ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-155

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-155

Ottawa, 14 May 2003
Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc.
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
Application 2002-0184-8
Public Hearing at Kitchener, Ontario
28 October 2002

Native FM radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo

In this decision, the Commission approves an application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. for an FM radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo that will feature programming in English, French and Aboriginal languages.
AVR's proposed station is one of four new FM radio stations authorized in decisions issued today to provide service to the Kitchener-Waterloo area. In total, these decisions deal with ten applications for new FM radio stations that were considered at the 28 October 2002 Public Hearing in Kitchener. The decisions are accompanied by Introduction to Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2003-152 to 2003-155 - Licensing of new FM radio stations to serve Kitchener-Waterloo, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2003-25, 14 May 2003.

The application


The Commission received an application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-, French- and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo. The applicant proposed to operate the station at 102.5 MHz (channel 273A) with an effective radiated power of 460 watts.


AVR is the licensee of a Native FM radio station in Toronto. The Commission has also approved applications by AVR for radio stations to be operated in Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver, although none of those three undertakings is yet in operation. AVR is also the licensee of Aboriginal Voices Radio Network (AVRN), which will distribute the programming of its Toronto station to other AVR radio stations.



The programming proposed for Kitchener-Waterloo would be primarily that of AVRN, originating with the Toronto station. Launched in December 2002, it is broadcasting primarily Aboriginal music with no commercial messages, some news and a community events calendar. At the hearing, the applicant stated its expectation that full programming on the AVRN network would be available in March 2003, and distributed to each of the AVR stations as they are launched. The network plans to address the needs, interests and concerns of Aboriginal Canadians, particularly those living in urban areas. AVRN proposes to provide programming primarily in English and French, with regular inclusions of many Native languages as well as Spanish and other languages.


The applicant indicated that its proposed service would offer members of the urban Kitchener-Waterloo Aboriginal community the only service for the Aboriginal community in that market. The applicant stated that the proposed station's programming would allow the members of that community to be better informed and able to interact with other Aboriginal communities across Canada.


AVR stated that the schedule of programming in Kitchener-Waterloo would present information from an Aboriginal viewpoint, including full Aboriginal news reports, national phone-in programs, a women's round table discussion, specialty music programs, and programs focusing on issues related to language, youth, elders, and health. Kitchener-Waterloo audiences would have opportunities to participate in call-in programs and music request shows through both telephone and Internet access. AVR proposed that at least 2.5 hours of each week would be devoted to programming of direct relevance to Kitchener-Waterloo audiences, although the applicant indicated that this programming would initially be produced by the Toronto station, and that local programming would originate from Kitchener-Waterloo as resources become available. Initially, programs would feature material provided to AVRN from volunteer producers in Kitchener-Waterloo, and as resources became available, one or two local journalists or producers would be hired to provide enhanced local coverage.


The music programming on the proposed station would feature a mix of primarily Canadian and World Aboriginal artists in a broad range of genres. Where possible, live studio appearances or live broadcasts from local musical venues would present well known as well as previously unrecorded artists.

Canadian talent development


With regard to Canadian talent development (CTD), AVR expressed its belief that the greatest contribution it can make in talent development is to broadcast the music of Canadian Aboriginal artists.


The applicant noted that the proposed station would be a part of the AVRN network of radio stations and that Aboriginal artists in the Kitchener-Waterloo area would therefore see their exposure to the entire country increase dramatically. AVR is committed to the development of Canadian native talent, and would extensively promote and feature music by new and seldom-heard artists. The applicant stated that the new station would ensure that at least 25% of all musical selections broadcast would be from Canadian Aboriginal artists. AVR also made the commitment that Aboriginal artists would receive featured exposure on programs with spoken-word background information through its plans to broadcast two two-hour weekly programs focusing on Aboriginal music and artists.


In addition to the commitments noted above, AVR proposed to feature in-studio interviews with Aboriginal artists, guest hosting and live studio performances. The applicant also set out plans to offer free promotion of performances by native artists. As resources become available, AVR would also produce an annual talent showcase for emerging Aboriginal musical talent and a CD compilation.

Business plan


AVR proposed that the new station would operate as a part of AVRN. The network is dependent upon national advertising, which would be enhanced by the granting of a licence to operate in Kitchener, a desirable market for national advertisers. The applicant further stated that the projected increase in national advertising revenue would defray the costs of operating a Kitchener station. AVR does not propose to solicit local Kitchener-Waterloo advertising initially. AVR stated that it would request prior approval from the Commission to solicit local advertising if it wished to do so.

Advisory Circle


As part of its application, AVR stated that its Advisory Circle would promote and publicize the radio station's programming, gather material for AVRN and recruit members for a smaller group to be known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Media Advisory Circle. The smaller group would communicate the particular needs and interests of the local Aboriginal community to the network, and provide feedback and advice to the network on the programming needs of the Kitchener-Waterloo audience.

Employment equity


During the course of this proceeding, AVR stated that it is essentially a gender-balanced organization with an Aboriginal component and, if licensed to operate in Kitchener-Waterloo, would have every intention of including persons with disabilities in its staff.


AVR also stated that, while the staff of the proposed station would be predominately Aboriginal, and that there would be requirements for knowledge of Aboriginal issues for some positions, qualified non-Aboriginal candidates would certainly be considered for employment.


As part of this proceeding, AVR stated that it has drafted an Employment Equity policy that recognizes women, Aboriginal peoples, disabled people and visible minorities. AVR's advisory board has not yet authorized this policy.



Ten groups and individuals submitted interventions in support of the AVR application. Interventions in opposition were received from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and from Southern Onkwehon:We Nishinabec Indigenous Communications Society (S.O.N.I.C.S. Radio), licensee of CKRZ-FM, a Native radio station at Six Nations, southwest of Kitchener-Waterloo.


The CBC stated in its intervention that AVR has requested the same frequency (102.5 MHz) that is currently assigned to the CBC's transmitter CBLA-FM-4 at Shelburne. This transmitter provides the English-language Radio One service to listeners in the Shelburne area. Noting that Shelburne is located approximately 100 kilometres from Kitchener, CBC expressed the concern that, should AVR be granted authority to use 102.5 MHz, the new undertaking would cause detrimental harm to the quality of the CBLA-FM-4 signal within its licensed area.


The intervention submitted by S.O.N.I.C.S. Radio expressed the concern that AVR's application conflicts with CKRZ-FM's future initiatives to provide local service to First Nation communities in the area. The intervener stated that, "As it is unclear how AVR will participate in this market place we have concerns as to how this will impact on our limited advertising revenues." At the hearing, S.O.N.I.C.S. Radio asserted that if AVR has difficulty finding the advertising dollars in Kitchener to sustain its programming, AVR might target Aboriginal businesses in neighbouring Six Nations, CKRZ-FM's coverage area.


In response to the CBC intervention, AVR argued that its proposal for the use of 102.5 MHz (channel 273A) is technically acceptable to the Department of Industry (the Department), and that the CBC had agreed that any interference from the proposed station to the Shelburne transmitter would be within an area of existing interference from a Buffalo, New York radio station. AVR expressed its view that the proposed use of 102.5 MHz represented efficient use of the spectrum.


In response to the S.O.N.I.C.S. Radio intervention, AVR acknowledged that the intervener's concern is legitimate because of its status as a small station in a small market. AVR stated that, "we respect that, and we hope that their fears and anxieties will be settled when we actually get to the point where we are looking at putting the station on the air."


The applicant added that, "we certainly respect what CKRZ has done, and our station is designed and our plan as far as advertising revenue is designed so that we won't interfere with them."

The Commission's analysis and determination


As set out in Introduction to Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2003-152 to 2003-155 - Licensing of new FM radio stations to serve Kitchener-Waterloo, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2003-25, 14 May 2003, the Commission is satisfied that AVR's proposal would not have a significant negative financial impact on any existing local Kitchener commercial radio station, and that the entry of AVR into the Kitchener market would not change the competitive balance of that market.


The Commission considers that the business plan presented by AVR is satisfactory. With respect to the concerns expressed in the S.O.N.I.C.S. Radio intervention related to the potential negative financial impact on CKRZ-FM resulting from an approval of the AVR application, the Commission notes that AVR's intention to refrain from soliciting local advertising is consistent with the Commission's long-standing position, set out in Policies for local programming on commercial stations and advertising on campus stations, Public Notice CRTC 1993-38, 19 April 1993, that licensees should generally provide a minimum of 42 hours per week of local programming in return for access to local advertising revenues.


With regard to the concern expressed by the CBC in its intervention, the Commission has taken into consideration the applicant's response on the matter as well as the technical comments it received from the Department. In granting technical approval to the AVR application, the Department also deemed that there is no real possibility of a net increase in interference toward CBLA-FM-4 that would result from the operation of the proposed AVR undertaking. Moreover, the Commission is satisfied that AVR has provided sufficient and reasonable commitments to both the CBC and the Department to undertake appropriate remedial measures in the event that any actual cases of interference resulted from its proposed service. These include a commitment to reduce the effective radiated power (ERP) approved by the Department, if necessary, in order to maintain the integrity of the CBLA-FM-4 service. The Commission has therefore determined that the CBC's concern has been adequately addressed by the applicant.


