ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1999-111

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Public Notice CRTC 1999-111

Ottawa, 8 July 1999

The Issuance of Calls for Radio Applications

1. In Public Notice CRTC 1998-41, Commercial Radio Policy 1998, the Commission announced a change to its policy related to radio station ownership, to allow a single owner to hold more than one licence in a given frequency band, in the same language, in the same market.

2. The Commission correctly anticipated that applications for new FM stations as well as AM to FM conversions would increase as a result of this change in policy. The Commission has determined that a general framework for processing these applications is required to accelerate the application process for the industry and to maintain the Commission's service standards.

3. The primary issue is determining when a call for applications should be issued in response to a new proposal. This issue was addressed briefly in the public notice noted above as follows:

Accordingly, consistent with its objective of encouraging competition and choice, the Commission will assess each application, whether for a licence to carry on a new radio service or to convert an existing AM station to the FM band, on its merits, and will issue a call for competing applications in those circumstances where it determines that a call is warranted.

4. The Commission is of the opinion that the radio industry could benefit from an understanding of the types of original applications that will likely trigger a call for further applications to serve the market. Applications for new radio undertakings, or for AM to FM conversions, will generally result in a call in the affected market, with the following exceptions:

5. Low power and other proposals with very little or no commercial potential.

These proposals are usually non-commercial, or with limited commercial activity. Special-interest community stations, campus, Christian-music and CBC services would generally fall into this category.

6. Proposals to provide the first commercial service in a market.

The Commission notes that, if the market has never included a commercial radio service, the public interest would not usually be served by unduly delaying the implementation of such a service.

7. Proposals by the sole commercial operator in a market to improve service to the market, either through an AM to FM conversion or a new station.

As noted above, the public interest would not usually be served by delaying the implementation of an improvement in service.

8. Proposals to provide the first commercial service in the other official language in a market, or to convert the only station in the other official language from AM to FM.

The Commission has traditionally treated bilingual markets as two separate markets, and therefore is of the opinion that applications for a new station in the other language or to convert the only commercial station in the other official language from AM to FM, should be processed in the same way as they are in markets with only one commercial operator.

9. Proposals to convert stations from AM to FM, in markets with 2 or fewer commercial operators.

In smaller markets, where operators might seek to improve signal coverage or the quality of the signal, licensees may be reluctant to submit proposals to convert from AM to FM because a call may be issued for the market, potentially resulting in competitive applications where no such interest had previously been shown.

10. The Commission has traditionally considered that applications to convert an AM station to the FM band would not have a significant impact on the market. A potential additional entrant in smaller markets can have a serious impact on the existing stations.

11. FM frequencies are in short supply in much of southern Canada. There has always been a shortage in the Windsor to Québec corridor, and in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Where an applicant proposes to use the last known commercially viable frequency allotment, regardless of the type of proposal, the Commission will give consideration to issuing a call.

12. The Commission has also determined that, in all cases where it decides that a call should be issued, it will advise the original applicant of the impending call. It will then allow the applicant a period of 10 working days to decide whether to withdraw the application or to proceed. If the applicant decides to withdraw, the call will not be issued. If the applicant decides to proceed, the Commission will issue the call, and the original application will be assessed in competition with any application filed in response to that call. Applicants may, therefore, wish to provide in their applications reasons why the Commission should not issue a call in their particular case.

13. It is noted that in cases where an application is originally processed without a call, the Commission will, as is its usual practice, assess all interventions received, with respect to the process or any other matter pertaining to the application.

Secretary General

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

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