Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2016-449
References: Part 1 applications posted on 3 August 2015
Ottawa, 10 November 2016
Southern Onkwehon:we Nishinabec Indigenous Communications Society Inc.
Radio Waterloo Inc.
Applications 2015-0776-6 and 2015-0777-4
CKRZ-FM Ohsweken and CKMS-FM Waterloo –Technical changes
The Commission approves an application to change the authorized contours of the Type B Native radio station CKRZ-FM Ohsweken by increasing its effective radiated power from 250 to 5,000 watts and by changing the transmitter class from A1 to A. The station will continue to operate on frequency 100.3 MHz.
Further, the Commission approves an application to change the frequency of the English-language campus radio station CKMS-FM Waterloo from 100.3 MHz (channel 262A1) to 102.7 MHz (channel 274A1).
- Southern Onkwehon:we Nishinabec Indigenous Communications Society Inc. (SONICS) filed an application (2015-0776-6) relating to the Type B Native radio station CKRZ-FM Ohsweken, Ontario, which operates on frequency 100.3 MHz (channel 262A1). SONICS proposed to change CKRZ-FM’s authorized contours by increasing the effective radiated power (ERP) from 250 to 5,000 watts and by changing the transmitter class from A1 to A. All other technical parameters would remain unchanged.
- Radio Waterloo Inc. (Radio Waterloo) filed an application (2015-0777-4) to amend the broadcasting licence for the English-language campus radio station CKMS-FM Waterloo, Ontario to change the frequency from 100.3 MHz (channel 262A1) to 102.7 MHz (channel 274A1). All other technical parameters would remain unchanged.
- Ohsweken is located approximately eight kilometres south-east of Brantford, Ontario, within the region inhabited by the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation (Six Nations), which lies primarily south-east of Brantford but also includes a nonadjacent area within Brantford’s city limits.
- Both SONICS and Radio Waterloo stated that their requests are conditional on the Commission’s approval of the other’s application.
- SONICS stated that the proposed technical changes are necessary to address CKRZ-FM’s poor reception, as described in complaints regarding quality of service, and to provide better coverage to its listening audience. It added that the station’s current ERP of 250 watts is insufficient to provide clear reception to its existing audience and throughout the region inhabited by the Six Nations.
- The amendment requested by Radio Waterloo would be necessary to reduce the interference resulting from the technical changes to CKRZ-FM, should SONICS’ application be approved.
- The Commission received an intervention in support of Radio Waterloo’s application from the National Campus and Community Radio Association.
- In regard to CKRZ-FM, the Commission requested SONICS to serve its application on Arrow Radio, for which an application for a broadcasting licence to operate an English- and Aboriginal-language Type B Native FM radio station in Ohsweken was approved in Broadcasting Decision 2014-583. The Commission further requested SONICS to explain how its proposed technical changes would not impact Arrow Radio’s new radio station.
- Arrow Radio did not respond to SONICS. However, the Commission received an intervention to SONICS’ application from Raymond Carnovale Ltd., on behalf of R.B. Communications Ltd. SONICS did not reply to the intervention. The public record for this proceeding can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca, or by using the application numbers provided above.
Commission’s analysis and decisions
- When a licensee of a radio station files an application for a technical change, the Commission generally requires the licensee to present compelling technical or economic evidence justifying the technical change. In the present case, both SONICS and Radio Waterloo indicated that the proposed technical changes are not necessary for the financial viability of their stations.
- In regard to technical need, this is the first request for a technical change by SONICS for CKRZ-FM since the station was licensed in 1991. However, SONICS did not provide sufficient data to support its claims of inadequate quality of service and of signal reception issues in its current service area. In the Commission’s view, the technical changes proposed for CKRZ-FM are intended to expand the station’s existing coverage beyond its primary service area in Ohsweken, in order to reach a greater portion of the area inhabited by the Six Nations.
- In regard to CKMS-FM, Radio Waterloo stated that the purpose of the proposed technical change is to avoid interference that would be caused by SONICS’ proposal to operate CKRZ-FM on the same frequency and at an increased power level. In the Commission’s view, the technical change proposed for CKMS-FM is intended to facilitate the implementation of the technical changes proposed by SONICS.
- In light of the above, the Commission finds that SONICS has not demonstrated a compelling technical need for the changes proposed for CKRZ-FM, but rather is requesting increased technical parameters to expand the station’s existing coverage in order to reach a greater portion of the area inhabited by the Six Nations. In regard to CKMS-FM, as noted above, the technical changes proposed by Radio Waterloo are to facilitate the implementation of the changes proposed by SONICS, rather than to address existing limitations.
- Nevertheless, in the present case, the considerations expanded on below favour approval of the requested technical changes, such that an exception to the general test requiring the provision of compelling technical or economic evidence is warranted. In making this determination, the Commission has considered the following:
- whether the proposed changes for the stations are appropriate on a technical basis;
- the potential financial impact of the proposed changes on other radio stations;
- the potential impact of the proposed changes on the diversity of programming; and
- whether the proposed changes would contribute to fulfilling policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act (the Act).
Appropriateness of the proposed changes on a technical basis
- The Commission considers that the technical changes proposed by SONICS for CKRZ-FM are appropriate for extending the station’s service to the entire area inhabited by the Six Nations since the resulting primary contour would almost entirely encompass that area, including the nonadjacent area, which lies at the primary contour’s northwest edge.
- The intervention filed by Raymond Carnovale Ltd. questioned whether CKRZ-FM’s application is justified given the interference it could generate to the vacant frequency allotment for 100.3 MHz in Crystal Beach, Ontario. The Commission notes, however, that the FM allotment plan is maintained by the Department of Industry (the Department), which did not require the licensee to revise its proposed technical parameters.
- The proposed use of 102.7 MHz for CKMS-FM would not change the station’s service contours in Waterloo and Kitchener.Footnote 1 Consequently, coverage to the community would be unchanged. The Commission therefore considers that Radio Waterloo’s proposal to use frequency 102.7 MHz for the operation of its station, in Waterloo and in Kitchener, is appropriate on a technical basis.
Financial impact on other radio stations
- Given that the technical change proposed for CKMS-FM relates to the station’s frequency and not to the station’s power level, approval of that change would not affect the station’s current service area.
- In regard to CKRZ-FM, approval of the proposed technical changes would result in a greater population being served in its primary and secondary contours, as well as an increase in the overlap of its primary contours with those of Arrow Radio’s proposed radio station. It would also result in CKRZ-FM encompassing other radio markets within its secondary contour, notably, Brantford and parts of Hamilton, Ontario.
- However, Type B Native radio stations generally have limited commercial impact. Moreover, SONICS indicated that CKRZ-FM’s target audience would remain the First Nation community of Ohsweken, and that the station operates under a format different from that proposed by Arrow Radio. As such, both stations would target different listening audiences and advertisers.
- In light of the above, the Commission finds that the proposed technical changes for CKRZ-FM and CKMS-FM would not have an undue negative financial impact on other radio stations.
Impact on diversity of programming
- Given that the proposed technical change for CKMS-FM would not result in a change to its coverage of the Waterloo/Kitchener community, Radio Waterloo’s proposal would not have a material impact on the diversity of programming.
- In regard to CKRZ-FM, the proposed technical changes would allow the station to expand its coverage. Although SONICS would be able to broadcast the station’s programming across a greater portion of the area inhabited by First Nations in and beyond Ohsweken, the overlap between CKRZ-FM’s primary contour and that of Arrow Radio’s proposed radio station would also increase.
- According to SONICS, CKRZ-FM is a “Six Nations and New Credit” station that, while operating under a Country/Classic Rock format, provides broader Aboriginal programming targeting Haudensaunee and Anishinabec customs, traditions, and languages. It stated that the technical changes for CKRZ-FM should therefore not impact the listenership of Arrow Radio’s proposed station. Further, SONICS did not propose any programming or format changes that would target audiences beyond the area inhabited by First Nations in and around Ohsweken, or that would alter the fundamental nature of its Type B Native service.
- In comparison, Arrow Radio’s proposed radio station is expected to target younger generations of listeners within the Aboriginal community. Based on information provided in its original application for a broadcasting licence to operate a new Type B Native radio station, Arrow Radio’s station will broadcast a mix of dance, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and Aboriginal music, with a minimum of 9 hours and 30 minutes of Aboriginal-language programming in each week.
- Consequently, the proposed technical changes for CKRZ-FM would allow the station to add to the diversity of programming available in the region.
Policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act
- Type B Native radio stations play an important role in fostering the development of Aboriginal cultures and offering programming that reflects the specific needs and interests of the Aboriginal audiences they serve.
- Section 3 of the Act sets out specific policy objectives that recognize the special place of Aboriginal peoples within Canadian society. This includes the objective of ensuring that programming that reflects the Aboriginal cultures of Canada is provided within the Canadian broadcasting system as resources become available for that purpose.
- In the present case, expanding CKRZ-FM’s coverage to a greater portion of the area inhabited by First Nations in and around Ohsweken and implementing the technical change proposed by Radio Waterloo for CKMS-FM would result in increased exposure to Aboriginal programming for interested listeners who currently have limited access to such programming, without imposing an undue impact on new or existing stations.
- Based on the particular circumstances of the present case, approval of the applications would add diversity to the programming available to Aboriginal audiences in and around Ohsweken and contribute to the fulfilment of the relevant policy objectives of the Act.
- In light of the above, the Commission approves the application by Southern Onkwehon: we Nishinabec Indigenous Communications Society Inc. to change the authorized contours of the Type B Native radio programming undertaking CKRZ-FM Ohsweken by increasing the ERP from 250 to 5,000 watts and by changing the transmitter class from A1 to A. The station will continue to operate on frequency 100.3 MHz (channel 262A).
- Further, the Commission approves the application by Radio Waterloo Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the English-language campus radio programming undertaking CKMS-FM Waterloo by changing the frequency of its transmitter from 100.3 MHz (channel 262A1) to 102.7 MHz (channel 274A1).
- The Commission reminds the licensees that, pursuant to section 22(1) of the Act, this authority will only be effective when the Department notifies the Commission that its technical requirements have been met and that broadcasting certificates will be issued.
- For each station, the transmitter must be operational with implemented technical changes 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 10 November 2018. In order to ensure that such a request is processed in a timely manner, it should be submitted in writing at least 60 days before that date.
- Type B Native FM radio station in Ohsweken, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-583, 10 November 2014
- Decision CRTC 91-659, 28 August 1991
This decision is to be appended to each licence.
- Date modified: