ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1999-76

This page has been archived on the Web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.

Public Notice CRTC 1999-76

Ottawa, 5 May 1999

Call for comments on proposed revised music categories


During consultations held by the Commission as part of its reviews of campus and community radio policies, a number of parties commented on the content categories and subcategories used to describe musical selections.

The current categories are set out in an Appendix to Public Notice CRTC 1991-19, Implementation of the FM Policy dated 14 February 1991. For ease of reference, these categories are attached to the current notice as Appendix 2.

In the context of the consultations, representatives of both campus and community radio suggested that the current categories and definitions are outdated and confusing.

In particular, many participants commented that not all current musical genres are included in the definitions, while other genres may fall between subcategories. These definitional issues may make it difficult for programmers, especially volunteer programmers, to determine which category certain selections fall into.

The Commission agrees that its music categories could be updated and clarified. At the same time, it considers that the music categories are an important tool for identifying and encouraging musical diversity in the broadcasting system as a whole.

Process to revise music categories

1. The Commission hereby proposes to redefine its current music categories and subcategories. The proposed revised categories are set out in Appendix 1 attached to this public notice. The Commission invites comments on all or any part of the proposed revised categories and definitions, and on the potential impact of these changes. The deadline for comments is Wednesday, 7 July 1999.

2. In developing its proposed definitions, the Commission has taken into consideration the genres of music generally programmed by commercial stations and the genres that tend to be broadcast by the public and community elements of the broadcasting system as part of their mandate to provide additional diversity. The overall effect has been to broaden the scope of category 3 to better reflect genres of music that not-for-profit stations may program but commercial stations do not generally play.

3. The proposed music definitions combine all of the existing subcategories of music into two main music categories, "Popular Music" and "Special Interest Music".

4. The Commission considers that its proposed revised categories would help to streamline regulatory requirements while continuing to recognize the usefulness of music categories in assessing and measuring musical diversity.

Implications of revised music categories

5. The existing campus and community radio policies, outlined in Public Notice CRTC 1992-38, limit the number of selections from subcategory 21 (Pop, Rock and Dance) that campus and community stations can play. Since the proposed revised policy for campus stations set out in Public Notice CRTC 1999-30 dated 18 February 1999 proposes to remove this requirement for campus stations, the proposed elimination of music subcategories would be unlikely to have a major impact on campus stations.

6. With respect to community stations, the Commission’s proposed policy regarding music categories is set out in Public Notice CRTC 1999-75, also published today. That notice invites interested parties to respond to a number of questions related to the appropriate levels of category 3 and Pop Rock and Dance music that community stations should play. The Commission’s final policy for community radio will reflect the results of the current public process regarding music categories.

7. In the case of commercial stations, musical subcategories are used as a tool to define the "specialty" station format. Public Notice CRTC 1995-60, A Review of Certain Matters Concerning Radio dated 21 April 1995 states that:

A private commercial FM station is operating in the Specialty format if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

- the language of broadcast is neither English nor French;

- more than 50% of the broadcast week is devoted to Spoken Word;

- less than 70% of the music broadcast is from subcategory 21 (Pop, Rock and Dance) and/or subcategory 22 (Country and Country-oriented).

8. Accordingly, in the event that the Commission decides to adopt the revised music categories, the definition of the specialty format would need to be amended to reflect the new music categories. In particular, the third criterion would be changed to "less than 70% of the music broadcast is from category 2 (Popular Music)". The Commission notes that the definition of specialty format found in Public Notice CRTC 1995-60, as amended from time to time by the Commission, is incorporated into some licensee's conditions of licence.

9. The Commission has tried to redefine the music categories to reflect existing broadcasting realities. Nonetheless, the Commission recognizes that from both a musicological and a broadcast programming point of view, it is inevitable that some selections will not fall clearly into one category or will fall between categories. In such cases, the Commission may consider factors such as the context of the program within which a selection is played to determine whether it falls under category 2 or category 3. For example, in the case of selections played during block programs that feature a specific category 3 music genre such as jazz, a selection that does not fall clearly into either category would generally be considered as category 3.

Call for comments

10. The Commission invites written comments on the proposed revisions set out in this notice. The Commission will accept comments that it receives on or before Wednesday, 7 July 1999.

11. The Commission will not formally acknowledge written comments. It will, however, fully consider all comments and they will form part of the public record of the proceeding, provided that the procedures for filing set out below have been followed.

Procedures for filing comments

12. Interested parties should send their comments to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, K1A ON2.

• Parties must file all submissions in "hard copy format" (i.e. on paper).

• Comments longer than five pages should include a summary.

13. The Commission also encourages parties to file electronic versions of their comments by e-mail or on diskette. The Commission’s e-mail address for electronically filed documents is

• Electronic submissions should be in the HTML format. As an alternative, those making submissions may use "Microsoft Word" for text and "Microsoft Excel" for spreadsheets.

• Please number each paragraph of the comment. In addition, please enter the line ***End of Document*** following the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during transmission.

14. The Commission will make comments filed in electronic form available on its web site at in the official language and format in which they are submitted. This will make it easier for members of the public to consult the documents.

15. The Commission also encourages interested parties to monitor the public examination file (and/or the Commission’s website) for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their comments

Examination of public comments and related documents at the following Commission offices during normal business hours

Central Building                    Les Terrasses de la Chaudière 1 Promenade du Portage, Room G-5                           Hull, Quebec                        K1A ON2                            Tel: (819) 997-2429 -        TDD: 994-0423            Telecopier: (819) 994-0218

Bank of Commerce Building  1809 Barrington Street           Suite 1810                       Halifax, Nova Scotia              B3J 3K8                               Tel: (902) 426-7997 -         TDD: 426-6997               Telecopier: (902) 426-2721

Place Montréal Trust             1800 McGill College Avenue Suite 1920                     Montréal, Quebec                H3A 3J6                               Tel: (514) 283-6607 -           TDD: 283-8316                Telecopier: (514) 283-3689

Kensington Building               275 Portage Avenue              Suite 1810                    Winnipeg, Manitoba              R3B 2B3                               Tel: (204) 983-6306 -         TDD: 983-8274            Telecopier: (204) 983-6317

530-580 Hornby Street      Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6                              Tel: (604) 666-2111 -         TDD: 666-0778             Telecopier: (604) 666-8322

CRTC Documentation Centre 55 St. Clair Avenue East    Suite 624                       Toronto, Ontario         Telephone: (416) 952-9096   Telecopier: (416) 954-6343

CRTC Documentation Centre Cornwall Professional Building                              Room 103                           2125, 11th Avenue           Regina, Saskatchewan           S4P 3X3                       Telephone: (306) 780-3422  Telecopier: (306) 780-3319

Secretary General

This notice is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:

Appendix 1 to Public Notice CRTC 1999-76

Proposed revised music categories

Category 2 (Popular Music)

This encompasses musical selections in the genres or groups of genres set out below.

Pop, rock and dance music:

This refers to music from the entire pop, rock and dance music spectrum. Examples include all types of rock music, including soft rock, hard rock, heavy metal, modern rock, alternative rock, jazz rock, folk rock, and blues rock. It also includes pop, rock & roll, rhythm & blues from the fifties and sixties, soul, dance, techno, rap, hiphop, urban, and contemporary rhythm & blues. This includes musical selections listed in charts such as AC (Adult Contemporary), Hot AC, Pop Adult, AOR (Album-Oriented Rock), CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio), Alternative, Modern, Adult Alternative, Active Rock, Dance, R&B, Urban, and Techno, compiled and published by music trade publications.

Country and country-oriented music:

This includes country & western, traditional country recorded since the 1950s, new country, and other country-oriented styles. It includes musical selections listed in Country charts compiled and published by music trade publications.

Acoustic music:

This refers to music composed and performed in an acoustic style by the chansonniers and singer/songwriters of our time. This also includes music composed or performed in popularized folk styles that do not draw primarily from traditional folk and roots traditions.

Easy listening:

Examples of genres in this group include "cocktail" jazz, soft contemporary jazz, easy listening, middle-of-the-road, and "beautiful music". It includes vocal and instrumental music incorporating elements of jazz improvisation when presented against a popularized orchestral background, as well as non-religious Christmas songs. This could include musical selections that appear on the NAC/Smooth Jazz, and New Age charts compiled and published by music trade publications.

Category 3 (Special Interest Music)

This encompasses musical selections in the genres or groups of genres set out below.

Concert music:

Concert music includes the whole spectrum of the "classical" music traditions, including opera and operetta. It also includes extended dramatic excerpts of popular musical theatre when performed in a full-cast version. It does not include orchestrations of the entertainment music of our time, however classical in form.

Folk and folk-oriented music:

This genre includes authentic, traditional folk music as well as contemporary folk-oriented music that draws substantially on traditional folk music in style and performance. It includes old-time country music recorded before the 1950s. It also includes music genres from other countries including the folk and classical music traditions, and world beat music which draws heavily from the traditional music styles of countries throughout the world.

Jazz and blues:

This includes both historic and contemporary music in the jazz and blues traditions. Examples of music in the jazz tradition include ragtime, Dixieland, "golden age" swing, modern swing, bebop, "cool" jazz, modern, avant-garde, contemporary jazz fusion, jazz-funk, and Latin-oriented jazz. Examples of music in the blues tradition includes classic blues, delta blues, Chicago blues, and contemporary blues music.

Non-classic religious:

This refers to music of the church or of religious faiths. It includes gospel music, hymns, and contemporary Christian music.

Appendix 2 to Public NoticeCRTC 1999-76

Music categories and subcategories as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1991-19

Category 2

Music-General: Live or recorded entertainment music of one minute in length or more, broadcast uninterrupted, extending from the advent of mass-produced recordings to the latest hits as defined in charts of recognized trade publications, including popular songs and compositions that fall under the headings "pop", "country-and-western", "rhythm and blues"; "dance"; "rock", "easy listening", "middle-of-the- road", "beautiful music", "mood", and "mainly for dancing"; popularized arrangements of classical music, jazz or authentic folksongs, music written and performed in a folk idiom by present-day artists;which may include songs of protest and/or political and/or social comment, humorous and satirical songs, chansonniers and chansonnettes, English music hall and North American vaudeville; individual excerpts from works from the musical stage, non-religious Christmas songs, popular music for films and television; and popularizations of folk idioms, such as Latin American, Hawaiian and Calypso. For greater particularity the category includes the following four subcategories:

Subcategory 21: Pop, Rock and Dance: This subcategory includes music from the entire pop, rock and dance music spectrum. This music includes styles generally described as "easy listening", "beautiful music", "pop adult", "soft rock", "dance", "rock and roll", "rhythm and blues", "jazz rock", "folk rock" and "heavy metal", as well as all other forms of music generally referred to as either MOR (middle-of-the-road) or rock. This subcategory includes musical selections listed in recognized trade publications as AC (Adult Contemporary), AOR (Album-Oriented Rock) or Dance.

Subcategory 22: Country and Country-Oriented: This subcategory ranges from "country and western" and "bluegrass" to "Nashville" and "country-pop" styles and other music forms generally characterized as country, including musical selections listed in recognized trade publications as Country.

Subcategory 23: Folk-Oriented: This subcategory includes music in a folk style composed by the troubadours and chansonniers of our time, popular arrangements of authentic folksongs, and popularizations of folk idioms.

Subcategory 24: Jazz-Oriented: Music sung or played in a popular style by performers with a jazz background, including "cocktail" jazz and jazz improvisation when presented against a popularized orchestral background, but not including jazz-rock, falling under subcategory 21.

Category 3

Music-Traditional and Special Interest: Music of one minute or more in length, broadcast uninterrupted, characterized as traditional authentic songs and dances of the people, institutionalized music of religious faiths, "classical" music, authentic improvised jazz, and extended excerpts from popular musical theatre. For greater particularity, this category includes the following four subcategories:

Subcategory 31: Concert Music: This subcategory includes: "classical", music which embodies standards of form, structure and taste, established by artists through the centuries, as a means to communicate complex thoughts in the most coherent way, including music by a contemporary composer when it utilizes entirely or in modified form those established standards, but not including orchestrations of the entertainment music of our time, however classical in form; "opera, operetta and musical", including grand opera, comic opera, music drama, narrative musical plays, operettas and extended dramatic excerpts of popular musical theatre, when performed in a full-cast version.

Subcategory 32: Folk: Authentic traditional folk songs and dances.

Subcategory 33: Jazz: Authentic jazz containing a large element of improvisation, including early blues and gospel shouts, ragtime, Dixieland, authentic early swing including early golden age (late 30's-40"s) and modern, bebop and "cool" jazz, Modern, Avant-Garde, Contemporary Jazz Fusion, New European, Afro/New World and contemporary jazz experiments, but not including jazz-rock, falling under subcategory 21.

Subcategory 34: Non-Classic Religious:

Music of the church or of religious faiths, other than in a classical form, or occurring in the course of a ritual service or other form of public worship, or having a jazz character.

Date modified: