ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-226

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Ottawa, 14 June 1996
Decision CRTC 96-226
Radio Communautaire de Châteauguay inc.
Châteauguay, Quebec - 951574300
Licence renewal; Issuance of a Mandatory Order
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 15 April 1996, the Commission renews the broadcasting licence for the type B community radio programming undertaking, CHAI-FM Châteauguay, from 1 September 1996 to 31 August 1998, subject to the conditions in effect under the current licence, as well as to those conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued. This short-term licence renewal will enable the Commission to review, at an early date, the licensee's performance in view of the Commission's serious concerns discussed in this decision.
In Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1996-2 dated 16 February 1996, the Commission called Radio Communautaire de Châteauguay inc. to appear at the April 1996 hearing to discuss its apparent non-compliance with subsections 8(5) and 8(6) of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the regulations) which require each licensee to retain, for a period of at least four weeks from the date of broadcast, and to furnish to the Commission, upon request, "a clear and intelligible tape recording or other exact copy of all matter broadcast."
The Commission advised the licensee that it would be expected to show cause at the hearing why the Commission should not issue a mandatory order requiring the licensee to comply with subsections 8(5) and 8(6) of the regulations.
This is the fourth time that CHAI-FM has been issued a licence renewal while not complying with its commitments and obligations. In Decision CRTC 86-607 dated 26 June 1986, the Commission renewed CHAI-FM's licence for only two years because of its failure to honour its Promise of Performance and adhere to Commission policies and regulations. Subsequently, in Decision CRTC 88-725 dated 30 September 1988, the Commission granted the licensee a five-year renewal and noted its inability to furnish complete logger tapes on three occasions. Most recently, in Decision CRTC 93-194 dated 8 June 1993, the Commission renewed CHAI-FM's licence for only three years because the licensee had submitted incomplete logger tapes and was in non-compliance with respect to the broadcast of French-language vocal music.
During the current licence term, the Commission requested the licensee to submit CHAI-FM's logger tapes and program logs for the programming broadcast by the station during the week of 22 to 28 January 1995. In reply to this request, the licensee advised the Commission that it was unable to provide the logger tapes requested because the video tape recorder it used to make logger tapes was out of order. The licensee added that, although the VCR was repaired in December, that repair was ineffective. After this second malfunction, the licensee obtained a new VCR.
At the hearing, the licensee acknowledged its non-compliance with section 8 of the regulations regarding logger tapes and listed the measures it had taken subsequently to ensure that CHAI-FM operates in compliance. Specifically, the licensee indicated that it had obtained a second VCR and established procedures to ensure that the equipment would be turned on and the video cassettes replaced. The licensee also stated that [TRANSLATION] "with the improvement of CHAI's financial situation, it is certain that we will be able to acquire better equipment in the coming months."
Moreover, the licensee contended that, as a community station, CHAI-FM's staff consists of volunteers, in large part, and, as a result, the station does not have the same kind of organization as a commercial radio station. The Commission notes, in this regard, that operating a community radio station partly with volunteers in no way justifies non-compliance with the regulations. The licensee of a community radio station is ultimately responsible for the station's performance, and the onus is on the licensee to put in place the mechanisms and training required to assure compliance with the regulations at all times. For example, the licensee may consider committing the handling of logger tapes only to permanent employees.
The Commission emphasizes the importance it attaches to being informed immediately of any malfunction or problem related to logger tapes that may arise in future. The Commission notes the licensee's commitment in this regard.
When CHAI-FM's past instances of non-compliance were raised at the hearing, the licensee's representative, a member of CHAI-FM's administrative council for many years, admitted that he was not aware of those situations. As a result, the Commission stated that unless [TRANSLATION] "this logger tape situation becomes a major concern of the board of directors and the volunteers", the licensee will have difficulty in ensuring that the station is in compliance. In a letter dated 16 April 1996, the licensee advised the Commission that it had accepted the suggestion offered at the hearing, and had sent to all members of its board of directors a copy of the decisions since 1986 renewing CHAI-FM's licence and informed the members of the points raised during its April 1996 appearance before the Commission. The licensee added that it entered this information in the minutes of its April meeting and informed its staff of the importance of logger tapes.
The Commission views with very serious concern the repeated non-compliance of Radio Communautaire de Châteauguay inc. with regulatory requirements. In Public Notice CRTC 1986-268 dated 29 September 1986 and entitled "Provision of Logger Tapes Regulations", the Commission stated that "the availability of a complete, clear and intelligible logger tape is particularly important as it allows the Commission not only to initiate its own verification of programming but also to act on complaints from the general public concerning programming matters."
More recently, in Public Notice CRTC 1993-122 dated 19 August 1993 and entitled "Compliance with the Provisions of the Radio Regulations, 1986 Relating to Logger Tapes", the Commission reminded licensees of the requirement to ensure the availability at all times of complete and intelligible logger tapes, and informed licensees that it intended to use all means available to ensure adherence to the regulations in this area.
Given the licensee's repeated non-compliance and the public notices referred to above, and after considering the licensee's explanations for the non-compliance provided at the hearing, the Commission is of the view that the licensee has not shown cause, in this case, why the Commission should not issue a mandatory order. Accordingly, the Commission has decided to issue Mandatory Order 1996-1 set out in the appendix to this decision.
The Commission will file a certified copy of this mandatory order with the registrar of the Federal Court. As set out in subsection 13(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission's mandatory order will then become an order of the Federal Court, and will be enforceable in the same manner as an order of the Court.
If, at any time, the licensee should fail to comply with the requirement to keep a clear and intelligible logger tape or to furnish it to the Commission upon request, the Commission would provide evidence of such failure to the Federal Court. Radio Communautaire de Châteauguay inc. would then be required to appear before the Federal Court on a charge of contempt of court. If the licensee were found guilty, it would be found in contempt of court and liable to a fine as provided for by the Federal Court Rules.
While granting CHAI-FM another short-term renewal, the Commission refers the licensee to Public Notice CRTC 1993-122, and emphasizes that the Commission may have recourse to additional measures in the event of any future non-compliance with the regulations, including suspension, non-renewal or revocation of the licence.
The Commission notes that the station will broadcast a minimum of 5% Category 3 music (Traditional and Special Interest) as a percentage of overall music programming.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee broadcast no more than 6 minutes of advertising in every hour of broadcast, and that it broadcast no more than an average of 4 minutes of advertising per hour of broadcast up to a total of 504 minutes of advertising per week.
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 considers that community radio stations should be particularly sensitive to this issue in order to reflect fully the communities they serve. 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 Commission acknowledges the intervention submitted by the Association des radiodiffuseurs communautaires du Québec in support of this renewal application.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
Mandatory Order 1996-1
Radio Communautaire de Châteauguay inc., licensee of CHAI-FM Châteauguay, is hereby ordered, pursuant to subsection 12(2) of the Broadcasting Act, to comply, at all times, with subsections 8(5) and 8(6) of the Radio Regulations, 1986 as set out below:
8.(5) A licensee shall retain a clear and intelligible tape recording or other exact copy of all matter broadcast:
(a) for four weeks from the date of the broadcast; or
(b) where the Commission receives a complaint from any person regarding the matter broadcast or for any other reason wishes to investigate it and so notifies the licensee before the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph (a), for eight weeks from the date of the broadcast.
8.(6) Where, before the expiry of the applicable period referred to in subsection (5), the Commission requests from the licensee a clear and intelligible tape recording or other exact copy of matter broadcast, the licensee shall furnish it to the Commission forthwith.

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