ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-625

This page has been archived on the Web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.

Decision CRTC 2001-625

Ottawa, 4 October 2001

Radio 1540 Limited
Ottawa, Ontario/Hull, Québec 2001-0292-1

22 May 2001 Public Hearing
National Capital Region

New ethnic FM station for Ottawa/Hull

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 the competitive applications for new radio stations to serve the Ottawa/Hull market is discussed in Public Notice CRTC 2001-105 issued today.


The Commission approves the application by Radio 1540 Limited (Radio 1540) for a broadcasting licence for a specialty FM (ethnic radio) programming undertaking at Ottawa/Hull. The new station will operate on the frequency 97.9 MHz (channel 250B1). The licence, when issued to Radio 1540 Limited, will be subject to the terms and conditions set out in the appendix to this decision as well as those in the licence to be issued.

The new station

The new station will serve the approximately 360,000 residents of Ottawa/Hull who are of minority ethnic origin. Ninety-four percent of weekly programming will be ethnic programming, and at least 92% of all programming will be in languages other than English, French or languages of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Such programming will be directed to a minimum of 37 cultural groups in at least 20 different languages each broadcast week. The Commission is imposing these commitments as conditions of licence.


Most programming will be locally oriented and created by associate producers from local ethnic communities. Programming will consist of talk, news and music with a strong emphasis on information. Locally-oriented programming will be supplemented by regional open-line call-in shows produced jointly by the licensee's stations in Ottawa and Toronto. The applicant considered that this programming would provide an opportunity for exchanges between ethnic communities in the two cities. The Commission is imposing a condition of licence limiting the amount of such regional programming to a maximum of 15 hours per week.


Although most programming will be directed to particular cultural and linguistic communities, the new station will also broadcast 7.5 hours per week of cross-cultural programming. Such programming, which will be hosted in English and in French, will consist of a one-hour call-in program broadcast each weekday, preceded by a half-hour program featuring world music.

Ownership and synergies

Radio 1540 also owns and operates CHIN and CHIN-FM, two ethnic stations that have served Toronto for many years. The applicant emphasized that its new station would not be an extension of its Toronto operations, but would rather be a new local station designed specifically for the Ottawa/Hull market. Producers from Toronto will not oversee production for the Ottawa/Hull station.


The applicant did, however, consider that its experience and facilities in Toronto could enable its Ottawa/Hull station to operate more effectively and efficiently. Radio 1540 also considered that the staff at the new station would benefit from its long-established and proven training and development programs. The applicant further indicated that it would control administrative costs by relying on centralized engineering, accounting, financial, traffic and other office management systems.


The new station will also have access to the extensive ethnic music library that CHIN has built up over many years. As noted above, the licensee will broadcast a regional call-in show both in Ottawa and Toronto.

Assessing the applications

The Commission assesses applications for new radio stations in light of the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act (the Act) and the public interest.


In recent decisions involving competing commercial radio applications, the Commission has noted that there are four main factors relevant to its evaluation of such applications. While their relative importance can vary according to the specific circumstances of the market, these factors are: the likely impact of a new entrant or entrants on existing licensees; the competitive state of the market; implications with respect to the diversity of editorial voices in the market; and the quality of the applications.


Since this is an application for an ethnic station, the Commission has also assessed it in light of its Ethnic broadcasting policy set out in Public Notice CRTC 1999-117.

Impact of a new entrant

The Commission generally seeks to assure itself that the competitive impact of a new entrant to a radio market will not impinge unduly on the ability of incumbent stations to meet their programming responsibilities under the Act. Otherwise, the Commission's predisposition lies clearly in favour of increased competition and diversity, and the improvements in the overall quality of available services that these promote.


The Ottawa/Hull radio market is performing well, with an overall profit before interest and taxes of 20% in 2000. The Commission notes that this station is designed for an audience that is currently underserved, and that it will not compete directly with any existing local station. As noted earlier, it will also provide at least 92% its programming in third languages. The Commission is therefore convinced that the Ottawa/Hull radio market can support the station licensed in this decision without an undue negative effective on existing English-language and French-language stations.

Competitive state of the market

The Commission is satisfied that its approval of this application has no negative implications with respect to the competitive state of the Ottawa/Hull radio market.


The competitive state of a market, as a factor in the Commission's consideration of applications proposing new commercial radio stations, is generally most relevant where the applicant is the licensee of an existing station in that market. In such cases, the Commission's concern is that its licensing actions not create an undue competitive imbalance in the market.


The Commission notes that Radio 1540 will be a new player in the Ottawa/Hull market. As such, it will serve to increase the number of radio voices in the market.

Diversity of editorial voices

Radio 1540 will provide a new editorial voice in Ottawa/Hull, especially for those who speak languages other than English or French.

Quality of the application

The Commission generally considers four main criteria when assessing the quality of a new radio application. These are: the applicant's local programming proposals and plans for providing reflection of the local community; its Canadian content commitments; the quality of its business plan (including the proposed format); and commitments in support of the development of Canadian talent.


The Commission is satisfied that Radio 1540 has presented a high-quality application in light of these criteria and the Ethnic broadcasting policy and that, overall, it has presented the better of the two applications for a new ethnic radio station in Ottawa/Hull. Among other things, Radio 1540 will offer a very high level of ethnic programming (94% of the schedule), a very high level of programming in third languages (92% of the schedule) and will exceed the minimum level of Canadian music required for ethnic programming periods. These and other matters are addressed below.

Reflection of the community


As indicated above, the new station will provide programming directed to at least 37 cultural groups that form part of the population of the Ottawa/Hull market, in a minimum of 20 languages. In addition, 94% of the programming schedule will be ethnic programming, and 92% of the schedule will be devoted to programming in third languages. In order to ensure a strong local orientation, programming will be created by local associate producers drawn from the local ethnic communities.


Radio 1540 is also establishing a local advisory board to assist it to be as responsive as possible to the needs of the local community. The board will provide advice, assistance and guidance on the operation and the programming of the station. The board will also assist the licensee in seeking out, nurturing, training and assisting program producers from local ethnic communities. All advisory board members and all associate producers will come from Ottawa/Hull, and will represent the interests of residents on both sides of river.

Level of Canadian content


Radio 1540 will ensure that at least 10% of all musical selections aired each broadcast week during ethnic programming periods are Canadian selections. This commitment exceeds the 7% minimum requirement set out in the Radio Regulations, 1986. Radio 1540's commitment is set out as a condition of licence in the appendix to this decision.

Business plan and programming format


The Commission considers that the format proposed by the licensee will be attractive to listeners, and that adequate financing is available to implement the station and sustain it through the initial periods of operation.


The applicant's business plan is predicated on offering programming to ethnic communities, an audience that is currently underserved in the Ottawa/Hull market. The Commission further notes the results of a study by Pollara, a public opinion research company, that was commissioned by the applicant. In response to Pollara's survey, 72% of ethnic respondents indicated that they would listen to the station that Radio 1540 proposed. The Commission also considers that synergies with the applicant's stations in Toronto will allow it to operate efficiently and help it fulfil its commitments to serve a wide range of local ethnic communities.

Canadian talent development


Radio 1540 will spend a minimum of $55,000 per year in direct expenditures for Canadian talent development (CTD), resulting in a total expenditure of $385,000 over the seven year licence term. A condition of licence to this effect is set out in the appendix to this decision.


Annual funding for CTD will be allocated as follows:

· $10,000 to FACTOR to support the production of Canadian sound recordings.
· $17,000 to Canadian Music Week to support the establishment of an ethnic music showcase.
· $10,000 for a CHIN (Ottawa) Multicultural Music and Song Competition. As part of this initiative, a CD will be recorded and distributed to all ethnic stations across Canada, and a video program will be broadcast on both CHRO-TV (Ottawa) and CITY-TV (Toronto).
· $10,000 for a CHIN (Ottawa) Multicultural Music Initiative. Under this initiative, Radio 1540 will sponsor a series of public performances, record and broadcast the best of these performances, develop a music mentoring program, and underwrite a symposium to be held during the song competition discussed above.
· $ 5,000 for scholarships. These include a $2,500 scholarship for a journalism student at Carleton University, and $1,250 dollars to each of two music students; one attending Carleton University and one attending the University of Ottawa.
· $3,000 to support the development of an ethnic music catalogue by the Canadian Association of Ethnic Broadcasters.
Other development initiatives

In addition to the initiatives for Canadian talent development discussed above, the applicant indicated that it would provide $2,500 per year to both campus station CKCU-FM and campus station CHUO-FM to assist them in ethnic program development and the training of ethnic broadcasters. The Commission is imposing this commitment as a condition of licence.

Ethnic broadcasting policy

The Commission considers that this application fulfills the requirement of its ethnic broadcasting policy to serve a broad range of ethnic groups within the proposed service area of the station.


It further notes that, as set out earlier in this decision, the new station will exceed the requirements of the ethnic broadcasting policy which states that ethnic stations must devote at least 60% of their programming to ethnic programming and at least half of their schedules to programming in third languages.


Several interveners expressed concerns related to the impact that licensing this and other applications might have on the future development of French-language radio services to serve Ottawa/Hull. This matter is addressed in Public Notice CRTC 2001-105, also issued today.


The Commission wishes to thank all those who participated in the public process leading to this decision, either through their written intervention or through their presentations at the public hearing.

Related CRTC documents

. Public Notice 2001-105 - Introductory statement to Decisions CRTC 2001-625 to CRTC 2001-629: Radio applications considered at the 22 May 2001 public hearing in the National Capital Region
. Public Notice 1999-137 - New licence form for commercial radio stations
. Public Notice 1999-117 - Ethnic broadcasting policy

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 2001-625

  Terms and conditions of licence pertaining to the licence to be issued to Radio 1540 Limited for a new FM station to serve Ottawa/Hull

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

  · 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.
  · Industry Canada, having advised that the application is conditionally technically acceptable, determines that there is no unacceptable interference with NAV/COM services and indicates that it will issue a broadcasting certificate (section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act).

The licence, when issued, will expire 31 August 2008.


The station will broadcast on the FM band, on the frequency 97.9 MHz, channel 250B1, with an effective radiated power of 800 watts.


The Commission notes that this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act that came into effect on 24 October 1996 and therefore files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada.

  Conditions of licence

The licence will be subject to the conditions specified in the licence to be issued, as also set out in Public Notice CRTC 1999-137. The licence will also be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The licensee shall offer, on a weekly basis, programming directed to a minimum of 37 cultural groups in a minimum of 20 languages.
  2. The licensee shall devote a minimum of 94% of the programming broadcast in each broadcast week to ethnic programming, as defined in Public Notice CRTC 1999-117 and as amended from time to time.
  3. The licensee shall ensure that at least 92% of programming aired each broadcast week is in languages other than English, French or a Canadian Aboriginal language.
  4. The licensee shall devote no more than 15 hours per broadcast week to the broadcast of regional open-line programming. For the purpose of this condition, regional open line programming means open-line programming that is broadcast simultaneously on this station and on CHIN or CHIN-FM Toronto.
  5. As an exception to section 2.2(4) of the Radio Regulations,1986, the licensee shall ensure that at least 10% of the musical selections broadcast during ethnic programming periods each broadcast week are Canadian selections.
  6. The licensee shall contribute a minimum of $55,000 per year in direct expenditures for the development of Canadian talent, as outlined in this Decision.
  7. The licensee shall allocate $5,000 per year to assist in ethnic program development and the training of ethnic broadcasters at the Ottawa/Hull campus radio stations CKCU-FM and CHUO-FM. Each of the two stations shall receive $2,500 per year.

Date Modified: 2001-10-04

Date modified: