ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-627

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Decision CRTC 2001-627

Ottawa, 4 October 2001

Gary Farmer, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Aboriginal Voices Radio)
Ottawa, Ontario and Hull, Quebec 2001-0290-6

22 May 2001 Public Hearing
National Capital Region

New native FM station to serve the Ottawa-Hull region

At a public hearing in the National Capital Region, the Commission considered eleven applications for FM stations to serve the Ottawa/Hull area. In this and other decisions published today, the Commission has approved a total of four applications for new FM stations: one English-language dance music station, one that will have an Aboriginal focus, a multicultural station, and an application for a French-language classical music service. The Commission's overall approach to applications for radio stations to serve the Ottawa/Hull market is discussed in Public Notice CRTC 2001-105 issued today.


Among the applications it considered, the Commission heard two applications competing for authority to use the FM frequency 95.7 MHz for the operation of new radio services in Ottawa/Hull or in its vicinity. One was the above-noted application by Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR). The other was by Yves Belzile, on behalf of a company to be incorporated, for a proposed FM station at Buckingham. The Commission, by this decision, approves the application by AVR. The licence, when issued to AVR, will be subject to the terms and conditions set out in the appendix to this decision and in the licence to be issued. In Decision CRTC 2001-629 of today's date, the Commission has denied the application by Mr. Belzile.


The Commission is satisfied that the service proposed by AVR is consistent with the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, in particular its call for the provision of programming reflective of Canada's Aboriginal cultures, and considers that approval of the application is warranted.


The Commission notes in this regard the comments contained in written interventions, and others presented at the hearing, concerning the social importance of having an Aboriginal radio station to serve Canada's capital, given the very limited amount of Aboriginal programming offered by existing stations. Further, this station will play an important role in the newly-licensed Aboriginal Voices Radio Network, providing listeners with relevant news from the nation's capital.


In its early years of operation, the station's programming will, in the main, originate with the proposed FM radio station licensed to AVR in Toronto (Decision CRTC 2000-204). The applicant's plans in this regard are similar to those it has for other AVR stations recently authorized by the Commission, one in Calgary and the other in Vancouver (Decisions CRTC 2001-172 and 2001-314). In the case of the Ottawa-Hull station, AVR stated that it would introduce local programming over time, increasing to as much as 14 hours 30 minutes per week by the end of the first year of operation. The applicant set forth, as a further objective, the establishment of a full-time station staff, a parliamentary reporter and local studio facilities within the first year.


AVR will operate the proposed station as a not-for-profit undertaking. A spokesperson for the applicant at the hearing confirmed that AVR does not propose initially to solicit local advertising. The Commission considers that AVR's plans in this regard are consistent with the Commission's long-standing position that licensees should generally provide local programming in return for access to local advertising revenue.


In an intervention presented at the hearing, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation expressed concern that AVR's proposed use of frequency 95.7 MHz and associated technical parameters would cause interference to the signal of its CBOC-FM Cornwall transmitter. CBOC-FM operates on the frequency 95.5 MHz (channel 238A) and rebroadcasts the Radio One service of CBO-FM Ottawa.


In particular, the Corporation was concerned about the proposed transmitter location at Camp Fortune, Quebec and suggested to AVR that alternative sites in Ottawa/Hull exist which the applicant could use to fulfil its coverage objectives, and at the same time avoid causing interference to CBOC-FM.


Industry Canada, in its comments to the Commission on this matter, first noted that the application as originally filed was technically unacceptable due to the objection raised by the CBC. However, with the reduction of the proposed effective radiated power by AVR, Industry Canada concluded from its technical studies that the predicted zone of potential of interference is minimal. Consequently, Industry Canada referred the matter to the Commission to resolve as a marketing issue.


For its part, at the hearing AVR acknowledged the potential for interference, but argued that its application should be approved in the interests of spectrum efficiency. It added:

We have committed to remedy any interference complaints to the CBOC service, which cannot be remedied by listeners switching to the CBO service and we have also committed to test at our own expense, to prove to Industry Canada and the CBC that [our proposed transmitter] site can be used without impairing the CBC's seamless Radio One coverage now or in the future.


The applicant confirmed that its commitment includes AVR's willingness to reduce the effective radiated power of the station to less than the 6,000 watts proposed in its application, should tests reveal this as necessary to ensure the integrity of the CBC's service. It further indicated that, if the coverage of the proposed station were to become severely limited as a consequence, AVR would consider use of an alternate transmitter site.


The Commission has carefully considered the views of both the applicant and the intervener regarding the potential for technical interference. It has also taken into account the advice on this matter provided by Industry Canada. In the Commission's view, the CBC has raised legitimate concerns. Nevertheless, the Commission is also satisfied that AVR has offered the CBC reasonable and sufficient guarantees that the Corporation's concerns for potential interference will not be permitted to materialize.


A number of interventions in opposition to this application were also submitted by various organizations in the francophone community in the Ottawa area. These interveners expressed concerns related to the impact that licensing this and other applications might have on the future development of French-language radio stations to serve Ottawa/Hull. This matter is discussed in detail in Public Notice 2001-105, also published today.


In light of all the above, in particular the value and importance of the service that the proposed radio station will provide to Aboriginal listeners in the Ottawa-Hull region, the Commission is satisfied that approval of the application, as filed, is warranted. As noted in the appendix, however, the Commission will only issue the licence and grant the authority to operate when it receives notification from Industry Canada that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.

Related CRTC documents

. Public Notice 2001-105 - Introductory statement to decisions CRTC 2001-625 to 2001-629: Radio applications considered at the 22 May 2001 public hearing in the National Capital Region

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:


Appendix to Decision CRTC 2001-627


Terms and conditions pertaining to the licence to be issued to Gary Farmer, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Aboriginal Voices Radio), for a new FM station to serve the Ottawa-Hull region


Industry Canada has advised the Commission that it is prepared to declare this application as being 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 and with CBCO-FM Cornwall.


Therefore, and 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 Industry Canada that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.


Further, the Commission will only issue the licence, and it will only be effective at such time as:

  · the Commission 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; and
  · the licensee confirms in writing that it is ready to begin operation. This must take place within 12 months of today's date. Any request for an extension to that deadline requires Commission approval and must be made in writing within that period.

Consistent with the Native Broadcasting Policy, the licence will be for a Type B Native FM radio undertaking. The licence, when issued, will expire 31 August 2006, coincident with the expiry of the other licences to be issued to AVR.


The new undertaking will operate on the frequency 95.7 MHz, channel 239B, with an effective radiated power of 6,000 watts, rather than 8,000 watts as set out in Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2001-4, unless Industry Canada subsequently approves other technical parameters for AVR. 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.


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:

  · provide a minimum of 2% of all programming broadcast in a Canadian aboriginal language;
  · provide a minimum of 2% of all vocal musical selections played during each broadcast week in a Canadian aboriginal language;
  · provide a minimum level of 25% spoken word programming each broadcast week;
  · provide a minimum level of 35% Canadian selections played in their entirety as a percentage of all musical selections from Category 2 - Popular music, played in each broadcast week;
  · 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.

Date Modified: 2001-10-04

Date modified: