ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-698

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Decision CRTC 2001-698

Ottawa, 16 November 2001

Crossroads Television System
London and Ottawa, Ontario  2001-0345-8, 2001-0346-6

Applications processed by
Public Notice CRTC 2001-72
dated 22 June 2001

Denial of proposal to add transmitters of CITS-TV at London and Ottawa


In Public Notice 2001-72, the Commission announced that it had received applications by Crossroads Television System (Crossroads), licensee of CITS-TV, to add rebroadcasting transmitters of CITS-TV at London and Ottawa. CITS-TV is a local television station devoted to religious programming, currently serving Hamilton, Burlington, St. Catharines and Toronto. CITS-TV was originally licensed in Decision CRTC 98-123. It began broadcasting in 1998, although its first full year of operation was 1999.


Crossroads stated that its goal in proposing to add transmitters at London and Ottawa was to provide its religious programming to audiences in those communities, and to thereby expand its regional market.


The applicant also stated that, since no local advertising would be solicited and that it would adhere to the local programming commitments of its existing licence, no undue harm would accrue to local broadcasters in either London or Ottawa. Crossroads further noted that it would be prepared to waive its right under the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations to carriage on the basic band (channels 2-13) of local cable companies, if the applications were approved.



Interventions in opposition to these applications were submitted by CHUM Limited, Vision TV, Trinity Television Inc. and Rogers Cable.


CHUM argued that the rebroadcast of CITS-TV in London and Ottawa would cause financial harm to CFPL-TV and CHRO-TV, unprofitable CHUM stations serving those communities.


In response to CHUM's concerns, Crossroads noted that CHUM's national presence with multiple conventional and specialty television holdings should minimize any impact to CHUM overall. The applicant also expressed the view that it is impossible for an independent television station to compete in the Ontario market unless it has access to the key markets in the province, including London and Ottawa.


Vision TV, a national specialty television service that broadcasts interfaith religious programming, also opposed the applications. It expressed the concern that approval of the transmitters would inhibit the emergence of local religious stations, and would not add to the availability of locally oriented religious programming. Vision TV also stated that the addition of CITS-TV to cable carriage in London and Ottawa would cause inevitable disruption to subscribers, and that Crossroads had not demonstrated an economic need for the approval of the applications.


In reply to Vision TV's concerns, Crossroads noted that profits would be reinvested into programming, thus benefiting all Crossroads viewers, and that it would not solicit local advertising in London or Ottawa. Crossroads also argued that the addition of the transmitters would provide increased diversity in Canadian programming with no significant impact on local services.


Trinity Television Inc. (Trinity) was granted a licence in Decision 2000-218 to operate a religious television station to serve the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, although the station is not yet in operation. Trinity fully supports the application to distribute CITS-TV in the London market, but opposes the same plan for Ottawa.


Trinity based its opposition to the Ottawa application on the fact that there are distinct differences between the culture and religious profile of the Ottawa-Hull market and the other communities served by CITS-TV. Trinity is of the opinion that Ottawa could support its own local religious television station. The distribution of CITS-TV in Ottawa would therefore be a barrier to entry of any new local religious television station.


In response to Trinity's concerns, Crossroads argued that its proposal to distribute CITS-TV in Ottawa would not have a serious impact on existing local stations, and that it would give audiences access to thousands of hours of unique programming annually. The applicant further stated that its proposals are in the public interest, and consistent with the treatment of other licensees in the Toronto market.


In its intervention, Rogers Cable noted that channel realignments are a major source of customer dissatisfaction, and that Rogers' intent is to minimize such reallocations.


In response to Rogers, the applicant stated that Crossroads was "fully cognizant of the inconvenience caused cable operators by the introduction of new television services". It also noted that Rogers has "several options available for satisfactory cable carriage of CTS within the parameters of its proposal."


The Commission has taken into consideration all of the concerns of the interveners and the applicant's replies thereto.

The distant signals policy


The proposed extension of CITS-TV to London and Ottawa was examined in light of the Commission's Distant Canadian Television Signals Policy, first outlined in a Public Announcement dated 26 March 1979, entitled A Review of Certain Cable Television Programming Issues. The policy was revised in Public Notice 1985-61. In the latter document, the Commission stated that it would examine, on a case-by-case basis, applications for over-the-air transmission of distant signals, taking into account a number of criteria for such transmission.


Of all the criteria set out in Public Notice 1985-61, the one of greatest relevance in this case is the number of local television services in existence or likely to be licensed in the market.

The Commission's determination


The Commission is of the opinion that approval of these applications, allowing the distribution of Crossroads in either the London or the Ottawa market would act to some degree as an impediment to the emergence of a new local over-the-air religious service designed to serve the community. In addition, the licensing of new transmitters would add to over-the-air capacity constraints. The added pressure on capacity, in Ottawa in particular, would be potentially detrimental to the emergence of new, local over-the-air French-language services to serve the Ottawa region.


Finally, the Commission is of the opinion that no compelling evidence has been presented that demonstrated the applicant's economic need for the approval of these applications, especially in view of the short time that the applicant has been operating in its original licensed market.


For all the reasons set out above, the Commission denies the applications by Crossroads to add transmitters of CITS-TV at London and Ottawa.

Secretary General

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

Date Modified: 2001-11-16

Date modified: