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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
Various broadcasting applications /
World Trade and Convention Centre
Room 200 E
1800 Argyle Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
May 29, 2009
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.
Canadian Radio-television and
Various broadcasting applications /
Rita Cugini Chairperson
Elizabeth Duncan Commissioner
Peter Menzies Commissioner
Marc Patrone Commissioner
Cindy Ventura Secretary
Joe Aguiar Hearing Manager /
Anthony McIntyre Legal Counsel
World Trade and Convention Centre
Room 200 E
1800 Argyle Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
May 29, 2009
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
Chad Hatcher 262 / 1718
Atmosphere Entertainment 266 / 1737
Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women & Song Society 268 / 1746
Maritime Broadcasting System Limited 288 / 1906
Music Nova Scotia 324 / 2155
John Campbell 331 / 2186
Joe Murphy 357 / 2367
Dutch Mason Blues Festival Inc. 369 / 2423
Parrsboro Radio Society 380 / 2489
Frank Torres (OBCI) 388 / 2535
HFX Broadcasting Inc. 393 / 2566
Acadia Broadcasting Limited 397 / 2591
Halifax, Nova Scotia
--- Upon resuming on Friday, May 29, 2009 at 0837
1713 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair and good morning.
1714 We will now proceed to Phase III in which intervenors appear in the order set out in the Agenda to present their interventions.
1715 I would now call Chad Hatcher, Atmosphere Entertainment, and Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song Society to appear as a panel to present their interventions.
1716 We will start with Mr. Chad Hatcher.
1717 Mr. Hatcher, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
1718 MR. HATCHER: Commissioners and Commission staff, I would like to first thank you for this opportunity to speak here today.
1719 I am here to offer my support to Halifax Broadcasting in their bid for an adult album alternative station and to give some insight from the perspective of an artist who this company has helped out a great deal.
1720 When I started writing and performing a few years back I knew that even if I was able to get a CD together that it would be hard for me to get my music on the radio. The format of the stations locally just didn't fit with what I was trying to do musically. I thought if I can't get my music out on-air around here how could I ever expect to reach some bigger markets within Canada.
1721 When Z103 hit the airwaves, they immediately started to search for local content that would fit within their format. They got involved with the community, going to local schools and businesses and getting listeners involved in a way that I haven't seen or heard here in Halifax. This to me offered some hope. Z103 gave my music a chance at a time when I didn't think it would ever have one. They were the first station in Canada to play a song I did with a local hip-hop artist called Classified.
1722 Once Z103 started playing our song, they quickly introduced the track to stations operating under the Evanov company. With the company's affiliates playing our song, people who heard it locally started requesting it on other stations. From there interest sparked amongst listeners across Canada.
1723 At that point Classified and myself applied and then received funding from VideoFACT to make a video for the song, the song called "All About You" spent several weeks on MuchMusic's Weekly Countdown and to date has received over half a million hits on YouTube.
1724 The folks at Z103 went a step further than playing my songs when they asked me to perform this past summer at their Summer Rush Concert in Dartmouth. There was over 8000 people in attendance. I got to share the stage with some huge international acts. I never would have thought I would have an opportunity like that and without the help of Z103 I wouldn't have.
1725 In the past year and a half I have been lucky enough to release my own CD, which was distributed Canada-wide by EMI Music Canada, I have received funding for three videos from my album through VideoFACT, which have all gotten rotation on MuchMusic and its sister stations. I have five current radio singles and have been nominated for three Nova Scotia Music Awards and three ECMAs. I have been lucky enough to tour across Canada three times and do shows Stateside and across Europe.
1726 I feel very lucky and fortunate to have had any opportunities within music, especially when there are so many great artists locally that deserve the same opportunities. They would all have a chance to benefit from a station like the one proposed. So many talented and hard-working musicians that only want one thing -- the chance to be heard.
1727 A station that offers contemporary, rock, alternative, folk, blues, jazz and world music would help so many artists here. The rich musical culture we have in Nova Scotia needs to be preserved and supported to the fullest. I know this great city is looking for the opportunity to support the artists they already love and help propel them to the next level the way they have for me.
1728 I always think back to when I first heard my song on Z103 as a starting point. I feel none of this would have happened if I didn't have some support in the beginning from Z103.
1729 The local support I have received from friends and fans has been crucial in helping me make my mark and continue to take it one step further. By them continuing to stay involved and help spread the word about my music it gives me a fighting chance in this business.
1730 I ask that you please consider this bid strongly from the Halifax Broadcasting Company for this proposed station.
1731 One person telling you what you can achieve your goals can go a long way in this business, but a radio station that supports local artists and the greatly supportive fans we have here in Halifax, the possibilities are endless.
1733 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1734 We will now proceed with Atmosphere Entertainment.
1735 Please introduce yourself, after which you will have 10 minutes.
1736 Thank you.
1737 MR. WHEATLEY: Hi. My name is Gerald Wheatley, I am here today on behalf of Atmosphere Entertainment and I am here to offer mine and my company's support of Halifax Broadcasting's application of its new radio station.
1738 My relationship with Z103 has proven to be a great benefit to my company and me on a personal level and as a personal -- as a performer, as a DJ. It has given our company increased visibility and increased credibility within the scene here.
1739 Our market here is very competitive and Z103 has been very instrumental in raising everybody's awareness of our company. It has allowed us to give many more benefits to our customers in the way of prizing, show enhancements with the "Z" team or the "Z" crew that come out and do lots of extra stuff that allow my customers to be much more satisfied with our product. It gives added value to their money -- for my customers' money when my customer is allowed to have us -- sorry, I'm not used to public speaking. It gives them greater enjoyment.
1740 Myself as a DJ and my career, I have had many increased benefits, many increased bookings, we are able to charge more for our services, our customers are able to charge more for our services because the relationship of Z103 gives their events that much more visibility.
1741 Halifax Broadcasting has enhanced the local scene greatly with their existing station and I can only hope that their new radio station and the new venture is going to be as beneficial to other people as it has been for myself and my company.
1742 Thank you.
1743 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1744 We will now proceed with Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song Society.
1745 Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes.
1746 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Hello. My name is Errin Williams-Spidle and I am the Producer and Vice Chair of Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song Society. I am pleased to be here today to support the HFX Broadcasting Inc. in its application for a new radio station in Halifax.
1747 In 2005 Shelburne County Women's FishNet, our previous parent organization, hosted a fund-raising event. We invited local performers to play for their community. One of the women who was a regular performer in Shelburne County stated that she was nervous. I asked her why and she said that she had never been asked to sing her original works before. She stated that it's common for women to be asked to sing backup and covers, but not their own songs.
1748 We looked into this further, being the Shelburne County Women's FishNet, and through talking with other local performers we found that this is a common theme and at this time in Nova Scotia -- or at that time -- there was no music festival highlighting female singer-songwriters. We decided to develop Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song.
1749 Due to the growth of our festival, we happily broke away from Shelburne County Women's FishNet and developed our own society, the Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song Society.
1750 We had started off as a very small community festival, having about 500 attendees, and through a lot of encouragement through the music industry locally we have been encouraged to grow the festival. This year we anticipate about 2000 people to attend our festival as we have secured higher calibre talent to headline our festival and therefore this will bring a greater focus to our novice and emerging artists that we have on stage.
1751 Harmony Bazaar is a summer multi-genre -- specifically folk, jazz, rock, top 40, country, gospel and aboriginal music -- festival focusing primarily on female singer-songwriters.
1752 Harmony Bazaar 2009 will be the fourth offering of the festival in the rural coastal community of Lockeport, Nova Scotia.
1753 The development of women telling their stories through song and music is the key principle of Harmony Bazaar. Formal and informal educational opportunities for women have been and are currently woven into the majority of activities taken on by our society.
1754 Harmony Bazaar provides a venue to showcase female singer-songwriters. We provide main stages to highlight professional performers and also two other stages to encourage emerging artists and novice performers to share their original works, and a stage dedicated to young female performers.
1755 We currently have complete Canadian content on stage. The ratio we currently have is 15 novice -- for this upcoming summer -- seven emerging artists and two professional performers.
1756 We strive to increase women's participation in creating music and in having music as a viable career option. The development of a cultural sector in our local area is essential to the feasibility of women engaging in music and song writing as a career.
1757 We have identified that there is a variety of stigma for women engaged in music and with the current male-dominated industry it's great to have an organization like HFX Broadcasting Inc. approach us, especially where they have two female owners and a real commitment to providing music to minority groups.
1758 These facts, and now with their proposal to create a station targeting women 35-plus -- which is a target group we share -- we feel that women's voices will be heard and there will be an opportunity to promote their involvement in music by giving them the opportunity to be heard on radio and break into the industry.
1759 Yesterday I heard the question Commissioner Menzies posed asking what would be done on-air to develop emerging artists. I see a real partnership with our organization and the HFX Broadcasting Inc. to promote emerging local female artists through their website, as they said yesterday, with video and audio offerings and placing this music within their regular mix.
1760 Currently our emerging artists that we have on stage get the majority of their on-air play during predetermined sets advertised as presenting local music, so little segments, and many people do not -- may not listen to these programs, assuming that since it's local it isn't any good.
1761 We found that once people come to our festival and hear our emerging local female singer-songwriters they are hooked and they want to hear more, but currently are limited to the places where they can actually hear these local artists.
1762 Halifax is one of our target areas and there is great opportunity for us to promote with the new proposed station by the HFX Broadcasting Inc. with airplay for our performers, video played on their website, and also on-air interviews and advertising of our event to a larger audience and the general public on the proposed station and on their current station, Z103.5.
1763 Having a radio station that markets to the demographic attending and buying music created by female singer-songwriters will further assist in making music a viable career option for women.
1764 Also, providing funds earmarked to performers will provide us the opportunity to bring in hot Canadian high-calibre female talent. This will draw more of a crowd to Harmony Bazaar, therefore increasing the audience for the emerging artists we present.
1765 We will also be able to pay a fairer wage, something we are already committed to at Harmony Bizarre. We researched on the Service Canada website and found that the average performer makes $12,000 to $14,000 per year. If we want to make music a viable career option then we need to set a standard for paying performers and ensuring that we pay a fair wage that reflects the time and effort they put into their craft.
1766 This year we are pleased to have Rita MacNeil and Melanie Doane as our festival headliners. This will bring increased attention and attendance to our festival. With the support of the HFX Broadcasting Inc. we will be able to develop into a larger festival with more opportunities for emerging female singer-songwriters and performers.
1767 Thank you.
1768 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Hatcher, Mr. Wheatley and Ms Spidle, for your interventions here this morning.
1769 Commissioner Duncan has some questions for you.
1770 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Good morning and thank you very much for coming and sharing your experiences.
1771 First of all I will start with Mr. Hatcher.
1772 Congratulations on all your success.
1773 MR. HATCHER: Oh thanks. I appreciate it.
1774 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's wonderful.
1775 What else I think is wonderful about it is that, as you emphasize today and in your written comments, you say it has just really been in the last two years alone, so that's, you know, just amazing. So congratulations to you and Z103.5. I think that's quite an accomplishment.
1776 I'm just wondering, was your music or is new and emerging artists music played in specific sets or a specific time --
1777 MR. HATCHER: No.
1778 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: -- or throughout the whole playlist.
1779 MR. HATCHER: It's throughout the whole playlist. Like they even, with the station, go as far as when they do like celebrity IDs, where it will be like this is Rhianna, like they put the local artists in with those commercials, too. So they actually put you right in with all like the big guns sort of thing.
1780 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh yes. Okay. Great.
1781 MR. HATCHER: Yes.
1782 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's wonderful.
1783 And I think that it's -- certainly I am familiar with the station because I actually live in the area, so I can understand your enthusiasm and I know a number of young people who are equally as interested in it. So that's great.
1784 I don't think I have any more questions, although my colleagues might. I think that I --
1785 MR. HATCHER: Sure.
1786 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: -- certainly appreciate it and can see that it's worked for you and I'm sure it has for others.
1787 MR. HATCHER: Thanks.
1788 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Mr. Wheatley, I'm just wondering, I see that you describe your company as a DJ/production company.
1789 So do you create CDs for people?
1790 MR. WHEATLEY: Production company in the manner that we supply sound and lighting production for all kinds of different events.
1791 So with Z103, for example, they do lots of youth-oriented shows, hip-hop, R&B, dance and stuff like that, so in addition to supplying DJs for other types of events we also supply production for those types of events as well in the way of sound and lighting.
1792 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
1793 I was wondering, when you do events for Z103.5 do they encourage you or guide you in the kind of music or the pieces that you are going to play? Like do you have a certain percentage of emerging artists when you are --
1794 MR. WHEATLEY: Not really. I mean every event is different, it depends on the type of events that we are doing.
1795 We take a lot of our cue -- with what we play and in our dealings with the youth our target market for most of our shows is 15 to 25, so we take a lot of our playlist and a lot of our cue of what to play to these young people from Z103 because they are kind of the trendsetters in the area. So we take our musical cues from them in that respect.
1796 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So I suppose, then, indirectly you are obviously picking up the emerging artists as well then.
1797 MR. WHEATLEY: Absolutely.
1798 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
1799 MR. WHEATLEY: Absolutely, yes.
1800 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Thank you. Very interesting.
1801 And that's just another -- it's interesting to me, too, that it's not just songwriters and singers, it's also another -- a business, a DJ business. So that's great that they have been able to contribute to your success as well.
1802 And how long have you been in business at Atmosphere Entertainment?
1803 MR. WHEATLEY: My company has been around for 14 years here in Halifax and in the last two or three years with my relationship with Z103 we have probably had a 20-25 percent -- I think it worked out to be a 22 percent increase in business overall. And it's because of our exposure to lots of young people, you know, through our advertising, through advertising with Z103 and some of the joint ventures, it has definitely increased our overall visibility.
1804 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And do you employ other people?
1805 MR. WHEATLEY: Yes, I have eight other employees.
1806 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh, good. Eight other did you say?
1807 MR. WHEATLEY: Yes. Eight employees, yes. Four DJs, four technicians.
1808 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you very much.
1809 And Ms Williams-Spidle, shall I say?
1810 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Yes. That's fine, yes.
1811 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thanks.
1812 I notice that your address is in Lockeport, so are you able to hear Z103.5 from there?
1813 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Most days. Sometimes the weather affects that, but most days we can. We are about two hours from Halifax --
1814 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
1815 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: -- so we are about on the fringe.
1816 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh yes.
1817 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: But the neat thing with the proposed radio station being in Halifax, that's a target group that we have that we aren't reaching right now, but it would be great to get into that market and do more on the radio there.
