Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2016-74
Route reference: Part 1 application posted on 12 January 2015
Ottawa, 29 February 2016
Dufferin Communications Inc.
CIDC-FM Orangeville – Technical changes
The Commission denies an application to change the authorized contours of the English-language commercial radio station CIDC-FM Orangeville.
- Dufferin Communications Inc. (Dufferin) filed an application to change the authorized contours of the English-language commercial radio station CIDC-FM Orangeville by relocating its transmitter from Orangeville to Halton Hills, changing its operating class from B to C1 and increasing its average effective radiated power (ERP) from 30,700 to 51,000 watts (maximum ERP from 30,700 to 100,000 watts) and the effective height of the antenna above average terrain from 190.3 to 221.6 metres.
- Dufferin stated that these changes were necessary to improve its operating synergies and financial and competitive position, as well as accommodate the rollout of an HD Radio service.
Interventions and applicant’s reply
- The Commission received interventions supporting the application, as well as opposing interventions from two individuals and from Newcap Inc. (Newcap), licensee of CFXJ-FM and CHBM-FM Toronto. The Commission also received comments by Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of CIND-FM Toronto, and Durham Radio, which operates CJKX-FM-2 Toronto, a rebroadcasting transmitter of CJKX-FM Ajax. The public record for this application can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca or by using the application number provided above.
- Both the individuals opposing the application and Newcap took issue with what they saw as Dufferin’s practice of targeting the Toronto market rather than its licensed area of Orangeville.
- In this respect, Newcap submitted that CIDC-FM has gradually abandoned its commitment to the community it was licensed to serve in order to draw revenues from Toronto and that approval of the application would essentially “seal the deal” by extending the station’s coverage to almost all of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and by providing it with better coverage of the Toronto Central Market Area (CMA) than that of Newcap’s Toronto station CFXJ-FM, which offers the same Contemporary Hit Radio format.
- Newcap also noted that the technical changes would result in the expansion of a fourth signal from Evanov Communications Inc. (Evanov), which wholly owns and controls Dufferin, within the Toronto market. As such, Newcap submitted that while Dufferin has argued that it needs these technical changes to offset the competitive advantage of large Toronto stations, the changes will effectively create a new competitor in the Toronto marketplace without a call for applications, as well as increase Dufferin’s/Evanov’s competitive advantage over Newcap’s CFXJ-FM.
- In reply to the interventions, Dufferin stated that while it is no secret that CIDC-FM positions itself as a Toronto CMA radio station, it continues to reflect Orangeville by addressing its place in the larger context of the GTA. Dufferin further submitted that Orangeville residents will receive local and contextual news and information about their region through the combined efforts of CIDC-FM and the recently authorized FM station in Orangeville operated by My Broadcasting Corporation.
- Dufferin also noted that the signal from its proposed location would continue to cover Orangeville in its primary (3 mV/m) contour and the area to its north, while extending the signal to cover more of the Toronto CMA. In this respect, Dufferin denied that it currently has FM signals in the GTA, adding that its request for technical changes relate to an existing service that will have no impact on ownership levels in the Toronto market. Finally, it noted that Newcap is a large and sophisticated broadcaster that has applied for similar technical changes and submitted that Newcap’s opposition represents an attempt to maintain the competitive advantage it has by virtue of being a downtown Toronto broadcaster.
- When a licensee files an application to change its authorized contours, the Commission expects it to demonstrate a compelling technical or economic need justifying the proposed technical changes. In particular, the Commission expects evidence that a station’s existing technical parameters are not adequate to provide the service as originally proposed.
- In support of its application, Dufferin provided coverage maps and comments from its consulting engineer showing building penetration issues for its signal in Toronto’s downtown core. The applicant hopes that improving its signal in the Toronto market will help “repatriate” listeners and reverse a decline in revenue. While Dufferin indicated that it would remain “loyal to its licensed region as the signal strength for Orangeville will be stronger and not weakened or lost,” its application seeks to resolve CIDC-FM’s reception issues in Toronto, particularly downtown, rather than in its licensed area of Orangeville.
- The Commission notes that downtown Toronto is not part of CIDC-FM’s current primary contour and therefore, according to the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations), not part of CIDC-FM’s market. Specifically, in the case of an FM station, the Regulations define a market as the smaller of either the primary contour or the central area as defined by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM, now known as Numeris). In the case of CIDC-FM, the primary contour defines its market and has its center between Orangeville and Caledon.
- Dufferin is proposing to relocate its transmitter from Orangeville further south to Halton Hills. As a result, Orangeville would be on the edge of the proposed primary contour, while the area immediately to the north of Orangeville would not be fully covered by the proposed primary contour and consequently could suffer a loss in signal quality.
- In light of the above, the Commission considers that Dufferin did not demonstrate a compelling technical need to improve its signal in its licensed market. Further, given that CIDC-FM is licensed to serve Orangeville, the Commission is of the view that the proposal does not constitute the best use of spectrum since the proposal would result in less coverage in the Orangeville area.
- Moreover, considering the revenues and profitability of CIDC-FM since 2010, the Commission is of the view that the applicant has not demonstrated a financial need justifying the proposed technical changes.
- Finally, while the Commission is generally supportive of efforts to implement the HD Radio service and only requires licensees to inform it of any experimentation they undertake, such efforts are not taken into consideration when assessing technical change applications.
- In light of all of the above, the Commission denies the application by Dufferin Communications Inc. to change the authorized contours of the English-language commercial radio programming undertaking CIDC-FM Orangeville.
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