ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 99-485

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Ottawa, 28 October 1999
Decision CRTC 99-485
Big Pond Communications 2000 Inc.
Thunder Bay, Ontario - 199904850
16 August 1999 Public Hearing
National Capital Region
The Commission denies the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language FM low-power radio programming undertaking at Thunder Bay.
1. The applicant proposed to offer a gold-based music format. Its programming plans relied very heavily on automated programming.
2. In order to accept or solicit local advertising, at least one-third of a station's weekly programming must be local. The applicant indicated that it would adhere to the standard condition of licence for FM stations in this regard and would broadcast at least 42 hours of local programming.
3. As indicated in Public Notice CRTC 1998-41, Commercial Radio Policy 1998, "in their local programming, licensees must include spoken word material of direct and particular relevance to the community served, such as local news, weather and sports, and the promotion of local events and activities". As part of the application process, the Commission asked the applicant to explain how the proposed station's local programming would address that aspect of the policy. The Commission also questioned the applicant regarding the number of staff that the proposed station would have and their duties particularly in the area of programming.
4. In its response, the applicant provided few details on how it planned to meet the Commission's concerns, particularly in the area of spoken word material. The applicant's response indicated that only two part-time staff would have been involved in the production of local programming.
5. The Commission considers that this minimal staff level would not be adequate to fulfil the requirement that the station produce an amount of high quality local programming commensurate with the size and needs of the Thunder Bay community. In addition, the applicant's proposal calls into question the fairness of permitting a licensee to draw significant revenues in a competitive market based on a business plan offering a popular music service but predicated on minimal programming resources, particularly when compared to the staff levels and expenditures of other market players.
6. C.J.S.D. Incorporated, licensee of CKPR and CJSD-FM Thunder Bay, submitted an opposing intervention claiming that approval of this application would have a negative impact on existing commercial radio stations in the Thunder Bay market. Among other things, the intervener claimed that, because of the geographical dispersion of Thunder Bay's population, the applicant's proposed low-power operation would be able to reach almost 80% of CJSD-FM's audience. The intervener noted that the applicant did not make any tangible commitments to news, sports, weather or public affairs programming and that its proposed expenditures on programming were inadequate. In addition, the intervener questioned the validity of the applicant's marketing studies, claiming that it had failed to provide credible evidence that there is a demand for the proposed service. The Commission considers that the applicant's response did not satisfactorily address the concerns raised by the intervention.
7. Based on all of the foregoing, the Commission has denied this application.
8. The Commission acknowledges the four interventions filed in support of this application, including letters with numerous signatories.
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