ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 92-588

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Ottawa, 19 August 1992
Decision CRTC 92-588
Les Entreprises de Radiodiffusion de la Capitale Inc.
Quebec City, Quebec - 912901600
Following a Public Hearing in Quebec City beginning on 19 May 1992, the Commission renews the broadcasting licence for CHRC Quebec City from 1 September 1992 to 31 August 1996 subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued. This term will enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence at the same time as that of other radio stations in the area.
For the reasons outlined below, the Commission also grants the licensee's request to delete conditions of licence numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4, which were attached to CHRC's licence pursuant to Decision CRTC 91-434 dated 8 July 1991. These four conditions were substantially the same as those included in CHRC's previous renewal decision dated 20 August 1990 (CRTC 90-772).
In the decisions noted above, the Commission renewed CHRC's licence for a period of only one year because it still had some concerns about the station's open-line programs. In view of the licensee's record of non-compliance in this area, the Commission renewed CHRC's licence subject to the four conditions of licence mentioned in the previous paragraph. At the hearing in May 1992, the Commission reviewed with the licensee its performance over the current licence term in meeting the requirements set out in CHRC's licence as well as its plans and commitments for the future.
At the hearing, the licensee stated that it is [TRANSLATION] "in compliance in all respects with each and every condition of licence".
With regard to condition of licence number 1 relating to the retention of logger tapes for six months, the Commission asked the licensee, on 5 March 1992, to provide the logger tapes for the programming broadcast on 4 November 1991, 11 December 1991, and 24 January 1992. The licensee submitted these tapes to the Commission, as requested.
Regarding condition of licence number 2 concerning court judgments and out-of-court settlements, the licensee filed with the Commission, on 4 September and 20 November 1991, the information requested pertaining to two cases still pending. The licensee also confirmed at the hearing that no further cases of this kind had arisen since 1 September 1991, and it made a commitment to inform the Commission of all future judgments and out-of-court settlements.
The licensee confirmed at the hearing that it was adhering to condition of licence number 3 regarding the guidelines approved by the Commission in its letter dated 15 November 1990. In addition, the licensee indicated that, since 1989, it has received only 14 requests for copies of these guidelines, including six since 1 September 1991. It committed to continue to provide a copy of the guidelines to any interested party on request.
At the hearing, the licensee also confirmed that it was observing condition of licence number 4 requiring it to broadcast a message before the start of its 8 a.m. open-line program. The Commission also notes that, according to its review of the logger tapes referred to above, the licensee had complied with this requirement. The Commission notes the status of the complaints received during the current licence term concerning CHRC's programming, as discussed at the hearing.
Moreover, the Commission notes that the licensee reiterated at the hearing several commitments designed to guard against the inherent risks of open-line programs, commitments that were set out in renewal Decisions CRTC 91-434, 90-772 and 88-888. These commitments relate to the tightening of programming controls and the enhancement of the information element of the station, as well as the assignment of teams of researchers and specialists to improve the quality of CHRC's open-line programs, and the supervision of the hosts of these programs to ensure a spirit of objectivity and respect for the public.
Having considered all of the evidence in the application and the licensee's statements and commitments made at the hearing, the Commission is satisfied that the licensee is aware of the Commission's concerns relating to open-line programs and that the licensee has justified the deletion of conditions of licence numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 currently attached to CHRC's licence.
In approving the deletion of these conditions the Commission accorded particular importance to the unequivocal commitment made by the licensee at the hearing to adhere to its own guidelines for open-line programming, which contain the following paragraph:
All persons mentioned on the air, whether they are present in the studio or not, are to be treated by the interveners and the host with the basic respect owed to such persons in a free and democratic society. The Commission considers that every person has the right to the protection of his or her dignity, honour and reputation. At the same time, the Commission reaffirms the primary importance it places on protecting the essential value of freedom of expression. However, in view of the concerns which it outlined in Public Notice CRTC 1988-213 regarding open-line programs and CHRC's record in this area, the Commission reiterates that all broadcasters must observe the requirements relating to a high standard and balance in programming as provided in paragraphs 3(1)(g) and (i) of the Broadcasting Act.
At the hearing, the licensee stressed that it had continued working on its information programming over the course of the current licence term. CHRC now broadcasts two major prime-time newscasts in the 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. time slots Monday to Friday, as well as a news and public affairs program from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. The station also broadcasts a 90-minute entertainment news program from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and 10 hours a week of special interest news programming. In addition, from Monday to Friday, CHRC has a major sports report from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., and two sports magazine programs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to midnight. The licensee stated that it has allocated a budget of over $750,000 a year on news programming and $430,000 on sports information.
Two interventions were presented at the hearing: the first by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Provincial Council for the Communications Sector, and the second by the Syndicat des employés de CFCM-TV et CKMI-TV and the Association des réalisateurs de Télé-Capitale. The interveners expressed concern about the lack of local newscasts on CHRC after 6 p.m. on weekdays and after 2 p.m. on weekends. In response, the licensee stated that a journalist is always available during these periods and can report any important event. The licensee added that local inserts can be made during the 10 p.m. to-midnight sports program on weeknights and during local programming on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
The Commission reaffirms the particular importance it attaches to the development of Canadian talent and has noted the level of commitment proposed by the licensee in this area, in light of the station's financial situation.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee adhere to the guidelines on sex-role portrayal set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming, 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.
The Commission acknowledges the intervention submitted by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in support of CHRC's licence renewal, as well as the supporting intervention by Madeleine Donais, who also supported the licensee's request regarding its conditions of licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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