ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1987-255

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 26 November 1987
Public Notice CRTC 1987-255
A PROPOSED POLICY Related documents: Public Notice CRTC 1987-79 dated 20 March 1987 and Decision CRTC 87-192 dated 20 March 1987.
In Public Notice 1987-79 dated 20 March 1987, the Commission invited public comments on various aspects of Educational and Institutional radio. In reply, 24 submissions were received, including representations from provincial governments, provincial educational authorities, educational institutions, broadcasters, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), as well as from various associations and individuals interested in educational broadcasting.
This document provides a synopsis of relevant background information and discussion of material presented in the submissions. A proposed policy for Educational and Institutional radio is presented and comments are invited to be considered prior to its adoption.
a) Provincial Educational Broadcasting
The Commission currently defines an Educational radio station as follows:
 This station is controlled by an "independent corporation" as defined in the Direction to the CRTC issued as Order-in-Council P.C. 1972-1569, 13 July 1972 and broadcasts primarily educational programming of the type described in the Direction.
This Direction, Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility to Hold Broadcasting Licences) was revoked in 1985 and issued as Order-in-Council P.C. 1985-2108. The Direction generally sets out the circumstances under which the Commission may license entities related to provincial and municipal governments.
The only independent corporation engaged in educational radio broadcasting is the Alberta Educational Communications Authority (ACCESS) which operates CKUA Edmonton and its FM rebroadcasters across Alberta. The Commission has, moreover, licensed such corporations to transmit television programming.
CKUA began operations in 1927 under the direction of a professor at the University of Alberta. Up until the end of the Second World War, it was a part-time operation and went off the air during the summer months. Later it was operated by the University and was taken over by ACCESS following its establishment after the publication of the Order-in-Council issued 1972.
CKUA currently offers a wide range of programming, including classical, folk, and jazz music, and an Alberta-oriented news service. Both "curriculum-based" and informal adult education broadcasts are aired, and the station also produces programs for classroom use.
b) Institutional Stations
Currently, the Commission defines an Institutional station as follows:
 This is a station, other than an educational station, which is owned or controlled by a non-profit organization associated with an institution of post-secondary education. This includes "student FM stations".
However, the Commission decided that it would not include the 21 student FM stations that are currently licensed in this review because they have a special and reasonably well-defined mandate that is different from Educational and other Institutional stations.
When the student stations are excluded, the following stations remain for consideration:
- a station that began as an institutional station but is no longer associated with an educational institution (CJRT-FM, Toronto, Ontario).
- one institutional station that is currently operating (CIXX-FM, London, Ontario).
In addition to these institutional stations, the Commission issued a licence for CFCQ-FM Trois-Rivières, Quebec to provide a service consisting primarily of educational programming. The Commission later refused to renew the licence for this station for reasons discussed later in this document.
A brief discussion of each of these stations follows.
i) CJRT-FM Toronto, Ontario
CJRT-FM began operations in 1949. Its original purpose was to serve as a training ground for students in the Radio Arts Course of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute but it later hired a professional staff and adopted a format based on classical music.
In 1973 Ryerson announced that it did not wish to continue funding the station. In response to public concern about the possibility of the station going off the air, the Ontario government announced a plan whereby an independent corporation would be established to hold the CJRT-FM licence. Expenses would be covered partly by the provincial government, and partly by corporate and private donations.
An application by this corporation was heard by the Commission in 1974. The application to transfer the assets of CJRT-FM was approved in Decision CRTC 75-29. As a result, CJRT-FM was no longer an Institutional station affiliated with Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, but rather a private independent FM station operated by a non-profit corporation entitled CJRT-FM Inc.
CJRT-FM operates with a Classical-Fine Arts format. Classical music is the cornerstone of its format although l9 weekly hours of jazz music plays an important role in the schedule. Music programs include extensive background information.
The station also offers an "Open College" series of credit courses produced in co-operation with Toronto area educational institutions. Approximately $450,000 is budgeted for the production of this series during the current licence term.
ii) CIXX-FM London, Ontario
CIXX-FM was licensed by the Commission in 1976. The licensee is Radio Fanshawe Inc. and most of the funding comes from Fanshawe College supplemented by advertising revenues.
CIXX-FM has a two-fold mandate. First, it serves as a training ground for aspiring broadcasters enrolled in Fanshawe's Radio and Television Arts course. Second, it provides alternative and some educational programming to the London area.
To fulfill this mandate, the station divides its broadcast day into two parts. Between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., the station operates with Group I Adult Contemporary format. During this time period students are able to develop broadcasting skills. Between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., CIXX-FM provides an alternative service including poetry and native and jazz programs. The station provides up to 13 hours and 30 minutes of community access programming a week.
While CIXX-FM does not produce any formal educational courses on its own, it broadcasts credit courses produced by CJRT-FM for its "Open College" program.
iii) CFCQ-FM, Trois-Rivières, Quebec
CFCQ-FM was first licensed by the Commission in 1976. The applicant, Louis Martel, proposed a station that would broadcast from the CEGEP (College) at Trois-Rivières. The CEGEP had experimented with closed-circuit educational television programming and was interested in providing such a service via radio.
Decision CRTC 76-773 indicated that the station would provide a programming service heavily weighted toward formal educational programming.
In August 1984 the station went off the air when the transmitter sustained serious damage during a storm.
The station returned to the air on 16 March 1986 after an interval of 18 months. In June 1986 the licensee appeared before the Commission seeking renewal of its licence. Significant changes were proposed to the programming, including a change from a spoken word to a music-oriented format and a reduction in the amount of formal educational programming.
The Commission considered that the proposed changes would alter unacceptably the station's orientation. Consequently, in Decision CRTC 86-787, it denied changes to the Promise of Performance and renewed the licence for only six months.
It further stated that failure to comply with the Promise of Performance and the requirements of the decision would put the licence in jeopardy.
The licensee appeared before the Commission again on 17 February 1987. The station's own analyses indicated that, rather than returning to its Spoken Word/Education-oriented format, it had implemented a format based on popular music. No formal course material or Traditional and Special Interest music was being aired, and the station was airing conventional advertising, contrary to a condition of licence. As well, the station had moved its studios from Trois-Rivières to Cap-de-la-Madeleine without prior approval of the Commission. In the face of this high degree of non-compliance and the unwillingness of the licensee to make required changes to its programming, the Commission denied the renewal of CFCQ-FM's licence in Decision CRTC 87-l92. The station went off the air on 31 March 1987.
c) Non-Commercial, Educational FM band
The first Canada-United States FM Agreement signed in 1947 indicated that FM channels 201-220 (the 88-92 MHz portion of the FM band) had been designated for non-commercial, educational broadcasting in both countries. Stations that are either non-commercial or educational are allowed to operate within this sub-band. Therefore, FM stations licensed to the CBC or stations falling into the Commission's "Special FM" class of licence which are operated by non-profit corporations and have special advertising restrictions have been licensed to broadcast on these frequencies in Canada. However, such stations are not restricted to educational, non-commercial frequencies. Many CBC FM and Special FM stations also operate outside this part of the band.
One reason for this circumstance is that prior to 1980, relatively few non-commercial, educational FM channels were available in the Canadian FM Allotment Plan published by the Department of Communications, so that many stations which would qualify for these channels, could not find them readily available in the appropriate locations.
As well, the FM non-commercial, educational channels 201-220 occupy the frequency band 88-92 MHz and television channel 6 occupies the frequency band 88-92 MHz. Because of this proximity in frequencies, FM stations utilizing these channels can cause interference to the TV channel 6 signals. Therefore, some broadcasters are reluctant to use the non-commercial, educational FM channels available in areas where a television station operating on channel 6 is present. In addition, in some areas the non-commercial, educational FM channels are not available, in order to protect the signals of nearby TV channel 6 stations.
Ten questions were set out in the Public Notice to provide a focus for discussion. Responses to these questions will be considered under the following broad headings: programming, ownership and management structure, financial support, and technical.
a) Programming
Interveners suggested a wide variety of programming that would be appropriate for such stations. CJRT-FM suggested that a variety of credit and non-credit educational programs might be aired and that the overall programming on such stations should be distinct from that heard on commercial and public radio. The Canadian Association for Adult Education suggested that these stations could help to increase understanding of the country and its history and to help people develop the skills necessary to deal with the future. Specific program topics suggested included language training, science, banking, law and medicine.
There were two schools of thought expressed with respect to the amount of formal and informal educational programming that should be aired. Several interveners, including the CAB, suggested that a significant percentage of programming be educational. On the other hand, several interveners expressed concern about stations being required to meet fixed quotas with respect to programming that is strictly educational in nature. Indeed, one intervener expressed the opinion that these stations should be a laboratory for experimentation and innovation and should not be unduly restricted.
CIXX-FM, the only institutional station currently in operation, pointed out the high cost of producing formal educational programming and noted that its ability to produce such programming was restricted by the limited funding available.
Similarly, there was a divergence of opinion with respect to the levels of Foreground and Mosaic format programming that should be broadcast. However, no one suggested a level lower than those which commercial and other private stations must meet.
Several briefs made specific suggestions about the types of music that might be included in the programming of such stations. Suggestions ranged from opera, folk and jazz to ethnocultural music. La Société St-Jean Baptiste de la Mauricie suggested that such stations should exceed minimum levels of French-language and Canadian music, and rely less on "hit" music than commercial stations. The CAB stated that such stations should air "alternate" music while CBC believed that music should not be a major element in the programming of such stations.
Finally, the Governments of Ontario and Quebec and ACCESS expressed the view that programming decisions for provincial educational stations should be the responsibility of provincial educational authorities.
b) Ownership and Management Structure
Several briefs stated that Educational and Institutional stations should be licensed only to non-profit corporations. ACCESS stated that, for reasons of clarity, only stations licensed to provincial educational authorities should be referred to as Educational stations. Other stations offering educational programming should be classified differently. The CAB stressed that ownership of such undertakings should be readily identifiable and financially sound.
The briefs generally agreed that post-secondary institutions have a role to play in educational broadcasting. West Island Community Radio Inc. stated that 40% of programming aired by such stations should be supplied by post-secondary institutions. There appeared to be a consensus that Educational and Institutional stations should work cooperatively with educational institutions to develop programming.
c) Financial Support
The briefs generally endorsed the need for a broad base of support for these stations. Memberships, fund-raising campaigns, and corporate and public donations were suggested as means of funding. Several briefs also suggested government funding and tax incentives to assist Educational and Institutional radio.
There was a range of views with respect to commercial advertising. CJRT-FM and the CBC felt that commercial activity was not appropriate. Several briefs endorsed limited advertising, with the CAB suggesting that Educational and Institutional stations should be subject to the same advertising restrictions as student FM stations. However, La Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de la Mauricie and ACCESS believed that no special advertising restrictions be imposed.
d) Technical Considerations
The Public Notice asked for comments on whether Educational and Institutional stations should be licensed to use FM channels other than those reserved by the Department of Communications for educational, non-commercial broadcasting. The CAB and the CBC felt that the educational, non-commercial frequencies were the appropriate places for these stations. Other briefs stated that such stations should be allowed to occupy other frequencies when necessary. ACCESS pointed out that in some areas, the educational, non-commercial band was inappropriate for use because of potential interference with television stations operating on channel 6. They also noted that their service currently uses frequencies outside the educational, non-commercial sub-band and could see no reason to make a change.
Both the Government of Ontario and TVOntario believed that educational stations should have priority with respect to the assignment of frequencies.
a) Definitions
Currently Educational and Institutional stations, along with community radio, fall into the "Special FM" Class of Licence. The definitions now in use are as follows:
Special FM Licence
A special FM licence is an FM licence, other than a CBC FM licence, where the number, duration or kind of commercial messages that may be broadcast is restricted by a condition of licence.
The following kinds of special FM licences have been defined:
Educational: This station is controlled by an "independent corporation" as defined in the Direction to the CRTC issued as Order-in-Council P.C. 1972-1569, 13 July 1972 and broadcasts primarily educational programming of the type described in the Direction. (This Direction to the CRTC [Ineligibility to hold Broadcasting Licences] was revised in 1985 and issued as Order in Council P.C. 1985-2105.)
Institutional: This is a station, other than an educational station, which is owned or controlled by a non-profit organization associated with an institution of post-secondary education. [This includes "student FM" radio stations.]
Community: This station is characterized by its ownership, programming and the market it is called to serve. It is owned and controlled by a non-profit organization whose structure provides for membership, management, operation and programming primarily by members of the community at large.
Its programming should be based on community access and should reflect the interests and special needs of the listeners it is licensed to serve.
There are two problems with the current definitional scheme:
1. The definition of an Institutional station lumps student FM stations, for which the Commission already has a developed policy, with other types of Institutional stations for which a policy is being developed now. This lack of precision may be why some of those making submissions confused "Educational stations", which include only those operated by provincial independent corporations, with "Institutional stations" which choose to include some educational programming in their schedules.
2. No provision is made in the current definitions for stations such as CJRT-FM which are operated by non-profit organizations but are neither operated by provincial independent corporations nor associated with post-secondary institutions.
The Commission therefore proposes that three remedial changes be made to the definitions:
1. The category of "Educational" radio be changed to "Provincial Educational" radio for clarity.
2. The definition of an institutional station be rewritten as follows so that a distinction is made between student stations and other stations associated with institutions of post-secondary education.
Institutional: This is a station, other than a provincial educational station or student station, which is owned or controlled by a non-profit organization associated with an institution of post-secondary education.
Student: This is a station which is owned or controlled by a non-profit organization and has a structure providing for membership, direction, management, operation and programming primarily by students of the institution of post-secondary education with which it is associated.
3. Create the following new category of Special FM licence to be added to the existing list:
Other Special: A station owned or controlled by a non-profit organization that is not an Educational, Institutional, Student or Community station.
b) Programming and Advertising
The Commission proposes the following standards for programming and advertising on Provincial Educational, Institutional, and Other Special FM stations. These standards are designed to reinforce the Commission's past policy of attempting to ensure that private non-commercial radio provide a service that is distinct from that provided by other types of stations. However, an attempt has been made to make the guidelines as flexible as possible in the recognition that very few stations are involved and that the special nature of each station makes it necessary for the Commission to be able to respond to individual circumstances. Although the definitions make primary reference to FM radio, the Commission would apply the same policy guidelines to Provincial Educational, Institutional, and Other Special stations which operate on AM frequencies.
i) Provincial Educational Stations
Submissions to this review suggested a wide range of programming that could be appropriate for such stations. Provincial governments and provincial educational authorities generally requested maximum autonomy in determining program content on such stations. The Commission has the responsibility under the Act to assess programming proposals for such stations on a case-by-case basis as it does for television stations operated by independent corporations, using the Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility to Hold Broadcasting Licences), Order-in-Council P.C. 1985-2108 as a guide. The Direction generally states that the programming on such stations should be designed to furnish educational opportunities and be distinct from that available from CBC, commercial, and other private stations.
With respect to advertising, the Commission has shown considerable latitude with provincial educational television services. It would seem unfair to adopt a policy that would completely restrict advertising on Provincial Educational radio when it is allowed on educational television. On the other hand, a wide-open policy would not be within the letter or the spirit of the Special FM licence. Nor would it be fair to commercial broadcasters who do not have the benefit of direct government financing.
While it does not favour advertising as a primary funding mechanism for Provincial Educational stations, the Commission is willing to consider proposals for limited advertising on a case-by-case basis where the revenues would be used to supplement rather than replace the money received from provincial governments and other sources. Such limitations could be in terms of the amount of advertising, the frequency of advertising interruptions and scheduling or the nature of the advertising allowed.
ii) Institutional Stations
A broad policy that encourages the development of such stations to perform roles not filled by existing broadcasters would seem to be appropriate. The following guidelines are suggested, in addition to those rules generally applicable to all FM stations.
a) Such stations should exceed the minimal for Foreground and combined Foreground/Mosaic programming which Joint FM stations must meet.
b) The Commission considers it appropriate for these stations to include in their schedules some educational programming and programming developed in association with institutions of higher learning to which they may be affiliated.
c) Such stations should provide a range of music, including music which is not generally available from commercial stations operating in the market. Traditional and Special Interest music should be included in programming.
The Commission would be willing to consider limited advertising on such stations where the funds are used to supplement funding from other sources such as allocations from the associated institution. Such limitations could be in terms of the amount of advertising, the frequency of advertising interruptions, and the scheduling or nature of the advertising allowed.
iii) Other Special FM
The Commission suggests the following guidelines for programming on such stations:
a) The programming provided should be clearly complementary to, rather than imitative of, that provided by commercial broadcasters. Programming broadcast might include (but would not be limited to) Traditional and Special Interest music, formal and informal educational material, and presentations of live music.
b) Levels of Foreground, combined Foreground/Mosaic programming and Canadian content in music should exceed those expected of Joint FM stations. French-language stations should program a higher level of French-language music than commercial stations must meet. Conversely, levels of hit music should be below the limits that conventional stations must respect.
 Limited advertising will be considered on a case-by-case basis where it is a part of a plan that includes funding from a diversity of sources such as grants, fund-raising programs, memberships, etc. Such limitations could be in terms of the amount of advertising, the frequency of advertising interruptions, and the scheduling or nature of advertising allowed.
c) Use of the frequencies other than those reserved for educational, non-commercial broadcasting
The Commission strongly encourages the use of the non-commercial, educational FM channels by the Special FM stations in locations where they are available.
However, since these channels are not available in all locations and because of the potential impact on the reception of television channel 6 stations in many markets, and the limited number of stations involved, the Commission proposes to follow the same policy that it has for other types of Special FM licences and not restrict these stations to operating on particular FM frequencies.
The Commission invites public comments on this proposed policy, including any suggestions for its improvement. Comments should be submitted on or before 29 January 1988. Written comments should be addressed as follows: Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2. The Commission will decide if a public hearing is necessary after reviewing the comments received.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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