ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 99-507

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Decision CRTC 99-507

  Ottawa, 19 November 1999
  Community Focused Canadian Radio (Durham Region)
Oshawa, Ontario – 199900650
  28 June 1999 Public Hearing
National Capital Region
  The Commission denies the application by Community Focused Canadian Radio (Durham Region) (CFCR) for a broadcasting licence to carry on an English-language FM community radio station at Oshawa. CFCR failed to provide sufficient details on the daily operation of the proposed station. Furthermore, CFCR did not indicate how it would train or supervise the volunteers who would operate the station. Moreover, CFCR failed to demonstrate a sufficient awareness or understanding of the Commission’s policies and regulations.
  1. CFCR proposed to offer programming that would cover a broad range of topics and reflect local community news and events. According to the applicant, the station would provide the public with access to "tell their own stories". CFCR proposed to broadcast 60 hours of programming each week in the initial phase of the station’s operations.
  2. In reviewing CFCR’s application, the Commission finds that the applicant failed to provide sufficient details on the day-to-day operation of the station. Accordingly, the Commission cannot determine whether the proposed station would have been operated in compliance with CRTC policies and regulations.
  3. At the hearing, the Commission asked the applicant to elaborate on the proposed station’s revenues. While CFCR’s initial filing indicated that local advertising would be the station’s main source of revenues, the applicant stated at the hearing that this would not be the case. Indeed, the applicant indicated that it has since applied for public funding. The applicant stated that such funding, if received, coupled with membership drives and fund raising events, would represent the bulk of the station’s income.
  4. The Commission has always considered anticipated revenue streams as a critical component in the overall business plan of a proposed undertaking. The fluid state of events regarding the proposed station’s revenues casts an element of doubt in the mind of the Commission. While the Commission recognizes that there can never be any ironclad guarantees of success, it must nonetheless be convinced that there is a reasonable expectation that a proposed station can be successfully established. In this case, the Commission is not convinced that the proposed station can be successfully established.
  5. The applicant indicated that it would rely on volunteers to operate the station and provide programming. The Commission recognizes the benefits of using volunteers in the operation of community radio stations. Nevertheless, as stated in Public Notice CRTC 1992-38 entitled Policies for Community and Campus Radio, the Commission "expects community radio applicants and licensees to describe in their licence applications … the measures to be taken to promote volunteer training and the mechanisms put in place to train and supervise volunteer workers."
  6. CFCR outlined in general terms that it would offer training in the Commission’s regulations and policies. However, the applicant failed to present specific plans in this regard. When questioned at the hearing on specific measures to be put in place to supervise volunteers and to ensure that they are familiar with the Commission’s regulations and policies, the applicant agreed that such measures were necessary. It indicated that it might adopt some of the policies in place at Trent University but did not specify what those policies were.
  7. The Commission considers that simply referring to another licensee’s policies without including those policies in the applicant’s own application does not offer the Commission the opportunity to assess the appropriateness of CFCR’s approach.
  8. In response to questioning at the hearing, CFCR acknowledged that it was not fully acquainted with the Commission’s policies and regulations. The applicant failed to demonstrate an adequate understanding of the basic obligations of a broadcaster as required by the Broadcasting Act and relevant regulations. CFCR did express a willingness to learn them. In this regard, CFCR referred to three broadcasters who might provide it with guidance regarding the regulations. However, it did not indicate who they were or what their involvement, if any, in the proposed station would be. The Commission considers that the fact that the applicant intended to seek help from others at this point in the application process suggests a fundamental lack of planning. Moreover, CFCR did not convince the Commission that the applicant’s readiness to learn would translate into adequate expertise by the time the station would have begun operation.
  9. Durham Radio Inc., licensee of CJKX-FM Ajax that serves Durham region, submitted an opposing intervention claiming that the region is already well served by its local commercial radio stations. The intervener also noted that in the past the applicant has failed to abide by the Commission’s policies. It referred to a complaint that it submitted to the Commission in October 1998 claiming that the applicant had failed to comply with the Exemption Order Respecting Low-Power Radio: Limited Duration Special Event Facilitating Undertakings (Public Notice CRTC 1993-45) when it was involved in a temporary 28-day broadcast beginning 18 September 1998. The intervener attached a letter dated 28 May 1999 in which the Commission found that the applicant had violated several of the guidelines outlined in this exemption order. In response, the applicant, among other things, acknowledged that its knowledge of this exemption order was "sketchy".
  10. Based on all of the above, the Commission denies CFCR's application.
  11. The Commission acknowledges the interventions submitted in support of this application.
  Secretary General
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