Opening remarks by Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

To the public hearing

Gatineau, Quebec
November 5, 2013

Check against delivery

 

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.

Corus

The panel will begin by considering applications by Corus Entertainment to acquire certain television channels that are currently held by Bell Media Inc.—specifically, the Teletoon services (including The Cartoon Network), Historia and Séries Plus.

The panel will then consider Teletoon Canada’s request to renew the broadcasting licences of Teletoon/Télétoon, Teletoon Retro (English) and Télétoon Rétro (French), all of which are due to expire on March 31, 2014.

In June 2013, the CRTC approved the acquisition of Astral by BCE. As part of that approval, we required BCE to divest itself of a number of Astral’s radio and television services. The services we’re discussing today are among those identified for divestiture.

I would like to remind everyone that, as with all ownership transactions, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that a transaction is in the public interest. Corus bears the burden of proof in this instance. We will consider the impact that these proposed transactions could have on market concentration and vertical integration as well as their proposed tangible benefits.

We will also consider Corus’s request to apply the group-based approach for the licensing of Teletoon/Télétoon, Teletoon Retro (English) and Télétoon Rétro (French).

In studying these applications, the panel must be persuaded that the proposed transactions will provide benefits to Canadians as well as to the overall Canadian broadcasting system.

As most of you know, the CRTC is currently hosting Let’s Talk TV: a conversation with Canadians on the future of TV in Canada. Canadians’ views and ideas will feed into a hearing that will take place in September 2014. However, let me remind all participants at this hearing that the Commission is bound to apply the current regulatory framework until such a time as a new one is in place.

That being said, I strongly encourage everyone to participate in the conversation. That includes the creators here this morning and listening over the Web. If we are to ensure that the Canadian television system continues to serve the needs of Canadians, we need to have access to the broadest diversity of views possible.

RNC Média

Next is an application by RNC Média to renew the broadcasting licence of CKLX-FM Montréal, as well as to amend some of the station’s conditions of licence. Specifically, RNC would like to change the station’s format from jazz and blues music to spoken word.

This is not the first time RNC Média has applied to the Commission to change this station’s format. In March 2013, the Commission denied a similar application on the grounds that RNC Média was in non-compliance with several regulatory requirements relating to, among others, musical selections, logger tapes and contributions to Canadian content development. At that time, we indicated we would examine those instances of non-compliance when the broadcasting licence for CKLX-FM came up for renewal.

The Commission also denied the application for a format change given that the proposed modification could harm the chances of success for TTP Media’s French-language spoken-word AM radio station in the Montréal market, which had yet to launch.

CJMS

Finally, we will call the licensee that operates CJMS Saint-Constant, a French-language commercial radio station, to discuss matters related to its non-compliance with sections 8(1), 8(5), 8(6) and 9(4) of the Radio Regulations, 1986.

Since December 2012, the Commission has tried several times to obtain logger tapes and program logs from the licensee. These recordings and documents are essential to analyze programming in preparation for the station’s licence renewal in 2014. CJMS’s licence was last renewed for a four-year term, rather than a seven-year term, in May 2010. This is now the fourth consecutive licence term in which CJMS has been found in non-compliance.

The Commission expects the licensee to show cause as to why a mandatory order requiring it to comply with the Regulations should not be issued. In addition, the licensee will be given an opportunity to demonstrate why the Commission should not suspend or revoke CJMS’s licence following several instances of non-compliance with the Regulations.

Public participation

As with all public proceedings, the opinions of Canadians are very important in helping us fulfill our legislative responsibilities. We therefore wish to thank all who have agreed to participate in this hearing either by submitting comments or by appearing before us.

Process

The panel for this hearing consists of:

The Commission team assisting us includes:

I would now invite the Hearing Secretary, Ms. Roy, to explain the procedures we will be following. Madam Secretary...

 

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