ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-367
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Route reference: 2013-154
Ottawa, 6 August 2013
D & K Communications
Windsor, Nova Scotia
Application 2012-1344-6, received 22 October 2012
Public hearing in the National Capital Region
27 May 2013
Low-power FM radio station in Windsor
The Commission denies an application to operate an English-language low-power commercial FM radio station in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
1. D & K Communications filed an application to operate an English-language low-power commercial FM radio station in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
2. The proposed station would operate at 99.3 MHz (channel 257LP) with an effective radiated power of 45.4 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 6.12 metres).
3. The applicant proposed to operate with a predominantly country music format that would include some pop and easy listening music. Its target audience would consist of adults over the age of 30. It committed to broadcast at least 12 hours of local programming and 7 hours of local news each broadcast week. It also proposed to offer 21 hours of spoken word programming per broadcast week.
4. D & K Communications indicated that local programming would feature local events, farm reports, live on-air artists, as well as interviews with local politicians and athletes, and would provide an apprentice program offering employment to local students.
5. The Commission received interventions in support of the application. It also received an intervention opposing the application from Maritime Broadcasting System Limited (Maritime), the licensee of CFAB Windsor, to which the applicant replied. The public record for this proceeding can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca under “Public Proceedings.”
6. In its intervention, Maritime objected to the applicant’s statement that there are no stations operating in Windsor and pointed out that its English-language radio station CFAB has been operating in Windsor for 68 years. In light of this, Maritime stated that all of the applicant’s estimates regarding listenership, market share, revenues and expenses are based on a false premise.
7. Maritime also argued that the proposed station would not provide musical diversity by devoting 50% of its programming to country music since CFAB already devotes all of its programming to country music.
8. It further argued that by committing to broadcast only 12 hours of local programming per broadcast week, the applicant would contravene Commercial Radio Policy 2006, which states that the Commission will maintain its one-third local programming requirement for FM stations in competitive markets and on a case-by-case approach for AM stations.
9. Finally, Maritime submitted that the applicant failed to provide any documentation demonstrating market demand, arguing that the population of Windsor and its businesses cannot support an additional radio station without having an impact on CFAB.
10. The applicant replied that CFAB does not operate out of Windsor, but rather out of Kentville, Nova Scotia. With respect to musical diversity, it submitted that although 50% of its music would be country, 25% would be pop, rock and dance, and 25% would be easy listening, which includes live music programs.
11. It also replied that the Windsor population and its businesses can support an additional radio station since it plans to not only serve Windsor, but also Hants County.
Commission’s analysis and decisions
12. In evaluating an application for a new commercial radio station, the Commission generally examines, among other things, the quality of the business plan, including the proposed format, plans for local programming and other matters related to the operation of the proposed station.
13. D & K Communications proposed to broadcast 12 hours of local programming and 21 hours of spoken word programming each broadcast week. Since the level of spoken word programming would exceed that of local programming, the Commission concludes that the applicant would rely on non-local programming as an additional programming offering. It notes that the applicant did not reply to a letter from Commission staff requesting the source of the significant level of non-local programming in light of the stated minimum level of local programming proposed.
14. Further, as set out in Commercial Radio Policy 2006, licensees of commercial FM stations in markets served by more than one private commercial radio station are required to devote at least one third of the broadcast week to local programming. Commercial FM licensees broadcasting less than one third local programming must, by condition of licence, refrain from soliciting or accepting local advertising.
15. Since D & K Communications’ commitment to local programming is below the required one third level described above, even though it projected to draw approximately 74% of its total revenue from local advertising, it would not be allowed to draw such revenue. Consequently, the applicant would be required to consider alternative sources of financing for its service or adjust its programming to meet the requirements in order to have access to local advertising revenue. The applicant did not indicate any plans to this effect.
16. Moreover, the applicant filed an incomplete supplementary brief. This is a mandatory filing requirement for radio applicants to elaborate on their plans and to provide details on their proposal, such as the range of local programming and sample programs. Given the absence of any such details in the supplementary brief and the absence of plans for alternative sources of financing or local programming as described above, the Commission is concerned about the overall quality of the application as well as the ability of the applicant to fulfill its broadcasting commitments over a full licence term and to operate the station in full compliance.
17. The applicant also insists that CFAB, a radio station operating with a country format in Windsor, does not operate a local radio station in that city. The Commission notes that CFAB has in fact been operating in Windsor for decades and that its licence was last renewed in Broadcasting Decision 2012-692.
18. If D & K Communications’ application were approved, its station would encompass much of Windsor and CFAB’s market. The Commission notes the financial concerns raised by Maritime and acknowledges that the proposed service would likely compete with CFAB for listenership given that the two stations would operate local services offering similar formats.
19. The Commission also finds that although the addition of D & K Communications’ proposed station would be beneficial in terms of adding to the diversity of voices in the Windsor radio market, it would result in several of its programming elements overlapping with what is currently offered by CFAB.
20. In light of all of the above, the Commission finds that the applicant has not provided a quality application and has not demonstrated an understanding of key policies and regulations as it relates to radio programming undertakings. Further, the Commission considers that the present application lacked significant details regarding programming and financing necessary to allow it to properly evaluate the merits of the application.
21. Accordingly, the Commission denies the application by D & K Communications to operate an English-language low-power commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
- Various commercial radio programming undertakings – Licence renewals, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-692, 19 December 2012
- Commercial Radio Policy 2006, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-158, 15 December 2006
 These technical parameters reflect those approved by the Department of Industry.
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