ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 85-361

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Ottawa, 22 May 1985
Decision CRTC 85-361
Capital Radio Broadcasting Operations Inc.
Quebec City, Quebec - 841405400 - 841406200
At a Public Hearing in Quebec City on 9 November 1984, the Commission considered applications by Capital Radio Broadcasting Operations Inc. (the applicant) for approval to acquire the assets of radio stations CHRC and CHOI-FM Quebec City from Télé-Capitale Inc. (the licensee, previously Télé-Capitale Ltée), and for broadcasting licences to continue the operation of these stations. The new Promises of Performance submitted were different in certain respects to those previously authorized and these proposals are dealt with in this decision.
In Public Notice CRTC 1984-303, dated 11 December 1984, the Commission stated that, based on its analysis of the licensee's performance and the evidence presented at the 9 November 1984 hearing, "the majority of the members of the Commission considers that there is sufficiently serious doubt regarding CHOI-FM's compliance with its Promise of Performance to justify a deferral of the Commission's decision ... until the issue of compliance has been resolved."
In order to assess whether the station was operating in compliance with its Promise of Performance, the Commission conducted another analysis of CHOI-FM's programming during the week of 14 to 20 January 1985. As indicated in Public Notice CRTC 1984-303, the Commission sent copies of the results of its analysis to the licensee and the interveners of record for comment.
The Commission's analysis concentrated primarily on musical content, Foreground Format programming and Canadian content. The results of the analysis show that, at the time that the analysis was conducted, the licensee was operating substantially in compliance with its Promise of Performance and significant progress had been made since the Commission's previous analysis in September 1984.
The january 1985 analysis, carried out in accordance with the system adopted by the Commission in 1976 and based on three days programming, indicated that CHOI-FM was operating according to its current authorized musical format, Contemporary MOR, and that the percentage of rock-oriented music selections decreased from 96.4% in September 1984 to 38.8% in January 1985 and the vocal/instrumental ratio went from 100:0 to 80.6:19.4 during the same period. The level of French-language vocal music was 63.3%, and Canadian content in the Music-General category was 30.3%.
The licensee also made improvements with respect to Foreground Format programming; the analysis showed an increase from 8.5% in September 1984 to 15.7% in January 1985. The Commission notes that, of the 25 hours 45 minutes of Foreground Format programming that the licensee claimed to have broadcast, 19 hours 43 minutes actually met the Foreground Format criteria. Most of the programs that were not in conformity did not qualify because of technical details, and exchanges and consultations between Commission and licensee staff have taken place in order to help the licensee establish the mechanisms necessary for reaching the minimum 20% Foreground Format programming requirement set by the Commission for joint stations.
Now that the Commission has completed its analysis and consultations and, after considering the intervener's comments, is generally satisfied with the efforts made by the licensee to comply with its commitments and conditions of licence, it is prepared to render its decision on the applications in question.
The Commission, therefore, announces that it approves the applications for authority to acquire the assets of radio stations CHRC and CHOI-FM Quebec City from Télé-Capitale Inc., and for broadcasting licences to continue the operation of these stations.
The Commission will issue licences to Capital Radio Broadcasting Operations Inc. upon surrender of the current licences. The licences will expire 30 September 1988 and will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licences to be issued.
Based on the material submitted in support of these applications and the evidence presented at the hearing, the Commission considers that the proposed transaction is in the public interest and should benefit listeners of CHRC and CHOI-FM and that the applicant has the expertise and financial resources necessary to ensure the viability of the stations.
The Commission notes that most of the shareholders of the company owning the stations will be from the Quebec City region and that two of them, who have broadcasting experience, will be directly involved in managing the stations as general manager and sales and promotion manager respectively.
The applicant has agreed to operate the stations under the same conditions of licence, except for some proposed refinements to the Promises of Performance, which are discussed below, and some additional commitments which the Commission has taken into account in approving these applications.
With respect to CHRC, the applicant stated at the hearing that the station's programming is based on information and service. The station has a predominant verbal format, and the emphasis is on open-line programs, with 62 hours per week, and information, with an additional, one-hour information program daily. The Commission questioned the licensee with respect to its editorial policy and acknowledges the measures taken to ensure that open-line, news and public affairs programs are in the public interest, provide a reasonable, balanced opportunity for the expression of different views, and are of high quality. The Commission expects the applicant to provide itself with specific guidelines in this regard, and send a copy of them to the Commission within 30 days.
With regard to CHOI-FM, the applicant proposes a Promise of Performance similar to the one that the Commission authorized for Télé-Capitale Inc. with some refinements. The applicant proposes to increase the broadcast time of rock-oriented music from 27 hours 7 minutes to 34 hours 7 minutes per week. The Commission notes that the proposal could lead to a change in the musical format of the station and that the applicant has not provided enough information for the Commission to determine the precise impact of the proposed amendment. The Commission, therefore, denies this proposal, and the licence is subject to the condition that the broadcast time of rock-oriented music not exceed 27 hours 7 minutes per week. In this regard, the Commission cotes that CHOI-FM will be operated in the "Group I" music format, defined in Public Notice CRTC 1984-151 on the Review of Radio which may encompass its current "Contemporary MOR" format.
Moreover, the Commission's approval of the granting of the licence for CHOI-FM is subject to the condition that the applicant submit, within three months, a Promise of Performance based on the new definitions of FM stations and the music subcategories currently in effect.
The applicant, if it so wishes, may submit another application to increase the level of rock-oriented music, and the application will be dealt with according to the Commission's normal procedures.
The Commission approves the vocal/instrumental ratio of Music-General 95:5 instead of 70:30 and the 30% Canadian content level for Music-General instead of 20% as presently authorized. It denies, however, the proposal to reduce the level of Music - Traditional and Special Interest from 6 hours to 1 hour per week.
In its Policy statement on the Review of Radio in March 1983 and in a number of subsequent decisions, the Commission reaffirmed that FM station authorized to broadcast Music - Traditional and Special Interest would not be permitted to reduce this programming to less than 8 hours per week. In doing so, the Commission emphasized the importance of providing an adequate level of specialized music in order to ensure that varied and comprehensive listening fare is available in the market. At the same time, it offered greater flexibility to FM licensees in the scheduling and selection of category 6 music.
The Commission considers that a departure from the policy is not warranted in this case.
The Commission recognizes that certain types of traditional and special interest music are not compatible with some forms of popular music and reminds the licensee that it has the freedom to choose the type of category 6 music which is most compatible with its music format. The Commission reminds the licensee that it has the choice of presenting these musical selections in identifiable blocks of programming or interspersed with other selections.
The Commission denies the applicant's proposal to broadcast only 60% French-language vocal music. In accordance with the Commission's policy, French-language FM radio stations are generally required to broadcast a minimum of 65% of all vocal music selections in the French-language.
The Commission acknowledges, however, the concerns raised by some French-language radio broadcasters during the 25 March 1985 Montreal public hearing regarding their difficulties in meeting this 65% level due to the limited availability of quality French-language vocal music, particularly in certain categories. In this regard, the Commission is setting up a Task Force that will consult with all interested parties to explore possible solutions to this problem and is releasing a Public Notice on this issue today (Public Notice CRTC 1985-100).
The applicant described the measures taken to fulfill its commitment to broadcast a minimum of 20% Foreground Format programming, in particular the establishment of a department for the production of Foreground Format programs at a cost of more than $100,000 per year.
The Commission also notes that the applicant has promised to allocate $55,000 in direct costs per year for the promotion and development of new musical talent, including an annual competition that will enable 12 local artists to record their work.
CJMF-FM Ltée, licensee of CJMF-FM Quebec City, presented an intervention at the hearing opposing the applications, contending that CHOI-FM's programming was not in compliance with its Promise of Performance. It also had the opportunity to comment on the results of the January 1985 analysis and any other document exchanged between the Commission and the applicant between 11 December 1984 and the present. The problems raised by the intervener are dealt with in this decision and Public Notice CRTC 1984-303. The Commission also took into consideration the 17 written interventions submitted by persons and organizations from the Quebec City region in support of the applications.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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