1818 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Do you have -- how many members -- or do people actually become members of your society?
1819 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Yes. Actually, we just started the society in January, we had our first AGM, Annual General Meeting, in January. We have probably about 25 to 30 members now.
1820 We are still working out some of the membership. Right now it's still a free membership to join the society and we are still trying to work a few things out, because when you register as a society you can't get paid by the society and a lot of performers want to be members of the society --
1821 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh, I see.
1822 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: -- so we have to -- we are still figuring a few things out around for the artists.
1823 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So the group of people that you are currently appealing to, are they mainly concentrated in the Lockeport area or are they all over the province?
1824 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: No. They are all over. They are all over. The more we get the message out about the festival, the more people obviously come.
1825 We have a lot of people from our local area who come, but because of the talent that we have on stage we are getting people from Halifax, from Cape Breton, from New Brunswick who come to the festival just because of the talent we have.
1826 Once people hear some of the performers -- like this year we have like Christina Martin and Nora MacDonald(ph) who are emerging artists in Halifax, and once they hear they are coming and they have heard some of their music people are very excited about the event.
1827 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And where is it actually held?
1828 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: At Seacaps Memorial Park in Lockeport.
1829 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh, yes. Okay.
1830 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: I don't put that down because Lockeport is very small. If you just take a left after the stop sign you will find it.
1831 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: No, I have an idea.
1832 Okay. That's great. Thank you very much.
1833 I can see that you would benefit from the help that they are proposing in their benefit package and that's a great initiative.
1834 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Yes. We are very excited about it.
1835 Thank you.
1836 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you. Thank you all.
1837 Those are my questions, Madam Chair.
1838 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Patrone.
1839 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Madam Chair.
1840 Good morning. Thank you for your presentations today and I want to congratulate you all for your work.
1841 As you know, one of the hardest things for artists to do is to make that phone call to the radio station in order to seek some kind of support, exposure for your work.
1842 Mr. Hatcher, I wanted to ask you about the process by which you were able to approach this broadcaster.
1843 How difficult was it? Did they call you back right away? Did you get a receptive kind of feel from them when you contacted them?
1844 MR. HATCHER: Absolutely, yes.
1845 The song that I did, it was kind of like -- I'm like more of a singer-songwriter and I was working with a hip-hop artist from the local area and we kind of did like collaboration. It was kind of a different song that wouldn't generally fit on many stations, so when we approached Z103 about it -- from his angle, like he is kind of a more established musician than I am and I think like his management company approached the station, which was very new at the time, and they heard the song and kind of were just like yes, let's go with it and just kind of put it out there.
1846 You know, as a musician it's hard. Like you can make a MySpace page and stuff like that and take music serious, but until you have like some radio support or somebody up there really giving you that push, nobody will kind of take you serious. You know, you kind of -- you can be a great musician, but you just need to have some stepping stones to get up there. When people say "Oh, well they are playing this song on the radio in Halifax" then, you know, it kind of just opens things up.
1847 That's all the points that I made about the things that I have, I guess, accomplished in the last year and a bit are just to -- like just to show that it only takes one small starting point to get there. You know, once one person gets behind you in the industry it's kind of like everybody kind of oh -- you know, it gets people interested sort of thing.
1848 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And at that point you were able to start receiving SOCAN cheques.
1849 MR. HATCHER: Yes, exactly.
1850 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And before that you had not received anything?
1851 MR. HATCHER: None, no.
1852 This was actually the first song I ever like professionally recorded, but since then like I have my own album and Z103 has been very supportive in playing my new singles that have come out as well.
1853 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But when you approached them you were pretty much an unknown.
1854 Is that fair?
1855 MR. HATCHER: Oh, absolutely, yes. I mean maybe amongst some friends around the local scene and stuff, but yes. I mean, I used to play on patios, backyard patios and at campfires and it kind of just, you know, went really quick.
1856 But I mean I'm shocked with the way that things have gone. I feel very lucky, so I just want to show that there is definitely a connection with where things started in the beginning and where I have gotten to now.
1857 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And before that what had you done -- and obviously you had not received much success -- banging on doors prior to that point.
1858 Is that fair to say?
1859 MR. HATCHER: Yes. I mean as a new -- like it's hard to know like what steps to take when you are musician. You know you like doing it, you want people to hear your message, but it's really hard to get out there and have people take you serious. And really, like again, it just takes one person kind of getting behind you to propel you into the --
1860 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And since then have other radio stations sort of --
1861 MR. HATCHER: Yes, absolutely. Like right across Canada I can say like that some stations have picked up my songs and --
1862 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Outside of the broadcaster that you are referring to?
1863 MR. HATCHER: Absolutely, yes. Yes, definitely. Some urban stations.
1864 Like my music is kind of crossover type music that mixes like hip-hop and like acoustic sort of music, so it doesn't fit with everything, but some stations have been willing to kind of go well, let's give it a try and see if it does fit, you know. So that's really what it's all about.
1865 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Those are my questions.
1866 Thank you all very much.
1867 MR. HATCHER: Thank you.
1868 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Menzies...?
1869 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Just it's kind of one question but I will just address it through Ms -- it's Spidle?
1870 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Yes.
1871 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, good. Thank you. I wanted to make sure I got it right.
1872 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Hyphenating causes problems for people. I shouldn't have bothered.
1873 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How many people go to the festival did you say again?
1874 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: We have had about 500 every year. We have had a very small kind of local festival. This year we are anticipating about 2000 people --
1875 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
1876 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: -- because we have had higher calibre female headliners, like more well-known talent this year.
1877 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That will be just about the biggest thing going on in Lockeport this summer then I'm assuming.
1878 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Well, we have --
1879 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No?
1880 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: We have a pretty happening July 1st celebration, too, in Lockeport.
1881 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That's right. Yes.
1882 So I understand through the benefits package, but how has the promotion of this event worked with existing radio broadcasters?
1883 Have they been helpful?
1884 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: It's worked -- oh, yes, they have been very helpful.
1885 Our two local radio stations in Bridgewater and Yarmouth have been very supportive of our endeavours and been very helpful to us through the process of promoting our event. I feel we have a very good relationship with them. They understand our music and we understand them.
1886 Having a radio station in Halifax where we can continue this work with radio would help us tap into another market.
1887 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And some of those, I guess emerging artists or undiscovered artists, do any of them get -- involved with your festival, do any of them get any airplay with any of those local stations?
1888 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Yes, some do. There are a few that have -- there are a couple of them that their music would be in the regular mix, like Melanie Doane.
1889 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
1890 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Christine Crawford has a new couple of songs that sometimes you hear within the regular mix. And I think both stations, both Yarmouth and Bridgewater, have programs that promote and support local emerging East Coast talent. So it's during like a program.
1891 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. Is that sort of regular play?
1892 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: No, I wouldn't say in the regular mix.
1893 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Is it sort of like Sunday afternoon, Saturday sort of thing?
1894 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: No, I wouldn't say in the regular mix, not that I'm aware of.
1895 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You wouldn't -- I'm sorry, I --
1896 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: I wouldn't say that they are in the regular mix.
1897 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Sort of specialized programming?
1898 MS WILLIAMS-SPIDLE: Yes, I believe. They would be probably the better people to answer that, but I'm not really aware that the majority of our performers would get in the regular mix.
1899 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you very much.
1900 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, once again thank you all for your intervention here this morning.
1901 Madam Secretary...?
1902 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1903 I would now call Maritime Broadcasting System Limited to come forward to the presentation table.
1904 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself for the record and after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
1905 Thank you.
1906 MR. PACE: Okay. Robert Pace.
1907 Good morning, Madam Chair, Panel Members, Commission staff. Welcome to Halifax and I hope you had a great night last night enjoying this great city.
1908 Maritime Broadcasting Systems Ltd. is here to demonstrate to the Commission that licensing another commercial radio station at this time in the Halifax market is not in the public interest as it would have an undue negative impact upon existing radio stations already licensed by the Commission to serve this market.
1909 My name is Robert Pace and I am the Chairman of the Board of Maritime Broadcasting Systems Ltd., MBS, which operates 24 radio stations in three Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
1910 We operate two radio stations in the Halifax market serving a population of over 350,000 people, but many of our radio stations operate in small markets such as Digby, Nova Scotia with a population of just over 2000 people; and Sussex, New Brunswick, with approximately 4000 people.
1911 We are committed to local radio, proud to provide employment and privileged to serve hundreds of communities with diversified programming throughout the Maritime provinces.
1912 We appear today because, as the Commission is well aware, these are not normal times and we foresee the arrival of new radio stations in this market causing damage to the quality of programming currently being provided by existing radio stations and to the many contributions made by them to the cultural sector.
1913 Therefore, I would like to clearly voiced our opposition to licensing any one of the three commercial radio applications under consideration by the Commission at this public hearing.
1914 The facts supporting my position are as follows:
1915 The call for applications that initiated this hearing was issued on October 8, 2008, well before the beginning of the current economic downturn the effects of which we continue to experience today.
1916 The applicant that initiated this process by filing an application on September 24, 2008 for an FM radio application in Halifax is a licensee of a standalone FM station in Halifax, licence Decision No. CRTC 2004-514.
1917 It is important to note that at paragraph 22 of this decision the Commission remarked that as a new entrant in this licensee would increase competition in the market and the Commission considered that as an experienced broadcaster it would be able to compete on a standalone basis with other radio licences in the market.
1918 It has only been a few years since this service was launched and the licensee is back to contradict or at least challenge what was a basic premise of the initial licensing process.
1919 For the 2004 radio licensing process there were 11 applications filed for the Halifax market which generated approximately 550 interventions. The current 2009 process resulted in three radio applications being filed and 56 interventions. Their strength could be interpreted as an indication that they Halifax population may be more interested in being better served by the existing radio stations than seeing new radio stations being launched.
1920 At the last radio licensing process in 2004 the pivot margin for commercial radio stations in Halifax stood at 32.8, while that, for all other commercial radio stations in Canada, was 19.3. The most recently CRTC published pivot margin for the commercial radio stations in Halifax for the year ending August 31, 2008 is 14.9.
1921 In addition, one French-language community radio station licensed by the Commission in 2005 has yet to be launched and the conversion of stations CHNS and CFDR in 2006 and 2008 respectively have not had their full impact on the market.
1922 This market is still under adjustment from previous licensing decisions.
1923 Recently RBC Financial Markets Monthly reported, on May 8, 2009, that while the repairs to the financial system complemented by the fiscal stimulus package will be positive for the economy in the medium term. The near-term outlook remains worrisome. With manufacturers still under pressure, RBC has downgraded its forecast and now expects the economy to experience another 2.3 annualized contraction in the second quarter and a meagre .8 annualized increase in the third.
1924 These revisions, along with the softer first quarter, resulted in 2009 GDP forecasts falling to minus 2.4, a percentage point weaker than their previous call.
1925 On May 22, 2009 the publication Weekly Trends, the Bank of Nova Scotia indicated that while pre-tax profits for businesses in Canada for 2008 were 6.4, its forecast of economic performance in 2009 was for pre-tax profits of minus 16 percent.
1926 It is reported that retail sales were negative in all provinces in March 2009, with a national retail sales averaging minus 5.3.
1927 Peter Hall, the Chief Economist with the Export Development Canada, indicated as recently as May 21st here in Halifax:
"'There is nobody in the win column this year and next year it's only baby steps out of the canyon we're in.' ... 'All major industries are affected.'
He said Nova Scotia's exports will drop by 20 per cent in 2009 before rising modestly by two per cent in 2010.
... EDC forecasts that agrifood exports..."
1928 Which are a big part of the Nova Scotia economy:
"... will decrease overall by 17 per cent in 2009."
1929 As an update on the unemployment rate in Nova Scotia, we indicated in our earlier intervention that the March 2009 unemployment rate provided by Stats Canada for the province was 8 percent. In fact, the Nova Scotia unemployment rate was actually 8.9. And recently reported unemployment rate for April 2009 is 9.2 percent for the province.
1930 Halifax has been affected by a long list of layoffs in 2008. In the media sector alone we have witnessed a closure of The Daily News, one of the two Halifax daily newspapers; layoffs at CTVglobemedia, CanWest Global, the CBC, which announced an additional reduction of 180 employees just this past Monday on top of the 400 employees already laid off; the Chronicle Herald, our other paper, which reduced its newsroom staff by one quarter, and the various radio stations which reduced staff to weather this slow economy.
1931 Beyond the media sector in Halifax the list of layoffs is long as well, Air Canada, Aliant, the casino, and this affects everyone.
1932 What does this economic trending all mean?
1933 The reality, as we have noticed in our advertising sales, a decline of 12 to 15 percent since 2008 and as a rule we estimate that we will require at least 2 to 3 years after the recession to recuperate these losses.
1934 Stats Canada reports in 2006 census that the census metropolitan area, CMA, population for Halifax is 373,000 people. There are currently 10 commercial radio and three community campus radio stations licensed in the Halifax market. By comparison, St. Catharines/Niagara CMA, with a population of 390,000 people, has six licensed commercial stations; Kitchener CMA, with a population of 451,000 people has nine; and Victoria CMA, with a population of 330,000 people has six licensed commercial radio stations and three community campus radio stations.
1935 As indicated in my original intervention, this area has not been spared by the effects of the recession and there are no solid indications as to when the positive activities will resume.
1936 Two of the three applicants at this hearing are proposing a programming format that is not truly an alternative to what is already offered in the Halifax market; and the third applicant is proposing a programming format blues that has proven during many attempts in markets larger than Halifax to be not commercially or economically viable.
1937 In conclusion, we draw the Commission's attention to a similar radio licensing process undertaken for Guelph market last October. This is a market with a population of 138,000 people served by one local commercial radio station where the Commission concluded that it was in the public interest to deny all four applicants that were seeking a radio licence in that market due to the economic slowdown in radio advertising sales.
1938 While the economic strength of the Halifax market may have been impressive in the past, it is not so notable at the present time and no one can predict when it will become strong again.
1939 Also, the ratio, I believe, of commercial radio stations by population has passed that of similar sized markets in Canada.
1940 Most radio stations have had to implement reductions in expenditures due to the current economic slowdown. Licensing another radio station in the Halifax market will only serve to direct existing radio stations to implement further reductions, which at this stage will affect the overall level of service to the community and will seriously compromise the public interest.
1941 Thank you for allowing us the time to present our case.
1942 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much and good morning, Mr. Pace.
1943 It's not often that incumbents come to us during this phase of the hearing and I truly do appreciate the perspective that the incumbents do bring to any licensing process. So thank you very much for being here.
1944 I'm sure you have followed the hearing yesterday quite closely and my first question to you is: You obviously don't agree with the applicants who say that there is as much as $3 million of untapped advertising revenue in this market?
1945 MR. PACE: No.
1946 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely not?
1947 MR. PACE: No.
1948 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you think there is any untapped advertising revenue in this market?
1949 MR. PACE: There is some, but I mean I think we really have to look at the big picture here.
1950 After the last licensing process, which I thought was over licensed by one, what was the effect of it? We had two thriving newspapers here, daily newspapers in this city. We have one now. So what you people do here is affecting other aspects of the media environment in the city.
1951 And, you know, particularly when the -- I'm not an economic expert, I think if we ask 100 economists we would get 100 different answers, but the sense of it is, you know, no one can tell for sure when we are going to come out of this. But one thing I will say -- and I have been in business 25 years in Nova Scotia and I think if you went down the streets of Halifax and talked to some elderly businessmen -- Atlantic Canada is the last to go into the recession and it's the last to come out. You can go to Dalhousie University and they will confirm those facts.
1952 So my worry is, we have seen the devastation in Ontario and out west -- I was recently in Calgary here a month ago and friends of mine that are in the oil servicing business are having a very tough time, but I think it's coming east. I hope I'm wrong, but if history repeats itself, you know, we will see a tougher time here, in my opinion.
1953 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you are right, I mean no one can predict what's going to happen down the road. The only thing we know at this moment is that if we were to license a new radio service to serve Halifax it could be two or even up to three years before it launches.
1954 MR. PACE: However, I think you have to be prudent. If you do not know I would lean on the side of prudence and why take the risk to license something now if, for instance -- if no one can tell you people that there is not going to be future growth in this economy, what is the rush right now in the middle of a serious recession in this province, with almost 10 percent unemployment, what is the rush to license any of these applications?
1955 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would your advice to us be, then, in a nutshell, don't license anything, ride out the storm, when the recession is over reassess this market?
1956 MR. PACE: That would be my answer.
1957 THE CHAIRPERSON: You spoke this morning about the number of applications that were received in 2004 compared to the number that were received now, also compared the number of interventions, and concluded by saying:
"This trend could be interpreted as an indication that the Halifax population may be more interested in being better served by the existing radio stations." (As read)
1958 What you mean by that and how do you think that the existing radio stations could better serve the Halifax market?
1959 MR. PACE: Well, right now I think that the citizens, the listeners are pretty well served in the Halifax market. You know, we have the broad range of formats here and, you know, going one step farther, it's going to affect everyone. And, you know, it's only now in this year that finally we are no longer -- I as a competitor, I have two radio stations here -- for the past seven years I have been competing against a monopoly called the Halifax Metro Radio Group.
1960 Well, you know, the LMAs, by regulation, were disposed of five or six years ago, supposedly, but I have had to live with it and it's only this August that finally NewCap and CHUM are going to be in separate facilities.
1961 So what I'm saying is, let the existing players, you know, deal with a level playing field. If I'm dealing with a level playing field I know my employees will compete against any large corporations that are in the market as we see it right now.
1962 THE CHAIRPERSON: Remind me of how long you have been in this market with your two radio stations?
1963 MR. PACE: I have owned this company with partners since 1994.
1964 THE CHAIRPERSON: And they were existing radio stations that you --
1965 MR. PACE: We had an AM and an FM.
1966 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
1967 Also on page 7 of your oral presentation you said your advertising sales have declined by 12 to 15 percent since 2008.
1968 Have you had to make any cuts at your radio stations as a result?
1969 MR. PACE: Not yet.
1970 THE CHAIRPERSON: But if the trend continues --
1971 MR. PACE: That's correct.
1972 We had, fortunately -- and I know it's not -- from the broadcast year, the fall up until the end of December we were okay, then, I think as all broadcasters, the good broadcasters in this room realized, you know, January, February, March were pretty tough here and it's just slowly coming back.
1973 I mean we rely heavily on the automotive and the electronics business. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but, you know, when you take automotive dealerships and you reduce them and they are in bankruptcy, that affects us. It's going to affect us for two or three years.
1974 THE CHAIRPERSON: Certainly the announcement by GM this morning can't be of much comfort.
1975 MR. PACE: No. And you had, you know Circuit City and, you know, other big advertisers, national, that are going through the same thing. So, you know, we are in a tough economic time right now, but everybody is.
1976 THE CHAIRPERSON: And these sales declines, were they more prevalent in national sales versus retail sales or was it across the board?
1977 MR. PACE: Across the board.
1978 THE CHAIRPERSON: Across the board.
1979 My colleagues may have some additional questions.
1980 Commissioner Menzies...?
1981 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand your interest in this and it's very helpful having you come actually. I wish more incumbents would come to these things.
1982 MR. PACE: Well, I feel kind of alone here.
1983 But the other players might have some bigger TV issues.
1984 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes. Yes, they are not here.
1985 MR. PACE: Yes.
1986 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But look, when we have these sorts of discussions, just to challenge your perspective, you have three operators here, business people, all of whom are good business people, right? I mean they are not going to -- my assumption is, and I just challenge you on this -- they have two years if we license. Is it fair for us to make the assumption that they wouldn't want to lose any more money than they had to and that they would choose a prudent time to launch?
1987 MR. PACE: There are three groups here. There is one group here that could launch at any time and could lose money for any long period of time. The other two probably would have to be more prudent.
1988 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But why would -- I mean why would we not trust that people prefer to make money than to lose it?
1989 MR. PACE: And that's a logical -- that's a logical statement.
1990 What I'm fearful of is sort of history repeating itself. Let's step back to the recession of '81-'84, then we came out of that and there was quite a proliferation of new licences across Canada. In 1989, as an example, in Halifax there was a very successful businessman that launched SUN FM in Halifax and then hit the recession in '90, '91, '92, and at that particular time there was a crisis in radio in this country.
1991 And I think if you relied on some of your staff people I mean they can dig out the history, but what happened then, even though it was well-funded, there was such huge losses -- and this was happening across the country -- the Commission had to reflect on this and they didn't want stations to go dark so they made basically two regulatory decisions.
1992 One, that they would entertain in markets that were difficult or there were losses, they would allow operators to run local area -- LMA's, agreements. So two operators could get together, reduce costs, have synergies and be profitable.
1993 The other thing they allowed us to do was that you could then have two FMs in a market.
1994 So essentially to get out of the problem that was created by over licensing they allowed those two things.
1995 I was a beneficiary of some of that because I got into this business in '94. We were coming out of the recession and from '95 until just about, you know, two years ago, the economy in Canada was pretty buoyant, so we had a proliferation of new licences in Canada. And that's kind of where we are today.
1996 So what I'm nervous about is if we continue just to over license, would the local radio business then be in the same situation as local TV? Because I could make a pretty passionate argument why is local -- and Commissioner Patrone knows much more about this than I do -- but when I just look at it at 40,000 feet I would make an argument that local TV has been affected by the issuance of too many specialty channels across the country in the last 10 or 15 years.
1997 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes. Well, that's --
1998 MR. PACE: That's another discussion, that's another day.
1999 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I'm not going there. I have been there.
2000 MR. PACE: But I wouldn't mind talking about it. I have my own feeling.
2001 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, it is -- I mean, you know -- well, I mean --
2002 MR. PACE: It's supply and demand.
2003 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It is a changing time for media, I understand that, but at the same time you talk about unemployment rate and lack of investment.
2004 These people want to come and invest in the community, they want to spend money, they want to hire people, right. I mean how do we justify saying to, you know, a potential employee or something in an economy that's struggling less than most --
2005 MR. PACE: Right.
2006 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- in the country right now, how do we say to them: Okay, guys, you know, we are shutting it down. There will be no investment here. There will be no new jobs in Halifax. We just -- we are scared, we don't want to do it.
2007 MR. PACE: But we have already done that in 2004. We have more licences per capita in this area than anyplace in the country.
2008 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes. But I'm not asking if we have done it before, I'm asking how we justify that.
2009 MR. PACE: I misunderstood the question.
2010 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, how do we justify saying there will be no economic growth in this sector in the city right now because it's a bad time? I mean would we not be doing perhaps more harm by not allowing investment, by not allowing investment capital to flow into the city?
2011 MR. PACE: Well, that's not the conclusion that you reached in Guelph.
2012 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That is a different issue. I'm not asking about Guelph, I'm asking about here.
2013 MR. PACE: No, I know, but --
2014 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And we all have -- remember, we all have different points of view, but I am --
2015 MR. PACE: That's what's great about this country.
2016 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It is. It is a wonderful thing.
2017 But how do we say that? How do we say it?
2018 I mean that's what economies need when they are in trouble, is they need investment, and they need capital.
2019 MR. PACE: To the detriment of existing operators that are going through a difficult time? I miss the logic in that.
2020 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I mean that's your answer.
2021 MR. PACE: Right.
2022 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I was just trying to push to get an answer on it. So I'm not trying to fight with you, I'm just trying to --
2023 MR. PACE: No, no. No, not at all. Great discussion.
2024 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- push the point in terms of that.
2025 I'm still struggling a little bit to see what would be wrong with licensing now when I think -- I could be wrong, but I think that the earliest launch that I heard as a suggestion was 18 months from now.
2026 I mean some would say that the people -- the licences we should worry about were the ones we handed out last year, not the ones we could hand out this year, because the people that got licences last year are looking at launching during a difficult time; the people who might get licences this year would be looking at launching 18 months to two years down the road.
2027 MR. PACE: And if I was one of those applicants coming here and having this discussion and making a pitch to you people, I would probably say well, we will probably, given -- because the one thing that they have going against them is the economic environment that we are presently in. So I don't think any one of them is going to tell you that they are going to be up and running in two months time.
2028 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No.
2029 MR. PACE: Because really it doesn't take all that much time to -- it's not like years ago where you have to build studios and find towers and, you know, purchase transmitters. I mean it can be a very quick turnaround.
2030 If you licensed someone here and said no one is up and running in 24 months time I would feel a little bit more comfortable, but to be licensing and then -- some people could be up in two months time. That's possible.
2031 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. So you would feel more comfortable if we actually put a start date on it?
2032 MR. PACE: Something. I mean we are in an area of quite of lot of uncertainty and I'm just looking for some prudence here.
2033 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That's true.
2034 Well, I mean if we knew what the future held we would all be wealthy people.
2035 MR. PACE: Yes.
2036 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Anyway, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
2037 MR. PACE: Thank you.
2038 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Duncan...?
2039 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you, Mr. Pace, for your comments. They are certainly helpful and we certainly will be taking them into consideration.
2040 As Commissioner Menzies said, I don't want to be argumentative, but I think it might be worth just discussing a few of the points.
2041 For example, I just want to add that it's -- first of all, these potential investors are going to make the investment in the time that is wise for them as well, so they are not going to rush out in two months if they don't think they have a business -- at least I don't think so, run out if they don't think they have a business case because they have, as you know, two years plus a year where they can apply for an extension. So they have a three-year window and I think that we heard here yesterday 18 months from one of the groups. And I think in what I have seen in my time at the Commission, that it does usually take a fair bit of time before somebody launches.
2042 So, you know, I think that you would have -- the market will have the opportunity. I'm kind of interested in when you think we can expect the turnaround because some reports are that we are already seeing a turnaround and you mention yourself that until the end of last year you weren't doing too badly, and you even had said you see things slowly coming back.
2043 So I'm just wondering, when do you see in Halifax -- if you were going to your banker for example, what would you be telling him as far as --
2044 MR. PACE: Well, today you don't tell them very much at all.
2045 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: You don't go.
2046 MR. PACE: They tell you.
2047 I just look at trends and the trends are all declining. I mean when this province is close to 10 percent unemployment, that's pretty serious.
2048 You know, this province relies on fishing, we know where that is. You know, the federal government is going to compensate the lobster fishermen. We saw a lot of the closures down the Annapolis Valley recently. We have seen big layoffs here at Air Canada. You know, these things all have a cumulative effect.
2049 And, you know, I would argue that the stock market is up, but the economy, I don't see any details that show me that GDP is improving. But I'm not an expert, I just have to deal with the business that I'm trying to run in the city and I can only just give you the facts.
2050 I mean outside, you know, I have made this argument before, rightly or wrongly, but we are a company that is in the smaller markets. Well, if we get pounded with more competition in Halifax over time it's difficult to service those other markets. I mean they are not growth markets.
2051 So all I'm saying is that we should have some prudence here and I think the facts speak for themselves, we have more licences per capita here in the Halifax area right now than in most places in Canada.
2052 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Your analysis that you did, was that 100 percent or did you find some instances where Halifax had less than other centres of similar size?
2053 MR. PACE: No, I couldn't find them, but if someone can point them out to me --
2054 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So you did look at all of the markets --
2055 MR. PACE: Yes.
2056 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: -- and Halifax has more?
2057 MR. PACE: Yes.
2058 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So that the parties that are coming to us and, you know, giving us arguments that people are underserved that are turning to satellite and Internet and don't find the kind of music they want to listen to on the local radio stations, you don't find that credible then?
2059 MR. PACE: Not in the city of Halifax here right now. We have a lot of licences here.
2060 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. Actually, that leads into another one of the points I wanted to make, because on the 2004, the last licensing here in Halifax, you mentioned there was one too many.
2061 MR. PACE: Yes.
2062 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And is that taking into consideration that the Global licence didn't launch or one more --
2063 MR. PACE: No, just --
2064 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Even of the ones that launched?
2065 MR. PACE: It's been a tougher time for us to launch our AM flip than we expected.
2066 You know, one could argue, and some of the other applicants could say: Well, you didn't do a very good job of it. I accept that, you know, it is what it is, you do some things right and you do something's wrong, you learn from your mistakes and you move on.
2067 But you could also argue that, you know, in this market -- and you know this market, you live here -- we have had to compete on an unlevel playing field for some time. When you have two stations up against five, you know, it's like you might think you are Wayne Gretzky but, you know, you are playing defence most of the time.
2068 Now, that is behind us and I think, you know, we will pick up share, as we did yesterday in the most recent BBM, because it's more of a level playing field. But, you know, I would like our employees, our company to have a chance to sort of, you know, compete with these big guys. Because the people, with the exception of Evanov, in this market are big players with deep pockets.
2069 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Were you involved in the LMAs when they were first licensed?
2070 MR. PACE: Yes, and that's what I mentioned.
2071 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. So they worked for you at that point?
2072 MR. PACE: At that time.
2073 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
2074 MR. PACE: And when they were regulated to be disposed of we were out of them; others weren't.
2075 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's a challenge for the Commission, because unless we get a complaint then of course, you know, we have no proof.
