ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-469

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-469

Ottawa, 20 December 2002

CKUA Radio Foundation
Edmonton, Alberta

Application 2002-0141-8
Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2002-26
17 May 2002

CKUA-FM Edmonton - Use of the SCMO channel

The application


The Commission received an application by CKUA Radio Foundation (CKUA Radio), licensee of CKUA-FM Edmonton, for authority to use a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel1 for the purpose of broadcasting a predominantly East Indian-language radio service.


Guldasta Broadcasting Inc. would operate the service and initially offer approximately 15 to 20 hours of programming a day with plans to increase the service to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The programming would be in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati and would consist primarily of music, complemented by news, information, religious and cultural programs. The service would broadcast the programming in Edmonton only.



The Commission received one intervention opposing the application. O.K. Radio Group Ltd. (O.K. Radio), licensee of CKER-FM, an ethnic radio programming undertaking, estimated that the East Indian population in Edmonton is no more than 35,000 people. The intervener listed six other program sources that are available to the East Indian community in Edmonton and expressed the concern that approval of the application in question would further fragment the already divided revenue pie and, as a result, prevent CKER-FM from providing its current level of service.


The intervener also stated that the proposed service would not significantly benefit the East Indian community or increase diversity in the Edmonton market.


In reply, CKUA Radio argued that the proposed service would not have an undue financial impact on the existing ethnic radio service. CKUA Radio stated that CKER-FM, an over-the-air service, had a different target audience and therefore different advertisers than an SCMO service. The applicant also pointed out that three of the six broadcasting services cited in the intervention as currently available to the East Indian community in Edmonton were out-of-market services and only a portion of their advertising was obtained from the Edmonton market. Furthermore, the applicant noted that two other services cited in the intervention were television broadcasting services.


The applicant also disagreed with the intervener regarding the benefits of the proposed service. The applicant argued that the programming in four different East Indian languages would provide diversity in the market and would serve not only the East Indian community but the "greater South Asian community of Edmonton."

The Commission's determination


The Commission's policy regarding services using the SCMO channel of FM stations is set out in Services Using the Vertical Blanking Interval (Television) or Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (FM), Public Notice CRTC 1989-23, 23 March 1989 (Public Notice 1989-23).


The policy states that the Commission would be concerned if an SCMO service were to have a negative impact on existing local conventional ethnic broadcasters. Unlike licensed radio undertakings, SCMO services are not required to offer a minimum level of Canadian content, to make financial contributions to Canadian talent development, or, in general, to make specific programming commitments.


The Commission finds that CKUA Radio's proposed SCMO service would not reduce CKER-FM's advertising revenues significantly. CKER-FM currently broadcasts 9% of its program schedule in three East Indian languages. The Commission concludes that the proposed service will affect only a portion of that 9%. Furthermore, none of CKER-FM's East Indian programming is scheduled during morning or evening drive times. The Commission also notes that O.K. Radio is a well-established radio broadcaster. Despite the concerns raised in the opposing intervention regarding the possible negative impact of the proposed SCMO service on other broadcasting services serving Edmonton, the Commission is satisfied that approval of this application will not have an undue negative impact on existing local conventional ethnic radio stations.


Furthermore, the Commission notes that the East Indian community in the Edmonton market is currently provided with a total of 13 hours per week of locally oriented programming. The Commission is satisfied that the proposed service will add to the availability of local programming, increasing the choice and diversity for the East Indian community living in Edmonton.


Accordingly, the Commission approves the application by CKUA Radio to use an SCMO channel of radio station CKUA-FM Edmonton, for the purpose of broadcasting a predominantly East Indian-language radio service.


The Commission reminds CKUA Radio that, as stated in section 3(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act, it is responsible for the programs that it broadcasts. It is therefore expected to ensure that its SCMO service is operated in a responsible manner and to adhere to the guidelines regarding the provision of SCMO services set out in Appendix A to Public Notice 1989-23.

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:

1 Programming broadcast using an SCMO channel is not accessible with standard radio equipment, and requires instead the use of a special receiver.

Date Modified: 2002-12-20

Date modified: