ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 1985-100

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 22 May 1985
Public Notice CRTC 1985-100
Task Force on French-Language Popular Music
Recently the Commission has received applications from a number of broadcasters operating French-language AM and FM stations, requesting a reduction from the presently authorized levels of French-language vocal music. At a Public Hearing in Montreal on 25 March 1985, the Commission considered two such applications from Montreal area stations, CKOI-FM Verdun and CKMF-FM Montreal.
At the hearing, these two licensees explained to the Commission the difficulties they had experienced in complying with the minimum authorized levels of French-language vocal music, and submitted statistics to support their contention that there has been a significant decline in the production of French-language recordings, particularly in the types of music they broadcast, namely progressive rock and dance music.
At that same hearing, the licensees also described to the Commission the measures they had undertaken to support Canadian musical talent. Although these endeavours have contributed to the development of new Canadian performers, the licensees acknowledged that they have not succeeded in significantly increasing the production of French-language records.
In view of the fact that the CRTC does not, at this time, have at its disposal sufficient empirical data assess this matter, and in order to provide a frame of reference with which to review the situation, the Commission today announces the formation of a Task Force to examine the extent of the problem and explore viable solutions or alternatives.
Studies conducted in 1972 by the Commission, in conjunction with broadcasters, indicated that on some French-language radio stations less than half of the musical selections broadcast were French-language selections. Since it considers that French-language stations have an important role to play in safeguarding and enriching francophone cultural expression, the Commission announced in 1973 that 75% of the vocal popular music selections broadcast between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 65% of the total vocal selections broadcast each week should be in French.
In 1980, when the licences for a number of Montreal stations were renewed, the Commission noted that some broadcasters had difficulty in meet ing these requirements. Representations made to the Commission at that time specified that the problem was particularly serious for stations programming rock music. Studies conducted by the Commission in response to these concerns indicated, however, that the production of French-language records had not decreased significantly. Consequently, the Commission maintained the minimum of 65% for weekly programming but elimiated the 75% requirement between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Commission again examined this issue in connection with its review of radio policy. In Public Notice CRTC 1983-43 dated 3 March 1983, entitled "Policy Statement on the Review of Radio", the Commission stated that it was not convinced that reduction in the 65% minimum was warranted but, in the case of certain rock-oriented stations, it indicated it would be willing to consider requests for reductions.
In Decision CRTC 83-804 renewing the licence of CKOI-FM, the Commission recognized the special circumstances of the licensee as the only French-language radio station in Montreal which was broadcasting in a progressive rock format and approved the proposed reduction of French-language vocal music to 55%. At the same time, the Commission acknowledged that the licensee's plans for the promotion and development of new French-language musical talent, which were described at the hearing, would enable it to achieve, at least partially, the Commission's objectives in this regard.
In Decision CRTC 84-653 dated August 1984 renewing the licence for CJMF-FM in Quebec City, the Commission, "mindful of the high level of rock-oriented music proposed by the licensee, and the limited production of French-language records of this nature", authorized a 60% level of French-language vocal music. The Commission also took into account the licensee's commitment to promote Canadian talent, in particular an annual competition providing recording opportunities for twelve performers.
In Decisions CRTC 85-356, 85-357 and 85-361 dated today, the Commission denies the levels of French-language vocal music proposed by CKOI-FM Verdun, CKMF-FM Montreal and CHOI-FM Quebec City. The Commission acknowledges the concerns expressed by the licensees in this regard and announces its intention to establish a Task Force that will consult all interested parties on this matter.
The Task Force
The Commission will soon contact representatives of the broadcasting, recording and entertainment industries, as well as performers, government officials and other experts in the field in order to set up a Task Force to study the problem.
The group's terms of reference will be to assess the nature of the problem, particularly the availability of French-language recordings for each genre of popular music, whether produced in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada, in Europe or in other French-speaking countries. The Commission will ask the Task Force to examine the most effective ways in which francophone broadcasters, in association with the recording industry and other interested parties, can stimulate and promote new French-language music talent. Such measures could include providing free air time, organizing talent competitions, supplying studio-time for musicians to record demo tapes, supporting the production of records or music videos, and other appropriate activities.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General

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