ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 89-546

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Ottawa, 4 August 1989
Decision CRTC 89-546
CHUM Limited
Barrie, Parry Sound, Huntsville and Bala, Ontario - 881020200 - 883084600 - 883093700 - 883096000 - 883094500 - 883095200
Following a Public Hearing in Toronto commencing 13 March 1989, the Commission renews the broadcasting licences for CKVR-TV Barrie, CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound and CKVR-TV-2 Huntsville from 1 September 1989 to 31 August 1994, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licences to be issued.
It is a condition of each licence that the licensee operate the broadcasting undertaking as an affiliate of the English-language television network operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
CHUM Limited (CHUM), a public company effectively controlled by Mr. Allan F. Waters of Toronto, is the licensee of numerous other radio and television stations across Canada, including radio stations CHUM and CHUM-FM Toronto and CITY-TV Toronto and its rebroadcaster in Woodstock, Ontario. It is also the licensee of the Toronto-based English-language specialty music service, MuchMusic, and owns 50% of MusiquePlus, the French-language specialty music service. At the Toronto hearing, the Commission considered a second, alternate group of applications by CHUM for the renewal of the licences for CKVR-TV Barrie and its Parry Sound rebroadcaster. These, however, were predicated upon deletion of the condition of licence requiring that CHUM operate the two undertakings as CBC affiliates. Also included with the alternate set of applications were requests by CHUM for licences to carry on new broadcasting transmitting undertakings at Barrie and Bala and to operate these, together with the existing Huntsville undertaking, as affiliates of the CBC English-language television network.
The scheduling of these applications was announced in Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1989-1 dated 13 January 1989. In its notice, the Commission emphasized that it would want to review with CHUM specific commitments to ensure the primary service area of CKVR-TV did not include the metropolitan area of Toronto.
CKVR-TV Barrie has been operated as a CBC affiliate since 1955; its rebroadcasters at Parry Sound and Huntsville were established in 1962 and 1964 respectively.
At the hearing, CHUM advised that its proposal for the disaffiliation of CKVR-TV from the CBC was submitted at the request of the Corporation. The Commission notes that CHUM's plan to operate transmitters at Barrie, Bala and Huntsville to broadcast the CBC's complete English-language network schedule appears to be consistent with the objective set out in Decision CRTC 87-140. In that decision, which renewed the CBC's television network licences, the Commission stated that the CBC should pursue, as a long-term objective, the extension of full CBC network service to all communities through the eventual replacement of all of its affiliated stations. At the same time, the Commission acknowledged that:
 ... disaffiliation could seriously threaten the financial viability of some affiliates who would not have the resources to continue to broadcast as independent services. In the Commission's view, one method of resolving this dilemma would be for certain of the private CBC affiliates to become "twin-stick" operators.
Although CHUM's twin-stick proposal would be an effective means of extending full CBC service to the areas in question, the Commission, for the reasons set out below, denies the alternate set of applications identified above.
The combined service area of the existing Barrie, Parry Sound and Huntsville undertakings, as defined by the Commission in its decisions over the years, includes the counties of Simcoe, Muskoka, Haliburton, Parry Sound, Dufferin and Victoria, as well as the Regional Municipality of York. As stated by the licensee, and as quoted in renewal Decision CRTC 81-891:
 Our role is to provide the television service to a broad area of central Ontario and to provide the only local program service to that region.  Essentially, this responsibility has not changed since 1955 when we began .... CKVR's primary service area does not include the metropolitan area of Toronto.
CHUM stated that its proposal for disaffiliation "contemplated no changes in coverage, channel or primary service area". The licensee argued that the proposed independent service "will not only maintain, but will enhance the local and regional focus of the station". In this regard, it noted that the amount of local program production on a new, independent CKVR-TV would be a minimum average of 17 hours per week, compared to the 13 hours 55 minutes specified in the current Promise of Performance. News programming would account for much of the increased local production.
While stressing that the central- Ontario character and orientation of CKVR-TV would be maintained, the licensee left no doubt that the viability of the proposed service would depend upon its distribution as a priority service on Toronto cable systems. CHUM requested that the service be distributed, if not on the basic band (channels 2 to 13), then at least no higher than channel 15.
The Commission has considered the arguments put forward by CHUM in support of its applications to disaffiliate CKVR-TV from the CBC, including the licensee's assurances that the local focus of CKVR-TV would not be diminished. The maintenance of this focus is of particular importance to the Commission given that CKVR-TV is the principal television station providing local programming to viewers in Barrie, Parry Sound, Huntsville and surrounding areas.
In the applications requesting authority to operate CKVR-TV Barrie and CKVR-TV-1 Huntsville as independent television stations, CHUM proposed to launch a new service featuring "documentary-entertainment programming highlighting the areas of nature, science and technology, history, travel, countries and people and human adventure". CHUM proposed to offer more than sixty hours per week of such programming. Although most of this program material would have been acquired, particularly in the early years of operation, CHUM indicated plans to become involved in the production of "fresh new documentaries produced from a Canadian perspective".
At the Toronto hearing, CKVR-TV's general manager, Mr. Ron Waters, agreed that the proposed independent television service, with its pronounced emphasis on documentary programs, would be not unlike a specialty programming service:
 Yes, it's very similar to a specialty channel; it's narrowcast and we think we can carve a [niche] out for ourselves in that format.
The Commission has weighed all of the potential consequences of approval of this proposal, including the extension of the full CBC English-language television network service to the areas presently served by CKVR-TV and its rebroadcasters.
Based on the evidence before it, in particular the narrowcast format proposed, the fact that enhanced local production would consist primarily of additional news programming, and the extent to which, according to the licensee, the viability of the service proposed would depend upon priority cable carriage in Metropolitan Toronto for audiences and advertising revenues, the Commission considers that the central Ontario audience now served by CKVR-TV would not be as well served by the proposed independent television service offering a limited range of programming. Further, the application indicated that, as an independent service, CKVR-TV proposed to offer program fare that would be an alternative to viewers in the greater Toronto metropolitan area. For this reason, the Commission is of the view that CKVR-TV could not operate as an independent station serving the Barrie area without compromising the station's local orientation. In the Commission's view, this concern outweighs the benefits associated with the extension of full CBC network service to the areas in question.
The Commission has also noted that the financial projections filed with the application indicate that as an independent service, CKVR-TV expected that it would significantly increase its local advertising revenues and noted that a significant portion of these revenues would be derived from the Toronto market. Further, CHUM would also retain the revenues obtained from local advertisements placed on the full-service CBC stations at Barrie, Bala and Huntsville, giving the licensee two and a half times as many commercial availabilities as it currently has as a CBC affiliate.
At the hearing, the Commission questioned CHUM on the proposed programming to be offered by CKVR-TV and on its other plans should the station be required to continue to operate as a CBC affiliate. CHUM replied that its first order of business would be "... to go back to the table with the CBC and renegotiate our agreement with them". The Commission expects CHUM to file a signed copy of the affiliation agreement it negotiates with the CBC.
The Commission considers that CKVR-TV's performance as a CBC affiliate over the current licence term has been fully satisfactory. The licensee has consistently exceeded its commitments, both with respect to Canadian content and local program production. As noted by CHUM at the hearing "we would view these numbers in our Promise of Performance as being minimums and not maximums or penalties".
The Commission has reviewed CHUM's programming proposals and commitments and, on the whole, considers these to be commensurate with the licensee's financial and otherresources. Accordingly, the Commission is satisfied that the licences for CKVR-TV and its rebroadcasters should be renewed for a full term. For the new licence term, CHUM has made a commitment to schedule a minimum average of 14 hours 5 minutes per week of original local production. The Commission expects the licensee to abide by this commitment.
In the area of news, CKVR-TV currently produces an average of 8 hours 10 minutes of such programming per week. CHUM noted that, since 1981, the number of news staff at CKVR-TV has increased by 50%: "There are 22 people in the news operation and that would not change if we were given a direct renewal [as a CBC affiliate]". The new Promise of Performance also indicates that the current level of local news will be maintained.
Further, CHUM confirmed that it would continue to produce an average of 10 episodes per year of the public affairs program "Close-Up" featuring in-depth examinations of matters of local concern, in addition to a minimum of six documentary specials each year.
Among other intentions, CHUM indicated plans to continue to produce such locally-produced information programs as "Ag Weekend", a Sunday afternoon program focusing on the local agricultural community; "You're Getting Better", a half-hour magazine for those 50 years of age and older; "Ski Base", a sports program offering ski tips and coverage of various ski resort destinations; "Focal Point", a studio forum program produced three times a season; and "Good Company" a daily regional information program. Future program plans include "WomenSport", featuring women in professional and amateur sport and produced in association with an independent producer. As part of its future program strategy, CHUM stated that it would pursue increased syndication opportunities for such programs as "WomenSport", "Ski Base" and "You're Getting Better".
Since 1982 CKVR-TV has produced four drama programs, all written and directed locally and featuring local talent. The licensee stated that its future involvement in drama programming will take the form of participation with other broadcasters in co-operative productions. In this regard, CHUM noted its current involvement with other Canadian television licensees in the production of "Chestnut Avenue", a new drama series which is also supported by Telefilm Canada.
CHUM proposed a program development commitment of $61,000 over five years. The licensee has not identified what program categories would be allocated funds from this budget, indicating a preference for assessing individual projects on their merits. The Commission expects CHUM to abide by its commitment in respect of program development funding, and draws the licensee's attention to the funding guidelines set out inPublic Notice CRTC 1989-27 dated 6 April 1989, which introduced licence renewal decisions for most television stations across Canada. CHUM's new Promise of Performance contains no commitments for the scheduling of any local variety or music and dance programming on a regular weekly basis. Nor has CHUM proposed any regularly-scheduled locally-produced programming directed to children. The Commission encourages the licensee to make efforts to produce local programs in these categories in order to serve the needs and interests of all segments of its local viewing audience. CHUM suggested that its "commitment to Canadian music and entertainment can best be judged by our past and present performance". The Commission notes in this regard, that 12.5 hours of local music specials were broadcast in 1987/88, and a further 13.5 hours of such specials were planned for the current broadcast year. In each year, however, the annual Easter Seal Telethon accounted for 10 hours of this programming.
According to the financial projections provided with the applications for the licence renewal of CKVR-TV and its rebroadcasters as CBC affiliates, the licensee will expend $2,565,000 on Canadian programming in the first year of the new licence term. As stated in Public Notice CRTC 1989-27, the Commission expects licensees of television stations that earned less than $10 million in total advertising revenues in 1987/ 88 to adhere to their projected first-year expenditures and to adjust such expenditures in subsequent years in accordance with the prescribed formula, which is linked to station advertising revenues. The Commission is satisfied that this approach offers a reasonable and fair means of ensuring that the Canadian program expenditures of each station keep pace with changes in its revenue. Accordingly, inasmuch as CKVR-TV's advertising revenues in 1987/88 were less than $10 million, this expectation applies in respect of this station.
The Commission commends the licensee on its exemplary performance with respect to the issues of sex-role stereotyping and violence. CKVR-TV has a number of mechanisms in place to guard against sex-role stereotyping and depictions of gratuitous violence in the programs it broadcasts.
As a service to its deaf and hearing-impaired viewers, CKVR-TV has installed a telephone device for the deaf (TDD) in the office of the station's operations co-ordinator and indicated that the closed captioning of programs being broadcast is monitored constantly from the master control room.
Although CKVR-TV has not closed captioned any of its local programming in the past, it made a commitment to have captions produced for future episodes of its magazine program "Close-Up". The licensee stated that it hoped to proceed inthe very near future with the computerization of its newsroom which, in turn, would permit the captioning of local news. CHUM added that it has contacted a company that produces software programs for use by television stations in captioning news programming:
  [They]... in turn, will be preparing a full report for us to evaluate. I can assure you that we will evaluate it in the context of the discussions we have had [at the Toronto Public Hearing].
The Commission expects CHUM to provide it with the results of this evaluation within one year of the date of this decision. Further, the Commission expects the licensee, as a minimum, to furnish closed captions of the headlines and appropriate scripted portions of its early evening newscasts within the new licence term.
It is a condition of each licence that the licensee adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) self-regulatory guidelines on sex-role stereotyping, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
It is also a condition of each licence that the licensee adhere to the provisions of the CAB's Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
In renewing this licence, the Commission also authorizes the licensee to make use of the Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation. The Commission expects the licenseeto adhere to the guidelines set out in Appendix A to Public Notice CRTC 1989-23 dated 23 March 1989 entitled Services Using the Vertical Blanking Interval (Television) or Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (FM). The Commission acknowledges the considerable support for the licence renewal and proposed disaffiliation of CKVR-TV from the CBC, as expressed in interventions submitted by the CBC itself and by some 25 other interested groups and individuals. In reaching its decision, the Commission has also taken into account the views of Ontario Closed Caption Consumers Inc., the Canadian Association of the Deaf and Rogers Cablesystems Inc. Further, the Commission has taken note of the objections of Global Communications Limited, Magna International Inc. and Multilingual Television (Toronto) Limited to CHUM's applications for disaffiliation from the CBC.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General

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