ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 89-496

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Ottawa, 21 July 1989
Decision CRTC 89-496
Télémédia Communications Inc.
Sherbrooke, Quebec - 883428500
Following a Public Hearing in Quebec City on 13 March 1989, the Commission renews the broadcasting licence for CKTS Sherbrooke from 1 September 1989 to 31 August 1994, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
In Decision CRTC 87-788 dated 24 September 1987, the Commission renewed the licence for CKTS for a period of only eighteen months in order to assess the licensee's compliance with the provisions of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the regulations) in respect of the Canadian content of musical selections. The Commission's analysis revealed that the station was in compliance with these regulatory requirements.
Since the last renewal of CKTS's licence in 1987, complaints were received concerning the on-air use of French on this English-language station, particularly the broadcasting of commercial messages in French. For this reason, the Commission conducted an analysis of this element of the station's programming. With respect to the programming broadcast on 14 September 1988, the Commission found that an average of 3 to 4 minutes per hour of French-language or bilingual commercial messages were broadcast. The Commission points out that the licensee's current Promise of Performance as well as that proposed for the new licence term indicate that all CKTS broadcasts are in English.
At the hearing, the licensee contended that CKTS is in a unique situation in this regard since this is the only privately-owned English-language station in the province of Quebec outside Montreal and the only English-language local radio service in the Eastern Townships. It also pointed out that the anglophone population of the region had declined considerably in recent years, decreasing from approximately 40% of the total population in the late 1950s to less than 10% today. As a result, 75% of CKTS's listeners are francophone. According to the licensee, the possibility of broadcasting commercial messages in French is thus very important for CKTS.
The licensee further stated in this regard that it has a policy that its announcers not use French and at the hearing it reiterated its firm resolve to honour this commitment. Moreover, with respect to advertising, the licensee indicated that it had established a policy several years ago to broadcast advertising in English [TRANSLATION] "unless the client expressly demands that it be broadcast in French". It then suggested rotating commercial messages such that approximately 60% to 70% would be in French with the remainder in English. The Commission notes that at the 1987 public hearing at which the previous licence renewal application for this station was considered, the Commission had expressed concern about this English-language station's on-air use of French. The Commission also notes that over the years there has been a gradual increase in the amount of French-language advertising broadcast on CKTS and that, according to the licensee's statement at the recent public hearing, about 70% of its commercial messages are in French. As stated above, the Commission notes that complaints in this regard were first made following the last renewal of CKTS's licence in 1987. In addition, concerning the current application, the Commission received a written intervention from Radiomutuel Inc., licensee of CJRS Sherbrooke and CIMO-FM Magog, objecting to CKTS broadcasting French-language commercial messages both because this runs counter to the station's licence and because it is prejudicial to the two French-language stations that the intervener operates in the same market.
Having considered all of the above, in particular the fact that the licensee has substantial resources at its disposal and operates two other radio stations in Sherbrooke, namely CITE-FM-1 and CHLT; the fact that this market is very well served in terms of local French-language radio stations; the fact that the primary role of CKTS is to serve the anglophone audience in the Sherbrooke area; as well as the fact that CKTS's new Promise of Performance includes a commitment to broadcast totally in English, the Commission requires the licensee, by condition of licence, not to broadcast any French-language commercial messages on CKTS. Further, the Commission will not authorize any other on-air use of French by this station, with the exception of proper names or expressions, quotations, words or phrases in common use in the English language. In line with this, the Commission has decided not to reimpose the condition of licence requiring the station to broadcast a minimum of 5% French-language vocal music.
At the hearing, the Commission also discussed with the licensee its proposal to reduce substantially the amount of spoken word programming from 8.6% to 4.4%. The Commission noted in particular that newscasts would be reduced by 1 hour 30 minutes per week and that no local and regional newscasts would be broadcast during the afternoon.
The licensee explained that the decrease in spoken word content is due mainly to the reduced length of its newscasts. In order to improve its news and information efforts on weekday mornings, it deleted its 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. newscasts and reduced its weekend news coverage. Further, in an effort to improve its news service at the local level, the licensee discontinued the Broadcast News service and allocated the related costs to its newsroom. The licensee specified that these measures had enabled it to make better use of its full-time journalist and that it had recently hired a part-time journalist. While acknowledging that there had been a quantitative reduction in its news broadcasts, the licensee added "we have greatly improved the quality of our local news coverage". The Commission reminds the licensee of the importance it attaches to the role radio stations perform at the local level and considers that the currently authorized 8.6% spoken word level represents an absolute minimum in terms of basic service to the community, particularly in view of the resources available to the licensee. Accordingly, the Commission denies the licensee's request and requires it, by condition of licence, to maintain a minimum of 10 hours 45 minutes of spoken word programming per week. In addition, the Commission expects the licensee to ensure that its newscasts are scheduled in an appropriate manner, in particular in the afternoons, and to provide an adequate level of surveillance information.
The Commission reaffirms the importance it attaches to the development of Canadian talent and notes the licensee's commitment to contribute $1,000 per year to Musicaction. The licensee also committed to allocate $30,600 annually in indirect expenses for, among other things, the production of two program series: "Battle of New Music", a program that will present two new records each day which will be evaluated by listener phone calls; and "Countdown Canada", a weekly selection of the most popular Canadian musical selections. It will broadcast "Street Corner", a weekly syndicated program of music and interviews with Canadian artists, and continue its "Project 900", through which CKTS provides Canadian artists with free publicity. The Commission encourages the licensee to continue these efforts during the new licence term. It is a condition of licence that the licensee adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters's (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 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.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General

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