ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2000-204

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Decision CRTC 2000-204
Ottawa, 16 June 2000

Gary Farmer, on behalf of an incorporated body to be known as Aboriginal Voices Radio
Toronto, Ontario – 199911806
31 January 2000 Public Hearing Toronto
New Type B FM native radio programming undertaking


The Commission approves, in part, the application for a broadcasting licence for an English- and Native-language radio programming undertaking at Toronto.


Consistent with Public Notice CRTC 1990-89 dated 20 September 1990 entitled Native Broadcasting Policy (the policy) and subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence for a Type B FM native radio undertaking. The licence will expire on 31 August 2006, and will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.


The new undertaking will operate on the frequency 106.5 MHz, channel 293A, with an effective radiated power of 250 watts, rather than 305 watts as set out in Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1999-12. Following publication of that notice, the applicant revised its proposed technical parameters after consultation with Industry Canada regarding potential interference with existing radio station signals. The Commission, however, denies the applicant’s proposal to also broadcast the signal of this station on a transmitter located at Toronto/Hornby that would operate on AM frequency 740 kHz with a transmitter power of 50,000 watts.


In PN 1990-89, a native radio undertaking is defined as one that is owned and controlled by a not-for-profit organization whose structure provides for board membership by the native population of the region served. While the programming can be in either or both official languages, or in any native Canadian language, it should be oriented to the native population, and reflect the specific interests and needs of that audience. When a native radio station is licensed in a market in which at least one commercial radio station is already operating, that station is referred to as a Type B native undertaking.
The new station


Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR, the applicant) proposed a diversified programming schedule that will have a higher spoken word content than most commercial radio stations in Toronto. The station's programming will include a variety of music, open line programs, round table discussions, spirituality and teachings, language and cultural lessons as well as news programs from an aboriginal perspective.


The new station will operate as a Type B native undertaking, as defined in the policy. The applicant made commitments to broadcast at least 25% spoken word content, at least 35% Canadian content for general popular music, and that at least 2% of all vocal music selections each week will be in an aboriginal language and 2% of all programming will be broadcast in a Canadian aboriginal language. These commitments are set out below as conditions of licence.


The licence will also be subject to conditions related to adherence to industry codes relating to programming standards. These conditions are also set out below.


The new station will be exempt from the policy's limitation respecting advertising, which generally limits Type B stations to an average of 4 minutes of advertising per hour per day. The Commission is of the opinion that, because this station will be primarily aimed at a relatively small audience in a large urban market, revenues garnered by AVR would have no undue impact on the financial health of other Toronto radio stations.
Quality of the application


Public Notice CRTC 2000-84 serves as a preamble to this and other decisions related to Toronto radio services published today. In that notice, the Commission sets out the general factors considered by it in making this decision.


The Commission notes that, while AVR proposed the use of two different radio signals to serve Toronto, the applicant indicated at the hearing that, if both could not be granted, the use of the 106.5 MHz frequency alone would be the best technical alternative for the implementation of its plans. The Commission is satisfied that, apart from technical considerations, the primary factor for approval is the quality of the individual application, in all the circumstances.


The Commission is satisfied that AVR submitted a high-quality application, taking into account the applicant's business plan and contributions to format diversity, its plans for the reflection of the community it proposes to serve, the ways in which the new station will assist and encourage Canadian talent, as well as factors concerning the optimum use of the 106.5 FM frequency.

Business plan and programming format


The applicant estimates that roughly one-third of AVR's advertising revenue will come from government advertising campaigns, the same amount from large corporations, and one-third from aboriginal and other retail businesses.


As part of its advertising projections, AVR expects significant revenues from combined advertising sales with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, in addition to on-air solicitation of donations.


AVR also noted that, if its proposal was licensed, there were "many available forms of public funding" that could be sources of additional revenue. AVR noted that its revenue projections are conservative, and therefore do not include assumptions related to funding from such other sources.


In addition to the revenue and funding sources discussed above, AVR has obtained from Newcap Broadcasting, an established broadcaster, a substantial, unsecured, forgivable loan, and additional commitments towards the eventual establishment of a national aboriginal radio network.


Although selling airtime and radio bingo are mainstays in many native radio funding scenarios, AVR has indicated that it has no plans for either.


The Commission considers a strong business plan to be an important element of a high quality application. In this regard, AVR has provided conservative financial projections that incorporate financial and other assistance from experienced broadcasters and its own fund-raising expertise.
Reflection of the community to be served


The Native Broadcasting Policy states that a native undertaking "has a distinct role in fostering the development of aboriginal cultures and, where possible, the preservation of ancestral languages." AVR stated at the hearing that "Indigenous languages will be woven into the programming according to the community's need and as we find resources….we will honour indigenous languages by including them throughout our programming and we will promote language retention and revitalization efforts to the community."


AVR proposed that the new station would provide a voice for aboriginal people living in the Toronto area and would present information from an aboriginal viewpoint. AVR will operate as a not-for-profit corporation, and include a high level of volunteer support in all aspects of the station’s operations. Although reflecting the needs and interests of the aboriginal community would be paramount, the applicant stressed that its service would be relevant to all Toronto residents and be of great interest in Toronto’s diverse cultural environment.

Canadian talent development


AVR proposed to assist aboriginal musical talent to produce a number of CDs, to send the recordings to other media, and to help those artists with promotion. AVR stated their belief that the greatest contribution they could make in this area would be to broadcast the music of Canadian aboriginal artists.


The Commission notes the applicant's plans for the development of Canadian talent, and is of the opinion that providing airplay for aboriginal musicians will be beneficial to the careers of these artists. It further notes that, as a not-for-profit station, the new undertaking will not be able to dedicate a large budget to financial help for talent development initiatives comparable to those of commercial radio stations.
Frequency considerations


AVR proposed to provide its service using two separate transmitters. It planned to serve Toronto’s downtown core on the 106.5 MHz FM frequency, while listeners outside the range of 106.5 FM would receive the service on the AM frequency 740 kHz.


The AVR proposal, as filed, was therefore competitive, on a technical basis, with seven other applicants whose proposals for the use of 740 AM were considered at the public hearing. Although no other applicant specifically requested the 106.5 FM frequency, two applicants, Durham Radio Inc. (Durham) and 1158556 Ontario Ltd. applied to use the frequency 106.3 MHz to rebroadcast in Toronto the signals of country music station CJKX-FM Ajax and of CHIM-FM Timmins respectively. The three applications were therefore technically mutually exclusive.


After careful consideration, the Commission considers that the AVR application should be licensed on frequency 106.5 MHz, instead of either the Durham or the 1158556 Ontario Ltd. proposal for use of the "first adjacent channel" frequency, 106.3 MHz. As set out in Decision CRTC 2000-206 issued today, the applications by Durham and 1158556 Ontario Ltd. are consequently denied.


With respect to AVR's proposal to use the AM frequency 740 in addition to the FM frequency granted, in Decision CRTC 2000-205, the Commission approved an application by CHWO Ontario Inc., (on behalf of a limited partnership to be known as AM 740 PrimeTime Radio (PrimeTime), for a licence to carry on a new AM station using the 740 kHz frequency. PrimeTime will provide a service focused on entertainment and information of interest primarily to those 50 years of age and older. The Commission notes in that decision that, of the applications for the use of 740 AM, including that of AVR, the application by PrimeTime represents the best use of the frequency.
Conditions of licence


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 must:
  • ensure that a minimum of 2% of all programming is broadcast in a Canadian aboriginal language;
  • ensure that a minimum of 2% of all vocal musical selections played during each broadcast week is in a Canadian aboriginal language;
  • ensure that a minimum of 25% of all programming broadcast each broadcast week is spoken word programming;

  • ensure that a minimum of 35% of all musical selections from Category 2 – Popular music, played in each broadcast week are Canadian selections, played in their entirety;
  • adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Sex-role portrayal code for television and radio programming, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission; and
  • adhere to the provisions of the CAB’s Broadcast code for advertising to children, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
Other matters


This authority will only be effective and the Commission will only issue the licence at such time as it receives documentation establishing that an eligible Canadian corporation has been incorporated in accordance with the application in all material respects and that this corporation may be issued a licence.

Technical matters


Further, the licence will only be issued and effective when the new station 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 station 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.


As proposed in part, the new FM station will operate on the frequency 106.5 MHz, channel 293A, with an effective radiated power of 250 watts.


The Department of Industry has advised the Commission that this application is conditionally technically acceptable. The Department will only issue a broadcasting certificate once it has determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.


In accordance with section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission will only issue the licence and grant the authority to operate when it receives notification from the Department of Industry that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.



The Commission acknowledges and has considered all of the interventions submitted in support of this application, as well as one in opposition from a competing applicant, and one expressing general concerns, from the Canadian Independent Record Production Association.

Related CRTC documents

• Public Notice 1999-119Call for applications for a broadcasting licence to carry on a radio programming undertaking to serve Toronto, Ontario
• Public Notice 1990-89Native Broadcasting Policy

• Public Notice 1998-85Order in Council P.C. 1998-800 concerning the reservation of radio frequencies in the Toronto Market.

Secretary General

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