ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 90-1061

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Ottawa, 16 October 1990
Decision CRTC 90-1061
CIBM-FM Mont Bleu Ltée
Edmundston, New Brunswick- 900499500
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 11 June 1990, the Commission denies the application for a licence to carry on a French-language FM radio transmitting undertaking at Edmundston to rebroadcast the programming of CIBM-FM Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec.
The applicant proposed to establish a rebroadcaster with an effective radiated power of 4 watts to improve reception of the CIBM-FM signal in Edmundston and the immediate area. While the applicant did not plan to produce programs locally, it stated that three or four reports per week produced in Edmundston by a stringer, and a regular socio-cultural program focusing on the city of Edmundston, could be incorporated into the CIBM-FM program schedule. It also proposed to solicit local advertising as soon as the station begins operations.
In denying this application, the Commission took into account the capacity of the Edmundston market to support a new French-language radio service at this time without adversely affecting currently authorized radio services. It also took into account the very limited degree to which the musical programming of CIBM-FM would complement existing services, and the modest extent to which the applicant proposes to involve itself in the local community.
Local French-language radio services in the city of Edmundston include CJEM, a private AM station that has been in operation for several years, and a rebroadcaster of the CBC station CBAF Moncton. In 1989 (Decision CRTC 89-47), the Commission also licensed the French-language community radio station CFAI-FM, which is to begin operation in Edmundston shortly, broadcasting in Edmundston in conjunction with two other community radio stations authorized at the same time to serve Grand Falls and Saint-Quentin.
The Commission received six interventions in opposition to this application. Four opposing intervenors appeared at the Public Hearing, including Radio Edmundston Limitée, licensee of CJEM; the Syndicat des Communications de la République du Madawaska, CJEM (CSN); La Coopérative des Montagnes Limitée, licensee for the three community radio stations mentioned above; and Radio Dégelis Inc., licensee of CFVD Dégelis, Quebec. The Fédération des jeunes Canadiens français Inc. and Michel Gagné, an Edmundston city councillor, registered their opposition in writing.
These intervenors argued that the economy of the Edmundston area is fragile, and the economic slump has caused many recent layoffs. They submitted that it is not appropriate to introduce a new radio service in Edmundston at this time, considering the present weakness of the market. The Commission notes that this argument finds support in the latest economic forecasts of the Conference Board of Canada, which predicts that the Edmundston area economy will remain sluggish for the next few years.
In their interventions, La Coopérative des Montagnes Limitée and the Fédération des jeunes Canadiens français Inc. also stated that, if this application is approved, it could have a negative impact on the successful establishment of the three community radio stations authorized to serve this area. The intervenors noted that, as had been emphasized in Decision CRTC 89-47, the interdependence of the three stations is vital to the success of that entire project; moreover, that the financial health of the stations is fundamentally dependent upon the potential of the Edmundston area to generate advertising revenue, this being greater than the potential of the Grand Falls and Saint-Quentin markets.
The Commission recognises that there are few French-language services available in this part of New-Brunswick. However, based on all of the evidence before it, the Commission considers that any further fragmentation of the advertising base of the Edmundston market at this time could jeopardize the implementation of CFAI-FM and, consequently, compromise the proposal of the three community radio stations to operate simultaneously, a requirement imposed by the Commission on the Edmundston community station by condition of licence.
The Commission also considered the applicant's argument that the complementarity of CIBM-FM's musical programming would repatriate a significant portion of listening to American radio stations by those in the 18-34 age group, and that the impact of the proposed undertaking on the existing Edmundston stations would be less than projected by the intervenors. The Commission, however, is not convinced that CIBM-FM's adult contemporary sound is truly distinct from and complementary to that of CJEM. Moreover, it considers that the US stations, one in particular which broadcasts a harder rock sound, would continue to be much more appealing to the 18-34 audience.
With regard to the modest extent to which the proposed station would involve itself in the local community, the Commission notes the applicant's statement at the hearing that local service could eventually be enhanced, provided that actual revenues substantially exceed the station's projected performance. However, despite the applicant's forecast that the proposed station would make a profit in the first year of operation, it did not make any specific commitments in the area of local service.
The Commission received 47 letters from local merchants in favour of this application, including a petition containing 716 signatures.
Alain-F. Desfossés
Secretary General

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