With respect to the applicant's plans for CTD, the Commission is aware that, as a not-for-profit station, the proposed undertaking would not be able to dedicate a large budget to financial assistance for talent development initiatives, in comparison to those of commercial radio stations. It notes, however, the applicant's plans for the development of Canadian talent, and is satisfied that providing increased airplay for Aboriginal musicians would be beneficial to the careers of these artists.


The Commission is satisfied that the programming service proposed by AVR is consistent with the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, in particular its call for the provision of programming reflective of Canada's Aboriginal cultures. It is also convinced that AVR's use of 102.5 MHz represents the best use of the frequency, since in the Commission's view there is little possibility of increased interference to CBLA-FM-4 by the proposed station.


The Commission therefore approves the application by AVR for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-, French-, and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo at 102.5 MHz (Channel 273A) with an effective radiated power of 460 watts.


The Commission is imposing, as a condition of licence, the applicant's commitment that 2% of all programming will be broadcast in a Canadian Aboriginal language. Also consistent with the applicant's commitments, the Commission is imposing conditions of licence requiring that the applicant broadcast at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of original, local programming during each week, and that at least 25% of all programming each week will be devoted to spoken word programming. In addition, the Commission is imposing a condition of licence requiring that a minimum of 35% of all popular music broadcast must be Canadian. The Commission is also imposing a condition of licence requiring that a minimum of 2% of all vocal musical selections broadcast during each broadcast week is in a Canadian Aboriginal language.


In accordance with AVR's commitment, the Commission expects the applicant to file with the Commission a list of the members of its Kitchener-Waterloo Media Advisory Circle, within one month of the date of this decision.


Also in accordance with AVR's commitment at the hearing, the Commission expects the applicant to submit to the Commission a copy of its Employment Equity Plan, within one month of the date of this decision.


With respect to the concerns set out in the intervention submitted by the CBC, the Commission expects AVR to adhere to its commitment to both the CBC and to the Department that, in the event that interference occurs, to remedy at its own expense, any valid complaints of interference its transmitter may cause to CBLA-FM-4. The Commission also expects AVR to adhere to its commitment to implement a reduction of the authorized ERP, if necessary, in order to ensure the integrity of the CBLA-FM-4 service in the Kitchener area.


In regard to the concerns expressed in the S.O.N.I.C.S. Radio intervention, the Commission notes that, in the deficiency phase of the application process, AVR stated that it did not propose initially to solicit local advertising, but that at such time as its business plan was altered to include local advertising, AVR would request approval from the Commission to do so. The Commission expects AVR to adhere to its commitment to refrain from solicitation of local advertising, and to obtain permission from the Commission prior to soliciting local advertising.

Issuance of the licence


Consistent with the Commission's Native Broadcasting Policy, Public Notice CRTC 1990-89, 20 September 1990, the licence will be for a Native Type B FM radio programming undertaking. The licence will expire 31 August 2009. It will be subject to the conditions set out in the appendix to this decision.


The Department has advised the Commission that, while this application is conditionally technically acceptable, it will only issue a broadcasting certificate when it has determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.


The Commission reminds the applicant that, pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, no licence may be issued until the Department notifies the Commission that its technical requirements have been met, and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.


Furthermore, the licence for this undertaking will be issued once the applicant has informed the Commission in writing that it is prepared to commence operations. The undertaking must be operational at the earliest possible date and in any event no later than 24 months from the date of this decision, unless a request for an extension of time is approved by the Commission before 14 May 2005. In order to ensure that such a request is processed in a timely manner, it should be submitted at least 60 days before this date.
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 Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-155


Conditions of licence

  The licence will be subject to the following conditions:


In each broadcast week, the licensee shall broadcast, at a minimum, 1 hour and 15 minutes of original local programming. This programming shall be primarily in English, with incidental use of the French language and of Aboriginal languages.


A minimum of 2% of all programming shall be broadcast in a Canadian Aboriginal language.


In each broadcast week, a minimum of 2% of all vocal musical selections broadcast shall be in a Canadian Aboriginal language.


In each broadcast week, a minimum of 25% of all programming broadcast shall be spoken word programming.


In each broadcast week, a minimum of 35% of all musical selections from Category 2 - Popular music shall be devoted to Canadian selections played in their entirety.


A minimum of 25% of all musical selections broadcast shall be composed or performed by Canadian Aboriginal artists.


The licensee shall 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.


The licensee shall 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.

Date Modified: 2003-05-14

Date modified: