ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2001-70

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Public Notice CRTC 2001-70

Ottawa, 15 June 2001

Changes to conditions of licence for certain native radio undertakings


In Public Notice CRTC 2000-105 dated 17 July 2000, the Commission called for comments on proposals to amend certain conditions of licence for 20 native radio stations and three native radio networks whose current terms of licence expire in 2001. The proposals relate to Canadian content in music, advertising content, and programming acquired from other radio stations. All of the undertakings concerned also operate in markets where commercial radio stations operate. Decisions dealing with the renewal of each licence have been issued separately today (Decisions CRTC 2001-329 to 351).


To allow for the review of all comments received, the Commission administratively renewed all of the affected licences, from 1 September 2000 to 31 August 2001.

Canadian content


In PN 2000-105, the Commission sought public input on a proposal to increase the required level of Canadian content in popular (Category 2) music, from 30% to 35%, for the affected native radio undertakings.


Most of the licensees stated that they would be willing to accept a condition of licence requiring the broadcast of a minimum of 35% Canadian content in popular music. Some stated that they already devoted a percentage higher than that to Canadian music.


The majority of public comments received on this matter supported an increase in Canadian content for native radio stations. Commercial radio licences argued that non-exempt native radio stations could and should be expected to meet the same Canadian content requirements as other broadcasters. Following recent policy reviews, the Commission increased from 30% to 35% the minimum percentage of all popular music that commercial, community and campus radio stations are required to devote to Canadian selections.


After reviewing all comments and input, the Commission is satisfied that a 35% level of Canadian content in Category 2 music is feasible for non-exempt native radio stations. A condition of licence will be applied to the licences of each of the affected undertakings, requiring that a minimum of 35% of the musical selections from content category 2 during each broadcast week be devoted to Canadian selections.


"Canadian selection" and "broadcast week" are defined in the Radio Regulations 1986.



Currently, non-exempt native radio undertakings may broadcast no more than an average of 4 minutes of advertising per hour, with no more than 6 minutes of such material in any given hour. As part of this process, the Commission also sought comment on whether the current restriction of advertising on such undertakings was still appropriate.


Some native licensees stated that the current restrictions are not problematic, since they either do not broadcast advertising at all, or they are not able to sell enough advertising to fill the time currently allowed.


Other licensees disagreed, and were of the opinion that the restrictions should be lifted. These native licensees argued that, given diminishing resources for funding, advertising is of utmost importance, representing their best hope for growth. These licensees were of the opinion that the ability to access more revenues from advertising would allow for greater self-sufficiency and less reliance upon financial support from governments and band councils.


The Commission notes that the broadcast of advertising material is no longer limited for commercial and community radio licensees, and the removal of such restrictions on native licensees would put them on the same footing as most other Canadian radio broadcasters. The Commission has, therefore, decided not to impose conditions of licence limiting the level of advertising material broadcast on native radio stations.

Non station-originated programming


The public notice also asked parties to comment on the appropriateness of "wrap-around" programming. This term describes blocks of programming that originate from other radio stations. The source is often a distant commercial station, and the practice eliminates the need for the native station to sign off at the end of limited daily programming.


Many native radio stations broadcast only station-produced programming. For the most part, the ones that broadcast non station-originated programming do so in very limited amounts. A small number of native radio stations do, however, carry large amounts of wrap-around programming, especially in the evening hours. For example, some native licensees complete their local programming at 6:00 p.m. and then rebroadcast a popular urban commercial station until local broadcasting resumes the following day.


This practice can have a negative impact on a commercial broadcaster operating in the same market as the native licensee, especially if the wrap-around programming is in the same format as that used by the commercial station.


The Commission sought comments from interested parties on what remedies might be appropriate in cases where wrap-around programming has a negative impact on other broadcasters in their market.


The Commission received four submissions that discussed wrap-around programming. None of the submissions entirely opposed its use, although CJCD Radio Ltd., licensee of CJCD, a commercial radio station in Yellowknife, suggested that the broadcast of wrap-around programming be permitted only under specific conditions.


The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) was of the view that wrap-around programming can have an impact and is particularly harmful in areas where there is more than one commercial radio station in the market. The CAB recommended that native radio undertakings wishing to carry wrap-around programming should be required to use programs that originate either from another native radio station or an aboriginal network located in the same province or region.


The Commission is of the opinion that the scenario suggested above would be compatible with the definition of a native undertaking as outlined in the Native Broadcasting Policy. That policy stipulates that the programming available on a native undertaking "should be specifically oriented to the native population and reflect the interests and needs specific to the native audience it is licensed to serve".


The Commission is aware that the acquisition of wrap-around programming from native radio stations may not always be possible or practical, given the small number of such undertakings across Canada that broadcast around the clock. At the same time, the Commission notes that it has recently issued a licence for a new, national native radio network to be known as Aboriginal Voices Radio Network (AVRN) (Decision CRTC 2001-39). While AVRN is not yet in operation, it proposes to offer programming on its native radio network 24 hours per day. AVRN will be available to all regions across the country. The Commission considers that wrap-around programming acquired from AVRN would better meet the intent of the Native Broadcasting Policy than would non-native programming.


For the reasons set out above, at the time of licence renewal, native stations wishing to carry wrap-around programming will be either encouraged or required to use programming from another native station or network. The approach taken may depend upon whether complaints or interventions related to wrap-around programming are received.

Native licences that do not expire in 2001


This new approach applies at this time only to the native radio undertakings renewed in Decisions CRTC 2001-329 to 2001-351. There remain several native radio licensees whose licences do not expire in 2001 and are therefore not immediately affected by these changes.


Any native radio undertaking not affected by these changes may apply to the Commission at any time, for authority to amend conditions of licence, consistent with the changes discussed above. In general, the Commission will be inclined to amend both the Canadian music and advertising conditions at the same time for each station.

Conditions of licence regarding gender portrayal and advertising to children


The Commission reminds the licensees that any radio undertaking that broadcasts 42 or more hours of local programming during a broadcast week is subject to the following conditions of licence:

It is a condition of licence that the licensee 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.

It is a condition of licence that the licensee 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.

Related CRTC documents

. Public Notice 2000-14 - Revised content categories and subcategories for radio

. Public Notice 1990-89 - Native broadcasting policy

Secretary General

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Date Modified: 2001-06-15

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