2076 MR. PACE: I appeared here a number of times and raised the same issue. It's on the public record.
2077 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: One of the other things I wanted to mention to you or just ask I guess for your thoughts on is with respect to the newspapers.
2078 You know, I don't think that you can attribute the demise of a newspaper in Halifax to licensing decisions of the CRTC solely. I mean the impact on the newspapers is far-reaching.
2079 MR. PACE: I agree, but you look at -- let's put yourself in the hands of an advertiser. Prior to the licensing our salesperson would go in and would be competing, you know, with another radio station and two newspapers, then all of a sudden there are all these additional opportunities for advertisers. Well, the pie is not -- the total advertising pie in Halifax is not getting larger so something has to give.
2080 And let's not forget that a lot of people in the whole media sector -- it's intertwined. You know, we have employees that come from newspaper to us and vice versa. So, you know, I don't think it's totally separate, I think you have to look at it, you know, as the total advertising pie and once you expand those opportunities, well, it's less for everybody.
2081 That was my point.
2082 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
2083 MR. PACE: I agree with your -- yes.
2084 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. No, thank you.
2085 MR. PACE: Newspapers there is much more of an international demographic challenge to that sector than --
2086 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
2087 The other thing I wanted, just two other small points just to add to Commissioner Menzies' point.
2088 Again not to be argumentative, but the other advantage to the increased investment in the community is, as he indicated, but it's not only for employment, but it also gives these artists, as we heard in the previous panel, opportunities and, you know, maybe an opportunity there to make a living as well. So it's just --
2089 MR. PACE: And I agree.
2090 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes, okay.
2091 MR. PACE: My issue is timing.
2092 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And the other comment I just wanted to take -- and I really do find your comments helpful and, as I said, we will consider them, that's for sure.
2093 But just on your point there of:
"The third applicant is proposing a programming format, blues, that has been proven during many attempts in markets even larger than Halifax to be not economically viable..." (As read)
2094 Are you basing that on because they weren't licensed?
2095 MR. PACE: I think what I was trying to -- maybe I will broaden it.
2096 There are niche formats like jazz, blues, and a lot of those end up having to go eventually to something else.
2097 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. You weren't referring to the applicant, you were referring to the format?
2098 MR. PACE: No. Just the -- yes, sorry.
2099 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Sorry. Okay, that's fine.
2100 Thank you, Mr. Pace.
2101 Those are all my questions.
2102 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Patrone...?
2103 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2104 I'm glad you brought up the issue of timing and I very much appreciate your presentation here today, Mr. Pace.
2105 You got into the business in '94 you said, basically shortly after the recession coming out of the early '90s, and I can't help but think that there were probably people who were saying no, but we can't license any more at that particular time, people who might have been worried about the state of the economy shortly after a recession.
2106 I can well appreciate that the point of view of an incumbent, which you are now, would be radically different from back then.
2107 As you listened to the applications, were there any that you felt perhaps were less prone to impact you personally, your business personally, than others or were they all pretty much the same, as far as your view is concerned?
2108 MR. PACE: I really don't want to comment on the other applicants, they are good broadcasters, they are good people. I will leave it at that.
2109 My issue is more of timing, economics and basically licences per capita. That's in summary.
2110 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I can appreciate the fact that you don't want to comment about any of the other broadcasters --
2111 MR. PACE: Right.
2112 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- but you are opposing them all anyway.
2113 MR. PACE: I have made my statement.
2114 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Did the collapse of the Daily News mean that there were more ad dollars out there?
2115 You spoke a little bit about that and it would make sense from my perspective that if there was one less source with which to compete against that perhaps that might have led to a few more ad dollars being available.
2116 Did you find that?
2117 MR. PACE: No.
2118 I think the timing though -- I think your point is well taken and it's a good observation, it was just about when we hit the sort of economic downturn.
2119 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Yes.
2120 MR. PACE: So I think probably in a continuing improved economic environment your point will be well taken, but we didn't see that.
2121 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Most of my issues were covered off by my colleagues here, but you did mention a 10 percent unemployment rate, but you are talking provincially here.
2122 MR. PACE: Yes.
2123 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I mean the raid in HRM is not 10 percent.
2124 MR. PACE: No, it's about 6.5, but rising.
2125 The unfortunate thing I think, I have gone to two convocations with children in the last month and what I am saying is that there is a lot of people graduating and they don't have a lot of good job opportunities to go to in their field and I saw this back in the recession of '81-'84 and I saw it in '90 and '94.
2126 We were recently having a discussion about this, but you know, it's unfortunate when you go and take a degree for four years, you have a huge debt load and then all of a sudden, you know, you want to be employed in your field and you are involved in the retail sector. And that is becoming more prevalent in Halifax.
2127 You know, hopefully for all of us it will turn around and go the other way, but these trends -- you people are pretty wise people and you have lived across the country -- these trends don't happen and change in one quarter. I mean once you get a trend established, you know, it takes a year or two to go the other way.
2128 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Are you finding it tough sledding when you approach advertisers these days, when you knock on the door and say, you know, do you want to buy time on my station?
2129 MR. PACE: In the winter it was brutal.
2130 Now, having said that, I mean some of our bigger advertisers are auto dealerships and, you know, looking at what they were faced at. I think, you know, people were very concerned, like where is this going to go?
2131 I think we have got over this whole financial panic whether, you know, was your money safe in the bank. You know, that's behind us, particularly in the United States, but there was real nervousness.
2132 People are very cautious. They won't commit to long-term contracts. You know, I own other businesses so, you know, right through all of the other businesses, everybody is being cautious and prudent until we get through this.
2133 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I know you sort of addressed this a little earlier, Mr. Pace, but does the duration expected between now and launch, assuming that we were to license someone, does that not give you any comfort at all, knowing that it could be a year and a half before another station comes into the market?
2134 MR. PACE: Well, if you put that as a stipulation of a licence, like I said earlier to Commissioner Menzies, you know, there is a comfort in that.
2135 But just to license and leave it there I think, you know, one could have a licence up here pretty quickly, because the towers are in place in Halifax. We essentially share off of either CBC or CTV. The tower is in place, the antenna is in place, go buy a transmitter.
2136 And we all know now with digital -- you know, years ago you would build a studio and it would take you six or eight months; now you buy a board, digital board, and it's one wire and you hook it into a computer and you are operational.
2137 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But if I was the other applicants I would say it's going to take us 18, 24, 38 months.
2138 So you don't buy that?
2139 MR. PACE: Not at all.
2140 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You say that they are saying -- they might be saying 18 months, but you are saying you don't believe it?
2141 MR. PACE: No.
2142 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You haven't answered though.
2143 MR. PACE: Exactly I did. Thank you.
2144 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Thank you.
2145 Those are my questions.
2146 THE CHAIRPERSON: Once again thank you very much, Mr. Pace.
2147 Those are all our questions.
2148 MR. PACE: We will be taking a 15-minute break now.
--- Upon recessing at 0945
--- Upon resuming at 1010
2150 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2151 For the record, we have been informed that intervenor No. 8, Bearly's House of Blues and Ribs; and intervener No. 11, Your Father's Moustache listed in the Agenda will not be appearing at the hearing.
2152 I would now call Music Nova Scotia and John Campbell to appear as a panel and present their interventions.
2153 We will start with Music Nova Scotia.
2154 Please introduce yourself and then you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2155 MR. LONG: All right. Thank you, Madam Chair.
2156 My name is Scott Long, I am the Executive Director of Music Nova Scotia.
2157 Since 1989 Music Nova Scotia has been working to foster, develop and promote the full potential of the music industry and Nova Scotia. Based here in Halifax, our nonprofit Member Services Association is devoted to advancing the careers of music industry professionals in songwriting, publishing, live performance, representation, production and distribution and to help ensure that Nova Scotia musicians are heard on the world stage.
2158 Music Nova Scotia is the collective voice of the Nova Scotia music sector with a mandate to secure and develop a strong and economically viable music industry in Nova Scotia.
2159 Music Nova Scotia has nearly 1100 members representing a wide variety of music genres in the province.
2160 On behalf of Music Nova Scotia I am pleased to appear today in supporting the application for DAWG FM and Frank Torres.
2161 It is important to note, however, that by appearing at this hearing today in support of this application, Music Nova Scotia does not oppose any particular applicant in this process.
2162 Music Nova Scotia advocates on a variety of issues that it hopes the CRTC will consider when making its decision.
2163 Music Nova Scotia supports the opening of radio formats that commit to playing Nova Scotian content.
2164 Music Nova Scotia also supports a diversity of musical formats in any given marketplace. More diversity and less repetition can only serve to further develop Canadian and Nova Scotia artists.
2165 I have read the Frank Torres application and it clearly commits to playing Nova Scotian artists and clearly introduces a new musical format to the marketplace.
2166 A blues genre format would greatly benefit artistic development in Nova Scotia. The blues genre is currently underrepresented in the Nova Scotia music sector.
2167 Music Nova Scotia administers two funding programs on behalf of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.
2168 Each year Music Nova Scotia issues a series of grants to musicians and music industry professionals through the Export Development Program which distributes $300,000 in a cycle of four deadlines. The focus of this investment is on Nova Scotian artists who are travelling or marketing outside of the province in various territories with assorted export projects.
2169 Two components, the travel and tour initiative and the marketing support initiative, exist to facilitate access to funds and a Music Nova Scotia Program Officer assists with the preparation of these proposals. Eligible applicants can apply for a maximum of 50 percent of their eligible budget, with a limit of $7500 for total funding for project.
2170 Music Nova Scotia's ultimate goal through the Export Development Program is to ensure that the music industry in Nova Scotia continues to grow and develop into a sustainable and profitable industry. Music Nova Scotia realizes that a steady succession of investment will allow beneficiaries to react quicker to business opportunities in their chosen markets and thus Nova Scotia will have musicians and industry professionals working more frequently outside of the province, yet remain living here.
2171 Cultural industries are Nova Scotia's greatest resource and the music sector plans to lead the way toward realizing the export potential of our products.
2172 One of the key trends that has been discovered in the Export Development Program for music that is relevant to the hearing today is that only 2 percent of our total funding was handed out to blues artists over the last two years of the program. Compared to the 50 percent that is handed out to roots, rock and alternative genres combined, this illustrates that the genre is underrepresented on various levels.
2173 Blues artist in Nova Scotia are not meeting the program criteria of export-ready or exporting artists and/or there are very few blues artists working as professional touring musicians.
2174 Music Nova Scotia also administers the Bringin' It Home Community Presenters Program which offers shortfall guarantees to pre-approved community presenters who present Nova Scotian artists. If a community presenter experiences a loss on a show booked under the Bringin' It Home Program, Music Nova Scotia will provide loss insurance of up to a maximum of $1500 per show. The program is meant to provide work for Nova Scotian artists, while at the same time encourage community presenters to enhance audience development and artistic diversity by taking risks on artists and genres they might not normally take going it alone.
2175 This season, which ends on June 15th, saw total of 49 performances booked under the program. Of these performances only 2 percent were blues genre shows. At the same time, Music Nova Scotia has a 14 percent representation of blues artists. So we have a healthy representation in our membership, but as far as commercial activity there is a big disconnect with other genres. Clearly the blues genre is underrepresented as a viable commercial genre in Nova Scotia.
2176 Music Nova Scotia believes the commitment that is clearly demonstrated in the DAWG FM application to playing Nova Scotian artists and to artistically diversify the radio landscape by offering a blues format will greatly enhance the commercial development of blues artists in our province.
2177 It is also important to point out the CCD commitment made by DAWG FM in their application. The CCD contribution in the DAWG FM proposal provides unprecedented access to resources which will assist in the development of significant and sustainable business opportunities for Nova Scotia blues artists.
2178 CRTC licensing of DAWG FM in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the subsequent CCD contribution made to the music sector locally, provincially and nationally, will result in the following: increased airplay and awareness for local blues artists; creation of new live performance opportunities for blues artists; exporting of Nova Scotian blues music abroad; education and training for youth interested in the genre; and genre diversification in the music sector in Nova Scotia.
2179 Music Nova Scotia believes that the proposed plan from DAWG FM is unmatched in its contribution to the development and sustainability of the blues genre and the music industry as a whole in Nova Scotia.
2180 The music industry in Nova Scotia overall must be adequately funded and developed educationally to grow so that we can compete in a worldwide marketplace and produce top-notch artistic talent that commercial radio requires to meet Canadian content requirements.
2181 Music Nova Scotia believes that the DAWG FM application will contribute greatly to this goal that is supported in fact by law by the Broadcast Act.
2182 Thank you.
2183 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
2184 We will now proceed with Mr. John Campbell.
2185 Mr. Campbell, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2186 MR. CAMPBELL: Thank you very much.
2187 Please forgive me if I have trouble articulating my words here. I'm not accustomed to these hearings, I'm more accustomed to saying good evening and thank you and is everybody having a good time and good night.
2188 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be refreshing, if you would do that.
2189 MR. CAMPBELL: Thank you.
2190 So I don't really have sort of a speech as such prepared, but I have made some notes and I do have some experience in the live performance market.
2191 My name is John Campbell, but I am also known musically, my professional name is John Campbelljohn, and I basically play blues for a living.
2192 I would say 80 to 90 percent of that is touring away from home. I can go for a week, two weeks, three weeks, a month, month and a half at a time. I'm a family guy and I have a wife and two teenage daughters at home, so I like to be home.
2193 So I think it's really exciting that there is an opportunity to have a blues radio station here in Halifax because for me personally it could help to expose, again, personally my music to a larger audience regionally so that it can contribute to more work at home.
2194 For me it's basically promotion and advertising and it would help to gain more recognition regionally and therefore lead to more performances at home for the money that I need to pay my mortgage and raise my family. So that's a really good thing.
2195 I really can't speak to the business numbers and stuff because I'm just a single proprietor and do my taxes at the end of the year and that kind of thing, but culturally I think there is a very real opportunity to really educate people who are the mainstream type of people who are more accustomed to established artists in the pop, rock, country mainstream.
2196 And I can honestly say that most of the music that is played leads directly back to a blues influence that many, I daresay most people, are not aware of. For example, you can't play rock guitar without being a blues artist. And many of these successful rock guitarists, if they have done their homework they know that, but I think the public in general doesn't understand that in the rock guitar example it's all blues. And people may wonder why and I think that with a blues radio channel they can quickly learn and be entertained and make it a very pleasant and enjoyable experience finding that out.
2197 In all styles of music, be it modern country music Beyonce, Tragically Hip, Céline Dion, all those people are singing -- have a direct blues influence that comes directly back from the blues.
2198 And of course there is blues mainstream artists -- I should say rock mainstream artists that do touch on these blues styles, but whether you can hear in obvious blues influence or not it is there and I believe that a blues radio station can illustrate that in a number of ways through specific shows, illustrating that by playing back-to-back traditional blues artists with mainstream rock/pop artists and it could be a whole lot of fun.
2199 So in Halifax I heard the gentleman said earlier there is a broad range of formats, which I'm sure is true, but there is no specific blues format. There are artists such as myself who could really benefit from the more blues and blues rock type of format, as well as the general public.
2200 I just want to refer to a couple of notes that I have made. There are many that I scribbled here and I don't want to -- please feel free to interrupt me if I'm getting bogged down in stuff that's not pertinent here.
2201 But there are -- with regard to blues, I have heard people say on occasion that, you know, blues is a three chord music and it all sounds the same and that's simply not true. All styles of music have their own type of style.
2202 So I'm just trying to illustrate what a wonderful golden opportunity it would be to be able to educate people on a cultural level. I believe that in Atlantic Canada it has all pretty much all been covered from Celtic to pop rock in the radio business, news, talk radio, it's all there, but blues isn't and blues has had a strong influence on all forms of music in the mainstream, whether it be pop, rock, country.
2203 If you want to ask me some questions about artists, specific artists, I will try to cite a few examples.
2204 So yes, it would be a real opportunity for artists to gain recognition.
2205 It will also, I believe -- the retail industry, as I'm sure you are aware, is in really tough shape for CD sales and the record industry and they are really suffering. I believe that obviously radio contributes to record sales and I believe that playing a blues artist will contribute to record sales in retail and at the live shows.
2206 In the past if you want to buy a blues artist you are going to pay top dollar because the pop rock artists who the record labels are pushing have discounted in order to move the product out the door. And with the greater recognition of these artists, people -- I'm going to get into an area that I don't know a whole lot about, it's the retail market, but I believe that the prices would come down somewhat and enable the blues fans to afford music as opposed to buying CDs in the blues section where there is -- you know, prices are on an average probably $20, $22, $23 and I believe that has a detrimental effect on CD sales when up front the stars are racked for $14 and $15. It's obvious that if you are on a budget where are you going to go to purchase your music in such a limited, desperate state that it's in these days.
2207 Also, I might point out that blues fans, and the baby-boomer age of blues fans generally speaking, at least in my observation, are not the type of people that are going to download music and steal it, which is a very controversial issue, as much as the younger people do, so they are more apt to like an artist that they hear on the radio and go to the store and buy it. So I think that's important.
2208 I'm just scrambling here, but I'm trying to -- I should have put numbers on my notes here, but I didn't.
2209 Yes, so the retail sales is important, although I don't want to get too far into that because we are talking about radio here today.
2210 But I can't help but think how exciting it would be for people to find out how Eddie Van Halen learned to play the guitar. If you spoke to him you would see where he was influenced on down. It will go right back to the inventing blues. People don't know that.
2211 So that would be really exciting. I would love to personally participate in that because I'm -- you know, I'm very passionate about the blues genre because that's what I do for a living.
2212 It does cover a huge age group demographic -- if that's the correct big word here -- from kids on up to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s these days. And of course the older people, like I say, are the people who are more apt to spend the money, whereas the younger people unfortunately like to sit at home on Limewire and download the hits and everyone is suffering.
2213 I have had a little bit of luck in the past with classic rock radio and also the CBC, but it's such a tough market these days that there are only -- more and more it's getting worse, more and more there is only a handful of artists who are getting the actual airplay because they are the artists like Madonna and Céline Dion and Tragically Hip and, you know, all deserving of their recognition, but they are the guaranteed sellers so I think they get priority when it comes to airplay and the little guy is left out.
2214 Again, culturally a little guy should be able to participate and I believe that in the blues genre there would be plenty of room for that little guy -- and I consider myself one of those little guys, not a star that can do big numbers. I have had success, a little bit in Europe and the rest of the country, but at home here it's really tough because you are up against -- you know, I'm going against the grain because the indigenous music here is Celtic and it's strong. I'm from Cape Breton Island and I love Celtic music, but I play blues for a living. So it's tough.
2215 So the people are out there. I have done shows in small and larger venues and there are people who come to the shows who I'm sure would be interested in hearing blues music that they don't get an opportunity to hear on the radio, you know, from Bearly's House of Blues, that unfortunately couldn't make it this morning, to a packed house at the Rebecca Cohn. You know, I believe that they are there and they want to hear more blues.
2216 So that's basically what I wanted to say in a nutshell.
2217 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Long and Mr. Campbell.
2218 I will ask Commissioner Menzies to start some questions for you.
2219 I'm sorry, it's Commissioner Patrone.
2220 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: That's quite all right.
2221 Thank you, Madam Chair.
2222 And thank you Mr. Campbell and Mr. Long for your presentations. I know it's sometimes difficult to get your thoughts out.
2223 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2224 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You would much rather be singing them, playing them perhaps.
2225 I will start with you Mr. Campbell.
2226 You mentioned this a little bit, that the CBC was playing your material, is anybody else playing your material on a regular basis on radio?
2227 MR. CAMPBELL: I have had luck with one tune called Sydney Steel. I grew up in Sydney, my dad retired from Sydney Steel and there are Cape Bretoner's whose family were -- depended on Sydney Steel for many years. So that was sort of a colloquial type of tune, if that's the right word.
2228 So I have gotten a lot of support for that one song, but I have a catalog of -- well, it will be eight albums through the course of my career.
2229 And it's business. You know, it's difficult to get airplay when the market is so competitive and that's why I believe there is a lot of culture. You know, there is a lot to gain from the culture, from the education and the cultural aspect.
2230 What I'm saying is, I understand that there is only so many spots available on the radio so, you know, if Céline Dion gets the spin it's pretty obvious why, because she is such a massive platinum selling artist or, maybe more appropriately, Colin James as an artist who was more the blues, blues/rock genre. So he has had the support of major labels.
2231 I hung out with Stevie Ray Vaughan and got a lot of publicity from that. And he is very talented, extremely talented and he deserves recognition but, like I say, there are only so many slots for those artists.
2232 I don't know if I'm answering your question here.
2233 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You are. I think I hear what you are saying is very few -- you get very little airplay. I mean, you might get the odd spin on CBC and Q104 maybe or is it HAL FM?
2234 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes, that's basically it.
2235 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do they play your material? It's classic rock.
2236 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes, it's a classic rock station and they have been very supportive of this tune and I'm very grateful to them for it. You know, people recognize that song, but by and large I haven't had consistent airplay per album through my career because I had to deal with such competitive markets, you know.
2237 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You sell your material mostly at shows?
2238 Is that correct?
2239 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2240 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: The Torres application -- I'm sorry.
2241 MR. CAMPBELL: There is a small amount of distribution that I have. I don't -- it's a small part of it. It supplements my income, but my main income is live performance and selling CDs at the shows.
2242 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Right.
2243 The Torres proposal includes a web portal which blues artists would perhaps have access to the public --
2244 MR. CAMPBELL: I'm sorry, a web port?
2245 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Yes.
2246 They have an Internet -- they are going to have an Internet proponent -- or part of their operation, part of their proposal includes Internet and access to emerging artists.
2247 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2248 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Although you have been around for such a long time it's hard to see yourself as an emerging artist because you basically are an artist. As you say, you make your living from playing the blues.
2249 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2250 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Would that help you at all?
2251 MR. CAMPBELL: Absolutely. People forget and they move on to the next artist and if -- part of the record business has changed because of that, well, that's for the young people.
2252 But no, if you are not in the public eye on a consistent basis it's almost like starting over again. There are people, having done this for so many years, that know my name but, you know, you have to keep a buzz to keep your career rolling and if there is no buzz no one is particularly interested. They are interested in the artist who has the buzz, if that makes any sense to you.
2253 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: You were saying that you have to tour outside the area in order to be able to support yourself.
2254 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2255 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Is that a reflection of the popularity or lack thereof of the blues scene here do you think?
2256 You mentioned that there was Celtic music here and I realize that, and there are other forms of music that are popular as well, but as you said, you couldn't possibly support yourself simply by touring, say, in Nova Scotia alone or even New Brunswick or the Maritimes.
2257 MR. CAMPBELL: I couldn't support myself playing regionally regardless of what style of music. I would have to tour if I wanted to do it full-time.
2258 You know, being a homeowner and a family man with kids and stuff I have to -- you know, there is a certain level of income that I need to survive like anyone, any other person, and so I'm forced to tour.
2259 But when I'm home it's difficult, because I love to be home but except for occasional performances, certain events here and there, I'm basically unemployed until -- well, for example this year, until festival season starts up I go away from home. I'm gone to Québec and Ontario and over to Europe and, you know, I'm gone for a couple of months to gather my nuts for the winter.
2260 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I asked Mr. Campbell because there has been some suggestions that this format has been tried elsewhere and not met with a whole lot of success and so I'm trying to get your read on whether you think a blues-based station like the one that the Torres application is will succeed in this area.
2261 MR. CAMPBELL: I understand. I understand exactly what you are saying and I believe that having -- as I said, blues is in every form of music and I believe this DAWG FM intends to combine traditional blues with mainstream rock blues and pop and artists from the mainstream. For me it's to illustrate just how powerful the impact of blues has made on popular music. It's the great unsung hero of music styles.
2262 So I believe that there will be lots of interest from that aspect, as well as -- I don't believe that it's a niche market, I think that it has such a broad reach throughout all styles of music that it can work.
2263 I'm having a hard time finding the words here, but I believe strongly that it could work.
2264 Of course I have personal interest because if I get airplay it will help me make more money at home here and be able to be with my family and stay at home instead of being gone to make my money and so I'm excited about that.
2265 But this business about being a niche market with blues, it has had such an impact on popular music that I don't think you could categorize it as such.
2266 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Mr. Long, you say you have 1100 members?
2267 MR. LONG: That's correct, yes.
2268 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: How vigorous is the blues community, in your view, here in Nova Scotia?
2269 MR. LONG: I mean as far as commercially it's not very vigorous.
2270 For example, in 2008 Nova Scotia Music Week, which is our annual award celebration and educational conference, we had to call the blues artists that we knew had eligible releases to ask them to submit for the blues award category. If we had not done that it would not have been activated.
2271 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: What does that tell you?
2272 MR. LONG: It tells me that the genre is underrepresented commercially.
2273 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Is it a hard sell these days?
2274 MR. LONG: I don't think so, I think it would be refreshing.
2275 And at Music Nova Scotia we have our ear to the ground, very much so. We talk to our members and artists every day. They come into our office, we have a resource centre where they hang out and do their work, do their business, and all we ever hear from them, with all due respect to all the operators in this marketplace, is that radio here is stagnant and boring and repetition is all that we hear.
2276 You know, how many more classic rock formats do we need? How many more dance pop stations, you know.
2277 The word on the street, Mr. Commissioner, is that this format would be very well accepted and very refreshing for listeners.
2278 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Do you have any thoughts about a commitment to have a certain number of local artists represented amongst the emerging artist quotient?
2279 So, in other words, I'm not talking about a condition of licence, I'm just saying that, you know, we would like to commit to having this percentage of the Nova Scotia-based -- or even Halifax-based -- artists as part of the emerging artist commitment.
2280 MR. LONG: That would be terrific. I mean that's part of my job is to advocate those types of things.
2281 What's the number, I'm not sure, you know. What could the broadcaster's stomach for that, you know?
2282 But absolutely, yes, can we get a quota. How can we get that legislated, you know.
2283 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I know you have talked a little bit around that and I think Mr. Campbell would agree that blues is such a -- is a format that is really given to live performance, at least --
2284 MR. CAMPBELL: I discovered blues not through live performance.
2285 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Through recordings?
2286 MR. CAMPBELL: Through radio and recordings, the odd tune, but I discovered them on radio through The Beatles. The Beatles interpreted their music from blues artists. And if you are old enough you would know that from Little Richard tunes that they have covered, but if you are a kid that's 17 listening to 50 Cent or Beyonce or whatever you don't know that and it's really a shame.
2287 So, as I said, there is a huge cultural education potential here that to me is quite exciting.
2288 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Okay.
2289 I'm almost done.
2290 Mr. Long, do you really believe that this format would thrive in Halifax?
2291 MR. LONG: Yes.
2292 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Those are my questions.
2293 Thank you very much.
2294 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Duncan...?
2295 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you and thanks for coming to the hearing. Very interesting comments and helpful as well.
2296 I want to just pick up on Commissioner Patrone's last question.
2297 I don't know, Mr. Long, if you heard our previous intervenor from MBS, Mr. Pace. He says that because of your knowledge of the industry -- and I know, Mr. Campbell, that you answered the question, but I'm kind of interested in hearing what you have to say -- that he feels that this blues format has proven unsuccessful after many attempts in markets larger than Halifax to not be economically viable.
2298 So I'm just wondering what your comments would be on that.
2299 MR. LONG: Well, I would say that this marketplace is a bit more unique than others.
2300 The cultural history as it relates to music in this province is unprecedented. You will find more talent per capita, more success stories in our industry per capita than any other province in Canada. And the general public I think is perhaps, without -- this is just my own personal feeling, but I believe that the general public in Nova Scotia are more educated when it comes to music and what they like and what they like to listen to and I think that this format lends well to that.
2301 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Mr. Campbell, do you have a website?
2302 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2303 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: You have a website?
2304 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2305 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. So do you get many hits? Are people buying the music off your website?
2306 MR. CAMPBELL: Occasionally. Sales, the biggest sales for me are live performance. If they know the artist and they will come to the show; if they don't know the artist and they come to the show and they like to show they will buy the CD.
2307 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: In the Halifax market, though, with all of the venues that we have, you don't get much opportunity to perform here live?
2308 MR. CAMPBELL: Well, I do. I'm in the market where I'm a solo artist -- I'm not what I call a side man, a side man works for another artist playing guitar, playing drums, bass -- and I have to maintain a certain level of income and so for me to do that I can't play every week in little venues here and there, they have to be events to keep the demand up and that's the situation that I'm in.
2309 To help create the demand I need all the support I can get. I try to be as strong an artist as I can, but I need support from everywhere I can get it and of course radio airplay is one of those places where the support would be really helpful.
2310 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Just so I'm understanding what you are saying, if you had radio airplay you would have more opportunities locally to perform.
2311 I know you have to travel, I understand that part, but it sounded to me like there were limited opportunities --
2312 MR. CAMPBELL: The short answer is yes, absolutely. Yes.
2313 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's your point, okay. Thank you.
2314 I just had one question, Mr. Long, for you and that was with regards to the tangible benefit.
2315 I don't know if you were here yesterday for the --
2316 MR. LONG: I was not here yesterday.
2317 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So the Commission is just concerned that the monies that the parties get as a result of the CD initiatives meet with the Commission's requirements.
2318 MR. LONG: Yes.
2319 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: For example, a description of Music Nova Scotia -- and I think it might even be and what you have said here today -- is that you support songwriting, publishing, performance, representation, production and distribution.
2320 Well, those funds would not be allowed, for example, to be used for legal or for an agent.
2321 MR. LONG: Yes, Music Nova Scotia is very much aware.
2322 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
2323 MR. LONG: Yes.
2324 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Those are -- let's have a look here.
2325 Those are my questions. Thank you very much.
2327 MR. LONG: You're welcome.
2328 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Menzies...?
2329 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Just either of you can answer this, but how many venues are there in Halifax for -- I guess dedicated blues venues, live?
2330 MR. CAMPBELL: Dedicated blues venues?
2331 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Blues bars.
2332 MR. CAMPBELL: Bearly's House of Blues and Ribs comes to mind. But for me personally it's more events and where they may take place and how they are promoted.
2333 There's probably -- I would say three that regularly play blue shows.
2334 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And are there blues festivals throughout the year in this market?
2335 MR. LONG: No, not throughout the year. We have one festival season and it's very short. You know, it's very much related to weather.
2336 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2337 Just to be a bit of a devil's advocate, right, if this genre was as popular as -- and if most people were as passionate and dedicated to it as you are, wouldn't somebody be doing it already?
2338 I mean there are a lot of radio operators in town and we do hear about the fact that it's not -- you know, it doesn't get much play. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm a fan, if, you know, I put one more blues CD in the car stereo there was a point in my life where my children would have strangled me, but just to make a point that not everybody likes it, my children didn't -- but if it was as popular as you present, or passionate, isn't the market just kind of reflecting, currently reflecting, its level of popularity?
2339 MR. LONG: Absolutely not. I believe that the public is spoonfed their creative content in this marketplace without much choice and it's catered to advertisers. And without trying this format, without giving it a go, we will never know. And it's my job to support any kind of diversity that happens on the airwaves in this province.
2340 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure. Are advertisers averse to the blues?
2341 MR. LONG: I don't know. I don't work at selling advertising in radio, but I can tell you that it's probably something that's maybe a little bit outside the box, but it's outside the box thinking that all industries need right now to succeed we have to be creative and we have to do things a little bit differently.
2342 It's certainly the case in the music sector right now. You can forget about the traditional business model in the music industry, it doesn't exist any more and it's changing rapidly every day. We are not even sure what the new business model is going to be for commercial music.
2343 But with that being said, to deny an application for a new diverse format on the basis that if it was workable why wouldn't it already be happening doesn't make much sense to me.
2344 I think that if someone is willing to come to Halifax, Nova Scotia from outside of the province to invest in this, then there has to be a business case for it.
2345 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2346 Mr. Campbell, I was looking at your website and some of your dates in the last two or three years and you do do a lot of travel in Europe, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland I think I saw, but I was kind of noticing -- and this is a broader question, not that specific to this -- that there wasn't -- it seemed to me you did a lot of dates in Nova Scotia, surrounding areas and then a big chunk in Europe and not much in other parts of Canada.
2347 Has that been a challenge or is there just better opportunities in Europe for you?
2348 MR. CAMPBELL: Well, no. I go to Ontario and Québec in festival season quite a bit actually.
2349 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Oh, do you?
2350 MR. CAMPBELL: Yes.
2351 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2352 MR. CAMPBELL: I can name the festivals if you wish, but -- although Canada is such a huge country geographically that it can be just as costly to fly to Vancouver as it can to Frankfurt and in Europe it's arguably easier to put a tour together in that area than it would be to fly to Vancouver and put a tour together in Western Canada.
2353 So you are right in that Western Canada in recent years has been a little bit off the map for me, but I have gone there and I will continue to go there, but it's a big country to get around in.
2354 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, I mean it does make sense, I mean you can get a lot more dates in Europe with a much denser population and a shorter trip, so I just was wondering in terms of having your music played in other parts of the country, if you are able to -- if you get much play nationally or not or are you seen as a regional artist?
2355 MR. CAMPBELL: I have gotten airplay nationally in the blues genre, but there is only one national show that's on for an hour and a half every Saturday night, the Holger Petersen Saturday Night Blues. It's an hour and a half for all the blues artists in Canada and the world to get to say their piece, you know, so it's a little tough.
2356 But that could change regionally if we got this station.
2357 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2358 Thank you very much, gentlemen. Good luck with your endeavours.
2359 Thank you.
2360 MR. CAMPBELL: You're welcome.
2361 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your interventions. Those are all our questions.
2362 Thank you.
2363 MR. LONG: You're welcome.
2364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary...?
2365 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2366 I would now call Joe Murphy and Dutch Mason, Blues Festival Inc., to come forward to the presentation table.
2367 THE SECRETARY: We will begin with Mr. Joe Murphy.
2368 Mr. Murphy, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2369 MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
2370 My name is Joe Murphy, I am a blues musician. The last 30 years I was also a teacher in junior high school so I have been doing both.
2371 I have been very lucky -- actually I'm surprised I didn't mention it when one of the Commissioners, Mr. Menzies, was asking about blues venues in town -- I have been playing -- do I have to keep my finger on this the whole time?
2372 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
2373 MR. MURPHY: Oh, okay. Thanks.
2374 MR. MURPHY: I play at Your Father's Moustache every Saturday from 4:00 until 8:00 and I have been playing there for 20 years and in some respects it's the best blues gig in Canada, not in terms of financial remuneration, but -- it pays well, but it has been enabling me to keep a band together for the last 20 years, a great band, too, and that place is packed. And when visiting blues musicians come they are quite surprised that from 4 o'clock until 8 o'clock the dance floor is full. It's a pretty good sized bar and it's one indication of the popularity of blues in Nova Scotia. So I just wanted to get that out before I forget it.
2375 People have interviewed me and asked me when I became interested in blues and, significantly to what we are dealing with, I started listening to blues driving in my parents car. Like I heard Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters on the radio and that's in Nova Scotia. I mean they weren't on all the time, but when -- you know, my ears perked up when I heard them. And a little bit later on when I got, you know, to the point where I could buy records myself and, you know, you follow your own interests, that's when I became interested in blues.
2376 Kind of coincidentally, one of my best friends is a gentleman from Manali in India and he began listening to blues on the Voice of America in the Himalayas.
2377 You know, the role of radio in blues is a seminal way of spreading it and like the fact that it has been on the radio in Nova Scotia to any extent hurts it, but I still think that it's a very viable market for this type of enterprise.
2378 I am an independent record producer, I am an independent musician. Because I have had this gig at Your Father's Moustache I haven't gone on the road that must. Like for me it's like damned if you do, damned if you don't -- I hope that's not bad language. But if I go on the road and play I might make a little bit more money, but I'm worried about someone else taking that gig.
2379 Although I had heart attack a couple of -- two years ago I had a heart attack and I missed six months and the bar -- and they were going to make a presentation, too, Your Father's Moustache, but they were so good to me, they had a -- they kept my band and got another front man and saved the gig for me.
2380 Like, you know, that venue has been very, very loyal to me. And they are loyal to me partially because it is a very, very successful enterprise for them, like the place has been packed for the last 20 years. Again, that's a pretty good indication.
2381 I used to play a little game with my wife and kids when we were driving in the car and we all took, you know, five or 10 minutes to listen to our individual kinds of music. Eventually I gave up my right because I couldn't find anything.
2382 Like my wife does say that I'm kind of a blues snob. But I like all kinds of music, but it just wasn't worth it for me to try to find something on the dial that -- you know, I just kind of deferred to the wife and kids and let them, you know, pick the channel that they wanted to.
2383 I started playing blues when I was -- I'm 60. I started playing blues professionally here when I was 21.
2384 I had gone to university my first year and then I dropped out. I'm one of the original surfers in Nova Scotia, too, and I went to California to surf, and like when I was in California I didn't have much but we did have a radio in the little place I was staying with a couple of other surfers and listened to blues on the radio out there.
2385 I mean, one of the things that my friends, when they go to Europe they had talked about European radio. Like one of our stations here says "We play everything". Well, they don't play everything, you know, and one of the things they don't play is blues music. And one of my friends had said like it's really great when you are in Europe because like -- I have never been to Europe, but he told me that in Europe they actually -- on the radio they do play everything.
2386 And you know, I'm a voracious collector of blues music -- and there are other musics that I like, too. I happen to like Hawaiian music. I'm a surfer, but I like Hawaiian music. Anyway, you know, that's a no-brainer I guess.
2387 But the thing is, like the fact that they have played blues on the radio to me is really being reflected in the young blues musicians that are coming out of Europe because they have a very traditional authentic feel.
2388 And like, you know, right now, like I kind of have a protégé, a 14-year-old kid that I'm teaching how to play blues. I saw him playing down at Bearly's one night. Bearly's is one of the other venues where they have blues every weekend. I saw this kid play and I thought, you know, wow, this kid can play a shuffle, which is like one of the styles of blues. You have to be able to play a shuffle, you know, to back other people up. But he didn't really know how to do many of the other things. And over the years I have been a teacher, like I said, for 30 years and I taught basic blues guitar at the Folklore Centre, so I kind of -- and I actually -- just coincidentally, I happened to know this kid's father and like, you know, I have taken him under my wing. I give him a lesson once a week.
2389 But the thing is, like I kind of think it's tough for him because, like I mean, he has either got to buy the records -- we could go on the Internet, but they don't -- actually, they don't have a computer at home, you know.
2390 But, you know, the role of radio -- CBC was the only channel that really played my music quite a bit. CBC has been very instrumental in helping me in my career. I have three CDs and two EPs, which are extended plays. I'm actually so old that I actually have vinyl from, you know -- like I recorded in vinyl. Not many people have record players any more, but if you do I will give you a copy of them because I don't try to sell them any more.
2391 But the thing is, like the two EPs that I recorded, they were recorded in the early days at one of the studios of CBC that no longer exists. The first album that I did was an album at CBC Lock, Stock & Barrel, you know, helped me with the production of it.
2392 But I think that, you know, like music that I have produced -- like I said, I have three CDs and two EPs -- would be successful on the radio for a while. Like they were playing some of my songs on CBC, but it really depends on the person who is controlling that show. Like they individually sort of choose the music.
2393 Again, like John, I have gotten airplay on Holger's show, you know, on Saturday Night Blues, but it's really kind of tough to get the airplay.
2394 I, as a teacher, the first 20 years I taught phys ed, just because I needed a job, but I started off as a social studies teacher and a history teacher, and even at the end of my phys ed career -- my knees kind of went on me like a lot of phys ed teachers, you are on tile and concrete all your life and your knees go -- and I got a chance to go back and teach history, which was one of my loves. I love history.
2395 And actually in university I wrote academic papers on blues and spatial effusion of blues styles, the way blues styles were spread across the United States and part of the way they were spread was actually on radio. Like the styles of blues went from, like, you know, up the Mississippi Valley, because the radio waves were -- you know, you could -- and as a kid I did that too, like I used to sit around, move my radio, like try to get WKBW and WPTR from Albany and Rochester, you know, and Buffalo and listen to a little bit of blues on the radio.
2396 But as a teacher -- actually, it was a guy in the science department when I was teaching phys ed who facilitated me to do a Blues in the Schools program. I was teaching in inner-city at St. Pat's Alexandra and I was trying to come up with things to help the kids there and so I proposed this thing was like the music before rap, you know. And I did little Blues in the Schools program. And like a lot of places they have Blues in the Schools program.
2397 We don't really have one here, but over the years -- and during the time I was a teacher -- I finished off my career the last 12 years that Clayton Park and I had guitars in my classroom and kids played in the morning. My only rule was like no heavy metal in the morning but, you know, over the years I have taught a lot of kids like the rudiments of music.
2398 And like John says, like, you know, the role of blues in other forms of music is also -- you know, it's a very fundamental thing.
2399 But that's not really a reason why you would have a blues radio station. I think that, you know, people don't -- people don't realize -- normal people, you know, who just listen to the radio, don't realize how popular blues is in Nova Scotia.
2400 Like I -- like I said, I started listening to blues on the radio in my parent's car, but as I got a little bit older I found out that Dutch Mason was playing down the road from where I live. I live -- I grew up on Kline Street at the intersection of Oxford and Quinpool Road. There is a little restaurant there called the Golden Dragon Lounge, Dutch Mason was playing there.
2401 I went to California for the winter, I was very, very lonely, had a couple of harmonicas in my pocket. At some point somebody in California said, "You know, geez, you sound pretty good on the harmonica, but you sure are lonely." And like when I came back, you know, my friends said, you know, "Gee, you play harmonica pretty good and why don't you go and play with Dutchie."
2402 Well, it took a couple of months before I got my nerve up, but I went down and played with Dutch Mason. And by that point, you know -- like, you know, really Dutchie is like the founder of this type of blues in Nova Scotia, but I got a chance to play with him, I have played with him ever since.
2403 Actually, that night when I played with him some local musicians heard me playing and they offered me a chance to join their band and I have been playing professionally ever since.
2404 But the thing is that, you know, like John says, in the Maritimes Celtic music -- even the gentleman that was here earlier, I believe he is affiliated with country and western stations, like Mr. Patrone, if you asked how many pure country bars venues in Halifax you would be hard-pressed to find them, too, although there is a couple. I don't really know where they are, you know, at the Rodeo in Dartmouth or something, but there is at least two bars.
2405 Like Your Father's Moustache is not a blues bar per se, it is on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, and like they don't need -- like they are basically a restaurant and they have a tremendous food business, right, but as far as me playing there it's been great. The previous owners waited for me to come back from Louisiana and I have been playing there ever since.
2406 Bearly's is another bar that I started playing at years ago and Bearly's has become a blues bar. My friends, like for example who play in other parts of the country, like a kind of envy us because, you know, blues is popular here. There is a lot of -- like I said, I'm 60 years old and I have been playing blues almost for 40 years, but the people in Nova Scotia -- even like it's a funny thing, like when I play a lot of different places, I go out there and at the end of the night someone will come up to me and say "Well, I don't really know if I like blues, but I like what you guys are playing."
2407 And that's kind of where people are at because they don't have a chance to be educated and hear different styles of blues. The only way you would hear it would be, you know, if you went out and bought the records.
2408 For example, when I was a kid you could go down to Sam's or go to some other record stores. Like there's a gentleman who died a couple of years ago, Taz Records, Bob Switzer, he performed an amazing service for Halifax because he ran a used record store in which anybody who wanted to find any record almost, they could go down there and find it. And you know he spent a lot of time suggesting things to people. Like now --
2409 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Murphy --
2410 MR. MURPHY: Yes...?
2411 THE SECRETARY: -- you have one minute remaining --
2412 MR. MURPHY: Sure.
2413 THE SECRETARY: -- if you could please conclude your presentation.
2414 MR. MURPHY: I'm sorry. I'm sorry to be verbose, but I taught school for 30 years.
2415 You know, there used to be ways to go down and find whatever blues you want, now I guess it's the Internet, you know. But I really feel that if a blues radio station were to come to Halifax I think we would be one of the right places for it. Like I said, I think a lot of people don't realize how popular blues is in Halifax.
2416 Thank you.
2417 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Murphy.
2418 Commissioner Menzies has some questions for you.
2419 MR. MURPHY: Sure.
2420 THE SECRETARY: I'm sorry, Madam Chair, he will be reading the presentation for Dutch Mason Blues Festival Inc. as well.
2421 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, right.
2422 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
2423 MR. MURPHY: David DeWolfe, who is the gentleman who runs the Dutch Mason Blues Festival, has had some problems with some dental work and he is under the weather today so I'm taking his reading.
2424 My name is "David DeWolfe". I am the President and Producer of the annual Dutch Mason Blues Festival. The festival pays tribute to the legendary Canadian bluesman Dutch Mason known internationally as Canada's Prime Minister of the Blues. He passed away at his home in Truro, Nova Scotia on December 23, 2006.
2425 The first Dutch Mason Blues Festival was launched in 2005. It is now in its fifth year and has reached the international recognition for presenting the best in North American and Canadian blues artists, which has included Bo Diddley, Buddy Guide, Bonnie Raitt, James Cotton, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Hubert Sumlin, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Walter Trout, Sue Foley, sharing the spotlight with Nova Scotia blues artists Garrett Mason, Charlie A'Court, Matt Minglewood, Joe Murphy, Morgan Davis and others.
2426 It has long been believed by persons like myself that blues music is the grandparent of today's modern music, influencing pop, jazz, country, rock 'n roll and hip-hop. It is therefore easy to see how the blues attracts a following in all demographics. It's audience is loyal, of all ages and of all education and income levels.
2427 The festival has grown in four short years from having 2000 blues fans attending in '05 to 14,000-plus blues fans attending in '08, with an age demographic span of 19 to 65 years old.
2428 The 2009 edition of the Dutch Mason Blues Festival will engage approximately 70 paid local individuals, 150 volunteers and 25 companies and service providers over seven days to accomplish all that is essential to provide a spectacular festival experience for the approximately 18,000 expected attendees.
2429 With an almost half a million dollar cost expenditure to present the festival and with about $25,000 of that spent on radio advertising, all cost expenses of the festival are supported by the ticket buying blues fan.
2430 The Dutch Mason Blues Festival would greatly benefit from having a blues dedicated radio station in this marketplace. As a radio advertising customer I find I am forced to place ad dollars with radio stations that do not have blues as part of their format. Where my ads promoting the artists being presented are surrounded by unrelated non-blues material of other artists, I find it hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on radio where they do not play the music and the artists I am promoting.
2431 A blues radio station would offer me the opportunity to introduce my artists, play their music, present interviews with artists and be able to run contests and promotions all year long. I would certainly be an advertising customer and take full advantage of the services and resources of such a radio station.
2432 Thank you, "David DeWolfe".
2433 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now Commissioner Menzies will have some questions for you.
2434 Thank you.
2435 MR. MURPHY: Thanks.
2436 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you, Mr. Murphy.
2437 Somebody mentioned yesterday that Dutch Mason doesn't get played on the radio in Halifax.
2438 MR. MURPHY: That's quite true.
2439 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Now, help me understand how that can be, because he is legendary in these parts and was for a very long time, from the early 1970s. I mean if Halifax and Nova Scotia sort of is what I hear it is, this great incubator of local music and that sort of stuff, how can the music of someone like Dutch Mason not be being reflected in the local radio scene?
2440 MR. MURPHY: That's a really good question which I don't have an answer to.
2441 CBC does play Dutchie. There is a blues radio show in the Valley and you can get it in Truro, too. I don't know it's -- I don't know the call numbers to it because I just hear -- I'm not driving in the Valley, you know, when it's on. Even though I live out in the country I just can't get Truro. But there have been some periods of time when some of Dutchie's staff has been on the radio, but he is definitely underrepresented and I think it is a great question.
2442 I mean the thing is, you know, when Dutchie was alive I often thought that, you know, I mean he is really going to be sorely missed when he passes away, but the thing is, you know, he is one of the -- he is one of the real giants of music around here that -- he wasn't really supported -- I'm sorry to answer it this way, but I have to say what I feel about it. He wasn't supported by the local population in some ways, and the government. He died in squalor in Truro and despite the fact -- I mean he gave music to people.
2443 Have you ever been at one of his shows?
2444 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, in about 1973 in Wolfville.
2445 MR. MURPHY: I mean it was amazing to me how much people loved him, you know. And he was so great. I mean he came close to being successful. He didn't have good management, he was a terrible businessman, but he was very, very popular and he made a real impact.
2446 I wouldn't be -- I don't play like Dutchie at all, but I wouldn't be playing blues if it wasn't for Dutchie. But the thing is, he made a huge impact on the area and he is part of the reason why blues is popular.
2447 But, yes, I mean he never got much airplay. But the thing is, you know, in many places that's true.
2448 When I lived in California -- I lived in California for one winter -- people don't realize that California has a huge blues scene and, like I said, I wrote a paper about it in university. That's because during the second world war people from the south went there to work in the munitions plants and the shipyards and so they were able to support, you know, musicians and the industry, and there was a huge recording industry. But in California blues as part of the radio that you hear. Here it hasn't been.
2449 And I don't know why regular radio stations play blues so seldom. I can't answer that question.
2450 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Let me throw this past you and I would like your impressions on it.
2451 You mentioned, you know, in the car with the family that your wife accused you of being a blues snob or something like that.
2452 MR. MURPHY: Yes.
2453 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: One of the challenges perhaps for blues radio -- I'm not saying it is, but a hypothesis, you know, is there are some people who really, really like Mississippi Delta blues --
2454 MR. MURPHY: Yes.
2455 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- there are some people who really like Chicago blues and there are some people -- and they think that's -- I mean there can be snobs in any genre and they think that's the pure blues, and some people like Buckwheat Zydeco and some people like this and that.
2456 How can it -- would a dedicated blues station that understands the roots of the genre and is playing Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones and that sort of stuff, would that really -- would it be accepted by blues fans and not considered apostate to the purists?
2457 MR. MURPHY: Yes. I don't think that would be a problem at all.
2458 Like although like -- you know, with satellite radio, I have actually heard some satellite radio stations that play blues and I think they suck. You know, it's not really -- they are not playing great blues, you know.
2459 At Bearly's there is a -- I wish I could get the channel they get at Bearly's. They have one really, you know, great station that plays really great blues. But you know, I mean what I think is really great blues, yes, that's why my wife says I'm a blues snob.
2460 But the thing is that, yes, I mean -- but as far as like people tuning in and listening to it, I mean I would listen to it whether it was my favourite stuff or not and I think most people would.
2461 But I'm glad that you mentioned Buckwheat Zydeco because, you know, I play Cajun and Zydeco music, too, I'm Acadian French, and like I'm not -- I'm Acadian French on my mother's side, but I'm not so much in the traditional Acadian music. And after my mother died I went to live in Louisiana and like the way I was adopted by the people in Louisiana was so heartwarming and I got to play all the time I was down there. When I came back it became part of my music.
2462 Some mentioning that, the thing is like there is -- you know, the whole idea of a blues station -- I know these gentlemen that are presenting this, their idea is to be all-encompassing and, you know, to offer people -- like what you are saying, like within blues there are so many different styles of blues, right, and there may be a small number of people who wouldn't like it, but I don't think that would be a factor.
2463 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2464 Just if the popularity of the blues isn't, as I think we have established, being reflected in the current commercial and even public radio environment, how lively is it as an Internet product?
2465 MR. MURPHY: I think it's very likely. If you go to YouTube -- it's almost frustrating for me right now going to YouTube and watching all these great players who I have never heard of before, but if -- like you know, like I said, like in Europe and in California -- you have to know what to look for, but there --
2466 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I mean are there Internet -- are there Canadian Internet blues radio stations?
2467 MR. MURPHY: I don't know. You know, I'm kind of lazy in that. I mean like in my jeep I have a CD player and I have the radio and like I probably listen to CBC and listen to my CD player mostly.
2468 When my wife and kids are with me, my wife -- yes, she's just normal, she likes to sing along with the radio so she's looking for songs that she recognizes and that's one pattern of radio listening, you know.
2469 But the thing is, is that a blues radio station, well, I think it would be educational and really help the economy of people that are connected in the music industry. But I mean we are sort of a backwater.
2470 I mean like I can't help but digress all the time, but like I ended up playing in the United States more than any other part of Canada when the economy was a little bit different. I started playing down in Portland, Maine and I was playing at the House of Blues in Boston. I was just doing that once or twice a year and I got to know -- I had some good friends down there anyway.
2471 And the railway used to come up as far as Bangor, Maine and there was a dance hall there. One of my friends, his father, he has passed away now, but he told me that in that dance hall there all the great bands, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, they all came as far as Maine and played, right.
2472 We are kind of like that now here, too, because like we don't even -- we don't even get access to the great music that's being produced unless you seek it out. And a lot of us musicians, that's what we did. I mean I became a vinyl junkie when I started really listening to blues, but blues radio would really, I think, present an opportunity for people to hear a wealth of a really beautiful art form.
2473 Which, you know, many people argue that blues and jazz -- and sometimes they say it's jazz, but blues and jazz is one of the great contributions of North America to the world and I don't think people realize that that includes Canada. You know, there have been a lot of great musicians, jazz musicians and blues musicians, who are Canadians, not Americans.
2474 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you very much.
2475 MR. MURPHY: Sure.
2476 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Murphy.
2477 Those are all our questions.
2478 MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
2479 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary...?
2480 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2481 This completes the list of appearing interveners and Phase III.
2482 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2483 Therefore, just before we start Phase IV, we will take a 10-minute break.
2484 Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1115
--- Upon resuming at 1130
2485 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2486 We will now proceed to Phase IV in which applicants can reply to all interventions submitted on their applications. Applicants appear in reverse order.
2487 We would then ask Parrsboro Radio Society to come forward.
2488 THE SECRETARY: Please reintroduce yourself for the record, after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2489 MR. ROBINSON: Good morning, Madam Chair and Panel, that Commission staff. My name is Ross Robinson and I represent the Parrsboro Community Radio.
2490 The interventions that were sent in, Anita MacLellan, she lives in a Five Islands, Bass River economy area in supporting our local community radio. Unfortunately she was unable to get the radio station so most of the comments and things that she has sent in from her area have been broadcast on our radio, bringing her local events in this community to Parrsboro so the people in Parrsboro would also know what is going on. She thought it would be so nice if they could -- if the radio station was expanded to reach her, to reach all of them in those communities, in the community up there, Five Islands.
2491 And when we talk about these small communities around the central area of Parrsboro, actually they are not that far away but just the terrain, the way they sit is hard, hard to get to them.
2492 She sent in a report about the Dutchman's Cheese Report. He won one of the prizes in Nova Scotia for making cheese. I know it doesn't sound that good and interesting, but to our community it was a pretty important event. We didn't want to sidetrack that.
2493 Also, Ken Adams, he is the Curator of the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro. Through getting the word out about one of these world-class museums, letting people know that the discovery of the dinosaur, the smallest dinosaur, was actually in Parrsboro, and the different zeolites that you can find on the Fundy shore, the different tours that take place for these people that are travelling into our area and also for people that are in the rural area, to let them know what time of day they can partake in these tours.
2494 The Town of Parrsboro was sent in by Kevin Yorke and he explained that even though we do have a few cancellations in events through the town, also maybe some road closures in the area, this is great for the people that are travelling into Parrsboro or out of Parrsboro to know where those detours may be and he thought it would be great if our power increase would do that for us, to let these rural people know.
2495 Mike Barry, he owns a small country store in Advocate and he was really interested in Parrsboro. He belongs to our District Board of Trade. He travels all the way up to Advocate -- from Advocate to let the Parrsboro people know what's going on in Advocate. He said it would be so great. He said we could hear the radio station so we know that's getting out to our community and know that this is really happening.
2496 Some of the events -- it's an older -- it's an older generation in Advocate and the closures and stuff mean a big thing to them, especially South Cumberland Community Care Centre, if they had to travel up for doctors appointments and different things.
2497 Oralee O'Bryne, she is from Port Greville and she is the System administrator at the Age of Sail. We have a great heritage of shipbuilding in our area and a lot of people like -- are history buffs and they love to hear the history of Parrsboro.
2498 And Mary Celeste was one of the schooners that was built down in our Parrsboro area, which was quite famous.
2499 We do different history arts for the community. R.G. Uren is a Baptist Minister, he is in Brampton, Ontario, but the tie in with him, he was doing a series of Heart to Heart shows. His daughter and his son-in-law moved to the Parrsboro area. He is an RCMP officer. He approached me and he says my father-in-law does this great Sunday show, would you guys be able to put this on your community radio? And the tie-in was great for a Sunday morning gospel show, and it was community.
2500 Terry and Gail Shaw from Shaw's Country Market, they run a market out of Port Greville, they rely on a lot of people that are travelling into Parrsboro to come down to their area for -- whether you want to go down and have tea or buy something, you know, I guess pick up a trinket from their area.
2501 A lot of this outreach with our 500 W we would be able to do this for the surrounding communities which aren't served.
2502 We have been hearing this right along and I know you say "Well, Ross, you just got a full-time radio station last September for a low-power," but since I do believe 1999 we have been running special events.
2503 We started doing a special events cover in July in the Old Home Week Festival and then it grew a little bit, we started covering a Christmas event.
2504 Ship's Company Theatre, one of the world-class theatres, wanted to have us stay on to do some of the events through the summer, but we came out.
2505 So we kept on pushing through and we had complaints through them that we weren't outreach in the rural area, but at the time we could not afford to go any more than 50 W to reach our communities. So that is one of the reasons why we stayed behind with the low-power instead of trying to ask to be able to cover our community and these areas.
2506 And we have had overwhelming support from just our local community. We are not asking to be a commercial radio station to make money, we are there to raise the money within the community to support us.
2507 And that's another reason why we didn't go so big at first, we wanted to see if we could maybe try to do this on our own, even though we received from our MLA, Murray Scott -- who has been very supportive through the whole campaign from '99 and staying right with us every year urging us to keep moving ahead -- we did get a grant at the end, an unforgivable grant for $25,000, which we will use to upgrade our equipment.
2508 And, you know -- I'm trying to think of his name, he was on here this morning, Robert Page -- Pace, yes. As he said, it's not rocket science any more to increase your power for a radio station. Yes, two months a person could have up a real good working radio station with all the technology that's going on now.
2509 So our plans, if we are approved, we move right along on it and serve our community as a community radio, no more than a community radio.
2510 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson.
2511 I just have a couple of questions for you with regard to the letter of intent that you filed following our asking you to file it.
2512 MR. ROBINSON: Okay. Yes.
2513 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you consult with a lawyer before signing this letter?
2514 MR. ROBINSON: No, I didn't.
2515 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So I will ask the Torres group as well.
2516 There is some question as to whether or not such a letter of intent would be legally binding because we are talking potentially about a large sum of money should the interference be great.
2517 MR. ROBINSON: Right.
2518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Also, we can't force Industry Canada to do anything --
2519 MR. ROBINSON: No.
2520 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and I'm not so sure Industry Canada would have the authority to force -- as it says in the letter:
"... to impose an obligation on Frank Torres to pay whatever the costs might be to apply for a new frequency of operation that would afford an interference-free coverage using a Class 'A' channel allocation." (As read)
2521 We can't tell Industry Canada to do that and I'm not so sure Industry Canada can tell Frank Torres to do that either.
2522 So that's why I asked you whether or not you had consulted a lawyer prior to signing this letter and I guess my advice to you would be perhaps you should.
2523 MR. ROBINSON: Yes.
2524 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I think that another form of an agreement should be drawn between the two parties that is vetted by legal on both sides.
2525 MR. ROBINSON: Okay.
2526 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay?
2527 MR. ROBINSON: Thank you.
2528 THE CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?
2529 Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson. Those are all our questions for you.
2530 MR. ROBINSON: Thank you.
2531 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary...?
2532 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2533 I would now invite Frank Torres on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated to come forward.
2534 THE SECRETARY: Please reintroduce yourselves for the record, after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2535 MR. ED TORRES: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, Commission staff. My name is Ed Torres, I am the President and co-founder of Skywords.
2536 With me today, Yves Trottier, our General Manager of Québec Operations; and Todd Bernard, the General Manager of Eastern Canada Operations for Skywords and part owner in this application.
2537 We are here to respond to the written and oral interventions to our application.
2538 We received over 350 letters of support for our proposal and one negative intervention and we would like to deal with that one first.
2539 Maritime Broadcasting System opposed the granting of a new radio station in Halifax based on economic grounds. It also expressed concern about viability of our format.
2540 We think that MBS misunderstands our application. Our application is not for a specialty licence, it's for a Cat. 2 full-service commercial broadcast licence with a substantial spoken word commitment.
2541 Specifically, MBS states that:
"... the growth of the number of radio services in the market since 2004 has negatively affected the profitability of the market." (As read)
2542 A recently published CRTC financial report on Halifax radio gives a clearer understanding of the radio market. Since 2004 total radio revenues in Halifax have grown in each and every year from just under $17 million in 2004 to over $23 million in 2008. That is a growth of approximately $7.4 million. The average annual growth rate in revenues was 8.2 percent.
2543 As could be expected, there was a short-term change in profitability after the launch of two new stations and then, in 2008, we see margins start to climb again.
2544 Moreover, the results, though, are somewhat misleading. Operating income dropped from $6 million in 2004 to $4 million in 2008, a decline of $2 million.
2545 What happened? With increasing revenues, profit declined. The administration and general expense category increases, if you look at those financials, $1.8 million over the same period, almost exactly the same amount of the decline in profits.
2546 Expenditures on programming increased as well over the same period, some $2.8 million.
2547 However, you can attribute this largely to the launch of a news talk station in this market. With the average spent on programming by the seven stations in the market before the launch of the new stations we were at about $665,000. Rogers' application, however, for a news talk station proposed to spend $2.2 million on programming and Rogers' projected losses in its first four years of operations.
2548 So what happened? Revenues increased, the news talk station spent significantly higher than the market average on programming and some or all of the stations in the market significantly took out more money in administration and general expenses, perhaps in management fees or head office expenses. And the Commission has seen this before, broadcasters can choose to take their profits as fees or move them over to their corporate parents rather than as profits below the line.
2549 MBS expresses concern about the impact of a new licence and they also state that our format is not viable.
2550 That seems contradictory. How can a format that's not viable impact them.
2551 We would be remiss, then, if we didn't thank the more than 350 people and organizations that sent supporting interventions. They include Peter Kelly, the Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality; Tim Outhit, a Counsellor for District 21, HRM; Scott Long, the Executive Director of Music Nova Scotia; Dr. Henry Bishop, the Chief Curator, Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia; and David DeWolfe, Producer of the Dutch Mason Blues Festival.
2552 Particularly, we would like to thank the intervenors who appeared this morning to tell you about their support for our proposal and they expressed their interest and support for our blues radio station and we think the musicians who it's always a chore getting them up for these early morning sessions, but they showed.
2553 Lastly, we would like to thank the Commission for your patience. Several of you have heard our case for blues radio on multiple occasions. We hope that we have not been overly repetitious. Our persistence comes from our belief in the music and our passion for the format and for radio. As always, you and your staff have been courteous, attentive and fair.
2554 Thank you very much.
2555 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Torres.
2556 I will say the same thing to you as I have to Mr. Robinson of Parrsboro. Certainly the Commission does appreciate the efforts that you are making to satisfy both you getting a licence as well as accommodating any interference that it might cause the Parrsboro Radio Group.
2557 But I hope you do understand that we are not so sure this letter is legally binding. As I said, we can't impose these conditions on Industry Canada, I'm not sure Industry Canada could do it anyway.
2558 So what we would like to see is a letter that is legally binding, as well as the letter having documentation that backs up the engineering claims made in the letter.
2559 I guess I would ask you how much time do you need in order to produce such documentation?
2560 MR. ED TORRES: I think we could likely file that -- I think the rest of our undertakings were 10 days, but whatever timeline.
2561 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. The 10 days is fine.
2562 Well, thank you very much for your presentation. We don't have any questions for you.
2563 Thank you.
2564 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite HFX Broadcasting Inc. to come forward to the presentation table.
2565 THE SECRETARY: Please reintroduce yourself for the record, after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2566 MS LAURIGNANO: Thank you.
2567 Good morning, Madam Chair, Commissioners, Commission staff. For the record my name is Carmela Laurignano and I am the Vice President of HFX Broadcasting Inc.
2568 We are here to reply to the intervention by Mr. Pace of Maritime Broadcasting and specifically his view of the state of the Halifax market.
2569 Mr. Pace claims that the market cannot support another service at this time. We also operate in this market and we know it's potential. Halifax is not without its challenges, but the radio market remains stable and somewhat underdeveloped.
2570 What is also clear about Halifax is that the "twin stick" operators are heavily entrenched and well able to withstand new entry. Mr. Pace's two FM stations are a case in point. In yesterday's BBM survey Mr. Pace's stations had a combined 12-plus share of 15.6 percent -- 15.6, I beg your pardon, up from 13 over the last survey.
2571 In his written intervention Mr. Pace claimed that the Halifax economy has changed for the worse since the call for applications was issued. We note for the record that our application was filed in the summer of 2008, before the call. We then updated our filing in December of 2008 in response to the call.
2572 We bring up the timeline because we want to assure the Commission and Mr. Pace that our application and our projections were prepared in full awareness of the global slowdown and based on our knowledge of the Halifax market. Our business plan was predicated on a set of assumptions that projected contraction in GDP growth and retail sales. Our seven year revenues assumed that there would be at minimum a two year recovery period for consumer confidence.
2573 The forecast we use for retail sales in building our business plan was $5.9 billion for 2008. The Conference Board reports that the market came in at $5.8 billion.
2574 Our original resource material suggested that retail sales would grow at a rate of 5.2 percent each year for the next five years. We used a figure of only 4.5 percent. The latest figures from the Conference Board places the growth at about 4.2 percent for the next five years, which includes only 2 percent for the current year. We relied on a conservative 2 percent GDP over the next five years and in fact revised estimates suggest that it would be approximately 2.5 percent and that includes zero growth for this year.
2575 We were gratified to hear that our estimates of the share point value are identical to the Commission's own estimates. We started with a 2008 share point value of 240,000 estimated the three years between filing and the launch and conservatively grew the value to represent the probable share point at the time of entry to the market.
2576 In summary, we know that our projections are realistic and achievable and based on economic reality.
2577 While we disagree with the dire warnings advanced by Mr. Pace, we concede that this is a highly competitive market made all the worse so by the last remaining traces of the LMA arrangement that the Commission disbanded and by what Mr. Evanov referred yesterday to as a perfect storm, large players and competitors who each control two signals, cross media ownership and a recessionary period that must be simply waited out, but that will pass.
2578 Mr. Pace may not agree, but we know this market well and we have the scars to prove it. Our interest in competitive balance is not to unsettle the market, but rather to stabilize it.
2579 We could, as was suggested, flip formats and chase a larger more lucrative demographic. That is one approach. But we believe that this response to competition is very disruptive both to consumers and advertisers.
2580 A second approach is to do what we have done, that is stick with a core competency such as that which we have developed in youth and wait out the competition.
2581 Our application is predicated as much on the benefits of a second station as it is on the opportunity inherent in the format and the consumer and advertiser demand for the service. Disenfranchised listeners will be returned to the system, $2.1 million of CCD will be invested and radio advertising revenues will be grown.
2582 We agree with Mr. Pace that the market is complex and at a disadvantage as a result of consolidation. We think the answer is not to maintain the status quo, but to continue to introduce diversity that is sustainable in the long term.
2583 Finally, we can assure the Commission that if we are licensed we will be prudent along the way.
2584 Lastly, I would like to add our voice to the statements expressed by Madam Chair Cugini yesterday regarding the passing of former Chair Charles Dalfen. Our condolences to his colleagues, friends and of course his family, and may he rest in peace.
2585 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Laurignano.
2586 We don't have any questions for you.
2587 Thank you.
2588 MS LAURIGNANO: Thank you.
2589 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite the Acadia Broadcasting Ltd. to come forward.
2590 THE SECRETARY: Please reintroduce yourselves for the record, after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2591 MR. MacMULLIN: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
2592 I am Jim MacMullin, Vice President of Acadia Broadcasting. With me this morning is John Wiles, our Station Manager from CKBW in Bridgewater; and Michael Fockler, Regulatory Consultant for Acadia Broadcasting.
2593 Madam Chair, and Commissioners, we have reviewed the three other applications and subsequent presentations, as well as all of the interventions received at these proceedings and we have no specific comments to direct at any one participant.
2594 We would, however, like to summarize our application, highlighting what we consider to be the most salient points of our position.
2595 Acadia is a new entrant and a new voice in Halifax, yet our strong roots are here in Atlantic Canada. The AAA format targeted at a broad 25-54 demographic and encompassing the Grup psychographic will provide a unique listening alternative not heard in Halifax.
2596 We will commit to a minimum 40 percent Canadian content across the broadcast week and, unlike any other applicant, we will commit as a condition of licence to a minimum of 20 percent of our overall Canadian content to new and emerging artists.
2597 Our core or pure news hours far exceed any other applicant at nearly 7 hours per week, not including surveillance, sports or announcer talk.
2598 We are proud of our promise of performance and would not have made any such statements if we were not prepared to follow through on each and every one for the entire term of the licence.
2599 We agree with all the other applicants Halifax can support an additional radio station based on a solid business plan and financial forecast.
2600 I would also like to respond to Chair Cugini's question from yesterday which was, in essence, most appropriate to these proceedings, specifically her question was: Why here? Why now?
2601 Madam Chair, those answers are simple.
2602 Why here? Because, as the premier market in the Maritimes it is important for Acadia to have a station that would be considered a major market flagship for our group, leading to establishing our company as a prominent broadcaster in the region that we call home.
2603 Second, Halifax is the primary centre of provincial government, finance and insurance, Canada's East Coast Navy, IT, business services, education, healthcare, R&D, energy, transportation, media, retail and tourism. This diversity is what has kept Halifax more resistant to recession than the rest of the country. We are confident this market will sustain an additional independent radio service.
2604 As far as why now, we assume that because the Commission issued a call for this market they believe there is potential for an additional entrant into the Halifax radio mix or, to put it another way, if the Evanov Group, the incumbent in these proceedings, truly believed there was not room in the market for an additional station, why would they participate in the call rather than intervene in opposition of such a call.
2605 We are also aware of the economic concerns expressed by the Commission. However, in our supplementary brief and subsequent discussions we have shown that Halifax is a unique market. It does not experience the economic ups and downs of other cities like Toronto, Winnipeg or Calgary.
2606 Madam Chair and Commissioners, in summary, we wish to point out that Evanov's Z103 FM, by their own description, is successful in this market after being in operation for only a short period of time and yet they are a standalone independent operator. We are simply requesting the Commission allow us to strive for the same success and provide Halifax radio listeners with a truly new independent maritime-based news and programming voice.
2607 Commissioners, on behalf of my entire team I would like to thank you for your time, your patience and your consideration that this hearing.
2608 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. MacMullin, and your colleagues. We have no questions for you at this time.
2609 Thank you.
2610 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair.
2611 This completes the consideration of items 1 to 4 on the Agenda.
2612 I would like to indicate for the record that the intervenors who did not appear and were listed in the Agenda as appearing intervenors will remain on the public file as not appearing interventions.
2613 Also, there are eight non-appearing applications on the Agenda of this public hearing. Interventions were received on some or all of these applications. The Panel will consider these interventions along with the applications and decisions will be rendered at a later date.
2614 This completes the Agenda of this public hearing.
2615 Thank you, Madam Chair.
2616 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
2617 I would just like to thank all applicants and intervenors who have been here with us over the last couple of days.
2618 Of course I have to thank Commission staff. Many of you may not know they get here a lot earlier than we do and they leave a lot later than we do, so a special thanks to them.
2619 And last, but not least, a special thanks to my fellow Panel Members.
2620 Safe travels to everyone.
2621 Thank you.
2622 This hearing is adjourned.
--- Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1200
Monique Mahoney Jean Desaulniers
Sue Villeneuve Beverley Dillabough
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