Campus and Community Radio Sector

Informal stakeholder meetings
March - April 2009

Summary Report

15 June 2009

Table of Contents


In Broadcasting Public Notices CRTC 2000-12 and 2000-13, the Commission announced its policies regarding campus and community (C/C) based radio services. These policies were developed following an extensive consultative process, both on a formal and informal basis. In both cases, these policies responded to the realities of the C/C sector and the important issues of a decade ago.

The stated goals of both policies were to establish mechanisms to ensure that stations involved in the C/C sector were able to provide truly alternative programming as defined against both the commercial and public sectors. Principally through the involvement of the communities in which they are licensed, C/C stations are expected to provide important amounts of spoken word and alternative music programming, focused on Canadian sources, to reflect their local communities and to bring diversity to the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole.

Some changes have occurred

Since the issuance of these policies, the broadcasting environment in Canada has undergone several changes including, but not limited to:

Along the way, the Commission has issued an updated Commercial Radio Policy (in Public Notice 2006-158), considered approaches to the regulation of new media, implemented a policy aimed at preserving the diversity of voices in broadcasting and commenced a streamlined regulatory approach for many sectors of the broadcasting system. It has also certified an independent Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC).

All the while, from a technological perspective, the availability of bandwidth on traditional broadcasting platforms (such as the FM band) is becoming increasingly scarce and there is no clear direction for the roll out of digital over-the-air broadcasting.


Between 25 March 2009 and 21 April 2009, Commission staff spoke with various C/C sector representatives across the country in a mixture of live and teleconference sessions. The schedule was as follows:



25 March


27 March

Québec City

30 March


1 April


3 April


6 April


15 April

Gatineau (by phone)

16 April

Gatineau (by phone)

16 April

Gatineau (live)

21 April

Gatineau (live)

Commission staff ultimately conferred with representatives from 49 stations as well as Mouvement des intervenants/es en communication radio de l'Ontario (MICRO), Association des radios communautaires de l'Atlantique (ARCA), Association des radios communautaires acadiennes du Nouveau-Brunswick (ARCANB), Association des radios communautaires de l'Ouest et Territoires (ARCOT), Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada (ARC-C), Association des radios communautaires du Québec (ARC-Q), National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA), Quebec Association of Anglophone Community Radio (QAACR) and the Community Radio Fund of Canada.

A full list of participants may be found in Appendix 1 of this document.

The goal of these sessions was to ascertain from a station to station perspective, as well as from the perspective of their representative associations, those issues and questions which currently affect the sector. As a catalyst for discussion, Commission staff circulated, prior to the scheduled sessions, a document with the following points on which these discussions could focus:

Discussions with the sector

The C/C radio sector is, by no means, a homogenous entity. Rather, this sector celebrates and finds itself in its differences. Each station, with one notable exceptionFootnote 1, is operated by an independent group with its own internal and external pressures, strengths, weaknesses and challenges. The stated goal of each station that participated was to be truly reflective of the communities they serve. Broadly, these communities are not geographically restricted. Rather, these are communities of participation, interest and access, as reflected in the individual station's programming and operations.

In the case of each station represented at the discussions, there appeared to be a genuine desire to provide a service rooted in each community. Commission staff was reminded that before broadcasters they are each producers of local content, serving also as focal points for local communities. For the most part, volunteer participation far outstrips the implication of paid staff and, generally, the notion of alternative programming to other elements in the broadcasting system is present. It would be untrue to say that none of these stations have similarities with commercial operations. Some do in terms of offering a set musical format in the majority of their broadcast week while others have obtained significant revenues generated through advertising. However, there appears to be a genuine effort to maintain some distinctiveness through programming, access and responsiveness to the community that, according to the C/C sector, the commercial and public sectors cannot or will not entertain. Moreover, many in the sector will argue that any economic activities are undertaken in order to better serve their mandate rather than having a mandate for economic gain (as with commercial radio).

Throughout the informal process, Commission staff was reminded by the sector of the place community broadcasting occupies in the Broadcasting Act (Act) and the feeling that the sector must be treated as an equal partner to the commercial and public sectors in the Commission's application of policy. It is therefore key for the sector that they not be stifled in any manner in order to be full participants in the broadcasting system, though, for a large part, there is recognition for a need for regulation. This being said, some in the sector felt that any regulations imposed should not be put in place at the expense of innovation.

As noted, there was a significant participation rate with representatives from 49 stations, 8 associations (national and regional) and the CRFC providing input. A number of issues were discussed throughout the information gathering process and each is discussed in turn.

Commission staff reminded all participants that any input received during the course of these discussions would not form a part of the official record of these proceedings, that a summary document could be prepared and that, in the event such a document would be made public no comments received would be attributed to a particular individual. The following document presents a summary of these discussions.

The reader is reminded that the following is not a minute by minute account of the discussions that were held and that this document represents a sincere effort to summarize in a clear and coherent way the issues and concerns of a strong, and diverse sector. As always, all are welcome to intervene in the formal part of this process to bring to light issues that were overlooked, to bring further clarity to the issues discussed and to add evidence to what was a very informal series of discussions between Commission staff and representatives of the sector.


The key issue for the C/C sector is funding. Revenue for these stations are based on a mix of limited advertising (although levels vary by station, dependant largely on their locations, linguistic profile and service provided), fundraising drives, grants, donations and, for campus stations, student levies. While varied, for most stations, the funding levels they obtain and the overall revenue earned typically allows these stations to subsist rather than advance.

Private commercial broadcasters representing 60% of radio and audio services, generated $1.5 billion in 2007, a 6% or $87 million increase over the previous year Footnote 2. Meanwhile, the public broadcaster received $1.0 Billion of its $1.6 Billion in revenues from Parliamentary appropriation for the 2007-2008 broadcast yearFootnote 3. Commission staff was reminded that the C/C sector neither generates revenues, nor does it receive funding, which approaches the magnitude of the revenue generated by the commercial and public sectors.


Representatives from across the country repeated that the priority for their stations is survival rather than advancement. Like other broadcasters, though with often far inferior revenues, the C/C sector faces challenges paying for such basic necessities as rent, staff, rights management, equipment and training. In many cases, C/C station have no dedicated staff tasked with the generation of revenue (whether advertising, grants or both) and the sources of their revenue are a concern. Given the current economic issues (at the time of the writing of this summary, Canada is experiencing a significant economic downturn as a part of what is being increasingly acknowledged as a global recession), the ability to generate revenues from fundraising and other donations is, according to the sector, at risk of diminishing significantly. Some in the campus portion of the sector also noted ongoing challenges arising out of decreased or stagnant student levies which constantly require justification to student government.

In terms of applying for grants, both sides of the sector noted that grants are, for a large part, project based and obtained from "slush fund" sources which do not specifically focus on their sector while certain government related grants (outside of the province of Quebec) are dedicated either to start-up costs exclusively, equipment modernization and for official language minority community organizations. This hodgepodge type funding makes it very difficult for long term planning and to address important issues which may need to be addressed during the year.

The sector also noted that, while they see the opportunities and benefits of applying and obtaining a charitable status to help stimulate donations, the legal impediments and requirements involved often make this difficult if not impossible.

The sector repeated throughout the country that a lack of core funding is the most important road block they face for, in some cases, subsistence and, in others, expansion or evolution. While project based funding is appreciated, this appreciation only goes so far. That is, project based funding neither recognizes the reality of what the sector needs or is capable of providing for itselfFootnote 4 nor is it particularly simple to obtain. The administrative burden associated with ongoing grant applications is seen as taking away from other more pressing concerns which can range from broken equipment to monitoring programming to training and so on.


To be clear, the sector does not want to be accused of looking for hand-outs. Rather, core funding from whatever source is seen as equitable treatment given the position of and revenue generating capabilities of the other sectors. Throughout the information gathering process, the sector did not shy away from offering solutions. Some indicated that a core funding scheme seeing an annual influx of cash from $40,000 to $100,000 per station would be best. Others were not prepared to offer actual static amounts but all were consistent that some set amount on which year to year plans could be based was most important.

As for the source of where the funding sought should originate, some saw the solution lying in the redistribution of a certain amount of licensing fees (Part II) that are collected by the Commission from broadcastersFootnote 5. Others felt that a basic contribution from the commercial radio sector (as they do currently with contributions to FACTOR and MUSICACTIONFootnote 6) to offset their use of the public airwaves for private gain. Others saw the necessity that all broadcasters (radio and television), broadcast distribution undertakings, Telecommunications companies and, effectively, all entities regulated by the Commission, be required to contribute to community media and, most certainly, the C/C radio sector. Not lost in the discussions was also the hope that Canadian Heritage would also contribute some funding. It should be noted that the NCRA, ARC-C, ARC-Q and QAACR are each actively exploring with various levels of government the possibility of funding.

As it pertained to the manner in which this funding could be distributed, there was general agreement that monies could be allocated to the CRFC. However, and very importantly, the emphasis was again placed on the idea that any contribution made to the CRFC must be without strings attached. That is, the CRFC should be allowed to manage all funds it obtains in the manner that best suits the sector, not in the project based manner prescribed by a third party which is likely not affiliated with the sector. Moreover, there was some concern that the structure of the CRFC and its current project based funding may actually contribute to slowing its growth potential. The CRFC itself also noted that while it has made advances to the commercial sector for funding, many of their attempts and calls go unanswered.

In terms of advertising, many on the community side of the sector noted that it is difficult to get advertising given that advertising agencies will typically refer to BBM data. As most stations in this sector do not subscribe to BBM given the costs involve, they will often be overlooked despite their reach or audience. It is argued that the C/C sector is therefore only looked at to fill in advertising gaps in markets.

Also, while advertising is perhaps not as great a concern for the campus side of the sector, some nevertheless viewed potential in advertising, asking for leniency on the 4 minutes per clock hour these stations are currently allowed to provide. Others however, felt that advertising limits served an important purpose, helping ensure the sector remains free of commercial influence.


Spectrum, in all major markets in the country, and in many medium sized markets, is scarce. This scarcity limits the ability for new entrants to provide services to these markets and impedes the ability of incumbents to expand their local coverage either by transmitter addition or by amending their existing technical parameters.

Many stations in this sector provide services to their communities through the use of low-power transmitting facilities, broadcasting at a maximum effective radiated power (or average effective radiated power) of no more than 50 Watts with an estimated height above average terrain of the antenna of no more than 60 metres. Whether for financial reasons, because of antenna placement or because they are required by Commission policy (as in the case of developmental stations which are limited to 5 Watts), these undertakings sometimes operate with relatively limited coverage of the communities they serve. Additionally, these undertakings are not afforded by Industry Canada any protection for the use of the frequency on which they operateFootnote 7 nor are they necessarily advised of any impending applications which may affect their operations. Recently, a number of these stations have been forced to move or consider the possibility of moving from their frequencies to accommodate new entrants in a market (such examples include CJAM-FM Windsor, CJAI-FM Amherst Island / Stella and CFXU-FM, Antigonish).

As markets become ever more saturated and frequencies become increasingly scarce, the C/C sector has become ever more concerned that their abilities to effectively maintain a presence on the FM band and adequately serve their communities are becoming increasingly compromised. Additionally, the costs incurred for the movement to another frequency (including costs associated with an engineering brief, replacing equipment, relocating their antenna and other) can drain a significant amount of a station's funds on hand and yearly fundraising. Overwhelmingly, the C/C sector repeated that some sort of protection for these undertakings is needed. Not only is a lack of protection a financial burden for some, it is seen by the C/C sector as impeding the policy statements of the Act which point to the composition of the broadcasting system being made of public, private and community elements.

At this point, it is important to recognize that the C/C sector interpretation of the "broadcasting system" is not one based on a national scale but rather on a market by market scale, which is to say that it is felt that in order to be on equal footing, it must be equally dispersed across the country. That is, while not necessarily equal in number to all commercial stations or to every transmitter operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), they feel a need to have a place reserved in markets where they currently have no presenceFootnote 8. They also indicated to Commission staff that, even in markets where they maintain a presence, increased licensing has made once viable frequencies compromised due to increased interference from adjacent stations and stations in proximate markets. The Commission, through its staff, was urged to not render its decisions based on technical merits alone but instead to consider the C/C sector in its decision making process, whether or not interventions on its behalf are filed.

Programming requirements / Regulatory requirements including music categories

Community and campus station licensees are subject, as with their commercial and public counterparts, to the Radio Regulations, 1986 and the Broadcasting Act among other acts and regulations, as well as a number of Commission policies including, but not limited to, the Campus Radio Policy (Public Notice 2000-12) and the Community Radio Policy (Public Notice 2000-13).

In their day-to-day programming operations, the Commission imposes a number of conditions of licence on C/C stations including limits on the amount of hits that can be broadcast (for campus stations), requirements for Canadian content, spoken word content and Category 3 (Special Interest) music content. Additionally, C/C sector stations are expected to adhere to all relevant provisions of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations), classify their programming according to Commission categories (as detailed in Public Notice CRTC 2000-14), and adhere to a number of other policies relating to programming requirements.


In the meetings with Commission staff, some in the sector questioned the ongoing relevance of certain programming requirements to which both community and campus stations must currently adhere. Namely, the requirement for Type B Community stations and campus stations to devote 25% of the broadcast week to spoken word was considered by many to be too high. Some felt that in order to meet this level, a significant amount of repetition is required while others pointed to the need to use non-locally relevant programming and, in some cases, foreign programming, to meet the required level of spoken word.

Regarding the requirement to broadcast a minimum level of Category 3 (Special Interest) music, some in the sector questioned why they should be made to broadcast types of music which may be of little interest to their communities. Some, in remote communities or in otherwise rural communities, saw little relevance to the need to broadcast concert, jazz, blues or other special interest music and felt that the requirement to do so only contributed to an alienation of their communities during those programming slots. Some also noted that, given the volunteer nature of much of their programming, if they cannot find a programmer willing or interested in providing the content, it is very difficult to obtain this content. Other stations however, notably urban campus stations, saw little issue with broadcasting this music given that certain portions of their communities demanded that this music be broadcast.


In looking at the spoken word and musical programming requirements, as noted, it is important to recognize that there exists a cross-set of regional differentiations in terms of the acceptance and views on the relevance of what were often termed as being quotas. Indeed, regional requirements were emphasized to staff by many if not most of the stations that were involved in this informal process. Solutions offered to be considered by the Commission included increased differentiation for community stations whereby size of the community served rather than presence of a commercial operator would be the prime distinguishing factor. In this regard, ARC-Q suggested an expanded A-B-C typology to take into greater account of regional differences for stations. This typology would, of course, allow for flexible regulation, focusing mainly on programming, depending on the type of station.

Others suggested investing more trust into the sector and, rather than establishing hard programming requirements, some felt that the Commission could establish a set of goals or objectives, leaving the sector to itself. Others felt that a station-by-station approach would be best whereby, at licence issuance or renewal, a station would commit to certain programming levels by which it would adhere over the following licence term (what was termed to be similar almost to a promise of performance). Some also suggested that rather than imposing strict musical category requirements that these be replaced by diversity and local musical requirements or through the establishment of diversity requirements based on a number of artists or a number of distinct selections.

Other requirements

There was a general feeling that Commission rules are difficult to access and that keeping up with regulation and policies, finding them and implementing them was a full time job which took away from other, often more pressing, concerns. In this regard (as it will be discussed later), the sector reminded Commission Staff that paid human resources are at a premium given, primarily, ongoing funding difficulties. The C/C sector noted difficulties with the keeping of logs, navigating music categories (which some characterised as "archaic") and expressed a preference for different manners of measuring (including monthly or yearly requirements rather than weekly or daily).

The logic of the Commission's fiscal year (running from 1 September to 31 August) was also questioned. In this regard, it was noted that most funding agencies' fiscal years run from 1 April to 31 March of any given year while other organizations with which the sector deals have fiscal years that run between 1 January and 31 December. The C/C sector often indicated to Commission Staff the feeling that it is constantly filling out reports for the myriad of agencies with which it deals.

Complimentary to public and private elements

At present, the Commission considers that the C/C sector in general should add diversity to the broadcasting system through the offering of spoken word and musical programming that differs from what is provided by commercial stations and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Difference from these other two sectors (private and public) is therefore measured first in terms of the programming offered rather than the service offered as a whole.

While there appeared to be some acceptance and even approval of the idea that the C/C sector is and should be distinct from both the public and private elements, the manner in which this is conceived may, according to some participants, deserve to be revisited. For instance, well beyond providing complimentary programming, individual C/C stations define part of their mandates to be umbrellas under which local community organizations, social movements, businesses, artists and governments can spread their respective messages, help solicit community support for their initiatives and participate in programming.

Community responsibility / Local programming

As discussed earlier, the C/C sector generally feels a direct responsibility to the communities which they serve. According to many in the sector, their operations and programming are considered to be bottom-up processes, established by expressed community interest rather than by marketing research, branding and broad corporate goals. As such, it is important to note that they provide programming which is almost exclusively local with contributions from members of the community who may not necessarily be able to be broadcast on either commercial radio or the CBC.

In addition to being responsible to the community from a programming perspective, there is also the notion of being a "good citizen", providing air time and infrastructure to municipalities for such things as emergency broadcasts, political debate and other civic events. Thus, many stations see themselves as providing much more than entertainment and community organization. For many, there exists a public safety component and a democratic component they feel a need to provide.

Cultural enterprise

It is also important to note that community and campus stations cannot be bought and sold given that these entities are controlled by not-for-profit corporations which are, in turn, controlled by their respective boards of directors. There are no shares, public or otherwise, and the boards of directors are made up of members from their various communities. In the case of campus stations in particular, the Commission expects that the communities served will include the student population and the administration associated with the campus on which they operate.

Emerging artists

Given its mandate to provide complimentary programming to the Commercial and Public sectors, the C/C sector as a whole focuses significantly on emerging Canadian artists for their musical programming (although there is certainly variation on a station by station basis). Commission Staff was reminded by many stations that, as a part of their very basic roles and mandates, the C/C sector is obliged and indeed fuelled by the exposure of emerging Canadian talent, whether it is musical or spoken word. Apart from on-air exposure, stations will often provide their studio space for free recordings of live in-station performances and help facilitate the booking of these artists for local performances.

Also, these stations often serve, though sometimes reluctantly, as training grounds for a number of broadcasters that have since moved on to either Commercial radio or to the public broadcaster.


At present, the view of the C/C sector as being complimentary to the public and private sectors is based very much on the need to provide programming which is distinct from that which is provided by commercial broadcasters and the public broadcaster. In the case of campus stations, there exists the extra need to provide complimentary programming to all other campus and community stations operating in the same location. Thus, the C/C sector continues to feel the need to constantly adapt their programming, not necessarily for the benefit of their listeners but in order to remain distinct from other programming available in the market.

