ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-18

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Ottawa, 18 January 1996
Decision CRTC 96-18
3152464 Manitoba Ltd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba - 950963900
Conversion of CKRC from AM to FM - Approved
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 18 September 1995, the Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language FM radio programming undertaking at Winnipeg on the frequency 99.9 MHz, channel 260C1, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts.
Subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2000. The new FM licence will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued. The licence term granted herein, while less than the maximum of seven years permitted under the Broadcasting Act, will enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence in accordance with the Commission's regional plan and to better distribute the workload within the Commission.
3152464 Manitoba Ltd., an independent broadcaster operating as Celtic Communications, acquired the assets of CKRC Winnipeg from Western World Communications Limited (Western World) following the Commission's approval of a previous application in Decision CRTC 95-28 dated 30 January 1995. In support of its present application, 3152464 Manitoba Ltd. argued that, while CKRC's financial situation has improved since its transfer of ownership, "the improvement was gained through a reduction in operating expenses and not through an increase in sales revenues". The applicant claimed that:
 CKRC's future viability looks bleak without a flip. We have done all that can be done, but without this flip we cannot achieve a level of profitability to ensure continued viability.
In its evaluation of this application, the Commission has taken into consideration the interventions submitted by other radio broadcasters operating in Manitoba. Specifically, the Commission has considered interventions submitted by Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. (Craig), licensee of CKMM-FM Winnipeg and CHMI-TV Portage la Prairie/Winnipeg, by Forvest Broadcasting Corporation (Forvest), licensee of CFQX-FM Selkirk, Manitoba, and by Westcom Radio Group Ltd. (Westcom), licensee of CJOB and CJKR-FM Winnipeg.
Craig and Forvest requested that 3152464 Manitoba Ltd.'s application be denied, claiming among other things, that the Winnipeg radio market is in a "precarious and fragile state". Moreover, they argued that 3152464 Manitoba Ltd. submitted this application too soon after CKRC's transfer of ownership from Western World.
In responding to these interveners' concerns, the applicant pointed out that converting CKRC to FM would not add a new station to the Winnipeg radio market. The applicant further stated that it submitted this application only following severe reductions in CKRC's staff and in its operating budget. The Commission is satisfied with the applicant's response to these interventions.
Initially, Westcom also opposed 3152464 Manitoba Ltd.'s application on the grounds that the conversion of CKRC from the AM to FM band would have a negative effect on its Winnipeg radio stations. At the hearing, however, Westcom advised the Commission that it had changed its position and that it now supported 3152464 Manitoba Ltd.'s application.
Having considered all of the evidence available to it, the Commission is satisfied that approval of 3152464 Manitoba Ltd.'s application to move CKRC to the FM band is unlikely to have a significant impact on other commercial stations operating in the Winnipeg radio market.
During the launch of the new FM station, the applicant proposed to simulcast programming on its current AM frequency and the proposed FM station for a period of ten months to inform listeners of the station's move to the FM band. While supporting 3152464 Manitoba Ltd.'s application to convert CKRC to an FM station, Westcom opposed the applicant's request to simulcast for ten months. Westcom claimed that allowing the applicant to simulcast for ten months would give it the opportunity to benefit from having an AM and FM station broadcasting the same programming, including advertising, on two separate stations in the same market. Instead, Westcom suggested a simulcast period of 60 days.
In previous applications involving similar AM to FM "flips", the Commission authorized simulcast periods of three to six months where there was no opposition to such a request. When questioned on this issue at the hearing, the applicant agreed to a simulcast period of three to six months. The Commission considers that a simulcast period of three months would allow the applicant adequate time to advise its listeners of CKRC's move to the FM band. Accordingly, the applicant is authorized, by condition of licence, to simulcast for a period of three months from the date of implementation. The applicant is required to surrender the current licence for CKRC at the end of that period.
The Commission reaffirms the particular importance it attaches to Canadian talent development. The Commission notes the applicant's commitment to maintain all of the unfulfilled benefits and Canadian talent development budgets approved in Decision CRTC 94-709 dated 29 August 1994. 3152464 Manitoba Ltd. inherited these commitments when it acquired the assets of CKRC (Decision CRTC 95-28). The applicant is reminded that, as outlined in Public Notice CRTC 1995-196, the Commission expects that, for the duration of their first licence term, licensees will adhere to the Canadian talent development commitments that they have made in the context of applications for new licences, including those involving moves from the AM to the FM band.
Section 10.1 of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the regulations) require licensees to own and operate their transmitters. The applicant advised the Commission, however, that it does not, at this time, have the financial resources required to acquire a new transmitter and that it, therefore, intends to lease the transmitter for its FM station. The Commission considers the applicant's proposal reasonable in the circumstances. Accordingly, the applicant is relieved, by condition of licence, from the requirement of section 10.1 of the regulations that it own and operate its transmitter. Of course, the Commission expects the applicant to retain, at all times, full control of its undertaking, including control of its programming transmission and scheduling.
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. In this regard, the Commission encourages the applicant to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.
It is a condition of licence that this station not be operated within the specialty format, as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1995-60, as amended from time to time by the Commission.
It is a condition of licence that the applicant 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 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.
This authority will only be effective and the licence will only be issued at such time as the applicant has concluded an agreement for leasing the transmitter and is prepared to commence operation. If such an agreement is not completed within twelve months of the date of this decision or, where the applicant applies to the Commission within this period and satisfies the Commission that it cannot complete arrangements for leasing the transmitter and commence operation before the expiry of this period and that an extension of time is in the public interest, within such further period of time as is approved in writing by the Commission, the licence will not be issued. The applicant is required to advise the Commission (before the expiry of the twelve-month period or any extension thereof) in writing, once it has completed an agreement for leasing the transmitter and is prepared to commence operation.
The Department of Industry 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 will only be granted at such time as written notification is received from the Department of Industry that its technical requirements have been met, and that a Broadcasting Certificate will be issued.
The Commission acknowledges the many interventions submitted in support of this application.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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