follow.
6922 MR. ROGERS: Also if I could add, to answer your question, letters will be drafted up to each of the different various groups within the community that once every three months they are welcome to attend to a much larger group to address the panel that we have set up and the committee that we have set up to hear right from the community what they want to see happen and what we are not going to do and if we are doing too much of something they will tell us. But also, they will give us a lot of ideas, bring it to our committee and then the committee will discuss it and act on it.
6923 So it's a two-tier committee, our own committee and then the committee of the actual organizations. It could be the temples, it could be the organizations within the community that can come every few months, in a larger room obviously, and discuss it with us.
6924 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you have not defined yet how many members would sit on the board, what ethnic communities they would represent, how they would be chosen, what length the term is, how often the group would meet, and there is a whole host of other issues.
6925 You haven't thought through any of that at this point in time?
6926 MR. ROGERS: Well, actually we have thought through it.
6927 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you haven't put it on paper?
6928 MR. ROGERS: No. No, we haven't.
6929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6930 Can I take you to your financials? Do you have a copy of your financial statement there?
6931 When I look at these statements I have a couple of -- a number of questions actually.
6932 The first thing is the line called "Programming" is blank, which means that there is either no cost associated with your programming or I can't find it anywhere.
6933 MR. ROGERS: Right. Somehow the accountant put it into "Administrative and General" and I will explain the way it was explained to me, even though it should have been separated. I am surprised, truthfully, that it never got caught in a deficiency report, because we never got a deficiency question on that.
6934 But what that was, as we explained at the beginning of our presentation, a lot of the programming expenses will be covered by us.
6935 So, obviously, "Administration and General", yes, should have been, and we can provide that to you, broken down to how much is actual administration and how much is actual programming.
6936 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have a line here -- and may I have the wrong statement of yours -- "Administration and General".
6937 Can you give me right now what the numbers are across the five years of that component of "Administration and General" that relate to programming?
6938 MR. ROGERS: Yes, I can tell you right now. Approximately 60 percent relates to programming. The "Administration and General" -- there are only several people that would be paid under "Administration and General".
6939 So approximately 60 percent, to my recollection, would be under "Programming".
6940 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I would just take 60 percent of "A&G" and move it up to the line in "Programming" and take it out of "A&G".
6941 MR. ROGERS: That is correct.
6942 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That answers that question.
6943 There is also a statement that I have in front of me here called "Punjabi Radio Station - Projected Statement of Cash Flows", for the period September 2012 to August 2013.
6944 Do you have that one?
6945 MR. ROGERS: Is that the one that says, "Statement of Pre-Operating Costs"?
6946 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. It's titled "Punjabi Radio Station - Projected Statement of Cash Flows", for the period September 2012 to August 2013.
6947 It has 13 or 14 columns on it, monthly, and it has cash inflows --
6948 MR. ROGERS: Yes, I have that.
6949 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Can you explain to me what this page is?
6950 MR. ROGERS: I believe it is starting off with the issuance of capital stock, and then just the revenue from advertising sales and the following sales and the cash outflows.
6951 Now, I see what you are saying, and I know what you are -- I am predicting the next question. Somehow $33,215 shows up quite a few times. So that should be corrected, and we can correct that very quickly.
6952 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is not the only question I have on this.
6953 If you take a look at the totals across to the far right-hand side and look at the totals for "Advertising Sales", "Ancillary Revenues" and "Program Time Sales", it does not add up to your total revenues in Year 1 on your rolled up statement, and neither do any of the cost items down below, as well.
6954 I mean, your total operating expenses in Year 1, depending on how you split your "A&G", are $715,000, and when I take a look at your expenses, cash outflows, in that first year, they add up to $4,170,000.
6955 So I just can't understand the numbers.
6956 None of these numbers compare between the cash flow statement and the income statement, when I roll it up and just look at totals.
6957 MR. ROGERS: I see the mistakes here on that amount, so even if you are saying that it doesn't add up, obviously there must have been a problem because --
6958 Again, I didn't do these, so I would have to get them corrected.
6959 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not sure that you can correct the information that we have in front of us. Either you can explain it or you can't, I guess.
6960 We can't ask him to add more information onto the record, can we?
6961 MS HULLEY: We can allow clarification, an explanation.
6962 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. If you want to clarify it, that's fine.
6963 But my question -- just so you understand it -- if you look at your rolled up page with seven years of totals -- under "Revenue after Agency Commission" it says -- and you look at that page that we were referring to with the 12 monthly cash flows, all of those expense items are not reflected in the annual statement.
6964 So there needs to be a full comparison between those two and an explanation as to why they are different.
6965 MR. ROGERS: Thank you.
6966 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I make the assumption that the seven-year statement that I have in front of me is correct, if I look at the bottom line, "Net Income after Taxes", you are profitable in the first year -- in the very first year?
6967 That's what this says?
6968 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
6969 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you turn on the lights, and the revenues are flowing in, and the expenses are under control?
6970 MR. ROGERS: The expenses are under control, and, yes, we are spending for programming, but as Nav said about the clients that he has personally spoken to already, we are expecting not only the local retail merchants, but a lot of the corporations that want ethnic advertising to come onboard.
6971 Maybe he could address that.
6972 MR. MANGAT: We have had discussions, Mr. Chair, with a few of those leading companies, such as Scotiabank and Bell Mobility, and they have expressed interest in the proposals that we have presented them with.
6973 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but two advertisers does not a radio station make.
6974 Based on your revenues, you need to generate millions of dollars of business. You named two prominent advertisers in Canada, and that's fine -- in Toronto or whatever -- but, I mean, you need to run a business here, and when I take a look at your advertising and promotion expenses, after the first year it's roughly $100,000 on sales that are in the millions.
6975 I am just wondering how you do that without people, and automobiles and cars and promotions and everything else.
6976 MR. ROGERS: Mr. Chairman, if I could start that answer, and Nav will complete it, one of the things we tried to point out is that the group's Board of Directors is so heavily involved with the communities that we are talking about that when they hold a function, whether it is a fundraising function or something like that, they bring out the cream of the crop.
6977 For example, our Chairman, if he needs to do some fundraising for a special group, he picks up the phone and he gets an unbelievable response.
6978 We have had many, many discussions with a lot of these clients, and a lot of the people in the community who are looking forward to this station, and have asked that --
6979 And, as I said, as a matter of record, there are a lot of letters at the back from top flight community groups that are throwing their support behind us.
6980 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have either one of you ever sold advertising time?
6981 MR. ROGERS: Definitely, I have.
6982 THE CHAIRPERSON: To the Asian and Punjabi communities?
6983 MR. ROGERS: I have done five years of ethnic broadcasting, where I was involved with sales, and the rest was also in English, too.
6984 But I have now -- and I am not going to lie to you, one of the hardest parts -- and that's why we feel that we have to go to a lot of the corporate accounts, because some of the smaller accounts -- and I know, I have been out there -- they are struggling.
6985 So you sometimes have a hard time collecting the money. Even though they are quite willing to purchase the sale, sometimes it's harder to collect the money, where you don't have that under the corporate -- and some of the people that we will be dealing with.
6986 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your submission, under section 7, "Financial Operations", 7(1)(b), Attachment 2, you have your assumptions in there with regard to how you have derived your revenues and your expenses, and under on one of them, "Program Time Sales", it says: "Based on 7 hours a day, 49 hours a week of brokered programs for other ethnic languages, calculated at $150 per hour."
6987 Is that a competitive price?
6988 MR. ROGERS: Very low, actually. There are some radio stations that, we know for a fact, are charging -- for the same 1 to 2 hours a day, they are charging up to $10,000 a month.
6989 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if I were to take this $150 an hour times the number of hours that you are brokering, I would get close to the revenues you have anticipated in this other revenue category?
6990 MR. ROGERS: Yes, you would.
6991 THE CHAIRPERSON: When it comes to technical costs you say: "This includes a part-time engineer to service the studio and transmitter equipment."
6992 Does that mean there would be no full-time people able to turn on whatever engineering feats they need to if the station goes down or has a problem?
6993 MR. ROGERS: There would not be a full-time engineer, no.
6994 For example, Corus and a few other stations use one or two engineers for their whole network.
6995 Normally, a transmitter can even be remotely turned on by a computer. Also, where this tower site is located, you are paying an enormous amount of money -- $100,000 a year -- for the rental on First Canadian Place, where the original tower was anyways.
6996 So, yes, the engineer would be on call, and, yes, he handles -- right now I think it's about seven stations within the GTA. So he would be there in a flash if we needed him.
6997 THE CHAIRPERSON: How many employees would there be in the first year, under your business case?
6998 MR. ROGERS: Twenty to 25, and that includes part-timers.
6999 THE CHAIRPERSON: You would have 20 to 25 people employed?
7000 MR. ROGERS: Yes, but that includes a lot of the part-timers, and I should also elaborate, some of them would be interns or under school programs.
7001 THE CHAIRPERSON: How many would you be paying full-time salary equivalence?
7002 MR. ROGERS: I would say no more than 10.
7003 THE CHAIRPERSON: No more than 10.
7004 When I look at your Year 1 expenses, your total operating expenses are $715,000. That is going to pay for 10 people, including the cost of programming, the cost of licensing the programming?
7005 MR. ROGERS: Yes. Mr. Chairman, in all fairness, ethnic groups are a little different from a Canadian radio station. I have dealt with ethnic radio stations, and you don't see $100,000 salaries within ethnic radio stations.
7006 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have provided some letters of support for financing for this, but the reality is, if you are making money in the very first year, you don't need financing anyways.
7007 Is that what you are saying?
7008 MR. ROGERS: As of the CRTC application, anything over -- I believe it was $250,000 -- needed to have a provision there from a bank letter.
7009 I think it's $250,000, that's what I recall.
7010 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is.
7011 MR. ROGERS: Yes, okay.
7012 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is a comfort letter from the CIBC, underwritten, I guess, by one of your shareholders.
7013 MR. ROGERS: That is correct.
7014 Mr. Chairman, under the confidential report there, you have a net worth statement of a fairly substantial amount, and one of our other directors -- or two of our other directors have similar financial networks. So money is not going to be the object -- or a problem, I should say.
7015 THE CHAIRPERSON: As I understand it, there will be five owners, each owning 20 percent?
7016 MR. MANGAT: That's correct, Mr. Chair.
7017 THE CHAIRPERSON: And based on what I see here, you will be a 20 percent owner, as well?
7018 MR. MANGAT: Correct.
7019 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you are not putting any investment into it.
7020 MR. MANGAT: I am.
7021 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are?
7022 MR. MANGAT: Yes, I am.
7023 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are all putting equally into this?
7024 MR. MANGAT: Equally, yes, we are.
7025 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are my questions.
7026 Commissioner Molnar...
7027 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
7028 Good morning.
7029 MR. ROGERS: Good morning.
7030 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I note that you said -- and I will just find the words here -- that a predominant reason for you seeking this licence was your social responsibility and --
7031 I can't find it, actually, right now. In your opening statement I had highlighted it a minute ago -- but that it was a key concern for you, and your reason for coming forward wasn't simply financial, it was social, because you felt that it was underserved, and as leaders within your community --
7032 My sense of what I have heard here is that it's a lot about seeking to provide something for your community, to ensure that they are well served within the airwaves.
7033 MR. MANGAT: Correct.
7034 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. I also understand that your organization, your Board as you said, is very influential within your community.
7035 MR. MANGAT: Yes, that is correct.
7036 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I wondered to what extent, before coming here for this licence, you have worked with the ethnic stations that are serving your communities today. They do have advisory boards and panels and so on.
7037 To what extent have you worked with the ethnic station operators today to make your concerns known, or join their advisory councils?
7038 What had you done before coming here to try to address the issues of your community?
7039 MR. ROGERS: One of the things that we tried to point out at the beginning is that we have -- without going into the confidential of some of our future, hopefully, employees -- it is very difficult to stand there and say, "I would like you to go --" whether it's wife assault or any of these issues that we are trying to bring forward. They don't -- they have limited resources, as we tried to point out earlier. They have to pay a bill at the end of the month, and sometimes it's a whopping bill that they have to pay.
7040 So they would like to -- and we talked to many producers -- they would like to get into that, but as Nav was explaining about the tenant-landlord-type feeling, they are only tenants of that radio station. They are limited to what they can and cannot do under the time restraint that they have, so they can make enough money to keep paying the radio station.
7041 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Fair enough, but if you wouldn't mind, my question was: As influential members of your community, with concerns about the social issues facing your community, have you approached -- have you sought to become members of the advisory panels for some of these ethnic radio stations?
7042 Or, what are the other steps you have taken, besides coming in front of us today, to seek to address what you view to be the concerns with what is programmed for your community today?
7043 MR. MANGAT: Actually, we have reached out to a lot of the social organizations that are within our community that actually respond to some of the challenges that I have highlighted.
7044 Specifically, with some of the radio broadcasters, we have worked with them on more charitable-related causes, fundraising initiatives.
7045 But these types of issues -- we can only go so far with the producers and broadcasters.
7046 The feeling that we have gotten in speaking to some of the broadcasters is that, although the intent is there to do what we are talking about, it's very difficult for them to move forward with these initiatives because of the financial constraints that they have.
7047 So it's counterproductive at this stage to try to use that as a platform. We find that we are more effective, right now, dealing directly with the social agencies that are actually bringing these issues up.
7048 We are trying to elevate this by creating a social discussion platform for us, to engage the community further and take ownership of our issues. We can do that through social media, but this would be more permanent and it would be more definitive.
7049 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Have you, or your Board, ever sought leaders in your community to become part of the advisory panels?
7050 MR. MANGAT: No, we haven't.
7051 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you. That was my question.
7052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson...
7053 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good morning, gentlemen.
7054 MR. ROGERS: Good morning.
7055 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I have questions concerning your programming.
7056 I believe your application indicates that you are going to be programming in eight languages to the South Asian community.
7057 Is that correct?
7058 MR. ROGERS: That is correct.
7059 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In your oral presentation this morning there were a lot of references to the Punjabi radio experience, and I was curious as to what kind of ratio you are forecasting with respect to the percentage of your content that will be produced in the Punjabi language compared to other languages, like Hindi, for example.
7060 MR. ROGERS: Are you asking for the percentage?
7061 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, just a rough idea.
7062 MR. ROGERS: Roughly 60 percent.
7063 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sixty percent Punjabi.
7064 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
7065 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: This is an "Educate the Commissioner" question. Why is it that --
7066 From my singular experience, the Punjabi language seems to have the highest degree of application in South Asian programming, and yet Hindi far overwhelms the percentage of the population of India, for example.
7067 I know that Punjabi is the language of choice in other countries, but why is it that Hindi is so overwhelmingly the dominant language of India, but Punjabi is the dominant language of ethnic South Asian broadcasting in Canada?
7068 MR. MANGAT: I think it has to do with the flow of immigrants that have come, predominantly from the northern region of India, which is Punjab.
7069 Although they only represent 2 percent of India's population, the majority of them emigrated for better opportunities here.
7070 So that is predominantly -- when you look at the businesses that have been set up, a lot of them are by immigrants who emigrated from Punjab. That's why you see that the Punjabi language is a lot more predominant than what you would expect to see coming from India.
7071 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you for that.
7072 In your oral presentation this morning I picked up on a point, and I just wanted you to expand on the inference.
7073 You talk about the goal of this station being one of producing programming in a thorough and responsible manner. I was wondering if you could expand on that a bit.
7074 MR. MANGAT: Absolutely. It goes back to what we talked about, that entertainment and music is very important. I think it's healthy, but I think that there is a bigger responsibility that you share when you become a public voice of a community, and where we think that is lacking today is definitely in radio.
7075 We do have a lot of Punjabi programs, but they are predominantly focused on music and entertainment, and it is irresponsible to suggest that that's enough for the community, it's not.
7076 There are emerging issues, whether it's generational issues -- there are cultural issues that do transcend other communities, but if I had to specifically focus on the Punjabi community, we see it, and it is a cause for concern, enough so that there are people that are serious enough about this that they want to invest in this, and try to create a platform for discussion.
7077 What I have found myself -- I am a first generation Canadian -- is that there are cultural issues -- arts and culture, for example, we are always looked down upon. Unless you are a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer, you're not successful. That's the way we were brought up.
7078 So it's not just about raising the issues that affect the community, it's also about providing them with opportunities in avenues that traditionally were considered taboo or not to go to.
7079 So if we can try to break some of those barriers and bring out the issues that really do plague the community, I think it's a service to the community that we are trying to achieve here.
7080 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you for that.
7081 Going back to a line of questioning that was started by our Chair with respect to the importance of an advisory group, I would like you to give me, again, a little more detail with respect to this area of experience and concern that I have, reflecting on the importance of the advisory group, and I suppose the durability of the ownership and management of the station to withstand what seems to be a recurring problem with the politics of the Punjabi.
7082 Where I am going with this is that I come from Vancouver, and I am responsible for British Columbia, and we have a very interesting situation, where the licensed broadcasters who are in the south western portion of the province are broadcasting to the South Asian community. We have two of them, and both of them are very good broadcasters and are a credit to the licence that we gave them.
7083 But what is interesting is that they struggle, because the content that it seems the community is after, with respect to the Punjab language, is -- they struggle because there are a lot of external forces that want to get onto the airwaves -- the great debate, you know, whether it's through the Khalsa movement, or what have you.
7084 It happens at the religious level, which has turned political, and I am just curious as to your sensitivity and the measures by which you are going to be able to maintain and withstand these external pressures, either to get that kind of political dialogue onto the air, which is controversial, or, more importantly, whether you think --
7085 What is happening in Vancouver is that we have stations that are from outside Canada that are now broadcasting into Vancouver, because the Punjabi community wants to keep the debate going from the homeland and continue it here.
7086 It's a thorny issue, and it is actually having an economic impact on the licensed broadcasters, who are trying to keep those forces out of the airwaves, but it's costing them tremendously at times financially.
7087 MR. MANGAT: I think you raise an excellent point. It's clearly evident that that's the direction that a lot of the radio programming has been going on even to some parts in Toronto.
7088 I will address that quite clearly. That's not our intent. We are not financially dependent on external organizations. We are not dependent on the views of others that may create an imbalance and create friction within the community.
7089 In fact, these are all the types of reasons why we have got people who are in business who are entrepreneurs who see those problems. They are our problems that are plaguing the community and you have witnessed them first-hand in B.C. We are trying to prevent those issues from happening here.
7090 There are challenges in the community. There is tons of successes within the community absolutely but those challenges they are there. They are coming. If we can address them in a meaningful and balanced way that's what we are trying to achieve here.
7091 So we are not connected with any religious association. We are not, as I mentioned, financially dependent on any group or organization so that's what I think clearly makes us different from the other producers that are in B.C.
7092 MR. ROGERS: I would also like to add, the CRTC rules are very clear. They are very clear.
7093 So as long as we have regular meetings with everyone, make it clear to them what the CRTC rules and regulations are, what you can do and what you cannot do because there is going to be two levels of the panels, like I said one for the formal groups that are out there and then one for our own advisory board, at that point in time it should be clear what they can and cannot do.
7094 And I do appreciate because even in Toronto a few years back or Mississauga, actually, there was that strife there too. So I'm aware of that and so is Nav.
7095 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So just to clarify, with respect to Commissioner Katz's question regarding the advisory board could you just for the record one more time with feeling, as they say, give me an idea of how that advisory board is being structured?
7096 MR. ROGERS: Okay, the first part would be -- letters will be sent out to all the different groups and within the community. We did not print this out to you but Mr. Sethi, the Chairman, has connections within the community, as I did point out part of it, and they would be advised and welcome to come to general meetings as a whole first.
7097 Then they would have an open recommendation to our committee and say "This is what I would like. This is what I like to see. This is what I object to" et cetera, et cetera and then our committee that is by selected -- not only the board of directors but other people that are selected for our committee. That can be as high as 15 people, 20 people in our committee.
7098 And then we kick around what the public and the Punjabi and other committee want too and then we take it to the board at that time.
7099 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much
7100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Poirier...?
7101 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Good morning.
7102 MR. ROGERS: Good morning.
7103 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah. To me there are a few things that are still not clear. Maybe you will help me on those.
7104 You know we all know that ethnic radio in Canada is based on brokering most of the time, meaning that the owner sells timeframes or time schedules to producers who do the programming and make the sales. And you seem to want to change a little bit that model at least for the Punjabi language.
7105 So I would like to know how you are going to work. You are not going to broker the Punjabi language programming hours, are you?
7106 MR. ROGERS: No.
7107 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So how will you work? How will you do this? You will have your own studios? You will have --
7108 MR. ROGERS: Oh, yeah. Yes.
7109 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And you will hire your own staff?
7110 MR. ROGERS: Yes. And this is what part of the management team is that maybe a couple of our managers are coming from different radio stations, shall I say.
7111 But because of the net worth and a fair amount that we want to invest, it's not just a radio station, it's trying to get the points across and we understand that if you leave it to the producers or broker programs --
7112 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
7113 MR. ROGERS: -- then we're back to the same place which is another radio station that's doing the same thing. We are selling time and now we are putting the producers right back to where we don't want them to go. We want them to be able to discuss things and some of our social issues.
7114 We want them to do that and they can't do that if they have got a big bill to pay us at the end of the month. That's why we decided that they would not have that. We would fund it ourselves.
7115 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So how many of the 60 hours of Punjabi programming will be made that way, all of them? The 60 hours of Punjabi programming will be done locally?
7116 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
7117 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: All of the 60 hours -- yes?
7118 MR. ROGERS: Yes.
7119 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And the rest, the other languages will be brokered?
7120 MR. ROGERS: No, not necessarily. If someone comes to us and says okay -- for example, the Romanian groups that we have discussed, okay, they are saying, "Can you help us out? We don't have the money to pay these large fees". We will take a look at that situation and say yes because it's still serving some of the other groups that we are pledged to serve. So we would take care of that money-wise.
7121 And remember there is a fair amount of money in the Punjab community, so therefore we can side vent some of that money to the other minority groups.
7122 MR. MANGAT: If I can just add to that, you are absolutely right. The model that we are taking is very different from what the conventional programming is.
7123 And again, we go back to this whole notion of a social conscience. There is a cost to that. It's not necessarily going to be all about the dollars and cents, but there is a responsibility from the community's perspective and these are established business people who are looking to invest.
7124 I think that's where it's a little bit different because the approach we are taking is we are embarking on more aggressive solicitations of advertising from national companies.
7125 The idea is that we can compensate for the loss of revenue through broker programming by obtaining higher revenues from the national companies. That's the way we are planning on paying for some of our programming that we are going to be doing in-house.
7126 In addition to that, we talked about the fact that we have substantial net worth and we have very good contacts within the community who we have already approached, who understand the direction that we want to take and are willing to invest as well.
7127 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah, but there could be a consequence doing that because you are going to lower the price of advertising sales. And it could harm the other ethnic groups and the other producers and so on.
7128 So don't you think it could have an impact on the whole way it's working in Toronto presently?
7129 MR. ROGERS: No, because one of the things that we do know that several radio stations put restrictions on these producers on what type of advertising they can go after and what they cannot go after.
7130 So a lot of these producers weren't able to go after those advertisers anyways because either the radio station wanted them as national -- what we call or what we used to call national accounts, or they wanted to cherry pick. That means basically, "No, don't touch these accounts because these are our accounts" which left a lot of producers going after the mom and pop stores and things like that.
7131 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
7132 And my last question, are you telling the CRTC that the brokering model is broken?
7133 MR. MANGAT: I think from a programming perspective that's my argument within specifically in the community, yes.
7134 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much.
7135 MR. ROGERS: If I could just add one point to that? I won't say it is totally broken and I think the CRTC did a good job on that.
7136 With the exception that what we have been told, some of the rates that are being charged -- and I have been involved in this business a long time -- some of the rates that some of these poor producers are charged there is no way they can afford it. There is no way. There are so many.
7137 As Mr. Simpson said they are already fighting out there already for that dollar and knowing that you have got to make how much for just to pay for the privilege of being on the air? It's a win-win for the owners but not necessarily a win-win for the producers.
7138 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you.
7139 MR. ROGERS: You're welcome
7140 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much.
7141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I think that completes everybody's questions.
7142 I just have one follow up, I guess, and that is I keep hearing you say that you have people in the community who want to invest. When I hear "invest" it's an investment for a return on your investment.
7143 I also hear you saying that you are prepared to re-engineer money around because it's for the better good of an awful lot of these ethnic groups. The first question I asked you was the notion of community radio versus non-community radio.
7144 So you are saying you are a for-profit business enterprise but you have investors who don't necessarily care about the return on their money. They just want to see this go into a social conscience exercise of some sort.
7145 That's the dilemma that I am in right now.
7146 MR. ROGERS: Okay, the one -- if I could answer that, Mr. Chairman, and Nav can also comment on this too.
7147 I will go back to Mr. Sethi, the chairman. When there was a need for an investment in the hospital to provide service to a predominantly Punjabi area, he put in half a million dollars. He didn't have to but he felt, "For the good of everybody I'm going to do that".
7148 Now, when we say investment in the radio station and, I guess, that's our mistake for saying the word investment, it's the -- he can have at his hotel -- he can have a huge event where all the blue bloods and very -- what do we say here? People will show up just to make sure that this is a go.
7149 The advertisers we have talked to and the people we have talked to, they want this so bad that they are already trying to commit to advertising and seek out. So it's really not an investment as you were saying, then. "Well, are they getting a return on their investment?
7150 MR. MANGAT: Also, Mr. Chair if I could just add to that, the way that we have communicated our model is really about that. When you are asking me whether or not they would be putting money in and looking for a return they are not.
7151 The pitch that we have given is it is -- although it is for profit they see the need for the investment in the community and there is problems in the community. And if they are putting money into other organizations and other initiatives this is one of those few that they would prefer to put in.
7152 THE CHAIRPERSON: So they would see this as an alternative to investing in the William Osler Hospital wing?
7153 MR. MANGAT: Absolutely.
7154 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are my questions. Thank you.
7155 Are we going to take a break, Madam Secretary?
7156 THE SECRETARY: We can take a break, Mr. Chairman, 15 minutes.
7157 MR. MANGAT: Thank you to the panel.
7158 MR. ROGERS: Thank you very much.
7159 THE SECRETARY: 10 minutes. We will take a 10-minute break.
--- Upon recessing at 1012
--- Upon resuming at 1028
7160 THE CHAIRPERSON:
7161 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7162 We will now hear item 17 on the Agenda which is an application by Radio 1540 Limited for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Toronto.
7163 Mr. Lenny Lombardi will start by introducing his panel for the record and they will then have 20 minutes.
7164 MR. LOMBARDI: Thank you. Good morning.
7165 Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission, my name is Lenny Lombardi. I am President and CEO of CHIN Radio and TV International.
7166 With me today on my left are:
7167 - Dario Amaral, Vice President Sales & Programming at CHIN Radio;
7168 - Theresa Lombardi, Vice President and CHIN General Manager. Theresa produces Canadian talent events at CHIN, manages our most significant promotional campaigns and oversees the administrative operations of the company. Together, Theresa and I own and control CHIN.
7169 At the table behind me starting on my far left are:
7170 - Mike Evans, Director of Engineering;
7171 - Grace Fusillo-Lombardi, community liaison for this application. Grace is President of Fuel Productions, an independent production company specializing in documentary films;
7172 - To her right is John Hylton, a long-time advisor to CHIN;
7173 - And to my right, Stephen Armstrong, the author of the market study filed with our application.
7174 Let me introduce some of the leading programming producers, journalists and broadcasters who will work with us as Associate Producers for our proposed new radio station:
7175 - To my far right, Dat Nguyen, publisher of Thoi Bao, Canada's leading Vietnamese language newspaper, and an experienced producer of Vietnamese radio and television programming;
7176 - And next to him is Luba Cherny, publisher of two Canadian Russian-language newspapers and President of HTB Canada, the premier Russian language television service in this country;
7177 - To my far left, Kiu Rezvanifar -- a leader in the Iranian community here in Toronto and an established producer of Farsi television programs with OMNI Television;
7178 - And next to him Joel Recla, an experienced producer of Filipino radio programming who has worked with CHIN for over 15 years;
7179 At the table behind me, beginning at my far right are two appearing supporting interveners, Andrei Mazuruc and Mingu Kim.
7180 Our presentation today will focus on the demand for access to a greater choice and diversity of ethnic radio programming by Toronto's large and rapidly growing ethnic population and our proposal to meet that demand using FM frequency 88.1.
7181 In 2006 over 2.8 million people in Toronto, equal to 56 percent of the population, claimed an ethnic origin other than English, French or Aboriginal. 43 percent of the population claimed a third language as their mother tongue.
7182 Since then, more than half a million new immigrants have settled in Toronto, arriving from countries around the world at a rate of about 90,000 people each year.
7183 And with each new wave of immigrants, demand increases for ethnic radio programming, serving more people in more languages, and reflecting a greater diversity of cultures.
7184 Over the past 10 years, the Commission has licensed a number of new ethnic radio stations in the GTA. The amount and diversity of commercial and community-based ethnic radio programming has increased.
7185 However, there continues to be significant unmet demand for ethnic programming.
7186 Based on current demographic trends, we have identified nine underserved ethnic groups; Russian, Filipino, Persian, Arabic, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali and Afghani.
7187 The population of these groups is approaching 750,000 people. That's about the same number of people as the current population of Quebec City, Canada's seventh largest city, and more than the number of people in Canada's eighth largest city, Winnipeg.
7188 Yet, there are currently only 44 hours of commercial ethnic radio programming available each week in the GTA for all these people. That's less than 4 percent of the 1,200 hours of ethnic programming available on Toronto radio stations.
7189 This creates significant barriers to their participation in the social, cultural and economic life of this country.
7190 Members of these underserved groups do not have full access to information about their local community, employment opportunities and government services in a language that they can easily speak and understand.
7191 Their ability to launch businesses and to promote community events is impaired because they cannot effectively reach members of their linguistic and cultural communities through radio advertising.
7192 Our proposed new station will devote its entire schedule to ethnic programming. At least 84 percent of the broadcast week will be devoted to programming in third languages.
7193 The station will actively embrace the broad service requirement by providing programming in no fewer than nine different languages, serving no fewer than 17 different cultural groups each week.
7194 We will dedicate significant blocks of time to each of the nine underserved groups on a regularly scheduled basis throughout the week.
7195 The CHIN stations in Toronto currently provide programming in 31 different languages directed towards 47 different cultural groups. Our station in Ottawa/Gatineau, CJLL FM, provides programming in over 20 different languages, directed to more than 37 different cultural groups.
7196 My father, Johnny Lombardi, pioneered ethnic broadcasting in Canada. Theresa and I are privileged to carry on that proud tradition.
7197 We have a short video presentation that briefly describes who we are, what we stand for, and our proud accomplishments.
--- Video presentation
7198 MS LOMBARDI: CHIN is an independent multi-station ethnic broadcasting company. This gives us both the knowledge and the resources necessary to launch and operate a successful new ethnic radio station in the current challenging environment, knowledge and resources that simply are not available to would-be standalone operations.
7199 Because we plan to serve underserved groups, we will have to develop the advertising base for our new station from scratch. We project that fully 95 percent of the advertising revenues for our new station will be new to the radio broadcast market. Based on our experience and established sales and marketing resources, we are confident that we will be able to meet this challenge.
7200 And because we will be bringing new advertising revenues into the market, our new station will have no material economic impact on existing ethnic radio stations.
7201 Synergies with our existing radio stations will also enhance the Canadian content commitments in our application.
7202 At least 10 percent of all musical selections will be Canadian. At least 50 percent of all Canadian musical artists will qualify as emerging artists.
7203 As you saw in the video, our commitment to new and emerging Canadian artists extends well beyond airplay. We regularly provide Canadian musical artists with exposure at major musical events, including Canada's premier multicultural event, the CHIN International Picnic.
7204 If this application is approved, Canadian musical artists from the linguistic and cultural communities served by this station will benefit from our long-established promotional activities and events.
7205 In addition, we will contribute $315,000 over the term of the licence to two major Canadian content development initiatives.
7206 We will contribute $70,000 to fund scholarships for journalism and music students at accredited universities in the GTA. The scholarship funding will be administered independently by the universities, subject to the requirement that the recipient have demonstrated a sensitivity to, and an understanding of, the multicultural character of Canada.
7207 In addition, CHIN will contribute $245,000 to establish a new music competition for aspiring Canadian musical artists. It will include live shows, professionally produced recordings and an honorarium for the finalists towards furthering their career in music. Our stations have been running very successful contests like this for many years. We know how to do it and how to do it well.
7208 MR. LOMBARDI: The programming for our new station will be based on partnerships with leading programming producers, journalists and broadcasters from each of the groups that we serve. These community leaders will work with us as Associate Producers, bringing with them their considerable skills, knowledge of the local community and a diversity of points of view.
7209 Four of those Associate Producers are here with us today to describe for you why they want to work with our new proposed station.
7211 MS CHERNY: I am representing Russian-speaking people who arrived in Canada from many different countries of the former Soviet Union. Common language, history and traditions unite us together.
7212 I was born in Moscow, graduated from the Moscow University of Press, and then moved to Vilnius, Lithuania, where I worked as a journalist, publisher and broadcaster on state TV and Radio.
7213 Eighteen years ago I moved to Canada, where I continued to work as a journalist. I soon began publishing first weekly tabloid format newspaper for the Russian-speaking community in the GTA, "Russian Canadian Courier." Now, I publish two Russian language weekly newspapers and serve as a President of HTB Canada. I am a devoted community activist, working with the Russian-Speaking Congress of Canada and the annual cultural festival Russian Carousel.
7214 Radio can play a very important role for our community. Russian immigrants are now spreading all across GTA, not just in one area as before. Many families don't get community newspapers, but they still want to be connected, to be informed and entertained in their native language.
7215 This opportunity for quality radio programming will fill the existing gap and will make it easier for Russian-speaking Canadians to learn about local, Canadian and international issues and updates.
7216 Russian community has rich cultural heritage. There are many theatre and music groups in the community. Radio coverage gives them an ability to directly communicate with their audiences.
7217 And finally, we expect a new wave of immigration from Russia. Radio can play a huge role in their successful settlement in Canada.
7219 MR. NGUYEN: I own a successful engineering business. I also am a newspaper publisher, broadcaster and President of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association.
7220 I came to Canada with my parents from Vietnam in 1975. Based on my family experience, I understand the importance of having access to information about Canada in our language of comfort. That led me to launch "Thoi Bao" newspaper in 1987. As Lenny said, Thoi Bao is now the largest Vietnamese paper in Canada. It operates from coast to coast with offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
7221 In 2007, we launched a 24-hour Vietnamese language radio program on SCMO radio service. We provide news, information and entertainment programming to inform and educate recent immigrants and to help second- and third-generation Vietnamese Canadians preserve their heritage and culture.
7222 Unfortunately, SCMO technology has limitations. We cannot reach out to a younger crowd with SCMO radio. The approval of this application would give us more hours of free radio programming in Vietnamese. Working together with CHIN Radio would give us the capability to properly fulfill the free radio need for the community of 70,000 Vietnamese in the GTA.
7224 MR. RECLA: There are more than 200,000 Filipinos in the GTA area and it is growing by 5 percent, at least 10,000 new immigrants from the Philippines arriving in the city every year.
7225 The Philippines is a very diverse country, composed of numbers of different islands, different languages and different dialects. Radio programming has an important role to play in providing information about life in Canada but also in helping to create social strong family ties within the Filipino community.
7226 I have been a producer and broadcaster in Tagalog language for CHIN Radio since 1996. If this application is approved, we will be able to increase by a substantial amount the programming that we will provide for my community.
7227 We will be able to create, recreate and enlarge our noble and sincere desire to acquire knowledge, better understanding, better information, better education and entertain all our listeners and to promote community events and fundraising events.
7228 This is an opportunity to find solutions and maybe create a peaceful and a gentle understanding not only for my own community, which is becoming one of the larger visible minorities, but also for other communities as well through the power of broadcasting.
7229 MR. REZVANIFAR: My name is Kiumars Rezvanifar. I am the President of the Iranian Canadian Cultural Fellowship as well as Vice-President of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association.
7230 Among my other business and cultural activities, I have been a producer of two Farsi-language television programs for the Iranian community in Ontario for the past 19 years.
7231 The Farsi-speaking community in the GTA is said to constitute the third largest population of Iranians in the world. This community is highly educated, affluent and growing.
7232 Due to the change of social and political environment in Iran, immigration to Canada occurred in a number of waves over the years, with different types of people arriving with each wave.
7233 We have now been in Canada long enough that there is a significant second-generation of Iranian population who has the great interest in preserving the Farsi language and the Persian culture.
7234 As many other communities, we have our own community issues and problems. Our challenge as a community is to find ways to link together to address common concerns and matters.
7235 Social issues such as depression and divorce are of particular concern in our community. The approval of this application will provide us with an opportunity to address topics like these in a comprehensive and timely manner in live radio programming. This is an opportunity that the members of the Iranian community in Ontario have been waiting for many years.
7236 MR. LOMBARDI: FM frequency 88.1 is the last available frequency that is capable of providing coverage across the GTA. This frequency provides excellent coverage of the ethnic population. It would reach approximately 90 percent of the people in the linguistic and cultural groups that we are proposing to serve. It is the last chance to address the demand for increased access to ethnic radio programming in the GTA in a comprehensive way.
7237 Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission, we recognize and applaud the considerable efforts of the Commission over the past 10 years to increase the choice and diversity of ethnic radio programming in this market. Yet, there continues to be significant unmet demand as the ethnic population of the GTA increases at a rapid rate.
7238 We have identified nine underserved linguistic and cultural groups, with an estimated population of approximately three-quarters of a million people.
7239 The approval of our application for FM frequency 88.1 will ensure that the members of these groups have access to a choice and diversity of ethnic programming in their language of comfort. Our proposed new station will respond to demonstrated demand, better reflect the diversity of languages and cultures in the GTA and have no material impact on existing ethnic radio stations.
7240 In so doing, our new station will directly contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy and make a substantial contribution to the development of Canadian creative talent.
7241 For all of these reasons we believe that the approval of our application would result in the best use of FM frequency 88.1.
7242 We appreciate this opportunity to appear before you to present our application and we await your questions. Thank you.
7243 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much. We will now hear your interveners in support.
7244 Please ensure to introduce yourselves for the record before beginning your presentation. You have 10 minutes collectively.
7245 MR. KIM: Good morning, everyone. I am Mingu Kim, President of Acoustic Soul Productions and a Producer of Arirang Korea TV on OMNI Television here in Toronto.
7246 As one of the representatives of the Korean community, I know there is a very strong demand in the GTA for broadcast programming in the Korean language. Our television program on OMNI 2 is very popular and a radio programming in the Korean language would complement our television programming by providing a more immediate and accessible venue for our community to discuss important events and issues.
7247 Currently, there are well over 60,000 people in Toronto of Korean ethnic origin and this population is increasing each year. Korea is one of the top 10 source countries for immigrants to Canada and 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of a diplomatic relationship between Korea and Canada.
7248 Having a radio programming in the Korean language would be of vital assistance to new immigrants, helping them to settle, find employment and start new businesses.
7249 Furthermore, Korean-language radio programming would also help to preserve and develop cultural identity, language and customs. Through this, it will provide our community with up-to-date news, coverage of local events, feature unique interviews and cover the increasing popularity of "Hallyu" across Canada.
7250 "Hallyu" is also known as the Korean Wave, which is a term used to describe Korean pop culture like K-Pop, Korean Dramas and Korean Movies. "Hallyu" is already a sensation among the young generations across the globe and it is vastly approaching North America.
7251 In Toronto, there is only one hour of programming in the Korean language available on an ethnic radio station. As a member of the Korean community, I know that an hour program is not enough to cover all the great aspects of our community and our culture.
7252 However, CHIN Radio is proposing to provide one and a half hours of programming, seven days a week, for a total of 10.5 hours, more than 10 times the amount of Korean-language programming that is currently available.
7253 I believe this significant change is a great investment for the Korean community as well as for the City of Toronto where giving an equal opportunity to a group of minority is a pride to our city and to our wonderful country Canada as a whole.
7254 Our community and I strongly support the CHIN application and hope that it will receive your approval.
7255 Thank you for allowing us to appear today.
7257 MR. MAZURUC: Good morning. My name is Andrei Mazuruc and I am Vice-President of the Russian Carousel Cultural Centre and I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you to support the application by CHIN for a new ethnic radio station.
7258 The Cultural Centre was founded in 2002 to organize cultural and community events for the large and growing Russian-speaking community in the Greater Toronto Area. The Russian-speaking community in Southern Ontario includes almost 300,000 people, with at least 90,000 of them in Toronto alone.
7259 Ten years ago, the Russian-speaking population was concentrated in certain parts of the city. Information about important events or issues could be communicated easily by neighbourhood newspapers and word-of-mouth.
7260 Today, written and word-of-mouth communication is much less effective than it once was. The community is spread out across the GTA. It includes an increasing number of second- and third-generation Russian immigrants who will still speak the language but are not that fluent in the written language anymore.
7261 Under these circumstances, radio and television now become the prime outlets to reach out to the community to provide information, to promote events and to help the community preserve its rich Russian language, Russian heritage and traditions. Radio is particularly important because the programming is live and the coverage of events and issues is immediate and up-to-the-minute.
7262 Currently, our community has access to only 11 hours of Russian-language programming each week. These 11 hours are spread across three different radio stations.
7263 CHIN is proposing to provide three hours of Russian-language programming every day, for a total of 21 hours each week. This will almost triple the amount of programming for our community.
7264 We strongly support the CHIN Radio application because it will fill an important void. It will ensure that the Russian-speaking community in the GTA has a strong and clear voice in multicultural radio in this city. In so doing, it will help our organization by making it easier for us to reach all members of the community, first, second and third generation, in a language we all understand.
7265 Thank you for allowing me to appear to present the views of the Russian Carousel Cultural Centre. Thank you.
7266 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
7267 We will begin our questioning with Commissioner Molnar.
7268 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
7269 Good morning, everyone. I would like to first welcome the interveners who have come here today in support of this application. I have a question and I would like to ask it to both you, Mr. Kim, and you, Mr. Mazuruc.
7270 As you may know, we have been here for a week and listening to what is required here in Toronto and what is the best use of this frequency, and certainly the diverse and growing diversity within this city has been a predominant theme and we have heard different things about how to serve the diversity within the city and what is the best way of serving it.
7271 One of the things I heard from one of the applicants, and I thought it was especially appropriate to ask you as interveners since you are on the -- well, let me just say it this way.
7272 There has been a comment that ethnic radio tends to serve an older audience versus the younger generation of ethnic listeners. I was struck by the fact that there is the younger generation here coming to support this ethnic radio station and so I wondered what your views were on that statement.
7273 MR. MAZURUC: Thank you for the question, and to answer it, actually, especially in terms of radio and television, the young generation is becoming more and more involved, and what we notice happening in attendance for our community events for example, we have new music bands, for example, playing in Russian language. We have more young people coming to support them. We have their songs playing on TV and radio, more young people tuning in to listen to them.
7274 So young people now are really, really interested in preserving their cultural heritage, something that divides them and gives them that unique feel about who they are.
7275 MR. KIM: Also, for our community there has not been a channel or programming for younger generations. So with this opportunity we can provide information and we can fulfill their needs as a representative of Korean-language programming.
7276 And like I said in my presentation, the "Hallyu," which is Korean Wave, is happening now in North America. So we wanted to provide -- give them what they need through the medium of radio programming.
7277 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes. And particularly as it regards the "Hallyu," we were watching some K-pop videos and the number of YouTube views was outstanding.
7278 I mean it was remarkable, and it still led me to this question of: Is radio the medium that is necessary for this or maybe the best way of supporting the young people's access to these sorts of medium?
7279 MR. KIM: Yes. Two thousand thirteen marks the 50th year of a diplomatic relationship between Canada and Korea and I know there are many organizations planning events specifically for that. "Hallyu" and K-pop is one of the best they're planning to organize.
7280 I also work with the Consular General and they have been telling me that they are going to create an event related to K-pop and "Hallyu" so they can promote Korean culture to the broader audiences.
7281 And right now we only have half an hour programming, half an hour per week on OMNI Television, which is not enough for young generations. So with everyday radio programming people will be more interested and they will listen to our radio programming and this will give them an opportunity to speak for themselves.
7282 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, thank you very much.
7283 I'm going to turn to some technical questions regarding the application and I will direct them, Mr. Lombardi, to you, if that's appropriate.
7284 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes. Thank you.
7285 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
7286 Again, just a few housekeeping matters related to your application.
7287 First off, you noted that you would be in your application 99.94 percent ethnic programming and 84 percent third-language programming. Would you be prepared to commit to those by condition of licence?
7288 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, we would.
7289 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
7290 And you have also noted the specific languages of programming, including, I think, Tagalog, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and Farsi. Would you be prepared to commit to that by condition of licence as well?
7291 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, we would.
7292 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
7293 There was a discussion with the last panel, and we will have the same discussion here as well, as it regards our Ethnic Broadcasting Policy and the requirement in that policy to establish an advisory council with representation from each of the cultural groups you plan to serve. You have not noted specifically in your application the establishment of the advisory council.
7294 Are you prepared to put in place an advisory council?
7295 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, Madam Commissioner, we would be prepared to establish and intend to establish an advisory board for this new service.
7296 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And have you made plans already regarding the advisory council and advisory board?
7297 MR. LOMBARDI: Well, most recently we launched our station in Ottawa and have established an advisory board there, and the method that we used in doing that is in relation with our associate producers.
7298 We would work directly with a group of nine associate producers and seek suitable members of our advisory board from each individual community that we plan to serve. And once that board has been established and those members have been selected we would set out the policies of the advisory board and the meeting dates and its functions.
7299 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes. So you are experienced in this and I understand that. So you will follow the model that you have with your existing stations and the one you established in Ottawa?
7300 MR. LOMBARDI: That's correct, yes.
7301 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you.
7302 Another question we have been asking many applicants -- and it's a matter of timing between the applications and a change in our radio regulations -- relates to contributing 15 percent of basic CCD to the Community Radio Fund where revenues are over $1.25 million.
7303 Are you prepared to commit the 15 percent of your basic CCD to the Community Radio Fund?
7304 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, we would.
7305 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you very much.
7306 Okay, so those are my housekeeping questions and thank you for covering those off.
7307 I just have a couple of other questions before I pass it to other members of our panel here today.
7308 One of my questions, I guess, is in selecting the groups and the languages for your new station I was surprised to see Spanish because it appears that there is in fact -- well, "significant" may not be the word, but there is a number of hours that are dedicated today to the Spanish language here within Toronto.
7309 So can you tell me why was it you viewed that the Spanish community or Spanish-speaking community was underserved here?
7310 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, I would.
7311 The reason we included Spanish in our programming format is the existing full-service station in Toronto, San Lorenzo, is a community-based radio station -- so it's not a commercially-based station -- run by volunteers, and they exist through very limited advertising revenues and fundraising events.
7312 What we believe through our experience as ethnic broadcasters for so many years is that the Spanish community has long been desirous of more commercially-based programming that is more directed to the specific needs of the community from an economic perspective.
7313 We found that there was a void in that type of programming and we felt that the inclusion of additional 20 hours a week directed to the Spanish community would be complementary to the existing service and give the community and those interested in the advertising to that community an opportunity to do business with the station that understood that perspective, that understood the business of broadcasting and was able to work more fluidly with those groups.
7314 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. So I want to make sure I understand what you just said to me.
7315 So it's not the quality of the programming, it is serving the business community? Is that what you are suggesting, that you want to serve the business community?
7316 MR. LOMBARDI: Well, you know, we sense that as a community-based station their priority is not revenues. Their priority is not the business of the radio programming. It's run by basic volunteers. There is very little advertising on it. They are, I think, religiously-based. They do fundraising events to generate revenues for their staff.
7317 This is an opportunity for us that we felt that we could complement that service with programming that was more commercially-directed and commercially-based.
7318 The quality of their programming I'm not here to comment on, but we did recognize that there was a void in commercially-based Spanish-language programming that could do a job successfully in the community.
7319 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. I will move on.
7320 I think in your opening statement here you said something like 95 percent of the revenue would be outside of the existing radio system today. In your supplementary brief in your application you noted that 75 percent of the revenue for this station would be from new advertisers.
7321 Can you tell me how you believe that such a large amount would come from new advertisers?
7322 MR. LOMBARDI: Because our studies show that there is little to no service existing now in the marketplace for the groups that we are proposing to serve. There exist no radio revenues out there, so we would have to actually create those new dollars.
7323 So we are not looking to existing broadcasters, ethnic broadcasters who are providing substantial amounts of Russian or Arabic programming because it doesn't exist.
7324 So we would basically be creating brand-new markets and brand-new advertising dollars for the station and that's why the number is so high.
7325 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Can you tell me -- just give a little bit of a profile of what those advertisers -- who those advertisers would be.
7326 MR. LOMBARDI: Well, they vary from community to community, but certainly within the Spanish --
7327 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Small business or --
7328 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes. Basically we are talking about the retail-based advertisers, often referred to mom and pop organizations, but they range in certain sizes because, you know, many advertisers in the ethnic market our professionals as well, you know, chiropractors, dentists, and so on and so forth.
7329 But we are basically retail-based. I think broadcasting derives very little revenue from national or regional services or advertisers.
7330 So we would be working with local communities and looking for those local dollars. So it's anything from pharmacies to supermarkets to professional services.
7331 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: To ensure I'm understanding, you are speaking about the advertising that you would seek to generate, separate and apart from the advertising that your producers would generate within these same communities?
7332 MR. LOMBARDI: It's a collaborative relationship that we propose. You have heard a lot of talk about brokerage versus -- and I haven't heard the word "associate producer," but that's the model that we subscribe to.
7333 And the background of an associate producer or the model of associate producer is based on this concept, that as a licensee we provide the back office services, the facilities, the technical support, all of that expensive stuff, to an associate producer or producer who needs all of those services to get his message out on-air and to start a radio program.
7334 And what they bring to the mix is of course their skills. We talked about their experience, their commitment, their ability to understand the community. Their track record in working successfully in that community makes a likely candidate as an associate producer.
7335 The difference between an associate producer and a broker for us is that a broker has to meet a weekly or monthly rental payment. As an associate producer there is no cost involved in the sense of purchasing airtime.
7336 The associate producers that work with CHIN Radio do not buy the air. They provide their services and we collaborate on the revenues that we collectively obtain.
7337 So if they are successful, we are successful. If we are able to sell into that program and bring the revenues up, that's our success because we share. It's a partnership. It's a 50/50 split on the revenues. That's how our model of associate producer works.
7338 Let me add that why this model is in our opinion so successful is that when we go out looking for the right candidate to represent the Korean community, the Arabic community and the Russian community -- and we have I think wonderful candidates here -- on a brokerage relationship what that does is it narrows the playing field for interested parties who want to be broadcasters.
7339 Because what happens if you are only brokering the airtime, only those with the money are the ones that step forward or can compete, and then it really becomes a basis of who can pay the most.
7340 That's not the model we subscribe to because what we are looking for first and foremost is the right candidate. So we want to eliminate any deterrent for any qualified or talented individual to come forward and then we ensure that we are finding the best possible person to do the best possible job and then we worry about the money later.
7341 That's what makes the CHIN model much more different than what you have been hearing today.
7342 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you for that.
7343 I am moving off a little bit from your application here but not entirely.
7344 Following up on what we are kind of skirting around is -- and we did hear today that the brokerage model does not necessarily support, as you pointed out, the best programmer, and that there was concerns that under the model as it exists today some of the programming that was maybe necessary for these communities wasn't what was getting on-air, you know, dealing with the social issues and delving into some of those issues.
7345 You know, it wasn't being served because the model really didn't support it as it exists. And you are saying that under your model in fact that kind of programming can be supported and the revenues to support that fits within the model as you propose it?
7346 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, I do. I think this model is quite unique. It's the model that allows an organization like CHIN Radio to produce an event like the CHIN International Picnic. That is a collaborative event.
7347 I am by no means an expert in South Asian talent or the community. I certainly have a great knowledge of all of the language groups that we serve but I need partners. You know, this radio station needs the best possible partners in every community that we serve.
7348 The picnic is a reflection of that relationship and that relationship is born from the associate producer model because we as a management team are very, very involved, regardless of our cultural background, in that community programming service.
7349 So if we sense a need for certain programs, we have a vested interest because the station is constantly involved in the best possible service to provide the maximum revenues as far as advertising because of audience reach, and we want to be sure that we are serving our communities the best way we can.
7350 So we are not a hands-off operation at the management level, at the President's office. We are concerned with what programming is going on in all of our language shows.
7351 So that keeps the dialogue moving. That keeps us well informed and keeps all of us with our eye on the ball as to what we want to accomplish. And after 50 years -- nearly 50 years of broadcasting, it continues to work pretty good.
7352 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you. I just have one final question.
7353 In your application you indicated that you felt only an incumbent broadcaster would be able to launch a new ethnic station with the economic situation that exists today and I wondered if you could elaborate on that.
7354 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, thank you, I would like too.
7355 The thought behind that is that we recognize that there are 11 services -- one has yet to launch -- but there are 10 existing ethnic stations in the market. We recognize that many communities are being very well served.
7356 Advertising to certain ethnic blocks such as South Asian is very competitive. We recognize that the introduction of yet another ethnic service could be considered a difficulty with existing broadcasters in the marketplace and perhaps too competitive to be able to survive financially.
7357 We believe that a standalone operation would not succeed successfully without the hardship that it would inflict on existing broadcasters.
7358 The reason for that is that they would have to target the more lucrative large communities and you have heard through many of the applications that it seems that the South Asian community is the community that most applicants are interested in because they need to tap that market in order to pay their bills as a means of subsidizing the smaller groups that they are going to carry.
7359 That comes at a cost to broadcasters like CHIN Radio, like CIRV Radio, like CMR Radio and the others because they are heavily involved already in the South Asian market and that is going to hurt them and go directly to their bottom line.
7360 The solution that we believe is available to us is that only an incumbent broadcaster like CHIN Radio, who can afford to subsidize not just the smaller language groups -- because there is no one dominant language group in our program schedule -- is able to afford to subsidize all nine through our abilities because of our two sister stations here in Toronto to launch this station successfully.
7361 So we can withstand the losses. We can withstand the growing pains until we get this radio station established and profitable.
7362 Does that answer your question?
7363 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I think so.
7364 I'm just flipping quickly to your financials. I remember you had a number of years of losses before you turned profitable and I can't remember exactly how many, but what you are suggesting is -- oh, there it is. Okay, yes, six years.
7365 MR. LOMBARDI: Six, yes.
7366 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And you are suggesting your existing radio stations would essentially backstop and fund this?
7367 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes. That's our plan. We ran the numbers and we are still comfortable with proceeding with this project.
7368 We also recognize that -- and I would like you to recognize that we are very modest in our projections with respect to sales, and so we wanted to take a very modest approach to this because of the groups that we are working with.
7369 The lessons I learned in Ottawa and the amount of time that I believe we will need to firmly establish the station, we wanted to be realistic in the sales and that's how the numbers came out and that's what we are prepared to accept.
7370 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
7371 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7372 I have the same questions on the same issue. How many years have you been in operation in Ottawa?
7373 MR. LOMBARDI: Ten years.
7374 THE CHAIRPERSON: How long did it take you to turn it around into a profitable enterprise?
7375 MR. LOMBARDI: About six.
7376 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that's what you used, you based this on as well basically?
7377 MR. LOMBARDI: I learned some lessons. Those were not my original projections. We expected to break even, I think, in year three in my original application, if memory serves correct.
7378 It didn't happen that way. We were faced with some problems that we had to overcome and we eventually did, but it taught us some lessons and we applied those lessons of caution to this application and wanted to get the numbers as right as we could.
7379 THE CHAIRPERSON: So notwithstanding the fact that it took you six years to turn it around and you may not even have broken even by now, you are still willing to take this jump into the Toronto market?
7380 MR. LOMBARDI: Well, that's what we do. That's what the CHIN Radio organization does. We love ethnic broadcasting. I have surrounded myself with a wonderful team, with my sister Theresa. We have been in this business for a long time, 40 years or more with my dad, and this is the business that we love and this is what we understand.
7381 And when this opportunity came up with a new frequency for Toronto and when we realized, after our years of experience, the lack of services to the communities that we want to serve, we wanted to make this application.
7382 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have currently a licence in Toronto, at least one? You currently have a licence in Toronto?
7383 MR. LOMBARDI: I have two licences.
7384 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have two licences. One is FM and one is AM?
7385 MR. LOMBARDI: Correct.
7386 THE CHAIRPERSON: And how are they doing right now and what do they focus on?
7387 MR. LOMBARDI: We broadcast in over 30 languages collectively, serving over 47 different cultural groups in both AM and FM.
7388 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you couldn't find space on those two stations for these --
7389 MR. LOMBARDI: You would think, wouldn't you? You would think you could, but we can't.
7390 We have been in the business for -- we are celebrating our 46th anniversary this year and we have developed over these years blocks of programming, relationships with producers, and every single minute of our programming is accounted for. We have no filler programming whatsoever on CHIN Radio.
7391 To introduce new programs it's always at the expense of another community. So in order for me to introduce more Arabic programming I would have to take it from an existing producer in a community and lessen the amount of programming that we are currently providing.
7392 That's a very difficult decision and it's also a very difficult decision financially, too, because our budgets are based on the businesses that we have built so far up until now.
7393 But the other side of the coin is when you are introducing new services, what I know to be a fact is that people will not turn to radio -- if it's appointment radio that offers one hour or two hours on a weekend timeslot at 6 o'clock in the morning or 8 o'clock at night on Sunday, it's not going to be effective, it's going to be token.
7394 And if you wanted to be successful, if you wanted to be a business and if you wanted to be relevant to the communities that you're serving, you have to offer a minimum block of airtime and a frequency of availability and tunability that that program is there at a fixed time.
7395 And if you look at our program schedule you will see that we have actually blocked programming blocks seven days a week or at the very least five days a week, with some smaller programs on the weekend for some of the smaller groups, the Bengali and the Afghani.
7396 But the logic behind that is if we are going to attract audience we have to be there on the dial. And if we say we are going to be on the dial at 3 o'clock, you know, until 7:00 and seven days a week, then we will be able to build audience and people will begin to trust and understand that we are there and they can tune to us for news, information and entertainment and become relevant to their lifestyles. That's what this is all about.
7397 So broadcasters like myself -- and I speak -- well, I can't speak for them, but I know those dilemmas are problems for the existing broadcasters. They have relationships, whether they are associate producers or brokers, they have a business plan, they have their languages in there. If they are not able to find programming for the Arabic community it's not because they don't want to, it's they just can't afford to find the time.
7398 THE CHAIRPERSON: How long have those two radio stations been on the air?
7399 MR. LOMBARDI: AM was licensed in 1966 and FM was licensed in '69.
7400 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are both profitable now?
7401 MR. LOMBARDI: Yes, they are.
7402 THE CHAIRPERSON: How long did it take them back then? Were you around back then? I think you were.
7403 MR. LOMBARDI: I was around back then.
7404 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have grey hair. Yes, you were around back then.
7405 MR. LOMBARDI: He never told us.
7406 MR. LOMBARDI: He just said -- my dad's famous line was -- and I think the last time he told me was probably '87. He said: "One more year and we are going to break even."
7407 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good.
7408 And an interesting question, Radio 1540 Limited, is that just an application number? Are you going to go back to a CHIN station identifier?
7409 MR. LOMBARDI: That's our corporate name. CHIN Radio is the company we operate under.
7410 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are my questions. Thank you.
7411 Commissioner Patrone...?
7412 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7413 Good morning. I can distinctly remember having CHIN Radio on at our house when I was a kid growing up, and I can appreciate how important it is, because I was part of that wave of Italian immigrants that came over in the fifties, so they certainly appreciated having that service.
7414 You have made a case for serving communities that are currently underserved. Are there communities that are, because of immigration trends, aging demographics, overserved, for lack of a better word -- in other words, communities that used to be greater in number, that perhaps aren't there to the degree that they used to be?
7415 Where I am going with this is, you spoke about the blocks of programming in answering a question from the Chairman. Are those blocks in flux due to changing demographics and the changing makeup of the ethnicity of Greater Toronto?
7416 MR. LOMBARDI: Like any broadcaster, everything is always in flux, perhaps more so for ethnic broadcasters. We are always cognizant of and sensitive to immigration trends and the growth of communities.
7417 What has happened here, as we continue to provide the best possible services to the over 30 language groups that we serve in Toronto, is that new communities have grown, and grown up, and have come into the marketplace, and quietly. Silently, they have grown, and the numbers are staggering.
7418 If you add the population figures from an ethnic origin count, the nine groups that we have identified total 750,000 people.
7419 So that, for us, is a very compelling argument to provide services to those communities.
7420 And that is a realization and a reality today. What we have on radio today is vibrant programming that is serving a very active and desirous community for those types of programming.
7421 Mr. Commissioner, we have been broadcasting Italian programming to this fabulous community in the GTA for 46 years. One of the first programs that my dad launched in `66 was Italian. In fact, he built the station on Italian programming, which helped subsidize so many of the other language groups.
7422 And certainly there are changes to that community. Immigration has dropped off. There are no more immigrants from Italy coming to Toronto, and the community has grown, and it has grown exceptionally well. And we still have a large block of our programming, on both CHIN AM and FM, that continues to be very successful in serving the Italian community, and we do not see in the very near future any changes to that marketing strategy and reducing programming to that community to any great extent.
7423 And I can say that for our South Asian programming block, our Chinese programming block, our Portuguese programming block. These are programs that are thriving. The communities are growing, and find our programming on CHIN Radio very relevant to their lifestyles, and it's something that we have developed for quite some time.
7424 If we were to miss this opportunity for 88.1 for these groups, another opportunity won't come around, and they won't be picked up in the very near future by other stations offering them programming time, because, as I said before, those blocks are full.
7425 And the attrition, if you will, the maturing of a community that moves away from third language programming and is perhaps as equally served in the English language, that is not going to happen soon enough for these communities.
7426 And I don't see CHIN changing its programming format in the very near future.
7427 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Nobody wants to lose programming. No linguistic group wants to tune in expecting to hear Language A, and then, all of a sudden: Hey, what's going on here? What happened to the show that I used to listen to?
7428 MR. LOMBARDI: Exactly, and the demand for prime time is really our biggest dilemma. Everybody wants morning and afternoon drive.
7429 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: There is give and take, though, Mr. Lombardi. You know, there is only so much spectrum available out there. We have had many other applications; we have yet to hear others.
7430 And, as you know, spectrum is scarce.
7431 So, within that context, is there not the same type of give-and-take sacrifices to be made, or to at least be considered within your programming blocks, which is to say that this linguistic group perhaps is not as relevant as it once was, for the very reasons which you have cited?
7432 Perhaps immigration trends changed, perhaps people have aged, people have passed on, so the numbers are changing.
7433 So I am wondering to what degree do you look at these blocks of programming and say: You know what? They are no longer relevant. We need to change them because there is no more spectrum. The Commission has made the decisions it has, so that means that we have to be flexible enough to look at what is out there now in terms of ethnic makeup and adapt to those realities.
7434 There is a question in there somewhere.
7435 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you know where I am going with this?
7436 MR. LOMBARDI: Sure, I do. I understand you completely.
7437 I think the Commission has recognized over the last ten years that new services were necessary, and these new services have been very successful.
7438 The influx of immigration to the GTA is at 90,000 per year, so it's something that is growing annually, and that demonstrates a need.
7439 I don't think that the current number of ethnic services in the market, who are all working, who are all serving a variety of communities, are in a position to change their business plans to introduce new communities that will require time and energy to build to a certain level.
7440 So broadcasters like myself would have to look at the business model of, say, our Italian programming, and if we knocked off 4 hours of Italian programming, that would come at a cost to us, from the revenues that we would be forgoing, which we could not replace. I would not be able to replace the same amount of revenue that I would lose from those 4 hours of programming if I introduced 4 hours of Arabic programming, at least in the first six years, and that is something that none of the ethnic broadcasters can afford to do.
7441 So as long as the business plan continues to work for all of us -- and it does -- then you are not going to see any flexibility. You are not going to see any movement of any great degree that is going to have as great an impact in the services that we have been able to provide over the last 46 years to these new and emerging groups.
7442 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you for your answer, Mr. Lombardi.
7443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are there any other questions from the panel?
7444 Commissioner Menzies...
7445 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I have a general question, just for perspective.
7446 Why do these audiences need to be served still through radio, when the internet could provide a viable alternative for Russian, for instance, for the Toronto Russian community?
7447 In a community like this, where internet service is universally available, why wouldn't that be an acceptable alternative?
7448 Rather than 3 hours of Russian a week, or something like that, you could actually have a 24/7 service to the Russian community by an internet portal.
7449 Is that something that is practical, or something that could be done in addition to or separately from this?
7450 MR. LOMBARDI: It is certainly an option, but it is not, in my opinion, a viable option for the community to really bring some cohesive perspective to the market, and to connect the community with itself, and to help it integrate into Toronto, and Canadian society in general.
7451 The biggest problem that I have, and that we have, with those types of services is that they are, primarily, foreign. There are lots of specialty services out there that cater to third language groups, but they don't offer, really, any kind of Canadian perspective, and they certainly don't offer a local perspective of what is going on in the city that we live in.
7452 Without over-the-air, free radio services, which is a signal to these communities and to everybody that we belong -- we belong to this town, and it is being reflected in an open forum like radio, over the air, for free, on the dial, that anybody can tune into.
7453 We will never find a good substitute for that with the existing technology. Internet radio won't do that for us. Specialty services certainly won't reflect the local perspective.
7454 The only thing that does really work for these communities is over-the-air, free radio services.
7455 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
7456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are all the questions from the panel.
7457 Thank you very much for coming.
7458 We will take a short, ten-minute break.
--- Upon recessing at 1135
--- Upon resuming at 1148
7459 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, let's begin.
7460 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7461 We are now ready to hear Item 18 on the agenda, which is an application by S. Sivakkumaran, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Toronto.
7462 Mr. Sivakkumaran, please introduce your panel for the record, after which you will have 20 minutes for your presentation.
7463 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Thank you.
7464 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-Chairman, Commissioners and Commission Staff. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
7465 My name is Sivakkumaran, and I am the President, CEO and controlling shareholder of the applicant.
7466 We are pleased to be here to present our application for a new ethnic FM station to serve the Greater Toronto Area.
7467 Before we start our presentation, I would like to introduce our team.
7468 In the front row are three supporting intervenors. Thiva Paramsothy is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre.
7469 Parichay Ramesh is an award-winning local South Asian indie musician.
7470 Mr. Wajid Khan was most recently a Member of Parliament, and is a community leader in Pakistani Urdu community.
7471 To my right, Gautam Sharma is the publisher of Suhaag, who are the producers of our second generation South Asian program.
7472 Sanjay Agnihotri is the VP of Business Development of Canadian Immigrant, producers of our New Immigrant program.
7473 Madelaine Gileadi is the community development representative for the station.
7474 In the second row, Shahid Ashraf is a career broadcaster who is our Urdu producer.
7475 Faruk Aslam is a renowned journalist and our Turkish producer.
7476 Babak Reihanypour is the Publisher of Iran Javan and our Farsi producer.
7477 Mr. M.C. Kalatharan is an experienced broadcaster and our Tamil producer.
7478 Dr. Jegathesan Pushpapalan is a minority shareholder of the station.
7479 And Mr. Jim Moltner is our engineer.
7480 Collectively, we have over 70 years of broadcast experience, and we are here to answer any questions that you may have.
7481 I will start my presentation.
7482 The station's vision: Commissioners, our presentation will focus on three foundational questions that we request the Commission to address in this application round.
7483 They are:
7484 One, should a new licence serve the markets and demographics that are growing in the Greater Toronto Area, or should it expand service to areas where we demonstrate the market is well served?
7485 Two, is it true that the Commission has granted enough licences in previous decisions to ethnic broadcasters, and do those licences truly address the diversity inherent within the demographic composition of the Greater Toronto Area?
7486 Three, what are the population growth numbers saying about Toronto?
7487 An analysis of the current radio market identifies that the greatest need for additional programming lies within the ethnic segment. As such, our application will focus on providing high quality, needs-based programming to underserved and growing audiences. We will address the disparities in demand and quality of signal that ethnic communities currently experience. We will provide service in eight languages, and reach over twelve communities.
7488 Service to these communities is essential to ensure that radio remains relevant to and reflective of all segments of the market that make up Toronto, while meeting the objectives outlined in the 2001 CRTC Report to Cabinet.
7489 Our vision is to entertain and provide high quality broadcast, with a special focus on second generation ethnic audiences through relevant local programming. We strive to fulfil the needs of today's underserved audiences, and will continue to evolve as these needs shift and grow.
7490 Why Ethnic?
7491 Why should you choose to create another ethnic station?
7492 Well, for the same reason and logic that you, as a Commission, outlined in your submission to Cabinet that we are in agreement with.
7493 In 2001, the CRTC provided a report to the Governor in Council that outlined the importance of ensuring that the Greater Toronto Area population receive services that reflect the diversity of their languages and culture. The Commission's analysis and submissions were based on the demographic composition of the GTA, based on 1996 Statistics Canada census data and trends, existing radio services, services being provided to ethnic communities, and identifying opportunities for adding new audio services.
7494 Here is what the CRTC's own report concluded, and I quote:
"The GTA has a diverse multicultural, multiracial and multilingual population that is rapidly increasing in size and proportion.
There is a strong demand for new radio services to serve the ethnic population in the GTA."
7495 As an applicant, we state that your Commission's conclusion still applies today, and is even more relevant, based on the analysis of current ethnic programming and more recent census data.
7496 Since 2001, the Commission granted a licence to CJSA 101.3, which covers the GTA. Subsequently, the Commission also granted three AM and one FM ethnic licences, each with coverage contours ranging from 1 percent to 21 percent of the GTA population.
7497 The combined population reach of these stations is 2.4 million, as compared to ethnic stations such as CHIN FM, which has a reach of 4.5 million in its 3 millivolt market contour.
7498 On the face of it, the three AM and one FM licences seem substantial. However, this is not the case, due to their extremely limited coverage of the GTA. We have counted their combined service as the addition of one station covering the GTA.
7499 Our analysis of population size per hour of programming between ethnic and mainstream communities from 2001 and 2012 is shown here in the table below, and in Figures 2 and 3.
7500 As shown above, ethnic audiences receive 1 hour of radio programming for every 2,200 people, while mainstream audiences receive 1 hour for every 900, which is almost two times more programming per hour than ethnic audiences.
7501 The GTA's diverse ethnic population has rapidly increased and outpaced projections outlined in the Commission's 2001 report. Demand for new radio services to the ethnic population in the Greater Toronto Area has increased from 2001 to 2012. Radio service expansion to ethnic communities has lagged when compared to their growth in population and demand.
7502 Opportunities for new AM or FM frequencies that cover the GTA are limited due to spectrum usage. Therefore, 88.1 should be allocated to ethnic audiences to reflect the multicultural reality of Toronto and to accommodate the ongoing increase of the ethnic population.
7503 Now to Madelaine to discuss quality of service.
7504 MS GILEADI: FM stations are preferred by audiences, as they provide superior signal quality. This is now more pronounced than ever, due to technological advancements in how radio reaches its audiences, and is especially true with younger listeners.
7505 When you examine tuning habits, FM stations account for 75 percent of radio listenership. FM stations drive the majority of growth within the radio industry nationally and locally. The younger generations of ethnic audiences do not tune into current ethnic programming because the majority of it -- 70 percent -- is broadcast on AM frequencies. A vast majority of ethnic stations cannot provide the quality of signal that younger audiences are used to receiving on a daily basis through the technology they have grown up with.
7506 As shown above, mainstream listeners receive 1 hour of FM programming for every 1,200 people, while ethnic listeners receive 1 hour for every 5,800 people. These numbers reflect that the quality of service to ethnic communities is almost four times less than the mainstream. This has not changed in any significant way from 2001 to 2012.
7507 This disparity in quality of service is precisely why any new FM frequency should be granted to serve ethnic communities.
7508 Future Growth Projections: As seen in our current analysis of the Toronto radio market, radio service to ethnic communities is trailing behind the mainstream community. This lack of service to ethnic communities will be even greater as the ethnic population continues to grow rapidly, especially when compared to the mainstream population.
7509 As shown in Figure 6, the non-ethnic mainstream population decreased from 1996 to 2006, while the ethnic population grew by more than 600,000.
7510 Viewed from this stark reality and the Commission's desire to ensure the vitality of the radio sector, the case for granting a new licence to the ethnic segment becomes more urgent.
7511 As seen in Figure 7, the visible minority population in Toronto is projected to double, from 2.3 million in 2006 to nearly 5.6 million by 2031. The South Asian and Arabic populations are expected to triple.
7512 Ethnic communities are expected to outpace the overall population growth of Toronto in the next two decades by a factor of 10. We have chosen to serve communities that are projected to rapidly increase, especially since new frequencies will not be available in the foreseeable future due to technical limitations. This is our attempt to mitigate the creation of a large disparity of service to ethnic communities, whilst serving a demographic that is not currently served.
7513 A fundamental tenet of public policy should be to achieve equity of outcome and that new entrants be granted an opportunity to integrate newer cultural communities into Canadian society through programming.
7514 To discuss why you should choose us, over to Kumaran.
7515 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Thank you, Madelaine.
7516 We employed the following metrics to the existing ethnic radio market to analyze where programming currently lies, what is lacking from which communities, and how we plan to address these gaps in service. We also conducted extensive consultations and received firsthand feedback from various ethnic communities, media organizations, businesses, artists, musicians, journalists, broadcasters, cultural groups, and other stakeholders. As our numerous and varied letters of support show, the community has expressed a need for the service we propose.
7517 Factors included in our analysis are: the size of each visible minority group, how much service they currently receive, the size of the business community and media advertising, the time of day during which service is provided, as well as the quantity and length of service.
7518 Also considered are: programming formats, which age group is primarily underserved, the population growth of the community compared to overall population growth, the quality of signal service, as well as the production quality and market expectations.
7519 In addition, we analyzed the entrepreneurial efforts within the communities to provide radio programming.
7520 Our analysis shows that existing ethnic radio stations mainly serve first generations of ethnic audiences through news, politics, religion and other social issues relevant to their country of origin.
7521 Quality of programming currently available in the ethnic market also leaves something to be desired. For example, South Asians in the GTA are receiving an average of 20 to 25 minutes of commercials per hour to 20 minutes of music per hour.
7522 This is especially unappealing to younger audiences, whose attention is harder to get and hold in our technologically competitive society.
7523 For many ethnic communities there is a clear lack of valuable airtime slots due to the limited number of ethnic stations serving multiple languages. For a community to be fully-served, they require daily programming that will create consistency in audience and a meeting place for the community.
7524 Gautam will quickly discuss our proposed service to the following communities1 to address their service gaps and disparities:
7525 MR. SHARMA: Thank you, Kumaran, and good afternoon, Commissioners
7526 Second Generations South Asians: The South Asian community has the largest ethnic second generation population. We estimate the population under 35 years of age to be around 400,000. According to Stats Canada the community is young when compared to the overall population.
7527 Feedback from the second generation South Asians shows that they want to maintain ties to their cultural heritage while partaking in and belonging to Canadian society. Our all-English music-rich entertainment-based program will provide information on local Canadian issues that affect them directly in a fast-paced format with segments on the latest in culture, arts, events and more.
7528 The programming will feature airplay and promotion of local independent musicians who are not featured in any significant way by existing ethnic stations.
7529 Urdu Community: The Urdu community is generally under the South Asian banner. The community is primarily from Pakistan and has unique and distinct scripture, poetry, literature, music, events; celebrations and ceremonies.
7530 Hindi and Punjabi programming accounts for 80 percent of all South Asian programming in Toronto and is directed solely at the Indian community. The needs of the Urdu community are extremely different from the Indian community and are not met through existing Hindi and Punjabi programming.
7531 There is no programming during the midday and afternoon peak periods and we will be providing five hours during this timeslot.
7532 Tamil Community: Even though Tamils are grouped as part of the South Asian community, the Tamil language is unique and people from other language groups cannot understand it. The majority of Tamils come from Sri Lanka and have different news and information needs.
7533 This large community supports a variety of media outlets in multiple formats on television and print, but only receives programming from CJSA FM 101.3 that reaches the GTA.
7534 The community demands diversity in editorial expressions as well as diversity of voices, both of which are absent in the current radio market. Our station will provide three hours of Tamil language programming daily during afternoon drive time to augment this gap.
7535 Our fifth community is African community. We have chosen to provide African programming in English to reach the various groups within the community. Our station will provide one hour of daily programming and the focus will rest on the recognition and celebration of the achievements and the importance of positive youth interactions and mentorship.
7536 Another growing community, Filipino Community:
7537 The Filipino community is young, dynamic and culturally engaged, so our station is committed to the development of artistic expression through the promotion of independent and folk music, exhibitions and dance. We propose two hours of daily programming in a mix of Tagalog and English.
7538 Farsi Community is highly educated, affluent, progressive and upwardly mobile but does not receive any service from ethnic stations in Toronto. Toronto is the hub of Canadian Persian artists and musicians who are supported through weekly concerts and events. We will provide two hours of daily music programming.
7539 Arabic Community: The Arabic community is comprised of Lebanese, Egyptians, Iraqis Palestinians and currently receives no daily programming. It is evenly split between Christian and Muslim Arabs. We will provide intra-cultural programming mainly composed of music, arts and culture from the different regions. The spoken word segments will not feature any significant content on politics or religion. We will provide one hour of daily programming.
7540 Turkish and the Malaysian Community:
7541 Turkish and Malaysian communities are currently small but we have chosen to serve them as they are projected to grow and are culturally engaged. Our station will provide a one hour show on Saturdays and Sundays in a magazine format featuring music, news, community events and updates.
7542 And now off to Sanjay.
7543 MR. AGNIHOTRI: Thank you, Guatam. Good afternoon, commissioners.
7544 New immigrants: Toronto is the first choice of settlement city for the majority of new immigrants to Canada. This group has been identified by Citizenship and Immigration Canada as a major source of economic stimulus in the coming years, especially since many newcomers are arriving with money, education and knowledge of the English language.
7545 As the federal government spends on integration programs to help newcomers settle successfully, the radio market needs to evolve to provide dedicated programming content in a consistent format to this group.
7546 This English-language program will consist of 100 percent spoken word content on various issues including: careers, education, settlement, and finance. Our program will provide a platform for cross cultural dialogues for all newcomers.
7547 Strategy of service: Now that we have reviewed the communities to be served, we would like to quickly discuss our strategy to address these gaps in services.
7548 We will partner with established organizations that have the credibility, team, networks, resources and expertise to provide high-quality programming for each community. Independent producers will have large blocks of time that will enable them to plan and execute an expansive array of programming content and take advantage of economies of scale.
7549 We are also committed to ensuring that our musical content averages about 40 minutes per hour, unlike some other ethnic stations who are currently averaging 20 minutes of music per hour. We intend to air about 12 minutes of commercials per hour, unlike our ethnic counterparts who are airing 20 to 25 minutes of commercials per hour.
7550 We will provide programming in third languages and English, mainly consisting of music with information on arts, culture, events, local community bulletins, weather, news, sports and traffic presented in a fast and entertaining fashion.
7551 Our station will feature locally relevant Canadian content, focused on attracting and engaging the younger demographic of each community.
7552 We aim to provide programming at times of the day that will not conflict with existing stations service to each community.
7553 A real intercultural policy facilitates the incorporation of immigrants into wider, cross-cultural activities and organizations. We will offer local community bulletins on community events in all programs aired by the station and also on our website.
7554 Our programming will improve ethnic audience`s sense of belonging to Canada and foster integration to meet social needs and encourage collective social participation.
7555 We will also be providing service to second generation ethnic audiences who were receiving programming on CKLN 88.1 before the station`s license was revoked. For example, second generation South Asians received legendary shows such as Masala mix.
7556 We will be bringing new audiences though our programming to the radio market in Toronto. Thank you, and over to Kumaran.
7557 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Thank you, Sanjay.
7558 Broadcast policy and advisory board: Through our prior broadcasting experience, the station is committed to ensuring that we provide the highest quality of programming to exceed all CRTC Broadcast Regulations and Industry Guidelines.
7559 Management will be vigilant to ensure that all programming on the station is balanced, fair and objective. Management reviews, community feedback, focus group studies, surveys and advisory board feedback will be done on an on-going basis to ensure that all broadcast policies and guidelines are met.
7560 Development of Canadian talent: The biggest impact the station will make to emerging local ethnic artists is the airplay and promotion on air.
7561 Our commitment to Canadian Content Development is based on creating qualified ethnic musicians and journalists through scholarships and on developing local ethnic artists through our multicultural music festival. Our total CCD contribution would be $350,000 over seven years.
7562 In conclusion, Commissioners, the fundamental question as to whether this licence should go to an ethnic service has been underscored by the Commission's own report to Cabinet, and the evaluative criteria it used to arrive at those conclusions. This is hard to dispute based on the most recent demographics.
7563 I again draw your attention to the fact that ethnic communities are underrepresented on the radio dial. The urgency to give consideration to this is that there is no available spectrum after this round for second generation ethnic Canadians and the newly emerging ethnic communities.
7564 The current cultural programming on FM and AM dials is geared to the older generations, and though we respect this demographic, the needs of emerging second generation ethnic Canadians is a reality that needs to be addressed.
7565 In the Toronto market, the younger generation mainstream audience receives their music on multiple stations. As such, the station will focus on second generation ethnic audiences through primarily music programming, with the inclusion of locally relevant Canadian content and airplay of local ethnic indie artists.
7566 The management of the station has extensive experience in providing ethnic programming to the Toronto market and deep rooted connections within the ethno-cultural communities. The station will provide service in eight languages reaching over 12 communities, meeting the needs of the ever growing underserved ethno-cultural communities of Toronto.
7567 It is our belief that a fundamental tenet of public policy should be to achieve equity of outcome. We should be granted an opportunity to integrate newer cultural communities into the Canadian fabric through our programming. FM 88.1 should be allocated to us, so that we can adequately reflect the demographic reality of Toronto, which your predecessors on the Commission strove to do throughout the years.
7568 Thank you, and now I would like to introduce our interveners.
7569 First, Thiva Paramasothy is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre.
7570 MR. PARAMSOTHY: My name -- I'm a member of the Tamil community, Toronto Tamil community as well as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre.
7571 CanTYD is a non-profit organization dedicated for youth empowerment.
7572 As a group of young, second-generation Tamils living in Toronto, we have noticed a lack of ethnic programming targeted to our age groups. Our work and focus on youth in our community has shown us amazing impact that positive community interaction can create on the future of our youth.
7573 We believe that the designated radio station provides a platform for all Tamils of all ages to connect through English and inter-language programming on a high-quality FM station would be bound to the community as well as major services to the empowerment of Tamil youth in Canada.
7574 Apart from CJSA the community does not receive any other radio programming that covers the GTA. Other communities of similar population numbers are supporting daily programming during the morning and afternoon drive time.
7575 Community also demands access to diverse point of views and therefore supports many media outlets. There is only one organization serving the town market on AM and FM that covers the GTA. Needless to say, there is definitely a need for diversity of service to the community.
7576 Our programming will be available daily from five p.m. to eight p.m., which is absent in the market and will be produced by M.C. Kalatharan, a well-known radio personality and a program manager with close to two decades of broadcasting experience. He is sure to meet the diverse needs of the community as he has the community reach and credibility to engage and entertain all Tamil Canadians.
7577 The applicant's team is fully engaged with community organizations and groups and will reflect the Tamil Canadian community's needs in their programming.
7578 The station does not intend to conduct extensive spoken word programming such as extended talk shows as this is being covered by the SCMO station and the younger generation are not interested in this format.
7579 Our youth community demands the signal quality of an FM service and the overall music theme FM 88.1 proposes. FM 88.1 will provide a platform for young Tamil Canadians to connect, discuss, entertain and share ideas. This is what creates empowerment among younger generations, the freedom and place to express them safely and responsibly.
7580 The station's youth focus, locally specific content, not only works to serve the youth of Tamil Canadians as described above, it will also help turn youth away from violence, drugs and general destructive behaviour towards a more positive platform for expressing and listening to their real life issues.
7581 The station proves its dedication to this outcome through its proposition to showcase emerging artists on air, local talent in its music festival and through its commitment to a scholarship program.
7582 The applicant has a team with knowledge, experience and credibility in the community to successfully manage FM 88.1.
7583 Thank you.
7584 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
7585 Next presenter, please introduce yourself before you start your presentation.
7586 MR. PARAMSOTHY: Thank you.
7587 THE SECRETARY: Please turn your mike on.
7588 MR. RAMESH: Thank you, Thiva.
7589 My name is Parichay. I'm very glad to be here and good afternoon, Commissioners.
7590 I am often referred to in the North American Urban Bollywood scene as a pioneer of the style of music. I am a Canadian South Asian singer, music producer and songwriter.
7591 I have had over 10 years of experience contributing to the South Asian urban Bollywood scene -- music scene, and as one of the major producers of desi urban music in Canada, I have been extremely successful in creating a unique style of music, a sound that is unique to today's generation, combining a touch of Hindi classical and pop music with mainstream hip hop and R&B.
7592 In 2011 I had one of the highest viewed MySpace and YouTube profiles among independent South Asian artists in Canada. Though South Asian artists in Canada have raw and promising talent, one of the main reasons I chose the U.K. as a base for my music career is due to the glaring lack of proper media infrastructure to nurture and develop artists like myself. In comparison, the U.K. has an abundance of media platforms for artists like me who aim to serve the second generation on radio.
7593 As a proud Canadian, I would like to see the development of such media infrastructure in Canada aimed at serving the second generations of all ethnic communities. Launching an English-language program geared towards second generation South Asians is a great place to start achieving this goal and will enable the growth of the local ethnic music industry.
7594 I am excited that emerging Canadian South Asian musicians will finally get airplay and promotion, two key opportunities required for the growth of these local artists.
7595 The station has also committed, through its CCD initiative, to provide scholarships in music and journalism and also to present a music festival to promote local ethnic musicians. These initiatives are sure to foster and develop the abundant talent pool waiting for a platform from which to launch themselves.
7596 According to Statistics Canada in 2006, 25 percent of South Asians in Toronto were born in Canada. South Asians under the age of 35 represents 55 percent of its population, close to 400,000.
7597 The majority of South Asian programming is currently available on AM frequencies and caters to the older generations. The younger generations don't tune into AM signals due to the lack of signal quality. This group demands high quality service with music as their preferred format choice. The most listened to music comes from Bollywood. However, broadcasting it on AM stations causes a loss of the true composition and nuances that these tracks are famous for.
7598 The applicant's program will be produced by Suhaag, market leaders in the second generation South Asian community. The program will provide music and information from a younger generation's perspective without the back home news and politics that dominate the current programming.
7599 The programming will be aired during the morning drive thereby providing easy access. The current radio markets has neglected the second generation audience and, hence, made themselves irrelevant to the youth. The proposed station will create a voice for the younger generations in the radio market.
7600 Thank you.
7601 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
7602 The next presenter, please.
7603 MR. KHAN: Good afternoon, Commissioners.
7604 I should be in bed but I was excited at the opportunity of representing here today for the Pakistani Urdu programming.
7605 My name is Wadjid Khan. I am a former Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville and I am a Canadian of Pakistani origin.
7606 I support this application because it not only enhances the Pakistani identity in Canada but also supports the recommendations made by the Commission to the Cabinet, as you all know.
7607 Now, we are talking about a community that has grown 83 percent from 2001 to 2006, and it continues to grow.
7608 At the moment the Urdu community unfortunately is grouped as a part of the large South Asian community and I, being from the region, can tell you, Commissioners, that the Pakistani Urdu community is very, very distinct and different than general. It should not be lumped in with the South Asian community.
7609 Providing programming in Punjabi, Hindi and Tamil, as is suggested sometimes, is programming inadequate for the Pakistani Urdu community. It is tantamount to saying that Portuguese, Italian and English is adequately serving the French-Canadian community. That is what the difference is.
7610 The Pakistani Urdu community has its own culture, its own scripture, its events, language, ghazals, folk music and its own philosophers and thinkers.
7611 What is most exciting to me is that this applicant is going to focus on the second generation Canadians and youth, the young new immigrants. It is so important to address those two demographics because in the Pakistani Urdu community the numbers of youth are huge and they are young and they are educated. They are vibrant and they are affluent. Their affluence is growing day by day.
7612 This will also help and the news and programming help towards the integration of the youth when they are coming to Canada and that is so important for a better Canada.
7613 Despite the uniqueness of the Urdu community it only receives 30 hours of programming, mainly after seven p.m. and there is not a whole lot of listening at that time. Whereas other communities of a similar size such as the Spanish, Hindi and Portuguese communities receive around 100 hours of radio programming during the morning and midday periods.
7614 Indian Punjabi programming account for 80 percent -- 80 percent, Commissioners -- of all currently available South Asian creative programming. These programs feature music and spoken content solely directed at the Indian community. As such there is a discrepancy in the amount of broadcast hours allocated to the Urdu community by the CRTC and I hope that after today and going forward, this will be addressed.
7615 The applicant has in-depth knowledge and is well respected within the Urdu community. The applicant has selected as its Urdu producer, Mr. Shahid Ashraf, whom I have known for over two decades. He has served on major radio programs and has a tremendous following, is almost a legend in the Pakistani Urdu community.
7616 Musical programming will feature local Urdu artists and Canadian news and Urdu.
7617 The programming will focus on appealing to the second generation, as I have already mentioned, and the young immigrants, allowing them to familiarize themselves in the Canadian news and happenings while retaining their unique aspects of their culture.
7618 The Urdu programming broadcast from 12 to five p.m. as proposed by the applicant does not conflict with the programming on existing ethnic stations. The applicant's 35 hours of programming will bring much needed service to the community and address their linguistic and cultural needs, one of the main policy objectives outlined by the Commission's 2001 report to cabinet.
7619 I hope the application for 88.1 FM will be well received. Thank you very much.
7620 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all very much. I would ask Commissioner Poirier to begin the questioning.
7621 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Good morning.
7622 I will start questioning the panel in support in case Mr. Khan has to leave earlier because we appreciate you being here today. And sorry for the pronunciation of your names because it might be difficult for me, okay.
7623 Mr. Khan, okay, you know that the Urdu community is already well served. From what I have here in front of me CJSA is providing 12 hours, and I would go -- I could go through all the radio stations but there are five or six of them providing programming in Urdu language. So I wonder why you need additional programming. Why is that so?
7624 MR. KHAN: Actually, it's a very good question. As I stated in my statement there is a total hours that are received, about 30 hours, and since 2001 to 2006 the community has grown exponentially.
7625 And none of those programs are focusing on the younger generation of Pakistani Urdu community. Most of their coverage caters to the Bollywood scene or the Indian programming and very little is directed towards this programming that they are proposing.
7626 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah, but they have a committee you can meet with and try to make a change in the programming that is offered. Have you met with those committees from other ethnic radio stations to ask them to change their target and target more the second generation of citizens?
7627 MR. KHAN: Madame Chair, it is so obvious here that some of the other communities, the Spanish, Indian, Portuguese are getting 100 hours and the Pakistani Urdu community is getting 30 hours. That in itself is something that needs to be addressed.
7628 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah, but there is so much frequency available. Imagine we give you that frequency. Some incomers, new incomers in Canada will say "We need now our own radio station" but there is no more frequencies.
7629 So don't you think that the present radio stations have to adapt themselves to the newcomers?
7630 MR. KHAN: Madam Chair, this --
7631 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you for calling me Madam Chair. You are giving me an upgrade.
7632 MR. KHAN: You're welcome.
7633 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: The salary might go with this, who knows.
7634 MR. KHAN: Wouldn't that be wonderful?
7635 COMMISSIONER POIRIER Yes.
7636 MR. KHAN: The fact of the matter is that this applicant is not only serving the Pakistani Urdu community. It is providing the segment of five hours of listenership for their Toronto clients but also other communities within. And they are very adaptable.
7637 If there is a future need for other communities to come into the system, this applicant will definitely take that into consideration. He is here, I'm sure he is prepared to commit to that and this is something that they have already done with the Persians, the Arabs and the Turks, bring them into the fold as well as the Pakistanis of the community.
7638 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. I will continue with the panel. Mr. Ramesh.
7639 MR. RAMESH: How are you?
7640 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: You are from that second generation, aren't you?
7641 MR. RAMESH: That's right.
7642 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. Why does the second generation of South Asian immigrants need a morning show specific to them in English? Aren't they already integrated and listening to English radio that is provided for all Canadians?
7643 MR. RAMESH: They absolutely are, but there is a side of them -- and I can say this because I represent that demographic, is I listen to, you know, the Z103.5s and the FLOWs of the world, the urban stations and the top 40 and the pop stations.
7644 Yet, I still am connected to my culture and my roots, but I would love to have programming in English that kind of addresses not just -- of course music to begin with, that form of entertainment, but also local issues.
7645 I'm not interested in what politics are happening back home or issues that are not relevant to my day-to-day life. I would really like a station that provides entertainment, you know, Bollywood music, for example, or Indie pop music, which I do, independent urban Dasi(ph) pop music, which is a branch of Bollywood, yet it's independent, not film music, and at the same time presented to me by someone that I feel connected to, like a radio host that I feel connected to, someone that talks to me in English in a Canadian accent, but at the same time, you know, can talk to me about cultural issues that are relevant to me.
7646 My music, do you know what I mean, it's still a very different piece from mainstream radio and mainstream this and mainstream that. It would be awesome to have it.
7647 And I can -- I would like to add to that is I have been doing music for over 10 years in Canada, just, you know, trying to make it, trying to make it. Eventually I had to leave -- and I can say this on behalf of numerous other artists locally that have to leave, have to either go down south to the United States or east to the U.K. or the rest of Europe or India, wherever, just to look for these opportunities simply because there is a lack of that infrastructure.
7648 And a station like this would give us, myself and other artists, that channel to be able to put our music out and connect with listeners. And on the other side of the spectrum the listeners now have that direct connection with the audience because that music is available.
7649 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. Okay. Just to put a limit of questioning to you --
7650 MR. RAMESH: Sorry.
7651 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Aren't Canadians going south to have an artistic life? Celine Dion is living in the United States --
7652 MR. RAMESH: Absolutely.
7653 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: -- and many others have to leave the country to have a career.
7654 MR. RAMESH: Right.
7655 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So isn't it normal to have to live elsewhere to increase your audience?
7656 MR. RAMESH: Absolutely, but I feel like the audience for my type of music here is growing exponentially year over year, month over month, and they are hungry for music. And that's why if you look at some of the festivals that happen here, May 26th being an example, Yonge and Dundas, promoters are forced to bring artists from the U.K. or from somewhere else simply because Canadian talent has not been exposed enough to the audiences to create that demand.
7657 But we have the talent, more than the U.K., more than India, more than anywhere else. It's just because of the lack of that channel they can't market themselves enough to create that demand to help flourish our local industry.
7658 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you.
7659 And Mr. Paramsothy, CJSA already offers 47 hours of programming in Tamil language. Why isn't it enough?
7660 MR. PARAMSOTHY: Well, I think Ramesh here talked a lot about it here, but I think it is critical for us to -- I come from a background of community development and I'm a former worker, project manager with the United Way and I continue to work with young people in Toronto. I was also a youth worker with the Ministry of Child and Youth Services.
7661 One of the things that we are beginning to see right now is that these radio stations, whether it be CJSA or some of these stations, are really targeted towards language programming which doesn't really integrate our younger generations.
7662 As Canadians, as governments, as social institutions, we have a major obligation, especially as ethnic communities, we have a major obligation to integrate our young people, especially in Toronto with the vast majority of communities growing, ethnic communities coming here. We cannot continue to divide them and conquer them. I think it's critical we provide a forum and space where young people can come together.
7663 When we look at the Tamil community today, along with other ethnic communities, I categorize them as urbanized. A lot of these young people listen to new music. Ramesh here brought the Bollywood music with the R&B and hip-hop and I think that alone tells us where our new generation is being created.
7664 So there is a third culture that is being created and I think in order for us to adapt that culture, as well as integrate and embrace their own culture as South Asians, as Pakistanis or Indians or Tamils or whatnot, I think it's important we provide forums. I think this is what this radio station is about to do and I think that's what we are here to support.
7665 What CJSA is providing is a targeted audience. A lot of them or a majority are an older audience who are listening to this, and our younger generation are not listening to this. And every time we try to promote something that's social integration, social education stuff, we can't even go to these stations because these young people are not listening to it.
7666 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. But I will ask you to conclude.
7667 MR. PARAMSOTHY: So therefore I think it's critical that I think we provide a forum and I think that's why it's important, not just to have a Tamil station, but I think a South Asian forum that provides for all of us.
7668 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
7669 To me it's quite an issue to serve the second generation and maybe I will ask Mr. Sivakkumaran to talk about this, because the second generation, isn't it supposed to be already integrated into the community? So they don't need a specific radio only for the second generation.
7670 Because you really target that generation and I wonder why because I imagine the first generation needs to be more integrated, but the second one should be.
7671 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: When we looked at the programming of what type of format we should choose, we looked at demographics to find why we should serve the ethnic communities. Then we looked at what audiences. Our primary objective is to try to serve audiences that are not being served right now.
7672 Now, when you look at our programming, one portion of our programming goes to second generation, which is the morning prime time drive time and that's the programming because their issues -- the music is part of what the second generation want, their music is not heard, the music of Bollywood, not on the mainstream channels. They are not serving them.
7673 Part of the multicultural policy of Canada is we want integration, but we want our people to retain their cultural roots. It's beyond music. It's about what's relevant to them. It's their food, their culture, if you want events that are promoting in the local news.
7674 As I mentioned to you, the major impact that a station like this would do is to the promotion and making sure the second generation have entertainment and have an ability to retain their cultural roots, at the same time integrating with the Canadian fabric. Because we are not a country of assimilation. I believe we are a country of integration where we don't want to lose our cultural roots and ties.
7675 And a lot of the second generation, if you go to the local Bollywood -- the movie theatres in Toronto, it's majorly the second generation that are attending the movie theatres. They want the entertainment and content that is culturally relevant to them.
7676 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So you will differ from the other ethnic radio stations and the incumbent radio stations with the hours of your programming and the kind of music you offer?
7677 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Overall content. We are looking at a content that is specific to their needs. Music is one part of it. Current ethnic stations do not provide content that is relevant to the second generation because they are talking about other issues that affect their parents.
7678 The abundance of media that is serving the second generation has grown. I will mention to you, the second generation South Asian community, we picked that because that is the biggest group of second-generation audiences and the number of media that are serving them specifically has grown in Toronto.
7679 In my reply to the interventions from the interveners we estimated the amount of advertising that is generally going to specific second-generation South Asian media outlets. That's because there is a need for that service for the community.
7680 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So we will get into some very specific matters now and I will let the other Commissioners ask questions.
7681 In your application, 80 percent of your ethnic -- you plan to have 80 percent of ethnic programming and 70 percent of third-language programming.
7682 Would you be willing to adhere to those percentages by condition of licence?
7683 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Yes.
7684 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
7685 And the majority of your ethnic programming broadcasts each week would be provided in Urdu and Tamil languages.
7686 Are you prepared to accept a condition of licence that a minimum of 45 percent of all ethnic programming broadcast per week would be in the Urdu and Tamil languages to make sure you don't compete with all the others?
7687 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Yes.
7688 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. It's like getting married, yes.
7689 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. You better say yes, yes.
7690 You are proposing 114 hours out of 126 hours per week of local programming, am I right?
7691 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Yes.
7692 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: What about the other 12 hours, what is it going to be?
7693 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: We want to have the ability -- we are actually going to be -- that is, we wanted some flexibility in being able to provide additional programming, but 100 percent of our broadcasting programming is local.
7694 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
7695 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: The minimum level we put is to have the flexibility should -- the licence is over a seven-year period. If the market demands take us to certain areas, we want to have that flexibility, but 100 percent of our local programming is produced in Toronto here.
7696 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So it would be local programming?
7697 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: That's right.
7698 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. You don't know yet the content. Will it be brokered?
7699 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Our programming philosophy has been to try to identify the best people that could produce service to each community and partner with them and provide that programming. We have approached an independent producer model. The majority of airtime in Toronto is operated under that model.
7700 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. And you support that kind of model? Because you were here this morning and some others prefer some other kinds. They prefer to produce on their own or have a hybrid way of doing things with associated producers.
7701 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: They're essentially also going and finding -- no matter how you name it, they are essentially going and partnering up with an Iranian newspaper or an Arabic producer who is outside of the station. So how we define it is a different issue, but they are going and seeking partnerships outside of the station to deliver the content.
7702 We are doing it. We are defining it as an independent producer.
7703 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So have you found all your producers? Because in your application you found the one for Filipino language, Urdu, Tamil, and are there any others now that you have had contact with?
7704 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Yes. We have found producers for -- I will name them all.
7705 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
7706 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: The Arabic community -- it is attached in our appendix with the submission here -- the Farsi community, the Tamil community, the Urdu community, the Turkish community.
7707 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: The Malaysian community?
7708 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: No, we haven't. I have been talking to a couple of people from the Malaysian community and we have not formalized a partnership yet.
7709 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And the African community?
7710 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: We have.
7711 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: You have, okay.
7712 How will you ensure that the producers will reflect their local community?
7713 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Well, that was part of the format of strategy that I identified in my application that was different.
7714 The station is going to develop and devote a lot of resources within itself to make sure local programming is met. Our programming budget, if you look at our programming budget, we have allocated a big portion in programming to accomplish this. This is with the inclusion of several station staff to make sure local programming is reflective.
7715 I just want to refer to the page and I will tell you the resources that we have allocated in each section.
7716 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. Half a million --
7717 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Okay.
7718 We have a program director who will manage broadcast policy, community reflection and monitoring of the program.
7719 We are going to have a production coordinator -- this is all station -- provides programming coordination of local content and common production resources to producers.
7720 We will have a technical producer to provide technical production and advertising of other production segments to our producers.
7721 And we will have on-air operators in those languages to assist in the technical production as well.
7722 So it is a partnership. We are bringing quite a bit to the table to enable the producer to provide a good quality program.
7723 Another thing about our model is -- you rightfully said how will the station ensure local programming is met? We are going to have a person across the whole spectrum.
7724 If something is relevant -- a fundraiser is happening for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, it's not only relevant to the Filipino community or the Arabic community, it is going to be relevant to all the communities and this type of a coordinator will make sure that those common elements of production are across all spectrum.
7725 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So who will guarantee that you are in regulatory compliance?
7726 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: The station will.
7727 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: But who? Who is going to do that, you, the coordinator, the programming -- who? Is there a person really dedicated to that?
7728 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Yes. The program director is the person dedicated, as I mentioned, to monitoring broadcast content, community reflection and monitoring. Now, that person will be primarily responsible to making sure all the programming on the station meets all regulatory and advisory board regulations.
7729 Now, we have constituted an advisory board to help us in this process. I have done this in my previous job. I had constituted an advisory board for CJSA that reflected the communities we serve and successfully done that in the past. So we will be doing the same such mechanism for our station to reflect the local programming.
7730 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
7731 There is one question we have been asking all applicants. You know, we changed our regulation and we now require that the licensee whose total revenues are more than $1.25 million make at least 15 percent of its CCD contribution to the Community Radio Fund of Canada.
7732 Are you aware of this and are you going to comply with this new regulation?
7733 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: That's an easy question. Yes, we will comply.
7734 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Maybe the other one might be more difficult, okay. It's always like this, an easy one and then we come to the toughest one, okay.
7735 You project operating expenses of over $1 million per year while you have secured about $800,000 of financing.
7736 Can you absorb losses associated with the launch of a new radio station? And give us all the information related to that, please.
7737 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Okay. Now, we have provided capital inflow from shareholders in the amount of $810,000, if you look at our cash flow, all right. Out of that, $500,000 is going to be used. That includes our licensing costs, launching expenses, towers, studio equipment.
7738 We have allocated -- if you look at the cash flow of our forecast, it's positive throughout, over $300,000. So we have a lot of space there.
7739 In addition, to be conservative, I had put in $50,000 of contingency as part of my income statement. There is a line item for contingency of $50,000 per year for the whole seven years in my income statement. That's not being spent, but I put it because I wanted to be prudent to make sure we have some space in that area, we have additional funds.
7740 In addition, I have provided a financial net worth statement for myself and my other investor, which we have the ability to invest additional monies should it be required to do so.
7741 We do not anticipate it, but I have done this and I have launched a station in the past and I know what to do. I do not anticipate that because of my knowledge and experience within these communities, with the producers we have and the market needs, but we are prepared for the long run.
7742 Should there be additional monies required, as a shareholder I will be putting monies in that's required.
7743 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So you launched previously another radio station where? Whereabouts? Where was it?
7744 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: In Toronto. I was the Chief Operating Officer of CJSA 101.3.
7745 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. How long did it take to become profitable?
7746 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: We were profitable very quickly.
7747 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Because here you project to be profitable after the second year. This is quite optimistic.
7748 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: I will just take you back. I was at the hearing in 2002 and we projected an income statement with airtime sales. I launched the station in 2004 and our revenue was much higher than what we projected.
7749 We have made sure that -- because there is such demand for airtime and there is such demand for advertising within the ethnic market we were able to secure all our independent producers and generate revenues where we were profitable very quickly.
7750 And this Commission has -- I am longer with the company. The Commission has the financials of the company.
7751 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. It all depends if the producers are paying.
7752 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: My experience -- I was in charge of taking care of producers. Every single airtime contract from 2004 to 2009, I was the one executing it. I had a book this big of producers who want airtime because there is no lack -- there is no airtime slots in Toronto.
7753 So this notion I heard, you know, my esteemed friend Mr. Lenny Lombardi say that, you know, you have to make some difficult choices to get a producer that reflects programming. The decision on getting a producer is not financial. There will be many that are willing to pay. It's a question of what fits the market, who is going to provide the best programming, the longevity, and we did not have any issues and the programming on CJSA was always full.
7754 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
7755 And my last question will be very practical. If a listener complains, takes the phone and complains about whatever matter happens on the air, how will you proceed and how will you deal with that?
7756 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: First of all, as soon as -- we have a feedback mechanism on our Web site and we would provide -- when a complaint comes into the station it will come under a common email that would go to the program director, the station manager, all members of the advisory board and the board of directors.
7757 At the end of the day it is the board of directors that are making the promises to the Commission here to ensure that the programming meets all broadcast regulations.
7758 Once we get that complaint, we will make sure that we, first of all, investigate the complaint. You know, when I ran the station we used to get comments about everything, there's too much commercials.
7759 If it comes to the regulatory side, we will make sure that we translate the programming and the stations will have staff that speak the language. As I mentioned to you, we will have our technical operators and staff, so we will get an idea of right away what the program was.
7760 I handled a lot of issues in my capacity as this, complaints that come in from the CAB or the CRTC regarding this and I know how to handle that process.
7761 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. How long would it take?
7762 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: It would be immediate.
7763 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes?
7764 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: It would be immediate. There would be no sense of waiting on a complaint like that.
7765 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So thank you very much.
7766 Now, the real Chair, Mr. Katz, you can continue. Thank you.
7767 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
7768 I just have one quick question. You said that you worked at CJSA?
7769 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: That's right.
7770 THE CHAIRPERSON: How long did you work there?
7771 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: From the licence process -- I was part of the licence process all the way from 2001 and in 2009 I left.
7772 THE CHAIRPERSON: And now you want to start up a sister channel, very similar?
7773 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: No. I would say I want to serve audiences that are underserved in the market. An opportunity to get a frequency in Toronto is not something that comes every day, and when this opportunity came I wanted to look at what does the market need and try to serve the market need.
7774 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you know whether CJSA is profitable today?
7775 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: I haven't seen the current financial statements.
7776 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are my questions.
7777 Commissioner Simpson...?
7778 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good morning. Just one or two questions with respect to the competitive environment.
7779 I was very interested in your compelling presentation on demographics, growth of the marketplace, and, you know, it is a reality. Toronto, and Vancouver to a certain extent, are very interesting markets and I think are challenging some of the conventional wisdoms of ethnic radio policy in general and it brings me to the point of my question.
7780 As ethnic markets grow to become not a minority but have plurality and potentially gain in dominance in the marketplace, it changes the landscape of everything. Food stores no longer are isolated to being specialty stores as the Loblaws and the Safeways, you know, move into the new reality, and we see this virtually everywhere we look.
7781 So my question is, if you can take your broadcast applicant hat off and put your sociological hat on, wouldn't the mainstream conventional broadcasters ultimately be compelled to start going after what is now becoming the bigger part of the marketplace and what will that do to an ethnic radio station who has made regulatory commitments to a marketplace that they all of a sudden have new and very interesting competition with deep pockets?
7782 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: You were talking about Loblaws but I would just give an example about Loblaws. They did not have any Chinese supermarket. They tried to get into the Chinese supermarket and they were not successful. They were not able to integrate their stores, so they went out and bought out T & T, which is Chinese.
7783 So I don't believe that the skill set that we develop, it's not a thing that -- ethnic markets are very local. They are very relationship-based.
7784 The advertising that is going to be on the station is going to be sold to retail guys at $30, $40 a spot. You are not looking at, you know, $260 a spot.
7785 So would they be willing to come down on their rates to serve this market? It's not a reality, I believe.
7786 Plus, even if they did want to, would they be able to establish their roots and the connection within these communities that will make them relevant?
7787 I don't believe it's something -- they probably come with a big fat cheque and ask to buy you out. Are we willing to do that? I think my career is in broadcasting and I would want to provide my service. This is my life.
7788 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
7789 Back to putting your broadcasting hat back on again, and perhaps this is a question also Mr. Khan would like to weigh in on.
7790 The need for ethnic stations is to allow a culture to continue to enjoy, you know, one would hope, the best parts of their culture and not lose everything in the translation and -- I love this word -- it's the "transmogrification" into becoming a typical Canadian citizen, and I think we all wholeheartedly support that goal.
7791 But what will be the defining feature of your programming philosophy to ensure that we don't have columns of isolation within communities, you know, so that there is cross-cultural understanding and bringing your audiences not only together with their own cultures but also ensuring that the culture of the country is part of the fabric of what you are doing?
7792 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: I will answer your question in a couple of ways, one in ethnic reality and also outside.
7793 In our programming we have the Arabic show, for example. It's ethnic. Arabic populations come from four different countries. So what type of program would integrate all of them? Is it news from Egypt or Syria? No, it's a music format. It's the understanding of a music format that would connect those communities together. That is providing intercultural dialogue within those communities.
7794 Now, if you take the African community, they come from different countries. English understanding is very high. You cannot provide program -- you don't want to segment the market into silos, so we are doing English programming for -- the programming is specifically directed to the African community in the sense their music, their cultural events, their cultural heritage in Toronto is part of that.
7795 Then we come -- that's one part of trying to have that cultural dialogue within ethnic communities that we represent.
7796 Then we come to our South Asian programming, which is where I think the broadcasting is going to evolve. You know, to be relevant for my kids to grow up, you know, they are not as comfortable in Tamil. They are not going to speak Tamil formally in a major way, but they eat the food, they watch the movies, they listen to the music.
7797 So having media available to them is essential for the future generation in 20 years for them to retain their cultural roots. That's part of our multicultural policy.
7798 Now, Canada has changed over the many years. We each have brought something to Canada that is -- we are better than the sum of the parts. You know, we have brought something that -- you know, you get a restaurant here, you will eat diverse food. Toronto is the most diverse city.
7799 So we are changing Canada because we are integrating our own cultures into the daily living in the city. So in addition, we also have to do programming across platforms.
7800 My entire philosophy on the station is trying to see what has happened in the U.K. If you go to the U.K. a lot of the media -- because the communities have been there for many, many decades, a lot of the media for ethnic communities is operated in English.
7801 Because it's not the language alone. Language is very important. I am sending my daughter to Tamil school, Tamil class to study. We want to retain our language and culture, but we also want to integrate into the Canadian ways.
7802 That's why across the whole platform of our station we are talking about Canadian locally-relevant news and information. That's the key of engaging and integrating while holding onto our cultural roots and heritage.
7803 I hope I have answered your question.
7804 MR. KHAN: If I may just take 20 seconds. My son was born here, is fluently bilingual. As a matter of fact, he speaks a bit of Spanish, a little bit of German as well, but he also listens to South Asian radio stations purely for music. And he asks me often, where is your Pakistani music? I'm listening to Bhangra. It's Punjabi, it's not Pakistani. Where are the Ghazals and the classical music?
7805 So being fully integrated, like the future Madam Chair pointed out, the second generation is integrated, but they still want a connection. He speaks French, he listens to French music, English, German, Spanish, but he still wants that segment of his heritage.
7806 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7807 Commissioner Menzies...?
7808 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It's a little bit along that line but I want to address the question to Mr. Ramesh in terms of the music.
7809 We're having a little bit of a philosophical conversation here, but I mean part of the idea with this system or the multiculturalism is not only for ethnic communities to integrate with the broader society but for the broader society to integrate with you.
7810 I'm just curious to know what the barriers are or if you see institutional barriers with the acceptance of your music in terms of being able to -- I mean half a loaf is better than none, so if you get it in this world that's great, but there's other worlds, too, where I think you would want to be exposed to.
7811 I won't use a musical example, but in terms of the -- I don't know what you call it, I don't want to use the word "mainstream" but I can't think of another one -- legacy media. Okay, legacy media.
7812 You know, on Saturday mornings I can now watch IPL cricket and I think that shows -- you know, that's an example of the acceptance of the new Canada into the legacy media structure and I'm wondering if you see a point happening when that could happen with your music.
7813 MR. RAMESH: Great question actually. Hopefully, but at this point I think it's rather -- it has been a challenge. And I can say this on behalf of myself and every South Asian artist in Canada that is making moves, so to say.
7814 Because we have reached out to Z103.5, we have reached out to -- I don't want to name, you know, but I'm saying mainstream stations, we have reached out to them.
7815 I will give you an example. I have a song that did extremely well in the U.K., number one, top, 23 weeks, BBC Asian Network, which played all over the world. We made tons of money coming through SOCAN, which is great.
7816 But I couldn't get that song on mainstream radio at all simply because it started off in Hindi. And although I have another artist from Canada who's, you know, signed to a major label in the U.S. featured on the record, I did not get any airplay whatsoever.
7817 I reached out to every mainstream radio station in Canada, but simply because it did not start off in English and finish off in English and 95 percent of it -- you know, with a little bit of hook. So to say if that was in a non-English language they would probably consider it, but it was a huge challenge.
7818 So I know at this point to reach out to mainstream radio stations to get my music played or have listeners tune in expecting to hear my type of music is, I think, a little too premature at this point. So to have representation through 88.1 would be absolutely an amazing platform and I would love to see that happen.
7819 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That's interesting. Feist sort of had the same story, going to Europe, but then you win the Junos and people start playing you here.
7820 MR. RAMESH: Exactly. That's what it is.
7821 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Anyway, thank you for that answer. It was a good one.
7822 MR. RAMESH: No problem. Sure.
7823 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7824 Commissioner Molnar...?
7825 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
7826 I want to assure you that we have paid close attention to your application as it is filed and, as you know, before us we have a number of applications and many of them have a common theme in reflecting the diverse nature of Toronto, the fact that there is a growing population, a growing immigrant population, but there is also a maturing population, and so there are a number of applications in front of us speaking of serving the second generation and they have been brought before us in different ways.
7827 This is really a very regulatory question in that some of them have been filed as mainstream commercial applications, some have been filed as specialty applications, and yours, with a large theme of yours to serve the young and second-generation, you filed it as an ethnic application.
7828 Now, I just heard you say a couple of minutes ago about your online platforms and I'm interested to know that if we were to take away all of the regulatory applications and to try and fit things into boxes in order to serve the community here in Toronto, would your application look different?
7829 Like is this an application that's made to fit within what the ethnic radio policy fits or is this, in your view, the very best fit to serve the community?
7830 Why I bring up online platform is of course there's no restrictions and you don't need to fit into boxes as to what language where and how much music when.
7831 Is this made to fit into our regulated applications or is this the very best way to serve what has become the changing demographics of Toronto? Recognizing again, you know, this is what we are going to look at and what is in front of that is what we are looking at for this application. I'm just wondering. It's more philosophical than it is your application itself.
7832 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: I would say that my objective was to reach the most number of underserved audiences that led me to the communities and groups. So looking at the ethic communities as underserved led me to file an application. So I based it on what service I'm going to provide, not which silo I would fit.
7833 If your policy was different for English-language programming, for example classifying it, whatever classification you had I would fit there, but I just started with trying to serve the most underserved diverse audiences in Toronto's reality and wherever it fit would lead it to fit in its portions.
7834 I would like to say one thing about when you take away impediments to entry.
7835 I also was the Chief Operating Officer for Tamil 24, our digital station. When we launched in 2001 and '02, I went to Rogers and Bell and said, you know, we are going to launch a station for $20 a month, you know, carry us. They were just laughing at us, you know, $25 you can get 30 channels of basic cable and you are coming to me and saying you are going to launch a Tamil station for $20, who is going to pay for this stuff?
7836 When the Category 2 regulations were brought -- we would have never got carried if Category 2 licensing framework was not brought up by the CRTC. The number of ethnic stations that are operating under that banner on Rogers has increased multifold. We have tens of channels that are serving ethnic communities now because it has been opened, but the biggest difficulty here is spectrum usage.
7837 If you had a digital platform where you could launch every possible frequency and it was availably connected, you will have a 24-hour station for Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi. Every community is going to have that. It's just that we have limitations in frequencies, we have -- that's the regulatory form work that we are working on.
7838 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.
7839 So I think what I heard you say is that given our scarcity of frequency, in your view, you have put together what serves Toronto best and have not had to in any way modify that or restrict that due to the regulatory silos that we have?
7840 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: No, I have tried to serve the best way I could and the framework happened to be ethnic.
7841 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you very much.
7842 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any other questions from the panel?
7843 Thank you very much. That completes our review of your application. Thank you.
7844 MR. SIVAKKUMARAN: Thank you very much.
7845 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary?
7846 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
7847 I would just like to remind participants that Public Works is conducting a major power shutdown starting today at approximately 4:00 p.m. until tomorrow, Saturday, at approximately 10:00 p.m. So please keep that in mind if you have to file undertakings.
7848 I would also like to indicate for the record that all undertakings from Frank Torres and Bhupinder Bola have been filed and these documents have been added to the public record and copies are available in the public examination room.
7849 So we are now adjourning and we will reconvene Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. Thank you very much, everyone. Have a nice weekend.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1305, to resume on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 0900
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