ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 99-107

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    Ottawa, 20 May 1999

    Decision CRTC 99-107

    The B.C. Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches, representing Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church

    Abbotsford, British Columbia - 199716619

    26 March 1999 Public Hearing
    National Capital Region

    New religious television programming undertaking

    1. The Commission approves the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language television programming undertaking at Abbotsford. The new station will broadcast religious programming from local studios.

    2. Subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence to the B.C. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, expiring 31 August 2005.

    3. Control of the proposed station will rest with the Board of the B.C. Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches. Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church will administer the proposed station.

    4. In Public Notice CRTC 1993-78,the Commission set out its policy on religious broadcasting. The Commission reminds the applicant that it must abide by the requirements set out in that public notice with respect to balance and other matters involving the broadcasting of religious programming as well as the policy regarding the solicitation of funds.

    5. The applicant proposes to broadcast at least five hours each week consisting of live church services. The programs will include a German-language worship service on Sunday morning; two English-language worship services on Sunday; a midweek German-language Bible study; a German-language Saturday night prayer; and other special services, such as weddings, anniversaries, funerals and birthdays.

    6. The applicant stated that 80% of the Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church's members are seniors over the age of 65, while 50% are 80 years of age or older. Many are not able to attend church services and would like to watch them on television. The applicant also noted that there are 10 Mennonite Brethren Churches in Abbotsford with a total membership of 5,000 people.

    Conditions of licence

    7. This licence will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued. By conditions of licence, the licensee shall:

    · broadcast only religious programming as defined in the Commission's religious broadcasting policy as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-78, with the exception of programs or program segments produced by the applicant for the purpose of ensuring balance on matters of public concern. Such programs or program segments must adhere to guidelines (i) and (iv) contained in section III.B.2a) of Public Notice CRTC 1993-78;

    · adhere to the guidelines on ethics for religious programming set out in section IV of Public Notice CRTC 1993-78 regarding tolerance, integrity, social responsibility and solicitation of funds;

    · not broadcast advertising material; and

    · not broadcast the programming of any other programming undertaking.

    Other matters

    8. The new station will operate on channel 19 with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.

    9. The licence will only be issued and effective when the undertaking is ready to begin operation. When the licensee has completed construction and is prepared to commence operation, it must advise the Commission in writing. If the undertaking is not constructed and ready to operate within 12 months of today's date, extensions to this time frame may be granted provided that the licensee applies in writing to the Commission before the 12-month period or any extension of that period expires.

    10. 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. In this regard, the Commission encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.


    11. Rogers Cablesystems Limited (Rogers) submitted an intervention opposing this application. Among other things, Rogers stated that, if approved, the proposed station would become a priority signal on certain of its cable systems. Rogers argued that it does not have sufficient available analog channel capacity to distribute the proposed station as part of the basic service of those systems. In reply, the applicant stated that it does not intend to ask Rogers to carry the proposed church-based service. Nevertheless, the Commission reminds Rogers that, under section 17 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations, it must carry this new service, unless it applies to the Commission and receives a condition of licence relieving it of its obligation.

    This decision is to be appended to the licence. It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:

    Secretary General

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