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Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
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 BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
Competing radio applications and other broadcasting
applications / Demandes concurrentes en radio et autres
demandes en radiodiffusion
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Provencher Room Salle Provencher
The Fort Garry Hotel The Fort Garry Hotel
222 Broadway Avenue 222, avenue Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg (Manitoba)
June 4, 2008 Le 4 juin 2008
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
Competing radio applications and other broadcasting
applications / Demandes concurrentes en radio et autres
demandes en radiodiffusion
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Len Katz Chairperson / Président
Peter Menzies Commissioner / Conseiller
Marc Patrone Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Cheryl Grossi Secretary / Sécretaire
Michael Craig Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
Peter McCallum Legal Counsel
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Provencher Room Salle Provencher
The Fort Garry Hotel The Fort Garry Hotel
222 Broadway Avenue 222, avenue Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg (Manitoba)
June 4, 2008 Le 4 juin 2008
- iv -
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. 348 / 2016
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
Radio CJVR Ltd. 405 / 2364
REPLY BY / RÉPLIQUE PAR:
Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. 448 / 2617
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Artic Radio (1982) Limited 451 / 2637
No interventions / Aucune intervention
No reply / Aucune réplique
Winnipeg, Manitoba / Winnipeg (Manitoba)
‑‑‑ Upon resuming on Wednesday, June 4, 2008
at 0900 / L'audience reprend le mercredi
4 juin 2008 à 0900
2010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
2011 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Chair, we will now proceed with Item 5 on the agenda, which is an application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Humboldt.
2012 The new station would operate on Frequency 107.5 MHz, Channel 298C1, with an average effective radiated power of 100,000 watts, non‑directional antenna, effective antenna height of 164.1 metres.
2013 Appearing for the Applicant is Elmer Hildebrand.
2014 Please introduce your colleague. You will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
2015 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
2016 MR. HILDEBRAND: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission, and Commission Staff. My name is Elmer Hildebrand, and I am the CEO of Golden West.
2017 With me is Robin Hildebrand, Director of Human Resources at Golden West.
2018 Lyndon Friesen, our President, is not here today, because he has a long‑standing, three‑day school excursion with his 11‑year‑old son, which starts this morning. From my viewpoint, that is more important than a hearing.
2019 Golden West is a prairie‑based company that started in the small town of Altona, Manitoba, 50 years ago.
2020 In the mid‑seventies we began operating in Saskatchewan, and in the eighties we had a single AM station in Alberta.
2021 We were able to add to our High River operation with additional stations in Okotoks and Lethbridge.
2022 Today we have grown to some 28 radio stations, employing 365 people, and serving 16 communities and markets.
2023 As you know, Golden West was, once again, chosen as one of Canada's 50 best‑managed companies, and also received the Employer of the Year Award earlier this year from Canadian Women in Communications.
2024 It was some 10 years ago that we launched our first FM station, following our strategy to add FM stations to each of the markets where we had AM stations. We accomplished this.
2025 Our growth now needs to come from new markets, but to date we have been denied. We have not had a new licence approved in a new market since 1968. We have had to grow by purchasing radio stations in new markets.
2026 The greatest need is to grow and expand our coverage in Alberta, which is why we applied last week for stations in both Drumheller and Red Deer.
2027 Adding new markets and stations to our organization is essential to competing in today's marketplace.
2028 In the past few years, two Christian stations in Lethbridge and Winnipeg called on us to bail them out, and we currently have a new bailout in front of the Commission. These are very small niche stations, with almost no financial upside.
2029 As a company, Golden West has demonstrated both the ability and necessity in developing regional synergies to promote growth.
2030 There are also, still, a few growing cities in Saskatchewan where our unique brand of local service is not only wanted, but is ideally suited. Humboldt is such a city, and that is why we are here today.
2031 Humboldt is a city of some 5,000 people, in the heart of Saskatchewan. We are here today to bring Humboldt their own local community radio station. Humboldt is experiencing growth and development in every aspect, and community leaders have told us that they expect this to continue.
2032 Like any other community experiencing this kind of growth and enthusiasm, Humboldt needs its own radio station.
2033 Humboldt, at the hub of the Iron Triangle, is a provincial focal point, encompassing the agricultural industry, commerce and tourism as part of its economic makeup.
2034 Local FM radio will provide local news, surveillance, and information to the people of Humboldt.
2035 We look forward to investing in the local community to bring Humboldt a Golden West FM radio station to provide the local service it needs.
2036 As the Commission knows, local community service is our hallmark.
2037 In Humboldt there is a clear need for more choice, and establishing a local FM choice will only enhance the existing out‑of‑town market radio service that Humboldt now has.
2038 We have considerable experience in communities like Humboldt. Golden West operates stations in many towns and cities of a smaller size ‑‑ Rosetown, Shaunavon and Kindersley in Saskatchewan, and Boissevan in Manitoba.
2039 Our head office, and the home of our first radio station, is located in Altona, Manitoba, a community that has grown to 3,500 people.
2040 From our perspective, a city the size of Humboldt is more than capable of supporting a radio station of its own when that station is part of a larger group.
2041 We recently spent time in the Humboldt community with Humboldt community and business leaders. They know how local service can build and tie a community together.
2042 As Mayor Malcolm Eaton states in his letter of support:
"Golden West Broadcasting has several stations that serve similar markets to ours. We are well aware of the success and benefits that similar stations have had in communities that are very comparable to ours."
2043 Melfort and Saskatoon are both an hour to an hour‑and‑a‑half drive away, about the same amount of time it takes to get from Calgary to Red Deer.
2044 The nearest radio stations are at Melfort and Saskatoon. At best, Humboldt is a spill market for these stations, and the Saskatoon stations certainly have no interest in Humboldt.
2045 These communities should not be able to deny Humboldt a station of their own.
2046 We will provide the kind of community service that Humboldt needs, and as the community continues to experience economic growth and prosperity, Humboldt needs to stand on its own and do what it needs for its own people.
2047 We have demonstrated time and time again that Golden West has developed well‑organized, efficient, cost‑effective synergies across our organization, and as it relates to our group of Saskatchewan stations.
2048 As a significant radio operator in Saskatchewan, we provide an incredible service to these small communities. We are needed in order to sustain growth in these towns and cities.
2049 Saskatchewan, as you know, is on a roll. We need to help that along by providing regional news and information.
2050 Agriculture is the backbone of rural Saskatchewan, and we have demonstrated leadership in this area, with full‑time agricultural reporters.
2051 Because of our depth in coverage in the province, providing regional news with a local slant is a huge synergy. We've got Saskatchewan covered.
2052 We are able to offer extensive backroom and administrative operations and resources from a centralized location. This includes senior management, finance, accounting and payroll, as well as new media, human resources, engineering, technical and IT support.
2053 MS HILDEBRAND: Golden West's "local all the time" policy includes our long‑standing "hire local" practice, developing a strong local staff deeply tied to the community.
2054 For Humboldt, we anticipate having a staff of eight. Our people are part of the fabric of the city, plugged into all of the current issues and events.
2055 Hiring local also ensures that our staff is highly representative of the demographic makeup of the community.
2056 Our people live, work and play in those communities where we operate, and, again, because we hire local, both our on‑air content and staffing reflect cultural diversity.
2057 MR. HILDEBRAND: We want to carry on a Saskatchewan tradition and bring Humboldt the most popular rural Saskatchewan format, country music. Country music is popular among the 35 to 60 age group and, unlike some Saskatchewan communities, Humboldt has seen a population increase in this age group.
2058 The only other alternatives in this area are out‑of‑market radio stations or satellite radio.
2059 It is our plan to serve Humboldt with a contemporary country FM station, featuring the biggest songs of today and the best music of the last 25 years. Country music is very much the soundtrack of small cities and towns in the rural areas of Saskatchewan. In many ways, its lyrics, melodies and messages describe the down‑home values of the province.
2060 Country music is a perfect fit for a local Humboldt radio station. The country music community in Saskatchewan is strong, active and growing. The recently held and highly successful Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards weekend in Prince Albert was a testament to that.
2061 This music‑intensive station will feature up to 14 records per hour, from a library of about 700 songs. A sample of our core artists would include Tim McGraw, Doc Walker, Carrie Underwood, Shane Yellowbird, George Strait, Emmerson Drive, Alan Jackson, Aaron Prichette, Taylor Swift and Paul Brandt.
‑‑‑ Audio clip / Clip audio
2062 MR. HILDEBRAND: That mix of music was 50 percent Canadian content.
2063 We also commit heavily to Canadian music by promising a minimum level of 40 percent Canadian content. We will air a special "Made in Saskatchewan" show twice a week, on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, specifically showcasing the music and talent of local emerging singers and songwriters.
2064 Over the years we have partnered with thousands of local artists on the prairies to create similar radio initiatives.
2065 We will also create a special Saskatchewan music category to go into our regular daily music rotation.
2066 Here is a sample of what local artists say.
‑‑‑ Audio clip / Clip audio
2067 MR. HILDEBRAND: There are many more written examples in your presentation packets.
2068 MS HILDEBRAND: We will also be live‑to‑air, or live‑assist, a minimum of 82 hours each week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Live‑assist is simply the on‑air announcer working on an alternative project in the building while, at the same time, being on the air.
2069 MR. HILDEBRAND: Local news is an integral and essential part of local content, and it is our number one priority.
2070 The cornerstone of local content is local news, local information, and weather.
2071 The pulse of the local community is its people. Local news and information is an integral and central component in keeping the community connected.
2072 With a dedicated and exclusively local approach to gathering and developing fresh, current local content, we will report on the activities that happen above and below the radar.
2073 A few examples of how our newsroom provides a local content and context for international and national news events are included in your presentation packages. Significant national sporting events are also covered but local sports is front and centre.
2074 We focus on important issues and everyday achievements of the local community from the agricultural sector to business and civic leaders to community organizations and art groups.
2075 During the week of May 19th Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and a group of MLAs were in Humboldt as part of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting. An ordinary citizen of Humboldt called us to let us know that while media invitations went out to radio stations in Saskatoon and Melfort, there was no media coverage of this event that had a huge impact on Humboldt.
2076 If events of this magnitude are ignored we can only imagine the smaller events and activities that receive little or no coverage.
2077 Announcer talk time is one more opportunity to connect directly to the community and to the conduit for the community to communicate with each other, talk about Humboldt and area events, interviews with community leaders, promoting local concerts and sharing the stories about the people of Humboldt. This is the local content announcers bring to their listeners.
2078 We are committed to broadcasting a total of 813 minutes a week in spoken word. 345 of these minutes are entirely dedicated to local news; 117 minutes a week for sports and 351 minutes a week in surveillance to keep the community totally informed on local weather, school foreclosures and other local information.
2079 To quote Mayor Eaton once again:
"We believe strong local news and information services will greatly enhance our community spirit and contribute to the success of local events, activities and business." (As read)
2080 MR. HILDEBRAND: And in the words of Kerri Martin, community development manager for the City of Humboldt:
"The opportunity for Humboldt to have a local radio station will be a tremendous boost for our growing city. The radio station will create a positive link between business, organizations and all residents. Building community pride starts at home and this radio station will be welcomed to help the further enhancing of community pride." (As read)
2081 MR. HILDEBRAND: Golden West strongly believes that integrating new media into our broadcasting package is essential for the future growth of our company.
2082 When Humboldt gets its own radio station they will also receive their own new media web 2.0 platform; a source of online content with an exclusively local focus, updated news content. This is not a radio station website. It is a new media site for the community. Local community content, information resources and entertainment; it's all delivered on line by the radio station.
2083 We continue to be astounded and amazed at how local people embrace this new technology and it how becomes a key source of information people trust, becoming just as vital and important as the newspaper used to be.
2084 On the Canadian Content Development funds we are committing $35,000 over the seven‑year licence term. This is on top of the basic requirements. We would like to state for the record that our weekly half‑hour produced program featuring local artists will have a value of more than $100,000 alone in real exposure over the first licence term.
2085 As the Commission knows, we tend to be conservative in our estimates and promises and then we go above and beyond in developing our audience and our business. As a rule we try to deliver more than promised in our original application. Our goal is to develop new local business and local staff.
2086 There is no current incumbent broadcaster in Humboldt and out‑of‑market stations should not experience significant revenue decreases.
2087 In closing we just want to say that Golden West has built a solid reputation of being committed to the community. This new radio station and new media platform for Humboldt continues that tradition. Our unique brand of radio is local radio. It's what we do and have always done long before new media made it its latest trend to take a more local approach. As one of the few family‑operated radio companies of Canada we are committed 100 percent to bring local radio service to smaller communities and cities. Humboldt is such a community and a region unto itself and deserves to have their own local radio station.
2088 Here is what local residents have told us about this exciting new opportunity.
‑‑‑ Audio Clip / Clip audio
2089 MR. HILDEBRAND: Finally, as we have stated many times before, we are very comfortable in operating in the shadow of larger urban centres. We are not interested in these larger markets. We are only interested in serving the city of Humboldt with this presentation. That concludes our presentation and we are ready for your questions.
2090 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2091 Commissioner Patrone will lead the investigation of this application.
2092 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2093 Good morning.
2094 I would like to start by asking ‑‑ and thank you for your package, by the way, and the audio‑video presentation.
2095 Can you talk a little about indicators that you may have that would suggest that Humboldt is in fact a big enough advertising market, vibrant enough? And I know you have some anecdotal evidence here from people in the community. But if you could share with us any numbers you have or data that you may have that would suggest that the community is large enough to sustain the type of undertaking that you are proposing here.
2096 MR. HILDEBRAND: Surely.
2097 First of all, we operate a radio station in Rosetown which is about half the size of Humboldt and we are able to have a viable operation there. We operate a station in Kindersley which is roughly the same size as Humboldt and again that's a station that is viable. We have additional stations in smaller markets. Shaunavon is another one. And these are all viable operations.
2098 So we know from past experience that cities like this will provide enough business if you provide the service. The whole process starts with providing the service to the community and once you do that there is sufficient revenue that then flows to make it viable.
2099 And we have sort of experienced this over and over the past 50 years, going back to when we started in Altona which, when we started 50 years ago, the community had 2,000 people. You know, it's now almost doubled in size but still a small town.
2100 So when you provide the service you then can generate the revenue. It just follows.
2101 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And you feel that there is a strong business case with respect to these types of communities in order to ‑‑
2102 MR. HILDEBRAND: For sure. I mean, you know, Humboldt is no different than Rosetown or Kindersley or other small communities. They have a lot of local pride. They want to have their local identity and once you give them that, then there is more business than one generally imagines.
2103 It's just ‑‑ I keep telling our people when we are making plans and we are talking about these communities, the radio business is really very simple. If you put on the air something that excites them and that keeps them listening, then you can get the advertisers to want to talk to those people.
2104 So it's a matter of just having programming on the air that is relevant to the community and much of that has to do with news and information. Music is part of our mix but it's secondary.
2105 And once you put that package together in a local context it is very powerful and your listeners are loyal, your advertisers are loyal and it's just a growth process. We help the community grow.
2106 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Have you had any verbal commitments from advertisers there ‑‑ this application?
2107 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, we haven't and we haven't asked for that. We have seen many applications over the years where they will write letters saying you know if this station gets on the air we will advertise. You know, those things are really quite irrelevant because it's easy to write that letter, but at the end of the day there is no reason why they should advertise if they don't get results.
2108 And our whole process is our advertisers get results. That's why they continue to advertise. And we would only want them to advertise if they are actually getting results.
2109 In small communities you are generally dealing with ‑‑ when you are making your advertising presentation you are dealing with the person that actually signs the cheque. If he or she likes the idea you present to them they are buying.
2110 And so it is a really quite simple process if you are committed to it and if you follow those simple steps.
2111 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: This represents a leap of faith, obviously.
2112 MR. HILDEBRAND: Sure, it does, but not as large a leap as you might think because we have done this so many times in the past that we know that Humboldt is no different from that respect than would be Rosetown or Kindersley or Altona or other small towns.
2113 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You spoke a little bit about synergies that you hope to apply to this operation, synergies with respect to your other properties. Could you talk a little bit about more ‑‑ a little bit more about this, perhaps even any numbers or data that you may be able to pass on?
2114 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes, sure.
2115 I mean, in the letter of opposition that we had from Melfort they indicated that Humboldt wasn't large enough for a standalone radio station. That's probably true. We also said that in our application.
2116 The same would be true probably of Rosetown. If there were no other radio stations in the network one radio station by itself would have a very difficult time being viable. But once you put them together with a group ‑‑ and this is something that we have been perfecting over the years ‑‑ we have common engineering. We have common accounting. We have common traffic. We have common creative. We have common overall direction and management. Senior management is therefore the whole group.
2117 All of those things, plus the expertise in programming; the expertise in news gathering and development and training; all of those things together make it possible to do this.
2118 And so the backend of our shop really provides a support for the people on the ground in the community so that all of the visible things at a radio station are done locally by local people. The invisible stations(sic) at a radio station are done offsite and they can be done with today's technology almost anywhere.
2119 And that is why it makes a lot of sense for us. I mean, a lot of our communities that we operate in if that's the only radio station we had we would have gone out of business long ago.
2120 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And your total staffing commitment to Humboldt would be once again?
2121 MR. HILDEBRAND: We are thinking in the area of eight to 10 people that would be news and on air, some salespeople and administration. But all of these people would double up. The sales manager will also be selling; the PD would also be on the air and the news director would also be actually delivering newscasts on the air.
2122 So in our environment there are a lot of multitasking processes going on, and this would be similar staffing levels that we have at other radio stations in the Prairies. You know, we have been able to work quite successfully with that.
2123 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And these are new hires and not transfers from other properties?
2124 MR. HILDEBRAND: These would generally be new hires because our whole process ‑‑ as Robin said we have developed a policy over the years of hiring people locally. And what we have found, that if you hire people locally they actually know the community, they can talk about the community they are in. They actually know how to pronounce the names of the people that live there. All of that is part of the fabric of the radio station and we have been successful in developing and training our own staff. That's, we think, one of the reasons why we have been able to continue to operate in environments where many would say there isn't enough business to actually make a living.
2125 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And how many reporters do you expect to include in your news offering?
2126 MR. HILDEBRAND: We would expect to have two or three fulltime news people that would be developing local news in Humboldt.
2127 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And your ‑‑
2128 MR. HILDEBRAND: The other thing that would also be ‑‑ our context is generally just local news as you heard us saying last week in Red Deer. The availability, though, of sharing news with all of our other radio stations in Saskatchewan is there. So that if there is a story that takes place in Rosetown that has relevance in Humboldt, I mean that story is available.
2129 So all of our news information from all of our radio stations is actually available to everyone and so we have the luxury of covering a lot of events in the province that we would otherwise not get to.
2130 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You have a network?
2131 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes.
2132 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You spoke a little bit about your liaisons and your partnerships with new artists. Can you talk a little bit about what you have been able to do with respect to engaging emerging artists in that community?
2133 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, I mean again, the whole process first of all we make a commitment of 40 percent Canadian content. Now, much of that content is actually provincial content and our process of showcasing local artists every week for a half‑hour program. Then that over the course of the year gets you 52 different musical groups.
2134 So that is a very, very relevant piece of our whole programming context. Some of that material is used in addition to the half‑hour show; also used in the regular rotation of music.
2135 And so, as I think we said last week, most of these artists will never be heard outside of the province. Occasionally there might be one that would get on a roll and be heard regionally and occasionally it might even happen nationally. But it's very rare. But that still doesn't negate the fact that they are popular and of interest in their own communities. And so really we haven't had any difficulty in attracting material for those kinds of programs and the exposure that it provides to these aspiring groups is actually quite amazing.
2136 So again, it comes back to what I said earlier. If you are involved with the community at the grassroots level there is always far more information than you can possibly use.
2137 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So Made in Saskatchewan is produced ‑‑ fully produced in Humboldt and aired only in Humboldt or will that show be transferable to your other stations?
2138 MR. HILDEBRAND: Some of the best artists would be transferable obviously to other stations but we would have a separate program for Humboldt itself, just like we have a separate program for Moose Jaw and for other areas.
2139 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you have any other indicators that significant events in Humboldt are not getting the media coverage that they deserve and that the community has basically paid a price for that?
2140 MR. HILDEBRAND: I guess it would be hard to say, you know, what price they paid. We could ‑‑ again, we can only go back to other communities where we have started out like this.
2141 One of the things that we have found ‑‑ and I think the Melfort operation provides great regional coverage. I mean they have, I think, staked out their business plan to provide a lot of regional activities and they can do that. But their main service has to go to Melfort because that's where they live and that's where they make their bread and butter.
2142 We have found that once you get more than 50 kilometres away from your studio you can't really provide ongoing daily service because ‑‑ I mean, especially if you are wanting to also provide service to other communities. There isn't enough time. You don't have enough resources. The distance in Saskatchewan is always for every event you need to travel.
2143 So that we know that Humboldt isn't getting the kind of service they would get if they had their own radio station. They will get some service in the periphery for sure. There will occasionally probably even be stories about Humboldt and Regina and Saskatoon if it was a large event. But what we have found generally, though major markets will only talk about those communities if there is a fire, accident or some other huge event, they won't talk about the everyday events of the community.
2144 And that's really what we are talking about when we are talking about local radio service, the everyday events. What would normally be mundane events, if you talk about them on the air that gives the community some pride in itself and that sort of gets the ball rolling that is very hard to quantify but we see it working over and over in communities that we operate in. And we know that the same will be true here.
2145 And when we talked to the community, I mean they were excited about all of the pluses that could then develop just like the artists are excited if somebody will actually pay attention to them. As one artist group said, "We are looking for some exposure and a hug occasionally." So that's what we can do.
2146 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: As you are aware, there is an incumbent station, CJVR, which has questioned the justification for adding a station in Humboldt.
2147 MR. HILDEBRAND: Surely. Yes, we see ‑‑
2148 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I know you have touched on that a little bit. Do you want to address it now?
2149 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, I mean again, my point is that, yes, they are doing a good job for Melfort and they are doing a fine job in a regional nature. But if they want to be a Melfort radio station they can't also be a Humboldt radio station, just like our radio station for Moose Jaw probably has a signal in Humboldt so that people could hear the radio station from Moose Jaw. But Moose Jaw is not providing any service. And it's the daily service that the Humboldt community is missing, not the regional service.
2150 So I can understand why CJVR would say, you know, this is their territory. We are not trying to takeover their territory. We are just planning to offer the community of Humboldt their own radio station.
2151 And so as we said in our letter of response, we don't think that it makes sense for one community to deny another community its radio station of its own if it's a local radio station.
2152 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you have any plans to re‑brand the Saskatoon station as part of an overall regional strategy?
2153 MR. HILDEBRAND: No.
2154 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you have any more evidence that would suggest that the overall radio pie would grow in that community in order to accommodate the type of business that you are speaking of?
2155 MR. HILDEBRAND: Not other than when we speak of our experience over the years. When we open a radio station in a small community there is business there that just hasn't appeared to be there before.
2156 Now, in addition to spending some advertising money with CJVR they are spending some advertising money on flyers. There is a weekly newspaper. There is a variety of other things that come in and go but there is no consistent local advertising media. The weekly newspaper is one that they obviously use but it's like ‑‑ it's not a daily activity. And so we found that also we don't hurt the local newspaper because we are complimentary to the whole advertising community.
2157 Again, we are dealing with smaller businesses. Radio is such a unique vehicle that if we come up with an idea, an advertising idea for your business ‑‑ let's say you had a business in Humboldt. You got up this morning and you had no plans to spend any advertising on anything. We come to see you with a plan that makes some sense and you are buying it. If we can convince you this will move some goods you are buying it. It doesn't matter whether we have ratings or anything else. You are buying it, and that's how we develop our business.
2158 So we have a lot of creative minds in our organization that have developed methods of selling advertising that are rather unique that aren't done in major markets but we have been able to in that way develop revenue that makes these small operations viable. And if you have enough small operations, together they sort of make a larger table.
2159 You know, the only thing I can tell you is that our experience tells us that it works. And as I said in my opening remarks, I have been doing this for 50 years and so that track record seems to be something that doesn't make this a leap of faith but we know that it will work.
2160 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I appreciate your experience, Mr. Hildebrand. Do you have any proof at all that there are potential radio advertisers in Humboldt that have not advertised elsewhere that would advertise with a new Golden West station?
2161 MR. HILDEBRAND: Proof, no. I mean, I don't know ‑‑ until we make the presentation, we don't know this. From the economic activity that takes place in Humboldt we know that there is enough economic activity that we can develop a viable business. Because this city is no different than Rosetown or Kindersley or Shaunavon or other towns and cities of that size.
2162 They want to be noticed, they want to have some pride in their community, and there is nothing that gives a community pride like their own radio station because, you know, 24 hours a day talk about that community. That rubs off not only in the community itself, but in the surrounding areas where they are doing their marketing and servicing.
2163 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I want to speak a little bit about the contours for your proposed station. As you are aware, there are overlapping contours ‑‑
2164 MR. HILDEBRAND: Right.
2165 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: ‑‑ with our other stations in Saskatoon relative to Humboldt. So how do you justify adding a station in Humboldt which would give you three FM stations in the Saskatoon radio market?
2166 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well when we look at the map, which you have a copy of I am sure, there is a small overlap. In that overlapped area there are a total of 170 people. And so with the kind of technical pattern that we have, I mean, that would be a small overlap. And, as I said in our original application, we are asking for an exception to be made here.
2167 There is another possibility we could set up a directional antenna which would likely negate that but, again, that would be a more costly process. And when we look at these things we like to develop a plan that takes the least capital cost and provides the best service. And we didn't think that a small overlap of this nature would really be significant.
2168 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Would you accept a directional antenna as a condition of licence?
2169 MR. HILDEBRAND: If that is what you chose, sure.
2170 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So your request for an exemption is based solely on the fact that the overlap is relatively minor?
2171 MR. HILDEBRAND: We think it is very minor, yes.
2172 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: In terms of musical diversity you have a country music station in Saskatoon.
2173 MR. HILDEBRAND: Right.
2174 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Which residents of Humboldt can access.
2175 MR. HILDEBRAND: They can. And so can they access their station in Moose Jaw.
2176 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But why do the same type of format in another market?
2177 MR. HILDEBRAND: Again, these stations are far away. If the Commission is of the opinion that it should be a different music mix, we are happy to do that. Let's say, for example, we made our presentation here on country music. If the Commission's of the opinion that this should not be country music, that it could be an AC format, we are happy to do that as well. That doesn't impact our business plan at all.
2178 But, as we said, country music is a part of the Saskatchewan fabric. And the signals in Saskatchewan really cover a lot of ground. So a little more background on that. For example, Golden West has a radio station in Swift Current.
2179 So we have a Swift Current music station that has country music. You can easily hear the Swift Current radio station all the way up to North Battleford. But that doesn't mean that we are providing any service in North Battleford.
2180 So we have another country music station in Moose Jaw. The signal will be heard all the way up to Saskatoon, but we are not providing any service.
2181 So the basic service that is provide by a radio station is, as I said earlier, within a 50 kilometre area. Once you get past that 50 kilometre area you can't really provide basic service. You are then providing periphery and secondary service, because to do a good job in your home base you can't do a good job, you know, 100 kilometres away. I mean, it just doesn't work.
2182 If you are going to sort of say, well, we are going to serve a community 100 kilometres away, then you have to forget about serving your local community. And so the signals in Saskatchewan go on forever.
2183 Getting back to our Swift Current signal, we get hoards regularly of listeners in Lac La Ronge which is sort of at the top end of Saskatchewan. But that doesn't mean that you are going to provide any service there. So it is not where the signal is available, it is where the studio is, where your people are on the ground that can actually interact with everything. That is the service core.
2184 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You are talking about your news and information service being local and reflecting the community that you are in.
2185 MR. HILDEBRAND: And news and information is really all that is relevant in all of these communities. If they want to hear music, let's say a person wants only music, they never need to listen to a radio station. I mean, they can listen to iPods and CDs and satellite and any number of other sources where music is available.
2186 What sets radio stations apart, from our perspective, is the local service and that is made up of news and information and community content, and that is not available on satellite. So our view is that even though satellite radio is available everywhere, it is not really an impact if you provide local service. But if you don't in communities that don't have local service, they have a high penetration of satellite.
2187 But if you have local service, I mean, you can repatriate that audience very quickly because once you start talking everyday about what happens in your chamber of commerce, what happens in your retail sector, what happens in your downtown core, in your school in your churches, and your sporting team, once you talk about that throughout the day it just is amazing, you know, who then starts to listen and keeps on listening.
2188 And the whole premise of our raison d'être is to do that, that keeps the audience there. Once we have the audience, we know we can sell the advertisers.
2189 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you plan to setup an office right in Humboldt?
2190 MR. HILDEBRAND: Oh yes, the studio and office will be in Humboldt for sure.
2191 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And you also said that it would be 100 per cent local programming?
2192 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes.
2193 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Would you accept that as a condition of licence?
2194 MR. HILDEBRAND: For sure.
2195 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you very much for your answers.
2196 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
2197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2198 Commissioner Menzies.
2199 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
2200 I just want to clarify something here on your CCD. I think the total over seven years is $30,000?
2201 MR. HILDEBRAND: Thirty‑five thousand.
2202 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thirty‑five thousand.
2203 MR. HILDEBRAND: Above the basic.
2204 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: In your presentation today you shifted the allocation around a little bit from before or did you?
2205 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, the original application had $35,000 in it.
2206 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I know, but the year to year? Year one in your deficiencies had $5,000, then $4,500, $4,500, $4,000, $4,000, $4,000 and $4,000. And the presentation today has $4,000 for five years and then $7,500, $7,500.
2207 MR. HILDEBRAND: That is right, yes.
2208 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, so that is the one we go with, is the ‑‑
2209 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes, we will go with that, sure.
2210 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks.
2211 It is a little frustrating because I don't have sort of hard data. And I have great respect for your experience and knowledge of the marketplace, at the same time, we need hard data. So, you know, just looking up Humboldt on StatsCan and I get, you know, a really nice looking town of about 5,000 people, but that fewer people today than it did 10 years ago even though it sort of grew between 1996 and 2001.
2212 This is basically what I can learn from it; 75 per cent of folks are married, there is three single moms in town. It sounds like a nice stable community. But it doesn't sound ‑‑ and that is all I have got to go on in terms of hard data ‑‑ it doesn't sound like there is anything economically dynamic about it that would demand investment in it.
2213 Can you help me with that, what the reason for investment would be? Because, like I said, I have great respect for your opinion and I have great respect for other people's opinion too. But if I only have two opinions to handle I might as well toss a coin on this.
2214 MR. HILDEBRAND: You know, again, I think it is a good question, very hard to answer. A little bit like when we were talking last week in Red Deer where a number of companies had spent a huge amount of money trying to find what is the best format for a city.
2215 We didn't spend any money and came up with the same conclusion, what the best format was. So it is the kind of thing that, you know, we have just developed over the years.
2216 The same thing I think is true in Humboldt. For many years Saskatchewan sort of had an out‑migration of people. Every year the total number of people in Saskatchewan, you know, dropped a bit.
2217 But in the last few years it actually has been reversed and the Saskatchewan economy is hotter than most provinces in Canada right now. People are coming back to Saskatchewan, there is housing developments that are going on in communities that hadn't had a new house built for years.
2218 And so, you know, Humboldt is again one of the cities in Saskatchewan that we have sort of targeted as a place that, in the long‑run, wants a radio station, they can support a radio station. We don't see that there will be dramatic growth. From our perspective there doesn't need to be dramatic growth as long as there is sort of a vibrant community that wants to provide service to its region, no different than Shaunavon or Rosetown or some of the other communities we are in.
2219 They continue to do business and if the Province of Saskatchewan continues down its current path with all of the economic activity taking place there, we are confident not only that Humboldt deserves this, but that we can make it viable as part of our Golden West Group.
2220 And I really don't have any hard data that I can give you that I know of because nobody can really predict the future and certainly we are not saying that we can either. We look to the past and see how things have worked. And when we put that to these communities, then we know there is a long‑term potential here.
2221 And, as the Commission knows, we are not looking for overnight successes anywhere, we are just looking for a business that, you know, will be able to sustain itself, be viable and grow over time. And that is what we have done for 50 years and we are trying to continue to do it.
2222 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So the stats I am looking at are from 2005 and I understand Saskatchewan has had quite a turnaround since then.
2223 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes.
2224 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So is the city growing?
2225 MR. HILDEBRAND: The city now is growing, the city is excited about, you know, the activity that is taking place. They are getting more investment and they are getting more tourism going through there so ‑‑
2226 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: What sort of percentage change would..?
2227 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, then instead of falling in population they are starting to go back now.
2228 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And economic activity, have there been any new ‑‑
2229 MR. HILDEBRAND: I don't know of any studies because we haven't done a study.
2230 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But is there a new mall, is there a car dealership, is there Wal‑Mart, is there ‑‑
2231 MR. HILDEBRAND: Not at this point. But when we met with the City officials they said there were a number of things in the works and that they were excited about their prospects. But at this point, you know, Wal‑Mart's not there.
2232 But, you know, Wal‑Mart's not a good advertiser so ‑‑
2233 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But it doesn't have to be Wal‑Mart. Yeah, I know, they don't advertise very well. It is just a for instance.
2234 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, I understand. But the City fathers are very bullish on their future right now and so if in the next five or 10 years, you know, they can add another 500 or 600 people, you know, way to go.
2235 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. What convinces you ‑‑ in just my experience, because all we can talk about is yours and mine, when you get a dynamic city going through a period of dynamic growth, like Saskatoon, some of the smaller centres within an hour of two of it, they either catch that economic wind and become part of it or they don't.
2236 And when they don't they kind of become subject to the sort of giant sucking sound of Saskatoon and it just draws everybody away from it and they die.
2237 The Prairies are, you know, there is quite a few small areas like that in Southern Alberta, Southern Saskatchewan where that has happened. There is areas where it has been tremendous growth and there is areas where they just kind of fade away.
2238 So what convinces you that Humboldt won't be the latter and will be the former?
2239 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, again, we see that in Saskatchewan where there are many communities in different areas where we operate, you know, that are within 50 or 60 kilometres proximity that aren't growing and that are, as you say, dying. And these smaller ones may well continue to do that.
2240 But we see Humboldt as a critical piece in this corner of the province that is experiencing some growth and that will continue to experience growth. Once you are at a city level of 5,000 people, we haven't seen any of those larger communities actually wither away. And so where we have been in smaller communities like that many years ago there is consistent growth. And when we look at the province we see Humboldt one of those communities that has that potential and we would like to be part of it.
2241 And we know when we get involved with a city like that we can actually help in that growth by the very fact that we talk about what is happening in the community, we give the community some pride, all of those things help the community grow.
2242 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Are you live all the time?
2243 MR. HILDEBRAND: Now, you can speak to that.
2244 MS HILDEBRAND: We are planning to be live‑to‑air Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sundays from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., so it is a total of 82 hours a week.
2245 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That is live, not ‑‑
2246 MR. HILDEBRAND: Live‑on‑air.
2247 MS HILDEBRAND: Live‑on‑air, yeah.
2248 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Live‑on‑air, okay.
2249 That is a live announcer ‑‑
2250 MR. HILDEBRAND: Right.
2251 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: ‑‑ the whole time?
2252 Okay, thank you. That is it for me.
2253 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Menzies.
2254 I have several questions as well.
2255 In your responses to deficiencies back ‑‑ and I don't know what the date of this is ‑‑ January 30, 2008 you were asked a series of questions on ownership, and one of them was:
"Confirm whether you are seeking an exception to the common ownership policy and comment on how this would be in line with the common ownership policy as it exists." (As Read)
2256 And your response, and I will read it to you:
"We are hereby asking for an exception to the common ownership policy. We think such an exception would be in the interest of providing service to a community like Humboldt." (As Read)
2257 And then you go on and you explain why.
2258 Historically, the Commission has dealt with policies in a policy environment. I guess I ask the question why wouldn't you have applied for a change to our policies to deal with the unique situation that you are attributing here as opposed to, in a licensing process, asking us to do a one‑off exception to the existing policy as it exists, particularly in light of the fact that we have rendered a number of decisions in the last year.
2259 And, in fact, one of them I think was with regard to Golden West as well and basically said:
"The only exceptions that we see at this point in time relate to either technical considerations or economic need, as opposed to a new market that can't sustain itself on its own." (As Read)
2260 So I guess I ask the question, why did you pick this process as opposed to asking the Commission to reconsider the policy as it exists and opening it up to deal with the situation at hand?
2261 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, I guess, because looking at the map ‑‑ I mean, it is such a small overlap in a very rural area that we didn't see that this would be something that couldn't be overcome.
2262 THE CHAIRPERSON: The issue from the Commission's perspective is policy and yours is a unique situation, somebody else has got a different unique situation.
2263 MR. HILDEBRAND: Right.
2264 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if you look at the history of all of the decisions we have rendered, like I said, in the last 12 to 18 months on this issue we have sort of laid it out clearly and said here are the rules of the game.
2265 And if you want to change them, you are certainly welcome to come in and ask for a policy reconsideration. Where a lot of people who have concerns such as yours or other concerns as well that are questioning the policy in small markets come together and we look at it in the best interest of communities and the licensees as well.
2266 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, we felt here this would be in the best interest of the Humboldt community and its trading area and so that is why we went this route.
2267 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. CJVR filed a series of submissions and some statistics. I believe you said that the impact on CJVR would be relatively small.
2268 When I look at one of their charts, and it is a public chart, it sort of talks to the fact that if Golden West is given a licence in Humboldt they stand to lose roughly I think this looks like about 12 to 15 per cent of their annual revenues by virtue of this.
2269 Can you comment as to whether you think that would still allow them to sustain their business? If you lost 15 per cent of your revenues would you be able to continue to offer the services, the social obligations, the commitments to the community the same way you were if you didn't lose 15 per cent of your revenues?
2270 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, I mean, I think that is a good question. We think that by being an additional station, and Humboldt has its own station, and our entry into that market will actually, as we have heard many times in the past few weeks as well, create additional activity. And so, in our opinion, they wouldn't be losing 15 per cent because they would be working hard to maintain what they have and we would be working hard to develop new business.
2271 So at the end of the day I am very confident that we could co‑exist there to the betterment of the community. And I disagree with the fact that they would lose that part of their business.
2272 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. They also state in their filing of April 18, and they actually list on page 10 the number of Humboldt community services that they support, including the Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce, the JCs Club, the German Heritage Society of Humboldt and District, the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, the Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department, the Humboldt Broncos, which I gather they actually broadcast as well, and on and on and on.
2273 How would these folks, and I guess I come back to the previous question, be able to continue to get the support from CJVR if in fact they do or they are impacted by erosion of their revenue base?
2274 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, again, I think CJVR would have to decide, you know, their level of support into all of these functions. But surely, right now, they are the regional broadcaster there and they will want to support as many community events as they can.
2275 But quoting one of the Humboldt businesspeople when we were meeting with them, they said to me, "We get some services from Melfort, but mostly they are taking revenue out, but not putting any resources or people back into the community."
2276 And so we think that we would certainly be able to, as I said before, coexist with CJVR, we know they operate a solid operation and these organizations would get support from two radio stations and those organizations would all be better served.
2277 THE CHAIRPERSON: I probably should ask them this question, but do the principals of CJVR own other radio stations as well, or are they a sole independent?
2278 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, they own radio stations in Whitecourt, British Columbia and they were awarded a licence in Chilliwack last week.
2279 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hildebrand, when I look at your financial projections for this market and I guess I go back to your closing comments in your submission this morning where you say in the second last paragraph:
"We're only interested in serving the City of Humboldt." (As read)
2280 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your forecast of revenues, from my perspective, looks very, very aggressive. You are looking at receiving ‑‑ generating half a million dollars of annual revenue from local, and if there are only 5,000 households or thereabouts in the community, it looks like an awful lot of revenue to be generating from such a small market?
2281 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, again, we use these projections from our experience in markets that are of similar size or smaller and I think Rosetown is a good example. It's a radio station that serves Rosetown and community. Rosetown is a lot smaller than Humboldt and we're generating more revenue there than this.
2282 So, that from our perspective this is not aggressive, this is relatively conservative.
2283 So, we compare what are we doing in the similar communities, what have we been able to do over the years, you know, where did we start with our revenue.
