ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 14 May 2012
This page has been archived on the Web
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
Volume 6, 14 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
14 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
14 May 2012
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
19. Sarabjeet S. Arora, on behalf of a not-for-profit corporation to be incorporated1260 / 7853
PANEL OF INTERVENERS
3. Yadpreet Singh1280 / 7960
1. Manmeet Thind1282 / 7976
2. Dr. Onkar Singh1286 / 7992
20. 8041393 Canada Inc.1338 / 8296
PANEL OF INTERVENERS
1. Siva Thondan Center1354 / 8397
2. Children’s Education Funds Inc.1356 / 8404
3. YES (Youth Employment Services)1357 / 8415
21. Radio Ryerson Inc.1416 / 8866
PANEL OF INTERVENERS
1. The National Campus and Community Radio Association1434 / 8968
2. Siobhan Ozege1437 / 8982
3. Aven Hoffarth1440 / 8998
22. Dufferin Communications Inc.1511 / 9477
PANEL OF INTERVENERS
1. Ontario Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce1532 / 9573
2. Toronto PFLAG1534 / 9583
3. Danielle Loncar1536 / 9594
- viii -
PAGE / PARA
Undertaking1384 / 8628
Undertaking1415 / 8855
Undertaking1584 / 9912
--- Upon commencing on Monday, March 14, 2012 at 0903
7850 THE SECRETARY: Good morning, everyone.
7851 We will start today with item 19 on the Agenda, which is an application by Sarabjeet S. Arora, on behalf of a not-for-profit corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a community ethnic AM radio programming undertaking in Brampton.
7852 I would ask, Mr. Sarabjeet, that you please introduce your colleagues for the record and you will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
7853 MR. ARORA: Thank you.
7854 Good morning, Mr. Chair, Commissioners, Interveners and everyone else in the audience. My name is Sarabjeet Arora and I am pleased to be here on behalf of Brampton Community Radio to present our case for the licensing of a new community radio station in Brampton.
7855 I have a postgraduate diploma in journalism and advertising and I currently run a media production company that produces print, Web, radio and television ads for many advertising agencies in more than 20 languages such as Tamil, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Hindi, Farsi and Arabic.
7856 I have along with me, on my extreme left, Devinder Kadian, a board member and a barrister/solicitor by profession. Devinder is an active community member and volunteers his time for people in distress. He will be acting as a Secretary on our board.
7857 Next to Devinder and on my immediate left is Tajinder Kaur, head of our volunteer committee and one of our many volunteers who have worked tirelessly in preparing this application that is in front of you. Tajinder is a student at law.
7858 On my extreme right is Harjit Ghuman, a certified general accountant, a board member and chief financial officer.
7859 Next to Harjit, on my right, is Raman Sivia, vice-chair of the board of Brampton Community Radio.
7860 You will also have the opportunity to hear from our board member Asis Sethi, who is currently out of town but has left us a video message. She is the treasurer of Brampton Community Radio.
7861 Behind us in the second row are our supporting interveners. On my left is Manmeet Thind, next to her is Dr. Onkar Singh and on my right is Yadpreet Singh, also known as Hans Maan.
7862 We also have one of our volunteers and a guiding force for Urdu-speaking community, Iftakhar Ahmed in the audience. Along with him is the head of fundraising team, Parag Tandon, also in the audience.
7863 Our goal as a team is to collectively answer:
7864 - why there is a need for a community radio station in Brampton;
7865 - financial goals that Brampton Community Radio has and how we will achieve them;
7866 - how we intend to ensure that Brampton Community Radio will be in compliance with CRTC policies;
7867 - the CRTC policy on campus and community radio programming and why we are seeking an exception to it.
7868 We are confident that this presentation will answer most of the questions that the Commission may have, but we will be very happy to answer any specific questions after this presentation.
7869 The presentation.
7870 Ladies and gentlemen, Brampton is the second-fastest-growing city in Canada. Over 60 percent of the Brampton population consists of visible minorities and over 50 percent of the residents speak a language other than English as a first language or mother tongue. This makes the city of Brampton and its situation very unique.
7871 Broadly speaking, for any community to prosper and to grow there is always a need to exchange, to understand and to share the knowledge and values amongst its citizens. There are many not-for-profit organizations that work to accomplish such societal goals, the goals that cannot be effectively accomplished by for-profit businesses.
7872 Amongst many other for-profit radio stations, Brampton Community Radio will be such a not-for-profit information exchange platform for the City of Brampton. It will cater to those residents of Brampton that have a unique cultural, linguistic or any other specific cultural needs.
7873 Ladies and gentlemen, when a young student jumps off a highway and commits suicide it makes it to the news. When a family kills one of their own it surely makes it to the news. But when a father, a brother or a mother or a sister is frustrated because of sickness, financial difficulties, cultural taboos, physical challenges or are in need of some help, does it ever make it to the news? Sensation is a great seller. Sensitivity is not.
7874 Over the years we have taken a reactive approach towards most of the things that happen in our society and only appreciate or condemn them after the fact.
7875 A proactive approach of informing, helping, educating or being enthusiastic toward something that is new is what a community station can effectively address. This sensitive and proactive approach towards our society, the residents of Brampton, is what sets Brampton Community Radio apart.
7876 One may ask why are we interested in this? Do we have a vested interest in this?
7877 Like many other Brampton residents, I am an immigrant. I have lived in Canada for almost 11 years now. Unfortunately, like many of you here today, I did not have the opportunity of going to school in Canada, but I do have two young children in the Canadian school system. Through them I learn more and more about Canada and Canadian values every day. I am blessed to have this open relationship with them. Not everyone else I know is as blessed.
7878 By being able to speak more than one language I was quickly able to assimilate with the society, but again, not everyone else I know is as fortunate.
7879 For others, finding out anything about Blue Jays or Vancouver Canucks is not even on their priority list. Sadly, this is not because they don't wish to know of them, it is simply because they do not have avenues of finding this information in their language of comfort and they are sometimes just too busy making a living or maybe sometimes just too embarrassed to ask someone who probably knows any better.
7880 At times, it seems like many immigrants even though living in the same city are living on an entirely separate island. This creates a barrier, a cultural gap, a gap if stretched too far wide will be absolutely impossible to fill.
7881 Brampton Community Radio will be an information centre, a bridge that will not only bridge in the gap between ethnic communities that come together to build the station but also the one that bridges the gap within the ethnic groups and the community at large.
7882 Now, let me be honest and make a confession here. Yes, I do have a vested interest and my interest is to fill this cultural gap as soon as possible, as quickly as possible, making the immigrant residents of the City of Brampton better informed and well connected with the larger society so that when media writes about them it is not just about yet another honour killing but it is about yet another honourable citizen of Brampton.
7883 I'm sure everyone sitting here has another burning question. If Brampton Community Radio is a community radio station, then why is the target audience set up the way that it is?
7884 Honourable Members of the Commission, this is not by choice, rather by necessity. Brampton Community Radio is a community radio that will target the residents of Brampton that currently have the greatest need. Because of the nature of the frequency available, the hours of operation are very limited and every language spoken in Brampton cannot be adequately reflected. It is simply because of this that the primary languages being spoken in Brampton are being targeted.
7885 These are also the groups that have the greatest need. For this reason, Brampton Community Radio will broadcast in the languages that it has proposed.
7886 Brampton Community Radio will not only be effectively run but it has been thoroughly thought out and financially planned.
7887 MR. GHUMAN: Good morning, everybody.
7888 When running any type of organization or service it's important to ensure that there are policies, procedures and proper accounting. Instead of going through our entire financials, I will address some key areas that may be of concern.
7889 When we were working on the draft application for Brampton Community Radio, we looked into proposed advertising rates. Because of the nature of this application, we proposed very conservative, yet realistic numbers.
7890 The revenue will be generated specifically from two sources, the first one being fundraising and the second one is advertising.
7891 Fundraising activities will be overseen by Mr. Parag Tandon, who has conducted multiple fundraising activities for various organizations.
7892 During the application process itself, our volunteers were able to secure a $30,000-commitment from various small community businesses. These businesses have also provided us with support letters that were submitted with our application.
7893 Our board, under the guidance of Mr. Parag Tandon, is very comfortable about raising $50,000 for capital costs and $65,000 for the first year operations. We are also confident about raising 15 percent more funds in the following two years, with the steady growth of 10 percent afterwards.
7894 We are also projecting a 10-percent growth in the advertising revenue every year, which is a reasonable number when we look at the increase in the listeners in the following years.
7895 With regard to the advertising revenue, upon first glance one may be shocked by our $3 per spot rate in the mornings and evenings. Each rate serves a particular purpose.
7896 Because of the frequency to be used in the morning and evening hours, it will fluctuate based upon the season. These hours are best heard in the summertime. As winter approaches, the days get shorter, so do the hours. Further, the morning and evening hours have greater interference in a 5mV contour map.
7897 Because of these reasons it was determined that the morning and evening hours are hard to sell and the advertising rates must be kept low.
7898 On the expense side, with regard to our salaries, we reviewed various job postings on the NCRA Web site and other relevant Web sites to determine that the figures are reflected on the salary chart in our application.
7899 Station managers of community stations earn anywhere from $25,000 to $55,000, depending on the size of the station. Proposed salaries at Brampton Community Radio are in line with that.
7900 I must emphasize again that Brampton Community Radio is a not-for-profit organization and we are proposing to spend all of our revenue or surplus towards various community initiatives. In seven years we intend to issue 50 percent of our annual surplus, which is estimated to be about $84,000, in grants to new Canadian artists, which is in addition to holding in-house workshops.
7901 On the technical side, some may ask why only $85,000 to set up a transmitter site along with studios? I would ask our vice-chair, Mr. Raman Sivia, to shed some light on how it's possible.
7902 MR. SIVIA: Thank you, Harjit.
7903 Bramptom Community Radio has set aside a total budget of $85,000 to set up a transmitter site and studios. This may seem like a very difficult task or even impossible. However, that is the beauty of community radio stations. They are radio stations of the community, not any one person. Community stations can do what commercial ones cannot. This has been seen time and time again.
7904 One recent example of that is CHHA 1610 AM. CHHA recently felt the need to move their transmitter site. A simple task as such can cost anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million.
7905 I personally took the opportunity to speak to Father Hernandez of CHHA and learned that this transmitter site was moved at half of the normal cost. How did they achieve that? Simple. CHHA is a community station. The community came together to make this happen.
7906 Brampton Community Radio is in a very similar situation. The community of Brampton is ready to have a community radio station they can call their own. When we asked the community for help during our application, we received an overwhelming response.
7907 English Prestige, a local construction company, agreed to do structural engineering free of cost. Gold Electric, a licensed electrical company was more than willing to help us in any electrical work that would be required in this project.
7908 When it's a matter of community, the community gets together and does what it can.
7909 Further, during my conversation with Father Hernandez, he kindly agreed to donate their old Valcoma tower that is of no use to them now. A local computer store, Computer Window, has agreed to donate new computers and any networking equipment we might need at startup. A wooden fence is a requirement. A local construction company has come forward for such help.
7910 The community of Brampton recognizes the importance of this service and is willing to do what they can to help this project. I am confident that the proposed budget and costs that we have set up are not only achievable but also realistic.
7911 MS KAUR: The idea of a volunteer-driven community radio station may give the Commission some concerns as to the procedures that Brampton Community Radio will implement to ensure compliance with the CRTC. It is one thing to get a licence to broadcast a radio frequency and it is yet another to broadcast in a manner that allows for compliance with the CRTC.
7912 The board members of Brampton Community Radio are quite aware of the CRTC's policies and procedures regarding compliance. To ensure that Brampton Community Radio is compliant, several procedures will be put into place, which I will briefly outline for you.
7913 First and foremost, one of the most important things that we felt Brampton Community Radio should do is to become an active member of the NCRA. Upon approval, this is one of the first things that Brampton Community Radio will do.
7914 Through this, Brampton Community Radio will be informed of CRTC policies and will have a place to seek help and advice should the need arise. The NCRA has a wealth of information that would guide and help Brampton Community Radio to stay in compliance with the CRTC.
7915 Throughout this application process we were constantly checking the NCRA Web site and we are in continuous contact with the staff at the NCRA whenever we have questions.
7916 It was through this site that we became aware of the program log developed by Peter Bradley at CFRU-GM in Guelph, Ontario. This is a unique tool that we also hope to adapt in our station.
7917 Further, Brampton Community Radio will send one delegate a year to the NCRA national conference. Through training and information available at the conference, each year Brampton Community Radio will be able to disseminate information to other team members at the station to put in place best practices.
7918 Brampton Community Radio recognizes the importance of ensuring compliance with the CRTC. To ensure compliance, every on-air personality will be required to fill out electronic log sheets, which will be randomly checked to ensure that all programs not only meet BCR's policies but are in compliance with the CRTC rules and regulations.
7919 A random check by the program director to crosscheck will go a long way in ensuring compliance. A monthly meeting will be conducted by the board to meet volunteers and paid staff to address any concerns.
7920 An advisory board will be formed consisting of community members. The advisory board will check programming on BCR and provide the board with feedback to let us know if we are fulfilling our community duties.
7921 Apart from the advisory board, a programming committee will be formed which will work with the program director. This committee will comprise members from all language groups that we cater to and we will discuss any suggestions, complaints or feedback from the advisory board regarding programming.
7922 Compliance really comes down to a station being willing to find out the right information, putting it into practice regularly, providing training for volunteers who are at the front line of maintaining compliance, finding ways to measure compliance and having someone be accountable for fixing problems when they do arise
7923 For this reason, one of the major tasks that Brampton Community Radio will have to complete is that of creating an operations manual that is in line with the CRTC's policies and reflective of any condition of licence imposed. This manual will detail steps to be taken should complaints arise.
7924 As is evident from its name, Brampton Community Radio is a community-based station that is volunteer-driven. Working with a team of volunteers, we realize the exceptional need of necessary training. This is not only important for us from the perspective of following CRTC's guidelines but also for the success of the station.
7925 To ensure that we are training volunteers in the correct manner, our first step will be to hire a well-experienced station manager, someone who has in-depth knowledge of Canadian broadcasting.
7926 Every volunteer working as a producer, researcher or on-air talent for any show will be required to take in-house classes that will be organized and run by the station manager. All volunteers will be mandatorily required to attend these classes and continue to update their knowledge with regards to CRTC's policies and procedures.
7927 We are confident that Brampton Community Radio will have in place practices and procedures that will make us successfully and effectively run.
7928 MR. KADIAN: Good morning, everyone.
7929 We recognize the importance of community radio in the larger community and this importance should also be recognized in the ethnic communities too.
7930 We are aware of the Commission's Campus and Community Radio Policy and specifically paragraph 82 of the policy.
7931 Community radios have proven to be a great asset in the communities that they serve. In 2003, the Commission licensed a Spanish-language community radio owned and operated by the San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre. Granted, this policy was not in effect at the time station was licensed, but the Commission renewed the same licence in 2011 while the policy was in effect.
7932 Circumstances for each application and each case surely vary and San Lorenzo Radio may have been in a similar or probably a bit different situation as compared to the Brampton Community Radio. But this does not limit the fact that the ethnic communities can benefit greatly from community radios.
7933 Why should community radio be available in only English? Should they not be reflective of the audiences they are going to cater?
7934 Ethnic communities contribute greatly to the Canadian society. In turn, Canada provides them with benefits that they could have only dreamt of in their native lands. However, there are issues that many ethnic Canadians face.
7935 By picking a niche market and catering programming to this market, Brampton Community Radio will be able to provide a service that is not yet available to the ethnic groups of Brampton. Although there is programming available for some language groups, there is surely no station that this community can currently turn to that specifically addresses their concerns in the depth that is required.
7936 As Sarabjeet has already mentioned, current radio programs are reactive because of their commercial nature, of course, while community radios are proactive.
7937 Brampton Community Radio will be an outlet for the ethnic residents living in Brampton in many ways:
7938 - youth working at the station will have an outlet to express themselves, learn valuable skills, interact with others in the community;
7939 - local aspiring artists will have a chance to promote themselves;
7940 - physically challenged groups will get a voice;
7941 - seniors will have a station to listen to, a station that specifically addresses their needs and informs them as to the services available to them in the languages required.
7942 In sum, a community radio station in Brampton for ethnic language groups can do what no commercial radio can do. For this reason alone, the Commission should provide an exception to paragraph 82 of the Campus and Community Radio Policy.
7943 Thank you.
7944 MR. ARORA: Mr. Chair and Commissioners, I would like to emphasize that Brampton Community Radio is a community radio station and not a commercial one.
7945 There are key differences between community and commercial radios that the Commission is well aware of. A community radio does not displace a commercial one. A community radio only fills in the voids and gaps and does not compete with the existing commercial stations. In fact, it complements commercial stations. Our endeavour is to help and serve the groups that could use this help the most.
7946 Our programming speaks for itself, as to what we can do and what we will do.
7947 Community radios are not required by regulation to contribute to CCD, yet Brampton Community Radio is committed to contributing over 50 percent of our annual surplus, roughly $84,000, in seven years. This is because we believe in the community.
7948 And why should we not? It may be worthwhile mentioning here that while most applicants seek professional help to put their proposal before the Commission, our application has been a total labour of love -- researched, prepared and submitted by volunteers.
7949 We are seeking a licence on a frequency that was let go by another commercial station many years back. This frequency has been idle and has been available for use all these years. Due to the limitations of hours of operation, and due to the fact that it is an AM, not FM, no other commercial broadcaster has previously shown any interest in it.
7950 We have purposely chosen to work with this frequency, and are trying to make the best use of it for the community.
7951 Honourable members of the Commission, we believe in a stronger community, and we are committed to working hard to see the success of this radio station.
7952 As mentioned at the beginning, one of our Board members, Asis Sethi, is away from Canada because she is getting married, but before she left she recorded a message for us all, which we would like to share with you.
7953 Please roll the video.
--- Video presentation
7954 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
7955 Mr. Arora, would you please introduce your intervenors in support for the record?
7956 MR. ARORA: Absolutely.
7957 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
7958 MR. ARORA: Our first intervenor in support is Manmeet Thind. The next one will be Dr. Onkar Singh, who is right behind me. And the third one will be Yadpreet.
7959 And they can pick their own order, if they like.
7960 MR. SINGH: Honourable Chair, Commissioners, and everyone else present here, good morning. My name is Yadpreet Singh, and I am known to the music fraternity as Hans Maan.
7961 I am a musician who sings, composes and produces a blend of music from Indian subcontinent, with a flavour of jazz. I live, work and play in Brampton.
7962 I recently released a single which, interestingly, never got any airplay in Canada, except for OMNI Television, where it was played and was appreciated.
7963 Other than that, my PR company in the U.K. was also able to get me airplay on this song on BBC, Asia, and they are working on more.
7964 Obviously, all of this comes at a price, a price that most young musicians I know cannot afford to pay.
7965 I have produced many songs for a large number of young Canadian singers, and each single one of us had the same upward struggle: How do we get the local radio stations to play our songs? How do we get the word out there?
7966 For most music stations in Canada, our music is too Eastern, or, in my case, too Punjabi. And for the Punjabi programs that hit the Toronto airwaves, we do not translate into direct dollars.
7967 Coming from immigrant families, our parents do not necessarily subscribe to our ideas of becoming musicians. They all respect music, but not the musicians, and would like us to be successful doctors, engineers or accountants -- or, maybe, a super successful musician.
7968 Imagine this: I am a musician and I wish to be successful.
7969 Canadian radios won't give me airplay unless I pay for it in some way, shape or form.
7970 My other choice is to move to the U.K. and take a chance. But, again, I cannot quit school, and my family won't support me financially or even morally.
7971 So what do I do now, quit music altogether, or is there another choice?
7972 Why can we not have a support system, some kind of radio station that promotes Canadian music?
7973 Frankly, I am excited about this whole new idea of a community radio that supports local talent, gives them an opportunity to produce, explore and get airplay of their music. What a beautiful way of bringing musicians of all genres together and giving them a launching pad, a platform to succeed.
7974 Commissioners, not just for myself, but for all other musicians just like myself, I humbly request you to grant a licence to Brampton Community Radio, so that we get a place to connect and thrive.
7975 Thank you.
7976 MS THIND: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Manmeet Thind. I am a fourth year political science student at York University, and a proud resident of the City of Brampton. I am an active participant and volunteer in my community, and currently sit as a trustee on the Brampton Library Board.
7977 I speak on behalf of the young people of my city, as I support Mr. Arora's application for a not-for-profit community ethnic radio station.
7978 I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you why Mr. Arora's venture is both unique and urgently needed in our community. A not-for-profit station that discusses the issues and concerns of society, while giving appreciation to the residents of Brampton, is truly a unique idea. Stations representing for-profit, big businesses already over-saturate our airwaves. The voice of truly community-based organizations is lost in these corporate interests.
7979 Mr. Arora's proposal allows for the ninth largest city in the country to finally have a voice of its own, representing the interests of its people, not profit-seeking businesses.
7980 A diverse range of programming should be available to city residents, reflecting its diversity and inclusion.
7981 Being the daughter of immigrants and having spoken to many new Canadians, the most widespread grievance I have heard from them is the hiring discrimination that they face. The volunteer and career development opportunities that Mr. Arora has included in his broadcast licence proposal will create much needed support for those looking to gain experience in an industry that may have been shut out to them.
7982 Along with this, the local talent development and promotion that this radio station will be actively engaging in further strengthens the level of resources available to community members. Brampton artists need local support, and Mr. Arora's venture will be a step in the right direction for them.
7983 According to the Brampton Creative Economy Summit's presentation entitled "Downtown Brampton Creative Economy Plan 2011-2016": "Venues exemplify and encourage local awareness, build capacity and drive the evolution of a creative hub."
7984 We want Brampton to be a creative hub, and Mr. Arora's application presents a true example of a venue attuned to this vision.
7985 All of the reasons I have listed until now have ignored what I consider to be the most valuable aspect of this application. The CRTC refers to its third language stations under the Ethnic Broadcast Policy. The use of the word "ethnic" itself in the title of the policy denotes the term "foreign" or not belonging to the wider community.
7986 Although the languages broadcast on ethnic radio stations are not English or French, the listeners are not foreigners, they are Canadians.
7987 The residents of Brampton, especially those new to the city and country, deserve to have a place to communicate and connect with one another in their new home. Mr. Arora's proposal will create a bridge between marginalized visible minority communities and the community at large, where they all live.
7988 Many neighbourhoods in Brampton can be referred to as cultural ghettos, with residents only comfortable speaking a third language.
7989 The content of third language media that cultural groups receive is often centred on the country of origin. Artistic talent on these channels is not home-grown Canadian talent, the issues and news coverage are not local, and new Canadians are not being encouraged enough to build ties to their new home.
7990 It is the responsibility of policymakers such as the CRTC to ensure that the cultural isolation of new immigrant groups is not propagated. Thus, Mr. Arora's truly community-based ethnic programming will allow for Bramptonians to see themselves reflected in their media; not simply as South Asians, but as South Asian Canadians living in the City of Brampton.
7991 Thank you.
7992 DR. SINGH: Honourable Chair, honourable members of the Commission, and respected members of the audience, my name is Onkar Singh and I am a proud Canadian and practising Sikh.
7993 I was born and raised in the City of Brantford and was fortunate to have been raised with my values of Sikhism, yet maintaining the ability to engage in opportunities that helped to foster my interaction with the community of Brantford and, on a larger scale, Canada.
7994 I attained a degree in biochemistry with honours, and further went on to study naturopathic medicine or another four years. Currently, I have been in clinical practice for 11 years.
7995 In addition, for the past 25 years I have also been fortunate to have been a professional musician.
7996 My upbringing allowed for a very beneficial integration of two worlds, one being my faith as a Sikh, and the other as a proud Canadian. Perhaps it was a bit easier for me, noting that I was born and raised in a country that I have come to love so much, yet this is not the case for those who come to Canada to make it their new home, a place where they can actively contribute to society in order to facilitate their present lives and secure a future for themselves and their loves ones.
7997 This transition is always very difficult for these individuals. Imagine going to a foreign country, where you are not accustomed to their culture, their way of carrying out day-to-day affairs, tasks; and further, not having the resources or avenues to get the information you need to have your questions answered adequately.
7998 For some of us, Canada became our home by the very fact that we were born here, and it facilitated our abilities to quickly integrate into the various facets of Canadian living.
7999 For an immigrant, they have a very deep desire and yearning to make Canada their permanent home, yet their passion to work in this country in order to build a better life goes unnoticed, or is not able to come to fruition simply because some of their basic questions or concerns cannot be answered with regards to coming to a foreign country.
8000 This brings an initial sense of frustration of the unknown. Frustrations do not allow for growth. Frustration does not allow for anything to evolve in a positive manner.
8001 Brampton is an example of a city that is flourishing and evolving with respect to the ethnic community. It would be prudent to support this evolution in a way that would foster its growth in a positive, creative and productive manner.
8002 Individuals simply want to feel connected to something. They want to feel a part of something. That is what empowers us. That is what inspires us.
8003 In my many interactions over the years with newly immigrated individuals, one common theme that consistently comes up is their frustration with regards to not feeling a part of this country, which remains foreign for them; in this case, not feeling part of Brampton.
8004 These ongoing frustrations can lead to depression, impulsive decisions, wrong choices and, God forbid, taking their life, all because they did not feel a part of this wonderful Canadian family.
8005 Everyone wants to feel acknowledged. Everyone wants to feel listened to. They want to feel heard. They want viable options now and in the present to address their concerns.
8006 No one wants to hear: We have heard your concerns, we have documented them, and we will get back to you.
8007 A community-based radio station based in Brampton, with the mandate and mission to support all of which I have just said, is very much needed -- I should rather say a requirement. If we do not respond to the continuing growth of ethnic culture and its peoples in this city, we could find ourselves dealing with not just one frustrated or clinically depressed individual, but a whole community of the same.
8008 A community radio station much like the one being proposed by Mr. Sarabjeet Arora would help to foster this ever-evolving need. A not-for-profit radio station is proof enough that those behind this proposal have their hearts and minds in the right place. They are doing it for the very right reasons. They are not doing it for fame, not for popularity, not for themselves; they are responding to the needs that they see before them.
8009 Unlike others who can simply sympathize with these needs and leave it at that, this radio station would take it a step further and give answers, give resources that individuals are seeking.
8010 Moreover, it is not just for one culture, one language, but for those cultural groups that are presenting the need.
8011 The radio station would provide a forum that would allow for their passion of making Canada their home noticed, for their questions and concerns to be addressed, and then given options.
8012 Moreover, the community radio station is just that, it is for the community and all of the issues affecting the community, from personal issues to family concerns to questions about schooling, education, and where to fill out applications.
8013 Moreover, it would be a community-based station that would support the local talent and local artists.
8014 Throughout my musical career, most of my performances have been in private and public gatherings, a large proportion of which have taken place in the Brampton area. Brampton is a second home for me. With the increasing number of various ethnic groups in this city, I have found that the demand for my particular music has increased over the last five to ten years.
8015 However, even though I have been performing for well over 20 years, I have been unable to get the consistent support that I have needed from media, whether it was related to PR work or even supporting new musical endeavours.
8016 This community radio station would serve the purpose of not only inspiring, encouraging and providing a platform for local artists, it would also help to offer and create fundraising endeavours for new musical initiatives.
8017 It can be quite discouraging when you know that you have a lot of talent to offer, yet no viable resources to help facilitate this.
8018 One could say that there are already community-based radio stations out there. There may be many radio stations out there, but it is hard to find the one that is there for the community.
8019 Knowledge is power. When individuals can get the knowledge they need, and the answers they seek, amazing things happen, amazing results are seen.
8020 A community-based radio station in Brampton would be that self-sustaining, empowering forum that needs to finally become a reality, rather than just an amazing idea.
8021 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all very much.
8022 I would ask Commissioner Simpson to begin the questioning.
8023 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
8024 Good morning. To paraphrase an old expression: The road to a radio station licence is not necessarily paved alone with good intentions.
8025 My first comment is that this is an application that I feel is based on a tremendous amount of logic with respect to your analysis of the marketplace -- and I give you full marks for that.
8026 But you are asking for a tremendous amount in terms of faith in your ability to deliver on what you are promising. If you were to ask for a driver's licence on the basis of promising to read everything there is to know about driving a car, things don't work that way.
8027 I am going to be a little hard on you this morning, because it is not only our job, but we are looking at always trying to live by the rules we set, but at the same time I am going to try to give you every opportunity this morning to challenge the rules, because I am hearing, particularly from the backbench -- Dr. Singh very eloquently said that the market, the world, is changing, and so too must attitudes and rules and regulations.
8028 Not that we have that ability, but I think, if anything, this is your opportunity to put a case for that forward.
8029 Wow, where do we start?
8030 I want to go to a technical question first. I will leave programming and policy, I think, to the last part, because it probably is going to be the most exhaustive conversation we have.
8031 Going to your -- I am sorry, I have forgotten the gentleman's name, but perhaps, Mr. Arora, you could just direct the questions for me.
8032 On your technical brief, you illustrated that you had a lot of goodwill that would come to the fore to help you with your transmitter site, right down to a wooden fence donation, but we didn't talk about the elephant in the room, which is the cost of the land, to either purchase or lease.
8033 What is the arrangement that you have in mind, if you don't mind sharing it with the panel, as to how you are going to deal with this, often the largest expense associated with an AM licence?
8034 MR. ARORA: Thank you very much, Commissioner.
8035 We have already submitted with our application an agreement that we have with the landlord. We are seeking a rooftop antenna, and we already have that in place. We would be using a rooftop as our antenna site, which we are leasing.
8036 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So this would be an omni-directional antenna then?
8037 MR. ARORA: Yes.
8038 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That answers a lot of questions. I am sorry that I didn't get to that part of the brief, it escaped me.
8039 That's fine, so you have that agreement -- not in place necessarily, but in the works.
8040 With respect to signal interference, propagation being the problem here, your brief indicated that one of the main issues of analysis in your application was that Brampton is not being served by a Brampton radio station. Brampton isn't hearing about Brampton stuff, right down to traffic reports.
8041 The traffic reports, usually, are most important in the morning and afternoon day parts.
8042 When do you propose to be broadcasting? When does your broadcasting day start and end?
8043 MR. SIVIA: It varies, depending on the summer timing. There is a complete schedule. Roughly, in the summer, we will start around 6:30, even to 7:00, but in the winter it will most likely be 8 o'clock before we can start hearing the actual audio.
8044 It goes by the month, as the sun -- I guess the Commission knows, or we can file the details of the actual start time.
8045 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So, essentially, your biggest revenue period is really curtailed. Most people are at work at 8 o'clock in the morning, and traffic reports aren't necessarily going to be a main part of the programming, even though you indicated that that is something Brampton needs. Okay.
8046 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm sorry, I just have so many questions...
8047 Why do you feel that your credibility is linked to the need to be a non-profit broadcaster?
8048 You seem to infer that all the way through your brief, and I am just curious, when you are in the process of selling advertising, why you feel this wouldn't be better suited as a profit-making venture.
8049 MR. ARORA: For me, profit is not a dirty word, but the profits that we would be making are not to go into anyone's pocket. The profits are to be rolled back into the community. That is the purpose that this community radio station seeks to serve.
8050 Fifty percent of the surplus every year would go to Canadian artists -- we would be creating a grant program -- and the rest would be toward the development of other programs that would help the community, which is why we bring in the point again and again that we are not for profit.
8051 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: If the intent is to plough back your profits into your product, then why is your allocation of revenue into programming so low?
8052 And when I say low, it's somewhere in the vicinity of between one-quarter and one-third of your revenues.
8053 MR. SIVIA: The programming expenses we have indicated in the business plan is for the program director.
8054 The programs will be produced by volunteers. That's why the cost of programming is low comparatively to, I guess, you comparing it to a commercial station. This is how we projected it.
8055 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Could you give me an idea, and I'm sure that part of the money is going to be with respect to some of your -- let's call it CCD-equivalent expenses. But you have a very large cash haul called "Other" and it's grabbing the lion's share of the revenue by approximately half or more of the money.
8056 Could you break out for me what the other represents in terms of expenses?
8057 MR. SIVIA: Are you referring to the programming expenses?
8058 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm looking at your financial projections, Table 2, where you have your revenue broken out by national, local advertising and fundraising and then you have your expenses in hundreds of thousands of dollars. You have three categories: programming, technical and other.
8059 This is the Year 1 through 7 that also illustrates your profitability into Year 3.
8060 MR. SIVIA: We estimated about $3,400 for the royalties, the music we are going to play. $32,000 a year will be the salaries for the program director.
8061 The other $1,000 expenses that we have kept in there is in a sense we have to buy DVDs or CDs or for any other -- I guess $100 a month. It's very reasonable.
8062 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But you said your program directors and your programming budget and I'm asking about the budget called "Other".
8063 MR. SIVIA: If you give me one second, I can sure go there.
8064 MR. SIVIA: That is under the programming expenses. Other program expenses you are referring it to or maybe your --
8065 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: What I'm looking -- in your application you had a Year 1 through 7 table.
8066 MR. SIVIA: Oh, sorry, okay. So you're looking -- we were looking at the breakdown on our supplementary.
8067 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes. This is the table that ends with your PBIT and your projection of non-profitability in Year 3 of a seven year financial projection.
8068 MR. SIVIA: Let me just have a little discussion with Harjit.
8069 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sure, take your time.
8070 MR. SIVIA: He is our -- the financial person.
8071 MR. ARORA: I'm sorry, I don't know if you are still on the same page or not. Could you point out the number, exact number what we are looking for?
8072 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sure, in the seven year projection, if we go to Year 7 for example, you were looking at $2,000 in national advertising or, sorry, $192,000 for local advertising, $126,000 in fundraising for a total of $320,000.
8073 Then, in the expense column you have $46,000 for programming; technical $60,000 and "other" $130,000. And when I ask you about what the "other" represents you said that it would include program director's salary which previously you said would be in the programming budget. I'm just trying to determine what the "other" category means because it's such a catch-all.
8074 MR. SIVIA: We don't have the "other" in our application.
8075 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: All right, all right. Okay.
8076 Well, I will decide whether I need that as a submission at the end of --
8077 MR. SIVIA: Sure.
8078 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- in writing, but we'll move on.
8079 In your critical analysis which I commend you for because I think you have done a lot of work with respect to analysing the marketplace in terms of this ethnic composition -- it's funny that word seems so inapplicable these days because of the relative sizes of all of the marketplaces. You know someday we will maybe find a better word -- but, for the time being, your determination that the preponderance of Punjabi and Hindi but predominantly Punjabi really lends itself to narrowing the focus of this radio station to that market group.
8080 And I put it to you, before we even talk about bending the policy, that when I look at the programming schedule of CIAO I'm seeing 10-15 hours a day in their programming schedule dedicated to Punjabi and some to Urdu.
8081 Then, of course, on their weekends, you know, they take care of their other ethnic policy requirements. But that's a great, great whack of Punjabi in a station that is licensed to service the Brampton market now.
8082 So is your belief that the need for your community station based on the fact that there is not enough Punjabi language directed programming in Brampton or is it because the Brampton station is not delivering Brampton information regardless of whether it's in Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi or English?
8083 MR. ARORA: Commissioner, three facts on that.
8084 First, we believe there is enough Punjabi language programming. We are not disputing the fact there was Punjabi programming. Whether they are delivering Brampton local content or not that is where we come in. We believe there is no Brampton local content.
8085 We also submitted some -- our volunteers had actually analysed the programs. They heard the programs and analysed them. We also included that as a part of our submission with the application.
8086 And, finally, we believe most commercial stations by the nature of their work on the brokered airtime, brokers have a nature to maximize their profits. So they have no interest or not enough time to talk about the community issues.
8087 So I don't even blame them for what they're doing. It's just the nature of the programming. It's a landlord-tenant relationship. They have got to fulfil their duties every month to pay -- write a certain cheque every month and if they don't they are not on air.
8088 So they are not able to dedicate their time to the community issues which is why we believe this is important that we bring up the community issues in the language that people can understand.
8089 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
8090 But still if you look at the spirit of our ethnic radio policy when you refer to a community, you know, we take a rather global view being a multicultural country that we are that when we use the term community we are not talking about a community but the community which is also represented by Portuguese, Hindi, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, et cetera.
8091 I'm now going to start moving into -- in spite of the preponderance of the Punjabi spoken language which is significant, are you not by virtue of how you are asking for your licence ignoring -- and if you are going to be a fulsome broadcaster really representing the community interests of the Brampton community, are you not turning your back on the other 200,000 English speakers and the rest by choosing to be narrow in your view of what a community is in Brampton?
8092 MR. ARORA: I would actually agree on you with this. But we have a concern with the frequency that we have. It only works certain hours of the day, especially in the winter hours. We only have a very limited hour schedule from sunrise to sunset.
8093 So for us to be able to commit to something that we cannot deliver, getting into smaller programming such that people don't even listen to would not suffice.
8094 So in our opinion what we try to do is pick some of the communities that we can serve and not all, and then we try to work with the larger groups and the larger numbers that could sustain the programming in terms of advertising and then subsidize the other small groups such as Arabic. There is a very small percentage of Arabic or Vietnamese groups in Brampton but they have no programming whatsoever.
8095 So by the virtue of picking the larger groups we were able to subsidize the other groups, which is why we have chosen to work with certain groups and not the English-speaking broader audience.
8096 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm. How are we supposed to rationalize your programming approach when we are -- there are eight or nine ethnic stations now?
8097 Admittedly not many of them are broadcasting to the Punjabi audience but the proposals that are before this Commission last week and this are intending to change that and changing it in a way that is significantly greater because of their proposed use of the 88.1 frequency that they would be able to perform a Punjabi service to most of the GTA whereas yours would be very isolated because of the nature of the spectrum.
8098 So my question is the technical nature and the selectivity of what you are doing solves an ethnic language problem for Brampton but doesn't solve it for the broader Punjabi community and other proposals do.
8099 Yet, your other rationale for being a community station providing news and community information and traffic services and all that is precluded by your ability to broadcast for the juiciest part of the program day which is morning and evening drive.
8100 So I am trying very deliberately to pick apart your argument and I am asking you to tell me why you think this Commission would be wise to grant you a licence when it's obviously going to have not much of an impact beyond the 200,000 Punjabi speakers in Brampton and also potentially play some economic havoc to the incumbent radio station.
8101 MR. ARORA: So I believe there are two parts of the question. On the first part, as you said --
8102 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: My apologies. It was a long question.
8103 MR. ARORA: The first part: Why Brampton? Why a smaller group of people and not a large group of people?
8104 And the second part, the economic part.
8105 So I will answer the first one first. This is the best frequency that was available to a group of people living in Brampton that we were looking at serving.
8106 By choosing 88.1 or any other frequency that may serve a larger group we are doing actually a disservice to a larger group of people that do not understand the language and which is exactly the reason why we purposely chose a frequency that was only going to be available to a group -- a concentrated group of people and would not filter out of that or not go outside of that area. This was the sole purpose of picking this frequency and not going in for a frequency and then doing a disservice to the other people.
8107 As the economic part goes, the creating economic havoc for other people, if you look at our financial numbers and because we actually anticipated this question -- so I can say this. If you look at the percentages that we -- the total advertising revenue in the total Toronto market, we don't even make a total of 1 percent of that. Leave aside the bigger number.
8108 So getting down into the ethnic numbers of where most of the radio stations are on a brokered model more models are not going to be affected because it's the brokers -- if they lose any money it will be the brokers and not the stations that will be losing any money because the stations get a set revenue every month.
8109 Now, even going down to the level of brokers, our revenues are very limited revenues that we are looking at. It's a very limited area that we cater.
8110 We are also very limited due to the nature of frequency again. Our rates will have to be very low so we don't expect everyone else outside of Brampton to come along or a Toronto-based company to come along and start advertising. It will be actually corner stores, smaller stores in Brampton area, someone who is very local will be advertising with us.
8111 So we will not be able to take away other people's dollars. It will be pretty much community dollars staying in the community.
8112 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you.
8113 I have to walk both sides of the fence here because you are asking for a community radio licence but, you know, I still have to square in my mind what obligations you are prepared to come forward with as though you were to be an ethnic station because you are a lot of both at this point.
8114 With respect to the advisory panel, in your written submissions to the Commission your references to the advisory panel seemed to be focused on the development of -- I don't want to say artists' development in the classic CCD context, but the advisory panel seemed to have a focus towards developing relations and talent that would bring the community -- do a better job of bringing the community into the radio station.
8115 Yet, this morning I seem to have gotten an inference that the advisory panel would have a broader role in terms of oversight of the governance of the radio station. Is that correct? Did I hear you correct --
8116 MR. ARORA: Yes, you did, sir.
8117 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON -- correctly? I'm sorry.
8118 MR. ARORA: Yes, you did.
8119 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So for the record, this advisory panel is proposed to have governance or an oversight to the entire radio station, not just to certain aspects of its programming.
8120 MR. ARORA: We have -- the programming is actually taken care of by a programming committee. So there is two levels that we have.
8121 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That's the word I was looking for, programming.
8122 MR. ARORA: We have a programming committee that looks into the programming and works with a programming director. The advisory panel that we have or we propose to have works well on the overall governance of the station. So there is two levels that we are talking about.
8123 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sorry, you caught me in mid-pour.
8124 What's going to be the process for selection of and qualification for joining that advisory committee?
8125 MR. ARORA: We have been talking to community members -- in fact from various languages and ethnic groups. It is pretty much by the merit of what they have been doing and what their past has been will decide who will make it to the advisory panel.
8126 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And who is going to -- excuse me, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
8127 MR. SIVIA: We are in the process of -- we had a discussion with the sergeant and he is head -- diversity head on Peel Police, not confirmed, but we had talked and he asked for the proposal that needs to be put up to the Peel Police. We have asked him to sit on the advisory board. He encountered these communities every single day. I see him at every event.
8128 So he has the knowledge. Plus apart from the resources from Peel Police he has more knowledge about the community. So these are the kind of people we are planning to have on our advisory board.
8129 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So I'm absolutely clear, are you saying that the nominees would be selected from beyond the Punjabi community? You would make a constant effort to be more broadly based in your selection?
8130 MR. ARORA: Absolutely, absolutely. We in fact have been talking to people from Vietnamese groups, are talking to people from Arabic groups. We are talking to people from all language groups, in fact.
8131 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And the process of the nomination committee who is going to -- sorry to get into the detail but this is the stuff that we find greatly interesting.
8132 The selection committee is going to be comprised of whom and who will -- and is there any one individual in the nomination committee that will have veto power over selection of candidates?
8133 MR. SIVIA: In this board, everybody sit and decides there is no such a veto power that I am the vice-chair and I'll just do whatever I want. So everyone has a vote.
8134 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So everyone has a vote?
8135 MR. SIVIA: Yeah, we are a board and everybody have a vote. If there is an issue that comes to the vote level as far as the nominees are concerned we have worked synergies with the local newspaper. It will be put up.
8136 If we are not able to -- for example, B. J. Sandhu is a good candidate our board thought. He speaks Punjabi and Urdu and he understands the community. Plus, he has resources I mentioned.
8137 Apart from that we will have our synergies asking if somebody is entrusted to hold this position. We will not be cherry picking whoever we want. We have a democratic process of selecting people.
8138 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
8139 MR. SIVIA: I hope I answered your question.
8140 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Again, I think it's falling back into the ambition category as opposed to the practical realities of having articles that we can look at here at the Commission.
8141 Let me ask you just some more details on this committee or advisory panel. What is the term? Have you thought about the term that an advisory panel member would serve?
8142 MR. SIVIA: We are planning to have a one-year term and then if the board feels and with the voting rights we can even continue if the person is meeting our mandate.
8143 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In having stuck my nose into a lot of the community radio stations operations in this country, one of the big issues that we have detected is that in a volunteer-run organization a lot of institutional memory gets lost as you have turnover, predictable turnover in your volunteer base.
8144 And between your paid administration and the advisory board that's where the collective knowledge resides. A one-year term sounds way too short for me. I can't speak on behalf of the other panellists.
8145 But the other thing that we have learned is that you have setup a structure of overlapping collections then you lessen the risk of having an entire panel disappear, God forbid, at the same time as your general manager and you wind up having a lot of talent and knowledge walk out the door.
8146 So would you please revisit your consideration for a one year term and perhaps lengthen it and look at an overlapping structure which, I think, would serve you well?
8147 MR. ARORA: Absolutely, Commissioner. I believe like we already said, knowledge is power and coming from someone like yourself who has knowledge of working with community radio we would be definitely interested in looking into it.
8148 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
8149 And it's always a requisite that the general management because they are getting paid, so you burden them with more work, administrative work -- it's the norm to have the management of the station report to the advisory panel.
8150 But are you contemplating, and if you aren't, would you contemplate that the advisory board prepare a document for submission into the records of the organization on an annual basis so that they can be brought forward at licence renewal so that there is a documentation of the decisions and the views of the advisory panel?
8151 MR. ARORA: Yes, we are.
8152 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. You are or you will?
8153 MR. ARORA: We will.
8154 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
8155 In that, in our view right now you are neither a community station or an ethnic station -- I'm going to go back to CCD.
8156 It's been the requirement of ethnic stations that they make CCD requirements not so much on the community side now. You are proposing $84,000 over seven years, is that correct?
8157 And would you, one more time with feeling as they say, give me a view as to the ambitions of that money, how it's going to be spent and what you expect to get in return?
8158 MR. ARORA: This is one of the anticipated questions.
8159 This $84,000 is spread over the period of seven years. The first two, three years -- two years -- we are not going to be able to do anything but in the following years as the numbers should come up we will be distributing this money and it will be in the form of a grant for all artists that would like to fly.
8160 Again, it could be musicians. It could be songwriters. It could be singers. It could be music producers and even radio documentary producers we will be open to that. So anyone who applies again the committee would select.
8161 The grant would be given out and it would be given out in phases. They would need to complete part one of it. If they get to a part -- get to a certain level on production, they get the second part.
8162 And finally when they deliver the product they get the final amount.
8163 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Back to the financials for a second, the potential of a very focused measure of programming, a very focused station that is based in, talks to and supports the needs of a market like Brampton; taking for granted your claim that your advertising revenue recovery is going to be negligible and might not impact the incumbent broadcaster, your ability to focus -- based on the application that you're making, your ability to target their main audience group could have significant potential impact on their listenership, which ultimately could impact their revenue and thereby positively impact your revenue.
8164 Have you done an analysis of the potential harm that your very focused programming activities would wage on the incumbent given that you want to be a good neighbour and a good broadcaster?
8165 MR. SIVIA: Just give me one second.
8166 We estimated about 20 percent revenue will come from the other -- with our discussions that we had with the other advertisers. It's roughly about 20 percent, and the remaining revenue will come to new revenue.
8167 Currently, they cannot afford to advertise on GTA radio stations and, mind you, they're over sold in top of -- in matter of advertisement. And we also recruited other intervenor replies. They're pulling about 30 to -- even 25 to 35 minutes of just commercials. Imagine listening to -- you're home by the time you start listening advertisers and you probably hear the news in two minutes and you're stepped in.
8168 But we're estimating about 20 percent of collective revenue from the other radios will come.
8169 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You indicated that it is not your intention to offer brokered programming. Is that correct?
8170 MR. SIVIA: Yes, it is. We will not have any brokered air time.
8171 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: One of the impacts of brokered programming is it often comes with money that is not necessarily from the community because it's coming -- the program is coming from afar and often the money that comes with it to pay for that programming comes from afar.
8172 With respect to your fundraising component of your revenue, I have two questions.
8173 The first is, how are you going to vet the origins of monies so that you can be assured that the money is coming from those donors who are from within the community who are supporting a community station and not donors from without the community, or from afar?
8174 MR. ARORA: We are looking at donors from the areas of Brampton, and that is the area that we will confine ourselves to. We will not be going outside of Brampton area to look for our donors. That's our key, and which would make sure that the money is coming from within the community.
8175 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And the second part of this question is, what is your contingency plan if you find that the community is not able to financially support your operational plan in terms of financial reserves or B plans for revenue?
8176 MR. SIVIA: We -- while we were preparing the application, we were able to talk to financial institutes. They have given us a promise, and plus I would say the letter of intent to have a line of credit of $200,000.
8177 This is our relation with the bank. And plus we, I think, as Directors, has the capacity in case, which is not required. We put our soul and time in it, and we will not let it see down. And we have the capacity to have the funds so in case if nothing works out, which is very rare, but we are prepared.
8178 MR. ARORA: So talking in terms of dollars, we're open and willing to lending the radio station personal money, which is at no interest, if needed.
8179 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And the conditions would be liens or would they be forgivable loans? How would that work?
8180 I'm asking in context to if this is a community station, there's -- how would you encumber those loans so that we don't have a substantial change of ownership as a result of default?
8181 MR. ARORA: The loans will stay in as loans, which will be paid back over time, and they will not be forgivable loans. They will be loans.
8182 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: They will not be forgivable loans.
8183 MR. ARORA: No.
8184 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Now for the fun stuff.
8185 You want to have your cake and eat it, too. Your arguments are compelling. When you look at the -- and I think, Dr. Singh, I want you to weigh in on this, too. Not that you're a policy expert, but you are very articulate about, you know, the need to -- for this Commission to perhaps broaden its view to a new reality that's beyond the very linear thought processes of community radio versus ethnic radio and start reflecting the new reality.
8186 Of course, we're not allowed to do that, per se, because we administer policy; we don't create it at the Commission.
8187 But that said, you're asking to be a community radio station on the pretence of being a non-profit, which adds to your credibility, and the spirit of a community radio station is consistent with your assessment of the needs of Brampton to have a station that speaks to and for that community.
8188 But in the same breath, you're saying that the community, to at least a third of the population of Brampton, is of -- is a community that speaks -- that is South Asian and predominantly speaks Punjabi, and for that reason, it makes profound sense to speak to that community in its language and because it would be a better way to communicate the community interests and, you know, back and forth.
8189 But to do that bends rules to the breaking point, and I would ask you how this Commission could entertain this notion given that there are eight or nine broadcasters in this marketplace already who are living by a different set of rules, admittedly older rules, as either community or, more particularly, ethnic stations who would be -- at the drop of a hat would love to be able to narrow their programming to target to the greatest percentage of the pie.
8190 And if we did this for you, how could we, in all conscience, not have to go back and revise these policies for them as well?
8191 MR. ARORA: What we are catering is a group of -- concentrated group of people and we are looking at the numbers, the larger numbers within the ethnic groups in a certain area. Had there been other numbers or other ethnic groups available, we would probably try to maximize and having the -- having -- like I said before, given the fact we only have a limited number of hours in the day, we have to make a financial -- it financially sustainable as well, which is why we -- the larger group seems like the Punjabi group and the Vietnamese and the Arabic and those groups seem like the smaller times -- or seems like the smaller groups.
8192 This is due to the fact, again, lesser time, has to be financially sustainable.
8193 We are not trying to become another ethnic radio. We're not. We are someone who's -- who is, as a community radio, broadcasting in ethnic languages to help people understand, to integrate better.
8194 So it's not that we're trying to compete with other ethnic stations by doing exactly what they're doing. We're not looking at news from back home. We're not looking for international news. What we're looking for is Brampton centric, then comes the province of Ontario and then to Canada.
8195 We're looking at that kind of a structure, and this is something that no one else is doing, which is exactly our point as Brampton is a community radio. It's just the language that happens to be ethnic. Otherwise, it is a community radio which is for the community of Brampton, the residents of Brampton, if you will.
8196 MS KAUR: I'd also like to add, we're not just an ethnic station that's only focusing on one group. We want this one or these few of these groups to integrate with the rest of Brampton, so this means that having Punjabis, Hindis, Arabics, Farsi-speaking people attend Brampton community events that are not just catered to their specific group.
8197 So for example, if we have a Brampton function that is, say, in English or, you know, an English community is celebrating something that we want these community -- like these other residents to come to these events.
8198 And I can say that right now, even though there are -- we have Brampton residents, they're not aware of all these functions taking place.
8199 One of these -- one of this example is, for example, the Brampton library has computer classes free of cost. I can tell you that a lot of Bramptonians are aware of such services only because these services are not provided -- like not advertised to them in their language. So if we were to do that, they would be more integrated with the rest of Brampton people.
8200 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Your argument again, it's meritorious, but it just -- to me, it falls apart when you say that what we're trying to do on the community ambition of how we represent the marketplace holds a lot of -- holds a lot of aspiration and goodwill and probability that it would succeed.
8201 But when you're narrowing the methodology of how you speak to non South Asians and to a Farsi, to a Croatian, how do I -- you know, I can see myself stepping into a community station by virtue -- which is why our community radio policy is what it is, how it -- so that there's a meeting ground. There's a -- I don't want to say a neutral, but a common meeting ground for all members of a community of all languages in the way that a community radio station is structured.
8202 When you narrow the programming, as you are -- 94 percent, I believe, is the percentage of programming in four languages -- you are excluding those individuals.
8203 Your desire is there, but your ability falls way short. And this is where, again, I want you to push back and tell me why the reality of the marketplace dictates that you have to do that, but I still have to concern myself with the broadest percentage -- or the broadest population as a whole if we're to license you that if you're going to be a community station, you've got to be a community station. If you're going to be an ethnic station, you can't be so ethnic as to only talk to a certain marketplace.
8204 You know, there's a great divide, to me, between your two ambitions.
8205 MR. ARORA: We're serving eight language groups in Brampton, and not four. It's 94 percent of the program is in eight language groups and then the balance of the six percent that it is, is in English, and that, again, caters to the ethnic communities once again.
8206 These eight groups that are there are a part of -- and parcel of Brampton fabric, and it's -- they've been picked from what -- what we have from the Statistics Canada, the language groups that live in Brampton.
8207 So I do understand the fact that we do not broadcast in English as a first language, but again, my logic behind this has always been what -- well, why don't we serve the ones who need our help the most at the beginning and, you know what, we'll get where we get.
8208 So these are the groups that have -- that need our help the most and need the integration into the society. They're people who by the virtue of being born in Brampton or by the virtue of being able to speak English as their first language, they probably do not need our help or service as much.
8209 They still do, mind you. I'm not saying they don't. They do. But again, let's help the ones who could use our help first and then bring them in, and we will see when we get there.
8210 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm -- yes, I'm being deliberately combative, but I appreciate your point of view.
8211 What kept me -- you know, what keeps me awake at night is not the logic of your argument, but the consequences of it.
8212 When I looked at the population of Brampton, it's like 530,000, of which -- and this is where my memory starts to fail -- 117,000 are Punjabi speaking, 246 English. And then there's a massive fall-off in numbers into the tens of thousands. And the other official language, I think, comes right in there at one-half of one percent in terms of, you know, the other official language spoken in the household which is, you know, problematic.
8213 But still, to me, it -- if we follow the train -- the logic of your argument, which is why would we not want to talk to the greatest percentage of non-English speaking residents of Brampton, your logic is profoundly obvious and sound.
8214 But from a policy perspective, it flies in the face of all of the reasoning of how this country is presently structured in terms of its recognition of two official languages and the hope that, through embracing through multi-cultural policies, the best of what every culture has to offer, there is assimilation at a certain point to the country you've -- that new immigrants have come to.
8215 And all of a sudden changing policy to almost a mono directional or a mono cultural ethnic programming option, to me, is putting the car in reverse and stepping on the gas.
8216 MR. ARORA: I'm going to bring up something that I've already brought a couple of times.
8217 The programming is a not ethnic program. It is in ethnic languages -- in the eight languages that we proposed, but it is absolutely local Canadian programming.
8218 So we're not talking about what's happening in the Middle East. We're not talking about what's happening in Indian. We're not talking about the political scene in there, but we're talking about what are we doing in the City of Brampton.
8219 Now, if a person is sinking in water and if I started singing songs and no worries, I am here to help you, which is what most ethnic radio stations are doing right now. They're singing some sort of music in their ear or sending some political dialogue in their ear. The person is still going to sink.
8220 What we're trying to do is put our hand forward of help and saying it in their language help is available. We're not even trying to say it in English because this person who's sinking does not speak English, so I'm saying [other language], which most Hindi speaking will understand.
8221 So this is the intent behind it. The language is ethnic, but the programming -- to classify this as ethnic programming would be totally wrong.
8222 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I promised you the opportunity to get your argument in, and you're doing it effectively.
8223 You're asking us to make a decision that -- paraphrasing what I think I heard, that language is cultural, but the Commission really should be looking at the chosen -- or the language of preference to be most effective should be looked at not as an ethnic consideration. The cultural consideration is the culture of the community, which happens to be Brampton.
8224 And they are -- so you're asking us to slice it a different way.
8225 Dr. Singh, I see you've got your finger on the button.
8226 DR. SINGH: Yes, you're very perceptive.
8227 I think, you know, what I'm hearing is although it seems like it's a narrow sort of way that maybe Mr. Arora and his team are approaching this, I see a very broader vision here.
8228 It's -- he just sort of spoke on the idea that it is a community base, so if Joe and Mike open up a cake shop down the road in Brampton and everyone's talking about it like "Let's go and get cake from them, they make the best cake", I'm sure this community radio station would pick up on that.
8229 It wouldn't have to be someone who speaks that language. Yes, he -- their focus and vision is to engage those people who sort of may be lost in the community. We're sort of bringing them back so that they can learn, yes, I gotta take the test, I gotta learn how to speak English.
8230 We have to learn how to speak English if we're going to integrate into the society while we maintain the values and heritage of this beautiful country of Canada.
8231 So initially it may look like a narrow vision, but I think it's very broad. It's the first step to create that connection with a community -- within a community that may be lost but we're trying to connect them with everyone else.
8232 So I don't think it limits their vision in allowing others to be part of that whole multi-cultural vision.
8233 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
8234 Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
8235 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any other questions from the Panel?
8236 Commissioner Molnar.
8237 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
8238 Good morning. I understand you're here simply to speak about the community of Brampton and you're looking for AM largely because AM is available to you and you're looking to make the best use.
8239 But having said that, over the week -- and I'm not sure if you were listening to our hearing over the last week -- we heard many people tell us that AM doesn't engage with our youth and that a lot of the ethnic programming that's available today doesn't engage with the youth. It's targeted towards a more senior -- a more senior audience and AM simply -- the quality just simply isn't there.
8240 And so I know that you have some younger audience with you here today, but I'm trying to sort out -- I mean, I believe I understand what you have done here in looking for, well, what is it we can do. Maybe it's not what we would like to do if everything was open to us, but still, tell me about that because you're looking to engage to, you know, the full communities here.
8241 And do you believe you actually can be effective on an AM signal that is only available parts of the day?
8242 Like is it truly a solution, or is it just the best solution that you could find?
8243 MR. ARORA: If I were to say this is the first aid solution, that would be a very inappropriate example to work with. It may not be the best solution, but it is -- is this the solution available to us? Yes, it is.
8244 Why most other people are not listening to younger people and not listening to AM is not just because of the quality, that being one of the issues, it's also about the content.
8245 The content of the programming that most ethnic programs carry right now is, as we've already discussed, out of an hour worth of programming, it's over 25 to 30 minutes of advertising. The balance of 30 minutes actually goes into something that they're not really keen on. It's more of connecting them with back home kind of a structure. And the youth does not really connect very well with that.
8246 What we're doing here is what is going on here in my present life, with my father's generation, with my generation, with my children's generation. So it's about life here.
8247 So it's the content that makes the difference, number one.
8248 Number two, yes, signal may not be the best. As you said, it is limited hours of availability that we have and we do realize that, which is why we've chosen to keep a limit on the kind of programming that we are -- or the languages of the programming that we will be doing.
8249 MR. SIVIA: And just to add on, we also are seeking add-on services, the streaming our feed, internet, plus using social media to attract a younger audience.
8250 When AM signal comes out of a studio, it's perfectly listenable on your streaming devices. There's a few apps are available -- they're absolutely free of cost -- where we can stream those audio and then if there's a content for the young generation, and they do have varied internet devices, smart phones and so on, so we would be reaching in those platforms, too, apart from the AM signal.
8251 MS KAUR: I can also add that because we're volunteer oriented, we'll have youth coming in and out of our station. As they become aware of the station, they would be more attuned to listening to it as well.
8252 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Sorry.
8253 MR. SINGH: I would like to actually add on to that question was I have hosted a radio show before, and it was in English. And it was targeted, as Sarabjeet was mentioning, that we're going to be targeting to the younger audience.
8254 And it was on AM, but we did have a lot of young listener followers. And a great example of that was, a parent actually called in and told us that she called her daughter at home and told her, "Tune in to this station and listen to these kids".
8255 So I really feel that it will be effective even if it's on AM FM.
8256 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And can I just ask just one quick follow-up?
8257 Have you looked at other technical solutions, the SCMO type of solutions?
8258 You mentioned that you're proposing to stream, and obviously internet-streamed radio is accessible to more people than ever before, so what are the other solutions you're looking at?
8259 MR. SIVIA: The SCMO is a currently dying technology. A lot of SCMOs operators are getting out of business.
8260 It's not because there's no listeners. It's just that there's no tuners. You have to buy a special tuner to listen to an SCMO.
8261 The only thing that I would -- will be, I guess, maybe will be coming back is the HD radio, which is coming in the market. I think CRTC -- I'm not sure. This is what the U.S. market is doing.
8262 If there is a tuner available, those are the technologies that might be coming in future, but at the present time, there's no such -- SCMO will not cater to the market that we are trying to target. It's just there is -- you have to buy a special radio set for you to broadcast, and it's not tuneable into the cars.
8263 And today, radio is only in automobile where people normally tune in. Normally, TV or the digital TV or internet radios have took over the housing market, I guess.
8264 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
8265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8266 Commissioner Menzies?
8267 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I'd just like to ask about the language designation and that.
8268 I was looking at language retention statistics the other day, and Punjabi is retained more thoroughly than other languages from new Canadians, but the second generation tends to be about 66 percent. The third goes to 33 in terms of that.
8269 So my issue, in part, is to what extent -- and I guess first question is, how many of the 117,000 Punjabi speakers, for example, would not speak English? I'm just trying to get a size of the audience that you're serving.
8270 MR. ARORA: It would be very hard for me to put a number to that. My guess would be as good as yours on that. But I could definitely say that English would definitely not be the language of comfort for most.
8271 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. Language of comfort would do.
8272 MR. ARORA: For -- they may understand somewhat -- they may understand somewhat, but they may not be able to comprehend or to hold a conversation per se when we talk about the first generation immigrants.
8273 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So that would probably 90 percent, are you saying, or most; 80?
8274 MR. ARORA: And I'm just taking a wild guess on this. It's probably about 70 percent.
8275 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: 70 percent. Okay, thanks. So --
8276 MR. SIVIA: Sorry. Just to add on, the Brampton ethnic population is very -- a new -- it's the first generation that's coming in.
8277 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
8278 MR. SIVIA: We are not as old as Vancouver where third generation is there. In Brampton, we might have gone into the second generation, but surely there is very -- less numbers for the third generation, so it's pretty new. New immigrants are being -- coming in to Brampton.
8279 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, understood.
8280 The question is, really, what I'm trying to get to is to what extent is this a temporary issue and what happens 15 years from now in terms of -- in terms of language integration of your community.
8281 If it's a very new community that struggles with English and your aspirations are admirable in terms of being a transitional service in that sense, what happens 10 years from now when everybody is comfortable? Would you continue being a primarily third language broadcaster or would you then start looking something more like the Markham application that we saw last week?
8282 MR. ARORA: Indeed, what happens in future will actually depend a lot on the settling patterns of the immigrants, and that would actually decide how many Punjabis or how many Hindi or how many Urdu speaking people would be in Brampton and would that be a need for the service at that point.
8283 Given the fact that the immigration patterns have been what they have been for the last 10 years and we have been settling down people in a certain way in certain areas, this is not likely to happen over the period of the next 10 years, that the population compensation will change.
8284 But if it does change, we will definitely have to look into creating -- changing around the languages or maybe even coming back to you for seeking more of English language programming for the larger community of Brampton.
8285 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, because it -- and sort of one last question on that because it strikes me that by using third language programming, that's not accessible to a number of people in the community. And as time passes, it will become less and less accessible -- not acceptable; access to even people of Punjabi origin. And that strikes me as a long-term problem, but --
8286 MR. SIVIA: Commissioner, just the add on, we have seen the immigration. It's still -- I mean, if you go to the piers and airport, you still see a lot of people filled with the -- with those languages, and they will be very comfortable listening to other programming, so I don't see any right -- change right now. As for the immigration projected, we're going to receive more Punjabi listeners in Brampton than going the reverse way.
8287 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
8288 MR. SILVA: I hope I answered your question.
8289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe that completes our questioning of your application. Thank you very much.
8290 Madam Chairwoman, we'll take a 10-minute break -- Madam Secretary.
8291 MADAM SECRETARY: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1041
--- Upon resuming at 1053
8292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Madam Secretary, let's begin.
8293 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
8294 We will now hear item 20 on the Agenda, which is an application by 8041393 Canada Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial ethnic AM radio programming undertaking in Markham.
8295 Mr. Kumar is appearing for this panel. Mr. Kumar, please start by introducing your colleagues for the record and then you will have 20 minutes for your presentation.
8296 MR. KUMAR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, Commissioners and personnel members of the CRTC. You are listening to a unique radio experience. This is Radio Zum Zum.
8297 MR. MATHIEU: 1480 day, 1490 nights, this is Markham, Ontario.
8298 MR. KUMAR: Hi, My name is Kumarakulasigam Nadarajah, my radio name is Raj Kumar, and I am pleased to introduce the Radio Zum Zum team.
8299 To my right we welcome His Worship, Mr. Frank Scarpetti, the Mayor of our City of Markham.
8300 To our Mayor's right is Mr. Joel Hertz, York Region Public School Trustee.
8301 To Mr. Hertz' right is Mr. Krishnan Marimuthu (Kris), President of the Canadian South Indian Chamber Of Commerce, Markham Chapter.
8302 To my left is our Broadcast Consultant Mike Mathieu.
8303 MR. MATHIEU: And to my left is Ms Marlene Gallyot, the Executive Assistant for the Regional Councillor, Mr. Jim Jones of the Town of Markham. Ms Gallyot is here on behalf of Mr. Jones.
8304 To Ms Gallyot's left is Mr. Joe Li, the Regional Councillor of Markham, Ontario.
8305 MR. KUMAR: To Mr. Li's left is Mr. Srini, Srinivasan Suppiramaniam, representing Markham Lions Club.
8306 MR. MATHIEU: And our interveners in the back, the Siva Thondan Centre --
8307 MR. KUMAR: -- Ms Leela Sivananthan, and the Children's Education Funds, Mr. Sivasubramaniam Kanapathipillay, and last but not least, YES, the Youth Employment Centre Services, Mrs. Amutha Vipulananda.
8308 MR. MATHIEU: And we are now privileged to begin our presentation.
8309 Mr. Kumar...?
8310 MR. KUMAR: I appreciate this opportunity to present today our application to the Commission to migrate our existing SCMO service to the AM band so that Markham residents will no longer require special radios to receive our signal.
8311 I arrived in Canada in 1985 and immediately I was involved in production of South Asian radio programs for Tamilar Oli South Asian Community Organization based in Montreal, broadcasting on CFMB-AM.
8312 Then in 1986 I started the first Tamil TV program in Canada on Videotron Cable, TVEQ Community Cable, ethnic service in Montreal.
8313 In 1990 I moved to Toronto and I was involved in several productions of local ethnic broadcasting in many Toronto radio stations.
8314 It is in 1999 that the opportunity came for me to provide a unique South Asian radio service "Geethavaani" via SCMO to the Markham area, where I reside to this day.
8315 Since then we have been continuously serving the Markham community and today we are pleased to "bonify" our offer to Markham, the Commission willing, by migrating our SCMO service on the AM band and provide multicultural service to 22 groups in 16 languages.
8316 I would invite our Broadcast Consultant Mr. Mathieu to expand on our proposal.
8317 MR. MATHIEU: Good morning.
8318 Of all the applications being considered at this hearing, ours is the one that has the least impact, if any, on other broadcasters.
8319 As we wish to convert our existing SCMO service to the AM band, with a modest power of 1000 watts during the day and 500 watts at night and using frequencies that nobody is requesting but it will do the job, our presence being already in the market, we are not hurting anybody.
8320 The SCMO is already generating its revenues from the market. Seventy percent of our new revenues will be carried over from the SCMO service.
8321 Our new revenues, 30 percent, will come from increased spending on the proposed service by advertisers who currently are advertising on existing radio service; 10 percent will come from other media; 18 percent of the -- sorry.
8322 Ten percent are currently advertising on existing radio services. Seventy percent are carried over from the SCMO, which means 30 percent is new revenue, and out of this only 2 percent will come from existing radio services, including all the ethnic services of the GTA. So our impact on existing services will be minimal.
8323 We trust that the Commission will appreciate that our impact is almost nil as Mr. Kumar has been operating the SCMO very successfully for over 12 years and possesses all the necessary financial resources to build and ensure the viability of the project.
8324 We have access to a 1000-watt Nautel AM broadcast transmitter and will make good use of a Valcom fibreglass whip antenna. Because of the SCMO our studio facilities are presently existing and being used by the SCMO, so the financial investment is going to be minimal.
8325 Our programming is focused at the Markham multicultural communities carried over from our SCMO service, and the languages and the groups that we plan to serve will always recognize themselves in the programming of our proposed radio station.
8326 We have carefully designed programs which will inform, entertain and help interact in every single language that we propose to serve. Call-in shows with significant listener participation will mean an on-air delay system that will be used to always be in compliance with the Commission's policy on call-in shows. Actually, the callers will be screened and, where possible, linguistic targets will be a consideration in putting certain calls over the air.
8327 In order to ensure that our service is well focused and that the communities in question are well served, we plan to provide for email access and telephone access via answering machine so that our listeners can comment on what they like and what they dislike at our radio station.
8328 And in order to ensure complete transparency, we pledge to recruit three prominent persons issued from our communities to be served but independent from our radio station to act as an independent advisory committee to inform us on ways to better improve our service. Meeting with this advisory committee would take place at least twice per year.
8329 Our radio station, Radio Zum Zum, will be a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. The station will produce its own program and we are proposing a minimum of 120 hours per week of local programming. Our programming will provide a complete overview of information specifically produced for a targeted audience of the Town of Markham.
8330 I am now pleased to introduce His Worship, Mr. Frank Scarpitti, the Mayor of Markham.
8331 Mr. Scarpitti...?
8332 MR. SCARPITTI: I'm very pleased to be here today. This application for a multiethnic radio station located in the Town of Markham will predominantly serve the South Asian community of Markham and York Region. The South Asian community is the second-largest cultural group in Markham.
8333 The applicant has been providing a radio service called SCMO operating from Markham and it is this service that would become available to Markham residents at large.
8334 Census Canada confirms that Markham is the most ethnically diverse community in all of Canada. Cultural diversity is one of our community's most important assets. The spirit that built this community is reflected in the residents who devote their best efforts in making Markham a great place to live, work and play.
8335 The proposals submitted Mr. Nadarajah will address the needs of many communities and languages. His programs propose to integrate various ethnic and multicultural communities and actually build social cohesion through innovative cross-cultural programming. He hopes to address the social issues of various underserved segments of our society such as youth, women, newcomers and seniors.
8336 The growing population in the multicultural communities throughout the GTA will ensure a high demand for this type of programming. As well, it will provide an opportunity for advertisers, organizations and community groups to access various ethnic communities and participate in their growth and integration.
8337 I am particularly pleased that Kumar's station is committed to providing essential services in case of major disasters, power outages, major storms. Mr. Kumar pledges that the station will be equipped with emergency generators and equipment so that in the case of emergencies the station will broadcast valuable information in all languages spoken in Markham.
8338 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
8339 And now we will hear from Ms Marlene Gallyot, a Markham resident, Executive Assistant to Markham's Regional Councillor, and she is here on behalf of Mr. Jim Jones.
8340 MS GALLYOT: Hello. My name is Marlene Gallyot. I represent Regional Councillor Jim Jones, but I must also tell you that I am also a resident from Markham and I was born in South India. I am also a member and the Director for several South Asian organizations and a founder of the South Indian Chamber Of Commerce.
8341 Regional Councillor Jim Jones wanted to clarify some points regarding Mr. Kumar's proposed radio service.
8342 Markham's population is composed of 63 percent of visible minorities. Thus, the need for the proposed radio station to cater essentially to visible minorities is essential and should be recognized in Markham.
8343 At this hearing, the Commission was considering another proposal to provide an English FM radio station to Markham, with limited ethnic programming evenings and weekends. On the other hand, Mr. Kumar has a proposal which is 100 percent fully ethnic and is not limited to nights and weekends. Therefore, when you compare the two, Mr. Kumar's proposal gives the listeners better flexibility.
8344 The new FM application could seriously impair a new neighbouring ethnic FM station, and Mr. Kumar's proposal, which is on AM, will not impair anybody but instead provide a valuable service to our community.
8345 As Mr. Kumar is presently broadcasting on a special service called SCMO that is limited to special radios only, he is now present in the market and is receiving his revenues through the SCMO. Once again, the migration to the AM band will not create a sizeable impact on other broadcasters, but the community will benefit from his proposed services.
8346 Therefore, as a Regional Councillor of Markham, a resident and a former Member of Parliament, I fully support Mr. Kumar's proposal and am looking for favourable consideration.
8347 And myself as a Markham resident and one who works and lives in Markham also fully support this. Thank you.
8348 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you, Marlene.
8349 I will now ask Mr. Joel Hertz, York Region School Trustee, to address this Commission.
8350 MR. HERTZ: Thank you.
8351 I'm very pleased at the idea of a multiethnic radio station for York Region. As you are likely aware, York Region is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Canada and one of the most diverse. York Region would be well served by a radio station in various languages.
8352 The program submitted by Mr. Nadarajah takes into account both the present and future needs of the demographics seen in York Region, which are not currently properly being served by the media, especially radio.
8353 The many students of York Region District School Board and their families would greatly benefit from such a radio station and hopefully there will be some employment opportunities for them as well. I thank you.
8354 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you, Mr. Hertz.
8355 Now I would like Mr. Joe Li, Markham's Regional Councillor, to address you, please.
8356 Mr. Li...?
8357 MR. LI: Thank you.
8358 Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, Commissioners and members of the CRTC. My name is Joe Li, Regional Councillor of Markham.
8359 I come from a very unique background, an Indian by birth, Chinese by descent and Canadian by choice. I am here today to speak of the proposal submitted by the applicant Mr. Nadarajah to set up a multiethnic radio station, particularly for the local residents of Markham.
8360 I have no hesitation in recommending such a local station that can focus on the specific needs of the ethnic community in Markham as it will certainly address the needs of this community.
8361 The ethnic community in Markham has grown to deserve a full-time over-the-air South Asian radio service especially dedicated to them. While Brampton and Mississauga have been enjoying their own local station, Markham, as the most ethnic diverse combination in Canada with over 300,000, does not have one. It should be the time now for Markham to finally have its own ethnic station.
8362 This proposed radio station can integrate various ethnic communities and build social cohesion to innovative cross-cultural programming and also aim at addressing the social issues of various underserved segments of society such as youth, women, newcomers and seniors.
8363 Having such types of programming in Markham will bring tremendous benefit to local residents as well as the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole. It can also help people to be more knowledgeable about our local community and encourage civic participation. Community values can also be strengthened through the platform.
8364 In addition, the emergency broadcast technique proposed can be readily available to Markham residents too. This will give an opportunity to provide timely and up-to-date information to local residents in their ethnic language as well as in English where an emergency occurs.
8365 Last but not least, SCMO, the Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation, of Mr. Nadarajah has been serving the community for the past 12 years and the time has now come to improve the service.
8366 This radio service should be receivable in any radio, whether at home, in the car, at work or at play. Ethnic listeners should not be obligated to buy a special radio in order to receive the service.
8367 A radio station such as this is greatly needed, and hence I strongly recommend the Commission approves the application.
8368 Thank you.
8369 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, Mr. Li.
8370 I now ask Mr. Srinivasan Suppiramaniam, known as Srini, of Markham Lions Club to address the Commission.
8371 Please, Srini.
8372 MR. SUPPIRAMANIAM: I am a longtime Markham resident, experienced broadcaster both in Sri Lanka and in Canada. I am also a television producer of South Asian programming and I am very involved in the Markham South Asian community.
8373 As a broadcaster and being very involved in my community, I strongly feel that Mr. Kumar's application is very important to our community because as technology has evolved the present SCMO has come to pass and in the age of iPods, Internet and the popularity of FM broadcasting, it is very important that the SCMO service be at least allowed to migrate to the AM band.
8374 As the proposed station is at the moment obtaining its revenues from the market via its SCMO, the venue on the air will cause minimal impact on existing services but will open a window for small retail businesses to be able to advertise on their local radio station at a rate that they can afford.
8375 So in real life the venue of the proposed AM station will create additional revenues in the market. I thank you.
8376 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, Mr. Srini.
8377 And last but not least I am pleased to present Mr. Krishnan Marimuthu, President of the South Indian Chamber Of Commerce.
8379 MR. MARIMUTHU: As President of the South Indian Chamber of Commerce I am pleased to be here today to elaborate the values of having a local over-the-air South Asian radio service serving the Town of Markham.
8380 Markham has the highest percentage of visible minorities population, approximately 63 percent, and a thriving urban community of over 310,000 persons with over 9,000 businesses, including some 400 corporate head offices. Markham is vibrant and dynamic.
8381 Visiting Markham and going into a business, it is not uncommon to find persons issued from the visible minorities, mainly South Asian. The South Asian population of Markham is growing every day, thus the importance of the proposed migration of a valuable SCMO service that South Asians have enjoyed for many years to the over-the-air AM band.
8382 As President of the South Indian Chamber Of Commerce, we often experience that a small business cannot afford the commercial rates for spots on the bigger Toronto ethnic stations. If approved, this proposal will provide a window of opportunity for the small retailer to be able to advertise on its local radio station at an affordable rate.
8383 It's finally time for the South Asians living in Markham to be able to receive their own radio service in their language that informs them on local events, news, sports, weather, et cetera, without the burden of being restricted to a special radio.
8384 If one can receive mainstream radio stations on any radio, why should South Asians have to be restricted to special radio? We trust your Commission will change that. Thank you for listening.
8385 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you, sir.
8386 In conclusion, what you have in front of you today is an application to migrate our existing SCMO service to the AM band. In compliance with the Commission's policy on ethnic broadcasting, we are proposing to serve 22 groups in 16 languages. We are proposing the use of yet unclaimed AM frequencies at a modest power level of 1 kilowatt during the day, 500 watts at night. Our signal is basically restricted to Markham.
8387 As our service is right now existing on SCMO, we are present in the market. Of all the applications in front if you today at this hearing, ours is the one that has no or very little impact on other broadcasters.
8388 However, given Mr. Kumar's track record with the SCMO, no doubt should exist as to the success of this proposed operation.
8389 As the Commission is considering our application in competition with Toronto applications, we suggest that this is not quite exact. In fact, we did not intervene against any of the proposed Toronto FM applications and we feel that the Commission, in its wisdom, can approve our application and any one of the Toronto applications in front of you.
8390 Looking at the hall today, looking at the public, I think the Commission will note that we enjoy the full support of our community.
8391 We thank you and I would suggest, if Madame Roy is willing, Mr. Kumar will introduce our intervening panel today.
8392 THE SECRETARY: Certainly.
8393 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you.
8394 THE SECRETARY: Go ahead, Mr. Kumar.
8395 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, Madame Roy,
8396 The interveners, Siva Thondan Centre, Ms Leela Sivananthan.
8397 MS SIVANANTHAN: The Siva Thondan Centre community organization is proud to offer its full support to Mr. Kumar's CRTC application to migrate its SCMO broadcast service to the AM band to better serve Markham.
8398 The applicant Mr. Kumar Nadarajah is a well-known, well-respected ethnic broadcaster who has been operating an SCMO South Asian radio service in the Markham area for over 12 years. Through the years, Mr. Kumar has proven himself as a dedicated broadcaster providing a unique local service to our community.
8399 What Markham does need is its own local ethnic South Asian radio station that would provide unique personalized radio service to the Markham South Asian community. It is time for change and Mr. Kumar's SCMO service should become available to all, in cars, at home, at work, at play or somewhere else. This would be possible on an AM radio station.
8400 As this proposed radio station will replace the existing SCMO it does not impact the already available services because the SCMO service is present in the market for the last 12 years.
8401 I feel that the Commission should approve this new station as it will complement rather than compete the existing services already received in Markham. Our organization fully supports this new station.
8402 Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
8403 MR. KUMAR: Next, I welcome Children's Education Funds Inc., Mr. Sivasubramaniam Kanapathypillai.
8404 MR. KANAPATHYPILLAI: Thank you.
8405 Good morning, Commissioners and all members of the CRTC. I am Siva Kanapathypillai here. I would like to make my submission.
8406 The Children's Education Funds is proud to offer its full support to Mr. Kumar's CRTC application to migrate its SCMO South Asian broadcast service to the AM band.
8407 What Markham does need is its own local ethnic South Asian radio station that would provide unique personalized local radio service to the Markham South Asian community.
8408 Mr. Kumar's SCMO service has been providing for more than 12 years, but it is time for a change and Mr. Kumar's SCMO service should be available to all the South Asian populations, in cars, at home, at work, at play or somewhere else. This would be possible on an AM radio station.
8409 Furthermore, the station proposes "by use of emergency generators" to provide emergency information to the general Markham public from South Asia as well as in the English language in situations of emergency.
8410 Our organization has been continuously advertising with the SCMO radio since 1999. We are very glad to increase the commercial spots when the station becomes AM.
8411 This radio station will be a solid asset to the Markham community. Therefore, without any reserve, I fully support Mr. Kumar's application 2011-1663-2 for an AM ethnic undertaking at Markham, Ontario.
8412 I thank the Commission for this opportunity. Thank you.
8413 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, Siva.
8414 Next, I welcome YES, Youth Employment Services, Ms Amutha Vipulananda, please.
8415 MS VIPULANANDA: Thank you.
8416 Good morning. We of the Youth Employment Services are in full support of Mr. Kumar's application. He is a very experienced and well-known broadcaster, especially among the Markham South Asian community.
8417 Youth Employment Services presently uses his SCMO service to target the youth audience in assisting them to find employment. However, the SCMO signal reception is very weak and users have to pay for the receiver. If it is on an AM frequency, everyone would be able to listen and more people can benefit from our free services, including more ethnic youth to find employment.
8418 As you know, the SCMO signal is very poor in quality. The station has deserved this AM signal for a very long time.
8419 What Markham does not need is an English radio station. Throughout the years, Markham has been well served in English by many GTA mainstream radio stations. The English population of Markham has taken the habit of listening to their favourite format of English mainstream stations.
8420 What Markham does need is its own local ethnic South Asian radio station. This would provide a unique and personalized local radio service to the Markham South Asian community, which Mr. Kumar's SCMO service has been providing for more than 12 years. It is time to support the community and convert the signal to an AM radio station.
8421 We have been using his SCMO for the last 10 years. If the Commission grants him an AM licence to serve Markham and York regions, we would greatly benefit through his assistance in our community news free of charge.
8422 We humbly request that the Commission approves his application. Thank you.
8423 MR. MATHIEU: We thank you, Madam, and now we are at your disposal if you have questions.
8424 Thank you very much.
8425 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8426 I would ask our Vice-Chairman, Tom Pentefountas, to lead the questioning.
8427 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good morning.
8428 MR. MATHIEU: Good morning.
8429 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Monsieur Mathieu, just to -- I think it was Mr. Kumar that read this part. You mentioned on the bottom of page 2 that there would be 22 groups in 16 languages.
8430 MR. MATHIEU: Exact.
8431 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Sauf que in your supplemental submission of clarification it was quite clear that there were 15 languages.
8432 MR. MATHIEU: I'm looking for the supplementary brief at the moment, but I'm sure it is 16.
8433 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8434 MR. MATHIEU: Actually, we can go on -- I've got the supplementary brief here and I think the best way here is to look at all the languages.
8435 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: If you go to a deficiency letter dated January 30th.
8436 MR. MATHIEU: January 30th, yes, sir. We corrected the situation.
8437 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Well, you are going to have to correct it back because you can't improve on your offer at this stage.
8438 MR. MATHIEU: We are not willing to improve anything, sir.
8439 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Great.
8440 MR. MATHIEU: We are just willing to be transparent here, but typos do occur and when you're doing applications such as this, and I do many of them --
8441 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: No problem.
8442 MR. MATHIEU: -- it's a possibility, for which we apologize.
8443 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Great. So we're back to 15; 22 groups, 15 languages?
8444 MR. MATHIEU: Well, I suggest we check our --
8445 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Is that correct?
8446 MR. MATHIEU: What is really in the application is what counts and there is an appendix here that gives you all the languages that we are going to speak, and maybe Mr. Kumar can help me on this.
8447 I wouldn't be surprised if it's 16, but I think if you license us for 15 and we do 16, I don't think we're doing anything bad anyway.
8448 MR. KUMAR: Fifteen is correct, sir.
8449 MR. MATHIEU: Fifteen, okay.
8450 MR. KUMAR: Fifteen, yes.
8451 MR. MATHIEU: It's 15.
8452 MR. KUMAR: Fifteen, sir.
8453 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I just counted them myself, there are 15. So 15.
8454 MR. KUMAR: Sorry.
8455 MR. MATHIEU: Okay. No problem. Great.
8456 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So you'll do 15, you won't do 16, Mr. Mathieu?
8457 MR. MATHIEU: No, sir.
8458 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: If we license you to 15, it would be highly appreciated that you do what you are licensed to do.
8459 MR. KUMAR: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
8460 MR. MATHIEU: We are going to do absolutely what we are licensed to do --
8461 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Great.
8462 MR. MATHIEU: -- but if we need to do one more I don't think there's any legal problems. But at the moment the application calls for 15. We apologize for the typo.
8463 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8464 Mr. Mayor, did we see you last week?
8465 MR. SCARPITTI: You have a good memory, yes.
8466 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Well, a handsome fellow like you is hard to forget. We just saw you last week.
8467 Okay. You mentioned, and I think Mr. Li mentioned it as well, that you would be providing a service to youth, women, newcomers and seniors.
8468 Explain to me how -- that's a pretty broad cast there -- how these people are not being serviced right now with all the availability of services in the Toronto area.
8469 Mr. Kumar can answer that, Mr. Li. I don't specifically address it to you.
8470 MR. SCARPITTI: Well, I will let Mr. Kumar speak to the services that are currently provided for.
8471 I just know from being very active in the community we do have seniors who are actually left at home alone. There's a number of families, particularly within the South Asian community, where both individuals within the household are working and they may have access to other services.
8472 I think the shame is that they don't know what's happening actually within their own neighbourhoods, the services that are available, the opportunities for them to connect to their community and to others within the community, our own services that we provide at the Town of Markham.
8473 So while there may be services that they have access to, I think it has been pretty clear that this radio station is about Markham and serving that multicultural community within Markham.
8474 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. There are other stations that provide services to the South Asian community; is that not correct, Mr. Kumar? Are you aware of them?
8475 MR. KUMAR: Yes.
8476 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: There are at least four that I counted --
8477 MR. KUMAR: Yes, sir, but --
8478 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- and they address their service towards the Markham audience because that's where the majority of that community resides.
8479 MR. KUMAR: We have a service from the GTA ethnic stations targeting the common blanket away for GTA, not towards Markham particularly. We want to have a local, local station for Markham and we want to talk about the issues in Markham. We want to convey the information to the public of Markham.
8480 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Those issues are not addressed by these other service providers?
8481 MR. KUMAR: Not that much. Not much.
8482 MR. MATHIEU: If I may add, if you don't mind?
8483 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Sure.
8484 MR. MATHIEU: It's a carryover from what is now existing on the SCMO, which is now catering to the youth and that's why the intervention from the youth group, you see. So it's a carryover from the SCMO to AM, because as other people even this morning mentioned, the SCMO has done its toll with the new technology.
8485 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I understand that, but my question was specifically to whether or not services are being provided to the South Asian community in Markham.
8486 MR. MATHIEU: Okay. As a broadcast engineer, if you allow me, stations are claiming to provide service to Markham and some are, but the signal that is received in Markham is not per the Commission's definition a marketable signal. In other words, if you are an FM station, unless you are broadcasting from the CN Tower you do not have a 3mV signal over Markham.
8487 There is one station, ethnic, which is CHIN-FM, that goes over about 70 or 75 percent of our coverage. I don't believe there are AM stations that have a 15mV coverage of the whole of Markham that are providing -- that are in direct competition with us that are providing the same service or the same languages.
8488 Over and above that, we are now existing on SCMO. So the revenues -- 70 percent of our revenues we are getting from the SCMO. So the impact is going to be very little.
8489 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And the listenership that you enjoy right now under SCMO?
8490 MR. KUMAR: See, we don't have the BBM.
8491 MR. MATHIEU: No. It's hard to answer that because BBM does not survey ethnic stations or SCMO, but I think Mr. Kumar might be able to, on his own personal experience --
8492 MR. KUMAR: In my experience it varies from 50,000 to 100,000, I can say.
8493 MR. MATHIEU: It depends how many receivers you have in the field. The situation is, Mr. Kumar has tons of receivers since 1999 in the field, but they are little -- I'm sorry, I should have brought one. They are little portable receivers, but you can pick up any SCMO from any station.
8494 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
8495 MR. MATHIEU: So what we don't know is another person having another radio bought somewhere else listening to us. So it's hard, really hard to come and look you in the eye and say, look, this is how much people we have. It's very difficult.
8496 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: How did you come to the revenue projections in your proposal, given the fact that you have no idea how many people are listening to you under the SCMO scheme?
8497 MR. MATHIEU: The existing SCMO.
8498 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
8499 MR. KUMAR: Based on --
8500 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Based on the revenues that you have right now?
8501 MR. KUMAR: Yes. Experience, yes.
8502 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And did you increase those revenues?
8503 MR. KUMAR: By 30 percent.
8504 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: By 30 percent, okay.
8505 MR. MATHIEU: I would like to state, if you would allow me, sir, I am a broadcast consultant, we have never had the pleasure of meeting before, but I have done quite a few of these applications in Montreal and in Toronto and this is generally the trend when you are an SCMO and you go on the AM band. This is -- basically 25, 30, 35 percent is probably your increase. Well, it's not probably, it has been the case in some of my clients. So we have kind of waged that.
8506 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8507 Back to the Mayor just briefly, and it could be the Mayor, it could be someone else.
8508 There was a mention of an innovative cross-cultural programming scheme. Can someone speak to me on that question, some sort of details around that?
8509 MR. KUMAR: Cross-cultural programming -- I don't get the question quite yet.
8510 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, in paragraph 4 under Mr. Scarpetti's brief:
"[Mr. Nadarajah] propose[s] to integrate various ethnic and multicultural communities and ... build social cohesion through innovative cross-cultural programming."
8511 What do you mean by "innovative cross-cultural programming"?
8512 MR. SCARPITTI: I'm going to let Mr. Kumar answer the programming aspect of it.
8513 I think one of the things that I have witnessed certainly in the community, there's a number of cultural groups, they certainly try to serve the needs within their own community.
8514 I think one of the things that we're trying to do in Markham is actually try to ensure that the people are able to experience the other cultures within the community itself and so there have been a number of festivals that have been introduced within Markham.
8515 There is a new one this year which will be a multicultural music festival that will take place on both the Main Street of Markham and the Main Street of Unionville, an opportunity for people to experience the different cultures within Markham itself.
8516 We have had an event called The Many Faces of Markham which is held every March. That's one afternoon. This plans to be over two weekends.
8517 So we see a need in the community to ensure that people are able to meet their neighbours and not just stay specifically within their own cultural group.
8518 So I certainly can identify the need and Mr. Kumar perhaps can address what's going to happen at the radio station.
8519 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: There's no doubting the need, but speak to me about the programming, this cross-cultural programming and where the innovative part of that cross-cultural programming comes in.
8520 MR. KUMAR: We always welcome speakers from different cultural communities to speak about issues affecting them about immigration and other matters and sometimes we put together different language professionals to talk about it. So that's one thing.
8521 In Markham there are many, many carnivals happening in the Fairgrounds of Markham, so we promote those events. And there even in June there is going to be one, in September there is going to be one with more than 30,000 or 40,000 people at a time.
8522 So we reach those people through the SCMO to come together.
8523 We arranged programs and cultural dramas and music and dance programs together on one stage for many, many different ethnic groups.
8524 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8525 You also mentioned essential services and emergency services that you will be providing for Markham residents.
8526 Is there an investment involved in that? I mean what are you doing specifically to create sort of an emergency service? Would people not be able to get those emergency services elsewhere? Would they not be available?
8527 MR. MATHIEU: If you allow me I will answer that.
8528 It's because it's an experience I went through in Montreal in 1998. We had a huge ice storm and this is something I suggested to Mr. Kumar, to have emergency generators and equipment, i.e. emergency transmitters and means of staying on the air no matter what happens.
8529 We have talked to Mr. Snowball, who is the Fire Chief --
8530 MR. KUMAR: Fire chief.
8531 MR. MATHIEU: -- and Emergency Coordinator, so that we are a part of the emergency measures.
8532 Personally, I am an amateur radio operator, my call letters are VE2MM, and I am a part of some emergency situations in Montreal, Laval where I live, and I of course support these things and I have an expertise.
8533 So my expertise is going to be available to that radio station to guide them through and be able to provide and so that -- in other words, Markham may not be getting its English station, but Markham will have a radio station.
8534 I think Mr. Mayor will comment that they can send out flyers telling people: Should there be an emergency, tune to 1480/1490.
8535 And then at this point in time Mr. Kumar pledges to, in the major languages spoken in Markham, including English, to provide emergency. We are going on the emergency mode, regular programming has stopped and it's an emergency situation.
8536 MR. SCARPITTI: We have --
8537 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Is that service not available currently to the residences of Markham?
8538 MR. MATHIEU: Well, there is no radio station in Markham, so you can't expect a major GTA station to stop its programming because there's a special emergency.
8539 And even if there is a big emergency like an ice storm we had in Montreal --
8540 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
8541 MR. MATHIEU: -- and I went through it, the big stations in Montreal were catering to the whole Montreal area. The Laval station was concentrating on Laval and things like that.
8542 There's a little station in Saint-Jean that really did a fantastic job because that was the worst hit area, so they were really targeting that area.
8543 So this is what will happen with our venue on the air, that we will be able to provide those services in conjunction with Mr. Mayor and Mr. Snowball and the associated people in Markham.
8544 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And are there any additional capital expenditures required to make it so that you are capable of providing this service?
8545 MR. MATHIEU: Emergency generators, but that's becoming a standard practice in stations. We don't want to be off the air. We want to be available to our listeners at all times. It's easy for us to get those things.
8546 An emergency transmitter. You don't want to take the chance of being on the air and losing your listeners for a couple of days should your transmitter fail and you don't have the spare parts or something happens.
8547 So it is my experience as a broadcast engineer that I always recommend my clients to have a spare transmitter, even if it's not at the full power. In this case it is a kilowatt, so it's very easy for us to provide full power emergency.
8548 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8549 Mr. Mayor, who is your pick here? Because you were here last week for OBCI. You are here this week. Do you have a preference?
8550 MR. SCARPITTI: If I could just take a second just to respond to this last point.
8551 We have just spent several million dollars installing a new Emergency Operations Centre. It was one of the infrastructure projects that we submitted forward to the federal and provincial government under their infrastructure program.
8552 In the past we had to establish an Emergency Operations Centre and set one up if we ever had to respond to anything within our community. While we are in a better position to respond and certainly serve the community better, we are still limited in terms of how we get the information out to our residents.
8553 Sometimes there is an emergency that is big for a community, not necessarily big for the news agencies to carry all the time in relation to the Greater Toronto Area.
8554 You asked which one I support. I came here supporting both. We are the fastest-growing community -- one of the fastest-growing communities in all of North America. This is not a place that is standing still. It hasn't stood still for the last 20 years and is not going to stand still for the next 20 years. There is growth that is coming.
8555 I think I indicated in my submission last week there are 150,000 people coming to the GTA each year for the next 20 years. Markham is one of only three communities within York Region that is designated to take that growth within the Region of York.
8556 The Region of York, when you look at all of the regions across the GTA, will be taking most of that growth at 24 percent of the new growth that's coming to the Greater Toronto Area.
8557 So this is an AM proposal, last week's was an FM proposal. If you recall in my submission last week I left it to the CRTC to come up with a responsible plan as it relates to the introduction of a new FM station without disrupting services that are currently being provided, but I can tell you with the population growth, the diversity that continues to come to Markham and will continue to come to Markham, I'm here supporting both, and yes, it's your job to choose.
8558 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Good. Good answer.
8559 MR. SCARPETTI: Thank you.
8560 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You mentioned this is going to be 100 percent ethnic programming, 97 percent of it third language. Mr. Mathieu, would you accept that as a condition of licence?
8561 MR. KUMAR: Yes, sir.
8562 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, we will.
8563 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You will also have -- 66 percent of all your ethnic programming will be between Tamil, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi languages, according to your presentation, yes?
8564 MR. KUMAR: Yes.
8565 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Between those four languages?
8566 MR. KUMAR: Yes.
8567 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you also accept that as a condition of licence?
8568 MR. KUMAR: Yes, sir.
8569 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8570 MR. MATHIEU: I believe, sir, that in the application -- and if I didn't do it it's an honest mistake -- is that whatever languages and groups we have in there will be a condition of licence.
8571 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Except for the 16th one you might throw in there, but anyways...
8572 MR. MATHIEU: Well, we apologize again for that typo, but let me say that when we filled out this application, for us it's what we are going to do by condition of licence, no question.
8573 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I understand. I understand it was a typo, but you also mentioned that if we do do a 16th language it wouldn't be the end of the world.
8574 MR. MATHIEU: No.
8575 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: That's why we are trying to get these conditions of licence on the record.
8576 MR. MATHIEU: The way I understand the rule or your policy --
8577 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You understand very well, yes.
8578 MR. MATHIEU: -- is that if we do 14 languages we are not right, but if we do 16 we are doing more, so...
8579 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Great.
8580 Listen, on your CCD contributions you have a total of $5,500. Under our Broadcast Rules, which you know very well, Mr. Mathieu, first year you are not obliged to pay and since you're not going to be doing revenues in excess of $625 your contribution is $500 a year.
8581 So according to the regulations your legal commitment, if you will -- your regulatory commitment is only to $3,000 over the seven-year term, but you have mentioned $5,500 as a contribution. So it's $2,500 above and beyond the minimum.
8582 Would you be willing to accept that as a condition of licence?
8583 MR. MATHIEU: Mr. Kumar will answer, but I know his answer and I -- go ahead.
8584 MR. KUMAR: Yes, I accept it, sir.
8585 MR. MATHIEU: And we would like to state that we are offering more and would like to even offer more, it's just we were very prudent in filling this out given the numbers we have from the SCMO.
8586 However, we need to develop the South Asian talent to have Canadian content, so it's only logical that this is a bare minimum, as far as we are concerned, of our commitment.
8587 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
8588 Explain to me -- I understand it's the best you can do, but you are going to have two different frequencies. You are going to have an AM and an AFM?
8589 MR. MATHIEU: No, no, no, no, no. Two --
8590 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I'm sorry, 1480 and 1490, yes.
8591 MR. MATHIEU: Please allow me to explain, sir.
8592 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, please.
8593 MR. MATHIEU: It's two AM frequencies side by side. One is what we call a regional channel and the other one is a local channel.
8594 I had a discussion with another person yesterday about that. It's hard to understand, but it's the truth.
8595 One of the two frequencies, the 1490, could potentially be used during the day but at a very, very low power, because the way the rules read in protecting American stations, nondomestic stations, the rules change between the daytime and the nighttime protection.
8596 I'm not going to give you a technical course, but I'm sure some of you know a little bit what we are talking about here and it's simply this. The goal is to provide Markham with a viable solution.
8597 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Sure.
8598 MR. MATHIEU: For us FM was out, as far as I'm concerned. Unless anybody brings in an engineering brief that is acceptable to Industry Canada, there is no FM frequency that will give any sizeable market or sizeable service. So that being said, we are going on AM.
8599 Apart from having daytime frequencies we were trying -- obviously the goal was to get a 24/7 frequency. So we devised -- and I'm proud to say I worked with an engineer called Mr. Doug Macaulay who has done outstanding work and we devised a system and it is really not taking up two frequencies, because if you would be on 1480 you cannot use the first adjacent 1490 anyway, and vice-versa. 1480 gives us a great daytime coverage of a kilowatt and 1490 gives us a decent coverage at night at 500 watts.
8600 I have a report from Mr. Macauley on that. We have studied it together and 1480 at night is just horrible and the 1490 day, the same situation. Now, if we are prepared to put up towers and be directionalized, yes, things be done. There are other frequencies that could be used.
8601 The situation is this. We want to be a Markham station. If we want to aim at Markham with the signal and protecting other stations, we need to have towers in downtown Toronto, which doesn't make any sense.
8602 You want to put up stations in Lake Ontario. I know a station called CKEY who used to do that in the '70s with great technical difficulties. The cost of doing that is horrible and we do not want a marketable signal in downtown Toronto. We want to be a Markham station specializing for Markham.
8603 Because if we take our project and we take it to the CN Tower or anywhere, then we are going to compete with the big guys and we're dead. It's as simple as that. If we are a Markham station we will succeed, just like the SCMO is doing now.
8604 So yes, we are applying on two frequencies. That's the reason.
8605 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
8606 Back to costs, just briefly. Some of this information is confidential, but I just want to draw your attention.
8607 First of all, you are profitable in year one?
8608 MR. MATHIEU: We are profitable now with the SCMO.
8609 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. And your cost structure, $320,000 total expenses year one and it doesn't grow that much in year seven.
8610 When I look at the cost for others of doing business, including ethnic stations doing business, it seems a little low.
8611 MR. MATHIEU: It is and we are proud. We are efficient. We are fully automated. We have -- Mr. Kumar has people there all during the day with the SCMO service. Every time I call I get an answer.
8612 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Do they work for free?
8613 MR. MATHIEU: No, they are being paid. But what's not in there, the salespeople are on commission, that's not reflected there. The money that's theirs is net, okay.
8614 He has people working there for him, okay. A lot of them are part-time because you have an automation system, and an automation system allows us to do many, many things if they are used properly. Some stations put the thing on the machine and leave it be. That's a problem if you have an emergency. But some people are able, such as Mr. Kumar, to manage the team that he has to work with him, to have people readily available in case of emergency.
8615 We can access computers from our home.
8616 I am doing a show on an AM station in Montreal. It was on the air Saturday night. It's all pre-recorded, but I was able, from my hotel room, to do two introductions directly to the computer.
8617 So we are there. That's why the costs are low. But if you look at the revenues, if the revenues are what they are now and we raise the costs, then we are in a red situation and it kills the project.
8618 The idea is to make the project work and provide the service, and we pledged that. At the moment, the SCMO is doing that. So we are only going to be better equipped on the AM band to even do better.
8619 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: My understanding is that your revenues currently would be 70 percent of $330,000, given that those are your Year 1 revenues.
8620 MR. MATHIEU: No, the revenue of the SCMO is somewhat lower than that. We would like to keep it on the confidential side --
8621 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I understand that.
8622 MR. MATHIEU: -- but I will be honest with you. I think I mentioned that we are bonifying our revenues by, roughly, 30 percent.
8623 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
8624 MR. MATHIEU: I could break it up for you again. I have it somewhere here.
8625 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you be willing to submit those revenues on a confidential basis?
8626 MR. MATHIEU: I'm sure that we could.
8627 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: As an undertaking?
8628 MR. MATHIEU: Absolutely. I will take note right away.
8629 MR. MATHIEU: How much time do you need for us to be able to do that?
8630 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Maître Hulley, when would we need that?
8631 MS HULLEY: The default deadline is the end of Phase III, and that would seem appropriate here.
8632 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Wednesday.
8633 MS HULLEY: Yes.
8634 MR. MATHIEU: Could we have a little bit more time, please, because it will involve Mr. Kumar's accountant and everything.
8635 MS HULLEY: It's up to you, if you would like to give him more time.
8636 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I will leave it to the Chair, at the end of the questioning, to decide as to the dates.
8637 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you, sir.
8638 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, sir.
8639 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: In terms of your expenses, are your expenses here based on your expenses with the SCMO?
8640 MR. MATHIEU: Exactly, yes.
8641 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: What do you calculate that the increase in those expenses will be?
8642 MR. MATHIEU: Not much, really.
8643 MR. KUMAR: Yes, we have the studio --
8644 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The studio and the tower expenditures, they are about $100,000, from what I see.
8645 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, at the most.
8646 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Are those calculated in your Year 1 expenses?
8647 MR. MATHIEU: They are depreciated, but when you are looking at $320,000 -- we are doing this with Mr. Kumar's assets and cash flow. So it doesn't hurt the station, per se. That is to buy a transmitter, which, in a way, Mr. Kumar already has possession of.
8648 We put in $100,000 because we feel that -- I have built another station and we have had a few surprises. But when you have the transmitter, the antenna is roughly around $30,000, including the ground system and everything.
8649 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But are those expenses in your Year 1 expenses?
8650 MR. MATHIEU: I am not the accountant --
8651 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Or are they separate?
8652 MR. MATHIEU: I would call them separate, because --
8653 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So above and beyond your expenses for Year 1 of $320,000, you are calculating about $100,000 in CAPEX?
8654 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, but it's depreciated here. If you look at "Depreciation", you have a depreciation number here of $8,000, per year, of depreciation. Over seven years, that's $52,000.
8655 So you have your depreciation of your equipment that you bought, your capital cost.
8656 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. I have it in your more detailed -- your handwritten document.
8657 MR. MATHIEU: Yes.
8658 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. The other languages that will be broadcasting on this station, they will be paying for that time?
8659 MR. MATHIEU: I beg your pardon, they will...?
8660 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: They will be paying Mr. Kumar for the time?
8661 MR. MATHIEU: No, no, no, it's --
8662 MR. KUMAR: -- in-house programming.
8663 MR. MATHIEU: No, no, it's in-house programming. We are shying away from having --
8664 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Brokerage.
8665 MR. MATHIEU: -- brokerage, yes.
8666 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: There will be no brokering going on.
8667 MR. KUMAR: No.
8668 MR. MATHIEU: No.
8669 What we will do, sir, honestly -- and I know it has been an issue at this hearing -- most of the people that are going to do the programming are South Asian. They know Mr. Kumar. They have been there for years, they are going to do their thing.
8670 Other languages that we are proposing -- and there is one language that is very minimal, but we are going to serve them. The producer will be paid by the station.
8671 Actually, it is not going to be a producer. There will be a person doing a show; the station will produce the show. The person will be paid by the station to do the show, under the supervision of the station.
8672 What we want to do is, we want to ensure that Mr. Kumar is ultimately controlling the programming at all times. We will not -- because it's a philosophical thing. If I sell to you for $200 an hour, then you feel that you bought the time, and you lose the idea that there are regulations. You say: I bought that time, I am going to do what I want.
8673 It doesn't work that way with us.
8674 We pay the person doing the program. The sponsors -- the money comes in the station, and then we give the person doing the program a salary and a commission. That's it.
8675 So we have full control.
8676 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Interesting.
8677 Yes, the brokering has been -- not an issue, it is more a reality in ethnic broadcasting, as you know, Mr. Mathieu.
8678 MR. MATHIEU: I know very well, but there are some people here who said that brokerage is sort of on the way out, and I will explain why, because I know.
8679 People charge $100, $200 an hour. There was a time for ethnic broadcasting that you could sell $50, $60, $70 a spot, and you could make $500, $600 an hour and get out of it with a profit.
8680 Those days are gone, or they are going, with the growth of ethnic programming. So now the way to do it is the way we have described. The people come in and we give them something to do the show, whether it be a commission or a little salary, or call it a little contract -- whatever -- or a combination of both, it depends on many situations.
8681 But the thing we shy away from -- and I have had experience from a station that I own on the South Shore of Montreal, where I was selling to a gentleman a couple of hours a week, and he wouldn't listen to what I had to say. He wanted to do his own thing -- da, da, da, da, da -- to his own detriment, by the way.
8682 So we reversed the situation, and I am proud to say that it worked a lot better.
8683 So, as far as I'm concerned, personally, brokerage time is not the way to go. The way to go is, the person comes in and does the show, you pay them, and they work by your rules. And you give them rules.
8684 We will have rules. That's it, that's all. Just like a normal radio station, they have des points de mise en ondes, on-air -- ways to do things on the air and formats to respect. It's the same thing.
8685 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You mentioned that there would be very little impact on other ethnic services in the region. Is there a plan in place, and how do you see the impact of people of the Southeast Asian community and other communities leaving more English services to listen to 1480 and 1490, who were not listening to the service under the SCMO plan?
8686 MR. MATHIEU: Again, we don't have official numbers, because BBM is not serving ethnic services or SCMO. By experience, South Asian people are listening to South Asian radio. But the South Asian people that are listening to English radio stations right now will not abandon the station to come to us. They would come to us -- and not in large quantities, because the ones that are there now, are there now because we have the SCMO.
8687 There is a percentage that will come, but to the detriment of the English station? The English stations that have a service, that can claim a service in Markham, are big GTA stations that are billing millions of dollars. I don't think, on their balance sheet, at the end of the day, or at the end of the year, they are going to be able to make any difference, honestly, sir.
8688 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But is there a plan in place to try and attract greater listenership amongst second and third generation Southeast Asians?
8689 MR. MATHIEU: I think that Mr. Kumar should answer --
8690 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: If there is not, there's not, I'm just asking.
8691 Because I would think that your audience would be of a certain age. Am I correct in assuming that?
8692 MR. KUMAR: Yes, sir.
8693 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Your SCMO listenership, sorry.
8694 MR. KUMAR: Normally we see demography in the age from 40-plus.
8695 When we start our AM station, we will attract a young audience because of the open-air programming.
8696 Because, with the SCMO, they had to buy a receiver. The young generation, they are not in the mood to buy a receiver.
8697 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
8698 MR. KUMAR: So this will open the door for them.
8699 We will also --
8700 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, they would rather buy an iPad and listen to music from overseas.
8701 MR. KUMAR: Yes.
8702 MR. MATHIEU: If I may add something, you are right about iPads and iPods, but if we don't do something, we are not going to save radio.
8703 There was a lady here before -- and we have the group YES -- Youth Employment Services -- that is using the service of the SCMO with great success, because we have some people -- youth -- South Asians -- who are listening to the SCMO.
8704 If they are listening to the SCMO, I can assure you that they will be listening to the AM station.
8705 One point is that, yes, in some markets AM listeners -- AM fidelity has gone down. But when you are looking at a specialized station -- like, in Montreal, it works very well on AM.
8706 In Toronto, you have some ethnic stations on AM and they are doing very well.
8707 So I am convinced that converting our SCMO to AM will not hurt our service at all, quite to the contrary.
8708 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But the service will still be, for the most part, spoken. What would you say the percentage of music to talk would be on your station?
8709 MR. KUMAR: There is the description that was given to the CRTC in the delinquency question period, in full detail, and every program has a different ratio on that. For example --
8710 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: My understanding is that it will be, for the most part, spoken word. There will be very little music.
8711 MR. MATHIEU: Yes. Whenever I go to Mr. Kumar's station, there is always somebody speaking on the air.
8712 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: It's always talk, exactly.
8713 MR. MATHIEU: There was a comment that I made -- I said, "Sometimes do you play music?"
8714 MR. MATHIEU: He does, but --
8715 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Very little.
8716 MR. MATHIEU: -- the perception when you are there is, like, there is a lot of talk.
8717 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Is this talk going to be able to attract second and third generation Southeast Asians?
8718 MR. KUMAR: I believe so. Otherwise, just playing --
8719 I know some broadcasters, they automatically program for song and commercial, song and commercial, song and commercial, repeatedly. There is nobody in the studio. But we don't do that. We wanted to attract more audience, so we gave a lot of talk programming about issues in the immigration and education systems -- common titles.
8720 Especially, we have a program after 3 o'clock, when kids come back home from school -- we try to attract them.
8721 But the difficulty is, the SCMO, it has alienated them, because they are not very familiar with the SCMO. Their parents are listening, but the kids --
8722 We still have very successful hours, for two hours, 3:00 to 5:00. The students call in and request a song.
8723 MR. MATHIEU: It's because of what Mr. Kumar is saying, in the SCMOs you are limited to a special radio; whereas there are many, many radios in the house, there is a radio in the car, they've got radios at school, and they can't listen to the SCMO because it's not equipped.
8724 With the AM band in Markham, they will be able to listen to us, for sure.
8725 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: That's all. Thank you very much.
8726 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
8727 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, sir.
8728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
8729 Commissioner Poirier...
8730 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Hello, everybody.
8731 My question might be addressed to many of you, but I will be precise. I would love Ms Vipulananda -- I am sorry for the pronunciation -- to answer my question. I am continuing to pursue the same line of discussion that Mr. Pentefountas has been pursuing.
8732 You say in your presentation today that what Markham doesn't need is an English radio station, that throughout the years Markham has been well served in English by many GTA mainstream radio stations.
8733 I am not sure if that's what I heard. I am not sure that Markham has been well served in English up to now, and has been dedicated to its own community.
8734 Usually the radio stations in the Greater Toronto Area serve the whole area, but they don't specifically serve the Markham area. So why are you saying that Markham has been well served?
8735 Mr. Mayor can answer, and Mr. Kumar can answer, too.
8736 MR. MATHIEU: If you like, I could say something, because we have worked on this application, and the situation is this.
8737 It's an AM station, and if you are an AM station and you are trying to be a mainstream station and compete with the CN Tower stations, you are going to be the last at the ball game.
8738 Markham has been well served because there are many formats on the air in the GTA. I would say that almost every format is represented here -- almost.
8739 The people in Markham -- English people -- like many formats. The problem with having an English station in Markham -- and we discussed this with Mr. Mayor and Mr. Kumar the other night -- is: What format are you going to use?
8740 You can't be all things to all people.
8741 I have seven Commissioners in front of me, and if I were to question you on your tastes, I think they would be very different.
8742 The Toronto market serves very well the GTA because there are many formats available. But if you are going to be an English station -- and I was running a little AM station in Laval last year, with great difficulty, with an oldies format, because we could not attract all of the Laval and North Shore listeners to be able to like that format. They have all of the Montreal stations, which give them all sorts of music and formats.
8743 Here in Toronto, you are very well served with all-talk stations, all sorts of music stations. You have new proposals in front of you for talk stations and other music stations. Great.
8744 But, in Markham, if you have one English, you cannot be a Heinz 57 variety, because people are going to tune out.
8745 If you are doing, say, an oldies, then, if you like oldies, you are going to go to the oldies station. But if the oldies station at that time is doing jazz, you are going to walk away.
8746 That is the reason why Markham, in a way, is well served by all of the formats.
8747 That's why our emergency service is there, and that's why we have talked to Mr. Scarpitti and Mr. Snowball, and we are having a synergy here that, should Markham need something --
8748 We are even willing to do a little five minutes in the morning show, or something, in English, for Markham news.
8749 If you look at our application, there is a very small percentage of English there.
8750 But we tried to shy away, because we don't want to walk away from the ethnic people, and we are not sure that we are going to attract that many English listeners, because, in their minds, when they come to us, it's an ethnic station.
8751 You can't be both. You can't be hybrid any more. It used to work years ago, but unfortunately times change and things change.
8752 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Are you saying that an AM English station, dedicated to the Markham market, wouldn't be as viable as an ethnic radio station?
8753 MR. MATHIEU: Personally, it is my opinion, and I believe that I have --
8754 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Mr. Kumar?
8755 MR. KUMAR: If you will allow me, ma'am, I would like to share my personal experience.
8756 When I was preparing this application, for many years I was working on it, and I always called the councillors at the Markham office to try to fix an appointment with them, to meet them personally, and one day it happened. I was meeting Councillor Howarth. He came to the room that he wanted to meet me in and said, "Kumar, what kind of station are you going to apply for?"
8757 I said, "For a Markham station."
8758 "Kumar, I am always listening to 680 News. I already listen to the music I like. So I don't want any other..."
8759 You know, "What kind of format are you going to carry," meaning that an English station has to have a format.
8760 So I said, "No, no, no, this is a multicultural, 100 percent ethnic station."
8761 "Oh, okay. Then it's okay, I will support you."
8762 So this is what is happening there.
8763 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
8764 And, Mr. Mayor, there is no spoken word radio station that is dedicated presently to Markham?
8765 MR. SCARPITTI: There was one on Main Street Markham. I am not sure of the type of licence it had, but once you got past the parking lot, I don't think you could pick it up any more.
8766 They actually had a very, very low signal, but they also had programming on the internet. So if you logged on -- and I really don't know the type of licence they had, and I don't even know if it's still in existence, to be honest with you.
8767 I just want to reiterate a point that I made last week. Grantham has two radio stations. Mississauga has two radio stations. I think we are underserved as a community.
8768 And it is difficult, I understand, for Commissioners to understand the makeup of Markham, but I think, between the two presentations --
8769 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: We know.
8770 MR. SCARPITTI: -- you have begun to understand what it is like. It is one of the fastest growing areas. It is the most ethnically diverse community in all of Canada. We are seen as a leader, not only within the GTA, but across the country, in different areas, whether it's urban planning -- we have people coming from North America to see new urban planning that is happening within Markham.
8771 We have the highest diversion rate for our garbage. Over 70 percent of the garbage that used to go to landfill no longer goes to landfill.
8772 We have the high tech companies that are within Markham.
8773 We have a regional innovation centre.
8774 Believe me, there is lots of content between what is happening within the individual communities, both English and the multicultural communities, to support radio stations in our community.
8775 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. Then, as my last question, I still wonder why the second generation of immigrants in Markham would need an ethnic radio station, because, in my own belief -- and maybe I am naïve -- most of the younger generation will speak English and will want, naturally, to hear about their community, but they can do that in English. Plus, it would serve the whole community, instead of serving only some specific communities.
8776 MR. SCARPITTI: I would say this -- and I invite anyone on the panel to come to Markham.
8777 When my parents first moved there in 1965, my parents were both from Italy, and it was a predominantly English community. While I took great pride -- we ate the food, we spoke the language within our home -- there were no secondary languages. French and English were taught within the local schools. It's not like today, where you can learn just about as many languages as are going to be on this proposed radio station; in fact, probably more.
8778 What I see -- and it's a culture that all of us, whether in political life or community leaders -- what I see is a great sense of pride in each of the cultures.
8779 And, yes, while they may speak English when they go to school or when they go to work -- notionally, I can tell you, just going to a wedding in the South Asian community --
8780 You know, when I was growing up, yes, we heard some Italian songs, but we always heard the English songs being played at a wedding. It was actually quite heart-warming to go to a South Asian wedding and to see kids in their twenties, in their teenage years, singing and dancing to their own music.
8781 I think there is a greater sense of pride, in that we don't have to hide any more our culture, our language.
8782 This is the beauty of Canada. No one is saying that you shouldn't learn English, because you should learn English or French, but at the same time, certainly, the Canada that we have seen develop over the last 20 years is one where we don't ask you to leave your culture and your native language at the door. In fact, I think that we have thrived as a nation, particularly in our part of the world, because people have hung onto their culture, and have passed on the language to their kids.
8783 And to see South Asian kids getting as excited about a South Asian song being played that night as they would maybe hearing Britney Spears, I think is wonderful. That's what we need to preserve.
8784 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah, and see this as a compliment. That's why you were elected mayor. You are a really good speaker.
8785 Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
8786 MR. MATHIEU: If I could just add, I think Mr. Li would like just to --
8787 MR. HERTZ: Sorry. He sings a great Cantonese too, I want you to know.
8788 But what is very interesting, as the mayor indicated, what we are finding with international languages that we are teaching is that not only people looking for their own heritage language and international language, but we have a lot of people from different languages learning totally different languages altogether.
8789 We just had a big concert and the number of people that were not Korean that have learned Korean as an example and everything of that nature. So that's the really wonderful thing that people are interested in learning other languages. The big one, of course, will be Mandarin just you know worldwide sort of thing.
8790 I have some schools. I have maybe 50 languages in the school represented. There is only 20 kids but there is 50 languages. I'm kidding.
8791 But the diversity is just amazing and it's so nice to see people wanting to learn other cultures and the people learning their own as well.
8792 Thank you.
8793 MR. LI: Commission, I am a unique example. I'm actually third generation away from China. Yet, I speak fluent Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese and my own dialect, Hakka. And I picked up a Hindi language when I am going to school in Calcutta, India. I was there. I was born there.
8794 So I came to Canada. Obviously before I came to Canada I moved to Sweden so I picked up my Swedish language as well. So I mean I'm multicultural.
8795 But you know from time to time like every morning I come to work, I have my CD set up on radio stations. It's moves between English which are my favourite songs, the German more on talking and then I have my Chinese and Teresa Teng from Taiwan, and then I have the Indian songs because you know I feel fine tuned to listen to my background.
8796 And recently, you know, just not long ago on Good Friday actually, I organized a concert in Hindi, right. I invited the Chinese that left India 40 years ago to compete with the arrival of a new Indian from India to sing a Hindi song in Markham. It was actually a full park in the Markham area. They couldn't believe a Chinese like me is still singing perfect Hindi songs.
8797 So you know like I was amazed, Markham provided a unique opportunity for me to live the way I wanted and especially also to move on like a Canadian because that's what I want, right, but I'm proud to be, you know, like Indian by birth, Chinese by descent and Canadian by choice.
8798 Thank you.
8799 MR. MATHIEU: If you will allow me, as a Canadian born with the French language, I'm very proud of what I see at this hearing and the work I do in getting ethnic stations on the air because we are going to have very richness -- a very good richness in Canada. La richesse en français, which is to speak many languages.
8800 I speak French. I speak English. I wish I could speak other languages. I'm honestly being an amateur radio operator on shortwave working on it.
8801 I believe Madam Marlene would have a little comment, maybe a little comment if you would be so kind to --
8802 MS GALLYOT: I would like to bring to your attention that I was born in India. Not many people believe that because I could speak, read and write Tamil. I was -- I had learned that in school. I speak at leave five or six other languages from India and Iran as well.
8803 So this kind of a station will give us the opportunity for people to get to know that there are people like us that exist in Markham. It's nice to also hear music from back home and topics and politics of what's going on in the rest of the world.
8804 So this is a great station, I think, that what Mr. Kumar is doing.
8805 MR. MATHIEU: I believe our station will offer cultural diversity and will preserve a heritage for people to keep their roots.
8806 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Were they any other questions for the panel?
8807 Commissioner Menzies...?
8808 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I just wanted to follow up on that.
8809 You know, there is no objection to everything that has been said. It's all very nice, but I'm not quite sure it got to the answer to Commissioner Poirier's question in terms of maintaining culture and language and that sort of stuff is all just fine. But the facts of the matter when you look at Statistics Canada stats in terms of language retention is that it does fall off dramatically.
8810 The first or second generation, like I said, maybe two-thirds, sometimes 70, sometimes 80 -- it depends on the language and culture -- but the third generation, the stats I was looking at the other day, the Punjabi was the highest retention in the third generation at about 33 percent. But others drop off well -- many of the Chinese languages to like 14 percent, 15 percent. There are always exceptions.
8811 But I was -- I use that just to get back to Commissioner Poirier's question that are you concerned that you will lose the audience in that language in the years ahead and have to -- or do you think that -- are you forecasting this based on the fact there will be full multi-language retention given from what I heard before that 87 percent of people in Markham do speak English.
8812 Do you think there will be full language retention in Markham that it will be unique and go against the flow in the years ahead?
8813 MR. KUMAR: Commissioner, in my experience that I believe and I want to preserve the heritage for Ron and the others. Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario they are having a minister for multiculturalism, promoting multiculturalism and we promote that through our radio.
8814 I have three children, three of them going to university now. They listen to our songs in their car, speaking English, studying in English, speaking in our native language at home and wherever we go for functions and festivals we always create the same heritage: Proud to be Canadian living our own heritage.
8815 But what happened is that now it's more viable because all the music comes together. Indeed, sometimes they mix together. Hindi, Tamil, Arabic; Persian they mix together. One singer can sing in more than five, six different languages. It's connected to South Asia.
8816 So it goes more and more so we have to have this kind of media to preserve that. What does Canada want to preserve their own culture and diversity?
8817 MR. MATHIEU: If you'll permit me to add, working intensively with ethnic stations there is a growth. There is a huge growth at the moment, especially in Markham, of the ethnic population. People are emigrating here. So for us it's not an issue that our listenership is going to go up and not down.
8818 Being French-Canadian, Mr. Kumar has convinced me that that station will work. That station will have a younger audience in the years to come, given the possibility to be on AM, given the possibility to improve our on-air sound and to tune the music and the programming properly.
8819 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
8820 MR. LI: Commissioner Menzies, I would like to add a few words.
8821 I know that like every parent we believe that when they grow up in a country it will change, just like my father thought, you know like I mean living in a country like India sooner or later unable to speak my Chinese language. That's why I was sent to a Chinese school.
8822 But today in Canada I can't send my kid to a Chinese school because there is no such Chinese school in Canada.
8823 So I remember very well, you know, when my kid was going to the school I used to tell them, you know, like it's good to have your own cultural background. My son used to tell me, "Dad, please. I'm born here. English is all that matters to me". That was his words, five, six, 10 years ago.
8824 But I was stunned when Olympics happened in China in 2008 and that was the turning point for my son and all of a sudden he said -- because I used to play radio or cassette in my car when he come along with me -- every time when I put on the Chinese he would just switch it back to English. He would say, "I don't want to listen to this crap because I'm Canadian. I'm not Chinese. I may look Chinese".
8825 But I was stunned. Since 2008 he said, "Dad, that Chinese music actually sounds good".
8826 So one day that was removed. He said, "Where is that cassette? I want to put it back so I can listen when I go to work". So I was just amazed, you know, like it was a turning -- I mean if you think about your son is going to move out, which is my concern too.
8827 And as a matter of fact when I came back from China last year and my son asked me a typical question, "Do you think you can set me up so I can go to school in China for the summer for three months to learn some Chinese?" I said, "Wow, what makes you change?"
8828 He said, "Well, if I'm going to have difficulty to find job in Canada I had better equip myself to learn some Chinese to be in a competitive stage. So I said, "Okay, that's well thought of".
8829 Thank you.
8830 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Molnar...?
8831 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
8832 And we continue to grill you. Let me say first that we have heard for over a week now a lot about the diversity within Toronto and the need or desire to serve the culture within the community. I mean, I wish we had an unlimited number of frequencies and could simply address everyone's needs. All of us understand about wanting to maintain our own ethnic cultures.
8833 And then the other important element of course is growing together as Canadians.
8834 So I just want to understand more. You had mentioned you are not going to do brokered programming and you will be in charge of the programming and by some magic where no one else seems to do it, you were clear that you're going to be able to engage the full communities, the youth and the mature audience and everyone in between.
8835 But what I would like to know is how much of this is actually focused on local programming versus foreign programming?
8836 I mean I understand music comes from various sources but we have heard much about the growing talent within our own communities here, spoken word talent and musical talent and the news and information.
8837 You have the mayor sitting beside you wanting to support Markham, the community.
8838 So how much of the content here is truly local or Canadian versus foreign?
8839 MR. KUMAR: Some music we will add to the respect of their own culture from their native countries. But most of them I could say first and then you -- most of them is local programming that we intend to do.
8840 MR. MATHIEU: After working a lot with Mr. Kumar often I come in the station and he's got local emerging artists either being interviewed or being offered airplay or promotions.
8841 This is the goal of the station. I mean if we can help Markham artists. It's our goal. We have to attract the listeners so we have to provide for that.
8842 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: If it's okay with you, I'm just going to have Mr. Kumar answer because it is his station and his objective.
8843 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
8844 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And I heard you suggesting it's the goal of the station and I heard you say, "And we are going to try to get some on".
8845 Now, do you have the talent? Do you have plans? Do you have a programming strategy? I mean you are wanting to take your SCMO onto the AM band. How much of it today is Canadian?
8846 MR. KUMAR: Today --
8847 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: How much of the content is focused on Canadian content and the music versus foreign?
8848 MR. KUMAR: I could say more than 70 percent is Canadian now.
8849 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you. That's good.
8850 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I think that completes the questioning.
8851 With regard to that follow-up item to be filed why is it so difficult to file it in the next 48 hours?
8852 MR. KUMAR: We can do that, sir.
8853 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can that in 48 hours?
8854 MR. KUMAR: Yes.
8855 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So Wednesday, close of business.
8856 MR. KUMAR: Thank you.
8857 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. That completes our questioning.
8858 Madam Secretary.
8859 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much. We will break for lunch and come back at 1:45.
8860 MR. KUMAR: Thank you, Commissioners.
8861 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1227
--- Upon resuming at 1347
8862 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, we will begin.
8863 THE SECRETARY: Yes, thank you.
8864 We will now hear item 21 on the Agenda which is an application by Radio Ryerson Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language FM community-based campus radio programming undertaking in Toronto.
8865 MR. Sheldon Levy will lead this panel. I would ask that you please introduce your colleagues for the record to start with. You will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
8866 MR. LEVY: Well, thank you, Madam Secretary.
8867 My name is Sheldon Levy. In addition to my job as the President of Ryerson University, I am also presently the Vice-Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities and I sit on many boards and a number of community organizations.
8868 But before I begin our team's presentation I want to thank you and acknowledge the Radio Ryerson and Ryerson University students, staff, our volunteers in the audience who have come to support us today.
8869 In particular, I just want to mention that Dr. Gerd Hauck, the Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Art and Design and Chair of the Ryerson Board of Directors is here, as well as Professor Michael Murphy.
8870 The rest of our presentation panel will now introduce themselves to you.
8871 MS YAFFE: I am Phyllis Yaffe and I am the Chair of the Ryerson Board of Governors.
8872 Before joining the Ryerson Board of Governors, I was the Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Atlantis Communications.
8873 I currently sit on the Boards of Directors of Astral Media, Lionsgate, Torstar and Cineplex.
8874 MR. DIVERLUS: My name is Rodney Diverlus. I am a third-year Ryerson student and also currently the President of the Ryerson Students Union which represents the over 27,000 fulltime undergraduate and all graduate students at Ryerson University.
8875 As president I will be sitting at the Ryerson Radio Board.
8876 MR. HUDES: My name is Alan Hudes. As a Ryerson journalism student I coordinated a pilot project to broadcast Ryerson Rams games online.
8877 With Radio Ryerson I want to establish a fresh take on amateur and university sports in Toronto and bring the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the historic Gardens back to life.
8878 MR. NOACK: Good afternoon. I am Wil Noack. I study and I work as the Data Manager in Ryerson's RTA School of Media, where I received the Marshall McLuhan Student Choice Award last year. I have been volunteering with Radio Ryerson from the beginning last year.
8879 MR. GELFAND: My name is Bernie Gelfand. I taught for a long time, 31 years at Ryerson's Social Work faculty.
8880 I am here representing a group called Act 2. It's a seniors' community theatre program run by the Continuing Education school at Ryerson.
8881 MR. VU: I am Wilson Yu, the Program and Personnel Director at Culturelink which is the settlement organization which has a lot of newcomers every year and most of our newcomers English is their second language.
8882 We are very happy to be here to work with Radio Ryerson as our community partner.
8883 MR. WISEMAN: I'm Bob Wiseman. I have won Juno Awards as a founding member of Blue Rodeo and Gemini Awards for film and television compositions. I sit on the board for the Blocks Recording club who have put out two Polaris Prize winners.
8884 I am here because I know first-hand how important community radio is for new artists, and I want to see these positive opportunities sustained.
8885 MS ROWE: Hello, I am Ayesha Rowe. Executive Director of FlemoCity Media, a grassroots organization serving at risk youth in the Flemingdon Park communities. FlemoCity Media uses media arts including radio broadcasts as a youth engagement tool for capacity building and community development.
8886 MS BECKSTEAD: Hello. My name is Lori Beckstead. I am the Associate Chair of the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University which until recently was called the School of Radio and Television Arts.
8887 I teach radio and digital media courses and I have spent many years working and volunteering in the campus/community sector.
8888 I am delighted to be the faculty liaison for Radio Ryerson.
8889 MS HARRISON: My name is Jacky Tuinstra Harrison. I am the President and Station Manager of Radio Ryerson. I am also a journalist and an advocate for community media.
8890 MR. BUCHANAN I am Grant Buchanan, a partner at McCarthy Tetrault and outside counsel to Radio Ryerson.
8891 MR. LEVY: Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission, Commission staff, that concludes our introduction.
8892 Let me begin. Again, I want to thank you for this opportunity to re-establish the bond of trust between the Commission and our University. I will begin by giving you three thoughts.
8893 First, Ryerson is a champion city builder. It's really who we are. I'd be thrilled to talk your ears off about everything we have going on, like our Digital Media Zone, like the new pedestrian walkway on Gould Street, or like the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, a legendary hockey shrine in our city.
8894 But, second, city building is more than bricks and mortar. It is reaching out to current and former students, their families and their neighbourhoods across the city. And that is something Ryerson is experienced at.
8895 Our first radio licence goes back to 1948. Our radio and television arts and journalism schools have populated the media industry on a grand scale.
8896 Think of Wendy Mesley of Marketplace; Tanya Kim on ETalk; Dwight Drummond now at CBC; Mark Roe, the CTV sports anchor; Farah Nasser at CablePulse24 who is on Radio Ryerson's board. You just have to wait. Radio Ryerson will connect Toronto with a platform for the next generation of journalists and on-air personalities.
8897 The third point I want to make is Ryerson's FM station was for many years a stable anchor for our students and for our Toronto listeners. A fatal flaw in its governance structure prevented Ryerson University from intervening in what was a crisis.
8898 So let me address what you all must be wondering. That is how do we make sure the new Radio Ryerson doesn't repeat the CKLN experience?
8899 Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, at a university reputation is everything. What happened hurt our reputation as a university and I know it was not easy for the Commission, either.
8900 I want to absolutely assure you that I thought very carefully before supporting the idea of an application by the new Ryerson team. But I am satisfied that the events that led to the revocation have been fully addressed.
8901 As Grant will explain, Radio Ryerson is not just a new non-profit corporation. It is a new governance structure with an important role for volunteers from the community, from our student body and from the university administration.
8902 Students and young people count on us for opportunities to take their place in the community. We can reach out and get them involved. We can bring radio into their lives. To do that, we are asking to bring your new campus/community radio policy to life.
8903 MR. BUCHANAN: this team has worked very hard to make this Application a winner on every level.
8904 Governance was obviously a cornerstone issue. In fact, but for a governance issue, nobody would be here in this room today.
8905 The group considered your new policy very closely. It calls for a board with balanced representation from the student body, the administration, station volunteers and the community at large.
8906 In the case of Radio Ryerson, the heads of the communications and design, radio/television, and Ted Rogers Management schools represent the administration.
8907 The Ryerson Student Union President and the elected student representatives for each of two departments are there for students.
8908 The remaining three board seats go to an elected station volunteer representative and to two other community representatives.
8909 The Board has the ability to remove members and hire and fire staff. Important events like changing the management, approving the annual budget, and the incurring of significant expenditures cannot happen without the positive vote of at least one student board representative and one administration board representative.
8910 Radio Ryerson has a fee agreement in place for its funding and a space agreement for its studios. Extra precautions have been built into both agreements.
8911 And I expect Radio Ryerson is the only applicant that already has a transmitter on top of First Canadian Place and a signed lease arrangement with Brookfield already in hand.
8912 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, the people who passed the current Broadcasting Act in 1991 cared about the community element of the Canadian broadcasting system. For many years, the Act had said that the Canadian broadcasting system was comprised of public and commercial media.
8913 It was only in 1991 that, the first time, the government stated that Canada's broadcasting system has three pillars, not just two and that community media is one of them. You obviously have taken this to heart.
8914 The Commission has dedicated a lot of energy these last few years to updating its campus/community policy. You have conducted consultations and you have taken the time to visit stations.
8915 But since your policy came into effect there has not been a single campus/community radio applicant. Now is the time to demonstrate what the Commission wants campus community radio to look like going forward.
8916 Radio Ryerson has built a template where the university is involved in the station and the station builds on the strengths and resources of the campus and melds them with the local community.
8917 MR. DIVERLUS: As Grant mentioned, Radio Ryerson's Board includes members from the administration and the student body. And the Board has an explicit mandate to reach out to community groups to join the slate from which we draw board members.
8918 We have had great responses already with groups like the Boys and Girls Clubs, East Metro Youth Services, Toronto Community Foundation, and Maytree Foundation.
8919 But the major part of Radio Ryerson's funding is from the student body, which held a referendum and gave Radio Ryerson a fresh and new mandate. This was the third radio referendum at Ryerson, ever. More than 84 percent of students voted said yes to Radio Ryerson, and became student investors in the station we hope you will license.
8920 MS HARRISON: We think that is an extraordinary gift from Ryerson students to the people of Toronto. They have invested in a platform for launching and nurturing emerging artists in this city.
8921 Now, we have heard a lot of great proposals for Toronto radio last week. But you know they are formats more than a dozen stations are free to adopt tomorrow if they thought they made commercial sense.
8922 However, we are not a commercial applicant. As a campus community station our goals are different. So are our conditions of licence and our funding. We are built from the ground up to fill a niche for emerging artists and for citizens in this community.
--- Video presentation
8923 MS HARRISON: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, you have our application, including all of our numbers.
8924 Today, we want to tell you a little bit more of the story behind them. So we have a look at our program schedule, and it begins at 9:00 a.m. with artist discovery slots, campus spoken word. At noon and supper we have newscasts and ethnic cultural mix. More spoken word programming at 8:00 p.m., weekend sports coverage. And we've created a format that pours volunteer energy into programming that covers all the bases, posing kids with earphones on and propels them towards radio.
8925 Part of the way we do that is to create a station programmed by young people, for young people, on behalf of young people. But not just young people.
8926 For more than 30,000 student investors, this is a radio station with their name on it, with their peers at the heart of it and that speaks to them.
8927 MS BECKSTEAD: As campus community radio, our job is to reflect the diversity of our campus and of our city. That's the whole point of it. Yet my own research shows that only 11 percent of the voices we hear on private radio in Toronto belong to visible minorities. Radio Ryerson knows that we can do better than that.
8928 We talked a great deal in our application and you've also heard from other applicants about Toronto's diversity.
8929 One of the lessons we've drawn from the past is that what gets measured, gets done. So we will insist that no less than 70 percent of our on-air voices belong to the employment equity designated groups and lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgendered communities. That is a surprisingly high percentage.
8930 You will never have heard a number like this from a non-ethnic applicant before. We have a responsibility to our student investors and to the diverse community we are asking you to license us to serve.
8931 MS HARRISON: For Category 2 music, we committed to 45 percent Canadian content. The fact is that, as a station policy, we are always going to do at least 50 percent in practice. Every one of our logs is going to show that.
8932 In fact, our highest listenership slots, the morning drive, noon program, afternoon drive home, they're all dedicated 100 percent to emerging Canadian artists.
8933 As you can see from our grid, Canadian content is not something that we intend to bury in parts of the day when no one is listening. We will be working with emerging artists on the ground.
8934 In our Artists in Residency program, every month different local artists, record labels or festival promoters will produce weekly shows with thoughts and interviews on the local artists' scene. Also, our local music intern's role is to source new music from other local artists on the ground and we're building partnerships with supporters at the Canadian Music Centre, the Songwriters' Café and Ryerson's own "Sounds Good" magazine.
8935 We have reached out to Toronto artists, and we're listening.
8936 We want to build support mechanisms into activities for these artists, and we're just getting started. One of our secret weapons is tapping into Ryerson itself. The best clips of the best talks that visiting thinkers and dignitaries give on our campus every week, radio drama coordinated by our seniors theatre group, Act II Studio, who can be mentors to work with and pass this art form on to the younger generation.
8937 Additionally, expert support from Ryerson's ombud service mediators and our not for profit management program staff will support the station.
8938 MS BECKSTEAD: Commissioners, this is not an instructional station. Ryerson already has that. We have spiritlive.net, which is an internet-based radio station run out of the RTA School of Media to teach broadcasting, and community groups already have that, like the work Ayesha has been doing in her neighbourhood.
8939 New media is a great venue to hold a conversation, and we will be building that into our plan. But there's a reason you exempted new media saying its impact on the broadcasting system is still limited. And there's a reason more than 20 excellent applications are vying for this same frequency.
8940 Radio is still the mother ship. And what my students and students across our campus have shown is that they have access to radio and will pay attention to radio when it is their radio.
8941 At the same time, Ryerson has been a leader in new media. It's not just the digital media zone where Ryerson incubates Toronto's next start-ups. It's the fact that spiritlive.net was this country's first internet-based radio station back in the 1990s or the on-line radio drama podcasts we've created in collaboration with leading British and Australian broadcasts schools or Global City, where we created a newscast that switched seamlessly between studios on different continents in HD on the internet.
8942 Nobody had ever done that before.
8943 MS HARRISON: Ryerson is a downtown digital innovator, and Radio Ryerson will build on that.
8944 We want to stitch radio together so tightly with other media that we create a continuous experience.
8945 Naturally, that means live streaming, podcasts, live video of our studio, Youtube clips and interacting with on-air hosts through television -- through telephone, Twitter and so on, but it goes much deeper than that. It's more participatory than that.
8946 We will have special hot spot locations set up on campus and in community organizations where listeners can step up, speak their minds and have it come directly to our programming department to consider running on air.
8947 On the nightly DJ youth shows, listeners will go on the net, reach into our music library and program what they want to hear on air. Their collective decisions will make up that show's playlist.
8948 On Monday night, a documentary slot will reflect in-depth reporting on stories that we have pitched to Torontonians and that they have chosen, voted for on-line as most worth covering and that they have pitched in with, feeding insights that we might never have known about.
8949 These will be quality documentaries that break stories.
8950 All last week, we heard about paying into the Community Radio Fund of Canada, and this is the kind of showcase programming that that fund is for.
8951 Our news reporting is going to be just as innovative. We've heard Torontonians and the Commission on the need for neighbourhood news.
8952 With the experience and mentorship of journalism faculty advisers that drive this country's next generation of journalism, we also have supporters like Open Media, with whom we hope to collaborate.
8953 All of our connections in the community will also help us do news differently. And by "do news differently", there's a couple of things I'd like to highlight.
8954 We will have live chat, social media and call-ins that are properly moderated and monitored as well as three-minute news capsules aired regularly throughout the day, but more than that, we really want our listeners to participate, so we have begun developing "En Rue", a mobile app that lets listeners record audio from around the city, collaborate in real time on editing each other's audio files and upload them to us for review.
8955 A short mock-up of that, I believe, is attached on the final page of your package as well.
8956 We will have our ears to the ground and break stories that are fed from the community, and this application is going to help us do that. We will do our student investors proud and add essential voices and creators back into the airwaves, and to do that, we are asking you to continue the 65-year tradition and bring radio back to Ryerson.
8957 MS YAFFE: Sheldon Levy began by expressing his support and satisfaction with the way this new Radio Ryerson has been designed and built.
8958 As Chair of the Board to which Sheldon reports, I want to emphasize to you the support he has from us for the new Radio Ryerson.
8959 A number of us on the Board, like Nadir Mohammed, Jocelyne Côté-O'Hara, have backgrounds in communications. The communications landscape in Canada is full of Ryerson graduates, not just in senior positions like Keith Pelley, one of our supports, but at all levels.
8960 So my closing message is simple. If you believe in campus community radio, this is the licence you should grant.
8961 Its governance, a particular concern of both the Commission and my Board, is in compliance with your policies and will stand the test of time. It has a structure where, when there are problems, the university and the students can get involved and fix them.
8962 We want this service to harness what the Ryerson and Toronto communities do best and show what the community element of the Canadian broadcasting system can do and become in the next 60 years. The service will be diverse and inspirational, a gift from the Ryerson students investing in it to a new generation of Torontonians and to the future of radio in this country.
8963 By meaningfully engaging our young people, our newcomers and all Torontonians in the love and art of radio, we are investing in future listeners and producers.
8964 We are equipping Torontonians for public debate, for community service and for taking their places within their community, our community.
8965 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
8966 We will now hear your intervenors in support, which is Ms Aven Hoffarth, Ms Siobhan Ozege and Ms Shelley Robinson from the National Campus and Community Radio Association.
8967 I'd like to remind this panel you have 10 minutes collectively.
8968 MS ROBINSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today.
8969 I am here representing the National Campus and Community Radio Association, l'Association nationale des radios étudiantes et communautaires.
8970 The NCRA/NREC is a not for profit group committed to volunteer-driven, non-profit, community oriented radio across Canada. We believe it is clear from the Radio Ryerson panel that you just heard an application that of all the applicants for this frequency, Radio Ryerson's proposed station provides for the greatest public access on air and in station governance, the greatest diverse of programmers and programming from queer programs to multi-cultural shows to local news, and also, because of all these things, the greatest exposure for new and emerging Canadian artists in multiple genres, from blues to hiphop to bhangra to classical to indie rock.
8971 But my time here is brief, so I will focus on the steps Radio Ryerson has taken to ensure that, if successful, the station will fulfil its mandate while meeting and exceeding all regulatory requirements and conditions of licence.
8972 The Radio Ryerson team includes people from the campus and the community with a diverse range of experience. In preparing their application, they drew from the university's journalism, RTA media arts and other Ryerson departments as well as legal counsel with extensive broadcast expertise to bolster their knowledge of compliance.
8973 They also polled the NCRA and our members for best practices in volunteer recruitment and retention, sourcing diverse music, which is often more than 20,000 songs a year at a lot of campus stations, which dwarfs the music collections of many commercial stations, blending campus and community programming, logging and training volunteer programmers to keep compliant logs, ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities and other under-represented groups, and countless other subjects.
8974 They incorporated the results of these polls into their application.
8975 Radio Ryerson also researched staff and governance structures that would support compliance and built a significant number of staff positions into their application, including some who would begin developing compliance structures before the station even begins broadcasting.
8976 Certainly the NCRA and c/c stations generally are more aware of the importance of regulatory compliance than ever, but we know of no other applicant in our sector that has pursued a licence after first having done so much research and having made such clear-eyed plans to ensure compliance when working with hundreds of volunteers.
8977 We believe Radio Ryerson's increased commitments for Canadian content, music from new and emerging artists and local spoken word programming not only underscore their desire to serve the diverse audiences of the Ryerson campus and the wider community, but are also practical and achievable.
8978 We also note that Ryerson is one of only a few major Canadian universities that does not currently have a licensed radio station, and our research shows that Toronto is under served in this regard compared to many other major urban markets.
8979 For example, in Montreal there's CKUT, CJLO and CISM as campus community choices on the dial. Vancouver has CJSF and CITR. Ottawa has CKCU, CKDJ and CHUO. Yet in downtown Toronto, there's currently only CIUT for campus community access and programming.
8980 And that, coupled with the applicant's other virtues, means we strongly encourage the Commission to approve this application.
8981 Thank you.
8982 MS OZEGE: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff, my name is Siobhan Ozege. I am presently a graduate student at Ryerson University in the Communication and Culture program.
8983 In the past, I've been an on-air host at CIUT, and between 2006 and 2009 I was the station manager for CKRG, the radio station at Glendon College, which is the Bayview campus of York University.
8984 The Glendon radio station had started in 1977 as a direct to cable station on campus. It became a low-power AM service in 1990 and then an FM licensee in 2004, with the right to pump out one watt of power.
8985 Radio Glendon took up its FM licence in 2005. There was a lot of enthusiasm around that, but as station manager, I began the consultation process to move Radio Glendon from an FM station to an on-line only format.
8986 CKRG did not apply to renew its licence, which expired in 2011. I wanted to share with you some reasons for that.
8987 There was a lot of excitement around going on FM, but it also took a lot of resources. There was the technical side. There were the regulatory obligations. There were the copyright payments. There were the logging for each of those functions.
8988 Despite tremendous goodwill and active involvement, we made the hard decision to flip from FM to on-line to ensure the station's viability.
8989 My Radio Glendon experience has taught me two things that are relevant to this application. First, a lot of people want to see campus community radio happen and get involved with it, especially young people like me.
8990 I continued in the radio arena and I'm now doing my MA at Ryerson studying broadcasting policy, and I'm working part-time in the industry.
8991 Campus community radio helped me catch the radio bug, even at just one watt.
8992 But second, campus community radio needs size and scale of its own. It can't just be a handful of people or a negligible budget. It takes expertise, people, time and money.
8993 I'm here today because I think that Radio Ryerson has all of those things. Number and the calibre of people and the budget they are able to work with thanks to the decision of the Ryerson students are simply in a different league than Radio Glendon's.
8994 I live downtown. My campus radio options are very limited. There are lots of commercial radio formats out there, but only one community radio format, CIUT's. I just don't think that's enough.
8995 There's only so much one campus community station can do, just like there's only so much that could happen if Toronto only had one commercial radio station.
8996 Toronto is teeming with artists in every neighbourhood. Campus community radio gives them a launching paid.
8997 Ryerson is an amazing student -- or an amazing school for broadcasting, culture and communications, and I think it's the right place for campus community radio and I think that you should license its station.
8998 MS HOFFARTH: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff, my name is Aven Hoffarth and after high school in my home town of Walkerton, I moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University.
8999 I intervened to support this station because, as a media student and as someone who is now proud to live in Toronto, I think we need it and this city needs it.
9000 When I moved to this city, the radio was not that much different than my home town. There were a few more stations and different hit charts, but it was the same stuff that I can get on Youtube, on Vevo or on iTunes.
9001 Like most of my friends, the deepest playlist that I know is on my hard drive so if I want to find out about new music, there are lots of blogs, websites and other places to go for that. But that's probably why most of my friends don't usually listen to radio.
9002 But last year, I got involved with Radio Ryerson effort. I helped campaign on the "yes" side of the radio referendum we had last October. I talked to a lot of Ryerson students. It was pretty interesting, and it was overwhelming.
9003 The reaction was really, really positive. What students wanted to know were things like "How do I get a show on the air? How do I get my kind of music on the air, and how far will it reach? Will I be able to get it at home or in my car? And is it going to broadcast sports?"
9004 One thing nobody said to me is, "No, thanks, I don't listen to radio" or "I've never heard of radio".
9005 What that told me was something I already knew. The problem for young people and radio is that it's not something we don't know about and it's not something we can't get. It's that radio doesn't do what we need it to do.
9006 We don't need it to listen to our favourite music or to find other songs that are kind of like our favourite music. We can get that without the radio. What does work for radio is the same kind of things that work for social networking; hearing each other, getting local information and connecting with people.
9007 I think community radio can be great for that. I have experience volunteering at CFBW in Hanover and have seen the power of community radio. I also believe my time with CFBW influenced my acceptance into Ryerson University and my current summer position with a commercial broadcaster in Owen Sound.
9008 Commercial radio stations certainly do have their place, but campus community radio lets young people connect directly with each other.
9009 Right now, living downtown, we are served by a lot of commercial radio stations, and just one community radio station. I think people my age in Toronto need more community radio and I think Radio Ryerson's plan to do this is very exciting.
9010 That's why I'm supporting the Radio Ryerson application. Thank you.
9011 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all.
9012 I would ask Commissioner Menzies to begin the questioning.
9013 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9014 First of all, I'll be pitching and I need to know who's catching so that you don't all have to answer at once.
9015 Who is --
9016 MS HARRISON: Absolutely, I'd be pleased to take your questions.
9017 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You're the director general? Okay.
9018 MS HARRISON: Thank you.
9019 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You can feed them out to whoever might most appropriately respond. Thanks.
9020 On page 2 of the presentation you just gave, you noted that extra precautions have been taken with the fee agreement and the space agreements.
9021 Could you expand on the why and how of those agreements?
9022 MS HARRISON: Absolutely. We were really pleased to, after the referendum, sign a new fee agreement and begin negotiations for studio space at Ryerson.
9023 To speak a little bit about how the student investors, the administration and the community is all protected in both of those agreements, I'm going to turn that to our counsel, Grant Buchanan.
9024 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the why is fairly straightforward. It was a rather significant problem with the previous licensee, so the first thing we did was look at what were the governance agreements and how could we make them bulletproof for a new licensee.
9025 So there are two in question. The first one you asked about is the fee agreement.
9026 There are, generally speaking, a couple of ways to fund community radio -- or campus community radio. Ryerson is fairly typical there. The money comes through the student levy and is forwarded over.
9027 So what we wanted to do there was make sure that they couldn't just pull the plug, that if, for some reason, the students got upset -- not that anybody imagines that happening with this group -- that there would be a mechanism to forestall any withholding of funds. So that was built right in to this agreement, and I think that's very important for you to know that there's a consistency in the funding.
9028 The --
9029 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure. Just how is that done?
9030 So once the levy -- the levy has been approved by a vote and now it's -- there's no going back? Is that --
9031 MS HARRISON: So the levy will increase. Right now it's $10.35 and it will increase by CPI unless there is another referendum.
9032 And to answer your question more fully, although briefly, I'm going to pass it to Rodney Diverlus, who can explain a little bit about what it would take to change that agreement vis à vis another referendum.
9033 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9034 MR. DIVERLUS: So for us at the Ryerson campus, referendums are really an important way to provide stable funding for student-led initiatives and just like to fund the Radio Ryerson it took a referendum.
9035 To remove funds from Radio Ryerson, it would take more work to essentially build critical mass to get students on board and to run another referendum.
9036 But the great thing about the Fee Agreement between ourselves at the Ryerson Students Union but also folks in Radio Ryerson, a lot of thought has been put into it to ensure that the rights of both parties are actually protected and to ensure that students who voted for this referendum truly wanted to put a system in place that supported Radio Ryerson for years to come.
9037 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I'm still not quite clear. I will just stick with the referendum. I promise I will come back to the Space Agreement.
9038 You had a referendum, 84 percent approved. What percent -- what was the voter turnout?
9039 MS HARRISON: The voter turnout was just over 10 percent, which is just a little bit higher than average for the larger general elections.
9040 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, okay. So you said the funding could go away if there was another referendum and I just want to be clear on how many -- is there a signature process, a petition process for another possible referendum or isn't there?
9041 MR. LEVY: I could help you. Let me help you with it.
9042 The rules of funding at Ryerson require the Board of Governors to allow a referendum to happen and therefore there can't be an end of the funding of a referendum unless there is another referendum.
9043 So the Board of the University would have to agree to a referendum for what you might call defunding of the station. That is not only very unlikely, my expectation if that was ever allowed would be the administration would come in and be the funder of it.
9044 But the students cannot on their own have a referendum without the Board's support and it is almost impossible for me to believe that the Board would ever support a referendum for defunding without the obligation for the funding part of it.
9045 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I kind of am, but I'm not really.
9046 This is what I'm getting from this, is there would have to be some sort of major unrest, an uprising and discontent with the station for the Board of Governors to pay attention, and what you're saying is it would be fixed before it got broken?
9047 MR. LEVY: A hundred percent and the students in generations to come cannot simply say I'm going to have a referendum to stop the funding of the station. They have to seek the permission of the Board of Governors in whatever year that is to have that referendum and given that the University collects the tuition fees and that's the funding for the radio station, that funding would just continue.
9048 So my expectation in whatever year it will never be would be if the University ever agreed to it they would obviously take the obligation for the continuing funding, but it is so hypothetical that I could with quite a bit of confidence assure it would never happen.
9049 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you.
9050 Mr. Buchanan, back to the Space Agreement.
9051 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I did have one follow-on to that --
9052 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, please.
9053 MR. BUCHANAN: -- which is simply there is an intermediate step which is written into the new agreement.
9054 There can't be any kind of withholding, not only with this but before 30 days notice is given both to the President and to the Chair to give them time to wade in and sort it out before you ever get to the kind of thing you were talking about. That wasn't there before.
9055 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9056 MR. BUCHANAN: The Space Agreement. The Space Agreement, the concern there, recognizing that any radio licensee that doesn't own its own premises pays rent to somebody and every landlord has a right of re-entry, is to design the contract in such a way that you don't find yourself out on the street trying to run a broadcasting undertaking from somewhere that's not appropriate.
9057 So the key here was to build into this an appropriate notice provision, recognizing that the Palen Foundation and the students, when I was negotiating with them, were kind of one and the same. You are again dealing with are the students going to be upset, is there some kind of reason why they would be when they are so included in this governance structure.
9058 We looked around to see how long would you need from day one to relocate a radio station if you got notice today. Fair question. About 120 days is plenty for a community radio station. They said no problem, we will -- you know, whatever, if it was 30 or 60 days before, immediately in some cases, we said fine, make it 120 days and they said fine.
9059 So now we have lots of time should they decide for whatever reason they want us out to build -- to move into new premises. Really, you don't need more than 60 days. That is ample time to move over.
9060 So there is a cure period, there is a notice period. We built in the kind of things that you would expect rather than immediate re-entry.
9061 So I think that's the most important thing dealing with the Space Agreement, is that you -- I mean it's the same space they had before. It's already set up to broadcast, so it's not like it needs a lot more than that.
9062 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9063 Ms Harrison, in your presentation here you referred to your 30,000 student investors and I would just like you to tell me as concisely as you can what steps have you taken.
9064 Those 30,000 student investors will be a diverse group. They will look differently from each other, they will be from different backgrounds, they will have different points of view, they will have different intellectual positions, different world views.
9065 What steps have you implemented in your infrastructure to make sure there is a fair representation of all points of view that exist within the community you intend to serve?
9066 MS HARRISON: Thank you for the question.
9067 We have made that commitment of 70 percent of our on-air volunteer voices will be members of the four employment equity groups, which is Aboriginals, visible minorities, those of us with disabilities and women, as well as including the GLBTQ communities, and I think that that is something that we can measure and something we can deliver on.
9068 Very briefly, the Ryerson campus is really a microcosm of the City of Toronto and the diverse viewpoints, the different dialogues and conversations students have, the different languages students may speak at home and the different countries that the students or their parents may have come from will all find a place on the station.
9069 That will be done through a vigorous recruitment process where we identify the communities that are not being served and then we have partnerships to recruit from them.
9070 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How will you monitor that and respond to groups that feel like their voice isn't being heard?
9071 I certainly appreciate the 70 percent number in terms of that, but in terms of points of view and that, what processes will you have in place to do a review and test yourself against your own performance measures and the expectations of others and adjust if necessary?
9072 MS HARRISON: We have a program review process in place that will be completed annually.
9073 So after volunteers in good standing have applied for a show, especially if we have recruited specifically with underserved communities for that spot, they sign an agreement that acknowledges all the codes and conduct and relevant policies of the station. It also includes a little bit of biographical information about themselves.
9074 And then part of that program review process, which is led by three staff members, is to check in with the show yearly and with the hosts to make sure that the vision that they originally applied for is on track and being implemented, to check if they need extra support or training to sort of increase their success in some areas of their show.
9075 But that's absolutely a powerful, powerful tool for us to track and engage our volunteer hosts.
9076 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Who is in charge of your regulatory affairs?
9077 MS HARRISON: Radio Ryerson assumes all responsibility for compliance at the radio station. However, we are really benefited today, as you can see, by having a lot of supporters who want to be there for us in times of need.
9078 We do have a budget line for legal and regulatory expertise should we need, for example, the services of McCarthy Tétrault to answer some very specific questions or policies for us.
9079 We also have the National Campus and Community Radio Association providing us some printed tools and Web-based materials that we may integrate into our training.
9080 The ultimate responsibility for compliance does rest with us.
9081 Grant, and you have anything else to say about McCarthy Tétrault's support?
9082 MR. BUCHANAN: I wasn't aware you had a budget line.
9083 MS HARRISON: It's year one. Year one.
9084 MR. BUCHANAN: We're clearly there to help them. We told them, you know, the regulatory strengthening I think is critical. The NCRA has done a great job. I don't know if you've seen the package that they have put together for regulatory compliance, but it's terrific.
9085 We told Jacky, there's nobody going to air, you know, when you -- if you give them a licence, this first wave of volunteers, 150-200 volunteers, nobody is going on-air unless they have passed through our sieve. We are going to do regulatory training, they are going to have the NCRA package, but we have already committed to help them out on that.
9086 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9087 Just again for Ms Harrison, when you said you would do news differently, community -- neighbourhood news I think was the term, not to take anything away from you saying that but we hear that a lot from people, and do you have sort of specific example of how you would do news differently?
9088 Give me an example if you can think of an example of a story you might cover and how you would do it differently than the other many, many people who do stories.
9089 MS HARRISON: If time permits I actually have two examples, but we will start with just one.
9090 So with the mobile news app called enRU -- there is a little sort of picture demo at the back of your package for that -- a good example of that would be there is a sudden story in different parts of the city breaking perhaps about lane closures, sudden changes to city services, pool closures, any kind of locally focused municipal story.
9091 If we have volunteers in those locations they will be able to see each other on the app, record audio from those separate locations and see each other editing it in real-time at the same time, upload it to our Web site and we will have that news very quickly and it will be hyperlocal voices.
9092 And also in the training we are prioritizing first sources. So we won't be recycling audio that they are getting off of other news streams or other news wires, voices and stories that are already being recycled. We want to produce new stories and new voices.
9093 If I have time for a second example?
9094 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Go ahead.
9095 MS HARRISON: The second example of that would be the Monday night documentary slot. What has had some success at other community media organizations is really involving the listeners in the community on setting the agenda. So it's ground up, it's not top down.
9096 So rather than the news sort of filtering down to the listeners and hopefully they get a chance to weigh in on a poll or maybe tweet about the news, we want to make people active cultural participants and producers.
9097 The documentary slot will allow people to pitch her stories online and have the listeners vote for those stories so that we can direct the resources to produce those voices.
9098 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9099 What steps have you taken -- humour me for a minute, I'll just try to give some context to this.
9100 Often with volunteer-run organizations they come out of the gate with a great burst of enthusiasm and passion, and then, you know, life happens to everybody, people get distracted, people move on, they move away from the campus, executives change, board people -- members of the Board of Governors change, whatever, and people get competitive and things happen.
9101 So this is kind of a philosophical question but it actually needs -- I'm looking for some kind of tangible answer.
9102 The question is: What have you done or what would you do if you got this licence to ensure that the memory of the enthusiasm and the approach that you have put together into this application will be embedded in the culture of the operation for years to come?
9103 MS HARRISON: Thank you for the question.
9104 We will have annual volunteer consultations, we will have annual community consultations and we will have annual working meetings where we will have speakers come and talk to us about all the reasons campus community radio remains relevant and remains important.
9105 Our volunteers are going to be constantly in contact with our volunteer coordinator. So we have really dedicated an important full-time staff position so that the volunteers have that point of contact and that person that they can count on. When their energy is a little bit low, their enthusiasm is going to be bolstered by that person.
9106 I would also like briefly, if time permits, to let Lori Beckstead speak to the enthusiasm there is now, but how that is going to be there seven years out when we are renewing.
9107 MS BECKSTEAD: Thank you, Jacky.
9108 Yes, one of the things that I wanted to mention is simply the fact that part of our governance structure has faculty members, the Dean, et cetera, who are involved, and those positions don't tend to turn over a lot and that sort of corporate memory, if you will, gets passed on to the next person who assumes that position.
9109 We also have a lot of enthusiasm from the faculty at Ryerson, whether it's from the journalism school or the RTA School of Media and beyond, the Ted Rogers School of Management, et cetera, and so the more that we can involve our own students and through our curriculum in the radio station I think that there will be an ongoing -- because you are right, at campus community radio there is a lot of turnover of students as they come and graduate and so on, but the faculty is there and in the governance structure I think that is taken care of.
9110 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9111 One of the things that became apparent and was noticeable in your application -- and I want to give you the opportunity to dispossess me of this notion -- but one of the primary roles of community-based campus radio is can play, is a platform for Canadian artists and emerging artists in particular.
9112 Your proposal is 45 percent Canadian content, but in terms of this competitive process there is a commercial operator who is -- there is a commercial proposal that offers just as much in terms of Canadian content and in terms of emerging artist commitment two years is 50 percent and there is another application that we have seen that was actually as high as 60 percent.
9113 So I want you to explain to me why this community campus radio is going to be -- can do something for Canadian artists and for emerging Canadian artists that the private sector would not normally do, because there is some evidence that the private sector alleges at least that it can hit the same numbers that you have put forward.
9114 MS HARRISON: Thank you for the question.
9115 To pick up a little bit about what we talked earlier about the importance of volunteers and keeping that enthusiasm going, when it's volunteers choosing the music and reaching out to artists and calling them and saying, I played your song, I want you to come in for an interview, it's very much different from when that happens because it has been filtered down through, you know, a manager who has instructed a lower staff to then call the artist's promoter and then reach the artist, sort of five or six degrees of separation.
9116 The life of the fan is very important and the life of the volunteer, and the fact that they are not getting paid to do this but it's their passion, it's their -- it's what they want to do with their spare time, that makes a wonderful world of accessibility open up to emerging artists who can't just walk in the door at another station.
9117 I'm just going to ask Bob Wiseman who's here to briefly weigh in on that, having lived that experience.
9118 MR. WISEMAN: Well, if there are other applicants wanting to play a lot of Canadian music, you know, that's great, that opportunity is great for all of us musicians, but the history of it actually happening in my experience is with campus community stations. So I already know that they will be here tomorrow and in 10 years.
9119 Other stations might change their format, too, and because they are commercial stations they are always going to be answering to management and there will be decisions made about music that will be different than at campus community radio where, precisely as Jacky says, because they are volunteers, they are fans.
9120 You know, nobody gets behind your music and wanting to make your music known to people as much as a fan does. The other stations, that might be great, too.
9121 There is more than just the music that makes me excited about campus community radio, like I like the whole thing of what goes on there. But yes, I hope that answers you.
9122 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Actually, maybe you can follow up with that by telling me how you came to choose the numbers that you chose.
9123 Because one of the challenges that -- this is purely anecdotal -- but from visits to community or campus stations, is that people playing the music are very enthusiastic. They don't always share the regulator's enthusiasm for some of the numbers.
9124 They may have a particular enthusiasm for music from Molly, that they found this artist that they think is really funky and they want to share with the world, and managing that can be an issue for the operator. So how did you reach the numbers that you came to?
9125 MS HARRISON: We did indeed have a very in-depth discussion about the number 45 and then in Category 2 and then half of that being for new and emerging artists and it was a little bit of a dialogue around that diversity of music question and recognizing that so many of our volunteers are going to want to bring us music that they found from places that, you know, may not contribute to MAPLE.
9126 So wanting to represent that musical diversity and balancing that with our true commitments to emerging Canadian artists is a challenge that -- and we put a number on it. In practice, we can do 50 percent and we think 45 percent is a number that reflects the balance between the diversity of music.
9127 Additionally to your question, I think it speaks to training. So we are going to do things a little bit different. People will be able to submit show proposals for the open format slots on the grid, but we have also set very sort of stringent guidelines for recruiting those volunteers.
9128 So there are a lot of marked slots where your slot will need to be 100 percent emerging or your slot will need to be 100 percent Canadian content, as in the morning timeslots.
9129 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9130 So did I hear you say that you would have an internal target that is higher than the 45?
9131 MS HARRISON: I believe we feel confident enough to take 50 as a condition of licence because we had discussed internally that we could reach 50 percent in practice.
9132 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I wasn't asking for that, but ---
9133 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Our policy on campus and community states that the role of the stations is to provide programming that should be "rich in local information and reflection."
9134 In your supplementary brief you -- at least I interpreted it to be -- you said you were going to -- 20 percent of your news would be local. I found that a little challenging in terms of that number.
9135 And again, perhaps you could explain to us how you reached a number of 20 percent local news and how that number -- how you believe that number to be consistent with the policy expectation.
9136 MS HARRISON: I'm just going to check to make sure we have it correct, but I believe my recollection is that that is 20 percent locally produced spoken word and news. Is that correct, Grant? Yes.
9137 So we plan to do a lot of spoken word and news. We have a dedicated staff person for that. We also have a local news intern, so an internship that is fully devoted to producing that local news, as well as the technological app enRU that I mentioned earlier. We also have the resources of the journalism school and we also have some great community news resources.
9138 Ayesha is here to talk about her project a little bit with FlemoCity Media and Flemingdon Park. A lot of those students are also interested in producing community news.
9139 In an urban market such as Toronto we feel there is both an appetite and the ability to produce that much spoken word and local news.
9140 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. What's the breakout between pure news and spoken word in terms of that and what does the other 80 percent consist of?
9141 MS HARRISON: The breakdown between the spoken word and the news, we would be airing news capsules that are about three minutes along regularly throughout the day. We would have a mixed news --
9142 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I'm sorry, I'll just stop you right there. That three minutes throughout the day, is that local news or is that a mix?
9143 MS HARRISON: That would be local.
9144 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you. I'm sorry, continue.
9145 MS HARRISON: There's also a noon-hour newscast and a drive-home newscast in addition to those. So that will be sort of what you would think of as hard news programming.
9146 As well, more magazine style shows, longer format spoken word is well represented on the grid. In the afternoon there is a campus spoken word slot Monday to Friday and that's for the use of the over 100 student groups on campus that represent a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.
9147 We also have the Monday night documentary slot that I spoke about. We also have live sports broadcasting that we are really anxious and excited about launching. Also the radio drama is part of our spoken word department and we hope to do that in connection with the mentorship of Act 2 Seniors Studio.
9148 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So where would the bulk of your news be coming from then?
9149 MS HARRISON: We would have two news teams set up. One would be student news teams out of the journalism department and our volunteers on campus. Another would be community news teams drawn out of the community agencies we partner with.
9150 One of them you saw in the video is Say Word Journalism Project and another is here today with Ayesha from Flemingdon Park.
9151 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So would they be reading provincial, federal, international news reports in those news slots?
9152 MS HARRISON: The training at a campus community station, but in particular at Radio Ryerson, will be focused on local news.
9153 We do have one spot that covers the provincial legislature, we do have one spot that covers City Hall, but by and large, even if they are discussing international issues a good rule of thumb that we want to include in our training is that it needs that local angle and first and foremost it needs those local voices that that volunteer has recorded and not recycled that audio elsewhere and not recycled that text from elsewhere, that it's new, original programming.
9154 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9155 I need to clarify, or I need you to clarify I guess for me what you mean by ethnic programming. You propose 20 percent of the broadcast week for ethnic programming, but there is actually no regulatory limit on ethnic programming if it's in French or English for a non-ethnic licensee, which you would be if you were licensed.
9156 There is, however, a 15-percent limit on third-language programming as distinct from ethnic for licensees in a market served by an ethnic station, which is the case here.
9157 So to keep it simple, what percentage of third-language programming do you intend to offer?
9158 MS HARRISON: Thank you for the question.
9159 I'm just going to refer to my chart to make sure I have the correct figures for you.
9160 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure.
9161 MS HARRISON: So the percent of total programming during the broadcast week devoted to third-language programming is 2.4 percent.
9162 To sort of answer the first part of your question, what do we mean when we mean ethnic programming, we do hope to program in English but for an ethnic community audience and also bilingually but English third language instead of English-French.
9163 Does that answer your question?
9164 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It was going fine and then you said bilingually English third language and I'm not quite sure what English third language means.
9165 MS HARRISON: Thank you.
9166 Because we feel we have so many second-generation youth coming to Ryerson we think that that's kind of an important part of sharing their cultural experience and keeping their language, but feeling like there is a space for both them to share their music with a broad range of listeners, most of whom just speak English but they will be able to share their culture that way but also preserve their languages.
9167 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Is the broadcast in English or French?
9168 MS HARRISON: The ethnic programs have the option of programming in a third language or in English but to an ethnic community.
9169 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Third-language programming you said was 2.something percent; right?
9170 MS HARRISON: 2.4.
9171 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And then the rest we are talking about 17.6 percent ethnic programming or programming aimed at ethnic audiences, is that going to be broadcast in English?
9172 MS HARRISON: That is our intention.
9173 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks. That's all I needed.
9174 Okay. This is overall a very well-served market and I guess this kind of gets to the heart of things.
9175 Apart from being in a different category of licensee -- I mean there's commercial, there's public, there's community, specialty stations serving this market -- and other than being in a separate category I still need to get a fuller understanding of exactly what it is that Ryerson brings to the party that hasn't already been brought by others.
9176 MS HARRISON: Thank you for the question.
9177 You have heard many worthy applicants. Toronto already has many FM stations, many AM stations, but currently if you live downtown you can only reliably access the CIUT campus community station and we feel that for a market of Toronto's size, but also the many communities and the growing diversity in this city, that one campus community station does not adequately address all the enthusiasm vis-à-vis volunteers, often many communities that want to have a voice, all the many emerging artists that still want to be on air.
9178 Additionally, we have brought firm financial measures to make sure that we can meet those commitments to those communities.
9179 I'm just going to let Lori Beckstead have a word as well on what I think are some of our winning features in the application.
9180 MS BECKSTEAD: So as a campus community applicant, under that licence, we feel that we are one of the only applicants that you may have heard last week and this week who can truly deliver diverse programming to this diverse city.
9181 Because we are not beholden to any one particular format in order to try to increase our market share and that sort of thing, so we can be all things to everyone. We can offer a variety of programming that appeals to that wide diversity.
9182 Jacky mentioned that, you know, one station in Toronto is not enough to do that. We also feel that by licensing our station what you are allowing for is community access to the station.
9183 So it's not just about listening to it and enjoying it in that way but also being able to become part of it and we feel that campus community radio and Radio Ryerson in particular will offer that, whereas we don't believe that the other applicants you may have heard from, specifically under private licences, will provide that opportunity.
9184 MR. LEVY: I wonder if I could try a response.
9185 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Please do.
9186 MR. TEVY: Thank you for the opportunity.
9187 Students spend four, maybe five years at the University, and therefore you could think of a radio station and this radio station always refreshed, refreshed with young people that see the ever-changing Toronto with new eyes and new communities. And when you get many radio stations, I'm sure that maybe they don't change and they don't stay refreshed.
9188 But one of the attributes of a community station is you are always getting a view of Toronto in the eyes of a constant 18- or 19- or 20-year-old and as Toronto changes the community that will be in charge of the station will change. So it's a fresh and a constant refreshing of a radio station that sometimes becomes stale in careers of individuals.
9189 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you, and thank you for the segue too because I was just sort of -- the next part was, do you have a sort of plan to foster that sort of evergreen process of renewal in terms of that?
9190 Because, you know, if you -- I will use if it was me and I had a program on your station and I enjoyed it and I was well known, getting better known because of it, I might not want to give it up and I might be living at home at Ryerson when I'm 29 with my radio gig, right?
9191 So how do you -- how will you either accept that or how will you make sure that I'm not taking up a spot on the team that shouldn't be filled by a rookie?
9192 MS HARRISON: I will refer firstly to the designated slots on the program grid that are marked "campus." Those are meant to be reserved for campus groups and societies so that their participation is built into the station.
9193 Additional to that, we have a document that we have been working on since January. It's called "The Volunteer and Volunteer Programmer Agreement," which we would be happy to file. That has to be renewed annually with your volunteer coordinator and you have to keep your condition of being a volunteer in good standing.
9194 So part of that is an annual program review process and in that process, you know, times shift and even if you are doing a wonderful program sometimes the priorities of the station may have changed and it's through that program review process mechanism that we are able to refresh the grid.
9195 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9196 In your financials, I just have one quick question about that in addition because we touched on the levy -- actually two questions of that nature.
9197 You indicated $40,000 in year one; it was designated as bridge financing. What's the nature of that? Is that money forwarded? I'm just trying to figure out how the faculty was acting as your banker there in terms of that.
9198 MS HARRISON: Thank you. That is perhaps a good summary.
9199 Because we believe it will take us about six months to be operational because of the way the allotments work and the levy payments, we imagined a worst-case scenario whereby we were needing to purchase a transmitter and begin the studio renovations in, say, the fall.
9200 At that point we wouldn't have received the largest levy payment of the year yet, so we would require this bridge financing, which thankfully the university is kind enough to provide interest free.
9201 However, were we to be licensed sort of at a later date, after October, we would have received a large allotment vis-à-vis the Students Union and would no longer require that financing.
9202 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9203 Could you describe the nature of your fundraising plans and how you would see that developing and what you would use it for?
9204 MS HARRISON: Thank you.
9205 The operational costs and the core staff positions do not require fundraising and are taken out of the levy so that our operations are secure.
9206 However, we would fundraise for a special projects line and other initiatives and the fundraising would include online donation pitches as well as a traditional weeklong funding drive.
9207 Also, special events have proven to be both a great way to track your listenership and see who is actually coming out to community events and also to do some fundraising in that department.
9208 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9209 I have almost one question, but I will do them one at a time, first for your interveners, first of all, Shelley Robinson, which I asked this question of Ryerson here.
9210 But given the diversity of the operators currently operating in the market, given the diversity of the applications, what specifically would you point to that Ryerson would introduce to the market in terms of diversity of sound experience that would add richness other than beyond an additional number in a regulatory column?
9211 MS ROBINSON: So I would add that it's tied to access. So the fact that the station is driven by volunteers isn't usually just about their passion, though that's obviously really central, it's also that they bring different kinds of material.
9212 So when a broadcaster, a commercial broadcaster promises 50 percent Canadian content, for instance, you are probably going to have a higher percentage of repeated songs.
9213 So they are all Canadian content by the MAPLE definition, but it's the same kind of thing, whereas in community radio the huge selection of music that people have available in Canadian and other genres means that there is such -- there are so many more different songs.
9214 So the bang for your buck for Canadian content is much higher, for instance, and the pure public access of people who don't get a chance to speak for themselves anywhere else get a chance to come in and speak directly for themselves to their neighbours.
9215 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And just as a follow up to that, it just struck me -- and you don't have to answer this, Ms Harrison can or others, but you may.
9216 In terms of that whole concept of people having a voice, I'm not dismissing it, it's very important, but it strikes me that legacy media constructs like community radio, and commercial radio for that matter and other radio, are no longer the only source of that given the Internet and the blogosphere and that sort of stuff.
9217 This used to be -- media used to be the gatekeepers of conversations and they are very important still but they are no longer the gate. Conversations take place without their permission. Ideas are running wild in the streets and going where they want to go and opinions are being expressed here and there.
9218 Why is it important still that community campus radio -- what is it that distinguishes it from the democracy that takes place on the Internet?
9219 MS ROBINSON: I can start. Jacky, do you want to take that? I don't have to answer it.
9220 MS HARRISON: Sure. I will just say a few words and then let Shelley continue on that.
9221 I think what has happened in new media is affirming because it allows radio to build a collaborative platform that incorporates those conversations and it's something that we have always done very well as a two-way dialogue as campus community broadcasters, and I think also the diversity of opinions is important.
9222 Sometimes because Internet is more narrowcasting sometimes than broadcasting we are not learning about ideas that don't reinforce our own, which is an important part of community development.
9223 I will let Shelley take it here.
9224 MS ROBINSON: Okay, briefly.
9225 One example is CIVL, which is a station in Abbotsford, B.C., the University College of the Fraser Valley. So they had an online only --whatever, they were broadcasting online only and they got an FM licence and their listenership online also jumped.
9226 I think that speaks to the credibility of the fact that people know that when you are broadcasting on FM that that means something. It comes along with all this training, it comes along with all this commitment and that's meaningful and people can listen to it.
9227 Online, sure, when they are in their dorm rooms or if they have the app on their mobile they can also listen to it in their car, they can listen to it, you know, if they're camping, you know, with batteries. So I think that's significant.
9228 And yes, I also would say local. It's easy to get lost on YouTube. You can do amazing local programming and if you post it on YouTube how is somebody going to find it? But they can just tune their dial and it's there.
9229 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
9230 The next question is for Siobhan Ozege. Did I pronounce your last name correctly?
9231 MS OZEGE: Yes, that was great.
9232 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks.
9233 Basically the same first question that I asked Ms Robinson. What would you point to, something tangible, that the Ryerson application brings that doesn't already exist in the market or hasn't been presented in some of the other applications, a distinguishing feature?
9234 MS OZEGE: I think one of the most important things about this application coming from Ryerson is the history of institution behind the radio station. I think it's very obvious to any of us on the panel here, as well as any of us in the room, that Ryerson has a very rich history in terms of media.
9235 It's a leading school for journalism. It's a leading school for digital arts. Excellent, excellent. People are making their careers based out of what's happening at Ryerson and I think that we have the institution in place to really train journalists to appreciate Canadian content and to understand the regulatory mechanisms behind our media system.
9236 And I think unlike many of the other applicants, Ryerson really is a wealth of information that, you know, in addition to having the community behind it, it has a very strong campus that is media- and communications-oriented behind any of the people that will be on air. I think that makes it very distinct and I think it also adds a certain level of professionalism to the station.
9237 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And for Ms Hoffarth.
9238 MS HOFFARTH: Thank you.
9239 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Do you want me to repeat the question or did you --
9240 MS HOFFARTH: Just once for me, yes, that would be great.
9241 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. What is it that -- what can you point to, a tangible specific item, in the Ryerson application that distinguishes it -- that will distinguish it in the marketplace for listeners and that distinguishes it from other applications that we have seen in this process? What would make it -- what gives it -- what would give it status as a unique contributor to the spectrum mosaic in Toronto?
9242 MS HOFFARTH: Thank you.
9243 I think that its backbone of being community and the fact that it's not driven by dollars, and money really shapes everything else that makes a station, meaning that they can really give a lot of concentration into everything they do and the passion is there and the access is there, especially as a student. That's huge for allowing Ryerson students to get involved with the station and the community as well to get involved. It is an access point, I think, that is undeniably great for everyone involved. Thanks.
9244 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
9245 Ms Harrison, I don't think you are allowed to -- you can play as much Canadian content as you want, there is nobody -- the minimum is not a ceiling, right? I don't think we are allowed to let you take on an enhanced condition of licence in this process, but, you know, if you want to play 80, 90, 100 on any program it's entirely up to you, it's a minimum in terms of that.
9246 I don't have any more questions, but I'm sure my colleagues do. Thank you.
9247 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. You are a very popular applicant. I think there are a lot of commissioners that are waiting and chomping at the bit to ask you questions, but I'm going to use my Chairman's prerogative to go first.
9248 Mr. Wiseman, in your remarks you talk about the fact that you are here because you know firsthand how important community radio is for new artists.
9249 MR. WISEMAN: Yes.
9250 THE CHAIRPERSON: Last week we heard from a lot of people saying that new artists aren't being played at all. There is indie representation, there are emerging artists representation, saying they all want commercial stations because of that.
9251 Knowing full well that Ryerson's application goes beyond music, but as an artist would you rather be played on a commercial station or on a campus station?
9252 MR. WISEMAN: As an artist I would like to be played on both. On a commercial station I will be paid a lot more than on a community station, but on a community station it will be a lot more real. I will be dealing more with folks that resemble the world I live in than on a commercial station where people talk like this and it's just --
9253 MR. WISEMAN: You know, I don't know who those people are.
9254 At the community station I feel like it reflects the city I live in and the life that I have lived, and the people are approachable and it's a very immediate experience.
9255 So I feel like even a lot of artists that I work with, who I produce, that don't know how to start or where to go, it's a real clear road that I can direct them to, where they can have some real experience of being on the radio, whereas the commercial stations have many filters in place.
9256 They never add an independent artist, they are always adding people associated with major record labels. The commercial stations hire consultants to tell them what to play, who they pay, and those consultants in turn often are paid to tell the stations who to play.
9257 The disc jockeys, unlike the 1950s and '60s, which I wish I -- I would love to have known what it was like to live in that era when disc jockeys could discover music and play it. It hasn't been that way really since the '70s, and so commercial radio doesn't discover people. Those openings really are at campus community stations.
9258 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the reality is we only have one frequency to give away right now and that's why I asked the question the way I did. I understand that Ryerson is looking at a broader raison d'être than just being a music station clearly, but from an artist's perspective, surely you would want to have spins more on a commercial station then on a campus station?
9259 MR. WISEMAN: No. Myself as an artist I would rather the campus station because it represents -- I'm an artist, I write about things, not just about myself selfishly, and that station represents more things in my life than the commercial station does as well.
9260 THE CHAIRPERSON: You still have to put food on the table, period.
9261 MR. WISEMAN: I know. That's the problem of being an artist, you know, but that's my problem.
9262 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
9263 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Buchanan, I'm trying to understand the governance here and maybe it's the way it's written. Is this a 9-person board or an 11-person board?
9264 MR. BUCHANAN: This is a 9-person board.
9265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Because the way that you read into the record, there's a reference to the Ryerson Student Union President and the elected student representatives, plural, from each of two departments. It sounds like there's four there and the president being five.
9266 So it's actually three student representatives, three administration representatives, two at large and one volunteer?
9267 MR. BUCHANAN: Correct.
9268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What would it take to change the composition of the Board? If X number of years downstream one of the parties wanted to enlarge the Board, how would that happen?
9269 MR. BUCHANAN: There would be a vote of the members, and you would have to have --
9270 In this particular case, with the governance structure that we set up, the members are the directors. So you would have to have a members' meeting and vote to enlarge the Board, and figure out some way to qualify who it was you wanted to have to enlarge the Board.
9271 Why, is that something that you think we should do?
9272 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I am just wondering if, for argument's sake, four years downstream, or something, five members of the Board, however it is composed, either three administrative or three student, and two of the three independents, decide that they want to enlarge the Board to 15, how could that happen?
9273 MR. BUCHANAN: I am trying to remember whether or not that is one of the items that requires both a positive vote of the students and the others.
9274 I would imagine that it would be.
9275 So you would have to have a positive vote not only of a majority, but you would have to have at least the faculty and the students onside for doing something like that.
9276 THE CHAIRPERSON: So there are super votes, then, when it comes to that?
9277 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, there are super votes.
9278 THE CHAIRPERSON: And we have copies of that governance?
9279 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, you do.
9280 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. On the bottom of page 3, Mr. Diverlus, you read one thing and said something else, so I am just trying to get it clear.
9281 It says that more than 84 percent of students who voted said yes to Radio Ryerson. I thought I heard you say that 84 percent of students said yes.
9282 So it's only those that voted --
9283 MR. DIVERLUS: -- said yes.
9284 THE CHAIRPERSON: What percentage of the population voted?
9285 MR. DIVERLUS: We had over 10 percent.
9286 THE CHAIRPERSON: So 10 percent of the population was able to drive 100 percent of all students, paying $10.50 or whatever. So there was no threshold as to what the requirement was for a vote?
9287 A quorum, I guess. Ten percent was a sufficient quorum to do that?
9288 MR. DIVERLUS: Yes. The minimum quorum was just at 10 percent, and we reached over.
9289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So 10 percent is your quorum.
9290 Then, on page 5, Ms Beckstead, you talk about 70 percent of on-air voices belonging to Employment Equity designated groups, and you used the words "we will insist".
9291 We in the CRTC have conditions of licence, we have commitments, we have encouragements; this is an insistence.
9292 THE CHAIRPERSON: This is something different, once again.
9293 How will you enforce your insistence?
9294 MS BECKSTEAD: We would like to take our cues from you. If you would like to see that as a condition of licence, we would be happy to agree to that.
9295 It's a target that we would like to hit, that we are going to hit if we are licensed to do this station.
9296 So, whichever way you see fit for us to commit to that, we would be happy to do that.
9297 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Ms Harrison, you reference on the bottom of page 7 a supporter called Openfile. I think you said "Openmedia". Is that one and the same?
9298 MS HARRISON: No. If I did say that, I misspoke. It's Openfile, the news website.
9299 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So it's not Openmedia.
9300 MS HARRISON: Correct.
9301 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have one finance question. In your budget numbers, your projections, you have something called "Signal Expansion" as an operating cost. What is it that you are proposing to do with regard to your signal?
9302 MS HARRISON: Currently we have an older model omni antenna. What we would like to do is purchase a new directional antenna, which will allow us to maximize the footprint of 88.1. We have priced out those costs with a gentleman named Gus Sundermeier, and we have determined that that's a figure that we would be spending in our first year, but it is a one-time cost.
9303 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that is within the contours that you have had approved by Industry Canada and the like?
9304 MS HARRISON: That is correct.
9305 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are my questions.
9306 Commissioner Patrone...
9307 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9308 Thank you for your presentation this afternoon.
9309 I, too, have a question about the 70 percent. How does that 70 percent compare with the makeup of the student body as a whole?
9310 MS HARRISON: I think I will let Rodney Diverlus speak a little bit to the diversity of our student body. I will just say ahead of time that we have over 100 student groups, clubs and societies, there are over 60 different languages spoken on campus, and what we are fond of saying is that Ryerson is a microcosm of the larger GTA.
9311 Rodney, could you speak a little to the diversity of our student body?
9312 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I was actually curious -- if I could just help you in that regard, before you move ahead with the answer -- as to whether or not the 70 percent insistence compares with the overall makeup of the people who attend Ryerson.
9313 You have 30,000 people?
9314 MS HARRISON: That's correct, 30,000 full-time students. Additionally, there are part-time students.
9315 And over half of them are coming from second generation homes. They are newcomers themselves. They speak other languages in addition to English.
9316 So we believe that number is very achievable at Ryerson.
9317 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So 70 percent of your student body would fall into that category, or not?
9318 I am not looking for an exact figure, but I am curious as to the degree to which it does not or does.
9319 MR. DIVERLUS: There are no real concrete numbers, but with the statistics that we have, we know that, by far, 51 percent of the students at Ryerson are women. So, automatically, that's that.
9320 We are known as a campus to be a stone's throw away from the gay and lesbian village and, as such, the campus is a hot spot and it becomes attractive for a lot of students to come and study.
9321 We have a very vibrant Aboriginal community that is growing every year.
9322 And, as Jacky said, we are probably the most diverse place on earth, with over 60 languages spoken, and over 100 different, distinct cultural groups. We have over 100 different even campus groups of students who organize based on cultural, ethnic or religious identities, and those are students who are active, and those are students who build our campus life.
9323 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Can you enlighten me as to the groups that would fall into the 70 percent?
9324 I get women and Aboriginals, and then you have the disabled, correct?
9325 MS HARRISON: Correct. We took them from the Employment Equity groups, which are women, those with disabilities, visible minorities, and Aboriginals -- and, then, as Rodney mentioned, we felt that special consideration should be paid to representation for the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities.
9326 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: That group would fall outside the four, though, normally speaking, right?
9327 MS HARRISON: That would be counted in our 70 percent. They are currently not part of the Employment Equity groups, but for our internal purposes, we did add that in.
9328 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you expect to turn people away who don't fit in with that?
9329 MS HARRISON: The campus community model is really "The More the Merrier". Nobody who has good community programming need be turned away.
9330 But we do think that the diverse campus at Ryerson is going to return to us a very high proportion of volunteers who fall into those groups, which is why we felt confident in making the target.
9331 However, were there to come a day where we have done our equity audit and we are looking on-air, there are many options for sharing time, for pairing volunteers together to do collective work in programming.
9332 So it's not that we would want to single out a group to turn them away. We wouldn't need to do that because there would be enough space on the grid to share that programming.
9333 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But if it were a condition of licence, then, presumably, you would be required, under our regulations, to fulfil that.
9334 The only way I can think of that occurring is that you would have to turn people away, who, for whatever reason, were not the correct gender.
9335 MS HARRISON: If at the end of our annual equity audit we found that we were falling short of that target, we would immediately need to take action, and that may include moving people off the grid.
9336 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: The student levy is applied equally -- is that correct -- amongst all students?
9337 MS HARRISON: Full-time students.
9338 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But access is not equal.
9339 Is that a fair statement?
9340 I mean, if you are going to limit according to the 70 percent, the levy is applied equally, but access is not equal.
9341 So I am just wondering, where is the fairness in that?
9342 MS HARRISON: There are many ways to participate in a campus community radio station. They don't all include on-air programming. So we feel that, in that way, we can also offer lots of opportunities, even to the small subset that may not fit into our 70 percent of target groups.
9343 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Small subset?
9344 You are talking about people who don't fall into the 70 percent, which -- I guess people who look like me, except a lot younger.
9345 Is that right?
9346 MS HARRISON: I think that I would be most pleased to review an application for programming. I think that we could find a collaborative structure. There are always interests in news teams, news reporting, pre-production.
9347 It really is the more the merrier, and we are not about turning people away. That's not what that subset --
9348 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: News reporting would be an on-air function, though, would it not?
9349 So they couldn't do that either, if they didn't meet your stipulation.
9350 I am just trying to understand what you have here.
9351 MS HARRISON: Yes.
9352 The 70 percent is really counted for on-air volunteer hosts. There may be other training programs that we engage in that produce some pre-produced material.
9353 But we are really not about turning people away. What that 70 percent is about is reflecting the actual diversity that exists on campus today.
9354 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Those are my questions. Thank you.
9355 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9356 Commissioner Molnar...
9357 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
9358 I have a couple of questions regarding governance, as well.
9359 You went through with the Chair the fact that it's a three-member Board. My question is: Are there any rules regarding how often this Board meets?
9360 Whoever wants to answer...
9361 MS HARRISON: I will let Grant answer that.
9362 MR. BUCHANAN: No, at this point there are no minimum requirements. We have met a lot --
9363 MR. BUCHANAN: -- surprisingly enough.
9364 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Are you on the Board?
9365 MR. BUCHANAN: I am not on the Board. No, I'm not. It has met a lot, and I have been there.
9366 We are hoping to meet less frequently, but --
9367 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: There is no minimum requirement.
9368 Are there any requirements regarding attendance by Board members at Board meetings, in order to stay a Board member in good standing?
9369 MR. BUCHANAN: No, that structure was not adopted. Instead, what we did was, you can throw people off the Board for non-attendance, or for any other reason that the rest of the Board thinks they are not fulfilling their duties as a Board member.
9370 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Because there was space for certain of these member groups in the past Ryerson radio station, when, in fact, the Board -- there were no sitting members on the Board.
9371 I mean, there was room on the Board for them under the documents, but they were not sitting.
9372 So how is it that we would be assured under this that, in fact, all of these different groups, including the student body, the administration, volunteers and the community, would actually all be sitting on the Board and active and participating?
9373 Is there anything within any of the documents regarding how it has been constituted to assure that, in fact, the Board operates under the arrangement upon which it has been established?
9374 MR. BUCHANAN: There is the usual quorum requirement. I mean, you can't have a meeting unless you have a majority of the directors there.
9375 But you can't make people come to Board meetings. What we did, instead, was set up a scheme where, if someone found that they were chronically busy and could not make Board meetings, they can name an alternate to the Board -- or they can nominate an alternate, and that has actually happened once already, and it has worked out just fine.
9376 That would be true of any Board, really.
9377 MR. LEVY: Could I perhaps try to respond, because you are onto an issue that was very important to me when putting this up.
9378 The fact that there are three administrative members of the nine, and the fact that the other three are students -- and, as we identified, any significant vote requires both one administrative vote and one student vote. This will ensure that the administration is not only attentive to having the right people there, but will have the right people there.
9379 Or, to put it another way, being absent means that nothing could pass of significance, because the administration has to be there as one of the key members of the vote.
9380 And, to me, to ensure that no one would ever be in the position that we were in last time, that was a key requirement of it.
9381 So you will have, by this governance, a very active and attentive administration, both in participation and making sure they are there. But, also, nothing could be passed unless we are there, and the same for the students.
9382 I just want to give you absolute confidence that this is a different game, totally, than the one that was in play, and one where the administration has a big stake and will not only honour that stake, but we have written in the ability to ensure good governance, and I would say that the same is true of the students.
9383 This is not the position we were in last time.
9384 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I just have one more question on the agreement.
9385 Is there any way that the student body, student union -- I think, under the past arrangement, the money flowed through the student union and could be withheld and not passed directly to the radio station. Is there anything that would enable that money to be withheld?
9386 MR. BUCHANAN: There is a provision in there if there were a set-off, if there had been some other obligation going in the other direction. Otherwise, they have to pass it over immediately. I think it is within ten days of their receipt of it that they have to give it over to the station.
9387 So it should flow through automatically.
9388 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you.
9389 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9390 Commissioner Poirier...
9391 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Good afternoon.
9392 I have another governance question. I am not sure if I understood, is there an annual general meeting, an AGM?
9393 MS HARRISON: There is a volunteer general meeting. Because the membership is the directors, they won't be voting on all of the typical things, like the adoption of the budget, but their volunteer general meeting is linked to the volunteer representation policy, where they elect their Board representative.
9394 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So who will attend?
9395 MS HARRISON: Volunteers in good standing. I believe they have to have completed eight hours of service, and attended their meetings, and completed their training.
9396 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. My second set of questions -- you know that reputation -- and you mentioned it -- is one of the most important things that we bring along in life, and a lost reputation is never easy to regain.
9397 So, Mr. Buchanan, you are from McCarthy's, and McCarthy's has a good reputation. Why have you decided to associate your company with Ryerson?
9398 MR. BUCHANAN: You know, we could have rehearsed for a year, and I wouldn't have prepared for this question.
9399 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: I like to surprise people, destabilize them.
9400 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you certainly have surprised me.
9401 When we first contacted each other, it was with the view to considering whether this was something that was deserving of another try, and we shared a belief that it was.
9402 It's not something that I have ever done before. It's not something that McCarthy's has done before. This is community radio, it is part of the system, and that we spend a lot of time on, but we have never done this before, and we thought that this was a very worthwhile project.
9403 The more we got to know them, the more excited we got about it, the more enthusiastic.
9404 This is very different from anything we have worked on before, and it was a lot of fun.
9405 And, to our mind, helping a group that clearly required help, and that has an annual budget of $300,000, was something very different for us. It was very worthwhile.
9406 I guess that is the long answer. The short answer is, it is part of the pillar of the broadcasting system. That's what the legislators said. Let's try to get this thing licensed.
9407 MS YAFFE: Could I just add to that, because --
9408 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: I was going to ask you a question, but go ahead and answer.
9409 MS YAFFE: Well, I do want the Commissioners to understand that Grant Buchanan came to Ryerson with the notion that we would work together, and I am sure that it is not clear to everyone, but he and his firm are doing it pro bono because they believe in what we are asking for today.
9410 And I do want to say that the reputation of the university, as President Levy pointed out, is fundamental, and as the Chair of the Board, it is the thing you have to worry about the most, and what we are here to suggest to you is that this is an opportunity for the university's reputation to regain the credibility that it needs in the broadcast world, but also to bring to the community --
9411 I would say that Ryerson's reputation, in general, is now that it is a place where innovative and interesting new things get started. It is a place where the city can participate in the university culture.
9412 You just have to walk down the streets of Toronto now to see what we are doing to change the face of Toronto.
9413 So, for me, I would say that the reputation of the university, mingled with the people you see around us today, is what we can offer the Commission in terms of credibility and our belief that we can really be a part of the community of broadcasters and serve the public, as well.
9414 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And I am sure you know that you couldn't lose your reputation a second time.
9415 Mr. Levy, Ms Yaffe and Ms Beckstead, what kind of support did you get from the Board?
9416 You represent the Board, but is it massive support, or is it cautious support -- and from the teachers, because you cannot do it all on your own.
9417 MS YAFFE: The Board is absolutely behind this. It has been brought to us by the President over the years. We understand the issues that we faced in the past, and we are totally supportive of this.
9418 One of the things that attracts people to the Board of Ryerson is the broadcast side of the university, the radio and television arts, the journalism faculty, and the Ted Rogers School of Management. So people like Nadir Mohamed are part of --
9419 Nadir Mohamed is the Vice-Chair of the Board.
9420 So we have a group of members of that Board who really do believe in journalism and in communications and broadcasting, and I think we are 100 percent behind this application.
9421 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Did you vote on a resolution?
9422 MS YAFFE: We didn't have to, because what we do is approve the levies that are brought to us.
9423 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
9424 MS YAFFE: We have to approve each individual levy that the students will be asked to pay, and we do that every year, and we have approved this one.
9425 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Mr. Levy and Ms Beckstead, do you have something to add?
9426 MR. LEVY: Yes. What I will say to you is that, as an administration, we took very seriously the importance of a governance structure, so that we would never be in the position before, and we were never going to have a repeat performance, if I could say that.
9427 From the dean to the chairs to the faculty to the students, the amount of enthusiasm, interest and pushing us to again make sure that we do it, and do it right, was not only impressive, but for the students to come out and have another referendum for our Board to support it -- all of it was very positive, and I can tell you, with the amount of energy and commitment, that you would be proud to say is part of this entire submission.
9428 MS BECKSTEAD: Yes, I would like to say, on behalf of the faculty, that the faculty are 100 percent behind this. We are very, very enthusiastic about this new initiative.
9429 We were often left scratching our heads that, you know, here we are at the RTA School of Media, and the Journalism School at Ryerson University, and Ryerson has -- as we have mentioned, it has populated the broadcasting and communications industry in this country, and it is a no-brainer for us to have this on our campus.
9430 And we are 100 percent behind it. We are willing to tweak our classrooms and our curriculum so that we are driving a lot of that material.
9431 If you can imagine the types of -- you know, in partial answer to a question earlier about newscasts, how much news is being produced on a daily basis within the School of Journalism and the RTA School of Media, and now that can all be pushed out via this radio station.
9432 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Will you be working with other faculties?
9433 MS BECKSTEAD: Yes, absolutely. The Ted Rogers School of Management is part of our Board, as well. There is widespread support from across all faculties at Ryerson for this.
9434 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you.
9435 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
9436 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9437 Vice-Chairman Pentefountas...
9438 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you.
9439 Very briefly, I have a governance question. I get tired of them, but I just want to make sure that everyone is clear on things.
9440 You have nine members on the Board. In the hypothetical situation where the three members of the administration and the three members that are from the community were to be in favour of a major change or budget, if they could not get one member of the student representation on board, that change could not go through?
9441 MR. BUCHANAN: That's right.
9442 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So you could have, potentially, six members of the Board on board, but nothing would change.
9443 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, nothing would change that needed --
9444 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right, management, annual budgets, significant expenditures --
9445 MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
9446 As Mr. Levy says, they are paying. It is the student levy funding it. They have a veto there, you are right.
9447 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: As does the administration.
9448 MR. BUCHANAN: As does the administration, that's right.
9449 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. I am sure that you have spent some time thinking this through and trying to figure out the right balance, and you are comfortable with this proposal?
9450 MR. BUCHANAN: We spent a lot of time thinking about it, and reading your policy. I was very fortunate because there are a lot of people at my firm that spend a lot of time on not-for-profit governance in hospitals and in a lot of other places that were willing to chip in and help.
9451 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I'm sure that the partners are quite pleased with the time that partners of the firm are spending on non-profit --
9452 MR. BUCHANAN: They are thrilled to be part of it.
9453 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Great. Thank you.
9454 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just to pick up on that, you are saying that the students are paying for it, and we all understand and recognize that they have to have a voice, but at the end of the day they could also freeze the station, as well.
9455 MR. BUCHANAN: Do you mean freeze the funding?
9456 THE CHAIRPERSON: They can freeze the operations to the status quo in perpetuity, without any changes, by simply not agreeing to certain proposals by the administration and the volunteer and the at-large members.
9457 MR. BUCHANAN: I'm sorry, the list of vetoes is for non-normal course events. So, in the normal course, you don't get into this problem.
9458 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What is the non-normal course of events?
9459 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's the opposite. We have a shopping list in -- I forget which section it is. Those are the ones that require the affirmative vote of one of the members of each of the students and the faculty.
9460 Other than that, it's majority.
9461 In everything we have done so far, all the meetings we have had, it has just been majority vote --
9462 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: On the important issues -- budgets, expenditures, management -- the students will enjoy a veto.
9463 MR. BUCHANAN: The students do enjoy a veto.
9464 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Great.
9465 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I have one follow-up item. The reference to 70 percent on-air voices belonging to Employment Equity designated groups, I am being asked to ask you where one would find that in your actual application, because, so far, no one seems to have found it, and if this is a new position that you are taking, you are not allowed to enhance your application.
9466 So, if you could direct us to where in the application it might be, that would be helpful.
9467 MS HARRISON: We didn't in the application refer to our commitments for diversity. This was something that came out of discussions we had for the volunteer program agreement, and other documents that we have been drafting since January.
9468 So that was an internal target that we sort of started discussing. You won't find it in the application we filed December 19th.
9469 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
9470 Are there any other questions?
9471 Thank you very much, that completes our questioning on Ryerson.
9472 We will take a 15-minute break, please.
--- Upon recessing at 1540
--- Upon resuming at 1559
9473 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, let's begin.
9474 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9475 We will now hear item 22 on the Agenda which is an application by Dufferin Communications Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the commercial English-language radio programming undertaking CIRR FM Toronto.
9476 Ms Carmela Laurignano is leading this panel. Please introduce your colleagues for the panel. You will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
9477 MS LAURIGNANO: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
9478 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Commission staff, ladies and gentlemen.
9479 My name is Carmela Laurignano, Vice President and Radio Group Manager for Evanov Communications Inc., the parent company of Dufferin Communications Inc. which owns and operates PROUD FM (CIRR FM) in Toronto.
9480 - To my extreme left is Mike Chalut, PROUD FM on-air host;
9481 - Next to Mike is Bruce Campbell, PROUD FM's General Sales Manager;
9482 - To my right Bob Willette, Program Director for PROUD FM;
9483 - And beside Bob is Chad Skinner, our company's in-house general counsel.
9484 - In the second row on my extreme left are John Kenyan, Irene Miller and Danielle Loncar, our interveners;
9485 - Next to Danielle is Jim Moltner, our Broadcast Engineering Consultant;
9486 - And next to Jim is Andree Wylie of Slakes LLP;
9487 - Next to her is Neil Kerr, our finance representative.
9488 We are very pleased to be here today in support of our application for a technical amendment for PROUD FM which would give us a stronger and more reliable signal to the nation's only Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered ("LGBT") radio service.
9489 Bill Evanov is out of the country. He was unable to be here today but he sent his greetings to everyone.
9490 I would like to acknowledge in our audience the presence of Paul Evanov from our company, Duff Roman, Barry Stewart and Adam Robins.
9491 So here is our presentation:
9492 We would like to begin by summarizing the reasons why we are here and then provide some further insight into the facts underlying our application.
9493 In 2006 PROUD FM was licensed by the Commission to serve the LGBT market. Since that time, the station has become an integral part of the community providing not just entertainment but a voice and a source of information on the wide range of issues that affect all members of the community. PROUD FM has become a beacon for every LGBT person who has felt isolated, shunned or excluded from the mainstream.
9494 Today, PROUD FM is not just a radio station. It is an affirmation that, in Canada, the LGBT community is acknowledged and accepted. In that regard, it has been a resounding success.
9495 The Commission has shown great leadership and vision through its efforts in supporting the LGBT community's access to dedicated radio services, both here and more recently in Montreal.
9496 In fact, the Commission was six years ahead of President Obama of the United States. You have already recognized, by approving applications to broadcast here and in Montreal, that serving this community adds substantial diversity to the marketplace.
9497 However, notwithstanding our success in these areas, we have been unprofitable every year since the launch of PROUD FM in 2007. To August 31, 2011 we have accumulated $2.5 million in losses. Our inability to generate a profit stems from our advertising revenues that have fallen well short of expectations.
9498 This pervasive and on-going problem is entirely due to the lack of our signal strength and resulting inability to reach listeners and advertisers. We currently broadcast with 50 watts of effective radiated power on 103.9 FM which is our second adjacency to CIDC FM.
9499 Since the station was launched in 2007, a construction boom has taken place in the city of Toronto. A substantial number of condominium and commercial high rise buildings have been constructed in the downtown core. This has contributed to the degradation of the already weak 50 watt signal.
9500 In addition, there has been some dispersion of the LGBT community to new "Gaybourhoods", areas with a higher than average LGBT population, where our signal is weak or non-existent. These areas include Leslieville and Queen St. West among more than 10 others. Beyond this, it is important to note that the LGBT community and its allies are not restricted to Gaybourhoods and live everywhere.
9501 Our 3 mV/m coverage area does not include this building or neighbourhood, although we are only 10 kilometres from our broadcast tower and 7 kilometres from the centre of the Gay Village.
9502 Without an adequate signal we cannot reach listeners or advertisers. This has contributed to high advertiser churn which has declined or decimated revenues. We are an efficient operator but no amount of efficiencies can overcome persistent problems with revenue generation.
9503 We can overcome past losses if we have a means of digging our way out. The use of 88.1 is that means.
9504 In 2010 we applied for a technical amendment. Although this was approved by the Commission and offered a small potential improvement to our signal, we were unable to relocate our transmitter.
9505 We have also investigated potential modifications to the adjacent 103.5 signal which we operate so as to allow for a better signal on 103.9, as well as other options, none of which is feasible.
9506 PROUD FM offers a special service to a market whose particular concerns and activities are not otherwise being represented in Toronto or in the Canadian radio broadcasting system. The unique nature of our station establishes us as a leader, amongst all the other applicants appearing at this hearing, in relation to providing a diversity of voices and format which satisfies the legislated objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
9507 PROUD FM is the sole radio voice of the expansive and growing LGBT community because it actively represents its own culture, set of standards, institutions, values, interests, concerns, tastes and aspirations.
9508 The Commission has already recognized the need of the LGBT community to be served and the necessity of providing a platform for its talent, its voices, and those of its allies when it licensed PROUD FM, and again last year when it licensed Radio Fierte in Montreal.
9509 With the increased reach of the 88.1 signal, we can better serve more of the community and its allies. PROUD FM will then fulfil its mandate to serve this market that remains substantially marginalized, isolated and beyond our reach.
9510 We will continue our programs and participation in an enormous number of community events and initiatives and provide a voice for those who have up until now had none. We are committed to this format.
9511 Without your approval, PROUD FM's future is in question.
9512 That is the overview. Now we will flesh out some of the details.
9513 MR. CAMPBELL: Proud FM operates at 50 watts of radiated power. This is less power than the 60 watt light bulb in my closet.
9514 The limitations of our signal have already been acknowledged by the Commission through comments such as those of Commissioner Lamarre, a Broadcast Engineer, who stated during the Montreal hearing for Radio Fierte last Fall that she could "sneeze harder" than our current signal. These limitations have also been experienced and expressed by the thousands of interveners in this and other proceedings. They support this application.
9515 The importance of our station and overcoming the issues facing it have already been recognized by the Commission.
9516 In CRTC Decision 2010-357, the Commission acknowledged that a stronger signal that reached more of the LGBT residents of Toronto would assist Proud FM in achieving better delivery of its service to the market originally contemplated and approved by the Commission and would rectify some of the longstanding issues identified by listeners and advertisers.
9517 In the Montreal Decision 2011-721, the Commission states that it was concerned by the reality faced by LGBT youth regarding acceptance in their communities because of their sexual orientation and the feelings of loneliness and exclusion which are far too common amongst this population.
9518 In licensing a French sister station to PROUD FM in that Decision, the Commission directed us to:
"...sensitize the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual community in order to promote, in particular among youth, a greater acceptance of their sexual orientation, as [we] currently do with [our] Toronto station."
9519 This is consistent with the Commission's earlier comments in the original Decision 2006-128, which indicates that we do offer a service which is otherwise unavailable in Toronto and reflects the particular concerns and activities of the LGBT community. This community now deserves a technical improvement and an expansion of its only service so its voice is heard in the market we are licensed to serve.
9520 The birth of PROUD FM was the result of us taking advantage of the adjacent frequency to Evanov's CIDC FM in the extremely crowded spectrum of the Toronto CMA.
9521 In our original application in 1999 to launch this service, we were asking the Commission for the use of 93.5 FM as it was a strong and reliable frequency.
9522 We were finally licensed in 2006 and, in doing so we were only able to carve out a modest 50- watt signal on 103.9, our own second adjacency, to serve the LGBT community that lives and works within the heavily built-up downtown core of Toronto.
9523 We had not looked for such a small signal but were willing to work with whatever options were then available to bring this important voice to the historically marginalized LGBT community.
9524 Following several years of operation, we have definitively recognized that the limitations of our current signal along with changes in the urban landscape throughout the Toronto CMA makes this impossible.
9525 PROUD FM is facing a shifting audience. Canadian society has changed drastically. Same-sex marriage is now possible and discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal.
9526 The LGBT community is less pressured to maintain its concentration in the Gay Village for safety and social acceptance. Many have resettled into other Gaybourhoods across the city as LGBT-focused and gay-friendly establishments set up beyond the boundaries of the historical Gay Village.
9527 Our current limited signal reaches less and less of our target market while more and more listeners move to neighbourhoods outside our small coverage area.
9528 MR. KERR: PROUD-FM serves an important societal value but its long term financial viability is in question. In our initial application to the CRTC we projected that advertising revenues for PROUD FM would grow from $1.3 million in Year 1 to $2.5 million in Year 5.
9529 Due to the inferior signal and the resulting inability of our main target audience and advertisers to hear our station, actual Year 5 revenues realized by PROUD FM were $1.1 million, falling $200,000 short of the Year 1 projections and $1.4 million short of our Year 5 projections.
9530 Under current operating conditions, with a limited signal, PROUD FM has incurred losses in every year since being licensed, resulting in more than $2.5 million in cumulative losses. We do not anticipate a profit well into the foreseeable future.
9531 We cannot reach our listening audience and advertisers in a meaningful way. We simply cannot tap into any growth potential if nobody can hear us.
9532 The financial challenges facing the station are all related to revenue sustainability. The station operates on a shoestring budget with our overall per hour programming costs, less than $60 an hour in 2010, which indexes at less than 60 percent relative to other English-speaking FM stations operating in Canada, per the 2010 CRTC financial summaries and Proud FM's 2010 results.
9533 Our sales and promotional costs have been within the range of industry standards. Our administrative costs have been streamlined from inception, averaging slightly more than 15 percent of revenues over the past four fiscals. We also recently relocated a number of PROUD FM staff to our head office to deliver more cost savings.
9534 We have taken our best shot to transform PROUD FM into a viable station. We have more than paid our dues over our first licence term. We have made considerable investments in all aspects of the station, but have been unable to hold on to listeners and advertisers because of our inability to reach their radios.
9535 The inferior signal is the predominant driver behind our extremely high churn in advertisers as well as an extremely high sales staff turnover. Our advertising turnover rate currently exceeds the normal range of 30 percent annually.
9536 We have lost 89 percent of the 176 advertisers who were with the station between 2010 and 2012. The principal reason was the poor signal quality.
9537 For example, Mark Mendalson of Bay Bloor Radio, who represented nearly 10 percent of PROUD FM's first year billings, advised PROUD FM that he would only renew advertising once there was an improvement in its reach. Advertisers are listeners too and when they cannot hear their own commercials, they are understandably reluctant to renew.
9538 MR. SKINNER: In an attempt to rectify this problem Evanov made a successful application in 2010 to the CRTC for a technical amendment to increase its signal strength to 128 ERP watts. The decision was made to file that amendment application as there were no other alternatives available at the time.
9539 This power increase, granted by CRTC Decision 2010-357, would have had some positive impact on the operations of the station, but would have been too low to penetrate the infrastructure that continues to build up in the downtown core. It would certainly not have reached a much larger LGBT audience in the Toronto CMA.
9540 With the Commission's approval of that licence amendment, we had hoped to relocate our broadcast transmitter to a site nearer to Toronto's LGBT cultural centre of the Gay Village located around Church and Wellesley.
9541 Unfortunately, the station was unable to take advantage of the signal boost. Oxford Properties, presumably in control of the proposed tower site at 2 Bloor St. West, was not prepared to negotiate a lease. This occurred despite having earlier advised at the time of the application that there was tower space available and that it was prepared to enter into negotiations with us for a lease. Trouble with the negotiations began shortly after the approval by the Commission.
9542 Over the course of several months, we learned that Oxford had two exclusive and separate sub-leases with third parties for the rooftop at the proposed site and the actual antenna. Oxford directed us to deal with the two sub-leasing companies, Mobile Business Communications and Rycom. Negotiations continued up until March of 2011 but a deal was never consummated.
9543 At the same time we investigated numerous alternative tower sites including the Hudson's Bay Centre, the Sheridan Centre, the Manulife Centre, First Canadian Place and numerous apartment and condominium buildings with our consulting engineer, Jim Moltner.
9544 During this same period, we also took careful notice of the revocation of the licence held by CKLN Radio to operate on the 88.1 FM frequency. It set the stage for us to immediately begin the process of preparing the application which brings us before you today.
9545 We are aware of how rare and valuable it is to have an open radio frequency in this market. With the on-going struggles we have faced in implementing the earlier technical amendment this was a timely break for PROUD FM.
9546 In order to better facilitate today's discussion of the technical issues, we have provided you with copies of our current coverage maps, comparative coverage maps of PROUD FM's 3 mV/m and O.5 mV/m contours filed with the application for a technical amendment which led to Decision 2010-357 and the comparative coverage of PROUD FM's 3 mV/m and O.5 mV/m contours filed with the application on 88.1.
9547 For your convenience those maps have also been attached to the back of the oral presentation.
9548 MR. WILLETTE: There is clear evidence that the self-identified LGBT market is rapidly expanding and there is a readymade community of advertisers seeking to reach those listeners.
9549 Even with our limited signal, we have still been able to pull in average annual revenues of $800 thousand, based on the growing recognition of the buying power of so-called "pink dollars". Our service has huge potential to expand revenues in the radio broadcasting system, but that potential will not be recognized if we cannot be heard.
9550 Despite its technical problems, PROUD FM is fully entrenched in Toronto's LGBT community. It has the support of listeners and advertisers, as demonstrated by the more than 3,000 listener and advertiser interventions filed. These letters are concrete evidence that listeners want to hear PROUD FM and that businesses are interested in targeting our audience through radio advertising as buys.
9551 PROUD FM'S place in the Canadian broadcasting system cannot be overstated. While you have heard many applicants in these proceedings tell you about how they will fill voids in the market and offer diversity, PROUD FM is the only applicant before you that has unique, unduplicated news and spoken word gathered and delivered from the perspective and relevance to the community.
9552 Our music blend is a unique offering in the musically well served Toronto CMA. PROUD FM features pop music selections spanning the 1960s through today and has a very modest spin repetition rate.
9553 We play music that resonates with the community, including selections from artists involved in relevant advocacy work or who have produced music which has been popular in gay culture or who identify as LGBT. We ensure that 40 percent of our current Canadian selections qualify as new and emerging talent. The station offers a unique platform to artists. On average, well over half of the PROUD FM playlist is not getting airplay on other Toronto stations.
9554 Beyond playing Canadian content, we also support its development through unique endowments and on-air support of events and organizations of importance to the LGBT community of Toronto. On an annual basis, we donate hundreds of thousands of dollars in airtime to qualified LGBT events, causes and groups. This value is on top of our direct CCD contributions and sponsorships of events.
9555 With approval of our current proposal, we will continue to invest in indirect contributions. As well, we will commit to a minimum of over $1 million in CCD Direct contributions over the licence term. It is important to note that these funds will be directed to LGBT activities with the full consultation of the community and our active community advisory committee already in place.
9556 To further bolster our community involvement and to assist in the evolution of the radio broadcasting industry, Evanov has offered to open the current frequency used by PROUD-FM to an alternate community or not-for-profit station. It could even be used for a nesting solution. Such use would of course be subject to Commission approval and would be subject to reasonable negotiated terms and conditions that would protect the originating signal of CIDC FM.
9557 Approving our application is not only in the best interests of the LGBT community, it is also in the general public's best interest as it would allow another broadcaster the use of the 103.9 FM frequency.
9558 It is a creative way for the Commission to correct a previously acknowledged problem. Moving our incumbent station to 88.1 will maintain the status quo of the market. We would simply be providing a more reliable service to a pre-existing market that we have already been licensed to serve.
9559 It would be limited impact on other incumbents as we would not be offering fresh competition. We would instead provide a more effective service to our current listeners and advertisers.
9560 MR. CHALUT: We are an incumbent operator in this market with a wealth of experience in broadcasting. We find success by focusing on specialized programming and sales initiatives. We have attempted to apply this successful business model to PROUD FM. Our programming has received numerous accolades from both the industry and the community that we serve, including the Silver Ripple Award at the Canadian Marketing Awards, the Radio Promotion of the Year from Canadian Music Week and being chosen as the Best Radio Station of the Year in Toronto by the readers of Xtra!
9561 Approval of our application is needed to keep PROUD FM alive. We can only shoulder losses for so long. Based on downtown Toronto's high rise construction boom and the continuing dispersion of the LGBT community, we are now in a worse operating position than we were when initially licensed.
9562 Your approval would also be very much in line with your historical practice of approving technical amendment applications in accordance with Bulletin 2009-451; that is, for securing the financial viability of a station and solving interference or reception issues affecting the community a station is licensed to serve.
9563 It is our belief that granting the requested technical amendment would address coverage problems already acknowledged by the Commission and would allow PROUD FM the increased resources it needs to better serve the LGBT community.
9564 Allowing PROUD FM to move to the unencumbered 88.1 FM frequency would finally correct these longstanding problems.
9565 Granting us the use of 88.1 FM would be allowing Toronto's LGBT community to finally have quality access to the only terrestrial radio station which caters to its specialized needs and interests throughout Toronto's Gay Village and also in many other Gaybourhoods and beyond.
9566 MS LAURIGNANO: Upon approval and relocation to 88.1 FM, PROUD FM will continue to make major contributions to the development of Canadian musical content, talent, unique spoken word programming and to organizations active in the LGBT community.
9567 We have also ensured our programming reflects the broad diversity within our audience. The station serves individuals of all colours, Nationalities and ethnic backgrounds who have an interest in the happenings, history and culture of the LGBT community. This diversity is even reflected in our on-air personalities. Our spoken word content and news otherwise unavailable is all delivered by members of the community. All items discussed are selected based on their relevance to the community or are delivered through the optic of the LGBT perspective.
9568 Without approval, our only option is to attempt again to make whatever slight improvements we can to the existing signal.
9569 It is important to note, realistically, that 103.9 FM frequency will never be an adequate frequency for our service. Without a dramatic turnaround, the continued operation of the station is simply not financially viable.
9570 Thank you very much for your time and consideration for our presentation.
9571 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much. We will now hear your intervenors in support, which is the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Toronto PFLAG and Ms Danielle Loncar.
9572 Please proceed with your presentation.
9573 MR. KENYON: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. It's my pleasure to speak to you today about the application for PROUD FM. My name is John Kenyon, and I am the President of the -- Past President, sorry, of the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As well, I am the sales and marketing manager for Gibsan Pools and Landscape Creations, a past advertiser with PROUD FM.
9574 Gibsan Pools is a luxury pool and landscaping contractor and also has a retail hot tub centre in the GTA.
9575 The Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce serves hundreds of LGBT and allied businesses from large businesses who support their LGBT employees like T-D Bank and Broker Link Insurance to a multitude of small, independent owner-operators like real estate agents, lawyers and other service type businesses.
9576 PROUD FM offers both gay and straight advertisers a unique opportunity to reach this diverse and often fragmented audience in one place and through conventional broadcasting media. No other media known offers the opportunity to reach the entire LGBT audience, including and especially women, as most of the print media in the community are male skewed.
9577 The trouble that advertisers like us are having is that while we are reaching this audience, it is not large enough for a proper return on investment due to the poor signal. Many of the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce members have complained that they cannot even get the signal in their stores or their cars.
9578 As an organization, the OGLCC supports PROUD FM fully. Their support is on record with you throughout PROUD FM's history.
9579 At Gibsan Pools, we had limited success with PROUD FM. Last year, we invested over $20,000 in advertising and community sponsorship through PROUD and would consider continuing advertising should the signal be increased on the new dial location. However, with no increase, it just doesn't make good business sense.
9580 Our community is large and loyal. We need you to be our ally. I know that there are many applications for the use of the signal, but I would suggest that PROUD FM is truly a beacon of diversity.
9581 I urge you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, to consider finishing the fantastic and ground-breaking job that you started several years ago with the licensing of this station and make the world's LGBT radio station a viable, strong contender and equal partner in the Toronto radio landscape.
9582 Thank you.
9583 MS MILLER: Hello, my name is Irene Miller. I am President of Toronto PFLAG. I'm a proud Toronto PFLAG mom.
9584 I speak today as the mother of a gay son and also as the President of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays whose members and supporters are spread all over Toronto.
9585 A large majority of the LGBTQ community resides downtown. PROUD FM's current signal does not cover even the basic areas of the downtown core.
9586 Granting this band to PROUD FM would allow all in the community to benefit from the programming, the news, arts and entertainment, upcoming events and interviews, et cetera aired by PROUD FM, programming that is relevant to this community and is missing from mainstream radio programming.
9587 PROUD FM is very important, not only to the LGBTQ community, but also serves as a vital link between straight families and their LGBTQ loved ones.
9588 We listen; so does our gay son. This station speaks to us. It reflects our family. It also is important for the advertising and communication aspects for LGBTQ and allied businesses and organizations, organizations like Toronto PFLAG.
9589 In order for PROUD FM's important messaging to reach the people that most benefit from hearing it, the signal must reach a broader area. Without it, a huge segment of our population is being discounted. We're unhearing, we feel unheard.
9590 LGBTQ individuals and their straight families are hugely diverse. Our families comprise all ages, all ethnicities, cultures, religions, socioeconomic status and walks of life. The unique programming offered by PROUD FM, and it is unique, provides something to which we all relate, something for which we have waited a long time.
9591 It wasn't there when my son came out. It needs to be there for the youth we help today. We need this station, PROUD FM. We need it to be available to all of us, and with your help, it will be.
9592 Thank you for listening to my request today on behalf of my own family and the other families who represent parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays and what PROUD -- the value that PROUD is to all of us and what it represents to families like mine.
9593 Thank you.
9594 MS LONCAR: Good afternoon, Commissioners. My name is Danielle Loncar. I am a trans woman and a huge supporter of PROUD FM.
9595 I have made my life in downtown Toronto, and I'm happy to have this station as part of it. It's a great resource for news, entertainment and information.
9596 I've seen firsthand what a wonderful resource PROUD FM has been in Toronto for our local LGBT community, a true sense of community and support that has been developed with the station and has assisted in fundraising, social awareness and even education.
9597 I've always been a lover of radio. Now that I've witnessed how people can really gain a sense of inclusiveness by listening to a specialty station like PROUD FM, I'm an even bigger advocate.
9598 I've been afforded opportunities through PROUD FM that wouldn't otherwise have been as readily available or even possible. Through the station, I learn about people that want to make a difference in other people's lives and I'm able to listen to the stories of how others have come out and made their place in the world.
9599 When I listen to radio, I hope to enjoy the music, be interested in the talk subjects and feel connected to the hosts. I want to feel respected, reflected, valued and that I am part of a community.
9600 With other stations, I sometimes hear my musical taste reflected or my geographical location discussed, but that's where it begins and ends.
9601 An LGBT station, especially because it becomes an integral part of the community, a community that has, thus far, been largely untapped. A special station for special people serving a niche market is unique among the myriad of radio choices already available.
9602 There is a fair share of gay media aimed at straight people, but very little gay media aimed at gay people.
9603 The LGBT community is a tight, accountable and an involved community that pays attention when things affect us or speak to us. If an LGBT person talks, LGBT people and their allies listen.
9604 Some of the conversations had on PROUD FM which stand out to me include the annual coverage of Celebrate Bisexuality Day, the discussion of Bill C-389, which is also known as the Trans Rights Bill, and the recent coverage of Jenna Talackova's story.
9605 Jenna is a transgender beauty contestant from B.C. who recently made it to the finals of the Miss Universe Canada pageant. This coverage really resonated and was a sign of the times that people's attitudes are changing.
9606 Even something like Celebrate Bisexuality Day is something that I can guarantee you was overlooked by other stations, but PROUD FM actually dedicated an entire day of programming to it.
9607 I was also happy to hear on-air and in-depth coverage of the yet to be implemented Trans Rights Bill, also known as C-389. This Bill would classify trans people as a group that cannot be specifically discriminated against. It would offer them protection under hate crime and hate speech laws and further increase trans equality.
9608 PROUD FM has had extensive coverage of this topic, both through interviews and host commentary.
9609 This station actively broadcasts discussions which are of incredible importance to our community and are simply not had anywhere else. It is through the station that many members of the LGBT community access information, but what is happening in the world and how it affects our existence and daily lives.
9610 It's an incredible resource that the entire community should be able to access. It's also a reminder that all members of our community should be heard.
9611 On top of these discussions, the station also hosts amazing events which encourage people's attitudes about the community and the general public and support LGBT organizations.
9612 For example, on Sunday, May 27th, PROUD FM is rallying celebrities, personalities and friends to end homophobia for once and for all. This is an event that the entire city should be aware of.
9613 The event is called CLIMAX, the Canadian Live and Intimate Music and Art Experience. It's an event to showcase Canadian music and Canadian art. It's an event to help PFLAG Toronto raise funds to continue their efforts to end bullying.
9614 However, it's unfortunate that the station's signal isn't strong enough to reach all those who would be interested in attending and supporting this important event.
9615 The continued success of PROUD FM in Toronto is a testament to its success and its trail-blazing in the community outreach. The PROUD FM spirit of positivity needs to reach areas not previously reached, and the stronger signal of FM 88.1 would facilitate this.
9616 PROUD FM is a voice that needs to be heard. Thank you for your time.
9617 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all very much.
9618 I would ask Commissioner Patrone to lead the questioning.
9619 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9620 I very much appreciate your presentation this afternoon. I particularly want to thank the intervenors who took time out. I very much appreciate the passion that you bring to this issue, so thank you.
9621 Your application is intended to correct a signal deficiency problem in your main serving area. Our job is to find the best possible use for spectrum, and that, as you can appreciate, is going to be a difficult thing considering the many applications that have come before us and will continue to come forward.
9622 As you mentioned in your presentation today, in Decision 2010-357 the Commission approved an increase in power for CIRR FM. You've indicated that you have not been able to implement that power increase.
9623 Awarding the last silver of spectrum in Toronto because of an inability to reach a leasing agreement strikes me at first blush like using a bazooka to kill a fly.
9624 Is your failure to reach a leasing agreement up to this point reason enough to delegate a spectrum for the reasons you've outlined today?
9625 Is this the best use of spectrum?
9626 MS LAURIGNANO: Thank you.
9627 Well, let me just go back to a couple of things.
9628 As we said and as historically the record will show, we began this quest in the late '90s. The first time we came to the Commission was in 1999 with a proposal to serve this community.
9629 We had applied at the time for the use of 93.5 in the Toronto spectrum, which is a signal far better than 88.1 is today, and we provided our business plan based on that frequency which was quite comprehensive and would have been very successful.
9630 Unfortunately, we were not able to get that decision. It went, in the Commission's wisdom, to somebody else.
9631 But the ties and the relationships and the voice of the community was such that we could not just walk away from it. That frequency being gone, and that was the last frequency, there was no way out for us other than to try and find another solution.
9632 The only solution we could find at the time was to make use of our own adjacency which, as you know, requires an area of interference, of accepted interference for that, so, in effect, we sacrificed a bit of our originating flagship station, which is located on 103.5, in order to be able to accommodate this thing.
9633 And theoretically, we were able to carve out that first line over there, which is a purple line, with an Omni antenna, which was a 50-watt radiated power. And as some of you know and as our engineer, I'm sure, will attest to, it's always a theoretical kind of thing that, you know, you work on paper theoretically, you put this 50-watt station here, you should get that kind of coverage. You really never really know how it's going to happen once you've put it on the air, how reliable the signal is going to be.
9634 As we said, there have been some changes in the last while. The build-up has been tremendous. Like hundreds of buildings have gone up around the area which, of course, would affect that area there.
9635 So in the absence of anything else, we have really left no stone unturned in terms of like how can we maximize our signal, how can we make it better, et cetera, et cetera.
9636 So we came up with an idea and looked at it and through Mr. Moltner, we figured that we could relocate the transmitter to an area closer to the village, which is right at the corner of Bay and Bloor, and that would not enhance, as you can see in the signal -- we go from the purple to the green on the map there.
9637 You will see that we would lose some signal to the northeast. We would pick up a little bit more to the southwest and then a lot of it would be great for boaters because there's a good coverage over the lake.
9638 What that would do is not correct our problem in terms of trying to reach the market where it was, but it would improve our signal in the small area that we already had, or at least we would hope.
9639 So while the negotiations with that particular thing broke down, we still explored other possibilities. We would come to you again with another application to see if there's a better way of doing it.
9640 We actually did semi-technical briefs already on those locations that are mentioned in here. And in the meantime, as we mentioned, the possibility of 88.5(sic) being available was in the works, and then that came about. And as you know, we were the first in line and we were the first ones to file an application for this because, to us it was a godsend. It was finally an opportunity.
9641 So we -- the reason -- regardless of whether we implemented that particular amendment or regardless of whether we come up with another -- a scenario for 103.9, the fact of the matter is that we cannot extend our coverage area because there are protections to other broadcasters in various other areas that must be protected around us as well as we can only accept so much interference for our originating station as we must protect that.
9642 So 103.9 at any location, at any power would never be the solution. Not to say that we wouldn't try to make the best effort or try and make the signal as best as we could, but you can see, really, the effect on -- the net effect on the coverage area by implementing it.
9643 So yes, you know, in the absence of anything else, we will do everything, including find an alternate site.
9644 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Why did negotiations -- I believe you put the -- you put it as "fell apart". And I believe that Mr. Chalut spoke at length as well about negotiations that took place with various parties.
9645 What happened?
9646 MS LAURIGNANO: It's very simple. What happened is that there was a stall and we thought that we could just get on the air right away. We had a quote from Oxford about what the rental would be.
9647 So immediately after -- I mean, nobody's more anxious than us to get this thing on the air. So immediately after the decision, we followed up with the person there that we had the letter on file, which is also on file with you. And we were told that, well, there's a little bit of something here and there because -- let me check into it.
9648 So a couple of months sort of went by before finally it was declared that there were two other parties that we had to negotiate with.
9649 That required us to go from the beginning again. They had to look at the technical brief. They had to do this, they had to do that. And they came back with their quote eventually in May -- in March of 2011, which was astronomical.
9650 It was -- it did not contemplate the original agreement with the Oxford Group in terms of the amount of money that would be required.
9651 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So it's a financial issue?
9652 MS LAURIGNANO: It's a huge financial issue and as --
9653 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You didn't -- basically, you were not prepared to pay what they wanted in terms of a rental. Is that fair?
9654 MS LAURIGNANO: We were prepared to pay what we had originally had talked about and what was in -- but it was predicated or predicted in the original letter with them, but not -- when their second and third party came aboard, it was not feasible any more.
9655 But in the meantime, even before May -- March of 2011, before -- 2010. Sorry. Before it definitely came off the table, we had looked at alternate sites which was, you know, the other building, Manulife, which is on the other side of Bay and Bloor, the Sheraton Centre and other things because we were intending to come back to you with another proposal.
9656 And then in January, the licence was revoked so it happened at the same time, and -- but regardless, we still continued as a last effort to keep going, but just not feasible. And at that point, we stopped.
9657 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: The door is not -- is it fair for me to say that the door has not been shut entirely on negotiations and trying to reach some kind of agreement with those other parties regarding moving your signal?
9658 MS LAURIGNANO: No, those are open files.
9659 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Those are open files.
9660 MS LAURIGNANO: Those are open files, yes.
9661 But the point that I want to make is that they're open files, but they will never give us what we need, so we're --
9662 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: In what way?
9663 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, in terms of expanding the coverage area that we've asked and in terms of serving the market.
9664 As you saw from the map that -- the increase in the map is not that great, and the reliability of the signal, although I think, you know, there would be some improvement on it, I don't think it's 100 percent. But I can ask Mr. Moltner to give us his thoughts on it.
9665 MR. MOLTNER: I think what Carmela is trying to say is we're not stuck at the location that was -- that the amendment was approved for. We could move a few blocks south, a few blocks east, a few blocks west. The coverage would basically look the same.
9666 It's better than what they have now, but it still doesn't do it for them the way 88.1 would.
9667 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Our staff wasn't able to find any, and I'll quote this, discernible zone of likely second adjacent interference.
9668 I'm not an engineer, but as I understand it, you didn't provide anything to back up the assertion that -- in your technical brief that listeners had complained of a dramatic amount of interference.
9669 Can you address that for me? Are we missing something?
9670 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes, I can. We referred to the technical amendment where that -- where those were very, very well documented and we believe that that's part of the public file that should be looked at.
9671 So there is quite a history and a litany of complaints on file with the Commission, and as conditions had not changed between that and here, we would ask that those stand and that the difference between -- timing between this application and that was fairly negligible in terms of any other outside circumstances affecting it. In fact, it would have got worse, not better.
9672 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You have the station in Orangeville, CIDC, right?
9673 Is there a possibility that some combination of decreasing the power of the Orangeville station as well as increasing through the means in which we've just discussed that you could address the power issues in a way that didn't involve moving to 88.1?
9674 MS LAURIGNANO: I'm going to ask Mr. Moltner to start there, as I believe that we're not just limited by our station, that there are other limitations.
9676 MR. MOLTNER: Well, I believe there's two issues here. One issue is the second adjacent interference and if you have a second adjacent station within the coverage contours -- if you have a station within the coverage contours of a second adjacent station, there will always be some second adjacent interference, so I would beg to differ with your staff on that point.
9677 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But that second adjacent is from a property that is owned by your own ownership group. Is that correct?
9678 MR. MOLTNER: That's correct.
9679 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So you're interfering yourself.
9680 MR. MOLTNER: Correct.
9681 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, we're interfering with ourselves, but we're interfering with our listeners and with the area that we've licensed to serve, so we would be displacing people who are currently used to having that service and to which they have become accustomed and they have a right within those parameters.
9682 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Have you considered the possibility of requesting a power decrease from your Orangeville station that would alleviate the situation which you spoke about, Mr. Moltner?
9683 MS LAURIGNANO: We've considered it, but that would be suicide for us. We have a hard enough time competing within the whole of the Toronto CMA with the competition and all that.
9684 It would not be feasible from an economic point of view. I think if you, Commission, looks at our -- at the revenues for the station, you will see that there has been a decline in the last few years and that would further add to those woes as well as, again, redefine the service.
9685 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And it's --strictly in dollar terms --
9686 MS LAURIGNANO: And a lot of --
9687 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- it doesn't make any financial sense for you to decrease the power of a profitable station in order to --
9688 MS LAURIGNANO: It doesn't. It also does not make sense for listeners, because a lot of people who reside in our primary area, which is Orangeville, rely on the station to carry it with them. They reside there, but they work and they shop and they travel the road to the greater -- within the Toronto area and that would be further erosion on our signal.
9689 If they couldn't get their hometown station on the radio as they travel, then we would experience loss of audience and that would beget, you know, loss of revenue, et cetera, et cetera.
9690 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Assuming you were awarded this switch to 88.1, the current CIRR-FM frequency -- and you can correct me if I'm wrong -- could not be reused by another would-be licensee without approval from Dufferin as the future proposed use of that frequency might cause interference to the Orangeville station; is that correct?
9691 MS LAURIGNANO: That is correct. We are on the record as saying that we would work with somebody and we would accept the present zone of interference and work with another broadcaster.
9692 And I might say that this is not without precedent, that it has happened in other jurisdictions before. The one that comes to mind right away is the one in Ottawa where the last hearing was there with Astral and the community radio station.
9693 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But if you won't move it for your own channel, for your own station, how am I going to come to the possible realization that you might move it for somebody else?
9694 MS LAURIGNANO: Because we are asking to -- as we have accepted the current parameters, we would continue to accept those current parameters. So if it's keeping that status quo, whether it's where we operate now or even with the amendment that was approved, then that would be -- we would be willing to make that lateral transfer.
9695 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I don't understand. Could you elaborate? I don't understand lateral transfer.
9696 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes, I can. So basically what I'm saying is that we are operating right now at the 50-watt range, which covers that map that we showed there.
9697 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Yes.
9698 MS LAURIGNANO: Then you approved the technical amendment which alters the specs a little bit. So I am saying that we would be prepared to accept another broadcaster to use that frequency under the same technical parameters as the ones that we currently use now or the ones that were approved but not implemented.
9699 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But you claim that 103 could be made available to some other applicant at some point in the future. Did I hear you correctly?
9700 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes, we are offering that, that if we are successful in getting 88.1, we would make available the use of 103.9 under the same technical parameters that we are operating on or that were approved in the last amendment for someone else to use.
9701 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But you are saying it's not good enough for you, but it's good enough for somebody else?
9702 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes, we are. Because our market -- we are not suggesting that it's good enough for any commercial operator, but there may be a chance for a community group, a smaller organization, a nesting solution for something else. There could be another use.
9703 In our case it's not good enough because it does not reach our market. Our market is the LGBT community, which represents half a million people in the Greater Toronto CMA. We are reaching a very, very small percentage by the sheer small footprint that we have to use. So it would be of some use to somebody.
9704 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You tried First Canadian Place; is that right?
9705 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes.
9706 COMMISSINOER PATRONE: And that didn't pan out?
9707 MS LAURIGNANO: There was no space there, but again, regardless, this frequency, no matter where we put it, we are limited. We can't -- we can make that signal better within that circle that we showed on the map.
9708 You know, we can make the signal more reliable so that it can go into buildings and people can hear it at home and hear it better in their cars and underground, but we can't go outside of those areas because of some technical protections to other broadcasters as well as ourselves.
9709 We can't obliterate the originating station nor other broadcasters, it's against the rules.
9710 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I mean I looked at your financials and you will be losing money for the entire duration of the first licence term and beyond, but you are paring down those losses?
9711 MS LAURIGNANO: We are down not just to the bone, we are down to the marrow. So it's not very feasible. Again, it's not to say that we wouldn't be looking for other things, and we are. You know, we tried the technical amendment with this, but honestly there is no way we can (a) serve this market and (b) become profitable and the two really go hand-in-hand.
9712 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: What do you mean that the future of PROUD FM is in question without our approval? Can you elaborate on that statement for me?
9713 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes, we can. Yes, I can. The elaboration of it is that, you know, the options are that we could keep reducing the service and the quality of programming and on-air staff and just keep cutting, cutting, cutting, which is not desirable by any means, and of course in the extreme we may just have to ask for the licence to be revoked.
9714 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You would hand in the licence?
9715 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, we own it, so we would just -- we would ask that licence to --
9716 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You would give up the licence?
9717 MR. LAURIGNANO: We would give up the licence.
9718 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And that, as you see it, is a better option than reducing the power of your station --
9719 MS LAURIGNANO: Absolutely.
9720 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- which is based in Orangeville?
9721 MS LAURIGNANO: I invite you to look at our financial returns and compare what PROUD FM is generating versus what CITC-FM and then ask you, you know, would anybody sacrifice that for that? And especially since that particular station has a place in our overall business plan.
9722 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: It was licensed as an Orangeville station, though, wasn't it?
9723 MS LAURIGNANO: It is, but Orangeville, as you know, is part of the CMA, just as Toronto is and just as Brampton is and just as Mississauga. So we have to rely on the marketing area. Our programming orientation is Orangeville, but our marketing area is the whole of the CMA.
9724 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Is it fair to describe the audience currently served by PROUD FM as sophisticated, upscale, with significant levels of disposable income, socially active and plugged into the Zeitgeist?
9725 MS LAURIGNANO: Sure. I'm going to ask Bob and then perhaps Mike can have something to --
9726 MR. WILLETTE: Oh yes, absolutely. I mean that's who we -- we kind of referenced in our presentation pink dollars, the idea of our audience. And any research we have done with the community marketing research company has shown that we have an above average income, our audience has an above average income, above average education and are passionate about the community.
9727 Mike is our afternoon show host and he is engaged in the community unlike anybody else I know.
9728 MR. CHALUT: I mean our show is very different because it is educational and it's a lot of fun as well. My show basically on Monday is "Mind and Body;" Tuesday we talk about travel; Wednesday is all about safe sex; Thursday is about trends; and Friday is about food.
9729 So we have everyone from Chuck Hughes to Cyndi Lauper to, you know, a kid battling with HIV on my show. It's a very -- you know, it's about educating straight people and educating gay people that, you know, at the end of the day everybody truly is a somebody.
9730 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And given that level of sophistication, wouldn't this be the perfect community that could be served by an online radio service? In other words, couldn't you try and offset the technical limitations on 103.9 with a parallel online service that could cover and reach the audience that needs the service and that you want to provide it to?
9731 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, that would have to make the assumption that all of these upwardly mobile people are sitting by their computer the whole time. It certainly is something that we recognized as a marketing tool as an extension of a signal.
9732 We actually get a lot of hits on our Web site and we have feedback from all over the world because the station enjoys that notoriety of being, you know, the first, and, you know, we even get emails sometimes that are very touching about how, you know, people who are not out, they go to their basement, you know, and they have the computer on or they have their headset listening to the station because it's something they can identify with.
9733 But the fact of the matter is for a commercial radio undertaking under these circumstances it has to be portable, and the fact of life is that unless that station can be in your car you're dead. So from every possible thing, it cannot monetize it right now and if you can't monetize it, then you can't offer the programming.
9734 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Are you available online? You have streaming, live streaming?
9735 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes. Yes, we are and it's actually a very active interactive Web site and it does very well in terms of getting people to look at it and listen to it outside the area or when they can, but if people are at home they cannot dedicate themselves to one particular room and be in front of a computer or in their car it would be unavailable.
9736 MR. WILLETTE: And if I may --
9737 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Of course.
9738 MR. WILLETTE: -- you know there is something to be said -- there are other people offering -- there's a satellite gay radio station, there's streaming gay radio stations, but the fact that we are the first commercially licensed over-the-air broadcaster pretty much in the world to cater to the LGBT community, that is a very important fact and that is something that we cannot go back on.
9739 It's a matter of pride for the community that our listeners are participating in something that is of historic significance, and that's being over-the-air.
9740 MR. SKINNER: I would also like to suggest to the Commission --
9741 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Of course.
9742 MR. SKINNER: -- it's very important at all times in considering the audience of PROUD FM, the true diversity that we are trying to represent.
9743 So clearly, we've brought forward marketing strategies and advertising strategies which cater to the upwardly mobile, the highly affluent, the more highly educated section of the population, but we are a station that is attempting to represent the entire LGB community and in representing that diversity, although those are a majority of what we're facing we are also dealing with people with very low levels of education.
9744 We are dealing with people who have difficulties in accessing the community, whether they be disabled or whether they have language barriers or whether they have socioeconomic factors that are working against them, where perhaps Internet isn't a genuine option.
9745 So although it is great that we have the benefit in the community generally -- and I speak for myself in saying that I'm very happy to be an educated and established young gay man, there are a lot people in our community who aren't so lucky.
9746 And although a lot of our programming is targeting towards it in the community, we can't leave someone out. It's not fair to cut off someone's access to this really essential and potentially life-changing service because they don't have the same capacities as everyone else.
9747 MS LAURIGNANO: Right. And I might add that let's not lose track of the fact that it's for the families and friends and relatives and coworkers and everybody else too.
9748 So it's really a whole spectrum of demographics that this station reaches. It's really a total service for a total market. I think that's the best way I could say it. It is the most total, the most comprehensive -- it's really -- it's like the old days when there was one station in one town, you know, that had to serve everybody. Well, this is PROUD FM.
9749 It serves the teenagers to the older people, to the families, to the women, to the students, to those who have come out, to those who haven't, to those who have all sorts of other issues that need to be reflected within the flag. You know what I mean?
9750 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Right.
9751 MS LAURIGNANO: It's not by accident that the flag has many colours. It's really to signify that there are many elements in there. So it's very complex, very complicated.
9752 And the other thing too is that it's a very, very large market. You know, as we said, studies through self-identified LGBT people and Statistics Canada census information returns through other studies, the accepted figure, especially for an urban centre where the population seems to be more concentrated, up to -- the figure is 12.8 percent of that population falls within one of those categories within the LGBT.
9753 And actually more and more acronyms are being added to it, so now it's as long as the alphabet. So it's very broad. It's very large. It's very, very challenging to serve it, in a way. There isn't just one thing. I mean there are a lot of things that bind it together.
9754 But from a programming point of view it really has to be programmed well, because a 15-year-old, you know, who has a problem with bullying or is thinking about suicide has quite a different perspective than a gay man who is in his 60s, you know, and is planning retirement or is looking at other things.
9755 So the station, as I said, is really a full service for a full market.
9756 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you for that.
9757 I have a couple of housekeeping questions before I pass on this to my colleagues.
9758 You currently have an expectation but not a condition of licence geared to directing your spoken word content towards the LGBT community.
9759 Were you to receive approval to move the station to 88.1, what guarantees does the Commission have that you would continue to serve this community?
9760 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, the guarantee has many prongs.
9761 One is you have to look at our records. As we said, this is something that began in the '90s. We have stuck with it. We made it happen. We are almost completing the first term, licence term for the current one.
9762 We have done everything that we said. The language in there is actually very reflective of -- though not a condition of licence, there was very good direction about, you know, which way we should orient our programming. I can say -- and I'm proud to say, if you pardon the pun, that we have stuck to it. We have enhanced it. We have implemented a community advisory committee that guides us along the way.
9763 I'm happy to tell you that of all the stations that we operate we have never, ever received one complaint about the programming on PROUD FM that has gone to CBSC or to the Commission or anything like that. That should give you comfort and a measure of how great the market is and how responsible the programming is.
9764 I think, you know, our commitment is there and I can tell you that we would take it as a condition of licence that under the full licence term we would not, you know, go away from that. We would be happy and honoured to serve this community and to accept that condition.
9765 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Okay. Thank you very much.
9766 MR. SKINNER: If I could just add to that?
9767 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Oh, of course. Yes, quickly.
9768 MR. SKINNER: Beyond the reasons that Ms Laurignano identified about our dedication to the format, I can also advise the Commission that we have had a lot of conversations about just the business sense of sticking with this format itself.
9769 As you have heard based on the applications that come before you in this Commission and as you've recognized based on looking at the Toronto market itself, musically it is incredibly well served. All the other formats are very clearly represented.
9770 So what we see here is we've recognized an incredible opportunity of going after the LGBT market. We are incredibly proud to be the station that serves that market and we recognize the potential value in regards to advertising dollars that can come from it.
9771 In committing to that station, though, we are also aware that to try and flip to another format, if that is the concern of the Commission, such as a contemporary hits or news/talk or any other format, we would be slaughtered in the Toronto market because there are so many established stations which have entrenched themselves already that it wouldn't make sense for us to disband and leave this format of serving the LGBT community. It's an incredible opportunity and it wouldn't make sense for us to go against it.
9772 MS LAURIGNANO: And, quite frankly, my biggest concern is that somebody else is going to flip and that would really put us out of business, because we could never compete on any format given, you know, that small, little signal and the little built-up area down there. So we would be dead in the water if that happened as well, if someone else decided to flip one of their stations.
9773 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Okay.
9774 MR. SKINNER: And further to that again, I know that a lot of the questioning that has come from the Commission in regards to the other applicants has been in concern to people dropping their niche formats and going after contemporary hits radio. We have made it very clear based on our positioning about CIDC that that is a station that the entire company is dependent on. We are not going to switch to a format that would compete with that.
9775 We have already given enough in trying to bring PROUD FM to the air, but there's only so many losses that the station could go against and we are not going to try and compete or cannibalize ourselves. This is where we want to be. It's about the LGB community and providing this essential service.
9776 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Okay. Well, thank you very much for your answers today.
9777 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9778 I have a quick question for you. It may not be quick.
9779 I think you mentioned earlier the fact that there was a precedent set in Ottawa where Astral had a site outside the city and was compelled to use a second adjacent as well and make it work on Camp Fortune. That worked because it was the same licensee that operated both frequencies, which is what you are using right now.
9780 MS LAURIGNANO: No, Mr. Chairman. I believe that it was a commercial advertiser allowing a French community radio station to use one of their frequencies.
9781 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
9782 MS LAURIGNANO: I may be mistaken myself, but I believe that was it. I could not guarantee it.
9783 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, in either case, I mean, you are currently on 103.9 and you are also on 103.5 as well and you are telling me there is nowhere in the Toronto area where you can get a site that would give you the necessary coverage anywhere in Toronto?
9784 MS LAURIGNANO: It would -- we have looked at another scenario which was -- you know, because it's been suggested to you, well, why don't you just move 103.5, you know, down this way or that way.
9785 In order to co-locate and to reliably cover the whole area -- I'm going to ask Jim to talk on this -- it's my understanding that we would have to abandon our licence area of Orangeville because we couldn't take the 3mV which defines the market that you are licensed to serve along with us, that we would have that area outside of it.
9787 MR. MOLTNER: Maybe we are missing the point. Could we put that map up again?
9788 The purple circle is what's existing and the green sort of circle is what is approved and you're asking us can't we make that green circle work from some location in Toronto.
9789 The point is not the location. The point is the size of the circle. No matter where you move it, it's just not large enough to cover the audience.
9790 THE CHAIRPERSON: Regardless of where you move it, east, west, north or south?
9791 MR. MOLTNER: Well, you can move it one direction and you will lose everyone in the other direction. The circle itself will not change. We can't make it bigger, which is I believe what you are getting at. It cannot be made bigger. It can be moved, but it cannot be made bigger.
9792 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you are saying that the current coverage area doesn't cover the market that you are trying to go after? I understand you want a bigger market, but that aside, the current location, does that cover the market that you are seeking to serve? The answer is no.
9793 MS LAURIGNANO: The answer is no and it doesn't cover it for two reasons.
9794 One is that a 50-watt signal or even a 128-watt signal, the 128 ERP that is approved that would represent the green circle, it's not a strong signal in downtown Toronto. So we are in trouble on two fronts. One is that that 50 watts or that 128 watts cannot, you know, go through steel and stuff. It can be heard in cars, so that you would have like all these knolls and pockets where you cannot be heard at all.
9795 I think, Chad, you live in the village, right?
9796 MR. SKINNER: I do. I actually live two blocks to the east and a block north of where the PROUD FM studios are. A new condo development has gone up which blocks my view of it, but if that condo development had not been there I could actually see the studio from my apartment. I get no reception, not a crackle, not a pop. I get nothing.
9797 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I would argue that -- I'm not an engineer, but if the studio was 5 kilometres away you would get better service than if you were right under it, would you not?
9798 MR. WILLETTE: Well, it's not the studio, sorry, it's the transmitter which is at Yonge and Eglinton.
9799 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which is close to the village.
9800 MR. WILLETTE: Relatively speaking, yes. But it's a matter of the -- I believe there's 140 buildings currently being built in the downtown core right now. In the past five years there have literally been hundreds. Since we were licensed there's literally hundreds of buildings that have been built and the power, 50 or 128 ERP simply cannot go through all those buildings. It just can't happen. It's impossible.
9801 MR. CHALUT: And I think to add to that, there's a lot more gay people in the world than in that little circle. You know what I mean? Like they're all over the place.
9802 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then you need more licences.
9803 MR. CHALUT: That's good.
9804 MR. WILLETTE: That's where you come in.
9805 MR. CHALUT: Please.
9806 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are my questions.
9807 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Just briefly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9808 The black circle, that would be your 88.1 signal?
9809 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes.
9810 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. There has to be a lot of gay boaters out there. There's an awful lot of lake there covered.
9811 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes.
9812 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. I don't see an engineering solution.
9813 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, that's the .3, but the .5 map is a little bigger.
9814 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: That's the .5?
9815 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes. So you can see --
9816 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And the purple in that?
9817 MS LAURIGNANO: It's all the relative .5s compared to.
9818 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. And that purple, is that your .5 currently?
9819 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes. That's theoretically --
9820 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But that doesn't take into consideration --
9821 MS LAURIGNANO: That's theoretically where it should go.
9822 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. No, we were at -- it's called Liberty Village. I mean they are just building -- it's just unbelievable, it's just nonstop.
9823 MS LAURIGNANO: It's unbelievable, yes.
9824 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I don't know.
9825 MS LAURIGNANO: And sometimes people make the mistake because they can hear it in their car, but as you know car receivers are quite different --
9826 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9827 MS. LAURIGNANO: -- and they say, oh yeah, I heard it in the car. But then try to go into a building, the stores, the shops, it can't be heard.
9828 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Did I understand -- is there a concern about someone flipping to --
9829 MS LAURIGNANO: Well, I think, you know, that yes, we are concerned about that because --
9830 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- to move in on your territory?
9831 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes. Somebody with a bigger, more reliable signal, for sure.
9832 You know, as we said, there is a great percentage of the population that is now self-identifying. There is, you know, a move from businesses to become, you know, gay-friendly, to specifically set up businesses that cater to the community. So yes, we are concerned and it's something that keeps us awake actually sometimes.
9833 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Who's doing your show while you're here, Mike?
9834 MR. CHALUT: The morning show producer is filling in for me.
9835 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Okay. Because I was kind of listening a bit and when does most of the talk happen on 103.9?
9836 MR. WILLETTE: The talk is spread out throughout all the shows, specifically morning drive, afternoon drive. There's probably a little less talk right now because Mike's not there.
9837 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The rest of it is all music, right?
9838 MR. CHALUT: I talk a lot.
9839 MR. WILLETTE: Yes. There's less because Mike's not there right now. So it's not the -- so I will take responsibility for that.
9840 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9841 MR. WILLETTE: There's weekend programming, you know.
9842 MR. CHALUT: Tune in tomorrow. Tune in tomorrow.
9843 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Now that I have you here, what's happening in Montreal?
9844 MS LAURIGNANO: Oh yes, of course. What's happening in Montreal is that things are progressing. As you know, our move is contingent upon Bell --
9845 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. I was there.
9846 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes, I know.
9847 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I saw all the crew there.
9848 MS. LAURIGNANO: So what happened is that they of course had to get some structural analysis and a few other things, you know, to do -- they had to get some assessments. So it's progressing.
9849 The technical briefs were filed way, way back, as per your instructions way back. So we're just waiting for them to give us the all clear when their equipment is ready to be up, and then at that point they would do the testing. Then they would have to simulcast for a while and then advise us of when they would vacate the frequency so we could take it over.
9850 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: What kind of testing? I mean they are already broadcasting off 990.
9851 MS LAURIGNANO: No, but they can't abandon the 990, they have to implement their new service first.
9852 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
9853 MS LAURIGNANO: So they would test their new service.
9854 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Oh, it's on the new service that they are not ready to roll?
9855 MS LAURIGNANO: That's right.
9856 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9857 MS LAURIGNANO: So in order for us to go in they have to vacate that one frequency. We can't do it otherwise.
9858 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Thanks.
9859 MS LAURIGNANO: Thank you.
9860 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just another quick question.
9861 What is your northernmost point on the purple? Is that Highway 7 or is that Steeles?
9862 MR. WILLETTE: I think it's -- it's not Highway 7. It might be Steeles.
9863 MS LAURIGNANO: It might be the 401.
9864 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can't see it from the black and white and I can't see it on the other one.
9865 MR. WILLETTE: Yes. Are we on the -- are we talking about the .5. or the .3?
9866 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's the .5.
9867 MS LAURIGNANON: Jim is looking it up.
9868 MR. WILLETTE: It might be 7 maybe. It might be Highway 7.
9869 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's Highway 7 to the north. And what is it to the east and to the west?
9870 MR. WILLETTE: To the east I think it's Markham Road.
9871 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
9872 MS LAURIGNANO: But it's not going there.
9873 MR. WILLETTE: But it's not going there, I tell you that right now. It is -- but that's what it --
9874 MS MILLER: It's York Mills.
9875 MR. WILLETTE: It is York Mills. It's York Mills to the north, yes. It's not even to the 401, I don't think.
9876 MS LAURIGNANO: There would be little pockets or, you know, little strips of little corridors where you can hear it, but for the most part it's not there.
9877 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
9878 Commissioner Simpson...?
9879 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
9880 First is a question for Mr. Moltner. I haven't been around a heckuva long time on the Commission, about four years, but this is the first time I have run across an interference issue relating to FM.
9881 Are we going to be looking at more of this kind of a problem? Because this, I always thought, was relegated to an AM difficulty.
9882 MR. MOLTNER: Commissioner, could I ask you to define interference issue?
9883 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, what you're having is a propagation problem. You are experiencing signal difficulty because of obstructions, concrete obstructions, that are causing the signal to not be able to effectively radiate into the area that you need. That's what I thought you were saying.
9884 MR. MOLTNER: That is what they are saying -- or we are saying. It's not strictly an interference issue. It's a penetration issue, which is a direct function of how much power you are radiating.
9885 So any low-power station in Toronto would have the same issue and would always have the same issue whether it's today or 10 years ago.
9886 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. That was exactly what I was asking, is this an interference problem or a penetration problem, and I think you have answered that. I thought I had heard the word "interference" a number of times. Perhaps it was being used erroneously on this side of the bench and that's why I wanted clarification.
9887 MR. MOLTNER: Well, maybe I can add to it because while it is a penetration issue it is also an interference issue because there are co-channel stations in I believe Peterborough and Woodstock, and co-channel interference is a broadcaster's worst nightmare.
9888 So what this map does not show is the interference zones and it does not show that 88.1 is miles ahead of the existing frequency in terms of lack of co-channel interference. In other words, more of what that circle shows is more of what will be real coverage.
9889 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So you have, in effect, understated the problem because you could have made it look a lot worse.
9890 MR. MOLTNER: I certainly could have.
9891 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I commend you for that.
9892 Are you carried on cable?
9893 MR. WILLETTE: Not at this time. We have been in conversations with both Rogers and Bell to no avail, many conversations.
9894 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Are you knocking on the door and no one's answering or...?
9895 MR. WILLETTE: No one is answering on one of them and we have had meetings with the other.
9896 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Because it would seem to me -- again, we are not trying to be programmers or marketing consultants, but it would seem to me that that would be at least a short-term fix.
9897 MR. WILLETTE: It would help. I don't know if it would be a fix. It would definitely help.
9898 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, at least within the home residence environment.
9899 MR. WILLETTE: Yes. I mean ultimately you do want to be on that dashboard, right. That's the big thing.
9900 But yes, we have met face-to-face with Bell and received nothing back from Rogers.
9901 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Knowing that you are caught on the horns of a dilemma in that radio's greatest strength is locality, but going back to I think Commissioner Patrone's line of questioning, being that you have been the market leaders in this format, is there the possibility of syndicating or brokering some of your product to be able to get revenue recovery? Because you are generating a product that I would think would have a lot of interest in other markets.
9902 MR. WILLETTE: I don't know if there's enough of those other people I mentioned. You know, there are a couple of community-owned radio stations. I don't think they could afford to buy anything off of us if they wanted to, to be completely honest.
9903 The only other terrestrial gay radio stations I know of, there is one in Manchester, and again it is completely volunteer-run, and there is another one in Melbourne, Australia. And they are all community-run, so they wouldn't be able to buy anything off of us.
9904 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm trying to get you syndicated.
9905 MR. WILLETTE: I appreciate it.
9906 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, last question. It's a housekeeping issue that was brought up by staff.
9907 Ms Laurignano, in your oral presentation you had indicated that -- I think it was on page 12, paragraph 2, if you want to scoot over to that section. It was to do with CCD and you had said:
"With approval of our current proposal we will continue to invest in an indirect contribution. As well, we would commit to a minimum of over $1 million in CCD direct contributions over the licence term."
9908 The staff is asking for clarification as to whether this is an add-on or this was in your original written submission because they are having trouble tracking it down.
9909 MS LAURIGNANO: It was in our original submission and I will ask Neil to just break that down.
9910 MR. KERR: Yes, I had a total of just over $1 million over and above -- it was around $987,000 and there was around $22,000 of basic contributions.
9911 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Does that cover it, staff? They still don't look like they're smiling. Would you like an undertaking?
9912 MS LAURIGNANO: We will undertake to provide a reference where that was in the application.
9913 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Good. Great. Thank you very much.
9914 MS LAURIGNANO: When? For tomorrow, is that okay or later on?
9915 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That would be fine.
9916 THE CHAIRPERSON: Any other comments?
9917 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, briefly.
9918 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, go ahead.
9919 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Just to get back to a question that Commissioner Patrone raised.
9920 I think it's Mr. Skinner that lives sort of two blocks away from the station. You can't hear it, and I understand. I mean I have never seen such a -- well, it's probably out there, but they would be pretty close over the next five years or probably the most intense cement city in the world, or one of.
9921 But you know what, you plug in -- I mean I understand the homes are an issue and I understand the cars are an issue, right?
9922 But in your home you have your laptop, you're plugged in, you can hear it just fine. They're talking about breeding. The music stopped. So there is a solution there. And everyone knows there are technological changes coming to motor vehicles over the next sort of year or two.
9923 So can't you -- and it is sort of a community and you don't have to necessarily get BBM numbers to sell advertising, because people know and they listen to it and if they can't get it over-the-air they are going to hook onto their computer, on their laptop and they are going to get it.
9924 So can't you get around the issue of, you know, which circle best serves the Toronto gay and lesbian community by putting it on your laptop and you are ready to go?
9925 MR. SKINNER: PROUD FM has such a strong impact from a societal perspective and we are not here like as an advocacy group, we are here to just say we're trying to represent this market.
9926 But I know personally for me it's the sort of station that the music mix itself has a broader interest than just to this community and it's one of those things that catches people in their car.
9927 For me as someone who has been interested in advocacy before, it's really important just for the message to be heard in a calm and comfortable setting so that people hearing it can get more comfortable with it and that is sort of how change comes about.
9928 So I know I personally --
9929 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Home is a comfortable setting.
9930 MR. SKINNER: Home is a comfortable setting --
9931 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Usually.
9932 MR. SKINNER: -- and it's a comfortable setting for me to be sitting at my laptop, but I also know that my mom, who is not -- you know, she is a very smart, educated woman, has no idea how to use the Internet.
9933 MR. WILLETTE: You can't scan on the Internet.
9934 MR. SKINNER: She phones me six times a day to be like, I don't know how to log into my Facebook, what do I do? And so that to me is someone who, as a potential ally to the community and someone that I want to hear these positive and affirming messages about something that I belong to, well it's really sad if she doesn't have access to that service or the chance of falling into that service because she has to go home and try and find it on the Internet.
9935 MS LAURIGNANO: Yes. And the other thing is that there are Internet stations already that exist and they haven't been a commercial success or they can't really -- they can't monetize it, so you can't afford that kind of programming that we are talking about.
9936 There are Internet stations, but it's music, you know, like music-intense, sort of like dance music or whatever and it's on a loop, but the spoken word and all that just doesn't exist.
9937 Now, what we must remember, I go back to that 12.8 percent of the total population, you know, in the Greater Toronto Area. Sure, you can go to the laptop and you can get somebody to record it and figure out all kinds of ways, podcasts, whatever, but the fact of the matter is that that large percentage of the population, when you put them in relation to the overall population and how many other services are available, is really at a disadvantage because they can't get their news in their car and they can't get their spoken word and all their local things.
9938 I mean there's local sports leagues, there are golf tournaments, all kinds of things, PFLAG meetings, there's a social calendar, there's an events calendar, there's all sorts of other information that has to go out there and you want to be able to reach, you know, where everybody else is reaching, which is wherever you want. You know, if it's a computer, it's fine, but if it's in your car, it's on your stereo or whatever it is.
9939 So as a one service serving that potential, that many people, you know, I think that should give us a measure of how important it is for people to get it over-the-air.
9940 MR. CHALUT: And I think too, just to add to that, the reality is there are still so many people in this world that are still afraid to be who they are and in the comfort of their car they are alone and they don't have to answer to anybody at their home or at their laptop or at their computer.
9941 They are in their car by themselves, and to be able to turn on 103.9 PROUD FM and to be educated and to know that you're safe and to know that you're not alone makes a huge difference and that's why it's so important to be in your car, because it's about straight people too that haven't been able to deal with their sexuality or be able to deal with who they are, and it saves lives.
9942 MR. CAMPBELL: The other thing, if I may add, we serve two audiences really. We serve our LGBT audience but we also serve advertisers, and 90 percent to 95 percent of our advertisers are straight-owned businesses who want to gain access and connect with this community because of its attractiveness.
9943 The challenge for straight-owned businesses or straight business owners is that the perception is that the strength of the radio is the radio, not Internet, not online. And when they cannot hear their commercials themselves, both in their stores or as they travel throughout the city in their cars, they simply say, I like the community, I love to connect, but I have no confidence in your signal and I will not renew.
9944 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9945 Again, on the self-awareness issue, Mike, if you read the decision for the Montreal licence, I think you have no worries where this Commission is concerned; okay? Thanks, guys.
9946 THE CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions? No?
9947 MR. SKINNER: If I could just add one further comment. It was sort of raised earlier by Commissioner Patrone. It's an issue that was something -- an analogy actually Commissioner Poirier made last week really sort of struck home with me in thinking about the decision that we are asking you to make.
9948 The question that Commissioner Poirier had raised with one of the potential applicants was like, you have to recognize that what you are asking for here is to go to the Olympics. This is the last remaining FM frequency right now in Toronto. It is a huge deal. In order for someone to best take advantage of that and protect and use it well, you need someone who is prepared to take that over.
9949 What I would suggest to you, Commissioners, to think about when you walk away here today is that throughout our first licence term we have been preparing for that Olympics. We are runners, we have -- we have put together our nice little outfits, we have our teammates and our trainers together and we have been practising for the last -- since 2007 to get this on the go. We have been running and running on a dirt track without proper tools.
9950 What we are asking of you is to recognize that we have proven ourselves by connecting to this community and by continuing to work and by not giving up and to continue to come back before you trying harder and harder to properly serve the LGBT community.
9951 We are ready for the Olympics and what we need is for you to give us a great pair of shoes. Thank you.
9952 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. That completes the questioning of this panel. Thank you very much.
9953 Madam Secretary...?
9954 THE SECRETARY: Yes. Just for the record, Mr. Chairman, the applicant Trust Communications Ministries has filed its response to its undertaking. This document has been added to the public record and copies are available in the public examination room as well.
9955 I would invite all applicants to advise me, either in person or by email, if they wish to appear in Phase II, in which applicants appear in the same order to intervene on competing applications if they wish. Thank you very much.
9956 So we will reconvene tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1729, to resume on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 0900
- Date modified: