TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
BROADCASTING APPLICATIONS AND LICENCES/
DEMANDES ET LICENCES EN RADIODIFFUSION
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Triumph Howard Johnson Triumph Howard Johnson
MacDonald-Cartier Salle de bal
2737 Keele Street 2737, rue Keele
Toronto, Ontario Toronto (Ontario)
February 9, 2000 Le 9 février 2000
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
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Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Public Hearing / Audience publique
Broadcasting Applications and Licences/
Demandes et licences en radiodiffusion
BEFORE / DEVANT:
A. Wylie Chairperson/Présidente
M. Wilson Commissioner/Conseillère
J. Pennefather Commissioner/Conseillère
A. Cardozo Commissioner/Conseiller
R. Williams Commissioner/Conseiller
C. Grauer Commissioner/Conseillère
A. Noël Commissioner/Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
P. Cussons Hearing Manager and Secretary / Gérant de l'audience et Secrétaire
D. Rhéaume Legal Counsel /
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Triumph Howard Johnson Triumph Howard Johnson
MacDonald-Cartier Salle de bal
2737 Keele Street 2737, rue Keele
Toronto, Ontario Toronto (Ontario)
February 9, 2000 Le 9 févruer 2000
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PHASE III - INTERVENTION BY/PAR
Donald McLeod 1473
CD Plus.com Inc. 1487
Sir Wilfrid's Church 1499
Kemeel Azan 1511
Ryerson Polytech University 1518
Maestro Fresh Wes 1535
Orin Isaacs 1540
Rob Bowman 1552
Salome Bey 1559
Urban Music Association of Canada 1619
The CanDance Coalition 1562
Cheer DJ Pool 1570
Erma Collins 1574
Allison Gloudon 1581
Carol Tater 1588
T. Sher Singh 1598
Susan Eng 1605
Greater Toronto Services Board 1614
Urban Music Association of Canada 1619
The Guvernment Nightclub 1629
Aboriginal Voices Radio Board of Directors 1634
Armenian Community Centre of Toronto 1644
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce 1652
C.V. Devon Nair 1664
North York Sikh Temple 1668
Consulate of Slovak Republic 1675
Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral 1683
T. Sher Singh 1689
Mitra Manesh 1696
Ed Rempel 1701
Sonal Ghandi 1708
Rieko Hagimoto 1718
Consul General of Malta 1723
Toronto, Ontario / Toronto (Ontario)
--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, February 9, 2000
at 0900 / L'audience reprend le mercredi
9 février 2000 à 0900
6987 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
6988 We will now pursue with the supporting interventions in the Jolly application.
6989 I would like to reiterate, because some of you may not have been here, that we haven't been asking questions or engaging in discussions with intervenors, not because of a lack of interest but because we want to hear as many intervenors as possible during the time that we have.
6990 We remind you that your oral intervention is transcribed by the court reporter and forms part of the record, in addition to whatever you may have filed in writing.
6991 We are interested in hearing you and there will be a record left of your oral intervention.
6992 Mr. Secretary, please.
6993 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
6994 Good morning, everyone. I would just like to make a couple of short preliminary announcements.
6995 Again, as we have mentioned a couple of times during the hearing, we would really appreciate it if people attending the hearing could turn off their cell phones, pagers and so on, because it can be a distraction for intervenors and for Members of the Panel. So we would appreciate your co-operation there.
6996 We would also appreciate the co-operation of intervenors in sticking to our maximum 10-minute rule. Out of respect to other intervenors, we would duly appreciate it if you could keep your comments within that 10-minute time frame.
6997 I would just like to say that we have one small change in the order this morning in terms of the supporting intervenors for Mr. Jolly's application. Our first intervenor has a very urgent appointment, so I am going to call him immediately.
6998 I would ask Mr. Donald McLeod to come forward, please, and present his intervention.
6999 Mr. McLeod.
7000 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. McLeod.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7001 MR. McLEOD: Good morning, Panel. I will try my best to stick to 10 minutes. Since I am first, I guess I might be setting the pace.
7002 By way of background -- you have already heard my name; it's Donald McLeod -- I am a partner in entertainment as well as criminal lawyer at the firm of Hinks, Satchet and McLeod. Some of the individuals that I represent or have represented in the past in music are The Dream Warriors, Ivan Berry, as well as Beat Factory, Ghetto Concept, Glen Lewis, Eddy Bullen, who is a producer, Orin Isaacs, Faith Chorale, Yo, MC&Z, Mikala Music, Expressions of Praise, and also a group by the name of Selections.
7003 So I come by way not only as an entertainment lawyer but also I am a member of the group of Selections.
7004 Selections is a contemporary gospel group who were assigned to Attic Records. We then moved on to MCA. We are now in the process of doing our third album. We were nominated for a Juno last year.
7005 In fact, the groups that I mentioned in the gospel front, Expressions of Praise, Youth Outreach Mass Choir, of the five artists that were nominated for the Junos, I represented four of them and then lost to one of my clients -- which boded well when I had to do their bill.
7006 Selections not only has been part of the Juno nominees; we have toured extensively. We have been together for about ten years. The last album played on about 120 radio stations across the U.S., and in Canada we were played on two.
7007 In fact, in Canada we were played on two, but being a contemporary gospel group -- we were at the top 12 for about six weeks. Once we had an interview it was then found out that we were a gospel group and the next day we were actually dropped from the play list.
7008 It didn't bode well for us. However, it was something that we took under advisement for the next time.
7009 For the panel I will deal with three issues, some more extensively than others. One is the necessity for a radio station such as Milestone; two would be the impact of a radio station such as Milestone would be able to give; as well as the viability of a radio station such as Milestone.
7010 In terms of the necessity, I will deal with the entertainment side as well as the community side of it.
7011 If we look at the entertainment side of what has been happening in the community, at least in radio stations thus far, most of the artists, especially in Toronto -- and I will preface this by saying that we have great talent here in Toronto; probably heads and shoulders above the rest in Canadian groups, but as well as very much on par with those who are American.
7012 The difficulty that they have, however, is recognition. I say this in terms of urban artists, as well as R&B, hip hop, including all of those.
7013 We have songwriters; and, as a result of necessity, we have had producers, songwriters, musicians, as well as the singer, all in the same person. And that is out of necessity. You have had artists who have actually had to cover all of those areas because they are not able to get the funds they need to get higher priced people.
7014 As a result, they are going to be making their income on the radio stations playing their album so that they can get the royalties that are necessary from the songs that are being played. If you are not playing their songs, then they are not getting any royalties.
7015 As a result, we have a lot of starving artists in Toronto because their songs are not being played.
7016 What is happening is that the songs are not being played. So as a result when I, as a lawyer, go to a record company to say "you should get this artist, this artist is very good", the record company is saying "I don't think this is a good idea because this is not popular music".
7017 Popular music and good music are two different things, and in order for something to be popular it has to be played. If it is not played, then it will never be popular. As a result, the artists who are then putting their songs together are having a difficult time even surviving. We have artists who don't even have enough money to make bus fare. Yet they are talented beyond compare.
7018 As a result, you have a difficulty when you get to the record companies. If the record companies are not going to have these artists on because they are not going to have their songs played on the radio, then they don't become a viable commodity; and as a result, they are going to be dropped.
7019 Yet people with half as much talent as urban and hip hop, R&B artists, are getting record deals, Canadian deals. They are travelling all over Canada. I think this is endemic of the fact that we are not being played on radio stations. There aren't radio stations out there that are willing to listen to what we have to say musically. As a result of not being listened to musically, we are not having a voice out there in the community and these artists are not getting good music played.
7020 On our tour that we had with Selections some years ago, we had as a person that was headlining for us, a woman by the name of Deborah Cox. Deborah Cox would complain that she would write all these songs, but yet she doesn't get any play. No record companies are looking for her. She is starving. She goes to the States and I guess the rest is history. We have now seen her on the cover of Macleans, Cosmopolitan, the other Canadian magazines.
7021 The adage that one is a king is not a king at home is very true. However, it is important for us to realize that Milestone will at least give us a fighting chance.
7022 In terms of the community as it relates to the necessity, the adage that a voice without a vision is a whisper I think is appropriate here. It would appear that we are not being heard. Milestone will give 15 per cent of their radio play towards spoken word. If we are not heard, then the only thing that anyone ever hears about us is the bad things that they may hear or see in the papers.
7023 I say that because it is important for us to realize that although from time to time we may have 15 minutes here or 20 minutes there, or even an hour, should the radio station that is a community base be so grateful, we have a little bit of time to give as much information as we can, remembering that these days young people are learning a lot more from what they hear rather than what they read.
7024 I say that because before going to law school I was a teacher, a high school teacher. The best way to teach somebody was sometimes to either be playing the record -- I remember when I was in high school they actually had to play Shakespeare over the radio or on the record just so that I could pay attention. It didn't help, but at least by the end of the day I knew what they were talking about.
7025 What I am saying is that it is important; that if we are going to be heard, we have to have a venue to be heard from. If that is going to be the case, then we have to have something such as Milestone will provide.
7026 In terms of an impact, we have made inroads, I would say, in terms of inroads in having Rudy Blair on 680 News, Energy 108 from time to time having Black DJs playing our music. We have had Orin Isaacs, who has made a significant inroad in terms of being on the Mike Bullard show and having a band of his choosing that is there doing very well.
7027 But I guard you against saying this: inroads do not necessarily lead to an impact. We are looking for an impact in the community. Having one hour here or two hours there does not necessarily help.
7028 When you look at a station such as Milestone and what Milestone can give, it gives our community an impact. I tell you this as an individual who comes from this community. As one who grew up in Regent Park and then left from Regent Park to go to Scarborough, I can tell you that it is a good thing when you are hearing people such as Maestro on the radio, when you hear them doing very well; when you hear that people from the same neighbourhoods that you come from are actually making inroads.
7029 The difficulty that you have, however, is that the inroads that they are making are in the United States and not here.
7030 It would appear that we as a people are powerless. I don't wish to necessarily fill this with rhetoric; that's not the point, and I don't think that is the reason you are here. But I will tell you this: power is something that is more rhetoric. It is something that will take a people from where they were to where they need to be.
7031 It is important for us then to realize that Milestone then gives us a fighting chance in the impact that is necessary. That impact will then filter down in terms of artists, artists at least being able to be heard, artists being able to get their records played, get royalties, have living from this.
7032 In thinking about this as well, I thought that Milestone was one of those radio stations that covers a lot of things. It doesn't just cover Black; it covers all ethnicities. It covers gender; it covers age; and it also covers sexual preference. It is people from all of those venues or all of those areas who are actually going to be listening to this radio station. It is all-encompassing.
7033 I ask the Panel to be very careful in thinking that just because it has been put as a Black station, it doesn't necessarily follow that only Black people are going to listen to it. This brings me to its viability, which I think is one of the things that you as a Panel are going to have to be very vigilant when looking at.
7034 In terms of advertising, it is important for you to realize that Black people eat McDonald's too; that Black people go to Wal-Mart. And as a result, those people are going to be wanting to be advertising on your radio station.
7035 I am sure that it has been spoken about that WBLK is a radio station that has a lot of advertising dollars that come from the Black community. I don't know how much it is, but I am sure that it is a lot.
7036 However, I as a Black entrepreneur, a partner in my own firm, would never ever -- I say never ever -- advertise on WBLK. The reason for that is that it doesn't fit with my persona. It doesn't fit with what it is that I would like the community to know.
7037 I say that because I think it is important for you to realize that within the community there is the hip hop culture, there is R&B, there is myself -- who one may not think is necessarily the biggest hip hop fan, but I do a jig or two in my car from time to time.
7038 I say that because it is important for you to realize that the advertising dollars that are necessary, that Milestone can actually get, is beyond compare. Everyone would want to advertise on this show. Everyone would want to advertise on this particular radio station because of what it represents.
7039 In terms of where I am going here, it was important to at least give you a little history lesson; and that is that in the 1960s in the sort of Trudeaumania era, we had a big influx of Black families into Toronto specifically. As a result, we had a lot of people here with not a lot of money. Our parents came for us, to give us a chance.
7040 But now that the us that they came for are here, we are those individuals who are now upwardly mobile; we are making a lot of money and we have a lot of money at our disposal.
7041 As a result, we as Black entrepreneurs -- and my friends range from doctors to lawyers to musicians, you name it. But now as a result they are able to open their own businesses, getting second mortgages on their homes, and now able to have that advertising dollar that they need to get people into their community.
7042 Why do I say that? I think it is important for you to realize that on BLK they may be advertising this dance, or that dance, or this thing, or that thing, but they don't advertise me. They don't advertise people like me, and they don't advertise people that are in positions that I am in.
7043 Yet I have friends who are actually trading my stocks, people that are actually working at RBC Insurance, people that are actually real estate agents, doing all kinds of things. Where do they advertise? Nowhere. Why don't they advertise anywhere? Because they still want to get the best bang for their buck.
7044 So I would say that whatever it is that you have estimated as an advertising dollar for something like Milestone, I ask you to bump that up in light of the little lesson that I have taught you here; and that is that we may sometimes forget that there is an unspoken minority or majority in our community which are waiting to be heard. The reason that we haven't been heard yet is because we are waiting for the venue to do that.
7045 It is important also to realize that someone like Denham Jolly -- whom I have only met a very few times; we are not friends of anything of the sort. But I can tell you this that in the community his name is well known. If you are going to give something like Milestone to someone, it is important that it is given to someone where people are going to have their trust in that individual. It is important that whatever the qualifications are, that is also something that is important.
7046 It is important for you to remember this: in looking at the quantity of the Black people in this community, it is important for you to look at the quality of those individuals. The quality of them may actually dictate the amount of funds, the advertising, the listenership, and things of that sort which Milestone would be able to represent.
7047 Denham Jolly, at least from the circles or the spheres that I have been in, is a name that at least is an elder to me but at least one that I am willing to give advertising dollars to.
7048 I think that if Milestone is looked at in terms of it is a necessity, its impact, as well as its viability, it is a good business prospect. It is one that will yield great returns. It is no mystery to see that this works.
7049 I ask this Panel to recognize that and to see that there is strength, not only in what they are doing but in what it can actually accomplish.
7050 It encompasses everyone. It encompasses me when I was at Regent Park to where I am now. Never forgetting where I have come from is a very important thing. The community needs to be empowered. It is important for us to realize that even though we make inroads, the impact is important.
7051 I ask you as a Panel to consider not only the importance as it is in terms of necessity and things of that sort, but also take a hard look at its viability. No one is sitting here saying give us a chance because we are Black.
7052 As I tell my clients: "You may come to me because you are Black, but you stay because I am competent." It is not important that I am Black. It is only important to get you to the door, you may think. But if I lose your case or don't give you a good deal, you are not going to come back.
7053 Milestone is more than Black. It is important. It is something that works and it is something that we desperately need.
7054 I think under all of those three fronts -- and hopefully within my ten minutes -- I have given you as much as I can.
7055 Thank you.
7056 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. McLeod.
7057 Mr. Secretary, please.
7058 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7059 Our next intervention will be presented by CD Plus.com Inc.
7060 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Albo, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7061 MR. ALBO: My name is Wayne Albo. I am the Chairman and majority shareholder of a retail chain of music stores, approximately 150 stores, and an Internet e-commerce site called CD Plus.com.
7062 We are a public company traded on the TSE. I represent, in my view, the retail music industry. In our industry we sell about 1.2 to $1.4 billion of music in this country, and I think we have a fairly good instinct as to the needs of our community with respect to music.
7063 I would like to frame my remarks into sort of five areas: the first being: Why am I here? The second: Is there a need for urban music and an urban music station? Is there a demand for that music? Does need and demand, put together, equal a viable business proposition? And lastly, what happens if we don't have an urban music station? What happens to our particular industry?
7064 I view what we have, being retail, as a partnership, a partnership with the artist and with the radio station. Artists produce the music; radio stations play the music; and we sell the music. If any one of those links in any genre is weak, it doesn't work. If we can't sell the music, the artists don't get royalty payments.
7065 The strength of a genre is ensuring that each of those three pieces is strong. We have, in my view, a tremendous distribution system of music in this country. We have a tremendous number of artists. We have a very limited avenue of hearing music in this country today.
7066 Our industry basically would not exist without new artists. That is fundamental to where we go from the retail business future. I am here because I believe for us to be viable -- us being my own company and the industry in general -- we must have a more diversified radio broadcasting system, and we must have additional venues for people to hear and listen to music.
7067 Is there a need?
7068 We sell urban product in all of our stores across the country. Our stores range from Halifax to Victoria to Whitehorse. We sell urban music in each of those cities. Urban music, in my view, is to the youth of today what rock and roll was in my day. Needless to say, my parents took a long time to adjust to rock and roll.
7069 From a personal note, it is useful for you to understand that I earn my living from the Canadian music industry, and it is sad for me to know that for my two children, 16 and 18, their favourite music station originates in Buffalo. So here I am putting food on the table, putting a roof over their heads, and they are attracted because there is not an alternative in this country.
7070 Do I believe that there is a need? No question.
7071 Is there a demand for the product?
7072 Urban music is our second largest category of music sales and by far the fastest growing and by far the most dynamic. It is like that in virtually every market we service. We have a major music retail outlet in Timmins, Ontario. We sell a lot of urban product. We have a major outlet in Grande Prairie, Alberta. We sell a lot of urban product. It is one of the best product categories that we have.
7073 The urban category, in my view, appeals to a broad spectrum of racial backgrounds, not just the Black community. It crosses every background.
7074 I would say that 90 per cent of my stores -- we have 10, 12 stores in Toronto, and 90 per cent of them are in rural markets. And urban music is still our number two seller.
7075 I think at this stage from the demand, where are we filling the demand? Virtually 100 per cent of what we sell comes from the United States. Virtually all of the acts that are being heard are being generated and driven by the U.S. media, which obviously through cross borders is read, heard, and seen in Canada.
7076 The only venue that urban music has in Canada, albeit small, is MuchMusic. There really is no radio station that supports, backs and promotes this genre of music.
7077 In my opinion, without question, there is a significant demand for this product and for this venue.
7078 When you put those two together, is that commercially viable?
7079 At retail, our major market segment is 13 to early 20s. This is the market that urban music, in essence, is the most popular. Advertising dollars targeted to this demographic group are enormous. We personally in our own way have run urban music campaigns with Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Sony, Panasonic, Levis and so on.
7080 Without radio we have had to do all of our promotions either through print and in-store. So there really is not the vehicle we need for advertising.
7081 Our advertising budget, ours alone, is about $2 million a year. I can categorically state that we would use an urban station to promote our business, and we would drive cross promotions with our demographics on an urban radio station, without question.
7082 Do I believe that Milestone or an urban station is commercially viable? Without question.
7083 Consequences: The music industry is consolidating. Seagrams bought Polygram. Warner/EMI just announced the merger. Sony/BMG are in talks. So we are going to go from six what I will call major labels to three. Globalization is happening.
7084 Without new Canadian talent we will become a U.S. branch plant. It is happening already. There will be no need, in my view, to have a Canadian office of one of the major labels if there is no Canadian talent. All they will do is manufacture, as they do movies, out of the United States, ship it to Canada, and we will distribute.
7085 We must keep developing Canadian talent. That is paramount.
7086 Where is most of the new fresh blood coming in that the kids are looking to today? It is urban music by far.
7087 That is primarily why I am here. My business is only as strong as the new talent being generated. We must have more distinctive venues support our effort of supporting Canadian talent.
7088 I believe that if we don't expand the venues, we will find, as we are now finding in our music categories, that more and more of the product is coming from the United States. That is what is currently happening in the new genres of music.
7089 I think that is a bad thing. I don't think that is good for us in the long term. And it is certainly going to hurt the Canadian music industry, both at retail and I believe as a whole.
7090 In conclusion, we must continue to foster the partnership, I believe, between the artist, radio and retail. With that in mind, I am here to support the application of Milestone so that we can continue to nurture, develop, support the complete diversity of Canadian talent.
7091 Thank you.
7092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Albo, for your participation.
7093 Mr. Secretary, please.
7094 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7095 Our next intervenor is Jazmin.
7096 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7097 JAZMIN: Good morning. My name is Jazmin. I just want to tell you a little bit about myself before I begin with what I would like to say.
7098 I am a new recording artist with Attic Records. My album was just released in Canada in October of 1999; in Japan in December of 1999. It will be released in the U.K. at the end of this month and across Europe in March or April, with very high hopes to go to the United States and the rest of the territories around the world.
7099 I am 24 years old. I have been battling with the music industry for approximately nine years and struggling to get to the point where I could release an album and pursue a recording career.
7100 At a point in time -- I believe I was 20 years old -- I moved myself to Los Angeles because I found it very difficult to begin a career as a musician and as a singer and writer in Toronto. As a result of moving myself to Los Angeles, I joined a musical theatre company for the musical Asterella, which was executively produced by Michael Jackson.
7101 I performed in this musical as the lead role of Cinderella in Los Angeles and then on tour in Europe for about a year. When I came back from my European tour I was invited by the Broadway musical Rent to go and be an understudy in their Los Angeles company. At the time that I was invited by their company, they had already filled all the positions for the Toronto cast, the Canadian cast.
7102 I went to perform in Los Angeles as an understudy and was promoted to play every single lead role by a Black female in the musical.
7103 I toured with that musical for one year, and then I spent the following year living in London, England learning about culture and music in the U.K.
7104 I am here to say that since I have released my album in October I have two singles that have been presented to Canada, the first of which is a much more R&B styled song than my second single. I and my record company hope for high success across Canada, because the United States deals and the rest of the world deals were depending on my success in Canada.
7105 I have received light rotation and medium rotation afterwards from the three major radio stations in Toronto and battle daily and weekly with my distribution company to stay in rotation. My first video was taken out of rotation only a few weeks after it was added to MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic. My second video is still struggling at MuchMusic, Musique Plus and YTV.
7106 When my record company and I were preparing for the release of my album in October, we conducted several focus groups with teenagers and young adults in the Toronto area to find out what our consumer was looking for in the music that they listened to. What did their artists wear? What radio stations were they on? What kind of social attributes of an artist were linked to the consumer, so that we could market myself properly to them.
7107 In the area of our focus group that had to deal with style of music and where they obtained their music, we found that the students and young adults who listened to R&B, hip hop, rap music, other styles of urban music, actually chose not to listen to the Toronto stations because they felt they were too pop oriented and did not provide them with the updated and versatile R&B and urban music that is coming from other parts of the world, and mainly from the United States.
7108 These particular students who were interested in urban music listened to the American Buffalo station of BLK. I felt that they could be at no fault for that, because when I was in high school and in university I listened to BLK as well. The radio stations when I was a teenager, and at this point, still did not provide me with the urban music that I like to listen to on a regular daily basis.
7109 I find that I still do that a lot, especially when it comes to video. MuchMusic and Musique Plus and MuchMoreMusic play a lot of mainstream pop and alternative music. And even for pop artists and R&B artists like myself, they get categorized as an R&B artist; or a song that I would put out, which is not necessarily an R&B song, would be categorized as an R&B song for many reasons, but I think also because I am a Black singer.
7110 I find that I often go to stations like BET to get the updated hip hop and urban music videos like I do with the BLK station in Buffalo.
7111 The three main radio stations in Toronto that do play my music have provided me with the only outlet in Toronto to showcase my music on a daily basis and to promote my album to the young adults across this city and surrounding areas.
7112 The reason that I feel that a lot of success in Toronto is very imperative for the following of my career is that it seems to me from the short experience that I have, which I think gives me a good idea of what to look forward to, that in order to get my success across Canada I need to have success in Toronto and in the major cities.
7113 I have had a limited amount of success in Montreal, in Quebec, which has also been a very difficult market to bring urban music to as an English artist and as an urban artist. I am a little bit luckier than the average urban artist because my mother is French and I learned how to speak French before I learned how to speak English.
7114 So I was able to cross that line over there.
7115 But it is still very, very difficult because in order for me to have this success across Canada, I need the success in Toronto. In order for me to get the success across the world, I need to have the success in Canada.
7116 I would like my album to have a long stay on the market. However, I feel that with retailers and with radio stations and all the tools that I have available to me to market and promote my album, there is a possible failure for the album.
7117 I certainly will not ever stop trying and plan on utilizing every effort and everything inside of me to be able to push my music forward.
7118 The application for Milestone Radio is very important for me as a local artist, as a Canadian artist, as an urban artist, because it would give me this one tool that is not available to me because I am in Canada and because I am in Toronto.
7119 When I was living in London in the U.K., there were urban stations for me to listen to. I also listened to the mainstream pop stations. However, when I moved back to Toronto -- and I had not lived here for about four years -- I realized that the pop stations and the CHR stations that I was now listening to were not playing the updated urban music that I found in the U.K. or that I found in the United States when I was on tour for a year.
7120 When I was on tour with the Broadway musical Rent, I was in a new city across the United States for one year approximately every two weeks; sometimes it was every week. In almost every city that I was able to get a radio, in almost every city I was also able to find an urban station.
7121 These are some reasons that I wanted to share with you as a new artist to the industry, who has spent basically my whole entire life trying to get to the point I am now. I struggle every day to try and get further. I have high expectations to get there. I will get there. I hope in providing an urban station in this area it will make a smoother ride for artists like myself and artists in the future.
7122 Thank you.
7123 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your participation.
7124 Mr. Secretary, please.
7125 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7126 We will now hear the intervention by St. Wilfred's Church, Father Lombardi.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7128 FATHER LOMBARDI: Good morning. I ask only one thing: don't tell my congregation you kept me to ten minutes. I will never hear the end of it.
7129 THE CHAIRPERSON: We haven't been that successful to date in doing that.
7130 FATHER LOMBARDI: Whatever you do, if you are successful in it, don't tell them. I will never hear the end of it.
7131 THE CHAIRPERSON: But we expect you, Reverend, to follow the rules.
7132 FATHER LOMBARDI: Thank you very much for allowing me to speak today.
7133 Rather than speak about my own experience -- but I come from a background of born and raised in Toronto; lived for ten years in the United States; worked from 1964 to 1974 in the United States and came back to Toronto as social justice director for the Archdiocese of Toronto; as co-chair of the North York Committee on Racism, which was the first municipal committee to deal with the issues of racism; and up until last year I was Metro Police Commissioner for six years.
7134 So I come with a variety of experiences and concerns. In the last 25 years since I have come back home to Toronto much of my work has been involved in trying to create understanding and promote harmony in the community, in this wonderful city that I call home, to avoid the mistakes in the United States that I saw and continue to see and how the community is divided along racial and colour lines. That, to me, has always been unacceptable, and I will continue to work towards that harmony that is really the Canadian way.
7135 Although Canada has not been without its discrimination, the brunt of discrimination and racism in Canada has always been felt more or less on the minorities, the native people, the Black community, and from time to time ethnic communities as they have come into the country.
7136 I have experienced racism in the city, overt and subtle, and recognizing that Canada needs to always be very vigilant on the question of racism.
7137 In 1974 you couldn't use the word racism in Toronto. I don't know if you are aware of that. You couldn't use the word racism. If you did -- and I used to do it all the time -- they would tell me to go back to the United States where I belong. It is not a problem here; it is an American problem.
7138 Governments would not accept the word racism on all levels, whether federal, provincial or municipal. People would not consider racism as a problem. Those who experienced it did, but the majority would not.
7139 The Jewish community, along with a number of us, very much knew that the problem existed and worked towards trying to eradicate that in all levels of our community.
7140 Now it went from multiculturalism -- that was the word in the early 1970s, and then it went to race and ethnic relations. Then it shifted from race and ethnic relations to racism. And now we hear anti-racism. So it took 25 years just to achieve that kind of verbal understanding.
7141 Now there are anti-racism policies in government at all levels, school boards, corporations, equity policies, all emanating only since 1974. And I was proud to be part of that with a very small group of people that pushed for those policies. That is one of the reasons that I got on the Police Commission, because I pushed for the first police force to ever have an anti-racism policy.
7142 The awareness to create a loving playing field; the ability to hire and prevent people from being discriminated against on the basis of colour, race or creed.
7143 What does that have to do with this radio station that I am supporting?
7144 Radio is an ideal vehicle to create the appreciation of culture, music values, of various countries and communities and to help understand and create better harmony.
7145 Fundamental access and inroads into the community for racial minorities and any person. It is a wonderful unifying vehicle. That is why I support CBC. CBC has a profound influence on Canada and keeps it together.
7146 I always cringe when I people say they should get rid of the CBC. I think that would be a drastic mistake for our country to take away a unifying force like CBC.
7147 Music is an important vehicle to promote understanding and help bridge the gaps of ignorance.
7148 When I was in Roxbury -- I worked in the ghetto in Roxbury in Boston -- music brought people together. It dispelled, or tried to help dispel the myths within and outside the community. It highlighted the concerns and roles that people could play regarding tensions in the community.
7149 I remember in 1973 when they were going to riot in Boston. We manned the subway stations for fear there would be conflict in the community. But the radio stations played an important role to let people know what was going on.
7150 Music was a unifying force. People heard music everywhere. You listened to the radio. People didn't watch television. They were out in the streets, in the community. In the parks, in the community you heard radio and music playing. People didn't carry televisions; they carried radios. And they still do that today.
7151 Music can be heard in public places and gave people a sense of pride.
Tape 1, Side B
7152 ...values and experience and helped explain the various concerns that people had.
7153 To draw some analogies, Toronto is not Roxbury, thank God. The Black community is as diverse as any other community. Maybe, just maybe the similarity is maybe the colour of skin, but not necessarily. They come from different cultures, whether they come from French speaking countries or English speaking countries. You have a variety of cultures and languages that are represented and reflected in what we call the visible minority community.
7154 Promoting understanding across these cultural lines, religious, and helping people bridge the gaps of ignorance is really important.
7155 There are ghettos in Roxbury. The streets were barriers from one community to another. But the radio transcends those barriers: from one Black community to another, from one white community to another. So there were no barriers when it came to listening to music.
7156 I don't know to what extent the white community heard the Spanish stations or the Black stations. All I know is that in the colleges, where I spent a lot of time too, you could hear the music in all the colleges in the Boston area, and the college campuses were full of urban music. You could hear it in the corridors, in the dormitories and on campus.
7157 Toronto is no different in terms that it has a very high concentration of colleges and universities. I am sure that if you go through the corridors of our colleges and universities, you will hear that urban music.
7158 Toronto, although I am biased, is one of the finest cities in Canada. I want to keep it that way with the harmony that is there.
7159 It is really important that we understand that in endorsing that would promote racial harmony and understanding through culture and music and the various concerns.
7160 While I agree and I understand that radio is not the panacea, I think it is one of the key factors in helping people to be together. It does that all the time. Radio is still a key factor in people listening to other people's ideas and concerns.
7161 When we look at who listens to the radio, it is a variety. But when you think about who listens in terms of young people -- if you want to find out the concerns and anxieties and joys and sorrows of our country and our community, go to the young people who listen to the radio. Their anxieties and their concerns about the future, the ability to succeed and not succeed, their hopes and dreams, are reflected in terms of what they say and what they hear and the music they listen to.
7162 A good radio station can really develop and promote values of dignity and respect, to help people to be more concerned about somebody else, to create forums of discussion, influence and choices young people make, creating understanding and a variety and scope of choices one can make and how valuable a vehicle like the radio is.
7163 Identifying where problems are and bringing people together who have suffered discrimination and who will not tolerate it in any form; help them to discuss viable options and policies that would go towards making better harmony.
7164 It gives the opportunities of institutions, whatever that institution is -- and I know the police force spends thousands of dollars trying to access the Black community for recruits. We spent six years trying to access that. I would be quite certain that they would welcome the opportunity, as would other institutions, to have a vehicle like a station that would address their concerns and also share their problems. It is really important to have that.
7165 That is also to do with the question of employment, housing, need for services, medical, government concerns, to have a community that would voice those concerns. I don't think there are any stations that would have that kind of format. If there are, there should be more of them.
7166 When I chaired the North York Committee on Racism, there were no policies to speak of. I am proud to say that we were responsible for race relations policies in York University, all the school boards, the police department and various institutions in the city.
7167 You need a vehicle for access, and I think a radio station can do that in its own way.
7168 With respect to who owns the station, who manages the station, I think it is really important that while one can share values and identity, first the identity has to be personal. If the identity is not owned, it is not personal. Then it becomes a commodity that can be bought and sold. That is very fundamental to the personal and collective identity of any group. I think it is really important to understand that.
7169 My support of the CBC is precisely that. It was able to access communities which had never been accessed before. In all corners of Canada, wherever you went, people would hear the vision and the hopes and dreams and the concerns across Canada, and that is what made CBC such a great institution and a gift to the people of Canada.
7170 I say that with all due respect and support of that institution called CBC. Just like CBC is important to the fibre of this country, I think Milestone and stations like Milestone are important to the fibre of the community.
7171 I have a parish of 6,000 families; 23 different cultures, from Africa, West Indies, Europe, Middle East, Far East, Latin America. What unites my parish is our faith. So I created a symbol for our own parish. I took a rainbow and cut it in half and made a cross out of it. So my symbol for my parish is a rainbow cross, and the theme is one faith, many cultures. That has unified the community: another symbol, another form of unity.
7172 I think it is really important that we find symbols and institutions and vehicles to unify people. It is very important if we are going to keep this country as great as it is.
7173 Bush talked about a more gentle society. All you have to do is look north to find the gentle society. I don't know where else he was looking.
7174 When I was young in Toronto -- I think I am older than most people here -- I listened to the Buffalo stations -- how many times did my mother tell me to go to bed at night -- because the R&B music was out of the Buffalo stations.
7175 There was a program there called the Hounds Around and they played the R&B, the urban music that I couldn't hear when I was a kid. I would stay up to 12 o'clock, 1 o'clock in the morning. I don't know how she could hear the music through the wall, but she used to be able to hear it and tell me to go to bed and close that station. Go to bed; you have to go to school tomorrow.
7176 The fact is that I heard the presenters and the same thing is happening. That is no different than happened in the fifties when we couldn't hear the music we wanted to hear. It was urban music. It was Black music, rhythm and blues and jazz in those early years. It came from the United States and Buffalo. When the signals were very strong --
7177 MR. CUSSONS: Excuse me, Father Lombardi. I apologize but we are beyond that infamous 10-minute threshold. Perhaps you could summarize your thoughts for the Panel.
7178 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are just about to become a sinner.
7179 FATHER LOMBARDI: For all those reasons I gave, I would hope that you would approve this Milestone station, because it is very important to have a station like Milestone in our community.
7180 Thank you.
7181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Father Lombardi, for your participation.
7182 Mr. Secretary, please.
7183 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7184 We will now hear an intervention by Kemeel Azan.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7185 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7186 MR. AZAN: Good morning.
7187 Madam Chair, Members of the Panel, I am here to speak about or to assure you that Milestone, when granted a licence, will be able to support itself. But before I go to that, I want to give you a little bit of background as to who I am and how long I have been in the community.
7188 My name is Kemeel Azan, and I operate a chain of beauty salons in the city of Toronto, and I have been doing so since 1962. That is 38 years.
7189 Thirty-eight years ago there were not a lot of Black people in this community, in this country as a matter of fact, except far east and the history of those who came through the underground railroad and so on and so forth. In the metropolitan city of Toronto there were not a lot. Hence, the only means that Black people could come here was through the domestic scheme. That was under the government of Diefenbaker, 100 people a year, women mostly.
7190 It attracted women who were teachers in their native lands, nurses, and so on, and they used the route to come to Toronto, and they worked as domestics. So our clients were mostly Black gorgeous women who were domestics. They did their year and they moved on to other parts of who they were. If they were a nurse, they went on to become a nurse; and if they were a teacher, they applied to the classroom. And whatever their work was at home -- and I am dealing now with that group of women -- they went on to their jobs.
7191 Of course, there were Black people here, but they were few. I don't have the numbers on hand.
7192 Since that time this wonderful city of ours has developed into the most interesting mosaic of women of colour, who I still deal with. But our clientele of today consists of professionals: doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians, middle management people, bright young women who are filling the universities.
7193 In those days we had multi-racial people but not to the extent. Some of the most interesting women in the world today are Toronto's one parent Black, one parent white; and they identify black, or both.
7194 So we have developed and nurtured a community and a society where we have become a number to be recognized and a number with which we have to deal. Accordingly, we need to provide services for them.
7195 For example, I will name a few people that I have had the opportunity of working with -- their hair, that is. A young lady on The Young and the Restless; her name is Tanya Williams. She comes every six weeks to get her hair done. If Maya Angelou is within 300 miles of me, she will come to get her hair done. I have had the opportunity of doing Dianne Carroll when she was here. A number of other people, as a matter of fact. As early as yesterday a handsome tall man walked into the building. I had never seen a man so large. He said his name was Charles Oakley. Just to tell you the kinds of people that we have now developed into and the kind of people that we cater to.
7196 Toronto has become an international city, a city where more movies are made than probably any other city except for Vancouver -- and I think we have surpassed them.
7197 We have sports teams like the baseball teams, the basketball teams.
7198 And while I am here, I want you to know that there is an event that takes place in Toronto annually called Caribana. Caribana as an event singularly brings in the largest dollar exchange in the country. The largest exchange of dollars in this country is brought in by Caribana.
7199 Unfortunately, the establishment has benefited by this. Black people from all across the world, as far as England, use this as a vacation. We have no hotels, no restaurants and so on. Restaurants we do have. We have no means of letting them know that this is so. You could never advertise in a paper like The Toronto Sun or The Toronto Star at Caribana time to extrapolate some of that wealth.
7200 If we had a radio station, we would benefit by that.
7201 I have no compunction in saying that we need to benefit by that, because as long as the establishment stays rich and Black people stay poor there is going to be animosity. It is in equalization of wealth that there is respect, unfortunately.
7202 I have in front of me magazines -- and I don't know where the Panel is from. Has any member of the Panel ever heard of Ebony magazine? One member.
7203 That is a national magazine, probably an international magazine. I want to show you what takes place when you have collective bargaining. Black people will support each other by even name of identification. Unfortunately, whether Milestone was owned by a white corporate, fronted by Black people, the moment that it is known Black people would adhere to it.
7204 We hope it is not going to be so.
7205 I am going to hand you a few magazines, and please make sure you hand them back to me.
7206 This is Ebony, a magazine that has been around for a very long time. I am going to hand you this magazine for women. What I want you to do is we are going to turn these pages -- I won't be as long as the minister, trust me.
7207 You can flip through that -- and please make sure I get these magazines back.
7208 I want you to flip through the pages of these magazines. It is a Black magazine by a Black publishing company out of Chicago called Johnsons Publication. As you look at the pages, you will see it is probably one of the finest quality -- I think it equals Life or any other publication.
7209 I knew when this magazine was probably about a 40-page magazine. It has grown. It is a vehicle through which a lot of good articles are written that are very supportive of young people today, to show them that it can be done.
7210 But as you look at the advertisers, you will see how multinational they are. You will see the banks. You will see travel agents. You will see all the multinationals that advertise in all the magazines.
7211 I have great respect for Mr. Johnson. He has held it together where it is now looked upon as Ebony. It is hardly even Black any more.
7212 I am going to ask the Panel to grant Milestone a licence, so that Milestone can become this wonderful baby that we will nurture, through which the voices of our Black businesses might be heard. And in not too long they will have to sign an agreement to always remember their Black supporters, because it will become so inundated with advertisers that maybe very few Blacks will be able to afford it. So the members of this governing body must have a percentage for small Black businesses.
7213 My reason for being here is simply to assure you that when Milestone is granted a licence to operate a radio station, the quality of this station will be listened to by all people and that there need not be any fear that our community, and the rest of the world, will support Milestone.
7214 I have just one other point. I won't be long. Very few people are aware that Black women are 10 per cent of America's population and consume 17 per cent of the broad cosmetic market of America and 35 per cent of the toiletries.
7215 Very few people are aware that one of the most profitable lines for Air Canada is its flight into Jamaica. These are facts.
7216 Very few people are aware that on a percentile basis one of the most progressive groups of people in this country are Black people.
7217 Let us not go by what the media says about sensationalism in journalism; if a Black man should hit another Black man, it is headlines in the paper. Hardly newsworthy. We are a people who are earners, a people who are spenders, a people who can govern ourselves with a tremendous amount of confidence.
7218 I am asking the Panel to please grant Milestone a licence.
7219 Thank you.
7220 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Azan, for your participation.
7221 Mr. Secretary, please.
7222 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7223 I have been advised that another one of our intervenors has a pressing engagement. That being the case, I would like to call Mr. Gordon Cressy of Ryerson Polytech University to come forward and present his intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7224 MR. CRESSY: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, to make a grand dream happen, one must first have a grand dream.
7225 I am here today for two reasons. I was born in this city 56 years ago, and when I was 19 I went to live in Trinidad in the West Indies. I had never met, in the first 19 years of my life, anybody who was not white. This city has changed forever.
7226 It is unique to understand now that soccer is more popular than hockey or football; that cricket is growing; that we have as many steel bands in our schools as we have orchestras.
7227 I have done a few things. I have been chair of the Toronto Board of Education. I have been Vice-President of the University of Toronto. I have been President of the United Way. I have chaired the YMCA of Canada. I have chaired the board of CUSO. I am co-chair of the National Harmony Movement.
7228 But the real reason I am here today is the time is now.
7229 I want to speak about the Milestone application for five reasons -- and I am not one who just came here. I have been part of the three previous bids.
7230 The first is that the need is here and documented. If the need was big in 1989 and the mid-nineties, it is even more so now. There is absolutely no question that there is an enormous vacuum that occurs. There have been two university radio stations that have played the type of music we are talking about, and south of the border. But the need is great.
7231 The second thing is it is important to understand that the people from Milestone bring together passion, commitment, competence, skill, energy, talent and financial backing. So what we are talking about will be well run and well managed. It is not just old friends, although there are old friends. As important, they are new friends bringing on board Standard Broadcasting with a history in this city that is so long with the work that the Slaight family has done that was very sound.
7232 The third thing that I think is important is that they have earned it. They have earned it over the long haul. Tenacity is an important thing.
7233 But I guess the most important reason of all is that it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do. We need healing in this community. We don't need more polarization. We need to fill the vacuums that are there. What we have learned -- and I think as one who lived on the south side of Chicago in the mid-1960s and the little story I wrote in my letter is that my son, who is now 15, when he was 11 and at Deer Park school he became part of the steel band there. For him it was a profound experience with kids from 36 countries who played the steel band -- that, as you know, came out of Trinidad at the end of the Second World War.
7234 And Jessie Ketchum's School went down two years ago to perform in Trinidad at carnival time. Talk about cross-fertilization, bringing people together; a healing force.
7235 What seems to be clear is that there was a feeling last time it was the time. It didn't happen. It was a close vote, as you are aware, three-to-two. But there was a feeling there then that has only grown and has brought more and more people together.
7236 So this is a moment in time. It is a time to fill a vacuum. It is a time to do the right thing. It is a time to heal. It is a time to build and it is a time to grow.
7237 T.E. Lawrence put it best. He said: All people dream but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusty recesses of their mind, awake to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it happen.
7238 Milestone are dreamers of the day. You have an opportunity, that may well not come again and almost past the last time, to do the right thing. We need more positive role models in our Black community; that's for sure. What you have in the leadership of Milestone are entrepreneurs who are successful.
7239 What Milestone will do, in addition to the music that we have talked about, is promote a dialogue. What Zanana Akande talked about when she came to you were voices of the community that rise up and inspire and excite.
7240 I guess I am here, in the end, because this city needs a home for the Black community on the airwaves that goes far beyond the Black community.
7241 Last Saturday night I was at the Dragon Ball in Toronto. There were 1,800 people there. It is our eleventh event. It raises money for a Chinese senior citizen's home. In the first year the population was 90 per cent of Chinese origin. Saturday night, it was 30 per cent. In the first years there was no corporate support. Now there is corporate support everywhere.
7242 Who will advertise? Yes, the Black community will advertise. And they should. And that is important to promote. But the wider community understands the marketplace too and they will be there.
7243 This is not just field of dreams, that people will listen. We know that they will listen. More than that, it will work.
7244 To make a great dream happen, one must first have a great dream. Milestone is that dream. And I am honoured to support it.
7245 Thank you.
7246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Cressy.
7247 Mr. Secretary, please.
7248 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7249 We will now hear the intervention by WORD, Philip Vassell.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7250 MR. VASSELL: Good morning.
7251 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Vassell.
7252 MR. VASSELL: I would like to say that I am here to support the Milestone application, but before I get into my reasons for supporting the application I would like to give you a bit of background about myself.
7253 I am the co-founder, along with my wife, of WORD magazine, which is Toronto's urban culture magazine, a magazine that is dedicated to the arts and entertainment, as well as some sociocultural and sociopolitical issues.
7254 It is a monthly magazine that is now available not just in Toronto, but across the country.
7255 I am also the co-founder of the Toronto Urban Music Festival. This is a showcase that goes on in the city each summer, dedicated to providing a showcase at the CNE for approximately 20 artists each year.
7256 WORD magazine came about after I had spent five years working at CBC television in a number of different capacities. I was a researcher; I was a reporter; and I was a producer there. But I always had the sense that my opportunities, while they were very good at the CBC, were not going to be the same opportunities for a number of other young, talented Black and visible minority people. I felt that starting the magazine could be one of my ways of contributing to that.
7257 And as I said, three years ago -- we are now going into our fourth year -- we decided that there was in fact also a need for the showcase that the Toronto Urban Music Festival provides for talented Canadian urban talent.
7258 I was also the advertising manager of CIUT-FM, the very first advertising manager at the University of Toronto radio. So I believe I do have some experience in saying that urban culture has become youth culture.
7259 You have heard a number of people here talk about urban music replacing rock and roll. That is very real. Soundscan Data currently shows that hip hop is the fastest growing category, in terms of the billboard charts and in terms of sales. We also know that here in Toronto, the sixth largest city in North America, we still do not have a forum for that.
7260 To put that in context, the Black population based on a study that was carried out for WORD magazine when we started in the early years shows a number of things, and I will quickly read through that information for you to give you a sense as to the base which exists for the Milestone application and for an urban music station here.
7261 We found back in 1993 that the Black population measured approximately 215,000 people. We found that the economic impact of this segment of the population had to be considered over and above and the core population that we researched.
7262 We also found that the estimated personal income was $2.7 billion. And back then, seven years ago, a city that size would be Canada's sixteenth largest city, about twice the size of Guelph, Ontario; bigger than St. John's and Regina.
7263 Another thing we found that was quite interesting was that with the immigration and the nature of that immigration, the Black population of Ontario and Canada was significantly younger than the balance of the population of Ontario. 74 per cent of Ontario's Black community are 15 to 44, compared to 60 per cent of Toronto's population.
7264 By the year 2001, the Black population of Toronto will grow to approximately 422,000 people. In today's terms, it will be larger than the market of Kitchener, Halifax or Victoria.
7265 The estimated personal income in year 2001 will be $5.2 billion in 1993 dollars. And just as important and just as significant, 60 per cent of Canada's Black population lives in Ontario and Toronto's share is about 42.5 per cent of the Canadian total.
7266 So just on the basis of the Black community alone, we know there is a market for such a format.
7267 During my own research with WORD magazine in subsequent years, we found that 50 per cent of our audience identify themselves as coming from a virtual rainbow coalition; 50 per cent of them identify themselves as black; the other 50 per cent being the whole range that you can find here in Toronto.
7268 I think that is a very important point and that is a key point, because Milestone's application also shows that at least 50 per cent of the listenership for this station will also come from the larger Toronto community.
7269 So on a micro level, we can see that the demand is there. A number of people have enunciated that here to the Commission, and our own experience at WORD magazine has shown that. WORD magazine is successful not because it relies solely on the Black community for advertising support, but because advertisers believe that they are reaching a market by coming to WORD because of the editorial mix, the music, the film, the theatre, the visual arts, the entertainment and the news.
7270 I think that one can imagine the tremendous economic development that will flow from such an initiative and the number of skillsets.
7271 People mentioned this morning about the impact of the Caribbean Cultural Committee's annual festival Caribana. Decima Research, back in the early 1990s, showed that approximately $250 million was spent in a two-week period during the Caribana festivities. That is a significant sum, and a large portion of the advertising dollars right now go to WBLK because quite a lot of these people are not able to access an equivalent radio station here to do that.
7272 In sum, I think we can see that the spin-off effects directly in terms of music, the spin-off effects in terms of economic development, the spin-off effects in terms of creating, supporting, providing a forum for Canadian urban talent is tremendous.
7273 We ourselves have showcased approximately 60 acts, and that is just a fraction of the numbers that have come forward to us to participate at the CNE at the Toronto Urban Music Festival which we present.
7274 I think that WORD magazine has been able to do that with a minimal amount of resources compared to the millions that I think can be put forward by a station such as Milestone.
7275 It is also important to note that we have had the support of MuchMusic in terms of this regard, because that is one of the few outlets where you can consistently hear that music. They have been there for the last three years. And I guarantee you that with a station such as Milestone, not only will we be able to present even greater numbers of people, but I think more people will want to participate and more people will get the opportunity to participate.
7276 I think one of the things that this does -- if I can draw your attention to this. In the late 1960s when Rolling Stone Magazine started in San Francisco, Rolling Stone was not able to do that alone. They did that with the help of another FM station, that as we know years later led to what we now know as rock and roll.
7277 We have an opportunity to do that here in Toronto. WORD magazine in its own way is doing that. I think with the addition and the economic engine that Milestone is able to provide, we can create our own "made in Canada" talent; we can create our own "made in Canada" broadcasters; we can create our "made in Canada" people working behind the table, so to speak, in terms of technicians, the talent who are going to go out there and assist in advertising sales; and a whole host of different areas where currently the opportunities don't exist.
7278 I would like to end here by saying, after having a number of discussions with Mr. Jolly, I can honestly say that I think that the team that he has brought forward, the support that he has engendered in the community, will go a long way towards ensuring that this station is very successful.
7279 Finally, once again I would like to remind the Commission that we here believe that Toronto being the most culturally diverse city on the planet deserves an urban format. It is time.
7280 Thank you very much.
7281 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Vassell.
7282 This would seem to be a good time to take a morning break. We will be back at quarter to eleven. Nous reprendrons à dix heures quarante-cinq.
--- Recess at 1030 / Suspension à 1030
--- Upon resuming at 1045 / Reprise à 1045
7283 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before we begin again, I would like to remind you of the time limits that we have asked people to observe. We have a long day, and in fairness to everybody we would ask you to co-operate. Thank you.
7284 Mr. Secretary, please.
7285 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7286 Our next intervention will be presented by Jemeni.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7287 JEMENI: Good morning.
7288 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7289 JEMENI: I have come to this intervention in order to express my support for Milestone radio and its application to operate radio station 93.5 FM.
7290 I am a spoken word artist and performance poet. I am also a radio host and programmer and the former music director of CKLN 88.1 FM. I add the last not because I have come here today to speak from a radio or music industry perspective on the overwhelmingly obvious need for the presence of black radio in Toronto, but to clarify that while I am an artist, I do have an understanding of the music and radio industry in Toronto.
7291 I was introduced to radio as co-host of the longest running hip hop show in Toronto, and arguably Canada, The Power Move. I first heard the show as it was then The Fantastic Voyage as a teen living in St. Catherines. Every Saturday I would pray that the signal would be loud enough for me to decipher faint voices through the static. I didn't have a proper antenna so I would fashion a makeshift antenna out of knives and hold it up until the signal died or until my arms got tired, for up to three hours.
7292 This is how important the show was to me. It was the only representation of me as a young black woman that spoke to and not of me.
7293 It was also very ghettoized and underground -- and I am told that I should explain that. By those terms, I am referring to the fact that the show was not at all mainstream, with very little funds and resources to support it. Oftentimes it was a misogynistic representation of the black experience. But for three hours every Saturday it answered all the questions I had about being a black woman in North America.
7294 As a radio and television student at Ryerson, I decided to join the show in an effort to give something back. As co-host of the show, I came to understand how important it was to represent so many people who felt they had no voice in our society and to make a place on the dial for listeners who felt they weren't wanted or represented anywhere else.
7295 I would also like to point out that these listeners were people of all ages and all races, colours and creeds.
7296 As the popularity of urban music has grown, we have watched the entertainment infrastructure grow to accommodate it. Seemingly the only facet of the industry that hasn't made room for the urban explosion is commercial radio. Labels are backing urban artists, promoters are booking bigger shows. And while community radio will always be the place to break underground artists, they don't have the resources to properly facilitate the overwhelming demands of a very mainstream urban music market. And frankly, we should not have to be the only resource for exposure for these artists.
7297 As an artist myself, I first began reading my pieces on community radio and now perform them all around Canada and North America. I have performed on the air, at concerts, in community centres and in front of the Prime Minister of Canada.
7298 I was recently featured on a CD anthology of spoken word poetry called Word Life. It was independently produced and became one of HMV's top sellers on the indie chart through word of mouth, guerilla marketing and college radio play.
7299 I am also involved in the biggest anti-racism campaign ever launched in Canadian history. The project is headed by former lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander. I am proud to have been featured in my own anti-racism commercial performing a spoken word piece dealing with racism that will air all across Canada.
7300 This is an example of the acceptance and popularity of spoken word poetry in popular culture. It is arguably the next "big thing" in the arts community as the focus of concerts, movies, TV shows, albums and videos. While interest is growing here, spoken word is wildly popular in the States and is becoming in fact big business.
7301 Having to depend solely on community radio with little or no promotion or funding here in Toronto is unfortunately our reality. Commercial radio support and exposure would translate to more performances and access to a wider, more diverse audience and I believe, as is the case of many urban artists in the city, open the eyes of people at major labels to the marketability of spoken word.
7302 The more play we can get in both underground and mainstream radio, the more people will start to see spoken word as more than just poetry, as it is often merged with music and can be considered essentially a song.
7303 We are changing people's definition of poetry and attracting new audiences. Exposure to performance poetry has the added benefit of helping young people to begin to explore and develop their own talents in the area. It is an important cultural option. More children hopefully can aspire to become poets and writers, not just rappers or athletes.
7304 Milestone radio has made a significant commitment to spoken word programming and, to my knowledge, has been the most clear in defining spoken word, not just as news programming but as poetry.
7305 Milestone's support would help to demonstrate that performance poetry is commercially viable and at the same time, through on-air programming and concerts, support the artists who are involved in this art form.
7306 There is no question as to whether there are brilliantly talented spoken word artists in Toronto. The question is: Will we as a community and as an industry take the steps needed to support this burgeoning art form or will we again wait until our talented artists give up or move to the States for support before we take notice?
7307 Thank you.
7308 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Jemeni.
7309 Mr. Secretary, please.
7310 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear the intervention by Maestro Fresh Wes.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7311 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7312 MAESTRO FRESH WES: I am sure that break did everybody a little justice. I will respect the ten-minute time lag.
7313 THE CHAIRPERSON: At last we have someone scared.
--- Laughter / Rires
7314 MAESTRO FRESH WES: Before I say what I have to say, I want to give a brief description of my accolades -- which is just not my accolades, but I am documenting black music history in Canada.
7315 I was born and raised in Toronto. Since 1982 I have been doing my thing. Jemeni said earlier that CKLN was the catalyst for a lot of us. I had my antenna as well, listening and trying to do my thing. Ron Nelson was very instrumental in putting me on the show at 15 years old. Ryerson was amazed. I was going through there like a little kid, trying to find CKLN and finally found it. And that was very inspirational for me.
7316 Through those years I developed my confidence, and college radio did that for me. In 1988 I signed with LMR Records -- that is a small independent label out of New York City -- and I released my first single "Let Your Back Bone Slide", which is still the only gold single from an urban artist in Canadian music history.
7317 "Let Your Back Bone Slide" is on the Juno Awards Top 77 Greatest Hits of All Time, along with Brian Adams, Burton Cummings, Alanis Morrissette, what have you. So that is a step in the right direction towards this genre of music.
7318 According to the Canadian Record Magazine, "Let Your Back Bone Slide" and "Conducting Things", which is another release I had, are listed in The Top 50 Canadian Singles of All Time.
7319 I have received 11 Juno nominations, including the receiving of the first rap Juno in 1980. I am also on the 1992 version of the Canadian National Anthem, along with Anne Murray, Rita McNeil and Alanis Morrissette.
7320 The reason that I did this wasn't only because I am patriotic to Canada, but also to be ground-breaking. Coming up in this game I didn't just strive to make hit records; I strived to make a difference and to make a contribution to up and coming artists. This decision for me to be a part of the national anthem was to show the up and coming artists how far we can go with this music. It is not just on the CKLN college radio perspective. We can branch on and do bigger and better things.
7321 I also performed in front of the Prime Minister. It was Mulroney at the time -- before he retired. He was in the front row, and his daughter.
7322 The reason I am emphasizing this is to show that the embryonic stage of my professional career, which was from 1989 to let's say 1991, I had 35 commercial radio stations across the country that were supporting me. That is what compelled my first album to reach near Double Platinum status in Canada.
7323 The second album that I released was called "The Black Tie Affair", the first one being "Symphony in Effect" which featured "Let Your Back Bone Slide".
7324 "Symphony in Effect" was at the height of my popularity. But at that time we lost several radio stations across the country. From 35 commercial radio stations, we dropped to six stations that played my music. So obviously my sales plummeted from my first album.
7325 My second album I was on the mindset of "you know what, let's get as much artists on as possible". I have done stuff with Carlos Morgan. He was featured on that album. He has branched off to do his thing already.
7326 Simone Denny is on that album. Lacel Stevens, who is one of the co-writers for Deborah Cox, he was on that album too. My attitude was to get as much talent as I knew on this album to propel it to the next level. If my first album reached close to Double Platinum status, the next album, especially with the wealth of talent throughout Toronto, could break down doors instead of trying to sneak through the back alley, or whatever. This was going to be a ground-breaking album.
7327 Because of lack of radio, sales plummeted.
7328 What it did was affect me to the point where I had to reassess my career and I had to consider moving to the States. So in 1992, kiss moms, kiss pops -- I actually gave my pops a handshake -- and I moved down south.
7329 From 1992 to 1997 I was in New York, struggling trying to take my music to the next level; communicating with artists that were here from that time span. They did their thing and the wealth of talent definitely improved and is more visible. But at the same time, because of lack of radio artists were not selling records, and no one has exceeded my first album, which was released in 1989.
7330 I feel that if we don't do something right now, a lot of artists are going to leave. I know artists who are recipients of Junos in the past, close friends of mine, saying Wes, I have done my thing over here; it is not happening.
7331 I feel that if we had the opportunity to have radio over here, it would be more instrumental for them to stay.
7332 Obviously the U.S. market is a bigger and more lucrative market, but artists should move by choice instead of my necessity.
7333 One of our biggest artists is Deborah Cox. She might not have that much radio play in Canada, but she just won a Soul Train Award, beating out Lauryn Hill and Janet Jackson. That is an accomplishment and is symbolic for all of us.
7334 I have known Farley Flex, who is also representing Milestone. He was also my manager for 12 years. I am confident in the fact that Denham Jolly, as well as everyone else on the Milestone team, will not only make a contribution to black music in Canada but also make a difference.
7335 Thank you very much.
7336 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your participation.
7337 Mr. Secretary, please.
7338 MR. CUSSONS: I would now like to invite Orin Isaacs to present an intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7339 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Isaacs.
7340 MR. ISAACS: I would like to give you a little background before I get started.
7341 I am Orin Isaacs and I am a musician. I have been the musical director of the Juno, Gemini, Genie and NHL awards. I have also been responsible for the production of five Juno award willing albums. Even though I have accomplished all this, my best and greatest accomplishment is the fact that I am currently the musical director/bandleader of Canada's only successful late night talk show, "Open Mike with Mike Bullard".
7342 I am here to support Milestone's bid, because I am living proof that success stories can and will happen with (1) opportunity, (2) the right team, and (3) diversity.
7343 The late night format in this country was supposed to be dead. For 20 years all the broadcasters avoided it. You had Peter Gzosky back then, Alan Thick. Of recent years we have had Ralph Benmurgi in the variety category. We have had Rita McNeil.
7344 I think they didn't succeed because they didn't have the right team and they were not diverse enough to appeal to someone like myself.
7345 Four years ago when the cable stations were coming up, I remember reading an article in The Toronto Star saying that the hottest jobs when these cable stations were to come on line were to be producers, directors, musical composers, and it would also develop on-air personalities.
7346 At the time I ran a music production company called Bassmint Productions, and I thought to myself: I wonder if I will be able to benefit from these new stations. Little did I know that I know that I not only benefited from it, it also changed my life.
7347 What these stations did and what television decided to do was to be more diverse. We had a lot of stations catering to a lot of people. There were a couple of specialty stations like MuchMusic for music fans and TSN for sports. But by and large the large television networks had to cater to their large audiences, meaning they had to be a little bit of everything to everybody.
7348 Then came diversity. When the second wave of cable stations came in, they were called the specialty networks. With that came specialty programming: Comedy Network -- God bless their hearts -- for comedy; Life Network; Teletoon; BET; Speedvision; The Food Network, et cetera.
7349 If you told me that five years ago I would be hooked on The Home and Gardening television network, I would have laughed in your face. But not only do I have a dream home of my own, I can't seem to get it off 46.
7350 With that came opportunity. The Comedy Network took a chance on a late night talk show called "Open Mike with Mike Bullard", because they felt we had the right team and they also felt the makeup of the show and its on-air personalities was diverse enough to work.
7351 When we first went on air, some critics said we would only last three months. It's funny, we had one of those critics on the show last month trying to promote a book.
--- Laughter / Rires
7352 MR. ISAACS: Not only did we become The Comedy Network's flagship show, but we were also picked up by CTV. And the rest is history.
7353 We are currently beating out all the major U.S. talk shows in the ratings in Canada because we were unique, because we were diverse, because we had the right team, and because we were granted an opportunity.
7354 To me, the problem with radio is that you have a lot of radio but there is not enough diversity. We did it with the show. We created a great program. We filled a void. And in turn it was received by a number of people, not only across the country but in U.S. border cities.
7355 I think one of the best compliments we ever got was an e-mail from Michigan where a guy says: "Hey, we love your new late night talk show, but what's with all the Canadian guests."
--- Laughter / Rires
7356 MR. ISAACS: "Open Mike" has helped the Canadian entertainment industry by creating a vehicle for people to be seen -- I wish I could get that much laughs on the show.
7357 I would like to see Milestone create a vehicle for local artists in the urban community to be heard. Radio is a crucial missing link to having successful infrastructure in the development of Black music in this city and in the country.
7358 I say this because I started a company called Bassmint Productions in the early 1990s because I felt there was a lack of entities to help build an infrastructure. I spent a quarter of a million dollars on a professional downtown 4,000 square foot facility.
7359 We were recording every day for seven years, with no place to go and no outlets. 80 per cent of the music I produced was urban music; 20 per cent of that music was for television. That's what kept my doors open. 50 per cent of that 20 per cent was urban music for TV.
7360 Some of the artists who recorded in my studio back then are still around. A lot of them have spoken today. Some have left for greener pastures, including myself.
7361 When I saw an infrastructure in place for television and an opportunity, I shut the doors to Bassmint Productions. I felt it was hard to live in a city that you grew up in and that you love and that is supposed to be so diverse, but you can't make a living doing what you want to do.
7362 That is why I love the fact that Milestone is willing to commit 35 per cent to Cancon. I know the question has been rattled around about whether there is enough talent here to support that. I don't see that as a problem. I see that as the solution.
7363 If you look at 35 per cent Cancon, it will probably create a talent pool of 60 per cent. Then the argument is how you filter that down to 30 per cent.
7364 MS PENNEFATHER: 35 per cent.
7365 MR. ISAACS: 35; I'm sorry. I am glad to see you are paying attention.
--- Laughter / Rires
7366 MR. ISAACS: That filters down to 35 per cent, because people will now feel that you have opportunities. So if you play the business sense numbers game, wouldn't it be great to have 35 per cent of Cancon rotation saved for our best homegrown talent. That means they will get more spins. Their music will have a better chance of being exposed, and they will have more chances of success.
7367 I know this from experience, because the same one-hour episode of "Open Mike" is played every five hours. It is an important ingredient to succeeding in the business.
7368 That is why it is also important to have a radio station that is Black owned. This will help Blacks and minorities, particularly youth, see big business ownership as a viable option. They will also see the opportunities available in broadcasting and the entertainment industry and all of its spinoff areas. It will become a symbol of success.
7369 So think about the record scene that will happen once Milestone receives their licence. Artists can get on playlists in a major market, meaning they can go to other markets and prove that they are a viable commodity, thus turning out more product.
7370 It is like us with The Comedy Network. When we were on The Comedy Network we only had a 15 per cent penetration of the market share. As soon as we went to CTV we had 95 per cent -- and we are where we are today.
7371 Once you have a radio station that sees that you will be able to get a market share, you become now a viable product.
7372 The majors have this down to a science. And with a specialty music station for this music, Milestone can help level the playing field in favour of our local artists.
7373 For example, there are artists in Quebec that make a great living because Quebec has an infrastructure set up to support their culture. You can have artists in Quebec who are huge, huge stars yet once they leave those boundaries they go unrecognized.
7374 Milestone will have a distinctive sound. Milestone will help develop that culture that could be enjoyed and celebrated by everyone who wants it in the extended GTA. I believe the extended GTA has the cultural diversity to embrace and support it.
7375 Sure, I can turn to WBLK during the day -- which I often do -- and know what I can expect. I can flip the stations to the 103s, the 108s, the CISS's, but to me they all sound exactly the same. They remind me back in the day of the television stations trying to be a little of everything to everyone: a jack of all trades, masters of none.
7376 If I want to hear Shania Twain or Sarah McLauchlin, I can put on any station. But where do I go for my R&B, soul, reggae or jazz fix?
7377 Currently, I can only listen to these hit, dance, energy format stations for a maximum of three songs before it sounds like I am at a 14-year-old's birthday party.
7378 I am a successful 30-year-old professional, and when I am in my car listening to radio I am not interesting in hearing screaming 16-year-old girls every time they open up the phone lines. I am not interested in knowing what sale is on at Life Style street gear in Buffalo. I am interested in things that I feel can be important and useful to my life.
7379 Right now I think I am being dictated a way of life by radio, because it doesn't reflect the issues and the cultural diversity of the city I live in. I think Milestone can change that.
7380 There are two essential elements of music, and I think they are the two essential elements of life: pitch and rhythm. I can go to CISS and get the occasional rhythm, but I missing the pitch because I couldn't care less when the Backstreet Boys are coming to town.
7381 There are a lot of genres within R&B that current Toronto stations will only play the most popular of, because they are hits formats.
7382 Look at Whitney Houston and Deborah Cox. Milestone would play their original versions the way the artists conceived and created it, to gain a wider audience. Whitney and Deborah, instead, have to do house and dance versions of those versions to be played on existing Toronto radio stations.
7383 Deborah Cox, although Canadian, can hardly get any airplay in Canada unless it is a remix; and yet in the U.S., where they have urban formats that they embrace and understand, her original single can now take her to be the no. one R&B artist in the world.
7384 The main point I would like to leave you with is that with opportunity, you will provide a livelihood and success for artists here; an opportunity to be the next step in an infrastructure to create jobs and optimism.
7385 I guarantee you there will be no shortage of artists, because Open Mike had the same questions: Do you have enough talent to support it? We don't see it as enough talent to support it; we just help create talent, and that's what keeps us going.
7386 My mom used to have a saying: It's better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.
7387 I think Milestone is prepared.
7388 I laugh every day thinking: Wouldn't it be nice for everybody to enjoy and help create history, to define an historical moment. I know that is the feeling I get every time I roll in to the "Open Mike" studio. I am thankful that I found a vehicle for my talent. I am thankful that i was able to be a success story and a role model for young Canadians across our nation: people who e-mail me every day on my website, guys who think "I'm a god; I'm the god of bass; I'm the best thing that ever happened."
7389 Three years ago they didn't know who Orin Isaacs was. Three years ago you didn't know who Orin Isaacs was. But because I was granted an opportunity, I was able to show that I always was a great bass player.
7390 Now I am considered in the same light as Kevin Eubanks of "The Tonight Show" or Paul Shaffer of "Late Night with David Letterman", because I do the same thing. I would like to see that looked at in the same light as Black ownership, which Milestone will be able to provide. They will be able to experience the same thing, once given the opportunity to prove what they can do. They will be seen at the same level as other greats in the industry because they are doing the same thing.
7391 In finishing, I would like to say that with Bassmint Productions I proved to my corporate clients that my team can run a Black owned company that could compete with any other company out there. And since the product that was being produced was unique, it was ultimately the best. They gave me the opportunity to prove it, and I did. That led me where I am today -- one of the happiest people, let alone musician, in the country.
7392 I urge you to give Milestone an opportunity to prove it, so they can play the music that will make tens of thousands of people happy in the GTA.
7393 Thank you.
7394 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Isaacs.
7395 I understand you have a call to return from Home and Garden Television.
7396 Mr. Secretary, please.
7397 MR. CUSSONS: I would now like to ask Mr. Rob Bowman to present his intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7398 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Bowman.
7399 MR. BOWMAN: Good morning.
7400 It is kind of funny, in light of the last intervention, I first heard Deborah Cox when I was in New York City and felt "wow, this girl can sing". I was embarrassed when I came back and raved about her to a few friends in Toronto and somebody said "I think she is Canadian". I had never heard her on Canadian radio to that point.
7401 My name is Rob Bowman. I am a professor of music and sociology at York University where I have personally pioneered the study of popular music at the BA, MA and Ph.D levels in Canada. Although I spend a good deal of my life within the world of academia studying music as a cultural gesture, I also have a healthy and multi-faceted career within the music industry compiling, producing and annotating historical reissues, engaging in freelance radio work (most notably for the CBC) and serving as a consultant at various time to Harbourfront, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council and the National Library.
7402 I have been nominated for four Grammy awards, including one coming up February 23 -- wish me luck! -- and the only Canadian to ever win a Grammy in the Liner Note category; and presently serve on three Juno committees, two of which are directly germane to Milestone's application, those being the blues and world beat committees.
7403 Two years ago I published an award winning book on the definitive Black soul music label, Stax Records, and for my next book I am considering writing a history on Black radio in the United States.
7404 I also served for 12 years as a host on community radio stations in Toronto and Memphis, and it is in this context that I would like to make the following remarks.
7405 The first entirely Black-hosted and programmed radio stations in the United States came on board in the late 1940s. The most famous, and certainly the first most important such station, was WDIA based in Memphis, Tennessee.
7406 WDIA was a success from the word go, as it quite clearly filled a void in the airwaves of the mid-south. It filled this void in several respects. Obviously, WDIA programmed music that was not being made available elsewhere on the dial. By and large, this was the music that mattered the most to the area's African-American population.
7407 I would like to stress that neither the demographic that WDIA served nor the music that it programmed was monolithic. WDIA programmed in varying amounts blues, jazz, gospel, jump, boogie woogie and Black pop crooners.
7408 To my way of thinking, this is one of the strengths of Milestone's application. Rather than suggest that they would be meeting the needs of the majority of Toronto's African-Canadian population by mounting a dance station, Milestone is quite clearly committed to a diverse mix of musics, including urban, gospel, rap, dance, jazz, reggae, soca and calypso.
7409 Given that if they are successful they will be the region's only Canadian Black-oriented radio station, I strongly believe that this diversity in programming is essential to even begin to represent the variety of Black communities -- African, Caribbean and other -- that clearly are part of the uniquely rich mosaic of Toronto.
7410 I think of the last intervention, where Orin was saying that when he turns on the radio he doesn't want to pretend that he is at a 14-year-old's birthday party. That is what you feel like when you listen to a lot of the dance stations. There are all sorts of musics that are not being addressed that Milestone I think will address if they get the licence in this community.
7411 Filling the void for African-Canadians that exists on Toronto's airwaves in such a wide-reaching, responsible and effective manner is laudable enough in and of itself that it would warrant my support, and I believe a positive decision by the CRTC.
7412 Let me relate the story of WDIA and its parallel with Milestone's application just a little bit further.
7413 WDIA was about more than just music. It truly became the voice of the Black community in the mid-south. At its height, it reached 10 per cent of the entire Black populace of the United States daily and became known, in the antiquated parlance of the day, as "The Mother Station of the Negro".
7414 WDIA accomplished this through a variety of means, the three most effective being: (1) call-in talk shows; (2) highly visible participation in community-based events; and (3) charity work.
7415 Black Memphians to this day see WDIA as in a sense belonging to them. It is their station.
7416 I can tell you that one of the proudest moments of my life was when I was a guest on WDIA promoting my book, which was about Black music in Memphis. It was astonishing the vibrancy and richness of those callers calling in, and what it meant for them to be hearing on their station about a book about music that came out of their community. It was very moving for me personally.
7417 Listeners to WDIA hear friends, neighbours and colleagues from work voice their opinions on the air. There is truly a sense that WDIA is an inextricable and important part of the local community whose function is partially to bind the community through information, education and empowerment.
7418 Milestone's application includes a variety of programming slots, as well as commitments to community outreach that make me believe that they would function in Toronto in a fashion that is analogous to the way WDIA has worked in Memphis, Tennessee.
7419 Milestone's programming schedule includes dramatic productions, call-in shows, ample room to air local music, and a spot entitled "What's On" where minority students will be able to get hands-on experience in broadcasting and production.
7420 Again it is interesting, in light of the last intervention, when I turn on my television I can see a number of Black faces now, where I didn't maybe 10, 15 years ago. There are a number of shows where Black and other minorities get a chance to be seen. Except for the community radio stations in Toronto, I don't find that when I dial the airwaves in my car.
7421 I remember when I first met Isaac Hayes as a central figure in my book sales for U.S.A. Isaac was 6 years old when WDIA went on the air. Up to that point he said he had never heard a Black voice on radio. And he was nearly in tears as he told this story. It is amazing. I was interviewing a grown man who had been a multi-millionaire and extraordinarily successful. But the memory for him of what it meant as a 6-year-old boy to hear a Black voice on radio.
7422 The reason it meant so much -- well, there are probably several reasons that it meant so much, but one reason is that he suddenly thought that could be me. That could be him when he grew up. There was a possibility that he could assume such a role in public space, public airwaves, working with music.
7423 The funny thing is that after becoming the renowned musical artist he became, he is now a daily disc jockey in New York City. Actually, he has his own radio show. But when he was 6, hearing those voices on the air meant so much.
7424 Milestone is also promising $2.1 million to be used directly for the development of Canadian talent over the first seven years of their licence and have earmarked additional funds for two annual scholarships to be awarded to minority students to study broadcast journalism or music at a college or university in the Greater Toronto Area.
7425 They have also earmarked funds for an annual grant to Caribana to establish a new competition in the area of mass band performing arts. It is this sensitivity and deep-seated commitment to the community that makes me believe that, if given a licence, Milestone will serve tremendously benefit a substantial portion of the population in Toronto who is currently woefully underserved by local radio programming.
7426 I urge you, the regulating body of our airwaves, with every fibre in my bones, to do the right thing and allow Toronto's most visible minority to finally have a voice of their own on the airwaves. Please grant Milestone their licence.
7427 Thank you.
7428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Professor Bowman.
7429 Mr. Secretary, please.
7430 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear the intervention by Salome Bey.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7431 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Bey, it is a pleasure to see you.
7432 MS BEY: My name is Salome Bey. I am writing to support Milestone's application, and I am here to appear on behalf of Milestone.
7433 I grew up in the United States, and I listened to more than my share of Black radio.
7434 I hate saying Black radio, because how did I know whether it was black, purple, green or blue. It was in the voice. And this is something that I don't hear in Toronto, or Canada so to speak.
7435 When I made my residence in Canada, I searched and I searched, but to no avail, to hear maybe even myself on radio -- because I was doing some recording. I have got to the point where I still don't hear.
7436 I go to record stores like Sam and do you have "I Like Your Company", the CD that I recorded with Doug Riley. "Oh, we know Doug Riley." Great. But I am talking about my CD that I recorded with Doug Riley.
7437 I solely support Milestone's application mainly because it is Milestone. They are not talking about Black Milestone. They are just saying Milestone. That is very important.
7438 It just so happens that they are mainly Black artists that you don't hear. But it is Milestone. They are not talking about hip hop, hop hip; they are talking about music. And it is very important that we hear this music on radio.
7439 I would like to go into the past a little bit. There was a gentleman who was recording things or he was writing things, but he couldn't get anything played in Toronto. He was born in Buxton. I bet you don't even know there is a gentleman by the name of Shelton Brooks -- do you know him?
7440 Are you all awake? You have heard of him.
7441 He had to go down to L.A. Before he got there, everybody was grabbing his stuff. This is away in the past. Sophie Tucker grabbed one of his songs, "Some of These Days". Do you know that one? Shelton Brooks, a Canadian wrote that, but couldn't get it played in Canada.
7442 He wrote another one, "I'll Be Down to Get You in a Taxi, Honey". Do you know that one? He wrote that one too.
7443 I know I am having that trouble myself, getting things played. I recorded things on Duke Street and everything.
7444 I am trying to keep to my ten minutes. What you do is you do this to me. When I get to ten minutes, then I will go out this way.
7445 I have two daughters and they have their own singing group, called "Blacksom". I know you have never heard of them but Bon Jovi heard of them. So they are moving out, just like Debbie Cox, who worked with me when I worked on a thing called "Rainbow World". She was in "Rainbow World".
7446 But when it was time to get her music played or her CDs played, she had to move out because there was nothing to play it on, no radio station. If you go to a certain radio station, they would say: "Well, we don't play Black music."
7447 What in the world does that mean? So she had to go to the U.S. and she got things happening there.
7448 I am saying it is very important that you support Milestone. It is more than important. I hate the thought of you sitting there thinking that I am begging, but I do see you kind of waking up and getting a little rhythm. You will get a lot of that from Milestone.
7449 As I said before, it is important that you support it. And let's not have to come here again. Am I right? Let this be it. All right, y'all?
7450 Thank you.
7451 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Bey.
7452 Mr. Secretary, please.
7453 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7454 We will now hear a number of intervenors in support of the application by Mr. Arnold Auguste. We will start with The CanDance Coalition, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7455 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead when you are ready.
7456 MR. MARCUS: Good morning.
7457 Madam Chairman, Members of the Commission, my name is Elton Marcus (aka Elton le Marquee). I am leading a single group of intervenors on behalf of The CanDance Coalition.
7458 We are here with great pride and enthusiasm to support the application by Arnold Auguste for an inclusive urban/dance radio station.
7459 I am a singer, songwriter, producer, DJ with my own production company called Edge Productions. My album is currently available in Scandinavia, Canada and the West Indies.
7460 Members of the Commission, I would like to introduce the people with me here today.
7461 First we have Deesha. This is a singer of South Asian descent, who is an R&B performer. She has a current record entitled "Dried My Eyes", and she quotes:
"Although I have approached every radio station, each one has refused to put my single in rotation because either it does not fit their format or it is in their interest to play only those artists signed to a major label."
7462 Second, I have Juno winner, Mr. Carlos Morgan, who has self-financed his new single called "Whatcha Got", along with his business manager and partner, Tracey D. Human of Solroc Music. They both feel that the absence of an urban dance format in this market has been, and I quote:
"A glaring detriment to the advancement of Carlos and other artists."
7463 Next, I have soca singer and concert promoter, Elsworth James, who feels that his kind of music -- and he himself quotes:
"...is suffering from a lack of commercial radio exposure."
7464 And we have John James, recording fusion artist, who has experienced first hand the lack of support from radio, despite being signed to a major independent Canadian record label. I want to quote John James, who said:
"I have stuck it out here in Toronto while many of my peers have long gone to the U.S. and Europe."
7465 We have producer, performer, and co-owner of Aztec Records, Matthew Paparella, also known as Levii, who feels that his business initiatives would prosper with the existence of a station proposed by SHARE FM.
7466 Next we have Sean Alexander from the Black Listed production with the group Ora, four young ladies who were born in Mississauga of Filipino descent.
7467 And last but not least, we have the producer-owner of Rammit Records, Trevor Shelton, who over the past 20 years has persevered with his music despite obstacles in his way. He states that SHARE FM would help break international barriers for urban/dance Canadian artists.
7468 Members of the Commission, we are only the tip of the iceberg of diverse Canadian talent who work in this broad spectrum of urban/dance music int his country. Along with the Coalition's intervention, we have submitted letters from a total of 80 artists, songwriters, producers, production companies, distributors, independent labels, DJs, managers, promoters and others. They all believe this city is long overdue for a urban/dance station to play fulltime, prime time, commercial urban music all day long, all the time.
7469 Our artists and creative talents have been frustrated for a long time with the patronizing and indifferent attitudes to our music by the existing, established order of mainstream radio. We are continuously being overlooked by radio programmers in this country. Many of us here get more airplay overseas than we do here in Canada and Toronto, our home.
7470 This is where we live and this is where we call home.
7471 At one point or another I am sure all of us here have been tempted to leave because of the many barriers that confront us. But we have stayed because we love Canada. This is our home, and we live here.
7472 It is time, as we move into the 21st Century to change this dire situation. We believe it is time that a radio station in Toronto play urban music regardless of racial, ethnic and cultural background of its creators, as long as they are Canadian.
7473 Toronto is a diverse city. We are diverse in our backgrounds and origins, so therefore our music is diverse. However, it is all urban/dance music and uniquely Canadian and as good as anything else in the world.
7474 To close, let me reiterate the reasons for supporting Mr. Auguste's application.
7475 First, we believe the need for a commercial urban station that plays all our music, every day.
7476 Second, the station will provide support and airplay and will develop Canadian artists.
7477 Third, it will catalyze our fledgling industry and help our businesses to grow and expand opportunities for those who love and work in this industry.
7478 Fourth, it will add diversity to the broadcasting system here in Canada.
7479 Fifth, SHARE FM will add to the musical diversity of this city and accommodate the musical demands of the often ignored immigrant visible minority sector of our community.
7480 Sixth, SHARE FM will strengthen the bonds across diverse subcultures, raise self esteem, and knit the larger community together in a meaningful tapestry of music -- urban/dance music.
7481 Seventh, it will repatriate listeners and advertisers from WBLK, the American urban/dance station that feeds on our frustration and impotence without giving anything back to our artists and our community. It will bring back many thousands of listeners who have long stopped listening to Toronto radio stations.
7482 Eighth, it will give singers, songwriters, musicians, artists a shot at the spotlight. It will give us a chance at stardom, fame and success.
7483 Ninth, we know that the SHARE FM team of Arnold Auguste, Daniel Calderon, Robert Wood and Newcap and others is the ultimate team. They have the vision. They have the desire. They have the professional and musical expertise. And yes, they have the money. And I am certain that they have the will.
7484 Members of the Commission, as a group of musicians, songwriters and producers, we are tired of being back stage. We got into this music because we loved music. We wanted to make hits. We wanted to be stars. And yes, we would like to be paid.
7485 Our aspirations and dreams are to be at the top of the charts, and we have the talent right here in Canada to do that. Just imagine, Commissioners, one day Deesha, Carlos Morgan, Elsworth, John James, Levii, Ora, myself, Elton le Marquee, being talked about in the same breath as Celine Dion, Alanis Morrissette, Shania Twain. What a day that would be for Canada and Toronto.
7486 Members of the Commission, we have a high-powered team of artists here right now before you who are ready to take any questions you may have.
7487 Thank you; merci beaucoup.
7488 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Marcus, and your colleagues for your participation.
7489 MR. MARCUS: Madam Commissioner, if we could indulge you for 30 seconds, we would like to go out on a musical note, just to give you a taste.
7490 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely. We need all the help we can get.
7491 MR. MARCUS: Thank you.
--- Audio clip / Clip audio
7492 MR. MARCUS: That is Deesha. Deesha is an up and coming Canadian R&B artist. Thank you very much; merci beaucoup.
7493 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your participation.
7494 Mr. Secretary, please.
7495 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7496 We will now hear from the Urban Music Association of Canada.
--- Pause / Pause
7497 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Members of the Commission, Mr. Sutherland of the Urban Music Association of Canada is not yet in the building. We would ask you to move on.
7498 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will proceed with the next intervenor.
7499 MR. CUSSONS: Perhaps I could call Cheer DJ Pool.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7500 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7501 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Good morning. We, Tony D'Agostino and Marvin Eng, are here as senior representatives of the Cheer DJ Pool to convey our support for the SHARE FM application.
7502 The Cheer DJ Pool is a nationally acclaimed organization of disc jockeys which has been in existence for over 20 years. The membership of the pool has dedicated itself to serving not only the musical diversity of the community, but its cultural diversity as well.
7503 MR. ENG: Although the membership of the Pool has changed over the years, the mandate, integrity and vision of the Pool has remained constant. This has been accomplished by its founder, Daniel Calderon, in his ability to identify early on individuals who have become, or have the potential to become, integral contributors to the culturally diverse urban/dance community.
7504 Like the community it serves, members of the Pool have various ethnic backgrounds, including members from South Africa, Portugal, Italy, Asia, Philippines, Angola, to name but a few.
7505 MR. D'AGOSTINO: The SHARE FM application for a new urban/dance radio station will embrace the diversity, welcome and recognize cultural distinctions, as well as unite them as the Cheer DJ Pool has done over its 20-year-plus history.
7506 It is for this reason that we in the Cheer Pool membership support the SHARE FM application for a new urban/dance radio station.
7507 MR. ENG: We and the Pool membership have worked in Toronto and surrounding area nightclubs for years. We can personally attest to the degree of musical and cultural diversities we cater to. Indeed, one not even enter a nightclub to ascertain the cultural interaction and contact of individuals in these venues is inevitable. All one need do is view the long line-ups in front of these nightclubs to see that this is true.
7508 A perfect opportunity to view this firsthand for the Commission will present itself tomorrow night. The hotel here is home to Time Square Nightclub which hosts a successful Thursday night.
7509 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Currently, the community is being served by several radio stations which only partially fulfil its needs. University and college radio stations also partially fulfil the needs. However, their ability to reach a large audience is limited.
7510 The need we refer to is the need for all Canadian urban dance artists to be heard regardless of culture, which you had a chance to meet just before us.
7511 MR. ENG: It is our opinion that the SHARE FM application will help to lay the foundation today for the successful development of Canadian artists, not only a local community level or a national level, but on an international level as well.
7512 The SHARE FM application is an integral and significant part of this foundation. By creating this foundation now, SHARE FM will help to create the infrastructure necessary for current and future Canadian artists of the urban/dance genre.
7513 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Currently, many of Canada's successful urban artists have had to go south or abroad to achieve its success. You have heard many stories about this happening.
7514 We can attest to this personally from the experience we have had working with Canadian independent record labels. By having our own infrastructure to promote and identify urban/dance artists, we can create internationally successful Canadian artists right here at home.
7515 This infrastructure will help to alleviate many of the frustrations currently faced by these artists when approaching record labels and radio stations to be heard. The infrastructure will bring their music to the mainstream audience where they can enjoy a higher level of success.
7516 MR. ENG: With the successful application, SHARE FM will have the capability to reach a larger, more culturally diverse audience and provide them with music which currently cannot be heard elsewhere.
7517 SHARE FM will become the new face of Toronto, crossing over cultural diversities by musically -- and I stress musically -- uniting people. This station will be a celebration of culture, hope, people, and most importantly music, the one element which binds people regardless of ethnicity.
7518 MR. ENG: In closing, we urge you to make your decision in favour of the SHARE FM application and allow the sounds to be heard. Thank you very much.
7519 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Thank you.
7520 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. D'Agostino and Mr. Eng.
7521 Mr. Secretary, please.
7522 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7523 I am going to be deviating from our order just a little bit. I would now like to invite Erma Collins to present an intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7524 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Collins, good morning.
7525 MS COLLINS: Madam Chairperson, Members of the Commission, as you heard, my name is Erma Collins. I am here not because I have a connection to the radio industry, but because I have an interest in youth, having just retired from 32 years as a professor of English at George Brown College, and because I have an interest in community development. I think Share has demonstrated its commitment to community development.
7526 What are my credentials in the community? I belong to several organizations. I have always held responsible positions in these organizations. I have always made a significant contribution, so much so that my peers have recommended me for all kinds of awards.
7527 I have 13 awards, including the Scarborough Bicentennial Award of Merit, the Canada 125th Medal and the Ontario Volunteer Services Award.
7528 In other words, I am saying my credentials in the community are well proven.
7529 Share has given you statistics, graphs, and all the technical information you need. Therefore, I am not going to dwell on that. I want to deal with the effective domain. And because I want to deal with feelings, I hope you will allow me to be personal for a bit.
7530 When I emigrated to Toronto in 1965 I thought of myself as a confident, educated, mature 31-year-old individual. I already had a teaching certificate from a college in Jamaica. I had a BA degree from the University of Manitoba. I had five years of teaching in my background. In other words, I had no reason to be lacking in self-confidence. I thought of myself as a first class citizen.
7531 When I got here, I even found a clerical job right away and within a year I found a job in teaching. In other words, everything was going for me -- until I listened to the radio.
7532 Within a couple of years, after exposure to the radio stations -- and I want to except CBC. Right now all of my radios, in my car and in my house, are still on CBC because that is the one radio station in which I found refuge.
7533 I heard my community being vilified so much on these radio stations that I began to feel like a second class citizen. And when I would write to these radio stations -- because I am an activist by nature -- what I would get is: They are only doing their job. I am the sensitive one. Nothing is wrong with their programming.
7534 Even Contrast, a Black-oriented newspaper that came into being not long after I came to Toronto, even that got me down. Contrast concentrated on the negative things that were happening to our community or in our community.
7535 Then along came Share -- a newspaper I am talking about -- in 1978. It was a breath of fresh air. Share's stated purpose was to report on the wide spectrum that was my community: the successes, the creativity, the vibrancy, the variety.
7536 Share, the newspaper, has reflected the Black and Caribbean community as I experience it: a rich quilt, with most pieces blending in smoothly and only a few discordant pieces detracting from the whole. But of course the mainstream radio and newspapers dwell on the discordant pieces.
7537 Share, for me, has been an antidote to most mainstream media, an upliftment of my spirit. That is why I believe that Mr. Auguste's demonstrated philosophy of balanced reflection of the community to itself will be transferred to the radio station that he is seeking a licence for from this Commission.
7538 Another note: During my 32 years of teaching at George Brown College, my students would come to my English classes hooked up to their radios. Of late it was their cell phones in their pockets as well. They would have forgotten their dictionaries. They would have forgotten their textbooks, but they had their radios.
7539 I am saying this to say that the young people can be more easily reached through media than through print. Although Mr. Auguste's application is to serve the diverse communities that make up Toronto -- and I am especially proud that he has included the Aboriginals -- I want to concentrate on the Black community in particular.
7540 In the Stephen Lewis report of 1992 Lewis told us:
7541 (a) not only is racism alive and well in Toronto, but it is fundamentally an anti-Black racism;
7542 (b) there is a great deal of anger, anxiety, frustration and impatience in the visible minority communities; and
7543 (c) fear is a powerful emotion in these communities as well.
7544 Lewis made recommendations not only in the areas of the justice system, employment equity and education system, but also in the area of community development.
7545 As I said, I believe that Mr. Auguste has demonstrated his commitment to that.
7546 One organization to which I belong -- and I am not speaking for the organization; I am here as an individual. One organization to which I belong is the Jamaican-Canadian Association. I have been a vice-president in that organization and currently chair a fundraising committee for the organization.
7547 In 1996 we bought a warehouse on Arrow Road that we wish to convert into a community centre. The councillor in that neighbourhood was dead set against our getting a permit to do our renovations. Share took up our cause. We got front-page exposure. People turned out in droves to North York city council to report our application for a renovation permit.
7548 In short, we got our permit. The centre is up and running. We still owe a million dollars, but that is another story. The centre is up and running, and I am saying that is a demonstration of community development. After Share got into the act and talked about the need for support, they had to move the meeting with us from a little committee room to the council chamber so many people came out.
7549 I believe that the CRTC has an opportunity here. Since SHARE FM could be an agent further in community development by providing on the radio role models to youth, giving them an outlet and a voice, giving work to some of them; in short, acting as a countervailing force to the many ongoing negative experiences which minority communities contain -- negative experiences that are often perpetrated by the mainstream media; experiences which tend to devalue us.
7550 I want to move from the effective domain for a while to the practical.
7551 It is my understanding that there is not much money to be made in the ethnic newspaper business. Some publishers after a while close their papers, sell them, move on. Mr. Auguste has stuck with his paper for over 20 years, demonstrating to me that he is motivated more by the need to serve than by the need to make money.
7552 I am not saying he doesn't want to make money. But I am saying that despite hard times -- I think he had a fire at one time -- Mr. Auguste has not sold his paper.
7553 I believe that he will bring the same commitment to the radio that he has brought to his paper, as a journalist and a community development agent.
7554 It is also my understanding that in the African-Canadian community many people tune into radio stations in Buffalo and in other U.S. cities and that advertising follows them. A SHARE FM radio station will have to keep those advertising dollars in southern Ontario, with the attendant economic spin-off.
7555 In closing, let me say that the CRTC has an opportunity to help effect the vision of Stephen Lewis: that we build a society that includes all minorities, especially in a city such as Toronto, teeming with African-Canadians and other visible minority peoples from all over the world.
7556 I am depending on you, Commissioners of the CRTC. You can help to create a more equitable playing field by granting a radio station licence to SHARE FM.
7557 Thank you.
7558 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Collins.
7559 Mr. Secretary, please.
7560 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7561 We will now hear an intervention by Allison Gloudon.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7562 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms Gloudon.
7563 MS GLOUDON: Good morning.
7564 Madam Chairperson, Members of the Commission, members of Commission Staff, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Allison Gloudon and I am a 22-year-old student at the University of Toronto pursuing a double specialist in finance and economics. I have lived in the Greater Toronto Area all of my life, and it is with this background that I am here to support Arnold Auguste's application to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission for a licence to operate a radio station in Toronto.
7565 Today I will address both the need for a mainstream radio station that reflects the ethnic diversity of our city, and why I feel that Mr. Auguste, through SHARE FM, is best suited to fill the void.
7566 A radio station with ethnic content would expand the idea of multiculturalism within Toronto as it would allow many different races to be exposed to the different ideas and values that exist within our community. This new window would present the wider society a more balanced perspective and a more positive image of our community than is currently available.
7567 Based on the assumption that the frequency would have a powerful range, it would definitely be a catalyst for a stronger ethnic infrastructure, instilling a sense of pride and integrity in our community.
7568 SHARE FM would repatriate young listeners, like myself, from border stations in the United States which we have been forced to turn to due to the inexistence of a radio station in Toronto that meets our news, cultural and public affairs needs.
7569 Evidence of the aforementioned U.S. station's wide Canadian audience is their extensive usage by Canadians to reach our community through radio announcements. This clearly demonstrates the need for a Canadian counterpart. Moreover, young people in our urban Toronto community need a forum where our voices can be heard. What is needed is not only a medium that allows us to talk amongst ourselves, but also to communicate with the greater society.
7570 It is important to note that SHARE FM would not only appeal to the Black community. As the President of the Commerce Students' Association at the University of Toronto, I have had the privilege of participating in many inter-university conferences. They include the National Business School Conference, the Undergraduate Business Games and Roundtables for business school councils.
7571 Generally, at least 20 universities from across Canada participate in these events. While we work hard during the day, the evenings consist of social events at local clubs and bars. Invariably, a substantial portion of the music played is urban, and it is enthusiastically enjoyed by the highly diverse group represented.
7572 I am reminded of the first time I attended a predominantly Asian club in the downtown core with a friend. I was surprised to discover that an entire floor of the two-level establishment was devoted solely to urban music, but I was astonished when I noticed that many people were singing the lyrics from memory.
7573 Urban music and the style with which hit is traditionally played appeals to a diverse and wide reaching segment of Toronto's young people. DJs who play urban music well are a hot commodity in Toronto, evidenced by the long line-ups outside the clubs inside which they play. Yet, despite its popularity, no Canadian source exists that is a constant source of urban music.
7574 When I moved downtown to attend the University of Toronto, I was devastated to discover that the skyscrapers prevented me from receiving transmissions from U.S. border stations. For the past three and a half years I have been forced to search up and down the dial for college stations playing brief urban segments or listen to mixed tapes purchased on trips to New York.
7575 Additionally, a station such as this would serve as inspiration for many artists, speakers and creative minds who have lost hope due to the inexistence of an outlet for their crafts. I have the pleasure of being acquainted with a number of Toronto's up-and-coming minority artists and have spoken with them about how they feel a radio station such as SHARE FM would have helped their development.
7576 I would like to read a brief quote by Jason Harrow, who uses the stage name Kardinal Offishall, which I believe summarizes their opinion. His reply was:
"It definitely would have furthered my career because I would have had a stronger home base instead of being more successful outside of the country, such as in the United States and in Europe. Tracking where my music gets played and looking at the charts in the U.S., I have gone number one alongside many major international artists and have received a lot of notoriety inside major international publications, such as Vibe, Billboard and The Source. The key point is that there is no support in the current Canadian radio industry -- unfortunately, this proves true for many Canadian artists. Looking forward, I feel that the station would create valid Canadian stars. It would expose many talented people who never before got an opportunity to shine."
7577 It is my conviction that the environment created by a radio station such as the proposed SHARE FM would nurture the potential artists, writers, and public speakers in general within our society.
7578 Nevertheless, the question remains as to who should be licensed to operate this potentially constructive radio station.
7579 It is my sound belief that Arnold Auguste is the most qualified candidate.
7580 As long as I can remember, the Share newspaper has been a constant source of community information in my home. Over the past 21 years it has firmly established itself as a "staple" in the Black and visible minority community. From dealing with the more serious issues that affect our community, to promoting and publicizing events and functions of organizations and associations, under the direction of Mr. Auguste, Share newspaper has been a major voice in our community.
7581 My familiarity with Mr. Auguste, however, extends further than reading his name beside the title Editor in Share. My mother and many of her friends are very active within the community, and whenever it is necessary for them to communicate information about the functions and events of the various organizations that they participate in to the ethnic community, Mr. Auguste's name is always mentioned.
7582 Over the years he has always responded positively to their requests and I am certain, given the opportunity to operate a mainstream radio station, Mr. Auguste would extend the same calibre of service to the greater community.
7583 Most importantly, SHARE FM would be a radio station that is inclusive in its mandate, not monocultural but multicultural. All of my friends, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, would be able to identify with a radio station such as SHARE FM.
7584 Thank you for the opportunity that you have granted me to intervene at today's hearing on behalf of SHARE FM. As a young member of Toronto's minority community, I strongly support Arnold Auguste's application to the CRTC for a licence to operate a radio station within Toronto.
7585 Thank you.
7586 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Gloudon, for your participation.
7587 Mr. Secretary, please.
7588 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7589 I have been advised that the Urban Music Association of Canada, and also Colin Saldanha, could not be here in person today. But we have their interventions and we thank them for their participation.
7590 I would now like to invite T. Sher Singh to present an intervention, please.
--- Pause / Pause
7591 MR. CUSSONS: In the absence of Mr. Singh, perhaps Carol Tater.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7592 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms Tater.
7593 MS TATER: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, I would like to begin by introducing myself. I am Carol Tater, and I believe this is my fourth appearance at the CRTC hearings.
7594 Each time I have come, though, I have worn different hats. When I appeared first in the mid-1980s I was serving as the president and acting executive director for one of the first race relations organizations in Canada. That was the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
7595 In that capacity I worked with racial minority communities who were encountering racism in government services, employment, housing, education, law enforcement and many other areas of their life.
7596 At the Urban Alliance in the 1980s we began to do some groundbreaking research in which we documented these realities. The next few times I came to the hearings I was working as a consultant with some of these same institutions to develop multicultural, antiracism and equity policies in programs, again doing a lot of research to try and document and analyze and present the evidence of racism in Canadian society.
7597 In recent years I have been teaching at York University and continuing my research and writing texts. The subjects I teach and I write about are, in a sense, the same subjects that you are really looking at through these applications; and that is the issues of representation, multiculturalism, racism, identity.
7598 In each of these areas of study, I try to provide students with the knowledge and strategies about how to change this world and how to change the public institutions and social institutions such as the ones I have named above, including of course systems of cultural production. And that includes the media.
7599 We are looking at ways of how these institutions have become more inclusive and representative of the ethno-racial diversity of Canadian society. But I also teach them something else. I teach them tools of media literacy, because the media represents one of the most significant institutions in a democratic society.
7600 Many scholars believe that the mass media represents the most important social influence in our contemporary era, perhaps outweighing the state, the school and certainly religious institutions.
7601 As an individual who has been monitoring, analyzing, researching and working with the media for over 25 years, I believe that the mass media helps provide the elements, or can potentially prove the elements out of which we forge our identities.
7602 Radio, television and the print media provide us with a snapshot of who we are, a sense of what it is to be male or female, black or white, third generation Chinese-Canadian or African-Canadian. They provide us with an understanding of who is us and who is them. The media holds up a mirror in which society can see itself reflected.
7603 But I can tell you from both my cumulative experience with the media and a recent study that Francis Henry and I have just completed -- which will be released in two weeks -- on racism in the print media that that mirror reflections are terribly distorted. There are huge absences, erasures and omissions. The voices, the sounds, the stories and perspectives of ethno racial individuals and communities are not there.
7604 The media gives us only a thin slice of our social world. They construct a social reality that is far different from what we see all around us in terms of ethno racial diversity.
7605 As Mr. Sadiki, a columnist and former editor of the Toronto Star has written, the media's law of negativity hits minorities disproportionately. Non-whites are portrayed as trouble makers, rarely as normal people capable of the same human emotions as you and I, and the same achievements as others.
7606 My experience with working with so many social institutions in Canadian society is that most of them, including the media, are very resistant to dealing with issues of marginalization and exclusion. Radio though is, as many speakers have already said, an extremely powerful medium of communication.
7607 It is more portable than broadcast media. One only needs to look at the people listen to their Walkmans as they walk down the street, on the TTC, or standing outside the school, or sometimes, as Erma said, right in the classroom itself, to understand the importance of radio in the everyday lives of Canadians, especially youth.
7608 The Broadcasting Act acknowledges that radio is critical for the development and maintenance of a collective national identity. The long quest for a radio station reflecting the diverse audiences of this city has been a search for a vehicle to balance the everyday images, words and sounds disseminated by mainstream organizations that have failed to provide ethno racial communities with access to the media.
7609 A licence to operate a radio station that understands that its audience is a mixing and mingling of people whose origins are from all over the globe, some of whom have been here for generations and some of whom have only just arrived, is a decision that would finally signal that the CRTC recognizes and is committed to equal dignity and value of people of all ethno racial backgrounds; that it welcomes and recognizes the strength of our diversity; and it affirms the rights of all citizens to contribute to our country as full-fledged Canadians.
7610 The research I have done in the media, supported by many other studies over the last 25 years, provides dramatic and very deeply troubling evidence of the extent to which people of colour are marginalized, maligned and stereotyped. But of course one does not have to be a researcher to know this. All any one of us needs to do is to turn on the radio and listen to the call-in shows that have become such a popular medium. What we will hear from both the broadcaster host and the callers is all too commonly racist language, racist images and racist ideas that not only demean racial minorities, but challenge our very notions of what it means to be a multicultural, democratic liberal society.
7611 The continued prevalence of stereotypical images and racist discourse beamed up from radio and television and then encoded in the print media helps to form and maintain the collective identity imposed upon people of colour that bears little resemblance to their own self-definitions.
7612 The scripts offered by the mainstream broadcasting industry are limited in vision, knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a multicultural society.
7613 It is within this context that an application for a music/dance station representing the sounds and perspectives that truly reflect who we are is seen as such a critical issue with such important consequences.
7614 We cannot continue to ignore all the signs around us that many minority groups, and especially Black youth, feel that they exist as outsiders, experiencing a sense of hopelessness and despair about the future, about their future as Canadians -- many of whom were born in this country.
7615 Basically, the sounds of music are an extremely powerful part of people's lives, particularly young people. I think this is an important point to underscore, since what we are talking about is Black music, but it is not only music for Blacks or for Black youth; it is a music that appeals to a wide cross-section of youth and minority youth within this community.
7616 Last night when I came home and opened up The Star -- I don't know how many of you had a chance to read The Star last night; probably not many -- I saw this very point being made in a full-page article on the Sharing of Youth Cultures Through Music.
7617 The journalist observes that cross-cultural bonding, the mingling of Black and Asian culture can be seen in all youth targeted media. It happens through the latest R&B videos, in hip hop music enjoyed by young Asians and Blacks. Regrettably, though, however this important message was, it was framed in a racist context.
7618 The article begins with the ubiquitous linking of Black youth culture, the racialization of the Jane Finch neighbourhood as a drug transaction centre. The only difference is this time it was four Asian youth who were reported to be smoking drugs as they take turns rhyming off free-style rap lines.
7619 As I read this article I thought about my students at York, many of whom are Black and Asian, some of whom live in the Jane Finch community, and the pain that these pervasive and endemic stereotypes cause them. I know we will talk about this article tomorrow in class, and we shall talk about these hearings.
7620 What will I say to them in the context of these hearings? Can I communicate a sense of hopefulness about the outcome of this hearing?
7621 In looking back at the long history of attempts to gain a licence for a dance/music station reflecting our diversity, going back almost two decades, it has indeed been a long struggle.
7622 It is somewhat ironic that one of the few times that The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun and The Globe and Mail have ever agreed on any subject was the wrongness of the CRTC in failing to award the licence to a Black dance/music station. Each station has consistently called for the CRTC, as the guardian of our airwaves, to give a clear voice to the multiracial diversity that is Toronto today.
7623 I would like to think that this time the CRTC will at long last recognize and affirm the ultimate goals of a multicultural society: that is to provide access and equity to all ethno racial communities; to acknowledge the value of all of our identities; and to provide a vehicle which will help us to build the bridges to a stronger sense of national identity, an identity that is based on the understanding that our differences, as well as our similarities, will be our greatest strength, as it has always been, in the new millennium.
7624 The challenge then to the CRTC today is to encourage and promote a broadcasting system that can and must adapt to the current social endemic realities of the city.
7625 SHARE FM presents a new vision and new possibilities achieved through a new format, one that is built on the framework of inclusion and equity.
7626 I have come today for the fourth, and I hope the last, time because I believe that to continue along the path we have been on for most of Canada's broadcast history...
Tape 3, Side A
...that we will continue to include marginalized groups. We will include the Anglo white community of Canada and leave out all the others. It is a new millennium. Let us mark and celebrate its arrival with a decision to give access and voice to the diverse range of cultural and racial communities that make up this city and country.
7627 Thank you.
7628 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Tater.
7629 Would this be an appropriate time to break for lunch, Mr. Secretary?
7630 MR. CUSSONS: There is one more that we could perhaps squeeze in. I understand Mr. Singh is now with us.
7631 I would invite T. Sher Singh to present an intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7632 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Singh.
7633 MR. SINGH: Thank you, Madam Chair. I apologize for not having been present when my name was called.
7634 Madam Chair and Commissioners, at the outset I should explain that even though I am by profession a lawyer, I do not appear today in anything but a personal capacity. I am not paid by or retained by any party, and have not been retained ever by the applicant that I am supporting; that is, Mr. Auguste's application or any of its principles in the past or the present, to the best of my knowledge.
7635 I should explain to you why I think I should be making submissions or the basis of my experience in this area.
7636 To begin with, about a decade ago I sat on the Ontario Task Force on Policing and Race Relations which was struck after a serious of unfortunate and tragic incidents. Three Black citizens in Toronto or vicinity had been killed in questionable circumstances by the police in a very short period, which created a need for such a task force to be struck by the Ontario government.
7637 Subsequently, I sat on the Ontario Police Commission for three years, and then on the Metro Toronto Children's Aid Board.
7638 I also write a regular column for The Toronto Star on current national and international issues. I am a host on a show on CFM-TV, which is a multicultural TV station. I am host on another show on CTS, which is a multifaith TV station.
7639 I write a weekly travel column, which gets picked up by the Kitchener-Waterloo Record initially and then by papers across the country, based on my travels across Canada and around the world on an ongoing basis.
7640 My submissions to you this morning are based on my experiences culled from all of the above involvements.
7641 I should add, before I get into the two issues that I want to address, that I am fully aware, fully supportive of the needs of the various minorities in this country, particularly that of the Black community. I have been an avid advocate for the need to give priority to such needs of the Black community. And if anything, everything that I have done in the last 15 years will show that I have not shirked from my responsibility to address the issues, whether it needed to show support or to criticize.
7642 There has been at least one instance where I have felt the need to be critical of one of the projects in the community where I have generally been very supportive of everything that the advocates for the community have stood for.
7643 With that introduction, I will jump into the first of the two issues that I do want to address this afternoon.
7644 My concern is based on my abhorrence of the fact that a mainstream radio station, it is being suggested, be formulated to address the needs of one segment of the community based on racial lines.
7645 I have read the application by Milestone, for example, and again it talks about it needs to address the needs of the Black community. I find that extremely abhorrent as a Canadian, not that the needs of the community are not there and do not need to be addressed, but everything we stand for in Canada and everything we have achieved in Canada, everything that we represent as a role model around the world has been based on not dividing up the 60 or the 120 communities, depending on how you count them, that make up Canada, but bringing them together, to putting them on an equal pedestal, on an equal platform, and letting them interact, hoping that some day this elusive Canadian identity will emerge as a result -- the way it took a thousand years for the English identity to emerge by permitting a free interaction between the Saxons, the French, the Germans, the Friesians, whoever came along. We are going through that process.
7646 While indeed there is an urgency to reflect the diversity of Canada, particularly the diversity of Toronto and Ontario, in new licensing, my concern is that we may go too far in rushing to fulfil that need.
7647 Yes, there is a need for an urban music station, for a station that gives focus on what is generally termed as Black music; but to go further than that and to give a licence to a company that feels that it needs to address the needs of the Black community and therefore a station should be licensed for that purpose, raises serious concerns for me.
7648 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Singh, you are appearing before us in support of Mr. Auguste's application. It is my understanding that you have not filed an intervention against Mr. Jolly's application.
7649 It would be preferable if you kept your comments to support of Mr. Auguste's application.
7650 MR. SINGH: Thank you, Madam Chair. I will word it more clearly, that I support Mr. Auguste's application clearly because it does not ask for a licence based on racial grounds. It makes it very clear that it is not looking to serve the needs of one racial community but that it is committing itself to the diversity of Toronto while recognizing that there is a need for urban music, Black music and similar formats.
7651 My second point is that I find that the need to support Mr. Auguste's application because of not just what he promises to do, but he has for 23 years been involved consistently, steadily, on an ongoing basis, on a media project, on Share. It is his history, it is his experience that shows what he is capable of doing and what he is capable of delivering in response to the promises made in the application.
7652 He has demonstrated the ability to address not only the needs of the Black community but of minorities. And while dealing with the issues and concerns of the minorities, dealing with the cross-section or racial constituents of the community.
7653 To give a simple example, the needs of the Caribbean community could easily have been narrowed down to that of the Black community or the way he has addressed through his Share newspaper as the needs of the Asian components, the White components, the Black components of the Caribbean community, for example.
7654 I would like to point out to you that at no point has his work in the last 23 years been a subject of complaints, of having been insensitive or insulting to Black communities. At no point have complaints been made against Mr. Auguste's work or the 23 years of the existence of Share that it has been insensitive to the needs of minorities or the diversity of this country.
7655 This is absolutely important, and I support Mr. Auguste's application because it is juxtaposed -- and this is a comment not against an application but to raise an issue that has not been raised before this Commission; that in one of the competing applications standing behind the applicant is Standard Broadcasting, which has over and over again contravened the spirit and the word of the Commission of this policy.
7656 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Singh, if you wanted to file an intervention against another applicant, you had that opportunity. We are hearing you today in support of Mr. Auguste's application.
7657 I remind you that should keep your comments to that, in all fairness.
7658 MR. SINGH: I will tiptoe back across the line and say it is important to support applications such as Mr. Auguste's, specifically by licensing such a project so that the message should go out that people who apply by licences must abide by the rules, by the policies, by the spirit and the word of the policy of the CRTC.
7659 If we do not do that, if we do not permit somebody like Mr. Auguste to show how indeed a radio station can be run without insulting minorities, without insulting the Black community, and without the need to step over and contravene the policy of the CRTC, I think it is time that such an important message be conveyed to Canada at large, to the industry at large.
7660 If we don't do that, if we reward anything else but a direct commitment to the policy as expressed by the CRTC, then we are encouraging contravention of its own rules, its own regulations and its own guidelines.
7661 Those are my submissions. Unless you have any questions, that is all.
7662 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Singh, for your participation.
7663 Mr. Secretary, do we have any other intervenors for whom it is important to appear now? Or is this a good time to break for lunch?
7664 MR. CUSSONS: I think we have one person who would like to be called. I believe it is Ms Susan Eng.
7665 Ms Eng, would you like to present your intervention?
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7666 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms Eng.
7667 MS ENG: Good afternoon.
7668 Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak at this hearing. I am here to support the application by Arnold Auguste for a new urban/dance station in Toronto. I am familiar with the several applications that have been made in the past, over the last 15 years, for an urban/dance format, and I supported them because there was, and continues to be, a real need for this music to be heard and included in the Canadian cultural mosaic.
7669 More important for me, because I don't intend to be an authority on popular music, is the need for media, especially in Toronto, to better respect our demographic diversity.
7670 I personally have been involved in community advocacy for 20 years as a volunteer, and I have had a particular focus on the role of the media in improving race relations.
7671 In the late 1970s various community groups were brought together to respond to unfair and slanderous media representation of visible minorities. At that time we were not even talking about inclusiveness; we were protesting in the streets. I was part of a group formed after a national protest against a W5 program that was blaming Chinese students for taking all the places in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto that belonged, as they said, rightfully to Canadians.
7672 I leave you to interpret what those Chinese students were, if they were not Canadians.
7673 I was one of an original group of community advocates and media professionals that titled itself the Ad Hoc Committee on Media and Race Relations which sought to address this problem systematically, systemically.
7674 We believed that protest and the inevitable apologies were not enough, given the attention span of most audiences and viewers. We believed that the real change in attitudes would come only if the media organizations could change from within.
7675 But before we had a chance to start our meetings with the various media agencies, we had an early test. Some of you will remember we were asked to help mediate a particularly volatile situation involving a Toronto radio station and the Black community. The announcer's private comments about -- and I quote -- "100,000 niggers jumping up and down during Caribana" was overheard by his radio audience, because he inadvertently left the microphone on.
7676 The aftermath was painful for everyone, not least because the announcer had a fatal heart attack. At first the station refused to apologize, and when it finally did the damage to the community had already been done.
7677 Yet despite that tumult very little changed. I seem to recall that the station hired a person of colour, but that person is no longer on the air because I can't really say what long-term change came of it all.
7678 This kind of dialogue was repeated wherever we went with our message. We went to the Canadian Advertising Council about the need to feature more visible minorities, the CBC, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the Print Media in Toronto. They agreed with us that there was a need for Canadian media to better represent a growing diversity in Canada, particularly in major urban centres such as Toronto. But their actions were paltry.
7679 There were a few important hirings of visible minorities on air, and content has been much more inclusive and the representation of Canada's diversity is more apparent. However, demographic change, especially in Toronto, has far outpaced media's achievements in this regard.
7680 In recent years the disparity and the lack of effort is more apparent than ever, and there is certainly far less progress than what I and my colleagues would have expected when we began this effort 20 years ago.
7681 In fact, I quipped when I came in during Carol Tater's presentation that we were rounding up the usual suspects. These are the same crowd of people who came together to deal with this issue before the CRTC at that time, before the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and so on, 20 years ago.
7682 Too much of the attempt made by broadcasters to reflect diversity is still very self-conscious, usually boring, and the majority of decisionmakers continues to be unreflective of the communities that they serve.
7683 The media is still replete with negative stereotypes -- and we just heard from Carol about some of them -- that shape public attitudes and government policies. The byproducts of this neglect, distrust and alienation haunt us still.
7684 We have waited a generation, a generation for media organizations to initiate fundamental change from within. And that has not happened. Representation of ideas and people not rooted in the Anglo Saxon heritage has been relegated to the margins of the broadcast spectrum or at least segmented into individual silos.
7685 This has very little appeal to my niece and nephew who are just becoming teenagers -- not quite but they are getting there. They want to watch and listen to whatever their classmates are watching or listening to, and so far that has meant a homogenous, eurocentric tableau in which they see themselves represented as spice rather than as part of the core programming, the main course.
7686 If they were of a mind to tune in when so-called ethnic programming is aired, they would find it in languages they do not understand and projecting images that are imported and bear little relevance to their daily lives. That is not what I and my colleagues asked for.
7687 Canadian media was asked to better represent urban diversity as its contribution to helping people of all ages and backgrounds achieve a sense of belonging in Canada. We asked that all Canadians be able to find themselves reflected in core programming, not only on their own channels or after hours, and this has not happened.
7688 It appears then to us that point of view does matter. The ownership and the decisionmakers of any media organization shape the product. Their cultural viewpoint shapes how people of different backgrounds will fit into their broadcast schedule and what values are reflected. The structure of the programming day is a measure of how they think my niece and nephew will fit in the Canadian construct.
7689 From what I have seen here, they will get along if they go along with the primacy of one culture, not necessarily their own.
7690 My support for Mr. Auguste's application is founded on his fundamentally different approach and what I know of his commitment and that of his partner Robert Wood to broadening the opportunities for harmony and inclusiveness.
7691 This is reflected in how they plan to run their station, from owners and managers to on-air talent. They understand that reflecting diversity is not just adding a few people of colour at the bottom of the ladder, and they understand that point of view matters; that we need to start covering people from every background as "us", rather than as "them".
7692 Their answer is not to create another monocultural medium, this time including a previously excluding group, but now excluding others. My niece and nephew should not be made to feel unwelcome when they tune into Toronto's newest radio station, nor would they want to support a station that lets them in but leaves out their friends.
7693 I think the time is past for more cultural solitude. Our people are already ahead of us. And despite the stereotypes in the article that Carol mentioned, it detail however that there has been a fusion of Latin-Asian cultures, especially when it comes to music.
7694 We no longer debate in Canada whether the media has any role to play in shaping attitudes and behaviours. This is why the CRTC, I know, takes this issue very seriously. The media does play this kind of role, and sadly it has not fulfilled its mandate to fully reflect Canadians to ourselves. What is needed, and what I believe Mr. Auguste will provide, is a mainstream popular format that will appeal to Toronto's youth and engender a true sense of belonging for all of them.
7695 When I first got involved in community advocacy, I did it because it was the right thing to do. I believed then, as I believe now, that media can be the social glue that builds strong communities. Instead we have far too many examples of shock talk radio that drives a wedge between us. I don't think we need to shut them down, but we can drown them out with voices and values that will bring us together.
7696 For me now this activism is now more than just the right thing to do; it has become personal.
7697 I have two other nieces who carry within them the genes of at least two cultures. I do not want them to choose one and deny the other. They are ten years younger than the other two, but they grow up very quickly. I would like to think that we would have got it right by then.
7698 Thank you very much.
7699 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Eng, for your participation.
7700 We have a few more intervenors for the Auguste application before we move on, but you will probably have a better hearing from us if we eat first.
7701 We will adjourn for lunch and resume at 2:15. Nous reprendrons à deux heures quinze.
--- Recess at 1350 / Suspension à 1350
--- Upon resuming at 1415 / Reprise à 1415
7702 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our hearing.
7703 Since we will be shortly moving to a new group of intervenors in support of applications, I want to say again that we have not been asking questions or engaging in discussion with intervenors in the interest of hearing as many intervenors as possible.
7704 We are, nevertheless, most interested in what you have to say. What you say is transcribed and forms part of the record, in addition to what you filed in writing.
7705 So our silence is not a lack of interest, just in the interest of hearing as many people as possible during the week.
7706 So that you are all quite comfortable about this, I like to repeat it before we get into a new group.
7707 We will now proceed with the remaining intervenors in support of the Auguste application.
7708 Mr. Secretary, please.
7709 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7710 I would now like to call upon the Greater Toronto Services Board, Mr. Tonks, to present his intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7711 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome, Mr. Tonks.
7712 MR. TONKS: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
7713 First of all, my name is Alan Tonks. I am the Chairman of the Greater Toronto Services Board. I am not appearing as the chairman of the board to give a position that has been representative of the board; I am here in my personal capacity as an extremely interested citizen of Toronto in the hearings that you are having with respect to these applications for accessing the radio bands that have been advertised as being available.
7714 I am in support of Arnold Auguste and his colleagues. I have known Arnold for probably 25 years, and my association with him goes back to a period of time when I was the Mayor of the City of York and then subsequently the Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto. During those over two decades I came to know Arnold as extremely committed to building strength into our communities, through his newspaper Share, by providing an opportunity for expression.
7715 Perhaps I might tell you also that prior to going into politics I served for a number of years as a volunteer teacher in Jamaica and came back certainly with a sense that if we were building a cosmopolitan city and if we were building a diverse and inclusive society, we would have to use all of the communications opportunities available to us to do that.
7716 Subsequently I came in contact with Arnold and his colleagues, who were establishing their community newspaper, and I was able to witness the growth and confidence of the community as they were able, through his publication, articulate their feelings about their community, about the needs of the community of interest that they represented as new immigrants to the city, and could feel the confidence to do that.
7717 Arnold provided that through his newspaper, and the community has awarded him with their continuing support, through their advertising, through their contributions in the editorial, in the letters to the editor, through the community programs of support in the schools that Arnold has organized. The community has recognized the faith that Arnold put in them by continuing to support him and his newspaper. Where many have come and gone, Arnold's newspaper has been a constant on the communications landscape, if you will, of Toronto.
7718 I am delighted to be here to support him, not only because he has been successful but he has been successful in representing the same cause that I, as an elected representative, stood for; and that was to build an inclusive community, a community of caring, nurturing that kind of support for each other, to build a sense of volunteerism, to contribute, to put more into the community than in fact we take out.
7719 Arnold has been the expression of that in building strength of character of our community here in Toronto.
7720 I am humbled by the magnitude of the CRTC's challenge. I think it must be an extremely difficult role that you fill with something as important to our sense of democratic values, our sense of belief in the nature of our communities, our sense of fairness and balance, our sense of harmonizing the various parts of our community in bringing them together, to match that with a sense of balance, and checks and balances through CRTC regulations and making sure that the match is right between the community and the opportunity to use communications, be it print or our airwaves, our radio bands, whatever. It is a huge responsibility that you have.
7721 Having been an elected member for the last 28 years, I sense that sense of responsibility. In coming here to you today in supporting Arnold Auguste, it is without equivocation of any kind that I can advise you on the basis of the commitment he has made I have no hesitation in assuring you that if he is awarded along with his colleagues, with the principles that they have demonstrated to me and the values that they also have, they will make an extremely huge and monumental, and continue to make, contribution to building the kind of Canadian society in the world order that we can all be proud of, and that we are proud of.
7722 It is a quality of life that we build in our interrelationships between groups and communities of interest within our city and our country.
7723 I thank you for the opportunity to be here. I assure you that I will continue to share that kind of commitment in my public life that in fact you are charged with in discharging your public responsibilities, to match the commitment of those who have made their applications to the very serious and high order of responsibility that the radio bands in this case pose as a challenge to our society.
7724 Thank you very much.
7725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Tonks, for your participation. Do pray for us.
7726 Mr. Secretary, please.
7727 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7728 Before we broke for lunch I had announced that the Urban Music Association of Canada could not be with us today. Fortunately, it would seem that they have been able to join us.
7729 So I would now like to introduce the Urban Music Association of Canada and ask it to present its intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Sutherland, good afternoon.
7731 MR. SUTHERLAND: Good afternoon. Thank you very much, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
7732 I always get nervous at hearings like these. I have been here three times, and it never gets any easier. I trust that this time around we can see some success come out of it.
7733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Some success came out of it the last time too.
7734 MR. SUTHERLAND: I make that comment because I have been here speaking to other Commissioners on behalf of an urban music format in the Toronto market.
7735 Before I get into it, let me introduce myself. I am Tony Sutherland. I am the president of the Urban Music Association of Canada. I certainly appreciate this opportunity to share my insights and my thoughts with you on behalf of our members.
7736 The Urban Music Association (UMAC) was formed back in 1996 by a number of music industry professionals who saw an opportunity certainly to help create an infrastructure for urban music in Canada. We have been working to that end by providing a number of seminars, workshops, various types of functions to help to grow artists, to grow people who have an interest in the urban music scene.
7737 We as an organization are the voice of certainly thousands of consumers and fans of urban music, and we certainly are the voice of artists and other professionals who look to us for support and advice.
7738 In supporting an urban music format in Toronto, we are certainly not here to throw our weight behind one or the other of the two competing interests for an urban music format. We are here because we feel, as our duty, that an urban music format is absolutely necessary and vital for the music scene in Toronto, and for Canada certainly.
7739 When we talk about urban music, we define urban music very loosely as the genres encompassing soul, R&B, dance, reggae, soca, rap, gospel, and jazz. They have all grown out of a particular experience, and they are performed and are encompassed in all different types of music, whether it be from Canadian artists, from Italian artists, from French artists, British artists, people from around Canada as well as around the world.
7740 So we don't feel that this is just something that has to do only with people in Toronto. We certainly feel that this is a worldwide culture that we are involved in.
7741 First, we feel that the establishment of an outlet for urban music is absolutely vital. Radio, as I am sure you are well aware -- as I said, I am a little nervous so bear with me. I will hopefully get a little less nervous as I go along here. My apologies.
7742 Radio is certainly essential, as you are well aware. It plays a vital part in news dissemination and cultural dissemination. We all depend on radio in many aspects. It is a very vital part.
7743 Urban music and urban culture depends also on radio. I am sure you have had intervenors here who have spoken about the lack of outlet and the effect that it has had on their growth.
7744 A recent TV show that just aired on Tuesday evening on CBC, something called "Street Beat" -- I don't know if you have heard about it or are aware of it. I take it you are. I see some heads nodding.
7745 A friend of mine who works for the CBC called me up and said: "You've got to watch this show." And I said to her: "I know it is coming on this evening." She said: "This is great. Finally we have something like this." There was this pregnant pause on my end. And I had to remind her: "Why is it in February of 2000 that you are now telling me about a first? Why aren't you telling me about the fifth or the sixth for the month, or the first for the week? Why are you telling me about a first?" She said: "It would be nice for us to have this, you know. We can see where we want to go."
7746 I remember a show called "Downbeat Disco" in 1978 -- I am dating myself a little bit here -- and I remember how enthusiastic we were about it because it was a first; that finally we could have urban music played on mainstream television, on mainstream airwaves.
7747 These spurts of urban culture from a music standpoint have come and gone. We have certainly seen artists who have come and gone in the same spurts. They start up one year, and five years later, ten years later you don't hear from them. Another one comes by and you don't hear from them for a long time. We can certainly attribute that to a lack of an outlet.
7748 Let me quote quickly from an article that was in The Toronto Star on the weekend. I don't know if you saw this. Michee Mee, when asked about the hip hop culture, she quoted:
"We don't have an urban music station here. Hip hop is blowing up all over the world, but Canadian artists haven't been able to benefit from the independent releases. Why? Because they have no outlet."
7749 It is very, very fitting for me to at least know that there is a lack of this outlet, which in turn does not contribute to the growth of these artists.
7750 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Sutherland, if I may interrupt you for a minute, since you are speaking about outlets, I notice that your written application is in support of both Milestone and Share.
7751 MR. SUTHERLAND: Yes.
7752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that still your position?
7753 MR. SUTHERLAND: That is still very much our position.
7754 THE CHAIRPERSON: We seem to have missed the opportunity to insert it as well in the Denham Jolly application.
7755 I would like the record to show that you are speaking equally in support of both potential outlets.
7756 MR. SUTHERLAND: That's right.
7757 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7758 MR. SUTHERLAND: The second point is that the establishment of an outlet would certainly help or contribute to the commitment of the people that are in the urban music industry. It would certainly contribute to their talent, to the growth of their talent, and certainly to the growth of their careers.
7759 I was watching the Oprah Winfrey biography about a month ago. We all know Oprah Winfrey. Part of the biography really struck me. She mentioned that between the age of 15 and 17 she was walking a very fine line of deviance, if we want to say it that way. At age 17 an urban radio station in her home town heard about her and brought her in and she read for them. They liked what they heard. They put her on the air, and from there she was able to build her talent, build her confidence. And today, as they say, certainly the rest is history.
7760 Even from my personal experience, having been in the music industry a number of ways, I wonder how many people out there are like an Oprah Winfrey, who do not have that outlet to nurture them and to help them grow. Do you understand what I am saying?
7761 They don't have this outlet to nurture them and help them grow, because they don't sound like the mainstream, they don't think like the mainstream necessarily. It doesn't mean that what they are thinking or what they are saying it irrelevant. It is very relevant from a cultural standpoint. But maybe they don't sound like Don Danart; hence, we don't want you on our radio station. But we have people that are equally strong in what they communicate from a cultural standpoint that have been relegated either to the ranks of a college radio station or relegated to the ranks of working in a factory because there is no other place for them to go.
7762 My point here is that with the existence of such a station, we have an opportunity to grow our talent, to grow our people, to see them grow into something bigger than what they have the possibilities to grow to right now.
7763 Finally on this point, having been to the CRTC in the past and presented, and having heard and having to sit through the results afterwards as to why an urban station should not be licensed here, one of the key points that came back was that such a station was not financially feasible.
7764 I have seen a very small station in Burlington, with something close to 30,000 listeners, I was told, put on an urban/dance show and go to over 100,000 listeners, brought on a full 24-hour, seven-day-a-week program, and grew to over 600,000 listeners. From that we have seen it spawn a Hits 103. We have seen a CISS-FM, which is a country station, as you are well aware, flip its format to a Top 40 format that certainly reflects some urban talent.
7765 When we talk about that this format cannot grow and cannot make it in this market, I say to you: Yes, it can.
7766 If you are thinking from an economic standpoint that this format cannot make it, I think the proof is definitely there. I don't think there is a lot of argument about that.
7767 My third and last point is this: There are many socioeconomic spinoffs from having such a station, from growing our people, and that is that despite the lack of mainstream support that a lot of our artists have had, we have still seen a proliferation of these artists or a proliferation or this culture in this market around the country as well.
7768 As a member, I sit as a chair of the R&B Soul Committee for the Juno Awards. We have seen that committee go from ten submissions to that particular genre to 20 and 30 submissions. We have seen rap grow from five artists to some 30-odd artists who are actually submitting material. We have seen dance artists grow from five, ten to over 30 that are submitting material. We have seen reggae do the same thing.
7769 So there is no lack of talent. There is a lack of an outlet for them to grow, for others to come in with the confidence of knowing that they have an outlet to show their stuff and to become super stars, to become bigger.
7770 It is absolutely vital for an urban station in this market. This Commission has an opportunity to make history. Could you imagine the headlines: The First Urban Station in Canada to be Licensed in 2000.
7771 It is ironic in a sense that here we are, in February 2000 when everyone is talking about globalization and global markets, that here I am or here a lot of us are still asking to be recognized in our own backyard. Isn't it ironic?
7772 This is the right thing. I feel this is the right thing and this is the right time for the CRTC, for Canada, for Toronto, for our artists.
7773 So on behalf of the Urban Music Association and certainly on behalf of the people here asking for an urban format, it would certainly be nice for us to look at this next year, or ten years from now, and instead of having one show that is finally on the air, we can then say we have another show that is debuting this month. Instead of having a Maestro Fresh Wes, who was saying that he was the one artist who could sell 100,000 records in Toronto, we would like to say that we have 20 Maestro Fresh Wes's. Wouldn't that be nice.
7774 On behalf of these people, I ask that you do take my presentation into account and grant a licence for an urban radio station.
7775 Thank you very much.
7776 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Sutherland, for coming. We are happy that you did make it.
7777 Mr. Secretary, please.
7778 MR. CUSSONS: Our next intervention is by The Guvernment, Shelley Wilson.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7779 MS WILSON: Good afternoon. It is actually The Guvernment Nightclub, spelled with a "u", not an "o".
7780 THE CHAIRPERSON: I thought it was in French. Go ahead.
7781 MS WILSON: I am going to start with an interesting and quite a touching story that I heard late in December 1999.
7782 Some one approached me at the club who was recently introduced to our Saturday evening, and they mentioned to me about a mutual friend who had a brother who had unfortunately contracted cancer. In about six to eight months the gentleman had lost close to 100 pounds and never left his house. In about the third week in December he was invited to come to the Guvernment and shied away a little bit at first, but was literally dragged kicking and screaming to the Guvernment for a night of fun.
7783 This is almost the second week in February. This gentleman has now gained 50 pounds back. He does not miss a Saturday night at the Guvernment. And when asked what he is doing differently to look so great, all he can say is the music.
7784 Something like that really moved me, because a club like mine, which runs basically because of the cultural diversity of a city like Toronto, can entertain in excess of 7,500 people every weekend.
7785 Approximately five years ago I was lucky enough to begin my career in the entertainment industry and work for a record label that is now non-existent, called Quality Music. I am extremely proud to say that I was part of the team that led the revolution to what people think of dance music today.
7786 "Dance Mix 95", the compilation, which I am sure you are all familiar with, made Canadian retail history. "Ghetto Concept" won two Juno awards. That specifically was a really rude awakening to how difficult it was to not only have Canadian music but to have urban music played on a radio station.
7787 Of course with the U.S. having people like the Puff Daddies of the world around, things like that have now changed in the radio world. But what about the Norman Cooks of the world, better known today as Fatboy Slim, who have been around producing music in the U.K. for in excess of 15 years. They still can't have their music played on a regular radio station.
7788 Working at The Guvernment Nightclub for about two and a half years now has awakened me to focus regionally on direct marketing initiatives. The closest Toronto has to SHARE FM's proposal are the minimally funded and rarely supported local college radio stations. These kids really know the future of radio, and music more specifically.
7789 It frightens me to think of all the dollars that are currently going south of the border to certain U.S. urban stations. With the likes of Madonna remixing her latest track to follow the recent craze to Dr. Dre and M&M performing together at the American Music Awards, and of course Ozzie Osborne performing live on Buster Imes' recent album, this alone should speak for the diverseness of our musical culture today.
7790 Here at The Guvernment, as I mentioned earlier, we are lucky enough to host about 3,000 people every Friday and the same on Saturday nights. It is interesting to note that 20 to 30 per cent of this clientele are Americans. They drive up here for the weekend, because they can appreciate what we are giving back to them.
7791 The crowds range on Fridays and Saturdays from Black, to Hispanic, to Asian, Indian, White, tall, short, 19-to-40, and everything in between. Our Friday nights, which is our specifically targeted urban night, there are about half a dozen songs that can be heard on radio, on obscure radio programs. Unfortunately, Saturday nights can probably claim less than 50 per cent of that. There might be three songs that are played at our club on a Saturday night that are currently being supported by Toronto radio stations.
7792 There is not one demographically appropriate FM station for licensed venues like myself to advertise on. The music is just not being played.
7793 Three or four, I an not really sure, of the top 40 pop radio stations that are currently in existence in Toronto are all competing for exactly the same market. They are all playing Brittany Spears 40 times a day. I'm sorry, but that music is for the under 14 and over 45.
7794 Somebody out there needs to wake up and realize what people are really listening to.
7795 I phoned one of the prominent downtown retail music stores yesterday and asked them for some quick facts. When I asked them, they basically said to me that the split is about 60/40 with kids out there today purchasing dance and urban product. Of course the urban side of things is pulling heavy weight right now, and that is because they have finally been given an opportunity to air their music. Dance is showing a very close second.
7796 I think the common thread that we are hearing here is an almost equal split of people buying and listening to dance and urban music. Along with the extreme diverse and multicultural society we live in, this should speak for itself.
7797 In conclusion, The Guvernment has recently done their part and put Toronto on the world-class map. We have recently had feature articles in DJ, Musique and Ministry Magazine from the U.K., Mixer Magazine out of New York City, and M8 from Scotland. Hundreds of thousands of these magazines are printed monthly. These magazines are the future of what music is today.
7798 I suggest that every single one of you go out and pick up a copy this afternoon and have a look at it, and see what is really happening out there.
7799 We live in a worldclass city, and it is about time we had a worldclass radio station.
7800 I would like to finish by inviting everybody here today to come and experience a night at the Guvernment. As one gentleman mentioned to me over lunch today, you can't describe it in words. You have to see it to believe it.
7801 Thank you.
7802 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Ms Wilson, if it is going to make me gain 50 pounds, I am not going.
--- Laughter / Rires
7803 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
7804 Mr. Secretary, please.
7805 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7806 We will now hear the intervention by Aboriginal Voices Radio Board of Directors, Gary Farmer.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7807 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Farmer.
7808 MR. FARMER: Bonjour, Madame. Good afternoon, Commissioners.
7809 My name is Gary Farmer, and I appear before you on behalf of Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) to support Arnold Auguste and Share Broadcasting.
7810 Aboriginal Voices Radio supports Share for four reasons. First, we support the inclusive approach that Share has taken in its proposed service. In listening to the previous applicant, it is very much in line with how we feel, especially in terms of our understanding of the world, the world view, and the medicine wheel concept of four directions, the four colours -- the red, the white, the yellow, the black -- and of course all the mixes of those.
7811 For so long in this country, and in North America, there has not been much communication between all the races of people that exist. Most of the information that we receive has come from a primary source, which is often referred to as the mainstream, and it often does not talk of stories that existed between relationships with the other races of man and our interpretation of history and story.
7812 So the inclusivity of the Share application is very strong, in our view.
7813 Share has proposed a visible minority centered service for a broad Toronto audience, and Aboriginal Voices Radio intends to serve a broad Toronto community audience as well, with Aboriginal centered radio programming.
7814 As well, both Share and AVR envision a strong Canadian world music presence in their radio plans.
7815 Secondly, we support the funding commitment that Share has made in its CRTC application to support the development of aboriginal radio in Toronto. I can't tell you how much I support that effort. It has never been done at this level before in the history of broadcasting.
7816 The $2 million over seven years will support AVR in its plans to develop high-quality aboriginal radio programming. The Share funding will greatly enhance AVR's ability to train and employ aboriginal radio talent, and this funding is most dramatic. It will affect AVR's ability to produce high-quality language programming, aboriginal language.
7817 Third, we support the indirect benefits that Share has committed to provide Aboriginal Voices Radio, to support and enhance our professional and business capabilities. As much as I feel qualified, I am not a professional radio broadcaster.
7818 To have that connection and support of Share and its infrastructure that it is presenting to you is a vast amount of radio experience that will really help us in our ability to produce what we are promising.
7819 The professional broadcast expertise and of course mentorship will allow AVR a much quicker learning curve as it moves into fulltime radio programming. Should Aboriginal Voices Radio be awarded a broadcast licence, this would also provide a significant cost savings to AVR's operations.
7820 Finally, we recognize the important symbolism in such a large financial commitment from a Canadian commercial radio broadcaster to support the access of radio for Canada's First Peoples.
7821 The Broadcast Act, which all commercial broadcasters are familiar with, clearly states that Canadian broadcasting must recognize the special place of Aboriginal Peoples and that Aboriginal broadcasters must be given access to the airwaves as resources become available. Yet in the hearing process Share is the only applicant, outside of ourselves, which has offered significant support and to support our access and assist the Aboriginal Peoples in radio production.
7822 This is again something I feel extremely strong about; that no other applicant has provided any support to Aboriginal People. We are clearly a priority in the current situation.
7823 $26 million is what it will take for radio service in training for reserves in Canada without any form of current electronic media outlets. That is just the reserve communities. There are 472 in Canada with absolutely no radio service at all. If we add the 528 urban communities, small towns and cities in Canada, as well without any service, that totals about 1,000 communities in Canada without any Aboriginal radio service to our people.
7824 It comes to a total of $55 million to radio-ize the Canadian and urban Aboriginal populations and people in Canada; $2 million will get this ball rolling.
7825 The need for us to build capacity to train our people and to produce programming --
7826 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Farmer, you have to keep your comments to the support of the Auguste application. I know there is a linkage, but you can't use this opportunity to further your own application.
7827 MR. FARMER: Of course.
7828 THE CHAIRPERSON: You recognize the linkage.
7829 MR. FARMER: It is all part of it, because this is the start of it all potentially.
7830 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But we are now speaking about the Auguste application.
7831 MR. FARMER: Exactly. I was just going to point out that the ethnic stations here have built their communities economically very well with radio in this market and that radio infrastructure for us is very necessary.
7832 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't want to unduly limit you, but you understand that as both an applicant and an intervenor you have to play the roles. There is overlap but they have to be distinct roles. You are now appearing in support of the Auguste application, and there are various reasons, which you are explaining.
7833 If you keep it to that, you can use your time.
7834 MR. FARMER: The Share funding of course will dramatically invigorate the broadcast and production training centre and provide a central point where Aboriginal Canadian talent can focus on their talent, development and production of spoken word and music material into radio programming.
7835 The imaginative contribution truly provides complementary service to the ongoing efforts to license an Aboriginal radio station in Toronto.
7836 Aboriginal Voices operated a radio training production centre from 1997 to 1998 in order to contribute to the establishment of a separate Aboriginal Voices radio. This centre trained among others three key members of our current team, and the public benefits which are committed in Share's broadcasting application would be used to support the development of Aboriginal radio in Toronto through a newly invigorated broadcast production and training centre.
7837 The funding would primarily be used to (1) train Aboriginal artists to produce program material for radio; and (2) to provide and produce Aboriginal radio programming for wide distribution.
7838 In addition to the operations, the centre will provide development of training programs and provide for production of high-quality Aboriginal programming for the --
7839 MR. RHÉAUME: Mr. Farmer, could I interrupt you for one minute.
7840 I think the Chair tried to inform you that at this time the purpose is not to discuss your own application and the merits of your own application and the projects that you are involved with in your application, but rather to discuss why you are supporting the application of Mr. Auguste.
7841 If there is a problem, we can stop there and you can come back for a few minutes later, after we have had a chance to discuss this.
7842 Would you rather do this?
7843 MR. FARMER: No. I think this is all discussion. I have been asked several times what the Share dollars will be used for, so I am just trying to explain that now; how we will use the funds. It has come into question quite a bit.
7844 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Farmer, we don't have an problem with you praising the Auguste application for its contribution. But you have to keep within the line of fairness; that you are now using time to support the Auguste application on its own merits, a part of which is to support Aboriginal Voices. But surely that is not the main reason for existence of the Share application, which will be an urban application.
7845 So it is a question of not appearing twice on your own behalf.
7846 We understand that there is a linkage because of the benefits that can accrue from the Auguste application, but you have to keep that as secondary and the value of the merits of the Auguste application as a radio station should be your primary subject at the moment.
7847 MR. FARMER: Okay.
7848 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chairperson, perhaps I can also add that we have exceeded our ten-minute deadline.
7849 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Farmer, taking my advice into consideration, why don't you take five minutes to speak to the Auguste application in itself on its own merits.
7850 MR. FARMER: Sure.
7851 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you understand what we are talking about, or would you like a break?
7852 MR. FARMER: No. I just have a small statement that gives you some information about the history of that. So that might help. And I will close with that, because I think I have already outlined why I support the Auguste application.
7853 After the Commission's awarding of 99.1 to CBC, AVR began a serious effort to be an applicant to the next round of licensing, which was widely recognized as perhaps the last opportunity to bring the voice of Canada's First Peoples to the largest urban area.
7854 In our initial planning we carefully considered the frequencies used, and we saw --
7855 During this whole process of us looking for that, it was brought to our attention by our technical advisors that the attention to Arnold Auguste, the publisher of Share, who was mounting an effort as well to apply in the upcoming round and that he seemed determined to provide significant recognition of Toronto's Aboriginal community in his application.
7856 As a fellow publisher, I immediately felt that this might be an opportunity to ensure that we would not be a direct competitor with the Black and visible minority communities in the upcoming CRTC process, which indeed allowed for two good deeds in one day, as it were.
7857 We reached an agreement and that the commercial operation of Share could produce sufficient funding to help us through Canadian Aboriginal talent development. It was later suggested that the $2 million over seven years would substantially build the capacity of AVR.
7858 I just want to say that the working relationship between Arnold Auguste and myself has been very cooperative and one of really trying to community build on all of our communities in all the fronts. I just want to give my wholehearted support to this application in recognition of all of that.
7859 I am sorry that I always seem to get in trouble with you. Sometimes I just don't understand all of this.
7860 Thank you very much for your time.
7861 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Farmer. Is this more complicated than being an actor?
7862 MR. FARMER: I really learn a lot here from you all. Acting is all about observation.
7863 THE CHAIRPERSON: We assume that you are well meaning, but we are just doing our director's job here.
7864 MR. FARMER: For sure. Thank you.
7865 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Farmer.
7866 Mr. Secretary, please.
7867 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7868 We are now turning to a series of supporting interventions for the 914258 Ontario Limited application, also known as Infinity Radio, Mr. Ray's application.
7869 First of all, I would like to call Mr. Babikian for the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto, to present his intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7870 MR. BABIKIAN: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
7871 Let me introduce myself. My name is Aris Babikian. I am the President of the Armenian National Federation, which is an umbrella organization for the Canadian Armenian Community.
7872 I am here today on behalf of the communities of southern Ontario to support the Infinity application.
7873 Before I start my presentation, I will ask your indulgence if I look sometimes not coherent. I just came from gum surgery, so I would ask for your indulgence and pardon if sometimes I am misunderstood.
7874 We are a community of over 35,000 in the Southern Ontario region. We are a closely knit community. We have community centres, schools and churches, in Toronto, Oshawa, Oakville, Hamilton, Kitchener, St. Catherines and the Niagara regions. Each of these community centres is the centre of our lives. We currently depend on information by word of mouth regarding community activities. We have been waiting for an Armenian radio program for a long time.
7875 Having this radio program will be one of the most important gifts for the community. It will help us in the preservation of our language, the most important part of our culture. If we did not preserve our langauge, we would have lost the most salient feature of our culture.
7876 We Armenians have a strong attachment to our heritage that has endured for over 3,000 years. We know how to preserve and survive. Even as the Armenians arrived in Canada over a hundred years ago with love for our homeland and thankfulness for the host society, Canadian society did not always understand dual loyalty. They usually regarded perpetuation of ethnic culture as a rejection of Canadian values rather than an enrichment of the Canadian mosaic.
7877 However, a tremendous change has taken place over time. Canada is an ideal country. It encourages you to keep your cultural values alive. There is no more of that melting pot theory. Canada believes in the theory of enrichment, through the preservation and propagation of each group's traditional values and in particular each group's language.
7878 We also are in the enviable position to be able to voice our concerns without any fear or hesitation, unlike many parts of this world. And I am here today to exercise the privilege that I and my community have been given through a public process that makes me feel so proud of this beautiful country of mine.
7879 I am here to tell you that our community needs a springboard to launch a vehicle to carry our message forward: the message of pride in our heritage that we have vowed never to lose; the message of the imperative value we attach to our language; the message of the need to practise our culture at home and teach our children the language we love so much.
7880 We need a springboard from an entity that is sensitive -- an entity that understand and can provide a meaningful allotment, not a sort of lip service. The kind of proposal that Infinity Broadcasting has made show that sensitivity and understanding. They are proposing a two-hour time block per week for the Armenian community: one hour on Saturday and one hour on Sunday. This is a lot more meaningful than a mere 30-minute allotment that a radio station might offer.
7881 We cannot achieve this very crucial objective of having a meaningful radio service unless a large group like the South Asian community, with its huge business and economic base, leads and establishes a broadcast service. We know that communities of our size cannot by themselves establish a radio station, as you need that flow of financial backing from a large community with a strong business base.
7882 Infinity has that backing from the South Asian community, the only ethnic community of its size and potential in GTA, besides the Chinese and the Italian communities.
7883 Because Infinity is a new player, a new entrant into the broadcasting industry, we believe that the enthusiasm, new ideas and greater sensitivity to the underserved groups will prevail at a much greater degree than if an existing broadcaster is given the licence for the 740 frequency. The very fact that Infinity has proposed at least two hours per week to smaller groups, no matter how small, demonstrates the soundness of their plans.
7884 It is of utmost importance for an ethnic language program to reflect the local community that it proposes to serve. The inclusion of Armenian language programming in the proposed station would have been an incomplete exercise if there was no prior, as well as subsequent, involvement of the Armenian community.
7885 By proposing to involve the Armenian Community Centre in the programming aspect of the service, Infinity Broadcasting has further reiterated its commitment "to make a difference". We are confident that with the training program under the leadership of Neeti and Renu Ray, and with the many talented individuals within the Armenian community, the end result will be the broadcast of professionally produced programs that will be second to none.
7886 The end result will also be the availability of a long awaited radio service that will take the Armenian community into a new era of community development. We shall also be able to connect with the Armenian communities of Kitchener, Hamilton, Oakville, Oshawa, St. Catherines and Niagara Falls. We are closely associated with each one of them. On our Armenian language programming, we would be able to communicate with them and vice versa through the reports in our sister communities in these areas.
7887 This is an exciting opportunity for us to be linked and develop community activities around this new mode of connection.
7888 We are also very pleased to note that all programs will be station produced in co-operation with the Armenian community, and all sales will be station driven. This will make the Armenian programming a permanent feature on the station, compared to those programs that are produced by individuals that lease time from the station. Such leased time slots are dependent on the revenue generating capacity of the programs and are therefore vulnerable to the demands of the station owners and high cost of air time. With the powerful backing of the South Asian community, the Armenian programmers and the other smaller programs can be supported until such time as these programs are able to stand on their own feet.
7889 In closing, I would like to make an observation. We hope that this opportunity to license a newcomer, and to bring a breath of fresh air in the industry, will not be lost in this competitive process. In this process you have a choice of either gifting the licence to an existing player and bringing little diversity in Toronto, or granting this licence to someone who will bring profound change in a region that itself has seen equally profound change in the past couple of decades.
7890 There must be other technical aspects of this process that I do not know. But I still urge the Commission to weigh the prospects more in light of how the public interest will be best served today and in the future. I would also urge the Commission to look at criteria that serve the long-term benefits of the public rather than the short term, including protection of stations that may be losing money.
7891 In this vibrant, economically prosperous city, if someone is losing money only more work needs to be done to generate revenues, not more regulatory protection.
7892 I thank you, Madam Chair, for the time. I can answer any questions if there are any.
7893 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Babikian. We wish you a prompt recovery.
7894 Does your dental surgeon know you are here?
7895 MR. BABIKIAN: No, he doesn't. I could not miss such an excellent opportunity to make my community's point and to send my community's message to you that we need this kind of service, because unfortunately our community is under-served in this area.
7896 We have schools, we have churches, we have community centres, but unfortunately not all of our community members attend. So radio is the only way we can reach the whole community.
7897 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are grateful you came.
7898 MR. BABIKIAN: Thank you.
7899 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
7900 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear the intervention by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7901 MR. SEETHAPATHY: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, thank you very much for allowing me this opportunity to present our case.
7902 I am the President of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Neeti Ray and some of his board members are members of the Chamber as well.
7903 In terms of what we would like to present to you, Madam Chair, is a kind of talk which starts from who we are and then presses the point as to why we believe that we should be supporting the application the Infinity.
7904 The story has both pride and hurt. The reason for our hurt and the pain that we will talk about has certain historical roots to it. Therefore, we feel that we are always being asked to play catch-up and never seem to be recognized that we have arrived.
7905 I think this application is a test of that, Madam Chair.
7906 On page 2 I have the overview of the Chamber very quickly. Who are we? We have about 750 members, about 50 per cent or 55 per cent as small businesses, and we have substantial financial backing by way of calling them "influencers", whether they are the brokerage or the banking sector.
7907 We have offices in Toronto and Ottawa. And we have mainstream support. I have listed the Royal Bank, Sun Life, HSBC, Bank of Montreal. There are about 20 of them, and they substantially support us with their endowments.
7908 Because we have a critical mass, we have affinity programs for our members, such as commercial and financial packages, group insurance, and the like.
7909 Most of our platforms are through quality programming, some of which are ministerial speeches. Yesterday we had lunch with the premier and the awards night that takes place once a year to recognize our members.
7910 The mission of the Chamber very quickly, Madam Chair, is to provide information and networking platforms, such that our members become successful and become role models. We also facilitate trade delegations and explore trade opportunities, no matter where they exist in the world.
7911 We also create learning opportunities through seminars, workshops and conferences; and last, but certainly not the least, we provide input to government policies and programs. Jobs Ontario 2000 was one where I participated; the Trade Committee at the ministerial level of the federal government where I sit; and the Economic Development Councils of Ottawa and Toronto, where I have participated as well.
7912 We also provide policy input to the three political main parties.
7913 With that overview, Madam Chair, I would like to take you to what our community is all about. Very diverse as it may seem, I think that there are threads that bind all of us together.
7914 From a demographics perspective, it is estimated that in the year 2000 we will reach about 500,000 people in the greater Toronto southwestern area. We were only 359 in 1996 and a mere 192 in 1991. We believe we have reached a critical mass because that is the reason why, in the past, we were always told to coat-tail on other people's licences.
7915 If that is true, then we have come at par with the Chinese and the Italians, because they are estimated to also reach a critical mass of about 500,000.
7916 72 per cent of our members in the South Asian community are first generation immigrants. I do understand why others would like to have more English content, but from our perspective our needs are very different. Perhaps 30 years from now we will also be talking about why mainstream or English language should be used. But at the moment, our prime need is the South Asian language.
7917 Most of us understand Hindustani, and I will get to that in a couple of foils. It is not very difficult to understand that the binding agent of most South Asians, in fact around most of Asia and the Caribbean, is Hindustani. And I will get to that in a second.
7918 What are the issues here before us?
7919 First is that the ethnic market itself as a segment has been the fastest growing market in the GTA and in southwestern Ontario. It is very hard to believe. But you will find heritage, language, entertainment, food, and culture has always been the mainstay in double digit growth that we have seen, even in our own membership, including the famous frozen samosas as hors-d'oeuvres that are now given through Loblaws. This was not possible ten years ago.
7920 If you have to believe that, I will have a quote from Sir John Templeton, who believes that the next biggest boom in the world is going to come from the heritage and cultural side. Here is a person who created the Templeton Fund prior to his retirement.
7921 I think the begging need here is people wish to seek their roots, and you cannot touch people's roots if you do not give it to them in the language that they want. That is my submission here as well.
7922 We have about 4,000 retail businesses. I have all these directories here just in the GTA alone. There are hundreds and hundreds of small businesses, and they are all crying that we need to market it in the language that most of our people would understand.
7923 We have entrepreneurs in the making. Many of our second generation want to issue T-4s and not take T-4s. So that itself is a business opportunity. I wouldn't be surprised if we have 8,000 retail businesses in five years from now, which is pretty well a doubling effect.
7924 Marketing opportunities we believe are untapped. Why? Because there is no opportunity.
7925 If you were to go through and peruse all this, there are very small businesses basically wanting to communicate in the language that the customer understands. Look at all the banks. Every major bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, HSBC, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, all have a director for the South Asian market. The whole marketing segment in this big billion dollar industry is going along segmentation on ethnic grounds.
7926 And let's not forget that that has to happen outside of the mainstream business as well.
7927 From a technical perspective, we have an economic engine which is revving, but we have no transmission. And if I can speak like a mechanic, there is no fluid in the hydraulic coupler. We believe that the CRTC should enable us so that all this engine that is revving is allowed to transmit and make the community more forward.
7928 What is our current status here? Look at the air time that we have. We have about 100 hours per week of Italian airtime, with two licences and a new application before you; 153 hours of Chinese, with one licence already in existence. And the South Asian bundle, as you call it, has no licence.
7929 We are the first one to be applying for a licence, but if you go through you will find that about 77 per cent, or 76.5 hours, is Punjabi. I am not expert on Punjabi, but I do understand and I do enjoy the Punjabi culture because of my maternal heritage. But I am a South Indian; I am a Tamil by my paternal side.
7930 Do I not understand Hindustani? Of course I do, because the majority of the programs that we all enjoy and live with are all Hindustani based.
7931 What is the imbalance here?
7932 The imbalance essentially is that we have the Punjabi dialect understanding -- which is only true Punjabi and not true in sense of the dialect that is quoted. It is about 25 per cent of our population, and they have 77 per cent of the airtime. We are not asking that that be reduced. And I think that is requisite.
7933 But on the flip side please do not take off the shirts and say: Therefore, we have to have a curtailment of the rest of the segment because the overall bundle has to be limited to 100 hours. 75 per cent of the balance of the South Asian community has 23 per cent of the airtime. And we think that that is an imbalance.
7934 Hindustani programming I believe is grossly underserviced. It has to be recognized that we have arrived and that the statistics and the numbers speak for themselves.
7935 What is Hindustani? Hindustani is not Hindi and please don't segregate it on that basis. It is a collective medium of what common people understand as Hindi. With Urdu in it, it is Hindustani. There are people of so many dialects in the Indian subcontinent who all would understand Hindustani. Why? Because the second biggest entertainment industry in the world is Baliwu in Bombay.
7936 Therefore we ask you, we urge you actually, to take that into account.
7937 Look at the number of immigrants it serves. We are bundled as South Asians. But look at Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, immigrants from South Africa, East Africa, parts of the Caribbean, Guyana. They all understand Hindustani. They love Hindustani. They dance to its music.
7938 To say, therefore, that Hindustani should be segmented to one particular segment or region of the world is inappropriate, in my view.
7939 My mother tongue, as I said, is not Hindustani, but I do love it and my children love it as well. If you put that in perspective, Madam Chair, Hindustani lends itself to popular film and music, classical music, poetry, culture, and social and immigrant issues as well.
7940 The programming model as outlined by Infinity is very justified in the view of the Chamber. It is essentially self-supportable. Look at all the various inputs and outputs that come through the model. We believe it is something that will sustain the market of 500,000 customers.
7941 People talk about -- and I think that is a legal issue. If you look at the track record of the Board of Directors and its president, they have been there -- and the record speaks for itself.
7942 In 1990 in the U.S.A, they were five hours per week. In 1991, as Radio India, they went to 14 hours per week. They jumped up 280 per cent. In 1992 to 1994 they had another jump of 100 per cent, to 28 hours. In 1995 to 1997 they were doing 61.5 hours of programming per week.
7943 So how do we say that this is a brand new application, or how would somebody contend that they have no operational experience?
7944 Look at the ad revenues. They are $430,000 per year from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. They were not even in prime time in the day time. If you can generate $430,000 of ad revenues per year just going from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m., imagine what would happen if you give them a licence to come to the main part of the day as well.
7945 They were running 31 hours per week commercial free; 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. And yet the station carried itself.
7946 I think with that background, with that very limited time they did extremely well. But we sold them short. We collectively, as a system, sold them short. 610 AM radio was sold, was converted to a news talk format and it plummeted by 84 per cent.
7947 I ask this question before this august body here: Where was justice at that particular time when something that was growing in triple digits was suddenly allowed to collapse?
7948 We feel that is where the pain, the hurt, the wound still lies in the South Asian community. That should not have happened and it happened.
7949 Subsequently, we know the story. You can't constantly have a yo-yo in the business, so they discontinued the business as of 1999.
7950 Look what happens in opportunity. Canadian failure has become a U.S. success. South of the border WTOR was five hours as of last year. They have suddenly bumped it up to 21 hours within a year.
7951 I would think that if you continued to disallow this licence, Madam Chair, we would have perhaps a lot of programming move south of the border. And I think that is a shame.
7952 The Infinity proposal on a business case we believe is strong. Its management track record, as per Radio India's operation, has been exemplary. It has stood on its own as a business case. It already has 61 hours per week of track record.
7953 So we are not asking that you allow us a five or ten-hour week, because we already have 61 hours per week consistently over several years. We have shown, even in limited cases, $430,000 of revenue on a 31-hour operation. So we are not asking to start from zero. We are asking that we have come, that we have arrived.
7954 The untapped market potential, I spoke to you about. They are willing to carry 22 other segmented languages. The gentleman before me just elucidated on that.
7955 Therefore, the need for the licence I think is crying. There is no capacity on six other ethnic stations. Therefore, we believe that this particular licence should be accorded to Infinity.
7956 We already have $459,000 of pledges that have been placed before you from the members of our community and the members of our Chamber. The demographic evidence is there, and the popularity of Hindustani music has also been evidenced.
7957 In closing, Madam Chair, I would like to say there is a very strong endorsement to this particular application: 80 associations in support, 1,200 letters from the business community and the members at large. We have a proven track record, and it makes good business sense.
7958 On a sentimental value, if I can leave you with this thought, I would urge this Commission to please give this application its due standing in the community. No more coat-tailing, please, and please put us on the map. That is all that we ask of you. The wounds of 1997 are still hurting us.
7959 I thank you for your time.
7960 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your participation.
7961 Mr. Secretary, please.
7962 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7963 We will now hear the intervention from His Excellency, Mr. C.V. Devon Nair.
7964 THE CHAIRPERSON: Proceed when you are ready.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7965 MR. NAIR: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
7966 Thank you for the opportunity to speak here on a subject that merits careful consideration by those who preside over policies governing public services. Time constraints oblige me to dwell on only on significant aspect of the proposal submitted by Infinity Broadcasting: nation-building in a heterogeneous society.
7967 I, too, am a product of the multicultural milieu of Malaysia/Singapore. More, I happen to be among the founders of modern Singapore, after enduring five years of incarceration as a freedom fighter, and ended my career there as President of the republic from 1981 to 1985.
7968 On achieving independence, our first preoccupation was to undo the imperialist principle of "divide et impera" -- divide and rule. British imperialism went to the extent of introducing separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims in India. We too had been told that because our societies were multilingual, we were incapable of nation building.
7969 Nationalists like the great Gandhi and Nehru thought otherwise, for they believed in equal multicultural societies. We too fought for the same ideal -- and won. Our multicultural population were ready to do without imperial rule and to work in unison for a common future in a common territory.
7970 The best definition of a nation Know of came from the revolutionary thinker Sri Aurobindo, who was the first to call for complete independence for India from British rule.
7971 I quote:
"A nation is not made by common blood, a common tongue or a common religion; these are only important helps and powerful conveniences. But wherever communities of men not bound by family ties are united in one sentiment and aspiration to defend a common inheritance from their ancestors or assure a common future for their posterity, there a nation is already in existence."
7972 Canada is certainly among the most heterogeneous nations in the world, and can justly claim to be among the most successful in the process of nation building. Leaders, citizens and residents of this great country readily profess multiculturalism as a means to assure a common future for their posterity.
7973 Policy makers and implementors cannot allow themselves to forget that the foundation of harmonious multiculturalism needs to be continually reinforced. Radio and television, among other things, can be used or abused to either strengthen or weaken it. Disruptive fault lines between different cultures that have been foolishly allowed to develop in less fortunate nations have, fortunately, not been lost on the political and cultural leaders of Canada. The quality and content of programs will be the first casualties if left solely to the private sector. Hence the need for a Commission like the CRTC.
7974 Commercial considerations are certainly not unimportant for radio stations. However, of more significant import to quality programming are the values and aspirations that motivate those who run these ventures.
7975 On this score I can personally vouch for the sponsors of Infinity Broadcasting, Neeti and Renu Ray, whom I came to know and highly respect during regular informal meetings of Canadian citizens and residents. Not only do they champion the ideal of human unity, but also wholeheartedly subscribe to the great truth that the highest attained perceptions and values of mankind are fundamentally similar. Basic human values are common to all spiritual traditions -- eastern or western.
7976 I am therefore happy that Mr. Ray has undertaken that the programs he intends to produce will cater to the needs of 22 different linguistic groups in South Ontario, and will also include cross-cultural productions to encourage mutual understanding and respect among a sizeable section of the region's multicultural inhabitants.
7977 In short, each ethnic group must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve its individuality and grow according to its own law of growth. The end result of a gradual process of acculturation in multicultural Canada is best left to a harmonious evolutionary process that will take a few generations to accomplish. It cannot be enforced.
7978 Much obliged.
7979 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Your Excellency. We thank you for your participation.
7980 Mr. Secretary, would this be a good opportunity for a 15-minute break?
7981 MR. CUSSONS: By all means, Madam Chairperson.
7982 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will be back at five to four. Nous reprendrons à quatre heures moins cinq.
--- Recess at 1540 / Suspension à 1540
--- Upon resuming at 1610 / Reprise à 1610
7983 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our hearing.
7984 Mr. Secretary, please.
7985 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7986 We will now hear the intervention by the North York Sikh Temple.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7987 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Mann.
7988 MR. MANN: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, good afternoon.
7989 My name is Gurdev Mann, and I am the president of one of the largest Sikh temples in Metro Toronto. I have lived in this country for the past 25 years. I am a Sikh, proud of my heritage, and proud of the role that the Sikh community has played in Canada since the beginning of the 20th century.
7990 It is important that I paint a small picture of what the Sikh community has meant to all South Asians and to Canada for over a century.
7991 When we arrived here more than a century ago, the first institution that our people established was a Gurudwara, which means a Sikh Temple, built in 1907 in Vancouver. This Sikh Temple was erected by the Khalsa Diwan Society, which is the oldest Sikh Temple Society in Canada. The Khalsa Diwan Society then helped to build and manage Sikh Temples in Victoria, Westminster and Abbotsford in British Columbia.
7992 For more than 40 years this Society was the main defender of not only Sikh interests, but the entire South Asian interests in Canada.
7993 Today, we have come a long way since those times. And as I appear before the CRTC in support of Infinity Broadcasting's application for a multilingual radio station, I am reminded of the role played by the earlier Sikh societies in Canada. I am appearing today not just for the Sikh community, but for the entire South Asian community.
7994 We, Punjabi speaking Sikh people of Greater Toronto, are fortunate to have so many radio programs in our own Punjabi language that serve our needs well. In fact, the majority of all South Asian programs are in the Punjabi language. These programs are well supported by a few hundred small businesses in the Punjabi community. We are a flourishing community, with a healthy business base, and living all over the Greater Toronto Area, with some concentration in the Malton, Brampton and Etobicoke areas.
7995 In the past few years, there has been considerable growth in the amount of Punjabi radio programs. This growth took place while another very popular radio program, Radio India, was growing from five hours a week to 61 hours a week on CKTB AM 610 radio. Radio India had many hours of programming each night, including three hours of commercially-free programs daily after midnight.
7996 The difference was that the Punjabi speaking immigrants from the state of Punjab loved to hear the sounds of their own Punjabi village language on these Punjabi programs, and the rest of all South Asians were listening to Radio India, which was in Hindustani. Those from Punjab have been perfectly at home with these Punjabi programs. The rest of the Indo-Pakistanis, including a number of Sikhs, have been perfectly at home with Radio India. There was an overall balance of service to all South Asians.
7997 While those from other regions of South Asia cannot understand Punjabi, the Punjabi speaking people understand Hindustani, and all movies that we watch here in Toronto are in Hindustani.
7998 Hindustani is the language spoken all over India and Pakistan. It is the national language of India. All proceedings in parliament, the courts and government offices are done in Hindustani.
7999 Coming back to the Toronto scene, all non-Punjabi South Asians were well served by Radio India. There was no match for the quality of Radio India programs. It was totally professionally presented. Even no Punjabi program can match the quality of Radio India programs. This does not mean that the Punjabi programs are not providing good service. They are doing a very good job of making this place a very homey place for those from Punjab.
8000 Licensing Infinity will give the listeners a choice between two different kinds of programs. Many mainstream English radio stations target the same audience and they give the listeners a choice to listen to what they want. This kind of listening choice is needed in the South Asian community also.
8001 In the South Asian society here, I am one of the community leaders. I feel it is my responsibility to show a clear picture to the CRTC. I am afraid that you may look at the large number of Punjabi language programs and think that the South Asian population of about 500,000 has enough radio programs.
8002 As a listener and admirer of all these Punjabi language programs, I must tell you that only 20 to 25 per cent of the total South Asian population is served by Punjabi programs. The rest of the South Asian population, whether from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka are without proper radio service. There are some Hindi programs that are half in English and half in Hindi.
8003 The day Radio India went off air, an era of proper radio service to the South Asians ended. Everyone depended on Radio India for the latest news from the South Asian community in Toronto, and from the Indian sub-continent. The musical entertainment on Radio India made this radio program a household name in the Indo-Pakistan community. With Radio India gone, there is a big vacuum that has to be filled.
8004 Radio India was outstanding in its quality and content. Until today everyone wonders whether thee will ever be a program like Radio India back on the air again. I do not think any radio station has any time slot left for such a program, unless you go across the border to find air time. You need a good block of hours, like Radio India used to have on CKTB St. Catherines. But this time we reserve it not only during the night, but also during the morning drive time.
8005 Before CKTB radio they had to broadcast from the USA. Today there is again another Hindustani program that comes from the USA on 770 AM radio, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Only last week they added one more hour every weekday, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. So now they have three hours daily during prime time, 21 hours per week. It was only five hours per week when the program started last year.
8006 Many people listen to it, just like they used to listen to Radio India. But we need to have local programming and keep our listeners and advertising dollars in Canada.
8007 I am a businessman also. I have recently started a furniture store. I would not hesitate to advertise on Infinity Radio and spend around $25 to $30 per spot on this proposed radio station if it is licensed. This will be in addition to any advertisement we would plan for the Punjabi programs, as they target a specific audience that we would benefit from.
8008 I request the Commission to license Infinity and Neeti Prakash. Licensing him will give all visible minorities a sense of greater pride and will take the history of Canada's multiculturalism one big step further.
8009 Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson and Members of the Commission.
8010 I would like to add a couple of comments if you will allow me.
8011 Radio India, which I am not involved in operating but only in listening, there is no doubt that there is a big gap out there. People have spoken to me. In our Temple a lot of people, even though they speak Punjabi, they also listen to the radio programs because they were high quality programs.
8012 We feel that there is a need for that program to be back on the air.
8013 Thank you very much.
8014 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Mann, for your participation.
8015 Mr. Secretary, please.
8016 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8017 We will now hear the intervention from the Consulate of the Slovak Republic.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8018 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
8019 MR. STEPHENS: Good afternoon. My name is John Stephens. I hope some time that you might find a better word for introducing the Chairperson rather than Chair or Chairperson. Perhaps even Presider might be better. It is such an awkward term, and it seems to pervade our society.
8020 I am pleased to make this intervention on behalf of 914258 Ontario Limited -- Infinity as I will call it through my brief. While the Slovak Canadian community numbers some 120,000 persons across Canada, a very significant part, about 35,000, is located in the area to be covered by Infinity should it be granted the licence it seeks.
8021 I regret that I have not been able to sit in on all of the applications, but from what I have heard I conclude that the Commission is being asked on one hand to entrench present broadcasters and on the other to make room for underserviced linguistic communities. I do not envy your role.
8022 Infinity has agreed to provide two hours weekly of broadcast time for the Slovak Canadian community, one of the 23 communities it wishes to serve. This would serve as the Slovak community's prime means of communication with its members. For small communities like ourselves, communication is a very important matter, because it ties the community together in this huge land of ours while at the same time reinforcing the usage of the language in Canada. But the expense can often prevent it from happening.
8023 For your information, Slovakia is located in the geographic centre of Europe bounded by Poland to the north, the Czech Republic to the west, Austria and Hungary to the south, and the Ukraine to the east. I say this because we are so often confused with Slovenia, once a part of the old Yugoslavia, which is quite a way to the south.
8024 I should also tell you -- and you must be aware -- that the Irish are descendants of the Celtic people who in earlier times were settled along the Danube basin in which is now Slovakia. From this we have concluded, if no one else has, that the Irish are Slovaks who left home early.
8025 While some Slovaks appeared in Canada in the late 1800s, immigration from Slovakia came to Canada essentially in three waves: after the First World War; after the Second World War; and after the Russian invasion of the then Czechoslovakia by Russia and its Warsaw Pact allies in 1968.
8026 The first wave of Slovaks established the organizations a community depends on: churches, fraternal organizations, social, cultural and athletic institutions, language schools, folk arts. The second brought professionals to develop the community, while the third brought career minded persons to reinforce the use of the Slovak language in the community. Each wave brought a more developed Slovak language so that the language spoken in Slovakia today is different from that spoken in Canada, especially by the elder generations. It is almost like having to learn the Slovak language all over again.
8027 Because Slovaks lived in small groups in many places -- Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, Welland, St. Catherines, Oshawa, Sarnia, Windsor -- it was inevitable toward the end of the 1940s and early 1950s that the need to stay in touch was the impetus for Mary and Paul Vyrostko to establish the Slovak Radio Club from Welland under strict conditions ordered by the predecessors of the CRTC.
8028 This, of course, served the Toronto base of the community.
8029 There was a quota as to how much Slovak music could be played, how much the announcers could speak in Slovak, and how long before English had to be spoken again. It could be said the program in those days was tolerated for an hour on Sundays in the afternoon, in time slots then considered the least likely to be listened to by others.
8030 The next program was in Italian by the Carenza Brothers, and we picked up fragments of Italian from them. Buongiorno, miei amici. Those words stick in my mind.
8031 Nevertheless, the Radio Club provided news of the community, births, marriages, deaths, religious notes, as well as Slovak folk music. Because of the rigid restrictions, and as well because under Communism it was difficult to get popular Slovak music for broadcast here, Slovak culture in Canada seemed locked in the pre-Second World War era. You can imagine the cultural shock for Slovak Canadians visiting Slovakia later to find a completely different genre of music there, one that was modern and included rock operas.
8032 The Slovak Canadian community in Ontario today has few means of communicating. Its newspapers do not hit the main part of the community whose members reside far apart. Instead of attending Slovak churches, the lure of their local churches helps in cutting off attachments to old friends, losing the sense of community, identity and attachment.
8033 Recently my family moved to Brechin on the east side of Lake Simcoe, and we were pleasantly surprised to find at least five Slovak families in the immediate area. Undoubtedly we will find more as time goes on. But this shows how dispersed our community is in Ontario.
8034 Each of us continues our interest in the Slovak-Canadian community, its arts, music and other cultural forms. These are part of our life, and they do not take away from our enjoyment of things Canadian.
8035 There are maps available which show the footprint of the broadcast area involved here. It covers the prime area in which Slovak Canadians are located in Ontario.
8036 The approval of Infinity's application would provide an incentive for our community to develop a radio service very much needed. While many of us live with one foot in the Slovak community, participating in all its events and organizations, the other foot is firmly planted in the Canadian mainstream.
8037 Many of our members have done well in the Canadian mainstream: the late Stephen B. Roman, Chairman of a uranium mining company; George Ben, a former Toronto city councillor and member of the provincial legislature; George Gross, retired sports editor of The Sun; Tony Roman, former mayor of Markham and a past Member of Parliament; the doctors Sirek at the Banting Institute; Charles Dobias, first class violinist; myself as a past Chairman of the York Region Board of Education and now consul for the Slovak Republic; and so many more who have retained their Slovak heritage while participating and succeeding in the Canadian mainstream.
8038 It is crucial that our youth be able to listen to Slovak as it is spoken and sung on mainstream media. Firstly, it reinforces usage of the language; and secondly, it recognized our language as an accepted minority language within Canada's framework of multiculturalism.
8039 For Canada's policy of bilingualism within a multicultural framework to work, it requires Canadians to feel comfortable listening to languages other than English. The Canadian educational system produces young people skilled in vocabulary and reading but not in speaking or being able to understand what is being spoken to them in French or other languages.
8040 Sure, if you can afford to send your children to French schools, they come out bilingual, for a while, until environmental factors take over in the English speaking milieu. but what about the overwhelming numbers of students who live in English speaking communities where resistance to learning any language other than English is part of everyday life?
8041 Doesn't it seem odd that learning languages in Europe is not a problem? There are many reasons for this, none the least that in a matter of hours one can travel across several different language boundaries, and the traveller will be adept in many of them. The simple reason is that the are exposed to hearing these languages and pick up the idiom readily.
8042 In English-speaking Canada, it is my view that there is a great reluctance to speaking or listening to French. Much of this, of course, is due to the prevalence of English in the media and daily life.
8043 The CRTC should, in my view, support bilingualism in a multicultural framework by encouraging scenarios in which Canadians are more exposed to French and other languages.
8044 Of course, the CRTC can't do this by itself. But it is a laugh to have a newspaper described as national, but not a word of French is in it. Our radio and television stations in the main are solidly either English or French, and rarely are the two intertwined so that even if a Canadian wanted to learn French by being accustomed to the intonation of French words, that is training one's ear, he or she can't because it is not part of the mainstream broadcast.
8045 TVO is aimed at a different audience, so I can't comment on it.
8046 Would it not be something to have the National news at 11 o'clock one night in English and in French the next? How else do you make bilingualism possible in areas solidly English speaking?
8047 You may feel that I have departed from my intervention, but I see language as a matter of not just learning vocabulary but of learning the sounds that go with it in conversation.
8048 It is important to the Slovak Canadian community to have this means of communication at our disposal, not just for our own language but for the exposition it gives to other languages. And this applies to the other language groups in Canada.
8049 This is the reason that I have taken this opportunity to speak on behalf of Infinity. It promises to expand the exposure of other languages used in Canada. Your policies in radio and television have been of great help to the French and to the native groups, particularly in the North through satellite TV. You have also helped major linguistic groups such as the Italians and Chinese, who today are well served.
8050 I ask you today to think of the other smaller groups who also need that exposure.
8051 Thank you for your attention.
8052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Stephens, for your participation in our process.
8053 Mr. Secretary, please.
8054 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8055 We will now hear from Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8056 MS DVORIADKINA: Good afternoon. I will be giving this presentation on behalf of Father Nicholas and myself. My name is Victoria Dvoriadkina.
8057 I have written in the past indicating our willingness to participate in the Russian language programming proposed by Infinity Broadcasting. We have a population of about 140,000 in the Greater Toronto Area, and the need for Russian language programming in Toronto cannot be overstated.
8058 Russians have arrived into Canada during different phases. The most notable are the two phases after the Second World War: first during the 10 years after the war; and then, from the 1970s to the present time, under the more relaxed rules of later Soviet government and the almost complete cessation of restrictions since 1991.
8059 Russian culture has its unique traits that are prevalent in the Russian society in the Greater Toronto Area. Whenever Russians gather, they usually try to organize a library, an after-hour school for their children, and musical and literary evenings that feature the works of composers such as Tchaikovsky, Mousorgsky and Rimsky-Korakov, or Russian literary giants such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Turgenev. They also cherish Russian folklore, proverbs, customs, arts and costumes.
8060 Cultural activities in Canada have been somewhat hampered because of distances between major centres and to some degree because of class differences. The urge to retain the Russian identity has been strongest among the first generation Russians. Each new wave of immigrants has revived interest in Russian heritage.
8061 That is where the role of Russian radio programming becomes significant. A Russian language radio program of meaningful duration will be most beneficial to the Russian population of the Greater Toronto and other southern Ontario areas.
8062 We have a lot to achieve through this radio program. This radio program will be for the people, by the people. Mr. Ray of Infinity Broadcasting has clearly indicated that all programs will be station produced, in consultation with Father Nicholas and myself regarding the Russian programming. His concerns regarding a high quality program shows his preoccupation with the true broadcast quality of the proposed programming.
8063 We have no doubt that under the supervision of an enthusiastic new owner of ethnic radio, the Russian programs as well as the other language programs will flourish.
8064 The Russian community has a strong business base. Our yellow pages list more than 300 businesses.
8065 As far as format is concerned, I cannot imagine 740 being granted to any format other than the one that is most in demand and short in supply -- the ethnic format.
8066 I understand there are numerous radio stations in the Greater Toronto Area. Only six of them are ethnic stations. That is less than 20 per cent of the total. The rest are mainstream English stations. The ethnic population is far more than 20 per cent of the total population of the Greater Toronto Area.
8067 There is obviously a service gap that has to be filled. The 740 AM frequency gives us an opportunity to bridge that gap to whatever extent the addition of a new station can do.
8068 I would also like to mention that I represent another group within the Russian community; that is, Russian teenagers. I teach in Northview Heights Secondary School, where we have a Russian club and numerous courses in Russian literature and language.
8069 I have heard concerns from Russian teenagers that they cannot learn true Russian culture being raised in a Communist society or being raised by parents who have been influenced by this society and propaganda. They often do not know the true Russian literature, and they do not know the literature that has been suppressed by this regime.
8070 Having heard of this opportunity of new Russian programs, they have been very excited and asking me whether they can participate and have their voices heard. They expressed concerns that they cannot address their peers and Russian friends. They cannot have a place and stage to discuss their fears, anxieties, concerns of the different behaviour that they see around. Especially after the senseless death of a student of mine, Mati Granowsky, this concern was greatly raised.
8071 Infinity brings new people in the broadcast ownership position. That creates yet another kind of diversity that we would all welcome. In short, we would support the licensing of Infinity Broadcasting for the 740 AM radio. It is our position that the licence for the 740 frequency should be granted to Infinity in the public interest and in the interest of the broadcasting system in general.
8072 Thank you very much.
8073 REV. BOLDIREFF: Madam Chairman and Commissioners, I have been in Toronto for the last 24 years as the rector of a Russian parish, and it is growing by leaps and bounds ever since Mr. Gorbachev allowed the borders to be free.
8074 There has been a great change in the fabric of my parish and of the Russian community at large. When we refer to 140,000 Russian speaking people, we do not refer to 140,000 Russian orthodox Christians or even Russian people per se. We believe that these are Russian speaking people of various backgrounds, such as the Russian Jewish background, who speak Russian in their homes and to their children. That is why the number is so large. These are some Russian speaking people who had Russian forced on them by the Soviet regime as well, and who would like to, due to the new political events, re-learn the Russian language that they were taught in schools, and so forth.
8075 So there is some interest in those particular groups also in the Russian spoken program.
8076 The Russian community has not been well served by the Russian programs in the last 25 years in Greater Toronto, and it continues not to be well served.
8077 We believe that Infinity will provide a fair and honest opportunity for Russian voices to be heard in the way that the Russian present population would like to be heard.
8078 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Dvoriadkina and Reverend Boldireff.
8079 Mr. Secretary, please.
8080 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8081 We will now hear the intervention of T. Sher Singh.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8082 MR. SINGH: Madam Chair and Commissioners, I am back.
8083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back, Mr. Singh.
8084 MR. SINGH: I am back wearing a different hat -- or a different turban, for that matter. However, I still speak on a personal basis and not as a lawyer or representative of any organization or group.
8085 I support Infinity's application because it has set out, if granted a licence, to provide a service to those communities in this area which remain grossly under-serviced. One of those communities is the South Asian community.
8086 The difficulty lies in the fact that a large number of different communities fall within the definition of the South Asian community, and I will get into that in a second.
8087 The Infinity application clearly intends to serve these South Asian communities as well as others, many of them, as you have heard, of European, Asian and other origins. However, because of the limitations of time, I will focus on just two issues.
8088 The South Asian programming. You heard a lot about the hours that the community had and now has. It is true that the South Asian community as a whole has in this general area approximately 99 hours of programming. Most of it is not during prime time, but that is another issue.
8089 But as recent as March 1998, they had not 99 hours but 160 hours, approximately; and that suddenly dropped from 160 to 99. The reason why it happened, very briefly, is that 61 hours was being broadcast from one particular station. That station was sold by one owner to another. The purchaser had assured in its application that once given the licence, it would maintain its ethnic programming.
8090 Approximately half an hour after it took over, it cancelled the ethnic programming -- and I mean literally half an hour after it took over the station; hence 160 to 99.
8091 What it did was something quite disproportionate to the South Asian programming, and I need to explain to you the logistics of the South Asian setup even though generally I am sure you are aware of it.
8092 Calling a group of communities South Asian poses a bit of a difficulty in that it would not be dissimilar to describing all the European languages or language programs as European or described them as Souther European or Eastern European or Western European and saying: You already have English and French? So why do you need Italian? You have 100 hours of European. Or you have Spanish or you have Portuguese; why do you need Italian because you have so many hours of southern European?
8093 Comparing South Asian with Italian, South Asian with Chinese, South Asian with Portuguese is completely inappropriate. South Asian consists of -- and I do not exaggerate -- at least 25 major languages. And I am not talking about dialects. The dialects number 500 or more.
8094 Each one of these has a literature as rich as English, French, Italian, Chinese, et cetera. Each has a Shakespeare. Each culture has a Michelangelo, and so on. And the languages are all represented quite substantially in Toronto. Punjabi, of course, you have heard; Hindi, Urdu, Hindustani, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, and so on and so forth.
8095 The difficulty arose from the sudden overnight reduction from 160 to 99, in that a majority of the hours that were left belonged to the Punjabi language.
8096 I am a Punjabi speaking person, and if I listen to any ethnic programming it is Punjabi. So contrary to expectations, I am not going to push for Punjabi programming. I am asking you, ladies and gentlemen, to consider that while Punjabi is reasonably represented, a vacuum has been created for the remaining languages within the South Asian group, and a major setback.
8097 To give you a simple breakdown, out of the 99 hours that are easily attributable to South Asian programming, 76.5 is Punjabi. Hindi is 14 hours, and Urdu is 3 hours. So one can lump it together as 17 hours for Hindustani. Tamil is 3.5 hours. Bengali is two hours.
8098 And I would suggest to you that if you look at this breakdown, you will understand that by merely looking at the adequacy of otherwise of South Asian programming, you will find that that statement in itself is inadequate. One needs to look at: Are these other major language groups that contribute large numbers as new Canadians being serviced? Are they finding services which prove a catalyst for them to move on from their old world to the new world to go through the process of Canadianization.
8099 It is important in considering the application of Infinity that you look at this breakdown and not the cluster of South Asian programming.
8100 The second point I would like to make is that there is a tendency in the new corporate approach to everything to amass companies. We have some important examples, such as where newspaper monopolies have developed in many parts of Canada. Fortunately, in the area of radio we have the CRTC to keep an eagle eye, to ensure that all segments of the Canadian population are served, not because it is fair, not because it is good, but if we are to move the process along, if we are to assist new Canadians in becoming full-fledged Canadians and becoming part of the mainstream, this is so fundamental a process, so fundamental a stage, so fundamental a vehicle, that it is important that such amassing not take place.
8101 I would urge you to give weight to the Infinity application, especially since it means trying a new plan, a new approach, a new scheme, tested for its viability; as you have heard, 60 hours per week of programming done by the very people who are putting this proposal forward.
8102 It gives new people a chance. It encourages initiative, innovation, creativity and competition. It is important that we bring in new people to see whether something else can also work. Maybe it will do something better. Maybe it will do something different.
8103 I would urge that in considering this application, it be kept in mind that the applicant does not already have another station, another licence, or two or three. It needs such a licence, not only to be able to serve the South Asian community, or the segments of the South Asian community that remain underserved, but all of the other communities -- a few of which you have heard from already.
8104 Finally, I should add that I am supporting this particular application for a very specific reason. A number of ethnic communities, but specifically ours, whether it is Punjabi, or Sikh or Indian or South Asian, whichever concentric circle we want to look at, have suffered grievously in the last 20 or 30 years with terribly produced programming.
8105 People have generally gone into this sort of broadcasting because they haven't had anything else to do. If they couldn't find other work or employment, they thought it would be nice to do this sort of thing. We have suffered on and on as a result, some merely regurgitating programming produced elsewhere, produced years ago, et cetera.
8106 The programming produced by Mr. Ray, the principal of this particular applicant, brought a sea change in the quality of programming. You have heard some of the testimony today, but let me assure you that it was not just a change; it was a quantum leap for a standard general bad programming to a very high quality programming. Hence, the kind of support that you have heard from across the South Asian community today.
8107 I would urge you to give as much weight as you can to this particular element, this particular fact, because it is important to the community that it be exposed to good programming as opposed to just lots of programming.
8108 Thank you.
8109 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Singh.
8110 Mr. Secretary, please.
8111 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8112 We will now hear the intervention by Mitra Manesh.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8113 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Manesh, good afternoon.
8114 MS MANESH: Good afternoon, Commissioners. Thank you for saying my name correctly, by the way. Not many people do.
8115 MR. CUSSONS: My pleasure.
8116 MS MANESH: As the gentleman said, my name is Mitra Manesh. I am an immigrant woman from a non-English speaking background. I am a Persian and Iranian, however you know it, and I have lived in the Asian, European, Australian and North American continents. I am a Canadian. I consider myself Canadian because Canada is home for me. I am a Canadian by choice.
8117 The reason I am here is because Canada not only tolerates diversity but also celebrates diversity.
8118 I have been a commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I am a member of a tribunal. I have led Canadian organizations since my arrival eight years ago in Canada. I am also a consultant to Canadian corporations who want to achieve their full potential in the area of leadership, communication and image management.
8119 So you can say that I am well settled in such a short of period of time that I have been in Canada. The reason that has happened is because I am very comfortable with where I come from. I am very comfortable with my identity and heritage; yet I feel at home with Canadian mainstream society, culture and community.
8120 That just doesn't happen on its own. You need tools for things like that to happen. I don't know if you ever felt completely isolated in your life. I hope you haven't and I hope you never do. But as a person who has gone through the experience of war, revolution, emigration, immigration, separation and many other experiences such as that many, many times, I had to deal with isolation many times and I know it too well.
8121 I also know that one of the tools that I talked about that helps individuals become part of the mainstream society is to be in touch with what is current, with what is happening, with the law, with the changes, with events. These things only happen if you are in touch with the media.
8122 As you know, my community does not speak English as a first language, and it would be very difficult to access written media. We have about half an hour of TV programming and a total of two and a half hours of radio programming, and that is at odd times on the weekend.
8123 What Infinity is suggesting, which is five hours of weekly program for my community, is what the Iranian community really needs. It is during the week. It is at prime time, 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock, where people have gone home from school, from work, and it means something to the community. A token half hour program wouldn't mean anything to any community.
8124 We need continuity. We need a place that will unite the community together.
8125 My community does not even have a body that you can call Iranian community place or house or social agency. So there is no place to go to call up on the community, whether you have information to share, whether you have a warning to give them.
8126 I know this because many times I had very important information for the community, and I had to wait until the next Sunday to give that information to my community. Most of the time it was just too late, and the information was too old anyway.
8127 I want to tell you about the experience of the Iranian community in Los Angeles. I hate to use that as an example, but I have to because it is a very, very successful story.
8128 The Iranian community in Los Angeles is very successful because they have interesting access to the media. As you might know, Los Angeles is very scattered. There is no sense of community there. But the Iranian community has a 24-hour radio. From heart surgeons, to mechanics and babysitters, they call in and provide information to the rest of the community. The Iranian community enjoys a very high self-esteem in Los Angeles.
8129 I think the media, the radio program in particular has a lot to do with it.
8130 StatsCanada in 1991 indicated that the population of the Iranian community is about 17,350 in GTA. StatsCanada in 1996 indicated that the population of the Iranian community in GTA is 28,850. That is about 66 per cent growth rate.
8131 Even if we conservatively take that growth rate and translate it into 2000, we will have more than 50,000 people in GTA right now. I think that will say a lot.
8132 A community that is very new, a community that is not united, that doesn't have a place to go, needs somehow to come together. I think what Infinity is suggesting will contribute towards that oneness.
8133 I actually am going to be less than the ten minutes that I am allowed, not because I want to be kind to you, but also because I have to catch a plane.
8134 So this is it, if you have any questions.
8135 I just want to tell you and indicate one more time that I personally have considered supporting this application very seriously and had to adjourn a hearing to be here on time. But I wanted to tell you that I wholeheartedly support the application of Infinity.
8136 Thank you very much.
8137 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Manesh, for your participation.
8138 Mr. Secretary, please.
8139 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8140 We will now hear the intervention of Ed Rempel.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Rempel.
8142 MR. REMPEL: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, my name is Ed Rempel and I am a financial planner in Brampton, Ontario. I am here during the peak of RRSP season because of the importance of this matter.
8143 I am here before you today, Madam Chair, in support of Neeti Ray's application for a licence to carry on radio broadcast service on 740 AM frequency.
8144 As I said in my letter in support of Infinity Broadcasting about a month ago, licensing Infinity will bring a new kind of diversity, that we would all welcome very much. Infinity brings new people in the ownership ranks within Canada's broadcast industry.
8145 In my opinion, a profound change of direction takes place when a new, freshly formed entity is given such an opportunity. In this case, the profound change of direction will take place in Canada;'s ethnic broadcast sector. Here is a prospective new entrant into the broadcast ownership position, ready and equipped to navigate and take this proposed new ship into a new direction towards the Toronto of tomorrow. This ship is loaded with many other passengers, who could not find appropriate accommodation in other ships.
8146 The ethnically most diverse city in the world, Toronto, is the epitome of multiculturalism. There are more than a hundred languages spoken in GTA. My heritage language, German, is one of them. It is spoken by a considerable percentage of the more than 450,000 Germans living in southern Ontario.
8147 Since the coverage contours of the proposed station encompasses the region extending from London to Niagara Falls and beyond, the impact of a German language programming will be significant. In fact, in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge regions I know of a good number of Germans who are not well versed in English. In Toronto, too, there are a large number of Germans more comfortable in german than in English.
8148 The proposed station plans to set up a stringer network, thus bringing the communities of the different localities together. When Oktoberfest is celebrated in the Kitchener area, for example, the aroma of the festivities will quickly spread to Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa and the Niagara regions. It will trigger the festive feelings in all germans across southern Ontario.
8149 That is just one instance that comes to mind.
8150 There are all the other 21 languages that will be on the airwaves, possibly in 60 to 90 days after being licensed, as Infinity has said in the application. Each locality within 740 AM's service contours has a significant ethnic population. The example of the German community I just gave applies to many other communities that will feel linked through the broadcast plans of Infinity.
8151 It is also important o note that in order to provide service to a number of ethnic groups that do not have proper broadcast service, you need a large community to be the driving force. A critical mass is needed to support the radio station.
8152 I can cite three examples of critical masses in Toronto: the Italians, the Chinese and the South Asians. The Italian and Chinese masses have been utilized to build stations, and in the process many other smaller satellite groups have been served.
8153 The many ethnic groups that have improper broadcast service, or no service at all, need another critical mass to piggy back on.
8154 The South Asian community is next in line. It has a strong economic base. The wave of new immigrants from South Asia still continues. New services to fulfil their needs keep growing. The business sector of the South Asian community, like their increasing population, has grown at a very fast rate. The thousands of South Asian businesses in the Greater Toronto Area are testimony to this growth.
8155 There are a few applications for the 740 frequency. If another applicant, namely CHIN radio, is licensed, it will be at the exclusion of those ethnic groups that Infinity proposes to serve. The end result of this public hearing process must be better service to the public.
8156 If the concerns of today's unserved or improperly served language groups are not addressed during this hearing, it will be increasingly difficult to address them in the future. Not only that the size of Toronto's ethnic population will increase considerably, thus enlarging the under-served groups, but also that there will no longer be an adequate frequency available to add another radio station in the future. You may have some very low power frequency not strong enough to serve the Greater Toronto Area, let alone the rest of southern Ontario where much of the German community is.
8157 We have to build a strong social structure for Canada. Canadian society, especially in an ethnically diverse region like southern Ontario, is made up of many components. Each component is equally important for the overall development of our society. Some components would do better than others. Some would have less opportunities than others, through no fault of their own. It is the components with less opportunities that need to be given the opportunity. It is almost a question of equity and balance of opportunity.
8158 To license Infinity will mean a step forward in bringing equity among the less served 22 components of our society. On the other hand, giving this licence to an entity like CHIN will only mean better service to the already better served communities that CHIN is currently serving. We need to look after the needs of those components of our society that need to be lifted to the level of the better served. If a public process like this one fails to do that, it will defeat the very purpose of this public hearing.
8159 Infinity proposes to provide service to 22 distinct ethnic groups, to bring them at par with those that are being served well by other stations. Infinity also proposes to enhance service to some of those language groups that currently do receive service, but at an inadequate level. Licensing Infinity will therefore be a corrective measure. On the other hand, again, not licensing Infinity may mean that these underserved, needy groups will for a long time remain marginalized.
8160 Even as far as quality of service is concerned, Infinity's proposal stands out. They propose a very meaningful allotment of air time to each language program. Let's face it, there is no point giving a community a 30-minute slot on the radio and say that the community is well served.
8161 Infinity has proposed two-hour time slots to the smaller language groups each week: one hour on Saturday and one hour on Sunday. This is a decent gesture on the part of Infinity.
8162 I am very pleased to see that Infinity has proposed a two-hour time slot during prime time for the German programs for the coming home from work crowd. The German population, in excess of 450,000, will for the first time have prime time radio in southern Ontario. The German population in other parts of southern Ontario, especially Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, and also the St. Catherines area, will find the programs equally exciting. The listening audience will be very large because of the extended coverage area.
8163 I speak English, but understand and relate to German in a special way. The German language is the sound of my culture. I would be one of the avid listeners of the German programs on Infinity, if licensed. And there is an abundance of those like me.
8164 I am also aware that the German language programming in Manitoba is one of the most popular there.
8165 There are also hundreds of German businesses that would benefit from the cost effective advertising opportunity on Infinity Broadcasting.
8166 Finally, if the purpose of this hearing is also to bring further diversity to Toronto's broadcast world, then licensing Infinity would create the best example of that diversity. Whether you look at it from the point of view of ownership ranks or service to be provided to 22 less served groups, in my opinion, Infinity is the only answer to the diversity question during this hearing.
8167 I, therefore, very respectfully ask the Commission to license Infinity Broadcasting for the 740 AM frequency.
8168 Thank you very much.
8169 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Rempel, for your participation.
8170 Mr. Secretary, please.
8171 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8172 We will now hear the intervention by Sonal Ghandi.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8173 MS GHANDI: Good afternoon, Madam Commissioner. My name is Sonal Ghandi. I am a third year medical science student at the University of Toronto.
8174 With the privilege of living in a multicultural society, I have always been intrigued and concerned by the issues pertaining to multiculturalism and its ramifications. I have been school Multicultural Advisor, workshop and assembly co-ordinator, and have attended workshops myself on the issues of racism and immigrant youths.
8175 From all of my experiences, I have learned one resounding fact: Culture is who we are. Those who deny their roots likely live empty and meaningless lives.
8176 I have experienced first-hand the tribulations of minority youths attempting to integrate into the majority by succumbing to peer pressure and media influences. Self-esteem and peer acceptance are huge issues for any youth; for minorities, the battle is greater.
8177 Being surrounded by a culture so different from our families' is fazing; values can clash and hence damage family life, and we all know that a stable family atmosphere is vital.
8178 With public examples of our own culture around us, it is easier to understand and accept that our uniqueness is precious. In order to instill a strong cultural identity in children, it is important for there to be a confirmation of who they are.
8179 The medium of radio can aid in doing just that. The media is so powerful and plays a role in the development of all individuals. For ethnic minorities, this development must include a validation of their cultures and backgrounds. We must have a strong identity to be strong Canadian citizens involved in all aspects of mainstream life.
8180 As a South Asian born and brought up here, I am grateful for such institutions as Radio India. Our family had been a regular listener of Radio India since its inception many years ago. As you know, Infinity Broadcasting aired this program every evening, seven days a week, until some time ago. It was a part of our life -- the sounds of the language, the rhythms of the poetry, the melody of the music, brought to us the presence and vividness of a living culture. It helped me to secure my identity. It helped me to become one who was comfortable to share my culture with others, and encourage and enjoy their cultures too.
8181 From my experiences organizing multicultural shows and assemblies, I was lucky to witness the amazing love and thrill amongst all the participants. Everyone walked a little taller knowing that their culture was on display and applauded; everyone walked a little taller because they applauded another culture's display of pride as well. This is what a mosaic society is all about. This we cannot deny.
8182 Canada is a multicultural society, as declared by the constitution, and as clearly outlined in the Multicultural Act of July 1988. Excerpts from the policy outlined by this Act strongly advocate the preservation and sharing of all cultures found within this country.
8183 Another station had stated here last week that English is the essence of Canada's multiculturalism. Madam Chair, in my opinion, that was a sad day for Canada's multiculturalism.
8184 Think of Canada as a hearty stew: a common broth consisting of the country and its official languages, most notably English, serves as the uniting factor in the soup without a doubt. However, the individual ingredients, carrots, peas, et cetera, are, although swimming in the same base, still unique and recognizable entities, each with its own flavour. Now imagine putting this stew into a blender to make a puree. The integrity of each individual spice and vegetable has been obliterated; there is a melting of all the flavours into one, so that the carrot no longer is distinguishable from the pea. The mosaic has been wiped out.
8185 By denying the South Asian community an outlet to express its flavours, one is turning on the blender for the entire Canadian society. But we are not a melting pot. How can one ignore the fundamental structure of Canada?
8186 It is stated in the Multicultural Policy that:
"...the Government of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canadians as regards race, national, or ethnic origin, colour and religion as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society and is committed to a policy of multiculturalism designed to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians..."
8187 The South Asian cultures cannot be preserved or enhanced without adequate outlets. As a second-generation young adult of South Asian descent, I require such an outlet. As a sensitive Canadian citizen, I believe that this outlet should be available to all ethnic groups, big and small.
8188 Infinity Broadcasting is this outlet. Not only will the station be catering to the large South Asian population which is comparable in size to such groups as the Italian and Chinese communities, but it will also be allotting two-hour segments to, for example, as you have heard already, the Armenian and Ghanaian communities. This is a significant amount of airtime, which beats by a large margin the token half-hour proposed by other stations.
8189 There is simply a need for such a resource to be available for ethnic communities.
8190 As I mentioned before, we need a strong cultural identity. For this, we need a robust, proud ethnic community. For this, we need to hear our language.
8191 Other South Asians growing up here have expressed this to me emphatically. We want our children to know our language and to know our culture. I believe it is of utmost importance to know our own language, Hindustani, most importantly because it carries in its fold the essence of culture. Without the language, very simply the culture is dead.
8192 For example, the practice of the main Hindu religious festival, Diwali, continues today because it was carried from scripture through our language. These scriptures date back to 5,000 years BCE. Our culture as portrayed through our music and dance is also carried through the language.
8193 Quite simply, most of us speak Hindustani at home; it is part of our lives. Language is the very soul of our culture, and its preservation and perpetuation is of utmost importance. What binds the South Asian community together is the Hindustani language.
8194 We have sufficient English language programming in Toronto. CHIN provides most of its South Asian programming in English. What is badly lacking is programming in Hindustani. Furthermore, we need positive and adequate mainstream media coverage. If not mainstream, at least we can get some ethnic media coverage.
8195 Eighteen thousand people attended the Diwali functions at the ACC this past fall. There was no mention of this in any of the mainstream papers. So as you can see, there is a need for our community to have exposure.
8196 It is not that we are asking for something new. We had Hindustani language programming on Radio India. It fulfilled to a large extent the needs of our community, though the Radio India programs were nightly. I am aware that thee is ample Punjabi programming. However, these Punjabi programming, of 75 to 100 hours every week, cater to only about 20 per cent of the South Asian population.
8197 I also agree, as you heard before, that the Punjabi community has a business base that can support these programs. But I also must stress the fact that there are other equally affluent groups with the South Asian community. For instance, businesses owned by the Gujarati and Tamil communities match or surpass in number those within the Punjabi community. Furthermore, we have so many other communities within the South Asian community that naming all of them would only emphasize the complexity i gauging the real needs of South Asians.
8198 There are immigrants from 25 states in India and those from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. A total of 18 regional languages are spoken within the South Asian community. But the most common language is Hindustani.
8199 The simple fact is that all South Asians cannot relate to Punjabi programming. These programs cater to only a very select group of people who are from the state of Punjab. My own parents are from Punjabi speaking families but not from the state of Punjab; they cannot relate to these programs at all. Of course, I cannot either. This is primarily because of the dialect, which is alien to them, and also because the context of these programs is the Sikh religion, which is not the predominant religion of South Asians.
8200 I am not certain why exactly so many Punjabi shows have been springing up. Perhaps it is a trend. Nonetheless, the fact remains that although it may seem that the South Asian community has adequate representation on the radio, this is largely a misconception.
8201 The bottom line is that the South Asian community, especially in the absence of Radio India, is so badly under-served that suggesting otherwise will greatly undermine the actual needs of the community.
8202 We are one of the largest communities in the Megacity, and there is an urgent need to re-establish a quality Hindustani language programming that everyone from the Indian sub-continent can understand. There must be both equality and choice of service.
8203 I am proud to be Canadian, but I cannot ignore history, culture, religion or, quite simply, genetics. I need to be able to hear my ethnic language spoken. I need to be able to have an epicentre of my culture, where I can have my concerns understood and be understood, period. This is what Infinity Broadcasting will provide.
8204 Radio India was always there, reminding me that I have roots in another country, that there is a world outside my own concocted shell. This shell exists for many ethnic minorities. Be it as a result of culture clash or racism, it is what protects us from being different, but purees our integrity and identity.
8205 The Multicultural Policy recognizes:
"...the understanding and creativity that arise from the interaction between individuals and communities of different origins."
8206 Speaking the same national language is not sufficient interaction and is not enough to bind us. To be tolerant towards others, we must be tolerant towards ourselves first. We must understand our heritage and be proud of it. Only such institutions as Infinity Broadcasting can provide a positive source of learning for second and third generation immigrants.
8207 The media is riddled with stereotypes and ignorance. Once we are fully aware and comfortable with whom we are, we can teach others and be tolerant to their teachings. The result of such mutual tolerance can only be positive, giving way to enrichment of knowledge, life, and both literally and figuratively, more exciting flavours.
8208 Who better to add to this stew called Canada than a professional, dedicated, experienced team such as Infinity Broadcasting. Mr. and Mrs. Ray have always been an inspiration to me, to young women, to our community as a whole.
8209 I love urban music. Urban music is part of who I am and part of my peers. And that just goes to show that we need an outlet for who we really are. Urban music is not who we are; urban music is a pastime.
8210 Thank you.
8211 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Ghandi.
8212 Mr. Secretary, please.
8213 MR. CUSSONS: I would now like to invite Rieko Hagimoto to present her intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8214 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms Hagimoto.
8215 MS HAGIMOTO: Good afternoon. My name is Rieko Hagimoto. I have been in Canada for ten months. As a Japanese and proud of my heritage language, I strongly support the application by Infinity Broadcasting.
8216 I know that there are many Japanese like myself who feel that we are kind of taken for granted. Just because our numbers are not as high as many other communities, we can settle for a 30-minute per week program. The truth is that we need a quality radio program in our language just as much as any other larger language group does.
8217 The Japanese-Canadians have a special attachment to their culture and history. After the Second World War, and after going through the most trying time of life in Canada, we have learned that every culture deserves its own place in a country, and that place has to be protected. The essence of each culture contributes to the making of a country. Canada is a country of many cultures. In order to protect the true Canadian identity, we have to preserve and perpetuate the riches that each culture offers.
8218 It should go without saying that the only language that can carry our real self forward is our own heritage language. It is the language that we think in. I do not think in English. I think in Japanese. There are many Japanese like me in Toronto.
8219 I am first generation Japanese. Then there are second, third and fourth generation Japanese in Toronto. Many of those that speak and are comfortable in English know at least some Japanese. In my view, they would have known more Japanese if they were exposed to the language on a regular basis. Most of them would like to have some more Japanese around them. But it is just not possible when you are surrounded by nothing but English. There is nothing wrong with being surrounded by English as it is the mainstream language of this country. But the Japanese language cannot be replaced by any language as far as the Japanese people are concerned.
8220 A Japanese will always be a Japanese at heart and in soul, whether he or she speaks Japanese or not. But the attachment the Japanese people have to the Japanese heritage is also an expression of the desire to keep the connection with that heritage through the Japanese language. The sound of our language means a lot to every Japanese, including those in Canada.
8221 At present I know of a program on CHIN radio that is only 30 minutes per week. It would be very difficult to even remember to tune in to a program that comes once a week for 30 minutes. There is not much we can do in 30 minutes; no talk, discussion or open line show. But the two hours per week proposed by Infinity Broadcasting would give a good opportunity to the Japanese people to re-live the sounds of their heritage, and to take the radio program seriously. In fact, I believe that this program would become so popular because of the length of time provided that many Japanese businesses that currently depend only on Japanese print media would switch to Infinity for their advertising needs.
8222 The Japanese population of the GTA and the rest of southern Ontario is over 20,000. The number of Japanese residents who are staying as representatives of various trade and business organizations from Japan is also a sizable one. Businesses owned by Japanese immigrants are in numbers that should be able to support the station through advertising. I know that the Japanese yellow pages in Toronto has over 350 Japanese-Canadian business listings.
8223 There are also many Japanese talents in Toronto, including prospective broadcasters who could become professional broadcasters with some training.
8224 Also, most Japanese automobile companies, like the one in Aliston, Ontario, would provide a fair number of listeners whose first language is Japanese. These are well placed, high earners who would in turn generate further business to the advertiser.
8225 I also believe that licensing Infinity Broadcasting will result in many other benefits. There are so many other smaller ethnic groups that Infinity will provide service to. Existing stations do not have any time slots available; otherwise many other language groups would have been airing their programs.
8226 To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Neeti Ray would be the first visible minority to be licensed for a new radio station in Greater Toronto. that will mean something truly new for Toronto's radio sector. Everyone will feel that Canada's multicultural policy is being truly reflected.
8227 Of course, you would not license someone just because he is a visible minority. But the fact is that Mr. Ray is truly qualified and deserving because of his 20 years of experience and the successful track record in the past many years. I understand he had a successful radio program for nine years until last year, called Radio India.
8228 There may be a short cut available to the CRTC by licensing an existing, very experienced radio station. But doing that will not bring anything new into Toronto's market. What we need is new blood. It will stimulate the whole ethnic radio sector. Some broadcasters who were taking it easy will wake up and do a better job. If Infinity is not licensed, it would mean licensing an existing radio station. That would result in failure to bring any new diversity to the Toronto radio sector.
8229 For the sake of all the groups that Infinity proposes to serve, and for the sake of the future requirements of Toronto's fast growing ethnic population, I strongly urge the CRTC to license Infinity Broadcasting for the 740 radio frequency.
8230 Thank you.
8231 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Hagimoto, for your presentation.
8232 Mr. Secretary, please.
8233 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8234 We have one more appearing intervenor in support of Mr. Ray's application today, and it is the Consul General of Malta.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8235 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Vassallo.
8236 MR. VASSALLO: Madam Chair, Commissioners, good evening. After hearing all the speakers before me, first of all, like the representative from Armenia, he came from the dentist. I am suffering from jet lag. I arrived yesterday, and in the evening I was told that there would be my presentation on Thursday, and then ten minutes later I was informed that it is going to be today.
8237 So I apologize to you that I had no chance to prepare a paper to distribute to each one of you. But I am sure that my presence here is extremely imperative on behalf of my Maltese community.
8238 Briefly, I will tell you that I have been here 21 years, an I have been appointed Consul General --
8239 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Vassallo, could you push the mike back. It is difficult to hear you.
8240 MR. VASSALLO: Sorry. Briefly, to let you know, I have been here for 21 years, and I have been appointed to represent the Maltese community by the Government of Malta since 1988.
8241 Briefly, the history of Malta dates back to 6,000 years B.C. We have the freestanding temples in Malta which are 1,000 older than the pyramids of Egypt. We were converted to Christianity way back when St. Paul in A.D. 60, and on account of our strategic position right in the middle of the Mediterranean we have always been a bridge between North Africa and Europe.
8242 Naturally, on account of our strategic position throughout the ages all the major powers in Europe have left their imprint in Malta, going back to the Romans, Carthagenians, the Arab denomination. Then we were delivered in 1099; in 1530 the Knights of Malta came over; in 1798 Napoleon on his way to Egypt conquered Malta; and then we became a British colony in 1900 until we gained independence in 1964.
8243 As I said, I represent a strong community of 40,000 Maltese. I am extremely proud to represent such a great community. We are tightly knit, but naturally we need to hear our voice heard. This gave me the opportunity way back in September. I kept in touch with Mr. Ray, and the more I spoke to him, the more I see how dedicated and what a professional person he is. And I jumped at the opportunity that at last we, as a community, would have a chance of airing our views, our talent, our culture, our tradition, in this multicultural great country which we call Canada.
8244 As I said, I came here in 1979 and became a Canadian citizen, and my wife and my daughter five years later. I am very proud of my roots, and I am here to plead with you that I sincerely hope that Infinity will get the licence and that my next presentation will be on 740 AM.
8245 Thank you very much. I know it is short and brief, but in actual fact I told my wife -- she is at the dentist -- that I will pick her up at 5:30. And I think the speakers before me made such strong recommendations and great presentations that I am sorry that mine was perhaps not as good and as strong as it was meant to be, but as I said, without any excuses, I only knew about this meeting yesterday evening.
8246 I thank you for giving me the chance, and I sincerely hope that my plea to you will not fall on deaf ears. Thank you very much for the opportunity you gave me.
8247 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Vassallo. You see now if your next presentation is on 740, you will know how to use the mike.
8248 I believe, Mr. Secretary, that this completes our day?
8249 MR. CUSSONS: Yes, it does, Madam Chairperson.
8250 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 to hear the interventions in the CHIN applications.
8251 MR. CUSSONS: Actually, Madam Chairperson, I have been advised that Mr. Enzo Gabrielli from A.M.E. Records who was to be with us earlier this week but unfortunately suffered a loss in his family will be joining us tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. Following his presentation we will hear the interventions in support of the CHIN applications.
8252 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I would remind participants -- although there are not many here -- that we will adjourn for lunch tomorrow from 12:00 to 2:00 and hear replies after the lunch break.
8253 Good evening to everybody. Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1730, to
resume on Thursday, February 10, 2000 at 0900 /
l'audience est ajournée à 1730, pour reprendre
le jeudi 10 février 2000 à 0900