ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-278

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.


Ottawa, 15 July 1996
Decision CRTC 96-278
Northern Cablevision Ltd.
Grande Prairie, Alberta - 951259100
Application to add CITY-TV - Approved
Following Public Notice CRTC 1995-147 dated 29 August 1995, the Commission approves the application for authority to distribute CITY-TV Toronto, received via satellite from CANCOM, on a discretionary tier of the cable distribution undertaking serving Grande Prairie.
In approving this application, the Commission has determined that the distribution of CITY-TV is consistent with the guidelines on the cable distribution of distant Canadian television signals first set out in Public Notice CRTC 1985-61 and reiterated in Public Notice CRTC 1993-74.
Electrohome Limited, licensee of CFRN-TV-3 Whitecourt (Grande Prairie), submitted an intervention opposing this application. The intervener stated that the addition of CITY-TV would further fragment a relatively small audience by offering a strong alternative to local newscasts broadcast on CFRN-TV-3. The intervener also expressed concern that, due to time zone differences, it would be unable to take advantage of simultaneous signal substitution requirements in respect of programs on CFRN-TV-3 that are duplicated in the schedule of CITY-TV. According to the intervener, approval of this application would serve to move CITY-TV toward "superstation" status at the expense of local broadcasters.
Electrohome Limited also raised the issue of the "watershed hour" of 9:00 p.m. specified in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) "Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming" (CAB's Violence Code). Electrohome Limited claimed that programs containing scenes of violence intended for adult audiences scheduled for broadcast on CITY-TV at 9:00 p.m. (E.T.) would be distributed on the Grande Prairie undertaking at 7:00 p.m. as a result of the two-hour time difference.
Allarcom Pay Television Limited submitted an opposing intervention in which it raised similar issues with respect to the "watershed hour" and violence on television as well as with respect to the negative impact on local broadcasters and pay television networks should CITY-TV be permitted to become a superstation.
The Commission has reviewed all of the interveners' arguments, as well as the applicant's replies thereto. It is satisfied that the distribution of CITY-TV in Grande Prairie would have minimal impact on CFRN-TV-3 in light of the stations' different programming, target audience, advertisers, as well as the distance between the communities served by CFRN-TV-3 and CITY-TV.
With respect to the superstation issue, the Commission is satisfied that the distribution of CITY-TV in a small market such as Grande Prairie will have no tangible effect on the national advertising revenues of CITY-TV.
In reviewing the issues raised with respect to the "watershed" hour, the Commission notes that the two-hour time difference between Toronto and Alberta could indeed mean that programs with scenes of violence intended for adults that are broadcast on CITY-TV after the 9:00 p.m. "watershed" hour, as required by CAB's Violence Code, would be distributed by Northern Cablevision Ltd. in Grande Prairie before 9:00 p.m.
On 14 March 1996, the Commission issued Public Notice CRTC 1996-36 outlining its policy on violence in television programming. In this policy statement, the Commission encouraged programming undertakings whose signals are distributed over various time zones to be sensitive to their viewers in western time zones when scheduling programs.
Accordingly, the Commission expects CITY-TV to be sensitive to the two-hour time difference between Toronto and Alberta in scheduling programs containing scenes of violence intended for adults.
The CBC submitted an intervention stating that programming services licensed for all of Canada should take precedence over the carriage of a distant television station licensed to serve Toronto and, therefore, asked that the licensee distribute the Réseau de l'information (RDI).
In its reply to the intervention, the licensee indicated that it already distributes two French-language stations, CBXFT-TV (CBC) Edmonton and CFTM-TV (TVA) Montréal, as well as CBC's English-language service, Newsworld. The licensee added that its request for authority to add CITY-TV was submitted in response to customer requests.
The Commission is satisfied with the licensee's reply and considers that this approach is consistent with the approach taken in Public Notice CRTC 1996-60 entitled "Access Rules for Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings". The Commission is further satisfied that the licensee has taken into consideration the needs and wishes of its subscribers.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

Date modified: