ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-599
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Route reference: Part 1 application posted on 20 March 2014
Ottawa, 18 November 2014
King’s Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated
Fort McMurray, Alberta
CKOS-FM Fort McMurray - Technical changes
The Commission approves an application by King’s Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated to change the authorized contours of the English-language low-power specialty (Christian music) radio station CKOS-FM Fort McMurray. Consequently, the station’s licence class will change from low-power unprotected to protected B.
As a result of these changes, local listeners will see an increase in the quality of the station’s signal, and listeners living farther away will now be able to receive its programming.
- King’s Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated (King’s Kids) filed an application to change the authorized contours of the English-language low-power specialty (Christian music) radio station CKOS-FM Fort McMurray, Alberta, by relocating the transmitter site, and by increasing the average effective radiated power (ERP) from 35 to 40,000 watts and the effective height of antenna above average terrain (EHAAT) from 72.1 to 96.5 metres.Footnote 1 This increase in power would result in CKOS-FM changing from a low-power unprotected service to a protected class B service. The Commission did not receive any interventions regarding this application.
- In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2014-554, the Commission issued a revised approach for low-power radio stations whereby licensees who wish to move from a low-power unprotected status to a protected status are now required to file an application to obtain a new broadcasting licence. This new approach has been implemented to safeguard the integrity of the Commission’s licensing process. The Commission notes that the present application was filed prior to the implementation of the Commission’s revised approach and has been considered by the Commission as a technical amendment consistent with the processing of this type of application under the Commission’s previous approach.
- In Broadcasting Decision 2006-629, following a competitive process, the Commission authorized King’s Kids, a not-for-profit organization, to operate an English-language low-power specialty FM radio station in Fort McMurray at 91.1 MHz (channel 216LP) with an ERP of 35 watts.
- CKOS-FM offers a Christian Hot Adult Contemporary/Contemporary Hit Radio music format targeting listeners between the ages of 18 and 35. It is required, by condition of licence, to ensure that at least 90% of all musical selections broadcast each broadcast week are drawn from subcategory 35 (Non-classic religious).
- When a licensee files an application to change its authorized contours, the Commission expects it to demonstrate a technical or economic need justifying the proposed technical change. In light of this expectation and the information provided in the application, the Commission considers that the issues to be addressed are as follows:
- Did the applicant demonstrate a compelling technical or economic need for the proposed changes?
- Would approval result in an undue negative financial impact on other radio stations?
- Did the applicant propose an appropriate technical solution?
- Would the proposed changes make appropriate use of the radio spectrum?
- Would approval compromise the integrity of the Commission’s licensing process?
- Over the past five years, CKOS-FM has experienced financial difficulties. The proposed technical changes would greatly increase the station’s principal marketing area, thereby allowing it to reach the entire Fort McMurray market. Specifically, it would allow the station to reach the oil sands camps located at the city limits, which employ a substantial portion of the population, and would improve the signal strength in downtown Fort McMurray. As a result, the Commission considers that the technical changes could generate appeal from new advertisers and listeners.
- Given that the station is facing financial challenges that could threaten its viability, the Commission finds that King’s Kids has demonstrated a compelling economic need for the proposed changes.
Impact on other stations
- The Fort McMurray radio market consists of three commercial radio stations in addition to CKOS-FM. CHFT-FM is owned by Newcap Inc., while CJOK-FM and CKYX-FM are owned by Rogers Broadcasting Limited. Despite CKOS-FM’s financial difficulties, the market has consistently posted positive profit margins over the past five years.
- King’s Kids indicated that approval of its application would have a pronounced impact on listener donations, but that this would not have any impact on the other stations operating in the market. Given the niche-type nature of its Christian Hot Adult Contemporary/Contemporary Hit Radio music format and its condition of licence ensuring that at least 90% of all musical selections broadcast each broadcast week are drawn from subcategory 35, the Commission is of the view that the potential impact on the market’s existing stations would be limited.
- In light of the above, the Commission finds that approval of the application would not have an undue negative financial impact on existing stations in the market.
Technical solution to economic need
- King’s Kids submitted that the signal strength of its transmitter is inadequate to serve the community of Fort McMurray. In support of its application, King’s Kids provided five letters of support that cited the station’s signal limitations and one complaint over reception issues. The applicant also indicated that it cannot receive CKOS-FM’s signal in its office and that the signal is often lost in the centre and on the north side of the city.
- Moreover, in its supplementary brief, King’s Kids expressed the desire to reach Fort McKay and Anzac. The former is located at the edge of the proposed secondary contour, while the latter is located outside the proposed primary contour but inside the proposed secondary contour. The Commission considers that the applicant’s proposed parameters would allow it to meet its coverage objectives.
- Accordingly, the Commission finds that King’s Kids proposed technical solution is appropriate.
Use of spectrum
- Given that there are other frequencies available that could provide service to Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, the Commission finds that the licensee’s proposal makes appropriate use of spectrum.
Integrity of the licensing process
- When a radio licensee applies for amendments that would change a station’s status from unprotected to protected, the Commission is concerned that the licensee may be attempting to enter the market on a protected basis without having to compete with other applicants. It therefore considers whether the proposal would trigger a call for competitive applications if it formed part of an application for a new station.
- The Commission set out its policy on the issuance of calls for radio applications in Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-159. In that notice, the Commission stated that it would not necessarily issue a call when considering proposals with very little or no commercial potential or impact. It would, however, generally issue a call when an applicant proposes to use the last frequency available in the market.
- Given that the proposed technical changes would have limited impact on existing stations in the Fort McMurray radio market, and considering the limited commercial appeal of this niche specialty service and the availability of multiple frequencies in Fort McMurray, the Commission is of the view that a call for competitive applications would not be necessary if the licensee had submitted its proposal as part of an application for a new station.
- Accordingly, the Commission finds that approval of this application respects the integrity of the licensing process.
- In light of all of the above, the Commission approves the application by King’s Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated to change the authorized contours of the English-language low-power specialty (Christian music) radio programming undertaking CKOS-FM Fort McMurray by relocating the transmitter site, and by increasing the average ERP from 35 to 40,000 watts and the EHAAT from 72.1 to 96.5 metres. This increase in power will result in CKOS-FM changing from a low-power unprotected service to a protected class B service.
- The Commission reminds the licensee that pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, this authority will only be effective when the Department of Industry notifies the Commission that its technical requirements have been met and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.
- A targeted review of the commercial radio sector, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2014-554, 28 October 2014
- Revised policy concerning the issuance of calls for radio applications and a new process for applications to serve small markets, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-159, 15 December 2006
- Christian music FM radio station in Fort McMurray, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2006-629, 15 November 2006
*This decision is to be appended to the licence.
- Footnote 1
These technical parameters reflect those approved by the Department of Industry.
- Date modified: