ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 94-736

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Ottawa, 13 September 1994
Decision CRTC 94-736
Radio CJFP (1986) Ltée
Rivière-du-Loup, Cabano, Trois-Pistoles and Pointe-de-Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec - 940129000
Conversion of CJFP to FM
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 20 June 1994, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for a French-language FM radio programming undertaking consisting of a new transmitter at Rivière-du-Loup on the frequency 103.7 MHz, channel 279C, with an effective radiated power of 60,000 watts, an associated transmitter at Pointe-de-Rivière-du-Loup on the frequency 93.9 MHz, channel 230LP, with an effective radiated power of 13.3 watts, and the existing transmitters of CJAF Cabano and CJTF-FM Trois-Pistoles.
Radio CJFP (1986) Ltée currently operates the radio programming undertaking consisting of CJFP Rivière-du-Loup and its transmitters CJAF Cabano, CJTF-FM Trois-Pistoles and CHRT Pohénégamook. The licensee indicated that when the new FM service is introduced, it will cease to operate the existing transmission facilities of CJFP and its transmitter CHRT Pohénégamook, but will continue to operate its CJAF Cabano and CJTF-FM Trois-Pistoles transmitters.
The Commission will issue a licence to Radio CJFP (1986) Ltée, expiring 31 August 2001, subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued, upon surrender of the current licence for CJFP Rivière-du-Loup.
In support of its application, Radio CJFP (1986) Ltée stated at the hearing that the conversion from the AM band to the FM band is essentially motivated by the fact that CJFP's technical equipment is obsolete and that it now wishes to offer the same broadcasting service it currently provides, but by putting into use certain FM transmission equipment it owns. It added that approval of its application would enable it to cease the operation of [TRANSLATION] "a retransmitter located at Pohénégamook which for five years has been the source of a dispute with a farmer operating a dairy farm near the site", that it would enable it [TRANSLATION] "to improve signal reception in the evening and afternoon during the winter for 70% of the population served by CJFP", and that the new station would cover much the same territory as currently reached by CJFP, namely [TRANSLATION] "the provincial counties of Rivière-du-Loup, Charlevoix and Kamouraska-Témiscouata".
Because the licensee also operates CIBM-FM Rivière-du-Loup, the Commission assessed this application in the light of its well established policy generally not to permit the common ownership of two undertakings of the same type serving the same market in the same language. In its assessment, the Commission took into account the special nature of the application, specifically the fact that the licensee already has technical facilities for FM transmission that are not being used, but has limited financial resources to upgrade its AM facilities. The Commission also gave consideration to the fact that the application submitted by the licensee would not have the effect of reducing the number of voices in the market.
Further, the Commission examined the question of the quality of the signal provided. Because of the power of the undertaking's current signal and the topography of the territory covered, the reception of CJFP's signal is either not possible or is of poor quality in some municipalities. Also, part of CJFP's audience living approximately 15 kilometres outside the city of Rivière-du-Loup has difficulty receiving a reliable signal at night, because of the reduced power under which the station must operate after sundown in order to protect other AM signals, resulting in a loss of audience of 70%. Use of the FM frequency will thus improve the night-time coverage of the station and enable listeners in the vicinity of Rivière-du-Loup to receive a better quality signal.
The Commission notes the licensee's statement at the hearing that operation of an additional transmitter at Pointe-de-Rivière-du-Loup is necessary in order to [TRANSLATION] "properly cover its central market" and "improve the quality of the signal in the territory it serves, without expanding it". After studying the technical parameters proposed by the licensee, including the coverage area of the new station, the Commission considers that the station will reach an audience similar to that of CJFP.
Radio Dégelis Inc., licensee of CFVD Dégelis, Radio Essipit/Haute Côte-Nord Inc., licensee of CHME-FM Les Escoumins, and Radio MF Charlevoix Inc., licensee of community radio station CIHO-FM Saint-Hilarion, filed interventions opposing the application by Radio CJFP (1986) Ltée. The interveners maintained that introducing a new FM station into the market could compromise their stations' viability, since it would further fragment an advertising base that is already limited. The Commission is satisfied with the licensee's response to those interventions to the effect that the application is aimed not at adding a further radio service to the Rivière-du-Loup market, but at converting to FM a service it is already operating.
However, since Radio CJFP (1986) Ltée is the sole owner of the local commercial stations in the Rivière-du-Loup market, the Commission wishes to ensure that there is diversity in the programming for the market. It accordingly places particlar importance on the licensee's statement at the hearing that [TRANSLATION] "it intends to maintain the same broad-based AM radio service currently provided by CJFP over the long term, but on the FM band". The licensee also stated that it is prepared to accept a condition of licence to that effect. To ensure that the station remains a primarily talk-oriented broad-based radio station, it is a condition of licence that the licensee broadcast a minimum weekly level of 50% of spoken word programming.
Given the foregoing, the Commission is persuaded that an exception to its policy is justified in this case, and that it is in the public interest.
The Commission reaffirms the particular importance it attaches to the development of Canadian talent and is satisfied with the annual budgets and the initiatives proposed by the licensee in this respect. It encourages the licensee, during the licence term, to continue its efforts towards the support, development and on-air exposure of local and regional talent.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee adhere to the guidelines on gender 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.
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled "Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy", the Commission announced that the employment equity practices of broadcasters would be subject to examination by the Commission. It encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.
The Department of Industry, Science and Technology (DIST) has advised the Commission that this application is conditionally technically acceptable, and that a Broadcasting Certificate will only be issued once it has been determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.
In accordance with subsection 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission will only issue the licence, and the authority granted herein may only be implemented, at such time as written notification is received from the DIST that its technical requirements have been met, and that a Broadcasting Certificate will be issued.
It is a condition of licence that construction of this undertaking be completed and that it be in operation within six months of the date of receipt of the DIST notification referred to in the preceding paragraph or, where the applicant applies to the Commission within this period and satisfies the Commission that it cannot complete implementation before the expiry of this period and that an extension is in the public interest, within such further periods of time as are approved in writing by the Commission.
The Commission notes the supporting interventions submitted by Paul Crête, member of Parliament, the towns of Cabano and Rivière-du-Loup, the Syndicat des travailleurs en communication du KRT (CSN), Communications communautaires des Portages and the Rivière-du-Loup Chamber of Commerce.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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