ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-277

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CRTC 96-277

Ottawa, 15 July 1996
STAR-FM Radio Inc.
Chilliwack, British Columbia - 952308500
Change in CKSR-FM's technical parameters and addition of a transmitter - Approved
Following a Public Hearing held in Vancouver beginning on 27 February 1996, the Commission approves, by majority vote, the application by STAR-FM Radio Inc. (STAR), licensee of CKSR-FM Chilliwack and its associated transmitter, CFSR-FM Abbotsford, to amend its broadcasting licence by changing the undertaking's technical parameters as follows: by relocating the Abbotsford transmitter to Mount Seymour and by changing the effective radiated power of that transmitter from 16,000 watts to 15,000 watts; and by adding a small fill-in transmitter at the current Abbotsford site operating with an effective radiated power of 890 watts.
The applicant had originally proposed to operate the new transmitter at the current Abbotsford site on 92.5 MHz (channel 223A). After consultations with the Department of Industry, the applicant is now proposing to operate the fill-in transmitter as an on-channel repeater; that is, the fill-in transmitter will use 104.9 MHz (channel 285A), the same frequency as that employed by the main transmitter on Mount Seymour.
The Commission notes that the area served by the fill-in transmitter will not extend beyond the 0.5 mV/m of the originating station.
The Commission hereby authorizes the licensee to operate the undertaking on the basis of the contours and particulars resulting from the above-mentioned changes.
STAR is mandated to provide a locally-oriented FM service to listeners throughout the Fraser Valley. However, in support of its application, STAR claimed that the rolling terrain in the western part of CKSR-FM's service area creates multi-path interference to the station's signal in some parts of Langley, Cloverdale, Surrey and Maple Ridge, thus impinging on the licensee's ability to fulfil its mandate. STAR further maintained that, because of the low elevation of CFSR-FM's transmitter on Glen Mountain at Abbotsford, some areas within the transmitter's service area are completely shaded from the signal.
At the hearing, STAR described the many options it had explored in seeking to correct CKSR-FM's unreliable signal in its western service area. After examining all possible alternatives, STAR decided that the only solution to CKSR-FM's unreliable signal is to move the transmitter currently located at Abbotsford to Mount Seymour where it will share facilities with CBU-FM Vancouver. Since some areas, such as Mission, will continue "to be shaded from the Mount Seymour transmitter", STAR also proposed to add a new, low-power transmitter at its existing Abbotsford site to ensure reliable reception of the CKSR-FM signal throughout its service area.
The Commission notes that, while CKSR-FM is currently received in Vancouver, the technical parameters approved herein will expand the licensee's 3 mV/m contour, thereby improving coverage in that city's central market. At the hearing, the Commission questioned STAR on the possibility that it might reorient CKSR-FM's programming away from its licensed mandate to serve the Fraser Valley and seek to serve the Vancouver market. STAR, in addressing this issue, declared:
We are well aware that some would suggest that we only want to become another Vancouver radio station. That is simply not true, and such a strategy would not succeed. For us to go head to head with all of the Vancouver radio services and to try to do that from 100 kilometres away would be unwise and, most certainly, would be unsuccessful. We can, on the other hand, be successful in the Fraser Valley if we can improve the reception to our western communities.
STAR also stated:
... I think that Surrey, White Rock, Maple Ridge ... - some would suggest Port Coquitlam as well - would be the defining western boundary of the Fraser Valley...
The Commission notes STAR's statements that it will maintain CKSR-FM's current programming orientation which includes local news and which makes the Fraser Valley the focus of surveillance (weather and traffic) and public service announcements.
Having considered all of the evidence available to it, a majority of the Commission has decided to approve this application. The Commission is satisfied that approval of this application will enable STAR to improve coverage to listeners in the western area of the Fraser Valley.
The Commission expects the licensee to ensure that CKSR-FM's programming remains oriented toward listeners in the Fraser Valley area.
Consistent with STAR's commitment made at the hearing, it is a condition of licence that all of CKSR-FM's permanent studio facilities be located outside the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
This authority will only be effective and the licence will only be amended at such time as the licensee has implemented the technical changes approved herein and is prepared to commence operation under the revised parameters. If the construction 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 construction and commence operation before the expiry of this period, and that an extension of time is in the public interest, within such further periods of time as are approved in writing by the Commission, the licence will not be amended. 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 construction 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 amendment 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 numerous interventions submitted in support of this application. The Commission also acknowledges the four interventions opposing this application and is satisfied with the licensee's responses thereto.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
In the matter of this decision it is the opinion of this Commissioner that the applicant, STAR-FM Radio Inc., should not have been granted an amendment to its broadcasting license to relocate its FM transmitter from Abbotsford to Mount Seymour for reasons that are outlined as follows:
After a careful review of the documentation and evidence presented at the public hearing by the applicant and the interveners, it is my opinion that the applicant did not clearly demonstrate the consideration of other more acceptable options to improve the coverage in its present service area of the Fraser Valley, versus this proposal to transmit its FM radio signal from a transmitter whose location is designed to provide a primary broadcasting service to the Greater Vancouver area. As a result, the licensee will have the benefits associated with reaching the major Canadian market audience of Greater Vancouver with a competitive FM broadcasting service without the requirements of providing commensurate benefits to the broadcasting system and without the obligations that should be associated with being licensed to serve the Greater Vancouver area.
As a result of this licence amendment, there will be a potential seven-fold increase of listeners to the station in the Greater Vancouver area. The result will enable this licensee to compete head on for broadcast advertising revenues in the Greater Vancouver area, with no obligations to provide service to the Vancouver audience or to the broadcasting system, comparable to those obligations imposed on the existing Vancouver radio broadcasters.
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