Some stations viewed the recognition of their mandates as going well beyond programming. In this regard, it was argued that an official acknowledgment of these realities could help facilitate increased integration in their communities and open doors for possible funding opportunities. For example, certain stations noted that they operate in areas where the commercial and public sectors provide principally networked programming with little to no locally produced programming on weekends or in off peak periods. The notion that the Commission could recognize, in some official capacity, the fact that the C/C sector is well placed to provide emergency broadcasting services could aid in obtaining certain grants or donations from their respective municipalities to offset certain technical or operational costs.

Volunteer issues

The C/C sector relies heavily on volunteer participation for the proper functioning of their stations. Additionally, volunteer participation helps the sector fulfil its mandate by integrating the community into its operations, providing services varying from programming to, in some cases, station management. In some cases, stations are operated entirely by volunteers (for instance, CJLY-FM in Nelson, BC).

By and large, programming is highly reliant on volunteer participation with some larger stations employing in excess of 100 distinct programming groups (each with their own timeslot in the weekly schedule) with volunteers outnumbering paid staff by significantly large margins. There are some situations, however, where stations place much smaller emphasis on the use of volunteers, having the ability to have larger paid staff compliments. A volunteer presence will still exist but to a lesser degree.


In many cases, where there is a cadre of paid staff, these staff are generally paid below commercial station levels, are often part-time and are forced to be generalists rather than specialists (i.e. a program director may also be responsible for sales, aid in volunteer coordination and training, aid in the grant application process, be expected to troubleshoot technical issues and help coordinate fundraising drives).

The sector noted that volunteer staff does not mean free labour. Significant time, money and energy are invested in their volunteer training which, due to turnover, lack of interest or other reasons, is constantly reinvested throughout the year. Often a station benefits from a core volunteer base however, the constant turnover of others contributes to the day-to-day reality of adaptation and improvisation that many in the sector endure.

In urban locations, volunteerism is often seen as the victim of other volunteer opportunities, opportunities for paid employment in the same domain (from either the CBC or commercial broadcasting), graduation (as in the case of campus based stations) or other reasons. In rural areas, volunteerism typically suffers from the pressures placed by the realities of rural life. That is, in many cases, volunteers must drive considerable distances, through often inclement weather, in order to participate thus adding the costs of transportation to a station's expenses. Rural stations also reported enduring demographic shifts which have seen their youth leave for opportunities in urban centres, leaving a stagnate and aging volunteer base.

The impact of the current economic climate cannot be overlooked. As some pointed out, volunteerism is cyclical with increases at times when economic situations are healthy.

Impact of commercial licensing

Although there are some exceptions, community and campus radio stations do not typically earn much in the way of advertising revenues compared to their Commercial radio counterparts. Typically, from an economic-impact perspective, the licensing of a new commercial service in a given market should not have an appreciable impact on the operations of incumbent C/C stations. Arguably, the licensing of new commercial operations will have their effects felt on a number of different fronts.


As noted above, C/C radio stations employ a revenue model that allows for funding from a number of sources. The sources and the proportion they contribute are entirely contextual and dependent on geographical location, population served, association with or without a campus, language and other. As such, from a revenue perspective, those which rely heavily on advertising revenues may feel a greater impact in their ability to sustain their operations than others (notably campus stations which have, for the most part, a steady influx of money through student levies). It was advanced by many stations that the Commission, when concerning itself with new entrants into a market, rarely if ever takes into account the economic position of the C/C sector and the effects such an entrant may have.

Apart from revenue, the licensing of new commercial entrants, notably niche commercial services (e.g. Adult Album Alternative format based stations, Blues based stations, Classical based stations and so on) and ethnic services have the most impact in terms of programming. It was argued that, because C/C (in particular campus stations in urban centres) stations have a great focus on this type of programming, the licensing and operation of these new entrants forces the C/C stations to alter their programming for to account for a loss of their programmers or to remain complimentary as to programming.

Again, in this context, it was noted that the over licensing of markets removes otherwise useable frequencies from certain areas. This in turn has the effect of stifling the ability of the C/C sector from expanding to where they are not currently present.

Distribution issues

Contrary to commercial radio which seeks distribution for monetary gain and the public sector which seeks distribution to, in large part, fulfill a requirement of the Act, the C/C sector's concerns over distribution lie in the ability to effectively reach the local communities for which they are licensed to serve. Distribution is therefore not so much a means to an end but more and end in and of itself.

Recently, due to lack of comment or objection, the Commission decided that it will eliminate sections 22, 23(1)(b), 23(2) and 34(b) of the Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking Regulations (BDU Regulations)Footnote 9. Section 22 of the BDU Regulations in particular noted that all Class 1 licensees and any Class 2Footnote 10 licensee who elected to distribute an audio programming service in a licensed area were obligated to carry the programming services of each local radio station that was licensed as a campus station or a community station. With this requirement now removed, many expressed concern that their service would no longer be distributed to areas which, although in or in close proximity to their licensed area, could not receive their service due to, among other things, terrain limitations or lack of a strong signal. Commission staff was reminded that, for the C/C sector, carriage helps offset spectrum limitations.

The C/C sector is decidedly concerned about reach. Together with concerns over the inability to enter currently unexploited markets and their abilities to maintain their signals on the spectrum which they do presently exploit, C/C stations are concerned about their ability to gain and maintain their presence on other platforms as well. Distribution by BDUs, as noted above, is one concern, but the sector is also forward thinking, looking at new media devices such as cellular phones, mobile internet ready devices and other fledgling technologies which offer other means of distribution for which the sector currently has no guaranteed carriage. Intertwined in this is the sector's acknowledgement that, while they are a viable and important aspect of the broadcasting system, they remain nevertheless less important in terms of commercial viability which renders their carriage less pressing for distributors looking to exploit it for commercial gain.

The sector noted that, while carriage is important, it is difficult for them to supply hard evidence about reach and listenership given that most stations do not subscribe to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement due to the costs involved. Instead, many stations will rely on metrics such as donations, community involvement and correspondence from listeners to help determine reach and listenership characteristics.

Official languages

The Commission's regulations, by and large, are the same for both French language and English language C/C stations. That is to say, requirements for spoken word, hits (where applicable), category 3 musical selections, volunteer participation and other structural aspects of these stations is the same. Apart from linguistic requirements, a notable exception lies in the levels of French vocal music selections Francophone stations must broadcast.

C/C radio is particularly well placed to provide services to local official language minority communities (OLMC) given their manadate to be reflective and inclusive of the community at large. C/C radio takes two forms in this: either it is a broadcaster devoted entirely to the OLMC located in the geographical area that it serves or it is a broadcaster, providing services in the language of the majority, albeit able to insert programming in the language of the minority.


In the case of the former there exists two very different situations. On the one hand, stations that broadcast in the Maritimes, principally in New Brunswick and, on the other, stations that broadcast throughout the rest of the country, often in remote communities or to communities embedded within a linguistic majority (for instance, CKRP-FM in Falher, Alberta or CHOQ-FM Toronto).

For those stations broadcasting in the French language located in New Brunswick and the Maritimes, they benefit from a strong regional organizationFootnote 11 which serves to facilitate the exchange of programming and other resources for the collective benefit. This by no means is to suggest that these stations are all on equal footing with one another. There is a large variance depending on the size of the communities served and the presence of other factors (geography for coverage and volunteer issues and commercial radio for revenue for instance) but, for the most part, these stations are either flourishing or, at the very least, not failing.

Given the size of the communities to which many broadcast, financial sustainability is a constant concern. While funding is available, much of it is project based. Core funding which may be available from the Federal Government through Canadian Heritage comes from a general development program for official-language communities which may include, but is not exclusive to, funding to radio. In Québec, English-language community (though not camps based) stations also qualify for provincial government funding.

Despite these challenges, stations in this situation find that they have a very loyal pool of listeners, often pointing to Francophones and Francophiles as being the community served.

Necessity of two policies

The C/C sector is currently guided by two principle policies: The Campus Radio Policy (Public Notice CRTC 2000-12) and the Community Radio Policy (Public Notice CRTC 2000-13). The existence of two policies is, in part, a recognition that both sides of the C/C sector, although fulfilling largely similar mandates, do experience certain specificities making a homogenous regulation of the sector unwanted.

When questioned about the necessity of having two policies, many on both sides of the sector voiced their support for the maintenance of the current divide given the subtle differences in mandates, structure and financing that both experience. Interestingly though, some also advocated for a single-policy approach in order to simplify regulation.

On the community side of the sector, there was a perception among some that campus stations were geared more toward entertainment and less toward community involvement and that their programming was more confrontational. Campus stations did not share the same outlook arguing that their community involvement, although spread throughout the city or region within which they operate, must also take into account the existence of a student body that provides significant funding.

There was a feeling that smaller communities tend to be more participatory with a community station in a small locale becoming a major hub of activity, information and interaction. In larger communities, it was acknowledged that the nature of participation is different. It was also argued that, in the case of many campus stations, multicultural programming plays a much larger role than it does in many community stationsFootnote 12.

Developmental licensing

Currently, the Commission allows for the shorter term licensing of developmental stations. Typically, reduced expectations about programming requirements are imposed. The goal of these licenses is to allow for inexperienced applicants the chance to commence quickly, amass community support and develop their programming over the course of three years. At the end of those three years, licensees have the option of applying for a full fledged Type-A or Type-B Community licence (or a Community based campus or Instructional licence) or cease operations.

While the notion of a developmental licence was generally supported, the manner in which it is currently implemented came under question. Some noted that the idea of licensing an undertaking for 3 years does not allow the undertaking to fully experiment with programming and community involvement before they are expected to apply for a full licence. Some also noted that it could take up to a year for the station to implement, therefore allowing it effectively only one and a half years before it is expected to apply for a full licence (assuming it take up to 6 months for a Commission determination on a new licence following the reception of an application).

There were a number of solutions proposed. Apart from the notion of protecting the frequency on which they operate, two other adjustments to the manner in which developmental licences are administered were suggested. In the first instance, it was suggested that developmental licenses be permitted to have longer licence terms of up to five years. Secondly, it was suggested that developmental licensing become a guaranteed approach to full licensing. That is, the license application process, instead of being discreet, would instead be a continuous process beginning with the granting of a developmental licence and culminating, after subsequent revisions and expansions of the original proposal, a full licence.

New Media

New media and access to new media is evolving constantly and at an incredible pace. New technologies can make the distribution of C/C audio content much easier and further reaching while increasing the amounts and type of programming available to the sector. High speed internet connectivity can also facilitate the participation of volunteers through the supply of programming from remote locations and the ability for key personnel to access, immediately and in real time, the programming of the station to insert emergency messages or operate the station remotely.


The C/C sector faces significant obstacles in its participation in a new media environment. While they are seemingly well placed to take advantage of new and emerging technologies and there is little disagreement that certain technologies would aid in alleviating certain operational issues (remote access for volunteers for instance), the fact remains that these technologies are costly and require a certain expertise for their operation and maintenance. According to the sector, these are significant stumbling blocks that prevent the sector from making full use of these technologies. Another is the question of the handling of mechanical rights of copyrighted works on the internet. That is, while many stations stated a desire to broadcast on the internet or make use of podcasting to allow users to download content, it was noted that there exists much uncertainty regarding the application of tariffs including concerns about retroactivity of the tariffs currently being considered. Commission staff was reminded that, unlike many commercial broadcasters, certain financial impositions can very easily wipe out a community or a campus station given their often precarious financial situations.

To be truthful, however, there are some in the sector who are very well integrated into a new media environment. However the broadcasting over the internet is not now seen as a replacement technology for FM broadcasting. Rather, it is viewed as complimentary to existing technologies. Indeed, there is a certain legitimacy associated with FM broadcasting that the nature of internet broadcasting does not afford (the notion that anyone with a computer and access to music can stream content over the internet was raised). Also, although the challenges to which they are faced appear difficult, there is nevertheless a desire to fully participate in a new media environment.

There are also some who have taken a very innovative approach to blending technological advances and traditional over-the-air broadcasting. One in particular has a planned pilot project with the goal of allowing small Anglophone communities in remote areas in Québec to access and broadcast both local and acquired content over the air with the use of very low power transmitting facilities. Ideally, a number of very low power stations (or micro stations) would be situated throughout the province and be linked together online for the purpose of sharing content. Ideally, these would also be linked to a traditional community radio station in order to allow for wrap-around programming. This initiative is, of course, very dependent on funding. There is also some question about how it would fit into Commission's current regulatory model.

Other distribution platforms including digital radio

There was general concern in the sector about a lack of a digital transition strategy. Commission staff was reminded that by its structure and financing, the C/C sector is necessarily slower to react to such a change when compared to the commercial and public sectors. Some also noted that a digital strategy or some other transition strategy would help alleviate the issue surrounding the availability of FM spectrum in major urban centres and proximate markets.

Place in the future

With the myriad of distribution platforms on the horizon and an increase in user generated content on the internet, the sector was asked about where they viewed themselves in a new media environment and whether their relevance and brand could be maintained. In response, most indicated that they viewed a place for the sector in spite of these coming developments. At present, the sector viewed internet broadcasting and broadcasting on other platforms really as additional sources to enable the sector to reach and remain relevant to their communities. In the future, the sector felt that, given their historical and ongoing relations with their respective communities, C/C radio, or whatever form of transmission, will remain relevant whether as radio stations with other forms of broadcasting or as content aggregators online.

Concerns about Commission processes, access to the Commission, treatment by the Commission

The Commission's emphasis on transparency, predictability, timeliness and fairness has been an effort to ameliorate its relationship with various industry sectors. Commissioners have shown themselves to be open to discussions with industry representatives while the internal organization of Commission staff has allowed industry representatives to quickly obtain valuable information of both an operational and policy nature.

Nevertheless, the perception in the C/C radio sector is that while the Commission may be very open and accessible to the commercial and public broadcasters, C/C broadcasters have been largely left by the wayside.

