ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2000-81

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Decision CRTC 2000-81

Ottawa, 21 March 2000
Rogers Broadcasting Limited, on behalf of CHEZ-FM Inc.
Smiths Falls, Ontario – 199911277
31 January 2000 Public Hearing
in Toronto
Conversion of AM station CJET to FM
and exemption from the requirement to broadcast less than 50% hits each week


The Commission approves the application to replace AM station CJET Smiths Falls with a new, English-language FM station. Subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2005.


CHEZ-FM Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, currently owns and operates CFMO-FM and CJET Smiths Falls. The licensee wants to move CJET to the FM band to improve the technical quality of its signal within its licensed service area and, in doing so, to repatriate local listeners from out-of-market stations. The new station will continue to provide a "traditional country music" service.


In reaching its decision, the Commission has taken particular note of the licensee's important commitment that it is:

not proposing to change CJET's programming orientation or to relocate the studio outside of Smiths Falls. CJET will continue to operate with extensive local news and information programming designed to respond to the needs and interests of listeners in the predominately rural and agricultural Golden Triangle region. CJET will remain, therefore, a distinct and relevant local programming service for Smiths Falls and the surrounding areas.

The Commission expects the licensee to abide by its commitment.


The Commission authorizes the licensee to simulcast the programming of CJET on the new FM station for a period of three months. A condition of licence in this regard is set out below. At the end of this period, the Commission expects the licensee to surrender the AM licence for cancellation by the Commission.
Level of hits


As part of its application, the licensee requested authority to broadcast 85% hits each week on the new FM station. The Commission's longstanding policy requires that English-language commercial FM stations broadcast less than 50% hits each week. The licensee stated that approval will allow it to continue to program a similar mix of music to that currently broadcast on CJET. Approximately 85% of CJET's musical selections consist of pre-1981 music.


The licensee argued that it should be allowed to program a higher level of hits because the Smiths Falls market qualifies for flexibility as a small market under the Guidelines for assessing applications for programming flexibility from licensees of radio stations in border markets and small markets (the guidelines)(Public Notice CRTC 1992-3). It stated that Smiths Falls complies with the guidelines' criteria that the market have a population of less than 100,000, and be unprofitable for the past five years. The licensee also noted that 85% of all tuning in Smiths Falls is to out-of-market stations.


The licensee emphasized that the proposed station's technical contours will ensure that it is generally not available, or is available on a very limited basis, in neighbouring radio markets. The share of listening that out-of-market stations attract in Smiths Falls is significant in relation to the size of that small market. At the same time, tuning in Smiths Falls constitutes a very small share of the total listening to these out-of-market stations over their full coverage area and, therefore, makes little or no direct economic contribution to their operations. Since the licensee is the only radio broadcaster in the Smiths Falls market, the proposed level of hits raises no questions of fairness with respect to other local broadcasters.


The Commission agrees with the licensee that the Smiths Falls market qualifies for flexibility as a small market under the guidelines. The Commission is also satisfied that the higher level of hits will not cause undue harm to AM and FM broadcasters in neighbouring communities. Accordingly, the Commission authorizes the licensee to broadcast up to 85% hits during each broadcast week. A condition of licence to this effect is set out below.


Standard Radio Inc., (Standard) licensee of CKQB-FM Ottawa, submitted an intervention opposing the application to move CJET to the FM band. The intervener claimed that the licensee intends to serve the nearby Ottawa radio market where it already owns and operates two radio stations. Standard argued that approval would give the licensee an unacceptable level of concentration of radio ownership in the Ottawa area and would be contrary to the spirit of the Commercial Radio Policy, 1998 (Public Notice CRTC 1998-41). According to that policy, in markets with eight commercial radio stations or more operating in a given language, a licensee may own or control two AM and two FM stations in that language.


The licensee responded that CJET's signal currently reaches the entire Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and the National Capital Region. It added that it has specifically designed the technical contours of the FM station to extend service throughout the Ottawa Valley, while minimizing coverage in the Ottawa market. The licensee also stated that the new FM station will continue to be a local radio station targeted to Smiths Falls and area. The Commission is satisfied with the licensee's response.
Conditions of licence


The licence will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.


The licensee is authorized, by condition of licence, to:
  • simulcast the programming of CJET on the new FM station for a transition period of three months following implementation; and
  • broadcast, in any broadcast week, up to 85% hit material as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1997-42, as amended from time to time.
Other matters


The Commission notes that this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act that came into effect on 24 October 1996 (1996 EEA), and therefore files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada. As a result of a consequential amendment to the Broadcasting Act, the Commission no longer has the authority to apply its employment equity policy to any undertaking that is subject to the 1996 EEA.


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, the new FM station will operate on the frequency 92.3 MHz, channel 222B, with an effective radiated power of 9,300 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.
Related CRTC documents
  • Public Notice CRTC 1999-137 – New licence form for commercial radio stations
  • Public Notice CRTC 1998-41 – Commercial Radio Policy, 1998
  • Public Notice CRTC 1992-3 – Guidelines for assessing applications for programming flexibility from licensees of radio stations in border markets and small markets
  • Public Notice CRTC 1997-42 – Revised policy on the use of hits by English-language FM radio stations
This decision is to be appended to the licence.  It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:

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