ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 87-847

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Ottawa, 16 October 1987
Decision CRTC 87-847
Radio de l'Epinette Noire Inc.
Hearst, Ontario - 870727500
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region on 9 July 1987, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for a French-language FM community radio station at Hearst on the frequency 91.1 MHz, channel 216, with an effective radiated power of 5,460 watts. The licence will expire 31 August 1992 and will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
In accordance with the licensee's proposal and the Commission's policy statement on The Review of Community Radio (Public Notice CRTC 1985-194 dated 26 August 1985), the Commission will issue a special FM licence for community radio, Type A, to this station, which will be operated in the Group IV music format.
The Commission notes that the market to be served encompasses Hearst and a number of smaller surrounding communities, including Calstock and Mattice, in northeastern Ontario. The largest neighbouring community is Kapuskasing, some 95 kilometres away. At the present time, this area has no local radio station. Its predominantly French-language audience is served by rebroadcasters of private radio station CFCL Timmins and of CBON-FM Sudbury, which provides the CBC's French-language AM radio service, while English-language service is provided by private station CKAP Kapuskasing and local rebroadcasters of CBCS-FM Sudbury, which provides the CBC's AM programming service. At the hearing, the applicant stated that reception of CFCL and CKAP is unreliable in certain parts of its proposed coverage area.
The Commission notes that Radio de l'Epinette Noire Inc. (Radio Epinette) is a non-profit organization whose structure provides for membership, management, operation, and programming from the community at large. It is controlled by a nine-member Board of Directors elected by the general membership. Radio Epinette has developed this community radio project over the last few years with the following stated objectives: to provide a local community-based alternative to the commercial radio services currently available, to provide French-language programming dedicated to the needs of community groups and local artists, and to reflect and promote the various cultural and ethnic activities in the area. At the hearing, the applicant submitted that its aim could only be achieved by a local community-based radio service accessible to the community and sensitive to its needs.
In approving this application, the Commission has taken into account the area's isolation and the lack of local radio service. It has also been persuaded by the results of audience and advertiser surveys undertaken by both the applicant and the firm CEGIR, and by the success of a pilot project using the audio portion of the local cable operator's community channel that there is a demand and a need for a local radio service. The Commission notes further that interventions from local and regional municipal and educational authorities, as well as businesses and other interests, have confirmed that there is a broad base of community support for this undertaking.
From a wider perspective, the Commission considers that the approval of this application can contribute to the development of French-language community radio services outside the Province of Quebec. It notes in this regard that this will be the second such station licensed to date, the other being established in Inkerman, New Brunswick pursuant to Decision CRTC 87-576 dated 20 July 1987. In this regard, the Commission acknowledges a number of interventions from francophone interest groups across the country, including the Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, the Fédération des jeunes Canadiens français and the Féderation des francophones hors Québec Inc. which appeared at the hearing to express their support.
The Commission has given particular consideration to the resources available in the community and to the applicant's funding proposals. It notes that a number of special community events raised more than $30,000 for the implementation of the community station and that the Town of Hearst, in association with the community station, the Knights of Columbus and the local Arts Council, will establish a cultural community centre in which the station's studios will be located. In addition to the strong community support, the Ontario government has confirmed grant money to assist with the implementation of the service. The applicant indicated that, at the time of the hearing, further funding negotiations were in progress with the federal government. Based on the information presented in the application and at the hearing, the Commission is satisfied that Radio Epinette will have the necessary funding available to it prior to the implementation of its proposal.
In terms of operating revenues, the applicant estimated that in the first year of operation, 15% to 20% of its projected revenues would be derived from community fundraising, 30% from advertising, and 50% from federal and provincial government grants. The Commission notes that the proportion of the operating budget to be derived from government subsidies is to decline to 28% of projected revenues in the fifth year of operation and regards this as a clear indication of the applicant's desire for self-sufficiency and its intention to diversify its sources of revenue. Moreover, as the new station will be the only local radio service, the Commission notes that considerable support should be available in the way of advertising revenue from local businesses. In view of the financial difficulties encountered by some other community stations, the Commission expects Radio Epinette to take the necessary measures to ensure that its revenue projections are realized.
The applicant proposes to broadcast 75 hours 45 minutes of locally-originated programming per week, of which 41 hours will be produced by volunteers and 15 hours 45 minutes will be commercial-free community access time. It has already established a training program for its volunteers in conjunction with CBON-FM Sudbury and stated at the hearing that this collaboration will continue in the future.
For the remainder of the broadcast week, the station will rebroadcast the programming of the Radiomutuel network and CJMS Montreal. Radio Epinette confirmed at the hearing that it will retain full control over all broadcast material. The Commission notes that community stations may increase or decrease the number of hours broadcast each week by 20% without having to apply to the Commission. The Commission expects the ratio of local programming to CJMS and Radiomutuel programming to remain unchanged should Radio Epinette find it necessary to reduce the amount of local programming it broadcasts.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee not broadcast more than the lesser of 250 minutes of advertising per day and 1,500 minutes per week, and 20% of the total broadcast time, in accordance with the community radio policy for Type A stations.
The Commission notes that the station will devote 20% of its local broadcast time to programming in the foreground format and 34.7% to combined foreground/mosaic programming. Popular musical selections will be varied and be drawn from all of the subcategories of category 5 (Music-General). The applicant has also made commitment to a minimum level of 65% French-language vocal music and minimum Canadian content levels of 30% for category 5 and 10% for category 6 (Music - Traditional and Special Interest).
The Commission reminds Radio Epinette that it expects community radio stations to develop innovative and alternative forms of community-oriented programming that contribute to the diversity and variety of radio services within a community. It also expects such stations to focus on all aspects of the community, by offering programming which examines issues affecting all of its members, as well as programs which deal with matters of interest to specific elements within it, such as neighbourhoods, surrounding towns, villages, and specific interest groups.
In its community radio policy statement, the Commission urged community stations to continue to give emphasis to all forms of local and regional artistic expression. In this regard, Radio Epinette has indicated that it will broadcast station-produced live concerts and local festivals, and also co-sponsor "amateur nights" in association with different area establishments and community groups. The Commission encourages these efforts and will follow with interest the station's progress in this regard.
The Commission has taken into account the interventions from Mid-Canada Communications, licensee of CFCL Timmins, and Kapuskasing Broadcasting Limited, licensee of CKAP Kapuskasing, opposing this application primarily on economic grounds. The Commission is satisfied that the benefits to be realized from the presence of the proposed local station outweigh the concerns expressed by both other licensees. It also notes Radio Epinette's statement at the hearing that it will not sell advertising in Kapuskasing. Furthermore, based on the information presented, including the applicant's modest revenue projections, the Commission does not expect that the new station will unduly affect the interveners' ability to continue to draw revenues from this market.
It is a condition of licence that construction of the station be completed and that it be in operation within eighteen months of the date of this decision or such further period as the Commission may, upon receipt of a request for extension before the expiry of the said eighteen months, deem appropriate under the circumstances.
It is a condition of licence that the applicant adhere to the CAB self-regulatory guidelines on sex-role stereotyping, as amended from time to time and accepted by the Commission.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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