2284 And, so, these are very low projections when we compare them with other communities in Saskatchewan that we're serving.
2285 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I apologize for not knowing where Rosetown is, but can you tell me where it is relative to Saskatoon?
2286 MR. HILDEBRAND: Rosetown is about the same distance as Humboldt but it's west of Saskatoon as opposed to east of Saskatoon.
2287 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is the revenues that you are getting from Rosetown primarily driven by the residents of Rosetown that are picking up the advertising and promoting, or is the spill‑over from Saskatoon, I guess?
2288 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, it's primarily from the Rosetown and the Rosetown trade area, and the same is true of Kindersley and the same is true of Shaunovan.
2289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does Rosetown reach the fringes of Saskatoon?
2290 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes, it does.
2291 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, you are picking up spill from there as well, presumably?
2292 MR. HILDEBRAND: Again, but we're not providing service there.
2293 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are not providing local service there, but you are getting the reach and I guess businesses in Saskatoon, if they want to attract people from Rosetown, will have advertise on your radio station ‑‑
2294 MR. HILDEBRAND: Sure.
2295 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ in order to get the pull?
2296 MR. HILDEBRAND: Sure they will, yes. But, I mean, most of our revenue is generated in the Rosetown and trading area community.
2297 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I flip that argument now and say that part of this revenue that you will be getting will be attributable businesses in Saskatoon trying to attract Humboldt ‑‑
2298 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, we're not attributing any revenue here out of Saskatoon at all.
2299 THE CHAIRPERSON: This is half a million dollars of annual revenue coming from 5,000 households?
2300 MR. HILDEBRAND: Well, this is how it works. I mean Altona in Manitoba is a smaller community.
2301 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, I can only relate to the hearing we had yesterday in Winnipeg here, and when I look at the revenue projections per household by the applicants who applied for the licences and compare that to your forecast per household, it is 20 times more.
2302 And maybe that is an anomaly and maybe small markets are different from bigger markets.
2303 MR. HILDEBRAND: You know, again, I think I should insert some more information into the process here.
2304 We haven't historically equated revenue to households. I know that in many instances applicants will equate revenue to households or to gross sales in the area or whatever percentage of that.
2305 We have not used that yardstick. We have been able to develop sales techniques and sales packages and sales processes in small communities that generate revenue that, in most broadcaster's eyes there would be no business there, but we have been able to do that and that's one of the reasons we've actually been able to exist.
2306 We have had many of our broadcast friends, for example, from major markets visit our operation in Altona, you know, which is a much smaller place than Humboldt and when they drive out there from Winnipeg they would say, well, there's no business here. I mean, how can you make a living here?
2307 Through ‑‑ one, through experience, through involvement with the community, with our ties with the community. I mean it's possible and, you know, we've been doing it successfully for many, many years.
2308 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I commend you for your success and you certainly are well recognized for being a creative, innovative, successful business as well, there is no question about that.
2309 We are just coming to grips with the impact of this ‑‑
2310 MR. HILDEBRAND: No, I know and I understand that and I am trying to illustrate to you how we do it and it's very hard for me to explain how we do it until you see, because it's nothing I guess that normal ‑‑ in the normal broadcast course of events, they don't operate in this manner.
2311 And, so, we've been able to put together advertising campaigns for small businesses that literally don't advertise anywhere, but in our process that works.
2312 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are all my questions.
2313 Are there any follow‑up questions?
2314 Thank you very much, appreciate it.
2315 MR. HILDEBRAND: Do I get ‑‑
2316 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, sorry. Counsel has got a couple of questions before I...
2317 MR. McCALLUM: Sorry, just a couple of small things, if I may.
2318 You may be aware with the Commercial Radio Policy of 2006, it was quoted to you in the deficiencies, one of the paragraphs relating to contributions to FACTOR.
2319 MR. HILDEBRAND: Mm‑hmm.
2320 MR. McCALLUM: In another one of the paragraphs, 124 of that Policy, the Commission's Policy is that when people make over and above contributions, they should devote no less than 20 per cent of an applicant's funding towards FACTOR or Music Action.
2321 If the Commission were to grant this application and make your over and above contributions a condition of licence, you would agree; would you not, that 20 per cent of that could be devoted to FACTOR?
2322 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yes, we would.
2323 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you.
2324 Secondly, just to clarify about live‑on‑air. At page 8 of your presentation this morning, in the 82 hours you said live‑on‑air is included within the 82 hours a week, the 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
2325 Is that the case, or is it live totally ‑‑ sorry, live assist was included within the 82 hours.
2326 Is live assist indeed included, or as you responded to Commissioner Menzies, is it actually live‑on‑air which would be included?
2327 MR. HILDEBRAND: It is included, yes.
2328 MR. McCALLUM: So, how much of the 82 hours is live and how much is live assist?
2329 MR. HILDEBRAND: Yeah. That would depend on the activity and whatever special events are going on in the community. So, it wouldn't necessarily be the same every day.
2330 So, that for example, when there are special events taking place, we would be live in addition to the minimums that we've outlined here.
2331 For example, on weekends, if there's activities taking place, you know, we would be live, you know, throughout the day and evening.
2332 So, the numbers that we quoted here were all minimums.
2333 MR. McCALLUM: So, within the 82 hours then, some of it is live assist?
2334 MR. HILDEBRAND: Right.
2335 MR. McCALLUM: And, secondly, between the 82 hours and the normal 126 hours of, you know, regulated broadcasting time, that is not necessarily live or live assist?
2336 MR. HILDEBRAND: It would be, yes.
2337 MR. McCALLUM: It would be local but not necessarily live?
2338 MR. HILDEBRAND: I don't follow your question there.
2339 MR. McCALLUM: That's the time after 6:00 p.m. to midnight, for example.
2340 MR. HILDEBRAND: Oh, in those areas it would be live ‑‑ it would be live assist or voice tracked, yes.
2341 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you.
2342 MR. HILDEBRAND: Sorry.
2343 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2344 MR. HILDEBRAND: Okay.
2345 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Do you want to make a closing statement?
2346 MR. HILDEBRAND: If I could, yes.
2347 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely. Please do.
2348 MR. HILDEBRAND: First of all, thank you for allowing us to appear. We're confident that we can make this application work. We're also confident that CJVR will not be negatively impacted with this process.
2349 We also experience ‑‑ for example, I mentioned the radio stations in a ghost town where we have other radio stations, North Battleford, covering part of that area. When they added additional radio stations to that market it didn't impact our revenue at all.
2350 The most important thing I think I'd like the Commission to understand is that radio is not a hobby for us at Golden West, as it is for my friend Gene Fabro at CJVR.
2351 He runs a huge family construction company and they have far flung investments in the Canadian resource sector. So, for him radio is not his core investment; for us, radio is everything.
2352 We have nothing else going, we're just broadcasters.
2353 We need to grow in order to compete with the public broadcasting companies and with the diversified Western Canadian broadcasters that have been appearing before you in the last week or so.
2354 As the Commission knows, that Golden West will provide real community service to Humboldt every day, not just occasionally as is the case today.
2355 So, we thank you for the opportunity to be here. We know that we can provide the kind of service that would be a feather in the cap for Humboldt and we look forward to doing it.
2356 Thank you very much.
2357 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, and we appreciate your appearance here today.
2358 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2359 This completes Phase I.
2360 We will now proceed to Phase II in which intervenors appear in the order set out in the Agenda to present their interventions.
2361 I would now call Radio CJVR Limited to come to the presentation table.
2362 Please introduce yourself before you presentation and you'll have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2363 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
2364 MR. SINGER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, CRTC Staff.
2365 My name is Ken Singer, I'm operations manager, or Vice‑President of Operations Broadcasting for Radio CJVR Limited.
2366 On my left is Gene Fabro, President and owner of Radio CJVR. On my right is Kevin Gemmell our station manager and general sales manager for our two Melford AM and FM operations.
2367 Before Kevin assumed his role ‑‑ senior management role, Kevin acted as sales rep in the Humboldt market for a period of seven years, so has first‑hand knowledge and experience in calling on that retail market.
2368 Mr. Chair and Commissioners, on behalf of Radio CJVR Limited I wish to thank the Commission for this opportunity to appear in opposition to Golden West Broadcasting Limited's application for a licence to operate a new FM radio station in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
2369 Plainly stated, Golden West's proposed Humboldt station will have a devastating impact on CJVR and its overall operations which have been providing local and regional programming service to more than 100 rural Saskatchewan communities, including Humboldt and surrounding area, for 41 years.
2370 The licensing of Golden West's undertaking, in our opinion, would result in a 75 to 80 per cent reduction in the vitally important revenue accruing to CJVR from Humboldt and surrounding market area.
2371 By the applicant's own assessment and I quote:
"The community is not large enough to support a free‑standing radio station." (As read)
2372 MR. SINGER: Other than a number of references to "their broadcasting experience", Golden West has not provided any evidence whatsoever by way of a consumer demand study that is reflective of listener needs or programming preferences.
2373 This is evidenced by the fact that Golden West proposes to program a country music station, despite the fact that in addition to CJVR FM's award‑winning country music service, Humboldt's population of 5,000 people also receives country music from no less than six other stations, including Yorkton, Prince Albert, Regina, Swift Current and two Saskatoon stations.
2374 As well, Golden West failed to provide any empirical data by way of an economic impact analysis of the local market to determine Humboldt's ability to support a new FM station without causing undue financial hardship and dislocation to CJVR.
2375 MR. GEMMELL: Mr. Chair, CJVR disagrees with Golden West's premise that even if Humboldt is not large enough to support a stand‑alone radio station, by virtue of it being a part of the Golden West family and, thus, able to take advantage of the group's infrastructure it justifies putting a station in Humboldt anyway, even if it causes irreparable damage.
2376 CJVR would like to point out that we know the communities within our coverage area like the back of our hands because we've been extending service to them since 1966.
2377 While many communities may find the notion of having their own locally originating station appealing, the reality is, Humboldt does not have the population or commercial base to sustain a local stand‑alone FM station, especially one that would employ a dozen people as stated by Mr. Friesen in their newspaper article attached to our presentation.
2378 MR. FABRO: Mr. Chair, as the Commission knows, CJVR has submitted a total of 10 applications in the past two years in responses to calls in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in an effort to expand our business and maintain a strong, independent voice within Western Canada's private radio sector.
2379 As such, we have had to go further afield because the opportunities for new licences are limited in rural Saskatchewan.
2380 It goes without saying that if there was a viable opportunity to establish a new FM station in Humboldt, or anywhere in our own back yard, CJVR would have acted upon it ages ago.
2381 We do not have the luxury of the Golden West Radio Group that operates 30 stations, 17 of which are in Saskatchewan representing 43 per cent of the 40 private radio stations in the province, five of which can be heard in Humboldt.
2382 By comparison, CJVR has the challenge of serving 100 widely dispersed and sparsely populated communities across a geographic expanse that is one and a half times the area of Vancouver Island.
2383 Therefore, every local dollar generated is critical to CJVR's ability to continue to provide these communities with high quality musical and spoken word programming.
2384 In our desire to extend the first FM service to the listening public of northeastern Saskatchewan in 2001, the only viable means to achieve this objective was to establish a regional FM station that would incorporate such communities as: Melford, Nipawin, Tisdale and Humboldt, given the fact that none of these communities to be served were large enough to support a station on their own.
2385 That was the reality in 2001 and it remains so in 2008.
2386 Consequently, CJVR invested over $2‑million in developing this regional FM service, of which a half a million dollars was spent in establishing a rebroadcasting transmitter just 45 kilometres east of Humboldt at Dafoe, providing local and regionally relevant programming to Humboldt and surrounding communities.
2387 MR. SINGER: Mr. Chair, the Golden West prospect for Humboldt is also of grave concern to CJVR as it represents a near parallel scenario to the earlier licensing of CJNE FM for Nipawin, Saskatchewan which has resulted in a significant reduction of revenues from that segment of our coverage area.
2388 By way of brief background, in the fall of 2001 CJVR, in applying to establish its regional FM plan, found it necessary to intervene against an application by NorCom Electronics to serve Nipawin and surrounding communities.
2389 Essentially, CJVR cautioned that Nipawin could not support a third local station without causing undue harm to CJVR who had been serving that area for 35 years.
2390 Nonetheless, CJNE FM was licensed and the net result is that CJVR to this day has experienced a 41 per cent loss of revenues from the Nipawin market.
2391 Hence, the approval of the Golden West proposal for Humboldt would be like dealing a double blow to CJVR's bottom line, as we will suffer a 75 to 80 per cent revenue reduction in Humboldt.
2392 When combined with Nipawin, these losses in revenue represent 22 per cent of our total sales for our Melford AM and FM operations.
2393 MR. GEMMELL: Mr. Chair, the approach that Golden West has taken in response to our written intervention clearly ignores the reality of the market, suggesting that new revenue sources will be developed with minimal impact on CJVR.
2394 Golden West anticipates that only five per cent of their revenues will be drawn from existing players. Such projections reflect a total lack of knowledge and understanding of the Humboldt market.
2395 As the local broadcaster that has been serving Humboldt's retail sector for decades, the reality is that Golden West will impact our Humboldt revenues by at least 75 per cent, not five per cent.
2396 Further, Golden West's response to our intervention shows a complete lack of understanding of the nature of CJVR's operation in northeast Saskatchewan and, in particular, the locally relevant service that we provide to Humboldt and surrounding communities.
