ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-477
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Route reference: 2014-102
Ottawa, 15 September 2014
Antoine Karam, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Application 2014-0034-0, received 15 January 2014
Public hearing in Toronto, Ontario
13 May 2014
Ethnic FM radio station in Halifax
The Commission denies an application by Antoine Karam, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial specialty ethnic FM radio station in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
While an ethnic radio station would be a positive addition to the Halifax radio market, the Commission considers that the ethnic community of Halifax would be better served by an ethnic station that provides greater local reflection and broadcasts in more languages than what the applicant proposed to broadcast by condition of licence in its application.
- Antoine Karam, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (OBCI), filed an application for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial specialty ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Commission did not receive any interventions in connection with this application.
- Antoine Karam (OBCI) would be wholly owned and controlled by Antoine Karam.
- The station would operate at 99.1 MHz (channel 256A) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 300 watts (maximum ERP of 355 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 224 metres).
- The applicant stated that it would adhere to a condition of licence requiring it to direct its programming to a minimum of 11 distinct cultural groups in a minimum of 3 languages each broadcast week.
- The station would broadcast a minimum of 52 hours, 30 minutes of local programming each broadcast week. It would devote 12 hours, 52 minutes to pure news, of which 2 hours would be local news.
Commission’s analysis and decision
- After examining the public record for this application in light of applicable policies and regulations, the Commission considers that the issue it must address is whether the proposed programming reflects the objectives set out in Ethnic broadcasting policy, Public Notice CRTC 1999-117, 16 July 1999 (the Ethnic broadcasting policy).
- In the Ethnic broadcasting policy, the Commission stated that a primary responsibility of ethnic radio stations is to serve and reflect their local community. The Commission considers that, for a market the size of Halifax, the amount of local programming proposed by the applicant is insufficient to serve and reflect the local community adequately. Antoine Karam (OBCI) proposed to broadcast 52.5 hours of local programming and to broadcast programming originating from its station CHOU Montréal for the remaining hours. The local programming would therefore represent less than half of the total programming to be aired by the station.
- As set out in the Ethnic broadcasting policy, ethnic stations are required to serve a range of ethnic groups in a variety of languages. The exact number of ethnic groups served and languages broadcast is set by condition of licence and is dependent on the demographics of the community, the services already available and the degree of support shown by local community organizations.
- Antoine Karam (OBCI) proposed to abide by a condition of licence requiring the station to direct programming to a minimum of 11 distinct cultural groups in a minimum of 3 languages. The applicant stated that the station would strive to serve a larger number of groups in more languages than the numbers proposed for the condition of licence. The applicant proposed to target the main ethnic groups in the market by broadcasting largely in the Arabic and Chinese languages.
- According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 Census, the population of the Halifax Census Metropolitan Area was 390,328. Over 23,000 people reported a mother tongue other than English or French. While those who identified the Arabic and Chinese languages as their mother tongue represent the largest groups, a significant number of people identified a different non-official language. Given the size and demographic makeup of the Halifax radio market, the Commission is of the view that any ethnic service licensed to serve in the market should be required to broadcast in a greater number of languages than that proposed by the applicant. As stated in the Ethnic broadcasting policy, the Commission considers that smaller ethnic groups should be represented on ethnic radio stations as they benefit from a basic level of broadcasting in their own languages and from programming that assists in their full participation in Canadian society, reflects their culture and promotes cross-cultural understanding. In light of the above, the Commission finds that the applicant’s commitment to serving smaller ethnic groups in Halifax is not sufficient.
- The Halifax radio market is not currently served by an ethnic radio station. While an ethnic station would be a positive addition to the market, the Commission considers that the programming as proposed by Antoine Karam (OBCI) does not meet the objectives of the Ethnic broadcasting policy and that the proposed station would not serve the Halifax market adequately.
- In light of all of the above, the Commission denies the application by Antoine Karam, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial specialty ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Halifax.
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