ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-709

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Ottawa, 25 October 1996
Decision CRTC 96-709
Radio Péninsule inc.
Pokemouche, New Brunswick - 199522418 - 199522426
Licence renewal for CKRO-FM
Following a Public Hearing held in Québec beginning on 9 July 1996, the Commission renews the licence for the Type B community radio programming undertaking CKRO-FM Pokemouche, from 1 January 1997 to 31 August 2000, subject to conditions in effect under the current licence, except the condition from which relief is authorized herein, as well as to those conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
The licence term granted herein, while less than the maximum of seven years permitted under the Broadcasting Act, will enable the Commission to consider the renewal of this licence in accordance with the Commission's regional plan for community radio undertakings across Canada and to better distribute the workload within the Commission. This term is not reflective of any Commission concern regarding the licensee's performance.
In addition, the Commission approves the application by CKRO-FM for a licence amendment requesting relief from the condition of licence that currently prohibits the licensee from soliciting advertising in Caraquet.
Radio Acadie Ltée, the licensee of CJVA Caraquet, submitted a written intervention to the Commission opposing both the renewal of the CKRO-FM licence and the application relating to the Caraquet non-solicitation condition. The intervener expressed concern regarding the adverse impact on CJVA that would result from renewal of the non-solicitation condition, given CJVA's difficult financial situation. The intervener also complained that CKRO-FM had violated its condition of licence relating to maximum allowable advertising time. According to the intervener, CKRO-FM had broadcast over 13 minutes of advertising in one hour on 13 June 1996, while the maximum permitted for a Type B community radio station is 6 minutes.
During the current CKRO-FM licence term, the Commission conducted an analysis of the logger tapes and the programming broadcast by the station during the week of 27 August to 2 September 1995. This analysis revealed that the station was in compliance with the regulatory requirements and its conditions of licence, including that relating to the maximum permitted advertising time.
The Commission also performed an analysis of CKRO-FM's programming broadcast during the hour on 13 June 1996 that was cited in the complaint by CJVA. In addition to the broadcast of commercial messages, which were within the maximum number of minutes permitted, the Commission notes that, during that hour, the station also broadcast a series of live reports from the Lamèque area, as part of what the licensee called a [TRANSLATION] "commercial excursion". The Commission further notes that products and services available from merchants in Lamèque were promoted during these reports.
To determine whether the licensee was in compliance, the Commission referred to the definition of commercial message then in effect, as set out in the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the regulations). The definition then read as follows: "Commercial message means any broadcast matter that falls within content category 5." In content sub-category 51, a commercial announcement is defined more precisely as "a commercial announcement for a business, product or service, presented in return for consideration."
Responding to questions at the public hearing, the licensee stated that the reports at issue were primarily intended to show the dynamism of the area despite the economic difficulties it faces. The licensee indicated that these reports were presented free of charge by CKRO-FM and involved no direct or indirect remuneration.
lthough the reports broadcast do not seem to constitute commercial messages according to a strict interpretation of the above definition, the Commission is concerned by activities of this kind, when undertaken by community radio stations. When this kind of promotion of products and services occurs as part of a report, advertising revenues may be diverted from commercial radio stations operating in the same market. This would run counter to the Commission's objectives in restricting, by condition of licence, the amount of advertising that community radio stations are permitted to broadcast.
In this regard, the Commission also notes that the current definition of commercial message, as published on 23 August 1996 (see Public Notice CRTC 1996-116), reads as follows:
 "commercial message" means an advertisement intended to sell or promote goods, services, natural resources or activities and includes an advertisement that mentions or displays in a list of prizes the name of the person selling or promoting those goods, services, natural resources or activities.
At the public hearing, the Commission also questioned the licensee about the reasons for its application for relief from the condition of licence prohibiting the solicitation of advertising in Caraquet, and on the possible impact of this amendment on CJVA. The licensee stated that its objectives were both social and economic in nature. It wants to ensure that the Caraquet area benefits fully from community radio services, so that the general public, businesses and organizations of all types can take part in the station's promotions and contests and enjoy coverage of their community and social activities. The licensee also considers that, after eight years, removing this restriction would have a limited impact. It forecasts a gain of about $20,000 in annual revenues, half of which would consist of sponsorships by organizations and institutions that do not use advertising in the normal course of their activities.
The Commission notes that, for more than eight years, CKRO-FM has been prohibited from soliciting advertising in Caraquet, a community that lies within its coverage area. The Commission considers that most businesses interested in advertising on CKRO-FM during that period have already taken steps to do so, and that the possible impact on CJVA of lifting this condition of licence would therefore be minor. Given the licensee's limited expectations regarding the additional revenues it would draw from Caraquet, and the fact that, in accordance with the condition of licence below, this community radio station will continue to be restricted to broadcasting an average of 4 minutes of advertising per hour, with a maximum of 6 minutes in any single hour, the Commission does not consider that approval of this application will jeopardize the survival of CJVA.
It is a condition of licence that the licensee broadcast no more than 6 minutes of advertising in any hour of broadcast, and that it broadcast an average of no more than 4 minutes of advertising for every hour of broadcast up to a total of 504 minutes of advertising per week, in accordance with the community radio policy for Type B stations.
The Commission notes that the station will broadcast a minimum of 3.82% Category 3 music (Traditional and Special Interest) as a percentage of its overall music programming.
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled "Imple-mentation 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. The Commission notes that no special measures have been initiated by the licensee in this regard. It will wish to review the steps taken by the licensee in the area of employment equity at the time of the next licence renewal.
The Commission acknowledges the intervention by the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada inc., who appeared at the public hearing in support of the licensee's applications.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
 Allan J. Darling
 Secretary General

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