2397 A sense of what CJVR means to Humboldt was reflected recently in a letter to the Commission from Humboldt Mayor Malcolm Eaton in support of our application for a new FM for Chilliwack, B.C., which said in part:
"Radio CJVR is a significant aspect of our local radio market and, as such, provides our area with a needed local perspective and community connectivity. CJVR also provides substantial coverage of our local junior hockey team, special community events, school events and does a great job keeping our surrounding communities informed about the region in which they reside. CJVR provides sponsorship of local events and has a long‑standing reputation of community involvement. Without doubt, they are a full partner in this area and our community." (As read)
2398 MR. FABRO: Mr. Chair, a further concern to CJVR stems from the fact that Golden West's proposed Humboldt FM station's 3mV contour overlaps the 3mV contours of 629112 Saskatchewan Limited's two Saskatoon stations, CJMK FM and CKBL FM, which enables them to operate three stations in the same market.
2399 Such an occurrence is contrary to the CRTC's common ownership policy.
2400 Golden West, in agreeing that there was some overlap, requested an exception to the policy. It is CJVR's view that Golden West failed to provide any credible evidence or argument with respect to a demonstrated technical or economic need that would warrant the granting of an exception.
2401 Such was also the case in March, 2008 when Golden West was denied an exception for Winkler/Morden, Manitoba as per Public Notice 2008‑65.
2402 MR. SINGER: In summary, Mr. Chair, the Commission should conclude that this application should be denied for the following reasons.
2403 1. Humboldt already has two local radio stations in CJVR FM and CKJH AM that have committed millions of dollars to serve and support and this community over the past 41 years;
2404 2. By Golden West's own admission, the market cannot support a stand‑alone radio station;
2405 3. The licensing of Golden West's undertaking, in our opinion, would result in a 75 to 80 per cent reduction in the vitally important revenue accruing to CJVR from Humboldt and surrounding market area;
2406 4. While our Melford stations serve over 100 towns and villages, the bulk of our revenues are drawn from only a few of these communities. Humboldt represents 17 per cent of our total local revenue;
2407 5. Approval of this application will put at great risk a high quality, local, regionally relevant programming service that CJVR provides to Humboldt and northeastern Saskatchewan;
2408 6. The Golden West application fails to add any meaningful diversity to the market, proposing to offer yet another country music service to a community that already receives seven country stations, including CJVR FM and three of the Golden West Group's stations;
2409 7. The Golden West proposal for Humboldt is contrary to the CRTC's common ownership policy as the 3mV contour overlaps with the 3mV contour of 629112 Saskatchewan Limited's two Saskatoon stations.
2410 We would be happy to expand on any further aspects of our intervention objecting to this application, should you wish.
2411 Thank you again for this opportunity to personally present our views on a matter of fundamental importance and long‑term viability to CJVR.
2412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen.
2413 I've got a couple of questions.
2414 I'll ask you the same question that I asked Mr. Hildebrand in terms of your operations in the radio business
2415 Can you expand for us as to where you are currently operating and the diversity of your business in the radio industry?
2416 MR. SINGER: Well, we have been in the Melford market for the past 41 years. We acquired a radio station in Whitecourt, Alberta about two years ago, CIXM FM and last week, we're happy and thankful to receive a new licence for the market of Chilliwack.
2417 THE CHAIRPERSON: How many people do you employ at CJVR today?
2418 MR. SINGER: Our Melfort operations are between 30 and 32 people. Thirty full‑time for sure, and then some part‑time.
2419 At our Whitecourt operation, we have 12 staff working there.
2420 MR. FABRO: May I just add one thing?
2421 Mr. Hildebrand said earlier that this is a hobby for me. This is not a hobby. We have invested millions of dollars in this business. We have spent several hundred thousand dollars applying for new licences recently.
2422 This is not a hobby, this is serious business. I don't know where he gets that word from.
2423 THE CHAIRPERSON: Given the 30 or 33 staff that you have, how do you deploy them? How do they get out and reach the communities beyond Melfort?
2424 How much time is spent? Do you have people who are in vans, or do you have local contractors to provide you with the information that residents need in those communities?
2425 MR. SINGER: Our approach to serving 100 communities over that broad, broad area is that we, in every possible way, try to be as inclusive as possible in serving those markets, and you can't do that ‑‑ if we had three times the staff, we couldn't put them all in the field.
2426 So we certainly do rely on local contacts.
2427 Over the years, in Saskatchewan, we have developed many, many relationships with people who are the eyes and ears of the radio station in those local communities. They act to give us information about what is going on. We will pick up the phone and call them from time to time, if a story breaks, to get some further information from them.
2428 Our news and on‑air staff visit those markets as frequently as they can.
2429 We are entering our busiest season of the year right now, where we do community salutes in many of those communities ‑‑ live broadcasts from the main street of each of those communities.
2430 We are very involved in local sports coverage. We cover the Humboldt Broncos. They just finished an incredible season, where they won the Canadian championship. We carried 50 Humboldt Bronco hockey games.
2431 Our involvement with that hockey team doesn't end with the play‑by‑play, we get involved in their fundraising and in their promotions. We run coaches' shows.
2432 Beyond Humboldt, we carry the Nipawin Hawks' junior hockey league games.
2433 We carry the Melfort Mustangs' hockey league games.
2434 We are very involved in U of S Huskies football, because those players come from all of the communities that we serve. It is tremendously appreciated by our listenership. It is all part of our local involvement.
2435 We will get out into these markets as much as we can.
2436 A number of our staff live in some of these communities, and they commute. They work in Melfort, and they commute to Melfort from Tisdale, from St. Brieux.
2437 At times, in our 41‑year history in the Humboldt market, we have had a full‑time sales rep who lived in Humboldt.
2438 We do have our sales staff living in different areas. It is a challenge, but it is one that we feel we are good at.
2439 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you report on Chamber of Commerce meetings and activities that go on that affect the community and the residents?
2440 MR. SINGER: Absolutely.
2441 Our news coverage, as I say, is all‑inclusive. In any given week ‑‑ and I have examples of stories that we did. We took a monitor some time ago, when this application was filed. We took a monitor back to the kind of coverage we had given Humboldt just on our news alone, and in any given day, in most cases, there were one or two Humboldt stories.
2442 Beyond the newscasts, there isn't a day goes by when you are not hearing about Humboldt on our station.
2443 Contrary to what Mr. Hildebrand said, sure we are based in Melfort, but, clearly, our application for a regional FM service identified ‑‑ and we live up to that proposal ‑‑ identified that we will serve all of these communities in an all‑inclusive fashion.
2444 It should also be pointed out, further to Gene's comments a moment ago, that in addition to those stations, we have erected repeater towers to bring, in many cases, the first FM service ‑‑ not the first local FM, but it was the first FM service to many of these communities that we serve.
2445 So beyond the investment in the radio station itself, we have invested in a repeater in Dafoe, 45 kilometres east of Humboldt, a repeater in Waskasoo, which serves a tremendous amount of our listeners who go up there for their summer vacation, and we have invested in a low‑power repeater in the community of Carrot River, because when we put our FM on the air, there was clearly a null in the coverage of that community, so a further investment was made there.
2446 It is beyond just serving our market from Melfort, Saskatchewan. We always had the intention that these communities are vitally important to our business plan.
2447 And we provide a service that they do not get from other FMs.
2448 MR. GEMMELL: Mr. Chair, just to expand on Mr. Singer's comments regarding Humboldt, when I sold in the territory for seven years, I spent, roughly, 60 percent of my time in Humboldt. I actually sat on the executive of the Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce, and I worked on various committees within the Chamber.
2449 Our radio station is in contact both ways ‑‑ in communication with Laurie Bonco(ph), the Chamber Manager. She will phone us; we will contact her. We have a weekly report with the Chamber.
2450 And our current sales rep, Brian Cush(ph), who handles the Humboldt territory, spends about 60 percent of his time servicing the Humboldt market, again because about 17 percent of our revenue comes from Humboldt. It is a core ‑‑ it's a drawing area to the larger rural area that is served to the east of Humboldt.
2451 MR. SINGER: I think that is a very good point, too, Mr. Chair, if you would let me elaborate further.
2452 One of our creative directors is on the council of the Community of Tisdale. Numerous of our staff are involved on Boards of Directors in these communities, and different community organizations.
2453 Again, it is a part of our mandate to do local programming, and we have been doing as good a job as anyone at this level, including Golden West, in terms of being more than just a transmitter. We get involved with the communities we serve.
2454 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again, I don't profess to know the size of Nipawin, but you say here that when you faced an alternative broadcaster in 2001, you experienced a 41 percent loss of revenues from that market.
2455 What was the impact on that market, from your perspective, on you?
2456 Did you cut back at all? Were there any changes to the support you gave them, or was there some ‑‑ I won't say cross‑subsidy, but ‑‑
2457 Did it all come out of one pot, basically, and you continued to serve ‑‑
2458 MR. SINGER: We have a full‑time sales person who lives in Nipawin. That has been the case for many, many years with CJVR. It is too important for us to back off and run away with our tail between our legs.
2459 The 41 percent drop in that revenue was majorly significant to us, but we have not taken our foot off the gas over there, because we still provide two distinctively different music choices to that market, with our AM and our FM, and we also provide a level of service that surpasses that local operator.
2460 There is no question that it has made an impact on us.
2461 The greatest impact was that this operator has devalued radio in the market, selling spots at a third of what we sell spots for, and it has made a tremendous impact.
2462 It isn't just loss of business, it's a reduction in business, because these are small advertisers. The population is, roughly ‑‑
2463 MR. GEMMELL: It's 3,200 in Nipawin.
2464 MR. SINGER: So now we have three radio stations serving a market of 3,200, with very little retail in the market.
2465 Again, we bring up the point to demonstrate the impact of licensing a market like Humboldt, because we are going to see it again, only to a much greater degree, because our format is being duplicated, and portions of our spoken word ‑‑
2466 Mr. Hildebrand indicated that he would carry Broncos' hockey, which represents a tremendous amount of our Humboldt revenues.
2467 MR. GEMMELL: Further, Mr. Chair, to the Nipawin situation, they also have a rebroadcaster in Carrot River, which generates revenue for them. So they do branch out a little more, but not to the significance that the Golden West application would branch out with a Class C, 100,000 watt signal.
2468 They are going to be hitting Watson and Watrous and other areas that we have noted on our chart as areas of revenue for us, as well, and we feel there will be a substantial impact, because they are duplicating the music format that we are presenting to that market.
2469 MR. SINGER: If I could comment a bit further on the Nipawin situation, in that situation the new licence was granted, and there were full intentions to offer a full‑service radio station to the market, with a full staff, numbering in the 10 to 12 area. Today that station operates with three, sometimes less, people, one of whom works as a sales rep for the Nipawin station, and also works for Mr. Hildebrand's station, representing the Saskatoon station, in our market.
2470 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand ‑‑ I think I understand the impact on your business with the addition of the new station in Nipawin, but when you look at it from a consumer perspective, a resident's perspective, has the addition of another broadcasting station been good for the people?
2471 MR. SINGER: I would be hard pressed to say that any market where you offer a new radio station that is going to be planted in the market ‑‑ I mean, who is not going to say, "Yes, we would love to have one of them"?
2472 Most definitely, the radio station has listeners.
2473 And there is no question that local markets like to support their local entities.
2474 By the same token, they support CJVR. They recognize us as local, as well.
2475 In the Humboldt market, we have had meetings similar to Mr. Hildebrand with the community leaders. We wanted to let them know the reasoning behind our appearance here today, to give them the assurance that we are not trying to impede the growth and opportunities for Humboldt, but we have invested heavily in the market.
2476 The repeater alone that we put up to serve Humboldt just a few years ago was at the cost of half a million dollars. And they appreciate that.
2477 And despite the one reference that was read in the Golden West application this morning, I could give you hundreds of references of people who are very, very pleased with what we do for them in the market, and we haven't backed away.
2478 Going back to the Nipawin situation, in fact, we have had to aggressively market ourselves more in that market than we did in the past, because we were the only player.
2479 However, there is an opportunity to maintain some of our revenues in that market. Currently, today, there is.
2480 The proposal before you for Humboldt, clearly, erases our opportunities. Duplication of the format in the market, expecting to take the hockey rights away from us ‑‑ that is a significant amount of our revenue.
2481 I would also like to add, just so I don't forget this today, that in the package that we submitted with our proposal we included a copy of our revenues from that market shown as a percentage of our local revenues. We would be happy, if the Commission wishes, to provide, in confidence, the actual figures, rather than showing them as percentages, if it would help you in your decision, just to, once again, demonstrate the significance of the number of dollars we are talking about.
2482 MR. GEMMELL: Mr. Chair, what we would be willing to provide in confidence is, basically, the same chart that you are looking at now, showing the cash values instead of percentage values, so you can get a better understanding of the real losses that we would sustain from our bottom line.
2483 MR. McCALLUM: If I may, is that the same document that had been tendered to the Commission already, and it was rejected by the Commission already?
2484 MR. GEMMELL: Yes.
2485 MR. SINGER: Yes, it was. It was submitted with our original intervention, under the condition that it would be treated as confidential.
2486 MR. McCALLUM: So the confidentiality was initially denied.
2487 MR. SINGER: Yes, it was.
2488 MR. GEMMELL: It was initially denied due to the fact that it wouldn't give the Applicant an opportunity to comment on it, because they wouldn't be able to see it.
2489 But, in this case, it's a little different. The percentages have been shown to the Commission, all we are doing is adding dollar values.
2490 But it would certainly be bad for us to show those to the general public, so confidentiality would be key.
2491 MR. SINGER: I guess, on the other hand, you already have this information. It would just save you doing the math, because we are showing percentages of our local ‑‑ our annual return shows our local.
2492 So, one way or another, I guess you have the figures.
2493 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think you are right. If we have your total figures, we could apply the same percentages, as well, and get the same numbers, unless there is some magic there that we don't know about.
2494 Those are my questions.
2495 Commissioner Menzies has some questions.
2496 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You say that you will lose 75 percent of your revenue from Humboldt, and Humboldt represents 17 percent of your total.
2497 Is that right?
2498 MR. SINGER: That's correct.
2499 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So that's about 12 percent of your total?
2500 MR. GEMMELL: That would be the loss, yes.
2501 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Something like that would be your loss.
2502 That is the loss if you don't do anything; right?
2503 It sounds like you have kind of declared defeat on it to me. Why wouldn't you fight?
2504 MR. SINGER: Clearly, if we look at the application that is before you and say that now the market has another choice for the music format ‑‑
2505 It is basically what we are playing. The description that Mr. Hildebrand gave of that country music format is what we are doing. It is working very well in Humboldt.
2506 I would suggest that the quality of the signal is going to be that much better. He has an originating signal there, and we are coming off of a repeater.
2507 There is no question, as I think the Chairman was alluding to, that just the resources to serve the market outside your door gives them an advantage.
2508 Again, the big part of our revenue in that market is hockey, and that will go away.
2509 I could ask Kevin to talk about that a little further.
2510 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, how does your arrangement with hockey work? Do they pay you?
2511 Do they buy the time from you?
2512 MR. GEMMELL: No, we have a contract, which is very similar, with all three of the SJHL teams that we cover. We don't pay them a rights fee for the purpose, but we don't charge them.
2513 We do a fair amount of donation to them of game‑day advertising.
2514 Essentially, we are giving them airtime, or contributing airtime, if you want to call it that.
2515 Obviously, that's not going to be lost to us, because we won't have to run that. However, it is very unlikely ‑‑ they don't have the budget to spend this money anyway, so there wouldn't be a game there for us to attempt to charge them.
2516 The key with hockey is, it makes up, roughly, 25 percent of the revenue that we take out of Humboldt, but, on top of that, there is a lot of peripheral business that comes from us being the voice of the Humboldt Broncos.
2517 We have found that a hockey advertiser is more prone to advertise at general times.
2518 There are a fair number of businesses in Humboldt that are non‑advertisers, because they are non‑traditional, they just don't advertise on radio and that sort of thing, but we have found that those hockey advertisers are prone to spending money at other times of the week and the day, and the year, that make up a good chunk of the revenue we take out of the market.
2519 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure. But wouldn't it be better for the hockey team to have two people competing for the rights?
2520 MR. GEMMELL: It's not that profitable.
2521 MR. SINGER: I think that gets back to the overall question: Can the market sustain another radio station.
2522 The advertising revenues that we have derived over the past four decades from Humboldt ‑‑ I mean, there is a suggestion that there is all of this new revenue that is going to be created because Golden West is in the market. We, too, for 40 years, have been selling ideas. We have been knocking on those doors for 40 years, and these projections are so beyond the reality of what is available in that market.
2523 Again, you have to be in the market, as we have been, to really get a sense of what is the scope of the retail outlets in the market.
2524 Out of the total businesses in the market, there is a high percentage that isn't retail oriented, but there are also a very, very few that would be considered larger advertisers. Automotive would be one of the ones classified as a larger advertiser, and I guess that a couple of other ‑‑
2525 MR. GEMMELL: To expand on that, there are the three automotives ‑‑ your big three ‑‑ your Chrysler, your Dodge and your Chevy dealer.
2526 The Chrysler dealership also carries recreational vehicles, or trailers.
2527 From an anchor‑store situation, you have three grocery stores ‑‑ The Co‑Operative, IGA and Extra Foods.
2528 Of course, Extra Foods, our super store, does not advertise on radio.
2529 Your general merchandise store is The Sands(ph) Store, and they are currently not advertising on radio because they are in receivership across this country. They have, since the end of 1997, been in receivership.
2530 But I think the big thing about Humboldt, from a research standpoint, is also the retail sales. We checked it out, and the 2008 projected retail sales figure for Humboldt is $95 million, which is 38 percent below the national average of retail sales, based on population.
2531 That's kind of a dangerous thought, too.
2532 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Here is where you can help me. You haven't said that your business will fail if there is a new station in Humboldt. You haven't applied for a station in Humboldt yourself, so I am boiling it down to ‑‑ and I want to give you the opportunity to correct me ‑‑ this is about that you will make less money if Golden West goes into Humboldt, and you want us to help you keep that money and not lose it.
2533 I am trying to figure out why how much money you make ‑‑ why that is in the public interest. Why is it a public interest matter how much Golden West makes, or how much CJVR makes, or how much anyone makes?
2534 Isn't competition going to make you work harder to serve the people of Humboldt more, and the worst thing that happens is that one of you goes away eventually, and we are back where we are?
2535 MR. SINGER: I think it goes back to the level of service that we are committed to providing, and not just to Humboldt. It is one of the communities, and it is an important community to us, as are the others.
2536 Every dollar that we make gives us an opportunity to continue that level of service.
2537 Having 30 people in our radio stations in Melfort, with a population about the same size as Humboldt, is a great expense, and the very nature of our objective to serve all of these communities ‑‑ that is our choice. We chose to do that, because we feel that that will help us be successful. It will bring service to a lot of communities that didn't have it before.
2538 Our mandate for the past 40 years has been to reflect what is going on in those communities and to serve them. If our focus was just Melfort, we wouldn't need 30 people. We have way more staff than, I would say, any operator in the province, stuck in one radio station.
2539 You have to understand the difference between our type of radio ‑‑ it is kind of unique. Saskatchewan's population is so dispersed, and we are one of the few independents out there serving this huge rural area. Our revenue isn't totally focused on one aspect, like you are if you are in a Saskatoon or a Regina market. We have to keep that critical mass to support the level of service we are offering.
2540 We are not afraid of competition. We compete every day. The Prince Albert stations are selling in our markets. The Saskatoon stations are selling in our markets. The arrival of a new small operator in Nipawin has created competition for us. The possibility of Humboldt, and the new platforms ‑‑ I mean, they are affecting our listenership, as well.
2541 And there is no question, beyond broadcasting revenue ‑‑ as Golden West indicated earlier this morning, there is a lot of money being spent on the print media in the Humboldt market, which is going to newspapers ‑‑ Saskatoon newspapers in a lot of cases.
2542 The weekly newspapers are very aggressive in all of the markets we serve.
2543 So, no, CJVR is not afraid of competition. That is why Gene has kept reinvesting in our company, and making us technically competitive, and the emergence of our ‑‑
2544 Our overall plan to put that FM station on in 2001 was not just to serve Melfort. If you review that application from back then it is very clear that our plan was always to be all inclusive. And by doing that we did not reduce our coverage area.
2545 You know, basically we have the largest coverage area perhaps in Canada in terms of when you take into account the repeaters we put up. And we did that because for many of those communities they didn't have an FM service. So those communities would be hard pressed to tell you that we haven't brought something to the community in addition to the on‑air value to them.
2546 MR. GEMMELL: Commissioner Menzies, maybe also you know it should be noted that in most decisions that the CRTC offers for new licences they were very close about the impact on the incumbents. The impact on our bottom line would be a 12 percent reduction in local sales. Again, you have the opportunity to look at our audited financial statements that were submitted last November. A 12 percent decrease in sales would be very harmful to our bottom line.
2547 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand that in terms of that. It really becomes a discussion about how much competition, and that would be an ongoing discussion I expect anyway.
2548 Thank you for your answers.
2549 MR. FABRO: Well, also, I mean, like we have pointed out that we are a local station. We are Humboldt's local station.
2550 Mr. Hildebrand, I disagree entirely with him. He says you can't cover a community that is 50 kilometres away from your studio. That's absolutely wrong. That's ‑‑ he is hoodwinking you. That is incorrect. We do that all the time in our huge coverage areas, Ken had mentioned earlier.
2551 MR. GEMMELL: And to give you a great example of Mr. Hildebrand's coverage outside of the 50‑kilometre radius, I started my radio career with this radio station in Moose Jaw, CHAV. And we covered community events in Assiniboine, which is well over an hour's drive. We covered and ran events in Watrous. In fact, just two years ago CHAV ran a million dollar hole‑in‑one golf event in Watrous which is about 125‑kilometre drive from Moose Jaw.
2552 So they are doing essentially the same thing we are with the broad‑reaching AM and FM station out of Moose Jaw. Yes, their focus is Moose Jaw but their revenue base is much larger.
2553 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
2554 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2555 Commissioner Patrone.
2556 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a couple of questions in regards to the coverage that you just mentioned.
2557 How big is the staffing commitment in the newsroom in Melfort, just in ‑‑ I am just talking about news now, not the entire station.
2558 MR. SINGER: We have three‑and‑a‑ half people in our news department.
2559 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And considering the size of your news ‑‑
2560 MR. SINGER: Plus fulltime sports as part of that; not included in that three and a half.
2561 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So you are 3.5 ‑‑
2562 MR. SINGER: And then another fulltime ‑‑
2563 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: ‑‑ news people are covering everything?
2564 MR. SINGER: Yes, that's correct.
2565 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: For a huge area?
2566 MR. SINGER: Yes.
2567 MR. GEMMELL: We have five in the newsroom, one‑and‑a‑half sports and three‑and‑a‑half news.
2568 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Well, I am just considering that when you look at the size of that newsroom and the size of the area that you are covering, whether or not those resources are sufficient to give adequate coverage to communities like Humboldt. And I respect the fact that you say that 50 kilometres isn't that big a distance in terms of being able to go out to those communities.
2569 Can you speak on that a little?
2570 MR. SINGER: Well, I think we do an awful lot with what we have. But our gathering of information, once again, isn't limited to that news staff. Our on‑air staff are involved in the gathering of information as well. The news department looks after hard news and covering events, writing stories and so on, but everybody from our program director and all of his on‑air staff are involved in the process of gathering local information that's going to be reflected on the air.
2571 Even our salespeople who are out in the field ‑‑ our Nipawin sales rep, for example, will feed us information of things that are going on and give it to ‑‑ if it's a news item she will be on the phone to the news department, or if it's a community event she will be on the phone to our program director.
2572 And plus we, over the years, have developed a tremendous network of contacts in those markets. So it's not totally dependent on those amounts of people in the building but, again, you know, it's what works for you know the overall plan. I mean we are not staff‑heavy here. Everyone has shared duties, no different than the Golden West operations, and most definitely I guess if ‑‑ you know, given more revenues ‑‑ and we have said this in front of a commission many times in the last two years ‑‑ if we become more successful our plan is to put that money into ‑‑ back into the operation to improve our programming.
2573 Because you know our type of radio is dependent on that local service and, you know, we are not going to win this by playing the same music or better music than somebody else. So we have totally recognized that if we don't have the resources to reflect that local service we are not going to do that well. And we are doing fairly well in light of the competition with the resources we have now.
2574 So definitely it's a team effort to do this and it has its challenges, for sure.
2575 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I understand those challenges. You spoke of course of the importance of Humboldt in terms of its revenue source. But I'm just wondering, and Mr. Hildebrand has raised it, whether or not that importance has been reciprocated in terms of delegated resources to those communities.
2576 For instance, do you have a stringer in Humboldt? Do you have somebody who is ‑‑
2577 MR. SINGER: We don't have a staff person there but we do have a number of people that are in the Humboldt market that, again, are ‑‑ they are like volunteer reporters for us. They don't do actual writing of stories but they are our eyes and ears.
2578 And you know when you serve a market as long as we have been serving Humboldt, you know, it keeps growing because new organizations come and we are constantly asked to come and emcee events that are going on in Humboldt because guess what? We are the local radio station. When the Humboldt Broncos returned from their big victory the first phone call they made was to us, will we have somebody there? We were broadcasting live when the team arrived. Kevin emceed the evening's celebration and, as mentioned earlier, we are involved in the community.
2579 So we naturally have built these relationships.
2580 MR. GEMMELL: We have, Mr. Commissioner, a number of weekly events that happen on the radio station including the high school report where we have high school students on the air on both our AM and FM station talking about events that are happening with HCI. The Chamber Manager is heard weekly on the radio station, not just on newscasts but as part of our discussion with the on air personalities about what is going on in Humboldt. So there are a number of features with, you know if you want to call them community stringers. Lorrie Bunko, the chamber manager, is probably one of our key contacts in Humboldt.
2581 MR. SINGER: Just recently, the Emergency Measures organization in Humboldt approached us and asked permission to send out information to all the residents of Humboldt should an emergency situation arise that they could dial to our two radio stations for immediate information should that situation happen, you know, and of course we are participating in that program. But again, that approach was made from Humboldt coming to us saying, "You know, we have organized this" and they did posters and fridge magnets with the instructions, and so on.
2582 Again, it's a reflection of how Humboldt views the importance of our two radio stations to their market.
2583 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So if your reporter in Melfort needs to drive to Humboldt for a big breaking story it would take what, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour?
2584 MR. SINGER: About an hour.
2585 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: An hour's drive?
2586 MR. SINGER: M'hm. But you know, no different. We had a situation happen in Nipawin which is a little closer. They had an explosion. I think I told you this story last week but I will repeat it.
2587 They had a gas explosion in the community. It was a fairly dramatic day, a tremendous impact on the community, and we first got the news from a listener who called us and told us this had happened. We were immediately receiving phone calls from residents of Nipawin giving us information as our ‑‑ I mean, immediately we dispatched a newsperson over to Nipawin but by the time he had arrived on the scene we had done an awful lot of coverage on what the situation was over there and of course our news people back in the newsroom were on the phone with you know the fire chief and, you know, the police and the mayor and so on.
2588 But you know it's not impossible, and we don't have to remain silent until someone arrives on the scene because we developed again these contacts. That was a difficult and unfortunate day in Nipawin but it was a great day for local radio. In my estimation we did a tremendous job of the coverage that day.
2589 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You have a toll‑free news line, do you?
2590 MR. SINGER: Yes. Yes, we do. And we also have ‑‑ our newsroom also has someone on standby or on call whenever it is not staff like in the evening hours and in some of the hours on the weekends. We have a system where, you know, we do have a relay system where our program director is sort of second in line if a news person for some reason wasn't being reached, so we do have a system that ensures that when something ‑‑ when news breaks we are able to react to it whether we are in the newsroom or not.
2591 Also, again, we train our staff to be very conscious of the immediacy of our medium and so, you know, we have had power outages that lasted for hours and hours and we are on standby generator and our staff ‑‑ blizzard conditions, winter storms and so on ‑‑ our staff has ‑‑ we have a plan and our staff reacts. It doesn't take long to get to the radio station in Melfort. It's about a three‑minute drive from wherever you happen to live, so it doesn't take us long to get going.
2592 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: So the school closures that you do periodically those include Humboldt and ‑‑
2593 MR. SINGER: Oh, absolutely and in fact our ‑‑ the school bus system in our whole area, they contact the radio station. We put the information on about school closures today. So the bus drivers are told to listen to CJVAR at a certain time of the day to double check which schools have been closed and, of course, they get other communication. But that's always been the case.
2594 As Kevin mentioned, our school reporters and so on is all encompassing. I mean there isn't a school in our coverage area that isn't invited to participate in that.
2595 MR. GEMMELL: Further to the school closure situation, when it's minus ‑‑ I believe ‑35 or colder, schools will be open but buses are not allowed to run. So the drivers phone us. We announce which buses are running and which are not.
2596 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: As you are aware, Mr. Hildebrand raised the issue of the Premier's recent visit to Humboldt that he says received no media coverage. I don't know big a story that would be in that area but I suspect it to be fairly important. And somehow that seems to have fallen through the cracks, as it were.
2597 MR. SINGER: M'hm.
2598 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And that tends to have an impact on the community's view of media coverage. Do you have any thoughts?
2599 MR. SINGER: Well, I can't substantiate today what we did for that story but I can tell you I would be very surprised if there wasn't a story on a radio station that the Premier was in Humboldt. On the same token, when the Humboldt Broncos won the Royal Bank Cup there was very little attention on that story from Saskatoon radio stations, including the applicant's. So I guess I could throw that one back.
2600 But you know why would we ignore a story like that? That would be my question. If my news director told me we didn't do anything on that, well, there would certainly be some questions about that. That's a big story in our markets.
2601 MR. GEMMELL: I believe the event was actually the meeting of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and the Premier paid a visit to that meeting. And I can tell you for sure that we did have the chamber manager, Lorrie, on the air many times as a news item prior to that event.
2602 And, you know, I don't know that we staffed it necessarily but, you know, it was more or less a cocktail party that night. It wasn't so much a speech by the Premier. But it was an event that we did cover.
2603 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Those are my questions. Thank you very much.
2604 Mr. Chair.
2605 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2606 I see it is 11:00. We have one of two choices. Phase III would be next. I will leave it to Mr. Hildebrand whether he wants to have us recess for 15 minutes now and allow him to prepare his Phase III, or we go right into Phase III and take our break after that.
2607 MR. HILDEBRAND: Let's go right into Phase III.
2608 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2609 Does counsel have any questions?
2610 No, go ahead.
2611 MR. SINGER: We would just like to thank you for your time today. Appreciate the opportunity.
2612 THE CHAIRPERSON: A pleasure.
2613 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2614 This completes Phase II.
2615 We will now proceed to Phase III in which the applicant, Golden West Broadcasting Limited, can reply to all interventions submitted on their application.
2616 You have 10 minutes for this purpose. Would you please reintroduce yourselves for the record?
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
2617 MR. HILDEBRAND: Thank you. It's Elmer Hildebrand again. I won't take 10 minutes, just a few comments.
2618 I would like to comment on the fact that CJVR does a good job in their regional service but regional isn't local. And you know, I think it's very important to understand that when we are talking about hockey, for example, you are doing hockey broadcasts for three teams and many times they are playing on the same night so you can't be the home radio station for three teams. I mean you have to ultimately pick which is your real home team. So that's, I think, a real problem when you are trying to cover that many communities.
2619 The other thing I think is important, as Mr. Singer said news people visit as often as we can to these different communities. When you have three‑and‑a‑half people in your news department and you want to cover dozens of towns, I mean that's impossible to do just giving the driving that needs to be done.
2620 So when we are talking about our application we are talking about local. And so instead of visiting occasionally, Humboldt would have their own local news team that would talk about Humboldt all the time, not just once a day.
2621 So I think these are very important pieces to put into the process. And certainly for the public interest, to have coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week of their own community as opposed to being part of a regional network, you know, I think is very important.
2622 So those basically are the items that we want to talk about. Coverage does not equate to service. Service is something that is done on the ground locally and if I hear three‑and‑a‑half people covering all of that territory it's just going to be physically impossible to provide real local service to all those outlying communities. Unfortunately, Humboldt then happens to be an outlying community.
2623 So the last item I would like to say is if the CRTC deems it desirable we will amend our technical parameters in such a way that those two lines won't touch. And we are also happy to alter our music away from country if that's an issue because, as I said earlier this morning, music is not the main thrust of our application. It's local service and that is a very important piece.
2624 We will be a local station in Humboldt and we will provide the new media, which is an additional service to the community which, as the Commission knows, is something that's very important going forward.
2625 So those are my comments and I will be happy to answer further questions if you have any.
2626 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Are you volunteering to have your format as a condition of licence?
2627 MR. HILDEBRAND: Sure.
2628 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I have no questions either.
2629 MR. HILDEBRAND: Thank you.
2630 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2631 This completes Phase III and the consideration of Item 5 of the Agenda for the public hearing.
2632 We will now take a 15‑minute break and reconvene at 11:20. Thank you.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1222 / Suspension à 1222
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1227 / Reprise à 1227
2633 THE SECRETARY: We will now reconvene.
2634 We will now proceed with Item 6 on the agenda, which is an application by Arctic Radio (1982) Limited to renew the broadcast licence of commercial radio programming undertaking CFAR Flin Flon, expiring 31, August, 2008.
2635 It appears to the Commission that the licensee may have failed to comply with their radio regulations 1986 relating to the broadcast of Canadian content for Category 2 music and its condition of licence to broadcast a minimum of two hours of Cree‑language programming during the broadcast week of the 5 to 11, November, 2006.
2636 Appearing for the applicant is Tom O'Brien. You will have 20 minutes to make your presentation. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
2637 MR. O'BRIEN: Thank you.
2638 Mr. Chairman, commissioners and Commission staff, as mentioned, I am Tom O'Brien, I am the President of Arctic Radio (1982) Limited which owns and operates CFAR in Flin Flon.
2639 And I am here because we did not play enough Canadian content and because we did not program our native programming properly.
2640 First, I want to say that the responsibility for both these issues is mine. They didn't happen because our hardware failed or our software failed or a staff member didn't do what they were supposed to be doing. They happened because I didn't implement the proper procedures to make sure that we stayed in compliance with our licence and that we played enough Canadian music.
2641 In the Commission's notice to appear I noted that the Commission is asking me to demonstrate why a mandatory order should not be issued. Well, obviously, that decision is yours. I guess my goal here is to show you that I understand why those things arose and to explain the steps that we have taken to make sure that we stay in compliance. My hope is that you, as a Commission, will conclude that a mandatory order is not necessary.
2642 Both these issues have a common root cause and that being the organizational and management structure that existed at the time in the company, it meant that most of the troubleshooting and problem management remained my responsibility and with me, it meant that the training of our software remained with me, and it meant that the monitoring of Canadian content was solely my responsibility.
2643 I am the President, I have three stations in three geographically distant communities in Northern Manitoba and each station has a staff of eight. I and my staff work hard on behalf of our radio stations and our communities.
2644 But, as President, I view it as my job, or I did, to fill in wherever needed. And back in 2005 all three of our morning show announcers had left our company in a short order, which meant that we didn't have a pipeline of replacement people left. And so starting in 2005 I ended up doing the morning show in Thompson, Manitoba while we searched for a new person for about a year.
2645 We operate in communities where computer support is sporadic or non‑existent, so it has become me that has become the go‑to guy on computer issues. And we have actually more computers than employers in our company, so there is always computer issues.
2646 I am also the sales trainer. I was the first one that the staff turned to when we had questions or problems. I was also over‑extended in terms of some outside activities. At the time, I was the Vice‑Chair of the local Airport Authority, I was President of the Rotary Club, President of the United Way.
2647 And I guess the fact is, and I had realized that around that time, I just couldn't do everything anymore, things were getting missed and it was time to make some changes and we did make some changes.
2648 In April of last year we hired a management consulting firm to come in and help us setup a better organizational structure within our company. This has freed up my time from some of the day to day activities and allowed me to follow through on some of the initiatives that I have always wanted to follow through on.
2649 It has also involved others in our company in monitoring some of the things like Canadian content, specifically the Program Director and the Music Director. They do the work, I do the training and I monitor their progress.
2650 We have also started the process of separating the station management function from the sales function. Previously, the station manager in each of the stations was either the only sales rep or one of two sales reps at that station and that meant that they were constantly conflicted between management responsibilities and sales responsibilities. So by separating these functions they can now follow through in their respective areas and do a better job in their respective areas.
2651 We have job descriptions for everyone in our company, including our program directors and music directors, and I have included copies of those in Appendix A and Appendix B. And items 4 and 5 in Appendix A deal directly with the issues that were talked about here this morning, and in Appendix B item 3 does the same. And that means that more than just myself have responsibilities to ensure that we are in compliance.
2652 Appendix C is a weekly sheet that we now complete for all three stations, providing a quick but comprehensive way to calculate what our Canadian content is in a timely and consistent manner. We now know how many songs were playing in an average week, how many we play on a long weekend when someone from programming is different, how many we play when we broadcast a game of our local Junior A hockey team. And if something is beginning to go off track, we identify it and we fix it.
2653 We also have 100 per cent coordination between our automation software and our music scheduling software. At the time of the last review a song could and was being played from our automation system, but not showing up in our music scheduling reconciliation reports. It literally took weeks to figure out exactly what was going on, but we fixed this.
2654 The information we now get in our reconciliation reports is accurate and complete. And to make sure that it stays accurate and complete we do a manual check on a monthly basis to make sure that everything that is showing up in our music reconciliation report actually checks back to what we played.
2655 In February of this year we started working with a programming consultant to assist us in all facets of our station, and that includes Canadian content. We recognized that we needed to upgrade our air sound and improve our management systems for programming. We were not getting the job done ourselves. We hired a company to assist us in improving the people capacity in our company.
2656 We have been talking with our supplier of our automation software about upgrades and one of the features that they have explained to me is a running total of the percentage of Canadian content that is played on that day. The upgrades we anticipate will begin in our next fiscal year, so that is September of this year, and be completed by August of next year.
2657 But even without the new software we will be able to properly schedule and monitor our Canadian content. And I guess maybe I missed the obvious one, we added more Canadian music. We were aiming for 38 per cent on a weekly basis. If we mislabel or make some errors in some of the music that we have added, we have enough slack built in, it should give us 45 to 50 extra songs a week, which would cover any I think problems that might arise.
2658 Appendix D is a summary of the level of Canadian content that we aired of CFAR in the month of April.
2659 On the issue of Native‑language programming we have done the following. We have expanded our list of people within our communities who speak Cree and will work with us, those communities being Thompson, The Pas and Flin Flon. In this way, if one person is unavailable or unwilling to work with us we have others that we can call upon.
2660 We have taken better advantage of our technology to record our Native‑language presenters when they are available as opposed to when we need them to be available. In this way, if they are not available at the time of the show or on the day of the show we can still provide Native‑language programming on our radio stations.
2661 And we have assigned responsibility for the whole issue of Native‑language content to a specific person. That person is the overall producer of the show and they report to me on a weekly basis as to what is coming up for the following week.
2662 The last point I have there is that there will always be Native‑language programming on CFAR.
2663 Just a couple of final points that I just want to make. CFAR has been around since 1937, 2008 actually is its 71st year of broadcasting, and my family has been involved for 36 of those 71 years, so just now a little bit more over half that time.
2664 The company is continuing to evolve and improve and we, like every other small town station in Canada, view ourselves as neighbours in our community, they rely on us, we rely on them. And I only make this point to kind of backup the statement and to state that I am deeply concerned by our failure to live up to our responsibilities.
2665 Many people over the preceding seven decades have worked to bring CFAR to the point that it is and it is an embarrassment actually to put those efforts at risk. I really truly want to put this episode behind us so that we can get on with doing what it is we are trying to do.
2666 The second point is that my staff and I are working hard to keep our station and company viable now and in the future. Some of our future plans may involve the cooperation of the Commission. The failure of those plans will make it more difficult to achieve the long‑term viability that we are working toward. And I am unhappy that my first serious interaction with the Commission is today under these circumstances. It is not the groundwork that I was hoping to establish for any future work that I may wish to undertake.
2667 In conclusion, I will state that I have absolutely no intention of appearing before you or any other commissioners on these issues or any other or any other similar issues ever again. I thank you for your time and attention.
2668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. O'Brien. And thank you for your submission this morning as well.
2669 I have got a couple of questions for you. You state in here that you had staffing issues and some financial concerns and some timing issues. And I believe you said you have eight employees in each of your three locations. Are you fully staffed right now?
2670 MR. O'BRIEN: That is the situation and the staffing levels that we have operated under for the last 40 years, 36 years. There is eight in each station. There is two others; there is an engineer and there is a bookkeeper as well in addition to that.
2671 THE CHAIRPERSON: But when you stepped into the morning show you obviously had lost somebody. So I guess my question is do you currently have full staffing for all your operations?
2672 MR. O'BRIEN: At this particular moment we are short one copywriter in Flin Flon. I am working to fill that position.
2673 THE CHAIRPERSON: What happens when someone isn't available, is it you who steps in in each one of these cases?
2674 MR. O'BRIEN: It has been me, it was me. What we are doing now, and this is part of the restructuring I guess and the organization of our company, is that ‑‑ I kind of viewed myself I guess as the little Dutch boy that every time there was a hole in the dike it was me that put the finger in the hole and tried to plug things. That works if there is only one or two holes, but it doesn't work if there gets to be a number of them or if they are in areas that I can't reach.
2675 So the program in place now is that with job descriptions it spreads the responsibility for every role. And there is also a backup for every position as well and that backup is not me, it is somebody else. Certain areas and certain functions I might still retain, but I am not there manning the front desk or making sure the log gets out if the traffic person isn't there, that is somebody else's responsibility.
2676 If the morning show person is not available, somebody else has responsibility for filling in that capacity.
2677 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. In your licence application for renewal you indicated that you would be providing 146 hours and 30 minutes of local programming. Our broadcast week is 126 hours, which is 7 x 18. The number of hours in a full week are 168. Can you explain to us how those 146 hours and 30 minutes was arrived at and whether it is prime hours or is it on the base of 168?
2678 MR. O'BRIEN: It is based on 168 hours. And I basically took our broadcast week and just deducted everything that is of a syndicated nature. And by that I mean a show that we might receive from Sound Source or one of the program syndications or a religious show that we would maybe air on a Sunday or on a week night.
2679 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you provide the equivalent on a 126 hour basis for us as to what that would be, which effectively is 6:00 a.m. to midnight I believe.
2680 MR. O'BRIEN: That would be about 102 hours on a 126‑hour.
2681 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And what would the other 24 hours be?
2682 MR. O'BRIEN: Again, the 24 hours would be shows like the Rick Dees Countdown show, the Canadian Top 20 Countdown show, Focus on the Family that we air on a weekly basis or on a weekday basis, they have a weekly wrap up in summary of an hour in length that we air on Sunday, those types of shows.
2683 THE CHAIRPERSON: And these are syndicated?
2684 MR. O'BRIEN: They are syndicated shows.
2685 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you purchased them from..?
2686 MR. O'BRIEN: From the syndicated companies or we barter them out.
2687 THE CHAIRPERSON: And are they in the English language or are they in a Native language?
2688 MR. O'BRIEN: All those shows are in English.
2689 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are all English, okay.
2690 One of your conditions, obviously, is to broadcast in Cree, in a Native language as well. To what extent do you work with the Aboriginal community, the Cree community in this case, to get a sense for what it is that they want to hear and to what extent is what you are putting on accepted by them and listened to by them?
2691 MR. O'BRIEN: The program that we air in Flin Flon runs from 1:30 to 2:00 weekdays. It originates actually in The Pas, which has a sizeable significant Native community there. The Native community is on one side of the river, The Pas is on the other side of the river. The host of the program is actually a resident, he is a staff member of that community.
2692 The show itself is called PBDC Tribal Waves, which is the Paskwayak Business Development Corporation Tribal Waves. And the whole focus of the show is to broadcast information and views from the Native perspective, whether it be something as simple as sending out birthday greetings or having interviews or doing a weekly countdown of the top five Aboriginal songs of the week or a weekly wrap‑up of news that is of interest to Native communities and so on. So that comes from them.
2693 THE CHAIRPERSON: And when we looked at your reporting during that week that we measured this Tribal Waves was not on the tape I believe at that time. Can you expand upon the situation why we couldn't find it and how that came about?
2694 MR. O'BRIEN: It is there. Again, the situation I guess we found ourselves in is the particular individual that hosted it does not speak Cree. Even though he is from the community, he does not himself speak Cree, but he was away. So one of the other announcers filled in and I guess just, you know, it just wasn't handled properly in his absence. We have got things setup now that it doesn't matter who is actually hosting it, there will be Cree language information and messages on.
2695 THE CHAIRPERSON: And this is actually the second time that this happened, not first, which is why we are suggesting that if we can't get some degree of comfort here, then a mandatory order will be issued.
2696 MR. O'BRIEN: That's right. That's right. And I understand that, I mean, you took me at my word the first time and I let you down, so, that's why we here today.
2697 And I can only tell you that today on CFAR there will be Native language programming on that radio station and we will be meeting our Canadian content requirements on that radio station today and this week.
2698 But, I guess that's up to you to decide what level of comfort you need to be able to proceed.
2699 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you measure the audience acceptability to your Cree programming? Do you know whether people listen to it and to what extent it's accepted?
2700 MR. O'BRIEN: We don't subscribe to any measuring service in our areas, in our markets, so we don't have any hard evidence from that point of view.
2701 Most of the information I guess we would have is anecdotal. When we invite people, you know, to be part of it, generally their response have been ‑‑ and they accept the invitation and they're on, the features that we do run like the birthday greetings and some of these things seem to be well accepted.
2702 But, to actually say, have we gone out and done a survey of the Native community and gauged their reaction and their response, no, we have not.
2703 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you provide advertising time during that broadcast?
2704 MR. O'BRIEN: Yeah.
2705 THE CHAIRPERSON: How do you sell it? Do you advertisers ‑‑ don't they want to know whether you have listeners there or not?
2706 MR. O'BRIEN: Well, we are the ‑‑ we are the only radio station, the only local radio station in that market.
2707 It comes I suppose, if they're not getting the results that they're expecting, they would not do it. We have been around in Flin Flon for a number of years, so I have to assume that we are providing results for people.
2708 The ads that generally are on in that program, PBDC, the Paskwayak Basquik Business Development Corporation own a number of businesses in the Pas. They own an IGA, they own a hotel, they own a casino, they own a mall.
2709 And, so, the messages that are on are theirs. They pay a blanket fee and then they tell us which businesses they want to have run during that program.
2710 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are the programs tailored to the local communities, or are they topic specific?
2711 MR. O'BRIEN: Yeah. We wouldn't run ‑‑ if it's ‑‑ it would have to have application to our local community, it would have to have application to our local Native community to, you know, to be part of the newscast, to be part of the interview.
2712 There's no use interviewing an Aboriginal person from Quebec on an issue that doesn't pertain to northern Manitoba, or maybe to Manitoba.
2713 On the other side of that, a lot of issues that are happening in other areas of Canada probably do have application and are the same similar type issues and may be of interest to see how they're being handled in other areas as well, so...
2714 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know you said you don't do surveys or measurements, it's more word of mouth, but do you know if your audience are more Elders as opposed to the youth, or do you have any idea at all?
2715 MR. O'BRIEN: I would think, given the time of day that we're running it, from 1:30 until 2:00 that we've eliminated, for most of the year, a portion of the youth, they would be in school, they would not be available.
2716 We tend to run another program ‑‑ we run another program, more of a request show from 5:00 until 6:00 every night, again hosted by the same individual, and I think that one would probably appeal to the youth more and does, a lot of the phone requests that we have on that show come from that segment.
2717 I would think that the bulk of our radio station and the primary focus that we have in the community is, especially during the day, is kind of geared to an adult audience.
2718 When I say adult, 25 to 50. The bulk of our population in the community falls within that range.
2719 But, again, we're the only radio station in town, so we don't ‑‑ we don't define ourselves maybe as narrowly as some other radio stations do and we do try to find the middle ground that will keep our appeal as broad as we can.
2720 So, I don't know if that really answers your question. Are we appealing more to Elders than youth? I would think, yeah, more to Elders, more to an older demographic at that time.
2721 THE CHAIRPERSON: You say that you're the only radio station in town. Does NCI broadcast at all in these communities?
2722 MR. O'BRIEN: They broadcast in all three communities as a matter of fact but, you know, most of their programming originates in Winnipeg.
2723 So, when we're talking about the local community events, they are often talking about what's happening in Winnipeg.
2724 When we're talking, for instance, in Thompson, the Red River Ex and the Nickel Days in Thompson are always on the same time.
2725 So, when we're talking about Nickel Days in Thompson, they're talking about the River Ex.
2726 So, from that perspective we're the local radio station.
2727 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. But there is other radio stations that are broadcast?
2728 MR. O'BRIEN: There's actually ‑‑ yeah, in each ‑‑ well, in Flin Flon and the Pas there's two other ‑‑ there's CBC, French and English and then there is a Native service out of Saskatchewan as well that is broadcast into each of those markets.
2729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2730 MR. O'BRIEN: As well as NCI.
2731 THE CHAIRPERSON: You've outlined here what measures you've put in place to try and address these issues that have I guess plagued you and the company for the last several years.
2732 I guess what I think is missing is what happens if something continues to go off side, what remedies, what process is in place to trigger an immediate response to rectify it, rather than finding out about it after the fact and having us tell you that things have gone off the rails?
2733 MR. O'BRIEN: When I say that we constant monitoring, we do just that. We have the system set up now where in about two minutes we ‑‑ well, even shorter ‑‑ we can find out what our Canadian content was yesterday, we could actually probably find it out as to what it is up to the last song that we played, if that was actually going to be relevant to us.
2734 If something starts to ‑‑ you know, if the numbers start to change from what we've been expecting over the last period of time since we've been doing this constant monitoring, if the numbers being to change, it becomes apparent. I mean, how come all of a sudden we were at 37 per cent every other Tuesday but today we're at ‑‑ or yesterday we were at, you know, 32 per cent, what happened yesterday.
2735 So, we can kind of delve into it, we can have a look, we can see what's going on.
2736 And that's done ‑‑ I mean, when I tell you I'm not going to be here again, I'm not going to be here again on this issue, I'm not going to be here. We have fixed this problem.
2737 And I can appreciate that you want to be assured. You know, we run three radio stations, I'm here representing one. We are able to satisfy the Commission with the other two. To miss it by the number of songs that I did, I think the number is eight.
2738 In fact, a couple of the religious programs, we weren't able to get the information back from them as to what exactly it was they played. The number's at least only five because we since got some back.
2739 But even if it's eight, we're talking about one song a day on average. It's not an insurmountable problem to fix.
2740 And it wasn't that we weren't checking. I would check and a lot of the times, the hours that we program, if you looked at a summary of what we did from 6 a to 6 p Monday to Friday, I think you'll see percentages are significantly higher than 35 per cent, they're probably between 38 and 40 per cent and now they're between 40 and 42 per cent.
2741 The hours that we would check that we could get the information back on was showing that we were okay.
2742 I looked at it and said, I know that we have some of this other syndicated programming, some of which has no Canadian in, Rick D's, a couple of these programs have ‑‑ there's no guarantee there's any Canadian. Some of their religious programs.
2743 We run a program that's called Meet the Legion and they supply their own host on a Saturday. No guarantee any of those programs have any Canadian music at all.
2744 In looking at it I said, we're at this percentage, surely that's enough to cover it off. I was wrong, and I didn't have the time to really dig down deep and find out the answer.
2745 Since we've put in some of these things, you know, it has taken me weeks but I have got to the bottom of it.
2746 I'm very confident that when I tell you that we played "x" amount of songs in a week and "x" amount were Canadian that that's the number. That if we did a report that we might be out by a song or two, but we're not going to be out by 50 songs.
2747 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know it's never easy, especially running a small business in a remote area and having three radio stations as well, so we do recognize the challenges that you face as well.
2748 But, at the same time, we've got an obligation under the Act ‑‑
2749 MR. O'BRIEN: I understand.
2750 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ to make sure that you're in compliance as well.
2751 MR. O'BRIEN: I understand.
2752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are all my questions. I don't know if the ‑‑ counsel?
2753 MR. McCALLUM: Thank you very much. I think we go with one, but with the next phase, but...
2754 THE SECRETARY: This completes Phase I.
2755 We would now normally proceed to Phase II in which the interveners appear to present their interventions.
2756 For the record, no interveners requested to appear for this application. As such, this completes Phase II.
2757 We would normally now proceed to Phase III in which the applicant Arctic Radio 1982 Limited would be invited to reply to all interventions on their application.
2758 Since there were no interventions, this would complete this item unless, of course, either the Panel or the applicant needs to address any outstanding matters.
2759 This completes Phase III and the consideration of Item 6.
2760 Also, there are non‑appearing applications on the agenda of the Public Hearing for Process 2008‑3. Interventions were received on some of these applications. The Panel will consider these interventions along with the applications and decisions will be rendered at a later date.
2761 This completes the Agenda of Process 2008‑3 portion of the Public Hearing.
2762 Thank you.
2763 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2764 I want to thank staff and the people who were here for the last day and a half or so.
2765 And we'll adjourn now until one o'clock and commence with the next Agenda Item on a different Public Notice I believe as well.
2766 So, we will see you all at one o'clock.
‑‑‑ Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1200 /
L'audience s'est terminée à 1200
Ada DeGeer‑Simpson Jennifer Cheslock
Jean Desaulniers Fiona Potvin
Sue Villeneuve Beverley Dillabough
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