ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-227

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Ottawa, 14 June 1996
Decision CRTC 96-227
Radio Nord-Joli inc.
Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, Quebec - 951420900
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, CFNJ-FM Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, 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 the licensee's performance at an early date in view of the serious concerns discussed in this decision.
In Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1996-2 dated 16 February 1996, the Commission called Radio Nord-Joli 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 Radio Nord-Joli inc. 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 third time that the Commission has issued a short-term licence renewal for CFNJ-FM due to concerns relating to the licensee's non-compliance with the logger tape provisions of the regulations. In Decision CRTC 91-487 dated 15 July 1991, the Commission gave CFNJ-FM only a two-year licence renewal because of the licensee's failure to provide complete logger tapes for the weeks of 18 to 24 March 1990 and 15 to 21 July 1990. Again, in Decision CRTC 93-447 dated 19 August 1993, the Commission renewed CFNJ-FM's licence for only three years. This short-term licence renewal was the result of the licensee's failure to provide audible and complete logger tapes for the week of 3 to 9 November 1991.
During the current licence term, the Commission requested the licensee to submit the station's logger tapes of the programming broadcast during the week of 16 to 22 April 1995. In a letter addressed to the Commission, the licensee advised the Commission that 8 hours of programming were missing from the tapes due to human errors. In a letter dated 7 December 1995, the licensee explained that it had subsequently laid off the person in charge of recording logger tapes during the above period.
At the hearing, the licensee acknowledged that it had been in non-compliance with section 8 of the regulations and listed the measures it had taken since 1991 to ensure that CFNJ-FM is operated in compliance. Specifically, the licensee indicated that it had obtained new recording equipment, installed a UPS system to be used in the event of a power outage, modified its programming procedures, and is now keeping copies of its logger tapes. The licensee emphasized, however, that it has no control over human errors that may occur: [TRANSLATION] "The only thing I wanted to tell you is that I cannot control the human component of the activity. As for the technical component, everything that can be provided to induce people to do a good job has been put in place." The licensee added that the inexperience of the volunteers working at the station can sometimes lead to mistakes, such as [TRANSLATION] "changes in equipment configuration". When questioned at the hearing about the training it provides to its volunteers, the licensee replied that they receive technical training in the use of recording equipment. The licensee added that when volunteers start working on the air, they are mentored for a minimum of three months.
The Commission does not consider that the fact that a community radio station is operated partially by volunteers justifies any non-compliance with section 8 of the regulations regarding logger tapes. The licensee of a community radio station is ultimately responsible for the station's performance with respect to logger tapes, and the onus is on the licensee to put in place the mechanisms and training required to assure compliance with the relevant provisions of the regulations at all times. For example, the licensee may consider committing the handling of logger tapes only to permanent employees.
The Commission views with very serious concern Radio Nord-Joli inc.'s repeated non-compliance 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 intends 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 as well as its responses to the questions directed to it concerning the mechanisms that could be put in place to assure its future compliance, the Commission is of the view that the licensee did not demonstrate a firm intention at the hearing to comply with section 8 of the regulations in future, and 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 1996-2 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 Nord-Joli 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 CFNJ-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 (Tradional and Special Interest) as a percentage of overall music programming weekly.
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.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
Mandatory Order 1996-2
Radio Nord-Joli inc., the licensee of CFNJ-FM Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, 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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