ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-225

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Ottawa, 14 June 1996
Decision CRTC 96-225
South Fraser Broadcasting Limited
Vancouver, British Columbia - 950231100
Use of SCMO channel - approved
Following a Public Hearing in Vancouver beginning on 27 February 1996, the Commission approves the application by South Fraser Broadcasting Limited (South Fraser) to amend the broadcasting licence for CKZZ-FM Vancouver, by adding a condition of licence authorizing the licensee to use a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel for the purpose of distributing a commercial Persian-language service. The programming would be provided by Radio Sedaye Iran Inc.
South Fraser indicated that a minimum of one hour of locally-produced programming will be offered each day at 9:00 a.m. and that this commitment will increase to two hours per day, when finances permit.
The Commission's policy regarding services using SCMO channels of FM stations is set out in CRTC Public Notice 1989-23 dated 23 March 1989. In its policy guidelines, the Commission indicated that it would monitor the development of SCMO services and would be concerned if such a service were to cause any undue negative impact on existing local broadcasting services.
In this regard, the Commission has taken into account the small size of the Iranian community and the limited amount of Persian-language programming currently provided, or proposed by any of the applicants for new FM services in the Vancouver market. The Commission is satisfied that the proposed SCMO service should not have any undue negative impact on existing local broadcasting services.
In assessing this application, the Commission has also considered twelve opposing interventions (including additional materials submitted after the date of the public hearing) in which the interveners expressed concerns regarding the political content of the programming and the potential divisive effect on the Iranian community.
In its response, South Fraser stated that it is "satisfied that Radio Sedaye Iran Inc. understands its regulatory obligations to the CRTC and that the group has the support of the Iranian community at large".
In its SCMO policy, the Commission addressed the possibility of abuse, which includes the potential of Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI)/SCMO for the distribution of partisan political comment, defamatory comment, racially intolerant programming, and divisive comment by narrow interest groups. In that notice, the Commission reiterated that the Broadcasting Act (the Act) continues to apply to VBI/SCMO services and that it fully expects its licensees to ensure that their VBI/SCMO services are operated in a responsible manner.
In this regard, the Commission also notes that the licensee has a contract with Radio Sedaye Iran Inc. which requires adherence to Canadian laws and CRTC regulations. The Commission expects South Fraser to ensure adherence to such requirements at all times and, if necessary, in accordance with the contract, to discontinue carriage of the SCMO service, if these requirements are not met. The Commission expects the programming provided by this SCMO service to be "varied and comprehensive, providing a balance of information, enlightenment and entertainment", and "provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern", in accordance with the Act.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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