ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1989-30

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 14 April 1989
Public Notice CRTC 1989-30
In January 1975, following an extensive public process, the Commission issued a comprehensive policy for FM Radio entitled FM Radio In Canada. This policy included a number of specific measures designed to ensure that FM stations provided Canadians with high quality radio service and that they added to the diversity of services available by providing programming different in style and substance from that broadcast on AM stations. The Commission also developed a detailed Promise of Performance for FM stations to ensure that the program service provided by new stations would be complementary to that provided by existing stations.
Adjustments to the Commission's FM policy were made in April 1979 with the publication of the Public Announcement, Implementation of the FM Policy and in Public Notice CRTC 1983-43 entitled A Review of Radio. A few additional modifications were made by the Commission followiong a 1986 review of its radio regulations. In the Public Notice which accompanied the new regulations (CRTC 1986-248) the Commission indicated that, in two years' time, it planned to review its policy restricting the level of hits on FM stations to less than 50% of all popular music selections broadcast. This two-year period has now expired.
Since 1975 the Commission has conducted reviews of its policies for community radio (The Review of Community Radio, Public Notice CRTC 1985-194) and educational and institutional radio (Educational and Institutional Radio -- Adoption of the Proposed Policy, Public Notice CRTC 1988-78). As well, a policy for radio stations broadcasting ethnic programming was set out in Public Notice CRTC 1985-139, A Broadcasting Policy Reflecting Canada's Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. There has not, however, been a comprehensive review of the FM policy since it was released in 1975, particularly as it applies to commercial stations. The Commission considers that such a review is now appropriate to ensure that the policy responds to evolutionary changes which have taken place in the radio industry since 1975 and that it is in line with the Commission's goal of streamlining regulations and policies to ensure the retention of only those initiatives essential to the implementation of the goals set out in the Broadcasting Act. The Commission will also want to be satisfied that any policy revisions serve to ensure the continued viability of both AM and FM radio.
There are a number of factors that the Commission has taken into account in developing the timetable for a policy review. First, the Commission has received applications to establish new FM stations in a number of communities. It recognizes the considerable resources required to develop such applications and the desire of many residents in these communities for expanded service. It therefore considers that these applications should be dealt with expeditiously.
Second, the licences of 162 FM stations will expire in 1990. The Commission is concerned that, if a policy review were to be held immediately following the renewals, licensees who had just completed the renewal process might then be subjected to the added workload of submitting revised programming proposals to accommodate any revisions to the FM policy that might be adopted. Similarly, the workload would be increased for both licensees and the Commission if applications for new stations in numerous markets, all FM renewal applications, as well as proposals for a major policy review were to be considered simultaneously.
Having taken these factors into consideration, the Commission has decided to proceed as follows:
1. The Commission will process all applications for licences for new FM stations received up to and including the date of this notice. Calls for competing applications arising from applications so received will be issued and complete applications will be scheduled for public hearings.
2. Consideration of those applications for licences for new FM stations received after the date of this notice will be postponed until after the completion of the policy review. The Commission will, however, process applications for changes in ownership of existing stations.
3. To allow for the review of the FM policy, the Commission proposes to renew administratively, for a  period of two years, the licences of most joint and independent FM stations expiring in 1990.
 A complete list of these stations will be published at a later date. Consideration of the licence renewals for those joint and independent commercial FM stations which received less than a full-term renewal or those with serious compliance problems will not be delayed.
4. Consideration of the licence renewals for student, community or other stations falling into the Special FM class will proceed as usual.
5. The Commission plans to issue a draft FM policy for public comment this fall. The policy will most likely be considered at a public hearing in the summer of 1990. The Commission intends that the final policy will be published by the end of 1990 in order that those FM stations whose licences have been renewed administratively will have ample time to prepare for renewal hearing which will be held in 1991.
The Commission considers that this timetable will allow adequate time for a thorough review of its FM policy while not unduly delaying applications to provide new FM services to a number of markets.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General

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