The sector cited a number of recent examples and trends to support its point. Most notably the removal of their concerns from the Commission's hearings on Canadian broadcasting in a new media environmentFootnote 13 as well as minimal participation of Commission members at national C/C radio conferences. Some also expressed their concern at the lack of a Commission members' presence at the informal meetings about which the document is summarizing. Overall, then, there is a general feeling that, while Commission staff may very well be informed and helpful, appointed members of the Commission are generally uninformed or disinterested in C/C sector.

On a more practical and day-to-day level, the sector was concerned that information about the Commission, pertinent regulations and policies as well as information about hearings and other business of the Commission is not readily accessible or neatly organized. There appeared to be an overall mystification of the Commission about everything from the manner in which decisions are taken to the manner in which licensees are informed, of information or requests for information.


The issues raised have helped inform the Commission's knowledge of the C/C sector and the most pressing concerns that may be considered as a part of a review of the Campus and Community Radio policies which is forthcoming.

As noted elsewhere, representatives of the sector are actively encouraged to engage in the public process of the upcoming review and to make their issues known in a formal capacity.

Appendix 1 - Participants





Frédéric Boulay



Annie L. Levesque



Jocelyne Savoie-Rattie



Donald Noel



Eric Morneault



Jean-Sebastien Levesque



Marc Le Bouthillier



Nay Saadé



Angus Lefort

CKJM-FM + ARCAFootnote 14


Serge Parent



Flavien Babineau



Roland Bryar

ARCANBFootnote 15


Québec City

Nancy Gangon



Raynald Lalime



Jacques Duclos



Claude Roy



Gervais Desbiens



Martin Bougie (also appeared in Ottawa)

ARC-QFootnote 16


Eric Lefebvre



Charles-Eugène Cyr



Lise Morissette



Patrick Fortin



Hugh Maynard (also appeared in Ottawa)

QAACRFootnote 17


David Teasdale




Deborah Cartmer



Danaé Peart



Candace Mooers



Kristiana Clemens



Roxanne Casey



Greg Roe



Tara-Michelle Ziniuk



Jay Mowat



Marie-Gaetane Caissie

MICROFootnote 18


Tonia Mori




Rob Schmidt (also appeared in Calgary)



Robin Eriksson (also appeared in Calgary)



Jill Ferguson



Nathalie Gerard

CKXL-FM + ARCOTFootnote 19


Annick Boulet



Suzie Lemoine




Keith Colhoun



Catherine Fisher



Leah Wilson



Ken Regan



Chad Saunders



Luke Meat



Mark Shields



Ryan Quiring



Samantha Power



Jorden Ager



Jesse Northey



Aaron Levin



Terry Brennan




Anne Carlson



Charlotte Bourne



Ken Zakreski

"CKGI" (not licensed, project in development)


Leela Chinniah



Robin Puga



Brenda Grunau



Freya Zaltz

NCRAFootnote 20


Randy Gelling



Bob Hansen



Magnus Thyvold



Bryce Dunn



Ottawa (Phone)

Alexandre Beaudin



Rudy Desjardins



Nicole Beaudoin



Adam Fox




Matthew Crosier



David Sarazin



Stephanie Kepman



Karen McHarg



Francois Côté

ARC-CFootnote 21


Chantale Legault



Kevin Matthews



Melissa Kaestner

CRFCFootnote 22


Evan Light

On his own behalf


In writing

Jean Raffaelli



Appendix 2 - Related documents

Public Notices / Notices of public hearing:

Campus radio policy - Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2000-12, Ottawa, 28 January 2000

Community radio policy - Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2000-13, Ottawa, 28 January 2000

Commercial Radio Policy - Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-158, Ottawa 15 December 2006

Revised content categories and subcategories for radio - Public Notice CRTC 2000-14, Ottawa, 28 January 2000

Regulatory frameworks for broadcasting distribution undertakings and discretionary programming services - Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-100, Ottawa, 30 October 2008

Review of the regulatory frameworks for broadcasting distribution undertakings and discretionary programming services - Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2007-10, Ottawa, 5 July 2007

Canadian broadcasting in new media - Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2008-11, Ottawa, 15 October 2008


Broadcasting Act, S. C. 1991, c. 11


Broadcasting Licence Fee Regulations, 1997, S.O.R./97-144

Radio Regulations, 1986, S.O.R./86-982

Broadcasting Distribution Regulations, SOR/97-555

Other related documents:

Update to CRTC Communications Monitoring Report - 1 September 2008 on the CRTC website:

CBC Annual Report 2007-2008 on the CBC website: 2007-2008/pdf/vol2/financials-e.pdf

BPR-3 - Application Procedures and Rules for FM Broadcasting Undertakings on the Department of Industry Canada's website:

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