Transcript, Hearing March 27, 2017
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: March 27, 2017
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Attendees and Location
Terrasses de la Chaudière
- Chairman: Jean-Pierre Blais
- Commissioners: Linda Vennard, Christopher MacDonald
- Legal Advisor: Crystal Hulley
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Rachel Marleau
--- Upon commencing on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 9:25 a.m.
1 LE PRÉSIDENT: A l’ordre, s’il vous plaît. Order, please.
2 Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs, et bienvenue à cette audience publique.
3 Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.
4 Je tiens à souligner que nous sommes sur le territoire algonquin traditionnel. I thank the Algonquin people and pay respect to their Elders.
5 Avant de débuter, j’aimerais inviter Aînée Monique Renaud, Métisse d’origine algonquine et HuronWendat, à ouvrir cette audience par une prière traditionnelle qui aidera à guider nos réflexions dans les jours à venir.
6 Madame Renaud est née et a vécu dans la région de Hull/Gatineau toute sa vie. Elle détient un Baccalauréat en éducation et elle a enseigné 35 ans à Gatineau. Elle est à la retraite maintenant depuis plusieurs années, mais ça ne veut pas dire qu’elle n’est pas sans s’occuper de ses journées.
7 For many years, Ms. Renaud has worked in traditional healing in her community. She also gives healing workshops in which she has been teaching the principles of healing since 1993.
8 She welcomes and advises people who ask for this help at her home, at the Kumik, or Ishkotew lodges and also offers group instructions in different circles.
9 Ms. Renaud performs the Indigenous Water Blessing Ceremony, a sacred Indigenous ceremony, and has been doing so since 2002 in this region. She has since taught the water blessing chant to hundreds of women. This ceremony has been held under the bear moon at Victoria Island and at Kumik for several years. She is a water and earth guardian.
10 Récemment, Madame Renaud a travaillé avec les ministres responsables de la préenquête sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées. Elle a offert du soutien spirituel aux dirigeants, aux familles des victimes, et aux ministres responsables et a aussi eu l’occasion de rencontrer et discuter de sa vision sur la réconciliation avec le Premier ministre.
11 Madame Renaud est une grand-mère qui utilise les Sept Enseignements sacrés des Anishinabe dans tous les aspects de sa vie et les partage avec tous.
12 Alors, Madame Renaud, je vous offre mes remerciements.
13 ---(Presentation of tobacco)
14 AÎNÉE RENAUD: Kwe. Bonjour. Good morning.
15 This morning I am with you to do the prayer.
16 Mais je veux vous dire avant qu'il y a une chose importante que vous venez de voir. C'est que Monsieur Blais m'a remis du tabac et le tabac c'est une... ça fait partie de notre protocole lorsque nous invitons des aînés ou des grands-pères et des grand-mères. On leur demande quelque chose, on leur remet le tabac.
17 Maintenant, le tabac ce n'est pas pour l'aîné. Ce n'est pas pour moi ce tabac. Ce tabac c'est pour les esprits et pendant que nous faisons la prière, nous le tenons dans notre main gauche qui est la main de notre cœur parce que nous parlons avec notre cœur. Et nous offrons le tabac, lorsque nous revenons à la maison, aux esprits pour les remercier et pour les gens qui nous ont offert le tabac. Alors, le tabac est une partie très importante de notre culture.
18 Nous sommes le premier peuple. Nous étions ici avant l'arrivée des Blancs. On en trouve des artefacts actuellement qui ont plus de 10,000 ans et notre peuple a une culture qui lui est sienne. Nous avons différents langages. Nous habitons tout le Canada mais toute l'Amérique aussi.
19 Et la Commission vérité et réconciliation a rendu public toutes les choses qui permettent maintenant de nous réconcilier avec les autres races qui habitent le Canada.
20 So we’re the First People on this land. We were here more than 10,000 years ago before the White people arrived. And we have our languages, our different languages. We have maybe 600 different nations. We are the ones who live on this island that we call Turtle Island. And we welcomed the White people when they arrived here because we share the land with the people. The land don’t belong to us. We belong to Mother Earth. So that’s the reason why we share with the people who are coming.
21 Tobacco is a part of our protocol but it is more than a part of a protocol. It’s a part of our culture and our ceremonies. So when we invite an Elder or a Grandfather or a Grandmother, we offer tobacco to them before asking them to do something. But the tobacco is not only for -- it’s not really for the elder. The tobacco is for the spirit world.
22 And you notice that I have it in my left hand because when we are praying to the Great Spirt we place tobacco in our left hand and we place it on our heart; left hand is our heart hand. So while we’re praying we’re holding the tobacco and when we come back home we burn the tobacco, praying for the people who asked for the prayer.
23 So I will pray when I will be back home for this meeting to be in peace and harmony.
24 You can sit, because do as your culture is saying to you. For me, my teaching is that I stand and the people sit because we are very used to being on the ground. But we also have to respect the elder who will give the prayer. If she’s asking you to stand, you stand. And if she’s asking to sit, you sit. But follow your own personal culture because I think it’s very important to recognize that there are different things in the culture.
25 --- (Prayer by Elder Renaud)
26 ELDER RENAUD: Have a good meeting.
27 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vous remercie beaucoup, Madame Renaud, pour cette prière inspirante et vos mots. Especially that this may well be my last public hearing, so it is particularly touching for me.
28 Nous espérons que votre prière nous guidera, conseillers, intervenants, membres du personnel et le public, à avoir des discussions informées et ouvertes lors de cette audience afin que l’on puisse ensuite en arriver à une décision éclairée.
29 Merci encore pour nous avoir accueillis sur le territoire algonquin traditionnel.
30 Dans le cadre de cette audience, le CRTC examinera des demandes afin d’octroyer cinq licences d’opération de stations de radio autochtones dans les villes d’Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, et Vancouver.
31 In June 2015, the CRTC revoked the radio station licenses held by Aboriginal Voices Radio resulting in five frequencies becoming available in these large markets. This decision was made because the broadcaster found itself on multiple occasions in a situation of severe and repeated non-compliance regarding regulations and its conditions of license.
32 Holding a broadcasting license is a privilege. Furthermore, having the mandate to serve the Indigenous community is equally a privilege and very important.
33 The CRTC noted with regret that AVR had been in non-compliance since its launch and did not fulfill its commitments or the specific mandate it was given. Following the revocation, the CRTC issued a request for applications to operate these available frequencies while specifying that innovative propositions to serve the Indigenous community would be given priority.
34 We received 12 propositions, proposals that will be considered carefully during this hearing.
35 Au début de mon mandat au CRTC, j’ai reçu en cadeau le livre intitulé Le rêve de Champlain dans lequel on parle de la vie et du travail de Samuel de
37 Je crois, tout comme l’auteur de ce livre, monsieur David Hackett Fischer, que Champlain n’était pas l’un des nombreux mercenaires européens qui cherchaient à s’emparer des terres et à exploiter les Autochtones. Plutôt, il était humaniste, accueillant et inclusif. L’explorateur avait une vision de la colonie où, et je cite:
38 « ...les gens de cultures différentes pourraient vivre ensemble dans l’amitié et la concorde. »
39 N’est-ce pas là un sujet d’actualité malgré les plus de 400 ans qui séparent notre époque et celle de Champlain?
40 As an outcome of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Government of Canada wants to ensure the protection and promotion of Indigenous culture. The Canadian Broadcasting System plays an important in the reconciliation of Indigenous peoples with Canadian society more broadly.
41 The Commission also raised the immediate need to serve the Indigenous community as a whole, since vital questions of importance to Indigenous Canadians are not completely covered or not covered at all by non-Indigenous media.
42 Since re-writing history is impossible, the CRTC is therefore working to pave the way for the future. Today is about giving a voice to Indigenous peoples, allowing you to share your history and to heal your wounds. This voice, your voice, will allow you to broadcast information on issues of concern and have a means to shape your destiny. As Elder Art Solomon said so well,
43 “To heal a nation, you must first heal the individuals, the families and the communities”.
44 Tel que décrit dans notre dernier plan de planification triennale, le Conseil entamera l’examen de sa politique sur la radio autochtone prochainement. Cependant, nous ne pouvions pas attendre que ce processus soit terminé avant d’octroyer ces licences.
45 Les communautés autochtones dans ces cinq grands marchés méritent d’avoir accès à des stations qui leur ressemblent et qui traitent d’enjeux qui les concernent. Rien ne nous empêche, cependant, lors de cette audience d’entamer la conversation en vue de cette prochaine consultation.
46 Finally, I would like to share that I am profoundly regretting that the Panel does not include Indigenous members. Past and present governments have not appointed qualified candidates from your community for almost 20 years. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about this. Nominations are made by Cabinet.
47 However, my colleagues and I promise to listen to you, to hear each argument in good faith and to make a decision to the best of our knowledge. Since all of you cannot obtain a license, some of you will, no doubt, be disappointed. But, time is of the essence and you need a voice to be able to continue on the road to reconciliation.
48 So, before I begin the rest of the hearing, I would like to make a few introductions.
49 The panel for this hearing consists of Linda Vennard; she is Regional Commissioner for Alberta and Northwest Territories, and Christopher MacDonald, Regional Commissioner for the Atlantic Region and Nunavut, and myself, Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. I will be presiding over this hearing.
50 L'équipe du Conseil qui nous assiste comprend de Rachel Marleau, coordonnatrice de l’audience; Crystal Hulley, conseillère juridique; et Jade Roy, secrétaire de l’audience.
51 Et maintenant j'invite Madame Roy à expliquer la procédure que nous suivrons.
52 Madame la secrétaire?
53 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le président.
54 I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of the hearing. When you are in the hearing room, we would ask that you please turn off your Smart phones, as they are an unwelcome distraction and they cause interference on the internal communication systems used by our translators. We would appreciate your cooperation in this regard throughout the hearing.
55 Le service d'interprétation simultanée est disponible durant cette audience. Nous désirons rappeler aux participants d'allouer un délai raisonnable pour la traduction lors de leur présentation à vive voix, tout en respectant le temps alloué pour leur présentation.
56 Please note that a Commission will also be tweeting the documents during the hearing at CRTC hearings, using the hashtag #CRTC.
57 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the court reporter sitting at the table to my right. Please note that the transcript of each day will be posted on the Commission’s website following the business day.
58 Just a reminder that pursuant to section 41 of the Rules of Practice and Procedures, you must not submit evidence at the hearing unless it supports statements already on the public record. If you wish to introduce new evidence as an exception to this rule, you must ask permission of the Panel of the hearing before you do so.
59 Finally, please note that if parties undertake to file information with the Commission in response to questioning by the Panel, these undertakings can be confirmed on the record through the transcript of the hearing. If necessary, parties may speak with Commission legal counsel at a break following their presentation to confirm the undertakings.
60 And now we will begin Phase 1 of this hearing. Item 1 on the agenda which is an application by Wawatay Native Communication Society for broadcasting licenses to operate English, French, and Aboriginal Language Type B, Native FM radio stations in Ottawa and Toronto.
61 Please introduce yourself and your colleague and you will then have 30 minutes for your presentation.
62 MR. GAGNON: Thank you very much. I would like to introduce Mike Metatawabin, our president of our board. My name is Jean Gagnon, the Chief Executive Officer. And, I would like to ask Mike to perform a very, very brief in the language prayer which would be in the Cree language. Thank you.
63 --- (Prayer by Mr. Metatawabin)
64 MR. GAGNON: So, essentially, what we just heard is basically what we're here for, what the CRTC has been working so hard and diligently to ensure that in some places in Canada we reclaim language, other places that we enhance and maintain.
65 So, luckily, where Mike and I come from the language is still very strong. In, you know, 90 plus percent of the communities people still use the -- a dialect on a daily basis. And we have a bit of a gap between the Elders and the youth who we see at the beginning of that gap of -- at a loss of language happening in our time.
66 And I think, as for Wawatay, that was our main mandate and our Elders put us together for that main reason because they foresaw this back in, you know, the '60s and the '70s, you know, the deterioration of the language then.
67 So, of course, we're in this process, which, with all due respect, in our own minds we feel that this process in itself is adversarial and we're pit against other Aboriginal agencies. And it seems that even as we were board members of APTN for -- since its inception and we've recently been removed from the board, or more so demoted as three different societies will revolve every three years. But it begs the question of, if we're mandated to broadcast language in our region and we're one of the few left that are still broadcasting in the language, it's -- we wonder how, as an agency, how APTN would be held accountable to keep language programming alive and well.
68 So, as we sit here and we've gone through this little bit of a blip over the last few years and things have changed drastically for us and things are going to continue to drastically change, the opportunity came available to -- for these licenses. And as we consulted with our own Chiefs in our own communities within our province, it, you know, it became evident that they wanted us to apply for these licenses and so we did. So much so that the Chiefs of Ontario unanimously voted that Wawatay be supported for these licenses in Ontario for both Ottawa and Toronto.
69 And our plan involves a weaving of the northern population with the southern population where we want to, you know, bridge a gap between the city and nature, and nature and city. And, you know, have the ability to expose our youth and our community members to more of the urban area educations and programming and professional services that we may not see in our communities, but something that we could be assisting through broadcasting and sharing that broadcasts throughout all of Ontario.
70 So, simply said, here in Ontario we don't need to be taught our language, nor do we need to be taught our culture or the protocols on how to navigate through our communities and our political processes. It's something that is in -- it's inherent in us. It's -- we were born with it here in Ontario. So, we were a little surprised when we saw another applicant coming from out of province. And that's -- so, that's where we're at at this point now. So, it just -- we're coming through here.
71 But as we sat together as an agency we spoke about what it was to apply for these licenses and it made us think about well, many things such as sovereignty and treaty and a duty to consult, and ideas that, you know, ideologies that we find that are -- the federal government is so pleasing with their words that lately this new government with the talk of TRC [sic] I think it's words that we've been waiting to hear as a collective for quite some time. And yet, we're still in the same process. So, we're not moving forward from this idea of reconciliation because we're still, you know, we're still fighting over a dollar in the centre of a circle, and that's amongst ourselves.
72 So, even with the idea of treaty, like we've -- there was never in any of our treaty discussions or treaty negotiations we never gave up any air rights just as much as we never gave up any water rights. So, here we are, we're sitting in this process again and we question another question that came up was why is it we need permission to broadcast in our own home lands if we're a sovereign nation? So, we understand the idea of overcrossing municipalities and having signals, you know, interfere with one another, but the idea to go through a permission process to do something that would be considered our homes is contrary to reconciliation again. So, we don't move forward without having the ability to be given that permission, which we completely understand because it's a process that's in place for Canada. But like I said, it begged many questions for us when we started talking about these licenses, and then, of course, the sovereignty aspect of it.
73 So, coming from that where we discuss the sovereignty and the treaty, we look back on NAN itself, which is the largest PTO in Ontario, and this is the 40th year of our Declaration of Independence. And this is where our Elders back in the '70s, you know, declared that we needed to take control over our own governance, our own healthcare, our own ability to do business within our own communities with one another and with Canada. And it's unbelievable. If you were to read the document itself, the Declaration of Independence, it could surprise you to understand that after 40 years we're still here in this process.
74 So, the Declaration called for viable communities as they were before contact. And, you know, history can now judge how these 40 years have passed and how our communities have been supported through this -- these past 40 years. And, essentially, no matter where we come from or where we're going, we always have to count on ourselves to get ourselves through these hard times and the things that we're certainly moving through quickly these days.
75 So, in saying that, the same men and women that put so much diligent work into this 1977 Declaration of Independence were part of the creation of Wawatay and it's the same people, the same people that saw a lot of the stuff that we're actually going through. And again, I say, it's 40 years and we're still in the same process.
76 So, I see this as an opportunity to honour our Elders and our ancestors and give them the kudos that they need for the forethought that they saw a long time ago.
77 So, we've -- with the help of our Elders and the continuation of our operations since 1974, Wawatay has carried a mandate to promote and preserve the unique culture, language, heritage and identity of First Peoples of Ontario. Wawatay has continued this mandate for 40 years and is carving new and innovative paths to enhance the social and cultural, educational and recreational, economic wellbeing of First Peoples. I think our plan does this multiple, multiple times above any other plan. Our plan involves youth, our northern high schools and partnerships with urban universities and colleges for the added capacity that we need and the very much needed skills training that our youth and adults need to move into the media sector.
78 And we see this as an opportunity, not a challenge. This is something where we can honour one another as nation to nation and move forward into building a new. Of course, as I mentioned, the TRC [sic] specifically says in the Calls for Action for language that the people in the communities must run any programming that would be based in language. Because it’s impossible to have some kind of outside entity come in and try to teach you your own culture and language. So it’s only by the people for the people that we will be successful.
79 And then that’s where we came up with the idea of reconciliation through media, industry, and programming. Like I said, after presenting our plan to the Chiefs of Ontario, the Chiefs and Assembly unanimously voted in favour of Wawatay. The amount of times that we have complete unity is very far and few between. But we do have the ability to unify ourselves here in Ontario through language and the education of our youth through that language and in, you know, bringing that language to the mainstream.
80 So there’s also a lot of reversals that we’d be doing from real policies that happened in the past such as the reservation policy, which saw a lot of our families and community citizens hidden in the back bush, you know, away from any kind of mainstream society.
81 And it also reverses the residential school policy which, you know, tried to wash the Indian out of the child and erase the language from the family and communities.
82 So both these policies can be reversed with this one decision.
83 We also have the ability to start developing First Nations peoples -- First People’s Inuit and Métis talent in our country. There’s so much untapped talent in our communities from all genres of music to acting, writing. And none of them seem to have an avenue to get out to -- to be exposed.
84 If we use the analogy of, like, hockey, even in the north, where hockey is so large, even some of the best players in northern Ontario don’t get a lot of exposure until they come play in the south.
85 So this is where these southern stations are going to immensely help our youth, not more so that they have something to look up to -- I mean, more so that they have somewhere to go when they’re in the cities.
86 I know when I was in university there was a lack of support for First Nations students and the graduation rate was quite low. And I think that, like, plans like this one would help in assisting in raising the graduation levels and bring the standards up a little higher. It gives our youths something to aspire to that’s just more than playing music and, you know, killing time on air. I think if there’s something that can be learned from this it’s that our youth could be even now in high schools be working with us to create great articles for both print and radio.
87 But mainly we need to start, you know, cultivating our youth and, you know, helping them move forward towards these grand aspirations.
88 And mainly this is an educational mission. So we know that education needs to come to our youth and our communities and this is one way to bridge the gap, by streamlining a process where we would have northern high schools teamed up with universities for media creation.
89 And not everybody that’s affiliated with the radio station may, you know, follow in the media industry. But they certainly would use these universities for other disciplines.
90 So we see this as, you know, a three- or four-pronged approach.
91 Our radio programming is above any other application. We see the importance of having full in-the-language programming even in Toronto and Ottawa because we have a lot of our community citizens that are working in Toronto and Ottawa.
92 So they would benefit from hearing the language on air and then it would also be shared with English and French so that we’d have an equal stream.
93 But I think being able to go after every single language in Ontario and have it pieced off through the week, we’re looking at, you know, wanting 33 percent of our air time in the language. And we see that as a way of preservation as well as enhancing and promoting our languages.
94 As you can see through the tables that we had, we show that our programming time, it’s immeasurable. We’ve outdone what anybody has done beforehand and what anybody is asked of us right now.
95 So we think it’s kind of a, you know, no-brainer that what we do today in our -- in Sioux Lookout and Timmins is something that can be easily transferred into the cities.
96 Now, we see some great benefits for Wawatay. It would give us the ability to expand our capacity and create partnerships with universities and northern secondary schools to generation on-air talent, producers, writers, editors, and technical workers, et cetera.
97 It also creates possible partnerships with universities to create an archives and repository to store our intellectual property. Currently Wawatay has over 40 years of recorded history, both audio and audiovisual. And it’s a goldmine. It’s a goldmine of our laws, our legends, our stories, our hunting stories, our family stories, our community stories. These are things that are sitting, you know, on old 1970s huge tapes. We have one machine left that works out, actually, record it and calling around and -- they haven’t even heard of the equipment anymore. But we’re lucky enough to still have that in safe conditions.
98 We also see, you know, this as economically, for Wawatay, this would be a great benefit because it opens up new markets for revenue generation for our radio and print editions -- and print as well our TV production, which is slowly getting back up and running.
99 Now we see the benefits for the people, which are huge, what the opportunity brings, the reinstallation of pride in language and culture. And I think once -- that’s something that’s shown in the mainstream. Speaking to a lot of people from back home, a lot of the times the problems come from when youth watch TV and they see things that are unattainable. I think it creates a form of depression and maybe it assists in the lot of the ill behaviours in our communities.
100 I think being able to bring something forward that is attainable for our youth is something that’s a viable future that will give them something to aspire to, something that, you know, makes you want to live. And I think it’s something that we’re, you know, dealing with drastically in our communities with, you know, the epidemic of suicides. So it’s as simple as something as this process. It could be the change in pride and instilling that, you know, that “want to be here” kind of attitude back into our youth.
101 And of course, you know, there’s benefits for Canada. There’s social economic benefits that’s a value added to the economic benefits from Canada’s investment in Wawatay with the education and skills training.
102 Again, it’s a reversing of ill policies such as reservation and residential school policy.
103 And I think most importantly, Canada would be honouring the work and vision of Emile Nakogee, Tom Fiddler, Mason Koostachin, William Winter, Abel Bluecoat, Mike Hunter, Louie Bird, and many, many other honourable notables who brought, at the beginning, trail radios to our communities and linked community to community through a trail radio to preserve the language and culture. And that’s where it started from.
104 And I’d like to -- of course we can -- I think we’re getting close on time, or?
105 MS. ROY: You still have 10 minutes.
106 MR. GAGNON: Oh, 10 minutes? Okay.
107 So I’m going to take five more minutes just to go over -- of course, like, the public record is, you know, overwhelmingly -- the amount of support we got from everybody that we asked for -- you know, Ontario -- was overwhelming. It was a no-brainer from Grand Chief Fiddler to Grand Chief Madahbee to Regional Chief Isadore Day. It was something that -- they were happy that we consulted with them and we gave them the respect to want to have their support. And it showed that, you know, this is somewhere where we’re moving forward as a group. We’re more than just Crees or Oji-Crees or Ojibway or Mohawks. We’re the First Nations people of this province and, you know, with the original first official languages that were here before contact.
108 So in conclusion, Wawatay has the support of Indigenous political representatives and organizations in Ontario. I don’t believe our competition does.
109 Wawatay has the most innovative proposal that reflects the interests and needs of the Indigenous population to be served, offering programming and educational initiatives that will promote Indigenous cultures and language, and plans to provide for broad participation by Indigenous population of the region served in the governance, operation, and programming of the station.
110 Wawatay will contribute to local development by creating media training programs hosted at stations in Ottawa and Toronto. These programs will create educational skills-building initiatives to benefit Indigenous students. Wawatay’s commitments to focus on media education is supported by letters from six university programs in Ontario. And that was even more overwhelming than having our own stand behind us with the fact that the higher education saw this as a viable business plan for the future of media in Ontario.
111 We don’t feel that our opposition -- our opponent’s proposal does not demonstrate any support by the representative Indigenous nations as we do. And more importantly, we need to provide something greater for our youth, as I said before, to aspire to than just a music station and somewhere to sell advertising.
112 And I’d like Mike to take the last five minutes. Thank you very much.
113 MR. METATAWABIN: Thank you, John.
114 On behalf of the Wawatay Communications Society and the member communities, I want to say thank you for giving us the opportunity to make our presentation, to come before you, and also allowing us that opportunity to present our case and why we believe we would benefit immensely in having the licences to broadcast specifically here in Toronto and Ottawa.
115 As you know -- and you spoke your language eloquently, French language. As you know, when you hear the language -- it’s a breath of fresh air when you hear the language, especially when you hear your people, the stories, the legends.
116 And that’s what we propose to bring to the cities as well.
117 As you know, we have a population of Cree, Ojibway, Inuit, and the other First Nation Communities that reside here in Ottawa and also in Toronto.
118 We believe we can bring that to their benefit. We can also bridge that gap and bringing them home by bringing their home to their homes.
119 For us communication is very vital. Without communication it’s like shutting the windows, pulling the blinds to the windows of your home. You can’t see outside; you can’t see nothing. You’re closed off.
120 This is why communication is very vital to our communities, especially now in the year 2017 as we move forward. Things are happening. There’s a lot of change going on in the country and we need to be a part of that change in moving forward.
121 The Truth and Reconciliation also calls for the engagement of First Nations, the partnership of First Nations. We can make that happen together, working together. Communication is the key to making that happen.
122 I have walked that road for the last 40-plus years. I have been a witness to the change in our communities. I have been a witness to the collection of recorded stories, legends. And moving forward, after having lived that experience of collecting the stories and capturing the stories, we are at this time now ready to move forward in enshrining the language forever through digital media. That is our next steps, to preserve, to maintain, and to keep the languages alive and strong moving forward.
123 This new technology allows you to do such things. It allows the young people to have access. It allows the young people to be able to learn. It allows the young people to be able to learn from their past, their history. It will empower their needs, their wants, and their aspirations in moving forward, to be a part of this country.
124 We can’t do that if we do not grant them that opportunity.
125 That is why we make these presentations, we make these arguments before you. We’ve come a long ways. We’ve seen a lot of change.
126 A declaration was made back in 1977 which spoke volumes. And this summer marks the 40th anniversary of that declaration. And at this time we hope to bring that forward, to carry it forward, to bring that message to our communities, to bring that message to you, Canada.
127 Also, as I mentioned, there’s a lot of change going on. There’s a lot of things happening in our country. We have a new population that is coming to the country, volumes, a great number of people coming to the country. We want to be a part of that welcoming, that engagement with these new people, the displaced people that are coming to our country.
128 We were here first as First Nations people. We will continue to be here. And we would like that honour to be first and foremost in welcoming these new people. It wasn’t their choice to be displaced. But they are being invited; they are being welcomed; and we want to share with them our history, our communities, our languages. Together we can create a new community to instil pride, culture, and an identity.
129 It is our legacy, this history that we’ve walked, the experiences that we’ve walked. These are our legacies.
130 I’m a survivor of the residential school. That hasn’t been a good legacy. And that too needs to be addressed moving forward. For a few more generations we need our people to be healed. We need to have good communication to instil, to reintegrate pride and identity. Our young people desperately need it.
131 With that I want to again thank you for the privilege, for the honour of making our presentation. It’s not very often we get to do so.
132 And this freezing rain almost prevented us from making it here. We set out on -- we drove out last evening at 6:00 p.m. and we got here at around 3:00 a.m. And that is our commitment and our dedication to making sure we make our cases -- or make our presentation on behalf of our people, our communities, and our youth. Miigwetch.
133 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, we’re glad you made it. I know it was a journey. We heard indirectly that it was not easy getting here. So thank you very much for being present.
134 Commissioner MacDonald will start us off with some questions for you.
135 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning and welcome. Thank you for your comments this morning. I will have a number of questions. Just to assure you, they’re not intended to be combative in any way. They’re just intended to ensure that we have a full understanding of the service that you’re proposing to be able to judge it by.
136 So my questions are basically divided into two buckets today, one pertaining to the actual service and the features of it that you’re proposing, and then the second bucket, which we’ll get to later on, with respect to your overall business plan and financial projections.
137 And just in the interest of clarity, you have applied for two stations on Toronto one and Ottawa, so when you're replying, I'm going to assume that that statement is true for both stations unless you clearly identify, no, this just has to do with Ottawa or Toronto.
138 So, just to start off, I'm wondering why -- what the drivers were in your mind and the decision points for coming forward with the type of service and the format that you're proposing, how do you or why do you feel that it is the best format to serve your listeners?
139 MR. GAGNON: Well, as it began, like it was kind of a rush job. When we found out what the AVR was and that you were taking back license and we were applying, we were looking at a means to bolster our youth in our communities in the capacity that we need for, you know, better media production. And I think that what the idea of -- what we were looking for was -- like we have the ability to find people that speak the language. That's not the issue. It's -- would be basic interview skills, the who, what's, where's and why's of journalism, some very basic means of education. So, we sought out some programming with Ryerson and University of Ottawa, could be something that's not necessarily part of their normal curriculum, but something that -- a program they could put together to help train our language speakers. And that's basically where the plan begin to come to play where we could look at partnerships with the universities and have -- and use that model to start breaking into the -- both Toronto and Ottawa.
140 So, it was because a lot of our -- like I say, finding the language speakers is not difficult. It's finding the -- having them trained in the skills for proper radio production is what we -- is how we began this process. And then we applied and, you know, just looking at all the best ways that we can tie this whole -- the whole plan together.
141 You want to add onto that, Mike?
142 MR. METATAWABIN: Yes, thank you.
143 It seemed like a natural fit to -- it's the idea that we're going to continue doing the work that we've started over 40 years. This -- the licenses for Toronto and Ottawa provides an opportunity to enhance the work that we've already started, to continue the work in preserving and forever capturing the language on digital format. That's the next step. That's the bold step that we see. And it also, at the same time, it allows us to partner with universities that allows for our young people to be able to enter into an industry, a media industry, that allows them to ignite their creativity, their desire to learn the language, to learn. That -- for me, that -- it was a natural fit.
144 Wawatay has been doing this for over 40 years and we are the only broadcaster, a leader in the First Nation language broadcasting.
145 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Is spoken word the best format to preserve the various languages that you'll be targeting with the service? Because I note that in comparison to some other applications you're relying on a significant amount of spoken word versus music, as an example.
146 MR. METATAWABIN: Well, like I said, we've been doing this, the language, the spoken word is the key, yes. When you hear it, when you hear the language, you're nurturing a language. You're carrying on the language, the culture, the traditions. You're allowing, you're enabling people who are cut off. Even with this -- with these fine cities you have here, there are people who live here find themselves cut off from their communities. It's not to say that we will -- it will be 100 percent First Nation language programming. It will be a combination of mainstream programming, First Nation language programming. It -- John can provide more details to how that's going to work out.
147 MR. GAGNON: And I think I'd like to address the question as well with the idea of the spoken word. In our print edition we do have Slavics that is translated for the community citizens. And if -- like there's -- that aspect of the written word that assists in learning and keeping -- preserving the language. But again, I think our youth are losing the ability to read Slavics. So, we need to start considering other forms like Roman orthography, which Ojibways are using in their language courses and it seems to work with them. So, it fits well with the curriculum of teaching English or French with that -- with the alphabet and then using that. So, there are other forms, of course, to preserve the language, but spoken word is, you know, would be priority.
148 And as per -- for versus music or, you know, we've got to start developing more of our talent to be able -- for them to be producing music in the language. So, there is some now that exists but I don't think that the youth would find it too fancy, so -- or would not fancy that old type music. So, we got to look at, you know, new genres of music with using the language. And then again, you're not going to find that outside of, you know, deep into the communities that are here in Ontario. So, you're not going to find it outside of the community itself so.
149 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Toronto is obviously a huge market. Ottawa is a large market. And I'm -- and obviously, to be successful you will need to attract listeners to your offer. And you mentioned young people. Young people are consuming media and searching for information and content in different ways now. How do you see your offering carving out a niche and differing from other options that may exist in the Toronto and Ottawa market today?
150 MR. METATAWABIN: As I mentioned earlier, our populations are growing. Our populations are right across Canada, not just First Nations but also with mainstream population. We're growing and there's a lot of -- many ethnic communities coming up developing in the country. We're also a part of that development. We're one of many, if you want it call it that, the "ethnic community." Mind you, we have always been here and we want to -- we would like the opportunity to have a space in that -- at that table or that media, the medium. We want to be visible. We want to present our stories. We want to be a part of this developing country we call Canada.
151 MR. GAGNON: And just to further that, with the idea of how we would attract, you know, our listeners in the city, I think it's something that -- I thought that -- you know, realistically, it'd be like a car wreck, you know, and all the rubberneckers going by and what is that? And they'll be tuning into something that they've never heard before. And it would be, you know, an attraction at the beginning. But, of course, for the mainstream population, that's where our English and English language programming is going to come into play. And I think at, you know, using critical times of the day, you know, especially the drive to work, drive home, the same kind of format a lot of the mainstream radio stations use would need to be implemented for -- because it is a city and things are done a little differently than within our communities. So we’re very willing to adapt to the ways of the city, but we’re hoping that the city will also adapt with us along the way.
152 And how will we be different from anybody other? I think -- if you go to a library you can see all the works published. You see the languages they’re published in and there’s a wide gamut of opportunity for us to be publishing our own stories in our own languages. And I think that’s going to set us apart from anybody that would be operating in the same venue as us.
153 And I think also the idea that it’s genuine and it’s coming from the people of Ontario, I think that’s going to resonate with listeners and the citizens because it’s not something that’s fabricated. And we’re not repeating a mistake that may have been made with AVR. And I think that’s something that we can assist with, with ensuring that success.
154 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you.
155 You mentioned programming in English and French. So you’re proposing French-language programming in Ottawa but not Toronto. Is that correct?
156 MR. GAGNON: Yes. I think we left it open for both. But because Quebec is so -- you know, it’s so close to Ottawa, then it would seem to be just a perfect fit to be able to have French in our programming for -- I don’t know how well it would fit in Toronto, but ---
157 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In Ottawa how much French-language programming do you envision broadcasting?
158 MR. GAGNON: I think we were looking at -- it was a significant amount, over and above -- so they’re saying in the case -- say the content in Toronto would be 84 hours in English and then here in Ottawa we’re looking at 42 hours in French and 42 hours in English. So pretty equal between the English and French languages. And then the other equalling up to the 126 hours would be First Nation languages.
159 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And why did you decide on that 42 and the 42? Is it just for equality between the two groups?
160 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, equality. And I think -- the thing is, we weren’t -- even for our home licences in Timmins and Sioux Lookout we added four percent of French into our broadcasting. Because I think -- it’s like all the licences have always been detailed as English or Aboriginal languages but there was never any allotment for French. And I think coming from northern Ontario we have, you know, a large French population. So we thought we’d experiment by adding, you know -- by sharing some of our time with the French language. And then with these licences, it was more of an opportunity to share the airwaves amongst English, French, and First Nation languages. So it was an equality decision.
161 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Do you have any intentions of streaming any of this content online or via an app to Smart phones?
162 MR. GAGNON: We do currently. We do have -- both Sioux Lookout and Timmins are on our website as separate radio stations. We’re currently working on an app similar to AMMSA’s app. We saw their app and it was, you know, very well done. It’s just a matter of -- we just built a brand new website that’s interactive and we’re looking to stream television on it along with our radio stations. So we’re just slowly moving towards that goal.
163 But, yeah, you know, having the ability to go through the internet gives us more accessibility from people who may not even have a radio but who have a computer.
164 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And just so I understand what you’re doing with your website, currently is it just a live stream of whatever is happening on the stations or are particular stories housed there so someone can go -- you know, in the future can go back and look at a particular article or story?
165 MR. GAGNON: Well, currently the radio stations themselves do stream just live what’s going on in Sioux Lookout and Timmins and they’re just live radio stations.
166 But the main reason for getting our website set up for the television streaming was in hopes to digitize our collection and start playing our old audiovisual collection through our TV streaming. And it’s something that, you know, would bring us back to, like, say into the seventies. And we have I think approximately over 3,000 hours in one -- in Cree and a little over 3,000 in Oji-Cree.
167 So we have a ton of production to stream. It’s just a matter of bringing it to this day and age, technology. Excuse me.
168 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to your local spoken-word programming, how are you going to ensure that it’s reflective of the communities and the linguistic groups that you’re trying to serve?
169 MR. GAGNON: Well, I think that’s something that would be probably more definitive once we’re up and running. But I think coming to, you know -- and that’s -- we’re mixing the north with the south. We’re exposing ourselves to the ways that the southern First Nations people have been doing things that, you know, far surpass even our -- you know, are light years ahead of where we are in the north.
170 And I think by taking a proper -- taking those proper avenues to discuss things that are in our community that’s relevant to our people in Ontario and talking about these subjects from our perspective and finding out solutions, I think that’s going to benefit both the community, the people, and as well as Canada. So it’s a matter of being able to find our stories, knowing what our stories are, and the diversity of our First Nation communities here in Ontario and having that feed into, you know, like, a good newscast.
171 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So you would see that programming not being just a replica of what you’re doing at your other stations?
172 MR. GAGNON: Oh, no. Oh, yeah, this is -- like, we’d have to adapt to the mainstream. Like, if anything were to be, we always have the ability to fall back on our programming in the north. So we always have that language backup. But you know, coming to the city, you know, we’re going to have to, you know, adapt quite quickly to how things work. And you know, it’s going to change Wawatay drastically but over the last year we’ve changed our corporate structure to shore up some of those issues that may have been around in the past and strengthen us as an organization altogether.
173 And of course, as we said in the application, we’d definitely be looking for people within the Toronto/Ottawa areas to be part of our governing structure as well so that they have decision-making for their languages and their people as well.
174 MR. METATAWABIN: We have the full support as well from all our communities in Ontario. We’ve been provided with that -- for us we call it a “resolution” that indicates that Ontario is in full approval of allowing Wawatay Communications to lead the charge, to lead the way in acquiring the licences so that we can provide programming.
175 And just to answer the question of how we will do it, we’ve been adapting ever since day one. We’ve been adapting throughout the years, fine-tuning the way we do things to meet the needs of the communities.
176 And likewise, we will continue to do the same. We will be bridging a bigger -- we will be tapping onto a bigger community, a larger community. And likewise, we will be adapting the way we do things, the way we do this, and how we link up with our brothers and sisters that live down south.
177 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: For my own education, could you perhaps give me a couple of examples of the types of issues you would see being covered in your programming in a more southern, urban market?
178 MR. METATAWABIN: Well, just to name a couple, I guess, and just to -- I guess the reason why -- one of the reasons why I look at this as a -- there’s development being proposed in our region, up in the north. The territory is rich in resources and that dialogue needs to happen. We need to have that dialogue on how we do this. How do we develop the North? And who will benefit?
179 As you know, our communities are remote and through many years you have heard how poverty is a big issue, housing is a big issue, prescription drug abuse is now the most prominent social emergency that we are dealing with. So there’s many facets of, of ways we’re going to utilize this opportunity.
180 Mental health is a big issue. We would like to have access to mental health professionals and we would like to have a dialogue with mental health professionals. We would like to create awareness of different types of mental health issues or other social issues and vice-versa. Like I mentioned earlier, we have a new population coming into the country. We would like to be a part of their building awareness, creating awareness of what’s here in the country, whose who in the country, what’s happening in the country.
181 So, there’s many things to look at, economic, education, social. We have policing issues that we are dealing with, energy issues. The list goes on. There’s many things; it’s a great benefit to everybody.
182 MR. GAGNON: And to add on to that is the ability to have so many different venues in the city, both Ottawa and Toronto, that we could be exploiting for our youth.
183 Back in 2011, Wawatay produced an NHL program with the NHL’s permission. We had a royalty-free license and some of the technical issues we had were lag time because the radio and the television. We always thought if there was an ability to bring that programming back up, it would be nice to -- you know, it would be like the gentlemen the Punjabis have, a seat in the rink and have the ability to broadcast in our language as well and have that go out to our communities.
184 And that’s not something that’s away from our aspirations because we’ve done it before. We just have no means of getting -- having it done properly and having access to professional sports, professional theatre, different performances, be it visual arts, the exposure is so great that it just –- if we could tap into that a little bit and expose that to our youth, I think it opens up a whole gamut of thinking for the future.
185 MR. METATAWABIN: Our basketball program recently became very successful in our community and it has taken our teams to provincial championships. And with the limited availability of technology that was in the room where the championships were taking place, we broadcasted the game live at the community, to everybody’s pleasant surprise. They were able to listen to their grandchildren play. The excitement that was coming from the gymnasium carried over to the community. That’s one example of how we can do things.
186 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So that actually takes me to my next question. Just briefly, can you describe for me what your broadcast day would look like? Because I’m thinking about some of the locally produced, locally relevant content. You mentioned the basketball game. Would that –- do you think most of the locally produced content will be scattered throughout the day; will it be clustered in specific times of day or around a particular event or festival?
187 MR. METATAWABIN: I just want to throw in a few thoughts of mine, but I think we have that covered in our presentation. It would take into account business, also entertainment, also language content, but more so creating that dialogue, as I mentioned earlier, with government. There is a lot of dialogue that needs to take place. It’s going to be a combination of conversations, maybe like CBC does. And then we have events that take place in our communities. So I think those are just a few ideas that I have in mind, but I think John has an outline.
188 MR. GAGNON: In our application we put forward our schedule for radio programming. I think essentially outside of the in-language broadcasting -– so when we are broadcasting in English, you know, we would like to take the chance to introduce to Canada who we are, our history, where we came from and how this came to be.
189 So, looking at what would be historical programs, language programs, educational programs, of course, music programs. We really want to touch into the arts and theatre and literature and start promoting our artists. And I think we also want to have round-table discussions with all peoples of Canada so that we can look at better ways to better our communities, better one and other, better the province, how we can be innovative in revenue generation and economics for our province. There are things that we can discuss at the societal level that eventually give direction to our leaders.
190 I think once most people are educated to a point where they understand the processes of what’s going to happen, there may not be as much struggle in creating positive opportunities. So it’s a matter of being able to get that education to our peoples in the language and have them understand how things go and I think it’s the city licenses that assists with that is huge.
191 MR. GAGNON: As you know, climate change is the biggest topic in recent years and I think it will continue to be more so. Also in recent times, we are realizing that Northern Ontario is one of a few places that has a natural element which looks after the carbons that are emitted which looks after that contamination. I don’t have the terminology, but I know that Northern Ontario is one of the largest carbon sinkholes, I think the term is used.
192 Those are things that can be part of the discussion because more and more people are coming up north and governments are initiating new policies where there is a need to discuss adaptation strategies to a change in environment caused by climate change. And also along with that, we have our own people who have held their own traditional ecological knowledge. It’s still very real, very visible in our communities. We have people who have witnessed change firsthand. There are many things, there’s many ways that -– I just see a huge potential on what we can do with engaging and having a dialogue with each other.
193 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I noted in your application that you’re proposing drawing a significant amount of your programming from other sources that aren’t produced solely for your proposed radio stations. I think the number was perhaps as high as 50 percent of the broadcast week. And, I am wondering why you feel that drawing 50 percent of your programming from other sources effectively serves the markets in question. I think we were speaking about that on the ride home last -- actually, early this morning on the ride home -- on the ride to Ottawa early this morning that we could be using a lot of different individual radio stations from certain communities, such as Wasauksing First Nation has a radio station, a radio station in Manitoulin Island is both Ojibway, and -- thank you much, Mike. So, we could be beginning programming from these communities that would otherwise maybe not have a venue to promote, you know, anything more than just regional or their local area. Excuse me.
194 MR. METATAWABIN: Just to carry on what John is saying is that we already have existing communities who have done similar programming or have just started. We would be entering into partnerships. We would be collaborating together on how can we do this together? Once -- when granted the licenses, this opens the doors for everybody, all First Nation communities in Ontario, all First Nation groups and agencies and organizations in Ontario. We can do things. We can work and create programs that benefit different agencies, organizations with different mandates and services that they provide. And I don't want to get into naming all sorts of services but, as you know, we do have a whole slew of services we currently utilize and I think that's the kind of discussion that we would be entering into.
195 It's -- again, it's about adaptation. It's about immersing communities together, languages together and creating that community where our young people will be more aware -- will become more knowledgeable of all the communities that are around and who's around and what's going on or what's being contemplated in terms of development.
196 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to languages, your application proposes 42 hours of programming per week in Indigenous languages. Will that content be unilingual in that language or will the same content go out multiple times in different Indigenous languages?
197 MR. GAGNON: Actually, that's a good one too. That could be used if we had that ability because a lot of the -- most of these languages are from the Iroquois-based languages. So, there are some interchangeable, you know, words and stuff. But a lot of our programming today, like unless it's unilingual where we have two language speakers speaking to each other on the radio, that's basically how it's going to go off. But if we have like an English person in we will then translate for them. So, sometimes it's multilingual but it is translated, put back to the original language, whether it's Oji-Cree or Cree, depending on what station it's coming from. So, there is some aspects to that.
198 But having Mohawk and Ojibway and Oji-Cree and Cree all sitting together at a table, all speaking their respective language at each other, I don't know kind of if it would be a very productive conversation.
199 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I was thinking more from a rebroadcasting and translation standpoint.
200 MR. GAGNON: Well, that could be with the translation stuff for sure. Like I mean, we could be translating into different languages and depending on, you know, if there's other ways of putting out two different broadcasts, you know, like I mean, a matter of being able to ensure that the target market we're going after, that language is being utilized. And that's I think what would be most important for us.
201 MR. METATAWABIN: Because ---
202 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: How ---
203 MR. METATAWABIN: Oh, sorry.
204 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Go ahead.
205 MR. METATAWABIN: Just one point in that. Technically I guess as First Nations communities we're one community. But also at the same time, we recognize and respect that each of our communities is unique in their own way. So, we do have that aspect of taking things into consideration where we will respect different languages and communities. And I just wanted to point out that Toronto has done immensely well in terms of fitting into a multicultural community. And likewise, we hope to do the same with a true broadcast.
206 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: How do you decide which language you want to broadcast a particular, let's say, event in? Is it -- is that decision made solely based on who you can get to host the show? Are you going to try and achieve certain minimum thresholds of programming in each language? How do you make that call to?
207 MR. METATAWABIN: Well, I think broadcasting, there's strategies in place or current formats in place that will take that into account. But also, we will take into consideration events going on in each region or community. So, it's going to be a collaboration. It's going to be teamwork. But basically, there are structures in place that will accommodate everybody's needs.
208 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And who will ultimately make that decision?
209 MR. GAGNON: Well, that would come from an administrative aspect of it. But I think priority would be that wherever the region is and what language base is in that region would -- that would take precedence. That language would obviously reside in that area. Now, if we are trying to rebroadcast this out, I think the best bet would be to translate it into the different languages and then just, you know, play the separate shows separately then from the original because it would be, you know, you are looking at getting into like a bit of a smorgasbord of, you know, getting the languages out and it's just kind of meshed in together. But I think each region will have its own ability to take control of its language, so that would probably work itself out in that sense.
210 And I think -- well, with the idea of like who's making the decisions, that that's where we have, you know, a team of language speakers together as part of the broadcasters and they're -- and that's also part of the board of directors that would ensure that what's happening in that region is being -- that protocol in that language is being respected. Okay so.
211 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you. With respect to your news programming, in your application you proposed 31 hours of news programming. And I'm wondering, does that include or exclude items such as weather, sports coverage, traffic coverage?
212 MR. GAGNON: It doesn't -- sports would be on its own. We're trying to get -- trying to showcase sports because it's something that's pretty important to the youth in our communities. But it would be separate from the news program.
213 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: But the news program itself would include things like ---
214 MR. METATAWABIN: The news programming itself ---
215 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- weather and traffic updates?
216 MR. GAGNON: Traffic and weather would be part of the news. I know that sports would be part of the news as well but more so we'd like to have secondary or maybe in tertiary shows specifically about sports, you know, so.
217 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And could you provide me with a breakdown of that 31 hours? How much you see being local news versus regional news versus national or national stories?
218 MR. GAGNON: I'd have to say like it would probably be shared, you know, by like, you know, equally. The third of each would be national -- a third national, you know, provincial and then local. So, that would make up, you know, say 10 hours of each per week. But then I guess really what drives the news is what's in the news. So, whatever is the biggest news item of that, whether it's local or municipal or federal, I think that would take precedence. Like if -- what was -- try and think of a good news program, say the OJ white bronco chase, like that would be kind of a local news item that would hit nationally. That would be some of -- these type of news stories that do come out, you know, sometimes, you know, find themselves going viral and something that's very local, something that you wouldn't -- would think was insignificant, you know, makes it global. So, you really don't know what the news is going to tell you from one day to the next. But I'd have to say we'd share it equally amongst the three different regions.
219 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. You've proposed 108 hours of spoken word programming per week.
220 MR. GAGNON: Yeah.
221 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: How many hours of that will be dedicated to local programming?
222 MR. GAGNON: Well, again, like I mean, I think that has to be what, you know -- you know, you can get a news team together, you got to start going through what's important at the time. So we’d like to say it’s a third shared amongst all the time so the federal, provincial, and municipal. But with the news game you’d have to wait and see what’s actually, you know -- well, our intent is to have it shared amongst the three different regions equally, just the same as the news.
223 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Obviously this is going to be a fair amount of work that goes into producing news locally within the station, researching and preparing for spoken word programming. How many staff do you envision having at each of these stations to support your efforts?
224 MR. METATAWABIN: If I may say so, in my years as a former broadcaster and producer in television and radio policies that currently exist limit or don’t provide enough resources to allow for support systems to allow the broadcaster easier access or easier ways to produce programming. So I would -- that is something that needs to be taken into account too, as well.
225 As you know, Ontario is such a vast region. Everything that’s going on in the country, everything that’s going on in the regions and our communities, we would hope to have -- to find the resources that would allow for easier ways of developing programs with the proper amount of support staff to be in place.
226 MR. GAGNON: Absolutely. Right now, Wawatay for some time now has been running on a very skeleton crew. I visited CBC as I was given a tour of CBC in Toronto last year. And going from our news room which is in each station about three people who are broadcasters, producers, researchers, writers -- they’re doing all their own work so they don’t have the luxury of counting on somebody to go and research something midstream through a program.
227 And then when I visited CBC it was -- I was amazed in the amount of producers and writers and researchers that they were able to access. And I thought to myself, if Wawatay could be at this level of funding, we could be producing this level of content as well. And as a public broadcaster equal to CBC outside of the fact that they’re a federal agency -- you know, if all of us communications societies across Canada were -- if we were -- for five to seven percent of the population in Canada.
228 Perhaps if we were, you know, received five to seven percent of the same type of funding as CBC would, we would definitely have, you know, substantial amount of funds to be able to hire producers and writers and researchers. But currently I think all of us are pretty skeleton crew.
229 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I take your point but that doesn’t really answer my question.
230 So based on the financial projections that you ---
231 MR. GAGNON: For us.
232 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Assuming they come to fruition ---
233 MR. GAGNON: The wish list, yeah.
234 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Yeah. What would you see the ---
235 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, that would be -- this is funded to be staffed liked CBC so it’s not -- this budget wasn’t put together like Wawatay’s budget because it’s an application and it’s a wish list. Well, the budgets that we put in are actual contributions that go to he Ministry of Heritage and they’ll tell us straight up what’s not funded and what is funded. So we have parameters to be within.
236 But for this, of course we’re looking at, you know, a station producer, researchers, writers, all kinds of -- you know, that support the talent and ensure that we’ve got facts, factual news and factual news going out and newsworthy items going out.
237 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So at the lower end of the spectrum you’re running our current stations with about three full-time employees?
238 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, with three full-time broadcasters.
239 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Three full-time broadcasters.
240 MR. GAGNON: Each station.
241 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
242 MR. GAGNON: And then the six of them are split up the whole week.
243 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. So you would view that as the minimum ---
244 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, that -- because that’s very minimum. I mean, they’re overworked as it is, so you know, I don’t think -- you know. I don’t know if anybody else would work under those conditions really.
245 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You’re proposing some open-line programming and I just want to make sure that you are aware of the Commission’s policy on open-line programming. It’s 1988-213. And I just want to make sure that you are familiar and will adhere to that policy if you’re successful in your applications.
246 MR. GAGNON: I'm not aware as of right now, but I certainly will be made -- make myself aware of it.
247 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And perhaps you can undertake to provide confirmation that you will adhere to that policy?
248 MR. GAGNON: Yeah.
250 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: By April 3rd?
251 With respect to the open-line programming, what steps are you going to take to ensure that the views and the content presented is balanced?
252 MR. GAGNON: Well, presently, like, this is going to open up new conversations that’s something that may not be something -- conversations we’ve had already during our programming. I think right now the places in play where the broadcasters are -- they have the kill switch, of course, for anything that may not -- anything that goes against CRTC ruling or anything that doesn’t fit with what we want to put out to our listeners, there’s -- you know, the broadcasters are always aware of -- if they have to cut somebody off they would cut somebody off.
253 And we would continue to do that because we wouldn’t want to jeopardize as, you know, Commissioner Blais said. You know, these licences are a privilege so we wouldn’t want to jeopardize our privilege for anything that may not work for our programing.
254 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Perhaps after you've had a chance to review that policy and confirm that you can adhere to it, you may also be able to tell us in that undertaking how -- what specific measures that you will be putting in place to ensure adherence with that policy.
255 MR. GAGNON: Okay.
256 MR. METATAWABIN: Our languages, our communities adhere to their ways of doing things as well. They respect and acknowledge that we have policies in place and everything will be respected in that regard.
257 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you.
258 One more question before I turn to the economics and the business plan. I just want to confirm that all of the commitments that you have made in your comments today, in your application, as a response to any request for information we might have sent you that you would be willing to accept and adhere to all of those commitments as a condition of licence if we approve your applications?
259 MR. GAGNON: Sure.
260 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you.
261 MR. GAGNON: I think we’d be ready to do that, yeah.
262 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So with respect to your financial projections and the costs that you identified to establish both of the stations, how did you arrive at those numbers? Was there any -- is that based on your experience? Was research done?
263 MG: There was research with what AVR was paying out, both in Toronto and Ottawa as well as our own numbers. Of course, I guess we have the fortunate -- to say that we live in Timmins, which the cost of living in Timmins is equal to Toronto. It’s a gold city so our rent and our mortgages are not much different.
264 So a lot of those costs can be easily associated, you know, back and forth between Toronto and Timmins. So we’re looking at the renting of a station, you know, getting the tower rentals for our antennas, the operation costs for employees right down from broadcasting to cleaning, ensuring that you know, we have a secure base to work from.
265 And then the idea of how many employees we wanted to have and the cost of per each. So you know, it’s just basic business planning budgeting.
266 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I guess, how granular did you get with respect to coming up with some of those numbers? Did you reach out to commercial realtors ---
267 MR. GAGNON: Yes.
268 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- in Toronto to get quotes?
269 MR. GAGNON: Both Ottawa and Toronto. We got -- the property expenses were the first things we began with. We needed, of course, a place to be. Equipment is something that our technician deals with purchasing and procuring equipment for all the community stations, which I don’t know if he said, but all our communities have 35 smaller stations that we service for equipment and/or repairs, tower climbing, and stuff like that.
270 We are pretty well versed in the amounts of what it’s going to cost to get it up and running, but some of these things are one-off purchases. You may want to have a secondary transmitter on back-up in case one fries, but outside of everything else -- the antennae, you aren’t going to buy twice, you know, these kinds of things. A lot of these things are start-up and then the others are just operational.
271 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: If your applications are approved, are any synergies going to be created with your existing stations, from a financial standpoint?
272 MR. GAGNON: That’s something we were talking about last night. I am wondering how our Timmins and Sault Lookout offices would be -- I don’t think the sales or anything regarding a change for our northern stations. I think what would probably change would be our programming and the standards of our programming in Timmins and Sault Lookout. I think that having the ability to be exposed to the cities would bring us a bigger stage to how to do this and we will be able to bring that home.
273 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: We could license you to serve both markets. We could potentially license you to serve just one. Are there any synergies that are created if you are launching two new stations in each market in the two markets at the same time, versus a stand-alone?
274 MR. GAGNON: No, because basically both urban settings were mirrored towards each other. Like I mean, outside of the partnerships that we began cultivating with the universities in each of the cities, I don’t –- I guess it would depend on you. We can do either both at the same time or however you guys decide to do one, but I don’t see -- but I’m sorry, I do see the ability to use some of our programming from the north for the south and vice-versa.
275 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. You provided financial projections for both Ottawa and Toronto and the information is the same; it is identical for both markets. Can you explain that?
276 MR. GAGNON: Well, it’s because a lot of the stuff is -- you know, it’s not definitive exact numbers, but I found that the rent for both Ottawa and Toronto were pretty much the same. So then, of course, the salaries would be the same. A lot of the things are interchangeable to both offices. We find for Sault Lookout and Timmins, a lot of the operations cost the same for both the separate stations.
277 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I take your point from an expense standpoint, but also, they were identical from a revenue standpoint.
278 MR. GAGNON: Well, I think because obviously Ottawa probably would be a smaller market versus Toronto. I think the idea was more of an amalgamated revenue. So what’s coming out -- we’re hoping that what’s coming out of Ottawa would equal Toronto. Until it’s actually tested and true, you know, all we can do is take numbers and extrapolate numbers from our existing sales from Sault Lookout and Timmins and then try to give an average medium to it with a larger population.
279 So it’s a forecast; again these are just forecasted numbers. We hope to sit down and break down these numbers that would even be maybe a little more cost efficient. But even for the revenue generation for both sides, it’s a forecast; these are just forecast sales.
280 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Just so I am clear, because it was presented in two different tables for me, those are your estimates per station, not a combination.
281 MR. GAGNON: No, they’re estimates per station.
282 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
283 MR. GAGNON: So they are estimated costs, yes.
284 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: A significant portion of your projected revenue comes from grants and subsidies from different organizations, and I am wondering, have you had conversations with those funding ---
285 MR. GAGNON: Yes.
286 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- organizations, and what was the result?
287 MR. GAGNON: MIR, the Ministry of Indigenous Reconciliation and something -- they were quite interested. We pitched to Minister Zimmer this back in May of last year and he was blown away and you know, gave us his support.
288 We’ve spoken since with a couple of assistant deputy ministers in relation to looking at funding and phases of funding. Our corporate agenda for this is to be self-sustaining after seven years. So a lot of this is just start-up and seed money to get it up and running. And then, you know, eventually, we’d like to see ourselves, you know, making our own way through our advertising and live broadcasts.
289 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So, just ---
290 MR. GAGNON: Yes, it’s all seed money.
291 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And so just so I am clear where those conversations are at currently, you have had discussions, but nothing yet in the way of a firm letter of intent or agreement to fund, if the applications are approved?
292 MR. GAGNON: We did ask for a couple of letters of intent but it was more so the idea of well, the chicken and the egg, like get the license and come back for a letter of intent. So we weren’t sure, we asked around. I know Mike met with one of the federal INAC -- go ahead.
293 MR. METATAWABIN: Yeah. This is like a --like John said, when you get the license, once you get the license, there is support out there; there is interest. There are agencies and organizations in business as well that are ready and willing to come forward. I don’t remember the acronym -- it’s a national organization. They are ready to move forward as well to help design a business plan or help tweek or just ---
294 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So, no one has denied ---
295 MR. WATATAWABIN: Oh, no. Not yet.
296 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. If the level of support is not where you hope it would be, are you still able to proceed and do you have the resources to be able to launch these two stations, and the willingness to support them?
297 MR. GAGNON: Everybody’s got great support for us but unfortunately the one thing we don’t have is like a huge cashflow to be able to put into the -- to forward this. But our belief is that language and culture and spirit can’t be purchased. It’s something that we bring to the table and then through our treaty partnerships, we look at putting together a pocketful of funding that would assist in moving us forward.
298 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to your projected advertising revenue for each market, what are those numbers based on?
299 MR. GAGNON: It looks like starting off in Year 2, we are not looking at having a huge year in the first year, but it’s just getting everything up and running. These are based off of our actual sales from Timmins and Sault Lookout and at a percentage. This year we are about to break $400,000 in sales for both advertising and live broadcasts and these are in markets a percentage of the size of Toronto and Ottawa.
300 The one thing we do have is a great sales team and they are able to get out there and hustle for us. So that's a great importance for us. But so a year or 2 you're looking at 75,000 as advertising for a projection.
301 I guess, you know, we're considering the idea that, you know, being new in a neighbourhood and being -- and knocking on doors, it may take some time to build our sales database for both the cities. But it's something that we feel, you know, within time we've projected to be on our own that we should be well on our way. So, of course, there's a gradual increase and that number -- the 75,000 was based on our lowest numbers of advertising sales only. So, not live broadcast or any other technical sales that we have but just advertising in our lowest in the last five years.
302 So, we figure if we took our lowest numbers here with the population we're working with, you know, the projection should be even greater for when it's actuals, goes to forecast.
303 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And it's fine if you haven't, I'm just curious, have you been reaching out to customers in those markets to see what their willingness would be to advertise? Are you having conversations with the companies that advertise on your existing stations to see if they would be interested in advertising in a new market?
304 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, we've spoken with the BMO, which has been our bank for 40 some years, so we were looking at trying to make some money back from them with some advertising. And that was something I said that if we were in the market we would be able to hit the, you know, larger scales of sales with BMOs. And we spoke with -- well, our newspaper editor, I should say, spoke with a couple clients as a market test. And when they found out that through our publication, our print publication that these ads could reach Peawanuck, there was some great interest in the fact that not only were they getting radio sales but the ability to reach all of Ontario through our print edition. So, that was kind of exciting. But otherwise, like it just very, very limited small testing in the market.
305 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Right. One final one on advertising, in your proposal you projected that about two thirds of the advertising revenue would come from existing stations in the market. The other third is presumably coming from companies that don't advertise today?
306 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, well, that's -- you know, like I mean, of course, that's the job of the salesman is try to get them to, you know, change their mind about advertising. A lot of businesses feel that they don't want to advertise because it's wasted money; right? So, for us, it's this idea that there's -- I guess some of it's coming from fundraising as well, too. And like but it's -- the advertising is -- so you say it's -- I really don't get your question. When I'm looking at the advertising it says "one third." Where'd you get the -- where did you get the number that says "one third"?
307 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I had -- I'd have to find it because it -- I'd have to find it in the application. But the information I had written down was that two thirds would come from ---
308 MR. GAGNON: Existing clientele?
309 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- existing stations. So, presumably, you know, you would be enticing an advertiser over from another station to your service and then -- so, if there's two thirds that are doing that, one third must be coming from somewhere else.
310 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, it would be new clientele.
311 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And is that two thirds versus one third split realistic based on your experience serving ---
312 MR. GAGNON: Actually, you know, in the north it seems that we do -- because there's only limited stations, like one town may have two stations, so we do exchange a lot of the clientele back and forth. The newspapers, as well, it does the same thing. We may not have an advertiser for a couple months and they -- you see them in another newspaper and that depends like on what market they're trying to hit I guess, you know. And it's specific times too when we get a lot of advertising, yearend time, especially government yearend. We get a lot of advertising because people are hoping that there's people -- communities and other agencies out there with a surplus that, you know, that they have to spend so we get a lot of the advertising at that time. And Christmas time, of course, is huge so.
313 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Just one final question before I hand you back over to my colleagues who may have some other questions. The Commission has a license trafficking policy that prohibit -- well, we would ordinarily deny a request to sell a station within the first two years of operation. And I just want to confirm that you're aware of that?
314 MR. GAGNON: Yes. And that's -- this is -- Wawatay is owned by the people and it's not up for sale.
315 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.
316 MR. GAGNON: Thank you very much.
317 THE CHAIR: Thank you. And should we decide to license you and talking beyond the two-year period, and let's say your projections just aren't materializing, do you undertake to return the license rather than trying to find another purchaser?
318 MR. GAGNON: Well, if it's not going to work then we're not, it wouldn't work. We would hope that -- pray that it would work out great but we would, you know, we would fall back and relinquish the license and ---
319 THE CHAIR: Right. So, you would return the license?
320 MR. GAGNON: Yes.
321 THE CHAIR: And you would undertake to do that ---
322 MR. GAGNON: Yes.
323 THE CHAIR: --- formally if we requested it in a condition?
324 MR. GAGNON: We wouldn't want to have to go through this -- what happened we leave here, that's for sure.
325 THE CHAIR: Well, that might be what the ---
326 MR. GAGNON: No, no, if ---
327 THE CHAIR: --- subtext of my question is.
328 MR. GAGNON: Yeah, if we did not meet our standards, then I think we would, you know, we would bow down and give it back. But I think we can ---
329 THE CHAIR: Oh, I'm not wishing you any ill successes, just ---
330 MR. GAGNON: Absolutely, yeah.
331 THE CHAIR: --- we have to explore and continue ---
332 MR. GAGNON: Oh no.
333 THE CHAIR: --- and build the public record. So, good. Thank you very much. Those are all our questions for you.
334 MR. GAGNON: Awesome.
335 THE CHAIR: Thank you very much. So, we'll take a late morning break and we'll be back at 11:30 for the next applicant. Thank you very much.
--- Upon recessing at 11:21 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 11:32 a.m.
336 THE CHAIR: Okay. Order, please.
337 Madame la secrètaire.
338 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We'll now proceed with Item 2 on the agenda, which are applications by Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta for broadcasting licenses to operate English and Aboriginal languages, type B, native FM radio stations in Calgary and Edmonton. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 30 minutes for your presentation.
339 MR. CROWFOOT: My name is Bert Crowfoot. I'm the CEO/General Manager of Aboriginal Multi-Media Society. I have Carol Russ to my left. She's the Director of Finance and she's been with AMMSA for 34 years. To my right is Boyd Leader. He's the Director of Radio. He's got 37 years of experience, the last 5 years with AMMSA and 13 years with Corus Entertainment. Owen Martin to my left is our Engineer. He's got more than 40 years of working with companies such as Shaw, Newcap, NorNet. Owen owns and operates KTC Technology, a broadcast services firm he started in 1994 and he's been working with us for the past 5 years on our satellite distribution. To my extreme right is Dustin McGladrey. He's one of our announcers. He's a producer. He's host of AMMSA's Conversational Cree. He's been in the business for seven years and is from the Nisga'a Nations Gisk-ansnaat Grizzly Bear clan of the House of Sgat'iin.
340 And not here is Devon Gray. He's our Sales Manager. He's spent the last years as sales manager with Corus Entertainment in Edmonton. And Debra Steel, she's the Director of News, 25 years in Indigenous news. And with all of the people I just introduced we have over 200 years of experience in radio. And don't call me a pioneer.
341 So, anyway, first of all I'd like to acknowledge Commissioner Vennard, Commissioner MacDonald and Chairman Jean-Pierre. And first of all, I'd like to thank the Algonquin people for allowing us to do business in their territory. I would also like to acknowledge the ancestors that were here with us today.
342 At CFWE we begin the broadcast day with a prayer in an Indigenous language and I'd like to do the same right now and start this presentation in a good way in both Cree and Blackfoot and, as our Elders said, you can remain seated because when in someone else's territory you do things their way.
343 --- (Prayer by Mr. Crowfoot)
344 MR. CROWFOOT: I once did an interview with the late Ruth Brass who’s a respected elder from my home community of Siksika First Nation in southern Alberta. Ruth told me before her interview she made an offering to the Creator asking that her words be the truth for what she had to say was important.
345 This morning I also made an offering to the Creator asking that the words I have to say will be heard, for those words are very important about the future of Indigenous communications in Canada.
346 My name is Bert Crowfoot and I am the founder of the Aboriginal Multi Media Society. November 2017 will mark my fortieth year in Indigenous communications.
347 I am Blackfoot on my father’s side and Saulteaux on my mother’s side. I was born in southern Alberta and lived there for 12 years at which time I moved to Edmonton.
348 I have been blessed with two Indian names. My Kwa kwa kwakl name is Gayutalas or “Always Giving” which was given to me in the fall of 2008 at a potlatch in Victoria, B.C. by my adopted father, Chief Adam Dick.
349 My Blackfoot name is Kiyo Sta’ah or “Bear Ghost”. It is one of the names of my great great grandfather, Chief Crowfoot. Chief Crowfoot’s bravery and determination earned him respect but it was his skills as a voice of peace and reason that would make him one of the most respected Indigenous leaders of his time.
350 Chief Crowfoot worked hard to build relations between the Blackfoot, White settlers, and government. He was one of the signatories of Treaty 7 on September 22, 1877 at Blackfoot Crossing.
351 First of all I’d like to go over a little bit of the history of Indigenous radio in Alberta. I think it’s important to acknowledge our past and Alberta has a rich history of communications going back over 50 years.
352 In 1966, Eugene Steinhauer interviewed people for his 15-minute weekly program on CKUA, a province-wide university radio station.
353 In 1967, the Alverta Native Communications Society was the first Indigenous communications society established by the Secretary of State’s Native Communications Program. This was co-funded by the Alberta provincial government. ANCS produced the weekly newspaper, Native People, and a weekly radio program and experimented in television in a project called Project Iron Star. It was television via satellite and two-way communication with three northern communities.
354 In 1983, the Aboriginal Multi Media Society (AMMSA) was established and received funding from both levels of government. AMMSA started publishing a weekly newspaper, Windspeaker, from the boardrooms of the Secretary of State. It was within a week of receiving funding approval.
355 Under the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program (NNBAP) of Heritage Canada, AMMSA was given the choice of either radio, television, or both. We decided to develop a solid radio foundation as opposed to splitting our energies on both.
356 Initially, the distribution was unique where the audio from CFWE was broadcast weekday mornings for one hour on CBC-TV. This was later increased to three hours.
357 CFWE was known as the radio station on TV. The Native Perspective was enthusiastically received in Indigenous communities throughout northern Alberta, even though it was for only one hour a day.
358 On August 31st, 1987 CFWE made its initial broadcast as a community radio station in the town of Lac La Biche and broadcast for 12 hours a day. In June of 1989 this broadcast grew to 24 hours.
359 On November 1st, 1991 the agreement between CFWE and CBC ended and this added to the urgency to pursue an alternative distribution system. In 1989 AMSSA seized the opportunity to establish a small satellite network consisting of low 10=watt transmitters in 10 communities. This was funded through the Distribution Program of the NNBAP.
360 In 1991 12 more communities were added; another 12 in 1992, and finally 12 in 1993. This gave CFWE a network of 46 transmitters throughout northern Alberta. This distribution system of small low-powered transmitters was frustrating because of their low coverage area. Plans were developed to install high-powered regional transmitters. One regional transmitter could replace several of the smaller ones.
361 In 1998 we installed our first 10.2 kW transmitter in the Porcupine Hills in southern Alberta. It provided coverage to the Kainai and Piikani First Nations and the City of Lethbridge.
362 In 1999 a second 4.2 kW system was installed at Joussard near Lesser Slave Lake.
363 In 2002 a 100 kW site was installed in the Moose Hills of northeast Alberta.
364 In 2009 a 23.5 kW transmitter was installed in Fort McMurray and a 9 kW in Edmonton.
365 In 2013 a 19.6 kW was installed in the Lac La Biche area.
366 In 2015 we launched our new website followed by our CFWE Radio App.
367 In 2016 the radio transmitter was increased to 100,000 watts for the Edmonton area.
368 Language. One of the many challenges is the loss of language to an entire generation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission urged Canada to confront cultural genocide of residential schools. They specifically singled out language in their recommendations.
369 We continually look for ways to engage languages in an inclusive manner. We are currently mandated to broadcast seven hours of language per week but we broadcast 20 hours.
370 Calgary. The new station will focus on the needs of the Indigenous population of Calgary and the Treaty 7 area. The Calgary radio services would include Indigenous language programming in Blackfoot, Nakota, Dene, and Cree.
371 For Calgary we would propose a country variety format similar to our existing licence, CFWE. When CFWE was launched in the urban centres of Fort McMurray and Edmonton, many listeners told us, “It sounds like coming home.”
372 The format, information, and voices of the on-air announcers reminded them of the warmth and connection they had listening to CFWE back in their remote and rural communities they grew up in.
373 AMMSA is optimistic that its radio launch in Calgary will elicit the same level of loyalty, familiarity, comfort, and understanding that we have experienced with our previous expansion to other urban Alberta centres.
374 In addition to new sales, local opportunities adding the new licence to our existing station gives us a combo sales opportunity. We are confident that the new licence will enhance our saleability on a regional and national basis.
375 With our Porcupine Hills transmitter we are already engaging the nations of the south. If we are successful with the Calgary application we will apply to merge our current Porcupine Hills transmitter with the Calgary signal to create a southern hub and cover the entire Treaty 7 area including Calgary, Siksika, Morley, Piikani, and Kainai.
376 We are already in discussion with the Tsuu’ Tina First Nation about the possibility of the building our Calgary studios and offices n the Grey Eagle Resort.
377 In addition to already having Indigenous languages on the air we have entered into an agreement with the Calgary Stampede to be an active partner in their Indigenous programs, including signage and hosting.
378 We have been active for the past three years with “Making Treaty 7” which is a live production celebrating Treaty 7.
379 Adding an Edmonton specific radio station is the next step in a natural progression in the capital region. We have the infrastructure in terms of office and studio, tower space, and we are local with local contacts.
380 Whereas our current licence, CFWE, broadcasts in broad terms to large and small communities, the new station will focus on the needs of the Indigenous population in Edmonton.
381 CFWE is a country variety format and the new licence would be a mixed contemporary presentation. A format that will give a forum to Indigenous rock, pop, blues, and hip hop artists.
382 Indigenous arts such as George Leach, Jordan Dunning Band, Black Rain, The Johnnys, Fara Palmer, Tanya Tagaq, Emily Taylor Adams, Cheri Maracle, Sherry St. Germaine, Ghostkeeper, and many others will benefit from the frequent prime time exposure on the new station.
383 A proud story of the impact CFWE has had on the community is a young 12-year-old man from Lac La Biche who won a talent contest hosted by CFWE about 20 years ago. This young man was Brett Kissel who has gone on Nashville fame. Another artist who achieved success is Shane Yellowbird.
384 This year will mark the fourth year of working with K-Days in Edmonton and we will once again be heavily involved in their Powwow and Indigenous princess pageants. The combination the two stations will maximize the exposure of Indigenous artists across genres. We also see the combo of two stations in Edmonton as an opportunity to maximize the sales potential. Our direct competitor in Edmonton for sales would only cut the already thin piece of the pie.
385 Sustainability. Radio bingo. AMMSA's distribution system was financed through the proceeds of radio bingo. AMMSA spent approximately $1.2 million in the past year on replacing 4 complete transmitter systems at Joussard, Porcupine Hills, Moose Mountain and Edmonton.
386 In 1916 [sic] to 2017 we will generate approximately $3 million in sales resulting in more than $1 million in proceeds. These proceeds are earmarked for the Calgary and Edmonton licenses.
387 Our policy is to expand our distribution network when we have resources in place. We have never financed any of these projects.
388 Advertising has been a big challenge for us. Type B Indigenous program is very niche and we have been focussing hard on the ways that advertisers can reach the population we serve.
389 Unlike mainstream broadcasting, we've had to develop specific advertising strategies that will be successful to meet our client's needs and build long-term relationships. Our sales department is growing and we have hired Devon Gray and two radio sales -- or experienced salespeople to join our current sales staff. In total we have over 75 years of sales experience. We are currently involved in negotiations to add regional sales staff.
390 The AMMSA building. We own our own building in Edmonton, which has a replacement cost of $3.9 million. There is no mortgage and we have rental income of approximately $186,000 a year.
391 AMMSA staff. We presently have 12 full-time and 15 part-time contract employees. We have a goal of self-sufficiency so who have built a strong foundation of senior staff. Our hiring policy has always been to hire the best qualified person available for senior positions with a preference given to Indigenous individuals. If qualified Indigenous person is not available, then we would hire the best qualified and train Indigenous under -- Indigenous individuals working under them.
392 An example of this is Candice Ryan, our new morning co-host. Candice is a singer, entertainer, but has never been on air. She is learning on the job.
393 We are also an equal opportunity employer and have hired people with special needs.
394 All on air positions must be Indigenous. It is not easy as there are very few coming out of schools. In an effort to remedy this, I am a member of the Indigenous Advisory Board with the Mount Royal University.
395 Boyd Leader has been a member with the Media Advisory Boards with Lethbridge College and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary for the past four years. At the last meeting, SAIT and AMMSA passed a motion to work together to produce Indigenous programming.
396 Windspeaker.com. Windspeaker.com is the modern form of the Windspeaker Newspaper, which AMMSA first published on March 18th, 1983. Leaning on that experience and respect, Windspeaker.com is the news arm of AMMSA, feeding news on air and online.
397 Windspeaker was very successful over 34 years, connecting Indigenous peoples across Canada with news about them and written from an Indigenous perspective. Windspeaker provided a counterbalance to the pervasive, mainstream, non-Indigenous worldview that saturated at a time when reconciliation was never considered.
398 Windspeaker also talked about Indigenous culture, traditions and spirituality, all of those things that have been driven underground by successive government directives since contact.
399 But AMMSA's mandate is not to isolate non-Indigenous from this information. Instead, it is to share information and perspective with all peoples who are interested enough to learn. We brought peoples together through greater understanding.
400 In this age of higher production costs, dwindling resources and struggling print newspaper products, AMMSA slowly evolved from a print product to online. Nearly 70 percent of our readers access our news through their mobile devices.
401 Windspeaker.com and CFWE Radio are intrinsically linked, each capitalizing on the strengths of each other. CFWE looks to Windspeaker.com for contributions for its hourly newscasts, while on air talent produce topical interviews for Windspeaker.com. In fact, these CFWE interviews, transcribed and crafted into articles with attached audio clips, are some of the best read features on Windspeaker.com.
402 Working together has enhanced both products and contributes greatly to our individual and collective success.
403 Other projects. Archives. In -- it's called "Digitizing the Ancestors." In 1984 AMMSA received the ANCS archives consisting of video, audio clips, photographs, film, going back to 1967. Combine this with a 34 years of AMMSA's archives gives us over 50 years of resources.
404 In 2015, the University of Alberta and AMMSA entered into an agreement with a project called "Digitizing the Ancestors." Phase 1 was to do an inventory and catalogue these archives and it was funded by proceeds from AMMSA Gaming.
405 In 2016 we began Phase 2, which took 100 audio files and digitized them. Since most of the files are in Indigenous language, the goal was not only to digitize, but to translate the files into English. We are still in Phase 2. And once that is completed sometime in 2017, we will begin Phase 3, which is to digitize the rest of the archives. To date, we have digitized transferred over 40 hours of reel-to-reel tape and have found most of these stories are in English, Cree and both. This gives us a tremendous resources [sic] for language programming from our relatives who are no longer with us.
406 We also have met with the communications department of the Siksika First Nation about accessing their archives and internet radio.
407 We have also launched two companion internet stations. Buffalo Spirit Radio is dedicated to powwow and round dance music, 24 hours a day. Raven Radio is dedicated to Indigenous rock, rhythm, blues, hip hop, 24 hours a day. Each station is available on our website.
408 That about wraps it up, but what I'd like to do is do a PowerPoint presentation of our -- some of the images from our operation.
409 This is Indigenous people telling our stories in our own way. And that's an image from Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta.
410 This is our building. This is our reception area when you walk in. You can see our studios in the back. In the front is our bingo machines [sic]. This is our current studio. It was -- we installed it about 3 years ago at a cost of 2.5 -- I'm sorry, $250,000.
411 This is our man, Dustin. He's doing some programming in one of our production studios.
412 This is our Moose Hills tower. It's 100,000 watts. Transmitters. This is our Lac la Biche tower. Transmitter. And we have four more of those across the province.
413 This is our coverage area right now. It basically shows the areas of Alberta that we cover. As you can see to the south we have our Porcupine Hills transmitter and that covers most of southern Alberta. We have our -- in the middle there we have our Edmonton, Lac la Biche and Moose Hills, which covers most of that area there. We have Fort McMurray in the north and Slave Lake. And the smaller ones are what's left of our smaller transmitters. And that's the communities that we'd reach and their frequency.
414 So, what I'd like to do right now is I've got samples of the programming. The first sample we have is in English and Cree. It's a story recorded by Dr. Ann Anderson in 1987 about Eva and her husband and an encounter they had with a bear.
415 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
416 MR. CROWFOOT: The next is a clip of conversational Cree. It’s a one hour weekly program that touches on various topics. This one is about residential schools as Jim Cardinal, Courtney Moran and Dustin McGladrey and they talk about where you go to learn and cry.
417 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
418 MR. CROWFOOT: The next is a language montage that features Cree, Dene, Blackfoot and Nakota station liners.
419 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
420 MR. CROWFOOT: The next clip is Jim Cardinal, one of our Cree hosts. He’s talking about an upcoming concert dates for the Nicely Put Together Band.
421 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
422 MR. CROWFOOT: The next is our Windspeaker.com news. It’s a clip about the death of a well-known indigenous performer Frank Asapace.
423 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
424 MR. CROWFOOT: The last is a vignette, a Cree vignette that we run three times a day and it’s a Cree lesson by Jim Cardinal. He teaches “It’s getting dark outside”.
425 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
426 MR. CROWFOOT: The final clip is –- we have a program called Heartbeat of Nations. It’s traditional music. In this clip, Doug Rain, Heartbeat of Nations host, interviews Harold Blacksmith who talks about the privileges of speaking Nakota and other languages, and it’s up to the next generation to carry it on.
427 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
428 MR. CROWFOOT: In conclusion, the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations have ushered us into a new era. Alberta needs a strong, local indigenous voice that projects a positive influence over Indigenous population. Our commitment is to being that positive influence that goes back 34 years in Alberta. We believe we are that voice.
429 Thank you very much for considering our application.
430 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your presentation. Commissioner Vennard will start us off on the questioning, but not quite sure how long that will take. We might see a break for the lunch and then we can carry on afterwards, if that’s okay with you?
431 Commissioner Vennard.
432 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good morning and thank you very much for coming to talk to us today. I enjoyed the clips that you played for us as well. It really adds some richness to the words that you have on your papers. So thank you again for that, too.
433 What I’m going to do is talk to you about basically two areas. One is your programming, what your ideas are for your programming, how you plan to differentiate your markets, and so on. And then, the second part would be on the economics and how you plan on doing this.
434 Something that runs through both of those areas, of course, and I’ll probably bring it up a few times, and maybe circle back to it from time to time, when that’s appropriate as well, is that if it did turn out that you got one licence but not the other, you state in your application that these are severable, but there would be an impact of some kind too. I would encourage you to bring that up if I don’t think of it in my line of questioning as well.
435 So what we have here, you have a station already in Edmonton and you are applying for another licence in Edmonton, as well as one in Calgary. With respect to your programming and diversity, can you explain to us or describe to us how these would be different from each other, in terms of your programming?
436 MR. CROWFOOT: I’ll address that and then I will ask our program director to add to that.
437 First of all, our format in Edmonton is country with CFWE, but it’s also an evolving type of format in that the morning is old country because a lot of the elders are listening then. It becomes more contemporary during the mid-day and then in the afternoons you are starting to hear rock. In the evenings it’s rock and we do have some hip-hop and other programs.
438 The reason that it kind of evolves is that we also service a lot of isolated communities and in that community there’s the whole range of age groups that we try to address with their listening needs. The one in Edmonton, we’re looking at an alternative. We’re looking at rock, blues, hip-hop, et cetera and I’ll let Boyd take over from here.
439 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure, thank you.
440 MR. LEADER: You bet, that’s exactly it. We feel that in Edmonton, we give form or exposure to country artists, Indigenous country artists and there’s quite a great community, a vibrant country of Aboriginal artists and we’ve tried to address the other genres of music with a blues program that we run on Friday nights. We do have a hip hop rock show and different speciality programs on CFWE. But we really feel with the new license we can open it up wide open to prime time and give them the kind of exposure that they deserve.
441 You know, we’ve already started down that road with Raven, our internet radio station, one of our companion stations that is 100 percent Indigenous rock, rhythm and blues, and just to try and get a start in giving the exposure to those artists. So we think that will be a big difference in Edmonton.
442 The other big difference with the Edmonton licence as compared to CFWE, whereas Bert pointed out that it’s more of a regional service, the Edmonton licence would be specifically for Edmonton and Edmonton is the second largest Indigenous urban population in Canada, and growing and expected to overtake Winnipeg in the future, as far as largest Indigenous population.
443 With that go a lot of different scenarios, a lot of different issues, a lot of needs. And we feel that with a separate license, one concentrating on Edmonton, we feel that there's -- there will be quite a difference between the two. Now, we will share ideas. You know, we have a very good template we feel with CFWE with how we've rolled out a very inclusive language programming. So, we will use that template. It's a successful template on the Edmonton station with language. The music would be different. The genre of music would be different.
444 For example, on CFWE's webpage we have an Indigenous spotlight. They are all country artists. So, on the new station's webpage it would be Indigenous spotlights but it would be artists that aren't country. So, we would give forum to that.
445 And just surveillance and everyday things that impact, you know, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people day-to-day would be able to be -- it's kind of hard on CFWE to talk about traffic tie-up on the Whitemud because people in Fort McMurray or Horse Lake don't really care. We still want to talk about it because it's going to, you know, impact our listeners, but we feel within Edmonton-specific station we could really give it that time.
446 And with news as well. We feel that we could really drill down on some local stories that we may only give a few lines to on CFWE we might be able to drill down a bit more. And that's part of what we talked about with the news magazine show. We could really do some great stuff there.
447 As far as the differences with the Calgary radio station, again, as Bert mentioned in his presentation, CFWE has got an excellent reputation of the station that sounds like Coming Home. And we feel that the beginning of our entrance into Calgary we need to have that familiarity. We -- as I mentioned, the country music community is very, very vibrant so we feel that it would go over very well. And Calgary is a -- it's kind of a country town, you know, as far as lifestyle and that's concerned.
448 The difference -- we would use the CFWE musical to play in the south. The difference would be languages. You know, we try to never be more than 10 minutes away from some language on the radio station. You know, because that's who we are and that's what we're known for and that's any station that looks after its brand. You always have to have that touch point. Whether it's a splitter, something quick, I'm not talking about long-form every 10 minutes but just something that's there.
449 So, whereas in Edmonton we really focus on Cree and Dene and the languages of Treaty 6 and Treaty 8, we would super serve the languages of Treaty 7.
450 So, whereas in Edmonton we have Conversational Cree, we may have Blackfoot Banter or -- we haven't come up with a name for that show yet but that's the -- you know, we would take the template that's successful with Conversational Cree and we would apply it to the other languages in Calgary. So, we really feel that would be a huge point of difference.
451 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So, would you structure things in terms of a template and then change the music and change the language and so on? Is that the basic idea of your -- that you're going with?
452 MR. LEADER: We find that we've had success with the template ---
453 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
454 MR. LEADER: --- Bert's vision in Edmonton. And we would apply that definitely in Calgary, keeping in mind, of course, that we want to be super local in Calgary.
455 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Righty.
456 MR. LEADER: We want to serve the Calgary area, southern Treaty 7 area, the southern area. You know, we might have more -- in Edmonton we have more accessibility to the northern artists, the Edmonton base singers, their dancers or whichever, and in the south we would be able to have more of the southern people in and on the air with us. And then the plan would be to certainly share that between, you know, and to celebrate that ---
457 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.
458 MR. LEADER: --- with all of our licenses.
459 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm. How would you make those decisions? Like how would you -- what sort of structure do you have in place to make the decisions?
460 MR. LEADER: Decisions based on who would come in and talk to us or?
461 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, the languages, the amount of programming, when to put what, like how to basically do your programming. I found when I was reviewing your application that I -- it was sometimes kind of hard to tell where you were going with things and I actually put together a little sort of a program to have a look at it and do some comparisons. So, I'm wondering if you could just explain to us or clarify how your decisions on what to put where would be made.
462 MR. LEADER: Sure. As Bert pointed out, we do play some older country in the morning and that's based on our demograph [sic] that we feel are listening. You'll hear some fiddle music on the morning show and that type of thing. We felt that right after lunch would be an excellent time for our Cree, one-hour Cree program. It's 100 percent Indigenous country music. So, all the music is Indigenous and it's -- and you heard Jim earlier, a clip from him on his -- on that show where he basically does the show in Cree. And we just felt that after lunch was a good time for that.
463 Certainly, throughout the day we maintain our 20 percent Aboriginal content in every hour. You know, we're not stuffing that all in one hour. With Conversational Cree we found that Saturday morning is a very highly listened to time. We consulted with Dougie and Donny Rain. They're not only the hosts of our Heartbeat of Nations Powwow and Round Dance Program, but they're also MCs and they tour the circuit extensively. So, we asked them, we said, "When would powwow people want to listen to this program?" So, they told us and that's when we play it.
464 So, we do consult. We go by gut, by experience as well.
465 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So, with what you've described and explained, is there anything else you'd like to add to how you would contribute to the diversity in the markets?
466 MR. CROWFOOT: I've been to Siksika First Nation and I met with their communications department. They are running a lot of archival stuff. They are doing language programming and they said they're more than willing to work with us. I've also will be approaching the Kainai, Piikani, Tsuu'Tina and Morely communications department to get them to input stuff for our news, some for our content, and also, the Indigenous organizations in Calgary.
467 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
468 MR. CROWFOOT: We -- in our letter of support we have support from the Grand Chief at Treaty 7, Charles Weaselhead. We have the mayor, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Grand Chief. And so, we've got their support and the support of the local chiefs.
469 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So, how basically do you plan to differentiate yourself from other stations in the markets that offer similar types of programming?
470 MR. LEADER: Existing stations in the market?
471 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
472 MR. LEADER: Oh, I think our presentation alone will be very different, I mean ---
473 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
474 MR. LEADER: --- from any of the mainstream. I mean, if you want to look at simple music-to-music format, I don't think there's another station in Calgary that you'll hear a fiddle song on anywhere unless it's a specialty program or CBC. So, we will be different on the morning show.
475 Our presentation isn't -- I don't know how to say this without -- it's not slick. You know, Bert -- we've talked about this lots in the last couple of months that, you know, when it boils down to it, we're -- we want to do this for the right reasons, you know. And part of the culture and one thing that I've learned over the past five years, it's how important story-telling is and how important that oral tradition is. And one of the ways that we'll differentiate ourselves is through interviews. And quite honestly, mainstream stations, they're rated every minute. Every minute they have a ratings heart attack, you know. So, that's why they don't run in long-term or long-form interviews. We will. If an interview lasts five minutes it lasts five minutes. It runs its course. So, I think that's another point of difference.
476 We've got a great track record with not only Indigenous artists, but also emerging artists, Canadian artists that come in. And we're actually a destination. Many of them come in to us, many of them that you now hear on mainstream radio had their first performance on CFWE and have commented on that and kept in touch with us.
477 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: That's interesting. I didn't realize that Brett Kissel was from B.C. there. Did he -- so he got his start -- pardon me -- he got his start on your -- thanks to your station?
478 MR. LEADER: We had him in just after he released his big album. We had him come in and he was with Wally Desjarlais. And Wally was on the air that day when Brett was 11 or 12 and got the tape. The great thing about Bert is Bert never throws anything away, which is why our archives are amazing. While that, you know, has -- the rest of the staff are kind of the same way. So, we've got Brett Kissel on, big -- signed a big national deal down in Nashville and Bert -- or and Wally hits him with this recording from when he was 12 years old, him singing the Auctioneer song. I thought he was going to cry. He was just blown away. He wanted a copy. He wanted a copy for his mother. It was outstanding, yeah.
479 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
480 MR. CROWFOOT: Just to add to that interview, when Warner brought him in and they told him, "You have 15 minutes," and they said, "It's time to go." And Brett turned to them and said, "Look, CFWE, they're family. So I’ll go when we’re ready to go.” And he spent another half hour there. And he always drops in when he’s in Edmonton and he says hello.
481 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. Well, thank you for that story. That’s a very good example of how you would plan to differentiate yourself from some of the other stations. So thanks for that example.
482 What I’m wondering is how well you retain your audience if your format ends up being too broad.
483 MR. LEADER: Are you speaking in Edmonton?
484 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I’m speaking of all of them. I should have prefaced my comments by saying, “Unless I'm speaking specifically of Calgary or Edmonton, I'm speaking of all of them.”
485 MR. LEADER: We have a very broad format on CFWE and it’s been received very favourably. Now, we’re not rated, so I can’t give you any Numeris numbers. But in a recent online survey that we did we had 350 respondents from the survey and overwhelmingly it was the variety of music is why they liked listening to us. So we think we’ve tapped into something.
486 And because we’re not rated and we’re not in that EBITDA battle that the mainstream stations get into, the profit margin battle, we feel that we can afford to be wide with our format, and afford to be an alternative for the listener.
487 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
488 MR. LEADER: And that’s part of the reason why Edmonton is important, the other Edmonton licence is important, because right now in CFWE there is a lot of block programming because we’re trying to give exposure to these artists. So we do have a blues program; we do have this, we do have that. So with the Edmonton station coming on board then we could -- you know, the CFWE licence will become a little bit more country. So it would be a bit more focused on that.
489 You might not hear the hip hop song any more on CFWE, or not as much. You still will hear it because we want to make sure we service the rural areas that we cover.
490 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. That kind of leads into my next question and a couple of comments that you made too, which is to -- how will you determine what is actually meeting the needs of the markets that you’re going to be serving?
491 So you've obviously done a survey of some sort.
492 MR. LEADER: We have not done a survey, as far as a market survey. What we’re basing this on is the last 35 years and what people have told us.
493 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So experience and the 200 years that Mr. Crowfoot referred to earlier.
494 MR. LEADER: Well, and Bert jokes that we’ve been doing a market study for 35 years.
495 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Long market study.
496 MR. LEADER: Yeah. It’s going to be a heck of a conclusion.
497 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. So I guess I won’t bother asking my next question then which was, how do you plan to assess the needs of your market? I guess you will carry on with what you’re doing.
498 MR. LEADER: We will. I think that there are needs in both Calgary and Edmonton that aren’t being met right now. As far as in Edmonton, it’s inner city. It’s issues that we need to be there. And in Calgary, quite frankly, those local languages need to be heard. I mean, it was mentioned earlier today that hearing the language is a breath of fresh air. And when we have spoken, and when Bert has toured down south they’re just excited to have us.
499 You know, we spoke with Lee Crowchild in Calgary and I should let Bert continue on with this. You know, he’s very excited to have us. He’s part of the whole Tsuu’ Tina expansion in southwest Calgary. And he’s the fellow we’ve been talking to about putting studios in there and being close to the event centre. And that will put us close to artists and shows and whichever might be showing down there.
500 But they’re just so excited to support us and to have us there. There’s a real need that the Treaty 7 languages to be fawned over.
501 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Let’s talk a little bit about your spoken word programming. Maybe go over that. That was another area of your application that I feel we need a bit more clarification on it.
502 MR. LEADER: We have just the shows -- you want me to go through all the programs that we have?
503 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.
504 MR. LEADER: Okay. I’ll go though the day. So at one o’clock, Monday through Friday, six o’clock Saturday morning, and 11 o’clock Sunday morning we run what we call “Impressions” and that’s hosted by Jim Cardinal. And so he presents the show in Cree and it’s 100 percent Indigenous country music.
505 We also have an Impressions program which is presented in Cree and that goes from 11:00 until midnight, Monday through Thursday. On Tuesday evenings at 10 o’clock we run our Heartbeat of Nations which is a powwow show, and round dance. On Wednesdays at 10 o’clock we also rerun our conversational Cree program hosted by Dustin.
506 Just going through the days here -- on Friday we have our Friday night blues, runs 10:00 til midnight. This is in addition to the Impressions earlier.
507 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.
508 MR. LEADER: And that’s presented in Dene. On Saturday mornings we have Jim at six o’clock in Cree. Then we have Heartbeat of Nations in Nakota. And then we have a conversational Cree, the first run of conversational Cree all Saturday morning.
509 Language programming Saturday evening. We run the aboriginal music countdown Saturday evening. That’s in English but it’s all Aboriginal music. And then after that we have hat we call Fifth Estate which is a hip hop, pop, rock show which is presented in Cree.
510 On Sunday mornings we have Sunday Morning Gospel, runs between 6:00 and 8:00 and that is presented in Dene. I should mention the Friday night blues and the Sunday morning gospel programs are 70 percent Indigenous content, so 30 percent non-Indigenous music there. I'm talking about music. But it is presented 100 percent in Dene.
511 We have Heartbeat of Nations at 10 o’clock in the morning on Sunday; 11 o’clock is Jim once again comes on. And then we have a Tribal Trails program which is not in language but it’s a storyteller program at five o’clock in the afternoon. And then once again at 11 o’clock we have an Impressions program which is presented in Cree.
512 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So you will use that same basic schedule it looks like your ideas instead of Cree, change over to Blackfoot for the Calgary market?
513 MR. LEADER: Change it up with Blackfoot; change the languages to support the south, yes.
514 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yes.
515 MR. CROWFOOT: It would be Blackfoot, Nakota, and Dene.
516 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And Dene, okay.
517 MR. LEADER: There is also a huge
518 Cree population in Calgary so we will be doing some Cree.
519 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: What size are your populations in Calgary?
520 MR. LEADER: The Cree populations in Calgary -- just a moment, please. Allow me to look that up.
521 You know, I don’t have the exact number here. I’m able to get that to you.
522 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: You know, I think that would be okay because I do believe that we have it somewhere. I thought you might know it off the top of your head.
523 MR. LEADER: No, I'm sorry.
524 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Perhaps you could give us an undertaking to ---
525 MR. LEADER: Of course.
526 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: --- provide us with those numbers. That would be helpful.
528 THE CHAIRMAN: As we mentioned, the undertakings are for the 3rd of April.
529 MR. LEADER: And that was for the Cree population or for -- do you want it broken up?
530 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I'm wondering about all of them actually, when you’re going to take the same format and put a different language in.
531 MR. LEADER: Oh, of course.
532 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: You’re basically going from Cree to Blackfoot and Dene in Calgary.
533 MR. LEADER: April 3rd?
534 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
535 MR. LEADER: Thank you.
536 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So I’m wondering about your syndicated programming. You mentioned syndicated programming. Could you tell us a bit about that and how that fits in with your other programming?
537 MR. LEADER: We have the National Aboriginal Music Countdown which is produced by NCI in Manitoba. We run that program. And the other syndicated program we run is more of a mainstream program. It’s Crook and Chase. It’s a country top 30 which we run on Saturday afternoons between noon and 4:00.
538 One of the -- we always look for ways to try and bring it back to what we do and what we’re known for. And so when we considered Crook and Chase we knew that we couldn’t consider it on its own because it wouldn’t make sense. So we contacted Crook and Chase; we contacted them and said, “Hey, we really want to run this show. You’d really like to have it on our network but it doesn’t work in its current form. We’re interested in running this program if you’re able to be flexible with it.” So what we pitched to them was, we’re going to cut the commercial time in the program, they deliver 48 minutes of content every hour. We’re going to cut that down to, I believe it was four minutes at the time, and we want to run an Aboriginal spotlight but we don’t just want to stick that in there like a sore thumb; we want your support on this and they were more than happy to.
539 Both Charlie Chase and Lori-Ann Crook have voiced liners for us. So because we don’t run as many commercials and we only have 48 minutes content, so at about 52 to the hour or so, one of those hosts, either Lori-Ann or Charlie will come on and say “Hey, we’ll get back to the countdown at the top of the hour, but right now, here’s Wally Desjarlais with our Aboriginal spotlight”.
540 Then our morning host jumps in, “Hey, thank you Charlie, today’s spotlight is on Armand Duckchief, and Armand, tell us about your day and tell us about your music.”
541 So then they would feature an interview. So, even though it’s syndicated programming, we still wanted to find a way to where we could bring it back to where it actually spoke to who we are and what we do.
542 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Now, when you are going to syndicated programming and you cut to a more local topic of some kind, would that be different for Calgary and Edmonton? Would that be different for the Edmonton stations, or how do ---
543 MR. LEADER: The local content would be different, yes. We haven’t -- Crook and Chase, for example that show, we haven’t contacted them about running in Calgary as of yet, but if we were to it would be specifically for Treaty 7. It would be a different host, different clips, that type of thing. Probably the morning host for our Calgary station would host that.
544 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay. Now, just still with the local spoken word programming, can you explain how it would reflect the specific interests of the local Aboriginal communities in each of the markets? I’m talking about the existing Edmonton station, only because that seems to be your frame of reference. If it’s more appropriate to leave that out, then let’s do so.
545 MR. LEADER: Of course. With the two new stations we want to bring on two more news people and, of course, with our synergies with Windspeaker.com and their energies or their resources, we would definitely be doing call-outs and sort of your typical news type reporting where we would be reaching out to communities to find out what’s going on. Not only to find out newsy-type things but good news as well on different things that are happening in those communities.
546 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay.
547 MR. LEADER: And that would be specific so that ---
548 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Can you give me an example of how that would actually work? Do you have contacts within the communities that you would draw on, or would you create a little advisory council, or how would that work?
549 MR. LEADER: With CFWE right now, we actually have a lot of people that will contact us and say, “Hey, we have this event going on,” or “Hey, this is happening or this is going on.” And we’ll run quite a few interviews; we run a lot of interviews to do with community events that are going on and that type of thing.
550 So we do have a network that is sort of already built up. We have an events’ page on our webpage and that type of thing. Moccasin Telegraph is a feature; it’s a 90-second community events feature that we run 20 times a week and it talks about differing events and that type of thing. The template is strong in Edmonton and we run it all through the north. We would use the same template, perhaps use the name, we’re not sure, in Edmonton, so it would be specifically for events in the City of Edmonton. And then in Calgary, it would reflect the south; it would reflect Calgary.
551 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay. Let’s see. So if -- going back to your syndicated programming, your acquired programming, if you couldn’t put that together then what would you do with that extra time?
552 MR. LEADER: We would produce it locally.
553 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Produce it locally? MR. LEADER: Yeah. I mean, our syndicated programming is quite small. It’s only six hours a week.
554 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Yeah, it wasn’t very much.
555 MR. LEADER: National Aboriginal Music Countdown -- you know, if we weren’t able to get that then off the top of my head, I would probably have the morning host write and produce a Top 10 or Top 20 countdown of Indigenous artists, sort of do our own thing like that, and with Crook and Chase. If I couldn’t have that show, I would probably -- we would have a voice tracked weekend afternoon program.
556 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay. I want to talk a bit more about your Aboriginal language programming. You propose to broadcast approximately 20 hours a week. Could you kind of break that up into how much of that would be music programming and how much of that would be spoken word programming?
557 MR. LEADER: Most of that involves music ---
558 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay.
559 MR. LEADER: --- and music presentations such as Jim’s Impressions show or night-time Impressions or the blues program. Conversational Cree is our only long-form, educational language programming ---
560 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay.
561 MR. LEADER: --- that we have on at this moment. We do, of course, the vignettes and the short snippets that we do through the day, would also continue. We just have the one long-form program right now, specifically with language.
562 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: So you don’t have any open line programming ---
563 MR. LEADER: No.
564 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: --- talk shows or anything like that?
565 MR. LEADER: No, we certainly do interviews. We do interviews with all sorts of people. Minister Feehan, Indigenous Minister in Alberta, has been on our station several times, but those are all pre-taped, those programs.
566 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay. Now, let’s go back to talk a little bit about your news. I think that you aren’t not planning on very much news, about four hours or so, four hours and twenty-five minutes.
567 MR. LEADER: Yes, official four hours. I mean, it’s what we do at CFWE. So we would have local news at the top and bottom of the hour during the morning show, and then the top of the hour four and five o’clock in the afternoon. But, we also run quite a bit of news through the week. Dustin will have newsmakers on as an interview, five minutes, ten minutes, throughout the day. It’s not anything that’s specifically programmed or scheduled but we do quite a bit of that.
568 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Okay. And for the source of the news, would that be, would you have reporters, would you be looking primarily at your magazine and reporting the news of your magazine?
569 MR. LEADER: They are a great resource, Windspeaker.com and they bring so many years of experience. We feel that that’s -- we have rebranded our news to be Windspeaker.com news because of the many, many years and the credibility that the Windspeaker name carries.
570 The news people that we do hire, that we bring in, would be expected to be anchor and to report the news as well, and to write for the webpage and to tweet and to -- I mean, that’s just sort of the way it is these days that, you know, you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound when you’re reporting and doing that thing.
571 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: So you would be relying primarily on the resource on Windspeaker then and the people that you ---
572 MR. LEADER: Primarily.
573 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: How many people do you employ for Windspeaker?
574 MR. CROWFOOT: Right now we’ve got a news editor, Debra Steele, Director of News, we’ve got Sherry Narine, we’ve got about, I would say 20 to 30 freelancers across Canada that contribute news. We’re just in the process of working with CFWE. A lot of our announcers have become reporters in that they will interview people. Our news director has been working with them at training proper news coverage and so that’s where we’re starting at; we’re just in the process of building it. We hope to have three -- two reporters as the Calgary thing, two in Edmonton and then we’ve got two for Windspeaker.com. Our plans down the road are definitely six for Winspeaker. com.
575 COMMISSIONER VERRAND: Is Windspeaker an actual print publication or can you maybe explain that to us. Is it on the web, is it print, is it published at regular times or is it when things happen or all of the above?
576 MR. CROWFOOT: Windspeaker was originally a print publication. It went from weekly to monthly to, you know, it’s morphed into different things depending on the financial situation. It eventually because of the same issues facing print media across Canada, cost and that, so we’ve changed to publishing a digital edition for a few months. And then we’ve gone completely online now so we don’t produce a digital copy that you can read. It’s just like stories will be -- as stories happen they are added to the website.
577 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So you’ve got roughly 20 to 30 reporters now, freelance-type reports?
578 MR. CROWFOOT: Freelance reporters, correct.
579 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And you would expand that down in the Calgary area? I presume that most of those people would be up in the Edmonton area or across Canada?
580 MR. CROWFOOT: Windspeaker is national so that’s -- we have reporters right across Canada. There is a few in the south. There’s some in the north. As I had mentioned earlier, I was at Siksika First Nation. I met with their communications department. And they’re really eager to send us whatever news is happening on the Siksika First Nation.
581 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Okay, thank you for that.
582 So the 2 hours, the weekly news magazine, is that in addition to the 4 hours and 25 minutes or is that included in the 4 hours and 25 minutes?
583 MR. LEADER: That’s included in the four hours.
584 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Included in?
585 MR. LEADER: Yeah.
586 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
587 MR. LEADER: That’s one hour with a repeat.
588 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And you would be covering weather, traffic, sports, entertainment reports, and so on?
589 MR. LEADER: During our regular newscasts, yes. The magazine show itself would be -- in our mind right now, is a place where we could expand on a story. You know, whereas during a newscast you may get 30 or 40 seconds to, sort of, deliver the facts of the story and then -- you know, in a short newscast. We feel the hour-long one will give us a chance to really expand it and possibly use some of the interviews that some of the announcers use as far as that’s concerned.
590 And that’s been a real big resource and a big surprise for Debra at Windspeaker.com, is how much those stories get shared. You know, Dustin just had a story last year on ancient seeds that were found and it was shared 600,000 times.
591 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Wow.
592 MR. LEADER: The views were off the charts on it. So it’s clearly content that people are interested in.
593 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. So could you provide a breakdown of local, regional, national of the amount that you consider to be news?
594 MR. LEADER: Sure. I think that sort of in the typical sense of local, national, and regional, you know, you think local is stuff that happens in your area and then regional is around. It is similar but a little bit different.
595 We look first to Indigenous news. So it would be Indigenous news, local, regional, national. That would be the first filter that our news people would go through.
596 And then it would be news that -- for example, that may not on first blush seem like it has an Indigenous connection. But my expectation is that the news people would take a look at that story and see how it does affect things or get an Indigenous point of view on that story.
597 For example, if there is a transit strike in Edmonton, you know, the story is, yeah, there’s a transit strike. But the bigger story is, you know, at the Métis Housing Association -- I’m making this up -- 80 percent of them take the bus so how are they dealing with that? So then the story then becomes that kind of an Indigenous spin on that story where we would go down and do that.
598 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
599 MR. LEADER: So percentage-wise, no hard numbers. I would never say, you know, “First minute is this; second minute is this; third minute is this.” I think news, like everything else, has to be fluid. And some days there’s just stuff that -- you know, you don’t want to make stuff up.
600 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. Okay. So that would be -- the Indigenous and the Aboriginal perspective would be how you would differentiate yourself and news from the other stations?
601 MR. LEADER: Yes. And Bert touched on this and it’s Bert’s policy and vision that all of our presenters are Indigenous. So everything they talk about goes through their own filter, through their Indigenous filter.
602 Right now, you know, on Dustin’s program, probably 60 percent of his program, 60 to 70 percent, is specific Indigenous content. And the other 30 percent would be just pop culture or different things that are going on in the world but still seen through his eyes. That’s why it’s so important to have Indigenous presenters.
603 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
604 Now, with respect to the proposed Conditions of Licence, I understand that you would accept the same Conditions of Licence as you have on the existing station?
605 MR. LEADER: Yes.
606 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
607 I want to talk for a few minutes about the Aboriginal talent development as well. MKU proposed different initiatives and different ways that you would promote Aboriginal talent. Could you outline those for us, please, the airplay or the Aboriginal music, just basically how you go about doing this? Just clarify how you would achieve these.
608 MR. LEADER: Just give me just a moment to check my notes here.
609 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.
610 MR. LEADER: I guess the first thing is our open-door policy to Indigenous artists and just having those artists not only welcome; we actively go out and try and find them and actively bring them on our radio station.
611 Wally Desjarlais has been our morning man and assistant program director and music director, has been cultivating his relationships with the Indigenous music community for a number of years, since 2005. And quite often they look to Wally as far as getting advice on what they should release. They’ll send him the CD and he’ll give them advice on songs to release. And so there’s that aspect of it as well where we actually find ourselves in a bit of an advisory role with the artists and what songs to release. So we actively are looking.
612 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So with your open-door policy, roughly how many artists would come through your door in, say, a year, roughly?
613 MR. LEADER: In a year?
614 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, in a year. A month, a year, a week?
615 MR. LEADER: Two-hundred (200).
616 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Really?
617 MR. LEADER: Yeah. I would say a couple -- at least two or three a week if not more. And then when you add our Indigenous spotlights in, that’s three every Saturday, interviews. And yeah, we really -- you know, one of the comments, too, that Darlene Olson, an Edmonton-based singer, mentioned to me at one of our open houses -- she said that she’s just so pleased that there’s a radio station that plays her music next to Garth Brooks that feels that it’s just as good and just as important and made her feel good, thought it worked out -- was a real boost for their morale.
618 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: How would this -- with the two new stations, how would this change? Would anything change?
619 MR. LEADER: The philosophy wouldn’t change at all. You know, right now, as I mentioned earlier, we have trouble sometimes getting people in from the -- Armand Duck Chief, for example, is a southern-based artist. And we talk to him on the telephone but we never get him in with his guitar to play. And that’s our sweet spot. If we can get Armand or Darlene or whomever, we always invite them to bring their guitar. When we put the -- and you saw the picture of our beautiful control room, the one we play in. We made it big enough so we could have bands to come in and play. So that would change.
620 And with the Edmonton station it would just give us more opportunity to bring in whole other genres of music to do that.
621 Now, we still will have -- you know, a blues artist will come in and we’ll do a bit, you know, or do an interview and do whichever. But with the new station, we’d really bump that up a lot more. Because in the back of our mind we’re thinking of format and, you know, targeting and all that stuff.
622 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. So if you built a studio in the Grey Eagle Resort too, that seems like that would be a prime location to carry on that open-door policy as well?
623 MR. LEADER: If I can be honest, when Bert and Lee were talking about it, my eyes just lit up; I was like a kid in a candy story. Because if we’re close to that event centre and so many artists, and Indigenous artists and comedians, come through there, I mean, that would be fantastic.
624 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, okay. Thank you for that.
625 Your speciality Aboriginal music program is another one of your initiatives?
626 MR. LEADER: We certainly have the powwow and the round dance specialty programs that we play.
627 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Would you expand those with two new stations? And here I’m thinking of the Calgary market because it’s -- you’re in Edmonton already so you can sort of expand what’s up there. But what would be different and change with ---
628 MR. LEADER: Well, I think, Bert, you could probably talk about the differences in the south. And it’s not the same.
629 MR. CROWFOOT: I grew up -- I used to be a powwow dancer about 100 pounds ago so I miss the old Blackfoot A-1 Club. In our archives we have a lot of the old music that’s no longer here. And we’d like to take a lot of the -- like, right now our Edmonton Heartbeat of Nations program is -- mostly covers all the different pow wow. When we’re in the south we would focus more on some of the groups that are coming from that area. But we still include -- like, pow wow people like Northern Cree, they want -- it doesn’t matter if you’re Blackfoot, Sioux, or whatever, you know? Northern Cree is one of the top groups that are out there and so you want to hear them.
630 So we do the same in the south, but we probably bring on a few more of the southern -- the Treaty 7 groups as part of that southern program. We also want to do it in Blackfoot, and also like parts of -- like Heartbeat right now does Cree, does Nakota as you heard. But in the south we want to do Blackfoot and we want to do Nakota again because of the Stoney population to the west, and also the Dene, the Tsuu’ Tina People. And so we’re still looking at programs, you know Hal Eagletail is one of the premier MC announcers and I’ve talked to him about being a part of the -- part of it. So he might, you know, be one of our -- those people that we go to.
631 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that. Then the third one that you mentioned was promotion, and you’ve talked quite a bit about that, the interviews and live appearances. Is there any other comments you want to make on that one?
632 MR. LEADER: Certainly promoting where they are performing. And I think a big part of this on a larger scale is, we’ve lobbied very hard over the last couple of years to become a monitored station with BDS Nielsen because we strongly feel that the Indigenous artists aren’t getting any national recognition. And I’m happy to say, as of late last year we became a monitored station. So now when we play Armond Duck Chief it gets written down somewhere, you know?
633 And I’d very -- it’s -- not that I was there, I’ll say that before Bert says anything -- but in the early days of CANCON when they were trying to promote and get Canadian music moving, that’s how I really feel that Indigenous content right now sort of -- is sort of in its small growth stage.
634 And you know, a few years ago I tried to -- with the help of Randy Stark from Tracks Reporting tried to create an Indigenous country chart where people would submit their spins and we would try and build that. Because my thinking is that -- and our thinking is that, you know, if Darlene Olsen releases a song in Edmonton well, you know, Dave should play it in Winnipeg, and Devin in Saskatchewan and you know, give them a chance to become a nationally known name so that Darlene could maybe tour, you know? And I think that that bit of the promotion -- so we’re going to continue to work hard on that and I’m quite pleased now that CIUR in Winnipeg is also now a monitored station. So now it’s starting to build.
635 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
636 MR. LEADER: And I think that recognition is also very important.
637 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that. The fourth one that you talked about was your Aboriginal Spotlight, and you’ve given us a number of examples of how that would -- more you’d like to add on that point, the Aboriginal Spotlight?
638 MR. LEADER: Well, the Aboriginal Spotlight, we have a rotating spotlight on our webpage and again, it’s bringing it back to what we do and what we’re known for.
639 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.
640 MR. LEADER: You know, we are a native type B -- this is why we have a licence and this is why it’s important we do this, and the spotlights are important.
641 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And would be on the two new ---
642 MR. LEADER: Absolutely.
643 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: --- the two new stations as well? Okay.
644 What I want to do now is just move into the economic part, and I think that we’ve crossed into this quite a few times. My big concern here is the severability of these stations, and what would happen with the Calgary station if you got a Calgary licence but not an Edmonton one and so on.
645 So we note that you did not submit any studies, and I mentioned this before, any studies promoting evidence of demand for the services and so on, stating that you didn’t have the resources to do so. You also stated that your business plan is severable between the two stations. Now, how -- if you got the Calgary and not the Edmonton, what would the impact on your business plan be?
646 MR. LEADER: I think that it would move forward with the Calgary numbers because when Carol and I -- when we looked at those with Devin, you know, we did everything separately.
647 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
648 MR. LEADER: So you know, it would be -- and moving forward in Calgary we would again look at CFWE as being the template, the model that we would do. Certainly, we would treat it as a separate licence and, you know, it wouldn’t be -- right now with our network you -- if you buy CFWE right now you’re on all of our -- it’s a rebroadcast.
649 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Right.
650 MR. LEADER: So that would be separate and so we really feel that it would be very beneficial financially for our future.
651 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
652 MR. CROWFOOT: Also we find that when we run regional a lot of people want local. They only want to be on a certain station. They say “Why do I need to be heard in Lethbridge when I’m in High Level?”.
653 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.
654 MR. CROWFOOT: So having a licence just for southern Alberta combined with our transmitter in the Porcupine Hills, which gives us Lethbridge and the rest of the south, I find that the financial projections for sales is quite strong. If there was two licences in Edmonton, if both licences -- if we had both licences, we’ve already got the infrastructure in place, we’ve got room on our antenna, we’ve installed room for two antennas, we have everything in place. We’ve got office space and we’ll build a new studio.
655 If there was a separate licence then what happened with AVR when they first launched was there was a lot of confusion about “well, what’s national?” And you find that a lot of people will only buy -- they only buy -- like the national buyers will only buy Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, et cetera, without -- and then as a secondary choice, they’ll start choosing some of the outlying areas.
656 So because of this confusion -- another incident of that confusion was in 1990, there was 10 native newspapers in Edmonton. Just because a lot of the former salespeople would find that it was an easy sell. And at Windspeaker at the time we were battling a lot of unethical practices that these other guys were doing and over the years we’ve tried to clean up, and you know, we’d approach an advertiser and an advertiser would say, “Well, you know it’s -- I got burned by you guys last -- by a Native newspaper last time, so we’re not interested.” And it took us years to overcome that stigma and prove to people that, you know, Indigenous media was a good investment for their advertising dollar.
657 So I have concerns if there’s two stations in the same market, two Indigenous stations in the same market. First of all, I remember the early ‘90’s when CBC was looking for Indigenous staff they’d raid the Communications Societies. You’d have, you know, people competing for listeners, competing for -- for advertisers, competing for staff, and all of that. So that’s a huge concern for us.
658 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So going back to the possibility that you get a -- you get Calgary but not Edmonton, how soon would you open in Calgary? How soon would you be going?
659 MR. CROWFOOT: Well, we’ve got all our finances in place to proceed. As soon as we get word we’d -- Owen, do you want to talk about the technical side of launching?
660 MR. MARTIN: We’d be prepared to start immediately. You know, naturally there’s delays with ordering equipment and coordinating contracts, but as far as timelines it would -- the process would start immediately.
661 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. And you’ve already been in talks with Great Eagle Resort and so on, and so you would be pretty much ready to go if you got Calgary?
662 MR. CROWFOOT: Yes. We’ve identified a potential Sales Manager, Station Manager who used to work in Grand Prairie.
663 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
664 MR. CROWFOOT: And we’ve also identified possible news people, on-air people. We’ve -- I’ve had a couple people who -- actually it goes back to, I guess, when I first started 40 years ago, they were from the old Kainai News radio and they were interested. So, you know, we've identified people who are willing to work and start. What we want to do is train them in Edmonton first and make sure that, you know, everything is set up and then we would transfer as soon as our studios are built in Calgary, as soon as our transmitter is ready to go.
665 So, depending on those timelines we could be on air as little as -- or as soon as six months, a year at the latest.
666 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I have just a couple more questions for you. Can you provide more detail on how you project that 80 percent of your revenues would come from existing stations in the market from your advertising revenues?
667 MS. RUSS: I'm sorry, could you repeat that?
668 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure. Could you provide more detail on how you project that 80 percent of your revenues would come from existing stations in the market, advertising revenue?
669 MS. RUSS: Oh, existing stations.
670 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
671 MS. RUSS: I see. Taking it away from other stations.
672 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, exactly.
673 MS. RUSS: I think we misunderstood that projection in terms of we thought that 80 percent would come from our existing customers, that it would be a new market for them to explore, not from existing stations.
674 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Oh, okay. Thank you for clarifying that. Okay. And just one or two more questions. Do you see any possible negative side effects from the recent economic downturn in Alberta? Do you see that as impacting your plans?
675 MR. CROWFOOT: Right now the economy I think has -- is slowly turning around. It's in recovery. People up at Fort McMurray because of the fire are rebuilding their homes. The stone pipeline was just approved. Talking to people who work in the industry, they're starting to get excited about things getting back to where they used to be. So, I think we're at a good time in that the oil is -- or the oil and gas industry is starting to rebound.
676 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
677 MR. LEADER: I think it's important to know too that you're -- our fiscal ends at the end of March. We're up almost 15 percent from last year on CFWE.
678 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Oh, good. Okay. And my final question before I turn you back over to my colleagues is, do you have the capacity and the willingness to support these undertakings if you get them?
679 MR. LEADER: Yes.
680 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Financial capacity. Okay. Those are all my questions. Thank you.
681 THE CHAIRMAN: And a bit like I asked earlier, should your projections, business cases not roll out as you please, is it your intent to return the licenses rather than try to find another purchaser?
682 MR. CROWFOOT: No, we would never look for another purchaser. We also, thanks to my money person here, she never lets me spend any money unless we have it in the bank so I'm pretty secure and optimistic that, you know, we won't venture out unless we're prepared to finish it so.
683 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you for that answer. Thank you very much. Those are our questions for this stage for your applications.
684 So, we'll take a one-hour lunch break and be back at 2:00 for the remaining items that we're supposed to hear today. So, thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1:00 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 2:01 p.m.
685 THE CHAIRMAN: À l'ordre s'il vous plait. Order, please.
686 Madam la secrètaire.
687 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We'll now proceed with Item 3 on the agenda, which are applications by VMS Media Group Limited for broadcasting licenses to operate Aboriginal and ethnic programming commercial specialty FM radio stations in Edmonton and Calgary. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 30 minutes for your presentation.
688 MS. VIRK: Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge the Algonquin people whose territory we are gathered on today, and I want to thank the Elder, Ms. Renaud, for her opening in a good way, a positive way with her prayer this morning.
689 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and CRTC staff, and a special hello to our listeners and supporters listening online on the CRTC website.
690 My name is Suman Virk and I am an executive and lawyer with VMS Media Group. My team and I look forward today to demonstrating to you how our proposal combines compelling Indigenous programming with financial stability from ethnic broadcasting and an access model borrowed from the community broadcasting framework. It is a truly Canadian solution to a Canadian challenge.
691 I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our dedicated team. To my right is Jodi Stonehouse, an Indigenous producer, broadcaster and researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She is our Head of Aboriginal Programming and our senior staff liaison to the Aboriginal Advisory Circle.
692 To Jodi's right sits Bradley Williams, our Indigenous youth and community liaison for Edmonton who will also be focussed on our digital activities.
693 To Brad's right is Vince Tripathy, our Head of Sales. On my left is Kristopher Peters, our Indigenous youth and community liaison for Calgary who will be involved with engineering and promotions as well. And on Kristopher's left is Calgary-based Jeremiah Manitopyes, better known to his rap fans as Drezus, our Aboriginal music and talent advisor.
694 In the back row from left to right sit Pal Virk, a shareholder of VMS Media; Ranjit Sidhu, also a VMS Media shareholder, as well as our Head of Business Development; and Peter Miller, our Regulatory Counsel.
695 I should note that Cecil Nepoose, an Elder with the Samson Cree Reserve and a member of our Aboriginal Advisory Circle had hoped to be here with us today but was unable to do so because of last minute health issues.
696 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, in your call for applications you said that you were seeking innovative applications that focussed on serving Indigenous Canadians. We are here today to present two of the most innovative applications in this proceeding. Mindful of both the economic realities of operating a radio station serving urban Aboriginals and in Canada's 150th birthday year, building from the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions calls to action, the unique opportunity, and responsibility, to create through genuine partnership, a community directed celebration and revitalization of Indigenous language and culture relevant to urban Aboriginals in Calgary and Edmonton.
698 MS. STONEHOUSE: Thank you, Suman.
699 (Speaking Cree)
700 Hello. My Cree name is the Woman who Walks on the Earth until her Hair Turns Silver. And my Mohawk name is Garagwante (ph), She who Makes the Decisions that Count.
701 I'm very blessed to come from the Michel First Nation. We are a Mohawk and Cree peoples.
702 Commissioners, our team is committed to uplifting urban First Nations, Metis and Inuit voices through songs and stories. We are incredibly excited and look forward to doing this with our competent partners at VMS Media Group. With our combined radio experience and expertise together we are confident that we can provide for the first time a meaningful and relevant level of exceptional programming to the urban Indigenous residents of Calgary and Edmonton.
703 I believe without a doubt that our confident team is best qualified to take on this exciting new opportunity. And I would like to invite you to watch a short video that our production team compiled for you today.
704 --- VIDEO PRESENTATION
705 MS. VIRK: We’ll now discuss one of the key strengths of our applications, their business model.
706 Our applications borrow from proven broadcasting models that have traditionally supported Canadian programming generally and Canadian ethnic programming in particular.
707 MR. TRIPATHY: Commissioners, the business model underpinning our application is based on two factors: First, community interest in the formation we’ve proposed; second, the stability of the tried and true broadcasting cross-subsidy financing model. Together we are very confident that these two factors will ensure the long-term success of our proposed stations.
708 And we can now have a quick look at some of our research. We know there is an interest in new Indigenous radio services to serve Calgary and Edmonton. The NRG Research Group study included in our application revealed that three in four Calgary and Edmonton listeners will be in favour of these stations.
709 Not only did NRG identify a need for Aboriginal stations, but also that this need was growing; the mainstream media in these communities aren’t adequately served, the Indigenous communities of these cities as we speak.
710 Secondly, NRG revealed an interest in a predominantly news-based service, an aspect of our application that Suman will discuss shortly.
711 Thirdly, nearly 7 in 10 respondents supported the notion of combining an Aboriginal radio service with South Asian programming if we would make the service financially sustainable.
712 MS. VIRK: In our view, Commissioners, this is the distinguishing feature of our proposal. No other applicant can assure the degree of financial stability that we can. We can make this assurance because we will be importing a business model that has proven successful for decades in Canada, the Ethnic Broadcasting Model.
713 The reality is that the advertising revenue potential of Aboriginal radio programming in urban markets is untested. To assume that advertisers will line up to advertise on such programming is at best an aggressive business assumption.
714 That leaves two reasonable options absent secure grants. Either assume modest revenues on Aboriginal programming, scale down local Aboriginal spoken word, and rely on revenues from more mass-appeal music; or assume modest levels on Aboriginal programming and cross-subsidize higher local spoken-word commitments with revenue from content targeting other communities.
715 We have chosen the latter approach.
716 We know the revenue-generating potential of the South Asian programming. We know we can make enough money off of that programming to also serve other smaller and underserved communities. In an ethnic station, those underserved communities would be smaller ethnic groups. In this proposed stations before you, the underserved community is the urban Aboriginal community.
717 MR. SIDHU: Let us be clear, Commissioners. We stand by our commitments. They are substantial and we know we can meet them. In particular, we know the revenues that can be achieved from our ethnic programming and fully expect to subsidize our Indigenous programming with our ethnic revenue for at least the first licence term. That’s the beauty of this model and that’s why it will work.
718 Ultimately our goal would be that our Aboriginal programs and on-air personalities establish themselves with the communities in their markets, and our sales teams demonstrate to businesses that advertising on Aboriginal programming will maximize their ROI. But that will take time.
719 MS. VIRK: Our business model may make it all possible but it is our programming commitments that are our greatest source of excitement.
720 Our NRG research survey was clear; local, regional, and national news was the genre of programming that most appeals to residents of Calgary and Edmonton. This far exceeded interest in a music-based format, hence our emphasis on news and information to find a voice that resonates with the largely underrepresented and underserved urban Aboriginal constituency.
721 MS. STONEHOUSE: Commissioners, of VMS Media’s substantial programming commitments, there are three aspects that we would like to bring to your attention.
722 Firstly, unlike competing applications, news will feature prominently in our stations. News segments of a local, regional, and national and international flavour will be broadcasting throughout the broadcast day and over weekends. These will include financial updates, political issues, weather forecasts, sporting events, cultural affairs, and other items of interest to urban Aboriginal peoples.
723 MR. MANITOPYES: Tansi, Commissioners. My name is Jeremiah Manitopyes. My given spirit name is Old Man Eagle of the Cree and Anishinaabe Nations.
724 I’m a direct descendant of residential school survivors and also attended the last residential school in Canada.
725 But to continue on, while our competitors’ schedules are dominated by music programming, we will place a significant focus on talk programming.
726 Talk shows will tackle issues of interest to Indigenous communities, including political issues, election coverage, education, job opportunities, festivals, and other cultural events.
727 Subject matters for discussion will be decided after consultation with the Aboriginal Advisory Circle. No less than 40 percent of all Aboriginal programming will be spoken word. This programming will focus not only on bridging the gap between mainstream Canadian culture and our Indigenous culture, but also between the older Aboriginal populations of these cities with our passionate, amazing youth.
728 MS. STONEHOUSE: Thirdly, we have borrowed from your Community Broadcasting Framework and will institute an accessing programming component. A minimum of 20 percent of Aboriginal programming will be made available as access programming.
729 This is very important to our group as we come from an Indigenous world view where many of our teachings are embedded in principles of reciprocity and sharing.
730 This value is transcended in our peoplehoods across the nation and the province.
731 To fulfil this obligation, it is our mandate to make space for those who might not otherwise have this opportunity. Our space will be open to individuals and collectives outside of our partnership with VMS, in other words free of charge to Aboriginal groups and individuals. We will make available space and expertise to support them. Our station facilities and personnel will assist in production and in training.
732 Upholding Indigenous principals and values of intergenerational learning is also a priority. We will specifically target young people to come and experience radio and the work of radio with our amazing team.
733 Furthermore, building on the notion of intergenerational teaching and learning leads us to the critical creation of our Aboriginal Advisory Circle. This council will include Elders, knowledge keepers and youth. This collective will guide, advise our policy, programming and day-to-day processes in our station.
734 Based on the recent Mikisew case and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we adhere to the "duty to consult." Our consultation process will include, but it is not limited to, the Confederation of Treaty 6, the gatherings of Treaty 7, the Confederacy of Treaty 8, the Metis Nation of Alberta, the Metis General Council, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. We will share our vision with these programs in each region requesting submissions of names for our Advisory Council.
735 Our intention is to achieve gender parity, include -- ensure inclusions of persons with disabilities, ensure inclusions of young people from the LGBQTIA community, and to also include non-treaty Indians.
736 The Advisory Circle will consist of a chairperson who will begin this process. Our initial appointed chairperson is Tanya Kappo, who you saw earlier in the video.
737 MS. VIRK: This is why VMS Media Group embraced this opportunity, Commissioners, to help passionate young Indigenous men and women be heard in a completely new way. Our stations will be news-focussed, talk focussed and targeted to the 20 to 45 demographic. We will broadcast in four Indigenous languages to begin with, Cree, Blackfoot, Ojibway and Michif. A minimum of 50 percent of the broadcast week will consist of Aboriginal programming, of which a minimum of 15 percent will be in one of these four languages.
738 There will also be a 10 percent block of cross-cultural talk programming broadcast in the English language and designed to appeal to Aboriginal ethnic and mainstream audiences. The remainder of the programming will be ethnic.
739 MR. WILLIAMS: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, Commissioners. My name is Bradley Williams and I'm very much the target demographic for these new radio stations. In your public notice announcing this proceeding you stated that issues vitally important to Aboriginal Canadians are not fully covered or addressed at all in non-Native media. Tapwe. You're actually correct. That's why I joined the VMS team, to help create something new, something missing from the largest Alberta market. I'm talking about a media voice that speaks to me.
740 I'm in my mid-30s. I live in Edmonton. And I'm from the Cree nation starting out my career in digital broadcasting in one of Canada's biggest markets and yet there is no media voice that speaks to me.
741 MR. PETERS: (Speaking in Cree). Kristopher Peters. My name is Kristopher Peters and I'm from the nation. My given name through the sweat lodge ceremony is Medicine Buffalo Man. And I'll like to continue on.
742 Brad's right. Alberta may have an impressive number of Aboriginal radio services but they tend to provide a lot of mainstream music programming to Indigenous communities and we need something more. We need a station that bridges the gap between who we are today and what we can be in the future; a station that speaks to our place in Canadian society and what meaningful role young, urban Aboriginals can play in shaping Canada's future; a station that proudly places Aboriginal culture on an equal footing with all cultures in this great country, and unites us in our collective effort to build a better, more inclusive country.
743 MR. WILLIAMS: Having the opportunity to work with Jodi and Jeremiah is an exciting prospect, as well as having Elders such as Cecil on the Advisory Committee and the Aboriginal broadcasters and musicians, Ms. Stonehouse's, as well as Drezus renowned slick programming and access to programming that VMS is offering to ensure that I can extend my podcasting and digital broadcasting expertise to a whole new level and to a whole new audience with the benefit of up-to-date equipment and expert training. There's no substitute for that.
744 MR. PETERS: And when I'm not in the Calgary studio, I'll be travelling around town promoting station events, supporting Aboriginal talent and picking up community stories that expand the relevance and connectedness of the station. I'll have the opportunity to develop, create and promote meaningful Aboriginal stories in a professional radio environment. This is what urban Indigenous men and women like ourselves have needed for a very long time.
745 MS. VIRK: While Brad and Kristopher are honing their respective crafts, VMS Media will be doing its part to give back to the artist community. We have committed $350,000 over 7 years over and above the Canadian content development for each station, if both stations are licensed.
746 Our contribution to Canadian content will not, however, end there. We will also dedicate a minimum of two hours weekly to showcasing local talent, and more importantly, at least -- host at least two talent shows annually. These talent shows, one in Edmonton and the other in Calgary, will promote and showcase local Aboriginal music talent in Alberta.
747 MR. MANITOPYES: And in terms of diversity of news voices, it is our view that our applications will add a collectivity of diverse Indigenous voices spanning from Edmonton to Calgary and beyond. We see the success of these applications as a necessary tool to uplifting the voices of local peoples that have been silenced by mainstream media. We have a diverse representation of nationhood within both of these treaty regions.
748 MS. STONEHOUSE: Currently there is no dedicated Aboriginal radio service in Calgary. In Edmonton there is currently one Aboriginal station, CFWE FM. It is a valuable service but from a quick scan of its program schedule reveals that it is heavily music focussed. CFWE FM broadcast the Aboriginal Talk 30, they have a request program, a blue show on Friday night and hip hop show on Saturday evening. They also have a bingo program with a limited amount of spoken word and programming that is focussed on cultural narratives and stories rather than pure news.
749 The type of service that we are proposing would not impact CFWE FM but, in fact, would complement the work that they are already doing. And I want to personally thank Bert Crowfoot for making space for young people to follow in his footsteps.
750 MS. VIRK: In regards to diversity in the ethnic segment, VMS Media is already operating in Calgary and Edmonton through its SCMO operations. As such, it already has news operations in these cities. Licensing us for these stations would allow us to transfer and expand our existing news operations from the SCMO platform to an FM platform. The diversity of ethnic news voices, in other words, would not be fundamentally altered.
751 In terms of market impact, the Commission has already determined that there is a need in each of these markets for a service that will target urban Aboriginals. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-399 you announced a call for innovative applications that focus on serving Aboriginal Canadians regardless of the type of service proposed. Later in the same Notice the Commission noted that it had previously determined in 2000 and 2001 that the Aboriginal populations of these cities were not adequately served.
752 Given the fall of AVR, the Commission's concerns regarding adequate service to Indigenous communities in these cities remain a decade and a half later.
753 MR. TRIPATHY: Licensing the VMS stations will have a minimal impact on the marketplace. VMS is already operating in these markets as an SCMO undertaking. We have sales teams, news reporters and operations in place in both Calgary and Edmonton. We have established strong advertising and listener relationships. If we were to be licensed in this process, we would effectively exchange an SCMO-based ethnic service with 126 hours of ethnic programming weekly for an FM service with a maximum limit of 50 hours weekly of ethnic programming. It is difficult to see how this would fundamentally harm Red FM or Fairchild in Calgary, or for that matter, Rogers or the new ethnic license in Edmonton.
754 MR. VIRK: Lastly, in term of competitive state of market VMS would effectively be a new entrant to the marketplace. It currently holds no broadcasting license in this respect. VMS media is a true independent, seeking to add a new voice and innovative programming to Calgary and Edmonton. There’s no media concentration issues.
755 MS. VIRK: Commissioners, Mr. Chair, your predecessors licenced AVR with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, AVR’s business model was one of the reasons it did not succeed.
756 We are today with a proven business model and significant achievable proposals to serve Alberta’s Aboriginal community. The best use of these frequencies requires an innovative approach, and we have brought one before you today.
757 MS. STONEHOUSE: When the CRTC made the call for innovative applications, it was evident to Suman and I -- with our collective resources, knowledge systems, expertise, and generosity -- that we could fully respond with two successful applications for the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary.
758 We fully believe that we are the best choice for both of these licences. VMS has presented an innovative solution necessary in order to properly serve Alberta’s urban Aboriginal peoples.
759 From the ethnic broadcasting industry, we took a business model premised on generating revenue from larger communities to support and service smaller underserved communities.
760 From the community broadcasting segment, we took the notion of access programming for Indigenous community members. This will provide Indigenous peoples with a genuine independent opportunity to share their stories with their own voices.
761 In essence, we are adopting each other’s community to create supportive relationships in order to provide our families and our citizens a radio station they can relate, that they can listen to, and one that they can be proud of.
762 The partnership with VMS will provide the stable financial underpinnings necessary in order to do the work that we have here outlined. Engaging in this application process has already led us to a greater understanding of each other, our cultures, and our communities’ needs.
763 We look forward to uplifting one another’s broadcasting visions.
764 MS. VIRK: We believe we have struck the right balance between service to urban Aboriginals in Calgary and Edmonton, and a lasting stable business model. We are all incredibly excited about the prospect of launching these stations and putting this innovative approach to work. We hope that you will give us that opportunity.
765 We thank you for your time and your consideration, and we look forward to answering any questions you may have at this time.
766 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your presentation.
767 I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner MacDonald to start us off.
768 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good afternoon. Similar to this morning, my questions are going to fall into one of two buckets, the first being the programming that you’re proposing, and the second being the financial aspects.
769 Again, I’ll ask because you’re applying for two different licences if you can please identify any areas where you’re speaking just with respect to one of the stations. If you can just make that clear for the record that would be appreciated.
770 So to start off, in your comments this afternoon, you were talking about your existing SCMO based ethnic service that you’re offering. Just so I’m clear, if you were successful in this application process, will you cease operations on that service?
771 MS. VIRK: Commissioner, the final decision has not been made. What we’re leaning towards is whichever city we’re licensed in, or we’re licensed in both, then that SCMO operation would be shut down and in place we would have the 50 hours on the FM instead.
772 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. But you haven’t made a finally decision with ---
773 MS. VIRK: We’re leaning towards shutting them down. We just make to make the final switches over if it does happen. It will take some time to just move everything over and get our advertisers up to speed and switching advertisers over and all of that. There’s going to be some work there but we’re looking to shut it down in whatever city.
774 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
775 Does your likelihood of shutting down versus continuing operations change at all if you’re licensed in either Edmonton or Calgary, or both?
776 MS. VIRK: Depending on which city we’re licensed in. So I mean, if we’re licensed in Edmonton then the Edmonton SCMO would be shut down, and vice-versa.
777 I’m not sure if you could just clarify that question further?
778 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: If you were successful in both cities, would you be more likely to shut down the SCMO operation in both than you would if you’re only successful in one application?
779 MS. VIRK: If we’re successful in one, it would just be that one city. If we’re successful in both, then both SCMO operations would be shut down.
780 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, prefect. Thank you.
781 In your application, I believe you committed to undertake to provide a minimum of nine hours and 27 minutes per broadcast week to Aboriginal language programming. I’m curious how you landed on that level of programming.
782 MS. VIRK: Essentially we started off with the research demonstrating that our listeners want to listen to more spoken word. So once we started on determining that, we knew this way -- I’m sure as the Commission is aware of the TRC’s calls to action -- the goal is to preserve the languages.
783 Right now when you look at the statistics, although it looks like there’s not that many listeners of those languages in the two cities -- all four languages in the two cities actually -- we do want to expand. We do still want to have those language opportunities out on the air so that we’re basically going with -- you know, we’re supporting the TRC’s calls to action and preserving the language, moving forward, and hopefully creating some sort of a reversal, some sort of a change back towards more people perhaps learning the language using the language.
784 I know that we have some specific examples within our group. Drezus -- Jeremiah -- can talk to you about how his music was what led him to go back into the languages and learn more about the languages. We’re trying to see if we can use different mediums to essentially especially connect the youth back to the language.
785 Jodi can further clarify.
786 MS. STONEHOUSE: Thank you, Suman.
787 Part of our strategy in revitalizing our languages is taking those nine hours and maximizing the opportunity by engaging in elders telling stories, by explicating our Indigenous laws, our legal traditions, through the language but also bringing in the English at the same time so that we can get familiar with words like “wokoto” (phonetic).
788 So good governance and explicating that for the Cree speakers, and doing the same for the Michif language. Taking the time for each language community to build on a framework of language, because as Suman mentioned earlier, the statistics of actual language speakers is relatively low. We need to build on that. To just create a program all in the language might exclude people, so we’re going to work very hard at bringing in not only Indigenous peoples but also Canadians so that they can engage in the process of learning languages.
789 MR. TRIPATHY: Mr. Commissioner, if I could just add one final point just to punctuate. I think if you look at all the applications for Edmonton and Calgary from a spoken word content, you’ll find that we are at the highest levels of spoken content.
790 Then the question becomes how do we best serve or make the use of that particular property, because it really is an asset on the programming side. We believe we’ve struck the right balance in getting that looked after.
791 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In your video that you showed, you focused on service in the Indigenous population with your program offering, so you’re very much of the view that nine hours a broadcast week dedicated to that offering is adequate to entice listeners to avail of your service and assist in the preservation of their language?
792 MS. VIRK: It’s a start. It’s a start. That’s the minimum that we’re proposing. We’re hoping that we can increase that as our revenues grow, as we get more advertisers on the Aboriginal side of the programming. If we can have those revenues go up, then what we are hoping is essentially to increase the Aboriginal portion of the percentage of what we’re broadcasting and then cut down on the ethnic portion. But that won’t happen, we don’t think, until possibly the second licensing term in terms of revenue.
793 MR. TRIPATHY: I think the good news with Suman referencing the revenue is there is a large diversity of age groups, individuals, ethnicities that are sitting here at the table. The great news on the revenue side is we’ve got a lot of people that are very well connected within their communities, and we’ve got established relationships. So we do have the building blocks to hopefully move forward at a quicker fashion when it comes to driving Aboriginal revenue, revenue specifically targeted towards the Aboriginal communities.
794 Just to speak to revenue a little bit further in the ability to hopefully move forward in additional programming, Alberta’s in a little bit of a unique situation as well because of our economic makeup, our ethnic makeup, and so on down the line. We have a lot of situations that are going on corporately where the ability to support the Aboriginal community is very, very important, and we hope to access those relationships as well, on top of the many relationships that everybody already has established here at the table.
795 MS. STONEHOUSE: And further to talk about the language piece, part of the innovation that we’re working on is to create language apps that can follow up from our programming so that we’re pushing the boundaries of radio beyond radio to people’s Smart phones, to their laptops, and so that we are interacting through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, as well as having apps for young people. So that nine hours, actually, we hope to extend into people’s families and homes through the use of social media.
796 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: What is that nine hours going to sound like on a typical week? What’s the nature of the programming going to be? I think you mentioned conversations with elders. What else do you have in mind?
797 MS. STONEHOUSE: Absolutely. So when we think about the nine hours, the beauty of Edmonton, the payhonman, the gathering place, is that there are many linguistic groups there, so that nine hours will actually be used up relatively quickly. Of course, we’ve outlined the four that we want to start with, but there are other language groups that we want to include -- the Dene, the Nakota Sioux are in that territory, and so we want to start on the premise of our creation stories, right, bringing people back to where they come from and how they got there. And always going back to those creation stories.
798 And so when they hear elders speak those creation stories, over time, we can add pieces. What’s going to take time is we know there’s a very small group of people who actually can speak and are fluent in the languages in the urban population with our young people. So we actually –- I think it’s necessary to have translation during these language programs so that we can retain the listeners.
799 And we also want to encourage speaking, so when we do stories, we also want to include basic lessons, fundamental lessons on how words are relevant to young people’s lives and why they matter. Why do our Indigenous languages matters, such things like Wetaskiwin, the Town of Wetaskiwin? Well, that’s a peace – there was peace made there between the Cree and the Blackfoot. A lot of young people don’t know that in Alberta, but that’s a really critical story to tell.
800 And so when we talk about that nine hours, we’re going to have creation stories, we’re going to have language lessons. Songs are critical in the language and prayers also, so that young people, to remember who they are and where they come from, and pray in their languages. So that nine hours will have traditional music of songs in the language, conversations, as well as stories.
801 Does that answer your question, Commissioner?
802 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Yes, that’s helpful. Thank you.
803 MS. STONEHOUSEHOUSE: Thank you.
804 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to the ethnic component of what you’re proposing, how did you determine, from your standpoint, that there is a need for additional ethnic programming in these markets? Was that -– is the ethnic component solely financial in nature to fund the Indigenous programming, or do you feel that there’s an actual need in the market?
805 MS. STONEHOUSE: I think there’s two responses. One is, based on our conversations, there’s a lot of racism and stereotypes that our young people are facing collectively, and we’ve talked a lot about this notion of “feather and dot”. We’re both Indians. Columbus was looking for you, but found me.
806 And so how do we have these conversations, because right now, we currently have young people facing suicide, drug addictions, gang violence, and this is in both of our communities. And so we imagined, how can we create programming for both of our communities that is culturally relevant and inspires young people to make better decisions, because both of our young people are in violent gang situations.
807 And we also come from fundamental principles around how do we build a better future for our children and our grandchildren? So we looked at the parallels of our culture.
808 And the second part of the financial, absolutely. There is no way that we could afford, as young people, to create this sort of a station and have this support, and we are grateful for VMS for building this relationship and partnership with us.
809 MR. TRIPATHY: Mr. Commissioner, one of the unique propositions that the VMS application brings is a solid footing on financials, and as everybody knows in the room, the reason we’re here is, in large part, because of financials in that. And the great thing with this application, it helps to serve the CRTC’s purposes, the Aboriginal purposes, the ethnic purposes, is we’re in a position where we’re already generating revenue through our SCMOs, and so we’ve got the ability to transfer that revenue over to this licence without impacting the marketplace from a financial standpoint; at the same time, providing diversity through ethnicity, diversity through the Aboriginal speak. And really, if there was an opportunity to create sort of a win-win-win, this is the application to do it, times two markets.
810 MR. MANITOPYES: Mr. Commissioner, I’d like to speak to that from a personal perspective, growing up in Calgary, specifically in -– like, in the street type world.
811 There was a huge disconnect between our people, specifically, on this table, like, Punjabi and Indigenous people, and we seem to not understand each other, and really, like, end up fighting and kind of judging and listening to one narrative that is not either of our own. So now that we come together and speak about our issues together, I feel like it’s bridging the gap, you know?
812 And our youth today in Calgary are probably some of the biggest groups on the street. And for me, personally, hip hop music is my calling and what I do. And that is the music of today’s youth, and I feel like all that will be serviced with the programming, et cetera, you know?
813 MS. VIRK: Just to comment on the relationship between the two communities, I don’t think our ancestors ever wanted, you know, the discord that we have found in growing up in Calgary, myself as well. That discord was definitely there. That disagreement was always there.
814 In Punjabi, when we speak about an Aboriginal person, we called them Adykid (phonetic), which actually means “the children of our dad’s older brother”. So when we referred to them -- essentially when our ancestors referred to them, they were speaking about Aboriginal – the Aboriginal communities as essentially, our cousins, and we found ourself in a community where that’s no longer the case, unfortunately. So we need to bridge that gap, and I think, in a larger community sense, this is a good stepping stone to do that.
815 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Well, obviously for any offering to be successful, a number of years tuning in is critical. So again, from the ethnic programming standpoint, how will your proposed service differ from what’s already in the market with World FM or from what will be in the market once our -– the station launches as a result of our recent Edmonton radio here?
816 MS. VIRK: Just in a general sense, Commissioner, we are –- we want to –- the SCMO operations are already doing a lot of open line, a lot of guest speakers, a lot of information providing. I know my law firm partner has been on the radio. I know several other people have been on that SCMO radio, both in Calgary and Edmonton. And the open line on the top portions of that radio are unique, and the hosts are trained in a way that they are unbiased towards what they’re bringing forward, in terms of the interviews.
817 So I think that’s going to be one thing that’s going to be transferred over from the SCMOs to the FM platform, if that –- if we are successful in our applications.
818 Further, in regards to the SCMO programs and how they’re different –- because that’s basically the guideline that we’re going to be using for the ethnic model in our radio -– further to the SCMO operations, Ranjit runs those day to day, so I’m going to pass it over to him so he can add to that.
819 MR. SIDHU: Hello Commissioner. We are running SCMO radio in Calgary from last –- more than 15 years, and in Edmonton, 4 or 5 years, and we also have a weekly newspaper from last 7 years. We have a very big competition in Calgary and Edmonton with the radio FM and Fairchild and then World FM, but the news station, the company launching, they have also AM service there. But people still are listening to us. People are still supporting us.
820 At SCMO Radio, if somebody needs to listen they need to buy from the store. It almost costs $100. And there are so many FM stations but people still buying over radios. They’re still listening to us. We raised more than $1 million for charitable organizations. So maybe if we do a radiothon -- we have a record with SCMO. In three hours we raised almost $300,000. So it means people are listening to us; people are giving us support.
821 So it doesn’t matter if it’s FM or AM services. People still want to listen to us. They like us. Our programming is more detailed programming with the news. We broadcast so much news compared to the FM stations. So that’s why we are different.
822 MR. TRIPATHY: If I could just add a final point to that? I think we’re all keenly aware that the media business is extremely competitive. If there were significant concerns about our programming overlapping or being repetitive with some of our competitors, Rogers, as an example, would be here right now defending the World FM format. Red FM, as an example, is not here today. And Fairchild in Calgary, in re-looking at their comments, 65 percent of their revenues are coming out of programming that is Chinese-focused. And then the new incumbent up in Edmonton hasn’t technically been licensed but will be starting, you know, in the near future.
823 So a simple point on it, I guess, would be if our competitors were really that fearful that we were overlapping in programming and so on down the line I’m positive we would have seen them here today.
824 Thank you.
825 MS. STONEHOUSE: And I would just like to add to that. I think what differentiates the ethnic portion is our 10 percent combined conversations that we’re going to be having with the original peoples of Turtle Island and the newcomers. And this is an exciting opportunity for us to talk about reconciliation through cultural diversity. And so I think that’s what’s going to separate the program from the rest.
826 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So people are listening to the services you currently have. If you’re successful with your applications, how are you going to ensure or continue to ensure that the content that you’re presenting is actually the content that residents of the community want to hear and want to have available?
827 MS. VIRK: I can begin by just detailing that we are going to be having third-party surveys on an ongoing basis.
828 Further to that, especially in regards to the Aboriginal portion of the programming, the Advisory Circle is going to be key. That is going to be our key link to the community. That is going to be our key governance, our building block. That’s what we’re going to work off of.
829 And at the end of the day, the numbers, right? The listenership, who is tuning in, how many numbers do we have? We’re going to hopefully be able to keep track of things like that.
830 And Jodi will talk to you more about how important the Advisory Circle is going to be in monitoring what the community wants to hear from us.
831 MS. STONEHOUSE: When I explained earlier about the inclusivity, that’s about keeping us grounded and accountable to our peoplehood. And so we worked very hard to create a model that is inclusive of urban Indigenous peoples, particularly young people because our demographic of young people is on the rise. And so we want to cater to them as listeners. And so bringing them in as part of the governance body and including elders with that and traditional knowledge keepers in that circle, they will keep the programming relevant because they will want to see reflected what is important to Indigenous peoples. And so our Advisory Council is critical to ensure that our programming is relevant.
832 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And how will you select the members of this Advisory Council?
833 MS. STONEHOUSE: So as I mentioned earlier, we talked about reaching to urban governance structures such as the confederacy offices in all the treaty areas. And we also included Treaty 8, which covers northern Alberta, because many of Treaty 8 members live in Edmonton, Alberta as well.
834 So we want to include them in the governance -- as well as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Assembly of First Nations, the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women -- to choose young people and elders that they see (a) that are interested in radio, and (b) that are interested in being leaders and that they see have a skill set. Because often in our community governance structures we know who the experts are because we spend time in our communities.
835 So it’s a lot easier for them to submit names and then we do some -- we spend some time together talking about what this structure is going to look like and how they imagine it unrolling. And part of consultation is taking the time with community members to figure out how to do this in the best possible way to serve our people.
836 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you.
837 With respect to the spoken-word content, what percentage of that do you envision being local topics drawn from the community versus something that may be more regional or national in focus?
838 MS. VIRK: That is a very good question. If I could just have a moment, I do have -- we did do a breakdown.
839 So in terms of the spoken-word commitments that we have, what we’re proposing at this time is 17.6 hours of local Aboriginal spoken word and each of the markets and then a 7.6 hour for regional in both of the markets. So that could be sharing with just the two sister stations or if there is other stations that we can collaborate with in the future.
840 So it is essentially -- we do want to be relevant. We want to be concentrated in the urban areas that we want to have the licences in. We want to be inclusive of those communities first and then move out from there.
841 MR. SIDHU: And for the news -- 14-hours news, it’s local and regional news. It’s 7 hours and 30 minutes. National news will be 2 hours and international news 4 hours and 10 minutes.
842 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
843 MR. TRIPATHY: Mr. Commissioner -- and I do understand the Commission’s concern about the amount of time on spoken word. One of the unique features of this licence is for sure the amount of time that we’re spending on spoken word is important. I think it would be remiss if we didn’t emphasize that the content that we’re going to be speaking about is as important.
844 And so the 10-percent component that we’ve got in addition to this to try and connect communities is about value-based content. So it’s not just speaking about what is going on, but it’s going to be family and health and opportunities and what is going on in the world that is going to allow us to connect two groups of people together.
845 So for sure the time is important. But again, what the content is -- and that value-based is going to allow for a multiplier effect as far as the effect this radio station is going to have on both the communities.
846 MS. VIRK: And I do just want to follow up with the cross-cultural programming.
847 Examples of what we want to speak about would be something like appropriation. So that is something that both the South Asian community and the Aboriginal community is dealing with. How is mainstream taking our culture and moulding it to fit them? Is it appropriate to wear a headdress or a turban as part of a costume, as part of something to wear to a music festival? How do the younger generations feel about it? How do the older generations feel about it? There’s a little bit of a disconnect, too, even within the communities. You know, between the generations certain people are feeling a certain way.
848 So those are all sort of things that are going to come out. It’s going to be quality programming on topics that are going to be relevant.
849 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You mentioned two components that are important. One is, you know, how much spoken word and then what you’re actually saying. There’s a third component which is “when” you’re saying it, which ties very closely into when people are tuning in. So when are you envisioning in your broadcast day that you would be airing the spoken word content?
850 MS. STONEHOUSE: So I can speak to the cross-cultural conversations. And we wanted to make sure that we were having a captivated audience and that we could take these conversations to average Canadians. As we move forward on reconciliation, we thought the best time is when they’re in their cars.
851 And so we went for the morning for those times for cross-cultural. And then I will let -- do you want to follow up on this or just ---
852 MS. VIRK: Sure, yeah.
853 MS. STONEHOUSE: okay, thank you, Suman.
854 MS. VIRK: Essentially right now we have broken down the schedule. It’s flexible at this point. We do want to listen to what the prime hours are going to be from our listenership and the Advisory Circle and see what sort of hours we need to work around.
855 But for right now, the way that we have it broken down, it is in the application in just a short -- in the short -- I don’t remember what appendix it is. I believe it’s 8C. It’s just the short schedule. Sorry, 8B, thank you. It just goes through the rough breakdown of when music and talk would occur.
856 So right now we have cross culture would be from 6:00 to 8:00, and that’s going to be 40 percent talk programming. Then 8:00 to 9:00 we have South Asian talk. Then from 12:00 to 2:00 we have an Aboriginal talk program, and then another Aboriginal talk program from 8:00 to 10:00.
857 Then from 10:00 to 12:00 we haven’t quite sorted it out. Right now that space is left open for the access programming that we’re talking about, the free space that we’re going to be providing. I’m assuming a lot of that will be talk programming too, or new artists coming in who want to demonstrate their work, or groups that want to come in and talk about what’s going on in the Aboriginal community, what events are coming up.
858 It’s tentative at this point. It is slightly flexible. We’re going to be listening to what our counterparts are saying, what the community is saying, and then tweaking those hours accordingly to make sure that we’re getting the most listenership during those talk hours.
859 I mean, music is streamable off many different mediums now so it’s the talk programming that we want in the primetime hours.
860 MR. TRIPATHY: If it’s of any advantage, we can certainly file a schedule as an undertaking, if that helps.
861 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Yes, that would be helpful, by April the 3rd.
863 MR. TRIPATHY: Thank you.
864 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I believe you also want to rely on syndicating programming and programming that you are going to draw from other sources.
865 I’m wondering how much syndicated programming you envision broadcast in any given week.
866 MS. VIRK: We want to do a minimum of 88 hours local. That’s a minimum, absolute minimum, and we want to build from there.
867 Perhaps Vince can break that down further.
868 MR. TRIPATHY: Yeah, there will definitely be programming that’s shared. I don’t know if that’s the same as syndicated. I’m an old radio guy, so syndicated means it’s running across a whole bunch of different radio stations all the way across the country.
869 That’s not what we have. Obviously we’re looking at two properties that are going to be involved. They’re also more regionalized because they are in Alberta, and therefore we have to be selective in the content that we’re going to put into place.
870 To Suman’s point, 88 hours is going to be local. That leaves us the remainder up to 126 hours. Excuse me, I should check that. The 88 hours is a minimum that we’ll be doing, up to 126. There definitely will be some shared programming between the communities and that, by my definition, our definition, is what syndication is.
871 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And with respect to that programming, how much of that would be drawn from Aboriginal sources targeting the Aboriginal community?
872 MR. TRIPATHY: You know, Ranjit, I’ll maybe let you address that just a little more specifically, if that’s okay.
873 MR. SIDHU: Sorry, Commissioner, could you repeat the question please?
874 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I was just wondering of the -- whether we use the term “syndicated” or “shared”, you know, content that’s drawn from other sources, how much of that would you intend to draw from Aboriginal sources, be it Native stations, First Nations societies?
875 MR. SIDHU: We are thinking 88 hours of local programming. If we get both licences, we will share the programming with the Calgary and Edmonton station. But at the same time, we will also try to help with the other Aboriginal stations in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa areas. Maybe we can share some percentage of programming with them, but Suman can explain more on it.
877 MS. STONEHOUSE: Just to give you an idea of some of the peoples that we would be making space for, it would be people like Ryan McMahon’s Red Man Laughing along with Chelsea Vowel’s Métis in Space. These are young Indigenous people who have had to do their own kind of fundraising to get their voices heard, and so we would make space for those kinds of conversations to be aired.
878 MR. TRIPATHY: I think the short answer to your question is “to be determined”. I think that’s what you’re looking for. I wish we had it quantified, but this is a work in process. Given where we’re at with the application and the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, we very much want to be a consulting situation where we’re listening and then reacting.
879 But we will be mindful obviously of the importance of the Aboriginal component.
880 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So you’re positioning yourself as a news and spoken word service offering. How much of what you broadcast is actually going to be music though?
881 MS. VIRK: I have the exact breakdown, actually. Right now in terms of the ethnic we have about 30 hours of music. In terms of the Aboriginal portion, we have 38 hours. Now this music -- our aim is to use just Aboriginal artists, just ethnic artists.
882 It’s not going to be a situation where we’re streaming mainstream music. We’re going to be aiming this at those specific communities. We’re going to be bringing in from those specific communities. We’re planning on building a library of at least 400 songs weekly in regards to the Aboriginal side of things.
883 And there is a sample music list that we included in Appendix 8C. If you just do a quick glance through that, it is Indigenous Aboriginal artists that we’re looking to pull from, especially on the Aboriginal side. And we are hoping that we can have Jeremiah out in the community bringing in more local music as well, and see if we can get some people to send in demos. We can censor those, make sure those are appropriate and get those on the air. That’s what we want to do.
884 MR. TRIPATHY: I would just add, if I could, Suman, the final component with regards to what we want to do on the talent side is that CCD allotment that we’ve got for Edmonton as well as Calgary, which will include musical shows. Again, that will be another opportunity for us to source talent and promote talent as time goes on.
885 MS. STONEHOUSE: Currently there are many young Indigenous peoples putting their videos up on social media, on YouTube. Whether it’s traditional hand drum songs or they’re covering other artists’ songs, there is a massive, massive outcry of young people going on social media. We want to support those young people and bring them into studio with that 20 percent accessing, and give them the airtime and the space to follow their dreams.
886 MR. MANITOPYES: I would also like to add that me personally, being an artist that’s been in the industry for over 15 years, in the past decade I recently experienced a good amount of success and have broken down some doors, some very huge doors and walls that were staring at us in the face for a long, long time.
887 And a lot of my work in the community is with the youth. I work in the CYOC, Calgary Young Offenders Centre; I ran a ball night at YMAC. I feel like that my ears are just -- are with the youth, you know, and with what today’s market is demanding and what they need.
888 Frankly, right now, there’s a musical revolution going on with Indigenous people. There’s a new confidence that’s coming about. I feel like what we have will be able to nurture that and feed that with innovative programming, specifically with social media push campaigns, actual community events, you know, open mics, talents show, I should say. Just really being on the ground, and also having my ear to the street, so to speak.
889 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So the existing Native FM station in Edmonton offers a significant amount of country music programming that’s targeted at Aboriginal audiences.
890 Would you be looking to replicate that or would you be looking to draw more from other music genres other than country?
891 MR. MANITOPYES: Just speaking as a youth myself, well, I’m sort of a youth. It’s ---
892 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: We’ll let you get away with that one.
893 MR. MANITOPYES: This is what it is. Honestly, as a youth growing up, I didn’t have any places to see myself in media, to see my reflection. Sorry, I lost my train of thought.
894 MR. TRIPATHY: I can maybe just pick up on that if it’s okay. As the old guy on the front thing, we had a fascinating discussion yesterday while we were getting ready for the hearings, and again, I am 35 years in radio. I’m the traditional guy. You go to the radio, you hear your song, the song blows up and then you sell records, and that’s the way it’s done back then; and it’s just not the same now.
895 And so the discussion point -- I have it with my kids at home for a different reason, I had it yesterday with the group here, because they are significantly younger than me, which was -- how do you guys find your music and how do people find you nowadays? And it led to a great discussion, and maybe I’ll just hand it back to you and if you want to maybe touch on the Spotify discussion?
896 MR. MANITOPYES: Yeah. Basically, I feel like we can drive a lot of the youth back to radio because of exclusivity of it still. There’s still a mystique to radio and television with emerging artists being that not everybody can get on there, you know? And social media is very open that way, and I feel like with work and with exposure we can work to get all these artists involved at a very young age.
897 So once you have an artist who is young and wants to succeed and get into the radio, then all of a sudden you’ve got all of these other little guys watching their social media saying “Hey, his song was on the radio. I want my song on the radio.” I remember when I heard my song for the first time on the radio in Winnipeg, Streets 104.7 and I know a couple of those guys are here. But I was like the happiest kid on the planet, you know? And I wasn’t even a kid, you know? And I feel like just that mystique and using social media as a tool to draw them all in we can, you know, really make some difference here.
898 And quite honestly, I have a son that’s 15 years old and I’m already -- I’m already very well like in touch, with today’s music scene, but he’s got an even deeper in to that new -- that newness, and he is not checking for radio, you know? I feel like the previous models or the existing models kind of service the older crowd and I think our focus here is the future, and the future is obviously the youth.
899 MR. TRIPATHY: And the result of that is, to answer your question, we’re not looking to go down the country road. We respect everything that CFWE’s done and they’ve done a terrific job and provided great service, but we’re not looking to duplicate what they’re doing.
900 MS. STONEHOUSE: Indigenous peoples are engaging in electronica, techno, fusion, house. Those are the kinds of things that we want to share with the world. We want to show how magnificent we are at all the genres. So that’s our intention.
901 MR. PETERS: And I would like to add to that. Out of high school I started my own small business as a DJ and worked events and was on the scene, the music scene, and could see the advantages of having a radio station that would give a youth or a young artist an opportunity to have that. I believe we have scheduled a minimum 20 hours a week to programming for potential artists, young artists to come onboard.
902 And given that opportunity that I had, I was -- I grew up in the Vancouver area and was able to work with my Aunt who has worked in Co-op radio for over 33 years in Vancouver. And in talking with her about this application here, she advised me that she would be more than willing to offer mentorship to our youth here in Calgary, and Edmonton, and the team that we put forward.
903 As well as the media, the television were also aboard -- on board with celebrating that era that I came from, where we were doing little mini concerts and my aunt was doing much more larger festivals in the Vancouver area. And so that can be brought into Calgary and Edmonton through this type of a station that would provide that access, that space, and that programming for that intention.
904 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you. I have a 14-year-old step-daughter at home and I just wait for her to tell me what’s hot. That being said, is -- do you have any concern with a format as broad as what you are conceiving, that you may actually lose listeners?
905 MS. VIRK: We’re planning on making sure the listeners know, depending on what they’re interested in, what hours they can tune in. What hour is going to be, you know, associated with what they want to listen to. I wouldn’t say that we’re overly broad. We are so cutting edge and captivating that all Canadians will be tuning in to us.
906 MR. TRIPATHY: I’ll just make one last comment with regarding -- and it’s the last time I’ll say the old man on the panel. But decades past radio was set up in such a way that it was all block programming. Where you had specific needs that were matched to specific times and that -- and plenty of listeners were able to find what they wanted, when they wanted, and what they were hoping to get accomplished. I don’t think the Commission has anything to worry about as far as this is concerned.
907 The main concern, if I was the Commission looking at it, and if I’m looking at us, what we’re trying to accomplish is to make sure that we’re weaving a values system that crosses all cultural lines and allows for a recognition of local interest, community, and the values that everybody is trying to be raised by in this country.
908 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I want to get back to a statement that Ms. Stonehouse made, and it was with respect to you want people in their cars and, you know, listening to this program in, you know, in peak times of the day. And when I look at in your application where you’ve scheduled a large chunk of your Aboriginal programming, it would appear to be in non-peak hours of the day. You’re not necessarily getting people in their cars between noon and 4 p.m. on a weekday. So has your thinking evolved on this since you made the initial application?
909 MS. STONEHOUSE: So when I was referring to those peak times -- and I would actually prefer if people were on their bikes, but I know they’re in their cars -- is that cross-cultural component which I think is fundamental to shifting Canada. That was the piece that I was referring to, is we want Canadians to be listening to these relationships on how important cultural diversity, and relationships, and partnerships are in order to reduce racism, stereotypes; in order to build healthier nations for all of our children, indigenous and those who come here.
910 So that time, that peak time is when we have programmed our cross-cultural programming because we see that as really fundamental to the work that we want to do. Our relationships is the most important think here, is how we get along and how we move together forward to building a better Canada.
911 MS. VIRK: And Mr. Commissioner, as I had mentioned earlier, this is a situation where we’re going to be listening to what the advisory circle has to say, what the community has to say in scheduling what hours work best for each of the communities, primarily the Aboriginal community, because that is the focus. And like I’ve mentioned before, we’re hoping that we can increase the Aboriginal portion of our programming as revenues increase. So that’s the going forward goal.
912 Right now we’re going to have to pay attention to the ethnic portion obviously, because that’s what’s going to be funding the rest of the radio, to begin with anyways.
913 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So you are planning to rely on some open-line program and I just want to confirm that you are familiar with and will be compliance with the Commission’s policy regarding open-line programming?
914 MS. VIRK: Yes, we will be. Jodi is already employing those criteria in her program as it is. Ranjit is also aware of that, and we are hoping to put in a five-second delay in all of -- well, we will be putting in a five-second delay and all of that. So we’re going to be working within those criteria, definitely.
915 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
916 How will you ensure balance on some of this open-line programming?
917 MS. STONEHOUSE: Can you explicate what you mean by balance?
918 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You know, the breadth of topics being discussed, ensure that information is presented without bias.
919 MS. STONEHOUSE: Oh, that’s easy to answer without bias. Well, I think part of it is keeping our ear low to the ground in the community and really relying on our advisory. What is current, what is happening and what are the conversations that are critical to our families? You know, there’s always the fundamental conversations that are important regarding Treaty relationships, regarding education, there’s always the political stuff, there’s the global politics that we want to engage in collectively.
920 So I think it’s going to be keeping our eyes and mind open and using our advisory to keep us connected to what is relevant for the conversations.
921 MR. TRIPATHY: Mr. Commissioner, just by the very nature of this application and who we’re trying to reach -- Aboriginals, non-Aboriginals, the ethnic component that’s involved -- there’s a lot of varying perspectives on any one particular subject. And I think that in and of itself will add as a safeguard to make sure that there is different viewpoints being shared and balances provided on any discussions on the radio station.
922 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you.
923 MR. SIDHU: Commissioner, I have a 20-year experience in (inaudible) community. I’ve been running this radio for the last 15 years and we are taking open-line calls from last 15 years. And we don’t have any complaint because we follow all CRTC rules. And when we hired the people, when he hired the host, we train them and we tell them that they’re supposed to be -- these are the rules they’re supposed to follow.
924 And the CKU, we’re renting both stations in Edmonton and Calgary from them and we discussed with them these policy -- policies, CKU policies and CRTC policies. So we have no complaints from last 15 years and if we get these two stations we will follow the same rules.
925 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Perfect. Thank you.
926 In your application, you mentioned a talent show. And I’m wondering if you can describe that for me and outline whether that will be focused just on Aboriginal talent or whether it will also focus on ethnic talent?
927 MS. VIRK: I can elaborate a little bit on that. I can just let you know, in terms of the SCMO, I know that there’s kind of an informal talent show that they do on air sort of thing.
928 In terms of the talent show that we’re talking about, we’re talking about an Aboriginal component. We want one in Calgary, one in Edmonton, and they’re going to be solely Aboriginal artists that we’re focusing on. Because at the end of the day that’s what this is; this is an Aboriginal station. That’s what our focus is and that’s what we want to continue to help develop.
929 And in regards to just even Canadian content, Aboriginal content, we’re really focusing on getting that new talent out, hearing what the Aboriginal youth have to say. They’re exploring their talents and giving them a medium to express that on a larger scale.
930 I can also just inform you in terms of my past work with Ranjit and Paul. The scale of what they’re doing in regards to concerts that they’re putting on -- right now in the ethnic community, they haven’t done any Aboriginal concerts. In regards to the ethnic community, they bring in international stars that are working with the likes of, you know, well-known actresses like Priyanka Chopra. They’re bringing in international stars that have worked with these stars. And then they’re letting local youth and younger audiences and even actually a well-established businessman in the sixties last time, get on that stage before the opening and do their own acts, do their own bit, to have that broad audience that they’re able to demonstrate this to.
931 So it’s not just going to be, you know, a talent show in a back room somewhere where no one knows what’s going on. This is the type of organization that they’ve been running and I’m fully confident this is what we’ll see in the future.
932 MR. SIDHU: I want to add, Commission, when we do organize big shows like -- then we try -- maybe there are three or four local artists who can also perform there. And I’m thinking right now maybe if we can add some Aboriginal singers in our show too so maybe people know them more.
933 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Just to change topics to your proposed CCD contributions. Who do you see as being the recipients of those contributions? I believe it was 350k?
934 MS. VIRK: I just do want to clarify that if it’s -- essentially what they’re proposing -- the proposal is, from the shareholders, to have $50,000 from each of the radios, essentially, if both of them are licensed. If they’re not licensed, you’ll see the revenues go down a little bit -- so if they’re both not licensed. So if it’s just one it will be $35,000 a year that they’re contributing.
935 And then the exact breakdown of that contribution -- I believe either Vince or Ranjit will be able to comment on that.
936 MR. TRIPATHY: Sorry, I wasn’t exactly sure where we were going to hand that off to. So I apologize.
937 With regards to the funding itself, a large majority would go towards the talent shows in both the communities, again one in Edmonton, one in Calgary. That would happen on an annual basis throughout the duration of the licence.
938 In fairness to the group, just to give you a sense of the scope of what we’re talking about as far as the potential, there’s an event that’s going to be hosted in Calgary about two weeks from now. I think it’s April 16th, 17th, in that range. Expectations there are roughly about 1,500 people and that. So we’re not talking about smaller type of events.
939 And so the organizational aspects that are involved with this I think are important because it’s great to have an event; it’s better to execute an event; and it’s better to execute a successful event and that.
940 So just to answer your question with regards to CCD, the majority of the money will go towards those particular initiatives.
941 MS. VIRK: And ---
942 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And to be clear -- sorry, just one sec. To be clear, those organizations, whoever is sponsoring those events, are independent from VMS?
943 MR. TRIPATHY: It’s a great question. Yes. Yes. Yeah.
944 MS. VIRK: And just in terms of breakdown, Commissioner, I’ve just been handed a computer from the back row here. The maximum that would be spent on the talent shows would be $40,000 a year and the minimum that would be given to factor would be $10,000 a year. And then essentially the rest would contributed to other areas, whatever is left.
945 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And just to be clear on what you said, if both applications are approved it’s $50,000 per station?
946 MS. VIRK: Yes.
947 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And that falls to $35,000 if only one station is ---
948 MS. VIRK: One station. And that’s because of revenues.
949 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. With respect to your commitments to Aboriginal language programming, would you be willing to accept those conditions being set out as a Condition of Licence?
950 MS. VIRK: We did discuss that. There are a few Conditions of Licence that we spoke about that would be essentially standard in this sort of a situation and a few atypical conditions that we’d be willing to accept. So that would be the minimums that we’re proposing; we would accept those as Conditions of Licence.
951 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: For both Aboriginal and ethnic programming?
952 MS. VIRK: And maximum for the ethnic program, yes.
953 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Would you be willing to accept any modifications to those minimums that the Commission may choose to impose?
954 MS. VIRK: Essentially we’d have to take a look at our business plan again. So that would have to be a discussion that we have with our regulatory council and our shareholders together depending on what sort of modification the Commission is thinking about.
955 I can just inform in regards to one licence, we’re hoping that the minimum 50 percent Aboriginal is not going to change.
956 But in that case, for the first little bit, we might have to up the ethnic and cut the cross-culture down to five percent for the first little while so we can bring in the revenue to stabilize, bring in the advertising to stabilize. And right now our advertising base is going to be essentially the SCMO advertising base. So it’s all ethnic.
957 And then Ranjit does have some national advertising, but it’s not at such a large scale that we would right off the bat be able to, if we just have the one licence, go with the 50/40/10 split.
958 MR. TRIPATHY: Yeah, it’s an interesting discussion while we’re talking about programming and everything that needs to get done. Just given the history of this licence and where we’re at today, the financials are a big part of what’s going on. So as long as there wasn’t a huge effect on the ethnic side, I think it would allow us to drive our main agenda, which is Aboriginal programming.
959 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you.
960 We already previously discussed your SCMO operations, that they would be discontinued if you’re successful. But perhaps you can speak to what synergies you expect to be able to realize if you’re successful with an application in both Calgary and Edmonton between the two stations?
961 MS. VIRK: I mean, the 88 hours of minimum local isn’t going to change regardless. But then there might be some things or some programs that might be of interest to both communities. So that would be something that we could work towards sharing in between both stations. So it would be things like that.
962 Again, this would change depending on what’s going on. For example, if it’s a provincial election, perhaps the coverage will all come from Edmonton, something like that.
963 So that would change. But I mean, the 88 hours of local is what they’re saying in terms of in Calgary, in Edmonton.
964 MR. TRIPATHY: Yeah, I think the main benefits as far as synergies and cost-savings and that basically would be on the production side. So as an example, maybe we can use some of our resources to create programming in Edmonton, some of it in Calgary, but then cross-pollinate, so to speak, in each of the markets and so on down the line.
965 As far as buildings, we’re still going to need two buildings, administration, two administrators, managers, two managers, separate news people; we need two people there. There may be an opportunity on the news side, just to touch on what we talked about, where we can maybe share some of that.
966 But the main goal would be obviously, if we want to have a successful operation, that those news stories, again, would have to be more value-based, more relevant. So a Fort McMurray situation is an example. While it was in Fort McMurray, it was a story that really affected everybody across Alberta.
967 And therein we’d also have a different perspective on that. One of the Applicants earlier today did a terrific job of making the point that you need to pivot a little bit when you’ve got an Aboriginal side of things on a particular story. On the other side of it there could be an ethnic component as well. But at the end of the day there’s stories that are relevant to both sets of people.
968 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I’m looking now at the information you provided with respect to your financial projections for the first seven years of operation. And you broke them out as the Calgary station, the Edmonton station, and then as both. And I’m doing some very quick math and when I look at the total revenues for each station individually, they add up to about 15.5 million. And that number drops to 15.1 if you get both licences. So why is it less advantageous financially for you to have both?
969 MS. VIRK: I’ll just speak a little bit to the practical point but then Vince can elaborate on that.
970 If there’s both, if both stations are at play and we’re doing perhaps, say, advertising, selling advertising for both stations together as a package deal, that might bring down revenues a little bit.
971 But I’ll let Vince speak to the actual projections.
972 MR. TRIPATHY: And it’s a great question. We knew we were going to be dealing with some of the financial numbers and so on down the line.
973 The reason for the drop in the advertising revenues is there would be less of a component on the ethnicities side and that -- with the two components of the broadcasting. And therefore some of our revenue would drop off.
974 The other side of it would be more additional programming towards the Aboriginal side as a result of it. And so there is a slight adjustment as far as the revenues.
975 The one thing you’ll note on both Calgary and Edmonton is the revenue pictures do tend to be fairly close to each other. And that’s a reflection of the communities and what’s happening there.
976 Mainstream radio in Alberta -- there is a difference between the two markets. Calgary tends to be one that’s, I’m going to guess, about $90 to $95 million in overall revenues right now. Edmonton tends to be a little bit lighter. So there are some slight adjustments on the mainstream side. But overall we anticipate revenues in both markets to be pretty comparable.
977 MR. SIDHU: Commissioner, because when we submit our projections we say if we get both stations then we will serve 50 percent Aboriginal, 40 percent South Asian, and 10 percent cross-culture. But if we get a standalone, we ask for two changes. One is (inaudible) CCD as I’ve already informed you and the second one is if we get a standalone station, our 40 percent South Asian will be 45 percent. And the sports will be increased and then we will get more revenue from South Asian. But it will decrease the service for the cross-culture programming.
978 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you.
979 Just sticking with your projected advertising revenue for a second. On what were those revenue targets based and how confident are you that they will come to pass?
980 MS. VIRK: The base was the knowledge that we have the South Asian ethnic markets and what we think we can generate as a potential there.
981 Again, Vince is the financial person here.
982 MR. TRIPATHY: Yeah. Again, one of the strengths of this application relative to some of the other Applicants -- and it’s not to suggest that not everybody is very good at what they’re doing -- is we are already established in a different form in Edmonton and Calgary. We’re already an Applicant who is generating revenue. So aside from understanding the marketplace and already generating revenue, it gave us a base to take a look and say, “Here’s the starting point for us as far as expected revenues,” especially if we’re generating the majority of our revenue off the ethnic side of it.
983 The Aboriginal side -- we understand that’s a bit of a question mark and I heard one of the other Applicants speak to it this morning, about it being untested. It is untested. But the great thing about this application is it doesn’t affect us.
984 So to get to the revenue side of it, again we’ve got the SCMO situation; that gives us some history. We’ve got an understanding of the relationships that we’ve already got in the marketplaces. The build on that is we also have a group of clients that are looking for us to take the next step, from SCMO to a licence like this. And what that would allow us to do is increase our rates and bring our clients with us without affecting other competitors in the marketplace.
985 The final point, and we haven’t really spoken too much about it, is again we’ve got a network of people that are already connected. And then in addition to that the final point I would made to the Commission -- because financial certainty is -- as much as we’re talking programming, financial certainty is what this whole thing is about and that if we don’t have that, we can’t serve the Aboriginal community. And so the final point I would make is that part of our VMS Media Group is focused on newspaper. And so we have a whole other set of relationships that we’ve got in place there already that we can build on on top of the SCMO situation.
986 Again, all that to say there aren’t going to be issues with regards to revenues and that there aren’t going to be in regards to relationships. But I totally respect and understand why the question needed to be asked.
987 MR. SIDHU: I’d like to add, Commissioner, because we are running this SCMO from long time and we have loyal advertisers -- they are advertising with us and we know if we get that from station they will go with us on FM. And they are ready to give more money. We submitted a survey when we applied for ethnic station. It’s already public record at the last hearing in September.
988 We also have a very good connection because we are running a newspaper. We have a connection with the advertising agencies. So we are serving the big advertiser. Like, I can give an example in Edmonton, Save-on-Foods, The Brick, The BMO, Cineplex. They all are advertising with us right now in SCMO and the newspaper -- and Walmart. And if we go to FM stations, we have an already-established connection with them. So we will get the advertisement.
989 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So given your experience with these advertisers and in these respective markets, you think that you’ve adequately accounted for any downward pressure or negativity that may stem from the Alberta economic situation not currently being what it once was?
990 MS. VIRK: In regards to the SCMO, I just know in a general sense it hasn’t affected the revenues much, the downturn in the market.
991 And just in terms of the advertising portion, there are going to be some tweaks that we have to do to the advertising base. We might not be able to bring everybody over just given that we are cutting down hours, right? So now that advertising that was over 126 hours we’re going to have to bring that down so it’s advertising to cover 50 hours. And then our national advertisers would probably go into the Aboriginal programming in regards to how we break it down.
992 So we are prepared for that if there is that. I mean, everyone is projecting that the economy is getting better so I’m hoping we don’t have to look at that.
993 MR. SIDHU: I’d like to add, Commissioner, just the economy of Alberta affected to all the media. But in the same time there are new advertisers in this time because in past, when we contact the builders, they said the market is very hard and then you don’t need advertisement. If they do advertisement maybe they cannot provide a service. But these kinds of advertisers now try to advertise in our newspaper and radio.
994 There is a shortfall, maybe, but I think everybody is very positive in Alberta because new pipelines are approved and we believe the economy will grow.
995 MR. TRIPATHY: And I think the worst of the Alberta situation is behind us. It’s all anecdotal and it will take another six or seven months to translate. But I think that is the reality.
996 The other situation with regards to the ethnicity and how it ties back to the Aboriginal component is -- we’ve got a growing ethnic population in both Edmonton and Calgary. What that means is there’s going to be more desire and more demand to reach those people, as well as Aboriginal audience that we’re going to be targeting.
997 Ultimately, what that will hopefully do is create an offset on the revenues as we come out of this as well. There’s a couple of different components working in our favour on the revenues side.
998 Then on the other side, which is the expense side, everybody in Alberta -- we’re running our businesses a lot more efficiently as a result of the last couple of years. The ability to run lean as we move forward with these licences is going to allow us to be in a better position to be stronger financially as we go forward.
999 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: It’s only Monday so I hate to be gloomy. But in a scenario where your financial projections are not accurate, perhaps it takes longer than three years to attain profitability. I just want you to confirm your capacity and willingness to maintain operations at one or both of those stations if the financial picture is more gloomy than you would hope.
1000 MS. VIRK: Well, we’ve decided that it’s not going to be, but if it is we’re prepared to handle that and deal with it.
1001 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Just one final question before I hand you back over to my colleagues. I just want to confirm that you’re aware of the Commission’s licence trafficking policy, and that if an application were received to change the ownership of these stations within the first two years that generally it would be denied?
1002 MS. VIRK: Yes, we do understand that. I mean, we want this licence because we want to keep it so that will not be a problem with our group.
1003 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And since you want the licence, I assume that you will not be shopping it around to find another purchaser that ---
1004 MS. VIRK: No.
1005 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: If the financial projections do not come to fruition, that you would hand that licence back to the Commission.
1006 MS. VIRK: We are prepared.
1007 MR. SIDHU: I will add, Commissioner, we are looking for this licence from last 15 years. If we get it, we are not going to sell it.
1008 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Noted.
1009 Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
1010 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, thank you.
1011 I don’t believe there are further questions at this stage. Maybe just a clarification at a future stage, but right now I think we’re okay.
1012 Thank you very much for your participation. We’ll take a short 10-minute break, and come back at 3:50 for the last item we’re hearing today.
1013 Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 3:40 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 3:50 p.m.
1014 THE CHAIRMAN: À l’ordre. Order, please.
1015 Madame la secrétaire?
1016 MS. ROY: Merci.
1017 One small announcement before we continue. Following the Northern Native Broadcasting presentation tomorrow morning, we will be starting Phase II, whereby applicants appear in the same order as Phase I to intervene on competing applications, if they wish.
1018 If you know that you’re not intending to appear in this phase, please advise me before tomorrow morning. If you are unsure at this time, I will call upon you during Phase II and you can state your intention at that time.
1019 We will now proceed with item 4 on the agenda, which are applications by First Peoples Radio Inc broadcasting licences to operate English and Aboriginal language type B Native FM radio stations in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
1020 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 30 minutes for your presentation.
1021 MR. LAROSE: Merci beaucoup, Mademoiselle Roy.
1022 Monsieur le Président, commissionaires, my name is Jean Larose. I am a citizen of the Odanak First Nation in Quebec.
1023 First, I want to recognize and reiterated that we are on unceded Algonquin territory, and I want to thank the Algonquin Nation for giving us the opportunity to be here.
1024 I also want to recognize all of the applications. I think we can see that a lot of work has been done. The vision and the dedication of all the parties is there, and I think it’s worthy of recognition.
1025 I am one of the first directors and the CEO of First Peoples Radio. I’m also the CEO of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
1026 I would like to ask our chair Jocelyn Formsma to introduce our panel.
1027 MS. FORMSMA: Good afternoon, Commissioners. My name is Jocelyn Formsma. I am from Moose Cree First Nation. I’m also the chairperson of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and APTN is support First Peoples Radio in this process here today.
1028 So I’m going to introduce you to our great team. To my left is Darcy Smith. He’s a first director of FPR and the Chief Financial Officer of APTN.
1029 Next to Darcy, as you know, is Jean LaRose. Next to Jean is Karyn Pugliese. She’s a first director of FPR and APTN's Executive Director of News and Current Affairs. Beside Karyn is David McLeod, who’s the Chief Executive Officer of Native Communications Incorporated, or NCI.
1030 At the end is Deborah Ann Charles, the Chief Executive Officer of Missinippi Broadcasting Corporation, or MBC. Just a note that she might have to leave during our presentation as she has a flight that she needs to catch this evening. So please don’t take any offence if she has to up and go, but we hope that she’ll be here for the entire presentation.
1031 In the back row, to your right on the far end, is Ray Carnovale, the consulting engineer for this project. Beside him, on his right, your left, is Joel Fortune our legal counsel. Next to him is Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., who has assisted us with market and business research.
1032 This is our team. I’m going to hand it over back to Mr. Jean LaRose.
1033 MR. LAROSE: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1034 First Peoples Radio has applied for licences to provide new local Aboriginal radio stations in five markets: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa, each on an available FM frequency.
1035 The stations in Vancouver and Toronto would also operate hybrid digital, or “HD" channels. This will position the stations for the future and help to overcome known interference issues in these two markets.
1036 Our inspiration is straightforward. To create radio services that offer a true reflection of
1037 Aboriginal peoples and our voices and music as part of the regular fabric and dialogue in each city.
1038 We have conducted very extensive research in the five urban markets in preparing our applications, and our inspiration is drawn very much from what we heard.
1039 In describing what they wanted from a radio service, we heard words like, "positive", "balanced", "educational”, "relevant", "contemporary", but also "traditional", "hope", "family friendly", and “authentic" just to name a few. These aspirations were consistent across all markets.
1040 We were also made very aware that an Aboriginal radio service in an urban market has to compete head to head with a huge array of other choices. We were told that if the radio station doesn't deliver a high quality and consistent experience then people will not listen.
1041 The challenge we face in making urban Aboriginal radio a reality is to respect our inspiration and to meet our audiences' high expectations. Our plan is based on three principles. To be local and informative, to showcase Aboriginal music, and to be economically viable.
1042 We will address these principles in turn.
1043 MS. PUGLIESE: First, FPR stations will be distinctive, local, and informative. The stations will talk about the happenings, issues, and day-to-day events in each city. It will provide the perspectives of
1044 Aboriginal residents about what’s going on locally and also connect listeners to Aboriginal communities elsewhere, and important regional and national stories.
1045 They will be positive and educational, and even inspirational, and accessible to listeners of all backgrounds.
1046 In our research, we asked participants to rank the importance of different types of programming elements for a radio service. Participants ranked having access to news and information, both national and local, very high. It is notable that Aboriginal participants ranked local news higher than national news.
1047 Also, far more Aboriginal participants ranked as important being able to relate to the perspectives of the on-air hosts. What does it mean to hear your perspective on radio? One person in our focus group put it well, and I’ll quote:
1048 “I want to know that the person I am listening to is like me. I want to know that I am not being manipulated but being spoken to by someone who gets where I have been. They can be, he’s from another tribe, but they cannot be non-Aboriginal. I’ve had –- I have enough of that now.” (As read)
1049 Our station responds to the sense of what’s important by providing in-depth coverage of each local market on a daily basis, including a daily call-in program. All on-air hosts will reflect the Aboriginal character of the stations, and as Aboriginal individuals, their voices and perspectives will resonate for our listeners.
1050 MR. LAROSE: The second principle -– my apologies -– the second principle is to showcase Aboriginal music as a priority, as part of a popular Aboriginal variety music format. The vast majority of our focus groups rank music as high in importance for a radio service, averaging nearly 8 out of 10 in terms of importance. Our proposed format places Aboriginal artists in the soundscape of compatible rock, pop, blues, R and B, and folk tracks, with an emphasis on more melodic and thoughtful songs. The format will be broadly based, but will likely appeal to most -– the most to the younger demographic for Aboriginal radio of between the ages of 25 and 49.
1051 In our market and music research, we found that there was a strong interest for more Aboriginal music on radio, but it is not surprising that Aboriginal listeners share many of the listening habits of the general population. Familiarity in music contributes in a large way to continued tuning. A playlist made up mostly of less well-known songs will not produce sustained listening. This is why it will be important to include a range of music, some better known and some more mainstream than others, to engage audiences and to place new music tracks in a familiar format.
1052 At least 35 percent of the musical selections will be Canadian, and at least 25 percent of the musical selections will be Aboriginal, meaning they will have been written or performed by an Aboriginal artist. The Commission has long recognized the central role radio plays to provide exposure for Canadian musical talent, and Aboriginal artists are no different. A key function of any urban Aboriginal radio station should be to provide regular airplay for Aboriginal musicians, who are virtually non-existent on traditional radio.
1053 There is already a divide in Canada between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences in their recognition of Aboriginal musicians; whereas names like Derek Miller, George Leach, Inez, and many others are typically well known in Aboriginal circles, they’re usually not familiar at all elsewhere. Our stations will give Aboriginal audiences the opportunity to hear songs from their own arts leaders regularly on urban radio, and introduce them to non-Aboriginal audiences, probably for the first time.
1054 To give you a better sense of what the music on FPR will sound like, we have put together a short listening sample, which we would like to play for you now.
1055 --- AUDIO PRESENTATION
1056 MR. LAROSE: We believe that clip really gives a strong sense of how exciting this blend of Aboriginal and other music selections will be, with a strong potential to attract and keep listeners tuned to FPR. We have attached a list of the music that was sampled to this presentation for your reference.
1057 MR. SMITH: The third principle underlying our applications, after being local and providing great Aboriginal music, is that our stations must be economically viable in each market. This means attracting a measurable audience and providing a service that is supported by advertising revenue. The only revenue source available for these stations at this time is the revenue that they can generate for themselves.
1058 Not only is attracting an audience necessary for the economic viability of the stations, it is the essence of what we are striving to achieve. A measurable listener base will show that our programming is relevant and connecting with the intended audience.
1059 As we said earlier, our goal for these stations is that they become a part of the fabric and dialogue in each city. To do this, they must attract listeners, both from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal backgrounds.
1060 And you know, it is not a surprise that participants in our focus groups indicated that they wanted to be informed, enlightened, and entertained by authentic, professional, and interesting content. If we do that, then the stations will be viable. If we do not achieve this objective, then it would be fair to ask whether we were meeting our mandate.
1061 MS. PUGLIESE: I would like now to turn now to how these stations will operate on a local level. Each station in each market will operate with its own local staff and station manager. We have budgeted for 12 staff for each station, and this staff will be tasked with the production of local content and the collection and delivery of local news and information.
1062 Our local staff is all production and content-oriented. Five individuals will act as on-air hosts in different time segments, and the remaining individuals will be involved primarily in technical and production activities or newsgathering.
1063 Each market will, at a minimum, be served by its own dedicated reporter focused on collecting original stories that are particularly relevant for the primary audience of Aboriginal communities in that market. We will also rely on part-time reporters and stringers on weekends, off hours, when responding to key news stories that need more extensive coverage.
1064 At a practical level, each station will operate and interact with the community locally. We intend to offer approximately 70 percent local programming content on each station, with a minimum of at least 60 percent in any particular broadcast week. This will allow the stations to address contingencies that may arise from time to time, and also to ramp up the production of local content in Aboriginal languages over the first two years of operation.
1065 Local content occupies the times of highest listening on the stations including the morning and afternoon drives. In fact, most daytime hours on both weekends -- weekdays and weekends is local content, with regular news breaks and local information. We have attached our program grids to this presentation for your reference.
1066 You will see that on weekdays, there is only one non-local segment during the daytime period before 7:00 in the evening. This break, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. allows for the setup at each station of our daily local Moment of Truth Talk Show, which follows immediately afterwards. Moment of Truth is a one-hour call-in show with featured guests, reaching out to local communities to talk about issues of concern, cultural events, or, in fact, anything that seems topical and relevant for the audience.
1067 Other important local content includes five hours of local Aboriginal language programming each broadcast week starting in the third broadcast year. This programming, scheduled each weeknight, will provide opportunities for the discussion of cultural and political issues that are current in local Aboriginal communities in locally spoken Aboriginal languages. We will also make this content accessible on demand online for use by educators and others.
1068 Our local programming also includes innovative listener participation segments such as Street Talk and Shout Outs. Street Talk consists of edited listener comments on daily topics and a Shout Out is the equivalent of radio tweets, which allow the listeners to interact with music and other content with a Smart phone app. All of this content is, of course, reviewed before broadcast.
1069 These stations will be locally operated and predominantly and strongly in character with the programming focused on the interests of local Aboriginal communities.
1070 MR. LAROSE: We have proposed nine hours of Aboriginal language programming each week in each market. The language groups in each market are, of course, quite different so languages will be different in each city and very much reflect local demand and expectations.
1071 I know that the Commission is well aware that Aboriginal peoples face challenges revitalizing our languages. It is important, therefore, to offer substantive language content. At the same time, it has to be recognized that the urban environment is a much more challenging location to offer Aboriginal language content than is the case in smaller communities.
1072 First, it is the case that Aboriginal peoples in cities speak quite a number of different languages; programming for one group is not necessarily accessible to other groups.
1073 Second, the level of language speaking in an urban setting is much lower among Aboriginal peoples than it is outside that setting. We are committed to help address this challenge.
1074 Our research showed that potential listeners were well aware of this reality and recognized that to be successful a radio service would have to offer programming mostly in English -- the common language -- while providing some focused Aboriginal content at specifically scheduled times for “appointment listening” and also introducing language in an accessible way, such as through a “word of the day”, which is an idea we adopted for our schedules coming from our listeners.
1075 Our approach to language programming will be open to our listeners to find the most appropriate and meaningful programming formats and languages for radio.
1076 We believe strongly that existing communications societies, which already have a wealth of experience in offering language programming, will be an important resource for FPR in designing and producing language content.
1077 I am pleased that David McLeod from NCI and Deborah Ann Charles from MBC are here with us today and are available to speak to the plan to produce and share programming with First Peoples Radio.
1078 MS. PUGLIESE: While the stations will operate locally, they will be supported by a national infrastructure. The role of this infrastructure is to create efficiencies for all five stations and also to provide the stations with a national scope that would not otherwise be possible.
1079 First, in terms of programming, local stations will have access to national magazine programs inspired by and drawing from APTN’s experience in offering national public affairs content. These programs include the half-hour weekly programs Nation to Nation, Laughing Drum, Face to Face, as well as the national hour-long program In Focus, which is broadcast at the same time on each station -- 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. Mountain, 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
1080 In addition, each local station will produce and contribute programs for its sister stations. The program Get to Know, which is a one-hour cultural program broadcast each weekday, is an example of this production model. Each local station will produce a one-hour Get to Know program for each week focused on a particular Aboriginal artist or musician or other cultural figure. The stations will each share their respective hours, resulting in a daily one-hour program on each station.
1081 This programming model leverages the talent in each market and literally introduces Aboriginal cultural leaders to audiences in different markets.
1082 The national service will also provide music-based content in the evenings and other strategic segments to supplement local content as a way of lowering overall programming costs.
1083 Second, we feel that the national infrastructure and scope for FPR will play an important role in the production of news and information content. Newscasts will be produced individually for each station, but these newscasts will be packaged and edited by FPR centrally, which allows for the blending of local, national, and regional stories relevant for each market.
1084 In addition, the connection between local reporters and central management allows for stories to be identified that may be of interest in each market and shared between the stations.
1085 Third, the national infrastructure will allow for the sharing of market, programming, and music format research between the stations. This will allow for more research and development plans than could ever be commissioned by the stations on an individual basis. This kind of research and information will be very important to ensure that the stations reach their intended audiences with popular and meaningful content.
1086 I can tell you that we’ve already found the insights that we have gained from our national market-by-market audience and music research to be incredibly helpful in designing FPR.
1087 Finally, this structure will lead to greater consistency in implementing uniform and high editorial and journalistic standards. We feel that APTN has much to offer in this area by sharing our experiences in support of news, information, and public affairs content broadcast on First Peoples Radio. While APTN will share our experience, FPR’s newsroom will operate separately from APTN and make its own editorial decisions.
1088 MR. SMITH: We have provided an analysis of our projected revenue for each market and a realistic business plan for each station.
1089 Our revenue projections are based on conservative estimates and have been tested against projected sell-out rates and an evaluation of the value of anticipated market share. We then analyzed each market to get a sense of whether they still had growth potential based on average radio sales.
1090 In all cases, revenue projections are well within the capacity of each market and advertising norms for radio.
1091 To put our financial projections into context, in each case both revenue and expenses are below average in each market. In terms of market share, we have projected a comparatively modest share in each market. This reflects the launch of a new station and the unique character of our programming.
1092 Our national infrastructure and overall management will permit each station to support the others financially and with personnel as may be required to respond to different events and the successes and difficulties that each station may face in its own market.
1093 We are well aware that the historical experience of Aboriginal radio in urban markets has been difficult. A model in which costs and risks are shared between markets will help to offset the otherwise high risk of launching new standalone stations in each market.
1094 Sales activities will be outsourced to sales professionals with the experience and knowledge to tap local and national advertising markets. We believe that this will be the most effective way to make sure the stations hit the ground running.
1095 Radio sales require a particular expertise and set of relationships. The stations will best be served at the outset by engaging experienced sales professionals that know the markets from an advertising perspective and the buyers. We are already working with the sales professionals and have developed a detailed strategy if we should be successful in this process.
1096 Lastly, our business plan is fully financed and supported with financing from a Canadian bank and backed by APTN.
1097 MR. LAROSE: First Peoples Radio has taken very seriously the need for direct and meaningful representation of Aboriginal communities in FPR, both in terms of governance and day-to-day operations.
1098 First, our board structure provides expressly for board participation from each region served by FPR. Our board will include three appointees with direct experience in the operation of Aboriginal broadcasting services, represented by APTN’s senior management. However, the majority of FPR’s board -- four directors -- will consist of individuals that are independent from APTN and who represent the regions that FPR has been licensed to serve. This mechanism provides for direct input at the board level into FPR’s operations by representatives of these communities and ensures that these representatives as a group have the authority to make decisions for FPR.
1099 Second, it should be noted that APTN is an inclusive First Nations, Inuit, and Métis organization. APTN, in its operations and indeed in its decision to support FPR, reflects the considered and combined views of Aboriginal broadcasting societies and individuals appointed to represent First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in all regions of Canada. This is an important factor when it is considered that Canada's urban environments include Aboriginal Peoples from all groups and regions.
1100 Third, FPR will interact with each community on a daily basis through our programming. We will regularly schedule call-in shows that will specifically discuss FPR's programming mix and mandate, and solicit input on FPR's operations. In addition to this call-in programming, we intend to be out in each community regularly, soliciting listener comment and input as part of our programming mix. Social media also provides a direct means for listeners and community members to express their views.
1101 Fourth, FPR is committed to conduct regular and structured consultations in each city, on an annual basis, to explore programming questions and issues of local reflection with the target audience. As part of these consultations, FPR will consult with community leaders. This kind of structured consultation is very important to ensure that FPR stays on track.
1102 Lastly, FPR is aware of the key role that our Elders must play in providing advice and wisdom to guide FPR's stations. Our focus groups emphasized the need to consult and include Elders in our programming and FPR fully understands the need to seek guidance from Elders in sharing our Peoples' journey. We will ensure that Elders consulted reflect Aboriginal communities in each city.
1103 First Peoples Radio has a specific and active plan to provide for meaningful input from Aboriginal communities from each city in the governance and operation of each FPR station.
1104 In conclusion, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission, you have before you a quality application that meets the requirements of the Native Broadcasting Policy. Our vision for First Peoples Radio is to create a true, vibrant, exciting and unique national radio service that will reflect the Aboriginal communities of Canada; the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples.
1105 Every urban centre of importance in Canada has seen growth in its Aboriginal population. They are deserving of a radio service that responds to their needs. And every Canadian deserves to hear the richness of our musical, cultural, linguistic, and historical experiences and reality. We have been invisible for too long, for too many Canadians, on the radio airwaves.
1106 Our presentation has clearly demonstrated that we have a strong, well-defined, and fully researched, business plan. As well, we have the financing in place and well-developed technical plans. First Peoples Radio will be truly local and reflect the Aboriginal Peoples of each city, but yet connected to a national infrastructure to support programming exchanges and instant interaction when needed. Our programming is based on the current reality of these markets and is a reflection of our audience expectations as the research and focus groups have demonstrated. FPR will connect with our audiences in a way no other service has.
1107 Finally, the five markets are ready and anxious for our service and they know that APTN, through FPR, has the demonstrated capability to launch and successfully manage such a media venture and entity. We are ready to roll pending your approval.
1108 We look forward to reviewing our applications with you in more detail and we would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have. Thank you.
1109 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much. I’ll start us off with some questions. Just as my colleagues have pointed out, to those of you that have more than one market applications, my questions are going to assume that they apply to all five cities in your case, unless I make a distinction. I’d just ask you to do the same when you provide answers, that you’re speaking of one market versus another. Is that okay?
1110 MR. LAROSE: Yes.
1111 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m glad you took some time to elaborate on the format of Indigenous or Aboriginal variety, because I must say that I wasn’t aware of that being a format. And my first question is, is it a format that has existed in other jurisdictions, to your knowledge?
1112 MR. LAROSE: In the sense of the music variety?
1113 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, yes.
1114 MR. LAROSE: Actually, we have -- this format is one we have just created. It doesn’t exist anywhere right now. We have researched through the market research and the -- you know, if you’re interested Deborah can provide the specifics, because it was a very detailed research experience that we conducted to really understand how the -- what the audience was looking for, what they were -- what would trigger their interest. And we’ve come up with a music format that we believe is truly unique, doesn’t exist anywhere else, but includes a lot of our artists who blend in perfectly with the other styles of music.
1115 THE CHAIRPERSON: So whether it doesn’t exist in Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand, or any other where else in -- elsewhere in the world to your knowledge?
1116 MR. LAROSE: In the world is probably outside the scope of the research we did, Mr. Chair.
1117 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1118 MR. LAROSE: But certainly in Canada.
1119 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. But you weren’t inspired by a ---
1120 MR. LAROSE: Not at all. This is a truly unique research from the ground up.
1121 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I noticed that you want a large percentage of that new selection to be Aboriginal. Let me understand, like from a regulatory perspective, how you would -- how would we decide what Aboriginal is? It’s not quite the Maple system if I understand, where you would look at both the origins or residence of the individual creators. How would it work?
1122 MR. LAROSE: Well, the -- actually, the 25 percent that we are proposing to be Aboriginal would be Canadian Aboriginal.
1123 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1124 MR. LAROSE: There would obviously be in the non-Canadian content segment, a lot of indigenous music that may be outside of Canada. But the goal is for the 25 percent to be Aboriginal Canadian content.
1125 THE CHAIRPERSON: Specifically Canadian. So Shania Twain would be ---
1126 MR. LAROSE: Shania Twain qualifies. So does George Leach.
1127 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- would qualify, but if you’ve -- I don’t know an Aboriginal singer from Australia, New Zealand, that would not -- who’s Aboriginal, would not qualify.
1128 MR. LAROSE: We would not view them -- they are obviously Aboriginal, but they’re not under the CANCON rules, they probably wouldn’t qualify as Canadian.
1129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So it’s a subcategory of Canadian, and you think we can easily figure out what that would include or not?
1130 MR. LAROSE: I believe so, yes.
1131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. Okay.
1132 MR. LAROSE: Okay. Joel would like to add some clarification to this.
1133 MR. FORTUNE: It’s all fine. Everything sounds good. So what we mean by an Aboriginal musical selection is one that is written or performed by an Aboriginal artist. And I think David McLeod from NCI has quite a bit of experience in determining what is an Aboriginal musical selection, and I guess the -- from a regulatory point of view it would be kind of a self-identification exercise and we’d assist the Commission to see which songs ---
1134 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Because we -- you know, historically we’ve got a number of years since the early ‘70s on Canadian, but this would be sort of a fresh approach. So maybe you could help us.
1135 MR. McLEOD: Yeah. You’re alluding to Maple.
1136 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
1137 MR. McLEOD: The Maple. I do think that there can be a system formulated to identify Aboriginal or Indigenous artists. Usually we look at the source of the song, who wrote this song. You can have one person in the band who is singing as an Indigenous person and then they have a backup band, or work with other musicians, but the source of the song comes from an Indigenous person.
1138 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1139 MR. McLEOD: And that’s often how we -- how we look at a song. Or even a collaboration, is an Indigenous artist working with an non-Indigenous artist to write that song? Okay. We would look at that as an Indigenous song.
1140 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But not necessarily the producer or the place where it is produced? Is that correct?
1141 MR. McLEOD: That’s correct, yes.
1142 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good. So it’s not at all like Maple, it’s very much focussing on the traditional creators, songwriters, lyricists, whether they do it in cooperation with others or not?
1143 MR. McLEOD: Yes. And yeah, that -- the Caris is looking at that as well for the JUNO, for the category as well.
1144 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1145 MR. McLEOD: So it’s -- that discussion is happening on a national level as well.
1146 THE CHAIRPERSON: And in terms of enforcement of a condition of licence in your case, it would be self-identified and then we can have a conversation as to whether we thought you stretched the limit or not of that definition?
1147 MR. McLEOD: Yeah. That would be -- that could happen. Yes.
1148 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So explain to me a little bit more on how you think that that particular format adds to the diversity of programming currently available in the five cities.
1149 MR. LAROSE: We believe it’s totally unique, which adds obviously to the diversity. The fact that we are a new player in the market adds to the diversity. Everything that we bring forward to the table is new to those markets because the format, the music, the approach, the sharing of programming amongst some of the -- all of the players at the table will make it unique and diversified in the market.
1150 THE CHAIRPERSON: But by the same token I see you’re -- you may be using music from what I would describe as more popular formats like Maroon 5, Rhianna, and I take it your point was that you need to have some of that in order to connect with a potential audience you’re targeting, so I mean, there is an overlap. So why doesn’t it not become the musical forum that you would find on other stations?
1151 MR. LAROSE: Because of the content in Aboriginal musicians. That is unique. No other radio service offers that in those urban -– in those five urban environments. The blend that we have is truly unique to those, as it will be truly unique to those five markets. So what we have here is something that will be totally different than anything being offered, and we think that that’s why even mainstream audiences, when they listen to some of the Aboriginal music, will be able to actually connect to it, because this will be a new musical experience for them as well. And maybe on some of the research we did, I could ask Debra to maybe elaborate a bit on that?
1152 MS. McLAUGHLIN: One of the biggest contributions, in terms of designing this format, were the focus groups themselves. There was 4 markets, 17 nations involved, 77 people. And what came out of that was a few guiding principles. One was authenticity, and I believe that music would be -– is the purest form of authentic communication. They wanted to make sure that there was professional content, that it didn’t sound like volunteers.
1153 And again, in their conclusion, it came back to having the music. They wanted to make sure that it was inclusive, so in that, it wasn’t just other nations within the communities; it was also ages. And the big concern that came out of that was youth and making sure that youth listened and recognizing that their children and their grandchildren were listening to mainstream radio. So trying to convert them over simply on the principle of “this is good for you” they didn’t feel would really be a compelling argument. So they wanted music.
1154 They did want it to educate, but they wanted to educate through entertainment, and given that Aboriginal music is producing in all of those genres, it seemed to be the best way to get those lessons in. They wanted to make sure that there was access, so again, the music being the common device here across all of this, because they were listening to mainstream radio, they wanted to continue to have it.
1155 And one of the indicators to me was that in the -- Numeris will show that people listen, on average, to five to six stations a week; this group listens to about four. So in order to bring them over, it couldn’t be just one stream of Aboriginal programming. And they out and out stated, if it was just Aboriginal music, if it didn’t have contemporary music, or if it was just all talk, they wouldn’t listen. So that contributed to the selection of music that might seem to overlap with other services.
1156 THE CHAIRMAN: And did you give any consideration to the risk of intergenerational variety, where, you know, youth might be –- might find hip hop or rap Indigenous artists appealing? Maybe A Tribe Called Red is now mainstream, but there may be something a little bit more edgy that’s not as appealing to other generations, and how was –- how have you shaped that, going forward, or propose to shape that?
1157 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Well, that comes together with the music direction, so it was a little more specific than the -– than the focus groups. But what we did do was a music test. So we took 300 songs and we developed hooks, which was a 10 to 15 second play of the song, either a chorus or the intro, and we put it out to an Aboriginal-only population, which, by virtue of the demographics of the Aboriginal population stays younger, but it still had people across all ages on it. EKOS is the company that did it. They have an Aboriginal panel.
1158 And we had 712 people actually complete the full test. We asked questions about appeal, we asked questions about behaviour, and the top 20 songs are not Aboriginal songs that’s the highest-appeal songs. And when you look at that, you say, anybody on any music station will tell you that the way to get someone to continue to listen is to play familiar music; that you can intersperse less-familiar music, as long as there’s the promise of something coming up that will be familiar, because music, of course, is an emotional reaction.
1159 So the best way to give exposure to these Aboriginal artists who are not getting any is to seed them amongst this.
1160 In talking to the people who were doing the music and sharing the research, one of the things that they shared with me is the recognition that because the music coming out of this community is so professional and across all these genres, that it was their initial feelings that it would –- 25 percent was the minimum but it certainly was no way the maximum, because as you build that audience, based on bringing the familiar in, the thing that’s going to keep you unique in the market and build a loyal audience is adding more and more of that Aboriginal music in over time.
1161 But because the licence is for seven years and we had to look at a growth thing, the 25 percent was set as the minimum at the beginning, with an expectation that both as the community recognized the music and came to it and the artists themselves created more music, recognizing now they had an outlet and it was a financially beneficial exercise to do, that that would increase, because that would give them the unique sound in the market.
1162 THE CHAIRMAN: How similar would the playlists be in the five markets? I would take it that, from my knowledge of commercial radio generally, that there’s a lot of similarity from one playlist and others to have central management of that and therefore, synergies. How would you benefit from that while at the same time perhaps featuring or including in the playlists some local talent?
1163 MR. LAROSE: Well, the idea here would be to adjust each playlist a bit slightly to each local urban centre to reflect the –- some of the tastes, some of the local talent as well, but to make them a bit unique to each urban centre. So while we have an overall playlist, it will be fine-tuned per market to ensure that we reach out to the specific interests and to the developing talent of those communities.
1164 THE CHAIRMAN: If familiar music or popular music or that emotional attachment type of music is an important driver, as you’ve just said, isn’t there a risk that your format will not be sufficiently distinct or will be so broad that it will not perhaps reach the objective sought?
1165 MR. LAROSE: We’re confident that it will, based on the research and the focus groups we’ve done and the feedback from our communities. Certainly, in the urban environment there seems to be, you know, the young Aboriginal people, and all Aboriginal people right now in urban markets listen to what’s available. So what we’re coming in is a mix of what’s available, but a mix of new, different –- 25 percent of that being different, and that will grow over time. So we think that that will not sort of get lost. We think it will become a unique sound and that will make the stations that much more interesting to the --– not only our community, but to all of the urban market.
1166 THE CHAIRMAN: In your supplementary brief, you referred to fine tuning the music programming. Does what you said -– stated in your opening comments represent the extent of your fine tuning, or do you expect more?
1167 MR. LAROSE: Well, again, as –- after the launch, the goal will be -– and as we mentioned, we will be constantly in touch with our community and with the community at large to assess how people react to what we’re doing, the music, the –- so it -– probably, there may be some fine tuning that will still happen, but the percentages, the goals that we have set, are the minimum thresholds that we plan to meet.
1168 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, and how do you plan in each of the markets to assess that feedback from the audience?
1169 MR. LAROSE: Well, we’ll -– there’s various levels. First of all, as we mentioned, part of the governance structure is to have individuals from these regions on the board. That will be on source, but also through our programming. A lot of the programming that we have on the schedule here is basically sort of a feedback-type programming where people can call in or people can provide the street talk in little clips, response to music or what have you. We’ll be using that.
1170 We will also be using some of the other signature programming to obtain feedback from our audience. Social media is probably right now -- you know, you get instant feedback if people don’t like you. You hear about it fairly quickly, and sometimes you might hear about it pretty harshly. But all of these, you know, avenues for feedback will be available in each market, and certainly will provide us with the feedback.
1171 And probably, Dave, with your experience at NCI, maybe there’s more that you’d like to add?
1172 MR. McLEOD: Yeah. I think that just to allude to the question, it’s –- the variety of music is out there. Like, we have a program that’s just been re-branded. It’s called “The National Aboriginal Music Countdown.” It’s called, “The Indigenous Music Countdown” now, and we add one to three songs every week. So there is that quality music coming in all the time. And we’re at a great point in history right now as we heard earlier about there’s like a musical revolution going on. There is so many different genres and music coming out and so many opportunities.
1173 And I think what will happen here is there’s going to be a star system ultimately created, being in these major markets, providing audiences with new music. And as we know, some stations can somewhat get stale by playing the same music over and over where this will give a lot of Canadians and the Indigenous community and opportunity to hear new music that they probably didn’t know existed that they should know because it’s just great music.
1174 THE CHAIRMAN: And so you have no concern of availability of the genres?
1175 MR. McLEOD: No. And if you look at the communities across -- like The Jerry Cans, for example, from Iqaluit, I mean, they’re putting out music in their language. They came to Winnipeg. They had huge success. And so that’s just one example that people are looking for an alternative, I think, to mainstream as well. There is an audience for this music.
1176 THE CHAIRMAN: I take you at your word, but assuming that there is an absence of recorded selections, what would you do?
1177 MR. McLEOD: Mr. Chair, there is no absence of recording.
1178 THE CHAIRMAN: So you’ll always be able to find ---
1179 MR. McLEOD: Like I say, we get one to three songs every week.
1180 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. We often hear of the opposite when we talk about Canadian content selections with commercial radio broadcasters so ---
1181 MR. McLEOD: Mr. Chair, perhaps those commercial stations should start playing more Indigenous music.
1182 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, there’s a good suggestion.
1183 So when you talked about specificity perhaps of the playlists in the various markets -- and it’s not necessarily to convert this into a Condition of Licence, just a better understanding of the diversity of those playlists -- would you assume that the playlists would be unique up to 5 percent of the selections, 10 percent? How different do you see them?
1184 MR. LAROSE: We haven’t set a percentage to this because, as I say, we’ve established an initial playlist with some slight modifications per market depending on what the research told us was sort of the -- either the preferred type of the second preferred type of each market. But as we move forward and as we -- after we’ve launched the stations and we hear -- we start getting feedback, we may need to adjust a bit more.
1185 So I think it would be difficult to say that we’re going to adjust by 10 or 15 percent. But certainly the goal is to have a base playlist from which we might expand or play around a bit for each market. But the goal is certainly, again, to give prominence to our artists who basically have no airtime as it is right now except on small community stations or some of the Communications Society networks.
1186 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Streaming, is that part of your plans?
1187 MR. LAROSE: Yes, it is. Streaming as well as we will be developing an app that will allow us to -- you know, to allow for people to download the app and stream the stations. And ---
1188 THE CHAIRMAN: All five of them in your ---
1189 MR. LAROSE: The goal is to have all five available. And you know, we also will be looking to see if there’s one of the platforms, whether it be iHeart or some of the others, on which we could also add the stream to give a greater prominence to our services.
1190 THE CHAIRMAN: As you know, and my question is more about the Edmonton market here, we’ve got CFWE in that market; their format tends to be country music or sometimes I wonder what country music -- because it morphs from time to time. But let’s assume country music. We’ve heard evidence earlier that that’s a format that’s extremely popular in Alberta.
1191 So how is your format different? I note, you know, Shania Twain, I guess, is country or some people consider her as country to a certain degree.
1192 MR. LAROSE: Well, the genres that we’ve proposed to you, as we’ve stated earlier, go all the way from, you know, rock, blues, R&B. There’s a whole range of them.
1193 There is some country in there. But the fact that it’s so unique and so different we believe makes it different from what CFWE is doing right now. They do have, you know, their rock hour or -- I forget the exact titles of some of the programming. But what we’re proposing is a music format in itself that is totally different. So it’s not in competition with what CFWE is doing.
1194 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. But you said earlier you want the emotional attachment to music. Therefore, if let’s say an Alberta audience -- Edmonton, Calgary -- want that emotional attachment to songs and performers that they know, isn’t there a risk that you, for business reasons, will want to morph and put more country, for instance, on your radio?
1195 MR. LAROSE: Well, our research has shown that the interests of the Aboriginal community is quite wide. It’s not strictly country and western. It is one of the genres they like but it’s not the only genre. And if you’re trying to attract also a slightly younger audience, quite often you need to offer them what they’re looking for. And the research has demonstrated that they want a broader range of music as well.
1196 And maybe Debra can add a bit to that?
1197 MS. McLAUGHLIN: The CFWE playlist is actually published; you can get a hold of it. So we were able just to take a sample list in Edmonton and run a duplication analysis. And even with Shania Twain in there it came up at zero percent. Now, I don’t know if that’s their complete playlist, but it is available online. So it was one of the tests.
1198 Also, as you heard earlier, they’re not measured in Numeris. But Numeris has two levels of measurement. One is the currency, which is the PPM, and the other is Diary, which picks up everything. And in 2015 when we were doing the initial planning for this, I was able just to look at the audience distribution on the broadest level through the Diary data. And their audience at that time -- I don’t know what has happened subsequent -- did skew slightly older. And this, by virtue of bringing in some of the more contemporary genres of music -- and frankly, the music at the top of the charts in terms of ratings on stations in Edmonton skews younger. So both in demographic and in music we don’t think there’s much duplication. Certainly in music there was none.
1199 THE CHAIRMAN: So your view is that you do bring diversity to the Edmonton market?
1200 MR. LAROSE: Absolutely.
1201 THE CHAIRMAN: And in that market how do you contribute to -- do you think you’ll be adding and building on development of Aboriginal cultures and preservation of ancestral languages?
1202 MR. LAROSE: Well, from the schedule that we’ve presented to you, you will see that we have, you know, nine hours of Aboriginal language programming every week. Some of it we will be working with the Communication Societies to share programming, to develop new programs to ensure that it does reflect the languages of those communities. We’ve identified broadly which are the first languages we will focus on, but over time we plan to expand that.
1203 And the goal is to really create programming that will be not only engaging but also will truly reflect the interests of those specific communities, which is we will be, you know, as we mentioned in -- as I mentioned in my presentation, we will talking to elders and others to get a sense of where they’d like us to focus, what kind of programming.
1204 THE CHAIRMAN: Is that true as well for musical selections, though?
1205 MR. LAROSE: Oh, in the musical? I thought you were referring to spoken word. My apologies.
1206 THE CHAIRMAN: No, I was talking about more the -- how the music selections could contribute to -- obviously for Aboriginal languages, spoken word can support it, but also musical selection.
1207 MR. LAROSE: Okay, my apologies; I misunderstood the question.
1208 In the case of the musical selections, again what we will be looking for is the feedback from the audience. A lot of the songs -- not all because a lot of our artists unfortunately -- and I mean, you know, I’m not going to repeat what TRC has said -- but a lot of our young people have never had the opportunity to learn their language. But some are starting to and some are learning and introducing language in their music. Sometimes it’s a mixture of English and language; sometimes it’s French and language. So certainly we will be using a lot of that -- those music selections in our playlist to really broaden the opportunity to make the language heard and to give it exposure.
1209 And I think David has some experience in this field.
1210 MR. McLEOD: Yeah. No, I think language is part of it. But you could look at -- Mr. Chair, you mentioned A Tribe Called Red. I mean, there’s genres where you’re talking traditional forms of music and mixing it in. Tanya Tagaq, for example, is taking throat singing to a whole other level, getting international recognition for it.
1211 So we have artists in our community like that that are -- so I think looking at language is one part of it but I think there’s also -- there’s cultural representation in music in other ways outside of language as well.
1212 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, you started talking about it so let me now turn to local spoken-word programming, which obviously can include newscasts and other types of spoken-word programming.
1213 Again, in light of the five markets you’re looking at, how do you ensure you are serving the five local Aboriginal communities?
1214 MR. LAROSE: Well, we’ve looked at the language groups in each of these communities, which were the broader groups. That’s basically the basis of how we’ve determine the initial languages that we would propose. And then over time we will be expanding those.
1215 But the goal here is to also work with the community to see -- and with the communication societies who are involved in creating language programming -- to create programming that is reflective of that community, that speaks to the history, the culture, the language and, you know, quite often the entire back history of their origins or what have you and bring that the forefront through the spoken word.
1216 And I think when we look at some of the spoken word programming that we have here -- maybe there’s something you would like to ask?
1217 THE CHAIRMAN: My question wasn’t just about traditional Indigenous languages but also more broadly.
1218 How do you make sure that each of the five markets reflects the issues and concerns of those five individual markets?
1219 MR. LAROSE: Well, the ---
1220 THE CHAIRMAN: I mean, obviously it can be in traditional languages as well.
1221 MR. LAROSE: No, no, and a lot of that will be through -- I mean, we will have local reporters, we will have local presence on the ground in each market to reflect the reality, the daily happenings of that community.
1222 THE CHAIRMAN: You know, local reporters is the first thing that gets cut when the economics don’t deliver.
1223 MR. LAROSE: Mr. President, I will argue the opposite. The one thing that we have been growing when everybody is cutting, at APTN, is the local presence. We’ve expanded our presence to more cities. What we’ve cut is the bricks and mortar. We’ve added people.
1224 I think this is the plan also for the radio stations is to make sure there are people on the ground that reflect the reality of those communities.
1225 THE CHAIRMAN: The fact that you have individuals in each of the community that’s your eyes and ears?
1226 MR. LAROSE: They certainly are the eyes and ears. We already have people there with APTN, and we will be adding people who are independent through CFPR.
1227 MS. PUGLIESE: We’ll be adding one local reporter to each market, and that person would be expected to file one or two new stories a day. Those will be original local news that right now those communities don’t have that kind of service.
1228 It would be shored up by the fact that in each of those markets we do have an APTN reporter. And APTN would not be working for them, but would service sort of a wire service to add to the regional national news.
1229 In addition to that, we have the local talk show that will look at topics important to that. It’s an hour a day that looks at topics important to that community.
1230 In addition to that, we also have the -- I mean, all of the programming that we’re doing over the markets, except for that one hour a day that sets up the local talk show, all of that is local.
1231 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. And so your plans for specificity in each of the markets goes beyond news. It goes to open line talk shows ---
1232 MS. PUGLIESE: Yes.
1233 THE CHAIRMAN: --- nd what else?
1234 MS. PUGLIESE: Well, the language programming that Jean was referencing is there’s language and there’s local language.
1235 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1236 MS. PUGLIESE: So that’s what we want to develop as well.
1237 THE CHAIRMAN: But your reporters, your local presence, might be focusing on local news as opposed to broader interests of public interest in the community that might not be hard news. Or would I be wrong with that?
1238 MS. PUGLIESE: Sorry, that might not be ---
1239 THE CHAIRMAN: Hard news.
1240 MS. PUGLIESE: Well, yes. I mean, it’s all a variety. It depends what -- we have a model in at APTN. You may not know this because we’re a little different. We don’t have a central assignment desk. No one sits there in the centre of APTN and tells the reporter who’s in Halifax what the top story in Halifax that day. That’s different than most desks.
1241 THE CHAIRMAN: Absolutely, yes.
1242 MS. PUGLIESE: So ---
1243 THE CHAIRMAN: Explain to me how that goes on?
1244 MS. PUGLIESE: At APTN or ---
1245 THE CHAIRMAN: At APTN and thereby by ---
1246 MS. PUGLIESE: Okay, by extension.
1247 So what we do is we have morning meetings, one in the east and one west, where each reporter is responsible for looking out into their territory that they cover and just informing us what the most important story is happening there that day.
1248 For APTN of course, because we’re operating outside cities, it may be more of a regional story. They have to travel for it.
1249 What I envision happening at FPR is that the local reporter will set up the news day probably starting the night before by taking a look at what the top stories for the next day will be. In a market let’s say like Ottawa, that could be something -- you’re asking about soft news -- maybe going on at the Wabano Centre here, the events that are happening there, the culture events. I mean, they’re so involved with the community. Something like that might be the news of the day.
1250 We’ve also had, unfortunately, missing and murdered women in the city so that might be another city that they work on that day. Those stories would be fed centrally to our central news readers and line up editors, and they would then add stories that seem to match or make sense to go with that for each of the local markets. But I strongly suspect that the local stories, whether they’re about the large snowstorm, the big traffic accident, the wonderful cultural celebration that’s going on. For example, NIG, North American Indigenous Games is coming to Toronto this summer. That would be a huge one for Toronto.
1251 Then what APTN can add to that, through our wire-like service, would be to shore that up. So let’s say you have somebody in the Edmonton market, and they have people they know are going to the North American Indigenous Games. They would do the pre-stories on these athletes taking off, but there’s no way a local station could afford to send somebody to Toronto, their precious single reporter to Toronto, to then cover the evolution of how that athlete performs. APTN can pick up following that person and serve both stations.
1252 There’s that sort of, I guess, synergy that we add to it. It’s locally driven but you’ve got these other ways of also supporting that local news as well.
1253 THE CHAIRMAN: So I understand correctly, local news for FPR it’s locally produced, locally selected, locally edited, and of course it could be cycled elsewhere on the other four stations but it’s principally under the control of the local reality; is that correct?
1254 MS. PUGLIESE: That’s right.
1255 THE CHAIRMAN: And you mention the North American Indigenous Games as being maybe one example of synergies. What other synergies do you imagine for FPR and APTN?
1256 MS. PUGLIESE: In terms of news?
1257 THE CHAIRMAN: No, more generally.
1258 MS. PUGLIESE: Okay.
1259 THE CHAIRMAN: News and other things as well.
1260 MR. LAROSE: Well, I think on this one I’ll be bouncing off a few people.
1261 THE CHAIRMAN: Sure. You can do it in chunks. If you want to talk about news first and then talk about other synergies that would be useful too.
1262 MR. LAROSE: Well, I think on the news side -- unless you have more to add?
1263 MS. PUGLIESE: I always have more to add about things.
1264 MR. LAROSE: Okay, sorry. A reporter, sorry.
1265 MS. PUGLIESE: The director is very proud of her newsroom, and will be very proud of this one too.
1266 I would say that also just building on stories. For example, if you had a flood on First Nations outside of Calgary -- which tends to happen almost every year -- that might be the regional story. The local reporter for First Peoples Radio would probably be covering inside the city, how people are helping to direct, where people need to go, what sort of support and services there are for them, if the friendship centre has opened their doors.
1267 The APTN reporter, because it’s a big story, would just naturally be assigned to going and looking at the people fleeing the floods. You would then have the opportunity to add to that maybe national stories on will the Prime Minister come and visit, will there be help to fund the reserves, how long do they think people are going to be away, will the houses need to be rebuilt? All of that can be fed into that local story or that local-driven story.
1268 I think also one of the other ones is just on the daily talk show or on the drive home show. There may be breaking news and you may want to talk to an APTN reporter about what news is breaking. It may be local, it may be -- but remember, although is their preference, they also want national and regional news as well.
1269 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1270 MS. PUGLIESE: So you can imagine an APTN reporter -- the budget just came down -- appearing on one of those shows and letting people know what’s in that budget. We already do that for other stations whenever they ask.
1271 THE CHAIRMAN: Before we move to synergies, on the non news side -- just so I understand -- I mean, Ottawa obviously yes there’s a local community with local issues but it’s also the seat of the federal government.
1272 MS. PUGLIESE: Yeah.
1273 THE CHAIRMAN: Is that local or is that other things?
1274 MS. PUGLIESE: It can be. I think that is such an excellent question of how we think about local and national news. I would say that on Aboriginal Day you have a lot of civil servants that come together in this town to organize Aboriginal awareness events. It’s a national story but the coming together of the civil servants who work here to put that together, some of who are Aboriginal and some of who are not, what a great act of reconciliation. That’s a great local story.
1275 I think it also has a national relevance because the day is celebrated across the country. So when you’re also talking about synergies and sharing in between radio stations that could be an APTN story. It could also a story that First Peoples Radio does that would be shared across the radio station as well.
1276 I think what becomes more of national interest -- You know, you could have a pipeline story that’s of national interest but it’s also of local interest in the Vancouver market. It may not be as much local when it comes to, say, the Ottawa community.
1277 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. And that would be depending, perhaps, on the weight or perspective you put on the story? I mean, a pipeline story can be told in several ways so how does it become national and how does it become local?
1278 MS. PUGLIESE: I think my understanding of -- how I think of local news is it’s directly involving and impacting the community. So it’s like the news I can use; it’s the news that’s happening; it’s the news that’s happening to me and my family. That’s the way I kind of see local. And usually within a geographic area.
1279 Once it’s outside of that geographic area, once it’s happening to, say, people I care about back home -- I may live in Winnipeg but my community here is in Ontario -- it’s Pikwàkanagàn -- well, that’s kind of regional news for me more than it is local. So I would kind of define it that way.
1280 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. So let’s get back to synergies outside the news area now.
1281 MR. LAROSE: One of them is mostly at the technical level because we will have a central hub in Vancouver where a lot of these exchanges between the stations will happen. We have the connectivity; we have the infrastructure at APTN. That will be subleased to FPR to be used for their own purpose. That’s one of the great synergies we see.
1282 But there’s also a lot of back-office synergies that I’ll let Darcy speak to because we think that’s where, in many ways, our expertise and our experience will help FPR be a success.
1284 MR. SMITH: So we had determined that administrative functions or back-office functions such as IT, finance, and HR would be outsourced to APTN, and other areas too, which we feel would result in savings of 30 to 50 percent in salary and benefit costs and reduce the administrative head count that FPR would have to hire, giving them the ability to put more of their scarce resources towards programming.
1285 Now, key areas where we think APTN would be involved in supporting FPR would be process and policy development, systems implementation and support, financial systems and reporting, staffing and performance management. And there’s also opportunities for cross-promotional between the two different entities.
1286 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. LaRose, I think your lawyer was pulling your sleeve there?
1287 MR. LAROSE: Yes, yes. Well, I -- and please be -- I want you to be assured that I haven’t been indulging in a product that isn’t legal yet. But I apparently said Vancouver is the central hub and I meant to say Winnipeg.
1288 THE CHAIRMAN: Actually I picked that up and I said, “Well, perhaps I’ve missed something in the application?”
1289 MR. LAROSE: Yeah, no, I missed something, obviously. So my apologies for that.
1290 THE CHAIRMAN: And I take it that your accounting practices and your allocation of costs will ensure that there is -- that the mandatory fees that you get on your television side isn’t cross-subsidizing the radio side?
1291 MR. LAROSE: Oh, we are very cognizant of that. We have ensured not to do that. And certainly to that point, APTN being a charitable organization, we’re also under a very strict set of rules from a CRA perspective and how -- and even all of these services that we will offer FPR have to be on a fair market value.
1292 So we have had extensive consultations will legal on that one and Darcy can add to that. But certainly we’re ready for that as well.
1293 MR. SMITH: We also had extensive conversations with our audit firm to ensure that we’re in compliance with any accounting standards regarding transfer pricing between different entities. So we will make sure that we’re in compliance.
1294 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. I take it you would -- I seem to take from your application you would do some syndicated programming? I take it it’s syndicated programming from sources other than FPR or APTN? It’s outside the family; is that correct?
1295 MR. LAROSE: We weren’t looking at it as syndicated. We’re looking at it as sort of acquired programming from some of our member society partners as well as us exchanging or them acquiring some of our programming. The goal here is to use the synergy of what they can do -- like Dave’s weekly top 30 and Debra has a really, really good program in language that deals with stories of elders from the northern region of Saskatchewan and crossing into Manitoba a bit, Manitoba/Alberta. So that type of programming we would look to exchange and share.
1296 So it’s not syndicated. What we’re looking to do here is to create synergies where we can support each with programming but at the same time offer it to some of our communications societies who are interested in sharing.
1297 THE CHAIRMAN: And I take it it’s Indigenous-focused programming that you’re talking about?
1298 MR. LAROSE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
1299 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. And within Canada or more international as well?
1300 MR. LAROSE: Within Canada at this point. We haven’t had any conversations about international programming at all.
1301 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. And how much do you foresee of that type of programming or perhaps you don’t yet know how much?
1302 MR. LAROSE: Well, what we’ve shown here is about the nine hours of Aboriginal-language programming. A lot of that we will produce. Some of it will be produced by the societies and we will be exchanging. But some of it also is in English. Like, The Countdown is in English. So we will have a broad range of that.
1303 And Dave or Debra, you may want to add?
1304 MR. McLEOD: Yeah, for sure. Right now we’re looking at the Indigenous Music Countdown. But there’s other things too because we often have guests come through our studios. We have I would say, like, an open-door -- open studio door policy. So if there’s information that’s relevant on a national scale or of interest to other provinces, we have the ability to share that with FPR.
1305 So we’ve had those discussions. I can’t exactly say what they are at this moment but definitely we are talking about it and we’ve agreed that we want to do this.
1306 THE CHAIRMAN: And I take it it will always have to be directly relevant to the -- at least some of the local communities you’re proposing to serve?
1307 MR. McLEOD: Yeah. I think what will happen is once the word gets out it’s going to be a go-to place. People are going to say, “You know what? I can get my message out nationally here.” And that doesn’t exist right now. And you know, FPR makes that possibility become a reality.
1308 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Did you want to add anything? Yes?
1309 MS. CHARLES: Yeah. I think it’s a great opportunity for communication societies to partner with First Peoples Radio. I’ll give you an example. For Saskatchewan we have 5 languages and we offer 20 Aboriginal languages a week, 2 in Cree, 1 in Michif, and 1 hour in Dene. We have “word of the day”, “phrase of the week” and then every morning at 9:00 a.m. the Cree or Dene or Michif broadcaster will do the newscast, the top newscast, and translate into the languages.
1310 The other languages right now we’re airing is Saulteaux, which is a small portion population, and then I’m waiting for the Assiniboia languages. There’s just a small population southwest of the border. So we’re doing that right now.
1311 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, good. Thank you.
1312 Now, with respect to your proposal for news programming, if I understand correctly, you’ve mentioned the hours of six hours of news programming. Does that include local news, weather, traffic, and sports and maybe entertainment programming or is it strictly news, hard news?
1313 MS. PUGLIESE: When you’re looking at the breakdown of those six-minute news casts, I believe two minutes of it is sports, traffic, and weather, and then the other four minutes is local, national, regional news. And then they’re updated throughout the day as new events occur.
1314 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. So excluding things like weather, traffic, sports, and entertainment, how much hard news is there?
1315 MS. PUGLIESE: There would be about four minutes.
1316 THE CHAIRMAN: Four minutes?
1317 MS. PUGLIESE: Yeah. like, four minutes out of each newscast.
1318 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Which means on a weekly basis how much?
1319 MS. PUGLIESE: You’re going to make a journalist do math?
1320 MR. SMITH: I can answer that.
THE CHAIRMAN: I’m sure somebody in your accounting or a finance person can help you out on this one.
1321 MS. PUGLIESE: Okay, good. We’ve got a lawyer.
1322 MR. SMITH: We did do the math. It’s 3 hours and 57 minutes of news and 2 hours, 13 minutes of the surveillance-type programs.
1323 THE CHAIRMAN: Of weather, traffic, whatever it might be of interest to local community. And that’s something that you could live with as a Condition of Licence?
1324 MR. LAROSE: Yes.
1325 THE CHAIRMAN: And within the news, local, regional, national, international? We started talking about this on the break. What is a national or an international story is sometimes different; what’s a regional. What do you foresee as that breakdown between those categories?
1326 MS. PUGLIESE: I would expect there to be at least two local stories in every newscast, one regional, one national. Now, I mean, things can change and you might have -- you might still have something really breaking in the region, and that’s why we have the stringers and the part-time employees to bring in. So you could have a newscast where, you know, suddenly the regional news disappears out of it. You may have an occasion where something just incredible happens, like, there’s an announcement that Treaty rights will be recognized and implemented immediately, which would be a national story, but I think would probably –- it might switch the order of the newscast.
1327 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1328 MS. PUGLIESE: But typically, I would see the locally ---
1329 THE CHAIRMAN: But there’s a way of telling that story from a local perspective.
1330 MS. PUGLIESE: Oh, there would definitely be local follow up. You’d start out with it was recognized, and you would go right into the communities then to see what it means. But I -– local would lead. I mean, that’s what people asked for and that would be our commitment.
1331 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. And with respect to Aboriginal language programming, as I understand, it’s nine hours, which is about 10 percent per week, roughly? How much of that would be music as opposed to spoken word?
1332 MR. LAROSE: Well, the -- some of it is -– it would be interviews with artists, we would be introducing a local musician, a local artist, a singer, what have you. So obviously, part of that has to be music. I mean, you know, the thing is, we -- it would be a challenge for us to say, well, we will have 48 percent spoken word and 52 percent music or what have you. We think the entire -– if we’re devoting the entire hour to Aboriginal-language programming and some of it is music, it’s still meant to be an hour of language programming, in which the interview or the interviewer and interviewee are in language.
1333 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1334 MR. LAROSE: So that ---
1335 THE CHAIRMAN: And just so I understand what you’re saying is, regardless of the language of one or the two elements, like, you could have an interview in English for –- as an intro to a musical selection that’s Aboriginal in content or vice-versa; is the entire interview plus the selection considered in your nine hours?
1336 MR. LAROSE: If that were the case, we would consider it as part of the hour, yes.
1337 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, but you don’t foresee it? You said, “If that’s the case”, so ---
1338 MR. LAROSE: Well, if that’s the case, basically, the –- you know, what we would expect in the language programming hours would be that the interview would be in language.
1339 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1340 MR. LAROSE: We’d have someone interviewing, say in Dene, a musician or an artist, and some of the music that the individual may play may be in English or it may be in language, but we would view the entire hour as language programming.
1341 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, I see. And we would monitor that by which means?
1342 MR. LAROSE: Well, we would monitor it by the language of the programming as opposed to the language of the music ---
1343 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, more ---
1344 MR. LAROSE: --- because in this case, if the interview is in –- say in Dene ---
1345 THE CHAIRMAN: So you’d have the spoken word component of that segment ---
1346 MR. LAROSE: --- creates the ---
1347 THE CHAIRMAN: --- it defines ---
1348 MR. LAROSE: Will define the program.
1349 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, I understand. As my colleague mentioned, you know, it’s not just what or what is said or the music. It’s also the time of day, and we – one could say that you seem to be wanting to position your Aboriginal language programming in non-peak periods. Would you agree?
1350 MR. LAROSE: We’ve –- what our audience and what our surveys have said -- and I’ll ask Debra to speak to it shortly –- is that they’re looking to this as destination programming, where they will go -– it’s appointment listening. They want to go to it. They know that say, every evening they’re going to hear -- let’s say on Mondays it’s Dene, on Tuesday it’s Cree, or whatever the breakup ends up being over time.
1351 They know that if they go there at that time they’re going to have that program with an artist or what have you. So we’ve -– instead of interspersing it during the day where it’s probably less accessible, trying to make it as part of the drive home or the drive in in the morning, would probably not work for the audience. So we’ve created destination or appointment listening periods on the weekend and the evenings so that people know they can go there, they can actually focus on it during that period.
1352 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. What would you say to somebody -- and I understand, and I take it your strategy is an appointment strategy -- but what would you say to someone who says, “Well, in terms of the discoverability or fostering development of Aboriginal culture and preservation of Indigenous languages, the fact that you created in a specific time and place may make it less visible or known or discoverable to those that may be listening during drive time, for instance, or other high-peak periods”?
1353 MR. LAROSE: Well, yeah. Well, certainly, we would be using the drive in and drive home as periods to both advertise and highlight that programming. But also during the day, you will have noticed that we have spoken word components here and there, a word of the day, and you know, we got different approaches that were proposed. So we’re looking at incorporating these in the drive home, in the drive in, and they would be also used to highlight some of the programming coming up in that evening.
1354 So we’re looking to intersperse some –- a bit of language during the day. You know, a DJ may very well introduce a song first in language and then switch to English or what have you. There is going to be a language component during the day, but it’s not a heavy, full set of language, a full program, if you wish, that will be devoted for these periods.
1355 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, and that’s how you foresee fostering languages and cultures?
1356 MR. LAROSE: We believe that that’s the way to make it work.
1358 MR. McLEOD: Yeah, just to add a little bit to that -- I know Debra has something to add as well. Yeah, something that I’ve certainly learned from the community is that it’s not just broadcasting. A language is when two people converse back and forth. That’s called the living language, as opposed to just, you know, one person speaking. So that’s something that FPR is looking at as ensuring that it’s a living language, not just a spoken language.
1359 And Debra?
1360 MS. CHARLES: With our last audience survey, we had 143 listeners, and most of our listeners, the language speakers are from 1:00 to 4:00, where our language program is slated. However, we do carry those languages over that are recorded. We record them and then we –- if they’re live on Saturday and Sunday, so a lot of people like that. So we can pretty much put it anywhere in your schedule.
1361 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. And to what extent would the local feedback loops that you described earlier would influence your scheduling?
1362 MR. LAROSE: It would influence, it might modify it, but I think if we look at some of the survey results –- Debra, maybe you can add a bit to how people viewed it?
1363 MS. McLAUGHLIN: I just wanted to add, the peak time that you’re talking about are for individuals. What the groups were looking for was a family experience where they could bring elders in to explain the language. So it wasn’t simply someone talking one-on-one to someone who may not understand it. So the hours where the programming has been scheduled could arguably be described as peak family times where they can gather a group to listen and have an experience. If not family, then at least a group who can ---
1364 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1365 MS. McLAUGHLIN: --- help them understand.
1366 THE CHAIRMAN: So not a traditional peak time we would find, for instance, on commercial radio, traditional commercial?
1367 MS. McLAUGHLIN: That’s right, because it was viewed strongly as an opportunity to share lessons amongst a group’s families.
1368 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. It’s my understanding you intend to do open-line programming, and I take it you’re familiar with the Commission’s long-standing policy on open-line programming?
1369 MR. LAROSE: We are very much so. We have an open-line program on the APTN, and we have adhered to –- very stringently to the policy.
1370 THE CHAIRMAN: And what types of topics or issues do you think FPR would consider under an open-line format?
1371 MR. LAROSE: It would be subject matter that’s of interest to the community. We’re looking at whatever is relevant to our community, and those urban markets would be the subject of open line. Sometimes it may be an issue of national –- say the MMIW –- the task force has started their first hearing and you know, we’ve heard the first evidence, what have you, and we have an open-line show on what some of that information is. Obviously, that may appear in every case, in every –- on every station because every station might look at it from a local point of view, but it’s the same subject.
1372 You know, the goal will be that those with the open-line show will be focused on that region, that community, to ensure that it is reflective of that urban market and their interests and concerns.
1373 And I don't know if you have anything to add, Karen?
1374 MS. PUGLIESE: I think it can be -- like, the topics –- like, they’ll be chosen locally. I’ll keep referring back to the Ottawa market, just because I grew up here. But we recently did the story of the Inuk artist, Annie Pootoogook, whose body was found in the river, and that really shook up -- or a least the initial declaration that was natural causes –- really shook up the Inuit community here in Ottawa, saying that how could that have been the conclusion when we know what’s happening to Aboriginal women? And then, of course, it changed as they pushed back, and it was considered a suspicious death.
1375 Something like that might be very topical, but it could also merge into, do women feel safe? What are the unsafe areas that Aboriginal women feel there are in Ottawa? Is there places that we can go that we can feel safe, what kind of supports do we need? There could be that kind of coming together of a community, which I just don’t think there’s a great space for it right now. That would be entirely new.
1376 I think, also, it doesn’t all have to be heavy either. It could be very light, like, we talk about maintaining your culture. There could be a topic of how do you pass on your culture to your kid?
1377 There’s actually also an Ottawa -- some of the grandmothers from Kitigan Zibi come down and come into some of the schools and work with the youth, and operate cultural programs I think just, you know, on a volunteer basis. I could see them being guests talking about these community school programs.
1378 There’s just all these great synergies that happen where the community has a place to talk together for the first time. That’s what I kind of envision for the show.
1379 THE CHAIRMAN: And I take it, from what you answered earlier, is that we could at any given time let’s during a week have five separate open-line programming of different topics and approaches in each of the five markets; is that correct?
1380 MS. PUGLIESE: That’s right.
1381 THE CHAIRMAN: Which just multiplies the risks with respect to our policy in terms of ensuring that there’s balance in terms of issues of public interest, that it continues to be high standard. And how would you manage that reality?
1382 MS. PUGLIESE: We have our weekly in-focus, and our experience has been -- there’s a few things that we do. We will bring in guests into the studio -- and that’s a possibility here -- that have different points of view. We found at one point that perhaps, like, on our national show that we might have been covering too much of the opposition to pipelines. So we decided that we would do a whole show that was almost entirely looking at communities who have signed on to pipelines and found solutions for how it’s helping their education, their health services, how it’s creating housing and solutions.
1383 So you can have guests, you can arrange for particular guests to call in and contribute, and make sure the sides are balanced. I mean, people are going to express opinions. That’s the point of the show.
1384 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, that’s the point, yes.
1385 MS. PUGLIESE: So what you want to do is you want to make sure that it’s inclusive of the many different opinions that exist in the Aboriginal community. And as I always like to describe these kind of shows, it should be a conversation amongst our people that everybody’s invited to participate in.
1386 THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
1387 And how do you deal with complaints, or how do you foresee to deal with complaints were you to be successful in obtaining licences?
1388 MS. PUGLIESE: Complaints from?
1389 THE CHAIRMAN: Both listeners and the Commission.
1390 MS. PUGLIESE: Well, complaints from listeners we get at APTN. We respond to them. Sometimes if they’re very serious, you know, we call the people back. We do letters. If there is a more serious complaint where they’re alleging that perhaps we didn’t follow our journalistic policy, we do an investigation and we involve HR if we have to.
1391 Frankly, they’re few and far between. We don’t get too many complaints.
1392 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. LaRose?
1393 MR. LAROSE: We would also obviously adhere to CBSC standards. If there was a formal complaint lodged with the council, we would follow the process and agree to be bound by its decision.
1394 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. And you’d respond in a timely manner?
1395 MS. PUGLIESE: Yeah. Usually if I receive a complaint I will send a letter back to the person and whoever else might have been copied on the letter that I received and I’ll let them know what space of time I think I can respond, but as soon as I get it I respond back and confirm that I’ve received the complaint and the investigation is starting.
1396 Usually I’ll give about 24 hours to three days, just depending. I mean, sometimes our reporters are back out in the community; you can’t reach them right away; they’re on vacation. But I will give them a time range, and I commit to meeting that time range to response.
1397 THE CHAIRMAN: I’m going to switch gears a little bit.
1398 In your proposed conditional licence for spoken word programming, you talk about 23 hours. I was wondering how you came to that number? I take it that you’re including advertising, musical selections, and musical production elements in that calculation; is that correct?
1399 MR. FORTUNE: That is correct. It’s measured on a block basis, so if it’s a spoken word hour ---
1400 THE CHAIRMAN: Right, but in television but maybe not quite in radio; would you agree?
1401 MR. FORTUNE: Well, I guess it’s a practicality question, Mr. Chair, so that would be my answer. The measurement was done on a block basis.
1402 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. If you were to -- and maybe best to do by undertaking -- if it was pure spoken word and not the wraparound like we do in television, could you hazard a proposal for what the actual percentage of hours would be in that way of calculating it?
1403 MR. FORTUNE: We’d obviously take an undertaking on that. We can do that math.
1405 THE CHAIRMAN: To the 3rd of April.
1406 I take it that’s the sort of condition if we were to shape it in terms of the actual spoken word as opposed to the wraparound that you would be able to accept that as a Condition of Licence; is that correct?
1407 MR. FORTUNE: We would.
1408 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes?
1409 MR. FORTUNE: Yes.
1410 THE CHAIRMAN: Similarly for Aboriginal language programming, you propose nine hours. I take it you took a similar block approach to the calculation of that type of programming; is that correct?
1411 MR. FORTUNE: That is exactly correct, yes.
1412 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Could we have a similar undertaking from you on that aspect, or not? You looked surprised by my question.
1413 MR. FORTUNE: No, I’m not surprised. I’m just thinking about it because there’s music and spoken word content in that block.
1414 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Well, perhaps you could help us on how you came about to nine hours so that we know what we’re measuring and what we’re not measuring. For instance, if there was advertising included I take it you were currently as it being part of the nine hours.
1415 MR. FORTUNE: Yes, it was measured on a block basis. That’s correct.
1416 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. So perhaps you can come back to us and tell us what pure spoken word and per music, excluding advertising and other wraparound that would be.
1417 MR. FORTUNE: Yes, we’ll do that.
1419 LE PRÉSIDENT: Monsieur LaRose?
1420 M. LAROSE: Comme je mentionnais un peu plus tôt, lorsque la musique est incorporée, si la musique n'est pas nécessairement dans la langue des interviewés, ça pourrait créer peut-être une certaine dissonance au niveau du rapport. Mais disons si vous nous permettez, nous allons... nous allons en faire l'analyse et vous revenir par le 3 avril.
1421 LE PRÉSIDENT: Absolument, absolument, ça va très bien, oui. Mais on essayait de se concentrer sur le contenu qui était vraiment relié à des langues autochtones.
1422 M. LAROSE: Non, j'apprécie aussi et je reconnais. Je reconnais la question.
1423 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you be -- switch gears again -- on Aboriginal talent development contribution. You referred to emerging Indigenous music talent contests or contest. I’m sure if there will be more than one.
1424 Can you explain what exactly what you’re thinking about? What would be the nature of the contribution? Just provide us some more details on that.
1425 MR. LAROSE: Well, what we’re proposing to the Commission and what we’re willing to commit to is that every year every station would make a $20,000 CCD contribution. That would be to identify local talent, local Aboriginal talent, Indigenous talent, and give them the opportunity to participate and to be part of sort of a competition per market to gauge their -- basically determine who might be of the crew that is submitting music as part of the competition. And give them the opportunity to both get airtime, to be possibly guests on the music talk show that we have in the evening, other opportunities of that nature.
1426 And then at the end, have sort of a -- by a jury -- choose in each market, a jury from each market, choose the individual who would go to a final sort of national competition where the five markets would have their artist attend a final competition in which one would be selected.
1427 I will turn it over in a few minutes to Dave McLeod because we’re sort of formatting it on a program he had in the past called NCI Jam. But the goal here would be to provide an opportunity for all these artists to get airplay, to get recognized, to get some airtime on the air on the show. Then eventually from them, select five winners who would again compete against each other for one final winner.
1428 The top winner would end up appearing on one of the Aboriginal day live concert stages that APTN hosts every year for Aboriginal Day in June. But also, the other four participants would appear on what we have -- we always have secondary stages in various cities and they would be flown to those stages and they would be given the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience -- not on air, though; those are off air. But they would be given the opportunity to get recognition and to be -- to perform, you know, in front of a live audience during an Aboriginal day. And maybe for the NCI Jam format to give you an idea would be selected?
1429 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Just to be clear, I’m particularly liking to focus, from a regulatory perspective, on who will be the beneficiaries or the recipients of the money and to ensure that they’re third parties and not in kind?
1430 MR. LAROSE: No, no, in this case it would be -- well, I mean, obviously any travel costs or all of that would be covered by the stations for them to attend, as well as the winner will get also a $5,000 gift, if you wish, cheque, whatever -- I’m not sure how to put it -- that would allow them to cut their first single CD. So obviously all of that would be devoted to the contest, to the individuals, and to the selection process and then the opportunity to fly to the various stages and appear live.
1431 And Dave?
1432 MR. McLEOD: I guess I’ll just add a little bit to that.
1433 Yeah, I think the contests would be really important because it gives a lot of young musicians, most of the time, something to aspire to. It’s a goal to work towards. And then once you get on that stage, then it’s like a spectrum of your friends, your family. And then itself, in the end, it gives you that self-assurance that, “Yes, I made it to this level and I can continue.”
1434 And within the Indigenous community those kind of opportunities don’t exist a lot. And I think when you hold a contest at that level, there’s a sense of community there which is -- you’re not going to find at other similar events.
1435 So it really does -- and I think at that point, too, the competition at the end of the day isn’t important as much as it is celebrating up-and-coming talent.
1436 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. But the 20,000 is targeted third-party hard ---
1437 MR. McLEOD: Third party.
1438 THE CHAIRMAN: And obviously you have costs associated with this, the organization and all that. But that’s above and beyond the 20,000?
1439 MR. LAROSE: Yes. And of that, none comes to APTN. That’s a given as well.
1440 THE CHAIRMAN: And had you considered other initiatives in terms of these development contributions?
1441 MR. LAROSE: Well, we felt this was the most appropriate. The goal here is to expose our young artists and to find new artists, to give them an opportunity to be exposed to -- to be aired, to get some airplay, to get recognition, maybe develop a certain level of popularity. So we thought this was the best mechanism to do it.
1442 But we also have -- internally what we will have is an ongoing -- not as a CCD contribution -- we will have mentorship and training and internship programs.
1443 We also have -- as an aside, we have a commitment from Seneca College for five bursaries every year, one for a youth from each market to attend Seneca College, the media training program, which means that they would learn radio, television, scriptwriting, production, a range of everything. And that bursary is being offered on an ongoing basis. So every year there would be five bursaries. This is outside the CCD, obviously, but I mean it’s the type of initiative that we’re trying to also put together.
1444 APTN, over the years, has done very well in providing training and mentoring and internship. You know, in news Karen can speak to a lot of the young interns we brought in from various colleges and sometimes even from, you know, barely starting college and who are now employees of the network.
1445 So I think the opportunity here is not -- the CCD is meant -- we really wanted to focus it on the artists. We think that’s where -- and Dave is quite rightly saying so, that there’s no really other opportunities for them. And of NCI Jam I recall one or two young artists who have actually made it in our community on a national basis.
1446 MR. McLEOD: Yeah, no, that’s true. That self-confidence is a huge step for some people. I mean, Desiree Dorion, for example, was in our NCI Jam and now she’s a recording artist and she’s getting played nationally as an artist.
1447 So it definitely could be a -- it’s not a stepping stone. Sometimes it could be more like a stepping leap forward that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
1448 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, thank you.
1449 And I’ll turn to some business projections and that sort of issue now, the economics of it.
1450 Your projections are that 30 percent of your revenues would come from advertisers who do not currently advertise in their respective markets? Is that an average or is that -- do you believe that that be the case in each of the five markets?
1451 MR. LAROSE: Well, I think we sort of rounded that but I will allow Mr. Moneybags here to answer the question. He’s much better at it than I am.
1452 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. And by the same occasion, help us understand why you came to that conclusion that there would be -- you could actually grow the pie?
1453 MR. SMITH: Well, I’ll start ---
1454 THE CHAIRMAN: Most people tell us the pie came over with Christopher Columbus and has never grown.
1455 MR. SMITH: I’ll start the answer and then I’ll pass some of it back to Debbie, who’s done market research on sales.
1456 We felt that 30 percent of it could come from new clientele who, from my understanding, have never advertised in the radio market just because of the targets that we’re going to have available to them.
1457 So we looked at the possibility of some banking and financial services, automotive, health and beauty, and travel clientele who may be attracted to this new tool to be able to advertise to Aboriginal audiences.
1458 So I’ll pass it back to Debbie and let her go into more detail.
1459 MS. McLAUGHLIN: In order to come up with that number we looked at the revenue potential for the markets and the audience potential.
1460 So for the revenue potential we could see -- we have the retail sales for each market and we can calculate what it generates in terms of -- or should generate in terms of radio advertising and look at the numbers as published by the CRTC to see if there’s any gap.
1461 So we put it in our research but we did determine in each market there was potential for growth.
1462 As the Commission has heard many times, ad sales follows audience growth. And one of the features of the station, when we did the quantitative research, was that it held the potential because of the variety of music but most importantly because of the uniqueness of the Aboriginal content -- to develop audiences both in the mainstream and in the Aboriginal communities. And we have a score in there that says, “If the programming that I am interested in was made available, would I listen to radio more?”
1463 And you know, we generally get, you know, around the range of 40 percent that say, “Yes, I would.”
1464 But then we cross-tab that against the people who are most interested in this station and the numbers were quite significant in that area in that they would spend more time both amongst the general population and the Aboriginal population.
1465 So in terms of being able to offer new audiences to advertisers, the station meets that criteria, and in terms of the markets themselves, there’s potential for growth.
1466 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. And have you vetted your hypotheses with specific prospective advertisers?
1467 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes, we have. Sorry, I didn’t know if Darcy was going to answer.
1468 There is a sales group that was engaged by APTN -- well, CFPR -- to look at the potential for radio advertising. And working with them we looked at consumer databases like DIVA data which is sort of the gold standard of identifying consumer markets. And we identified a large number of categories where advertisers -- where this audience would over-index.
1469 And then the sales agency itself went out and spoke to potential advertisers both on the national and local levels to determine if they had room in their budgets.
1470 And one of the challenges for developing this category in radio has been that there’s not sufficient markets to amortize the cost across. And with this five major markets, this creates that sort of critical mass where they actually can assign a budget to radio and know that their costs in producing creative, and assigning collateral material that always goes with a radio campaign, would be amortized properly.
1471 THE CHAIRMAN: And you believe your projections to be reasonable?
1472 MR. SMITH: Well, we believe in them very firmly. We’ve vetted them, as Debbie mentioned, with two different methods. We’ve looked at, you know, the proposed market share that we believe we can capture times the total value of each individual market as measured by the CRTC. We’ve looked what our prospective sell-out rates would be per market versus what we believe the rate card for each market would be. And we believe that what we’ve put forward is conservative and is certainly achievable over the seven years that we’ve submitted.
1473 THE CHAIRMAN: And your rate cards are similar to commercial radio in the same marketplace? Is that how you did it? Or did you discount?
1474 MR. SMITH: Well, the rate cards were -- would be -- Debbie has more detailed answers on this, so I’ll turn that back to her.
1475 MS. McLAUGHLIN: So just to be clear CFPR prepared their revenue projections, I independently prepared, and the sales agency prepared. In order for preparing mine, I went out to the market and I solicited pitches on a client X, which is a typical thing to do, and got a range of prices that people were selling at across the year.
1476 So the rates that we used are in the lower one third of the rates being used in the market. The sell out rates that I used are in the order of 30 to 45 percent in some markets, like across the markets.
1477 THE CHAIRPERSON: Across all five markets, or each individual?
1478 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Well, some. No. Each market was done individually.
1479 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you could ---
1480 MS. McLAUGHLIN: So some markets are at 35 and I think there’s one that maybe hit 45.
1481 THE CHAIRPERSON: And your view is that the potential market impact on players in the market is not undue; is that correct?
1482 MR. SMITH: We had -- feel that it won’t have a major impact, because a lot of our potential listeners are coming from other non-commercial entities where there is no commercial advertising revenue generated, such as the CBC.
1483 THE CHAIRPERSON: What about Edmonton? Could it not be said that you might -- the addition of an Aboriginal radio voice in that market might have an impact on players in that market?
1484 MR. SMITH: We’re targeting different audiences, so we felt that the impact would be minimal on any other Aboriginal radio entity. Yeah, a lot of their revenue is generated from Bingo, so that they don’t have a large commercial advertising revenue. So we though that, again, there would be a minimal impact on their overall ---
1485 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. When people develop business plans, obviously, they’re reasonable, optimistic, but sometimes there’s downturns in the economy, the rates for local or national advertising revenues are not as predicted. So when you look at your business plan, what are your means to manage, perhaps, something that is less sustainable in the longer term?
1486 MR. SMITH: Well, one, we’ve arranged for financing that would fill in -- or fill in any gaps in what are sales projections would be. That’s part of the reason that it’s important for us to have all five licences, as any shortfalls in some markets could be made up by overages in other markets. So -- and we’re able to review any expenses and make the appropriate adjustments where required without, perhaps, touching programming.
1487 THE CHAIRPERSON: I take it from your answer there that your application is absolutely not severable? That is that you must have all five markets?
1488 MR. LAROSE: Well, certainly we’ve approached it from day one that the economies, the synergies, everything that we’re trying to establish here are best served by being in five markets.
1489 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is your plan still sustainable if you were, for instance, in four of the five markets?
1490 MR. LAROSE: Maybe, depending on the market that would be subtracted from the equation.
1491 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which market it would it -- would that be that it would still be sustainable? Or are you speaking or a specific market when you’re ---
1492 MR. LAROSE: In our supplementary deficiency questions we did highlight that, you know, if we were to not be granted a licence at Edmonton, in order not to compete with the established entity, we would be agreeable to that ---
1493 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1494 MR. LAROSE: --- and I would reiterate this here.
1495 THE CHAIRPERSON: But none of the other ones would be a go? Is that -- should I take that as the converse of what you just said?
1496 MR. LAROSE: Well the -- I think what we have to look at is the, you know, the sustainability and the -- what we look at as our total plan.
1497 THE CHAIRPERSON: I -- yeah, we can take them one at a time. If the one that was excluded was Toronto, I take it you could not make it a go?
1498 MR. LAROSE: Of course. Yeah. Toronto, or Vancouver are two, sort of larger markets on which we expect to ---
1499 THE CHAIRPERSON: So since we’re already down the road, what do you think about Calgary and Ottawa then?
1500 MR. LAROSE: Well, Ottawa being a softer market may actually be blessing in disguise ---
1501 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1502 MR. LAROSE: --- if I can put it that way. Calgary -- Calgary we do consider Calgary an important part of our plan, but obviously, you know, we would have to look at what the Commission comes back with. And I don’t know if anyone else has anything to add to this. But I mean, this is how we’ve looked at the plan right now.
1503 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I take it from your answer, you’ve got financing facilities in place, but more specifically, what is the willingness of the shareholder to absorb losses in case revenues do not materialize?
1504 MR. LAROSE: We’ve had that conversation with the shareholder, and the shareholder after having reviewed all our plans or what have you, is fairly confident that the exposure is minimal and it’s a risk they’re willing to take.
1505 THE CHAIRPERSON: And despite the best laid plans, if the projections are not as successful as desired, is it your intention to return the licences or try to sell them subject to the policy on trafficking licences?
1506 MR. LAROSE: Well, the trafficking policy is clear. So if within two years -- but we certainly don’t believe that, you know, that will be our situation. We expect -- fully expect that this will be a very viable enterprise.
1507 THE CHAIRPERSON: What of the case beyond the two years?
1508 MR. LAROSE: Well, depending on the investment that’s been made and depending on the fact that, you know, if the shareholder wishes to recover some of his investment, we may wish to find a suitable Aboriginal entity that would be willing to purchase the licences, run it as a Native Type B, and also submit to the process with the Commission for the transferring of the licences.
1509 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you’d be willing to live with a condition that restricted your ability to sell it beyond the first two years, that it be targeted merely to Aboriginal ownership? Is that correct?
1510 MR. LAROSE: Absolutely.
1511 THE CHAIRPERSON: And Aboriginal operations.
1512 MR. LAROSE: And Aboriginal -- a truly Aboriginal owned and operated business.
1513 THE CHAIRPERSON: By, for, and about ---
1514 MR. LAROSE: Yeah. By, for, and about.
1515 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- Aboriginal communities? Okay. I should have warned my colleagues that that was going to be my last question to see if they had additional questions. No? No. Apparently we’re done for this phase of ---
1516 MR. LAROSE: Okay.
1517 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the hearing. Thank you very much.
1518 MR. LAROSE: Well, thank you.
1519 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I’m sorry. I apologize it’s a little bit late, but it could have been later. So we’re adjourned until 9:00 o’clock tomorrow morning. Thank you very much.
1520 MR. LAROSE: Thank you.
--- Upon adjourning at 5:45 p.m.
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