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Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
VARIOUS BROADCASTING APPLICATIONS FOR BROADCASTING LICENCES TO CARRY ON RADIO PROGRAMMING UNDERTAKINGS TO SERVE EDMONTON, ALBERTA, PUBLIC NOTICE CRTC 2002-29 AND RED DEER, ALBERTA, PUBLIC NOTICE CRTC 2002-75
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION VISANT L'EXPLOITATION D'ENTREPRISES DE PROGRAMMATION DE RADIO POUR DESSERVIR EDMONTON (ALBERTA), AVIS PUBLIC CRTC 2003-29 ET RED DEER (ALBERTA), AVIS PUBLIC CRTC 2003-75
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Shaw Conference Centre Shaw Conference Centre
Salon 8 Salon 8
9797 Jasper Avenue 9797, avenue Jasper
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton (Alberta)
June 19, 2003 Le 19 juin 2003
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
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
VARIOUS BROADCASTING APPLICATIONS /
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Andrée Wylie Chairperson / Présidente
Barbara Cram Commissioner / Conseillère
Andrew Cardozo Commissioner / Conseiller
Stuart Langford Commissioner / Conseiller
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Peter McCallum Legal Counsel /
Steve Parker Hearing Coordinator /
Coordonnateur de l'audience
Pierre LeBel Secretary / Secrétaire
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Shaw Conference Centre Shaw Conference Centre
Salon 8 Salon 8
9797 Jasper Avenue 9797, avenue Jasper
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton (Alberta)
June 19, 2003 Le 19 juin 2003
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PAGE / PARA
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
Mr. Robert Tarleck (Mayor, Lethbridge) 289 / 1641
REPLY BY / RÉPLIQUE PAR:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) 294 / 1681
Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. 295 / 1689
Newcap Inc. 296 / 1697
Rogers Broadcasting Limited 301 / 1730
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Community Radio of Saskatoon Inc. 308 / 1773
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Rogers Broadcasting Limited 364 / 2167
Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. 454 / 2700
OK Radio Group Ltd. 565 / 3352
Edmonton, Alberta / Edmonton (Alberta)
--- Upon resuming on Thursday, June 19, 2003 at 0900 /
L'audience reprend le jeudi 19 juin 2003 à 0900
1633 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. A l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
1634 Good morning and welcome or welcome back to our hearing.
1635 Mr. Secretary, please.
1636 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1637 The first appearing intervenor this morning will be Mr. Robert Tarleck, who is the Mayor of the City of Lethbridge.
1638 Can you hear me, Mr. Tarleck?
1639 MR. TARLECK: I can. Good morning.
1640 MR. LeBEL: Good morning. You have ten minutes to make your presentation. Go ahead whenever you are ready.
1641 MR. TARLECK: Thank you. Good morning. Bonjour.
1642 I am not sure that this is going to take ten minutes. I just want to say that the Rogers stations, The River and Rock 106, have been important community contributors.
1643 There is a whole host of things that they have done, but one of the most stressful incidents that took place during the first year of my term was a flood we had in June of 2002. That involved city staff and my office being pretty well on call 24 hours a day for the major part of a week. During that time we depended very much upon The River and the Rock to provide up to date information to the public. That was very important in terms of ensuring public safety and ensuring that people stayed out of the river valley and things of this nature.
1644 One of the most important parts of that was our ability to avoid a boiled water situation. You may wonder why that would be so important. It is important because we have a high concentration of food processing in this area. If we had gone to a boiled water situation, we would not only have had to shut down all of those operations -- and some of them that are outside the City of Lethbridge that are on our water as well, such as McCain's Potato -- but once you are off the boiled water, then it takes a couple of days to purge the whole line.
1645 We were in a very difficult situation, and I made an appeal using the media and The River and Rock 106 in particular, urging people to dramatically reduce their water consumption.
1646 We were successful. We made a reduction in water use of over 35 per cent overnight, which enabled us to build back our reserves and avoid the boiled water situation.
1647 So for someone in another city that might not seem important, but for our community that was critically important. Without the assistance of those radio stations, almost certainly we would not have been successful in that regard.
1648 They have done other things as well. We have a very active "Care from the Heart" campaign program in the Lethbridge Regional Hospital. I am sure you can imagine how stressed hospital systems are for cash. Part of the success of that program has been the ongoing support of both The River and the Rock.
1649 During the planning we did for Y2K, both radio stations were an integral part of that. As a matter of fact, they play an integral part in our emergency response system.
1650 They have been involved in programs to raise scholarship funds for the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Community College, and most recently they have been very involved in the case of BSE.
1651 Please don't call it "mad cow". That is a bad term in southern Alberta, because this is an issue that strikes at the very heart of the economic fabric of southwestern Alberta.
1652 This is an important Canadian issue. It is an important Alberta issue. But more than anything else, it is an issue that affects southern Alberta. They have played an important role in this.
1653 Later this morning I am having a press conference. One of the purposes of that press conference is to indicate my appreciation to the federal and provincial government for the manner in which they responded.
1654 I think one of the things that helped us bring about the response of over $400 million in aid to that industry is the support of both those radio stations.
1655 You may be aware that about a week and a half ago we had a barbecue in the rain in front of City Hall, and we had about 2,500 people. There is no doubt that the ongoing support of The River and the Rock were critically important in helping to bring that about.
1656 They have been good corporate citizens in my community. Occasionally they have been critical of some of the things I have done, but I don't think you should be overly harsh with them for that action.
1657 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that it, Mayor Tarleck?
1658 MR. TARLECK: Yes, it is.
1659 THE CHAIRPERSON: And bonjour to you, too.
1660 M. TARLECK: Bonjour. Bienvenue ici en Alberta.
1661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for participating. Don't worry about criticism. We understand all about it.
1662 MR. TARLECK: I can appreciate that.
1663 Do you have any questions for me?
1664 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Commissioner Williams has a question for you.
1665 You know, of course, Commissioner Williams is our regional commissioner for this region.
1666 MR. TARLECK: Yes.
1667 THE CHAIRPERSON: He has a question for you.
1668 Commissioner Williams.
1669 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Good morning, Mayor Tarleck.
1670 Have you had the opportunity to speak to the Mayor of Red Deer about the performance of Rogers within your community and describe some of the experiences that you have described to us this morning?
1671 MR. TARLECK: Not in great detail, no. No, not really. I know Mayor Gail Surkan quite well, but I can't say that we have had detailed discussions.
1672 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
1673 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mayor Tarleck. Those are our questions. We thank you again for participating.
1674 MR. TARLECK: Thank you. I can go back to my other meeting now. Have a good day.
1675 THE CHAIRPERSON: And keep up your bilingualism.
1676 M. TARLECK: Merci. A demain.
1677 LA PRÉSIDENTE: C'est ça. Au revoir.
1678 Mr. Secretary, please.
1679 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1680 We have now reached Phase IV of the Red Deer application. The first party to respond to all the interventions that were received will be the CBC.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
1681 MR. ORCHARD: Good morning, Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen of the Commission.
1682 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
1683 MR. ORCHARD: We do not feel we need to add further to our case at this point, nor do we feel there are any issues raised by intervenors or other applicants that have not been adequately addressed.
1684 Before we do finish, though, we want to thank the wide range of individuals and groups who have so strongly supported our Radio Two application in Red Deer. Their passion for Canadian public broadcasting is absolutely crucial to our work in Alberta and throughout Canada, and I would like to thank Madam Chair and Members of the Commission for the opportunity to appear.
1685 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Orchard.
1686 Mr. Secretary, please.
1687 Mr. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1688 I will now call on the Jim Pattison group to respond at this time.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
1689 MR. ARNISH: Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners. The Jim Pattison group wishes to thank the Commission for the opportunity to appear before you at this hearing. We have no intervention in Phase IV.
1690 Thank you.
1691 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Arnish.
1692 Did you people all go to dinner together last night?
--- Laughter / Rires
1693 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
1694 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1695 I will now ask the Newcap group to respond to interventions at this time.
1696 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
1697 MR. STEELE: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission and Commission staff.
1698 For the record, I am Rob Steele. To my left is Bob Templeton and to my right is Steve Jones.
1699 Madam Chair, yesterday there was a question pertaining to the allocation of funds by FACTOR as pertains to Red Deer, and we do have some clarification on that issue.
1700 I will ask Bob Templeton to speak to that, please.
1701 MR. TEMPLETON: I spoke with Ms Heather Ostertag yesterday, and we checked a couple of facts. For your interest, they did check back over the past three years, and the total commitment of FACTOR grants to this region, the trading area of Red Deer, was to a Duane Bjorkman, Rocking Horse Band, for $1,879.14. That is the entire allotment over three years.
1702 Mrs. Ostertag supplied us with this letter. It says:
"This letter will confirm that FACTOR will allocate $125,000 of incremental funds to emerging Canadian artists from the Red Deer area in conjunction with your application before the CRTC hearing on June 16, 2003 in Edmonton. These funds will be over and above any existing or future commitments received for Red Deer artists, regardless of the timeframe. In other words, the fund will not expire, nor will it be allocated to general FACTOR funds. The Red Deer market will be defined as Newcap's .5 millivolt contour, as provided to the Commission as this hearing." (As read)
1703 Madam Chair, I would also like at this moment to thank many of the intervenors who sent letters supporting our application. Most of the approximately 200 interventions came from social, political and civic leaders from the small and mid-size markets we serve in Alberta.
1704 I think they speak to our station's deep involvement in those communities.
1705 MR. STEELE: Madam Chair, in Phase I of their presentation yesterday, Pattison Industries made a number of statements referencing our application and the research we provided. We would like to set the record straight.
1706 First of all, they stated that Newcap proposed a gold-based AC format. Our application is clear: we are proposing a Classic Hits format.
1707 Second, they stated that there would be significant overlap between the music that we propose to play and their current play list with their existing station CHUB. I would like to quote from their Web site describing that station, and I quote:
"The best hit mix from today's top adult contemporary music"
1708 Our plan is not to play any of today's music.
1709 Finally, Pattison Industries stated that the impact of a new stand-alone commercial competitor in Red Deer would be very detrimental to the stand-alone CHUB-FM. It would upset the competitive state of the market.
1710 We feel that Pattison Industries is being overly pessimistic in their ability to survive. Whatever combination of new licences, if any, that result from this hearing, we are confident that they will be profitable.
1711 In closing, Madam Chair, I would like to thank you and your colleagues for the opportunity to appear here today. Thank you.
1712 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Templeton and Mr. Steele, for the clarifications. We would ask you to put this letter on the public file.
1713 MR. STEELE: Yes, Madam Chair.
1714 THE CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for the effort of getting it, because it has been very confusing and difficult to follow CTD or FACTOR contributions.
1715 I don't know if my colleagues have questions.
1716 Commissioner Cram, please.
1717 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Did you find out how much FACTOR paid to Alberta artists in the last three years?
1718 MR. TEMPLETON: The allotment to Alberta artists? No. I just inquired about Red Deer, and there was just the one grant that I mentioned of almost $1,900 in the past three years.
1719 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You may be interested to know that apparently in the last four years 3.8 per cent of the 60 per cent, which is the FACTOR money, has gone to Alberta. So with the number of licences that you have here, you might want to look into that.
1720 THE CHAIRPERSON: This, as the Secretary will clarify, is the end of this process.
1721 Before he does, I would like to thank all of the applicants for their co-operation and for having a speedy process -- pardon?
1722 Oh, there is one more. Sorry. I take it all back.
1723 Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
1724 Thank you, Mr. Steele and Mr. Templeton.
1725 I guess you didn't all go to dinner.
1726 Mr. Secretary, please.
1727 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1728 I will now give Rogers a chance to respond at this time.
1729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Make it worthwhile, Mr. Miles.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
1730 MR. MILES: That's what I get for sitting at the back of the room.
1731 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, as you may be aware, Rogers normally does not intercede at this stage of the hearing process. However, there is a programming issue that has arisen, and it strikes at the heart of our application, which talks to format diversity.
1732 JACKfm has a new and diverse format. When we prepared the application, we did an analysis of the market and defined CHUB-108 as a hot AC. This format traditionally has a play list with a predominance of selections from the nineties and today.
1733 The other two stations were an AOC Rock and Country.
1734 We concluded the wide based music of JACKfm would add to the diversity of the market and not unduly infringe on the current station formats. We were surprised to hear Pattison Industries state that 38 per cent of the JACK playlist was duplicated on their station and that 68 per cent duplicated on their playlist.
1735 We concluded that perhaps we had erred and asked our Calgary JACKfm program director to drive out of Calgary and listen to CHUB yesterday.
1736 He monitored the station from 1:05 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18th. CHUB played 13 songs in that hour period: four from 2003, one from 2002, one from 2001, two from 2000, four from the nineties and one from the eighties. The eighties is JACK's wheelhouse.
1737 Of the above, two songs were played by JACKfm in Calgary, or 15 per cent. We recognize this is only one hour from one day on one station.
1738 When we launched JACKfm in Vancouver, the duplication with 15 stations in the Vancouver market was only 30 per cent. When we launched JACKfm in Calgary, the duplication with the 13 stations in that market was only 38 per cent.
1739 We also would like to thank the Commission for allowing us and our intervenors to appear before you and particularly to the staff for making the arrangements to have the Mayor of Lethbridge speak this morning.
1740 We thank you for your courtesies extended to all of us. Thank you.
1741 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Miles.
1742 We have no questions. We hope that you will give our best to JACK.
1743 MR. MILES: Thank you.
1744 THE CHAIRPERSON: And now may I, Mr. Secretary, thank all the participants and the intervenors for their co-operation in this part of the hearing.
1745 Mr. Secretary, please.
1746 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1747 Item 5 on the agenda is an application by Community Radio of Saskatoon Inc., to renew the licence of radio station CFCR-FM expiring 31 August 2003.
1748 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Ron Spizziri and Mr. Nick McCormick.
1749 MR. LeBEL: Madam Chair, before the applicant makes its presentation, counsel Peter McCallum will read a statement on the record.
1750 MR. McCALLUM: Good day. I am Peter McCallum, Legal Counsel for the Commission.
1751 I wanted to make sure that you have a fair and full understanding of the consequences of your appearance today. I thought I would review with you what may come out of today's appearance and make sure it is crystal clear to you what might happen.
1752 If you have any difficulty understanding it, you can let us know. We wanted to be sure that you have a full understanding of it.
1753 As noted in the Notice of Public Hearing, the Commission has called CFCR-FM to this hearing to deal not only with the renewal of its broadcasting licence but also with the possibility that the Commission might issue a mandatory order or that the Commission might have recourse to other measures in the event of non-compliance with the regulations, including suspension, non-renewal or revocation of licence.
1754 I wish to make you aware of what each of these means so that you have a full understanding of the possible consequences of your appearance today.
1755 Dealing first with revocation, if the Commission decided that revocation of licence was the appropriate measure, CFCR-FM would have to stop broadcasting after the Commission decision.
1756 Second, the notice mentioned the possibility of non-renewal. Simply put, this would mean that the Commission might decide to refuse the application to renew the licence.
1757 If that happened, CFCR-FM would be able to continue broadcasting up to the date that its licence expires -- which is now the 31st of August, 2003 -- but it would have to stop broadcasting and go off the air immediately after the licence expires.
1758 Third, the Notice of Public Hearing mentioned the possibility of suspension. If the Commission decided that suspension is the proper measure to deal with the past non-compliance of CFCR-FM, then CFCR-FM would have to stop broadcasting for a period of time as specified in the decision.
1759 To take a hypothetical example, if the Commission decided to renew the licence but suspend it for a period of time -- for four months, for example -- then CFCR would have a licence after 31 August 2003 but would not be able to broadcast for four months; namely, for example, during the months of October, November and December 2003. They could then start up again in January 2004.
1760 Fourth, the Notice of Public Hearing mentioned the possibility of a mandatory order. An order is mentioned in sections 12 and 13 of the Broadcasting Act.
1761 CFCR-FM should be familiar with the mandatory order since one was attached to its last renewal decision, Decision 2001-677.
1762 In the present case CRCR-FM will have the opportunity to show today why an order should not be issued requiring it to comply with sections 8.5 and 8.6 of the Radio Regulations, which require a radio station to hold logger tapes for a period of four weeks after the date of broadcast and give a copy to the Commission on request.
1763 Additionally, the Commission might decide to reimpose the same mandatory order that it imposed in Decision 2001-677 dealing with Canadian content levels.
1764 If the Commission decided to issue a mandatory order along with the renewal of licence, which might again be for a short-term renewal, then the Commission would register the order with the Federal Court of Canada.
1765 The next steps were explained in Decision 2001-677. As noted in that decision, if at any time the licensee should fail to comply with the provisions of a mandatory order attached to a renewal decision, the Commission would provide evidence of such failure to the federal court.
1766 The licensee would then be required to appear before the federal court on a charge of contempt of court. Again, if the licensee were found guilty, it would be liable to a fine, as provided for by the Federal Court Rules. I trust this is clear.
1767 I wish to emphasize that the reason for CFCR's appearance before the Commission today is to give it a chance to demonstrate to the Commission that it would not be appropriate for the Commission to take any of the measures I have described.
1768 The Commission has not of course made a decision in these matters, but it has of course noted the alleged violation of sections 8.5 and 8.6 of the Radio Regulations.
1769 You may now make your presentation to the Commission.
1770 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before we proceed, gentlemen, do you have any questions related to counsel, simply understanding what the issues are or the possibilities of the consequences, so that we are clear?
1771 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, Madam Chair, we fully understand all the implications of what has been said.
1772 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
1773 MR. SPIZZIRI: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, staff. My name is Ron Spizziri. I am the General Manager, founding member, past president and a former board member. I have been General Manager at CFCR since January 2002.
1774 With me is Mr. Nick McCormick, who is a current board member.
1775 Just a very brief overview of CFCR.
1776 The Community Radio Society of Saskatoon was formed back in 1986, following the demise of the city's campus radio station. We commenced cablecasting in 1987 and signed on as an FM broadcaster on September 7, 1991.
1777 We are comprised of approximately 300 members, a third of whom are volunteer on-air hosts. $200,000 is our annual budget, and funding is provided to us through ad sales, charity bingo sessions, an annual on-air pledge drive and a variety of fundraising events organized by our Fundraising Director.
1778 I would like to focus for a second on our contribution to the community in Saskatoon.
1779 Local arts and entertainment coverage we pride ourselves on. We continue to produce special programs on an annual basis for numerous arts and music festivals. Extensive coverage is thereby afforded the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, the Fringe Festival, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, the Children's Festival, FolkFest and the Ness Creek Festival, among others.
1780 We have a new arts and entertainment program entitled "The Afternoon Buzz", aired each weekday afternoon. This one-hour show is a forum for local and regional authors, artists and musicians to share their creative efforts with our listeners.
1781 We have also strengthened our existing ties with Saskatoon theatres, art galleries and music promoters, all of whom have come to rely quite heavily on CFCR for coverage of their activities.
1782 In the area of multicultural programming, we presently devote our daytime weekend programming to 16 different ethnic shows. In most cases we are the sole outlet available to these groups for retaining close contact with their own communities.
1783 We continue to aid local cultural associations in communicating information to non-English speaking persons in the city. The degree to which CFCR is valued among local multicultural groups is especially reflected in the generous financial support we do receive from them during our annual on-air pledge drive.
1784 In the area of exposure for Canadian musicians, in addition to providing actual airplay for such artists, CFCR also publicizes upcoming concerts. We invite musicians into our studios for interviews and on-air performances. We organize concerts which feature local artists, and we also conduct contests for aspiring musicians.
1785 We also publish a monthly Top 30 playlist in the form of posters, which are displayed around the city and posted on our Web site. Canadian artists are clearly identified on the posters and normally make up the majority of that playlist.
1786 Whenever possible, CFCR conducts advance telephone interviews with touring Canadian musicians who are scheduled to appear in the city.
1787 Lastly in this area is our actual community involvement. We continue to air two additions of our Community Events Calendar several times each weekday. This prerecorded roundup of events being put on in the city by local charities, arts organizations and sports clubs has become a valuable tool for non-profit groups in our area.
1788 Due to the overwhelming number of public service announcements we receive each week, not all of them are able to be included in our calendars. The remainder are filed in a binder for our on-air hosts to read throughout the day.
1789 In an effort to become further involved in the community, we have more recently developed healthy working relationships with such community agencies as The United Way, the John Howard Society and the Salvation Army.
1790 Addressing the Canadian content area, since we have been in non-compliance in the past I thought I would bring the Commission up to date on our efforts in that area.
1791 In light of our past non-compliance in regard to Canadian content in our programming, we have been paying special attention to this aspect of our operations.
1792 In response to the Commission's request last January, we provided information in a letter dated February 24, 2003 regarding the steps we had taken to ensure compliance in the future. While a copy of that letter forms part of the appendix of this presentation, I will briefly summarize its contents.
1793 Through a series of meetings, our staff members, programming committee and on-air hosts have been made fully aware of said regulatory requirements and our past failure to comply with same.
1794 Our hosts have signed Host Agreement forms, indicating their promise to fully comply with all regulations or lose their broadcasting privileges. Our program logs are monitored each week by our program director, who then confirms with the general manager and also with the board of directors at our monthly board meeting that our Canadian content requirements are being met.
1795 Furthermore, all potential staff and volunteers are required to familiarize themselves with the Canadian content regulations prior to assuming any duties at CFCR.
1796 In addition to the measures described in the above-noted letter to the Commission, a number of further steps have more recently been taken to ensure our continued compliance in this area. We have added two programs to our schedule which concentrate heavily on Canadian content: the aforementioned "Afternoon Buzz", as well as "Fiddle Time", a weekly music show produced by the Saskatchewan Fiddlers Association, which features in excess of 90 per cent Canadian content.
1797 We have also reorganized our Programming Committee, which is now comprised of myself, three board members (including Nick McCormick), and an on-air host with a background in commercial broadcasting. This body meets every two weeks and closely monitors all aspects of our programming, including Canadian content.
1798 Lastly we have recently hired a part-time music director, allowing our program director to devote more of his time to monitoring our on-air programming rather than dividing his duties between programming and music library maintenance as he had in the past.
1799 I would now like to address the issue of incomplete logger tapes submitted to the Commission in May of 2002.
1800 In my letter of March 18, 2003 to the Commission -- a copy of which appears in the appendix -- it was explained that our non-compliance was related to the type of recording system we had in place at that time: three VCR machines, which necessitated staff and volunteers changing tapes on a daily basis. Due to the failure of volunteers to change the tapes in a timely manner, we were unable to produce the requested material in May 2002.
1801 As outlined in my letter, in January 2003 we replaced the unsatisfactory system we had been using with a new digital logger system -- specifically, the Audio Logger Pro, a description of which is included in the attached appendix.
1802 As this system is fully automated, we are able to assure the Commission today that there will be no further "human error" issues in regard to our logger tapes. And, as in the area of Canadian content, all future staff with logger compliance responsibilities will be required, with the assistance of the program director and general manager, to acquaint themselves fully with said requirements prior to the commencement of their duties.
1803 Our board of directors has been apprised of the foregoing information and will continue to monitor the situation.
1804 In conclusion, I wish to assure the Commission that CFCR has taken your concerns regarding our past non-compliance quite seriously and that we have taken steps to present such losses from occurring in the future.
1805 As a founding member of our station, I take great personal pride in the role which CFCR has come to assume in Saskatoon. With the continued support of our volunteers and listeners, as well as the guidance of the; Commission, I look forward to having CFCR play an even more significant part in our community in the years ahead.
1806 On behalf of Mr. McCormick and the Community Radio Society of Saskatoon, I thank you for your time.
1807 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Spizziri and McCormick.
1808 Do you understand that the reason that you are before us today is because broadcasting is a regulated industry and that holding a broadcasting licence makes the licensee responsible in law for compliance with the conditions of licence that are attached and any generally applicable regulation?
1809 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, Madam Chair, definitely.
1810 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whom do you consider to be the licensee responsible in the case of CFCR-FM?
1811 MR. SPIZZIRI: What do you mean? I'm sorry.
1812 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whom do you think the licensee is in this case?
1813 MR. SPIZZIRI: The Community Radio Society of Saskatoon.
1814 THE CHAIRPERSON: I noticed, for example, when your renewal application was filed, it was signed by you at 1.3. You are attesting to having examined the provisions of the Broadcasting Act and the Broadcasting Regulations relevant to this application.
1815 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1816 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are clearly understanding.
1817 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1818 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is the Community Radio Society of Saskatoon incorporated?
1819 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, we are.
1820 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who, in your view, is responsible to speak for the corporation at the moment?
1821 MR. SPIZZIRI: I would definitely be one of them as general manager and as one of the founding members, definitely.
1822 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you ever had the pleasure of appearing before us before?
1823 MR. SPIZZIRI: Not personally, no.
1824 THE CHAIRPERSON: Should it matter to us that in the past a different person has been sent to explain the non-compliance of -- I will refer to it as the Society?
1825 Do you think that that should be a problem for us? I think this is the first time I have seen you.
1826 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, definitely. I think it is because I wasn't involved in the station as I am now, obviously, on the prior occasions. We felt with our limited funds, and so on, especially having to go to Ottawa, we could only send one or two people.
1827 At one time Jeff Lee was our president at the time, and he was very involved in the station. He also has a legal background, so he was the one that was sent, along with the station manager.
1828 My personal feeling is that the station manager should always appear at these hearings, whenever required, because he or she obviously is the most closely associated with the day to day operations of the station.
1829 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you consider yourself to be speaking for the Society this morning?
1830 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, I do, definitely.
1831 THE CHAIRPERSON: You will help -- I may not pronounce your program director's name properly.
1832 In all of this correspondence following years of non-compliance, the correspondence is always signed by Mr. Kivol, program director.
1833 How long has Mr. Kivol been at the Society or at CFCR?
1834 MR. SPIZZIRI: Approximately 14 years.
1835 THE CHAIRPERSON: Were you aware of this correspondence with the Commission since the last time you appeared before us?
1836 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1837 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you were aware of its content?
1838 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1839 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you also aware that the Society has appeared before us every two years since 1999, in June -- in fact the 28th of June 1999, 19 of June 2001 and today, the 19th of June 2003?
1840 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, I am, unfortunately.
1841 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have two areas that I want to discuss with you: the question of Canadian content and then the question of the logger tapes.
1842 Do you know why the licensee of CFCR-FM appeared before us on those former June dates?
1843 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes. It was because of the Canadian content.
1844 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that the only problem that was encountered with CFCR in the past?
1845 MR. SPIZZIRI: I believe it was, Madam Chair. Canadian content.
1846 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why are you here today?
1847 MR. SPIZZIRI: I am here today because I am the station manager --
1848 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, but why --
1849 MR. SPIZZIRI: Why is the Society here today?
1850 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
1851 MR. SPIZZIRI: Because of non-compliance in the area of logger tapes.
1852 THE CHAIRPERSON: Exactly. So there has been more than one problem on and off.
1853 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1854 THE CHAIRPERSON: The last mandatory order was for non-compliance of Canadian content. This morning possibly it could be renewed or another mandatory order could be issued with regard to logger tapes.
1855 So you are aware, fully aware, I gather from your response this morning, that there was a mandatory order issued in the last decision, in the decision following the June 01 hearing.
1856 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, I am.
1857 THE CHAIRPERSON: As a result of that non-compliance CFCR was required by the decision -- that was 201-677 -- to report every three months on whether there was compliance with the logger tape requirements and compliance with Canadian content requirements. As usual, the Commission asks the licensee to make a self-assessment and then our staff looks at it to determine whether the percentages have been achieved.
1858 You were asked in one of the reports to make a self-assessment of the week 5 to 11 May 2002, which you made. On that date a letter was sent and signed, as required, by Mr. Kivol, certifying that CFCR-FM had complied with the logger tape requirements and signed by him on 5 June 2002.
1859 But on 6 June 2002 we received a letter, signed by him again, regretting that he had to inform the Commission that the logger tapes were not complete. We will get back to that.
1860 Eventually you were advised, in a letter of the Commission on September 18th, I believe, that their estimation of Cancon, based on the logger tapes available and the music clips available, seemed to be in compliance but that they could not make a conclusive determination as to whether there was compliance of Canadian content.
1861 Why would that be?
1862 MR. SPIZZIRI: Because of the missing logger tapes; yes, definitely.
1863 THE CHAIRPERSON: What do you think our Cancon calculations may have been if we had had all the logs?
1864 MR. SPIZZIRI: Unfortunately -- and I am going to be quite honest with you -- we honestly don't know.
1865 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why do you think there is this regulation requiring logger tapes?
1866 MR. SPIZZIRI: I think the main reason is we have to be regulated, especially if the public makes any kind of complaint against the radio station. Obviously the Commission needs some kind of proof of what went on over the air.
1867 To me, that is the most important issue regarding logger tapes.
1868 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your view, can the Commission do its job of monitoring compliance and answering requests if we don't have complete logger tapes?
1869 MR. SPIZZIRI: No, you can't.
1870 THE CHAIRPERSON: You understand that.
1871 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1872 THE CHAIRPERSON: Considering that we don't really know if your Cancon requirements were met, we have an incomplete number of hours, et cetera, what is your view as to whether it would be legitimate for the Commission to renew its mandatory order that you abide by the regulations?
1873 MR. SPIZZIRI: I would hope the Commission would understand how this happened. I think we have explained how it happened. It was human error. We thought we had the situation under control. Obviously, we didn't. We were working under such a restricted budget. We knew it wasn't the best system to have in operation, but it was all we had at the time.
1874 Then once we were found in non-compliance, our main goal was to get rid of that antiquated system and do something properly, which we did immediately.
1875 To answer your question, we really don't know what was on the missing tapes. And we just hope you believe us that we are being quite honest about it. That can never happen again because of the new system we have in place.
1876 We have also quite recently been offered a back-up system to our new system, which we will take from an anonymous source, and we are going to have that installed. We will be able to advise the Commission when that is installed as a back-up.
1877 THE CHAIRPERSON: What happened between the attestation of the 5th of June of Mr. Kivol and his letter of the 6th of June with regard to the logger tapes?
1878 It is curious that the program director would feel that he can send us logger tapes and a self-assessment and attest or certify that the logger tape requirements had been met to the present, which was the 5th of June, and then there was a letter of the 6th of June where we find 24 hours and 40 minutes, by your own assessment, of missing logger tapes.
1879 What does that tell me about the extent to which the program director is on top of whether there are sufficient mechanisms to know what is going on?
1880 MR. SPIZZIRI: Madam Chair, what had happened is physically we had all the logger tapes in front of us when Mr. Kivol wrote the first letter saying yes, we are putting everything together and we will send you everything we have. I believe he noticed one of the tapes had not been rewound properly. Something made him go into the tape to find out what was on that tape, and that is when we discovered our missing tapes.
1881 So we physically had them, but it had not recorded because the "record" button wasn't pressed obviously or the tape wasn't changed by the host in question.
1882 THE CHAIRPERSON: If the Commission were to require your logger tapes for this week or last week, to assess the Canadian content requirement, what would we likely find?
1883 MR. SPIZZIRI: You would receive completed logger tapes.
1884 THE CHAIRPERSON: What would they tell us in relation to Canadian content?
1885 MR. SPIZZIRI: Canadian content, at the last meeting we had at which Mr. Kivol attended, I believe he said we were up around 40 per cent.
1886 THE CHAIRPERSON: The logger tape issue has been a problem with CFCR from the very beginning of its licence. It was licensed in 1991. In 1995 there were I think 15 hours of programming missing on the logger tapes when they were required.
1887 In June, as I have just gone through with you, there were 24 hours and 40 minutes missing by your own count.
1888 In the letter of the 6th of June, one of the excuses given, which is often the excuse given when there is a problem with community stations, is that they have volunteers. You mentioned that you have volunteers on the weekend and that is one of the important reasons given, and yet there were five hours and 40 minutes missing on a Monday and seven hours missing on a Tuesday, which has nothing to do with the weekend volunteers.
1889 MR. SPIZZIRI: Following that discovery, we did have host meetings and we strongly emphasized the importance of changing those logger tapes.
1890 I think a lot of it was in the past due to disorganization at the station or whatever, a lot of hosts. I think the newer hosts just were not aware of how important it was. They were certainly told after that that you must change those tapes. The reason is we are not just asking you to do it for us; it is a CRTC requirement.
1891 We thought we had the situation under control. Whenever we did our own little spot check, the tapes were fine. But obviously they were not fine.
1892 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you aware of the Commission's stated position about the use of volunteers as a reason for not keeping logger tapes and not abiding by Canadian content?
1893 MR. SPIZZIRI: Definitely. Ultimately, it is not the volunteers' responsibility; it is ours. We realize that. By implementing the new system, we bypass the volunteers now. It is under lock and key. No one can tamper with it. There will be a back-up system in place. Now it is a management and program director and a board responsibility, as it should be.
1894 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is not that we don't understand the difficulty, of course, of community stations, having a different turnover, et cetera, but the Commission did say in its last renewal decision the following, and I quote:
"The Commission emphasizes that although this community station is staffed in a large part by volunteers, this in no way justifies the licensee's failure to comply with regulatory requirements. A community station licensee is ultimately responsible for the station's performance. The onus is on the licensee to put in place effective mechanisms and provide the training needed to ensure compliance at all times with the regulations and conditions of licence."
1895 There are not that many, but it is impossible for us to pretend that we are in a position to monitor compliance and respect with conditions of licence and regulations if we can't have complete logger tapes.
1896 MR. SPIZZIRI: I understand completely. I have been involved in a lot of other organizations in the past. I have run my own business for years, and I know how important it is to be business-like and professional and to do things properly.
1897 We are not using volunteers as an excuse. We are just trying to explain to the Commission how these past transgressions happened. It wasn't a matter of management or the board saying don't worry about logger tapes or don't worry about Canadian content by any means. We took it very seriously.
1898 Part of the reason I did take the job back in January of last year was I thought the station could use some help. We were disorganized in a lot of areas. By everything we are hearing from the community and the people we work with in Saskatoon, we have really turned things around.
1899 We just hope the Commission will give us the chance to prove that things have definitely changed. We hopefully are never appearing here again.
1900 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Spizziri, we have given CFCR this chance for a while, at some effort and expense on our part, following the last renewal hearing where I was the one with the duty of meeting one of your people from the station -- certainly not a person in a management position, if I recall --
1901 MR. SPIZZIRI: No. Excuse me, it was our manager.
1902 THE CHAIRPERSON: And it is the exact anniversary today when I have to meet you again.
1903 In the meantime, we have tried to put in place some effort to make sure we got you to not come and see us so often by requiring three-months reports, which have to be assessed by our staff, have to be examined. Every three months you have to file them. And still we are back here with the same problems.
1904 I would like, first of all, to ask you: In the future, who from CFCR should ever appear before us or deal with us, whether it is reporting, attesting to compliance, explaining non-compliance.
1905 Who in your view, considering our earlier discussion as to who is the licensee, should be responding to the Commission?
1906 MR. SPIZZIRI: I think, Madam Chair, it should be the general manager, definitely, because he or she is the one with the hands on experience.
1907 Our board of directors has taken this very seriously, and I would always like to see a board member here.
1908 Just for the record, the last time a representative appeared, it was our past president, past station manager Chad Sapieha --
1909 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it was the manager.
1910 MR. SPIZZIRI: He was the manager. As I recall, it was in Ottawa, so obviously a little expensive to get there. I believe I was on the board at the time, and we decided to send him because he, hopefully, had the answers to the Commission's questions and so on.
1911 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I understand, you have returned to the management.
1912 MR. SPIZZIRI: I was never manager before.
1913 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are from the board, past founder and now manager.
1914 MR. SPIZZIRI: Now manager, yes.
1915 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Spizziri, counsel has, as is a good idea in law, explained to you the possibilities to you today. They were in the public notice. They were in the last decision.
1916 What would happen if we actually proceeded to say your licence is suspended and you can't transmit or broadcast for three months or six?
1917 MR. SPIZZIRI: Madam Chair, if that were to happen, if it was a temporary suspension, it would certainly hurt the station. We think we are really turning things around down there. At our last fundraising drive we collected $55,000, which is the highest we have ever done. So the community obviously is getting very comfortable with CFCR.
1918 We have made a lot of new friends in the city. We have a lot more support than we have every had. I think it would definitely hurt the station and the community. It would be hard to get that momentum back by signing on three or six months down the road.
1919 Any action taken obviously would hurt us. We are not saying don't do it because we don't deserve it. Obviously, we are here for a reason.
1920 I know you heard this before, but I would just hope that the Commission would understand that under the new management and everything that is in place at the station now, it is quite a departure from the way it used to be.
1921 I know talk is cheap and you are only hearing this from me. I just hope you will give us the chance to prove it to you. I give you my personal guarantee that we will answer any questions, we will follow all the guidelines.
1922 The logger tape issue should not be an issue in the future because we feel we did the only thing we could do in the situation: replace it with a decent system. We finally had the money. Let's do it. And we did it.
1923 Canadian content, as I say, we have instituted those new measures that I talked about and we are on top of it.
1924 I agree with you that it is getting ridiculous that we have to keep appearing here. Should we have a radio station? That is what we are asking ourselves. We think we have turned it around so that we shouldn't be appearing here again.
1925 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you considered what the effect of not renewing your licence would be?
1926 MR. SPIZZIRI: It would put a few people out of work. Our volunteers, some of them have been with us for 12 to 15 years. Obviously, they would be very, very disappointed.
1927 I think, more importantly, the community would suffer from having this voice. As you know with the radio market in Saskatoon, all the other stations are commercial stations, and we know there is a market for what we are providing. I think the increase in the pledges each year when we have been having our annual drive is an indication that more people are giving us more money over the years, because they seem to think we are more important now than we were say ten, twelve years ago.
1928 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Spizziri, in your presentation you mention the letter that was sent to the Commission as explanation. In fact, it talked about the Canadian content but it didn't really give us very much detail about how you dealt with the logger tapes.
1929 The Commission had to go back to you on February 24, 2003 to ask you -- I say you because it is the civility we deal with -- to ask that there be explanations about the logger tape issue. That was filed just March 18, 2003.
1930 MR. SPIZZIRI: I take full responsibility for that, Madam Chair. I don't know what happened, whether I misread the letter, if it wasn't clear to me. I thought we were being asked about a past non-compliance of Canadian content, and that is why I drafted the letter I did.
1931 Then upon receipt of your second letter, I realized my mistake and we sent a letter to you right away.
1932 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is not a lack of understanding on your part that we can't test the Canadian content unless we have the logger tapes.
1933 MR. SPIZZIRI: Definitely. I agree with you 100 per cent.
1934 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of course the Canadian content is what matters. You either have mechanisms to test it or you don't.
1935 Do you realize that the decision we make after this hearing may well be a precedent for seeing community radio stations every two years?
1936 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, definitely.
1937 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because you can get away with not doing the more difficult task of training your volunteers.
1938 If you tell us that the mandatory order, the non-renewal, the suspension would have damaging effect, what do you propose we do today at the end of this hearing so that we are sure we don't see you two years down the line in June or, even worse, next year, and that we don't have two dozen community radio stations looking at what it is that they can be relaxed about as a result of our decision?
1939 What is your proposal?
1940 Mr. McCormick, you are a member of the board.
1941 MR. McCORMICK: Correct, Madam Chair.
1942 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would like to hear from you what you think would be a sensible way of dealing with this in light of the context I have just given you.
1943 MR. McCORMICK: There is already a sensible way in place, I think, because the board is quite aware of the regulation of the logger and the Canadian content. During our meetings those are definitely topics that come up.
1944 Even when there isn't a meeting -- we meet monthly but there are times when a board member will go down and ask: How is the Canadian content going? How are the logger tapes? Are they still functioning?
1945 I think tools like that is what will make it more consistent. In the future that can probably prevent these lapses that may have happened in the past.
1946 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am more interested in what you would do in lieu of what counsel suggested the Commission could do. What is it you could do?
1947 MR. McCORMICK: Could do as a station?
1948 THE CHAIRPERSON: After this term of licence ends that would be a substitute or in lieu of the more drastic measures. What could you do?
1949 We have asked you before for three-month reports. They have been signed by the program director. It has taken correspondence back and forth with your program director to even get responses. It is only in the last couple of letters that the general manager of the station responded.
1950 Do you have any methods or mechanisms that you could put in place that would make us look as though we have taken this morning's exercise seriously but have not suspended your licence?
1951 What else could we put in place?
1952 MR. McCORMICK: Was that directed to myself?
1953 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or Mr. Spizziri.
1954 You don't want the mechanisms that we have put forward, so what do you have in lieu of that?
1955 MR. McCORMICK: We could probably develop job descriptions regarding the general manager or the program director and have a specific outline of how you have to deal with Canadian content, how you have to deal with the logger tapes; and say that those are mandatory requirements of being an employee of CFCR, Saskatoon Community Radio.
1956 MR. SPIZZIRI: I agree. I do see all correspondence that especially the program director sends out. He shows it to me. We look at it together. I just felt it was better being signed by him because he was the one physically gathering the information the Commission was asking for.
1957 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but what we are interested in is that the corporation, who is the licensee, and its spokesperson take responsibility for attesting to compliance.
1958 In that regard, do you have any suggestion as to how you could meet this requirement?
1959 MR. SPIZZIRI: I think what Mr. McCormick mentioned, or one of us mentioned this morning, that at the board meetings that is now on the agenda every month; whereas in the past it was a little more general in that we would ask the program director "are there any problems at the station?", as an example. And he would say no, everything is fine.
1960 Now it is much more specific. I think that is what Mr. McCormick is getting at. We ask what was the Canadian content for the last week; have there been any letters from the Commission; is there anything we should know about as a board.
1961 In the past, as I say, it was very general. And board members being what they are -- and I have been on several boards in the past -- you like to hear management saying that everything is fine. And the board members say good, everything is fine. They have to take you at your word for it.
1962 Now we have changed that, where it is on the agenda every month. We do have weekly staff meetings now, which we never did in the past. I meet with the staff every Monday at 1:30 in the afternoon. There again the first question I ask Mr. Kivol is: How is our Canadian content? Have there been any problems in the area of logger tapes or Canadian content? Any host problems that we should know about?
1963 Those are all new measures that were never in place before.
1964 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would it be a fair requirement that you then attest on a monthly basis after that meeting as to what you have found in relation to Canadian content and logger tapes for the past month?
1965 MR. SPIZZIRI: It would be very reasonable.
1966 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to come back and see us in two years or in one year again?
1967 MR. SPIZZIRI: I am sure you are very nice people, but no, I don't want to be here.
1968 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe I will have to give you the evil eye I used to give to my children.
1969 MR. SPIZZIRI: I get that at home from my wife; thank you.
1970 In all seriousness --
1971 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I would be careful. We are keeping a written record here.
1972 MR. SPIZZIRI: I know. I just realized that as I said that. I didn't notice any cameras in the room, so I thought we were safe.
1973 We have taken this very seriously. I didn't want to come here today using the approach well, I'm the new guy down there. Please trust me. I have a much broader business background than any manager we have ever had. I have more experience than anyone we have ever had working down there.
1974 That is my feeling, and that is why I am here to say that I will ultimately be responsible as long as I am with CFCR.
1975 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that is why I am asking what would be the measures you could put in place to continue showing that someone who is speaking for the corporation can attest on every month, possibly, as to whether you are in compliance.
1976 MR. SPIZZIRI: I think what we have in place now, these new measures, if you were to ask me to give us a report from say two weeks ago, for example, I would personally know what is in that report; whereas in the past a lot of times it might have only been the program director.
1977 Part of the problem, as I touched on in my presentation, he was also our acting music director and he was dividing his duties. Maybe he wasn't giving enough attention to the more important part of his job, which obviously is anything to do with on-air broadcasting, including the CRTC requirements.
1978 He devotes a lot more of his time now to making sure he knows exactly what the Canadian content is, monitoring the logging. To us it is a new system, and we want to make sure it is working properly. He has been told in no uncertain terms by myself and the board that is his number one priority in his job description.
1979 THE CHAIRPERSON: What would be, in your view, a reasonable renewal if we didn't pursue the more drastic measures that were put forward by counsel?
1980 MR. SPIZZIRI: I would suggest maybe a six-month renewal, as we have had in the past, and give us a chance to show that these new measures are effective.
1981 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which would require, obviously, reports monthly.
1982 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
1983 THE CHAIRPERSON: For us to be able to assess.
1984 What do you think we should do if we should find non-compliance, which we have each time we have had you before us? I think I can say "you" because it is the licensee. Whoever you send is a sign, as well, of how seriously you take this.
1985 We have been given these promises and we find non-compliance.
1986 What should happen if we found non-compliance during this short term?
1987 MR. SPIZZIRI: In my personal opinion, I would say then a suspension would be in order.
1988 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are speaking for the Society.
1989 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, and for myself. I would be the one responsible.
1990 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we don't want to see you again. It was the 19th of June last year and it is the 19th of June this year. Not my favourite way to spend the 19th of June.
1991 MR. SPIZZIRI: Ours either, believe me.
1992 THE CHAIRPERSON: But it only lasts half an hour.
1993 MR. SPIZZIRI: We appreciate it. We sweated it out before we came here, believe me. We know how serious it is.
1994 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it hasn't scared you very much before.
1995 MR. SPIZZIRI: The only thing I can offer on a personal note, Madam Chair, is that I wasn't at the helm before. I may have been on the board --
1996 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are scared today?
1997 MR. SPIZZIRI: I wouldn't say scared. I am very concerned. If I was in your position --
1998 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would you be mildly annoyed?
1999 MR. SPIZZIRI: I would be very annoyed.
2000 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. McCormick, as a member of the board, do you have anything to add?
2001 MR. McCORMICK: I just have one thing to add. This is my second year on the board, and there have been many changes in the general manager position. Beyond that, I have seen Ron very much take this organization from down to up. That is the best way to say it.
2002 I have seen very much improvement and dedication to comply with the CRTC over the last two years.
2003 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Having been on some boards that are not known for their stability, I guess, what I want to ask, Mr. McCormick, is: How big is the board itself?
2004 MR. McCORMICK: Nine members currently.
2005 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Maybe either one of you can answer.
2006 You said you have been around for two years. Can you tell me how long the various board members have been around?
2007 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes. We just had our elections. Our fiscal year-end is March 31st and we had our elections in April. This is Mr. McCormick's second term. We have approximately two others for their second term. Our president has been president for approximately seven years perhaps, seven or eight years. The vice-president has been with us for that length of time.
2008 We have two new members who just joined us, which we are very excited about. One works for a commercial TV station in town, but she felt she could contribute a lot to us, especially in the area of sales. She is a traffic co-ordinator in the sales department at a large company. She has brought a lot of ideas to us already which we have implemented.
2009 We have a part-time sales person who is just starting, who is going out into the community trying to drum up sponsorship as opposed to radio sales for us. She can approach lawyers' offices, doctors, dentists and ask them to become friends of community radio, where they would just get a mention, as a PBS station would.
2010 Her husband also got on the board, and he has a background in commercial broadcasting, as well as instructing, giving sales seminars and that type of thing. They have both proven to be very valuable assets already, just after a couple of months.
2011 We were just saying on the way here that at least we know we have a board now in which every member is doing something and not just sitting there saying okay, fine, everything is good. We will meet next month.
2012 They are actually coming on committees. Mr. McCormick, for example, is on our programming committee. Most of our committees have a board member on them, and these board members now want to get more involved in the station.
2013 Obviously our past non-compliance is definitely something they are very interested in, because they don't want to be on a board if we have no station to run. So they have asked how they can help.
2014 So whenever we need help, maybe gathering information and so on, we have board members helping out now, which is relatively rare for us over our past history.
2015 COMMISSIONER CRAM: This kind of certification that you have been talking about, I must say where I was really thinking of was certification by both yourself and the chair of the board. The chair of the board is the one who speaks for the corporation, certifying that these issues have been on your agenda and that the board has been informed as to both Canadian content and the position of the logger tapes.
2016 If you have a president that has been around for seven years, then at least that individual would understand.
2017 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes. Unfortunately, he could not be here today. He would liked to have been here, but he had another conference he had to attend. So Mr. McCormick said he would be happy to represent the board.
2018 Our president is quite aware and he is very concerned. He puts the onus on me to make sure the day to day operations are carried out, and I report to him directly.
2019 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What is his name?
2020 MR. SPIZZIRI: Tony Zuck.
2021 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
2022 Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
2023 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Spizziri, I referred earlier to application form 1.3, which is the declaration of licensee, attesting and witnessed, your signature, that you have examined the provisions of the Broadcasting Act and the Broadcasting Regulations relevant to this application.
2024 If we were to require, as you seem to think would be perhaps a solution, an attestation from you, witnessed, as to compliance with logger tapes and Canadian content regulations, how long would that take before you are in a position to actually sign as to the month and be comfortable about having that witnessed and be a legal certification?
2025 MR. SPIZZIRI: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.
2026 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, every month, presumably, you say that you go to the board and it is explained that there has been compliance.
2027 How long would it take to be in a position to actually legally attest to compliance by you?
2028 MR. SPIZZIRI: Probably a week, maybe two weeks.
2029 THE CHAIRPERSON: Where you would be comfortable that you can sign it and have it witnessed, the way you did as this declaration, that in fact there is compliance?
2030 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
2031 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why would you be able to do that?
2032 MR. SPIZZIRI: Because of the systems we now have in place, we know we would have logger tapes because of the new system, so that is no longer an issue in our eyes, as far as relying on someone to give us those logger tapes. We know they are there.
2033 Canadian content, simply because Mr. Kivol and I -- I am always asking him how the content is for this week and he is telling me. If I had to attest to it, I would just simply sit down with him and say show me what you have found and I would sign off on it. And I would feel very comfortable.
2034 THE CHAIRPERSON: As the spokesperson of the licensee today, you think a six-month renewal would be sensible; and that if there is non-compliance found during that period, there should be suspension.
2035 MR. SPIZZIRI: I am not a Commission member; but yes, I could understand why there would be a suspension, definitely.
2036 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that you would be in a position to give monthly certified statements as to compliance with both of these issues.
2037 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, I would.
2038 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have anything else to add?
2039 MR. SPIZZIRI: I don't think so, Madam Chair. I would just like to reiterate that things have changed down there -- and I know you have heard this before. I wasn't that involved before, and obviously things had not changed enough in the past.
2040 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you were a member of the board.
2041 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, I was.
2042 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you should have been involved. Those were the promises that were made; that the board would be involved and would be cognizant of the fact that as a licensee you were coming before the Commission too often.
2043 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes. What I meant, Madam Chair, obviously that was raised at those board meetings. We were told everything was okay. I didn't see it with my own eyes. That is what I meant by not being physically involved in it.
2044 THE CHAIRPERSON: And now you are sure that you are in a position that you can actually attest to it.
2045 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, I am.
2046 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel, do you have further questions?
2047 MR. McCALLUM: Just a couple, if I may.
2048 First of all, in responding to one of the earlier questions of Commissioner Wylie about the 1999 appearance, I think you may have forgotten that the 1999 appearance involved both logger tapes and Canadian content issues.
2049 Reading from Decision 2000-31, which came out of the 1999 appearance, there was a mention in the decision that analysis of the logger tapes revealed that approximately 15 hours were missing from the tapes.
2050 This is just to refresh your memory that in 1999, in that particular appearance, two appearances ago, there were both issues, both logger tapes and Canadian content.
2051 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes. That had slipped my mind completely. I don't believe I was on the board at the time, but I did come across that in our files once I joined the station.
2052 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you.
2053 Second, you referred today to the back-up system that you intend to put in place in order to ensure that there won't be any logger tape failures in the future.
2054 Can you describe a little bit further what the back-up system would consist of and when it would be put in place?
2055 MR. SPIZZIRI: It would be very similar to what we have now. We have that Audio Pro model. This is quite a recent development, and I am not in a position really to explain it at this time.
2056 I could certainly provide the information to the Commission as soon as we knew it would be given to us. We are just not in a position to buy a back-up system at the moment. But if one were donated to us, we would certainly use it.
2057 MR. McCALLUM: When are you expecting that to occur?
2058 MR. SPIZZIRI: I would say hopefully within the next month.
2059 MR. McCALLUM: So someone is donating it to you? Is that the idea?
2060 MR. SPIZZIRI: That is my understanding, yes.
2061 MR. McCALLUM: What would happen if there were a power failure?
2062 MR. SPIZZIRI: That is something I would want to take up with Al Pippen. We go through Pippen Technical for all our installations, and so on. They are the ones who provided us with the new system.
2063 That has always been on my mind: what is built into this for such an occurrence. That is something we want to follow up on and find out what does happen in the event of a power failure.
2064 Obviously, I would think that we would be off the air since we don't have our own generator. So there would be no broadcasting during that period. Also, as you said, there would be no logger tapes obviously.
2065 MR. McCALLUM: I see. So because you have no back-up generation to broadcast, you can't be broadcasting without having logger tapes.
2066 MR. SPIZZIRI: Exactly. We wouldn't be on the air anyway.
2067 MR. McCALLUM: I take it you have no immediate plans to buy a generator.
2068 MR. SPIZZIRI: I wish we could. As you know, we are a non-profit organization, and we are doing everything we can to turn things around. So a generator right now would be totally out of the question. We couldn't even consider it right now.
2069 MR. McCALLUM: The last area I want to ask about is guidelines in place, or what is in place to ensure continuity of management.
2070 You stated, for example, that Mr. Kivol had been in his office for something like 14 years. I wanted to inquire what happens if he leaves his position. What does he leave behind or what does the station have in place to ensure that the next person coming in will know of the responsibilities of the station manager and can take those up immediately?
2071 MR. SPIZZIRI: That was one of my immediate concerns when I became manager a year and a half ago: what happens if any one person leaves? We really had nothing in place.
2072 Now, with the system of reporting that we have implemented, we could certainly fill that position and I don't think it would cause any problems at all, simply because we now have a system in place.
2073 How he reports to us -- we know how he gathers the information, whereas past management and past board members were not involved in that aspect of it. We relied on Mr. Kivol to get the information to the Commission or to whoever was asking for information. Now, we could do his job tomorrow, one of the staff members, if we really had to as a temporary measure.
2074 MR. McCALLUM: For example, you have referred in an earlier answer to job descriptions.
2075 Do I take it from that that the job description will be written up and will state all the responsibilities?
2076 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes. We have a new one in place. It dates from two or three months ago. It is a lot more detailed than the former descriptions were, and logger tapes and Canadian content are mentioned in it specifically under his position.
2077 I believe we listed his duties in order of importance.
2078 MR. McCALLUM: Is that something in writing?
2079 MR. SPIZZIRI: I believe yes, we do have that.
2080 MR. McCALLUM: With the permission of the Chair, I think I would ask you to file a copy of that with the Commission.
2081 MR. SPIZZIRI: Certainly. I will send it definitely.
2082 MR. McCALLUM: And you could do that by, say, the end of next week, which would be the 27th of June?
2083 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, definitely.
2084 MR. McCALLUM: So any job descriptions that exist or written guidelines that exist, I would ask you to file under that undertaking.
2085 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
2086 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you.
2087 Thank you, Madam Chair.
2088 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel.
2089 Commissioner Cardozo.
2090 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2091 Mr. Spizziri, this is the third time I have had the pleasure of being at a hearing with your Society. It strikes me that this is enormously inefficient for the Commission but, more importantly, for the taxpayers, that we have a system where people are given seven-year licences with the understanding that it is the best of both worlds for everybody.
2092 Seven years is enough time that licensees can do what they want, and at the same time it allows the regulatory authority to do some regulation. But it is inefficient for us as a commission, it is inefficient for you as a licensee and it is inefficient for all the other licensees who are watching this particular part of the hearing.
2093 I can tell you that I am sure a lot of licensees are watching very closely, apart from people in the room, on this particular question.
2094 As Madam Chair said, if we become more lenient with community operators that are all watching this part, I suggest that there could be others too, smaller operators, who say, you know, it takes work. And it does take work to do the kind of reporting that we are asking, but it is all for an important reason, which is for the regulator to be able to monitor the things that licensees take on.
2095 It is so automatic that everybody who is applying for a licence today doesn't even discuss this issue any more. It is absolutely clear that they will meet their mark.
2096 I think right across the board among commercial radio they do.
2097 I think you are one of the, if not the, most delinquent licensees in the entire system.
2098 The options of non-renewal or suspension become very attractive from the point of view of efficiency. It is efficient in the time we put, it is efficient in terms of our relationship with every single other licensee. We recognize that the work that they put into their monitoring is important to the way we do regulation, and everybody takes this seriously. But once we start slipping, there is a very slipper slope.
2099 One of the assurances you have given us has to do with a back-up system which you have not bought, and you may buy. That leaves me a little bit uncomfortable.
2100 MR. SPIZZIRI: At the time we just didn't have the resources to have a back-up system put in. But now that our system is operating and so on, we realize the importance of it. And we should have a back-up system.
2101 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: "Should" meaning you will within a certain number of days?
2102 MR. SPIZZIRI: I honestly don't know. I would hope so, but I don't want to make a promise I can't keep.
2103 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How do you propose to ensure that the reports cover all the issues they are supposed to so that we don't run into a situation where you said you didn't read the letter correctly the first time. That is not efficient when the staff then has to then write back to you, and it goes back and forth.
2104 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
2105 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Plus you skip time lines when those letters have to go back and forth, because we always want to give people a chance to fully respond.
2106 MR. SPIZZIRI: That one issue was definitely my fault. I thought we had sent what the Commission was asking for. It was my mistake. I apologize for it.
2107 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: As an aside, I would suggest that you talk to the staff verbally on a regular basis too, to make sure that your understanding of a letter is their understanding.
2108 The one question that Commissioner Cram and counsel asked is what happened about the change in board members. But it struck me: What if you, Mr. Spizziri, who have made a lot of these commitments based on your qualifications, your management and knowledge, what if you leave the station? At some point in history you will.
2109 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes.
2110 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: What if that point were to come fairly soon?
2111 As Madam Chair has said, it is the licensee, the Society, that we are dealing with. What assurance do we have that we are just not back into this for another year?
2112 MR. SPIZZIRI: I think the changes I have made at the station, the board is very happy with them. They are now in place. I think when they would be hiring a future replacement, the job description would be there, and that person would be expected to follow the procedures we have in place right now.
2113 In the past, as I say, it was very disorganized. It really depended on the personality and skills of the person in charge, whereas now we think we have alleviated that problem by saying if we need a new manager or if we need a new program director, this is what we want them to do if they want the job.
2114 In the past, I don't think it was ever put like that. It was we like your skills, we like your background, you're hired. That could be part of the problem of why we keep appearing.
2115 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Those are my questions. Thank you, Madam Chair.
2116 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Spizziri, are you aware of how long a term of licence is possible under the Act?
2117 MR. SPIZZIRI: Two years?
2118 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no. What is the maximum licence term that a licensee can be given?
2119 MR. SPIZZIRI: I thought it had to come up for renewal every two years.
2120 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is seven years. Two years is for people who don't follow the rules.
2121 MR. SPIZZIRI: I'm sorry. That's why I keep seeing two years in all of our files.
2122 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Society is not welcome to come back to our hearing. There are two ways of doing that: you behave or we simply don't renew your licence.
2123 MR. SPIZZIRI: I agree with you.
2124 THE CHAIRPERSON: One thing is for sure: you are not welcome to our hearings every second June.
2125 MR. SPIZZIRI: All right.
2126 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Spizziri and Mr. McCormick.
2127 MR. McCORMICK: Thank you very much.
2128 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is another question. Excuse me, counsel.
2129 MR. McCALLUM: Just for our record, you mention that you have signed Host Agreement Forms and you have signs posted in the studio, which I guess are available to the volunteers that air material.
2130 Can you just explain for the record what specifically you have your volunteers undergo before they go on the air in terms of training?
2131 MR. SPIZZIRI: They are first asked to become a member of the Society. Our bylaws state that anyone broadcasting must be a member of the Society, obviously.
2132 They are then given a Program Proposal Form which they complete, get it back to us, and tell us whether they want to take over an existing time slot. A jazz host may be leaving, so if they simply put the Swing Shift, that is the show they want to do. Or they propose a new show that we might want to put on the air.
2133 The programming committee then looks at it, calls the person in, chats with them and makes sure they understand what we are all about.
2134 At that point, if the applicant wishes to pursue it, they would be interviewed by our volunteer co-ordinator, who would explain the daily chores the host has to do. We require that they put in three hours of some kind of service to the station every three months, because we just can't afford to hire a lot of people to do a lot of things.
2135 We have no trouble in that area. They realize that to stay on the air, they must contribute to the Society.
2136 Most importantly there is a Host Agreement Form that simply outlines the responsibilities of host. First and foremost, of course, is they must abide by all CRTC regulations and then the list of rules in the studio: no drinking, just the usual things on such a form.
2137 That is filed. If we see any transgression, the programming committee meets and deals with it. We have gotten rid of people. We just say you are no longer welcome here and you are off the air.
2138 MR. McCALLUM: For example, they are told about the abusive comment prohibition, for example, as being one of the regulatory requirements. Is that correct?
2139 MR. SPIZZIRI: I'm sorry? The use of...?
2140 MR. McCALLUM: Abusive comment. They are told they are prohibited from broadcasting abusive comments. That is included.
2141 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, things along those lines, especially for new members who have never been on the air before. They are trained before they are on the air. Our program director actually calls them in, and they sit in on programs without broadcasting. Then they sit in with an experienced host or myself or a board member, if they are doing a show, and we train them that way on the air.
2142 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2143 THE CHAIRPERSON: When was your last board meeting, Mr. Spizziri?
2144 MR. SPIZZIRI: It was last week.
2145 MR. McCORMICK: Last Thursday, June 12th.
2146 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe you should convene an ad hoc one and bring my last message.
2147 MR. SPIZZIRI: Yes, we definitely will.
2148 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which is you are not welcome to our hearings every two years.
2149 MR. SPIZZIRI: Definitely.
2150 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that we are going to have to consider how we achieve that: either by believing your recommendations or simply not renewing your licence.
2151 Thank you.
2152 MR. SPIZZIRI: Thank you.
2153 MR. McCORMICK: Thank you.
2154 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now take a 15-minute break and be back at a quarter to 11:00.
--- Upon recessing at 1030 / Suspension à 1030
--- Upon resuming at 1120 / Reprise à 1120
2155 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Welcome back to our hearing.
2156 Thank you for accommodating us in changing the agenda.
2157 For the rest of today, we will hear the Rogers application, and we will then hear the AVR application and OK Radio application. We will begin the day tomorrow morning with the Global application.
2158 Mr. Secretary, the AVR panel has been told that we will hear them following the Rogers application?
2159 MR. LeBEL: That is correct, Madam Chair.
2160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2161 Mr. Secretary, please.
2162 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2163 Items 6 to 14 on the agenda area competing for the Edmonton market, and we will hear them following the four-phase process.
2164 In Phase I the first application we will hear is an application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a licence to operate an English-language FM commercial radio station in Edmonton.
2165 The new station would operate on frequency 91.7 MHz (on Channel 219C) with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts.
2166 Mr. Gary Miles will introduce his colleagues. You have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
2167 MR. MILES: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission. I am Gary Miles, CEO Radio, Rogers Broadcasting Limited.
2168 With me today, to my left, are: Gayle Zarbatany, Program Director; and Sandy Sanderson, Executive Vice-President, National Program Director. To my right is Kevin McKanna, Vice-President and Rogers General Manager, Calgary Radio Stations; and Sandra Stasiuk, Vice-President, Finance.
2169 At the next table we have, starting from my left: Steve Edwards, Vice-President, Corporate Engineering & Technology; Alain Strati, Director, Business and Regulatory Affairs; and Rael Merson, President, Rogers Broadcasting Limited.
2170 We are pleased to appear before you today to present our application for Xfm in Edmonton.
2171 In preparing our application, we reviewed the formats of the stations currently serving this market, as well as the specific demographic trends of the population. We concluded that no station speaks to the core male demographic of men aged 18 to 34 years old. With our Modern Rock format and our experience in operating two stations in similar formats, we believe our station will fill the void in this market and provide younger listeners with a voice in this community.
2172 Since the release of the Commercial Radio Policy in 1998, the Commission has consistently applied a detailed matrix for the evaluation of new station applications. In doing so, the Commission has identified four main factors or bases of comparison:
2173 (1) the quality of the applications;
2174 (2) the competitive state of the market;
2175 (3) the impact of a new entrant on existing stations; and
2176 (4) the diversity of news voices in the market.
2177 Examining each of these four factors, we believe the approval of our application would be in the public interest.
2178 First, the quality of our application demonstrates our commitment to serve the Edmonton market. Through the very best in Modern Rock music, spoken word and lifestyle programming, Xfm will connect younger listeners with their local community.
2179 We have also proposed a sizeable, comprehensive commitment to Canadian talent development, totalling $7 million, essentially providing the funding necessary for made in Northern Alberta solutions for the development and promotion of Northern Alberta artists.
2180 Second, as one of Canada's foremost radio broadcast groups, we have the resources and expertise needed to successfully compete with three well-financed and highly experienced radio operators in this market. We have proven our ability to invest in radio properties and will work in Edmonton to establish a strong stand-alone radio station in the face of the three, strong multiple station clusters.
2181 Third, our station will provide another voice in this community, increasing the diversity of news and editorial opinion in this market, ensuring that a wider segment of the population is represented.
2182 Finally, financial results for this market show strong revenue growth and solid returns. The market is certainly big enough to absorb our station, without undue impact on existing stations.
2183 In applying its competitive applications matrix, the Commission has acknowledged that the relative importance of each of the four factors will vary, depending on the circumstances of each specific market.
2184 Larger radio markets are very competitive, with a significantly higher number of stations. They offer a wide variety of focused formats. In the specific case of Edmonton, the market is not only competitive, but consolidated, with ten commercial radio stations being owned and operated by only three broadcasters.
2185 We believe the Commission's analysis of the applications in this proceeding should give relatively more weight to three factors:
2186 (1) the proposed music format of the station and its commitment to programming that reflects the local community;
2187 (2) the applicant's desire to serve the music community and industry in Northern Alberta by committing to significant public benefits for Canadian talent initiatives; and
2188 (3) the applicant's ability to successfully establish a stand-alone station to compete in the market with strong, well-financed incumbents.
2190 MS ZARBATANY: Thank you, Gary.
2191 As the 2001 Census has shown, rapidly growing metropolitan areas in Canada are also among those with the youngest population. This is certainly the case in Edmonton. Although experiencing significant population growth, the Edmonton metropolitan area is also among those areas whose population has aged the least. The percentage of its total population between the ages of 15 and 34 is the highest amongst Canada's top ten metropolitan areas.
2192 Edmonton is home to a number of colleges and universities, with fulltime, post-secondary enrolment totalling more than 50,000 students. These students make up one of the core demographic groups of avid Modern Rock listeners.
2193 Edmonton is also the most proximate regional centre to some of the fastest growing and youngest population centres in Canada.
2194 As a result, a greater proportion of the overall population in Edmonton and the surrounding areas is made up of radio listeners in the younger age groups. It is this large and growing population that currently has no voice in this market.
2195 So who are the Xfm listeners? Who are these young people?
2196 Well, they're trend-setters, always striving to stay ahead of the curve, seeking out new music first, new lifestyles first and new points of view.
2197 They're tech-savvy, adapting easily to new media tools and new communications devices as leaders of the digital generation.
2198 They're very educated and socially conscious, concerned about the environment, accepting of alternative lifestyles and cognizant of Canada's diverse reality.
2199 They're fans of Modern Rock, a music format that speaks to their interests, to their lifestyles, and to their energy.
2200 Modern Rock emerged from Seattle in the 1990s. The format has a strong focus on new music and new artists, with an edgier or harder Rock sound. However, the format will also include some music from a number of other genres such as down-tempo, active rock and alternative.
2201 No station in this market serves these younger listeners. We saw that as a hole in the market and an opportunity to launch a Modern Rock station here in Edmonton.
2202 Recently, an existing station changed its format from Rock to some form of a Modern Rock station. It even changed its name to "96X", and bills itself as "The Hit Music Alternative".
2203 However, appearances can be deceiving. Although that station brands itself as an "X" station, its format does not serve the niche Modern Rock format, nor is it a station focused on the under-served younger listeners in Edmonton.
2204 A music study we conducted during the week of June 9th compared the Modern Rock songs played on our Xfm stations in the Fraser Valley and Ottawa Valley, as well as the Corus-owned Modern Rock station in Toronto. Our research shows that over 50 per cent of the songs on the playlists of these Modern Rock stations were not getting any airplay in Edmonton.
2205 Amongst those songs not getting airplay in Edmonton were local or lesser-known Canadian Modern Rock artists.
2206 Unlike existing stations, which include some Modern Rock songs in order to attract younger listeners to their stations, our proposed station will focus 100 per cent on these listeners. That focus will provide younger listeners in Edmonton with their favourite Modern Rock music.
2208 MR. McKANNA: Thank you, Gayle.
2209 Unlike the existing rock stations, our station will connect younger listeners in Edmonton with the particular issues affecting them in their local community. Local news, weather and traffic, along with information on events and activities in and around the Edmonton area, will form the basis of newscasts during peak listening periods but will also be woven creatively into the remainder of our spoken word programming.
2210 News segments are not the only means of engaging our listeners in topical news and information. That kind of community dialogue can also occur within the overall programming flow of the station.
2211 As residents, all of our live-to-air Xfm program hosts will provide a community perspective and opinion on the issues that affect the young people of Edmonton. Topical talk patterns through the day will permit our announcers to interact with station listeners and discuss the important news and events of the day.
2212 Modern Rock listeners come from a highly specialized demographic group. They have very specific interests and very strong opinions. To be reflective of those attitudes and that lifestyle, it is critical for our station to provide news, information and lifestyle programming that speaks directly to this demographic group.
2213 As with all of our radio stations, we will establish a Local Advisory Board here in Edmonton. This board partnership provides us with a unique opportunity to consult with community representatives about local issues, concerns and events.
2214 Given our target service group, we will also appoint a youth representative to our advisory board. The appointment will ensure that the views of young people here in Edmonton are effectively represented as part of our advisory board community consultation process.
2216 MS ZARBATANY: Modern Rock listeners are trend-setters and early adopters. By their very nature, they are more experimental and certainly more receptive to radio programming that promotes new music, independent artists and particularly local talent.
2217 Modern Rock stations are exciting places to work because each station still has the ability, individually, to make a significant and tangible difference in terms of promoting and developing Canadian talent at the local level.
2218 We know. We know because we operate two Modern Rock stations and each of them has made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of local Modern Rock artists.
2219 In the Vancouver/Fraser Valley region, our Xfm station there was the first to air and promote Canadian artists such as Nickleback and Swollen Members. We also produce a program called Canadian X-Posure, which is a weeknight broadcast featuring independent Canadian Modern Rock artists. There are interviews, touring information and, of course, great new local independent music.
2220 Crowned King, last year's winner of our Xfm Last Band Standing promotion in Vancouver, has just recently been signed to Aquarius Records.
2221 In the Ottawa Valley region, our Xfm station there was the first to air and promote Canadian artists at the time independent artists, as Avril Lavigne, who is now enjoying international success, and Sam Roberts, who is now Canada's newest Modern Rock sensation.
2222 We also regularly promote local Canadian Modern Rock artists in our daily music feature called "Indy Air", broadcast weekdays at 11 and 7 o'clock.
2223 Modern Rock listeners form the core demographic of Internet users and CD burners. They have downloaded and copied music from sites like Napster and Nutella. With no radio station in Edmonton totally serving their needs and demands, many would-be Modern Rock listeners here will continue to turn to the Internet in search for new music and new, emerging artists. They currently have no option but to access other available sources for Modern Rock music.
2224 If they continue to do so, we lose an irreplaceable opportunity to promote Canadian Modern Rock artists, an opportunity to showcase local Modern Rock talent to local Modern Rock listeners.
2225 Our station will respond to these opportunities with extensive promotional support and on-air exposure for local Modern Rock artists.
2226 However, we also believe we needed to do more. As a potential entrant into the Modern Rock scene in Northern Alberta, we believed our application should also attempt to provide the level of funding necessary to make a significant contribution to the development of home-grown, Northern Alberta musical talent.
2227 Thus, should our application be approved, we committed to spending a total of $7 million over our seven-year term to support local and regional Canadian talent development. A vast amount of that $7 million commitment will go directly to support the Northern Alberta music community:
2228 (1) $1 million to the Alberta Recording Industry association to develop Northern Alberta talent and to foster the excellence, diversity and viability of a recording industry here in Alberta;
2229 (2) $1.75 million to establish a self-sufficient Indigenous Peoples' Music Fund, capable of providing the kinds of tools and resources necessary to fund the development of Indigenous artists and Indigenous music here in Alberta;
2230 (3) $1.5 million for FACTOR to support the production, distribution and marketing of recordings by new and emerging Canadian Modern Rock recording artists, including a 50 per cent portion set aside specifically for the development of Modern Rock recording artists in Northern Alberta;
2231 (4) $1.75 million to fund and promote local-area festivals, including the establishment of "X-fest", which will be a free summer concert every year in Edmonton showcasing established Canadian Modern Rock artists and local up-and-coming artists; and
2232 (5) $1 million for "X on the Street", a grassroots, interactive venue established to stimulate interest and exposure for local Modern Rock artists.
2233 We believe this industry benefits package will change the landscape for the development of Canadian musical talent in Northern Alberta. We believe our Canadian talent development proposal reflects our commitment to the community of Edmonton and our investment in the success of the Modern Rock format in Northern Alberta.
2235 MR. MILES: Edmonton is the sixth largest census metropolitan area in Canada, with a population approaching 1 million. It is also the fifth fastest growing CMA in Canada. According to the latest 2001 Census, population growth in this market has increased significantly over the last five years, well above the Alberta average of 10.3 per cent, and more than three and a half times the Canadian average of 4 per cent.
2236 Radio advertising revenue growth in the market exemplifies the capacity and growth of the local economy. Annual advertising revenue in the Edmonton radio market has grown significantly, with the total market now exceeding $50 million. Profitability has also increased, with Edmonton operators enjoying strong PBIT margins.
2237 The Edmonton market is of course essentially self-contained, given its geographic location. The stations operating here benefit from very little tuning to out-of-market stations.
2238 This market, however, is quite competitive. Three large, experienced private broadcasters (Corus, Standard and Newcap) own and operate ten commercial radio stations in this market. Together, these corporate groups and stations garner 83 per cent of the market share.
2239 In this type of market not every new entrant will do well. New entrants need to be well-financed and experienced radio broadcasters, capable of establishing their station in a market as competitive as Edmonton.
2240 We led the emergence of FM radio broadcasting in the 1960s, with the success of CHFI in Toronto. We introduced the all-news station format to Canada, with the launch of 680 News. Both stations are now market leaders and are among Canada's most successful radio stations. We have also developed and invested in two Modern Rock stations in Canada.
2241 As expressed in its licensing decisions, the Commission clearly favours increased competition and diversity and the improvements in the quality of available services that these promote.
2242 We believe that our station will enhance competition in Edmonton by introducing a radio company that is willing to invest in a music and lifestyle format that will have particular appeal to younger listeners.
2243 As one of Canada's foremost radio broadcast groups, Rogers believes that it has the ability to successfully serve the Edmonton market. We believe that Rogers has the commitment, strength and staying power to make a real difference in this market.
2245 MR. EDWARDS: We propose to broadcast Xfm on Channel 219, 91.7 MHz, from an existing transmitter site in Edmonton.
2246 Should the Commission approve our application, other frequency alternatives will remain available either for other licensees in this proceeding, or for use in future licensing proceedings. There are three unused FM frequencies allocated for use in Edmonton and available for other licences: Channel 207 (89.3 MHz); Channel 294 (106.7 MHz) and Channel 299 (107.7 MHz).
2247 It would also be possible to move Channel 258 (99.5 MHz) from Leduc or to move Channel 275 (102.9 MHz) from Camrose.
2248 Finally, there are a number of other channels which have been identified as possible drop-in frequencies for the Edmonton market.
2249 To summarize, in addition to t he channel we have applied for, there are at least five other FM frequencies available for Edmonton.
2251 MR. MILES: Unlike existing rock format stations, Xfm will connect younger listeners in Edmonton with the particular issues affecting them in their community.
2252 Rogers does not operate any local radio or television stations, nor any other media outlets, in Edmonton.
2253 We believe the approval of our Xfm application will increase the diversity of news and editorial opinion available in this market. Our news and editorial experience will become evident not only through a unique view on stories of the day, but also through a focus on local events and happenings. By addressing the particular issues and concerns of our listeners, Xfm has the opportunity to establish a new editorial voice for the community of Edmonton.
2254 In conclusion, Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, we believe the approval of our application would best serve local listeners and most effectively and directly contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the commercial radio policy.
2255 One, our application demonstrates our commitment to serve the community of Edmonton. Our proposed Modern Rock station will fill a void in this market and provide under-served younger listeners with a true, dedicated voice.
2256 Two, our proposed initiatives for Canadian talent development will establish a local music industry infrastructure to develop, market and promote music from Northern Alberta artists.
2257 Three, we have the resources and expertise needed to successfully compete with three well-financed and highly experienced radio operators in this market. We have proven our ability to invest in radio properties and will work in Edmonton to establish a stand-alone radio station in the face of strong competition.
2258 Four, the Edmonton radio market has shown strong growth and healthy financial results over the last number of years. The market can absorb the entry of our proposed station without unduly impacting existing stations.
2259 Finally, the introduction of Xfm will provide a fresh and unique perspective on local news and information, not only increasing the diversity of news and editorial opinion but also establishing a much-needed voice for under-served younger listeners.
2260 For all of these reasons, we believe the approval of our application would be in the public interest. We look forward to your questions.
2261 Thank you.
2262 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Miles and your colleagues.
2263 Commissioner Langford has questions for you.
2264 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2265 Mr. Miles and members of your team, I hope we can have a little fun this morning and maybe learn something as well. At least I hope I can learn something, because I have to tell you that Modern Rock and I are not close yet, although you may change that.
2266 I am outside your demographic, once again, so I may need a little help, I think. In fact, probably almost everyone in this room is outside it.
2267 I want to know a little bit about Modern Rock. We said it yesterday -- many of us said it, but perhaps it bears repeating. It is not that we regulate format, but in trying to assess the value of an application's likelihood to succeed in th4e market, and if there is a place for it, it is important for us to understand at least a bit about what your intentions are.
2268 Maybe I could ask you a comparison question.
2269 If you are familiar with OK Radio's application, they have put forward an application based on something called Rock Alternative Crossover.
2270 Are they similar or are these totally different formats?
2271 MR. MILES: The interesting part about this format -- if I could speak about that for a couple of moments and then we will talk about the OK Radio group in general terms -- I think everyone gets confused and gets concerned about the word "alternative". Alternative sort of means something different to all of us. Whereas the true meaning of the word is an alternative kind of rock genre that has been around, although clearly focused to 18-to-34-year-olds, predominantly males, although females listen to it quite a bit.
2272 Gayle will describe a bit of the lifestyle of the people that are involved in this one.
2273 It is interesting that the articles in the Globe and Mail that are talking about what does Canada look like coming up clearly talk to this absolute demographic.
2274 Many of the things that these people share are what the Modern Rock listeners actually care about. They are very socially conscious. They are vegetarians in many ways. They have a completely different view and outlook ion the world. They are far more liberal in their opinions and thoughts and attitudes. It is not all spiky hair and funny coloured outfits.
2275 That is why we want to keep referring to this as Modern Rock and not get confused with alternative, which tends to have people say it is an alternative lifestyle. It is not that at all. It is emblematic and representative of these people who are coming up.
2276 I would have to assume -- because we are not familiar with the format that OK Radio group, a good company, is -- it is probably going to be based on the same kind of musical genre. When you start talking about Modern Rock -- and Gayle will describe some of the songs -- there is not much crossover.
2277 What we do know is that the songs that we would be playing on our playlist are not being played in the Edmonton market.
2279 MS ZARBATANY: Again, I can't speak to the other Modern Rock application. The best way to describe Modern Rock really is eclectic. It is cutting edge rock music for 18 to 34-year-olds predominantly male, who want to hear new music first.
2280 It comes from a few areas. We kind of touched upon it, that it came out of Seattle in the nineties, which was more of an alternative rock. Modern Rock was born there.
2281 It is a variation of four-piece rock bands. I can name them for you and hopefully you may recognize some of them. They are White Stripe, Blink-182 and Canadian Sum 41. They are grunge bands, which are Audio Slaves. They are rap rock, Eminem, which I am sure we all know of, and Swollen Members, Canadians from Vancouver. They are gold based from the nineties and early two thousands, if you will, a mixture of alternative, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots have been around for 15 years now, and active rock Foo Fighters. The down tempo we talked about, such as bands like Radio Head.
2282 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Coming out of my daughters' bedrooms every day of the week, I have to tell you.
2283 You talk about it not being available, at least 50 per cent of it not being available in Edmonton. Some of it that is available that sneaks in, what formats is it sneaking into?
2284 I have your list on page 6 of your supplementary brief which I can refer to, but would I be safe in saying, for example, that Newcap's Classic Rock station would carry some of this, or not? Do I have that wrong?
2285 MR. MILES: Sandy?
2286 MR. SANDERSON: Yes. Classic Rock would carry almost none of it.
2287 The research that was referred to in chief is taking an Xfm, one of our stations, putting it hypothetically into the Edmonton market. The result was of the 298 songs that our station would play in a given week -- this happened to be June 9th to 15th -- 51 per cent would not be heard at all. About 30 per cent of the spins, number of times playing the Xfm songs would be on The Bear, CFBR; and 25 per cent would be on 96X.
2288 So there is really no station dedicated to 100 per cent music for the Modern Rock audience. The closest, although they are only 30 per cent, is The Bear, whose slogan is "the classic rock you love, the new rock you need".
2289 So they are doing both. They are not directly appealing to the Modern Rock.
2290 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Could you give me the actual call letters of those two? I don't have the word "bear" on my list.
2291 MR. SANDERSON: Yes. CFBR.
2292 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: CFBR?
2293 MR. SANDERSON: Yes, "B" as in Bob.
2294 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And that is the one that has about 30 per cent, you say?
2295 MR. SANDERSON: Yes. And 96X is CKRA-FM.
2296 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: What per cent would that have?
2297 MR. SANDERSON: Twenty-five per cent.
2298 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: We don't say "B" as in Bob when we work for Jack, ever.
2299 MR. SANDERSON: You notice I didn't say "B" as in Bear.
2300 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Just a helpful hint as we move along.
2301 MR. MILES: Commissioner, if I could perhaps bring this back to what this music talks about, I too am out of the demo. That is why we have Gayle here, who is going to be doing quite a bit of this. She understands the music, understands the programming, understands the format.
2302 It is not just about the music. The problem is that this music is available to the people who are the audience, the 18-to-34 years olds, long before it actually gets on to a playlist of a radio station. They are pulling it down, they are multi-tasking, they are taking it and playing it out on the iPods. They are doing all this stuff.
2303 It is an attitude around the station, an attitude that reflects the social consciousness of these new kinds of people, an attitude that at times is somewhat extreme. It is skateboarding and it is snowboarding, although as a skier I don't like that part too much.
2304 It is this whole new different group that is growing up here. It is the promotion and the excitement and the talk around the station that more aptly describes what a Modern Rock radio station is as compared with playing some of the music.
2305 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: As a point of interest, in my notes which I took from your application, and therefore could quite conceivably be wrong -- I find myself having more and more senior moments -- I have a note of a 12-to-24 demo. But this morning you have been talking about 18-to-34.
2306 Did I just get it wrong?
2307 MR. MILES: No. What happens with these formats is traditionally in a big market like Edmonton where there are lots of players we probably use too much radio terminology. So you sort of start with the 12-24s and that is what you target in, and then you grow them out.
2308 The real format of this radio station is 18-to-34s. I think we slipped into radio jargon to describe what the core was. You can't operate these radio stations without having a core to begin with and a niche format. Those particularly are the people, even the younger ones, who are doing far more the kind of exchange of music that we talked about.
2309 Gayle, would that be...
2310 MS ZARBATANY: Absolutely.
2311 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That interests me, because it may take a bit of the edge off some of my questions later on when I am talking about revenue share and appealing to these people as consumers, because 12-to-24 is a very narrow and often penniless demographic, I would think.
2312 MR. MILES: I think I would agree with everything except the penniless part, given the state of the grandparents that are around.
2313 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yes. There is some sad truth to that. We will get to that later.
2314 Let's finish up on format if we can, although I suppose we will talk about it again in terms of advertising and market share.
2315 When you look at Edmonton and you say Edmonton -- these may not be your exact words, but basically the message is Edmonton needs this format; Edmonton has a niche here.
2316 Is it because basically there are so many stations here and so many formats that there is just nothing left to choose? I notice you haven't suggested Jack for obvious reasons. There is lots of what JACK plays here, or there seems to be, to my untutored eye.
2317 Is it simply that that is the only niche open, or did you find other niches and chose this one in your studies?
2318 MR. MILES: I think the marketplace plays out into two kinds of niches. There is the younger demographic and particularly with the fast growing population and the predominance of the 18-to-34 population in the Edmonton market. It has always seemed to be that way, and I am going to ask Kevin to comment on that because he is from here and programmed radio stations here. So there is that one.
2319 The market is very well served in the 25-to-54, which is in answer to a question we had anticipated: why we didn't propose JACK on this one.
2320 And then there is sort of the 55-plus, which is more an easier listening. Smooth Jazz would probably fall into that category. There is that segment sitting out there.
2321 We certainly wouldn't want to come in here and say "me too, me too, give us another one of those 25-to-54s", because the market is well served.
2322 Sandy, do you have the breakout?
2323 MR. SANDERSON: The demographic breakout, you mean?
2324 MR. MILES: Yes.
2325 MR. SANDERSON: The profiles of the stations: First of all, there are six stations. Four of them lean female; two of them lean male, which automatically would make you think you would want to come in with a male-based format.
2326 The 25-to-54 is currently 96X, CKRA. Most of their music is 25-to-54. Second is the country station, which is more of a music appeal rather than a demographic appeal.
2327 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Excuse me. I probably should be saving this question for later, but it seems to be such perfect timing for it that I will just break stride here and probably destroy myself as a cross-examiner. But it worth the risk.
2328 It is not unknown in radio circles for an existing player, in anticipation of a newly licensed player, to change format suddenly. I think it happened recently in Calgary, if I am not mistaken.
2329 What happens if between -- let's say you are successful and we issue a decision in September. I don't know how long it would take you to get up. Perhaps that is a first starting question.
2330 Assume, for example, that you got a favourable decision in September. How long would it take you to actually be on the air?
2331 MR. MILES: Three months.
2332 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So by Christmas you are on the air. That gives a reasonably sharp operator time to say: We have forgotten this hole. They are going to eat our advertising lunch. Let's change formats.
2333 Perfectly within the rules. What do you do then?
2334 MR. MILES: Well, one thing about when an existing player changes formats within the marketplace, it will leave some of the format that will be open.
2335 It is easier, we have found, to change formats that sort of blend or meld or grow the format that you are currently in; make it a little easier to do that. So let's make a couple of assumptions.
2336 Again, it will get me in trouble with all of my friends in the Edmonton market, but I suppose it would be easier to change one of those male-based radio stations into slightly younger to do that. That would leave some other section of the male-based market open.
2337 Edmonton is a rock-based male market and has been for a considerable period of time. We would take a look at that and evaluate it, where the hole would be, and would have to switch the plan accordingly. We would come back and say: Here's what his happening. Here's where we think it is. Our benefits still apply.
2338 It probably speaks to one of the issues that we think is very important in this one, and that is if that is the case and the revenue model happened to go down a little, Rogers has the ability to sustain against that kind of switching around.
2339 It also shows one of the things that makes it difficult for a stand-alone operator to come in, because you only have one station to manoeuvre along this way and the other operators -- and good for them -- have more than one frequency to do it. So you need to be able to then go back and do research, that we have done that.
2340 You need to be able to go back in and take the expertise of the formats that we have in the other markets and present a case for saying: If this station moved here, here is another hole that was available and we will serve this hole.
2341 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Whatever commitments you make by the end of this process will stand, and it will be up to Rogers to sink or swim. You have the deep pockets and you are going to be nimble. That is what you are basically saying to me.
2342 MR. MILES: Thank you. Yes, we are. We are very proud of those Canadian talent commitments, and I know that we will get into it.
2343 There really is an opportunity to do something for the northern Alberta music infrastructure, and that is going to stand, regardless of the format. And yes, we are up to the game.
2344 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You just said something which struck me a little strangely. You said that Edmonton, I believe -- and if I have misquoted you, you will correct me -- is predominantly a male-based market. And yet your colleague Mr. Sanderson said before you -- I think he said -- that at least four of the stations there, there is a predominance to female orientation.
2345 Why is it that these experienced broadcasters in a predominantly male market have chosen to try to pitch their signals to female listeners?
2346 MR. MILES: Whether we like to admit it or not, as males, the majority of buying decisions are made by females.
2347 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yes. I thought you were admiring my tie when you said that.
--- Laughter / Rires
2348 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Let's move on to news and spoken word. I think this one may be difficult to fence in as trying to instruct me on defining modern rock. But at least you do have the benefit of having done this twice already. I am hoping you can help me with it.
2349 Dealing first with an easy statistic, your application says that all programming will be local and 17 per cent will be spoken word.
2350 My starting point is, although I have read your application and your supplementary brief and I have listened to your opening remarks, I have a little trouble trying to nail down precisely what the elements of that spoken word or that 17 per cent would be.
2351 Could you help me with that?
2352 MR. McKANNA: I will try my best. Three hours per week will be news. Topical talk will make up ten hours a week; PSA community talk, 1.5 hours; and specialty programs, 2.5 hours.
2353 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Could you slow down a little bit, please. Topical talk.
2354 MR. McKANNA: Yes, is ten hours.
2355 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Right.
2356 MR. McKANNA: PSA community talk, 1.5 hours a week; specialty programs, 2.5.
2357 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Let's do the easy ones first. News would be when?
2358 MR. McKANNA: Morning Show, 6:00 to 9:00 a.m., would be top and bottom hour, five minutes each; Afternoon Drive, 4:00 to 6:00, would be three minutes per hour.
2359 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Now we will go to the tough one, the one that is tough for me: topical talk.
2360 I have picked a few of these out. On your March 4, 2003 deficiency response you refer to providing news and information "within a context that would appeal to its younger listeners".
2361 How does that work?
2362 MR. McKANNA: First of all, we would be looking to target the lifestyle of the Modern Rock listener; basically, their interests and needs. We feel that the radio stations currently in the Edmonton market tend to talk to an older audience.
2363 Some of the examples of some of the things we may talk about with our on-air hosts would be extreme sports. They are more interested in independent movie releases versus commercial movie releases; leading edge of technology; new music.
2364 I also have a 19-year-old son back in Calgary, and one of the magazines I see lying around quite a bit is "Maxim". An example might be an article in there of who are the top guitarists of all times. They may read that list and people will call in and agree, disagree, give their opinion on why and why not; that type of thing.
2365 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I wish I had a son. Then I would have an excuse to find "Maxim" lying around the house too.
2366 MR. McKANNA: It's a terrible thing.
2367 MS ZARBATANY: If I could just elaborate on that a little bit, Kevin speaks to the lifestyle. It is interesting that today in the Globe and Mail they are continuing their 12-part series on "Generation Next". There is always a name, and that is what they are called: Generation Next.
2368 They are talking about how they are way more liberal in their thinking, way more focused on social issues, as we talked about. And they are changing the way for the next generation, because they really do see the world through different eyes.
2369 Two top stories in the news right now are the decriminalization of marijuana and same-sex unions. I am just using those as examples whereby within the spins of the record, because of the current events and because they are so focused on new and topical and leading edge -- edge being everything to do from sports to music -- the announcers would probably speak to whatever the current events, the topics of latest technology that come out and would invite our listeners to call in, to comment and react.
2370 Not only that, we find that our listeners in this particular aged demographic are not shy about calling up on their own to voice opinions and share thoughts.
2371 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: If I could just back up for a second and pick up on a word in context before we get to the topical talk -- and I apologize because I did bring it up. I just want to take you back now before I go there.
2372 When you talk about putting news in context -- and you have given two examples of news they would be interested in: marijuana decriminalization, whatever it is -- it is something between decriminalization and, I don't know, a wink and a nod, or something -- and same sex marriages, which is going to do something for the Toronto tourist trade, I suppose, as you can't get them here. It may offset the SARS problem.
2373 How do you sift through the rest of the news in your existing Modern Rock stations? Do you just skip the Middle East? How do you deal with it?
2374 You know as well as I do that the average teenager's eyes just roll back in their head when they hear about the Middle East. Do you skip it? What do you do?
2375 MS ZARBATANY: Not at all. Again, 18-to-34s are predominantly in their twenties. We keep saying this -- and I truly mean this -- they are really focused on social issues, human rights, ethnic and racial conflict.
2376 So they will sit around and have major long discussions about conflicts that are happening overseas, whether we should or should not go to war; all those opinions that we have all had discussions on. But they voice their opinions much louder and more liberal.
2377 So you would not bypass it. A lot of it would have to do with the presentation of it. Of course you would include it in your news, but it would be how you would present it to the audience.
2378 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So if a Third World War breaks out, they will know about it.
2379 MS ZARBATANY: They will probably call us to tell us.
2380 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Excellent. Good to know. Everybody should be warned about those events, no matter what their demographic.
2381 The topical talk, where you talk about them calling in and spurring conversations, there is a lot of hours given to this. But it seems -- and I don't mean this in a derogatory way -- a little difficult to define.
2382 Can you give me some idea of how it would work over a typical hour, what sort of thing would go on?
2383 MS ZARBATANY: Typically, the hope is always to play lots of music, but within a 10-to-12 hours music hours, usually when the average song is about four, four and a half minutes long, usually within that time between records, as we call it in the business, an announcer would come on and talk about, as I said, a specific item that was in the news or the brand new movie that came out, "2 Fast 2 Furious", and how it bypassed every other movie on the weekend. And although Vin Diesel wasn't in the movie this time around, it still did very well at the box office. What you do you think about Vin Diesel not being in there?
2384 Then they would call up and discuss it; from something as irreverent as Hollywood to, as I said, discussing the latest technology or what is happening overseas.
2385 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: How much of that would you get in -- give me a block of time. Is an hour too little to talk about? Is a day enough to talk about?
2386 MR. McKANNA: We estimate it to be about eight minutes an hour in the morning show, and that would tail off to approximately five minutes during the mid-day show and then back in peak listening time in drive to eight minutes. Evening, when a lot more of them would be listening, would be another eight minutes an hour. And weekends about four minutes per hour.
2387 MR. MILES: I think the other thing to bear in mind on this one is that the type of personalities who are associated with this radio station truly do reflect a diversity from the rest of the announcers. They are out in the community. That is exactly what they do.
2388 So it is not as if we are waiting for the people to phone in. They are sort of leading the charge on it. They always have, as Gayle said, an opinion, some of which we may not actually agree with. But they have the opinion and they are out there and they are doing it.
2389 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Is it scripted or do you generally trust these people? Let's take, for example, your Smiths Falls station or your Chiliwack station. Do you script this stuff? Do you have a story meeting in the morning and say: Okay, in the eight minutes that we are going to use up during the morning period let's talk about -- I don't know -- drug tests for snowboarders, or whatever you are going to talk about?
2390 Or do you just basically rely on your professional talent, as you call it in your application, to come up with this stuff on their own?
2391 MS ZARBATANY: It really is a combination of a lot of areas. Mostly all our announcers, but predominantly in this area because they are so computer involved with the Internet, they surf the Internet every day. We have jock meetings on a regular basis, meet with them. I meet with the morning team every single day to talk about not just the post mortem on the morning show but what is hot and topical in the news today. What are people talking about and how can we reflect that tomorrow morning on the show.
2392 Plus, you always have meetings with your announcers on a regular basis, one on one and as a group. As well, they rely on their own sources of show preparation, which includes television news and newspaper, but in this particular case usually the Internet.
2393 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Are you telling me it is scripted or half scripted, or there is guidance?
2394 MS ZARBATANY: Absolutely. There is a lot of guidance and direction and discussion on the areas on which we would like to focus. They come with their ideas and we provide ideas. Then once on the air -- it is scripted within their own style but based on a general observation of what we want to reflect on the radio.
2395 MR. MILES: But we should be clear. They do not go in there with how I used to go into the control room and read like that. It doesn't happen that way.
2396 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So there is the flexibility. So if you have -- and I don't want to put words in your mouth, so if I am wrong on this, let me know.
2397 The understanding I am getting is that coming out of your morning meeting they may have two, three, four, five subject areas, maybe even some suggested questions or something to get this going. But if someone phones in and switches topic, they are free to respond to that, as long as it is within the guidelines of decency and whatever else they are restricted to.
2398 MS ZARBATANY: Absolutely.
2399 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That gives me some idea.
2400 Is it hard to fill this time? You have been doing it now with some of your stations for a while. Is it difficult? Do you run out of steam after six months? Or is this just forever?
2401 MS ZARBATANY: They just keep going and going and going. Not at all.
2402 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You talk about specials for 2.5. Can you break that down a little bit for me.
2403 MR. McKANNA: One of the shows is called "Canadian X-Posure". That is a program that will expose new Canadian Modern Rock musicians. We will run that Monday to Thursday at 11 o'clock. It features two to three independent Canadian acts. We will have interviews with the band members and invite listeners to call in with their comments.
2404 That will run approximately 30 minutes each night, and then on Sunday we will run a full hour of that show.
2405 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Is that a syndicated show made in co-operation with your other Modern Rock stations, or is that going to be exclusively done here in Edmonton?
2406 MS ZARBATANY: Local. It will be done here in Edmonton.
2407 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I know we will get to benefits later, but does that tie into one of the benefits you have where you are trying to give exposure to new bands and get them playing in a kind of -- how was that described: X in the Street, storefront sort of studio?
2408 Is there where they are going to come out of, or is this separate from that completely?
2409 MS ZARBATANY: Yes. No. It is a combination. Modern Rock really is, as we keep saying, a new music first type of format. So it does speak to the benefits, as well as exposes the local and Canadian independent artists on a daily basis.
2410 MR. MILES: The answer to your question is that the show will comprise sometimes that particular music, or maybe not the music and just the artist talk itself. I think there is a big difference in trying to get local artists promoted and things like that and what ends up being airworthy.
2411 There will also be an exchange of this between our other programs in the Ottawa Valley and the Vancouver-Fraser Valley. It is a great opportunity.
2412 There are different segments of this as we move across the country. It is not one size fits all.
2413 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So it will never be syndicated, but there can be exchanges. If something is interesting that comes out of Chiliwack, why not use it again, is basically what you are saying.
2414 Mr. McKanna, I think I in a sense interrupted you to find out about "Canadian X-Posure".
2415 Was there another aspect to the 2.5 hours?
2416 MR. McKANNA: No. That was it.
2417 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That was the whole thing.
2418 MR. McKANNA: Yes.
2419 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And PSA, is that just normally what we think of PSA, or is there something special about this in the context of Modern Rock?
2420 MR. McKANNA: I think the difference there would be just to make sure we focus in on lifestyle things. An example might be the homeless. If there was going to be some sort of a fundraiser in Edmonton to raise money for homeless people, I think that would be something we would definitely be talking about.
2421 MR. MILES: All of our Rogers stations take a great deal of pride in examples of how they serve the community, and each one of our formats have different areas and segments.
2422 Certainly we heard today about our Lethbridge operations. Clearly we have a different set of focus and formats, more socially conscious, more activism. That would be the kind of things in our PSAs. Again, they would not be sitting there reading that. It would be a station involvement in a cause and moving that issue forward.
2423 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Do you anticipate any other type of shared spoken word programming with your existing Xfm other than this sort of loose possibility of an exchange?
2424 MR. MILES: It is the exchange of the artist's information and new and what is cutting edge and whether the band is moving across Canada.
2425 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: But nothing syndicated that you would be running at each station at different times.
2426 MR. MILES: No. Just so that my definition of syndication comes through, my definition of syndication is that you buy a package and you sort of jot it in like that. So we are not going to do that.
2427 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: In a general sense, how much of your programming overall -- we have broken it down into music, and we have spoken word and we have the aspects of spoken word. Much of the spoken word obviously relies on a live presenter, disc jockey.
2428 How much of your music during the day will be live and how much of it will be automated in some way or voice-tracked, or whatever term you prefer?
2429 MR. McKANNA: We will have announcers all day.
2430 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Could you put some hours on that for me?
2431 MR. McKANNA: Sure. From 6 o'clock until midnight, we will have announcers. We will have a morning show; we will have a mid-day show, an afternoon drive show and an evening show. Then all nights we will voice-track, like most radio stations do, from midnight to 6:00 a.m. Then we will have weekend hosts, as well.
2432 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Weekend hosts. What are the weekend hours? The same, 6:00 to midnight, or shorter?
2433 MR. McKANNA: Yes.
2434 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Coffee, tea or milk? Yes.
2435 MR. McKANNA: It will be 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and then we will probably do some voice-tracking into the evening hours.
2436 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
2437 Can you give us a little bit of an idea of the staffing and two or three words of the job descriptions, if you don't mind, so I get some sort of sense of what is coming into the market and what you need to get this up and running and keep it going?
2438 MR. McKANNA: There will be a total of 17. That does not include sales reps. So we will be looking at a station manager/program director. We will have a sales manager; reception/sales assistant; traffic manager; office clerk; an engineer; creative director; a writer; and a promotion director specifically dedicated to the on-air staff. There will be a morning show host, a morning show co-host. We will have a morning news/traffic person. We will have a mid-day host, an afternoon host, an afternoon news/traffic, evening host, as well as weekend host.
2439 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: One last area in the -- I don't know whether it is the format, live, automated. I had a little problem with it. I simply didn't quite understand how it would work.
2440 You spoke of interactivity between your staff and the audience. I understand what Gayle has told us earlier and you talked about the use of the Internet. That is where I think I got a little bit lost. I don't know how all these pieces come together.
2441 Somehow we have a host here and we have audience people and they are reacting. And I can understand how they would phone in. But would they be sending you e-mails on the Internet as well? Is that simply all it means?
2442 MS ZARBATANY: They will be sending e-mails over the Internet for requests and just to share information. But mostly the Internet is used for research.
2443 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: All right. Somehow I had it rolled into my mind there was some sort of interactivity thing. It is not going to be a daily tool where you are encouraging some sort of ongoing chat group at the same time, or anything like that.
2444 MS ZARBATANY: Well, the Web site does factor greatly into a Modern Rock radio station. Therefore, the Internet would be brought in; research and I guess you could say the e-mail, chat room back and forth tools, some promotions to expose new artists on our Web site.
2445 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It's not a bad idea, and I don't charge. Go with the chat group.
2446 Canadian talent development, $7 million over seven years. I don't know if that is a record or anything, but it is quite high. It's substantial.
2447 I apologize in a sense for being a bit picky about some of my questions, and I don't in any way want to be kind of walking by the full commitment. We have heard you on it, and we have heard the excitement on it, and we have read you on it.
2448 When I jump right from the full commitment to a few kind of what about this 53 cents here, I don't want you to think that I am anything other than what I am: a very picky regulator.
2449 So skipping right by the big numbers and going to some which are still fairly substantial, I want to look at a part of the Indigenous Peoples Music Fund, a very small part of it: $250,000. It is supporting emerging talent. You are very clear on it in your application, and you were as well this morning.
2450 There is one part, just $10,000, which is earmarked for something called the Aboriginal Partners and Youth Society. Whereas I am sure that is a wonderful organization and deserves everyone's support, I am just not quite sure how it ties in with talent development.
2451 MS ZARBATANY: These areas that were identified in the Indigenous Peoples Music Fund came from great research within the Edmonton market, particularly from Neil Edwards who, amongst other activities in the community, worked very closely with the Indigenous Peoples Leadership Conference that happened here in Edmonton at the start of the year; as well as Mr. Alan Standerwick, who works with the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society.
2452 With their help and guidance we were able to identify areas in which the funds could be greatly used. One of the areas was the Aboriginal Partners and Youth Society Project Self Discovery.
2453 As we discuss, it deals with the crime and abuse, the poverty and gang problems within inner city youth. The elements of the program, if you could bear with me for a minute --
2454 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I have all day. You don't have to rush.
2455 MS ZARBATANY: Okay. Assessment, which is the intake in the individual program plan. There is the therapy. There is dealing with the addictions. But where it comes into is the life skills development, the vocational, which deals particularly in the expressive area, which is the music and the art.
2456 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Are you capable in your relationship with this group of earmarking it for that specific thing?
2457 It may seem cruel to them. They may feel greater needs on the addiction side or something.
2458 MS ZARBATANY: Absolutely.
2459 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: They are quite copasetic with the notion that you have to focus it in that one area?
2460 MS ZARBATANY: Absolutely. We discussed it and they estimated the cost per person for this program was about $5,100 per year. Our Indigenous Peoples Music Fund has earmarked to help one to two youths in the expressive musical and art area, for a total of $10,200.
2461 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
2462 Moving along to your Xfm Edmonton Festival Fund, that has again a $250,000 total, as I understand it, broken up into two pieces: the $200,000 piece to cover the X-fest, as you call it; and a $50,000 piece to cover other festivals, other staged events.
2463 I am sure with your experience you know what is coming, but we still have to cover the question. Dealing first with the $200,000 element of it, how much of that goes to talent and how much goes to staging, lights, coffee, whatever, all of the things that --
2464 MS ZARBATANY: Rider contracts.
2465 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: -- that by necessity attach themselves to these?
2466 MS ZARBATANY: The goal is 95 per cent -- 90 per cent to go to the artists, because the artists we are looking at bringing in are such artists as Nickleback, Avril Lavigne and Nellie Furtado, who are at the established level.
2467 The majority of it would go to them, and the rest would be just for the staging and lighting.
2468 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: This is totally under your control so you can control these funds. It is not as though you are writing a cheque to a third party in some way and walking completely away from it.
2469 MR. MILES: No. That is correct. Also, part of this, as we explained before in the concept, is that there be local groups as well. So there is that two combination of the thing.
2470 What our experience has indicated is that when we subscribe to a group, that sort of staging is included within the talent. But it is never more than 5 per cent of the total expenditure.
2471 MS ZARBATANY: Further to Gary's point, just on the exposure, that is a very key element. Again, a lot of these musicians don't have the know-how or, more importantly, the funding, the expertise to be able to put together the ability to perform on stage.
2472 So part of this X-fest, of course it is giving a free concert to the people, the Modern Rock listeners of Edmonton, but it also gives an opportunity to local artists through an ongoing promotion that would happen on-air where artists can provide us with their music. Then we determine over the course of time in contesting a group of bands that can get up and actually perform an open, not only getting the experience of performing live and working with professional artists, but also exposure in a market.
2473 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Sorry, not to belabour a point, but the agreement you have with whoever is operating that is clear and specific, and there will be no problem down the line of "Oh, gosh, we didn't know and we used it all to buy a better stage", or something like that.
2474 MR. MILES: In fact, our intention is to bring on a person who has assisted us quite greatly, if he would approve and agree to come with us, to actually manage this thing. That would be Mr. Edwards, who we have a profound respect for, and is a long-term established broadcaster and understands the nature of it.
2475 That would be an addition person over and above what we told you about the staffing.
2476 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That is good to know.
2477 The same basic line of questioning, if you can take me through it, on the $50,000 element which is going to other stage events, to other festivals. How does that break down? How do you guarantee the appropriate breakdown there?
2478 MS ZARBATANY: In speaking with some of the local festivals -- Edmonton is just so rich with particular summer annual festivals -- most of these festivals have such a problem with funding. We spoke with a few of the festivals, including the Heritage Festival, Raj Nigam; and we spoke with The Blues Festival, Cam Haydon; and we spoke with Terry Wickam from The Folk Festival. We earmarked approximately $10,000 to contribute to their festivals to continue and help develop Canadian talent.
2479 MR. MILES: But earmarked for the talent.
2480 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I think we are getting a certain rhythm now that I can live with.
2481 Moving along -- and, as I say, I am focusing on small pieces -- I just want to focus on the parts that are not clear. There is no point in going over everything again.
2482 The X in the Street, as I understand it reading your application and supplementary, it is going to earmark $150,000 to sort of storefront studios where you would present, I guess, Modern Rock. You would have an audience and live remotes.
2483 Then as I understand it, the kind of second part of this is the people who perform, the groups who will perform, will then possibly find themselves played on your station. So they get a kind of double benefit from it.
2484 So I see the benefit side of it. They are performing at the X in the Street studio. They hear themselves again perhaps played some time during the day or the evening.
2485 But it seems to me there could be two problems here in the sense of focusing strictly on talent, and I want to hear you on it.
2486 The first one could be that putting something up like a storefront studio, an X on the street sort of enterprise, really could be looked upon as a cost of doing business.
2487 I guess we are trying to figure out how much of it is really talent development. Obviously there is going to be some, but it is hard to break it down when you are just reading a narrative about it.
2488 MR. MILES: First of all, the storefront is our cost in the radio station. It has nothing to do with the benefit subscribed.
2489 The second part -- and I know that did actually have an intervention on this one that sort of says: Are you just spending money to promote what you are doing?
2490 I would like Gayle to describe this fabulous program, and then I have a couple of comments to make at the end of it.
2491 MS ZARBATANY: Than you, Gary.
2492 X on the Street again is a radio term that we are using to kind of present to our listeners the street level and the accessibility to the performers. The storefront studio that we speak of is something that we will be doing.
2493 But what is so fabulous about this is that the artists -- and again, I keep going back to the local and independent artists, and I am using the Ottawa Valley and Vancouver radio stations as great leaders in this, with Swollen Members coming out of Vancouver, Nickleback and Avril Lavigne and Sam Roberts, who are the first to play them before they were anybody.
2494 What they would do is they would be able to come down, perform acoustically, talk about who they are, what they are doing, what their goals are, where they plan to go, and give the listeners an opportunity to see these individuals right up front because it is on the street.
2495 It is also putting these individuals, before they are anybody -- not to say you wouldn't work with up and coming and established artists -- in local venues throughout Edmonton areas, such as Reds in the West Edmonton Mall, Roxy's on White, Power Plant at the U of A.
2496 There is a lot of little venues again. So hence the X on the Street. We are on the street with these performers, putting them in clubs, giving them the funds and the exposure to perform live before an audience.
2497 MR. MILES: We like this idea. We like this idea that if the Commission has some concerns with regard to being able to apply it to a strict Canadian talent initiative -- and we understand those issues -- we are quite prepared to take that amount of money and divide it in half; take half of it and present it on a prorated basis to the other Edmonton/Northern Alberta initiatives, excluding FACTOR. And the remaining half of it will go towards the CWC, Women in Communications Career Accelerator Program.
2498 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Would you still carry on with X in the Street?
2499 MR. MILES: Yes. We love the idea. We think it is great radio programming. We think it is great exposure. It is what this format talks about. It is not about those records again. I keep coming back to that one.
2500 But that has been our experience in the other markets we have been in.
2501 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: If you don't mind, let's talk about it a little more and see if we can keep it alive and keep it in its original format. We are not out here to shoot at it. We are simply here to make sure we understand it and make sure we are not setting a bad precedent for later, because we have somehow directed it away from talent into something else.
2502 A second question that would come to me would be in the sense of re-using the product on your radio station. On one side, of course, it is fabulous because these new and young people get to hear themselves on the radio. And what can be better to keep you in the basement driving your poor parents crazy while you practise.
2503 On the other hand, it could be looked on, if someone were sceptical -- which thankfully I am not -- as just a good cheap source of programming. In that way, how do we split it up?
2504 I don't expect you to have a magical formula. But is there some way that you have looked at that kind of a problem? Is there some way you can kind of assuage any worries of any sceptics who may be around?
2505 MR. MILES: I am going to let Gayle follow up on this one.
2506 Yes, there are two distinct things. We would love to be able to play on the radio on a high rotation every one of the single artists we are envisioning coming up to this. I don't think that is practical, nor does it make for good radio programming.
2507 But it is a start, and it is an opportunity. And you are right. These people hear it themselves on the radio. How good does that get.
2508 So it is probably going to be more -- and maybe Gayle can come up with a figure -- of a chance for these artists to talk, for us to talk to them to try and be inspirational about how people get started in the group and move on, as compared with the actual record.
2509 The fact of the matter is that if they did play something, it would probably be more of an acoustic nature and we would need to actually have a better recording to satisfy our needs of playing it on the radio.
2510 Gayle, have I missed anything?
2511 MS ZARBATANY: No. And it's acoustic -- it's twofold too. Some of these artists who I have had the opportunity of working with come in with guitar in hand and a demo tape that we have heard, and it's kind of like: Help. We need exposure. Particularly in the Modern Rock sector.
2512 There are also those that are the up and coming, the independents that recorded themselves in local studios around Edmonton, for instance, that would provide the material.
2513 Then you have the well-known artists that either they are coming in on a road tour and they are going to perform in the market, and they come in with their guitar and they will play a version of their song acoustically.
2514 So yes, we would replay those because they are great moments on radio. The difference here too is not just the exposure of the music, but it is also of the artist, particularly for the young and independent ones.
2515 MR. MILES: Just to tie it back into the question that we all have difficulty with, which is what are these topical talk patterns, that really is what it is about. We just know that the people are interested in this. They want to listen to it. They would sooner listen to five or six minutes of this than two of their other favourite songs, which frankly they will be able to hear in the course of the rotation either later that day or the next day.
2516 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Mr. McKanna, if I understood you correctly, they might be linked as well into this "Canadian X-Posure" program so they would get a little more exposure.
2517 MR. McKANNA: Yes, exactly. I think that would be a great venue for them.
2518 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So we are dealing with perhaps sort of live audience quality sound but not perhaps recording studio quality. So you would not be using that much of it perhaps on the air but melding it into the "Canadian X-Posure" program, maybe putting a few of them on the air.
2519 So it does sound to me that the focus is on the talent rather than on product.
2520 MS ZARBATANY: In fact, if I could keep going back to the two Xfm, Swollen Members out of western Canada and Sam Roberts and Avril Lavigne out of eastern Canada, Sam Roberts has gone on record, for instance, as has Swollen Members, accrediting both the Xfms, to thank them for the exposure before they even got signed, the exposure of their talent and who they were to the listeners.
2521 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you for that. I think that answers my question.
2522 You have stated on the record that if we find some problem, you have a fallback plan. I would assume that generally if we find any problem within a Canadian development issue, you are ready to redirect those funds as we might direct you to do.
2523 MR. MILES: Yes.
2524 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much for that.
2525 I would like to move to your financial forecasts, your market share kind of forecasts.
2526 I note that you are looking at a projected share. The reason I am asking about this is although Modern Rock may be a hole that needs filling, I am wondering whether there will be enough gold in this hole to make it worthwhile.
2527 I am looking at you coming in here with an enormous investment, obviously, in start-up costs and looking at a large benefits package. I am looking as well at a very tightly packed market with very experienced broadcasters who simply, I suspect, will not roll over and eat their lunch just because you are hungry.
2528 I looked at your projected audience share of 7.2 per cent in year one to 9.9 in year seven, and your ad revenues moving from $2.8 million in year one to $5.7 million in year seven and not moving to a positive PBIT until perhaps the sixth year. You might get into the black in year five, but you are looking at year six as the kind of safety year.
2529 That is a long road. I am sure there will be times along it where you are scratching your heads and saying "oh, dear".
2530 I am not questioning your acumen, but I wonder whether that doesn't contain a question about your format and the audience you are relying on that perhaps you haven't looked hard enough at.
2531 MR. MILES: Those questions have all been asked by Mr. Merson to me, so we are here to try and respond to them. Let me deal with the share portion first.
2532 Our experience in this format in the other two markets as stand-alone formats, also compared with the experience of these kinds of stations, is that this audience, the Modern Rock audience, 18-to-34, tends to garner somewhere between a 6 to a 10 share as you build it up. So it is pretty easy to do in a bigger market like Edmonton where you know that there is $50 million coming into the marketplace and you have a 7 share of the marketplace; 3.5. The mathematics sort of all work out on it.
2533 We have indicated that our first year's revenue is $2.8 million, but only 50 per cent of it would actually come from the existing players within the station. So that says you don't have to have a 6 or a 7 share to break into it, and we would be foolish to assume that you were going to get that. You would have about a 3 share.
2534 That is going to satisfy the money from the existing players.
2535 You will notice that our sales promotion expenses are a little higher than the rest of the applicants. We are moving down the line in all of our radio stations in which we call non-traditional revenue. There is no matter format in the world for this than non-traditional revenue where people want to be associated with the lifestyle and not necessarily with just "come down here and by this skateboard for 15 or 20 bucks off".
2536 It's an association with the events, with the concerts we are at, with the promotions that we are at, with the community service that we are involved in. They all want to be part and parcel of this because it is woven in.
2537 The old idea of advertising, listening to a radio commercial and going out and buying things, has changed with the people who serve this demographic, as they have changed. They find it perfectly acceptable, I think, to wear a Roots cap and yet probably very unacceptable to drive a Cadillac.
2538 I am making those up as I go along, but that is sort of the lifestyle of what is going on.
2539 We have identified a fair amount of that of non-traditional revenue and have increased our expense portion of it as well.
2540 The second one is the other media. And there's a lot of media here in Edmonton. We have been very successful in the last couple of years with a program called "Pulp Fiction". I think we talked about that in a couple of other markets.
2541 That is where we go in and convince people that there is a different and better way to use newspaper advertising than they currently are. Newspaper advertising still takes the largest segment of the market that there is.
2542 While these advertisers are probably there because there is no place else to go -- and again we are filling this niche down here with saying my, I can now narrow in on this demographic. And we are going to try and convert. And we will be successful in doing this. We have a plan in place. We have lots of sales standards that do this. We have well-trained and good radio salespeople to draw on the strengths and resources.
2543 That is how we plan on doing it.
2544 It is not an easy task. I guess it would be easier if we said boy, if we could just have a 10 share of the 25-54 market. But there are other stations serving that.
2545 We are here for the long haul.
2546 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Let me paint a scenario for you. You are the expert, so if it is inaccurate, I am sure you will tell me.
2547 Let's assume because you are brand new advertisers will take a chance on you right away. You are just new. So year one won't be so bad. You will get some advertising. Your audience may not be high.
2548 Would it be safe to say that in year one the advertisers might not be looking as hard at your audience numbers; in other words, assuming you will come along?
2549 When do they start to say: Okay, the honeymoon is over, show us your share numbers? If that is say year two or year three -- I am sure you can instruct me -- what is your guarantee that you can have these audience numbers there?
2550 I am going on a bit long, but you made quite a case this morning and in your application about the fact that your chosen demographic is not walking around like the boy in the bubble, or something, with nothing to listen to. They are finding the product they want on the Internet; you know, the sneaker network, exchanging discs with their friends. They have their Walkmans on while they shoot down the sidewalk on their skateboards, terrifying old geezers like me.
2551 Why will they come to you if they have all the music they need now?
2552 I know that is a long question, but I am thinking of the advertisers in year three saying: Gee, we stuck with you for a while, but you just don't have the share.
2553 What this question really comes down to is: What makes you think you can wean them off their existing sources and therefore find the audience share levels that you have predicted here in your application?
2554 MR. MILES: Let's first of all discuss the share issue, which is you don't get what you had sort of promised the advertisers. That, of course, is a particular bent of national advertisers. Like every other market, this is somewhere around 27 to 30 per cent national advertising. So that is clearly based on share and share alone.
2555 We believe that our morning show and the kind of lifestyle, which speaks to the last of your question, will ensure that we get that.
2556 The second one has more to do with local advertising, and these are the people who currently don't find a station 100 per cent serving this audience. So they will be on. People who want to be associated with the excitement and with this lifestyle and the way we go out and promote ourselves within the community at the events.
2557 So once having done that, when they give up on you frankly is when they are not getting results. You can have the largest share in the world or you can have the smallest share. I frankly prefer to sell with a larger share.
2558 Having said that, at the end of the day it is whether this client is getting people responding to his ads, and he is satisfied with the campaign and the promotional activities and the non-traditional revenue sources that we are putting together in these packages to enable him to successfully compete.
2559 Remember this market is predominantly young. It is the second-youngest in Canada. It is growing in that area. We are excited about the development in northern Alberta, the pipeline coming through. It is going to continue to grow those kinds of people, and so the market is going to continue to grow.
2560 To the issue about what happens in year three when we don't find our audience, they find a new CEO of radio, I guess. That is the first to go. But that is what we build. We go in and we build an audience. We create a morning show. We create a morning show that is different. We have exciting promotion.
2561 While they can listen to their music any time -- and they are doing it now -- they can't be caught up on the excitement and the brand identification and the tie-in with the radio station.
2562 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So it is not just the music. It is the whole package that is going to bring them in, you feel, and away from the small screen.
2563 We joked a little bit about grandpa's credit card, but do they have the disposable income? Is this demographic an identifiable source of serious money?
2564 MR. MILES: I am going to let Rael answer that, because he has somebody in that category.
2565 MR. MERSON: Commissioner Langford, you had asked earlier about whether this is a good business decision or a bad business decision. One of the ironies we have found of the varying niche formats, the downside is that they are niches and you are limited in how far you can program and the potential for extracting revenue from the niche that you speak to. The upside is they are very defendable niches, and they tend to persist and they tend to prosper as the years go on and you do develop a hold on the audience that you are speaking to. You can build a very good long-term franchise in the more tight niches.
2566 We think X is one of those types of formats. The Xs we run in the Fraser Valley and the Ottawa Valley have not been massively profitable, but we believe they are good long-term franchises and we are prepared to stick with them. It is part of the plan that we have for how it is these types of businesses will actually develop.
2567 As to disposable income, we know this is a demographic that has disposable income, and we hope to convince advertisers that this is the age at which people make the lifetime choices of brands and products that they are going to choose. We think it is an important one to speak to.
2568 We have asked ourselves the same questions you have asked yourselves, which is: Is this demographic disenfranchised because they grew up with PCs and so don't know radios and will therefore never be attracted to the radio business?
2569 Which is the chicken and which is the egg? Have we simply not supplied them with a product that interests them and therefore they don't have anything they can relate to and therefore have gravitated to Zions and New Media and all these other things?
2570 We think the latter rather than the former. We believe they have as yet not really had products that can gravitate towards, and we think that what it is we are supplying in the Ottawa Valley and the Fraser Valley is speaking to them and is having an impact. We think we can do the same in Edmonton.
2571 MR. MILES: Remember one of the things that happens with this group is that they are highly educated --
2572 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I'm sorry, could you speak a little louder.
2573 MR. MILES: I'm sorry.
2574 One of the things that we have identified with in this group, particularly in the Ottawa Valley and the Fraser Valley, is these people are high tech people. They tend to get jobs in high tech industries. They also have a different view of how and when they should move out of the house and what they should really be spending their money on.
2575 I have to tell you, it is different than mine.
2576 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Different than mine too, I can absolutely promise you.
2577 Just a few more questions. You have been very patient with me in the education of Commissioner Langford, and I appreciate it.
2578 You break down your revenue sources saying you will pull 40 per cent from existing stations. Is that some kind of calculation that people in radio know how to do, or is there something special about what is going on in Edmonton here that led you to this figure?
2579 MR. MILES: It is roughly about a 3 share, which we sort of expected to come on for a launch, growing to a 6 and up to a 9, as the format, as Rael said, becomes more established.
2580 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: If you are bringing brand new listeners back to radio or to radio for the first time because you have put together this lifestyle station that will wean them from the Internet and from their earphones, and since that is not going to have any impact on the existing stations in a way, is it, so if audience share and advertising interests kind of go hand in hand do you really have to go out and drum up new advertising dollars because the advertisers won't desert the old stations? They still have the same audience they have always had.
2581 Am I making any sense with that?
2582 MR. MILES: Here's what happens. I would love to say "yes" to that question, but what really does happen is as shares shift around, so do the advertising dollars.
2583 What we have said is that 3 share would garner you about 3 per cent of the Edmonton advertising market. $50 million, that is 1.5. That is half our first year.
2584 The other half we have to go out and get that new business. We think that is an exciting market and a great opportunity.
2585 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Maybe it's just me, but bear with me for a another minute.
2586 You are going to get 40 per cent from existing market players, but if you bring in a whole brand new audience they are not going to lose any of their audience.
2587 So why would their advertisers leave them and come to you?
2588 MR. MILES: Indeed, they may not. What we are talking about is in order to simply put this one, a 3 share in the marketplace will usually garner a 3 share of the advertising pie, $1.5 million.
2589 We expect to grow that by these extra-curricular things. So there will be less of an impact on the existing stations because of this hole, but I think it would be inappropriate for us to sit here and say we were not going to affect some of the broadcasters. All new entrants do that.
2590 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: No, you are not serving yourself at all. You are being as fair, I would say, as you could be.
2591 There is an interesting phenomena here, it strikes me, that if you actually were to create a whole brand new audience that was nowhere in radio now, so that none of your competitors felt any loss of share whatsoever, there could be something strangely unique going on here.
2592 It would be interesting to watch if it all happens.
2593 Those are my questions in that area.
2594 I have one more general question about the Edmonton market itself, before I get to those few technical questions I want to ask Mr. Edwards.
2595 Do you feel it can support yourself and another applicant or another two applicants? How strong is this market? How many of the applications we are hearing here today and we are hearing over the next few days -- just in numbers, you don't have to name them -- could it support?
2596 MR. MILES: Yes. We certainly believe it could support more than one and probably more than two.
2597 The Edmonton marketplace has an interesting comparison going with it with Calgary. Calgary is about $10 million more in revenue and currently has two more stations than Edmonton does.
2598 In the market cost per point, which is really the true evaluation of how much people are able to get for their advertising revenue, is a sizable difference. It is $36 on average cost per point in Edmonton and about $51 in Calgary.
2599 This phenomena has been going on -- I even date myself on this one because I was President of the Radio Bureau and could never sort of figure out why that happened.
2600 I think what it is, I think the market is starting to get more mature. I think the experienced radio broadcasters that are here are good. I think that the other mediums that are in here, because it was sort of an isolated market, are tending to weaken, newspapers particularly. People are understanding that newspapers -- people who read the newspapers are really out of this demo, let me tell you, and frankly more into that upper end of it; that advertisers aren't getting the results that they are getting.
2601 There is a lot of television in this market, and television is becoming very fragmented. It is no longer just one television station. It has all of the specialties and digital formats and things like that.
2602 I think there is a real chance for the market to grow and absorb, as we bring the cost per point together up on the thing. And it has to do with diversity.
2603 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
2604 Mr. Edwards, you spoke about a number of frequencies being available. Are they all as good as the one you want for your purposes?
2605 MR. EDWARD: Thank you, Commissioner Langford.
2606 Broadly, the answer is yes. I think it might be helpful if I gave a bit of an overview of the frequency selection process.
2607 You have heard proposals to move frequencies from somewhere to somewhere else, particularly in the Red Deer portion of the application, and you will probably hear it again today.
2608 In terms of the development of an FM market, the frequency selection process goes through basically four phases. The first one is the allotment phase; the second is the move-in phase; the third is the drop-in phase; and the fourth I call the desperation phase.
2609 Edmonton is still in the allotment phase. That means the frequency allotment plan that Industry Canada put together many years ago basically gave a list of omni-directional full parameter channels that could be used in the market. We are still able to use some of those in the Edmonton market today. Partly it is because of their relative geographic isolation of Edmonton.
2610 The next phase as part of the Industry Canada Plan is they would allot channels to markets that were very small, because they didn't know 30 years ago which markets were going to grow particularly quickly. Some of those markets will never ever have a radio station, or in some cases the allocations could be replaced by something of less capability but perfectly appropriate. That is the move-in phase. Some of the channels proposed for use in Edmonton would fall into that category.
2611 The third phase is the drop-in phase, where you literally can create channels by perhaps doing a little bit of manipulation. In the initial phase you can even find full parameter omni-directional drop-in channels. That phase progresses into directional drop-in channels.
2612 The final desperation phase is characterized by increasingly lower powers available. I have learned, to my chagrin many years ago, that you never ever say that is the last frequency available. There is always --
2613 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It has certainly been our lesson in Toronto, I can tell you.
2614 MR. EDWARDS: Toronto is really in the terminal phase, maybe past the desperation phase.
2615 If you are willing to take 20 watts that is good for a focus beam north, it will be there. It will always be there.
2616 Where we are at in Edmonton is really, relative to the other issues you are facing, this is kind of a slam-dunk. Between allocated stations and move-ins and drop-ins, I said that there are six in total available. Actually, the number is at least eight and probably more if we had to work at it.
2617 The key is when you look at the list, if you see full parameter 100 kilowatt stations omni-directional, there is no problem here.
2618 So I would say there are at least three other choices that we would be quite happy with.
2619 One other issue that might be worth chatting a little bit about is is the Navcom issue: people saying that channels are not usable because of Navcom issues. That is rarely literally the case. What it really says is you would be better to avoid them for now because there are issues that have to be dealt with.
2620 Very coincidentally, the two channels with issues in Edmonton, 106.7 and 107.7, we use both of those channels in Lethbridge, and we are five miles from the airport. They are very successfully used.
2621 In Edmonton, probably what it would mean is that you might have to change some ILS frequencies or other frequencies in use at the airport to make them fit. Or you could move it.
2622 One of the ones that was proposed to be moved to Red Deer, 294, could in fact be replaced by a directional 293 in Edmonton. That is why I tried to give you an overview rather than getting bogged down in the details.
2623 I can assure you there is plenty to go around.
2624 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you. I am very grateful for that. It is always good to get another expert opinion.
2625 My final question to you, Mr. Miles, is an easy one -- at least easy to ask, maybe difficult for you -- before my colleagues may have other questions.
2626 If you were unsuccessful in getting 91.7 but were given the opportunity to launch with another one of the frequencies which your Mr. Edwards would find for you in jig time, I am sure, would that have an impact on your business plan or on your stated benefits plan or anything you have said to us today?
2627 MR. MILES: None whatsoever.
2628 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
2629 Those are my questions, Madam Chair.
2630 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2631 Commissioner Cram, please.
2632 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
2633 People should never give me BBMs, because I look at them and then show my ignorance.
2634 Do I have it right that the call letters of that 1Xfm in Smiths Falls is CIOX-FM?
2635 MR. MILES: Yes.
2636 COMMISSIONER CRAM: When did you launch the Xfm format in CIOX?
2637 MR. MILES: It was coming up three years ago.
2638 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What I am looking at is fall 2002 to spring 2003, and I only have 12-plus and 12-to-24. In the 12-plus, it looks to me like the audience has gone down by more than half, and in the 12-to-24 the audience has gone down by less than half but certainly more than a third.
2639 MR. MILES: Yes. There was a new station launched in the Ottawa market, a Top Forty station, by a very good radio operator, Newcap.
2640 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Newcap; right.
2641 MR. MILES: What happens, of course -- and you will see it in all of the markets -- is that there is a shifting around, and this happened to fall right into their launch period of time.
2642 What we do know -- and this speaks to Rael's statement about how formats become good if you are in them and practise them long enough -- you will tend to see the listening start to come back and the market level spread out as everybody determines what their favourite station is and what their second favourite station is.
2643 It is almost impossible for any of the stations to sustain the kind of audience that they had with the launch of a new station, particularly one that happened to appeal to that.
2644 If I may be allowed just that much editorial comment on our current measurement system of BBM, it is that that demo that this station appeals to is very, very difficult to get to respond to a mail-out, that you actually lick the stamp and put it on the envelope and send it back to indicate what you are listening to. These people are multi-tasking.
2645 So that audience did what we call in the radio business: disappeared from the marketplace in the spring survey, not only in that market but in a number of other markets.
2646 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Then I was looking at the other one. Is that CKVX that went X?
2647 How long has it been X?
2648 MR. MILES: The same thing, for about three years.
2649 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Again I see actually from fall 01 to fall 02 to spring 03, there is essentially a reduction all the way.
2650 MR. MILES: Yes.
2651 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I can understand that people like my nephew don't know how to lick a stamp. I know that. Is there another reason for that in Vancouver? The urban station that came in?
2652 MR. MILES: There is another station in the marketplace that has a long heritage going up right against us.
2653 Our internal research shows far better numbers than that. They show, first of all, a cume that is exceedingly high, which is the people, as you know, who listen once a week or oftener.
2654 We are building and developing a morning show in that particular marketplace up against currently what is one of the strongest morning shows in Canada, "Larry and Willy". That is a good fight. It's a tough fight. These are very professional radio broadcasters.
2655 We have reason to believe that landscape may change over the course of the time. We are sticking with this format.
2656 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
2657 Thank you, Madam Chair.
2658 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Miles, to Commissioner Langford's question about whether you can foresee more than one licensing awarded as a result of this process, your answer was yes. We have heard Mr. Edwards on the availability of frequencies.
2659 If I refer to page 19 of your presentation, you have a very general statement there:
"Should the Commission approve our application, other frequency alternatives will remain available either for other licensees in this proceeding --"
2660 And there is no differentiation as to which licensee.
2661 When you say that the licensing of another, and you even said maybe more, would not affect your business plan, does that mean any of the applications before us? Or would there be some that would cause a problem to your business plan?
2662 MR. MILES: Would there be some that would cause a problem to our business plan?
2663 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are looking at business plans, format, what is missing in the market, what is likely to succeed. So we keep saying, of course, this format is not regulated. And it is not.
2664 But it is a sign of what the market can sustain reasonably. So it is always good to ask the experienced broadcasters whether they feel that just any format of these business plans you could survive with without changing yours if we license more than one.
2665 MR. MILES: We pride ourselves in our ability to compete in the marketplace. We have a great history of programming, programming strength through Sandy Sanderson. You have heard from Gayle. You have heard from Kevin. We have these throughout the area.
2666 We are faced with these changing formats almost in every marketplace, certainly over the last number of years as the Commission has licensed more and more applicants. We welcome that challenge, and we look forward to the challenge.
2667 As we have always done with the Commission, we have stated: Here is our business plan. Here are our commitments. Give us the licence. We will honour and stick to those commitments.
2668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Regardless of who else may be licensed, which was the aim of my question.
2669 MR. MILES: Yes.
2670 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2672 MR. McCALLUM: I would like to follow up with just one small matter.
2673 You were asked a number of questions by Commissioner Langford on the X in the Street initiative, and you gave some details at page 7 of the 4 March letter, the deficiency response, where you said:
"Whether in its in-studio performances, live remote broadcasts or concert ticket promotions, X on the Street hopes to provide additional exposure for Canadian New Rock artists. Although the budgets for each promotion may vary, we expect the average cost of each promotion to be between $8,000 and $10,000."
2674 Can you explain what you mean by "promotion" in that context.
2675 MS ZARBATANY: In that particular context that would be to provide a venue for local independent artists to perform in live venues; or up and coming artists that are going across the country or in the area, for instance, that are going to be in a venue that would require tickets. We would purchase the tickets, help with the staging and the costs that go towards the artist being able to perform.
2676 MR. McCALLUM: Do I understand it to mean that if each one was $10,000, it is 15 promotions per year? Is that it?
2677 MR. MILES: Yes.
2678 MS ZARBATANY: Yes.
2679 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2680 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2681 Mr. Miles, considering this is competitive process, we will give you the last word as to why you -- and perhaps more but certainly you -- should be licensed in Edmonton.
2682 MR. MILES: Thank you. This is a very competitive hearing. There are good radio broadcasters appearing. We are excited about our Modern Rock format. We have experience in it, and we know how to do this.
2683 You have heard from Gayle. She understands the lifestyles. We are committed to the programming.
2684 We believe there is a big hole in the Edmonton market in that demographic that appeals to this. We have certainly seen what those people look like, and they don't look like we used to think about alternative. They look like what is going to be taking over this country in the next while.
2685 So those two things gathered together make for an exciting opportunity to add diversity, to add a new editorial opinion, to add a new way of programming into the Edmonton market up against good, well-established radio broadcasters in this marketplace.
2686 We are absolutely excited about the fact that we believe our commitments to Canadian talent development are going to allow the Edmonton/Northern Alberta marketplace to sort of change the way it is.
2687 Do you know -- and I am sure you do -- that Nickleback actually was a group out of Alberta that couldn't find funding here; that went down and had to be in Vancouver. And everybody thinks they are a Vancouver group.
2688 We believe our commitments to this Canadian talent development initiatives that we have will at least allow some glory to come to the place where these bands are from.
2689 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Miles and your colleagues. Again, we thank you for your co-operation.
2690 So that people have as much advance notice as possible, we will hear the AVR application beginning at 2:30, and we will then hear OK Radio.
2691 We will start tomorrow morning with Global, and we will hear Edmonton Radio and Rawlco tomorrow, to then start with the CHUM application on Monday morning.
2692 Thank you. We will be back at 2:30.
--- Upon recessing at 1305 / Suspension à 1305
--- Upon resuming at 1430 / Reprise à 1430
2693 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
2694 Mr. Secretary, please.
2695 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2696 The next application will be presented by the Aboriginal Voices Radio Incorporated, for a licence to operate an English language FM Native Type B radio station in Edmonton.
2697 The new station would operate on frequency 89.3 MHz (channel 207C1) with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts.
2698 The proposed station would operate as part of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network and originate nine hours per week of local programming.
2699 You have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
2700 MR. CARDINAL: Thank you. Greetings.
2701 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff, members of the public, we are honoured to appear before you today to speak on behalf of Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc., a non-profit Aboriginal organization with membership from all regions of Canada.
2702 Before we begin our opening remarks, we wish to honour and recognize the people upon whose traditional territory we meet today, the Iyiniwok, the Cree.
2703 We now have the honour of introducing our presentation team to you. I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Lewis Cardinal. I am Woodland Cree from the Sucker Creek Cree First Nation in northern Alberta.
2704 I have been eagerly awaiting AVR's arrival into our region here. I have been working in the areas of community development, education and find that radio is a very important part of our Aboriginal peoples' future, especially here in Edmonton.
2705 I work for the Office of Native Student Services at the U of A. I work with the Edmonton Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee as well.
2706 Also, I am the founder of the Indigenous Media Institute, which is also situated at the University of Alberta.
2707 As a note, I just wanted to ask one question, more of a joke than anything: What do radio and Indigenous people have in common? They are both oral traditions.
2708 MS STANLEY VENNE: My name is Muriel Stanley Venne. I am borne here in Alberta, Métis. I have lived in Edmonton all my life.
2709 I have been involved in the Aboriginal community, and I am presently head of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women.
2710 I have always been involved in human rights. In 1998 I received the Alberta Human Rights Award on the 50th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights.
2711 I am very excited and delighted to be part of this team to achieve an Aboriginal radio station. I just heard on the news that the women in Afghanistan have their own radio station, and I thought: Well, now is our chance.
2712 I owe my education and my career to the power of radio. When I was a young mother I was listening to the radio, and I found out I could go back to school after having left school because of tuberculosis.
2713 I have been involved in doing the pilot for this exciting adventure, and I am so excited to see that a radio station could reach the women that we serve. Of course, I will be speaking more to that.
2714 I am very excited about this, excited about the other members of the team whom you will hear from, and look forward to this presentation.
2715 MS PARISEAU: Thank you. My name is Marggo Pariseau, and I have been following Muriel Stanley Venne since 1970. I am a Cree, born in Alberta, and I have been involved with Aboriginal women all my life and most of the issues that are common to us, such as isolation, poverty, violence and addiction.
2716 Many of us have risen above all that negative journey and taken different paths. With radio it would be an opportunity to bring these wonderful stories and how we took our journey into the homes of all Aboriginal people.
2717 As the host of the pilot project "Marggo's Show", the stories will be told and heard. Thank you.
2718 MR. LUSTY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Terry Lusty. I am a Métis and have been here in Alberta since 1965.
2719 Since 1966 I have worked in the field of communications, for a large part of the time as a freelancer and on a regular basis since 1985.
2720 I am delighted to be a member of the AVR team here and see a great need for it, having been an educator in northern remote native communities and through many of my affiliations and work as a volunteer, a staff person and a board member with innumerable native organizations.
2721 This certainly is a must for the native community of this city.
2722 MS LOGAN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Charmaine Logan. I am a Cree-Métis born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta.
2723 I am very proactive in Edmonton Aboriginal Arts and Communications. I am also the founding director of Northern Styles Native Arts Society, an organization that has been serving performing and visual arts since 1995.
2724 As a member of the AVR presentation team, I anticipate a positive outcome for the wellbeing of our people. Having a radio station in our community will not only introduce our cultural talents to the mainstream public, but it will also serve as an educational source of communication for everyone.
2725 Thank you.
2726 MR. MacLEOD: Members of the Commission, my name is Mark MacLeod. I am AVR's Director of Licensing and Development. I am one of only a couple of people before you this morning who expected to be here.
2727 Aside from your own scheduling situation, we have had a number of people who were unable to make it, including, as you will recognize, Gary Farmer. We have been scrambling to put together a team that can properly advise you of our plans here in Edmonton and to respond to your questions.
2728 We appreciate your indulgence in letting us shift to this afternoon. We hope we will do our presentation justice.
2729 MR. PRUDEN: Tansi. My name is Murray Pruden. I am from Edmonton. I am Cree. I am a student at the University of Alberta, and I am also the Aboriginal Student Council President at the University of Alberta.
2730 I am here as an Aboriginal youth to honour our voice. I believe our radio station will provide a contemporary means with cultural and oral teachings. As a Cree youth in this community, I understand that we need inspiration in our languages and heritage, which is our history in an art form, and to see a positive portrayal of our Aboriginal peoples.
2731 Thank you.
2732 MR. CARDINAL: Commissioners, as was already mentioned, it was unfortunate that Gary Farmer, Wade Healey and Wilson Okeymaw could not be here today to be with us. We had to make changes in our presentation team; therefore, we also had to make changes in our script. So I do extend our apologies on behalf of our team.
2733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Cardinal. Welcome to you and your colleagues.
2734 Would people in the room please make sure that their telephones are turned off. Thank you.
2735 Go ahead.
2736 MR. CARDINAL: We would now like to begin our opening remarks.
2737 Good morning -- or good afternoon. That was the first change that we made.
2738 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are blaming it on us, and you were supposed to be here this morning. You have just been caught.
2739 MR. CARDINAL: Good afternoon, Members of the Commission. We are pleased to appear before you once again. This will be AVR's seventh appearance before the Commission. Seven is a very sacred number for most of our indigenous nations. As you see, there are seven of us as well. So maybe that will help in some effect.
2740 We are pleased to make this presentation before you where we can highlight for you such substantial development in Aboriginal Voices Radio Network.
2741 AVR has been broadcasting in Toronto on a lower power basis since December of 2002. AVR now is building its programming schedule for a launch of the Toronto service on a new tower on First Canadian Place, with associated launches of services in Calgary and Ottawa.
2742 MR. MacLEOD: Among the programming highlights currently airing on CFIE-FM in Toronto are: "AVR All Nations News"; "Community Calendar"; "Native America Calling", which is an international call-in show of which AVR is the only Canadian affiliate with about 60 American stations; "Independent Native News"; and "Native Solidarity News".
2743 AVR has also been working on a series of programs which have been in pilot development since February. Among the shows which will join AVR's summer schedule in July are: "Earthsongs"; "Living Voices"; "Our Perspective", which is a one-minute Canadian history of people and places of Aboriginal note in Canada.
2744 Also a number of other programs: "The Great Law"; the "Marggo Show", which is the one show so far destined to come out of Edmonton; "Street Talk", which is a Vancouver-based show talking to people on the street in Vancouver; "Aboriginal Airwaves", which is a magazine and music type program; "Community Calendar Live", which in Toronto will be a two-hour update of events going on in the Toronto community; "Red Monday", which is two hours of requests and dedications; and "Jamnation", which is hosted by Juno Award winner Derek Miller and will feature improvised musical guests; as well, "The Health Show" from Evan Adams, who was "Buffalo Tracks" host on APTN and is featuring a health show produced out of Vancouver.
2745 AVR is currently averaging about 65 per cent Canadian content, although that goes as high as 90 per cent on some days. These are all developments of which we are very proud.
2746 We are here today to talk about --
2747 THE CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me. We are getting feedback. May I ask you to push your microphone farther from you, please.
2748 MR. MacLEOD: These are all developments of which I am very loud.
2749 We are here today to talk about the need for a new radio service in Edmonton and to outline our proposal to meet that need. For Edmonton this will be a new station offering new music, new news and most importantly new voices.
2750 MR. CARDINAL: Members of the Commission, the station we propose will be a first radio service for Edmonton's estimated 50,000 Aboriginal people.
2751 Edmonton does not have an Aboriginal radio station. Currently, Edmonton only has weekly one-hour of Aboriginal programming on CJSR-FM at the University of Alberta. Unfortunately, a lack of Aboriginal programming is common in major cities across Canada. AVR has surveyed the listening habits of urban Native people, and more than half said they seek out that single hour or two available to them.
2752 The fact is that it is not always convenient to tune in for the only hour a week on the air. And if you are not careful, you will miss it.
2753 Members of the Commission, AVR clearly has a passion to communicate, a passion for radio. But is there an audience in Edmonton?
2754 MR. MacLEOD: AVR's market research in major cities across Canada has shown that nine in ten Canadians believe there is a need for a national Aboriginal radio service. The same percentages support the goals AVR has for its proposed service in Edmonton. Research found that support to be 89 per cent.
2755 In keeping with our traditions, AVR came to Edmonton to present the network concept, to ensure that it was wanted here, and to shape it to best fit the community needs. At a public community meeting and in many individual audiences, the response was, without exception, warm and welcoming.
2756 The Assembly of First Nations and the other major Aboriginal organizations have also shown their support to establish Aboriginal radio services in Canadian urban centres, including large cities like Edmonton.
2757 MS STANLEY VENNE: The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women wholeheartedly supports the establishment of an Edmonton Aboriginal Voices Radio, because it will provide us with an opportunity to reach the public, both locally and nationally. This audio format would become part of our communications strategy which we are currently developing.
2758 The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women is a well established non-profit organization directed by a volunteer board of Aboriginal women and currently has ten chapters throughout the province. The IAAW's objectives are aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of Alberta's Aboriginal women.
2759 The following two objectives fall within our recognition and communication strategy:
2760 We publicly recognize the many achievements of Aboriginal women and promote and assist their inclusion in all aspects of public life through our annual Esquao Awards. I will explain esquao later.
2761 We develop strategies to address the negative portrayal of Aboriginal women in the public media and work toward changing the public's negative perception of Aboriginal women across Alberta and the country.
2762 MS PARISEAU: The institute would like to have an audio vehicle to reach as many Aboriginal women as possible to hear the message that we can help them enhance their knowledge and inform them of their legal and human rights.
2763 As an Aboriginal organization, we would benefit from this licence because we would have access to a radio station where, in co-operation with AVR, we could develop one or more radio programs suitable to meeting all concerned parties' needs.
2764 MS STANLEY VENNE: Over the past year we have administered a project called "Can You Hear Us?", which has gathered information across the country from Aboriginal women on how to increase their involvement in decision-making processes at the community, regional and national levels.
2765 Along with poverty and discrimination, one of the identified barriers to their involvement was the isolation factor.
2766 MS PARISEAU: We are very excited that this radio station could become an opportunity for us to begin eliminating this barrier for Aboriginal women.
2767 Our discussions with Aboriginal Voices Radio to date have been very positive, and we believe that they are committed to serving the Aboriginal women in Alberta.
2768 MR. PRUDEN: With radio, we can reach out to promote each other's efforts in the struggle for healthier communities. With radio, we can build a better understanding between Aboriginal people and all Canadians. And with radio, we can promote positive Aboriginal role models, especially to our young people like myself.
2769 Radio taps into an Aboriginal tradition of sharing the wealth of indigenous knowledge, culture and values.
2770 Radio respects oral culture and brings Aboriginal people into the mainstream discourse which will shape the future of all our lives.
2771 Edmonton is a cosmopolitan city and a gathering place for people from many regions and backgrounds. Aboriginal people are a vital part of this city's cultural and civic life. The population of Edmonton is growing quickly, and its Aboriginal community is growing even faster.
2772 While Aboriginal people in Edmonton have expressed a strong interest in the new station, our market survey shows an overwhelmingly favourable response beyond the Native community. Our programming includes and welcomes all people and is an offering to all of Edmonton.
2773 MR. MacLEOD: Commissioners, we want you to understand our national vision and the role our Edmonton radio service will play in it.
2774 This national feed available in Edmonton will include contributions and perspectives from Aboriginal people across Canada.
2775 Our network's national programming menu will be similar to the CBC's multi-format offerings to its national listeners. And just as the CBC national schedule is supplemented by local programming, AVR will offer increasing local programming as resources become available.
2776 We will establish an Edmonton media advisory circle to provide local guidance and to make our national programming responsive to Edmonton needs.
2777 AVR will support local efforts to incubate and provide training in order to ensure that high quality local programming is introduced when it is ready. This cautious approach will ensure a financially stable vehicle for the future local development of programming, while we can at the same time be sure that local programming is under local direction and responses to the needs of its audience.
2778 MS LOGAN: AVR programming will reflect the Aboriginal Canadian experience. Newscasts, public affairs and talk shows will address our needs, interests and concerns.
2779 Edmonton's Aboriginal community includes many languages and cultures. AVR programming will be primarily in English, with regular inclusion of Canada's 53 Native languages, as well as in French, Spanish and other languages.
2780 Many Aboriginal languages and culture remain in great danger of extinction. AVR programming will support the preservation of Aboriginal languages in this emergency situation. Every program will support and promote Aboriginal cultures and traditions.
2781 The network programming schedule will include full Aboriginal news reports, national phone-in programs, a women's round table discussion, focus programs on language, youth, Elders, health, and more.
2782 News assignments will focus on events which impact Canada's Aboriginal communities and that have been overlooked and under-reported by other news sources.
2783 AVR will also air spoken-word programming which features in-depth exploration of public or community current affairs.
2784 As resources become available, one to two Edmonton journalists or producers will be hired to staff a local news bureau to provide enhanced local coverage.
2785 Members of the Commission, AVR music programming will feature a mix of primarily Canadian and world Aboriginal artists in a broad range of musical styles, with program hosts providing informed commentary, information on the artists presented, and a variety of educational and entertaining Canadian Aboriginal perspectives on issues of the day.
2786 While the new radio service will bring an Aboriginal world of programming to Edmonton, the vibrant local community in Edmonton will make vital contributions to the programming service they hear.
2787 Open line programs will include the participation of Edmonton listeners.
2788 Music requests will allow listeners interactivity by telephone or Internet.
2789 News reports, interviews and other segments will allow Elders and youth, women and men, of Edmonton's various nations and cultures to share their voices.
2790 This new national programming perspective will allow current events and cultural affairs taking place in other regions of the country to be better understood in Edmonton without the filter of the mainstream media. Of course, the new service will also provide the opportunity for local Edmonton regional issues to be examined in the context of a national perspective for listeners in Edmonton and elsewhere.
2791 MR. MacLEOD: Members of the Commission, AVR has a solid business plan and the financial and people resources to back it up. AVR is continuing to expand its board and recruit additional advisors to have the widest possible depth and breadth of expertise.
2792 Our legal counsel, McCarthy Tetrault, are working closely to review all legal implications of our national development plans, and our accounting firm KPMG have specialized experience in broadcasting and Aboriginal business issues.
2793 Our directors and advisory circle come from all across Canada and represent years of expertise in all ares of broadcasting.
2794 In addition to these resources, AVR seeks the spiritual guidance of our Elders and the approval of all of our communities.
2795 MR. LUSTY: The Edmonton application represents the next step of AVR's plan to spearhead the rapid advancement of Aboriginal broadcasting in Canada, especially in urban centres in southern Canada, where Aboriginal voices are seldom heard on the airwaves. Despite years of supportive CRTC policies, this deplorable situation exists in contrast to the clearly stated objectives of the Broadcast Act.
2796 Just as the arrival of the AVRN service in Edmonton will greatly benefit Edmonton listeners, the launch of the Edmonton service will play a key role in the development of the national Aboriginal radio service right across Canada.
2797 AVRN will not duplicate existing Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal services but, rather, provide a supplementary and supporting service, complementing and building on radio services which presently exist in the Canadian broadcasting system. This will provide a new type of support for Native broadcasters, particularly those who are ambitious, top provide a full schedule of native programming but are simply unable to secure the necessary resources.
2798 AVRN will work closely and share programming with these existing Native broadcasters, including the various Native radio networks and societies which operate in Northern and rural Canada, as well as other urban Aboriginal broadcasters who produce programming for university-based radio stations.
2799 MR. CARDINAL: Commissioners, Edmonton needs a new Aboriginal radio voice. We need this voice to overcome ignorance of our history and of the Canadian Aboriginal experience. We need this voice to offer positive role models and to balance negative media stereotypes.
2800 We need this voice to build greater understanding between Aboriginal people and other Canadians.
2801 Most importantly we need this voice in the struggle for healthy communities.
2802 Members of the Commission, today finally we have the opportunity to license a new and unique Aboriginal radio service in Edmonton. We have highlighted for you our plans for a programming service which includes seven lofty and ambitious goals:
2803 (1) to be the first Edmonton outlet for the broad everyday expression of Aboriginal voices;
2804 (2) to offer a media venue where Native and non-Native Canadians can speak as neighbours;
2805 (3) to be an inclusive radio service for all voices, men and women, Elders and youth;
2806 (4) to be a means of support for the promotion of Aboriginal language and culture;
2807 (5) to provide exposure and promotion for Aboriginal artists and entrepreneurs;
2808 (6) to operate with respect for the principles of environmental sustainability; and
2809 (7) to remain a Native controlled and operated media, not dependent on government.
2810 These are compelling objectives for a radio service.
2811 Members of the Commission, all the necessary elements have come together. We have clearly identified demand in Edmonton for a new urban Aboriginal service, and we will carefully shape our programming service to meet this demand.
2812 We have found a passion amongst Aboriginal people in Edmonton to share their wealth of indigenous knowledge, culture and positive values, and yet there is no current Edmonton radio service upon which we might hear their voices.
2813 We have proposed a sustainable business plan which includes sufficient capital funding, and we have put together an experienced, confident and knowledgeable team.
2814 We have reached the moment where we can include a national Aboriginal radio voice in the Canadian broadcast system.
2815 Commission Members, the time has come for an Aboriginal radio voice in Edmonton.
2816 We would be pleased to take any questions that you may have. Thank you.
2817 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Cardinal and your colleagues, and welcome to the hearing.
2818 Commissioner Williams has questions for you.
2819 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Good afternoon, Mr. Cardinal and AVR panel members. It is my pleasure to take you through our series of questions today.
2820 Could you please outline your national Aboriginal radio strategy, giving discussion to the strategy specifically the challenges expected and experienced and maybe outline the opportunities to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians that the network will address, this new network.
2821 MR. MacLEOD: You are not talking about challenges of the last 12 hours or so. You mean over the last five years.
2822 That is an excellent essay question for myself or someone else to write at some point and maybe make an interesting book out of it.
2823 I think I can answer the question fairly simply in the sense that our plan has never changed in the sense that we have always intended to progress as we were able to do so.
2824 Our original application was in Toronto, which is the richest market in Canada, and the one market that we knew if we did not get a licence there we would never be in Toronto and therefore never able to economically perhaps run an Aboriginal radio network. So we started there.
2825 We have applied as time has passed in markets where either (a) the economic benefit to a national network outweighed the cost of operating a station in that market, at least with limited local programming, and (b) also to keeping an eye out for markets where if we did not apply we would never be able to get a licence -- rather, an Aboriginal radio station would never be licensed, which has also been part of the concern.
2826 I don't think we ever envisioned that for the entire development of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network that we would not see other applicants, other Aboriginal applicants, in major cities in Canada. We had expected that we would, and we may yet. But essentially we have been the only party that is advancing the idea of having an urban Aboriginal presence on the radio airwaves.
2827 We have tried to balance off ambition with a sense that this is too important for us to risk the whole network for any particular market, and we are here in Edmonton, number seven of our progress to establish the network, believing that Edmonton is a very important urban Aboriginal community and that a service in Edmonton will be of great benefit to the stability of the whole network; the development of our station in Calgary, in Vancouver, in Kitchener-Waterloo, that all these stations will benefit from the strength of having a station in Edmonton.
2828 We looked carefully at our financial situation and assessed that we would be able to make an application that could convince the Commission that we had the financial resources to operate a station in Edmonton.
2829 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Could you please discuss the need for a national service like AVR. What is in it for Aboriginal Canadians and for more recent Canadians?
2830 Can you also indicate the levels of support received from Aboriginal Canadians, other broadcast licensees in the Canadian broadcast system, the Canadian government and others that may have helped along the way.
2831 So what is in it for people and how have you been helped?
2832 MR. MacLEOD: I was just going to say it is a multi-part question that I think other members of the panel can certainly handle.
2833 You talk about the initial part of the benefit to the Aboriginal urban communities in Canada.
2834 Go ahead, Lewis.
2835 MR. CARDINAL: I think it is important to know that when we talk about Aboriginal radio programming or Aboriginal voice, there is not one voice within the Aboriginal communities; rather, there are over 210 different nations within Canada proper alone.
2836 We have 53 different language groups, for example. So there is a diversity within a Canadian structure that is diverse itself. These voices need to co-ordinate with each other and we need to understand some of the common concerns that we have as Aboriginal people, as First Nations, as Métis, as Inuit.
2837 We need to share our stories with each other. We also need to share our stories with the rest of Canada.
2838 Canada coming from the Algonquin word meaning "a village" but also coming from the Cree -- as the Cree and the Algonquins share the same language base -- it means a clean place, a sacred place, based on values of relationship, positive relationship building.
2839 So very much we are carrying on that tradition of sharing the knowledge that we have amongst ourselves with our own peoples across the land but also with Canadian peoples as well.
2840 MS STANLEY VENNE: Thank you. As head of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, one of the benefits that I see to the general public and to ourselves is the voices of the women.
2841 I have made many presentations, and the response I get is: Thank God that you are doing what you are doing. And second: I didn't know.
2842 The general public does not have an awareness of Aboriginal women in this country and, if I would venture to say, until now they don't care. This is a very positive way of getting our message out, because people will understand if they know.
2843 I think the benefit to us as Aboriginal women would be the start of a change in attitude, which is what we are all about. We try very, very hard to bring that message in a positive way.
2844 We know that there are enough horrific stories; there are enough very terrible things that happened to our women. But we need to bring that understanding.
2845 I want to tell you this little response too, and it is a story.
2846 A man got on the bus with his three children. The bus was fine; the man was calm. He got on and the children were acting up, and they were really acting up. They were going and taking newspapers and finally the man sitting beside him said to him: "Shouldn't you do something about your children?" And he said: "Yes, I guess I must." He said: "My wife has just died and I'm not coping very well and my children are probably not coping very well either." And when that happened, when the man knew what the situation was, his whole attitude changed, because then he felt compassion and he helped the man, and so on.
2847 That is what is missing in Canadian society. We have a tremendous backlash against Aboriginal people, against them. What we have to do is present that understanding of what has happened to Aboriginal people and bring that message forward, because we believe people will understand. They will know then what has happened and go from there.
2848 That is the value I see in getting the truth of what has happened to Aboriginal people out in the public domain through radio and through many others, but very effectively through the means of radio.
2849 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you for that.
2850 The other part of the question was: Can you also indicate certain levels of support you have received from Aboriginal Canadians and organizations, other licensees in the Canadian broadcast system and government.
2851 Does somebody wish to speak to that?
2852 MR. MacLEOD: Do you have a comment you want to make first, Terry, or do you want me to move on to this?
2853 MR. LUSTY: I would like to speak as someone who has worked very extensively at the community level and also as an educator in the system.
2854 Culturally, spiritually, linguistically our people are at a virtual crossroads. We are in a high state of transition with respect to the urban centres. With that comes a price that our people are paying. They are really paying in a very difficult way.
2855 The large urban sprawl denies us ready access to much of our culture. We have very few Elders that we can access, but their prized knowledge and their wisdom is not getting down the urban Natives.
2856 Radio, however, can turn that around. It is a tool, a strong educational tool, that can make a difference. Indeed, education through communication is a must if we are to survive. Our people need to know who they are if they are to be happy, productive and constructive members of society at large. They can only know who they are if they are aware of their culture, their language, their values and their history.
2857 When I taught school -- and this was at the high school level from grade 7 through 12 -- I taught phys ed, social studies and Native culture. One of the ongoing comments that I always got back from many of my past students, right up to this present day -- and I left teaching 20 years ago. Right to this day students still come up to me and thank me for bringing them their culture, their identity.
2858 Those people today are good productive citizens out there, raising their own families.
2859 Radio is a great medium for this kind of a turnaround to occur. We have had a problem in the past where radio programming and television programming has not been consistent. It has not been constant. And that has been one of our big downfalls.
2860 MR. MacLEOD: I don't know if we caught everything in your question. It was a little bit omnibus.
2861 But the ending about the support that AVR has received, commercial broadcasters have to be given a significant amount of credit for the development of Aboriginal Voices Radio Network, because that has been the primary funding that AVR has to be able to establish the necessary resources to get this process launched and to be able to continue this.
2862 I think it is worth noting that obviously commercial broadcasters felt that the CRTC would be favourable to them offering benefits to Aboriginal Voices Radio to help establish Aboriginal radio in urban Canada. You have seen Newcap Broadcasting and Standard Broadcasting and Astral and Rogers all at different times and different occasions commit to provide some level of support or assistance to AVR.
2863 Of course, although it started slow at first, because anybody is suspicious of a new party arriving on the scene, in the last five years AVR has moved from being an organization that could get a letter or two from maybe one or two national Aboriginal organizations to a point where all of the national Aboriginal organizations now specifically support the AVR initiative.
2864 It goes down to regional levels. We recently got letters of support from all of the Regional Chiefs of the AFN. And just about a year ago, in July of 2002, the AFN, Assembly of First Nations, approved an anonymous resolution specifically supporting the development of Aboriginal radio in urban Canada.
2865 I think we had to earn that respect and earn that support, but I think there is widespread support.
2866 Whenever we come to a community like Edmonton, you don't have to do any kind of a sales job to convince anybody that this is something that is worthwhile. You only have to establish your credentials that you are someone who can take this obvious benefit and actually make it a reality.
2867 That is the effort that AVR has made in communications with the local community and the members of the founding media advisory circle that you see here at this panel, people that believe in this concept.
2868 I think Charmaine wants to mention a tremendous support that we have from the musicians that have really helped us to get music on the air.
2869 MS LOGAN: AVR is currently giving airtime to over a thousand Aboriginal musicians, artists such as Tom Jacks and Creative Harmony, Sandy Scofield, Derek Miller, Stony Park. These are all award winning artists with national recognition and, in some cases, even international.
2870 AVR is enabling career advancement for our people. By giving them the airtime and the outward exposure, it not only contributes to our nation's economic stability, but again it is sharing our oral culture and our traditions.
2871 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you for that.
2872 Would you please in general terms outline a few examples of the various proposals of assistance the larger broadcasting community has provided, promised or conditionally promised to AVR.
2873 What is the nature of this type of assistance that you are talking about receiving from the Canadian broadcasters?
2874 MR. MacLEOD: As a response to the last question, I guess I focused to some degree on a money trail. We have in fact had a significant amount of support from a couple of commercial broadcasters, beyond the kind of putting the cash where the commitment is, in providing us advice. There are a couple of broadcasters that we have an open line to as far as advice as to how we should develop our radio programming, how we should roll out the network, what kind of commercial expectations should we realistically have, for instance, in a market like Edmonton or anywhere where we are proposing to move.
2875 I am not sure if I understand what you are going for in the question, but clearly the commercial broadcasters have gone beyond indirect benefits to actual writing cheques, cash out of pocket.
2876 I think that in at least a number of cases this offer or benefit has not been counted by the Commission as traditional Canadian talent development. So in fact it is more generous and perhaps a more risky step for them to take in making a contribution or promising a contribution to AVR if they should be awarded whatever they are seeking, because the Commission might not consider it as equal money if it was going to some other organization that is recognized as something.
2877 That is a dialogue that AVR has had with the Commission already, about the exceptional nature of developing Aboriginal broadcasting in Canada, and the Commission has up until now been clear that it does recognize that commercial broadcasters are offering something tremendous, even if it is not under the normal kind of CTD benefits scheme.
2878 Maybe you can add a clarifying question, unless I have answered your question already. The support has been tremendous from the commercial industry.
2879 I think, like the Commission, commercial broadcasters recognize that there is a place on the airwaves in Canada, even in the congested markets, for more than specific music rotations and somewhat similar news among stations.
2880 In fact, the strength of Aboriginal Voices Radio is that the programming we are offering is close to 100 per cent diversity. There is so little crossover in the type of news or music or even stories. Everything is almost uniquely different than any other station in the markets in which we are attending.
2881 It is a dramatic diversity that both the Commission and commercial broadcasters have recognized in the last four years.
2882 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Mr. MacLeod, would it be safe to say then, based on your last few minutes of comments, that the Canadian broadcasting system is supportive of the AVR dream?
2883 MR. MacLEOD: Well, we have always taken the strength of our argument, going right back to the source, the Act itself, which spells out that Aboriginal people must be reflected on the airwaves. Of course, the Commission itself has taken that Act and has turned it into supportive policies. I dare say that AVR would certainly not be where it sits now if the Commission had not taken those parts of the Act that refer to Aboriginal broadcasters and actually pushed them.
2884 We certainly feel that the Commission has been supportive. In fact, we recognize that the Commission has -- I don't know if I want to say taken a chance, but the Commission has clearly looked at a risk assessment kind of thing with AVR to make sure that it is not going too far out on a limb when it is licensing AVR in markets.
2885 Probably our greatest effort has been to try and make sure that we remain stable in our development and that we can continue to enjoy the support of the Commission in believing that we are developing in a stable way.
2886 Again, I would echo that while I think commercial broadcasters all have their own agenda, their businesses have to be profitable, I think they also recognize that for the Canadian broadcasting system to be healthy a diversity of voices has to be on the air. As I mentioned earlier, AVR adds maximum diversity, absolutely.
2887 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: The hearings that you have been attending, they have been competitive hearings. So you feel that your competitors are supportive of AVR's goals?
2888 MR. MacLEOD: I guess I need to answer this one as well.
2889 We did take note of the letter filed by Rawlco, for instance, at this hearing, which was quite specific. The letter was clear to the Commission that Rawlco supports Aboriginal radio. I don't know that they specifically said they thought you should license our application here in Edmonton, but clearly from their own position they felt like they did not want to be competitive with AVR directly.
2890 We hear that from all the commercial broadcasters; that they don't want to go up against AVR on a one to one basis for a frequency, because in a market with 13 commercial stations and the focus of the applications, as you are hearing at this hearing again, the commercial stations are trying in a somewhat desperate way sometimes to differentiate themselves from each other.
2891 Clearly when an applicant like AVR comes along, it is no threat to take perceived market share for commercial stations.
2892 We are where we are because of that kind of supportive situation from both the Commission and from the commercial radio industry.
2893 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: What is the approximate cost to AVR for preparation of the Edmonton licence application, both in terms of management time and community development work and financial cost?
2894 MR. MacLEOD: I am sure I am the only one on the panel that could answer that one. I will do my best.
2895 I think within the organization we figure that it is at least $25,000 to take a look at a market and to work at preparing something.
2896 The actual cost attributed to staff time and everything, I don't know. But I would estimate maybe it is in the neighbourhood of $75,000, I would think.
2897 If you take it right from the time we hear the Commission has made a call to the actual implementation of the signal, not including the capital cost, I would say that $75,000 is probably a reasonable guess.
2898 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Is this a typical cost say for each of the other markets that you have applied to serve as part of building your network?
2899 MR. MacLEOD: I would say so far that has been typical. I think our expectation is that our costs may not be so high when the network is at the development stage where we are putting applications into markets where the frequencies are plenty and we would be initiating our own calls, at that level we won't need to spend so much perhaps in development.
2900 I am talking of markets like Regina or Saskatoon where I think there is not a great deal of interest in multiple new commercial applications. So a market like that would probably not be nearly as expensive.
2901 I would say we are perhaps being more cost effective as we move on down the road. We are now well connected in Regina and Saskatoon before we even apply there. We are well established in the Native community across Canada, from Newfoundland all the way to Victoria. So we don't have to do the same amount of background work that we have been doing in the past.
2902 I think people know us, and the expectation is high that either AVR or some other party is going to continue this development into urban centres in southern Canada. Obviously it is our goal to expand as quickly as we think is feasible.
2903 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In the total AVR network plan, how many urban centres or how many licences are in the full plan?
2904 MR. MacLEOD: I guess we have been a little arbitrary in our long-term goals in that we established that we would target perhaps all of the Census metropolitan areas. So at the time when we first tried to envision the national network, there were 25 CMAs. So our long-term goal was to be in the 25 largest Canadian cities.
2905 Clearly the primarily francophone cities would require a different level of development than the primarily anglophone ones. That would be an effort unto its own. We were looking at those 25.
2906 Since then there are 27 CMAs, and we have been licensing one of those two new ones, that being Abbotsford.
2907 Our long-term goal would still remain to be in 27 markets.
2908 Ideally, we don't want to see the service as it develops be unavailable to anybody. Ideally, through whatever method, through whatever technology, any person, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal in Canada will be able to enjoy the programming that is being produced.
2909 It is arbitrary to say that if the city is 90,000, we are not going to try to get a licence there; if it is 100,000, we are.
2910 We are clearly targeting, in a business plan type fashion, the markets that will help stabilize and develop our network in the most stable manner possible.
2911 In that regard, where a city like Moncton might come in, we are not sure if it is going to be off the edge of the fringe. Ideally, if we had not inexhaustible but significant enough financial resources, we would be looking at cities like Moncton as well.
2912 Any city that has an independent urban Aboriginal culture is a city that we would like to see our radio service in. Any city where people listening can hear what is going on in Calgary, can hear what is going on in Halifax and they can learn from those experiences and also share them, that is a place we want to be.
2913 As we highlighted in our presentation, another aspect of AVR besides our own licences is that we want our programming service to be available through either other existing Native broadcasters or direct to home.
2914 We hope, for instance, that things like our national news and our national call-in show, that those programs will eventually be carried on some of the regional broadcasters that exist in Canada, especially here in the west where they are very strong. In exchange, we hope that we will be carrying in the major urban centres some of the best programming that is produced by these regional broadcasters.
2915 That is the type of development that is one or two steps down the road. There is no requirement for any of the existing regional broadcasters to participate with us in that. I think they are not unwise to wait until we have produced something that is worthy of exchange with them.
2916 That is the direction that we are heading in, is to try and get to the point where we are producing quality programming.
2917 As you heard in our presentation, just in the last three months we have taken tremendous strides forward in actually going beyond this kind of technical licensing thing, to go to the point where we are really producing high quality programming that is of value.
2918 While it is still relatively small because we have to develop the talent, we are progressing in that direction. Already, I think our radio service is tremendously valuable from the programming we have on the air right now.
2919 If you ask somebody that is in the Aboriginal community in Toronto, they might say yes, the signal there isn't good and I can't get it when I go west of Keele Street, or whatever, but it is so cool when I am in the area that I can pick it up and be able to hear music from all cultures and to hear news from Newfoundland and Inuvut that is Native news. It is wonderful.
2920 That is only our first step. Clearly we expect that over the next six to nine months, if we can resolve some of the issues that we have with licensing in a couple of markets, that Toronto experience will be shared in other major urban centres that AVR is licensed in.
2921 MR. CARDINAL: Commissioners, I would just like to bring a couple of demographic points here to underscore the market potential of the Edmonton area.
2922 As we know, according to Stats Canada the youth 24 and under are 55 per cent of our population; 72 per cent are under the age of 35.
2923 According to a Canada West Foundation report recently, they have measured youth purchase power between the ages of 14 to 24 to have increased 90 per cent over the course of the last seven years.
2924 Meanwhile, here in Edmonton by 2014 half of all students in both school systems here will be of Aboriginal descent.
2925 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Cardinal.
2926 One last comment or question on the AVR network, and then I will move specifically to the Edmonton aspect of AVR.
2927 At this cost of $50,000 to $75,000 per application and 25 to 30, or perhaps even more, urban centres that you are targeting, why did AVR not -- that is a couple of million dollars. That can do a lot of things.
2928 Why did AVR not simply apply for a network licence serving all of your target communities, given that the broadcasting community seems supportive, the system seems supportive.
2929 Why not go direct for a network licence, applying for all of these communities in one hearing?
2930 MR. MacLEOD: You mean to establish our own transmission facilities in a number of different communities at the same time?
2931 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You say we are applying to serve 30 communities in Canada. Here they are. Here is the information on each one of them. I am sure it would cost more than $75,000 for that type of application, but it probably would be a lot less than $2 million for doing them all on an ad hoc basis.
2932 MR. MacLEOD: I haven't been around the radio industry long enough or intensely enough to remember some of the major events of the past. But the ghost of CKO has raised its head a number of times when we were talking about the idea of doing essentially what you suggested, which is to put together some kind of a business plan model that we could present to the Commission that would be convincing to the Commission that if we applied for 15 markets at once, to save the money that you mentioned, we could get bank financing or we could have some kind of way of being able to establish all those sites and the funding would come in in a quick enough time frame that we could handle that.
2933 The reality has been that that would be the ideal way to do it. I agree.
2934 This kind of step by step process that we are taking does have inefficiencies built into it, but we haven't got the Super 7 yet. We buy it every Friday, but we haven't won the Super 7 yet. Kind of the magic bullet has not arrived for us to be able to use that.
2935 MR. CARDINAL: I would like to add to that response.
2936 One of the main reasons why we supported AVR in coming here into our community is that they practise a very traditional protocol amongst Aboriginal people, and that is coming to our community and saying: Hey, listen, we would like to do this. Instead of coming in and prescribing here is a radio station, and here is a set of the rules, here is a set of the governance structure.
2937 They came and they said: How can we be of service here?
2938 They have done that moving across the country and working with different communities. They are a community-based and focused organization, and that is what works best for us.
2939 We said we want this and we want that. Can it work or can it not? So they come in with the spirit of community building and respecting that protocol. It is a part of tradition.
2940 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Cardinal.
2941 The area I am going to move into now is more Edmonton licence specific. I would like to obtain a better understanding of AVR's proposed local programming initiatives and how to determine the contribution of the new service and how it would bring to realization the objectives of the Broadcast Act, in particular the production of local and regional programming.
2942 So how will this help local and regional programming? I wouldn't mind having a better understanding of that.
2943 My first question -- and perhaps I will direct them to you, Mr. Cardinal, and if others want to respond they can jump in or you can redirect them.
2944 Please discuss how AVR will introduce local programming over the licence term. When will local programming be introduced?
2945 Do you have any comments on the possibility of the Commission imposing a condition of licence requiring the broadcast of at least nine hours each week of station produced programming, say, in year one?
2946 MS STANLEY VENNE: One of the things that really excited us was the idea of doing our own program. "Marggo's Show", which seemed to fit just beautifully with our objectives, would be done. We are prepared to work on it. We have already started our pilot. We believe that it is the vehicle.
2947 The benefits would be tremendous. We only have to think of our own examples that show that.
2948 Before I get a chance --
2949 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Excuse me for a minute. Perhaps we could take a brief break for my colleague. She is having a hard time.
2950 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry. We will be back in ten minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1530 / Suspension à 1530
--- Upon resuming at 1545 / Reprise à 1545
2951 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Welcome back. I apologize for the unexpected interruption.
2952 Commissioner Williams has prepared me a cup of tea. I am not sure what is in it, but I feel much better already.
2953 Go ahead, Commissioner Williams.
2954 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: It's a secret recipe of herbs and spices. I'm sure she will be fine in a day or two.
2955 I will restate the question to get us back in the flow.
2956 We are going to focus specifically on the Edmonton component of AVR for the next little while to try to gain a better understanding of the proposed local programming initiatives.
2957 Could you please discuss how AVR will introduce local programming over the licence term. When will local programming be introduced?
2958 Do you have any comments on the possibility of the Commission imposing a condition of licence requiring the broadcast of at least nine hours each week of station-produced or locally produced programming during the first year of its operation?
2959 MR. CARDINAL: Commissioners, I would like to announce that we are pleased to have Gloria Stonechild with our panel. I know that she is able to answer part of that last question.
2960 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Welcome, Ms Stonechild.
2961 MS STONECHILD: Good afternoon. I come here to represent the White Buffalo Dancers and Drummers Society. I preside as president over this society. I am an instrumental member of the Aboriginal community.
2962 I really feel that there is this demand for our voices to be heard in the urban centre here in the city. I feel that we have to promote our traditional ways, our artists, musicians. It will bridge the gap of misunderstandings among different cultures, to tie everyone together.
2963 I feel that is important for this new generation, because a lot of them are kind of like on the tail ends of disfunction of residential school syndrome, I guess -- I am not sure of the proper term -- of alcoholism and drug abuse.
2964 A lot of the residential school victims like our parents fell into the alcoholism and drug abuse, and then their kids and then their kids. This generation that I see in the city right now, the youth that participate at our weekly practices at the Friendship Centre, they are the generation that we get the message out about a drug and alcohol free lifestyle.
2965 It is very important because it leads them to be successful individuals, to be proud of themselves, to feel confident that they can succeed in education. And any dreams that they want to attain, I know they will get them with all the support from the community.
2966 I think this radio station would nurture that growth with our generation that needs to see that part of our traditions.
2967 I also hope that the radio station -- I know it will bring access to community members who will help. It will bring recognition to Elders and I am sure in their programming the Elders will be included in their programming. Their voices, their stories, their teachings will be relayed to the people who will tune in.
2968 To hear that kind of programming is rare, and I hope that this will become an entity of our Aboriginal community here in Edmonton.
2969 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Ms Stonechild.
2970 Does anyone wish to comment specifically on the local programming and the number of hours?
2971 MS STANLEY VENNE: Certainly the nine hours I don't believe would be any problem. We at IAAW are prepared to work on five hours of that nine hours for "Marggo's Show". We are ready to move on that.
2972 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: If that was a condition of licence for year one, nine hours of programming, would that be an acceptable condition?
2973 MR. CARDINAL: Yes, absolutely.
2974 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
2975 What are your plans for a studio and staffing? Would you have, for example, a fulltime staff and studio facilities in year one? Would they be rented, purchased, volunteers?
2976 Could you talk a bit about the operation.
2977 MR. MacLEOD: Perhaps I could quickly answer this, and if Muriel wants to add to it, she can.
2978 We budgeted approximately $75,000 a year in Edmonton for programming development more than programming production. That is to have either our own independent space or we have certainly had offers from a number of organizations to locate within their spaces.
2979 We have within the budget enough money to be able to have our own small office where our person in Edmonton would essentially help to facilitate the development of programming. We have more interest in programming beyond the nine hours already.
2980 For instance, at the time of the application the "Marggo Show" was not specifically envisioned, but it has taken a life of its own. That will be a strong part of the Edmonton component.
2981 If need be, the person that we have in Edmonton could be a producer themselves, but we think that person will be able to facilitate, I think we said in our application, 20 hours of programming was more of our expectation.
2982 As was just mentioned, we would certainly accept as a condition of licence a minimum of nine hours. That seems to be a reasonable kind of failsafe number for Edmonton from launch.
2983 MR. LUSTY: Could I just add to that?
2984 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Of course, Mr. Lusty, please.
2985 MR. LUSTY: We in Edmonton are in a truly enviable position west of Winnipeg, because this city has the largest growing and existing Native population. But not only that; this city can also boast that it has the greatest proliferation of Native services, businesses and organizations of anywhere in western Canada, and that makes it highly marketable.
2986 Right here in my hand I am holding this "Guide to Native Organizations in Alberta". Many of these of course are right here in Edmonton since Edmonton is the capital of the province.
2987 Truly the marketability and the potential for advertising is tremendous right here. I can see where a radio station here would take off by leaps and bounds in the community. All kinds of organizations and individual businesses and so forth would certainly buy into the concept. I don't think that is going to be one iota of a problem.
2988 That is going to have, of course, all kinds of spin-off effects in terms of programming, how much we can provide and how diverse it can be.
2989 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Mr. Cardinal, could you tell us what type of programming you will offer during the local Edmonton programming periods when AVR is focusing on the Edmonton marketplace?
2990 What kind of programming will you offer? Will it consist of mostly spoken word or music, or combinations?
2991 Maybe as an additional part of that question, perhaps Ms Pariseau could tell us a bit about the "Marggo Show" that we have been hearing so much about.
2992 MR. CARDINAL: It will be a combination of things. Our oral traditions and our cultures are varied from song and story-telling to music. So we are looking at a real broad range of shows, talk shows, of course, call-in shows, as have already been identified, the "Marggo Show" that will be coming on, but also music as well.
2993 Our Aboriginal youth are very into the latest sounds coming out of the United States and other contemporary markets, as well as traditional. So it is going to be an interesting thing. It won't be just traditional drumming. It will be contemporary music as well.
2994 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Before we hear about the "Marggo Show", you have specified that your proposed station would devote at least 31.5 hours, or 25 per cent per week of all programming broadcast to spoken word programming.
2995 Would you be willing to accept that as a condition of licence?
2996 MR. CARDINAL: Yes, of course we would.
2997 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Now if we could hear about the "Marggo Show", that would be good.
2998 MS STANLEY VENNE: Thank you. Can I just say that we looked at the "Marggo Show" as being a combination of Oprah Winfrey and Mother Theresa.
2999 MS PARISEAU: Unfortunately, they won't be able to see me shed all the pounds.
3000 The "Marggo Show" is my dream. It is indeed an honour that it is an opportunity for us to share our stories, our experiences -- and I mean we as Aboriginal women, very proud esquao -- and our perspective.
3001 For many years everyone else has represented us. We have never had the opportunity to represent ourselves. We have become a statistic, a commodity. We need to be honoured. I believe it is an opportunity for us to honour our women and to bring it into the community, to share the stories on how these women were all successful.
3002 We have had the opportunity of doing one show where I interviewed three different women. Muriel Stanley Venne was one of them. We had a stand-up comic and a story from one of the veterans, her own story. I believe the community wants to hear it, and we want it to be heard from an Aboriginal voice.
3003 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
3004 MS STANLEY VENNE: If I could just add, IAAW is an advocate. Also, as I described before, we want to change people's perception of Aboriginal women. I promised you that I would tell you about esquao.
3005 I want everybody in this room to learn this word. The beautiful word esquao is the Cree word for woman. The reason I want you to learn it is I want you never ever to say the word "sqaw". Squaw is a derogatory term always used in a bad way. So we have reclaimed the word "esquao" in a stylized way, and we have reclaimed it to illustrate the beauty and the strength of Aboriginal women.
3006 One of our messages, which is a very important message we believe, is that it is ours. Like Marggo was saying, this is our story.
3007 We have over the years honoured 186 Aboriginal women in this province, and we have their stories. We have their profiles. For us, as a very active organization, we believe we could get in touch with every one of those women and put their stories on the radio and have them tell their own stories and illustrate their worth and the beauty of their lives.
3008 MR. LUSTY: One of the other areas too that would probably fit very well in there is additional talk shows, some on contemporary matters and issues in society. Also even other things that add a lot of flavour and colour and really keep the Canadian image in radio, and that is the whole thing of story-telling, the thing of dipping into the culture of our people.
3009 There is such an expanse of knowledge that can be imparted there. History -- and not just the past history but the present history as it exists today, things that are going on and happening, that are going to be, it is going to be the history records of tomorrow.
3010 MS STONECHILD: I would like to add something.
3011 As a local producer here in Edmonton from a former radio station, I would like to see programming happening to bring cultural awareness. A program I produced was called "The Heartbeat of Nations", which profiled singers, dancers, anyone who ensured our traditional ways. It was a half-hour program initially, aired three times a week.
3012 I travelled the pow-wow trail. I am a pow-wow dancer. I travel all year round. This is where I meet all the people that are guests on the half-hour show.
3013 They share their ways, where they come from, so we learn about it. We learn about other tribes, about their stories, because they all differ about the story of where the drum came from, or the style of dance, or whatever.
3014 If it is not a singer, it could be an Elder. An Elder will share his upbringing, his teachings, and I combine that with music. Let's say it was a singer from Blackstone, for example. He talks about where he is from, and it also allows them a chance for exposure to any new albums.
3015 There are a lot of production companies, Arbour Records, Turtle Island Music, and it brings recognition to those production companies as well, and those individuals. It leaves an inspiring message for all the listeners to hear something like that.
3016 Another program idea -- I shouldn't say an idea; I actually did it -- was on-air drama, like Terry mentioned: bringing stories on to the air using a cast of people. I wrote a script and we all act it on air. It was very entertaining, and it also taught the young people something. It was also entertaining for the adults to hear it, as well, because they could hear that we were having fun bringing that presentation to them.
3017 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
3018 Let's talk a bit about local and regional news.
3019 When would your local newscast be presented during the week as well as the weekends?
3020 MR. MacLEOD: Obviously developing news programming is the most intensive part of program production. So our development time frame for news in Edmonton will be delayed slightly from the initial adding of the programming that we are going to offer at the time of launch.
3021 We are committed to having a part-time reporter working out of Edmonton from the time of launch to be providing reports into the national newscast that will be obviously carried on the station in Edmonton.
3022 Edmonton will be one of the highest priorities to have its own local independent news production, like the other markets in which AVR has been licensed. I would say that we are not projecting that within the first year of licence that it will have its own separately produced newscast. It will be carrying a newscast that from local staff would be certain to carry not only Edmonton news stories on a regular basis but also regional and province-wide stories.
3023 MR. CARDINAL: I would like to add to that by saying that already the city of Edmonton is hard-wired by quite an extensive network system of news and information. It is called "moccasin telegraph". I don't know if anybody has picked that up.
3024 Now we have moved it into the next stage, and that is with the Internet. So there is a lot of access to news, and there is a lot of communication going on above and beyond our meeting spaces and our meeting times, but also sharing that information through our network systems here in the city.
3025 Most organizations and agencies are plugged into a wider net system.
3026 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In terms of this proposed radio station, this Edmonton station, would the local station have any editorial control on the news that is presented out of the Toronto station?
3027 MR. MacLEOD: I am trying to think if I can recall what our news policy is regarding development of local news.
3028 I believe that it is a significant part of the media advisory circle's purpose in Edmonton and in the various markets that AVR establishes a licence to provide comment and feedback on both the stories that are being accepted and are covering the local area, but also what type of stories from across the country are being covered in a market and to encourage the national network to be responsive to the local and regional concerns.
3029 As far as editorial control, I think that is probably a stage or two in development down the road for the station in Edmonton. There simply would not be an opportunity without a small staff of three or four people for that type of control.
3030 Rather, the employees and volunteers associated with producing news and reports out of Edmonton would be part of the wider national co-ordination of story coverage.
3031 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Could you please explain how the Edmonton station will distinguish itself from other radio services in the region in terms of local and regional programming.
3032 Would the programming be somewhat different? How will it be different? Tell us a bit more about that, please.
3033 MR. CARDINAL: I will answer that question a little bit by saying an important element that often times is missed from regional broadcasts concerning Aboriginal issues and news and that sort of thing is bringing in that Aboriginal or indigenous perspective into the news story.
3034 Often times the subtleties and complexities of issues are overshadowed by a misunderstanding of where those issues and those conflicts, if you will, are coming from. So it is important, and it was important for us to know that at least when we enter into these programs that we be able to develop an indigenous Aboriginal perspective and bring it out more to examine the issues and the events from an indigenous perspective.
3035 MR. MacLEOD: As we are developing our news programming in Toronto I think the news department is really learning a lot of these things about how to cost effectively get high-quality news. I think we are substantiating our planning, which was that a lot of our resources would be based on getting irregular reports from a larger number of stringers rather than having perhaps one or two persons providing the reporting.
3036 In the case of Edmonton, it is pretty clear, as you have heard from the presentation today, not only that there seem to be a large number of radio producers, talented people, people that are waiting for an opportunity like this radio station to appear, and that we expect that we will be able to generate perhaps a larger portion of news from this region than we might from some of the other regions of the country because of the dynamic nature of this community; and the outward looking nature of it.
3037 The organizations in Edmonton that we have dealt with from a national perspective are very active and very outwardly pushing. So we are going to look at our national newscasts and our programming on a national level will have a significant portion of programming from here.
3038 I know you are trying to get to the part of this that will be the local programming. As I said, our ability to properly produce regional or Edmonton newscasts will depend on not just the development of the Edmonton market, but the stability of the whole Aboriginal Voices Radio Network -- which is not to discount organizations like IAAW or other organizations or parties within this province.
3039 We know, for instance, that companies like Suncor and other major natural resource companies are very generous in funding of Aboriginal initiatives. We will certainly be pursuing it. I can commit to that.
3040 But it is entirely likely that we will find some level of funding for an Alberta news bureau which will merit to some degree the funding that we have received from the Trillium Foundation in Ontario.
3041 In Ontario the Trillium Foundation has given AVR just under $200,000 a year to employ fulltime staff and a series of stringers across Ontario to be able to provide news. I think that is a model we are going to try and implement in Alberta.
3042 It is a process that has no guarantee of success, and in the meantime we have to realistically look at what we can promise the Commission that we will be able to do in the short term.
3043 I would expect over the term of licence that AVR will definitely have a news staff producing news that would be a different version in Edmonton, separate news stories from the Edmonton newscast going to the national network for distribution across the country.
3044 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. MacLeod.
3045 In this next area I want to cover I want to discuss the concerns that we have that in spite of AVR being awarded five FM radio licences -- for example, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and most recently Kitchener, and then of course this Edmonton one in this application now -- over the past three years AVR has just recently begun transmitting. AVR in each of the licences that has been awarded has requested an extension or extensions in the time limit imposed by the licensing decision in order to begin broadcasting.
3046 You have made an application. You come in and you have made a plan, and you agree to a timetable. Then as that deadline nears, you have requested an extension.
3047 These delays raise questions as to whether or not the applicant is in a position to take on the responsibility of establishing another radio station when it appears to be struggling somewhat with its existing obligations.
3048 That is the area I would like to spend the next few minutes on, so I have a series of questions in that particular area.
3049 A few weeks ago the CRTC staff checked and found your Toronto station has started its test transmissions but not with the full programming schedule that was expected at that time.
3050 Has it begun airing its full programming schedule? If yes, when? If no, when do you expect the full programming schedule will commence?
3051 MR. MacLEOD: In our application for the Toronto station we laid out an ambitious programming schedule which we intend to implement. I think all of the conditions of licence that we have committed to the Commission will be implemented by the end of September 2003, which is when we expect what we are calling a full launch.
3052 I'm not sure that it is going to have all of the wonders of programming that we have outlined to the Commission that we want to have, but certainly we will meet the minimum requirements of the Commission for spoken word programming, for news programming.
3053 In fact, we are not meeting the total spoken word commitment at this point, but I believe that we are meeting the news commitment. That is just something that has developed in the last three weeks.
3054 We have a phased development. I think it was mentioned earlier on in our presentations that some of the programs are either airing now or will be coming on stream, I guess it is next week now, the first of July.
3055 So I think it is possible before we even hit what we call our full launch in September that we will be meeting our commitment for spoken word programming. I am pretty sure we will be there.
3056 Of course, a number of these programs, like the "Marggo Show", are pilot programs still in development. So the length of the shows may still be uncertain, whether they are one hour or half an hour, whether they incorporate more music or no music. These are still some things that will reflect on the way that AVR is able to meet its commitment.
3057 As the Commission is aware, the delays that AVR has faced and the extensions that AVR has had to request in all its markets relate to trying to develop at a pace and in a manner which will ultimately be the most stable for the organization. We have been careful not to hire staff any sooner than we think that the stage of development of programming will lead to some revenue associated with that.
3058 We have tried to work things as possible. I know that we have not been excited about having to ask the Commission for extensions.
3059 I think the Commission is aware, for instance, that in Calgary and in Ottawa the facilities are so near to complete that it is not the case that things haven't been -- both of those markets we have been deliberately holding off in launching because of the delays faced in Toronto in the development of the national programming service which those stations will carry.
3060 In the case of both Ottawa and Calgary, those stations could be on the air carrying our programming right now, except we don't feel that that would be the best service to the audiences in those two markets. At the same time, they will be costing money to be able to run down.
3061 The way we are ramping up our programming for September dovetails nicely with the launch of those networks and with our revenue generation efforts which are under way now and which we hope will bear excellent fruit by the time September rolls around.
3062 I guess that is my answer to your question.
3063 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So part of the reason -- the delays in Ottawa and Calgary specifically. Which of these stations were delayed due to frequency issues, and which were delayed due to funding issues?
3064 Were there any delays due to management capacity or overworked management?
3065 MR. MacLEOD: Well, none of them are single kind of characteristic delays. Clearly, in both Ottawa and Calgary the simple answer is that they have both been delayed because the programming service which they are supposed to offer is simply --
3066 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: It is not available.
3067 MR. MacLEOD: It wasn't available. It wasn't available at all until December of 2002.
3068 The service that we have now -- we are proud of the service we are offering in Toronto. It is actually improving week by week. We feel that if the Commission will allow us, it is better for us to wait another two or three months so that that service has much higher quality and can better serve those people when it hits the air.
3069 That has been our choice to delay. We have asked for the Commission's approval to be able to do that.
3070 I dare say that if we were forced to launch those services sooner, if we had done it previously, while it is true those communities would have received some Aboriginal service -- I would say good service they haven't received because we are not on the air -- AVR's financial position would have been a lot worse than it is now if we had been running those stations for the last six months or the last year.
3071 In effect, the money we have saved from running those and the opportunity -- all the commercial radio people in the audience I am sure will concur that there is a phrase -- I forget how it goes: you only get one opportunity to make a first impression, or something like that.
3072 We are aware that when we launch in Ottawa, when we launch in Calgary, the expectations will be that the service will be somewhat as promised; not a rotating music service which we have been forced to carry in Toronto because of our limited coverage.
3073 We have made the step within the last 60 days, and particularly within the last 30 days, to develop our programming service despite the limited coverage we have in Toronto, because we are confident that the timeline will finally be real that the new tower we have been waiting for for almost a year now will be complete by September.
3074 It is not being pushed by us. It's the digital television people that are actually pushing that tower. We will simply be a small-time person on that. We have been waiting and waiting in Toronto for the opportunity to more than double our coverage area and actually operate a station there that will be a proper partner to a station in Ottawa or a station in Calgary.
3075 Up until this point our coverage in Toronto is limited enough that it hampers the whole development of the network to go ahead and operate on that basis.
3076 Again, we thought these things through. We go to the Commission for approval to extend those services because we feel it is in the best interests of the national network and its development. And so far the Commission has both agreed to give us those extensions and also, as you mentioned, to continue to allow us to develop into other markets.
3077 We hope that the Commission will continue to trust that we have the best development plan we can have in the circumstances and that we are executing it to the best of our ability and that ultimately this network will come to fruition as we all dream and hope that it will.
3078 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Let's talk about your extensions. In Ottawa your first extension is to the 4th of July. You are talking about two or three months and that is actually two weeks.
3079 Will you meet the deadline for Ottawa?
3080 MR. MacLEOD: No. We are going to require an extension for Ottawa. I believe our intention with Ottawa is to ask for an extension to September 30th, which I believe -- I forget what our current extension is for Calgary.
3081 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Calgary is September 12th. Will you have any difficulty achieving that date?
3082 MR. MacLEOD: Unfortunately, we have targeted September 23rd, I believe, as the day. But I pointed that out the other day that perhaps we should pick a day in the early "teens", in the first week of September, so that we don't have to apply for yet again another extension in Calgary.
3083 Our plan for launch on the 23rd of September will probably be moved forward because of that concern.
3084 Our current plan is that those services will both be on the air.
3085 Up until the last 30 days or so we had not purchased the final elements of equipment we needed. We didn't have our transmitter on site. We have ordered all of those elements and set up our contracts for those installations. So those services should be completely constructed and tested by Industry Canada and ready to begin carrying the national programming signal, which on this schedule development in Toronto will be a good quality signal, by September.
3086 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Maybe the number seven that Mr. Cardinal referred to in his earlier remarks.
3087 The Commission also approved your application for an AM station in Abbotsford. This was an existing AM transmitter previously used and owned by Rogers, who made the commitment to make the transmitting facilities available for use by another party, without charge, for a period of seven years.
3088 Given that, when do you expect to have this transmitter in full operation?
3089 MR. MacLEOD: We actually had our first serious discussions about the carriage of program in Abbotsford just last week. One of the things we are going to do as far as Abbotsford is concerned is we are going to get a clarification from the Commission as to whether or not the Commission will allow us to carry the national signal in Abbotsford.
3090 I would not expect that the Commission would reject that, but I believe that the approval for Abbotsford was to carry the programming of the Vancouver service.
3091 I don't know if we will have to file an amendment or something, but I take your point. Certainly since we have the opportunity to broadcast on that AM, we would like to carry the signal in Abbotsford as soon as it is available in any of the other markets.
3092 We may have to approach the Commission about that, because I believe it is a rebroadcast of the Vancouver service. I think that our beset case scenario is that the Vancouver service would be on stream by September.
3093 So I think we will be coming to the Commission with some sort of request to allow the Abbotsford station at least temporarily to carry the national signal until the Vancouver station is actually on the air.
3094 That is our Abbotsford strategy.
3095 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: The Commission has granted AVR licences now in Calgary, Ottawa, Abbotsford, Kitchener which are not yet implemented. Industry Canada has certified four frequencies in Edmonton for this public hearing. It is quite possible that after the decision is released one or more frequencies would remain available.
3096 Would you like to comment on the possibility that the Commission may refrain from compounding your burden of implementing the stations by issuing another licence at this time?
3097 Might it be better for you to re-apply for Edmonton at a later time after you achieve more progress in implementing the previously licensed stations in the markets I just mentioned?
3098 I would like your views and the Edmonton proponents' views on this question, please.
3099 MS LOGAN: To be quite frank and honest with you, I don't think our Aboriginal community can continue to hold off waiting for any more communication. You just need to look at our youth statistics and the health of our people to confirm that.
3100 Also, I think that AVR experienced something a little more different here with Edmonton. They have received exciting and very helpful support from the community. So I think we have enough people from the communications industry that will help them with their development plan and ensure that things go on a steady pace forward.
3101 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Ms Logan.
3102 MR. MacLEOD: I would be happy for anybody else who wants to make a comment about the idea of the need or demand in Edmonton. I want to quickly say that our analysis of the Edmonton market is not that it would be a burden on the national network. We have looked at our finances, and we believe we have the capital funding to be able to purchase the equipment and to be able to operate, on an annual basis, a transmitter in Edmonton and to fulfil the budget that we have proposed.
3103 None of that budget is based on receiving any kind of financial support out of the community or any kind of funding out of the community. Clearly, we feel that with operating transmitters of significant power in both Calgary and Edmonton, this is one of the richest parts of the country and that this will be a net positive revenue into the network.
3104 Regardless of that, perhaps unlike Kitchener, for instance, which was maybe a more difficult decision as to whether or not it aids the stability or whether or not we are going into that market because we think we have no future opportunity, clearly in Edmonton the focus here was not primarily based on whether we would have another shot at getting a licence in Edmonton; it was based on the fact that Edmonton will help the network.
3105 All of the problems that we are facing will not be further hindered by Edmonton but will be helped.
3106 Our programming service, independent of whatever happens in Edmonton, will be available by the time Edmonton comes on stream. Unless there is a financial concern that we somehow missed in our planning or something happens, the issue with Edmonton will be: If you grant us the licence here, it will be on air and broadcasting with a service that will have already been available by that time in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary, at least.
3107 We feel with Edmonton that it is a safe and sure bet, and we have no reservations in applying here.
3108 I can't say that that would be necessarily true if we were in some other market, but we feel tremendously strong --
3109 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So Edmonton would not add to the burden, if I can try to summarize your answer; that all of your problems will have been dealt with before you have to deal with Edmonton, and there should be no problem.
3110 Is that what I am hearing you say?
3111 MR. MacLEOD: Yes, that's what the financial people say.
3112 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Well, what do the people that implement the station say? That is the concern. Is there enough horsepower to do multiple projects at the same time?
3113 MR. MacLEOD: I would comment that while the Aboriginal Voices Radio Incorporated staff has been small in its history, in the last three or four months we have built up. We have really built up our staff, and we have a lot more resources available.
3114 Obviously we are still a small organization and we are tackling a very ambitious project, but we have determined that now is the time to start spending money at a faster pace than we have done in the past because the revenue opportunity is finally in front of us with a somewhat proper signal in Toronto and Calgary and Ottawa at the same time.
3115 The federal government departments, major corporations and other sources of funding that are going to be our revenue source are interested in that kind of market, when they can hit something like that.
3116 Up until now we have tried, although not as aggressively as we might have, to find revenue through just a small signal in Toronto, and obviously it is difficult. It has been difficult to generate revenue.
3117 So rather than a focus on generating revenue, we frankly focused on trying to reduce expenditures and keep them under wraps.
3118 MR. CARDINAL: From the Edmonton perspective, we are also looking at the lessons learned by AVR through their other stations.
3119 I think it is a question of logistics. I think that we have here a great sense of voluntarism, not only with the whole city of Edmonton but also that is extended to our Aboriginal community.
3120 We also have a very strong professional base from which to draw to support that as well. I have total confidence that, combined with the lessons learned and the people that are in our community, we will be able to put together this station and work quickly at it.
3121 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Cardinal.
3122 Could you tell us a bit about the media advisory circle and specifically the local media advisory circle and how it will feed into the larger national advisory circle that has representation across many fields of expertise and from every region of Canada.
3123 We are somewhat familiar with the national advisory circle and we would like to learn more about the local advisory circle, the Edmonton media advisory circle.
3124 MR. CARDINAL: I will speak more of the local Edmonton advisory council.
3125 Part of the process of our Aboriginal communities is putting together councils or circles in order to communicate and build consensus on issues, issues of the day, to bring in varying perspectives, not just a collection of broadcasters but also of our community members. The voice of our youth, the voice of our women, the voice of our Elders is a very important part of that circle to give direction for us.
3126 The fundamental value within that is if we are going to create that Aboriginal voice, our advisors and our advisory circle should be reflective of our Aboriginal population that is here as well, to ensure that all of the pockets of voices that are out there can find their way in helping us to advise in program development, issues surrounding cultural sensitivities and things like that.
3127 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: How will the 10 to 15 members of your local media advisory circle be chosen? Will they have specific terms? Would you be able to submit a list and a brief description of the backgrounds of each of the members for your media advisory circle say within six months of the decision?
3128 MR. CARDINAL: Yes, absolutely. We can provide the list of the people and their qualifications.
3129 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: And maybe tell us a bit on how they would be selected.
3130 MR. CARDINAL: Yes.
3131 MR. MacLEOD: I can comment on how the founding media advisory circle members were selected.
3132 Aboriginal Voices Radio had a couple of strong people in the community that we first met with before we ever came here and got recommendations from those people as to who would be the type of people that we would want to talk to about media in this city.
3133 We did not establish a public recruiting campaign or anything like that. The people you see at this table and the other people who have offered to be a part of the Edmonton media advisory circle are all people who have relevant experience in media, radio, and most of them in community development as well.
3134 Up until now it has been kind of by appointment type situation. The future -- and because we have only been broadcasting in Toronto, we haven't really done a lot of development in other markets as far as those media advisory circles go as well.
3135 The intention is really that the people in the media advisory circle will be the ones that in a sense hold the meeting, but they will publicize the meeting and have people from the public or other people who don't necessarily on a regular basis want to have some kind of a position can go to those meetings and offer their comments on what they think about the radio service in that market.
3136 The members of the media advisory circle -- not here because this is just a founding one -- have committed to four such meetings, a quarterly meeting.
3137 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: These quarterly meetings that they will have here in the Edmonton area, how will they bring the information to the national advisory circle and how often will they do that?
3138 MR. MacLEOD: I think I need to clarify here. I don't know if anybody at this table, besides myself maybe, knows about the national thing.
3139 I guess it is just slightly different wording. The advisory circle for Aboriginal Voices Radio is a different entity and has a different role than the local media advisory circle.
3140 For instance, the media advisory circles are people who are chosen very specifically to advise AVR and to work together only about the programming essentially, about what is being heard and what should be developed.
3141 The AVR advisory circle, which is a different thing altogether, some of those people are also experts in programming, but those are lawyers, those are accountants, those are professional entrepreneurs, those are CEOs. Those are people who have made themselves available to AVR to provide advice on whatever area we need advice.
3142 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Not necessarily program content --
3143 MR. MacLEOD: Not necessarily program content and not necessarily focused. They are on a kind of as-needed basis, whereas the local media advisory circles will have a schedule of meetings, a regular schedule of meetings and opportunities to focus on a very specific thing.
3144 Maybe we should have picked more different names than advisory circle and media advisory circle. I guess we thought by putting the "media" in front of it that would clarify the role in the local markets.
3145 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You have supplied the Commission previously with a list of your national advisory circle membership.
3146 Has this version changed since September 2002? If so, could you please provide the Commission with an updated version of this list by say the end of Phase IV.
3147 MR. MacLEOD: I believe that it is reduced by one since the last time we filed it. Yes, I don't see a problem being able to produce that. So I can commit to producing that before the end of Phase IV.
3148 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
3149 The next area talks a bit about support for a new national Aboriginal Peoples television network which would pay special attention to the concerns and needs of Aboriginal Peoples.
3150 There was a study by Peter Doering Consultants, dated November 1999. This study assessed demand for Aboriginal network radio across Canada.
3151 Can you tell us a bit about your specific research for demand for the service in Edmonton. We have heard from the local community. How did your study in 1999 indicate that this service would be needed or received in Edmonton?
3152 MR. LUSTY: I would like to make a partial response to that.
3153 I have worked for the last 15 years fulltime as a freelance photo-journalist. I do photography. I do writing, journalism. I do work on columns. I do a lot of feature writing. I really have my finger on the pulse of the Aboriginal community at all times.
3154 I know from out there that there are a lot of expectations right now, and people sorely miss having Aboriginal programming in this community. They really do.
3155 I was involved back in the mid 1980s with the Aboriginal Multimedia Society when we conducted a study in the northern communities and also some parts of central Alberta. The response then was just phenomenal, how the people wanted this kind of programming. That has not really changed.
3156 Certainly because of the void here in the city -- I get it all the time, in my left ear and my right ear: people saying we have had some radio stations doing broadcasting for a long time, but they are out there in the rural communities and there is nothing for Edmonton. When are we going to get our own station here?
3157 MR. MacLEOD: I guess my answer would be that it actually came up when we were putting together the application for Edmonton as to whether or not we would spend the money to do a new survey or whether we would one more time include the November 1999 survey from Peter Doering.
3158 We thought it was probably still relevant for one more application, but perhaps we would have to shell out the money for a more scientific study for a future application.
3159 The quick answer is that we haven't done any formal surveying in Edmonton other than relying on that old information.
3160 As Terry has pointed out, everybody that we spoke to or, by extension, for instance Charmaine here on her site, all the people that within Edmonton were working in the community, we found no opposition. It was unanimous that this service would be a good thing.
3161 It seemed to us that it did not require us to carry out a survey, although I think we have an interest -- and this is why we would likely in the future do a new survey -- as to whether the perception of non-Aboriginal people has changed since November of 1999.
3162 I think we would probably find that the parts that deal with Aboriginal interest in the station would be the same. But we have some questions about whether the interest has gone up or down.
3163 Regardless, we feel that the interest is clear in Edmonton without doing any kind of more recent formal survey of that interest.
3164 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. MacLeod.
3165 Mr. Cardinal, could you please explain how your estimate that your proposed Edmonton station would generate $125,000 per year in network advertising revenues was arrived at?
3166 MR. MacLEOD: I guess Mr. Cardinal is saying that he can't provide that calculation for you.
3167 MS LOGAN: I think it is common market knowledge that Aboriginal people and our communities are already one of the leading untapped marketing sources.
3168 I don't think there is any corporation in Alberta, or within Edmonton and the surrounding area, that wouldn't want to jump on and receive effective advertising to a captive audience.
3169 $125,000 broken down into a hundred companies works out to twelve-fifty. So I don't think generating $125,000 is going to be an issue with any business or corporation.
3170 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I might be inclined to agree with you. I was just wondering how you arrived at that number.
3171 MR. MacLEOD: What I would say is that while we did consult with very specific professionals in the sales industry, the anecdotal stories of Charmaine also had an influence on that.
3172 We asked when we came here: What is the market like? Our feeling, based on the comparative advice that we got for Kitchener and Vancouver and Calgary, is that all things being equal that was a reasonably conservative amount as to what Edmonton could offer.
3173 I think it is probably more conservative than we might have made it at a different time, because this market and this provide is driven by world forces that can make funding more or less available over the long term.
3174 While we would have liked to have looked at Edmonton as being a market that could provide a lot more than $125,000 a year -- and of course our objective will be a lot higher than that -- reality is that we should pick a number that is on the low end of that cycle.
3175 That is the intention in picking the $125,000; that that would be the bare market cycle of the type of revenue that would be available to such an Aboriginal radio station operating in Edmonton.
3176 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. MacLeod.
3177 Mr. Pruden, I hate to put you on the spot, but is there anything you wish to add to this presentation today?
3178 MR. PRUDEN: I tried to get in a couple of times.
3179 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You have another opportunity.
3180 MR. PRUDEN: Basically, I consider myself an urban Native and I consider myself also living in a non-Native community the majority of my life. Growing up as a youth in a non-Native education system, it is considered that multiculturalism and diversity is highly promoted in our education system and also by our governments, provincial and federal. Within this diversity, as First Nations people, we are diverse within ourselves as well, as there are many different languages within the Cree culture as well. There are five different dialects that one can learn.
3181 That is something that I think needs to be promoted, is our languages. It is something that is not only an interest by First Nations people but by non-Native people, as well.
3182 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Pruden.
3183 If there are any last remarks that anyone wishes to make while I am questioning you, you can make them now; and if not, I will turn you over to Madam Chair.
3184 Thank you very much for answering those questions.
3185 Madam Chair, those are all of my questions.
3186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cram.
3187 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
3188 I am an ex-lawyer and a regulator, so my concerns are going to be cleaning up and making sure that I know what you are talking about.
3189 When you were talking about the term "local programming", it sounds to me that you were not talking about programming that was about Edmonton necessarily but that it was originating from Edmonton.
3190 Is that correct?
3191 MR. CARDINAL: Yes, that would be --
3192 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mr. MacLeod, would you agree?
3193 Mr. MacLeod is your regulatory guy.
3194 Is that how the term was used?
3195 MR. MacLEOD: That's true, both components. It is either about Edmonton -- it is all locally produced or locally relevant, but it is not necessarily about Edmonton. That is true. It is produced here.
3196 It could be a program about the whole western region.
3197 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So it does mean that it is originating from Edmonton but not necessarily about Edmonton.
3198 MR. MacLEOD: Yes. I believe you have gone down this road before.
3199 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes, I have.
3200 MR. MacLEOD: I think in other markets we were not that clear about it, but this time it is absolutely clear. We didn't previously budget necessarily to be able to afford to have that kind of production here. But in this case, that is not a question. It is clear that we are talking about local programming produced locally in Edmonton.
3201 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So it is a COL for nine hours of local programming, meaning programming originating from Edmonton but not necessarily about Edmonton. Have I got that clear?
3202 And you are saying yes on the record, Mr. MacLeod?
3203 MS STANLEY VENNE: My understanding is that it would be programming about Edmonton.
3204 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Some of those women that you were talking about, the 189 or 159 Aboriginal women, may not necessarily be from Edmonton or living in Edmonton.
3205 MS STANLEY VENNE: That is true; okay.
3206 COMMISSIONER CRAM: That is where I got the impression, in listening to Marggo's stories, that what local meant then was that it was originating from Edmonton but not necessarily about Edmontonians.
3207 This is a legal question really. What I want on record is so we know what we are talking about when we have such a thing as a condition of licence.
3208 That is why I was asking Mr. MacLeod, because what is happening is you are committing AVR to doing these so many hours of programming and exactly saying what they are.
3209 MR. MacLEOD: When Mr. Cardinal nodded and other people in the front panel enthusiastically about the nine hours, I also nodded with an understanding that we are talking about locally produced programming, with whatever split that programming would have.
3210 The "Marggo Show" will cover whatever topics that Marggo feels important, and it will centre on people that are in Edmonton and topics from this area.
3211 It was not the idea that that would be restricted to only Edmonton. In her program -- and she can talk further about this -- she wants to touch on common issues to people across the country.
3212 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So the question is: Nine hours of local programming means it originates from Edmonton but it is not necessarily about Edmontonians: Yes or no, Mr. MacLeod?
3213 MR. MacLEOD: Yes, you are correct.
3214 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
3215 Mr. MacLeod, what is the number of spoken word in your original licence? What is the amount? Is it 38 per cent or is it 28 per cent?
3216 MR. MacLEOD: Twenty-five per cent in every market so far, and on the national network licence.
3217 COMMISSIONER CRAM: In your speech you talked at page 3 about the spoken word that is on air right now: "AVR All Nations News", "Community Calendar", "Native America Calling", Independent Native News" and "Native Solidarity News".
3218 How many hours, in total, out of the program week is that?
3219 MR. MacLEOD: I have not done that calculation.
3220 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Well, how many minutes is "AVR All Nations News" a week or a day?
3221 MR. MacLEOD: I would say that it -- again, I haven't done the calculation, but it looks like less than 20 hours, I would say.
3222 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Well, how many hours is "AVR All Nations News"?
3223 MR. MacLEOD: That is a total of two hours per week.
3224 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And "Community Calendar"?
3225 MR. MacLEOD: I apologize for not having these calculations handy. I can find them and give them to you, but I don't know the totals of all those.
3226 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mr. MacLeod, we have just been talking about a COL, and this is a COL. A condition of licence is a very important thing. We just had a radio station in here this morning who was non-compliant.
3227 So you think there are 20 hours in all. You could then provide us, by say next week, with the number of minutes every day of each of these five?
3228 MR. MacLEOD: Yes. That is not an exhaustive list of all the programming. It was a highlighted list too.
3229 If you want to know the total hours, I believe we are over the minimum required right now; but if not, we will definitely be by July 1st.
3230 I can tell you what we are at now, and I can tell you what we project to be by July 1st. And that is to meet our minimum commitment to the Commission.
3231 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What I would like to know is what you were when you started broadcasting in December 2002; the amount of spoken word you had, and has it built up?
3232 It appears to me that you are adding 26 hours, you say, in July, and there was a total in your program highlights of 65 hours, as proposed in your original licence. So it would make sense that if we are looking at what we are going to be licensing, we would need to know what exactly you have.
3233 So you will give us list then, chronologically, showing how many hours per week of spoken word to date?
3234 MR. MacLEOD: I can either provide that for Phase IV or whenever you want it.
3235 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Phase IV is great. Thank you.
3236 I am looking at your schedule, and I of course live in the same time zone as the people here and I am thinking at 6:30 in the morning am I going to be seeing the talk show "Women's Round Table" or am I going to be listening to your "Current Affairs Morning Show"?
3237 Is there a time delay in the transmission?
3238 MR. MacLEOD: It's been one of the most hotly debated subjects within our programming department, as to which programs will be time delayed and which ones will be carried live.
3239 We will have the capability to time delay programming in all of our markets. The final decision hasn't been made as to which ones, and I would say that that will probably change over time.
3240 Again, this program schedule that you see is a construct. I don't expect that exactly the way this programming is laid out will be the final way when we launch in Edmonton. It reflects the way that our total commitment would be laid out in a program schedule.
3241 So the quick answer to your question is we will certainly make every effort for programs that have any kind of a live component to them, that they would be scheduled at a reasonable time across Canada. It is obviously going to be a more difficult problem if we got a licence, for instance, in Halifax than it is right now when we only have to worry about what we are doing in Toronto.
3242 We will have that time delay capability, and we intend to use it on the shows that do not require the live component.
3243 I think I might have said that backwards earlier.
3244 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So that part of the budget, the time delay part -- and I don't know how it is done or what the cost is -- it is not in the individual transmitter budgets. It is not in the rebroad budgets. It is in the initial budget. Is that it?
3245 MR. MacLEOD: Yes. The satellite uplink capability out of the national broadcast centre allows control over all of that in each individual market. So we have the ability, like I said, to time delay those programs.
3246 It will be the centrally located technicians who will do that work.
3247 COMMISSIONER CRAM: All right.
3248 I want your assurance that the people of Calgary, Vancouver and potentially here, if the licence is granted, will not be treated like those of us who watch "Newsworld", where we see the noon-hour news at some ungodly time in the morning. So there will be arrangements so that people can have a morning show across the country.
3249 Do I have that, sir?
3250 MR. MacLEOD: Yes, that is absolutely true. The prime shows like the national call-in show, that is why you see them scheduled bordering around noon time so that they will be relevant at 9:00 in the morning and at 3:00 in the afternoon.
3251 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
3252 Thank you, Madam Chair.
3253 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel.
3254 Sorry, Commissioner Cardozo, please.
3255 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Madam Chair.
3256 Counsel, you will get your turn shortly. And he is much more specific than any of us can be.
3257 I just have a couple of questions.
3258 I want to make sure I understand the current Aboriginal programming that there is on radio in Edmonton is one or two hours a week. Which station is that on?
3259 MR. CARDINAL: That is the university campus station, CJSR-FM.
3260 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That is one hour.
3261 MR. CARDINAL: One hour.
3262 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That's it.
3263 I have had the opportunity of listening to what is on AVR now, and I have to tell you that you have a lot to look forward to because if you only have an hour of this type of programming, you will certainly enjoy a fulltime station a lot more, even though it has a ways to go before it is doing what the plans are.
3264 In terms of rebroadcasting, Mr. MacLeod, you mentioned you were considering for Abbotsoford rebroadcasting the Toronto signal to Abbotsford. Have you thought of rebroadcasting, for a start, the signal to Calgary and Ottawa as well? Or do you prefer to get more of the local part on before you start those two stations?
3265 I realize if you were rebroadcasting the Toronto signal directly, you would not be doing what we would be expecting of you and what you have committted to do. You mentioned that you were considering that for Abbotsford, and I am wondering whether youif had considered doing it for the other two just for the start time.
3266 MR. MacLEOD: Well, I would say when we have considerd how to proceed with those other markets, we have had to consider both the community service and the Commission commitments. Clearly it is not our desire to go on the air offering a service that is less than what we have committed to the Commission to do. So that is pretty simple.
3267 The other side as to whether or not -- as you mentioned, we find ourselves, I find myself apologetic about what we are offering in Toronto and how we are not meeting what we said. You don't hear that from the people who are sending us e-mails about how fantastic the service is and everything. They are not aware of the spoken word content we have promised or anything. They just think it is the best station in Toronto that they are listenign to.
3268 So we are apologetic in the sense that our ambition is high, and we have made commitments to meet a certain level.
3269 It is never unanimous in AVR about these things. The pressure is always on from the community to get this stuff out there. We want to hear those artists that we are not getting anywhere else.
3270 So we have taken our decisions to delay things very seriously. As I mentioned, in the case of Abbotsford we only got our Industry Canada technical approval to use that facility some time in the last ten days. So it is just a recent discussion as to how to proceed with that.
3271 I had to remind people that we were not licensed to deliver the national signal from that station. We were licensed to rebroadcast the Vancouver one.
3272 As I mentioned, I don't think the Commission would want to stop us from getting that service on the air on that technicality. That is not a communication I have had with any Commission staff.
3273 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And I am not suggesting that we would do that automatically. We would obviously have to consider it if you made such a request.
3274 What is the cost involved if you were to just a straight rebroad for a period of months?
3275 MR. MacLEOD: The satellite time can be a bit variable, but I think it can be as low as $2,500 a month.
3276 We are fortunate to be located in a facility that has an uplink right on the roof of the building, so we don't have to pay to get our signal to another lcoation to uplink. We can uplink directly. We just have to deal with the satellite bandwidth.
3277 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How close are you to having facilities in those other cities, an office and a studio?
3278 MR. MacLEOD: Do you mean transmission facilities or do you mean our office?
3279 In transmission facilities, obviously we still have to go through Industry Canada testing at the point where we set our facilities up.
3280 In the case of Ottawa, we have a situation where we need to satisfy short spacing with the CBC in Cornwall as well. So that may cause a delay there.
3281 I feel more confident that the Calgary service will probably be up slightly before the Ottawa one, depending on whether we face a delay in that circumstance.
3282 Both of those services are ready to go. In fact, the Abbotsford situation is such that I believe we just need to have a satellite receive taking the signal, and we could be on literally within days if we set that up.
3283 From December I believe through until March we were broadcasting. We were satellite broadcsating, and we were being received by Native broadcasters, primarily in the east. But we discontinued that service, because those broadcasters, although they liked the service they were looking forward more to the news and to some other services.
3284 So we decided to save ourselves the money, and we actually stopped doing that satellite broadcasting.
3285 We didn't think it would be this long of a delay.
3286 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I realize that the frequencies that have been accorded, a number of them have been problematic. So Ottawa still has a problem with the Cornwall area?
3287 MR. MacLEOD: Well, there are some limitations there. The Ottawa service should not be hampered from being considered to be -- it is not a regional service, but it covers all of Ottawa and the reasonable suburbs of Ottawa.
3288 So no, it is not really a hampered service. It will require co-ordinating with the CBC. We have committed to the Commission and to the CBC to ensure that we do not interfere with that Cornwall location.
3289 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: At this time if you wanted to flick the switch, the only switches you could flick would be Abbotsford and Calgary.
3290 MR. MacLEOD: The only caveat with Calgary being that there is a Native broadcaster at Morley, which is a Stony Reserve to the west of Calgary which is using the frequency that we will be signing on with.
3291 As recently as this past week I was reminding them again that they had better make their move, because when the time comes it's going to be swift. I don't think we would go to air and knock them off.
3292 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So they should be looking for another frequency at this point, another low power?
3293 MR. MacLEOD: They have a process in place to do that. I have just been encouraging them to settle that, because it is not desirable for us to come on and knock somebody else off the air.
3294 They were unlicensed originally, self-licensed, however you want to describe it, and I think they have gone through a formal process to get licensed.
3295 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you very much.
3296 Thank you, Madam Chair.
3297 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel?
3298 MR. McCALLUM: In terms of frequency, I think you were asked if the frequency 89.3 was not available would you have a second choice, and you answered it and said that your second choice would be 91.7 megahertz for the Edmonton area.
3299 If by any chance -- and this is a hypothetical -- neither of the frequencies was available, would you be able to settle on another frequency for Edmonton?
3300 MR. MacLEOD: I believe there were additional frequencies beyond those two. I don't have the list of the various classes of those frequencies right at my disposal.
3301 Our concern with coverage in Edmonton was because Edmonton is in the situation where it has significant Reserve-based populations nearby, it was to have a signal that would reach those Reserve-based stations.
3302 For instance, in the case like Ottawa where there is no nearby Reserve, our interest was really the urban area. That is why we are looking for a prime frequency, to be able to reach that far.
3303 I believe our technical people said there are more than two that could conceivably reach the Reserves we are looking for. We feel that the one we chose is suitable for our purposes, and it is the one we would like for sure.
3304 MR. McCALLUM: Would it have an impact on your business plan and perhaps the speed at which you could implement to go to a different frequency, whether it be your second choice, 91.7, or any other frequency?
3305 MR. MacLEOD: I think our belief is that our consideration is more on community service rather than the business plan. I think our financial considerations would not be significantly changed.
3306 Our feeling that we have a connection between the urban population in Edmonton and those nearby Reserves is important to the community here. That is the primary concern, is that community service.
3307 So the answer is marginal, if any, effect on the business plan. That would not be a major concern with that.
3308 MR. McCALLUM: But possibly some delay. I am sort of reading between the lines.
3309 MR. MacLEOD: Delay in terms of Industry Canada?
3310 MR. McCALLUM: No, no, in terms of how long it would take you to implement. You would have to negotiate with Industry Canada for the frequency, et cetera.
3311 MR. MacLEOD: Yes. I don't know of any other reason for delay other than the process itself.
3312 MR. McCALLUM: Finally, in terms of local advertising, your application stated that you have no plans to solicit local advertising in the Edmonton market. However, you might wish to do so in the future.
3313 What would be your plans to sell local advertising in Edmonton in the future, and roughly when would those plans kick in if you received a seven-year licence as a result of this process?
3314 MR. MacLEOD: We feel quite strongly that it is important to have a link between the local programming that we produce and the -- it is a practical link between the amount of local advertising that we can generate.
3315 The financing and the business plan for the whole Aboriginal Voices Radio Network is not predicated on significant local advertising per se. It is based on a model of getting significant national advertising.
3316 In the case of Edmonton, I believe the Commission standardly asks for 40 or 42 hours of local programming before they permit local advertising. It is possible that if we felt the need, we would come to the Commission for some amount less than that. But that is not our perception.
3317 I think that we would not mount a significant local advertising function until we were in the 40-hour-a-week range.
3318 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Madam Chair.
3319 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3320 Mr. Cardinal, you have the usual five minutes to tell us why we should give you a licence.
3321 MR. CARDINAL: Thank you.
3322 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have heard quite a bit about the availability of frequencies. Would you consider yourself at all competitive other than on a technical basis with the other applicants in this market?
3323 MR. CARDINAL: I believe that we are. I believe that as the Aboriginal population grows and as policy changes within corporations and government agencies are beginning to be implemented, more access and requirements from corporations to tap into that Aboriginal market is very real and immediate.
3324 I believe that this radio station will be able to provide a link in more ways than just one; more than just cultural sharing, but also economic as well.
3325 To answer an earlier question, it just dawned upon me that the Canada West Foundation did extensive research in the area of economics concerning Aboriginal people in the west, and I think that is an interesting document to look at as well.
3326 Can I share those five minutes with my colleagues?
3327 Is there anyone else who would like to say some final remarks?
3328 MS STANLEY VENNE: As I stated, knowing about the situation of Aboriginal women in particular, not only Aboriginal women but the knowledge that can be brought to the general population, the general society, is a very valuable one.
3329 I believe that the issues that we are presently dealing with could be dealt with to an extent by sharing our knowledge and dealing with the issues of discrimination, prejudice and the view that, in particular, Aboriginal women are not as good as other people.
3330 We have dedicated our whole lives to this, so this is a very attractive and exciting opportunity to make the most of it.
3331 MR. CARDINAL: I think it also should be noted that Edmonton is an historical point here. Parrticularly not far from where we are now is a crossing place, a meeting place, of many different nations for as many as 8,000 years.
3332 So it is a very symbolic place for us, and it is a very important place for us. It is still carrying on that tradition today.
3333 Just leaving on that note, we want to ensure that our voice continues to be here as Aboriginal people and that our culture and what sustains us as indidenous people is also here, not only for ourselves and reinforcing ourselves but also as a gift to the city of Edmonton and the regions as well.
3334 I thank you for taking this time.
3335 MR. PRUDEN: Could I just add to that as well, Madam Chair.
3336 As a youth here in Edmonton and part of the Aboriginal community, I think our radio station and the idea of it will help promote the image of the stereotypes of Aboriginal people in urban communities.
3337 It would be a good idea to see successful First Nations people in media, either radio or televison, rather than see the negative; and to help promote the positive of our communities here in Edmonton as well.
3338 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mahsi' choo. I have my mentor here.
3339 Please bring our greetings to Mr. Farmer.
3340 Thank you very much. This completes this part of the hearing for you. Have a good evening.
3341 We have told OK Radio that we would hear them, so we will. I think it is only fair that it be their choice.
3342 We will take a ten-minute break to allow for change of panel. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1710 / Suspension à 1710
--- Upon resuming at 1730 / Reprise à 1730
3343 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
3344 Before we proceed, we thank you for staying so late, and we can assure you we are awake, alert and ready to hear you.
3345 Mr. Secretary, please.
3346 MR. CHAREST: We also thank you.
3347 MR. LeBEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
3348 The next application is an application by OK Radio Group Ltd. for a licence to operate an English-language FM commercial radio station in Edmonton.
3349 The new station would operate on frequency 102.9 MHz (on channel 275C) with an effective radiated power of 64,000 watts.
3350 Mr. Stu Morton will introduce his colleagues.
3351 You have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
3352 MR. MORTON: Thank you. Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Members of the Commission. It has been a long day, and we thank you for hearing us at this late hour.
3353 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff, my name is Stu Morton. I am the Chief Operating Officer for OK Radio Group.
3354 Before starting our presentation, I would like to take a moment to introduce my friends and colleagues on the panel.
3355 On my far right is Program Director Al Ford. Al developed many of the programming concepts that we propose in our application.
3356 Next is Kate Morton, the Music Director. Kate knows more about Modern Rock music than I do. Kate has 13 years of experience in radio, as well as a degree in fine arts from the University of Victoria.
3357 On my left is Diana Parker, the General Manager of our Edmonton multicultural station, CKER-FM. Diana worked with Telemedia in Montreal for many years before joining us in Edmonton 21 years ago.
3358 Next to Diana is Sarah Morton, or Director of Marketing. While Sarah began her radio career at the age of 15, she also took time off to earn a degree in women's studies from the University of Victoria. With a total of 15 years of experience, Sarah has been deeply involved in the research and development of our application.
3359 Behind on my far right is Margaret Charest, who started working with OK Radio over 25 years ago and is the Sales Manager for CKER-FM.
3360 Beside Margaret is Roger Charest, President and founder of OK Radio.
3361 Next to Roger is John Shields. John has been with OK Radio since its inception. As Senior Director of Programming, John has been responsible for the launch of stations in a variety of formats for our company.
3362 Next to John is Dave Rahn of SBR Creative. Dave is our research consultant and has worked with our company for the past seven years.
3363 In the audience is our Comptroller, Charlie Olivier, and several people representing our stations in Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie.
3364 I would like to ask Roger to begin our presentation.
3365 MR. CHAREST: I will take the liberty to say good afternoon/early evening, Madam Chair.
3366 We are here today to present our application for an exciting new Modern Rock station that we call Independent Rock FM. Our decision to apply for a new FM licence in Edmonton was made in August of 2001, and this application was filed with the Commission in March of 2002, triggering the call for new applications.
3367 One of the reasons for the decision to apply is the support a second station will provide to our ethnic station CKER. It has been a wonderful source of satisfaction and pride to work with the ethnic communities in my home town since November of 1980. CKER is a broad-based ethnic radio station in Edmonton, and it is now Edmonton's only stand-alone commercial radio service.
3368 Today we would like to highlight and summarize four main parts.
3369 One, Edmonton has a vibrant economy. Edmonton is a healthy radio city.
3370 Two, our economy and our company, OK Radio Group, myself, my family, we have deep roots in this city. Our footprints are on this land.
3371 Three, our executive summary of our research has said that "Edmonton is a rock town". Listeners and musicians confirm that "Edmonton rocks".
3372 Four, you will receive confirmation that we perfectly capture the music needs, the pulse of the city, as well as the spirit and the tempo of Edmonton.
3373 Diana, would you like to tell about our involvement in Edmonton.
3374 MS PARKER: Thank you, Roger.
3375 It has been apparent for some time that our company is in a unique position to expand in this city.
3376 Over the past 23 years, CKER has been building bridges to bring diverse groups together and into the mainstream.
3377 We have collected thousands of toys each year for the Salvation Army. We have sent record numbers of new donors to Canadian Blood Services. We have clothed and provided personal support to the homeless and raised many thousands of dollars toward building projects that are now completed for seniors and other community groups.
3378 We would like to expand our contribution to Edmonton. The depth of support that we have received since filing the application for a Modern Rock station confirms that our people, our community involvement and our business practices are what Edmontonians are looking for in a new radio service.
3379 Robinson Koilpillai, Canadian Human Rights Commissioner, and one of Edmonton's most respected citizens, wrote in his request to appear at this hearing on behalf of OK Radio, and I quote:
"Knowing how the organization has developed and all the dedicated people involved, I have the comfort and the confidence to believe that this new station would indeed be a community station, identified with its audience..."
3380 The Edmonton radio market is one of the most dynamic in the country, with revenues growing an average of 5.8 per cent per year for the past five years. The broadcasters in this market are well positioned to absorb this proposal. Their pre-tax margin was a whopping 34.5 per cent in 2002 -- and that is almost five times the margin in Toronto, which is Canada's largest radio market.
3381 The addition of a new station will allow us to make more efficient use of our existing broadcast centre here, our trained management, promotion and sales staff and in-house Internet services in Edmonton, helping to sustain our ethnic service.
3382 We can provide a fresh, independent voice for a music community that is desperately seeking an outlet here. Twenty-three years after our first licence in Edmonton we will once again contribute to diversity in broadcasting in a new, significant and lasting way.
3383 Now to describe the audience for Independent Rock FM, here is Sarah.
3384 MS S. MORTON: Thanks, Diana.
3385 BBM analysis revealed to us that in Edmonton there are many more stations serving the 35-plus demographic than the younger listeners. The chart in front of you and beside me was developed by Canadian Broadcast Sales and is an update of the one provided in our application.
3386 There are currently eight commercial radio stations in Edmonton serving the 492,000 listeners over 35. On the other hand, only three can be characterized as primarily designed to serve the 322,000 listeners 12-to-34. The hole in the Edmonton market is clearly at the younger end.
3387 We conducted a total of three research projects over the past year and a half. Before undertaking this research we believed that the hole would likely be for an urban based format. We tested nine kinds of music, from classical and jazz to classic rock and country. We also conducted in-depth format testing of three types of urban music. These are formats which are not available in the market.
3388 Our findings clearly told us that Edmonton is a rock town and that the format hole is modern rock.
3389 This is in keeping with a study by Solutions Research Group recently published in Broadcast Dialogue. It cites different music tastes and radio format preferences between markets and between regions within Canada. The study shows that preference for all styles of rock peaks in the prairies while urban styles have nearly twice the following in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver than they do across the rest of the country.
3390 Our second study with 15-to-34 year old Edmontonians revealed the kind of Modern Rock this group wants to hear and gave us some insight into what might be compatible with Modern Rock for fans of this music. We found the same thing that the research submitted with the Harvard application found: that the primary demographic cell for urban/rap/rhythmic is 12-to-17, with polarizing negative scores for this style of music increasing dramatically for listeners over 20 years of age.
3391 Conversely, the more mainstream new rock styles hold strong appeal to a broader range of young listeners from 12 to 34.
3392 A final focus group analysis with 18-to-34 year old fans of Modern Rock confirmed for us that they are not well served in the market and gave us some valuable insight into how to operate a Modern Rock station in Edmonton: be different, be independent and be local.
3393 Kate Morton is here to tell you about the music this group loves.
3394 MS K. MORTON: Thank you, Sarah.
3395 I am going to tell you a small story. In the spring of 1991, I was 16 years old. My best friend's parents were out of town, which made his house the place to be. It was a weeknight. The stereo was definitely too loud. The kitchen overflowed with high school talk, and I remember being in the living room where the TV was on. It was that night that I saw and heard Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the very first time.
3396 Immediately I knew I had to have that song. The next morning I skipped school and I headed straight for the record store. I bought Nirvana's "Nevermind" album, along with millions of other kids. An album that was supposed to sell 100,000 copies eventually sold 15 million.
3397 Nirvana and other grunge era bands such as Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, exploded into my world in 1991 and laid the foundation for what has become an entire genre of music, Modern Rock.
3398 Today Nirvana is considered a "gold" artist in the modern rock format.
3399 Modern rock is an exceptionally progressive format. The music can be challenging. And to be honest, you either love it or you hate it. Fans are anxious to hear new and unestablished artists.
3400 Independent Rock FM's playlist will directly reflect this. In fact, if we were on the air today, 60 per cent of our music would have been released since January of this year.
3401 Furthermore, our research in Edmonton indicates there is a strong appetite among rock fans in this city to hear local and independent music on the radio. Independent Rock FM will support and actively play independent bands. These acts will receive airplay in all day-parts rather than being ghettoized to the late night.
3402 Independent Rock FM will be committed to the artist and not simply their "hit" song. Moreover, our music choices will be heavily influenced by the local band choices available to us.
3403 As the many interventions from Modern Rock artists who have received airplay on our Victoria station demonstrate, we welcome and we love to give plenty of spins to local independent artists.
3404 There is a saying that every kid who bought a copy of Nirvana's "Nevermind" album in the 1990s started his or her own band. As the music director at a Modern Rock station, I easily receive 30 new CDs a week, many of which are from bands I am unfamiliar with. There are quite simply thousands of young bands looking to make their mark on the world in the same way that Nirvana did.
3405 Modern Rock is a very healthy genre of music. Canadian content levels of 40 per cent are easily achievable in this format. In fact, our Modern Rock station in Victor, The Zone at 913, consistently programs Canadian content at 40 per cent.
3406 Al Ford will highlight our programming elements.
3407 MR. FORD: Thank you, Kate.
3408 Independent Rock FM will appeal to both a male and female audience, because we know that women also do like modern rock. Most rock stations program to a male audience. Station promotions are directed at this demographic with contents such as "The Guy Garage", "The Rock Girl Calendar" and "The Bikini Car Wash". We won't do this.
3409 We have real people on the air that are passionate about the music we play, and who live and breathe the lifestyle of our audience. Independent Rock's contests and promotions will be centred on the music that we play.
3410 Feature programs on Independent Rock will include:
3411 "The Modern Rock Reality Check": It is designed to give our listeners a dose of reality. Our audience will get the headline news, the day's most relevant global and local happenings from politics to environmental concerns.
3412 Our audience also wants information that has a modern rock sensibility. This includes the latest entertainment, pop culture, and even some offbeat news. We plan to hire two new information specialists who, in conjunction with the CKER newsroom, will connect us to the community, the local cultural and local arts scene.
3413 As part of our news and information, we will have a thought-provoking feature called "That's Girl Info Stop". This will be a lively post for discussion and opinion on a wide range of topics from a female perspective.
3414 Weekdays, it's "The Popular, the Underrated and the Obscure". This will deliver an eclectic assortment of Edmonton lifestyle, entertainment and cultural information, complete with music and interviews.
3415 We also have "The Indie-Line". This will air every hour and is a feature where our listeners will be able to phone in and voice their independent thoughts.
3416 "Lyrics" is a unique opportunity for creative expression in poetry.
3417 Our experience in programming has taught us that all of these features need to be produced locally in our studio to best reflect the local scenes and flavours of our community.
3418 We have also proposed significant resources to the development of Canadian talent. This includes over $267,000 in the course of the licence to FACTOR to support Canadian rock talent from the prairies and the same amount to the Alberta Recording Industry Association for the development of talent here in our province.
3419 We will go beyond writing a cheque once a year. Airplay of local and regional independent music will be a regular feature of the station, as will "Band of the Month".
3420 "Band of the Month" will offer support to establish bands and musicians from Edmonton and the surrounding area. Each month our feature band will receive airplay of its music on Independent Rock and will be highlighted in an audio bio that will air a minimum of five times per day. It all wraps up when "Band of the Month" is showcased as the headlining act at a local club.
3421 Each year the "Band of the Month" initiative will conclude with Independence Day. This will be an afternoon-long concert featuring former "Bands of the Month" from the preceding year. Airplay for these artists is critical in the support and development of the Edmonton music scene, and we are committed to providing this.
3422 In Victoria we have just concluded our first year with "Band of the Month" and it has proven to be very successful. All the bands saw an increase in public awareness and attendance at their shows.
3423 Tyson Yerex from the band Moneyshot had this to say about "Band of the Month":
"That initial promotion has subsequently led to our single being added to the Vancouver Canucks' in-game playlist, increased spectator turnout and our local shows and an appearance on the Vancouver morning television show 'Breakfast Television'."
3424 In addition, Kris Degaust of the band Goodnight Irene said it has brought a great deal of name recognition, made it easier to get show bookings and has also led to further radio and TV support and generating more fans.
3425 Giving independent bands the much needed radio airplay that they deserve helps them to create the buzz, the awareness and the credibility needed to take their ambitions to the next level. We are confident that "Band of the Month" will be even more successful in Edmonton, given the size and talent of the local music scene.
3426 MR. MORTON: Madam Chair, we believe that our proposal meets and surpasses the letter and the spirit of the Commission's policies for new radio stations.
3427 The market is vibrant and able to support at least one new FM station, if not more.
3428 We will bring a new and divers English-language editorial voice to the market, one with support from an existing station.
3429 We will be a new English-language competitor in the market. At the same time we will be better able to compete with the existing stations because of the synergies with our ethnic FM station, CKER, and our company's administrative office functions already headquartered here.
3430 We have a high quality application based on a viable and realistic business plan. The format choice is the fruit of three research studies over the past year and a half. The focus groups allowed us to sit down and talk with radio listeners to learn more about how they perceive radio in Edmonton and what they would want from a new Modern Rock station in their city.
3431 Our commitment to Canadian talent and Canadian content exceeds the Commission's requirements, both for the broadcast week and during the day.
3432 We have provided a realistic and reasonable commitment to the development of Canadian talent. Our commitment goes beyond the cash commitment. The "Band of the Month" will provide real meaningful exposure for the hundreds of Modern Rock musicians in Edmonton.
3433 Our track record shows that we are deeply involved in the community life of Edmonton. Our record as a multicultural broadcaster makes us knowledgeable about the diversity of Edmontonians. Our new station will be housed with the most culturally diverse radio workforce in the city and will benefit from our environment of inclusion and the celebration of difference.
3434 OK Radio has a history of high quality broadcasting in all of its markets. We want to continue to grow and contribute to Canada's broadcast sector. It is our believe that the Canadian broadcast system must retain smaller regional operators, particularly in radio, to maintain the diverse balance of voices.
3435 The addition of a new Edmonton radio service will solidify our position in this market, ensuring that we can sustain our operations here.
3436 We would like to thank you for your attention and would be pleased to answer all of your questions.
3437 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Morton and your colleagues.
3438 Commissioner Cardozo.
3439 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Madam Chair.
3440 Good evening, Mr. Morton, Mr. Charest and all your colleagues.
3441 Let me tell you the areas of questioning I want to go through. First will be format, followed by some specific programming issues, then Canadian talent development, Canadian content, a couple of economic issues and then a couple of technical issues.
3442 To a large extent, you have the benefit of knowing what some of the questions are because they were posed to another applicant earlier today with a similar sort of program before us. So part of your challenge is going to be describing to us how in fact you are a bit different.
3443 I will make the point that has been made before, that even though we don't regulate format, we talk about it more to get a good sense of how you have judged the market, how you have formed your business plan and how you will be adding to programming diversity.
3444 My first question then is to ask you how you define Modern Rock. In that, I would like you to dispense with this very scary looking bubble chart here. I like graphs. I like charts. But bubble charts scare the heck out of me.
3445 I assure you that my colleagues and the staff here understand bubble charts very well. So even if I don't get it, they will.
3446 Do tell us what we are supposed to understand off that chart in terms of what Modern Rock is and why it is the thing that is needed in this market.
3447 MR. MORTON: If I can take the second part of that first, I would ask Sarah to explain the bubble chart. It won't take very long.
3448 MS S. MORTON: The bubble chart was compiled for us by Canadian Broadcast Sales, and it is really just a visual representation of the market. It is often used as a tool to help advertisers with their purchasing decisions.
3449 This chart, for our purposes, really shows where the underserved portion of the audience is.
3450 Here each station's hours tuned are plotted into quadrants, using an X and a Y-axis. And those cross at any index of 100.
3451 So stations strong with women are represented above the X-axis, men below it. And the age axis runs left to right, with under 35 on the left-hand side.
3452 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have this now, Commissioner Cardozo?
3453 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I am just wondering why the guys have to be below the X-axis and why we are way down at the bottom there.
3454 But carry on.
3455 MS S. MORTON: It doesn't tell us what the format is, but it does show us where there is a need; which demographic has more of a need for a service in the market.
3456 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: There is no IQ content here, is there?
3457 MS S. MORTON: Not at all.
3458 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In essence, where that yellow dot is -- and there are not a lot around there -- is that where you are going on?
3459 MS S. MORTON: The yellow dot is our proposed station, yes.
3460 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Do you have any other means of explaining this answer?
3461 MR. MORTON: To take the first part of your question, I would like to ask Kate to talk about what is Modern Rock.
3462 MS K. MORTON: I mentioned in my little story that Modern Rock began with Grunge "The Seattle Scene", but it has just become a whole genre unto itself.
3463 There are stations in the market that certain dabble in Modern Rock, but the proposed station Independent Rock FM would be a focus specifically on Modern Rock, the music of my generation.
3464 To put it frankly, we don't want our Modern Rock watered down with classic rock. We don't want it watered down with current rock from older artists that are still producing music, people like John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty. It is very specifically Modern Rock of my generation. Bands like Nicleback and Default, rap/rock bands like POD and Lincoln Rock, which may not mean anything to you, those are a few of the names --
3465 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Excuse me!
--- Laughter / Rires
3466 MS K. MORTON: Those are a few of the bands that I certainly love and that I know other Modern Rockers love.
3467 Indie music is a really big part of Modern Rock, as well -- indie music meaning local bands, unsigned bands. Through "Band of the Month" especially, we found that our audience loves to hear their local bands, the bands that they can afford to go out and see on a weeknight or a weekend in their home town.
3468 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So indie music wouldn't be alternative music. It is rock music but just smaller bands or bands that --
3469 MS K. MORTON: Indie music within Modern Rock; so Modern Rock artists that are independent, unsigned bands.
3470 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Could we spend a minute on page 12 of your supplementary brief where you have talked about four other stations that have similar sorts of things in the market. You talked about The Bear, Power 92, Mix 96 and K-Rock.
3471 I guess you are saying The Bear is more evenly balanced in its music and lifestyle. You say Power 92 plays less top forty. But for K-Rock you say -- sorry, your station will play less top 40, pop and rhythmic than Power 92, but it is much more contemporary than K-Rock.
3472 MR. MORTON: That's right.
3473 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Those seem to be contradictory, to me.
3474 You are saying one is going to be playing less top 40, but on the other hand you are saying more contemporary. Are "more contemporary" and "top forty" not the same thing?
3475 MR. MORTON: K-Rock is a classic rock station, so we wouldn't be playing anything that they would be playing.
3476 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Anything.
3477 MR. MORTON: Nothing that they would play that we would play.
3478 Perhaps, Kate, you could be more specific on that.
3479 MS K. MORTON: I would be very specific in saying that K-Rock would be my dad's station. I wouldn't listen to K-Rock. Sorry, dad.
3480 They play classic rock.
3481 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And I'm younger than your dad. Just remember that.
--- Laughter / Rires
3482 MS K. MORTON: Yes, you might like the new station.
3483 MR. MORTON: I feel like I'm getting beat up here.
3484 MS K. MORTON: Sorry. K-Rock would be my dad's station, and there would be virtually nothing we would play there. Maybe a band similarity, some U2; but virtually zero per cent similarity there.
3485 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: What about The Bear...?
3486 MS K. MORTON: The Bear, to do another easy description on that one, that would probably be my brother's station. That station straddles the music of my parent's generation, some classic rock, with some current artists; like I said, older artists that are still making music, like Bruce Springsteen.
3487 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is it more male oriented?
3488 MS K. MORTON: Definitely more male oriented, and the proposed station is very female friendly. So we would certainly be appealing to females much more.
3489 Some of the artists that The Bear would play, like Aerosmith, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones. I know I have heard Jimi Hendrix on The Bear. We would not touch those artists. Those artists would not be played.
3490 Some similarities would probably come up in Canadian content, because we would be drawing on similar pools of Canadian content.
3491 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In terms of just the Modern Rock aspect, how is your proposal different from the Rogers application?
3492 MR. MORTON: There are a number of specific differences, and I think we would probably want to hear from both Sarah and Al on that one.
3493 Al, perhaps you could start.
3494 MR. FORD: Programming-wise, clearly Rogers earlier today said they are targeting very much a male audience. We have found with our existing radio station in Victoria that we like to evenly balance it between males and females.
3495 We find that women do like rock. They just don't like the arrogance and sexual content that can sometimes go along with it. That is certainly one thing that we aim to do.
3496 The other thing that we have found works really well and has been great with our format is the support of independent talent, giving these people a chance to actually get real airplay and not just coming up with a one-hour show that plays Sunday night at 11 o'clock and yeah, we support them.
3497 We actually put them into a regular rotation in all-day parts, and that is a real difference between what we do.
3499 MR. MORTON: I think that covers what we want to say on that.
3500 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: We touched on urban/hip hop music. Is that part of the playlist? Is that part of what you would count as Modern Rock?
3501 MR. MORTON: No. I think Kate might want to comment on that.
3502 MS K. MORTON: No, it is not part of the playlist at all.
3503 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I think somebody mentioned Eminem this morning. You wouldn't be looking at that.
3504 MS K. MORTON: We have, for example, at our station in Victoria played one Eminem song. I don't think that is reaching very far into hip hop or urban by any means. Eminem and Swollen Members would be the two remotely urban artists that come up on the station, but very, very low numbers.
3505 MR. FORD: With the Eminem, that was such a huge phenomenon. It was a song from the "Eight Mile" soundtrack, and for us to sort of ignore that huge movie, the huge soundtrack, would have been detrimental to what we were trying to achieve.
3506 Swollen Members are from our own back yard, so again to help support that band is in our best interests and gets them more recognition as well.
3507 MS S. MORTON: Just to add to that, the reason we wouldn't play a lot of urban music -- there may be a few bands here and there that would work with a Modern Rock format, but our research has told us -- and Dave can tell you a little more about it. Our research has found that there is very little compatibility between the Modern Rock styles and urban styles, particular for Modern Rock listeners.
3508 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Would the listeners not be interested in urban music too, perhaps at different times, depending on the mood and that kind of thing?
3509 MS S. MORTON: Perhaps. What we found, though, is that Modern Rock listeners are much less interested in urban music styles. Urban listeners are a little more interested in Modern Rock styles.
3510 In Edmonton the audience segment for urban listening was so small that we felt that a pure Modern Rock format was the best opportunity in the market.
3511 MR. MORTON: Urban was also the most polarizing music element.
3512 I would like to ask Dave to comment on that.
3513 MR. RAHN: Sure. We looked actually quite a bit at the variety of urban music styles in our first wave of research, kind of really hoping to find something more than we did find.
3514 Just going back to one question about a couple of artists like Eminem and Swollen Members, I am not sure that true aficionados of urban music would consider them to be in that genre. I think they are more what we might call rap rock, more out of the alterative world than out of the urban world. It is not that that sound may never be prevalent on the radio station, but when we talk about a real urban street hip hop, dance, rhythmic, kind of genuine club kind of sound, that probably would not be prevalent on the station.
3515 When we looked at the music preferences of the Modern Rock fans, we saw that they actually do like a lot of different kinds of music. They still have a pretty good tolerance for classic rock, which probably explains why a station like The Bear, why those music styles can co-exist on a station like that.
3516 As we look down the chart, the urban styles, which was more of the true urban/hip hop/dance mix was among the lowest scoring music styles for that Modern Rock group.
3517 What several other studies have shown is that the main interest in that urban style tends to be on the very, very young end, the 12-to-17 age group and that as you get older, the negative for that style becomes very, very high.
3518 So by adding that music into the mix too much -- I don't know that you would rule out a specialty show or something like that that would be designed more for that target audience at special times, but to have it in the regular mix could be potentially polarized into the much larger Modern Rock audience that you are going after and actually be a cause for saying "this is not the radio station I want to listen to".
3519 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can we move to local programming.
3520 You have indicated that you will have 42 hours at least of local programming in order to solicit advertising. In terms of that local programming, how would you divide it between local station produced and any other acquired local programming?
3521 MR. MORTON: I know Al wants to talk about that. There would be no programming that wasn't local. I would like to ask Al to fill in some of the detail on that.
3522 MR. FORD: Certainly. With our programming, what we have committed is three hours a week to news, which would be in the morning and afternoon day-parts on the hour; so from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.; also in the noon newscast as well, and in the afternoon from 3:00 until 6:00, with newscasts on the weekend as well.
3523 One of the other shows we have proposed is called "The Popular, the Underrated and the Obscure", which will be a half-hour magazine based show which will actually air twice per day, Monday through Friday. That will centre on things that are happening around Edmonton: cultural events, sporting events.
3524 That will be intertwined with music and interviews as well.
3525 Other shows we have planned are "Caught in the Web", which is an idea where we will go actively seeking independent music on the Internet and bringing it to the radio forum.
3526 "The Indie-Line", which is a feature much like "Speaker's Corner" where our listeners will be able to phone in and voice their comments on whatever is on their mind, be it the recent decriminalization of marijuana, to thousands of other topics, of the lousy drivers in the city. That features every hour in length from 25 seconds to a minute.
3527 What it provides the listeners a chance to do is, like I say, voice what they want to. It will be a produced segment, so it is not going to be random people. They will be produced to our accordance.
3528 Other shows we have planned include "The Young and the Restless", a half-hour show every week night at 11:30, which will focus on the local music scene, where we will bring bands in and we will also give them an opportunity to put shows on the air.
3529 "Transmissions" is an electronic show we have planned. We also have a "Countdown" show planned. We have another show called "Jam Nation", which will focus more on jam bands such as Widespread Panic, those kinds of things. That is a highlight of some of the programming that we intend to bring.
3530 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How many hours of spoken word programming will there be a week?
3531 MR. FORD: Per week, we worked out to 10 hours and 40 minutes.
3532 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: The three hours of morning and drive time are not spoken word.
3533 MR. FORD: The three hours, the news is included in the ten hours.
3534 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How many minutes?
3535 MR. FORD: Sorry, five-minute newscasts.
3536 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How important is it, or is it important, to ensure that the news that you carry is either reflective or relevant to your age demographic?
3537 MR. FORD: Certainly. We are aware that our audience does want to know what is happening in and around the world as far as local concerns, global concerns, environmental concerns and political concerns. That will be an element of our news.
3538 We are also very aware that our audience is active. They love to be out on the weekends. They love to know what the new movie is this weekend.
3539 The Canadian idol phenomenon, they are going to want to know who got booted off the night before. We will give them that information as well. So we certainly will reflect a proper news content.
3540 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: You have talked about sharing news resources with CKER, your existing station. How will your news programming differ from that? Where is the synergy and where are the differences?
3541 MS PARKER: We think it is an advantage, Commissioner Cardozo, if I might answer that.
3542 The news department, the newsroom that we have at CKER, is one that is accessed regularly by other media. We have the contacts. If there is a world event -- and it doesn't necessarily have to be a disaster, although that is certainly one of the instances where other media, journal reporters, reporters from the Edmonton Sun, other radio stations, even CBC on occasion -- will come to the CKER newsroom.
3543 They know that not only do we have the sources coming in every single day from -- we have Radio-Canada International, we have VOA. But then beyond that, of course, the Deutschevella, the RI, news direct from Lebanon, from Poland. If there is something happening at 7 o'clock tonight in Hong Kong, we have someone there, a media contact that can bring that story in a meaningful way and in a way where there is a sense of authority, because they are on the spot and know.
3544 Getting back to how that would reflect and how that will benefit Independent Rock, it is such a distinct advantage to have that wealth of information, not only coming in but going out from our newsroom. They will be very much part of that, and our news team will certainly be equipped to contribute and make the newer info reporters, journalist, very much more aware, able to present stories with a broader scope and with greater understanding.
3545 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That is the synergy aspect of it. Do we consider these as two editorially separate news voices, CKER and the new station?
3546 MS PARKER: Yes, they are. There will be new staff added for Independent Rock. We foresee some opportunities for people who are already employed at CKER to perhaps expand the role that they now have in news if, for example, they are doing morning news -- and that would be in English; if they are doing news in that area, their role could be expanded to include more.
3547 They are separate staff; a separate sound, obviously, on the air, targeting very different audiences.
3548 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: The one day of the week I am not clear on is Sunday. What news and information would you be having on Sundays?
3549 MR. FORD: On Sundays we would have live announcers on the air. There wouldn't be traditional newscasts on Sundays, but we will be airing "The Popular, the Underrated and the Obscure", a full one-hour show on Sundays.
3550 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How much of your program is live to air through the week?
3551 MR. FORD: Through the week, we would be live on the air from 6:00 a.m. to 12 midnight.
3552 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Seven days a week.
3553 MR. FORD: Yes.
3554 Sorry, on weekends we would be running preprogrammed shows Saturday and Sunday evenings.
3555 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: The evenings. In the morning --
3556 MR. FORD: The mornings we would have live, from 6:00 a.m. to probably 6:00 p.m.
3557 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: You did touch on this, but I do want to ask the question: Does the format, your host and so forth, does it lend itself to shock jocks?
3558 MR. FORD: Absolutely not. That is one thing that we have really made sure we have done -- and it is a company philosophy more than just what we are trying to do here. We practise what we preach. We have never gone down that route, and we don't intend to go down that route.
3559 MR. MORTON: I would just like to amplify that. We believe that radio can be entertaining without going that way. I think in all of our stations we have been able to demonstrate that.
3560 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Could you outline for me, or encapsulate rather, how many new staff you would see, reporters as well as others?
3561 MR. MORTON: Diana?
3562 MS PARKER: Was the question new staff or news staff, Commissioner Cardozo?
3563 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Both actually; as well as non-news.
3564 MS PARKER: We will have a staff of 27 people, primarily all new. The only shared positions with our current operation will be my own, that of Margaret Charest, our Sales Manager, also our accountant, who I think is probably sitting close by.
3565 Other than that, we will be hiring program director, announcer, music director, who will also be part of our on-air team; four additional DJs; two journalists, we have in our application described as info reporters, but they are journalists; and one of the two will be the news director.
3566 We will have a promotion director and three other people in that department.
3567 Then we will have four feature announcers. We have them described in that fashion because we have discovered, as we work through and prepared for this hearing, that there is a wealth of talent -- and perhaps we just had not anticipated. I will give you an example.
3568 One of the women who contributes to our Portuguese programming, and has been doing so for quite some time, also has ten years' experience in English television. She is the host of "Eye on E", which airs daily on Shaw Television. We have spoken to her, first of all, because of her love of Modern Rock, the fact that she has had many years' experience in interviewing all the Modern Rock bands in the city and knows them intimately. She can tell you who sings in each one of them and so on.
3569 So feature reporters, we see that type of personality taking on a role as an entertainment reporter, and we have three other new staff that will be categorized in the same way, one of whom will be dedicated to sports coverage and the other two to other features.
3570 In addition to the staff I just mentioned, there will of course be new sales staff, new writers, writer-producer, new traffic sales assistant, a receptionist. The total is 27. There will be 27 people, primarily fulltime, possibly four or five that will be in part-time roles.
3571 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: With regard to synergies, we have talked a bit about the synergies in the news area. Are there any other programming synergies between the two stations?
3572 MS PARKER: Programming synergies I think will come about primarily as a result of the relationships that CKER already has in the community. Independent Rock will build their own relationship as the years go on. But initially the fact that they will be working in a broadcast centre where we already know there will be 30,000 people celebrating Lunar New Year in late January or early February, we already know that Dragon Boat racing is becoming more and more popular and we have been part of it since its inception here in Edmonton.
3573 So the synergies will be again the benefit of being in a broadcast centre where there is day in and day out exposure to the types of events that are going on in this city but are not necessarily well covered or known by mainstream media.
3574 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is there synergy in the format that you have chosen? It seems to me that you have a similar station in Victoria in this format. Between CKER and your proposed station here, did you come to that more because of your experience in the area and what you found in terms of the marketing studies?
3575 I am just asking you: Is there any other kind of format programming synergy between the two? Would you have a lot of crossover listeners, for example, between CKER and the Zone?
3576 MR. MORTON: Yes, I think Diana can explain that.
3577 MS PARKER: She's pushing the button and saying "yes".
3578 Again, this has been a discovery, the choice of the format, of course done very scientifically or as scientific as radio can be. We like to say this is entertainment.
3579 As soon as we had announced the format and it became known to the people working in our organization and those we associate with, the bulb went on that Modern Rock isn't foreign to our ethnic audiences. It has appeal across all ethnic groups.
3580 It is interesting that our German program producer has just returned from a month's stay there, and she was making a presentation to the sales department just updating them on what she would be adding to the show, and so on. That program has dabbled a little bit in Modern Rock for the last few years, but she came back and made this huge announcement that Techno Modern Rock was the leading form of musical expression in Germany, and she just had to play more.
3581 Of course Margaret, who has been involved in the application and the other people, their jaws are dropping.
3582 Chinese program, the same way. They have bands called Beyond and Tai Chi coming out of Hong Kong, and we are very excited about them. They have informed us that the real experimentation in the format is coming from Taiwan and from China; that Hong Kong is still a little too commercial radio, but Taiwan and China have the real Modern Rock.
3583 Will they be listening? Well, they have sent us letters of support. If you look at the names -- and I did. I just glanced through the names and I see Morrow and I see Kaputo and Vasanyi and Kroeger. They are as representative as can be of the diversity in this city, and they love their Modern Rock.
3584 As I say, it wasn't part of the choice of the format but let's just say that it confirms our choice of the format.
3585 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: You said in your opening, as you said in your application, that one of the things that drove you to apply for the station was the financial situation of CKER ongoing and perhaps the more critical stage, since there has been a Christian radio station licensed in Edmonton as well, which then competes with the portion of your Christian programming.
3586 Do you anticipate making any changes to CKER, either as a result of that Christian station or getting this station that you are applying for here?
3587 MS PARKER: Our plan is to keep our commitments, our programming, with CKER.
3588 The difficulty with the station has been the inability to grow revenue in a significant way. We do achieve reasonable levels of revenue. We are very creative, as Margaret would say, and we do create. We take a fair amount of revenue out of this market.
3589 The cost of operating it in a stand-alone operation is prohibitive. We will probably finish the year at $1.4 million, and I can virtually guarantee you that our costs will be probably $1.475 million, or somewhere in that range.
3590 We are looking for efficiencies but we are certainly not in any way considering changes to what we deliver at CKER.
3591 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I am thinking in regard to the Christian part of the programming, which was your money-maker, I suppose.
3592 MS PARKER: We are committed to stay with what we have, Commissioner Cardozo. We have a block of programming now from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 noon, and that is still Christian brokered programming.
3593 We lost a nice big chunk of it and lost some more a year or so ago. It is stable. At the present time we have a morning show that does support that and also the rest of our programming, which we are proud of. It is doing very well in the market.
3594 So virtually no changes except the impetus of having a new team in the building. And that excitement will be good. But I don't foresee changes in the programming.
3596 MR. MORTON: I would just like to add that there has been a new licence granted for a second Christian FM station in the city, and we don't know the impact that that will have on CKER. It certainly won't make it any easier to maintain those clients.
3597 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Let me ask you with regard to our decision at the end of the day in this process. Yours is the one station that is operating in the red in the Edmonton market, and a large part of your appeal to us is to help support and subsidize that station.
3598 To what extent should --
3599 Madam Chair, feel free to take a break if you wish or throw something at me if you want to stop.
3600 To what extent should the Commission take into consideration the financial situation of your existing licence when considering whether you should get a second licence when you are the only one who is making that appeal?
3601 Do we have a responsibility?
3602 MR. MORTON: I think it goes to the question of balance in the market. This application that we are filing is an application based on an opportunity and a need that we see. In the city there is an underserved population bubble under 35. That is the motivation.
3603 At the same time there is no question that keeping our commitments on CKER is exacting a toll on the other stations in our company. They shoulder that burden, and they do so gladly.
3604 We think it would be healthier for the future of our operations and our ability to maintain and grow as an ethnic station if our operations in Edmonton were financially healthy as well.
3605 Does that answer your question?
3606 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes. You didn't say "yes" or "no" directly.
3607 MR. MORTON: Sorry.
3608 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That is quite common at hearings.
3609 MR. MORTON: Well, I have noticed that today, yes.
3610 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I have a question, but I think you have answered it unless you want to add anything to it, and that is in terms of serving the growing cultural and racial diversity of Edmonton. How does the synergy between the two stations work?
3611 We have talked about it in terms of news and in terms of some of the bands. I just wondered if there was anything else you wanted to add in that regard.
3612 MS PARKER: Strictly in synergies that we haven't mentioned, Commissioner Cardozo -- if I might be allowed to do that -- obviously the co-location of studios and transmitters represents significant savings by being able to share that with a new station.
3613 Our broadcast centre is probably one of the nicest in the city. We have fiberoptics. We have web expertise in that building. And we see that as another advantage and a synergy between the two stations.
3614 How else might it be reflected in programming? I think we have virtually covered that.
3615 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: All right.
3616 MS PARKER: Our audience is part of the mainstream. They are part of the Modern Rock scene in the same way that Sarah and Kate and Al are part of that. We will be serving them adequately.
3617 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Mr. Charest?
3618 MR. CHAREST: I would like to add that the people you see at this table were and still are all on the air.
3619 I was a morning man for many, many years, 25 years, and I still am on the air regularly, daily. So is Stu. We produce commercials. Our love for radio has never diminished.
3620 I am more excited today than I was when I was 15, and I was on the air at 15 in this market. I want that to continue.
3621 So from that point of view, when you consider the attractiveness of being able to voice commercials -- for example, I get an e-mail in the morning and Terry will say: "Here's a script. I would like it iowan the air this afternoon." And if I happen to be away, I go on my little portable control room, record the commercial; it is back in a wave, an MP3 file or an A file and it's on the air in one hour no matter where I am.
3622 The business of broadcasting is so exciting and the efficiencies of having the opportunity to do these commercials on a Modern Rock station or an ethnic station are incredible.
3623 So that is another efficiency: the voices we have that now can be shared and contributing to the Edmonton market.
3624 MR. MORTON: He is hoping we will let him do a commercial on the Modern Rock station.
--- Laughter / Rires
3625 MR. FORD: If I could just add something to the --
3626 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And I am noticing he has "President" beside his name, but he is still in the second row.
3627 MR. FORD: Perhaps I could just add something to the programming synergies of being in an ethnic environment like that. I thought about this the other day, and the ability, with something like the Chinese New Year, for us to be able to walk across the hall and say: "Excuse me, but what year is it this year? Can you come on over and help us out" -- I think those kinds of things are far reaching.
3628 It is not just the Chinese New Year. It is many other things that are going to go on in the community as well.
3629 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you.
3630 I have a question on Canadian talent development.
3631 You said that you have $37,500 contribution will be devoted solely to Prairie Rock. I just want to ask if you have that confirmed by FACTOR.
3632 MR. MORTON: John has been in touch with FACTOR in the last 24 hours.
3634 MR. SHIELDS: As a western based broadcasting company, we have shared the same concerns that you raised in the last 24-48 hours in regard to FACTOR funding. We have always been a little concerned about the amount of funds that find their way back into the prairie provinces or into British Columbia.
3635 When we initially contacted FACTOR -- this was about a year and a half ago -- they were able to give us assurances that they would try to get it to the rock artists in Alberta, but they were unsure if they could micromanage it at that time.
3636 We felt that FACTOR does do a good job in regard to promoting and helping educate Canadian artists. So we dedicated $37,000 to factor.
3637 At the same time, we contacted ARIA and talked to them about putting together a program that was more local for Alberta artists.
3638 That said, I did contact Heather Ostertag this morning. As you can appreciate, she is very busy writing letters. She has assured me that she would be able to get a letter to us to earmark the money that we give to FACTOR to Alberta rock artists, or in particular Edmonton and area rock artists.
3639 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Could you file that with us by Tuesday?
3640 MR. SHIELDS: Tuesday? Sure.
3641 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I hope that everybody that is calling Heather Ostertag is telling her that Barbara Cram made you do it, as opposed to the Commission at large.
3642 MR. SHIELDS: No. I --
3643 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: We are all with Barbara on this. I think it is an important issue.
3644 Can I ask you about Canadian content.
3645 You said that 40 per cent Canadian content would be the weekly minimum. Is that, as well, between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.?
3646 MS K. MORTON: Forty per cent would be from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., yes.
3647 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: For the record, you would accept that as a condition of licence?
3648 MR. MORTON: Yes, we would.
3649 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: On the economic analysis, what is your sense of the proportion of your audience who would be comprised of listeners who you would repatriate or patriate from other stations or those who would be new listeners to conventional radio?
3650 MR. MORTON: I think virtually everybody in Edmonton is listening to a radio station. This is a reasonably isolated market, as you heard this morning. Our sense is that while there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with people under 35, it is really about increasing the amount of time they spend listening to radio.
3651 I don't think we are going to take an audience from another station, have them abandon that station and tune to our station. It is more about getting them to use radio more and, by the same token, giving advertisers a better opportunity to reach these people.
3652 Sarah, did you want to add anything to that, or have I stolen everything you intended to say?
3653 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: What is the age demographic?
3654 MR. MORTON: Age 18-to-34 is our core demographic.
3655 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That's the core. Is there an 18-to-25 within that? Or is it the whole 18-to-34?
3656 MR. MORTON: It is the whole 18-to-34, yes. A 27-year-old is the average listener to this format.
3657 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is it your experience that advertisers are willing to pay to reach that demographic?
3658 MR. MORTON: Margaret, would you like to respond to that?
3659 MS CHAREST: Some of the advertisers that we see benefiting from reaching this core demo would be certainly the local clubs, universities, colleges, rental properties, first-time home buyers. Electronics and high tech items certainly are big items among these people.
3660 They are outgoing, outdoor, very active lifestyle group, so they attend a lot of concerts; eat out fast food a lot; salons; day spas. They like good quality, theatres, any extreme sport, camping, outdoor kinds of product categories; trendy home furnishings, the IKEA stores, that kind of thing.
3661 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: They are probably not homeowners to a large degree.
3662 MS CHAREST: Not in the early part of that demo. They do --
3663 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: They have their own homes, though.
3664 MS CHAREST: The younger end of that demo --
3665 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I'm hearing 31 is the age kids now move out. Right?
3666 MS CHAREST: That depends who you ask.
3667 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Mr. Morton, do you have something to say there?
3668 MR. MORTON: Not a thing.
3669 MS CHAREST: The younger end of that demo I would say are going to university, perhaps living at home. As you move up in the age demo, they are getting married and starting young families.
3670 MS S. MORTON: I also think the size of Edmonton and the strength of the university and college scene here attracts a lot of young people from outside of the market as well. A lot of them are renters, residents at the university.
3671 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: But not necessarily big spenders.
3672 MS S. MORTON: They can be.
3673 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Once you have paid your fees and your books, you haven't got a lot left over.
3674 MS S. MORTON: September and January tend to be big spending times when you have your student loan in your pocket.
3675 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And then dad comes along toward the end.
3676 MS S. MORTON: That's right. But the upper end of the demo is certainly the age where you are looking to buy your first home. Al and I both have just done that ourselves. It is that age where you are making your big lifestyle purchase decisions definitely.
3677 MS CHAREST: It is also an opportunity for advertisers to create brand loyalty amongst this age demo.
3678 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Is it your experience that brand loyalty is still an issue? Advertisers have for a long time believed in brand loyalty, but in recent years there is also a sense that people buy based on price and other factors and are less loyal to brands for a whole lifetime.
3679 MS CHAREST: There are times when that is true. Especially selling to the ethnic market, I can assure you that there are strong brand loyalties among some of the Germans with German products, Italians with Italian products, and so on. I don't see it being too much different with this group of people either.
3680 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: As I mentioned earlier, we don't regulate genre. If you were a few years down the road and you found you needed to change genre, what are the principles you would be considering?
3681 MR. MORTON: Rock has been around for a long time and it continues to fragment and re-invent itself. Our experience with our other rock stations in our group has been that you tend to age with the audience but not at the same rate that the audience is aging. You may age one year for every five years that they age.
3682 Once you have established a brand, a position as a station in the minds of the audience, it is very difficult to abandon that and move back down the demo to serving 20 year olds. You have a loyal core of audience and you have to evolve and mature and grow with them.
3683 A lot of the music that we would be playing is, in our view, in our experience, is still going to be popular for these people ten years from now. It may be that this format ends up similar to what Kate was saying. Some of these artists will age, and they will still be releasing new music. So we will be playing what is new music, but the younger generation will be looking somewhere else at another group of musicians.
3684 MR. SHIELDS: I would also like to add that from a programming philosophy standpoint, we know rock music. We have done very well in Victoria with an adult-oriented rock station that plays some new music as well as some classic rock. We have also been very successful with a modern rock that we launched about two years ago.
3685 I think part of that success is that we get people that are actually within the demo and within the lifestyle of the audience that we are trying to reach, and they actually program to those people.
3686 I quite frankly don't feel that if we are licensed as a Modern Rock in Edmonton, I am very confident in our ability to compete and I would say that we would in all likelihood be a modern rock station ten years from now.
3687 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In your application you talked about the new station helping to cover some of the costs, the synergies with CKER. When would you see that happening? Would that be from day one or would it be a few years down the road?
3688 MR. MORTON: No. Obviously it takes time to develop any new product. This is certainly something that is going to take a few years to mature to generate those kinds of results.
3689 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Do you have any sense of a dollar figure at this point?
3690 MR. MORTON: I think in year three we were showing the beginnings of a profit, although it might take four years. Certainly we anticipate that by year three this station will be adding to the net revenue of this market for us.
3691 MR. CHAREST: If you were asking about the synergies and would they be realized immediately, they would be because we have the existing building and we have the infrastructure. So we have done an analysis of the cost, the dollar savings that would go to what you might -- if I might use the vernacular of all the accounting firms -- that would go right to the bottom line immediately because of that infrastructure.
3692 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Commissioner Langford, feel free to throw anything at me if you feel the need to stop at any time.
3693 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: No. I will just loosen my tie. I think I have been formal for too long today. I have a formal quotient each day.
3694 I will be fine. Thank you very much for your concern. I apologize for the noise.
3695 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: The offer extends to all colleagues. This happens to us at hearings sometimes.
3696 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Do we have to have a cough?
3697 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes, you do. That was the point I was trying to make.
3698 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
--- Laughter / Rires
3699 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Let me ask a deadly serious question: If you were not to get the licence, what do you see would be the effect on CKER?
3700 What would you do with CKER?
3701 MR. MORTON: I think I will ask Roger to respond to that.
3702 MR. CHAREST: First of all, my mother would spank me if I didn't honour all our commitments, so we would continue to operate the radio station in the tradition that we have. We would continue to serve the 22-23 language groups that we have. We have been doing that for 23 years.
3703 There have been many times in the last 23 years that people have said: This is impossible. How can you manage to do this as a stand-alone?
3704 We have managed and we will continue to do so.
3705 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In terms of what the Edmonton market can take, what is your sense of how many -- I think, Mr. Morton, you said one and then you said at least one more -- new commercial stations the market could take? And could it take two Modern Rock stations?
3706 MR. MORTON: To answer the first part of your question, we believe this is a pretty healthy market, and we don't see any difficulty in licensing two stations. Even if you chose to license two stations at the younger end and a specialty format at the older end, I don't think that would impact on the financial performance of the under-35 stations. There really is a need for those.
3707 In terms of two Modern Rock stations, I think if you licensed two people applying for Modern Rock, it is unlikely that both of them would sign on as Modern Rock and beat themselves up against each other. I think somebody would be looking for something else.
3708 MR. SHIELDS: And I might add that it probably wouldn't be us.
--- Laughter / Rires
3709 MR. MORTON: I didn't want to say that because I think Gary is in the room.
3710 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I think Mr. Shields needs an addition to his salary for that answer. That was very quick and very good.
3711 You have been to hearings before, I take it.
3712 On frequency you have applied for 102.9, and in your answer to a question you had identified three others.
3713 Could you tell me why you believe you are the best one for this frequency or one of the others you have indicated, from a technical point of view. Is it the kind of power you require for the kind of sound you want to put out?
3714 MR. SHIELDS: Yes. There are a couple of reasons.
3715 This frequency allows us to maximize the use of the frequency. We put our highest power lobe over the metropolitan area of Edmonton. The other big advantage to this particular frequency is that CKER is at 101.9; this is at 102.9. It allows us to use existing antenna and combine our equipment because the two frequencies are within the range that can pass through our combiners.
3716 If were to go to a higher or lower frequency, it would mean a greater investment in transmitting equipment.
3717 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can I ask you about digital licences. As you probably know, the way the allotment is going for digital licences, those that have an analog licence pretty well automatically can count on getting a digital.
3718 MR. MORTON: Yes.
3719 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: When do you see that happening? Is that a part of your business plan? When would you start looking at that as part of your business plan?
3720 MR. MORTON: It is on the agenda. Actually, we have applied in Victoria already for a digital licence. We have filed the application with Industry Canada and we have had discussions on that subject in Edmonton.
3721 If we were granted the licence, we would, within the first year, file an application for a digital frequency as well, because it creates some opportunities.
3722 As you know, the Commission has allowed separate programming, and it allows us to be a little experimental on the digital channel and promote the medium. It is about programming, not about technology. If you don't offer new programming, you are not going to get new listeners.
3723 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: When would you say you would have a substantial number of listeners? Is it about five years down the road?
3724 MR. MORTON: Well, some of that depends on the manufacturers and their co-operation. As you know, General Motors has now backed off their commitment to put digital in some of this year's vehicles.
3725 We will put the programming there, but we need the radio manufacturers to make the radios available.
3726 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: These alternate frequencies that we have mentioned, I take it that all the commitments you have made and the plans you have would stand if you were to ultimately be taking one of the other frequencies that you have mentioned.
3727 MR. MORTON: Yes.
3728 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
3729 Thank you, Madam Chair.
3730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3731 Commissioner Cram.
3732 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I have BBM again.
3733 In Victoria, is your station the call letters CJZN?
3734 MR. MORTON: That's right.
3735 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The Modern Rock format you have had at least since the fall of 2001?
3736 MR. MORTON: Al, when did we sign on?
3737 MR. FORD: We signed on on June 21, 2001.
3738 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And your share, at least of the 12-24, has gone from 7 to 18 to 21. Where have you taken your share from in this market?
3739 MR. MORTON: We have repatriated some of that from off island tuning. There is a Modern Rock station in Seattle called The End, which has been very popular. I think both Al and Kate would be more adept at explaining what has happened to The End than I am.
3740 Tuning in Victoria to The End has gone down, as ours has gone up.
3741 We also took some tuning from our own station, The Q, in the 12-to-24 demos. But that is because The Q is aging with its audience and we expect it to lose some of -- you know, it is hard to be relevant to a 15-year-old and a 40-year-old musically. It has come from those two sources, we believe.
3742 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I say that because do you think there was any evidence of repatriation from the Internet or CDs, sort of the loss of that generation?
3743 MR. FORD: It's funny because they say that our audience is heading in droves to the Internet to listen to their music and whatnot, when in reality our audience is heading in droves to the Internet to steal their music that they have heard on radio or seen on TV.
3744 My sense of our audience is that they are still enjoying radio. They are still discovering new artists on the air. When they do discover those new artists, they want their music for free, and that's where they are getting it. That is what they are doing on the Internet.
3745 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
3746 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Williams.
3747 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Mr. Charest, it is well known in the broadcasting industry that you are truly a western broadcasting pioneer. Earlier Mr. Morton stated that your station ages one year for each five years your listeners age. It was also stated that you have been in on-air radio business since you were 15 years old. It certainly begs the question: How many years have you been in the western broadcasting radio industry?
--- Laughter / Rires
3748 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: No answer is required.
3749 MR. CHAREST: Thank you.
3750 MR. MORTON: I have never seen him speechless, actually.
3751 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel.
3752 MR. McCALLUM: I have one quick question for the record.
3753 I didn't hear you mention if there would be any synergies between the proposed station in Edmonton and the existing station in Victoria.
3754 Could you comment on that?
3755 MR. MORTON: Certainly. The only synergies are our knowledge of the format. There are no financial synergies. We wouldn't be doing things like out of market voice tracking where we had announcers in Victoria voice tracking shows that ran on a daily basis in Edmonton.
3756 It is really just our knowledge of the format.
3757 MR. McCALLUM: So no sharing of programming or anything like that.
3758 MR. MORTON: No, we don't plan any sharing.
3759 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Madam Chair.
3760 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3761 Mr. Morton, you have the usual five minutes to tell us why you should get a licence in Edmonton.
3762 MR. MORTON: And I am going to pass that duty to Sarah.
3763 MS S. MORTON: Thank you.
3764 Madam Chair, to start, this is a licence that we want. We believe that we have fulfilled the criteria set out by the Commission. We have shown you, as Rogers has, that radio profit margins in Edmonton are well above average, and market revenues continue to show excellent growth. So Edmonton can easily absorb another, if not more than one other, radio licence.
3765 As an ethnic licence operator, OK Radio is at a competitive disadvantage. A new licence will give us access to additional revenue, which will help us maintain our ethnic operation and make better use of existing resources and infrastructure.
3766 We will add a new English-language voice to the market. The existing concentration of ownership is high in media, but our ethnic experience gives us a unique perspective in Edmonton.
3767 We have conducted three research studies in Edmonton. Our business plan is conservative, realistic and based on that research and our Edmonton market experience.
3768 We have an excellent history of community service and a deep commitment to independent music. We are committed to 40 per cent Canadian content, and our Canadian talent development is reasonable and will go beyond our generous contribution to FACTOR and ARIA.
3769 One of the most important points we want to convey is not only do we understand this audience, we are this audience.
3770 Our spoken word, our promotions and our music will represent the preference of our peers. Being a sister station to CKER will reinforce the diversity that exists within our demographic.
3771 I know Roger has some final comments.
3772 MR. CHAREST: I will try to be brief and be under the five minutes, because it is late and you have been very good.
3773 This is a very good radio market. Our record as a multicultural broadcaster makes us very knowledgeable about the diversity that you find in this lovely city, and financially we are very healthy. Our debt-equity ratio is terrific. We are in a position to meet any unforeseen challenges that can always occur with a new service.
3774 It is a privilege to hold a licence. We value that responsibility and we make sure that we carry out our responsibility in the best way possible.
3775 The other thing -- and this is my last point -- is that the Canadian broadcasting system really needs to encourage medium sized broadcasters to contribute to the Canadian system. We feel that we can do that very well.
3776 Thank you very much for your patience and your questions.
3777 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Charest.
3778 The evening is now to start. We thank you very much for your co-operation.
3779 We will now adjourn until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, at which time we will hear Global and then Edmonton Radio.
3780 There is a correction to where we will start on Monday, which will be with Rawlco, at 9 o'clock on Monday. Then we will hear the other three applicants on Monday, just so that you have an idea of our schedule.
3781 We may or may not do Phase II on Monday. So keep in touch to see how we proceed after tomorrow.
3782 Thank you very much and have a good evening.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1850, to resume
on Friday, June 20, 2003 at 0900 / L'audience
est ajournée à 1850, pour reprendre le vendredi
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