ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-12

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-12

Ottawa, 25 January 2002

Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
Bracebridge, Ontario

Application 2000-2054-5
Public Notice CRTC 2001-81
13 July 2001

Change of frequency and power increase for CFBG-FM Bracebridge

In Decision CRTC 2000-281 dated 31 July 2000, the Commission denied an application by Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. (Haliburton) to change the frequency of its Bracebridge station CFBG-FM from 100.9 MHz to 99.5 MHz and to increase the station's effective radiated power from 2,900 watts to 100,000 watts. The Commission noted in its decision that the station was "originally licensed to serve south Muskoka, and Bracebridge and Gravenhurst in particular". In the Commission's view, the high power then proposed for CFBG-FM was an indication that the licensee was seeking to extend coverage to an area for which it was not licensed. The Commission concluded that approval would have transformed the station into a high-power regional station, and that this, in turn, would have jeopardized its local programming and would have had an undue negative impact on stations in neighbouring markets.

As discussed below, the Commission considers that the much smaller power increase to 12,000 watts now proposed by Haliburton will improve the reception and quality of the signal of CFBG-FM within the Bracebridge/Gravenhurst area, without having an undue adverse impact on other local radio stations operating in the region.


The Commission approves the application to amend the broadcasting licence for CFBG-FM Bracebridge by changing the station's frequency from 100.9 MHz (channel 265A) to 99.5 MHz (channel 258B), and by increasing the effective radiated power from 2,900 to 12,000 watts. The Commission authorizes the licensee to operate the undertaking based on the contours and particulars resulting from these changes.


The authority will be effective and the licence will be amended only at such time as Industry Canada, having advised that the application is conditionally technically acceptable, has determined that there is no unacceptable interference with NAV/COM services and has indicated that it will issue an amended broadcasting certificate (section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act).

Object of the application


According to the applicant, the proposed technical improvements are needed to alleviate existing signal strength problems within its licensed service area, thereby enabling it to compete more effectively against out-of-market radio stations for audience and advertising revenues:

We cannot effectively reach our trading area with the current signal we have. We receive hundreds of complaints annually from both advertisers and listeners saying they can't hear the station. We need this change to help us compete in our own trading area.



The Commission received ten written interventions to this application. All but two of these were in support of approval. Larche Communications Inc. (Larche), licensee of CICZ-FM Midland, and Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Limited (MPS), licensee of CFBK-FM Huntsville, intervened to oppose the application on technical and economic grounds.


Both of the opposing interveners expressed concern that the proposed amendments would have a negative effect on the advertising revenues earned by their respective radio stations in Midland and Huntsville. Midland is approximately 55 km south-west of Bracebridge, while Huntsville lies some 33 km to the north. The licensee of CICZ-FM Midland claimed that the applicant had submitted no evidence of any coverage problems, and that the existing technical parameters are more than sufficient to enable Haliburton to serve its licensed market, provided the station is properly maintained and operated. Larche suggested that any loss of CFBG-FM's audience to other stations was a programming issue, rather than a question of the station's signal strength. The intervener argued that the applicant's proposed use of channel 258 at 12,000 watts was a "waste of allocation", given the potential of this channel for use by a Class C1 station operating at as many as 100,000 watts. On this issue, Larche suggested that the applicant should instead investigate the use of FM channel 272A, which is currently allocated to Bracebridge.


MPS, like Larche, stated that the applicant has "made no attempt to substantiate" its argument that CFBG-FM is unable to serve south Muskoka using the existing technical facilities. It suggested that if any problems do exist, there are alternative solutions that would resolve them quickly and inexpensively. According to MPS, the Bracebridge station is doing "very, very well indeed". It added that any audience loss experienced by CFBG-FM was product related rather than the result of any technical problem, and that the applicant's projections of revenue losses under the status quo are unrealistically high. The licensee of CFBK-FM also described the use of the proposed frequency at 12,000 watts as "a waste of the frequency", and suggested that the applicant would "make an 'uprun' to a one hundred thousand watt signal, sooner or later". This intervener concluded by suggesting that the "Huntsville 99.5 frequency, and 100,000 watts should probably be considered by the Commission for the Huntsville station in the future".

Commission's determination


The Commission notes that the technical amendments proposed by the applicant for CFBG-FM will provide coverage comparable to that enjoyed by CFBK-FM Huntsville. Moreover, these technical parameters are far more modest that those of certain other FM stations in the region that are licensed to provide local service, such as CKLP-FM Parry Sound and CIXI-FM Orillia. Although the Commission agrees with MPS that alternative technical solutions might be available to the applicant, it considers that the current proposal for use of 99.5 MHz at the proposed power level of 12,000 watts also constitutes a valid option.


As noted above, both opposing interveners advanced the argument that the applicant's proposal does not represent optimum use of the frequency spectrum. The Commission considers however that the relative proximity of the radio stations now offering local services in Huntsville, Bracebridge, Parry Sound, Midland and Orillia renders highly unlikely the possibility that it would authorize any of these stations to operate at a power as high as 100,000 watts. This is supported by the Commission's denial of the previous application by Haliburton. As to Larche's suggestion that the applicant use FM channel 272A a currently vacant frequency allotted to Bracebridge, the Commission understands that use by CFBG-FM of the frequency in question would not satisfy Industry Canada's spectrum assignment rules, since it would be short-spaced to the frequencies of two existing radio stations in southern Ontario, as well as to an FM channel allocated to Belleville.


There is evidence presented by the applicant that it is losing audience share to Midland and Barrie stations. This may simply reflect the preference among some former CFBG-FM listeners for the programming provided by these other stations. There is further evidence, however, that radio station CIQB-FM Barrie, which operates on 101.1 MHz, does cause some interference to the Bracebridge station, which operates on the first adjacent frequency of 100.9 MHz. In addition, complaints about reception difficulties from listeners located south of Bracebridge, but within the 0.5 mV/m contour of CFBG-FM, suggest that there may be some degradation of the station's signal in the southern range of its service area.


The Commission defines the licensed service area of an FM station as the lesser of the station's 3 mV/m contour and the Central Area (as defined by BBM) of the community served by the station. The Commission notes that, by this definition, the licensed service areas of both CICZ-FM Midland and CFBK-FM Huntsville, as well as those of other FM stations operating in the region, fall well outside of the applicant's proposed 3 mV/m contour. Accordingly, the Commission is satisfied that approval of the application should resolve CFBG's existing signal problems without creating any undue adverse impact on other local stations in the region.


In its application, Haliburton made a commitment to "contribute an additional $5,000 to FACTOR per annum", and added that it would adhere to this commitment "as a condition of licence". Accordingly, it is a condition of licence that the licensee make an annual contribution of $5,000 to FACTOR, and that this amount be incremental to all existing commitments and licensing requirements with respect to the financial support extended by the licensee to Canadian talent development.

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:

Date Modified: 2002-01-25

Date modified: