ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing May 18, 2016
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Date: May 18, 2016
© Copyright Reserved
Attendees and Location
Vancouver Convention Centre
1055 Canada Place
West Meeting Rooms 205-207
Vancouver, British Columbia
- Chairman: Jean-Pierre Blais
- Vice-Chairman: Peter Menzies
- Member: Christopher MacDonald
- Legal Counsel: Shari Fisher
- Secretaries: Cindy Ventura, Sonia Gravelle
- Hearing Manager:
Vancouver, British Columbia
--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 9:04 a.m.
4174 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait. Order, please.
4175 Before we begin I would like to -- I would be remiss not to mention that this is an important day in Canadian history in light of the applications we’re considering today. As you know, no doubt, and you’ve heard that the Prime Minister will be making a formal apology this afternoon concerning the Komagata Maru Incident, a dark period in Canadian history.
4176 When I come to the hearing room in the morning from my hotel I take the extra detour along the seawall and take a moment to pause at the monument, which is next to the Convention Centre and just a few hundred metres from our hearing room.
4177 Today, there was an older couple from Indiana at the monument, I explained about today’s apology to them. And the gentleman said, “Why would you apologize? That is history.” And I told him that this is Canada, we have a duty to remember, to learn from our mistakes and it provides us an opportunity not to repeat the errors of our past.
4178 So perhaps my mentioning this today in this hearing, more Canadians will become familiar with this incident and the significance of the formal apology.
4179 Madame la Secrétaire.
4180 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4181 We will now proceed with Phase III, intervenors will be called up individually to make their presentation in the order set out in the Agenda, with the exception of Dr. Cheema who will be appearing first this morning.
4182 We also note that Vancouver Giants/Delta Board of Education and Mr. William de Groot have advised the Commission that they will not be appearing today.
4183 Mr. Cheema, can you hear us well?
4184 DR. CHEEMA: I can hear.
4185 THE SECRETARY: Perfect, thank you.
4186 You may begin and you have five minutes for your presentation.
4187 DR. CHEEMA: Sure. Well thank you so much, thank you for giving me this opportunity. You know that there is a very historic day for our community in Ottawa, so I’m here so I could not be physically present to make my presentation. So I just wanted to say thank you again, and that you have my letter of support for this station in front of you. And I made a similar presentation during my last -- as an intervenor during your past presentation.
4188 So I just wanted to emphasize the fact that I have been associated with this station for a long period of time, and that we -- as a physician I have been doing a weekly program and making sure that the South Asian community, especially the Punjabi community, is aware of all the issues facing our healthcare system. And also there are a few diseases that are more common in our community than in any part of the community.
4189 So as a part of ongoing information package for the community, this station has been very effective, management has been very supportive and I fully support their application.
4190 There's only one difficulty that this station is not heard in most of the Lower Mainland, and I think there's a weak signal, that’s what I said in my past presentation. So I think it will be an excellent opportunity for this station to have an AM station done so that we can continue to spread the message.
4191 And also from my community perspective, I can see they’ve done a great job uniting people, and their program is always informative, it’s Canadian-based program, it’s very effective.
4192 So that’s all -- that’s all I have to say. The rest of my presentation is part of my package, part of my letter. If you have any questions, then you can ask me, otherwise I will just thank you so much for giving this time and opportunity.
4193 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Cheema. It’s Jean-Pierre Blais, I'm the Chairman of the Commission.
4194 DR. CHEEMA: Sure, yes.
4195 THE CHAIRPERSON: And Vice-Chair Menzies will have a few questions for you.
4196 DR. CHEEMA: Sure.
4197 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Good morning, Dr. Cheema.
4198 DR. CHEEMA: Good morning.
4199 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: A couple of questions, we’ve had -- we’ve heard from more than one applicant about the need for good information directed towards the Indo-Canadian Punjabi Community regarding health issues ---
4200 DR. CHEEMA: Yes.
4201 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- and you’ve outlined a few of them. But could you just mention again what the cultural challenges are regarding access to healthcare and information about treatment options and that sort of thing that is unique to the immigrant community?
4202 DR. CHEEMA: Well I think if you look at the makeup of British Columbia’s community and especially the Lower Mainland, there's a significant part of the community that speak Punjabi, some of them they're very new immigrant and they are -- they do have a difficulty having access to their offices as well.
4203 So the best thing is to give them enough information through -- through this media. And I think the most people will get day-to-day information about -- for example about diabetes, heart attacks or high blood pressure or generally other issues more -- more those issues are in line with the prevention.
4204 And I think when we provide information on a consistent basis, our program is weekly-based and we have never stopped this program over the last -- last nine year. And I think the program is very receptive, it’s evidence-based, it’s not a -- so I think that helps.
4205 And we are not substituting a physician but we’re simply there to provide more information and I think this -- that has helped the community and I'm sure other stations are trying to do the same thing. But I think, from my perspective, I’m a volunteer, I don’t charge them anything, but my time is very important for our community.
4206 And I think our community is a very integral of British Columbia, so by providing this information and services, we are saving money in the long run. So I think it’s a very, very effective program.
4207 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Thank you. We’ve had other applicants be quite specific regarding the need for more information and more programming regarding issues specific to the community, some of them are physical health, some of them are mental health, some of them are social. Spice Media I believe it was ---
4208 DR. CHEEMA: Yes.
4209 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- talked about issues of domestic abuse, other cultural transitions regarding other parts of society and that. So, having said that, why would you prefer Sher-E-Punjab?
4210 DR. CHEEMA: Well, I think you have to look at the past record. For me, the history of the station is very important, very crucial that somebody has been there over a period of seven to eight years. I have been working with them on a consistence [sic] basis -- on a consistent base. And as you have outlined, the mental health issues are very important for our community. And being a former minister of mental health here in British Columbia, I think this is one way we have been able to convey the message.
4211 Our program is -- we base our program on a weekly basis, but also, we put emphasis -- for example, if there is a hypertension month, so we pay more emphasis on high blood pressure. If there is any mental health issues, awareness campaign is going on in any part of the province or in the country, then we focus on those programs with complete supplementing. And I think it’s been done on a very consistent basis. That’s the key here. Consistent and there has been no interference. They don’t interfere in my program. I just design my program. It’s all based on the facts.
4212 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Thank you very much, Dr. Cheema. Those are my questions.
4213 DR. CHEEMA: Thank you. Thank you so much for your time.
4214 THE CHAIRPERSON: So thank you. Those are all our questions.
4215 DR. CHEEMA: Okay.
4216 THE CHAIRPERSON: And thank you for being able to join us and good luck with the event today. Thank you.
4217 DR. CHEEMA: Thank you so much.
4218 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.
4219 DR. CHEEMA: Thank you. Bye.
4220 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la secrétaire.
4221 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4222 We will now hear the presentation by Channel Zero, 2308740 Ontario Inc. who is appearing by teleconference from Toronto.
4223 Mr. Millar, can you hear us well?
4224 MR. MILLAR: Hello?
4225 THE SECRETARY: Hi, Mr. Millar?
4226 MR. MILLAR: Yes.
4227 THE SECRETARY: Good morning. You may begin.
4228 MR. MILLAR: Good morning.
4229 THE SECRETARY: And you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4230 MR. MILLAR: Thank you very much.
4231 MR. MILLAR: Good morning.
4232 Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-Chairman and Mr. Commissioner, my name’s Cal Millar. I’m the President of Channel Zero. Thank you very much for the opportunity to present today by teleconference.
4233 Channel Zero owns a majority interest in Discovery Signal Limited, along with a local investor based in Victoria. Discovery Signal is the owner of the existing transmitter and towers that have been used until recently to provide radio service to the Victoria area using the 900 AM frequency.
4234 Channel Zero respectfully submits that this frequency which has wide coverage and the potential to reach significant portions of Vancouver Island and surrounding areas is not best suited frequency for the service proposed by Spice Media, which is focused on mainland Surrey.
4235 Spice Media’s proposed use of 900 AM to serve Surrey will prevent any alternate use of this frequency to serve the wider region.
4236 We note that when stations are originally signed to an area by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, an a valuation is made of the need in a general area, including future requirements. Accordingly, Spice Media’s proposal is effectively transferring opportunities for future radio services and frequencies that have been earmarked for Victoria and Vancouver Island to Surrey.
4237 Channel Zero does not object to Spice Media’s use of any other frequency to serve the Surrey market. Spice Media has proposed an alternative frequency of 106.9 FM.
4238 Victoria and Vancouver Island have been served by a radio station at 900 AM since 1945. The stations using this frequency over the years have provided coverage throughout a great deal of Vancouver Island as far as Nanaimo, including Victoria and also a portion of B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
4239 The tower facility is located on Strongtide Islet. This island is First Nation’s land of the Songhees Nation and of the Lekwungen peoples. It is adjacent to Vancouver Island just east of Victoria.
4240 In 2000, Rogers Broadcasting, the then owner of CJVI, swapped this AM frequency with CKMO Radio Society, which is associated with Camosun College. As a part of that swap arrangement, Rogers provided financial support to Camosun College and permitted the CKMO Radio Society to use Rogers' existing towers and transmitters for 900 AM for the purposes of the CKMO campus radio station. We understand that Rogers' agreement with Camosun College and the CKMO Radio Society came to an end in 2011 and CKMO changed its radio service at that time to a digital-only online station.
4241 In 2013, Discovery Signal purchased the radio tower facility previously used for 900 AM.
4242 The intention has always been to launch a new radio station using this existing radio facility at an appropriate time. To that end, Discovery Signal entered into a long-term lease agreement with the Songhees Nation for the continued use of the site, effectively maintaining a valued revenue source for them.
4243 Discovery Signal has also maintained the towers and commenced their refurbishment. The original power cable to the island was severed by boaters dragging an anchor in 2014, leaving the island and some adjacent islands without power for more than a year.
4244 We pay for ongoing security for the site and we installed a secondary generator to provide the necessary power to keep the tower lights on during this period so that it did not become a safety hazard. In conjunction with BC Hydro, a new power feed has now been laid to Strongtide Islet at a cost of approximately $2 million to serve the transmitter site and other installations. Power was turned back on in March of this year.
4245 As you can see, 900 AM has a long history of service to Vancouver Island and surrounding areas, and this has provided programming diversity and economic benefits in the region.
4246 We are, of course, aware that any future use of 900 AM in this market would require a CRTC application and its approval. We intend to bring forward such an application at an appropriate time.
4247 Our immediate concern, however, is that licensing the 900 AM frequency as a part of the current process, which is focused on Vancouver and Surrey, would preclude its use in the market to which it was originally allocated, including a large portion of Vancouver Island.
4248 We have carefully reviewed Spice Media's application for a proposed station to serve Surrey. In our respectful view, the 900 AM frequency as proposed is not the optimum frequency to serve Surrey, which is Spice Media's primary target market.
4249 In its supplementary brief, Spice Media makes reference to surrounding areas in passing, but it is clear its service is focused on the specific third-languages that are most prevalent in Surrey, Punjabi, Tagalog, Hindi, and on programming directed to those ethnic and third-language groups in Surrey.
4250 It is completely legitimate for Spice Media to target the Surrey market and these third languages in this way. Our submission is, however, that the frequency used should be appropriate for the purpose.
4251 The frequency coverage area for 900 AM far exceeds the requirements for a signal targeted in the Surrey market. In particular, the five millivolt per metre contour of that signal would appear to include virtually all of the Greater Vancouver Area and beyond, representing a population of some 2.3 million people. At the same time, the proposed signal coverage area would blanket the Georgia Strait between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, reach some of the Gulf Islands, and perhaps even reach some of the southern -- south eastern edge of Vancouver Island itself.
4252 We respectfully submit that this does not represent the best use for a frequency that has traditionally been allocated to Victoria and Vancouver Island market, and has a long history of service to that market.
4253 Spice Media has provided no indication that it intends to provide any particular level of service or programming that will address the particular needs and interests of the large number of different ethnic and other communities that are outside of Surrey and that nonetheless fall within the parameters of 900 AM.
4254 This is particularly concerning with respect to Victoria and Vancouver Island since 900 AM is currently associated with that geographic area, and which would be denied the benefit of the use of this signal if Spice Media's application to use it were approved.
4255 Other applicants in this process have proposed the use of frequencies -- of other frequencies, including 89.3 FM, 91.5 FM and 106.9 FM, as alternative frequencies to serve Surrey or Vancouver, which were the markets addressed in the Commission's call for applications. Spice Media has itself identified 106.9 FM as a suitable alternative frequency to serve Surrey. Channel Zero does not oppose the use of any of these other frequencies by Spice Media for its proposed radio station.
4256 In this regard, Spice Media's alternative frequency of 106.9 is well-suited to the principal market for the proposed service. That signal provides coverage principally within Surrey and immediately adjacent markets.
4257 According to Spice Media, the signal includes a 0.5 millivolt per metre population of 275,000 within its primary contour and approximately 1.6 million in its secondary contour. Sorry, I would just correct that. It was 275,000 within its primary contour and 1.6 million in its secondary countour.
4258 The coverage maps provided by Spice Media indicate that the signal for this station is focused on the Surrey area, which is where the largest -- the target audience is located.
4259 Channel Zero submits that 900 AM, as described by Spice Media, which provides a wide signal coverage area throughout the Greater Vancouver area and across the Georgia Strait but only incidentally into Vancouver Island, is not well-suited for use as a signal directed principally to more localized communities within Surrey.
4260 Rather, the better signal for this purpose is Spice Media’s alternative signal 106.9 FM.
4261 Even if an AM signal were to be considered by Spice Media, it is apparent from other applications in this proceeding that AM 600 and 1650 AM are also available, which are signals currently assigned to Vancouver and its surrounding area unlike 900 AM.
4262 We also understand that 540 AM is available for Surrey.
4263 We thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation today. Channel Zero respectfully submits that Spice Media’s application to use 900 AM will result in the loss of this frequency to Victoria and surrounding areas to their future detriment.
4264 The frequency does not, in our view, represent the optimal frequency to serve Surrey in the manner proposed by Spice Media.
4265 We do not oppose the use of other frequencies for this purpose. We appreciate this opportunity to participate in the proceeding and look forward to answer any questions you may have.
4266 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Millar. This is the Chairman.
4267 I have a few questions for you concerning mostly your statements about your intention at the appropriate time to exploit the 900 AM frequency.
4268 So I take it from your comments that you have not currently filed an application with the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development concerning that 900 AM frequency.
4269 MR. MILLAR: That is correct.
4270 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why have you not done so already and what are your intentions in this regard in terms of timeframe in the near future?
4271 MR. MILLAR: It was our intention to have made an application before this time period, before the power line was cut to the Island. We discovered along with Rogers and TELUS Wireless that the cable was cut in the -- in very early of 2014. And unfortunately because it's an underwater electrical cable, even B.C. Hydro wasn't able or prepared to give us any indication of how long the power would be out to the Island.
4272 It was our belief that it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to make an application in a period where there was no power to the Island, first of all because technical testing could not be conducted properly, and secondarily, without a time horizon it would be appropriate to ask when we could possibly expect and our answer would be we wouldn’t know.
4273 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But it's my experience that when people have proposals for use of certain amounts of spectrum, they work on a number of tracks. They try to think about what programming they'll put on. They think about the frequency issues with ISED, the former Industry Canada. They look at financing issues. Anyhow, it's a multitrack approach rather than a linear project.
4274 Why wouldn’t you ---
4275 MR. MILLAR: Sorry, go ahead.
4276 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why wouldn’t you have, while acknowledging that it was a complex process, at least started and indicated formally your intention?
4277 MR. MILLAR: So the answer is a little bit of we did and we are running on parallel tracks. Most of the other components that you referenced are things that we have been actively working on.
4278 The ability to get the power back on, as recently as December of 2015, B.C. Hydro could not tell us whether the power could be turned on even in 2016 at all. They were working on it and they couldn’t give it.
4279 To your question around the other issues, we are very close to being prepared to file an application. We use the words “appropriate time” specifically because we were -- didn’t feel that we wanted to involve an application, the pending application that we're going to make in this proceeding, but since you've asked, we are probably no more than about two months away from filing and the materials are prepared and ready to go to ISED.
4280 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But you find yourself to have invested a significant amount of money to -- you know, you mentioned the amounts in your presentation. Those are big investments when you haven’t submitted a proposed use for the licensed frequency.
4281 MR. MILLAR: Yes. I mean those numbers, the amounts were shared between us and B.C. Hydro. That was a separate agreement between us and Rogers, TELUS and B.C. Hydro.
4282 But it was one of those situations where it became sort of one thing after another went wrong. I mean when we found out that the power was out, again not having had any experience with underwater transmission cables, I don’t think any of the other three parties realized how long it would be before it could be turned on or that the party responsible for it, B.C. Hydro, couldn’t even predict how long it would take from their own side of it.
4283 It's not so much to make excuses for the delays. We would have had an application -- we would have the engineering drawings into ISED months ago, probably sometime in March or April of 2015, and like we would have had an application into the Commission in that timeframe or so on.
4284 So it's just we didn't anticipate losing the power to it. We didn't -- in fact, because the signal was off the air, it was only the emergency lighting system that's there for air traffic that caused us to be alerted that the power was out at all and that the backup generator was running.
4285 THE CHAIRPERSON: So what was your share of the $2 million?
4286 MR. MILLAR: It was ---
4287 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you don't want to do it publicly, we can do it through an undertaking if you think it's confidential.
4288 MR. MILLAR: I think -- yes, if you don’t mind, I think it would be appropriate to do it that way because there's an agreement between us and B.C. Hydro. Thank you. We will take that undertaking.
4290 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Do you think you could do that by the end of the day of our hearing today? It's just a letter I think, right?
4291 MR. MILLAR: I can get this too. That would be fine.
4292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So because of the time difference, you have a little extra time. So the end of our hearing day today is eight o’clock your time out east, in central Canada.
4293 MR. MILLAR: Yes.
4294 THE CHAIRPERSON: My final question deals with when you were exploring potential service, did you look at 830, the frequency -- AM frequency 830 which appears to be available for Victoria and the Vancouver Island?
4295 MR. MILLAR: No, we didn't. And it's more a process of the way it transpired. A discovery signal was not created by us. They had already approached Rogers, had already reached agreement, most of the agreement with Songhees Nation, and had established the lease parameters for the facility for a different purpose.
4296 And we were brought into the process later and for various reasons that the previous parties involved in discovery signal would know better than we would, they discovered that after having signed a long-term lease with the First Nation that they were probably unable to continue.
4297 And so we looked at it and said that that would be a phenomenal opportunity for us to make application to the CRTC because, as you're well aware, the building of an AM transmission facility is a very -- in our view, a very expensive proposition. The ground wires are an awfully expensive thing to build. The transmission towers have their own costs and finding appropriate available frequency.
4298 So it was more a case that 900 AM was proposed to us and we said we will pursue that.
4299 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you have no views as to whether 830 would be a valid alternative?
4300 MR. MILLAR: We don’t at this time, no.
4301 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
4302 Well, those are my questions, Mr. Millar. I believe those are all our questions from the Panel. So thank you very much for having participated in this phase of the hearing.
4303 MR. MILLAR: Thanks very much for having us.
4304 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4305 MR. MILLAR: Goodbye.
4306 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4307 Madame la secrétaire?
4308 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4309 I would now ask I.T. Productions Ltd. to come forward.
4310 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4311 MS. DATT: Thank you so much.
4312 Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission Panel; Commission Staff, my name is Shushma Datt and I am the owner of I.T. Productions Ltd., which is licensed to operate CJRJ-AM, an ethnic AM station licensed by the Commission to service Greater Vancouver in 2006.
4313 With me today to my right is my son, Sudhir Datta, who is the Vice President and Program Director of CJRJ-AM, and on my left is the Station's Operations and General Sales Manager, Mr. Bernie Merkl.
4314 We are here with a simple message. The Commission should not license a new ethnic service to service Surrey, British Columbia.
4315 One of the key criteria in the Commission's public notice is to assess the market impact of granting a new license. While the applicants have put forward positive descriptions of the economic state of the ethnic radio market with optimistic projections of revenues, you have cold, hard evidence of the present financial results of our service.
4316 In the face of the continued operation of cross-border services soliciting Canadian listeners and advertisers, and now three additional low-power services targeting the South Asian community, we continue to struggle to meet our regulatory and legal obligations and maintain economic viability. Licensing an additional service will strengthen the low-cost operators and hurt existing Canadian licensees.
4317 As noted in our written submissions, we continue to face competition from crossborder stations which target Greater Vancouver and Surrey with programming which competes directly with the Canadian licensed services such as ours, Red FM, and conventional licensees. We note that the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters also opposes the issuance of a new license in this proceeding.
4318 As a licensee of the Commission, we have obligations which we strive to meet, notwithstanding the significant economic challenges we face competing with these cross-border and low-power services which offer advertising at deep discounts and have none of the regulatory or legal requirements that licensed Canadian services such as ours operate under. Our station does not have the resources to undertake investigations or complaints against these cross-border services.
4319 We took great comfort in the efforts of the Commission in 2014 to shut down the cross-border services by entering into consent agreements with the operators of these services. Notwithstanding those significant efforts, cross-border South Asian services continue to exist today, albeit apparently the ownership has changed and the previous owners and others are now seeking Canadian licenses. Whether ownership has changed or not, these cross-border services continue to prevent our Canadian licensed operation from achieving reasonable commercial success.
4320 As Mr. Merkl can address, these crossborder services are characterized by the deep discounting of advertising, making it extremely difficult for conventional services to achieve profitability. We find the forecasts of the applications in terms of their advertising revenue unrealistic in the face of spot rates charged by the existing cross-border stations and low power services which are as low as $1.00 per spot.
4321 Mr. Merkl.
4322 MR. MERKL: Thank you for the opportunity, Commissioners.
4323 I have more than 30 years' experience at every level of operations in conventional radio and now five years in ethnic radio. I can assure the Commission that the Lower Mainland of British Columbia ethnic radio market can best be described as an all-out free-for-all, multiple unregulated participants selling commercials for whatever they can get. I have seen average effective spot rates as low as a dollar. Forty years ago we called that "a dollar a holler".
4324 I'm not sure how many of you have children but what I see, as part of the major issue, is a basic belief that we try to instill in our children, "clean up one mess before you move onto the next".
4325 I believe that's one of the things we're trying to address here. Why are we looking at potentially granting more licenses before we have the issue of illegal stations that are skirting the law resolved?
4326 We are asking the Commission to make this an even playing field before inviting more players on the field. There are penalties for too many men on the ice. There are penalties for piling on.
4327 Secondly, I believe it's a worldwide belief that you should never reward bad behaviour. Many of the applicants are people who are or have been involved with services operating outside of or skirting the Broadcasting Act and applicable regulations to achieve whatever goals they want without having to work within the Canadian regulatory framework. I'm not here to preach, but is this how we would recommend our own children to conduct themselves and then reward them?
4328 I personally echo much of the thoughts presented in the brief submitted by our worthy licensed competitor Red FM. Please clean up the current state of ethnic broadcasting in the Lower Mainland before granting any new licences.
4329 MR. DATTA: In closing, we would also highlight that it is not in the public interest nor in the interests of the radio market as a whole to license a new license in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia when we are still in the early stages of the launch of South Fraser Broadcasting's Pulse FM's 107.7, licensed by the Commission in 2013.
4330 As noted by the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters, whether a conventional license or an ethnic license, the radio market in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia is yet to absorb that new service and adding a new license at this time is not in the public interest and is not in the interest of existing operators which are attempting to meet their license commitments and provide high-quality Canadian services to the radio audiences of the Lower Mainland.
4331 MS. DATT: Before completing our presentation I would like to respond to one of the Applicants, Radio India, who filed a written response to our intervention misrepresenting that we had previously operated a cross-border service. That is simply false and misleading to the Commission.
4332 In 1989, I did lease time on a Washington state FM station for an SCMO service in Washington targeting the South Asian population in greater Seattle. That SCMO service was not successful and we ended and cancelled the contract.
4333 We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your attention to our presentation.
4334 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much.
4335 Vice-Chair Menzies will have some questions.
4336 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Thank you.
4337 I just want to test a couple of things with you for starters and I will start with a confession that a long time ago I lived on Vancouver Island and the radio station I listened to all the time was in Bellingham. That's, for the record, long before I had anything to do with the CRTC and I would never do such a thing again.
4338 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: But the commercial operators in these markets have to compete with American signals all the time. That's the point I am making.
4339 Those stations in Bellingham and Seattle that I could get, and particularly Bellingham, would target Canadians to come and go shopping there, right. I mean that's how I found out the best information about the San Juan Jazz Festival and things like that.
4340 But all the Canadian commercial stations they, in those days particularly, complained about the burden of having to play Canadian music and all that sort of stuff but they have all pretty much thrived, right? I mean this is part of the reality of living in a wonderful place like the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island or the Niagara Peninsula or wherever you are in Canada as from time to time you are going to have compete with signals for viewers with signals from across the border, right? It has always been the case in terms of that. You are going to get fragmented audiences.
4341 So why is this so different than that? Why is this issue in Surrey and with the Punjabi audience, why is that so different than the struggles that everybody has faced in these markets for as long as there has been radio?
4342 MS. DATT: We are a population of 300,000 here and we have eight services that are targeting the community. The Chinese community is over 350,000 and they have three regulated radio stations.
4343 You are right. There are services from the south and people get here and listen to sometimes, as you mentioned. But I think it's the legal obligation of a broadcaster to broadcast within the parameters of ethics. That's what has always been a concern of mine.
4344 If you have no rules and regulations you can continue broadcasting. If you have no rules and regulations of meeting any commitments you can charge as much as you want.
4345 And I think the main concern for us is the key responses discounting advertising rates.
4346 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Please go ahead.
4347 MR. MERKL: I think it comes down to these operations operating as a Canadian entity. There is a difference. I worked in conventional radio in Vancouver for 16 years and I know of what you speak. Those operations clearly operate as an American entity. They are committed to their community. Yes, they certainly do some programming to the Canadian population but they service their core.
4348 These people clearly are skirting the regulations. They’re using a transmitter in the U.S. to transmit back to Canada. I mean, they’re -- I don’t know how else to frame it other than the fact that they have found a loophole that they are exploiting.
4349 And, I mean, certainly you could suggest that Americans are targeting Canadians on an ongoing basis and us as Canadians we’re targeting them, but that’s why we have a regulatory board to keep it on an even playing field.
4350 MR. DATTA: Sorry. My question is when you were listening to Bellingham way back when did you hear advertising for any of the local services, local Vancouver Island services or Canadian services, BC Hydro, Scotiabank, any Canadian operations within the program that you listened to back then?
4351 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I mean, it was way back then.
4352 MR. DATTA: I’m sure.
4353 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: So ---
4354 MR. DATTA: I’m sure.
4355 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- I don’t recall. But, I mean, I take your point, because it’s more of a rhetorical question in that regard.
4356 So I expect they did from time to time, but of course if a Canadian advertiser advertised there then -- which they’re free to do.
4357 MR. DATTA: M’hm.
4358 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I mean, it is an open society in that sense.
4359 MR. DATTA: Of course.
4360 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: People can spend money wherever they wish to. But they may not register it as a deduction ---
4361 MR. DATTA: Of course.
4362 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- as a write off expense if they do so.
4363 Which kind of gets me to my next point is what is it about the advertisers -- and it could be the Dollar Hauler -- but where it just becomes that it doesn’t matter it’s so cheap, but what is it about the market where people are willing to risk -- I mean, there was some indication in one of the conversations the previous two days that indicated some sort of -- maybe it was willful or otherwise. I can’t speak to the motivation. But some thought that well these are Canadian companies so people should be able to write it off.
4364 That’s not within our jurisdiction to manage, but what I’m trying to get a sense of is why are the advertisers’ so willing to take a risk? Either they’re not writing it off or they’re putting themselves in potentially a lot of difficulty with the Canada Revenue Agency concerning their behaviours. What’s going on there? What sort of information or misinformation flow is taking place?
4365 MR. MERKL: It’s simply this, and I’ve run into it constantly, and, I mean, the question is -- has been raised -- and I apologize, I have not been able to attend the previous sessions. The question’s been raised why have we not been able to be profitable in this environment, and -- sorry, to your question, it’s misrepresented on an ongoing basis.
4366 There have been stories of if you were grandfathered in before the CRTC deemed us -- or the station’s illegal, you still get that ---
4367 MS. DATT: Write off.
4368 MR. MERKL: --- write off, that Revenue Canada write off. There are a multitude of different positions that have been taken.
4369 But, simply, these stations cannibalize our client list and they deep discount and they argue that they’re offering the same -- and from what I have been able to glean from the previous sessions, they argue that they’re offering the same and/or better programming, and it is duplication in many, many ways. But ultimately it’s cannibalization.
4370 Every effort I make to create new revenue they walk in the door in tandem, they walk in the door and they offer whatever I’ve presented at a third the cost, at a quarter of the cost, and I’ve seen consistently average effective rates of $1. It’s impossible to be effective and pay our bills and pay the taxes. I apologize. I’m passionate about this. It’s very, very difficult. I have never struggled this hard to be effective in a market and I’ve worked in arguably 12 markets and I’ve never seen it like this and it’s a struggle every day.
4371 MR. DATTA: I think the other issue is is that the people who are here in this room we, to a certain degree, live and breathe radio. We understand radio. We understand the people who run radio, who are the different players.
4372 If you’re owning a jewellery store in the Payal Business Centre in Surrey, or any other sort of retail operation, you’re not going to know who’s legal, who’s not legal, who’s on the right side or on the wrong side, you trust whatever people are telling you. You may, you know, check other sources and stuff but when someone presents you a piece of paper that says 90 percent of the South Asian market listens to them you’re going to go okay, yeah, that makes sense.
4373 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I guess what I’m trying to get at more -- I appreciate your comments, but it’s like there needs -- there’s something going on that I don’t understand ---
4374 MR. DATTA: M’hm.
4375 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- and it’s the risk that the advertisers are taking, right. I mean, it is unique. I get it. I mean, people from Buffalo are not sending sales people into St. Catharines ---
4376 MR. DATTA: M’hm.
4377 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- to do that. People from St. Catharines could buy an ad in Buffalo or whatever, so -- that’s not happening, but if they did there wouldn’t be much we could do about it ---
4378 MR. DATTA: No, of course.
4379 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- in terms of that, and they could offer lower rates and there wouldn’t be much we could do about it, and people could look at it and say “Well, I don’t get a write off” and that sort of stuff.
4380 So have -- I mean, has anybody drawn, you know, Revenue -- this whole issue to the attention of Revenue Canada officials?
4381 MS. DATT: Are we supposed to go and tell Revenue Canada such and such advertiser is advertising on another radio station? I’ve never done that. I won’t do that.
4382 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right.
4383 MS. DATT: But none of them have been charged. None of them have been told that you cannot write this off by Revenue Canada so Revenue Canada hasn’t gone into any of the advertisers who advertise on unauthorized radio stations.
4384 MR. DATTA: We’re not ---
4385 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And maybe they’re not writing it off.
4386 MR. MERKL: May I also add that actually it was in the summary of the CRTC decision on the last licence hearing ---
4387 MS. DATT: Two thousand fourteen (2014), yeah.
4388 MR. MERKL: --- 2014, that they would flag the CRA. They -- and it’s in their decision that they would flag the CRA on these stations. They deemed them -- and I can forward the information ---
4389 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I’m aware of that. I was just ---
4390 MR. MERKL: So the ---
4391 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: My question was more of whether people have taken action here or in your conversations with advertisers does it come up or ---
4392 MR. MERKL: I can tell you I bring it up constantly. I actually -- it is a consistent piece that I send out to clients, which is the actual decision by the CRTC outlining the fact that these stations are deemed illegal and that CRA would be flagged. I send it out to advertisers.
4393 Again, as Sudhir mentioned, someone walks in and presents themselves as a Canadian entity, the average person is not a media professional, they have to assume that they’re being presented something in good faith.
4394 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. I understand.
4395 What has -- has it become a political issue at all? Has it been raised by members of the legislature for discussion or been elevated?
4396 Because it seems to just kind of -- I mean, it’s noisy here, and it’s been noisy with us, but I -- I mean, I noted in our previous actions regarding Radio India et al some of the media coverage seemed perplexed as to why the CRTC thought this was such a big thing. I mean, it just -- there was a sense of -- in some of the media coverage of why is the CRTC so upset about American signals coming into Canada, what’s wrong with these guys doing that and that sort of stuff. So it’s obviously not very high on the ---
4397 MS. DATT: On their list.
4398 MR. MERKL: On the minds of ---
4399 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah.
4400 MR. MERKL: I guess they’re not financially impacted.
4401 And I do remember the tone of ---
4402 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Well, I’m pretty sure if -- you know, if a newspaper from Bellingham was coming into town and selling ads it might be higher, but yeah.
4403 MR. MERKL: At the end of the day, I remember the piece that you're talking about and they glorified it along the vein of pirate radio. It still is pirate radio.
4404 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yes, it had an air of romance about it.
4405 MR. MERKL: Exactly.
4406 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah.
4407 MR. MERKL: Which it really is not romantic if you're in my shoes.
4408 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah, pirates never actually were very romantic.
4409 So what -- I mean, we did take action. And it's back, right, in terms of the cross-border. I mean, the other matters you were talking about, the lower powers and that we can deal with later ---
4410 MR. MERKL: Sure.
4411 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- in this week, but what -- I mean, and we could go around again and shut them down again and they'd pop back up. Do you think?
4412 MS. DATT: I think so.
4413 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I mean, we can keep doing this. It's like setting up a check stop next to a pub, and we'll catch people constantly. But people will -- you know, might just keep doing it.
4414 What's your -- what are we not doing that you think we should do?
4415 MR. MERKL: It's interesting because I guess my question would be -- and I apologize because I'm not that smart. I'm a hayseed from the prairies. It doesn't -- I'm pretty thick.
4416 It was indicated to me that this is an illegal operation operating as an entity, a Canadian entity. And it's illegal.
4417 It was indicated by one Commissioner in 2014 that the Commission has the ability to fine them, the ability has -- the Commission has the ability to -- if they're operating in Canada, to send the RCMP to shut them down. The Commissioner indicated this.
4418 That's the problem that I guess I’m having is, am I wrong. Is ---
4419 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah. Well, what we have to do first is find them guilty, right. So there's a process that gets involved before we take action. And like we can do the mandatory orders like we did and people -- two voluntarily withdrew, another less so.
4420 But there is a sort of due process thing, right.
4421 MR. MERKL: Of course.
4422 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: You can't just ---
4423 MR. MERKL: Of course.
4424 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- drive into town, say "I'm hearing this on the signal. I watched somebody buying an ad. You're busted".
4425 So it takes due process, takes time.
4426 MR. MERKL: And I’m sorry. I was, I guess, attempting to answer the question what can we do about it. I'm hoping that's the solution, the due process and then ---
4427 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Just to continue -- to continue doing what we have been doing.
4428 MR. MERKL: Well, I don't know. I mean, if we're talking about a hypothetical situation, if it was me and ---
4429 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I don't think it's hypothetical, right.
4430 MR. MERKL: Well ---
4431 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I mean, we dealt with it in ---
4432 MR. MERKL: Of course.
4433 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- 2014, and they're back. And we can go back at it again. But it takes -- I'm not making excuses for it.
4434 MR. MERKL: No, I understand.
4435 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: What I’m doing is looking for is there something that you see, an action that you see is available to us because we can't -- people can broadcast over the air from the States whatever they want.
4436 MR. MERKL: Of course.
4437 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: That's not -- I mean, the FCC is in charge of that. They don't generally regulate content as we do and, I mean, if it was -- somebody could set up an American company and drive across the border and sell ads, and the same thing would happen.
4438 MR. MERKL: But if a Canadian -- but if the broadcaster's on Canadian soil, then as far as I understand, they can be charged up to $100,000 a day. If that was to actually happen, I would think that would shut down any other -- any other person who would want to continue this moving forward.
4439 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: But ---
4440 MR. MERKL: It's a deterrent, I would assume.
4441 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. I understand.
4442 I mean, I'm just trying to test it in the sense that my concern is that we can continue to pursue ---
4443 MR. MERKL: Of course.
4444 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- but another company will just start up and, for two or three years, you'll face the same problem while it takes -- a couple of years, the time it takes us to get a fair process together and have an outcome and that sort of stuff. And by the time that happens, somebody else will just set up another one and it won't solve your problem.
4445 So what I'm trying to get at is how -- what are the actions we can take that would best solve your problem.
4446 But maybe that's ---
4447 MR. MERKL: I believe we'd have to default to you.
4448 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah, that's fine. I get that.
4449 I'm not trying to pass the buck to you. I was just looking for any suggestions you might have.
4450 MS. DATT: Commissioner Menzies, if I may, I have considered it an honour and a privilege to be awarded a licence. I have worked for a number of years playing the rules as a CRTC-compliant SEMO operator before applying for a CRTC licence.
4451 I had never anticipated others would operate freely without consequences with cross-border and low power services.
4452 I have tried to play by the rules, and it remains a struggle. It appears that those who operate outside of the rules are now seeking the privilege, the privilege, of a licence, Canadian licence, and that just seems unfair and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of Canadian regulation.
4453 The clear and obvious question in my mind is, if a conventional operator behaved this way, would the end result also be punish the compliant broadcaster and reward the, quote unquote, prodigal son.
4454 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Well, we will consider that.
4455 I mean, at the moment, it's almost like -- and it is of great concern to us. Don't get me wrong. I'm just testing your -- in a sense advocating for the devil, I guess, but outside of a Canadian operator buying that U.S. station and using it for something else, I don't see an immediate solution in that.
4456 I'm going to go on to something else now, and that's that you don't want anyone licensed in the market.
4457 It's not unusual for us to say to potential licensees, "What if we license one or two or three or four or five or six?" They always yes. And sometimes to their credit when -- in the course of history in terms of that.
4458 But some have indicated or there's been a sense of indication that one of the best things to fix -- well, first of all, make sure everybody in Canada is operating in compliance with their obligations and within their restrictions. But also, with the American ones, some have sort of said, well, the best thing to do is just -- this community is growing. It's supposed to double in the next 12 years or something like that. We're looking at 600,000-700,000 people in the service area, primary service area, and that sort of stuff. Why don't you just flood the market, right.
4459 And that will block the Americans out. You'll have so many Canadians competing, and then just let the chips fall where they may.
4460 So I'd like your response to that.
4461 MS. DATT: In 2005, when we applied for a licence from SEMO to on air, the Commissioner awarded two licences, one to us and one to RED FM. And at that time, the Commission's idea was that if they were two cross-border stations and they would award two Canadian licences, that would shut down the cross-border stations.
4462 That hasn't happened, and now there are those two cross-border station plus three lower power tourist stations that are skirting around the law.
4463 So in total, there are, as I mentioned, eight services. That's flooding the market at the moment. And if another licence is awarded with all those services still continuing to broadcast, it will be impossible for anybody to be profitable.
4464 We've been running our operations without a profit for quite some time now, and it is increasingly difficult.
4465 I do notice that Spice Media's presentation said this is not an easy community in which a female business leader, you know, could succeed. And they want to do this, and I've been doing that for the past 20 years.
4466 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Go ahead. MR. MERKL: Sorry. I would probably be the odd man out in this answer.
4467 I'm not opposed to it. I'm not opposed to fair competition providing, within mainstream, an applicant has to provide a clear niche that they're going to service. They have to commit to that niche.
4468 I may be wrong, but what I’m looking at, there was not additional service and/or provide additional support to the community that's not currently being provided. I think if there was a definite niche that -- or a void that's being filled, fully supportive because that’s fair competition. But currently, as I stated earlier, there’s too many men on the ice. I really think that we should get the teams evened up before we entertain, you know, a change in the rules.
4469 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Help me -- just one last thing and then my colleagues might have some questions. What is it -- why is it that so many people are so anxious to provide radio service to -- I guess what we call “ethnic markets”, whether it’s Punjabi or Tamils in Toronto or Brampton or areas like that, there are SCMOs everywhere? It’s like people want to get into this business however they can; right?
4470 And they must be able to make money in it or they wouldn’t be doing it. I mean I -- so if there's all this activity surrounding the creation of broadcasting products, whether they're online or SCMOs or licensed or pirate or something, there's a great desire to do it, which I don’t see in other sectors. Right. There are not -- anyway, so there's two questions.
4471 A, why? And B, why is it then hard to make money? I mean I can understand that it’s hard to make money because so many people are doing it, but if everybody wants to do it, there must be money in it; right?
4472 MS. DATT: My community is a very unique community, I must admit that.
4473 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: No kidding.
4474 MS. DATT: I remember there was a time when a video store opened and many people got into that business because that particular video store owner made money, so all of them went into video stores. When the radio - two radio stations were licensed in 2005, RED FM got an FM licence and very quickly went on air almost a year before we -- because we -- I think we were first station after 20 years to build ---
4475 MR. MERKL: AM towers.
4476 MS. DATT: --- towers, AM towers. So it took us almost a year to build those towers and go up on air. It was to see how RED FM, who were not “broadcasters” but were business people and made so much money. And if they can make money, why can't we?
4477 So that particular thing does ---
4478 MR. DATTA: That thought process seems to be something that is consistent within the Indian community, I think. There's the idea that well other people can do it as well.
4479 MS. DATT: So why can't we?
4480 MR. DATTA: Why can't we? Obviously I think as broadcasters that we are, it does -- it’s not fun to see -- I shouldn’t say that. It’s difficult to see people who aren’t trained in broadcasting to come onboard to think that they can be broadcasters from time to time.
4481 We have been approached by a lot of people asking us, “Well, how do we start a radio station?” “Well, do you have any broadcasting training?” “No, no, I don’t have any.” It’s a little sad to think that that’s what the idea of our industry is, but it seems to be that’s the case.
4482 MR. MERKL: If I could add a gaura guy’s perspective, after being involved in depth in the community for about five years, it’s a pretty diverse group, there are a lot of viewpoints, there's a lot of opinions, there are a lot of beliefs. And they all feel that their -- and rightfully so, they all believe that their voice and their opinion should be heard. And that's -- I mean we have a partner -- a print partner of rather large size who’s identified 129 different print publications that are printed either daily, weekly or monthly in the community, 129. Everyone wants a newspaper when newspaper is dying. It’s -- there's a ton of voices and all valued.
4483 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah, well, you can certainly tell by the formats that people like to talk.
4484 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Anyway, those are my questions. Thank you. Tuhāḍā dhanavāda.
4485 MS. DATT: Thank you.
4486 MR. MERKL: Thank you.
4487 MR. DATTA: Thank you.
4488 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. It’s not so much a question, more of a comment building on what the Vice-Chair was saying and to build on your sport analogies.
4489 Yes, we have this ice rink and there's a referee dealing with it, but there are other playing fields out there. And I note for instance that the Minister of Canadian Heritage has launched a review of -- a significant review of the framework applicable to the area of broadcasting and cultural areas.
4490 I note that contrary to the Telecommunications Act, we do not have under the Broadcasting Act the power to impose administrative monetary penalties. It’s been a very effective mechanism under the Telecommunications Act, and in fact, such a -- recognized by Parliament because they’ve expanded our power with respect to that under telecommunications.
4491 In broadcasting we have a process of mandatory orders, and then the penalty down the road is potentially being found in contempt of Court because the mandatory order is filed before the Federal Court of Appeal and becomes a judgment of that Court, and then we go through that.
4492 Needless to say, it’s a very burdensome and some have commented that it’s an ineffective mechanism, sometimes described as a whack-a-mole process, but we will do what we need to do.
4493 But getting back to other playing fields. If indeed we’re doing a major review, perhaps we should give some thought about giving us additional powers in our tool kit to make sure that we do in fact have fair marketplaces.
4494 My other comment, because there may be another playing field that you might want to influence, the Heritage Committee in Ottawa is currently looking at the future of local news. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that some people were making allusions to Section 19 of the Income Tax Act and the deductibility with respect to local news.
4495 It may be a welcome initiative for some to point out that before we start extending that regime to new beneficiaries, we might want to get our house in order in the work the CRA is doing with respect to that.
4496 Of course, all this is confidential. As the Vice-Chair alluded to, we don’t know whether people are actually deducting or not, but we can't put stop signs at every corner, but an occasional audit sometimes focuses the mind.
4497 And perhaps that’s another ice rink you could -- or playing field you might want to explore yourselves and others, because our goal is of course to have a legal framework that provides for a fair marketplace for everyone to compete.
4498 So, more of a statement than a question, you’ll appreciate that. So thank you very much, those are all our questions for you.
4499 MS. DATT: Thank you.
4500 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation.
4501 MS. DATT: Thank you.
4502 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4503 Madame la Secrétaire.
4504 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4505 I will now invite Dr. Shinder Purewal to come forward.
4506 You may begin and you have five minutes for your presentation.
4507 Thank you.
4508 DR. PUREWAL: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Vice-Chair, Members of the Commission and members of the staff. I am Shinder Purewal and I am here to intervene on behalf of an application by Surinder Kaur Badh for Sher-EPunjab, a service once very popular in the Lower Mainland.
4509 Sher-E-Punjab Broadcasting Inc. has applied for an ethnic commercial AM radio station serving the South Asian community and an increasingly diverse population drawn to GVRD from around the world.
4510 Firstly, as a political scientist, I would like to point out that, in general, the role of media as the fourth pillar of democracy is vital in our country and, in particular, the role of ethnic media in our diverse society is very significant.
4511 I have had the honour of appearing as a guest on Sher-E-Punjab Radio in the past to comment on various aspects of Canadian politics from municipal to federal elections, and other important issues of concern such as the role of our First Nations. Informed citizens make better choices, which are helping -- helpful in maintaining a healthy and vibrant democracy.
4512 A sizeable portion of our local population is not able to understand the political narrative in English or French, our official languages. Yet as permanent citizen -- residents and citizens of Canada, they yearn to know and learn because the politics of state at all levels also have impact on their daily lives.
4513 Thanks to the vision of the CRTC, new immigrants and old immigrants are able to understand in their own mother tongues the sources of Canadian -- the sources of conflict in Canadian society, how those conflicts are managed, and what the consequences of such conflicts -- conflict resolutions are.
4514 They’re able to grasp the role of each level of government, how they impact their lives, how to lobby for any changes. They are informed about the political process, from the role of nominations in the party system through the role of elected officials in legislatures and the executives, both at provincial and federal levels.
4515 They learn how to register their votes, the importance of voting in our democracy. And indeed, what are the perils of political apathy. They learn about the ideologies of various political parties, their policies and track records of governance.
4516 The net result of this type of information being laid through Punjabi radio stations like Sher-E-Punjab is clearly demonstrated by the high level of political participation in the South Asian community of Canada.
4517 With a broader mandate and service to more cultural groups, the new Sher-E-Punjab will be able to bring even more populations into this process.
4518 Secondly, sir, I would like to share my thoughts as a former citizenship judge of B.C. and Yukon region. One of the requirements for immigrants of certain age to obtain citizenship is to demonstrate their knowledge of Canada.
4519 I was invited by Radio Sher-E-Punjab to explain the process and significance of Canadian citizenship on many occasions. Unlike other radio stations, Sher-E-Punjab has demonstrated that they would serve the community’s need for information to better integrate the community in Canadian society, regardless of any financial gains or losses.
4520 As a guest, I was able to inform the listeners on topics of Canadian history, geography, politics, of course, on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
4521 Canada is one of the leading western democracies in terms of offering citizenship to a great majority of immigrants who settle here on permanent basis. More than 80 percent of our permanent residents of Canada become citizens after completing their residency requirements. This is the highest among all western democracies.
4522 I think the CRTC’s vision of providing radio stations and television networks to linguistic minorities has played a major role in this success story. I have witnessed the professionalism of Sher-E-Punjab staff, hosts and owners. One can clearly see Canadian values, beliefs and attitudes in their thinking and conduct.
4523 As a frequent guest, I felt always encouraged by the radio station owners to offer information and analysis concerning Canada and other countries from a Canadian point of view.
4524 Sher-E-Punjab is missed. Its absence is felt in the community and the interest in seeing it restored as a broadcaster in Vancouver is commonly expressed sentiment.
4525 My support for this vision is premised on the service it has provided and the role it can play in the future of ethnic communities in Vancouver. It has reflected the South Asian community in its earlier incarnation. And I trust it will provide even greater balanced and fair representation by speaking to and more communities if granted this licence.
4526 Thank you for your time, sir.
4527 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
4528 Commissioner -- Vice-Chair Menzies will have some questions for you.
4529 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Thanks.
4530 Just quickly, what is the common understanding in the community of Sher-E-Punjab’s history?
4531 MR. PUREWAL: The common understanding is initially -- and it was actually coming from the U.S. We heard from -- the complaint, it came from south of the border. But it gave such diverse information, diverse viewpoints. It’s reflected among its hosts. And I could tell you from my experience that they were never asking me to back a candidate, to back a political party. Because being a political scientist, you know, I’m of the nature that we are very critical of every candidate, every party, every government.
4532 And secondly, they not only cater to Canadian politics, but also Canadian perspective on international issues. The community issues, we have had numerous discussions on the issue of drugs, gangs. We had issues of discussion how best to integrate in the society, the rights and responsibilities of being citizens, and so on and so forth.
4533 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And you’re comfortable that they set a good example to the community regarding rights and responsibilities?
4534 MR. PUREWAL: I think they did. I think they are very professional. And the fact that in Canada you learn to respect diversity and diversity of views, that shows that you do understand Canadian values, Canadian beliefs and Canadian attitudes.
4535 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay.
4536 MR. PUREWAL: So that’s a high mark for them.
4537 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right. And they’re not there now because of why?
4538 MR. PUREWAL: I think it was CRTC’s decision that after that they had to shut down their operation from -- they used to have a studio. I remember last time during civic elections ---
4539 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yeah. Yeah. Because they were broadcasting without a licence.
4540 MR. PUREWAL: They were broadcasting from the south of the border frequency.
4541 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.
4542 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are all our questions for you. We appreciate your participating in the hearing. Thank you.
4543 MR. PUREWAL: Thank you very much.
4544 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.
4545 Madame la secrétaire.
4546 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. I will now invite Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers to come to the -- come forward to the table. Thank you.
4547 Please introduce yourself and you have five minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4548 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Members of the Commission.
4549 My name is John Ashbridge. I am an independent broadcast producer. I am a former director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, prior to that a director of Greater Vancouver Crime Stoppers, lately a director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Foundation. I am continuing as a volunteer spokesperson on behalf of Crime Stoppers and I am appearing before you today to support the application by Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Incorporated for a licence to broadcast on a Canadian licenced frequency in the Greater Vancouver area.
4550 In the decade prior to 2014, the originators of the programming that was supplied to the operators of U.S.-licensed Sher-E-Punjab Radio offered in excess of 350 hours of public service on-air time to the broadcasting of community messages and live interviews, primarily in the Punjabi language, on behalf of the not-for-profit Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Society.
4551 Those of you who suspect that I am not fluent in Punjabi would be correct in that while I was the representative and spokesperson for Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, all of my information, all of my educational appearances on Sher-E-Punjab, and all of the information from Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers was translated, in fact, into Punjabi for broadcast on that station.
4552 The programming that was supplied took the form of Punjabi language public service announcements on behalf of the Society, updated reports concerning an unsolved British Columbia "Crime of the Week", weekly profiles of known criminals wanted by law enforcement or judicial authorities under the heading of "B.C.'s Most Wanted" and/or monthly guest interviews and appearances by the undersigned to explain and discuss the public reporting of information about unsolved British Columbia crimes or wanted criminals though the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip-taking service.
4553 And you have to understand that Sher-E-Punjab Radio targeted its programming to a demographic that might not have thought it to be a good idea when trying to do something good in the community while trying to cut down on crime or report criminals on the loose, going directly to the police. This is not something that they have been brought up or know to do. So Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers -- I think Crime Stoppers as an organization in fact provides a very efficient, anonymous way for those within the community to help to fight crime in their neighbourhoods.
4554 In a region that includes Canada's second-largest identifiable South Asian and Punjabi-speaking population group and which continues to deal to this very day with a disproportionate level of criminal activity associated with that population sector, Sher-E-Punjab Radio has proved instrumental in providing crime-prevention education and information to this select broadcast audience. It was delivered in a language that the listener could understand and form a community source, frankly, that they have grown to trust.
4555 Now, in the months since Sher-E-Punjab Radio either reduced or eliminated its programming toward this Canadian audience, these Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announcements and features have disappeared from both the Punjabi-language and the English-language radio spectrum in this market, although there is a continuing effort to get the programming back on the air on English-language radio in this market. These features do continue to be broadcast on English-language cable television in this market.
4556 In summary, the approval of the applicant's proposal for this new, ethnic AM programming service will serve to not simply provide a means of returning these Punjabi-language public service announcements to Greater Vancouver's local broadcasting menu. It also will open up the possibility of providing a new, similar service in some of the other languages now spoken prominently in this increasingly multilingual and multicultural neighbourhood that we call Greater Vancouver, using a local CRTC-licensed broadcast signal that can finally reach all parts of the targeted service area.
4557 Moreover, given the previous years of cooperation and experience that Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers has enjoyed in various forms that this programming has taken, the broadcasting applicant and the content supplier are in the unique position of being poised and ready to effect the renewal of these programming services without undue delay.
4558 And that concludes my presentation to you.
4559 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4560 Vice-Chair Menzies will have some questions for you.
4561 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Thank you, Mr. Ashbridge.
4562 Just really a fairly quick question, I think.
4563 How did your experience with Sher-E-Punjab, how does that compare with your experience with the operators currently in the market, RED FM and I.T. Productions, the folks that were just up before you? Are they useful to you in getting your messages out to ---
4564 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Crime Stoppers as an organization, and Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers more specifically, has tended to deal with exclusive carriers of the programming, and there are reasons for that.
4565 One, it maintains the integrity of the programming. It certainly helps to guarantee the anonymity. It also prevents -- let me turn that around a bit. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers insists that there not be any opportunity for the wrong kind of sponsorship; organized crime, those who are involved in the criminal element to suddenly come in and under the guise of being a legitimate commercial operator, to sponsor these programs, allowing the programs to fall into the wrong hands.
4566 So that in dealing with programmers, dealing with broadcasters on an exclusive basis, it helps to protect the integrity of the programming.
4567 Yes, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, while I was a director of the organization, did have dealings with one of the previous applicants or interveners who has appeared today and in other tents on behalf of other organizations to deal with other ethnic operators in the market. We were never able to secure a satisfactory arrangement. You know, I wasn't ---
4568 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And so ---
4569 MR. ASHBRIDGE: --- carry on.
4570 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- there are always exceptions but people who have a licence to broadcast in Canada are generally trustworthy. That's just a comment for you.
4571 But also, so in the commercial, what we will call for lack of a better word, mainstream market, you just have one radio station that you deal with?
4572 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Normally.
4573 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Which one is that?
4574 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Well, it has been the Corus Radio group in Vancouver, CKNW and CFMI, with whom or for whom I worked for a number of years in support of my duties.
4575 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right. Right, yes, I understand that fit.
4576 So if there was another -- if Sher-E-Punjab was unsuccessful in its application, you would be seeking to make an arrangement with another licenced ---
4577 MR. ASHBRIDGE: We would look into that possibility. The reason ---
4578 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: But since Sher-E-Punjab shutdown you haven't; have you not?
4579 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Have not been on the air in the ethnic market; no. No.
4580 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And have you approached the others?
4581 MR. ASHBRIDGE: No.
4582 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay.
4583 MR. ASHBRIDGE: In the hope -- because you know, there is 10 years or more invested in reaching that audience that Sher-E-Punjab has reached previously. You know, you go back and start from scratch with a different audience. This seemed like the most efficient way to handle things.
4584 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right, yeah. Okay. Thanks very much.
4585 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I take it that, philosophically, Crime Stoppers supports law and order?
4586 MR. ASHBRIDGE: I'm sorry, supports?
4587 THE CHAIRPERSON: Law and order?
4588 MR. ASHBRIDGE: It does, indeed.
4589 THE CHAIRPERSON: And because respect of law and order is important to operating society. Would you agree with that?
4590 MR. ASHBRIDGE: I would.
4591 THE CHAIRPERSON: So when you partnered with Sher-E-Punjab when he was operating an illegal operation, do you think that was consistent with law and order?
4592 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Up until 2014 I don't believe that there was any determination that it was an illegal operation. The programming was ---
4593 THE CHAIRPERSON: So is it your view that until the criminal gets arrested or charged, the activity is not illegal, because that's what you're saying?
4594 The operation, the judgment of the Commission saying that their operation was offside of the Act was a declaration of the fact that it occurred before. So when you were partnering with them, they were an illegal operation.
4595 MR. ASHBRIDGE: I don't think I would agree with that. The programming -- the programming that was supplied into this market was on a legally-licensed ---
4596 THE CHAIRPERSON: They made a formal judgment and they agreed that they were operating an operation in whole or in part in Canada contrary to the Broadcast Act.
4597 MR. ASHBRIDGE: At what date?
4598 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry?
4599 MR. ASHBRIDGE: I'm sorry.
4600 THE CHAIRPERSON: In 2014.
4601 MR. ASHBRIDGE: Yes; yes, yes.
4602 THE CHAIRPERSON: But they were doing that for a number of years. So were you working with an illegal operation.
4603 MR. ASHBRIDGE: I suppose I could say that in hindsight in 2014, yes, all of a sudden it be -- it was determined to be illegal.
4604 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So would you be surprised if we were surprised that an organization that had just said that they are supporting law and order for the good of society comes to a hearing supporting an operator that at one time was operating offside Commission regulations, the Broadcasting Act adopted by Parliament?
4605 MR. ASHBRIDGE: I don't think I would wholly agree with that. I would say that Crime Stoppers is willing to -- ready and willing to work with a legally-licenced operator in Canada. There has been that intervening, what, two-year time period, during which Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers has not had any dealings whatsoever with Sher-E-Punjab.
4606 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. No further questions.
4607 Madam la secrétaire.
4608 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4609 I will now invite Mr. Jose Ong to come forward.
--- (SHORT PAUSE)
4610 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can sit wherever you want but you are welcome in the front row. We can see you better.
4611 MR. ONG: Sorry.
4612 THE CHAIRPERSON: No worries. Please go ahead.
4613 MR. ONG: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee and staff. My name is Jose Ong. It’s a Chinese name but I was born in the Philippines. So I am here in behalf of Sher-E-Punjab. Mr. Dale Badh has been a friend of mine for a long time, before I even -- I’m aware that they have a radio station. So basically, I’m here in behalf personally for Mr. Dale and as well as -- and his brother Sukhi’s also a good friend of mine.
4614 So my name is Jose Ong, again. I’ve been in Canada for a long time and I’ve been very active in the Filipino community. And whether in the culturally, socially and whatever, like jobwise, career-wise, I’ve been helping a lot of people. I’ve been in other organizations where I’ve been director of society that supports Filipino community.
4615 So I’m very excited to have an opportunity to be able to get involved with this new frequency AM 600.
4616 As you may know, there’s not a lot of Filipino or any airtime radio that actually have a full-time Filipino hour dedicated to Filipino programs. So I’m -- Sher-E-Punjab intends to broadcast programming in Tagalog for an hour each night six days a week. This is good news for us, especially for -- to me. This would be a wonderful opportunity for both the newly arrived and those of us who have been here for many years.
4617 As you can appreciate, we are very long -- we are a long, long way away from home, from relatives. And coming to a new country, having a radio station, having something, having communication with a -- in communication with something that can help you integrate to the society here in Canada, that would be such a gift.
4618 I’m going -- I have prepared this but I’m going just quickly because I have other things in mind as I go along today and I heard the other people, other intervenor saying a lot of things which I fully agree with a lot of them. Some I don’t.
4619 But there are many question. Being a new immigrant, when I arrive here there was no support. It was such a very, very stressful for our family to the point that it’s within the five years that we arrive here my family was stressed out and in danger of falling apart. And the reason is, there is no support. We -- I don’t know where to go and I think it reflects a lot of new immigrants from the Philippines.
4620 And having a radio station that will have a dedicated time for to address those Filipino’s issues culturally, socially, anything because when we arrive here -- I arrive here, I don’t know where, what are the social services, what are the services that available to me. And we have a hard time because we don’t know. So it’s a lack of communication and it boils down to that.
4621 Now, having said that, if -- I’m going to read part of the other things I written here; right?
4622 We look forward to having a voice for new immigrants, local born and Canadians already. I -- even as Canadian already, we don’t know a lot of things about Canada. And that’s because there is nowhere to ask, no place to ask. It’s just a word of mouth.
4623 I’ve been involved for more than 20 years and I got calls out of the blue asking for help. Well, I have -- I do as much as I can, but the thing there is it is a scattered approach. There is no process. It’s just somebody give you a name and they call you.
4624 And I’m lucky enough to be able to basically be able to integrate to the society and in a way successful, have a good life by financially and also socially. And I’m able to help them. But without the programming, without a radio station or without the venue, without the vehicle that will focus or let all this -- all the questions and everything, issues to be in one area, that -- I mean, it’s -- the approach would not be -- it’s not very productive and not very, very successful.
4625 We look forward for having a voice for immigrants, as I said earlier. And Sher-E-Punjab is offering to provide a large amount of time to make sure our Filipino community has a real opportunity to develop content that addresses a broad section of our needs.
4626 You might wonder Filipinos, English is our second language. Why do we need a Tagalog station? Why do we need an ethnic language station? Thing is, my kids grew up. I make sure they can speak Tagalog. But I’ve seen a lot of kids from my community. They grew up. They only hear English, that’s it. And they lost the heritage they have. They lost the cultural, you know, background they have because they don’t have -- they’re not being fed, given this information. To the point that when they -- they don’t know who they are. They are Canadians, but heritage-wise, they don’t know who they are. And this station is going to give us that -- the chance to be able to at least start the ball rolling.
4627 We have a lot of Filipino groups. We have a lot of Filipino social, cultural, regional, political groups. But with this station giving us an hour a day, that’s a lot. Because I have never heard of any station or any Filipino station that have an hour a day, sometimes just half an hour a week. There’s not enough time to address a lot of these issues. And most of them are just doing it commercially. So they don’t address basically non-commercial issues. That means if I’m -- they’re not going to make money, why would I bring these issues up? So it’s there only for to make money. But with Sher-E-Punjab, we are guaranteed that it -- the greater good for the Filipino will be addressed in here; okay?
4628 So I hope that the CRTC and the member of the board would approve the application of Sher-E-Punjab because the impact of this to the community is really, really huge. And I cannot even, you know -- and this I think is something that -- personally I’ve been here 23 years. I’ve been in a lot of community -- I basically call myself a Filipino advocate. I’m an advocate for the Filipino community.
4629 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4630 MR. ONG: But I have so many, so many hurdles.
4631 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, we have to be fair to everyone. You’re over your time so --
4632 MR. ONG: Yeah. Well, sorry about that.
4633 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- appreciate it. Thank you.
4634 But we understand your position and the Vice-Chair may have some questions for you.
4635 MR. ONG: Yeah.
4636 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Just a couple of quick questions. The Filipino/Filipina community in Western Canada, other areas of Western Canada is growing --
4637 MR. ONG: Yeah.
4638 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: -- is actually the largest immigrant group in many areas right now.
4639 MR. ONG: Right.
4640 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Is the same thing happening in the Lower Mainland area?
4641 MR. ONG: We -- in Richmond we are tied for the second largest with the Indo-Canadian.
4642 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right.
4643 MR. ONG: And Surrey, we are the third largest. In Vancouver we are the third largest. We have a Manila town in Fraser in Vancouver, if you know, and then we have also in Surrey also. Again, Burnaby we have some -- already a lot of Filipinos being active politically, Vancouver and Richmond.
4644 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay.
4645 MR. ONG: But the thing there is, there is no dedicated station like Fairchild or Surrey that addresses -- that actually provides services to our community.
4646 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right. So I understand the value of having that programming. But I’m going to challenge it a little bit in that it may be less valuable than it used to be when it was the only option in the world before the internet, for instance.
4647 MR. ONG: M’hm.
4648 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And I will not do too many more personal anecdotes today but my grandson -- my daughter-in-law is Dutch and she wants my grandson to grow up speaking Dutch. So every morning she goes on to the internet and she finds cartoons that are in Dutch and she speaks to him in Dutch of course because mothers do that with their children.
4649 But it's not -- the idea of having something over the air broadcasting radio isn't as vital to her. She can go on the internet and she can find Dutch, which is not as ubiquitous as Tagalog and other languages but she can find all she needs to raise the boy bilingually.
4650 So is it really as vital anymore to have some of this -- I mean it's not that it's not a value, don’t get me wrong, but is it as vital as it used to be in the world of the internet?
4651 MR. ONG: You are right, Mr. Vice-Chairman. The thing there is there is a lot of misconception or -- I need to clarify the nature of the Filipino immigrants here, right.
4652 Most of us come here -- I came here as a skilled immigrant. Most of us come here as skilled immigrants. A lot of us new immigrants coming here, within the first five years, they get -- you heard of double jobs, triple jobs. That's what we do and I am aware of that.
4653 I'm just one of the lucky few who only have one job so I can put more time to my family and also the community. But if you have two jobs, Monday to Sunday, there's no time for internet. That's a thing.
4654 They have access to internet. They access but the first thing they look is to go in and entertain themselves. That's the only thing they need. There is -- how much leisure time they have is so small, they don’t have time to really teach their kids, show their kids this and that because that's how most of us immigrants from the Philippines live their lives, especially the first five years.
4655 And this is what we is the most important thing. Like I said earlier, I mentioned that in the first five years, it was really hard for me and my family, my wife, but it's harder for those who have to work more than one job because they really have to do it. They don’t get the high-paying jobs. They come here, low-paying jobs, minimum wage. So they have to make ends meet, right.
4656 And with the radio, they have a lot of leisure and I am always -- I am aware of that. I've been in the frontline. I've dealt with that. I helped a number of -- considerably a number of immigrants trying to get them to find jobs, preparing their resumes, but I'm not a support. I do that on my personal time.
4657 But with this radio, if this comes out, they can always email. They can always write. They can always call in. They get the answers.
4658 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay, thank you. Those are my questions.
4659 MR. ONG: Yeah.
4660 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are all our questions I believe and I think we're going to take a mid-morning break at this point until 11 o’clock. So I thank you very much.
4661 MR. ONG: Thank you.
4662 THE CHAIRPERSON: So we're adjourned until 11:00 a.m. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 10:45 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 11:03 a.m.
4663 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s'il vous plaît. Order, please.
4664 Madame la secrétaire.
4665 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4666 Before we begin, I just have two announcements.
4667 For the record, South Fraser Broadcasting Inc. has filed its response to undertaking related to the calculation of third language programming in periods of mixed language programs. This document has been added to the public record and copies are available in the public examination file.
4668 Also, the Commission has been advised that two intervenors, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC and Mr. Rob Rai, will not appearing at this hearing.
4669 I would now invite Baljinder Saran to come forward.
4670 You may begin and you have five minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4671 MR. SARAN: Good morning, Chairman and the team.
4672 My name is Baljinder Saran and I would like to thank you for allowing me to speak at this hearing today in support of Spice Group Media.
4673 I am here today to show my support for the Spice Media Group and to urge the Commission to join me in this support.
4674 I have experienced firsthand the lack of quality programming reaching out to local youth and women. More generally, there is a significant lack of quality ethnic programming in Punjabi that speaks to local issues.
4675 Every day we wake up to articles about gang violence, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and all too often these articles are related to the South Asian community.
4676 Conversely there is no conversation about these issues or positive content helping the community address any of these issues where they actually exist. I have reviewed Spice Media’s materials and I believe that this station will not only raise these local issues on air, but I also believe that the station will provide interesting content that will engage the local community to discuss and overcome these issues.
4677 And I must say that healthy competition is always good for the consumer. Consumer can get the better value of their money.
4678 Frankly, I hope that the Commission will approve Spice Media’s application as I am looking forward to listening to this station.
4679 I am also actively involved with the youth in the community. I talk to them. So whatever we are doing now, the decision we have here, our local youth, they hardly listen to the radio but whatever is being done or being broadcasted there, everything is maybe related to our problem back in India or Pakistan.
4680 We have something to be -- we need something which is locally involved for our youth so our youth come up and get involved in that program.
4681 I strongly believe that approval of this application will create interest among South Fraser ethnic community on local issues and that Spice Media and its radio content will enrich the local South Asian community.
4682 And I strongly endorse Spice Media’s request for a radio station and urge the Commission to also do so.
4683 Thank you.
4684 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4685 Commissioner MacDonald may have some questions for you.
4686 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning and thank you for coming in today.
4687 Just a few questions and I’m wondering since you're active in the community, do you feel that the existing stations that speak to your community don’t do an effective job in providing airtime or discussing the issues that Spice has suggested that will be their focus?
4688 MR. SARAN: They do discuss. We do discuss. We always hear something about whatever is involved in there, out back home in India, what is happening there. We don’t discuss anything what is locally happening here.
4689 We have been hearing gang wars here. I've been hearing drugs and everything and so I think we should have something which is locally. We should have some programs which we involve our youth to come and discuss on air. And make some more interesting features on the radio so our youth should be involving in that. I’m feeling that.
4690 So whatever is being done or being aired on the radio currently is always everything 90 percent I think is back home, what is happening in India on Indian political system or our back what is -- we should have something on the locally involvement in our -- here.
4691 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And some of the topics that you've identified and Spice did as well, topics like gang violence, domestic abuse, sexual assault, these are all very important issues that need to be discussed but they couldn’t be characterized as feel good entertainment if someone is listening to the station to be entertained.
4692 So given the fact that these are important topics but often times some people who listen to the radio they want to be uplifted and entertained, do you think people in large numbers would tune in on a regular basis to that type of offering?
4693 MR. SARAN: No, there are some people want to listen, and we can guide them, we can guide the use that this is the dos and don’ts when it comes to sexual harassment, or the gang wars, or the drug abuse and everything.
4694 I’m from -- I’ve been -- some days is bad, there was some shooting there and one of the guy -- poor guy was just shot that way during a gang war.
4695 So I think we should give some opportunity to the youngsters to come forward and get involved with this thing through the media. We should spread the word that the dos and don’ts of the drugs and the gang wars. We should stay and teach our youngster, the new generation which is coming up, what is good and what is not good for them.
4696 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you.
4697 Just one final question; you said in your presentation that you’re active in the community and that you’re a sales professional.
4698 MR. SARAN: Yep.
4699 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I don’t know sort of what you sell, but I am curious as to whether you think a station with this format would be able to attract the necessary advertising dollars from businesses in the community to be able to be viable. Do you think that that would be a sale that they would be able to make in large enough numbers to be economically viable?
4700 MR. SARAN: Yes, I do agree. I do agree, the more competition you have -- healthy competition. So you want the existing station or whatever is there they get more alert and then of course they improve their facility, their pricing and everything.
4701 Like I’m a salesman, I can do my ad on the radio and then I can -- people should know me through the -- I’m doing so and so sales, I’m in the sales field, and if I get a better rate from any radio station, of course which I think Spice Radio is giving some good rates, of course I will go through them and of course it’s going to impact -- good impact on my sales.
4702 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you very much.
4703 MR. SARAN: Thank you.
4704 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Those are my questions.
4705 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe those are all our questions. So thank you very much for having participated.
4706 MR. SARAN: Thank you.
4707 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4708 Madame la secrétaire.
4709 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4710 I will now invite Charanjeet Singh Sidhu to come forward.
4711 You may begin, and you have five minutes for your presentation.
4712 Thank you.
4713 MR. SIDHU: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Mr. Vice-Chair, Commissioners, staff. I would like to thank you for allowing me to speak at the hearing today in support of Spice Media Group.
4714 My name is Charanjeet Singh Sidhu. I’m widely known as CJ Sidhu. I’m a certified financial planner. I have been in the financial services industry over 26 years. I served as the President of The Financial Advisor’s Association of Canada -- Advocis’s -- Greater Vancouver Chapter. I also served as a Board Director on the Provincial Health Services Authority from 2009 to 2015, and also served as a commissioner on Delta’s Park, Rec and Culture Commission from 2012 to 2015.
4715 I’m here today to speak about Spice Media Group and ask the Commission to approve a license for this fresh, young and innovative station. I strongly believe that Spice will positive change the radio waves in Surrey and the larger area.
4716 I live in Delta but my business office is in Surrey. Surrey is the second largest city in BC and the 12th largest city in Canada. Surrey’s population is young and diverse. Over 27 percent of Surrey’s population is under 19 years of age and over 43 percent of Surrey’s residents speak a language that is not English at home.
4717 I’m a radio listener and also a freelance journalist. I go on radio programs and TV programs on a social community and political issues. Programming is either driven to music, religious, or focuses on issues that are relevant in India instead of issues local here.
4718 And I have reviewed the Spice Media’s format and I believe that Spice Media will provide a fresh wave of programming that speaks to local issues and helps to empower the young, old, male, female ethnic communities of Surrey and the broader area. I’m keen to hear local programming that focuses on local sports, news and community issues.
4719 It is clear that the ethnic community in the Lower Mainland is growing and so are its needs. The South Asian community has drifted from traditional programming that focuses on the religious issues or sometime conflicting topics rooted in India and then sometimes ended up dividing the community rather than keeping them together. Instead we want to hear about local issues and engage the community in this regard.
4720 I believe that Spice Media will provide local programming that highlights local artists and local role models. This will add to Surrey’s vibrant cultural-revolution. You may have seen some of this highlighted during the Vaisakhi Parade in which over 350,000 residents attended to hear, listen and taste some of the local South Asian culture.
4721 Spice Media radio station in Surrey will be run by four professional females. Amrita Ghug is a lawyer based in Surrey BC. Dr. Shani Sidhu is a family physician and practices in Delta/Surrey area for 30 years. Sonia Thind has completed her Masters in counseling and has been working as a counsellor since 2008. And Puneet Sandhar is a recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award. Puneet has firmly established herself both in her career and in her community. They aim to have a radio station that will be focusing on the issues that affect the South Asian community in the Lower Mainland.
4722 Spice Media’s goal is to open discussions amongst the community members and address women’s issues and issues concerning Indo-Canadian youth. Spice Media provides a station of today. It has the diverse make up to reflect the listening community and provide us with the content that we seek.
4723 I respectfully endorse Spice Media for an AM license and urge the Commission to award this station with a license.
4724 Thank you for the opportunity to speak and I will open for question if you might have.
4725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. Commissioner MacDonald may have some questions for you.
4726 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning.
4727 I guess I’d just like to get your thoughts on -- we’ve been here this is Day 3 of the hearing and we’ve heard a number of different proposals from different companies looking to service the South Asian community and with different formats. And I’m wondering can you speak to why you feel the format that Spice has put forward will be a better use of spectrum and more impactful on the community versus a station that perhaps has more of a music focus for example.
4728 MR. SIDHU: Thank you.
4729 First of all, I will say that the existing radio stations in the community are doing fairly reasonably a very good job.
4730 Having said that, there is some word in the voices, so when I look at the resumes of these three females, they’re professional ladies in the community for a long term, and they serve on the different organizations to make a difference in the community and they want to voice the concerns that are near and dear to the community, and that’s including youth violence, either it’s diversity issues, female issues, there is sexual abuse issues. It’s not only South Asian issues it’s these are the issues touches all communities across the board. So they want to bring a positive voice.
4731 Music yes, very important music, but when people are very relaxed and they’re in a good mood to hear a good message that’s the time when we want to hit the airwaves and tell people how we can make a difference, changing these attitudes.
4732 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Do you think -- given that one of the focus groups from Spice will be focusing on youth, do you think radio is the best format to convey a message to young people?
4733 Because we’ve seen the younger the individual in many cases the less apt they are to get their information from radio. They tend to get it off of social media or download a YouTube vide with information.
4734 Do you have any thoughts on whether radio is still a relevant platform for young people?
4735 MR. SIDHU: That’s a very, very good point, a very relevant point. No doubt that youth, and teenagers, and young people either they’re on their smartphones or internet, and no doubt they’ve got a lot of information through social media, but this is another avenue on top of that. People tune into those radio stations, and if we provide a good content that relates to them, there were more people tune in, more youthful tune in, more female will tune in to listen to another avenue of information.
4736 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to tuning, there's a number of radio stations both serving this community and others currently in operation and you can only listen to one radio station at a time. So if you had to -- even speaking from your own personal experience -- if you had to put a percentage on how often you’d be listening to this station versus other stations in the market, how much do you think you’d be tuning away from the existing services and tuning into Spice’s offering?
4737 MR. SIDHU: That’s a very interesting question as well, because in my car I have all the stations, you have to push one button now. If there is a boring topic you push another button and you go to another radio station. And all of us have that avenue, and that's the difference.
4738 I think as talking to the Spice Media and the people who are behind this radio station, they want to make a difference. The people more tune into their program than tune off, because the content will be so relevant and so powerful and will be delivered professionally. So they think there is a void and they think there is a -- other ways that be on the table and they want to fill that void.
4739 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Just one final question because you -- I noted that you were a certified financial planner and I assume that you sort of run your own -- your own business under your name, and I’m just wondering how apt you would be to advertise on Spice’s service versus some of the other radio services in the market?
4740 MR. SIDHU: That’s a very -- another good question. I’m 26 years, my practice is very well established. And you can appreciate and understand after 26 years I don’t need what -- much advertising because, you know, it’s word of mouth and I’m busy enough to handle my existing clientele base.
4741 So to answer, I hardly advertise my business. Sometimes if a friendly call comes here and there, you put your profile or 25-year anniversary that I celebrated last year. But if the time comes and you see the listeners and more content that’s more relevant to the society, mainstream Canadian born, raised, youth in Canada listening to, tuning in, that’s the community and that’s the clientele base I have. I deal with businesses, professionals mostly. And when you have a good, positive, practical messaging there and people tune in, yes, I will be putting my commercial, if I need to, at that kind of programming. And I think Spice Media intend to do that.
4742 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Perfect. Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
4743 MR. SIDHU: Thank you very much, I appreciate.
4744 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. These are our questions.
4745 Madam Secretary, I believe we’re going to make a little shift at this point to accommodate people’s conflicting schedules?
4746 THE SECRETARY: That’s correct, Mr. Chairman. I also have one announcement to make. We have been advised that Gaganpreet Singh Kaila will not be appearing at the hearing. So therefore we will go ahead with the presentation of Rupinder Dhaliwal.
4747 You may begin and you have five minutes for your presentation.
4748 Thank you.
4749 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome. Please go ahead, just press the button so the microphone comes on and we’re listening.
4750 MS. DHALIWAL: Thank you.
4751 My name is Rupinder Dhaliwal, I'm a registered nurse, a registered psychiatric nurse working in Strathcona Mental Health as a Case Manager.
4752 I’ve been coming to the radio station as a guest speaker because I serve the Indo-Canadian community as a counselling. And plus come -- time to time I come to different radio stations as a guest speaker on issues on drug, alcohol, parenting and any issues with extended families and stuff like that.
4753 So I would like to speak about the clarity of the RED FM -- the program clarity, because when it started about 10 years ago it was quite clear and it was accessible every single community. For example, I’m living in New Westminster, I was able to hear the program quite clear. But recently, about four to five years, we are having continuous problems where it’s -- the waves are not that clear.
4754 I always resided in New Westminster and also work in Surrey until last year. And last year the -- in February I moved to Strathcona Mental Health, so I’m in Vancouver now. So I heard a lot of disturbance in the clarity.
4755 So I’m supporting this application for -- to have a clear waves so the people can hear the important messages. Especially, I got concern from people when I’m appearing in the program and sometime it’s hard for them to really hear clear what I'm saying. Because my phone numbers are with them, they always call back and ask like what was said and stuff like that.
4756 So there is a continuous problem with the clarity. And I really appreciate if this will be looked at it and the people they can hear the important messages clear delivered to them.
4757 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4758 Commissioner MacDonald may have some questions.
4759 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning.
4760 MS. DHALIWAL: Good morning.
4761 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I'm always interested to figure out how people’s behaviour changes when they're having a problem with -- with their service. I mean RED FM can tell us how many complaints they receive, but I’m wondering when you personally perhaps are experiencing an interference. Do you just tune away from the station four or five minutes? Do you shut it off for the rest of the day? Do you decide not to tune in at all because you know there's going to be an interference problem?
4762 MS. DHALIWAL: Recently that’s what I’m doing, because I can't hear it more clear then I switch to another radio. But sometime the topic is that interesting and you really wanted to hear it, you keep on backing -- going back and forth from other radio station to their, which is the continuation is not there. So the behaviour is frustration that you wanted to really hear the program, but unfortunately there's nothing can be done because it’s not clear.
4763 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And I guess the follow up to that is what -- what impact does that have on people’s perception of RED FM and the services they offer? If we’re talking about a cellphone carrier for example and their network is dropping a lot of calls, that’s what people chat about and they may make buying decisions around what their neighbour is saying. So what -- what are people out in the community saying about RED FM and its service as a result of the interference issue?
4764 MS. DHALIWAL: Actually, personally when I was experiencing this in the starting, I was thinking they might have a poor -- their micro -- speakers are not clear or cheap quality or something, that was my perception until I got educated that this is the waves they are using. That’s where the disturbance is, it’s not from the studio. So that was my honest perception that there was cheap stuff in the radio and it’s not clear, so that was my ignorance.
4765 And then after I learned about it and I was thinking there should be something done to have the better clarity, and so the people they deserve to listen to the radio they like and the programs coming. Because it’s not always one program, every hour there is something different going on. And people they have interest, and especially my appearance in the program and my topics are quite liked by the community and they wanted to hear it. So they really complained that they don't want to waste the time when I am there and they really wanted to listen but the program is not clear enough. So that is the issue, ongoing issue.
4766 And then they switched to another radio. You know, your example is the cellphone. If I'm having a continuous problem, I will not be going with Bell. I will go with something else, so you have a choice to go to another program but it doesn't mean you don't want it to come back to the previous one if they can clear their waves. Yeah, you want it to go back and listen to if there is something better going on.
4767 So I guess cellphone using and the radio listening, I think they are two different components. I cannot be relating to both of them.
4768 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, just one final question. We have heard from a number of different companies wanting to change or establish services over the last couple of days and, you know, it would have been nice if we can say yes to everyone but we can't. So where would you place the applications on an order of importance?
4769 Is it more important to solve RED FM's issues over bringing a new service, for example, onto the airwaves to meet the needs of the community?
4770 MS. DHALIWAL: The example I can give you, because Indo-Canadian community is a huge community and the many programs they have that gives them so much choices to tune into and out of their choice and clarity is always going to be an issue because that's something you wanted to hear clear.
4771 So it doesn't matter how many radio stations are there, if their services and their waves are not clear then it's going to be an ongoing problem and the listeners, they will not be able to enjoy.
4772 Example of having 93.5, 95.3, 104, 101; it's not that I can only stay with one radio station. I can switch wherever it is good music or they play my favourite song, I can go back, or there is a talk show, so I wanted to listen to it. It's giving more choices to Indo-Canadian community.
4773 It's not giving a favour to one person or other person. I am talking about community and communities should have more choices to tune into wherever they wanted to listen to, which program they wanted to listen to.
4774 So that's what I wanted to say.
4775 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you very much. Those are my questions.
4776 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for participating in the hearing. Very much appreciated, so thank you.
4777 MS. DHALIWAL: Thank you.
4778 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la secrétaire?
4779 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4780 I will now invite SurreyCares Community Foundation to come forward.
--- (SHORT PAUSE)
4781 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourselves and you can have five minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4782 MR. HECTOR: Thank you.
4783 Good morning, Chair Blais, Commissioners Menzies and MacDonald and Commission Staff.
4784 I am Jeff Hector, Board Chair of SurreyCares Community Foundation and I would like to thank you for allowing me to appear before you today and let me start by telling you a little about the organization I represent.
4785 The SurreyCares Community Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides funding, financial administration and research for the community of Surrey, British Columbia. We draw community service agencies together to form a network of organizations and societies for the exchange of ideas, support, energy, and encouragement.
4786 SurreyCares was established in 1994 and is one of 191 community foundations across Canada under Community Foundations of Canada. Better known as a "charity for charities", we serve the people of Surrey by providing reliable, enduring financial tools to community-minded individuals, families, businesses, not-for-profit agencies, and fundraising groups.
4787 Established in 1994, SurreyCares has Francisca and Edwin Darts to thank for seeding our community foundation. The Darts created a trust for land to be preserved as a botanical garden for a millennium. They wanted to make sure that the stunningly beautiful Darts Hill Garden Park they created could be enjoyed for generations to come.
4788 The endowment -- their original endowment was $200,000 which gave the Surrey Foundation -- got the Surrey Foundation going and now stands at $4 million. Their original investment is still intact, and their gift is continuing for many generations.
4789 Specifically, SurreyCares serves the community in three ways:
4790 - We collect donations to grant out to qualified agencies in Surrey. 100 percent of the funds given through SurreyCares are granted back out to the community;
4791 - Throughout our Annual Grants Program, we award grants of up to $5,000 to initiatives that we believe will have the greatest impact on the community. These are solely administered and awarded by SurreyCares;
4792 - Finally, we connect Surrey through communicating community events and providing an interactive way to guide news out about upcoming events.
4793 I am here today in support of South Fraser Broadcasting and their application for a new multicultural station to serve Surrey.
4794 I am delighted to say that in the few short months that their English station, The Pulse, has been operating we have established a relationship that bodes well for what we are doing and hope to do in the community. Even before broadcast, they were reaching out to the community and organizations to see how best they work with us to help us achieve our goals.
4795 I have every reason to believe that they will be successful in obtaining an ethnic language station that we would enjoy the same support and expand not only our reach to a new audience but also awareness in this community.
4796 It is this possibility of a new audience to which I would like to address the remainder of my remarks. I will, however, preface those with a thank you of sorts.
4797 The introduction of a Surrey-based English station has been a game changer. We would never be afforded nor could we purchase time on mainstream Vancouver radio stations to get our message out. In a city as big and complex as Vancouver, Surrey stories and needs were never a priority. While the lack of support is understandable, our mandate was made more difficult by competing messages designed for other communities.
4798 People in Surrey often have more knowledge of what is happening downtown than what is happening in their own backyard. Having a local service that through coverage and content focuses on people who live south of the Fraser, makes it possible for so many of us to actually have a voice.
4799 Even in the short time the station has been operating, we can see that people are engaging with this new service which opens the door to more and better dialogue. It opens the doors to possibilities, and for that and on behalf of the residents of Surrey, I thank you.
4800 It is this idea of giving a voice and engaging people I find compelling about the Beat of the Fraser application by South Fraser Broadcasting. A station that crosses ethno-cultural lines is not a novel idea but it certainly is not being done in this market. We have two divides; English or third languages. And if you believe the headlines, a station that effectively reaches the next generation of community leaders is also not being done.
4801 In conceiving a station that deals with the issues facing the next generations of ethnic populations, South Fraser Broadcasting is addressing a challenge that is relevant to all us. This is not just a broadcasting challenge, it is a world challenge. And while the generation gap is as old as time, never have the issues inherent in this gap been more complex.
4802 It is hard to advise children on the ways of the world when your advice is predicated on a time and place that no longer exists, some of the realities of the first generation ethnic parent. The challenges and opportunities inherent in multiculturalism all come to bear on these next generations.
4803 A radio station that guides a public -- that creates a public meeting place for those groups to meet where they can hear and interact with each other would go a long way to giving us the assurance that there is a plan in place to engage the future community leaders.
4804 We at SurreyCares recognize we need them. We need them to start thinking on a community level and we would like them to start thinking about sustainability at all levels.
4805 Using music as a hook to get the youth listening is an obvious. Using World Beat music is brilliant because it will even provide something not available currently, give them cultural recognition and insight and fill their need for contemporary entertainment.
4806 Using a combination of programming of each of the English and mother tongue celebrates ethnic roots, but it also opens the dialogue across culturally and generationally.
4807 At SurreyCares, we acknowledge the -- and finance ideas that build communities. We invest in ideas that have an impact and strive in all we do to build connections that enlighten people.
4808 We appear before you today because we think the proposal by South Fraser Broadcasting meets all those criteria. You gave us a station that allows our voice to compete with those from Vancouver and establishes the identity of Surrey.
4809 We ask you now to provide a service which is one of the least well-represented groups, the next generation of ethnic citizens. We believe in doing this you will be fulfilling an important part of the important role broadcasting plays in the community, and we will be creating an opportunity for cross-cultural understanding and will resonate for generations to come.
4810 We -- respectfully, we ask that you license The Beat of the Fraser. Thank you, and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
4811 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you for that presentation.
4812 Just a few areas to explore with you.
4813 In your presentation, you say:
4814 "And if you believe the headlines, a station that effectively reaches the next generation of community leaders is also not being done."
4815 You're going to have to help me understand what you mean by that.
4816 MR. HECTOR: Yeah. I think what we're driving at there is this station is focusing on youth as its market, but not just youth from one ethnic background. It's cross-cultural, across all ethnic backgrounds. And I don't believe that sort of station exists now in Surrey.
4817 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So you're not referring to any specific headlines, just a ---
4818 MR. HECTOR: No, no.
4819 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That's -- I thought I'd missed something. So good. Great.
4820 So I noticed -- you know, obviously you don't think that the Vancouver stations would be the appropriate vehicle to -- for your -- to support your work.
4821 I was wondering, what experience, practically, have you had with other radio services in the area, whether it -- they've been successful or not? Have you approached other providers to seek the sort of collaboration you think that South Fraser could provide you?
4822 MR. HECTOR: No, we haven't approached any others. South Fraser reached out to us as the community foundation.
4823 Previously, when they wanted to bring an English language radio station to Surrey, and it was the first one, and since then, they've been very good in bringing programming that helps the voice of the non-profits in Surrey.
4824 The non-profits have opportunities to go on, talk about what they do and, as we have, as the community foundation, we run ads and we also have had our Executive Director appear on the radio station. And it's just providing the non-profits with a voice without it costing them any money.
4825 So they have done a good job of that for us and now, with this new venture, given that they would like to focus on youth, at SurreyCares last year, we -- our vital signs was focused on youth where we measured the quality of life for youth in Surrey across the population. And so we're advocates of, you know, supporting youth in our community.
4826 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And just to be clear, the ads you run are free of charge. They're public service announcements.
4827 MR. HECTOR: That's correct.
4828 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So they're not commercial advertising that you're paying for.
4829 MR. HECTOR: That's correct.
4830 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's free time.
4831 MR. HECTOR: Free time.
4832 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And there's other applications in this hearing that we're considering, and you may not have had an opportunity to look at them. I appreciate that. You're probably focusing on the main mission of your foundation.
4833 But do you believe others -- because we're in a competition situation. Some applications may be approved, others not.
4834 Do you think that the sort of partnership you've been able to build with South Fraser is so unique to South Fraser that you couldn't build it with other proposed applicants who also want to serve the Surrey area?
4835 MR. HECTOR: Well, as I said, in this particular case, this one is focused on youth. I'm not sure -- so I don't know the background on all the other applications, so I don't know if they're focused on youth or not.
4836 We're the community foundation. We'll support everybody in the community, right. So we're there to support them. We'd be happy to work with any of them, yes.
4837 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But your experience with South Fraser is such that you have confidence built on that experience with them.
4838 MR. HECTOR: They took the initiative and they followed through, so that's why. Yeah.
4839 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you very much.
4840 MR. HECTOR: Thank you.
4841 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are our questions.
4842 Madam la Secrétaire, that's -- those are all our questions. Thank you very much.
4843 MR. HECTOR: Okay. Thank you.
4844 THE CHAIRPERSON: Next intervenor, please.
4845 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4846 I will now invite Mr. Marty Banting to come forward.
4847 You may begin, and you have five minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4848 MR. BANTING: Thank you.
4849 Good morning Chair, Commissioners and Commission staff. My name is Marty Banting. I'm a second generation Filipino-Canadian born and raised right here in Vancouver, B.C.
4850 My parents arrived from the Philippines in the 1970s in escaping martial law of the Marcos regime. I'm married with three kids, and am a software developer and technology consultant. I am here in support of the application by South Fraser Broadcasting.
4851 I described myself in my filed intervention as intrigued with the opportunity to hear World Beat music that they are proposing to provide. While I have not been present for most of the hearings, I have heard and read about the options being considered.
4852 Nothing I have learned from others applying has altered my position in terms of my support. In fact, having heard South Fraser Broadcasting's presentation, I'm even more enthusiastic about their proposal.
4853 I think the approach being used by South Fraser Broadcasting recognizes the reality of the Surrey market in a way that none of the others before you have.
4854 First of all, it is a music station operating on the FM band which, in terms of sound quality, is superior. Secondly, the selection of World Beat music recognizes the cosmopolitan nature of the communities that live in the city.
4855 When you live in close proximity to so many cultures, you can't help but broaden your perspective. In a single day through the course of simply living in Surrey, you will be exposed to the foods, fashions, traditions and values of over a dozen cultures. It is a co-existence that not only encourages understanding, but it demands it.
4856 One of the stumbling blocks, however, is language, so we have two ways to conveniently communicate. The first is through the use of a common language, English, and the second is through the universal language of music.
4857 I'll review how I think the South Fraser Broadcasting application has it right in both of these areas.
4858 Traditional music from a variety of cultures is heard throughout Surrey at festivals, community events and in places of business. While people of my age appreciate the heritage of these sounds, we are more interested in contemporary music. It has a feel and rhythm that is distinguishable and a sound that is compelling.
4859 Culturally rich contemporary music, known as World Beat, is being produced. If one has the time, an investigative spirit and knowledge of the internet, it can be streamed and downloaded. For those of us who are determined to find it, we will. But like all of you, our schedules are pretty busy.
4860 We are juggling the needs of our young families, careers, friends, health and our families of origin. It leaves little time to go to the effort to find these artists or download these tracks.
4861 South Fraser is going to provide World Beat music which, as the name suggests, is not derived solely from artists from Canada or the U.S. This kind of new music would be so welcome to those of us tired of hearing exclusively hit radio and would be key to engaging many of us active listeners.
4862 Secondly, they are going to provide ethno-cultural programming that uses English as the primary language. I am not conversant in my parents' mother tongue and, therefore, I am shut out of the discussions taking place in Tagalog on ethnic radio. I am shut out of discussions of my culture and, almost as important, I am shut out of discussions on other cultures, too.
4863 One needs to look no further than the headlines these days to understand the critical importance of furthering understanding between people around the world. No one needs to look further than the headlines within Surrey to understand the importance of starting this understanding at home.
4864 I am not suggesting that my age group should be given priority in your deliberations, but I am asking you to consider something new for the sake of adding true diversity to the choices we have. I am looking from the outside at your decision process, but it seems to me that there's enough English mainstream stations, so many, in fact, that there's a lot of duplication in music and information content.
4865 There are also several stations that offer the language of our parents that cover off the needs of an older generation and provides the types of discussions that addresses their stage in life and interest. There’s at least three or four of these.
4866 What is clearly missing is a station that speaks to those that are the children of people who immigrated to Canada and who have set -- who had a lifestyle that is not like mainstream Canadians. Simple things like holidays and food sets us apart.
4867 When we were in school, we learned about celebrations like Thanksgiving, Halloween and Canada Day events that were not part of my parent’s lives. At home we learned of holidays unique to our cultures, like in my case, the Sinulog Festival, Holy Week, and the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
4868 Even where holidays are shared, like Christmas and Easter, our traditions are different than those learned in school. We eat different foods, and sometimes as is often the case in Filipino families, use a fork and spoon rather than a fork and knife. It is a small example, but doing these things does -- doing things different does set people apart.
4869 We have different values. As the oldest son I’m expected, because of my Filipino background, to assume the care of my parents at some point in the future. This is not unique to my culture so I cannot -- so I can connect on this issue with other people of other ethnocultural backgrounds, but it does set me apart from my mainstream friends.
4870 There are several points of connections between myself and my friends with different ethnic backgrounds, with many more to be discovered. Our experience is of being different, but also in finding ways to fit in both worlds and, in fact, finding ways to go between them effortlessly. Rising to this challenge has resulted in an entire generation of young Canadians like myself who identify ourselves with this country but are tied through our families to another part of the world. In our daily lives, these two realities comfortably co-exist. And the proposal by South Fraser Broadcasting is the first radio I have heard of that recognizes our complex ethnocultural identities.
4871 I would like to better understand both of these -- both of my heritages. But I’m not going to do this with either of the two streams of programming offered by traditional radio. I’ve not heard or seen of this in conventional English media and it is my parent’s experience that is reflected in traditional ethnic programming.
4872 So where do I fit? Where can I tune in with my children to hear discussions about my realities? And where can I find out what is happening in the mainstream world today? Where do I go to find out what is affecting the lives of Chinese in Surrey? Can’t tune in to Fairchild because I don’t understand a single word of Mandarin, and can’t tune in to Vancouver stations because these issues are not on their radar.
4873 Isn’t the radio the natural choice for discussion of this sort? And let me be clear, whether it is a celebration or cultural issue, what is happening in ethnocultural communities outside of my own also matters. I live and work beside people from these roots and what affects them affects me.
4874 The very existence of regulation around broadcasting underlies the importance of it in society. And the rules and regulations clearly demonstrates the recognizable impact you can have on individuals and societies.
4875 What I hear in the South Fraser Broadcasting proposal is a place for me and for my future generations to share their stories in both the language we use, mostly English, and the language of families. I hear music that is contemporary, so of interest to me and many people under the age of 40 and yet, music that is international in flavour addressing our broader interests. I hear a celebration of diversity that invites the majority of the community to participate if they want to hear, but I also see a clear focus on a particular group of people who are not being heard.
4876 This proposal offers something really different. But more than simple diversity, it offers a real opportunity to begin a meaningful dialogue across cultures. It provides a place for the people to turn to the Internet to have local discussion of the things that matters to them and invites them to connect or reconnect with their culture.
4877 I heard that one of the questions asked yesterday was how likely was it a station like this could bring listeners who had left radio back. I think the answer to that lies in the fact that radio to this point does not really program to us. It is like asking why don’t we shop in certain stores or eat at particular restaurant. They’re probably not targeting us so it’s no surprise that we’re not showing up.
4878 We have been described as the me generation. And while that may or may not be the case, the proliferation of social media attests to the fact that we want to have a voice and we have a lot to say when we get the chance. Clearly, we are communicators and part of that is listening. When we like something we will run with it.
4879 I can assure the Commissioner -- the Commission that the majority of us are fiercely proud of our heritage and are hungry for connections to it that are meaningful and accessible to us. The existence of a radio service that offered us that would go viral and the opportunity to have dialogue around our particular experiences would have us tuning in.
4880 Thank you for your time.
4881 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submission. I’m not sure it was entirely wise to make so many references to foods and restaurants just before our lunch break, but here we are.
4882 MR. BANTING: I’m hungry too.
4883 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I take it that you obviously think there’s a need for English language, Worldbeat music for second, third and fourth generations. But are you suggesting that this is to the exclusion of services that might be of use to first generation that may not have English as a useful vehicle for them to get information about their community and what’s happening and to ensure their integration, in a sense, to the broader Canadian society?
4884 MR. BANTING: I can only speak about the Filipino community. But when I was there back in 2008, one of the things that companies there were really marketing was this message that said there’s more English speakers in the Philippines than there is in England. And they’re setting up call centres and English as a language is really common in the Philippines. In fact, my mother, who was born and raised there, she was taught in English, to the point now where if she’s speaking in Tagalog it’s actually a mix of both English and --
4885 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4886 MR. BANTING: -- Tagalog. And I think generally, that really bridges the gap between generations.
4887 For myself, when I get an email from my aunt in the Philippines and it’s purely in Tagalog, it goes over my head. When I get an email from another aunt maybe here and it’s a mix of both English and Tagalog, I can understand and I can communicate back and I can have a conversation. And I think that’s what’s really important here and that’s the opportunity that it’s not -- it doesn’t exclude the first generation. It actually brings the conversation to -- and bridges the gap between the generations.
4888 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Throughout the hearing we’ve heard from various applicants who’ve brought forward proposals where there would be in some instances a lot of talk. Talk format seems to be extremely popular where it’s also a way to find out what’ happening in the society, whether it’s in third language or English. And then there are others that, you know, want to put a little bit more emphasis on music, which music is a great way of discovering cultures and perspectives as seen from the creators, but perhaps not as effective means of getting information about the community and creating the sort of sense of social cohesion.
4889 You’ve put a lot of emphasis on this Worldbeat music. Why do you think that’s important?
4890 MR. BANTING: I think it’s important because it gives a choice. I think for myself as I -- you know, I am in my 30s now. And I’ve -- for myself, I’ve ---
4891 THE CHAIRPERSON: You seem disappointed.
4892 MR. BANTING: It’s getting more depressing every year.
4893 But for myself, there’s only so much of, you know, Mr. Bieber that I can hear in a day, as much as I like his music. And I have discovered through -- there’s this process of music discovery that is actually pretty hard to do in the sense that there’s so much content out there. How do you find what’s -- what taste that you like and what interests you?
4894 And for myself, what I found out about a year and a half ago was this group in Toronto called DATU. And they’re a Filipino rock band that incorporates traditional Filipino percussion into their music. And it was such an amazing mix, fusion of music that kind of bridges again, both the traditional -- our traditional Filipino culture, but also pop music and rock music that you can hear in North America.
4895 And for myself, I found that it allows us to -- through finding that cultural identity through music is something that I’ve actually only realized over the last little bit in the sense that it really does help me as a bridge discover what other things about my culture is interesting and important.
4896 I can’t stress enough that I was born and raised here. I’ve only been back to the Philippines a handful of times. And so my connection with my parent’s country and our culture, it’s -- is definitely broken. And that’s something that I’m -- as I grow older and now that I have my kids, it’s something that’s really important for me and my friends who are also in similar situations.
4897 I try to be a good dad and there’s some things that I’m doing well and some things I’m not doing well. And I think one of the things that I can improve is trying to share my culture and my family’s culture with my kids and have them learn. And there’s only so much that I can do because there’s only so much I know. And I think an avenue like this radio station providing that content and, you know, we listen to the radio to and from soccer practices, to and from school. It is still a part of our daily lives. And the content that we take in is definitely absorbed by myself as well as my kids.
4898 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I take it then that most of the radio tuning in your family is in the car?
4899 MR. BANTING: It’s a -- I’m a pretty much a full-time chauffeur. So a lot of that’s in the car. Yes, that’s correct.
4900 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand.
4901 You know, we held a -- you talked about discoverability of music that is not as mainstream, as popular and heavily promoted. And we did some events in Toronto recently and even here in Vancouver earlier before in December about discoverability of audio/visual and musical content.
4902 And there seems to be a growing trend particularly among millennials, your children no doubt, and they're finding content elsewhere. They are not on the traditional platforms.
4903 So I'm a bit surprised that you think that radio would be a vector to discover music because what we're seeing is that the large decline of listenership to -- among younger Canadians to radio that they find music on YouTube, that's how they discover even music videos now, it's no longer the MuchMusic services of the world.
4904 MR. BANTING: M’hm.
4905 THE CHAIRPERSON: And now with connected cars that can be a very important reality, even in the car when you can stream music, discover music through other platforms and radio might now be as important.
4906 So why do you think that radio is still important?
4907 MR. BANTING: I think radio is still important because it still provides that local perspective in things. So at home, I am streaming Netflix and YouTube and that's more or less displaced cable TV.
4908 When I stream audio, I still actually seek out local radio stations on that stream and hear local content. And part of that is whether it's music or whether it's talk, it helps me bridge what's going in, for example, the Philippines.
4909 Coming from perhaps a local perspective, it helps me understand, you know, what -- so one example is the presidential election that happened right now in the Philippines about a week and they elected a new president who is either going to make or break the Philippines. It's a very controversial thing.
4910 And for me to understand that, it helped when someone explained to me, okay, how is that process over there compared with what happened here? How does that new president elect compare with Trump or with Prime Minister Trudeau?
4911 Having that local perspective, whether it's music or talk, gives me the chance to then relate better to what's happening back in my mother’s country.
4912 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, very good. And as you're driving around, do you control the tuner in the car?
4913 MR. BANTING: Well, it's a -- when I listen to -- we have to find some common stuff. I listen to the Canucks and my kids like the Canucks. When it comes to music, we both like Justin Bieber, but sometimes they just want to listen to some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that are playing in the background.
4914 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4915 MR. BANTING: So it's a ---
4916 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you're sort of a broadcaster as well when controlling the radio system in the car.
4917 MR. BANTING: Yeah, that's right.
4918 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I appreciate that.
4919 So thank you very much. Those are our questions.
4920 MR. BANTING: Thank you very much for your time.
4921 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for participating in the hearing. Thanks.
4922 Madame la secrétaire?
4923 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4924 I would now invite Makhan Heer to come forward.
4925 MR. HEER: Good afternoon, Chair and ---
4926 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome. Please, go ahead. We're listening.
4927 MR. HEER: My name is Makhan Heer. I am here on behalf of 93.1 RED FM.
4928 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just for the transcript, maybe just approach the mic and speak a little louder so we can hear you well. We've got your text but it's always best to hear you well.
4929 MR. BANTING: Yes.
4930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And relax, it's not -- you know, it's an easy process.
4931 MR. BANTING: Yeah. My name is Makhan Heer and I am a resident of Surrey, live in B.C. -- Surrey, B.C. I have been listening to RED FM 93.1 since it started on air.
4932 This radio station has become a part of my daily routine. It provides me with so much value that I can't stop listening to it. Unfortunately, the static now from this station is so annoying and really hard to listen to.
4933 For a person that spends more than 50 percent of their working day in their vehicle, myself, we should be able to listen to a radio station and expect to hear it clear.
4934 I don’t -- so much static that I want to turn it off. When the static happens, I turn the radio off because I can't make out the conversation when driving. Driving around for so long, I know where the reception is really bad.
4935 So once I've gone through the problem areas with a lot of static, I turn the radio back on but I have missed a lot of very important points. It's really frustrating when this happens, which has been happening for so long and nothing has been done yet.
4936 I live on 176th Street and 32nd Avenue in Surrey. Because of the static issues and not being able to hear most of the talk, I need to make sure I am not in certain areas of Surrey where the static is unbearable to listen to when the eight o’clock Harjinder Thind show starts.
4937 This is the best time to listen to the current affairs, news and traffic. Quite often there are guests that are with lot of knowledge and experience that help enrich our lives and teach us things. This show is really important to me because of all the topics he covers during the show. It can be anything from politics, health segments, to economy, national issues, and international issues.
4938 When I first encountered this static problem about three to four years ago, I called 93.1 to report it and asked them to fix this problem. It was interfering with my full enjoyment of programming they were putting on air. They told me they were doing their best to fix the problem.
4939 I have called several times since as it seems like the problem is getting worse, not better.
4940 I own and operate a trucking company, transport company, on Annacis Island, employing approximately 25 drivers who travel within Surrey and Vancouver on a daily basis. My company trucks are outfitted with top end audio equipment, as this is the biggest source of entertainment for someone who is on the road for a living.
4941 My employees have constant complaints about the poor reception and static while they're out traveling the roads of Vancouver and Surrey.
4942 Since the signal interference began, I have changed my vehicle twice, both being brand new vehicles with topnotch audio systems, and still there is no improvement in the quality of sound of the local 93.1 RED FM station.
4943 RED FM has people of all ethnic backgrounds that listen to it and participate in RED FM activities. This station does so much and also encourages the community to get to more community events by listening to RED FM.
4944 I run during the RED FM annual Run that supports the local organizations. I donate to the food bank which supports the local food banks. I attend the annual RED FM Idol that harbours local talent and I donate money to the annual RED FM Radio-thon that raised millions of dollars for the Surrey Memorial Hospital.
4945 I know when and where these events are taking place because I hear them on the air. As the static continues to get worse and people stop listening, the countless things RED FM is doing for the community will begin to impact. In my opinion, this will be a huge disservice to the community at large.
4946 I always support and donate to the RED FM radio-thons. The most recent radio-thon was held for the people affected by fire in Fort McMurray. RED FM raised close to half a million dollars.
4947 This radio station does so much for its local, national and international community and deserves to be heard without static and without interference.
4948 I used to listen to CKNW 980 before RED FM came on air. This station is crystal clear, and no matter where I am in the city or elsewhere, I have never experienced any interference in the Lower Mainland.
4949 This is how good 93.1 RED FM was when it first came on air. Over the last three or four years, the quality of the signal and receptions seems to be getting worse.
4950 This station adds a lot of value to my daily life. It provides entertainment in the form of music and talk shows. I get useful information about my health and tips from experts who are guests on air. I learn about what's happening locally in my community and issues that are affecting me and my family.
4951 I learn about traffic issues that can affect my travel routes. I learn about ways I can get involved in my community.
4952 What I’m trying to say is RED FM is a service we cannot live without. It’s a service that has built a positive relationship with the community and such as has a strong and positive reputation, a station people turn to for information and to get involved.
4953 I would like to urge CRTC please get involved and fix this problem.
4954 Thank you.
4955 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that.
4956 Commissioner MacDonald might have a few questions for you.
4957 MR. HEER: Yep.
4958 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good -- I guess we are afternoon now.
4959 MR. HEER: Yes, it is.
4960 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You say you have a transportation company with 25 drivers and that they hear a lot of complaints. Is this a trucking company? Is it a taxi company? What ---
4961 MR. HEER: It’s a trucking company.
4962 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: It’s a trucking company. Okay, so the complaints are from the actual drivers not from ---
4963 MR. HEER: Yes.
4964 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. You said that you started to notice the problem three or four years ago and that it seems to be getting worse.
4965 MR. HEER: Yes.
4966 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Is it getting worse for longer periods of the day? Is it getting worse in more areas? What’s deteriorating?
4967 MR. HEER: It’s getting worse in more areas, different areas.
4968 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
4969 And how does that impact you and your drivers? Do they just sort of grumble about the interference and wait until they drive into another area? Do they tune away from the station? Do they stop tuning in to RED FM altogether?
4970 MR. HEER: Well, there’s all sorts opinion. There’s some that would turn the radio off, some would change the station, some would turn it back on when they know the reception’s getting better. It all depends the areas they’re in.
4971 And I do the same thing myself. I’m travelling four or five hours a day and I hear this interference all over the place, like mostly in Surrey, and it gets frustrating at times so I just turn the radio off. And, like I said, in the middle of a very good conversation or a topic that I’m listening to and all of the sudden there’s nothing there, just the static, so I turn it off.
4972 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And what do your employees tell you about RED FM as the station? Are they holding this interference against them? Are they complaining about the station itself or do they -- you know, one of the individuals that was here advocating in support of RED FM’s proposal said that originally she thought that they had just installed cheap equipment and was sort of holding that against them. So what are your drivers telling you about the service?
4973 MR. HEER: My drivers’ just telling me that there’s a poor reception that’s all. They always talk about it among themselves also. It’s got nothing to do with -- they don’t know anything about the equipment. They can’t comment on any of the equipment they have got.
4974 And, as far as I know, I don’t think they’ve got bad equipment at all it’s just reception. The areas that we go to it cuts out, and there’s a lot of areas that it comes in very clear -- crystal clear. I don’t think it’s got nothing to do with the equipment they have I think it’s a signal that they got.
4975 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: If there was no interference issue, if that issue could be addressed ---
4976 MR. HEER: M’hm.
4977 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- how satisfied do you think well you as an individual or your employees would be with the overall RED FM service and their programming lineup? Do you think that would fully meet the needs of your employees or do you think there are still certain topics or radio formats that your community needs?
4978 MR. HEER: No, we will be totally satisfied if the signal comes clear. I don’t think we’ve got any other issues against any of the shows or topics.
4979 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.
4980 MR. HEER: Thank you.
4981 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for appearing. Thank you.
4982 Madame Secretary, next item please.
4983 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4984 I would now invite Mr. Suresh Sharma to come forward.
4985 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just so everybody knows where I’m heading with this, I don’t think we’ll be able to do all of Phase III before taking a lunchbreak. So we’ll hear from Mr. Sharma and the two other intervenors and then we’ll take a lunchbreak to deal with the intervenors in support of Radio India afterwards, if that’s okay.
4986 Welcome, sir. We’re listening. Please go ahead.
4987 MR. SHARMA: Good morning, sir. Good morning, everyone. My name is Suresh Kumar Sharma. I landed in Canada with my family in May 2010. Because there was no body to support us and I wanted to learn about the job market, local culture, education, et cetera, someone advised me to start listening radio. Since then, I have been listening to RED FM 93.1.
4988 Their programs are really helpful for new emigrants. Some programs like Mr. Thind’s show and the Great Debates are really full of information and different from other stations. The hosts are really knowledgeable. The way the present shows are really nice. In those shows they regularly talk about Canadian politics, the job market, young generation, women issues, current events, local culture, history, et cetera.
4989 After listening their talk show, I got answers to almost of my questions. Main thing we learn from their talk show that our family and kids are our real asset. After listening we decided that we will spend more time with our kids. My wife was a lecturer in India. We decided that my wife will spend more time with our kids. Now that our kid’s has grown up my wife has resumed her studies now she is a teacher in a school here. This is because we listened to the program on RED FM.
4990 I also listen other stations too but their programmes are mostly based on India or Pakistan, but we are living here in Canada and want to talk about local issues. Some of the programs on those stations are biased. I support RED FM because they do respect all the religions and always do broadcast related programs for a diversity of religions and cultures.
4991 Now a day’s only on a few groups are doing volunteering service without collecting any management fees. From time to time RED FM does radiothon’s. Last week, with the help of community and Red Cross, they collected $485,000 dollars for Fort McMurray. Last year they did radiothon’s for hospitals, education, the Nepal earthquake, Pakistani floods, Philippine typhoon, et cetera. And we are fully supporting and trusting them.
4992 Whenever for any good cause they request the community to help raise funds everybody gives a donation, even kids come with their piggy banks. I remember one kidney patient come to RED FM, his both kidneys has failed, he requested from RED FM platform to seek a kidney donation and one of RED FM listener donated his kidney to him, and currently both are enjoying their life.
4993 Every year they collect tonnes of food for food bank.
4994 They are also providing a platform for Canadian artist too so that they can earn a name and frame worldwide.
4995 But now a day’s at many locations there are a lot of disturbances to the RED FM signal. I’m a truck driver that’s why I know especially on 152 Street, Old Yale Road, on 128 Street, south to Highway 10 and many locations in Langley and Port Kells.
4996 I’m a common man, not a politician or big society. I’m here not for any politic or business agenda. I’m here because I learned many things from their talk shows, and I’m learning new things every day.
4997 I am requesting that you approve the application so that we can listen to the programs clearly.
4998 Thank you.
4999 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
5000 Commissioner MacDonald may have some questions for you.
5001 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you very much and thank you for highlighting some of the work that RED FM does in the community and the impact it has on people that live in the area.
5002 You mentioned some areas where you have encountered problems receiving the RED FM signal, and I’m just wondering how often when you’re out driving around are you forced to change the channel to another station because of the interference problem.
5003 MR. SHARMA: Now you have to change the channel because I told they respect all the religion. Some other station they do talk about their own community, one community only. That’s why I prefer to listen to this only the station.
5004 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. So you haven’t been -- because of the interference issue you haven’t been tuning away or trying to listen to another station or anything like that.
5005 MR. SHARMA: Like not every time there's a problem like problem in some particular locations, like I told, 152 Street between 88 to 96, mostly, on Old Yale Road, on 128 Street, after 10:00 they list out. It's all hard to listen. And more in Port Kells and Langley, there's a lot of disturbance.
5006 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: And is this disturbance issue something that, you know, your friends and neighbours have also complained about in the past?
5007 MR. SHARMA: Yeah. Personally, I feel the problem -- others listen the radio like also they're facing the problem, too.
5008 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Okay. And I guess just one final question.
5009 If you had to make a decision between fixing the interference problem or deciding to start up another station to service the market, which do you think would be more important for you, personally?
5010 MR. SHARMA: If I clear the signal, the same signal, the RED FM, then I will more happy.
5011 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Okay. Thank you very much.
5012 MR. SHARMA: Thank you, sir.
5013 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your participation. Thank you.
5014 Madam la Secrétaire?
5015 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5016 I will now invite Anita Huberman to come forward.
5017 MS. HUBERMAN: Good afternoon. My name is Anita Huberman. I'm CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, and thank you for allowing me to speak today.
5018 I'm speaking in support of the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation's application to the CRTC to amend their broadcasting licence for 93.1 RED FM by adding an FM transmitter in Surrey to address a significant reception issue that they are facing.
5019 RED FM has been a member of the Surrey Board of Trade since 2006. The level of interference in an entity that we consider to be a stakeholder in our city is affecting tens of thousands of citizens that rely on and make the choice to listen to RED FM's brand of programming for news, community support and lifestyle programming.
5020 As a not for profit, the Surrey Board of Trade supports and attracts business. That's our mandate. We are inclusive, independent and innovative in our service delivery to new and existing businesses.
5021 At the Surrey Board of Trade, we provide businesses and organizations with value, which includes economic opportunity, workplace development, education, international trade, government advocacy and business connections. The Surrey Board of Trade is the go-to place for entrepreneurial services.
5022 One-third of Surrey's population is under the age of 19. And I have to say that with this, coupled with this, and so many of our industrial and economic assets, Surrey is about economic opportunity. It will be largest city in British Columbia, we estimate, in less than 15 years.
5023 Red FM has been part of Surrey's growth, supporting charities and supporting local businesses. And they've been significant partners with the Surrey Board of Trade.
5024 With the largest industrial land base in the region, businesses from near and far are looking at Surrey as their choice to do business in. They look to profile themselves in a Surrey media entity, that is, RED FM, which has significant brand recognition in our city.
5025 Surrey is centrally located in the fast-developing Fraser Valley between the commercial hub of Vancouver. We are a border city. We have five major highways, a deep-sea docking facility, two international airports, Vancouver and Abbotsford.
5026 Surrey really stands at a critical juncture where the right decisions and investments have and will create economic opportunities for a generation and beyond. This harnesses the ability to bring in international businesses as well as local and national investment opportunities for Surrey.
5027 You know, Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
5028 And RED FM supports this vision. They support and participate in many community events.
5029 They help us in our business attraction activity. They help us in providing information related to government advocacy, government news that businesses and communities need to know to enhance our livability, to enhance our ability to work and also play in our city and in our region.
5030 So you've heard many examples of how RED FM supports our community, but again, I reiterate, through their annual radio-thon, they raised over 180 -- sorry, $820,000 in support of our Surrey Memorial Hospital. We have the most number of babies that are born in British Columbia in Surrey.
5031 They support community events. We're a city of families, which includes Canada Day, Fusion Festival, a multi-cultural event, annual charity events that focus on issues related to youth activity, trying to mitigate gang activity.
5032 Their corporate social responsibility programs enhance the livability of our city and help us, the Surrey Board of Trade, in our work to support and attract business. RED FM has a positive social and environmental impact on the communities around us.
5033 They are driven by people's interests and their philosophy is based on partnering with not-forprofits such as the Surrey Board of Trade.
5034 RED FM has an impressive track record of the high quality programming that they offer. And I am here today to support a strength in their signal and for you to approve their application that, in the public interest, to solve their signal deficiencies.
5035 It will enhance people's abilities to hear programming, whether it's news, culture, anything to do with living, working and playing in a city that we're so proud to be in, and that's Surrey, British Columbia.
5036 I'll take your questions.
5037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you very much for that. Commissioner Macdonald may have some questions.
5038 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Good afternoon. Thank you for being here.
5039 We've heard a few individuals speaking on behalf of this application, so it's nice to also get a bit more of a business perspective as well, and obviously you have a large number of members with -- as members of the Board of Trade.
5040 Among your membership, how is RED FM viewed as a corporate citizen?
5041 I mean, you've talked about some of the things they're doing out there in the community. I see the obvious benefits to the individuals in the community. But how does the corporate world in Surrey actually view them?
5042 MS. HUBERMAN: So I've been with the Surrey Board of Trade all together for 23 years, and as CEO for 10 years. And RED FM actually became a member when I first started as CEO.
5043 And I come in contact with a diverse number of industries that want to get connected to our multi-cultural business community partners.
5044 RED FM has a very good brand identity in terms of not only seguing selling their product or service on air, but also as a source of community building as a way to get connected, as a way of networking.
5045 One of the key reasons that people belong to the Board of Trade is to network and to get connected, and with RED FM's involvement with some of our events, our key events, with them being involved in community events, whether it's parades or festivals, and based upon my experience in the community, they have a very good brand recognition. Businesses want to do business with them.
5046 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: And that's a good segue to my next question because I'm wondering if, among your members, if you've heard sort of unofficially even sort of around the -- you know, the food table at one of your events that you're hosting, do you get the sense that the business community is getting frustrated due to the interference issue and are looking for alternatives to maybe move their advertising dollars to other platforms because of this interference issue?
5047 MS. HUBERMAN: I think, given the profile of RED FM and their long-standing commitment within the community, I think any interference is detrimental, not only for RED FM, but for businesses to be able to promote their product or service. You know, when you have a business and there's an interference in an ingredient in their overall recipe, it’s detrimental to both parties.
5048 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Have you heard of any of your members being forced to stop advertising on RED FM as a result or choosing to stop?
5049 MS. HUBERMAN: Nothing specifically, no.
5050 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. This could be a dangerous question to someone speaking on behalf of the Board of Trade, because of course your organization would never discourage a new business starting up in Surrey, but in your mind -- I’ve asked this to some of the individuals that have just presented on behalf of RED FM -- in your mind, is it more important to solve the interference program or try and bring more radio stations into the -- into the market?
5051 MS. HUBERMAN: Well, I think both are important. I mean it is up to the Commission to make those types of decisions. I think when you have an existing business and part of their business is being hindered by technology, I think that is something that the CRTC should be looking at.
5052 You know, we -- we’re a supporter of businesses, we attract new business into the city, the media industry is a significant job creator, so we, you know, we would never provide any limitations to new businesses within the city.
5053 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: As a supporter of RED FM and a listener of RED FM, are there particular areas of their format that you think -- or are there -- are there other topics or issues or services that RED FM is not currently providing that we may want to look to some of the other applicants to provide? Is there -- is there a hole in what they're offering to the residents and the business community in Surrey?
5054 MS. HUBERMAN: Well, I haven’t analyzed that. I mean I specifically listen to RED FM, you know, for their news, their news stories. And of course, RED FM contacts us for any quotes on lobbying activity that we may be doing. But you know, that’s what we’re interested in, is, you know, what's out there in the community, what are people concerned about, who’s phoning into their news show to talk about whatever issue that we may need to be on top of at the Board of Trade.
5055 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you very much. Those are my questions.
5056 MS. HUBERMAN: Thank you.
5057 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5058 One of the issues in part underlying some of our considerations in this hearing is the fact that businesses in the area are choosing to advertise on American stations instead of advertising on local stations that are licensed. And you may not know the history of it, but we actually have had to issue orders preventing Canadians from operating those stations because they're illegal.
5059 And in fact, the greater issue for members who may be members of the Board of Trade or people in the business community, is under Canadian law if you advertise on a non-Canadian licensed service, that advertising is not deductible in Canada.
5060 So I was wondering if you, as the Board of Trade, who of course I would think that you would support the appropriate payment of taxes in Canada and that your members should only deduct what they should be deducting from income tax purposes, have you actually gone and communicated to your members that it is actually not a good idea to be advertising on illegal U.S. services?
5061 MS. HUBERMAN: So it’s not an issue that we’ve deliberated. And in fact, I only found out that this was an issue when I arrived today, so I can certainly take it back to my Board of directors. But I think the issue also with businesses is that they're so focused on selling their product or service and in trying to find different marketing avenues, that they may not be aware of this issue either, so it’s certainly an opportunity.
5062 THE CHAIRPERSON: The decision may actually come back to bite them as you can understand, if there were audits and reassessments. And of course, some of the applicants who may be successful in this hearing would be members of your Board of Trade or potentially target members of your association. I think they would have -- they would be very interested that you not -- that you go out of your way to make sure that people are advertising through legitimate ways ---
5063 MS. HUBERMAN: M'hm.
5064 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and deductible ways ---
5065 MS. HUBERMAN: Yes.
5066 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- as opposed to foreign services.
5067 MS. HUBERMAN: They need a good accountant.
5068 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but you may have a role to inform the population. So I’m happy to hear that you will bring that to your Board of directors.
5069 Thank you. Thank you very much. Those are all our questions.
5070 Madam Secretary, despite what I said earlier we’re -- we’re going to accommodate somebody in the Radio India intervenors; is that correct?
5071 THE SECRETARY: That’s correct, Mr. Chairman.
5072 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5073 THE SECRETARY: We will hear Fiji Canada Association. Please introduce yourself and you have five minutes for your presentation.
5074 Thank you.
5075 MR. SINGH: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission. Thank you very much for accommodating me, I really appreciate that.
5076 My name is Umendra Singh, I'm the Secretary of Fiji Canada Association. I’m also the Editor of the Asian Star and Punjabi Star newspapers, which are newspapers based in Metro Vancouver.
5077 Just to give you a little bit of a background, the South Asian community is like a mosaic itself, just like the Canadian communities. It’s made up of people of Indian origin from various places, not only from India and Punjab, but other places as well such as Mauritius, Fiji and Pakistan, Bangladesh, et cetera.
5078 The Fijian community of the South Asian larger community is pretty significant. I think perhaps second only in number to the Punjabis here.
5079 And I'm going to speak very briefly about the Fijian community, the Fiji Canada Association, which is the premier organization of the Fijian people living in Metro Vancouver.
5080 I found Radio India, both as a journalist and as a member of the Fijian community, to be a vital part of our community and provides -- it provides an excellent service when they were on the air.
5081 In the last two decades their service to the South Asian community was exemplary, praiseworthy, and they always went above and beyond in helping all the people within or outside of the community as well.
5082 When on the air, Radio India was uniting the community with the Canadian society and helping them as well. Not only in terms of providing news and community event announcement, but as well doing fundraising during disasters.
5083 For example, I remember when the big tsunami hit in South Asia, Radio India was instrumental in raising about $900,000 which -- through Red Cross, which they gave through Red Cross to the victims of tsunami. I remember and was part of the fundraising when they raised 800,000 to help with earthquake victims in Pakistan. And I personally remember when they raised $250,000 for victims of cyclone in Fiji in 2010, and that money was taken to Fiji and distributed there.
5084 I'm not aware of any other radio station which has done that much fundraising for victims of natural disasters in the South Asian community.
5085 I would also like to mention, when Radio India was on air it was the only station which was providing news for the Fijian people at prime time, not at 6 a.m. in the morning or 5 a.m. in the morning as some stations do just because -- to fill up time, but at 4 to 5 p.m. in the afternoon every day, which is -- which is like prime time for radio stations and we appreciated that very much. And the community lost a big resource when Radio India went off air and there was no longer that news available to the community.
5086 As part of the Fijian community and Secretary of the Fiji Canada Association, I pledge to be a part of Radio India’s Advisory Committee. And I would -- on behalf of the Fijian community and the Association and as a journalist, I feel it’s very important to have a radio station of the stature of Radio India in our society and community.
5087 And I’ll be happy to answer any questions if you have any.
5088 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure, great, thank you.
5089 So currently -- so members of the Fijian community here in the area ---
5090 MR. SINGH: M'hm.
5091 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- where would they turn to to get news, information, content that’s relevant to them? I take it there are -- there's printed or online newspapers ---
5092 MR. SINGH: Yes, sir.
5093 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- I'm not sure if it’s online it’s still a newspaper ---
5094 MR. SINGH: Yes, sir.
5095 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- but anyhow, the news services.
5096 MR. SINGH: I would like to say they would turn to my newspaper ---
5097 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5098 MR. SINGH: --- but that newspaper comes out once a week only. And Radio India, indeed, played a very important role in providing that news.
5099 I have no idea why other stations are not taking that role and trying to fulfil that role and have a news only specifically for the Fijian community at 4:00 p.m. for 15 minutes.
5100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So -- but there's also -- I take it if it's not in the time zone -- in the time period you would like it, there are other radio stations that offer some ---
5101 MR. SINGH: Oh, there are stations offering other news, but not for the Fijian community. My point, sir, was to ---
5102 THE CHAIRPERSON: So -- but just so I understand, is there programming for the Fijian community on other radio stations currently?
5103 MR. SINGH: I am aware of one which runs a program between -- on Saturdays between 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. in the morning. I think that's RED FM.
5104 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And how about the -- I don't know, the community channel, the cable community channel. Sometimes they have programming.
5105 Is there anything relevant for ---
5106 MR. SINGH: Are you talking about radio or TV?
5107 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm now talking about television, cable television.
5108 MR. SINGH: Yes, there is a program on community channel but, you know, those TV programs are produced a week in advance.
5109 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And so you're not getting the current ---
5110 MR. SINGH: No.
5111 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- affair type programming that you're looking for ---
5112 MR. SINGH: No.
5113 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- during primetime.
5114 MR. SINGH: And no public service announcements, right, which is relevant.
5115 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what's your estimate of the size of the community that ---
5116 MR. SINGH: The Fijian community itself, I would say, would be about 180,000, if not more.
5117 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the Greater Vancouver area.
5118 MR. SINGH: Metro Vancouver.
5119 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Metro Vancouver. Okay. Great.
5120 And obviously, as you know, we have other applicants in this who will have broad service obligations. And your -- why are you more persuaded that Radio India will serve your community as opposed to some of the other applicants?
5121 MR. SINGH: Well, I'm only going by experience, sir. They have done that in the past, and they did it all the time that they were on air. And I -- since they have been off air, there has been opportunities for other stations to pick up, and they haven't.
5122 I mean, on Saturday 6:00 a.m., very few people will wake up to listen to your radio program, so, I mean, that's basically -- to me, that's just filling time, right. That's not really providing community service.
5123 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you know, one of the big challenges of an ethnic radio service that has a broad service obligation, lots of languages, lots of communities is that one is constantly mediating who gets primetime.
5124 MR. SINGH: Exactly.
5125 THE CHAIRPERSON: So how do you see your role advising on these sorts of issues?
5126 MR. SINGH: Well, I would say that the Fijian community is a significant in terms of the number of people in Metro Vancouver, so, you know, 6:00 a.m. in the morning doesn't -- is not something what they deserve.
5127 I think they deserve something more than that, perhaps, maybe 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. You know, it's not a lot of time. It's 15 minutes. And Radio India did it, so I don't see why others couldn't do it.
5128 And I have -- it's not that they can say that it's not -- nobody has approached them. I have contacted them personally and said, you know, "Why don't you give more priority to Fijian programming?" And they've listened, but they haven't done it.
5129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So you're disappointed, but you're more confident that Radio India would be able to do that.
5130 MR. SINGH: Only because they have done it in the past.
5131 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the past.
5132 MR. SINGH: And they did, as I say, raise $250,000 during the cyclone in 2010.
5133 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Excellent. Well, that's always good to give back ---
5134 MR. SINGH: Yes, exactly.
5135 THE CHAIRPERSON: So great. Thank you very much for participating in the proceeding.
5136 MR. SINGH: Thank you very much.
5137 THE CHAIRPERSON: Very much appreciated. Those are our questions.
5138 So I believe now we can take the lunch break. So we'll adjourn till 2 o'clock.
5139 We'll be back at 2 o'clock, and obviously, those folks that have to intervene in Phase IV, that will give you a little extra time to prepare.
5140 Thank you very much.
--- Upon recessing at 12:43 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 2:06 p.m.
5141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam la Secrétaire, s'il vous plait.
5142 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5143 I will now invite Mamta Foundation of Canada to come forward.
5144 Please introduce yourself, and you will have five minutes for your presentation.
5145 Thank you.
5146 MR. SINGH DEO: Thank you very much, Mr. Commissioner and all the staff members for giving me opportunity to speak on behalf of the Mamta Foundation for the application for the Radio India applicant, Sharon Gill.
5147 My name is Preet Singh Deo, and I am living in Surrey since 2009. I used to live in Prince George, and we never had any ethnic languages radio programs there. And I started listening from here Punjabi and Hindi programs over the different radio stations. And it was very helpful and useful to our young generation, our children.
5148 And my kids were born, grown up in Prince George, and they never used to speak or understand any other language than English. And since in 2010, they came here -- we all moved here, and now they have started speaking and understanding some Punjabi and Hindi and Urdu languages. And I think the Radio India have played a major role, and just like some other stations.
5149 The reason the behalf of the Mamta Foundation, I'm the Board of Director of that organization. This one is non-political. It's a non-profitable society, and established in Canada and helps to all over the world.
5150 The aim and purposes of the society is supporting the moral, social, cultural, economic uplift of orphans, unwanted, abandoned and the poor children around the world. The fight against the female feticide and the gender selective abortions. Stand for the gender equality and the women's empowerment. Support the poor, helpless, seniors, disabled persons, and the people affected by the natural disasters, wars around the world.
5151 And basically, this foundation helps the needy people. And through the Radio India, have helped in the past years to help those, the people need help in that kind of areas.
5152 The reason I like to support the Sharon Gill, I see comparing with the other applicants, Sharon Gill, I think, Canadian born, and that was probably the only applicant Canadian born, than the other radio station owners. And she -- I believe she can bring the different prospective thinking for our generation and our children who born and raised in this country rather than other radio stations I have heard.
5153 Mostly, they focus on all the issues arises from India and focused on India or other South Asian countries. And I'll give you a couple of examples.
5154 And I've been involved in the politics and aware the politics, what's going on in the lower mainland and throughout B.C. and that affects our community.
5155 Two issues I wanted to brought it up since 1984, the issue arise in India, the people wanted to have a separate country back in India called Akalistan.
5156 And then the second issue came in 1990s, 1997 and 1998, the tables and chairs issue came out. And that issues have divided the community, Indian community, in whole lower mainland. There was a lot of violence in the temples, lot of problems.
5157 And I think those -- some of the radios -- I don't want to mention the name. They didn't help to bring the peace and harmony. Actually, they created divisions because they took the stand and took the side of some of the issues, some of it against and some in favour of them.
5158 So I think what we needed in our community, the candidate like Sharon Gill, I believe she probably have a different thinking because she's born here, raised here, and she understand and she will probably acting, producing and creating the programs for our new generation to little bit distance herself from the issues come from -- from India. The -- probably she will be focussing more issues and the concerns -- what it concerns to us and to our community.
5159 That is the reason I’m endorsing that Radio India applications and I think that this is all I have to say.
5160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that and we have your presentation as well in front of us. Have you had to -- have you had the occasion or your foundation, more specifically, have you had the occasion of dealing with other radio operators in the region to partner with them, to get public service announcements, to view how they interact with foundations such as your own?
5161 MR. SINGH DEO: This particular foundation, yes. They were -- we did have cooperation, you know, from other radio station too.
5162 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you believe that this particular applicant could do a very good job or a better job than others? Because as you know in this hearing, we’ve got other applications, other folks that want to serve the Greater Vancouver area, or even specifically Surrey, that I would think also want to serve the community and therefore you could partner with them. If we were to go down the road of licensing others, do you think you could work with other players as well?
5163 MR. SINGH DEO: Yeah, well, I don’t think this foundation will have a problem to work with the -- any other radio station or organizations. But I think the Radio India in the past it was kind of more open towards to those issues what our Mamta Foundation represents. Because Radio India was a kind of little more open with the issues. And some of the radio stations, they were just focussing on one province, one religion and one race. And when it comes to -- because there’s a large community. In India there is 200 million Muslims living in India. There are 30 million Christians. And the same, you know, lot of background from Fiji from India. They all living here. And I think Radio India represented the whole community, like every race, you know, Muslim, Sikhs, and not only the Punjabis. And ---
5164 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So based on your experience, you think they’re in the best position to mediate in a balanced way --
5165 MR. SINGH DEO: Yes.
5166 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- that very broad diversity that’s in the community.
5167 MR. SINGH DEO: Yes.
5168 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you don’t expect any problems down the road from them making sure that there’s balance on public concerns? Because I think -- I take it from your perspective, it’s important that radio keeps -- neutral’s probably the wrong word, but a balanced approach to its content.
5169 MR. SINGH DEO: Yeah, the past performance and experience what I have with the Radio India, I think it was pretty positive. And the balance when it comes to the some serious related issues to the India or like some -- in India, elections are being fought -- Indian elections are being fought in Canada in Lower Mainland. And I don’t think that the new generation or our Canadian kids wanted to hear anything about the Indian politics here over the radios. But some of the radio station, all they write from the morning to end of the day, all they discuss about the India politics. And nothing -- something close, seriously and closest to our Canadian generation or our children, you know, they’re born and raised here.
5170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And your experience with this group goes back to the days when they were operating the illegal undertaking that got -- that we had to close down?
5171 MR. SINGH DEO: I’m sorry. What was question?
5172 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you dealt with Radio India before it was shut down for its illegal operations?
5173 MR. SINGH DEO: I dealt and I listened to Radio India since 2010, yes.
5174 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
5175 MR. SINGH DEO: And I am aware of that, yes.
5176 THE CHAIRPERSON DEO: Yeah, okay. So this goes back to when they were running something that wasn’t quite --
5177 MR. SINGH DEO: Yeah.
5178 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- authorized.
5179 MR. SINGH DEO: Yes.
5180 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. Okay. So that’s your experience?
5181 MR. SINGH DEO: Yes, my -- that’s my experience, yes.
5182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good.
5183 Well, thank you very much. Those are our questions.
5184 MR. SINGH DEO: Well, thank you very much.
5185 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5186 Madame la secrétaire.
5187 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5188 I will now invite Vedic Hindu Cultural Society of British Columbia to come forward.
5189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whatever chair you feel comfortable with.
5190 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5191 Please introduce yourself and you have five minutes for your presentation.
5192 MR. GOEL:Mr. Chairperson, my name is ---
5193 THE SECRETARY: Please. Yes.
5194 THE CHAIRPERSON: Microphone there’s a button. That little -- right there. So ---
5195 MR. GOEL: Sorry.
5196 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perfect.
5197 MR. GOEL: Mr. Chairperson, my name is Parshotam Goel. I am the concerned member of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society and one of the founding member of the society which had been founded about 25 years before. And presently it holds Surrey, largest Hindu temple in Western Canada. And since last 25 years it is in existence and operating, serving with the almost more than 25,000 Hindu community in Surrey and surrounding areas.
5198 And my submission is that the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society fully endorse Ms. Sharon Gill, President of Radio India Limited application, to obtain radio licence to serve the Greater Vancouver area.
5199 Radio India Limited has been an integral part of our community. And when they were broadcasting over the airwaves they were providing an outstanding service to our community.
5200 Since last two decades of the service the South Asian Community is praiseworthy and went above and beyond helping people within and outside the community. Not only did Radio India bridge a gap between the people and mainstream society, they did so with honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, they were forced off the air in late 2014 and this impacted our community greatly.
5201 Now that Ms. Sharon Gill has acquired Radio India and now runs Radio India, the time has come for to provide its outstanding services over the Canadians airwaves and contributing to Canadian
5202 talent, while providing an important service to many South Asian and ethnic community of the Vancouver area.
5203 That’s my submission. I feel strongly about it.
5204 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And you say “unfortunately they were forced off the air.” Do you feel that it’s unfortunate when people who drive through red lights or don’t stop at stop signs? Is that unfortunate as well?
5205 MR. GOEL: No, I -- not from that angle. I am saying that unfortunately -- unfortunately from the point of view that there -- yes, that’s from the administration point of view that it should have been better that if it is under CRTC control. But unfortunately, that service has been missing to the community. I am offering from that point of view.
5206 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see. And have you had the chance to deal with other radio operators that are currently licensed in the area?
5207 MR. GOEL: Yes. Yes, we had.
5208 THE CHAIRPERSON: And were -- are you happy with the sort of partnerships and exchanges you have with current radio operators?
5209 MR. GOEL: We have, but the way I felt in the past Radio India with the firm fairness and they have dealt with the community issues, I think that is -- I feel it is missing for the -- one angle is missing out of the --
5210 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5211 MR. GOEL: -- from the point of view.
5212 THE CHAIRPERSON: As you know in this hearing, and you may not have had the chance to follow it all from beginning to end, there are other applicants that want to serve the Greater Vancouver area with ethnic programming and particularly the Surrey area. In the end there may be other parties that will be successful. Maybe it could be Radio India, but it could also be others. Are -- do you feel that -- why do you feel that Radio India is the best solution?
5213 MR. GOEL: Because I feel that Sharon Gill it’s a Canadian born as the previous head so and that will give a dimension to the -- and to the management, which have a different vision to deal with the issue in Canadian perspective. That will be a big achievement I would say.
5214 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So you feel that the fact that she was Canadian born helps. But if -- but other applicants may have had that -- may have had that background as well.
5215 MR. GOEL: That could be possible.
5216 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5217 MR. GOEL: Yeah.
5218 THE CHAIRPERSON: So but your experience is with her and her team?
5219 MR. GOEL: Yes. Right. I do.
5220 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you’re speaking to that?
5221 MR. GOEL: Yes, please.
5222 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good.
5223 MR. GOEL: Thank you.
5224 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
5225 MR. GOEL: Thanks. Okay.
5226 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please, next applicant.
5227 THE SECRETARY: Sorry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5228 I will now ---
5229 THE CHAIRPERSON: I thought it went without saying, but go ahead.
5230 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5231 I will now invite Pakistan Canada Association to come forward.
5232 Please introduce yourself and you have five minutes. Thank you.
5233 MR. BAJWA: Mr. President and Commissioners of the CRTC, my name is Liaqat Ali Bajwa. I’m a past president of -- and public relation officer of Parks and Canada Association.
5234 I'm here today on behalf of Mr. Haroon Khan as he is tied up in important business meeting in Ottawa and I am also here today in my name and representing the Pakistan Canada Association.
5235 Through the years we have enjoyed not only the music and programming information of Radio India, but Radio India was always available for the Pakistani community. We lost Radio India's valuable service in late 2014 due to a CRTC mandatory order.
5236 Although, Radio India is still broadcasting via the internet, this service is very restricted because to hear it you always need either a computer or a smart phone hook up to the internet via a reliable connection. There are limits to the number of listeners that the station can reach in a given time. Also, it is severely limited in cars where the Radio India service is missed especially during drive time.
5237 As Radio India was providing us with a unique community off the air radio service, Radio India always stood high with our community. Their radio programs have been very informative and entertaining.
5238 Radio India has also tackled serious issues that affected our community at large, whether it's against female infanticide, domestic violence and drugs for the betterment of our communities and for the information and insight to its listeners.
5239 Radio India has always been instrumental in Raising Funds for the Cancer Society, Haiti earthquake and flood relief funds around the world.
5240 Radio India has always lent a helping hand to our community with public service announcements of which we are deeply appreciative. We at the Pakistan Canada Association, including myself, strongly wish that now that Ms. Sharon Gill is the owner, the CRTC will approve her application for Surrey and Vancouver, so that Radio India Ltd. can resume their excellent service to the Pakistani Community as well as the South Asian community at large.
5241 We understand the Commission is considering other South Asian applications. Our position is that should the CRTC approve other applications it is of strong importance that the CRTC approves the Radio India Ltd.'s applications.
5242 And I pledge to be a part of Radio India's advisory committee.
5243 Thank you.
5244 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much.
5245 Perhaps I will start with that last point, and I have asked others about the particular challenge of the broad service obligation of ethnic broadcasting and that you have to serve, you know, many languages, many cultural groups and they all want to be during the primetime when people are listening to the radio and they don't like being on a Saturday or at night.
5246 So how do you think you will play a role to ensure that everybody feels that this service properly reflects the needs of the community?
5247 MR. BAJWA: During our past experiences very, very useful for us and the other communities, I think whenever we tried to contact them previously and there they were a phone call away. Easier said, though, you don't have to leave a message. You don't have to go through different or talk to this one first, this one first. Radio India was you had a direct connection and one phone call away. You can talk to them and they will -- especially public service announcements they never think as a commercial basis. They were providing this service free of charge all the time.
5248 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are -- although you have dealt with other media outlets, other radio stations, you find them more responsive?
5249 MR. BAJWA: No, they are helping other communities. I am not saying they are not doing a better job for our community and other communities. But of course, Radio India is the best to provide this service compared to them.
5250 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Do you currently listen to the -- you mentioned in your presentation that they currently are broadcast via the Internet. Do you listen to their current service on the Internet?
5251 MR. BAJWA: No; hardly. Actually, I am building houses within detail. I happen to be a couple of times, yes.
5252 THE CHAIRPERSON: So when you are in a place where there is a fixed Internet connection?
5253 MR. BAJWA: Yeah, at home. Yeah.
5254 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Are you aware that more and more auto -- because a lot of people listen to radio in their automobiles now, and we've heard that in this hearing that more and more cars are being equipped with the potential of connecting directly in the car to Internet services and that these connected cars will now have access basically to all the radio services of the world?
5255 MR. BAJWA: No, I don't know.
5256 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are not aware of that?
5257 MR. BAJWA: I don't know.
5258 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you don't see yourself listening to Internet radio in your car and just receive literature?
5259 MR. BAJWA: No, just easy -- everybody in our kind of age it is easy to turn on the radio, AM or FM just right away.
5260 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, so that you find that more convenient for you?
5261 MR. BAJWA: Yeah.
5262 THE CHAIRPERSON: Either being on AM or FM radio as opposed to Internet-based radio systems?
5263 MR. BAJWA: Yes.
5264 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I understand. Okay, thank you very much.
5265 MR. BAJWA: Thank you.
5266 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Madam Secretary, the next presenter, please.
THE SECRETARY: Thank you. I will now invite Khalsa Diwan Society of Surrey to come forward.
--- (SHORT PAUSE)
5267 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself and you have five minutes. Thank you. Can you push the button on your mike, please?
5268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just yeah, okay. Good, we have the mike on. Thank you very much.
5269 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: I am here to represent the Khalsa Diwan Society of Surrey, and also myself and as well as in the name of the society we wish to give our highest -- recommending to support Sharon Gill, Radio India Ltd., in her effort to obtain the privilege of a broadcasting license to serve our people in the Surrey and Vancouver area.
5270 In the past Ms. Gill's father of Mr. Maninder Gill, through Radio India 2003, had provided an excellent service via United States Radio AM 16.
5271 As this was provided by the Radio India 2003 for over 15 years, Radio India assured to serve the community and by organizing fundraising for various causes such as earthquakes, flood forecasts (sic), fire, et cetera.
5272 Radio India does public service community -- Radio India always stands high with community issues. Now that we are -- Ms. Sharon Gill is in charge of Radio India Ltd.; is there ready, willing and able, and I and the Khalsa Diwan Society of Surrey strongly believe that it is of great public interest that Radio India Ltd. under the ownership of Ms. Gill, a young, able and willing -- be awarded the radio license that they are applying for.
5273 Thank you.
5274 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I don't have a lot of questions but maybe you can help us understand exactly what your society does and what implication it has in the community?
5275 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: That we are -- the Khalsa Diwan Society is like Sikh temples.
5276 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5277 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: And we provide like, you know, free service, food and extra.
5278 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are a community-based religious ---
5279 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: Community based.
5280 THE CHAIRPERSON: But very present in the Surrey area?
5281 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: Yeah. Yeah, present in Surrey.
5282 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the Surrey area. Okay, that's very helpful. Thank you.
5283 And you have -- and you have had -- you have confidence in Ms. Gill's ability to deliver on the service she is applying for?
5284 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: Yes, sir.
5285 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, based on your experience with her and her father and service they used to operate in the past?
5286 MR. BALWANT SINGH GILL: Yes, sir.
5287 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, great. Thank you.
5288 Well, thank you very much for having appeared before us.
5289 So Madam Secretary?
5290 THE SECRETARY: I will now invite Dhaval Kumar Patel to come forward.
5291 MR. PATEL: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help support Radio India today.
5292 My name is Dhaval Kumar Patel. I’m a resident of Port Moody, BC. I wish to bring to your attention the humanitarian and compassionate service provided by Radio India for my medical treatment due to the reason I did not have any government coverage for my care and I needed care and money badly.
5293 I was suffering from eye cancer and all my resources for obtaining funds were exhausted. Then I came to Radio India and they helped me with the money which they never asked me to pay back. I got my treatment done and my life is now saved thanks to the humanity of the people at Radio India.
5294 I strongly request to you to approve the Radio India Limited’s request for a licence so they can resume their fantastic community involvement. Radio India is not just about business and money but it’s also about helping human beings like me.
5295 Radio India has always come forward in the past. I am convinced that Ms. Sharon Gill, Mr. Gill's daughter, is sincere and was actually one of the first people that I talked to at Radio India at the time. So I am positive Ms. Gill will carry on Radio India’s humanitarian and compassionate service. Please give her a licence that she rightly deserves.
5296 In the past other radio stations had the same opportunity but they never came forward to help me out. Radio India was the only one that was with me from the day one until today.
5297 Lastly, I pledge to be a part of the Radio India community advisory committee.
5298 Thank you.
5299 THE CHAIRPERSON: I trust that your health is well now?
5300 MR. PATEL: Yes, I’m all well now, yes.
5301 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s good to hear.
5302 And, you know, a lot of radio stations get involved in the way you’ve mentioned of helping community groups raising -- we’ve heard it from others.
5303 MS. PATEL: Right.
5304 THE CHAIRPERSON: And obviously you have a close personal link through your story to Radio India.
5305 But one could argue -- and maybe -- and feel free to disagree -- that every radio station to one degree or another tries to connect in a real way with their community. So why do you think Radio India is in a particular position?
5306 MR. PATEL: At my time there was the opportunity for everyone to come forward but only one radio came out that was Radio India.
5307 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5308 MR. PATEL: There was few other Indian radios that nobody came forward.
5309 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So in terms of giving back to the community in the way you testified to today that’s one thing, but beyond that, in terms of the actual radio service, do you have views as to the need in the community for the Radio India various applications for serving the community?
5310 MR. PATEL: Yes.
5311 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what do you think is missing currently by the incumbents that they will provide?
5312 MR. PATEL: Like a people like me who need a help I think they will support better than any other radio station will.
5313 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And what do you -- what radio services do you listen to currently?
5314 MR. PATEL: I usually use more of the sports radios, like Team 1040 and all that.
5315 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5316 MR. PATEL: But I also listen to Indian radios especially for the music.
5317 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And is it your view that you aren’t currently well-served in the community?
5318 MR. PATEL: I don’t see many cases like me in the radio anymore like past -- like when my case came forward they were there for me and I never see any cases. I only see the big news like the worldwide news but I don’t see local news that the single person they’re helping.
5319 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And, in your view, that’s what’s missing in the market?
5320 MR. PATEL: Yes.
5321 THE CHAIRPERSON: What would you say if indeed -- and I know they’ve made an application, but other folks have -- are also applying for licenses. Is it your view that they won’t be as present in the community?
5322 MR. PATEL: I don’t have that much experience about them. But like, as I said, Radio India I know they will support us because I know them personally, and anyone who goes to them they’re ready to help them out anyone.
5323 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see. And you’re a big fan?
5324 MR. PATEL: Yes.
5325 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good.
5326 Well, I’m pleased to hear that your health is doing better and thank you for appearing at the hearing.
5327 MR. PATEL: Thank you again for giving me your time today.
5328 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
5329 Madame la secrétaire?
5330 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5331 This completes Phase 3 for Items 1 to 8 on the agenda. We will now proceed with Phase 4, in which applicants can reply to all interventions submitted on their applications. Applicants appear in reverse order. We will begin with Radio India Limited.
5332 Please reintroduce yourself for the record and then you will have 10 minutes.
5333 Thank you.
5334 MS. GILL: Good afternoon. I’m Sharon Gill. I’m the President of Radio India. This is Mr. Michel Mathieu. He’s my consultant. And that’s Mr. Kerry Pelser. He’s our engineer.
5335 MR. MATHIEU: We’re going to be very brief. This is just a precision to the Commission.
5336 As you know, our Vancouver application is on 106.9. We are asking for two different FM frequencies.
5337 What Mr. Pelser will say to you is simple. We are going to get -- we are getting maps made to show you clearly the contours of each frequency to better provide for you the tools to assess both our applications.
5338 MR. PELSER: Yes, as discussed during the presentation yesterday, we promised that we would prepare a map showing both the 106.9 contours for the Vancouver station and the 89.3 contours for the preferred Surrey station.
5339 So we have prepared a map. I think it will be of assistance to the Commission in assessing the application. And to fulfil our promise yesterday, we’ll be submitting that map.
5340 MR. MATHIEU: We thank you and we’ll be back shortly.
5341 THE CHAIRPERSON: For the other item.
5342 Perhaps I’ll ask you one question however concerning Chinese language programming. One intervenor raised the fact that they’re concerned that your programming might affect the Chinese market, and other applicants have accepted that they may not be doing Chinese language programming. It’s my understanding that you disagree with that, you don’t think it’s warranted.
5343 MR. MATHIEU: Well, okay, there’s a company, Fairchild I believe -- and I was going to answer that later but I’ll answer it now. They were concerned that we could do Chinese programming. They wanted us and any applicant to have a condition of licence. We don’t have any plans. I guess Ms. Sharon could confirm that.
5344 MS. GILL: No, we don’t have any concept.
5345 MR. MATHIEU: We don’t have any plans but we’re asking the question why would we need such a condition of licence when we’re a South Asian station.
5346 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5347 MR. MATHIEU: But if the Commission so wish to have a condition of licence then we’ll accept it.
5348 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And that answer is valid for all three of the applications you have in front of us?
5349 MR. MATHIEU: Exactly, yeah.
5350 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes?
5351 MS. GILL: Yes.
5352 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good. Thank you very much.
5353 MR. MATHIEU: Okay, sir. We’ll see you later.
5354 THE CHAIRPERSON: No other questions from us right now so thank you. Thank you.
5355 Madame la secrétaire?
5356 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5357 I would now ask Ravinder Singh Pannu on behalf of a Corporation to be Incorporated to come forward.
5358 Please reintroduce yourselves for the record and you will then have 10 minutes.
5359 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
5360 MR. PANNU: I’m Ravinder Singh Pannu and my side Brigadier Nawab Singh Heer.
5361 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Commissioner. I’m Ravinder Singh Pannu. I take this opportunity to thank the Commissioners and the entire staff for our patience hearing.
5362 We take this opportunity to thank 730-plus individuals who extended their support to us by posting intervention at CRTC website. We also acknowledge this both extended by almost 800-plus individuals from Surrey who signed their support to us.
5363 I would also like to make a special note and thank the 137-plus business of Surrey who have formally supported us in ink, in writing, reflecting their profound support of the community in the letter and spirit.
5364 Thank you very much.
5365 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You may have heard my exchange with the previous group about Chinese language programming. From what I can see, you haven’t responded one way or another on Fairchild’s point that they would like you not to do Chinese language programming on your proposed service. And I was wondering what your position on that would be?
5366 MR. PANNU: We won't have any Chinese programming, so I realized those station would understand if I haven’t any scheduled program in my application. So they should understand I will not be running any Chinese programming in the near future or as long as that station is existing.
5367 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But since it’s not part of your plan, would you agree to abide by condition of licence that that would prevent you from doing so?
5368 MR. PANNU: Yes, sir.
5369 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I appreciate that, thank you.
5370 MR. PANNU: Thank you.
5371 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are our questions, I believe? Yes.
5372 So thank you very much.
5373 MR. PANNU: Thank you.
5374 THE CHAIRPERSON: It’s becomes shorter and shorter as you get to Phase 4. So thank you.
5375 Madame la Secrétaire.
5376 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5377 I will now invite Akash Broadcasting Inc. to come forward.
5378 Please re-introduce yourselves and you will then have 10 minutes.
5379 Thank you.
5380 MR. SAINI: Mr. Chairman and Commission, for the record, my name is Tejinderpaul Singh Saini. To my right is Rahul Chopra in charge of our finances; and to this right is Jagtaran Singh, our legal counsel at McCarthy Tétrault. To my left is Andrew Forsyth, our broadcasting consultant; and to this left is Kerry Pelser from our technical engineer from D.E.M. Allen.
5381 At the Phase 2 of the hearing yesterday, we heard Ms. Manjot Pannu speaking on behalf of Mr. Ravinder Pannu. Ms. Pannu urged the applicants to be conscious of the dangers of optimism in business and in their CCD contributions. We thank you, Ms. Pannu, for her counsel.
5382 With respect, the Akash Broadcasting team is compromised (sic) of and supported by extremely successful business people who have been investing deeply in Surrey’s cultural and arts and sports community for several years already.
5383 Unlike the Pannus, it will appear that we are confident in the return of our investment in the Surrey community. Indeed, the Akash team would urge the Pannus to have a little more faith and incorporate a little more optimism in their own CCD contribution, especially since Mr. Pannu was able to accrue $600,000 in revenue in first year of his tourist service.
5384 RED FM noted for the Commission that on October 15th, 2014 Mr. Maninder Gill appearing before the Commission stated that his unregulated radio station never made less than $2 million. RED FM also noted that Mr. Ravinder Pannu claiming in his filing of the new licence that he had over $600,000 in revenue from his tourist service.
5385 We have already noted in our application that our market research clearly indicates that there is not nearly enough advertising inventory in Surrey. And we are certainly not alone in this assessment.
5386 Indeed, if Mr. Gill and Mr. Pannu are able to accrue this level of revenue by operating non-compliant station, we have confidence that in market -- that the market will be able to handle at least one, if not two more ethnic radio stations, which can compete with and fight and win the fight against the current non-compliant stations in the Surrey market for the following reasons at the very best: as we heard on Monday from Sher-E-Punjab, the current cross-border stations operate on low-quality air frequencies compared to the quality FM -- the quality available on FM, which we have applied for; the cross-border stations do not afford advertisers the ability to write-off the advertising as a business expense for tax purposes; and finally, advertisers inherently want to buy local and want to support their own local community as opposed to sending their business across the border.
5387 MR. FORSYTH: RED FM has argued that an apples to apples approach is necessary in comparing coverage of the 89.3 and 89.1 FM frequencies.
5388 Akash Broadcasting couldn’t agree more, so let’s take it to the core. We would wish to compare the map that was provided by RED FM in Phase 2 of these interventions and provide the Commission with two new maps to compare with that.
5389 And Mr. Chairman, I’m advised I have to ask your permission to introduce this evidence.
5390 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just -- we’ll open a parenthesis, it won't count against your time, but why -- we’ll probably won’t rule on it now, but we’ll take it under advisement. But so -- maybe you can give us the reasons why you weren’t able to provide this earlier.
5391 MR. FORSYTH: Because we only received this information that RED FM supplied in Phase 2.
5392 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And it’s based on information that was otherwise -- you're able to bring together because some of the other maps were on the record already?
5393 MR. FORSYTH: That is correct, sir.
5394 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, good, thank you. Go ahead.
5395 MR. FORSYTH: Thank you very much.
5396 In the map provided by RED FM during the Phase 2 interventions yesterday, it would appear that 89.1 has absolutely no interference, while to the casual observer 89.3 encounters significant interference.
5397 To be very clear, the contour maps and attendant population information are in the kindest terms misleading. We immediately requested D.M.E. Allen review the maps submitted by CKYE yesterday.
5398 Kerry, what are your observations?
5399 MR. PELSER: RED FM builds its argument on co-channel interference wholly to the exclusion of the accepted practice, which would include adjacent channel interference as well. Fruit-based analogies aside, the initial observation is an apples to oranges comparison. The depiction of the 89.3 contours demonstrates the co-channel interference as filed with ISED. The contours for 89.1 are not showing adjacent channel interference from CBUX-FM-1 Victoria, and KUGS-FM in Bellingham.
5400 Disclosure of 89.1’s adjacent interference indicates this channel does not cover the southern half of Surrey or the northern portion of White Rock, as RED FM alluded to in its comparative map filed with the Commission yesterday.
5401 The argument put forth by RED FM does not take into account the adjacent channel interference projected for 89.1. When these factors are taken into account, 89.1 does not in fact cover any area south of Colebrook.
5402 The maximum interference three millivolt per metre contour population estimate provided by DEMA for 89.3 is 395,000 persons. The population provided by RED FM yesterday indicates 226,000 persons for 89.3.
5403 To hopefully clarify the situation, we are submitting a map “Coverage with Existing Interference Comparison” showing the interference areas for both frequencies. When the interference area for the 89.1 frequency is shown, it becomes apparent that 89.1 is also subject to interference in the southern portion of Surrey.
5404 The interference eliminates the 89.1 frequency from coverage in areas from Colebrook through Cloverdale and Langley to the east. The three millivolt per metre contour for 89.3 encloses more of the core of Surrey, including Johnson Heights and Guilford, which are not covered by 89.1.
5405 I believe this map would indicate that when truly comparing contours on an apple to apple basis, 89.3 FM offers greater coverage than 89.1.
5406 MR. FORSYTH: RED FM revealed for the first time a population estimate for 89.1 at 226,000 persons, a number which is unverifiable as it would not appear that the population estimates were ever filed for 89.1 in its original application. Nor were we able to find RED FM’s future interference projections as would normally be filed with ISED.
5407 The map that Mr. Pelser has shown us today confirms that the population of 395,000 people in the three millivolt contour is valid for 89.3.
5408 We have also included a comparative map showing the future interference contours. This is the standard required by ISED to assess maximum future usage of a frequency.
5409 It should be noted that, under these parameters, the population coverage for the three millivolt contour for 89.3 is unaffected and remains at 395,000 people. However, the same value for 89.1 is 259,247 people.
5410 A full coverage 98.3 delivers 2,000 more people than 89.1. This would lead us to confirm the statement that 89.3 is better use of the frequency, as we noted in our submissions before the Commission yesterday.
5411 I would just like to take on moment on behalf of the Akash team to thank those supporters who had their interventions -- positive interventions filed on the Commission's web site and for those that didn't quite make it through that process, but we want to thank all of those supporters. And we also want to thank the Commission for the time today.
5412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
5413 You're raising factual issues that we'll have to balance off down the road, so for myself -- I don't know if my colleagues have questions.
5414 No. So thank you very much. That's very complete. Thank you.
5415 MR. FORSYTH: Thank you, sir. Have a good day.
5416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
5417 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5418 I will now invite Radio India Ltd. to come forward.
5419 Please re-introduce yourself, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
5420 MS. SHARON GILL: Hi. Good afternoon. I'm Sharon Gill. I'm the President of Radio.
5421 This is to my left -- I mean to my right is Michel Mathieu, my consultant, and again that's Mr. Kerry Pelser and that's Nandini Aggarwal, Sukhjit Mangat and Devinder Benipal.
5422 MR. MATHIEU: As you heard from Mr. Kerry Pelser, we would like to be allowed to make a short presentation.
5423 Something came up. I would like Mr. Benipal to address you, and we have some audio for you.
5424 MR. BENIPAL: Hi. My name is Devinder Benipal.
5425 I want to tell you something about RED FM signal. RED FM told the Commission their signal is not that good in most of the areas like 144 and 68A Avenue, but we have recording those particular areas which RED FM mentioned we can submit to the Commission if required.
5426 It was clear. We listened and recorded it in 2015 Range Rover last night around 9:30 p.m.
5427 I would like to request the Commission to allow us to view audio and video clips.
5428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Play it, but we're going to take it under advisement. It's a bit late in the process for new evidence, but I understand. But we'll weigh the evidence and decide whether we'll accept it. But go ahead.
5429 MR. BENIPAL: Thank you.
5430 MR. MATHIEU: Let's hear the presentation, please.
5431 --- (AUDIO PRESENTATION)
5432 MR. MATHIEU: Okay. So I guess we go back because we have 10 minutes, and we've got many things, so if you wish to -- okay.
5433 As you can hear, there's no interference. It was done last night by this gentleman.
5434 I will let Mr. Pelser briefly comment, and then we'll go on to the rest.
5435 MR. PELSER: The map filed by South Asian Broadcasting Corporation during the Phase II interventions yesterday shows -- purports to show an apples to apples comparison of the 89.1 and 89.3 frequencies being considered at this hearing.
5436 The map submitted to the Commission by RED FM during Phase 2 shows only the co-channel interference to 89.3, but leaves out the first adjacent channel interference that would be received by the proposed 89.1 station.
5437 We would request to submit maps showing existing and future interference areas for both stations. These maps show both the co-channel and first adjacent channel interference as per the standard practice of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, formerly Industry Canada.
5438 When the interference area for 89.1 frequency is considered, it becomes apparent that 89.1 is also subject to considerable interference.
5439 MR. MATHIEU: Okay. At the moment, I'd like to continue with written intervention we received.
5440 The British Columbia Association of Broadcaster submits that licensing any new service, ethnic or mainstream, would be premature.
5441 We at Radio India Ltd. are convinced that the South Asian market in Surrey-Vancouver is booming and that there is definitely room for other services, including ours.
5442 To CKYE FM, RED FM, given the cross-border and low power tourist that you're going to deal with later, we feel that the revenues -- we can repatriate many revenues from the U.S. broadcasters. There will be a comment by Ms. Gill about that. And providing a good FM stereo signal, that will not be an issue.
5443 As far as Sher-E -- well, I guess I'll let Sharon say her thing, and we'll come back with Sher-E-Punjab later.
5444 MS. SHARON GILL: To answer IT Productions' intervention, again, I have commented on the cross-border and the low power broadcasting issues. Given the cross-border broadcasting issues, it is clear that the need for a new service or new services is demonstrated.
5445 As for Pulse 107.7 FM, they mainly broadcast in English and their programming is not focused on purely ethnic South Asians.
5446 For Radio India Ltd., this is not in the way of licensing a new or new South Asian services to the Vancouver-Surrey market.
5447 Also, I.T. Productions claims that they continuously face economic challenges with competitors, also mention that a crisis would be created by licensing too many new ethnic stations.
5448 The only crisis is in I.T. Productions' programming and outreach within the community. Again, as I've said before, I'm the President of Radio India Ltd. and I'm in acquisition mode, so let's talk.
5449 Furthermore, in respect to I.T. Productions, they also made a statement that some applicants in these -- I quote, "That some applicants in these proceedings" -- again, to clarify, I pledge that Radio India Ltd. is not Radio India 2003. I personally was never involved in cross-border broadcasting or dealings.
5450 I'm a young entrepreneur that wishes to enter into the on-the-air broadcasting business.
5451 And in answer to the CRTC issue with cross-border operations, if you license a Canadian South Asian service broadcasting in FM with a strong signal into Surrey as well as Vancouver, this will make it very difficult for the cross-border operations to continue.
5452 And I can provide you with an example. When my father was leasing AM 1600, he would pay over $1 million in lease to the U.S. station. And that -- and I’m -- again, Media Waves, the current party that's leasing the service now, is probably paying something similar, in that range, and ---
5453 MR. MATHIEU: Around 65,000 U.S. a month, over $1 million Canadian per year.
5454 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes. And it would be very difficult for them to continue operations if new licences are awarded.
5455 MR. MATHIEU: So as for Sher-E-Punjab, their intervention towards our application is focused on our proposed languages and groups. However, as they state, they have only looked at the Surrey application. We also filed a Vancouver application.
5456 To their statement, we see a lack of credibility. Radio India Ltd. answers are as follows.
5457 We believe that the intervener misunderstood that facts contained in our application, language versus groups. I'd like Sukhjit to more focus on this.
5458 MS. MANGAT: Thank you, Mike.
5459 The Commission will note that Punjabi is a widely spoken language, mainly in parts of India and Pakistan. There are no different Punjabi languages. You find only a slight difference in the dialogue, for example, French from France and to French in Canada, especially Quebec.
5460 So there is no need to separate the two different categories. In the end, both groups understand each other.
5461 The Punjabi language: Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by 102 million of native speakers worldwide, making it the tenth most widely spoken language in the world. It is the native language of the Punjabi people who inhibit the historical Punjab region of Pakistan and India.
5462 As far as Gujarat is concerned, this is a typing error. It should read Gujaratis as Indian Gujaratis.
5463 Thank you.
5464 MR. MATHIEU: We thank you. I am convinced you understand you have a team here added by Ms. Sharon Gill. She is young, willing, able, and capable. We're experienced. We're dealing with her. We'll support her all the way.
5465 You have a group here that will bring not a change but a complement. Instead of giving a licence to a big corporation, you are licensing an entrepreneur. She said it. She is in the acquisition mode. She wants to do good business and good broadcasting.
5466 And we thank you very much.
5467 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5468 Just to clear up with respect to the audio clips you brought today, so who made those audio clips last night?
5469 MR. BENIPAL: It's an old friend. A friend of mine.
5470 THE CHAIRPERSON: Name?
5471 MR. BENIPAL: Eston Veed (phonetic).
5472 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And at your request?
5473 MR. BENIPAL: Yes.
5474 THE CHAIRPERSON: And they were done in a vehicle obviously it would seem?
5475 MR. BENIPAL: Twenty fifteen (2015) Range Rover.
5476 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And were those the only recordings made last night?
5477 MR. BENIPAL: Yes.
5478 THE CHAIRPERSON: So there were no other recordings that you chose not to share with us?
5479 MR. MATHIEU: Did you make any other recordings of that?
5480 MR. BENIPAL: Yes.
5481 MR. MATHIEU: No.
5482 THE CHAIRPERSON: So did you make other recordings?
5483 MR. BENIPAL: No. Those were the only.
5484 THE CHAIRPERSON: The only ones?
5485 MR. BENIPAL: Yes.
5486 THE CHAIRPERSON: You’re 100 percent sure?
5487 MR. BENIPAL: Yes.
5488 THE CHAIRPERSON: And did you provide copies of those recordings to RED FM before playing them here?
5489 MR. BENIPAL: No.
5490 MR. MATHIEU: No. They just came in.
5491 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5492 MR. MATHIEU: We are quite prepared to provide them. I am sure we can do that.
5493 MR. BENIPAL: Yeah.
5494 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5495 MR. MATHIEU: Yes. One point I would like to add and maybe Mr. Pelser could comment, like I said, I'm a seasoned broadcast engineer. My first job was in 1968 at CFGL Laval.
5496 I have it hard to believe that this situation is really happening. There's a capture effect in the radio. I am not going to go into electronic details but I drove around in Surrey, not this trip, my previous trip, and Ms. Gill mentioned that to me and RED FM, they may have a problem at a certain street corner but they have -- they don’t have a big wide problem as far as we know.
5497 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, they -- we'll balance the evidence and decide whether to accept those additional clips in due course and they'll have an opportunity I guess to comment in a few minutes as to the -- whether we should accept these additional audio clips but ---
5498 MR. MATHIEU: We're quite prepared to do that.
5499 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5500 MR. MATHIEU: You've got the means to do it. Thank you.
5501 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Vice-Chair Menzies, please.
5502 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I just have a couple of questions for you. One is just a question of clarity.
5503 When you revised your submission -- let me put it this way. Prior to the revision of your submission, you had projected revenues of -- I wonder what that is? Anyway, yeah, nothing to do -- I won't take it personally.
5504 You had projected revenues of $803,000 in Year 1 for -- let me get it right.
5505 MR. MATHIEU: Our alternate frequency maybe?
5506 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: For 91.5.
5507 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, correct.
5508 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And you had -- and it was 1,040,000 for 89.3.
5509 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, I remember that.
5510 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: After you revised, it was 1,040,000 for both of them.
5511 MR. MATHIEU: Yes. Because when the issue came about about the 89.3, we were devastated because had we not won the war, 89.3 would have been not very well usable. So we went back to the drawing board and did our homework with Mr. Shakamuri and we are convinced that looking at the contour of 91.5, we could meet objectives.
5512 The reason that we had an honest ---
5513 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Isn’t there about an 80, 90,000 population difference in the ---
5514 MR. MATHIEU: There is some population difference but not all that much. You see, we're really trying to go after the 89.3 because we know we can better it, we have a better chance. So I guess we downgraded the 91 a little bit but, in real life, we are very confident that the million dollar will be achieved on either frequencies.
5515 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Just to be clear, I mean the numbers we had from that was that the contours, the difference in audience between the contours is a difference between 305,000 and 395,000 people.
5516 MR. MATHIEU: M’hm.
5517 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Which I mean I know you said it wasn’t significant but that's, like, a third, close to it. It's better than 30 percent.
5518 MR. MATHIEU: It can justify ---
5519 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I mean it's your money. I don’t really care but ---
5520 MR. MATHIEU: Well, maybe Sharon wants to comment. She's welcome. You're welcome to comment but we discussed that and we're confident that we'll meet the objective.
5521 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay, that's fine. I just wanted to clarify that.
5522 MR. MATHIEU: The point I'd like to make is all these things were done using the U.S. numbers. We got information today and that's why Sharon mentioned it of this million dollar a year being spent to the U.S.
5523 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right. The number rings a bell from previous experiences there but where did you get -- that was going to be my next question. You got $65,000 a month. How do you know that?
5524 MR. MATHIEU: Well, first of all ---
5525 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And why should we -- why should we believe that? Unless you have some ---
5526 MR. MATHIEU: Well, first of all, Ms. Gill’s ---
5527 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: --- something in writing or ---
5528 MR. MATHIEU: Ms. Gill’s father was paying more than that. Somebody -- I'm sorry, I can’t reveal the sources. It's somebody that asked us but it's somebody that came in, by the way, you know that the Americans, you know this, so we're mentioning to you. We have two sources. We have Mr. Gill when he was doing his thing, which was more ---
5529 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Would you be willing to file those sources with us? Because otherwise, to be honest, it's just bar talk.
5530 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah. That's up to you.
5531 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right?
5532 MR. MATHIEU: I guess we could find the way to -- on a confidential matter to file that.
5534 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I’ll leave it to the Chairman to follow up on that with you because it is in evidence based. It's not gossip based in that sense.
5535 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah. Well, we know ---
5536 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: You know what I mean? Like ---
5537 MR. MATHIEU: Well, the thing is in Mr. Shakamuri’s business plan, I think it reflects at the point, at the time.
5538 I know that the Commission -- I was not involved and neither was Ms. Gill, but when Mr. Gill was doing his thing in the States and when you called him to a hearing, he told us that he had brought you some papers showing his revenue.
5539 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yes. No, I'm ---
5540 MR. MATHIEU: I’m hoping he showed you his expenses but I wasn’t there.
5541 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Yes. I'm familiar with that and it's over.
5542 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
5543 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: But anyway, I just -- I wanted to know.
5544 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
5545 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: And remind me who the entity is that's running that?
5546 MS. SHARON GILL: I believe it's Media Waves. I could be wrong but ---
5547 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, that's what I heard, Media ---
5548 MS. SHARON GILL: Waves Communication I think.
5549 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Well, if you're not certain about who is running it, I'm having difficulty accepting your assertion that you know how much they're paying for it if you don't know who it is.
5550 MR. MATHIEU: The reason we believe what was said is her father was paying a similar amount.
5551 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: I know, but this is not an institution of faith.
5552 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
5553 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: This is a regulatory hearing.
5554 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
5555 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Right? So anyway, if -- I'll leave it to follow up on that.
5556 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
5557 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: The other question with Ms. Gill, it was I.T. Productions made the point that it is difficult for a company led by a woman to find success in this market.
5558 And you are a young woman who has, according to the evidence presented, not suffered too many disadvantages in life so far. But there are also issues of glass ceilings that people run into from time to time.
5559 So I'd like to have your perspective on that comment.
5560 MS. SHARON GILL: The glass ceiling in regards to a woman or a female in the broadcasting, this is South Asian broadcasting industry.
5561 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: In this market. I'm not going to -- that's the context within which the comment was spoken.
5562 MS. SHARON GILL: Well, in regards to I.T. Productions, the reason why I.T. Productions feels or Ms. Shushma feels that she faces a glass ceiling it's just -- in my personal opinion, I just think she’s making excuses. There -- in regards to her being a female and people -- and her facing challenges, well, based on her gender, I actually feel that it’s actually an advantage being a female and being in the field because I can offer like a different perspective and different programming and just a different approach that I guess many males wouldn’t.
5563 VICE-CHAIRMAN MENZIES: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.
5564 THE CHAIRPERSON: With respect to these anonymous sources and evidence, it’s very -- it goes to credibility. So I’m not sure we can accept that. The issue of “repatriation” from the United States has been an issue early in this hearing and I think you’ve had other opportunities to bring that evidence forward. So that’s to say unless you can say it’s in another record that we already have, but I think we’re a bit late in the day to bring -- I know your eagerness to make your case, but it is -- we’ve got to be fair to everyone. You understand that.
5565 Okay. Thank you.
5566 Any questions from legal? No? No.
5567 Those are all our questions. Thank you very much.
5568 MR. MATHIEU: Thank you.
5569 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la secrétaire.
5570 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. I will now invite South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. to come forward to the table.
5571 Please reintroduce yourselves for the record and then you will have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
5572 MR. BIJOY: Good afternoon, Chairman, Commission Members and staff. For the record, I’m Bijoy Samuel, Vice-President and General Manager of RED FM. With me are Kulwinder Sanghera, President RED FM; Jim Moltner from -- our Engineering Consultant from Technique Limited; and on my left is Mark Lewis, our counsel from Lewis Birnberg Hanet, LLP.
5573 Before we begin our reply, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, Chairman Blais, for your comments today morning about the -- regarding the historic statement that is being -- has been already done in the Parliament with regards to the Komagata Maru incident. This event is very significant to our community. And to provide a firsthand account of this historic event we had sent our news director, Harjinder Thind, to Ottawa to broadcast from there and he’s done so and is doing so as well because there’s a reception going on right now. And he would be broadcasting here as well as in Calgary.
5574 Thank you very much for acknowledging that today. Thank you.
5575 And we will now begin our reply.
5576 We wish to thank the Panel and Commission Members and staff for their work to prepare for this hearing, and the thoroughness of the examination of these applications. We also wish to thank the intervenors who took time out of their busy lives to come here today, and the thousands of RED FM listeners who wrote letters to the Commission and signed petitions. These are people from the community who are actively engaged with our station.
5577 MR. LEWIS: Chairman, I filed just -- microphone on? Sorry.
5578 THE CHAIRPERSON: It took a little while to warm up.
5579 MR. LEWIS: To kick in? Sorry.
5580 THE CHAIRPERSON: We can hear you now. Okay.
5581 MR. LEWIS: Chairman, I filed with the secretary two photographs before we came up, which were taken on Sunday by myself at Chancellor Place, which is a proposed transmitter site. And this is in reference to one of the interventions that’s been filed. I hope you accept it but I will refer to the site, in any event, and the transmitters that are at that building in a moment.
5582 I also want to ---
5583 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, am I -- it seems to me I may have seen this photos before or similar photos on the record; no?
5584 MR. LEWIS: You -- no. We had ---
5585 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. Not at all? Okay.
5586 MR. LEWIS: No.
5587 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you just -- we’ll deal with it. Let’s open a parenthesis here. So why were -- you took these --
5588 MR. LEWIS: On Sunday.
5589 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- Sunday?
5590 MR. LEWIS: On Sunday. So they are -- I didn’t have them previously. I attended at the transmitter site.
5591 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And you couldn’t have done this earlier?
5592 MR. LEWIS: No, I couldn’t. I wasn’t here.
5593 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why?
5594 MR. LEWIS: I wasn’t here. I suppose ---
5595 THE CHAIRPERSON: But somebody else could have.
5596 MR. LEWIS: I suppose somebody should have, but we now have them.
5597 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5598 MR. LEWIS: But I -- we can proceed without the photos.
5599 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, we’ll take them under advisement. But --
5600 MR. LEWIS: Certainly.
5601 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- we’ll see your points, in any event --
5602 MR. LEWIS: Sure.
5603 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- because I -- you might be able to make your point without the --
5604 MR. LEWIS: Certainly.
5605 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- actual documents.
5606 MR. LEWIS: A moment or two ago Mr. Forsyth referred to maps that weren’t filed and information that wasn’t filed with the Commission. I just want to take a second and say it’s on the public file. I’ve gone to the Commission’s website. January 12th, 2015 we filed full deficiency response to the Commission, including maps and population statistics and it’s on the Commission’s website and it doesn’t seem to be misplaced anywhere. So I don’t understand what he was referring to.
5607 We filed in March detailed replies to interventions and they’re part of this record. There are a few technical issues we believe require reply.
5608 First, the matter of the proposed transmitter site and allegations made by South Fraser Broadcasting in their written intervention. They allege that the use of the tower on the rooftop of Chancellor Place property “contemplates a use that is not permitted under the Delta policy.”
5609 It’s unfortunate when another applicant makes allegations that aren’t supported by fact. And as I said, I brought photographs today that were taken by myself of the Chancellor Place buildings. There are two photos. On one building there’s an existing operating FM broadcasting undertaking. The antennae on that building looks like an arrow. And there are some other telecommunications transmitting antennas. RED FM’s antennae would be located on that building.
5610 There’s a second Chancellor Place building that has no fewer than seven telecommunications antennas that are visible. I believe they’re used for cellular and PCS telephone.
5611 We’ve confirmed with Mr. Moltner, who’s a professional engineer, that these are broadcasting and telecommunications transmitting antennas. ISED has approved our technical application at that location. We, including Mr. Moltner, have no doubt that we will be able to broadcast from that site.
5612 During Phase 2 there were several issues raised by Radio India and more today. Mr. Kerry Pelser of D.E.M. Allen and Associates, who’s a professional engineer certified to practice in the Province of British Columbia, is Radio India’s consulting engineer. He did not sit at the table with Mr. Mathieu and Ms. Gill or participate during Phase 2. But Mr. Mathieu stated, and I’m quoting from the transcript at paragraph 4079:
5613 “We have nothing against RED FM. My personal comment as a broadcast engineer, fix the problem at the base. We’ve got a lack of FM frequency as you see here, so go -- we get ISED to go to the FCC. There’s an international agreement and there’s something wrong and it’s got to be fixed there. Because if we don’t do that, we’re going to have -- we’ve got a problem in Toronto, Hamilton, there’s a problem coming up all over Canada -- all around Canada and it’s bad for Canadian broadcasters. So I think it’s urgent that some members of the government talks across the border, that’s number one.”
5614 Now I don’t know what he means by “fix the problem at the base.” But we’ve invested immense resources to fix this problem and explore every option. We’ve retained two engineering firms who have worked together.
5615 I don’t know if Mr. Mathieu was in the room on Monday and during Phase 1 at our appearance when we had a detailed discussion with yourself, Mr. Chair, on whether -- or whether he read the DEML on report number 57602B that we filed on February 2015 with the application. But we’ve detailed the elements of our investigation undertaken. And if you examine page 15 of that report, and I’ve reproduced that page today, which was filed, it’s signed by K.A. Pelser PEng. And there’s a seal that indicates that Mr. Pelser is a professional engineer qualified for the Province of British Columbia.
5616 I’ve reviewed various records and made inquiries and I understand that Mr. Mathieu is not a PEng and is certainly not a professional engineer qualified to practice as a professional engineer in British Columbia.
5617 But there’s a second aspect to this, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Mathieu claims we’ve got a problem in Hamilton, Toronto. There’s a problem cropping up all over Canada. But he did not state whether this is an identical problem involve -- to the problem involving KISM and he provided no evidence of other IBOC interference problems with U.S. stations.
5618 But what I do know is that there was a BTAC meeting in Ottawa hosted by Industry Canada where there were attendees from the CRTC. From the minutes of that meeting, that I have with me, which I understand Mr. Mathieu attended, the matter of U.S. FM IBOC interference was discussed involving only three stations.
5619 At that time, I was regulatory counsel to each of those three stations and I work with their engineers. Of the three stations there was only one station in Canada that has been severely impacted. RED FM. So his statement yesterday is misleading.
5620 Throughout this process from 2012 onwards we have engaged Industry Canada, both at the local level and at the national level. I went back overnight to my records and from the outset, representatives of ISED were informed and, in fact, participated on conference calls with not only the U.S. broadcaster RED FM, its Canadian consulting engineers, but also with Nautel, which is the company that manufactured the KISM HD transmitter, as well as Ibiquity, which is the company that invented the technology and licenses it to transmitter manufacturers.
5621 Several high ranking staff including Mr. David Richard, Senior FM Broadcast Engineer, Spectrum Management at ISED participated in conference calls, and has been involved in the file over the past few years. But we have raised this interference issue at higher levels at ISED. And I would suggest from the base to the top.
5622 We have done everything we can to engage with ISED and the letter of June 12th -- June 2015 from ISED is the definitive answer.
5623 At paragraph 4078, Mr. Mathieu made comments where he claimed that the use by RED FM of 89.1 megahertz would not be that of a rebroadcast undertaking and would be simulcasting contrary to the radio regulations. He implied that RED FM would not qualify for licensing.
5624 I’ve been involved in representing many clients regarding the use of rebroadcast transmitters. These include CJKX Ajax Ontario, which has rebroadcast transmitters in Sunderland and Toronto Ontario. Another example, locally, is high powered CKKS FM-2 104.9, a re-broadcaster of CKKS Chilliwack, operated by Rogers Broadcasting that re-broadcasts on Mount Seymour at a staggering 31,000 watts. I’ve recently represented Grande Prairie Radio, which was granted two rebroadcasting licences for CKGY-FM in January 2016.
5625 The common element is that each of these licensed rebroadcasting transmitters transmit 100 percent of the originating station’s programming 100 percent of the time, and that’s what we propose to do. There are many other examples, but I need not go on. Mr. Mathieu is simply wrong in his assertions.
5626 Finally, you heard today from a representative of Crime Stoppers. I was in the room when the individual told the panel that Crime Stoppers does not have a campaign with an ethnic radio station in the area. I am informed that there is currently a BC Crime Stoppers campaign running 50 times each week on RED FM.
5627 The point is, contrary to what may have been implied today, there is a legally licensed ethnic radio station providing third language information involving Crime Stoppers program serving the Vancouver/Surrey market and that is CKYE-FM Surrey. It’s unfortunate that the intervenor was just not aware of an important ongoing campaign that’s of benefit to Lower Mainland listeners.
5628 I guess we could comment for the last 10 seconds on these audio clips. We don’t ---
5629 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps I can ask you a question. That way you’ll be within your 10 minutes.
5630 MR. LEWIS: Certainly, sir.
5631 THE CHAIRPERSON: So would you like to comment on the audio clips, because I did want to give you an opportunity?
5632 So am I correct in assuming that you had not received copies of that or been informed of that before hearing them a few moments ago?
5633 MR. LEWIS: No. And the difficulty I have is two-fold, if I might; one, is that a Range Rover is last time I looked -- and I just looked on the website -- their website -- it’s about a $70,000 vehicle. I don’t have -- I’ve never been able to afford a Range Rover. I might like one. But it’s certainly of a class of vehicle that is not common to the types of people that listen to RED FM.
5634 Our recordings were made in General Motors, Honda, Ford vehicles that are widely available, and again, the recordings were made by Mr. Pelser and his associates that we filed with the Commission.
5635 So I think that our recordings are representative. Thousands of people have certainly indicated reception problems. And if you find the right spot -- and I think this is key, if you find the right spot where there’s a strong signal and perhaps a shadowing of KISM from some obstruction, yes, you can find a clear signal. The difficulty is, is people creep along across the Alex Fraser Bridge, they go in and out of the signal and reception is badly impaired, as demonstrated on our recordings, including some driving route recordings that we submitted with the application.
5636 THE CHAIRPERSON: So is your view that we should not accept the additional clips at this stage, or that even if we did they’re not probative?
5637 MR. LEWIS: I would say they’re not probative.
5638 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because they’re in a vehicle that may not be representative?
5639 MR. LEWIS: And the gentleman who made them isn’t even here and we have no idea of the methodology.
5640 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, well, we’re not a court of law ---
5641 MR. LEWIS: No.
5642 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and there’s obviously some chain of title issues that, you know, if we were a criminal court or a civil court we might be stumbling on.
5643 But your view is that it may -- there may be a suggestion -- I don’t want to put words in your mouth -- that this may have been a selective recording that may be not as probative it should otherwise be?
5644 MR. LEWIS: That’s correct. And we’ve submitted dozens of recordings to the Commission that were made in a -- I’m going to call in a scientific way with comparative radios and so I don’t think there’s any probative value.
5645 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5646 Your mic was on so I don’t know if you wanted to add something.
5647 MR. SANGHERA: When the EM did their test 60 spots I was with them. In a similar area if you check with the EM report it may be blocked here or there and the recordings are in the EM report.
5648 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. It went by quickly. Were you able to identify whether you had measurements at those same spots?
5649 MR. LEWIS: We don’t -- I didn’t ---
5650 MR. SANGHERA: Very close, like within one or two block.
5651 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5652 MR. SANGHERA: The EM we did tests.
5653 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Commission staff will be able to verify that going forward.
5654 MR. LEWIS: One other thing, sir; it just occurred to me, and that is the baseline recordings that were made several years ago were done at a time when KISM was cooperating and they had changed the setting on their IBOC transmitter to reduce a little bit of the power on the CKYE side of the signal. All bets ended in May 2013. And so today the reception -- and I think there was a question that you asked of one or two of the intervenors. There was a change when they came back on and stopped cooperating because more power was pumped towards -- they stopped transmitting, as far as we know, asymmetrically.
5655 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Understood.
5656 Are there -- yes.
5657 MR. LEWIS: I’m just reminded -- maybe perhaps Mr. Moltner has a comment on this apples-to-apples issue and the co-channel interference map issue.
5658 MR. MOLTNER: Well, I must apologize; my -- I figured it would be on its way to Toronto now.
5659 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you only knew how we don’t care about those things.
5660 MR. MOLTNER: I’m glad to hear that.
5661 I might just make a quick comment regarding -- I believe both the previous applicants mentioned that a -- first of all, that an ISED map would typically include first adjacent channel interference. The map that we submitted was not prepared for ISED it was prepared for you.
5662 Second, I want to clarify that the population figures are for Surrey only, and that’s clearly stated on the map.
5663 And thirdly, I’d like to clarify that it is clearly stated on the map that we considered co-channel interference only. I believe from the other day you know my opinion on first adjacent channel interference.
5664 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, indeed. Good. Thank you very much.
5665 MR. MOLTNER: Thank you.
5666 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are all our questions. Thank you very much.
5667 MR. LEWIS: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5669 So, Madam la secrétaire?
5670 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5671 I will now invite South Fraser Broadcasting Inc. to come forward to the table.
5672 Please introduce yourself for the record and then you have 10 minutes.
5673 Thank you.
5674 MR. BADH: Good afternoon, Chair Blais, Commissioner Menzies, Commissioner MacDonald, Commission staff. I am Suki Badh and I am here on behalf of South Fraser Broadcasting Inc.
5675 I would like to thank the many intervenors who filed letters of support and appeared on our behalf as part of this process. We are grateful for the time and the effort they put into understanding and backing our application.
5676 I’d like to address specifically, however, those interventions that were in opposition to our proposal. In a letter dated March 4, 2016 Fairchild Radio Group Ltd. opposed our application on the basis that existing broadcasters alone should be able to provide programming in a Chinese language. They site other denials as directly applicable precedents including a restriction on broadcasting in Chinese placed on the licences of South Asian Broadcasting Inc. and l.T. Productions.
5677 It’s important to note that out of a 126 hour schedule we are proposing to offer just 12 hours of programming to Chinese 2.0 and 3.0 generations. Within these 12 hours, we are offering two languages so the material impact Fairchild Radio Group Ltd is suggesting will occur based on presumed duplication in programming that is equivalent to less than 10 percent of their schedule offered in a daypart in during which one their stations does not provide any Chinese language programming whatsoever. Our programming is being broadcast during midday, which is neither a prime audience period nor does it draw the biggest spot revenue.
5678 The news and information programming that is the cornerstone of local third language programming would be limited to two and half minutes per hour as indicated in our proposal and the remainder of the programming would be a mix of music, interviews with artists and English language.
5679 As we have described in our brief, the market we seek to serve with The Beat of the Fraser is the next generation of Chinese population. This is a group that has identified themselves as Chinese in ethnicity but for whom the language programming of traditional services is too limiting or not accessible. What they enjoy and want to hear is the World Beat Music that comes out of China and around the world. They might identify themselves as Chinese but in terms of experiences they want more than just traditional Chinese content and our focus groups respondents stated that they do not listen to any of the, quote/unquote, "411 regulated and unregulated hours" of Chinese language being broadcast because it does not reflect who they are.
5680 If our proposed audiences are not listening to any of the language based services now, how can the tuning to a station that does provide what they want to hear unduly impact Fairchild or any other ethnic stations? You cannot suffer a loss of that which you never had.
5681 That being said, as our goal is to serve all of the 2.0 and 3.0 generations, meaning we are trying to cover many ethno-cultural groups. We would be willing to accept a condition of licence that limited the amount of Chinese programming we carry to just the 12 hours.
5682 South Asian Broadcasting also opposed our application on the basis that the market for South Asian programming was well served and that, regardless of the licensing of new service or services, the U.S. stations will continue to broadcast and syphon off revenues from the Canadian system. But this thinking flies in the face of conventional wisdom and history.
5683 The Vancouver market is a case in point, albeit in a television context: For years, KVOS, an independent television service, operated studios and a sales office in downtown Vancouver. Staffed and ran by Canadians, KVOS was included on a majority of national and local advertising buys. Rates were adjusted to account for the impact of non-deductible expenses and agencies and advertisers happily purchased the airtime.
5684 In its heyday, KVOS took tens of millions of dollars out of Canada. The CRTC wisely licensed two television stations over the course of a decade and the advertising revenues slowly began to dry up.
5685 KVOS is still a part of the Vancouver media offering but is a mere shadow of its former self in terms of revenues. Decreased revenues have resulted in diminished investments in programming and this in turn has resulted in much lower audiences.
5686 A similar decline in revenue was experienced by stations in Plattsburgh, New York with a new license in Montreal and to WUTV when new licenses including specialty services were licensed to serve Toronto. Lower ratings, lower revenues; at the risk of being facetious, it sounds like a plan.
5687 The CRTC did get it right in all of these instances and it will work in Vancouver ethnic radio as well.
5688 The truth is that audiences, like nature, abhor a vacuum and the mandatory orders that removed the Canadian programmed news talk were the only the first step in fixing the problem in this market.
5689 In the absence of a Canadian licensed alternative replacing what was lost, the U.S. stations have easily replicated what was there before by hiring the staff that was displaced and filling a void in the market. Audiences who listened to news talk continue to do so hearing the same voice on the same frequency. No surprise, these stations continue to enjoy advertising support.
5690 The second step in this process as we see it is to duplicate what was being broadcast on the U.S. stations on Canadian frequencies giving audiences and advertisers a truly Canadian option. The strategy is simple but effective. Audiences will almost always choose Canadian products and services, all things being equal and particularly now when nationalism is on the rise.
5691 Contrary to South Asian Broadcasting's assertions that the U.S. stations are here to stay, we believe that they are doing business in Canada because it is profitable. If more inventory is made available in the system, they will have to lower their prices to compete and eventually, given the tax and legal implications, will be an unattractive purchase.
5692 Even badly-produced news talk is expensive to run and they are operating on much smaller margins than a music-based station. It will take far less loss in revenues to make these services rethink coming into Canada via the U.S. than it would if they were operating in another less costly format.
5693 Will some form of third language programming be carried? It is possible but it's not -- but if it is, it will be because the Canadian market does not meet the demands of an audience.
5694 There is a demand for all of the South Asian programming that is being purchased and there is a capacity to support at least one, if not two stations in this market.
5695 As South Asian Broadcasting noted, South Fraser Broadcasting has just launched. With no track record, and an audience that is tough to document and just starting to grow, we were able to repatriate dollars that would have gone south. Why? Because there is a demand for Canadian inventory.
5696 If history in this market and that of the other markets in Canada is not enough to convince the CRTC there should be another license, our own recent experience is offered as proof.
5697 Despite South Asian Broadcasting's claim that significant money is not flowing south of the border, we know differently. Our estimates in year two of repatriation as a source of revenues are relatively low, but that is only because the programming we propose to offer does not target the majority of the audiences tuning to the U.S. signals. We are directing our music programming to a younger ethnic population who are not as conversant in the mother tongue of their parents and therefore not the biggest users of news talk audiences.
5698 Having said this, we know that any inventory in programming serving the South Asian markets is in demand so we will recover money from the U.S. stations.
5699 Finally, in regards to South Asian Broadcasting's blanket opposition to all new licenses in their written intervention, we note that Mr. Lewis in his presentation on behalf of his client stated that there were licenses that were worthy of being granted. It seems his premise is that service to new communities or repatriation of dollars should be a consideration second to the interests of his client which, to my way of thinking, undermines the entire intervention.
5700 If the market can support new entrants when and if his client is made stronger, reasonably it can support them if nothing changes. South Asian Broadcasting could not offer proof of any financial losses realized and the fear of losing money is not justification for assuming they will occur.
5701 Also for the record, a reduced profit margin is not the same thing as losing revenues. If there are applications that are worthy of consideration they are not made less so by the absence of an ideal scenario for his client who is operating on a frequency that is no more or no less technically impaired today than when it was licensed over 10 years ago.
5702 With all due respect to the engineers who tend to operate in the theoretical, a test applied by the human ear and conducted every day by listeners who choose to tune Red FM, does not yield the same big areas of interference. I believe the phrase is the best use of frequency and not what is best for any frequency user.
5703 Finally, I will address the comments by Akash in their intervention that the South Fraser proposal is too narrow. It is natural in the evolution of markets that specialization occurs.
5704 When there were far fewer radio frequencies a couple of stations providing the same type of programming creates diversity for the listeners by providing unique perspectives. With the possibility of two stations being licensed as a result of this process, the total number of services to the South Asian markets could increase to seven including the two existing, the two low-powered stations, and the Fairchild service, we are assuming that the U.S. services will shift their programming on this count. Seven stations in the market serving more or less the same languages in a variation of news talk and music does not represent diversity beyond the actual sound of different voices.
5705 What the intervener sees as being narrow, we see as addressing a clearly-identified demand for a service, and filling a programming gap. We are applying common business sense. In order to succeed, a new service is going to need to be differentiated.
5706 Our less broad approach by design provides diversity that no other applicant in this process can claim, and opens the door for new revenues to the system that would not have assumed radio would reach ethnic youth prior to this format. The narrowness that is noted is actually a service to a very large, growing and disenfranchised audience and guarantees minimal impact on existing stations.
5707 That concludes our remarks except for two quick thank you's.
5708 First to Chair Blais, Commissioner Menzies, Commissioner MacDonald and staff, thank you. We appreciate your consideration and patience and hope you find time to enjoy this beautiful city.
5709 And Mr. Peter Fleming, I am in ever debt. Thank you.
5710 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for mentioning Peter, he was a colleague when I was at the Commission the first time around, and I know he’s going through some difficult time these days, so our thoughts are with him.
5711 Thank you for that. I’m not sure if there's any other questions from my colleagues. Legal? No. So thank you very much.
5712 Madame la Secrétaire.
5713 MR. BADH: Thank you.
5714 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5715 I would now ask Spice Media Group Inc. to come forward.
5716 Please re-introduce yourselves for the record and you will then have 10 minutes.
5717 Thank you.
5718 MS. GHAG: Good afternoon Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. I am joined -- well firstly, my name’s Amrita Ghag, I am joined by Jatinder Sandhar, Tom Bedore and Stephen Zolf.
5719 Before starting our reply, I would like to recognize the over 200 positive interveners who took the time to write to the Commission to show their support for our proposed new and unique radio format. I would also like to thank our appearing interveners today.
5720 We wish to clarify certain issues raised by the Commission in our earlier appearance, as well as other comments made during the hearing.
5721 MR. SANDHAR: In response to questions from Vice-Chair Menzies, we note that our revenue projections were based on detailed discussions and consultations with numerous Surrey businesses. We reached out to over 200 local businesses, including small, medium and large enterprises. These businesses have been unable to do ad spends on existing ethnic radio because of insufficient shelf space. The Punjabi radio market is unable to meet the local business demand.
5722 Many businesses whom we consulted confirmed that they would welcome the opportunity of advertising on our station. We refer the Commission to the numerous letters filed by potential advertisers who identified the lack of commercial availability on ethnic radio.
5723 These interveners in total committed to monthly advertising buys in excess of 200,000 to Spice Media’s new station. Our revenue model incorporates this anticipated demand, and is based on highly conservative actual ad spend projections based on these statements of intention from local businesses.
5724 Vice-Chair Menzies noted the high amount of our overall revenue projections. While our projected local revenues are well within the range of other applicants, our national advertising projections were based on our assessment of recent trends that have shown that mainstream advertisers are increasingly targeting ethnic media. Other applicants in the hearing have filed evidence of such a trend on the record.
5725 We can assure the Commission that we remain profitable even if our projected national revenues set out in Appendix 7.3A of our application are reduced to a small fraction of our local advertising revenues. This aspect of our business model was recognized by Vice-Chair Menzies during our Phase 1 appearance.
5726 Finally, we wish to correct the record. Vice-Chair Menzies noted during our appearance that our revenue would grow from 1.7 million in the first year to 23.3 million in the next year. In fact, this was the projected cumulative revenues through the entire licence term. Our second year projected revenues are approximately 2.6 million.
5727 MR. BEDORE: Spice Media identified the 900 AM frequency as a high-quality signal that was underutilized on Vancouver Island. The use of 900 AM was ultimately proven to be not viable in that market.
5728 As Channel Zero acknowledged this morning, the 900 AM frequency has been off air since 2011. Moreover, it’s clear that there is a significant uncertainty as to when, if at all, Channel Zero will be able to submit an application for the use of the 900 AM frequency. There are technical, financial, and geographic issues that are hindering the broadcasting on the 900 AM frequency from Strongtide Island, with no date in sight for the resolution of the issues.
5729 We respectfully submit that it is inappropriate for Channel Zero to assert its interests in a manner that would ultimately preclude the best use of the 900 AM frequency in the public interest.
5730 The Vancouver area is significantly more suited to AM broadcasting than its use on Vancouver Island, because of its higher ground conductivity. The low conductivity on the island makes it difficult for AM signals to penetrate very far inland and therefore, the reach of the signal on Vancouver Island would be limited.
5731 Furthermore, we submit that there are several unused AM frequencies on Vancouver Island capable of operating at 10 kilowatts, including AM 830 as cited by the Chairman in questioning Channel Zero this morning. Spice Media submits that these frequencies are more suitable for a smaller market like Victoria.
5732 The former 900 Kilohertz site could be modified to accommodate another frequency in the event that Channel Zero wishes to move forward and apply to the Commission for a broadcasting licence.
5733 In summary, we respectfully submit that using the 900 AM frequency for the Lower Mainland is a far more optimal use of scarce public frequencies, particularly in view of the obvious demand for more ethnic services in the Surrey market.
5734 In response to Vice-Chair Menzies’ question about the potential concern that the use of the 900 AM frequency will affect our focus on Surrey, we wish to assure the Commission that our service would not become, to use the Vice-Chairman’s term, a “Pan-Lower Mainland channel”, as opposed to a Surrey channel. Our core market is Surrey. However, the use of the 900 AM will ensure that ethnic communities in smaller areas are not left behind.
5735 As we indicated on Monday, our focus will not be limited to female listeners 12 to 40 age group, but rather will serve all new immigrants across broad age groups. We’ll expand our listening demographic to go beyond existing local stations. For example, in the case of youth violence, a major aim of our programing will be to connect with youth and their parents, which is a key pre-condition of providing meaningful solutions to listeners in the community. This expanded demographic will also appeal to our prospective advertisers.
5736 Spice Media’s format will meet an untapped need in the Surrey market. Vice-Chair Menzies asked if existing providers, CJRJ and RED FM, are meeting this need. The response is an emphatic no. Spice Media’s programming format is distinct from any format currently employed by the incumbent stations. Our service will proactively address the needs of the ethnic community. What is needed is sufficient shelf space for a station dedicated to current issues of concern for Surrey audiences.
5737 Vice-Chair Menzies raised our inclusion of the NRG report from the 2014 hearing. When we created our vision of Spice Media, we reviewed the public record to assess the support for our proposed format. The NRG survey provided support for our specific format in the Surrey market. The points that were identified in the survey matched the experiences of our team who live and work in Surrey. Above all else, the items identified in the survey matched the vision of Spice Media, an ethnic station that will reach out to new immigrants with an emphasis on overlooked female issues.
5738 This became a jumping-off point for our further review of the local market and outreach to the listener and business community. As is highlighted in more than 200 interventions in support of our proposed format, listeners and business community agreed with our vision.
5739 MS. GHAG: Vice-Chair Menzies also raised the issue of the entertainment quotient of the station. We wish to underscore that our programming will focus on positive stories about community events, such as the Vaisakhi Parade, the Surrey Fusion Food and Musical Festival, and the annual Surrey night market.
5740 A significant part of our schedule will include inspiring and entertaining musical programming and dynamic radio host, all of which will highlight Surrey’s diverse ethnic mosaic. We will also provide helpful and supportive advice on matters such as legal issues affecting the Surrey community, such as immigration and personal injury.
5741 An endless number of stories in the Surrey community are positive ones. But at the same time, we will now shy away from tabooed subjects facing today’s ethnic communities in Surrey. This is a first step in achieving positive social change and providing listeners with a road map to achieving success.
5742 We need to highlight our community successes and openly discuss our problems. No other ethnic station is currently meeting both of these needs.
5743 MR. ZOLF: We respectfully submit that this hearing has demonstrated that the status quo is not tenable. The existence of cross-border operations underscores that there is significant demand in the Vancouver market for another ethnic radio voice. We submit that the most appropriate manner to address the free for all that I.T. Productions referred to during its appearance this morning, is for the Commission to take positive action to license new ethnic services. Such a step will ensure that all ethnic radio in the Surrey community is brought into the tent of the regulated broadcasting system.
5744 This will immediately result in new positive financial contributions to the system, as evidenced by the CCD commitments put forward by Spice Media and other applicants.
5745 In the Commission’s 2014 Let’s Talk TV process, the Commission articulated a view as to how best to implement the broadcast policy objectives in the Act under its mandate to regulate and supervise all aspects of the system. The Commission said that some of the objectives may be achieved without regulation, through the evolution of the marketplace. Regulatory intervention is only warranted where specific outcomes or objectives would not be achievable without it.
5746 We respectfully submit that this approach is equally applicable in this proceeding. The CRTC should regulate by licensing one or more new ethnic services. It is submitted that the market will adjust and the influence of unauthorized services will ebb in favour of stations that fall under the regulatory oversight of the Commission. This would be an appropriate combination of regulation and market forces that will achieve an outcome in the public interest.
5747 MS. GHAG: Spice Media has proposed a fresh, new, independent voice that will give listeners another perspective and an alternative to the current radio offerings in the Surrey market. We urge the Commission to take active steps to license a new, independent and diverse player within the Canadian broadcasting system.
5748 We thank the Commission and staff for the opportunity to appear before you this week at the public hearing.
5749 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for that.
5750 Would you like to address the Fairchild issue about Chinese language programming?
5751 MR. ZOLF: Well, Mr. Chair, the -- there is no Chinese programming proposed in the application in our case.
5752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Therefore, wouldn’t it be easy then to undertake not to do it by condition of licence?
5753 MR. ZOLF: Therefore -- precisely.
5754 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5755 MR. ZOLF: The application would agree to a condition of licence to that effect.
5756 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. It’s just you hadn’t responded to that particular point in the intervention. I’m not saying we would or would not, I just wanted to see your views ---
5757 MR. ZOLF: Yes, we would agree to that.
5758 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good.
5759 My colleagues? We have no other questions. So thank you very much.
5760 Madame la Secrétaire.
5761 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5762 I will now ask Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Inc. to come forward to the table.
5763 Please introduce yourselves for the record and you will then have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
5764 MR. DALE BAHD: Thank you. My name is Dale Bahd, and to my right is Debra McLaughlin for Strategic Inc., and to my left is Jas Gill, and then Jasbir Singh Bahd from our team.
5765 Good afternoon, Chair Blais, Commissioners Menzies and MacDonald. Good afternoon, Commission staff.
5766 I’m Dale Badh. I’m here with Sher-E-Punjab. With me today, as I mentioned earlier, Jas Gill, Debra Mclaughlin, Jasbir Singh Bahd.
5767 I’m here to reply to four interventions that were filed against Sher-E-Punjab. The first is from Fairchild Radio Group asking that the Commission impose condition of license a limit on the amount of Chinese program we carry.
5768 Our schedule contains no Chinese programming. Our business plan anticipates no revenues from this cultural group and so we are happy to agree to accept a condition of licence that would preclude Sher-E-Punjab from broadcasting in any Chinese language.
5769 My next comments are directed to interventions by Shusma Datt and South Asian Broadcasting. In particular, I would like to address their claim that the market cannot support another licence and that because of their own struggles no further service should be licenced.
5770 I will start with an issue of demand. The introduction of programming on U.S. stations and the morphing of low power service into pseudo-commercial station has happened for one reason only. Demand. Demand by audiences and demand by advertisers.
5771 When both Radio India and Sher-E-Punjab stopped broadcasting there was a gap in programming created. A gap that neither of these interveners opted to fill, choosing rather to continue to compete against each other. I cannot speak for Radio India staff, but in the case of those people employed by Sher-E Punjab, all were let go. So not only did the programming disappear, but suddenly many of the assets, that is, the host from a popular newstalk format were available to be picked up.
5772 MS. GILL: If either service had moved pre-emptively, the U.S. stations could not have rebounded so successfully. This was a very public process so no one was blindsided. Without the familiar voices of the former Sher-E-Punjab on air staff, and being severely handicapped by a signal that was -- by regulation must be powered down as early as 4:30 p.m. in December, AM 1550 could not have re-established itself so quickly in Canada.
5773 AM radio is not the place for music, so if the best format for these stations was taken, it would be hard for them to find a niche. It is not for me to tell others how to do their business. But for years we have heard of struggles of one -- at least one of these interveners and our questions has always been how can this be?
5774 The market is so vibrant. The low power services with religious and tourist licences are broadcasting in a news talk format to capitalize on the opportunity. The interest from audiences in hearing discussion, interviews and detailed analysis is so robust that even the worst of signals like 1550 can generate sustainable revenues.
5775 I could understand the sceptics if we were guessing at the value of advertising money that is generated by the U.S. stations. But as Chair pointed out in our presentation in-chief, we have first-hand knowledge. We placed on our programming on the U.S. stations serving the South Asian market in Vancouver. We were neither hiding our activities, nor believing we were doing anything wrong. We appeared before the Commission on more than a couple occasions where besides being cast as a great evil unlicensed broadcasters by interveners, which we took as part of the process, no words of censure were issued.
5776 In fact, our legal counsel at the time, Mr. Buchan, Chair Pentefountas and Commissioner Shoan had a somewhat detailed discussion starting at lines 8169 to 8190 of the transcripts of January 30th, 2014 where it was made clear Sher-E-Punjab was considered a border broadcaster. We were not asked to cease and desist until fall of 2014 when we did so willingly, without having to attend a hearing.
5777 MR. AMARDEEP BADH: We accepted in 2014 the CRTC wanted us to cease operating and we did. We have not broadcast a single word since we shut down and no production has taken place at our studios. Despite suggestions otherwise, we have followed to the letter the agreement signed with the Commission and Sher-E-Punjab as an active broadcasting entity no longer exists.
5778 The two U.S. stations however, 1550 and 1600, recognize the value of their airtime and immediately found purchasers for their inventory. The only reason they were able to sell it because there is demand in the market for this type of content; content that is not being provided by any Canadian licence holder.
5779 What we do not understand is how either intervener can say we overestimated the market and in the same interventions state that both of these services are doing material damage to them. Which is it?
5780 A service that replicates whole or in part of the programming the U.S. stations are carrying will be able to take back these revenues. Remember, neither of these stations can offer tax deductible receipts and the broadcast day for both of these services end before afternoon drive really gets started.
5781 With half of their airtime inventory to sell, the expensive payroll of news talk format to underwrite and a monthly leasing cost of programming time that is in the area of $65,000 U.S. per month, these stations only continue to operate because there is a significant, continuous demand.
5782 We based our revenues, the revenues these interveners dispute, on our actual revenues when we were operating Sher-E-Punjab. We factored in continued operation of these U.S. services in some diminished capacity, accounted for the potential of low powered FMs continue to operate as they do and came up with the estimates we did. We tested our revenues using rates currently being offered in the market building our projections from the bottom up.
5783 We looked at relative audiences shares and applied this to our best estimates of the market -- value of the market.
5784 The numbers lined up. We are more than in the ballpark and our levels of investment CCD attest to our confidence in this market; 1.8$ million dollars in CCD investments over seven years is the largest at these hearings and one of the largest for any ethnic radio operation in Canada.
5785 We have no hesitation in committing to this knowing full well the over and above will become a condition of licence.
5786 My family has worked diligently over the years to help build the South Asian community and we know the environment, know the people, know the business, and how to sustain relationships.
5787 We have established connections and, as both intervenors pointed out, many of the advertisers on the U.S. station are former advertisers with us. So we know them. We don't need to go find them. We already have years of working with them to draw upon.
5788 In fact, when KRPI was re-launched, we noted marketing materials were only minimally adjusted, creating the illusion for some less attentive listeners and advertisers that all that had occurred was a name change rather than a complete change in management.
5789 If this is indeed the case, with people believing Sher-E-Punjab is still involved somehow, it will make the conversion of advertising dollars from the U.S. stations all the more achievable.
5790 MS. JAS GILL: When our application was filed, Radio India was still operating on 1600 and while this time has since been taken over by Media Waves, it is the same situation, just different names.
5791 Our projection that 90 percent of our revenues will come from these two U.S. services is both realistic and achievable. We have proposed the format that can repatriate audiences.
5792 Further, we have the best shot at reassembling the team that made a success of a U.S. signal and therefore, are best positioned to enter the market drawing principally on the revenues flowing south.
5793 No other applicant before you offers this advantage. In our assessment, incumbents reasonably should be hoping we are granted a licence because every other applicant will be directly competing with them.
5794 Finally, the intervention by Akash pointed out what they thought were two errors in our application.
5795 Sanskrit they contend is a language that is no longer used but, in fact, it is used in Holy Scriptures which are read, listened to and contemplated daily by all Sikhs.
5796 Unlike the intervenors, we do not feel comfortable telling the Portuguese producer with connections in Goa and Pondicherry who came forward to identify the needs of this community and their language is non-existent. If they tell us this is of value and they want to identify their programming as being from that region, then we need to respect this.
5797 MR. GURDIAL BADH: I personally have worked with this community as a realtor and know how they value their language.
5798 In closing, I would like to state that contrary to what some intervenors are suggesting, we are not asking to be rewarded for having operated through the
5800 Sher-E-Punjab started to provide service to the South Asian community before any of these incumbents even entered this market. We did the heavy lifting in terms of development and we are asking to be given a chance to provide a service that will in fact strengthen both the South Asian and Vancouver markets.
5801 We will do so at the cost of the stations south of the border and increase the representation of languages in the system. We will do so while heavily investing in the broadcast system.
5802 We appreciate your patience and investment of your time you have made.
5803 And in closing, I would like to thank one person and that is my big brother, my paji, Peter Fleming, who has helped us for the last 10 years or so, who has worked very hard to bring Sher-E-Punjab to this point. And that concludes our comments. All the best wishes for Peter.
5804 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much and, as I mentioned to others, our thoughts are very much with Peter and his family as well. He is known by many people at the Commission.
5805 I'm checking if my colleagues have questions. Questions, no.
5806 You were very clear. Thank you very much. So thanks again.
5807 Madame Secretary, perhaps you need to close up this particular phase?
5808 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5809 In fact, this concludes Phase 4 of this hearing in the consideration of Items 1 to 8 on the agenda.
5810 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great, thank you. So this part of the hearing is over and so we'll adjourn until nine o’clock tomorrow morning.
5811 Thank you.
--- Upon adjourning at 4:06 p.m.
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