ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 28 January 2014
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Volume 2, 28 January 2014
TRANSCRIPTION OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
To consider the broadcasting applications listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-568, 2013-568-1, 2013-568-2 and 2013-568-3
Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel
15269 104th Avenue
Surrey, British Columbia
28 January 2014
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 Contents.
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 Telecommunications Commission
To consider the broadcasting applications listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-568, 2013-568-1, 2013-568-2 and 2013-568-3
Carolyn PinskyLegal Counsel
Joe AguiarHearing Manager
Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel
15269 104th Avenue
Surrey, British Columbia
28 January 2014
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
7. South Asian Link Directory Ltd. 384 / 2279
8. Akash Broadcasting 470 / 2942
9. South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. 536 / 3304
10. I.T. Productions Ltd. 608 / 3817
11. 2308739 Ontario Inc. 666 / 4269
12. Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Inc. 728 / 4587
- v -
PAGE / PARA
Undertaking424 / 2535
Undertaking457 / 2827
Undertaking535 / 3280
Undertaking696 / 4368
Undertaking719 / 4520
Undertaking722 / 4542
Undertaking762 / 4814
Undertaking773 / 4896
Undertaking782 / 4959
Undertaking786 / 4999
Surrey, British Columbia
--- Upon resuming on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 0900
2273 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. How are you this morning? Good. I see the ranks have thinned out.
2274 LE PRÉSIDENT : Madame la Secrétaire.
2275 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning.
2276 Before beginning, I would like to indicate for the record that the Commission has received, further to undertakings, a document titled "Immigrant Languages in Canada" by Statistics Canada and submitted by New Vision Broadcasting Inc., and "Proof of Residence" submitted by Idea Broadcasting Inc. These documents have been added to the record of this proceeding and copies are available.
2277 And now, we will proceed with item 7 on the Agenda, which is an application (2013-0891-6) by South Asian Link Directory Ltd. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial specialty FM radio station in Surrey. The applicant also submitted an alternate proposal (application 2013-0890-9) for the use of an AM frequency.
2278 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have 20 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
2279 MS SAHOTA: Thank you.
2280 Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff.
2281 My name is Pardeep Sahota and I am the Program Manager for South Asian Link Radio.
2282 Let me introduce the team that will be presenting our application to you today:
2283 - on my left as you face me, at the centre of our panel is Munish Katyal, President and owner of LINK Radio;
2284 - beyond him is, first, Jaswant Johal, Station Manager, and at the end, Rakesh Puri, Sales Manager;
2285 - on my right is Jagjit Gill, our Chief Financial Officer;
2286 - in the row behind us, reading from your right to your left, first, we have Pierre-Louis Smith, our Regulatory Advisor;
2287 - directly behind Mr. Katyal is Dr. Gerry Wall, our Strategic Advisor;
2288 - then Gary Jessop, our Legal Counsel;
2289 - and finally, Stuart Hahn, our Technical Advisor.
2290 Before I turn the floor over to Munish, I would like to note by way of background that Munish has decades of experience in South Asian media in Surrey, including publishing the newspapers "The Link," "Punjabi Link," "Voice" and "Awaaz," and the "Link Directory," a print directory of more than 1,200 South Asian businesses in the lower mainland.
2292 MR. KATYAL: Good morning, Commissioners and the staff. I am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today to address an unserved need in my community. Our application to create LINK Radio represents something quite new in ethnic broadcasting in Surrey, and indeed, in Canada.
2293 As you know, LINK is a station that is designed primarily to serve the Punjabi-speaking community here in Surrey. However, it is more specific than that. The community here is, above all, a Canadian Punjabi community. It speaks a form of Punjabi that is uniquely Canadian, a language that has developed here over generations.
2294 We believe that it is time that Surrey had a station that addressed its own local issues and culture in the language that is spoken here. That is our vision for LINK.
2295 We recognize that the Commission has a difficult choice to make, and we would like to help to simplify that choice.
2296 As you know, LINK has filed applications both for 107.7 on FM and 600 on AM. In our analysis, we realized that LINK will be as successful on AM as it would be on FM. Our content as a talk station is well suited to AM, and our revenue will be the same.
2297 There are other applications that can only succeed on FM. For that reason, we request this morning that you consider LINK as an AM applicant.
2298 As you know, I myself am not a broadcaster, although members of my team are highly qualified, but my years in print media tell me that the vision we have for LINK will succeed.
2299 The directory that we publish is full of advertisers, 1,200 of them. I know them and I have spoken to them about what they need. I know that if they hear a station that speaks the language of this community, a station that addresses this community's concerns, they will advertise. Businesses that have never used radio before will use LINK if it is licensed because we have the experience, the vision and the team to make it work.
2300 I invite you to see and hear what LINK Radio will bring to Surrey. Thank you.
--- Video presentation
2301 MR. JOHAL: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Commissioners.
2302 I am Jaswant Johal, Station Manager of LINK Radio. Throughout my 25-year career in broadcasting, I have experience in a broad range of station roles: programming, operations, content development and on-air hosting. That experience has led me to an awareness of what works in this market and also what is missing.
2303 It is this thorough understanding that fills me with excitement. The thrill of building upon what I have learned from the past, of making the most of today and of starting the journey into a future where demographics, tastes, technology and social relationships, will be unlike anything we have seen.
2304 Let me spend just a minute talking about the people in our target audience. While our programming will cover several languages, the heart of our programming will be provided in Punjabi.
2305 Now, if you read the Statistics Canada Census report on languages spoken in Surrey, you will see that Punjabi is the most prominent next to English. But what these Census numbers fail to reveal is that "Punjabi" is not just a single language, it is two.
2306 The first dialect is the traditional language still spoken in India. In its cultural references, subject matter and concepts, it reflects the lifestyle of the Old Country. It is the language of the Old Country which is currently on the airwaves in Surrey.
2307 However, the "second Punjabi" is the language of those who have been settled in Canada for more than a few years, including those who have been born here in Canada.
2308 The Punjabi language of these people reflects their unique Canadian reality. It contains terms, phrases and concepts that have little to do with the old country. Moreover, the local Punjabi is not readily understood by traditional Punjabi speakers and vice versa. LINK will broadcast in Canadian Punjabi. Pardeep...?
2309 MS SAHOTA: Thank you, Jas. I am one of the people that Jas just described. I was born in Canada, my parents were both professionals who left India to build a new life in this country. My upbringing was therefore shaped by my parents' heritage, but also by the very large Punjabi-speaking community in this province.
2310 This community is itself comprised of two fairly distinct subgroups, those who lead a life that remains closely tied to India and those who have adopted and developed with the North American culture.
2311 I have been a very fortunate child, my parents were quick to appreciate and adapt to the opportunities that Canada presented and they were most supportive of my New World sensibility, of my dream to accomplish goals that would not have been available to me in India and of my desire to cast gender stereotypes aside and make my own pathway.
2312 Commissioners and staff, I speak both English and Punjabi, but the Punjabi that I speak would likely not be understood in most parts of India. That is because it is a hybrid specific to the place I live. It is a Canadian Punjabi which we fondly call "Punglish". It is a language that we speak on a daily basis and it is uniquely understood by an estimated 80,000 Surrey residents and it is not on radio today. Jaswant...?
2313 MS JOHAL: So, what will our station sound like? Our video has given you a flavour, but let me fill in some details on our programming. Our program schedule reflects the mandate of the station. Our programs will be geared towards the demographic described above in a language that is actually spoken and understood by that group, a fusion of Punjabi and English, "Punglish".
2314 For example, our daily morning show is in "Punglish" and for the first time in South Asian radio we are introducing a daily program focusing on youth on three campuses within Surrey called "Punjabi Hour On Campus".
2315 Another daily program is "Masala Mashup" focusing on entertainment, politics, social issues and success stories of South Asians on a national and international scope.
2316 The list can go on, but here time is of essence. However, we can ensure you in all our programming we are aiming to be unique and creative, we are prepared to work hard and in a professional manner in order to fill that void that exists in the marketplace. Pierre...?
2317 MR. SMITH: My name is Pierre-Louis Smith, I have spent a good portion of my professional career in radio, on-air, in program development, in business planning, mopping the floor and eventually in regulatory matters.
2318 The Commission's Regulatory Policy lays out the criteria that applications must meet. It states that radio stations must reflect the diversity and distinct nature of the community. Well, LINK does that. LINK will be unique in that it will speak the real language of the community, a language developed here.
2319 LINK will discuss issues of greatest importance to the community in a way that reflects the attitudes of Canadian Punjabis who have made their lives here for years. It will also reflect the music and culture developed here in Canada and created here in Surrey. The policy asks that the application suits the market, and LINK does that, particularly when viewed in the context of the best use of AM 600.
2320 New stations should not hurt existing stations and our analyses have shown that the impact of LINK will be minimal in the local ethnic radio market that is clearly healthy and growing.
2321 As a new entrant into broadcasting, LINK will add to the diversity of news voices in the marketplace and will focus on local news. Pardeep...?
2322 MS SAHOTA: Thank you. Our team clearly has the experience to execute our business plan and fulfil the commitments we have made and we are more than excited to share our vision with you. We are passionate about embracing the opportunities and challenges that await us if we are granted a licence.
2323 As Munish said, we know that you have a difficult choice to make. We believe, however, that LINK is clearly the best choice you can make for the 600 kilohertz frequency available. And on that note, we would invite any questions.
2324 If you have no objections, Mr. Katyal has asked that I act as an initial spokesperson to respond to your questions. So please fire away.
2325 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you so much and thank you for the brevity of your presentation, concise and to the point.
2326 With a slight adjustment, I guess that was decided this week?
2327 MS SAHOTA: Yes, it was.
2328 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2329 MS SAHOTA: Last night.
2330 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2331 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate the honesty as well. The target demo. You know, your target demo, and if we could maybe start with that, is young. The Southeast Asian community is very young, Stats Canada is quite clear. I think yesterday the numbers we had were to the effect that maybe a third of the population is in teenage years, under 19.
2332 Is there a market and is that the best way to attract young people to radio, especially talk radio? I suppose you were going after the second and third and even fourth generations, right? We talked about 2.0s and 3.0s, there are even 4.0s in this community.
2333 Would you do that in the Punjabi language? Wouldn't you rather -- wouldn't it be more interesting to do it in English?
2334 MS SAHOTA: So if I understand you correctly, you are asking us if it's the best way to attract our format is to attract young people. We are not just -- our target demographic is not just young people.
2335 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2336 MS SAHOTA: There is a gap in the current offering in ethnic radio, even people like my parents who don't understand the language that's spoken on radio today because it's a very literary -- or I guess Jas has a better word for this, but it's a form of Punjabi that is understood in India by educated people, it's a form that's not necessarily -- not to say, I mean the more settled generations aren't educated, but there is a bit of a blend of the language now, there's different dialects of Punjabi from India and we have different words for certain things.
2337 I was using the example of, like the word "butter". In the place that my parents are from -- well, where my dad is from, they say it a certain way. The way that my mom is from, they say it another way. So, here they wouldn't use both versions of "butter" in Punjabi, they would just say "butter", and that's the language that my parents speak, it's the language that people that came, like five, 10 years ago speak. It's almost like a hybrid language, but an English speaker would not be able to understand what we are saying because predominantly it is Punjabi.
2338 And I do think that it is a good way and the best way to attract younger people. Currently there isn't anything on radio to attract younger people. There are topics that have to do with Indian politics that are happening in India, topics that don't really pertain to a younger generation, and that is how we are going to engage youth and how we're going to appeal to them. We are going to speak to them in a language they understand and we are going to talk about topics that pertain to them with our programming, we are going to talk about campus issues, we are going to talk about health and wellness, highlight other successful South Asians and immigrants across the world, but in a language they understand.
2339 I'm just going to pass it on to Jas, because I think she has a few more points to add.
2340 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Sure. Go ahead.
2341 MS JOHAL: Do you want to ask a question? I don't know, you were about to ask a question?
2342 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it might be early, but I'm just surprised by a lot of aspects of the presentation. If we get back to the linguistic question, are you telling me that people that are listening to Punjabi radio today, be it licensed Canadian or cross-border, don't understand what they are hearing?
2343 MS JOHAL: I will answer that question, Mr. Chairman.
2344 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. And, if so, why are they continuing to broadcast in that language if people don't understand them?
2345 MS JOHAL: The language that is used currently on the radio stations is very -- I can use the word literate Punjabi. That type of Punjabi is generally understood by people who have come from India and have probably gone to universities in India.
2346 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2347 MS JOHAL: So what's happening is people like myself -- I am actually from England, the community here, just to paint a nice picture for you who is in this Punjabi community; number one, we have got the first generations, we have got people like Judge Wally Oppal yesterday where, you know, people have been here since they were four years old, so they speak Punjabi with words in English, so they will not use the literate Punjabi from India who, you know.
2348 And the second set of people I would describe are from other countries like myself from, say, the U.K. So again we are used to English words within Punjabi. Then we have the youth --
2349 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right...?
2350 MS JOHAL: -- again same sort of thing, hybrid of Punjabi and English or Punjabi and Canadian.
2351 So the languages that are used currently on the radio station is the one that we were previously talking about, very literate Punjabi, a lot of the words that are being used are not --
2352 THE CHAIRPERSON: Someone is listening to it and a lot of the people that are in Canada --
2353 MS JOHAL: They are.
2354 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- are not that literal Punjabi speaker that went to university in India. You would agree with me; a lot of Canadians of Punjabi origin don't fit that description and, yet, they are still listening to it.
2355 I'm just trying to understand what the Canadian-Punjabi, which is the term you used, is. And, you know, around the world English has sort of entered most languages, and it's the case in Europe and people may complain about it or not complain about it, but English has sort of infiltrated the common parlance of certainly the Western world. And the French can complain about it and the Italians complain about it and, you know, I listen to a Greek radio and half of it is in English and, you know, the language even back home has adapted and adopted to the globalization that is the reality of the day.
2356 So, in that sense, Punjabi is not necessarily different than most other languages. Would you agree with me on that?
2357 MS JOHAL: Yes, Punjabi is not different, but having said that, there is a hybrid that exists today between Punjabi and English language, so basically --
2358 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that's only available in Surrey?
2359 MS JOHAL: Oh, no, I think across Canada people that -- the demographics that are higher basically explain to you it is the same all over.
2360 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2361 MS JOHAL: So, basically when they speak Punjabi -- what I'm trying to say is when they speak Punjabi there are many English words slotted in, because it is not easy to translate those words into Punjabi --
2362 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right.
2363 MS JOHAL: -- unless you have been brought up in India.
2364 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. I understand that, but that's the kind of Punjabi that's probably being spoken in England and in Continental Europe and in Canada and in the States and, you know, the French call it "Hanglais", the Greeks call it "Greeklish" and, you know, everyone is suffering from that, right?
2365 MS JOHAL: M'hmm.
2366 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's not different, I mean it's not -- it's the kind of Punjabi that I would think would still be spoken on the radio dial in Canada today.
2367 You know, when you look at RED or you look at the CJRJ or even across borders, are you telling me they are not speaking Canadian Punjabi or -- I don't know if you want to call it...?
2368 MS JOHAL: I'm going to jump in here. I'm sure that in some of their -- I mean, we are a talk format station --
2369 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2370 MS SAHOTA: -- that's what we are proposing, they're a music format. We are talking about introducing this language predominantly throughout our entire programming. So, although -- I mean, I'm not going to speak to the other ethnic radios per se, but they may be including some of this hybrid language in between programming, maybe when a host is talking and introducing music, but not necessarily in their talk format.
2371 What we are asking to do is to have a talk format where we are introducing this language in a language -- and also kind of going back to what Jas was saying earlier, this isn't just spoken, this "Punglish" or Canadian Punjabi, is not just spoken in Surrey.
2372 But we have a large demographic of South Asians settling here in the area, we have a lot of younger people here and this is a language that is unique in this community, it is a language that is universally understood by South Asians, whether they are living in Surrey, in Victoria, in Vancouver.
2373 It's a little bit more unique than it is out in Toronto where they speak a more literate Punjabi.
2374 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I understand that, but I mean I don't speak Punjabi obviously --
2375 MS SAHOTA: Yes.
2376 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- but I have listened to radio and a lot of the words that are mixed in are English, there is no way around that for numerous reasons. There is a facility factor, there is trying to sort of find words that may not have existed in India back in the day, or existed anywhere in fact in the day, and I still find it hard to believe that the other stations aren't using "Punglish" or Canadian Punjabi.
2377 MS JOHAL: Can I just come in there? What we are saying is that the other stations, when they -- I mean, I was listening to one of the radios this week and one particular sentence that I heard randomly -- I just put on the radio in the car --
2378 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2379 MS JOHAL: -- it had three words that I know a person like Pardeep would not be able to understand because they were literate translation of a word like "door". Door is called "daravaza". There is no way that Pardeep is going to know that word.
2380 But what's happening is that those very common words are spoken in literate Punjabi in that particular one sentence.
2381 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2382 MS JOHAL: Right? So I think, you know, easily it would be -- you know, I mean in normal programming you would say "door", you would say "butter", because those are the common words that are used here. Why would you actually translate those words into Punjabi. And that's what's happening. That's our point.
2383 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. You know, you remind me of the debate that we had in Québec, and Monsieur Smith can speak to the question of, you know, trying to find French words for English terms.
2384 MS JOHAL: Exactly.
2385 THE CHAIRPERSON: It might be baseball terms, they might be hockey terms and there has been a concerted effort made to create or invent those words. I mean, if you go to Paris people call and e-mail an "e-mail".
2386 MS JOHAL: M'hmm.
2387 THE CHAIRPERSON: And most diehard Francophones would like it to be called "courriel".
2388 MS JOHAL: Yes.
2389 THE CHAIRPERSON: So what's wrong with trying to use a word that is truly Punjabi. And if you want to maintain the language, which I gather is part of the idea behind this is to maintain the language and culture, why wouldn't you teach the youth of the language in its purer form and not -- I don't want to use the term, you know, bastardize it, but when people use, you know, "Franglaire" or "Punglish" or any other "lish", that's sort of inherent in the term.
2390 What's wrong with the younger generation learning what the word door -- how it is spoken in Punjabi?
2391 MS SAHOTA: There is absolutely nothing wrong with the younger generation learning the true form of Punjabi. I'm sure my parents would have loved for me to learn it, but they came to Canada and were busy trying to learn English, watching "Sesame Street", and teach us how to speak English.
2392 So, although I'm sure there are some people that are very interested in the true form of Punjabi, the facts are a majority of youth are just not interested in learning the true words and the true forms.
2393 It's not realistic and it's not practical to think that learning English from parents when English isn't their first language is hard enough, and trying to grasp the English language is difficult enough.
2394 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2395 MS SAHOTA: And we are taught French in school or Spanish and Mandarin, Punjabi is not a choice language that everyone wants to learn the literal form of. So, realistically speaking, it's not realistic to think that everyone is going to understand this true form of Punjabi.
2396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So isn't it more realistic that people, the longer they stay in this country, will move towards English in a region like British Columbia?
2397 And, again, I come back to the original question, why not provide an English service dealing with Surrey questions, many of which involve the Southeast Asian community given that it's sort of half the population, as an example; wouldn't that have been a more interesting sort of plan?
2398 MS SAHOTA: Well, Mr. Commissioner, there are plenty of options available to people who want to listen to radio in English, they want to hear the news in English, we can go online, a lot of people are a bit more tech savvy.
2399 THE CHAIRPERSON: Some would argue that you don't have Surrey-laden radio available and that's part of the idea behind this process.
2400 MS SAHOTA: But there is a larger demographic here, we believe, that still wants this ethnic programming and this connection to their roots and their culture. They want it in a language they understand. They want it from younger people that represent their demographic.
2401 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So how would this application specifically speak to residents of Surrey?
2402 MS SAHOTA: We are covering content that through our programming, news updates, weather and traffic will pertain to Surrey. We are talking about issues that are pertaining to youth within Surrey.
2403 From time to time we will have guest speakers that are obviously going to be from Vancouver or from across Canada, but a lot of the topics and the discussions that we are going to have on the radio are pertaining to issues that people face within Surrey.
2404 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And what percentage of the Surrey population would you be excluding with this service, on linguistic grounds?
2405 MS SAHOTA: I will pass this over to Dr. Gerry Wall.
2406 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2407 MR. WALL: Thank you, Par, and Commissioner, for your question. The size of the market that we are targeting for this content and in the language of Canadian Punjabi we estimate to be about 80,000. The population of Surrey is roughly 500,000. That community, that larger community is relatively well served, as Par mentioned, by English language stations and other ethnic stations in terms of music format, not so very well in terms of spoken content, although as you both know, the US cross-border stations do a talk format and so that's where they are getting their information.
2408 Now, the size of -- it is actually 100,000 reported by Census of Canada, 2011 report estimates 100,000 Punjabi-speaking persons in Surrey. We estimate those that speak Canadian Punjabi on a daily basis, that is the language that they converse in, they live in that language.
2409 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2410 MR. WALL: So that size of market, just by way of comparison -- and I will get to your question about who is being excluded, but I want to talk about who is being included first.
2411 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2412 MR. WALL: That population, if you compare, for example with Moncton, a population of roughly 150,000 split between English and French, there are eight English stations serving 75,000 English speakers in Moncton. Not that that's the benchmark that anyone should use, but just by way of comparison.
2413 So you've got a population that speaks a language, 80,000, that doesn't have a Canadian licensed station in talk format, so anyone that doesn't speak this language, by your definition, would not be included in the station.
2414 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm going to get to that. CJRJ, you would not think that that was talk format? Let's say RED for the sake of argument is not.
2415 MR. WALL: Yes, RED certainly is not.
2416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2417 MR. WALL: I mean they are licensed as a music station. I know they do have content --
2418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2419 MR. WALL: -- if it's spoken word, but to Par and Jas' earlier points, if you listen to the language on that -- not just the language, it's very traditional, but also the content, much of which comes from India --
2420 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2421 MR. WALL: -- so it deals with issues that aren't Surrey centric.
2422 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2423 MR. WALL: Okay.
2424 THE CHAIRPERSON: To add to that, let's say for the sake of argument it's 100,000 population, which is the target audience, okay. Would you know what the population contours are for AM 600, Mr. Wall? It is Mr. Wall, right?
2425 MR. WALL: Yes, it is.
2426 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2427 MR. WALL: Yes, we have our contour expert here, he can tell you.
2428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Can you give us that?
2429 MR. HAHN: Do you mean within the 15 and 5 total?
2430 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's start with three and we will move on up.
2431 MR. HAHN: Well, three would the FM.
2432 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, sorry, 5, yes. Let's start with the FM. Let's go to the FM, roughly the population coverage?
2433 MR. HAHN: Population coverage, total coverage I think was around 600,000. I haven't double checked that.
2434 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's say for the sake of argument it is 700,000.
2435 MR. HAHN: Right.
2436 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the AM, do you have that offhand?
2437 MR. HAHN: Total population is about 1.9 million.
2438 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, exactly. So you are proposing to use a frequency that has access to almost two million people for a max 100,000-person target audience? Is that a proper --
2439 MR. WALL: Yes.
2440 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- assessment of the application?
2441 MR. WALL: Yes.
2442 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I also notice -- correct me if I'm wrong -- your projections, if we look at the financial submissions, are the same given your previous application on the FM and your AM. You had both applications in. That's fine, I misspoke.
2443 Your financial projections don't change on the AM or the FM dial; is that correct?
2444 MS SAHOTA: That's correct.
2445 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Okay. What happens if another station is licensed? How will that impact your application, in both scenarios obviously, English and/or ethnic, probably Punjabi?
2446 MS SAHOTA: If another station is licensed, if it's an English station we don't think it will have much impact on our projections; if it's another ethnic station, it will have minimal impact on our proposal.
2447 I will pass this over to Mr. Puri, Rakesh Puri, but we do have a dedicated list of advertisers that Munish and Rakesh have built over the years that are committed to coming on to the radio and advertising with us on the radio station.
2448 I'll pass it over to Rakesh.
2449 MR. PURI: Good morning, commissioner.
2450 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
2451 MR. PURI: As Pardeep said, we won't have any -- we have minimal effect on our station if we have AM. The reason being depending on the sales. We have a strong team of nine salespeople in my team and we have very, very good relation -- relationship with our advertisers, with my 20-plus years of selling advertising in Surrey market.
2452 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2453 MR. PURI: We -- we know the market very well, very good relationship with the people, so I don't think that will make any effect on our radio for that.
2454 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your discussions with your potential advertisers, you have certainly not raised the idea that there may be another Punjabi radio service that will be available and how that would change their advertising outlook.
2455 MS JOHAL: Mr. Chairman, if there is another AM radio station -- or if there -- sorry, if there is another ethnic radio station, it depends if it's a talk or a music, number one --
2456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2457 MS JOHAL: -- because we are more of a talk station.
2458 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2459 MS JOHAL: When we did a sales research, we actually went to -- actually Rakesh and Munish went to the stations on south of the border. And if those clients were given a choice, they said that if we did get the AM with the format, with the --
2460 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2461 MS JOHAL: -- programming that we have, that they are willing to support us --
2462 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2463 MS JOHAL: -- and they have given us letters. So they will be able to advertise with us.
2464 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I just want to come back to the coverage for a second. It just kind of strikes me that this -- I don't know if you'd qualify this application as more of a GVA application and not a Surrey application. I think the FM frequency is very Surrey-laden, Surrey-centric, whereas this, the AM application given the contours, you're really serving all of Vancouver for all intents and purposes. Would you qualify it as an ethnic Vancouver service?
2465 MS SAHOTA: I'm going to ask Mr. Wall, Gerry, to answer this question.
2466 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
2467 MR. WALL: Well, I guess the -- the short answer is this is an application that really is focused on Surrey and Surrey businesses. It's a community that's understood by the team that is here. They work in their other media businesses here. There is an identified need in the market here, so it really is Surrey-focused.
2468 Now, to the extent that there are Canadian Punjabi speakers in the Greater Vancouver Area and that signal will be received, it would be great to have them tune in and get content that they're not getting any other place. In terms of the advertising base, we're not chasing advertisers outside the Surrey area. This is a community where that's identified and that's the base -- the business base. So there won't really be an impact in that sense.
2469 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the content will be Surrey-centric?
2470 MR. WALL: Yes, it will be.
2471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sort of the flip side of that and I'm playing around with the frequencies, but if you're going to be a Surrey-based station why not maintain your FM application?
2472 MR. WALL: Well, it was -- as Par said, the decision was ma-- it was a difficult decision to make because you're betting on two horses essentially. The FM signal is a higher quality signal. If you're going after the youth demographic, which we are, it's a better place to start.
2473 But at the end of the day, there is a lot of applications, particularly music-oriented applications, format applications that are in the FM band. Our content works very well on the AM. And so, at the end of the day for our purposes we felt that we'd probably make the Commission's decision much easier. We think that we've made a good case to identify this very important need within Surrey. And, yes, the coverage is wider than just Surrey, but that's a band that's been sitting, not being used for quite some time. We can make good use of it. There are some competing applications for that 600 frequency and I guess that's your role, to --
2474 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2475 MR. WALL: -- review all those and judge which makes the best use of that frequency.
2476 THE CHAIRPERSON: And for the purposes of talk, AM is fine, part of sort of what your thinking was, I would imagine, last night. Okay.
2477 Back to demographics. So the target audience is 18 to 108 or younger, 12 to 120, I don't know how you figured it out, but everyone is in that mix?
2478 MS SAHOTA: Yes, they are.
2479 THE CHAIRPERSON: And Panglish is the way to get everyone on board?
2480 MS SAHOTA: Yes, it is.
2481 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Canadian Punjabi. I don't --
2482 MS SAHOTA: That's correct.
2483 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- I don't mean to be ... Young and old can relate to that language. And even the older generations, you know, they're in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, they also speak with a lot of English mixed in with Punjabi?
2484 MS SAHOTA: I mean, not a lot of English, I wouldn't say.
2485 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not as much, right.
2486 MS SAHOTA: Not as much, but it's -- even the way that I speak Punjabi. I mean, you -- if I spoke a sentence of Punjabi, which please don't ask me to do, but you wouldn't be able to understand it --
2487 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2488 MS SAHOTA: -- but everyone here and all the Punjabi speakers here for -- they would be able to understand it.
2489 THE CHAIRPERSON: And me neither, if I tried to speak Punjabi, you wouldn't understand it either. But would you see -- you know, some would say the other thing that happens a lot in other languages in other communities, be they Italian or Portuguese or French community in Québec, is that there's almost a backlash from perhaps some of the older generation that there's so much English being mixed into the language that they had back home, even though back home there's even more English mixed into the languages. Do you sense that there may be a negative reaction amongst older Canadians of Punjabi origin?
2490 MS SAHOTA: I don't think so, but, I mean, when you're starting a new project there could be backlash. And if there is, we're really prepared for that. We heard other applicants talk yesterday about how there's these social issues that aren't discussed on radio, there's no community discussions or dialogue on these topics. And when there are, it almost is sensationalised or used for a shock value. We are trying to incorporate a generation that is not talking about these topics for that shock value. We're taking it very seriously. I mean, getting a licence is something very serious and we would take it seriously and get people on air that would be cultural producers and really use their role to give information out to the communities.
2491 If there is any backlash on the language, I mean, it's not -- it's not realistic, like I said before, to think that this generation that all these applicants are trying to reach is going to understand this language, and it's an evolution of a language and of a culture. We can't expect old school or old country values and mentality to -- and language to be forced on this newer generation. That's where this conflict of youth and drugs and gangs and domestic violence, that's where it comes from because everything, the programs, the language, the services and mentality is centred around helping these people with this old school-type sensibilities and the younger generation doesn't have those sensibilities. They're really at a disadvantage because they're at a cusp. There's no services or -- I mean, if -- I'm really fortunate. My parents have been really great. They have adapted to this new country, but there are people that are my age that -- I just turned 30, and there are people that are my age that are still not able to tell their parents that they date or they drink or they have experimented with, like, smoking or drugs. And, I mean, that's at -- they're at a disadvantage because they don't have these people guiding them or able to understand where they're coming from to be able to -- to be able to go to somebody and talk to them about this is huge. And that's what we want. So we want to open up the table of dialogue and discussions so these people don't feel isolated. They're not falling further into these -- these pits of despair and trying to rely on their peers or trying to rely on, like, you know, Google to tell them how to get out of doing drugs or whatever these issues are. We're trying to create an open platform where we are able to identify -- or people are able to identify with us because we speak their language, we're from their community, they know us.
2492 And I'll pass it on to Jas.
2493 MS JOHAL: Thank you, Pardeep.
2494 Mr. Chairman, there's a huge gap between the generation that you had asked about, people who maybe are offended or, you know, the grandparents, the new generation, the new kids. I have done many, many interviews in my television/media career for the past 25 years. I have interviewed Judge Wally Oppal many times as well. We focus on drugs. We focus on issues in the community. And the biggest reason -- I cannot, you know, say this enough, the biggest reason why those issues are there is because there's a language gap between that first generation and, you know, with the youngsters and also people who speak Canadian Punjabi. They cannot understand. The parents are beginning to accept the fact that these youngsters, these people, these second and third generations have got a different language to them and often people like Pardeep do have problems speaking to their grandparents because the grandparents cannot, you know, understand some of their English words or whatever. So because of that huge gap between communication, there has been a lot of problems in the community.
2495 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. No, I appreciate that and Madame Sahota was talking about the evolution. And I'm only playing devil's advocate obviously, but wouldn't the natural evolution be towards English? And if you're going to -- if you're trying to engage young people with these issues, wouldn't you do it in English?
2496 MS SAHOTA: I don't necessarily think so. I think people have a hard time --
2497 THE CHAIRPERSON: People your age would be very comfortable in sort of Canadian Punjabi discussions?
2498 MS SAHOTA: Exactly, and parents sometimes have a hard time articulating themselves in fully -- fully in English --
2499 THE CHAIRPERSON: English, yeah.
2500 MS SAHOTA: -- and there's the translation, that gap. So I am comfortable listening to people, if they are speaking to me in Punjabi, I can read it, I can write it. I mean, I wouldn't know --
2501 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2502 MS SAHOTA: -- what I'm reading and writing, but I can still -- I mean, language is something that's important to me as well and I would --
2503 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the common thread, getting back to the demographics between, you know, 12 and 120 year olds in this community is Canadian Punjabi?
2504 MS SAHOTA: That's correct.
2505 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And I guess on the 99 hours of Punjabi that's offered in your application, all of that would happen -- I didn't know it exists, but all that would happen in Canadian Punjabi?
2506 MS SAHOTA: Yes, it would.
2507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And do you think -- we had sort of a similar discussion yesterday, but do you think that -- with Justice Oppal and others on that board, but getting back to the content and a lot of the content, from what I understand, will revolve around -- and not in a sensationalistic kind of way but will revolve around a lot of hot button issues that -- social issues that are still being debated back home as well, we just have to sort of see what's happening over the last few years, in terms of the youth, the treatment of women and everything that goes with that. Is there a -- again, is there a market for that kind of discussion that's not necessarily uplifting and is, you know, if I can use the term sort of heavy and do people want to engage in that kind of introspection, societal and communal introspection on the radio?
2508 MS SAHOTA: I think people do. I think -- I worked at a not for profit before switching over to media and I was a part of one of the first South Asian transition houses in the Surrey area. And there -- whenever we would go on -- as -- on behalf of the not for profit --
2509 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2510 MS SAHOTA: -- and go onto the radio or onto TV or have an open dialogue to discuss these social issues, we had a lot of young people that wanted to get involved, but their voices aren't heard. They are even more -- a more subtle generation. They want to know about what's going on in the community. And even those that don't know about these dome-- I mean, if someone completely doesn't listen to the news, doesn't know what's going on with the community, this is something that they should be engaged in. It's -- there's no way to help these iss-- there's no way -- I mean, radio is not going to solve these issues, it's not going to stop domestic violence, it's not going to stop drugs in the community, but discussion on it it will and I think people want to be engaged on this discussion but not in a sensationalised shock value. They want an open discussion. They want to get information. And us as producers and media, we have a responsibility to give this information to an audience, even more recently arrived immigrants, and really help them to see how Canadian values -- what Canadian values really are. So I think there is a market for it. I mean, not so much in this more subtle generation where it is sensationalised like -- it needs to be regulated. It needs to be -- I'll pass this on to Jas, she's nodding her head. She has something to say.
2511 MS JOHAL: Thank you, Pardeep.
2512 Mr. Chairman, I think it is the language that you use on the radio station to whether this demographic that we're talking about, whether they will participate --
2513 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2514 MS JOHAL: -- and how it's done, the content, the way it's brought about, the style. My background is also an educator. So I feel that if you bring about a topic of discussion in the right way, I think people will participate. We want these people to speak out. The reason why these problems are there is because they don't have the opportunity to speak out, they don't feel they can. Either it's the language or the way the programing is done. So it has to be done in a very particular way.
2515 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe they just don't want to engage those topics and ...
2516 MS SAHOTA: I think they do. There are -- anytime a death has happened in Surrey or there's been -- CBC did an exposé on female feticide in the South Asian and immigrant community, all these Facebook groups go up where people are getting engaged and a lot -- a big portion of these people are from this local community. They don't have a platform, so they take to social media.
2517 THE CHAIRPERSON: There's no platform, there's no ...
2518 MS SAHOTA: So we want to give these people a platform while engaging them --
2519 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2520 MS SAHOTA: -- over social media aspects as well.
2521 THE CHAIRPERSON: A lot of the proof to show demand for this kind of application was based on the SmartPoint study that you referred to?
2522 MS SAHOTA: Yes.
2523 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Did you deposit that study with the Commission?
2524 MR. WALL: I think we supplied a summary that --
2525 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2526 MR. WALL: -- I prepared.
2527 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2528 MR. WALL: And I believe the data tables themselves were submitted --
2529 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Would you --
2530 MR. WALL: -- because that's all we really got from SmartPoint. I took it and put it into, you know, tables and that sort of thing. If you don't --
2531 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would you be averse to depositing the entire study?
2532 MR. WALL: Not at all, no. We can certainly do that.
2533 THE CHAIRPERSON: As submitted to you by SmartPoint and not sort of --
2534 MR. WALL: Yeah, again --
2535 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- a redacted, summarized version of it.
2536 MR. WALL: Again, Mr. Chairman, it's data tables, but I'm very happy to supply everything that we saw and we got.
2537 THE CHAIRPERSON: It just sort of goes to process. I mean, it's easier to --
2538 MR. WALL: Sure.
2539 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- get the whole thing and not just --
2540 MR. WALL: Yeah. Just the --
2541 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- not that you did that, but, you know, people may pick and choose --
2542 MR. WALL: Absolutely.
2543 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- things they like and --
2544 MR. WALL: No problem.
2545 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- discard things they don't. So that would make it sort of easier.
2546 And sort of finally, your listenership --
2547 MR. WALL: Sorry, if I could just, you know --
2548 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
2549 MR. WALL: -- one point on that. So that speaks really to the listenership, which is one part of the equation. You know, do you have an audience, is there a need out there underserved, but there's also the business side in terms of can you make this financially viable, can advertisers come to it. That wasn't SmartPoint. I mean, that's --
2550 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I understand.
2551 MR. WALL: Okay.
2552 THE CHAIRPERSON: SmartPoint goes to the demand for that kind of content and that kind of format, I understand that fully. And on the financial side, there are other aspects that have been deposited that we're not going to get into much of that confidential, it's fine.
2553 Back to point. Where will your listenership -- what impact will Link have on the market, be it the Surrey market, the Vancouver market, or the cross-border listenership?
2554 MR. WALL: I guess that falls in market impact possibly, so I'll deal with that question.
2555 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
2556 MR. WALL: Again, just to differentiate between the Vancouver market and the Surrey market. It's a Surrey-centric service. Advertising will happen there. So Vancouver will not really be affected.
2557 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2558 MR. WALL: In terms of the two existing ethnic stations that play, that use Punjabi language --
2559 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2560 MR. WALL: -- again not so much Canadian Punjabi, but they do use Punjabi language, that would be REDFM and CJR 1200.
2561 On CKY the -- that's, again, a music format station. It's Vancouver in its coverage, so it's more than just Surrey. It's on the FM band, so it has sort of a better quality signal and to that extent I think those that are looking for the music on a better quality signal will stay with it.
2562 And finally, RED tends to use a bit more of a traditional Punjabi in linking their selections, as I understand it.
2563 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2564 MR. WALL: So we see a minimal impact on them and for much the same reasons for RJ 1200. It's, again, a service that doesn't really use the language; it's music oriented; they have applied for an FM to take advantage of the --
2565 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2566 MR. WALL: -- you know, the better quality signal and that.
2567 In terms of a number, we've got a breakout of revenue sources. We estimate that 5 percent of our revenues, which are -- in the first year I think are listed, you know, roughly 900,000, just under a million, so roughly 5 percent would come from existing stations. And primarily of that, that would be mostly REDFM.
2568 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you're speaking about the Canadian licensed services and the --
2569 MR. WALL: Yes.
2570 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- non-licensed services? What would --
2571 MR. WALL: I'm happy to talk about the cross-border services. We have used a term called "market growth", where we estimate 30 percent of our revenues will come from that. That's a bit of a misnomer, but we couldn't find another term that really worked. So part of that is the natural market growth in population driving businesses, but primarily we believe that's going to come from the cross-border radio station advertisers that exist in Surrey. And as Rakesh was explaining before, part of the process to figure out what can we -- you know, where is our revenue going to come from, they monitored the stations, listened to who is advertising, went to those advertisers because from the other side of their media business they deal with a number of these people. They know all the businesses.
2572 THE CHAIRPERSON: Nothing wrong with that.
2573 MR. WALL: So they went and talked to them and said, hey, we're going to do a bus-- we're applying to a radio licence. Here's our format, here's our programming, would you be willing to sort of come over here and work with us? And the response was extremely strong. So the estimate that we have is 30 percent of our revenue will come from market growth and, again --
2574 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2575 MR. WALL: -- of that, most of that, or a great deal of that will come from the cross-border station.
2576 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you also need listenership.
2577 MR. WALL: Yes.
2578 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what makes you believe that you'll be able to attract and move the people that are committed, the cross-border radio listeners, to Link?
2579 MR. WALL: I'm going to answer quickly and then turn it back to Par.
2580 THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, radio, the personalities or talk show hosts and all that comes with that --
2581 MR. WALL: They are.
2582 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and the attachment that may exist in trying to move people away from that, the challenge of that.
2583 MR. WALL: It's a --
2584 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who can speak to me on that issue?
2585 MR. WALL: You're right, it's a huge challenge to enter any market and build up a presence and say that we've got content and hosts and personalities that are vibrant that people will want to listen to and that's a challenge, and that's something that this team is going to have to take on.
2586 We do, however, know that you have got a very strong core, we have estimated the number 80,000 Canadian Punjabi speakers in Surrey. 80,000. They're not being served today in that language and certainly not in a talk format. So there is an audience that's waiting for something. Will they come over to us? We are the alternative. We are the station that will speak in their language and I think that speaks very well for the fact that the content of Link will be Surrey-centric, where cross-border stations are not particularly. That will also help. So it's content and language.
2587 Par, I don't know if you want to add anything.
2588 MS SAHOTA: Yeah. And when we did our market research, that was a question that was asked and we'll submit that to the Commission, but we did ask the people that we were -- that we had called during the market research that what radio station are they most likely to switch over from to listen to ours, and they were the cross-border radio stations that they would -- they said that they would switch over from, so ...
2589 And also, the publication or the publishing business recently, there's been a dip and I think people mentioned it yesterday as well. We are one of the only newspapers that have started a new publication in this time of recession, and we started it six months ago. It's one of the most popular newspapers. We have an experienced news team and media group. We know how to sell. We know how to give people the news that they want to read. So we are confident that with the new projects we've started on the publishing end, that if we were granted a licence, we can draw in that crowd, draw in those revenues because our past experience has shown us that any project that we've started, whether it's the magazine we started two years ago or the newspaper we started six months ago, it's been really well received in the community. So, we're confident that we can get that listenership that financial backing from advertisers as well.
2590 THE CHAIRPERSON: You certainly have a base to work on, but there's a big gap between print and on air. And --
2591 MS SAHOTA: Oh, of course, yeah.
2592 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- you can be a great writer and you can do excellent work on paper, but that doesn't necessarily translate in terms of on air and the popularity of that.
2593 All that being said, as you know and as you mentioned yourselves, growth requires time and time costs money. And not to get into your projections and into the specifics of your projections, but for the sake of argument you don't hit your target year one, year two, year three, year four, we'll just -- I appreciate your optimism, but highly possible, what additional financial and economic commitment and leverage do you have to stay afloat --
2594 MS SAHOTA: I'm going to let --
2595 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- until you get back in the black?
2596 MS SAHOTA: Okay. I'll let Munish answer this one.
2597 MR. KATYAL: Sir, I'm doing this business now for 22 years and I have other businesses too. But media is my passion and it's --
2598 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is a lot of that this week.
2599 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't know, but passion oftentimes gets in the way of sound financial judgment.
2600 MR. KATYAL: Yeah, but if the company needs money I have other resources. I can lend the money to the company or give the loan to the company, no problem.
2601 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We'll leave it at that for now.
2602 My colleagues certainly have some questions.
2603 Commissioner Simpson...?
2604 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
2605 Three areas; I'll be brief. I have just a few questions in each area.
2606 In your video a number of intervenors on your behalf were artists. Usually, when we're seeing interventions they are musical artists for radio application.
2607 Were there any visual artists? Why I'm asking is that I heard quite a few times in your presentation, your video presentation, that conventional existing ethnic radio is not paying attention to serving the needs of artists. And I'd like you to qualify whether they were referring to music artists or other types of South Asian artistic endeavours.
2608 MS JOHAL: It's all types of local art. Those artists who are often interviewed on television do not have a platform on radio at present where they can be promoted.
2609 So they are basically like you. So the last guy there maybe he is the person you are referring to.
2610 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, I was.
2611 MS JOHAL: He has been to my office a couple of times and he said, "Okay, you know what? I'm going to be doing this so can you please do an interview on television", right?
2612 So it's not just the music art. It's also the art like he's actually a painter. But there is a lot of talented local artists who are not given the opportunity --
2613 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Why is that?
2614 MS JOHAL: -- to go on radio.
2615 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Why?
2616 MS JOHAL: They are actually being charged. That's what I've been told, you know. They have been asked for monies, you know.
2617 And that is the reason that a lot of local talent the past maybe 10 years or so they are going back to India to do their recordings. They are going back to India to perform and do various things. As a result, we're losing local talent.
2618 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm just trying to understand whether it's a cultural issue or it's an economic issue or a commercial issue because, you know, many individuals have said both publicly and privately that the South Asian market is already over served, albeit with a lot of stations coming from south of the border.
2619 But when you look at the overall one would wonder why taking those statements that were made on your behalf why -- so categorically those five or four or five stations are not doing more to support the arts. Is it because of no appetite for supporting the arts, no interest or it's not commercially viable? Why is it?
2620 MS JOHAL: You know, often what I've heard from the artists, I'm telling you from their point of view what they have told me when they have come to me. They have often thought that they are not good enough -
2621 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
2622 MS JOHAL: -- compared to what they are getting, say, from India which is a very, very unfair statement. They've got to start up somewhere. They are doing their best here and they need to be supported.
2623 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Next question, and the Chair touched on it with respect to social media.
2624 I think I hear you pretty loud and clear with respect to trying to create a forum for younger Punjabi speakers regardless of their fluency in conventional or Punlish. You try to create a forum for discussion because -- and I think I have had personal experience with this that they can't necessarily just walk into their own community of similar age group whether they are of all ethnic mixes because there is a lot of cultural baggage that's coming with the problems you're having that a lot of their other friends understand.
2625 So I get the part about radio being that forum for dialogue, tune in and if not actually participate through calling in, at least understand that someone else understands.
2626 But this group also, I would presuppose -- and the first question. Is the use of social media as significant with your target audience as it is with all other similar generational age groups? Are they heavy users of social media?
2627 MS SAHOTA: So you're asking if maybe the older people in our target demographic are --
2628 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No, your target group.
2629 MS SAHOTA: Yeah, I think that they are. They are more culturally -- I mean, my dad is in his fifties and he's going online and looking at YouTube videos and he's on Facebook. I mean, they like to stay connected and they are using social media too, maybe not necessarily to get as involved with the dialogue but they are -- they want to get the opinions of what others around them are saying.
2630 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: They're lurkers.
2631 MS SAHOTA: Yes, creepers.
2632 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, okay. It doesn't sound right somehow.
2633 So in looking at your pro forma, I didn't see in terms of allocation of resources as much as I would have expected in the area of social media. You know, how are you going to tackle this? Is this a bolt on or an add-on to your game plan or is it really a major part of your game plan?
2634 MS SAHOTA: It's a major part of our game plan. But to be honest -- and it falls under the community affairs, under the admin.
2635 But the reason it's not included as much as -- in our presentation or in our actual supplementary and application is it's just so natural to us. I was putting a lot -- putting together a lot of the application and social media is just so natural that it's not really something that I even -- I mean, I didn't even think it was something that wouldn't be thought -- I mean it's just innate to us. We're going to have like a social media presence. It's going to be a big part of who we are.
2636 Ever since I've been working with Munish's media group it's -- they are on social media and we're interacting. You can't reach out to that target demographic that we're talking about without having social media. But it's just so natural to me. I've been live tweeting underneath the table here.
2637 That it was just an oversight that it wasn't put into the application.
2638 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2639 MS SAHOTA: So it is a big portion of what we plan on doing.
2640 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Last couple of questions.
2641 Your proportion of programming is 60 percent roughly to spoken word and in a lot of the way you've addressed that portion of programming it looks a lot like not just talk but news talk. You used the word "news" quite a few times in your submission.
2642 So when I go back in my experience with other English or French news talk formats, and I'm not saying that's exactly what you are, but they have a reliance on more than just hosts and call-in participants to generate content.
2643 Have you in your pro forma contemplated subscribing to other news services to sort of round out the content that helps you adequately fulfil what you're describing as a news talk service?
2644 MS SAHOTA: We have. We've put in a line for a news syndication. It's on our detailed budget which we are able to submit.
2645 And also with the newspaper --
2646 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Have you not submitted a --
2647 MS SAHOTA: I believe it was submitted.
2648 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2649 MS SAHOTA: There is a line for news syndication and news feeds.
2650 But because of the newspapers that Munish owns, we have access to a lot of the news there already. So we will be relying on some news from his existing publications and also new syndications and news feeds that we will be subscribing to.
2651 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, that's a great answer.
2652 The last question: In the opening remarks you indicated that you were getting -- you were no longer backing two horses but one. And understanding your particular arrangements for going into an AM broadcasting scenario, the question I've got is more on the operational cost rather than the capital costs.
2653 Have you contemplated in your pro forma the operational costs of being an AM broadcaster? Because I think I only saw one set of financial projections and I was curious as to whether I had missed a second set that contemplated that higher operational cost of being an AM broadcaster because there are higher costs.
2654 MS SAHOTA: Sorry, we just need to chat one second.
2655 MR. WALL: Yes. Thank you, Commissioner.
2656 The difference between the technical side in AM and FM for us was that we've already made arrangements to pick up facilities for broadcasting.
2657 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah. I understand that, yeah.
2658 MR. WALL: So that's pretty straightforward in terms of the operating cost of that.
2659 I think studio costs are --
2660 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: The same.
2661 MR. WALL: Pretty much the same.
2662 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, but you've got land costs. You've got, you know, land lease costs and other things that don't necessarily parallel running an FM stick on top of --
2663 MR. WALL: To the best of our research into the area, we didn't see a significant difference, Commissioner. So we don't see that there is a tremendous gap between what it would cost to run operationally the AM station versus the FM station.
2664 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Are you a resident of B.C.?
2665 MR. WALL: No. You're talking about the mountain ranges and stuff?
2666 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No, I'm talking about power bills.
2667 MR. WALL: Oh, power bills.
2668 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Talk about sticker shock.
2669 Oh, that was the substance of my question for those areas.
2670 MR. WALL: Okay.
2671 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thank you very much.
2672 THE CHAIRPERSON: Power bills, yeah. I'm not a resident of B.C. but power bills aside, transmitter costs and the land required to set up an AM --
2673 MR. WALL: Yes, it's actually --
2674 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- can you address that?
2675 MR. WALL: -- it's actually less than --
2676 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Can I just have one more?
2677 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, sure.
2678 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sorry, my apology. I have one question related -- tying into the AM side.
2679 Are there any significant or even marginal programming changes you'll be making in going from an FM scenario to an AM scenario that we should know about?
2680 MS SAHOTA: No, there's not.
2681 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: None?
2682 MS SAHOTA: None.
2683 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thank you.
2684 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Simpson.
2685 Just briefly, I just want to get back and Commissioner Shoan has questions as well.
2686 The cross border stations, what would be the listen -- what would the listenership look like? They are talk stations. What would the demographics be of that listenership?
2687 Are people of your generation, Madam Sahota --
2688 MS SAHOTA: Yes.
2689 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- listening to that?
2690 MS SAHOTA: Yes, they are.
2691 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are?
2692 MS SAHOTA: Yeah.
2693 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even sort of the 20-somethings are listening to that?
2694 MS SAHOTA: Yeah. There is a lot of great content on the cross border station, in particular.
2695 THE CHAIRPERSON: The talk?
2696 MS SAHOTA: Yeah, they are sharing the talk.
2697 THE CHAIRPERSON: In literal Punjabi?
2698 MS SAHOTA: I think they --
2699 THE CHAIRPERSON: 20-somethings?
2700 MS SAHOTA: Well, they generally have good guest speakers. They've got good shows where they have different politicians on air.
2701 So their guest speakers are obviously not -- most of them aren't Punjabi. So those shows do attract a wide range of audiences, I would say, including my demographic.
2702 MS JOHAL: But if the programming is done in a language that the Canadian Punjabis can understand, I'm sure we can attract them over.
2703 HE CHAIRPERSON: Really? And you're convinced that the cross border stations attract a young demographic to listen to talk in literal Punjabi?
2704 MS JOHAL: I think the content of the program, Mr. Chairman, is good, like Pardeep has just said.
2705 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not sensationalized and over the top as was mentioned --
2706 MS JOHAL: Some of those programs are.
2707 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- earlier?
2708 MS JOHAL: But I mean, if these people, if this particular demographic is given the choice of, you know, the content and the language that we will be using we will be able to draw that audience towards us.
2709 MS SAHOTA: And I do think that topics when they're not regulated they are sensationalized.
2710 And when you don't have a choice of what to -- I mean there is one talk format which is coming -- or there is two from the States. But when you don't have a choice to listen to anything else that pertains to your community, I mean, sometimes you just -- you tune in. You listen because you want to just hear their opinions on how they sensationalize something that's so simple and you may in your mind think they are such a simple solution to this.
2711 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even if they don't understand the language?
2712 MS SAHOTA: I mean --
2713 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you don't talk the language?
2714 MS SAHOTA: Not everyone, but I would say some people would tune in especially if they've got guests on that are English speakers.
2715 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what -- when the time -- how much of that -- how much of these guests are English speakers?
2716 MS SAHOTA: I wouldn't know --
2717 THE CHAIRPERSON: You wouldn't know?
2718 MS SAHOTA: Not off the top of my head, no.
2719 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you don't listen to it that much?
2720 MS SAHOTA: No, I don't.
2721 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And most people your age probably don't listen to it either.
2722 MS JOHAL: I think they do.
2723 THE CHAIRPERSON: Based on what?
2724 MS JOHAL: On the content of the programming. If there is a particular guest speaker on a particular topic, I think people -- like I keep saying Pardeep -- I think they will listen but how much they understand if it is Punjabi, I'm not sure.
2725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why would you listen to something you don't understand?
2726 MS JOHAL: Sorry?
2727 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why would you listen to something you don't understand?
2728 MS JOHAL: No, what I'm saying is if the guest speaker is Punjabi --
2729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2730 MS JOHAL: -- then they would have difficulties understanding like we said before.
2731 THE CHAIRPERSON: And they probably would tune out.
2732 MS JOHAL: Then they will basically tune out.
2733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2734 MS JOHAL: But if they've got a choice of somebody, some station --
2735 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
2736 MS JOHAL: -- that has the right content.
2737 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would submit to you that the majority of the listenership is of an older demographic on the cross border talk shows.
2738 MS JOHAL: You're right.
2739 THE CHAIRPERSON: You would agree?
2740 MS JOHAL: Yes.
2741 THE CHAIRPERSON: So there is no growth from those -- there is no repatriation with your service since your service is going to be specifically and more specifically going after young audiences?
2742 MS SAHOTA: Well, when we did our --
2743 THE CHAIRPERSON: That don't listen to that cross border content right now?
2744 MS SAHOTA: When we did our market research, the target demographic that we are -- well, the demographic that we're targeting they did say that they would switch over from that radio station. So there is a percentage that we feel would switch over. Now --
2745 THE CHAIRPERSON: What's the age of that demographic? What's the age of that?
2746 MS SAHOTA: I would have to look at the research that we're going to submit.
2747 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Wall can take a look at it.
2748 MR. WALL: Yeah, I can give you an idea right now.
2749 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go.
2750 MR. WALL: Roughly, you know, what we asked of the stations was, "If you currently listen would you be switching from each station name to our station?" So from 18 to 34 there is a substantial portion.
2751 I think roughly about two-thirds said that they would for both KVRI and KRPI, roughly.
2752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even amongst 18-34 demo?
2753 MR. WALL: Yeah, but I think there's two things we're talking about here. We're talking about listenership and we're talking about advertising and repatriation.
2754 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
2755 MR. WALL: And they're linked. There is no question.
2756 But in focusing on the business side which is, "Will you advertise on our station and leave that station?" So spend your dollars.
2757 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm, yeah.
2758 MR. WALL: With us, not them.
2759 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
2760 MR. WALL: A very positive response.
2761 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2762 MR. WALL: Now, your point earlier was that, well, at some point in time the listenership has to back that up or the advertiser is going to say, "Hey, I don't want to be there."
2763 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's usually how it works.
2764 MR. WALL: That's exactly right.
2765 But having said that, if the audience size which would be again 100,000 within Surrey and the content and the language is something that's appealing to them, that's what they will do. They will come over.
2766 THE CHAIRPERSON: Back to the listenership of KRPI and the other station --
2767 MR. WALL: KVRI.
2768 THE CHAIRPERSON: KVRI, right.
2769 Would you agree with me, Mr. Wall, from what you've seen that it's an older demo?
2770 MR. WALL: Honestly, I haven't studied it. My sort of limited understanding is that there is a -- there is more sensationalist type of content on that. Well, I'm not going to speak to the demo. I don't know.
2771 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2772 MR. WALL: I think the people here on the panel that live in the area that listen to the stations that talk to their peers about it have a better understanding of what the demo is than I do.
2773 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. I think they do.
2774 MS SAHOTA: Well, I'll give you an example of, like, through our target demographic, like I mentioned, is not just a younger age. It's a settled age.
2775 It's people like that have been here for 20-30 years. And they do listen to the Punjab radio station. They listen to it because they have an understanding of that language.
2776 But I don't think that the same language that's used on the licence, like on Red FM, is the same that's used on the U.S. station. I think the U.S. station has a language that's a little bit easier to understand whereas the one on the music format of the FM signal is a little bit more difficult to understand.
2777 THE CHAIRPERSON: KRPI and KVRI are offering Canadian Punjabi right now?
2778 MS SAHOTA: Yeah, they are to a certain extent. Yeah, I would say that they are to a certain extent.
2779 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So there's no linguistic advantage that LINK would have with respect to these offerings?
2780 MS SAHOTA: Well, there is a programming difference.
2781 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2782 MS SAHOTA: Our programming --
2783 THE CHAIRPERSON: Linguistically they are offering the same thing you'd be offering, Canadian Punjabi?
2784 MS SAHOTA: Not necessarily. Not all their programming is in this Canadian Punjabi.
2785 But they do have certain programs that I would listen to. They've got guest speakers that got on. There is -- like they have a show about politics that my dad always listens to. That one is -- it's not a South Asian politician that's on. So there is English and there is a mixture of Punjabi.
2786 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's a discussion of Canadian politics, right, not Indian politics?
2787 MS SAHOTA: Yeha, it's a Canadian politics one, yeah.
2788 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, okay.
2789 Would you agree to a condition of licence 100 percent ethnic programming?
2790 MS SAHOTA: Yes, we would.
2791 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would you also agree to a condition of licence that their language programming be 100 percent?
2792 MS SAHOTA: Yes, we would.
2793 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that as a condition of licence, 79 percent of that third-language programming be in Punjabi as per your application?
2794 MS SAHOTA: We will.
2795 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm quoting the application on that one.
2796 MS SAHOTA: Yes, we would.
2797 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And briefly, on your 60/40 mix because your application, unless that's been altered as well, is calling for 60 percent spoken word, 40 percent music?
2798 MS SAHOTA: Right.
2799 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does someone want to speak to me on the categories in that 40 percent? Maybe the second row.
2800 MR. SMITH: Well, the type of music in the Cat 2s and Cat 3s have all -- Cat 2s is related to mainstream radio stations. You know, music in third language are considered Category 3 music categories and, therefore, that would be Cat 3 music category.
2801 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the entire 40 percent would be under Cat 3?
2802 MR. SMITH: That's right.
2803 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there a musical theme that's going to go with LINK?
2804 MS SAHOTA: Not really. We're planning on playing music from -- I mean popular music but a lot of content that's local. We want to give local artists a chance to be played on the radio.
2805 So there isn't necessarily a theme. I don't -- I mean, I think there is like a mixture of Indian music theme. I think jazz --
2806 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because we haven't spoken about it that it's going to be 40 percent of your content according to your application and we don't have much --
2807 MS SAHOTA: Yeah.
2808 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- detail on what --
2809 MS SAHOTA: So we'll have a mixture of Punjabi music. There is like Bollywood remixes but most of it will be Punjabi music.
2810 THE CHAIRPERSON: And some thought has been given to musical selections to that 40 percent of the day?
2811 MS JOHAL: According to --
2812 THE CHAIRPERSON: If so, yay. If not, nay.
2813 MS SAHOTA: Not as much as we should have. We haven't put too much thought into the type of music.
2814 MS JOHAL: But having said that, most of my career I have played music. So the demographics that we're talking about, it would have to be music with a bit of a Western best to it, you know, reflecting on the Canadian Punjabi language.
2815 So the music that we are hoping to have a lot of it is going to be local. I want to try and put a lot of local into the programming.
2816 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, to be decided.
2817 MS JOHAL: Yeah, it is to be decided. We haven't discussed it in detail.
2818 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's a big chunk of your day, broadcast day to sort of be decided.
2819 That set aside, in terms of the monitoring to ensure that the programming reflect sort of the Surrey community and your advisory board, do you want to put some meat around that bone and maybe add some detail and fill in some of those blanks for us this morning?
2820 If the second row wants to chime in that's fine as well.
2821 MS SAHOTA: Sorry, could you repeat the question?
2822 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, the idea of an advisory board and the idea of assuring and ensuring that there is a Surrey ethnic community reflection on your station what --
2823 MS SAHOTA: So we didn't submit an advisory board to you and we aren't going to submit one now because that would change our application.
2824 So an advisory board is something that we would definitely look at and we would consult with the community and have members of the community and especially the languages that we are going to be broadcasting as well and we would have them represented on an advisory board.
2825 THE CHAIRPERSON: So today you don't have monitoring in place, a thought-out structure as to how you monitor the station programming to ensure that that reflection is there?
2826 MS SAHOTA: We haven't -- today we don't have an advisory board or that structure, no.
2827 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You would be willing to submit that within 24 hours?
2828 MS SAHOTA: Yes, we would.
2829 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So staff is taking note of that.
2830 I have a little more -- a couple more issues I'd like to raise but I'd like Commissioner Shoan to ask questions before we get to that. Thank you.
2831 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you very much.
2832 Just to pick up on some questions asked by my colleague, Commissioner Pentefountas, as you know in 60 percent spoken word programming that's Category 1; 40 percent music you indicated it's Category 2 and 3.
2833 Could you provide a breakdown in addition to the information you'll be filing later with respect to Category 5 which is advertising, Evident that you will be doing advertising? Can you just give us an idea of how much of that will comprise your schedule in terms of the overall composition, how much you expect to do?
2834 And to confirm, you won't be doing any Category 4 programming, musical production?
2835 MS JOHAL: Could you clarify musical production? What do you mean by that?
2836 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I don't actually have the definition in front of me.
2837 But, generally speaking, it would be actively involved in live performances at the station or perhaps actively involved in terms of the production of actual music as opposed to simply the broadcasting in terms of licensing.
2838 MS JOHAL: No, we're not going to be doing the production.
2839 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you very much.
2840 I want to get back to a point in our discussion that was raised earlier with respect to the potential reach of the 600 kilohertz signal potentially reaching 1.9 million people and the fact that your station as currently described is targeting between 80,000 and 100,000 people.
2841 Is that really the best use of that frequency, to target such a small market when it reaches so many people?
2842 MR. WALL: Well, that's really the question, I think. You're asking a fundamental question.
2843 We've made a case for it. We think that there is an under-served population audience that is significant in terms of its size. We know that there's an available frequency that's extremely well suited to the format, which is talk radio in Canadian Punjabi available. That signal's been available.
2844 You put out a call asking parties do you have interest in either of these -- any of these frequencies that are available. Put your ideas forward. We'll adjudicate on the best use of that.
2845 We think ours makes -- there's no other way to serve this other than the available FM frequency. We, you know, dropped out of that rate, if you will, because we can operate the station content on an AM signal.
2846 If there was another use that needed that reach of 1.9 million, it would have come forward. And perhaps there are other applications that have done that so you can take a look at what audience they will be serving, and is that an under-served audience and is this the best use of it.
2847 I guess if we didn't believe that it was the best use, we wouldn't be here, Commissioner, so that's -- we've made our case. I think at this point -- I don't know what else we can say to make you -- you know, to convince you of that.
2848 I think the case has been made. We hope that, in your wisdom, you take a look at it and say, "Yeah, that's right".
2849 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
2850 To get to your -- get back to your financial projections, using the 600 kilohertz frequency given its extremely wide scope, the population reach, your financial projections wouldn't be substantially changed in terms of your ability to solicit greater advertising?
2851 MR. WALL: Again, it's a very Surrey-centric content. Our sales team is -- lives, works in the Surrey area. It knows the Surrey area. It's focused on that.
2852 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: It wouldn't solicit any advertising from Vancouver?
2853 MR. WALL: There's no plans to do that. Now, over time, you know, that may change, but I can -- you know, there's been no talk of that in any of our discussions as we've built this up.
2854 Again, it's a Surrey-centric content. There's a large community here that's under-served that they're not getting the content that they deserve to have, and that's been the focus both on the advertising side and the audience side.
2855 So no, there have been no plans or discussions to go outside of that.
2856 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
2857 One last question. I was looking at your programming schedule and I see between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. there are prayer hours. Are those live prayer hours, are they voice tracked?
2858 MS SAHOTA: They're voice tracked.
2859 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And will there be any advertising during those periods?
2860 MS SAHOTA: No.
2861 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Those are my questions. Thank you.
2862 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2863 I also note the nighttime drive is called "The Grind". I don't know if you can -- that's sort of attractive to listeners to hear "The Grind", notwithstanding the fact that it is a grind getting home.
2864 That being said, I'd like to move you to page 33 of your supplemental brief. And once you get there, I'd like to know if I'm reading it correctly or incorrectly because my read is that one of the shows out of seven, if I'm not mistaken -- I don't even have it in front of me right now. But one out of the seven is set in Canadian Punjabi and the other seven just say "Punjabi language".
2865 Has that been readjusted or changed? Is the whole thing going to be in Punjabi, in Punglish or Canadian Punjabi?
2866 MS SAHOTA: All the shows are in Punglish. There was -- this is just -- I think it's a typo, English Punjabi. So all of the shows are going to be in the Punglish language, or in Canadian Punjabi.
2867 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that was always part of the plan, the Punglish plan?
2868 MS SAHOTA: Yes, it was.
2869 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's not something that came to light later on?
2870 MS SAHOTA: No. It was always -- there was always a plan to do this Canadian style of Punjabi.
2871 I think -- that's pretty much it. There's -- there may have been a little bit of oversight when we were writing it out because it was hard to kind of articulate it to everyone on the team, but the substance behind the language was always this hybrid language of this Canadian Punjabi.
2872 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So anywhere we see "Punjabi language", we can immediately change that for "Canadian Punjabi".
2873 MS SAHOTA: Yes, that's right.
2874 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I'd just like to get back to the demographic.
2875 I'd like to know your sense -- you know, it's very hard to program for everybody. And your 12 to 120 demo, it would seem to me to be a challenge. And I want to sort of bring you back and to see if you've sort of changed or sort of readjusted your thinking on that and if you want to be more precise as to the demo that you're going to be going after with this service.
2876 Traditionally, it's been very hard to program for 12 to 120 because it's very hard to get similar interests amongst, you know, multi, multi-generational demographics.
2877 There are exceptions. I like to listen to stuff my kids listen to, but you know, not everybody likes that.
2878 So do you want to put a little more precision on what your potential demographic really is? Because we've kind of gone all over the place.
2879 My initial understanding was that it was young, and then we moved on from generation to generation to generation. And now we've reached a situation where everyone from 12 to 120 is comfortable in Canadian Punjabi and -- but the content is not necessarily going to be interesting for all, from 12 to 120.
2880 MR. WALL: Mr. Chair, if I could start off --
2881 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Wall.
2882 MR. WALL: -- before Jas and Parr --
2883 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
2884 MR. WALL: -- help out.
2885 There's a natural movement -- when you think about the demographic that speaks this language, it's skewed towards the younger generation, so the largest percentage of that will be younger demographic.
2886 THE CHAIRPERSON: The programming because it's hard to program to everyone.
2887 MR. WALL: Exactly so.
2888 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would you agree with me?
2889 MR. WALL: So I agree with that.
2890 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2891 MR. WALL: But -- so there's a larger proportion of that Punglish-speaking population that is younger demographic.
2892 Now, having said that, there are two things that will link everyone across that demographic.
2893 One is the language, so if Parr's parents or the Honourable Wally Oppal speak Punglish, they're an elderly generation, they're linked by that language. So is there's content available in that language, there at least will be some attraction to listen to it across all age groups, okay. Fair enough?
2894 The second is the content. So we are talking about a spoken word.
2895 It's not music, and I'd say there's a much greater divide between content on music versus spoken word. Spoken word, you're talking about issues that are of interest in a community sense.
2896 There are demographic differences, for sure. But there are also -- I mean, when you talk about, for example, the drug problem and gang violence that results from that, that's not a demographic-specific topic. That is something that cuts right across all age groups.
2897 So -- but it's a Surrey-centric problem, or at least it will be in the programming, so you're talking about issues that are common to the entire demographic.
2898 But I'm going to go back to my first point, which is that because the largest part of the audience tends to be the younger demographic, there will be more of a focus on that than others. That's, I think, fair enough.
2899 But that doesn't mean that others will be excluded because they will be linked by language with something that is now available to them in their language of common day use as well as Surrey-centric issues.
2900 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And the music will also be programmed towards a younger demographic because 40 percent of your broadcast day is music. That's per your application.
2901 MS SAHOTA: That's correct. But the music that I listen to, I think, is the same music that Jas would listen to, so the music that we want to play like the local music, I think it's, again, cross-generational.
2902 There is, of course, going to be some music that the older demographic doesn't like, and they may not be super happy about having to listen to that. But there's going to be music that I may not necessarily like that maybe Jas would like that we're going to play.
2903 We want to capture the -- our demographic through the music and the spoken word.
2904 The music, like we mentioned already, we haven't given as much thought to and put as much detail into yet, but we know that the programming that we have and the programs and the topics that we want to address on through our talk shows are going to be popular to this wide demographic.
2905 And there's always going to be --like the drive home grind is going to be more popular among a younger generation that's listening to the radio on their long commutes home and whatnot. And there's going to be programs that the older generation likes better. Maybe there's a health and wellness program. We want to discuss common issues in the community and have guest speakers.
2906 I'm sure my parents would rather listen to that than a drive home grind. So there's going to be programming throughout the day that's going to cater to this wide demographic.
2907 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You want to keep the wide demographic. That's fine.
2908 Advertisers. The advertisers you speak to are the same advertisers you're using on the print side of the business. And given that you'll be skewing the younger demographics, what are the prospects for advertisers being interested in the younger demographic?
2909 MS JOHAL: Mr. Chairman, as you saw in the video, those younger businessmen that are now sort of launching these businesses or taking over, they don't have a media to advertise in right now, and they made it very clear on the video. That was only a sample.
2910 So we are hoping to attract that generation, that demographic, to the radio station as well as what we've already got in our database.
2911 THE CHAIRPERSON: And in closing --
2912 MS SAHOTA: Sorry.
2913 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, that's fine.
2914 I just want to make it clear that you're withdrawing your application for the FM frequency. Is that correct?
2915 MS SAHOTA: Yes, we are.
2916 THE CHAIRPERSON: For the record.
2917 MS SAHOTA: Yeah.
2918 THE CHAIRPERSON: For the purpose of the --
2919 MS SAHOTA: Oh, yes, we are --
2920 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- taping, please --
2921 MS SAHOTA: -- withdrawing our FM application.
2922 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you so much.
2923 Anything else you want to add?
2924 MS SAHOTA: That's it.
2925 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know it's been a long morning.
2926 We thank you all so much.
2927 Madam Pinsky? I was a very bad boy yesterday. I never asked legal if they had anything to clean up with, so...
2928 MS PINSKY: I would just clarify when you would be in a position to file the Smartpoint data.
2929 Would you be in a position by mid-day tomorrow?
2930 MR. WALL: Yes.
2931 MS PINKSY: Thank you.
2932 THE CHAIRPERSON: Anything else, Madam Pinsky?
2933 That's it? Great. Thank you.
2934 Thank you all so much. We will be back at 10:45 with the next presentation. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1036
--- Upon resuming at 1047
2935 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Ready to go?
2936 Great. Madame la secrétaire?
2937 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2938 We will now proceed with Item 8 on the agenda, which is the application by Akash Broadcasting Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial specialty FM radio station in Surrey.
2939 The applicant also submitted an alternate FM proposal.
2940 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
2941 Thank you.
2942 MR. SAINI: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
2943 Mr. Vice-Chair, Commissioners and CRTC staff, my name is Tejinderpaul Singh Saini, and I am a Surrey journalist who has been selling local advertising and broadcasting the news twice a day on Shaw multi-cultural channel for 12 years.
2944 I will be Surrey Connect FM's Director of Programming.
2945 To my right is Rahul Chopra, a Certified General Accountant in private practice here in Surrey. He works with dozens of our community's small business every day, and he will be Surrey Connect FM's Director of Finance.
2946 On behalf of Akash Broadcasting Inc., Mr. Chopra and I are glad to introduce you to Surrey Connect FM team in person.
2947 Sitting with us at the front table is our core programming team.
2948 To Mr. Chopra's immediate right is Selena Sandhu, a local print and broadcast journalist who will be the station's women's and youth program coordinator.
2949 To Ms Sandhu's right is Narinder Sangha, a member of Surrey's Outdoor Sports Advisory Council. An international referee of field hockey, he will be Surrey Connect sports programming coordinator.
2950 Then to my left is Lina Ferre Marzo. She will be our multi-lingual talk and Spanish language program coordinator.
2951 To Ms Ferre's left is Sanjay Gulabani. He is fluent in Russian as well as Hindi, and was also one of -- was also on one of the largest radio broadcasters, All India Radio. Mr. Gulabani will be the program coordinator for fusion music.
2952 At the next table are some of our key administrators and advisers.
2953 Starting from far left is Kerry Pelser, our engineer from D.E.M. Allen. Mr. Bram Abramson is our outside consult from McCarthy. Brian Owen is here from Energy Research, our market research consultant.
2954 Directly behind me is Herkiranjeet Kaur, a successful and well-connected entrepreneur in Surrey community. Ms Kaur is President of Akash Broadcasting and its majority shareholder.
2955 Next to Ms Kaur is Paramjit Aulakh, a long-time Surrey volunteer who is currently the treasurer in Progressive Intercultural Community Services, an important local organization, and who sees Surrey citizens from all backgrounds every day with his medical practice. Dr. Aulakh is the inaugural head of Surrey Connect FM's advisory committee.
2956 Next to Dr. Aulakh is Dr. Bruce Harding, a musician and a musicologist who teaches instruments from western guitar to African drums at NAAD Foundation. Mr. Harding has helped to advise us on CCD.
2957 Mr. Vice-Chairman, Commissioners and staff, we know how important developing and promoting local music content is to the mission of radio in this community, so when we began thinking about how to encapsulate Akash and what we are trying to do with Surrey Connect, the first thing that came to our mind was a jam session.
--- Video presentation
2958 MR. SAINI: And by the way, in case you're thinking about changing the music the CRTC plays during the break, that's original Canadian content.
2959 MR. CHOPRA: Commissioners, I am an accountant, not a music expert. But I can tell you that that jam session is our Surrey.
2960 There are a lot of unique instruments that sound great when they're played solo, and when you play them in a room and ask them to try to harmonize it, it really works.
2961 Each instrument is like one of the Surrey's communities. Put them together, and you get a local community striving together to work hard day in/day out. The success of that hard work is why Surrey's continuing to grow into what we think is the region's second metropolitan core.
2962 You're already familiar with the numbers. In 2014, 53 percent of the Surrey's population are visibly minority members, 44 percent have a mother tongue that is third language, 38 percent were born outside Canada. Another 1,000 people make Surrey their home every month.
2963 Surrey Connect will be a station that broadcasts in the range of South Asian languages. On weekends, we connect more of Surrey's communities with other languages, Dutch, German, Korean, Filipino, Arabic, Spanish, and some of the less-serve South Asian languages.
2964 Radio does not serve these languages well in Surrey's border community. It ought to.
2965 Commissioners, ethnic radio is not the opposite of mainstream radio, not in Surrey. Those 1,000 people every month who are driving Surrey's growth are virtually all third language speakers.
2966 When we talked about Surrey Connect being part of the social infrastructure, that's the dynamic we have in mind.
2967 You have a responsibility to promote a Canadian broadcasting system. We cannot leave the social infrastructure job in Surrey to cross-border broadcasters that are not Canadian and have no Canadian regulation obligations.
2968 We think of those cross-border broadcasters as a barometer for what is missing in the marketplace. The airwaves are a kind of arbitrage, and they have been put to use not to broadcasting in English, but in the language of so many of the newcomers that are growing Surrey every day.
2969 If you license us, we will certainly have an impact on cross-border broadcasters. We will be a Surrey-based alternative.
2970 MR. SAINI: We would like to jump into a topic that presentations often leave for last, the Canadian Content Development.
2971 In preparing this application, we saw Canadian Content Development as an opportunity about how we can best apply our local knowledge, our local context and our unique vantage point to bolster the Surrey area talent pipeline for developing great Canadian content, music, journalism and spoken word.
2972 We have nothing against talent shows. They make a big splash. They yield a winner. And hopefully, the winner retains the right to their recordings and is free to make -- take those recordings to a music label of their choice. And we have made a big deal about being a radio station that is not vertically integrated with music production.
2973 We do not run a music label, we do not hold music rights, and we are not going to.
2974 But there is a little bit of talent show circuit. We wanted to do something different.
2975 We want -- so we talked to a lot of people and came up with 10 local initiatives, five new training opportunities, four content production initiatives and major support for audio-related portions of NAAD Festival. And all this in partnership with local institutions, Kwantlen Polytechnical University right here in Surrey, the Surrey Indian Arts Club, a symbol of the cultural scene in this city.
2976 We already work with them on projects that bring Jewish, Indian dances style together.
2977 And NAAD Foundation, a unique and enterprising local inter-cultural music organization.
2978 Commissioners, for these initiatives, we will spend $84,000 each year in over and above CCD commitment. That represents about six percent of our gross revenues over a seven-year licence term.
2979 MR. GULABANI: Our commitment to local music and integrating local communities goes well beyond CCD. Every evening, I will run a show called "Souled Out", that's S-o-u-l, where we will have local DJs give a fresh spin to music in a few languages. First, South Asian music; last, Russian music. In the middle, a fusion.
2980 We are going to have DJs remixing South Asian and Slavanic (sic) music in a way you won't hear anywhere else.
2981 We plan a lot of Canadian and, in particular, a lot of local music in there. Surrey is now turning out world-class talent that is experiencing success well beyond our community and our country. We are talking Bollywood more than Hollywood.
2982 It's a major international stage now. We want to help keep Surrey talent on that stage.
2983 We have committed to going well beyond the Canadian content requirements for all our music. We won't do a ton of Category 2 pop music, but when we do, 50 percent of it is going to be Canadian rather than 35 percent.
2984 During ethnic programming periods, which is virtually all of the time, at least 12 percent of our Category 3 music is going to be Canadian rather than seven percent.
2985 Between us, we expect to do much better than that. Our online international radio service, Radio Akash, is hitting 20 percent Canadian musical selections even without any rules in place. That's simply a reflection of who we are and who we know.
2986 MS SANDHU: I will be spearheading our youth and women's programming here at Surrey Connect FM.
2987 Commissioners, in the 2009 British Columbia elections, of eligible voters 18 to 24 years old, only 27 percent voted. Among 25 to 34 years old, only 34 percent voted. This is a sign that our youth are not being engaged enough.
2988 Our plan at Surrey Connect is to engage youth. Our programs -- our musical programs like "Souled Out" will definitely entertain our youth, but we want to talk with them about issues from their daily lives so that we inspire and motivate them.
2989 We will be providing four and a half hours of talk shows every day to inform, educate listeners and to engage in discussions and debates about the things that shape their lives.
2990 First, we'll have a two and a half hour show that will address general community concerns, called "Good Morning Surrey" from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.
2991 Second, we will have an hour dedicated to women's issues from -- sorry, at 11:00 a.m. called "My Family, My Home".
2992 Third, an hour show called "Friend Next Door". This will be a youth-based show at 10:00 p.m. Experts will be regular guests providing professional advice and exploring hot topics that people can relate into their -- back into their daily lives.
2993 Beyond that, this station has committed to having youth 18-35 represent a third of the members of our Advisory Committee and this will help guide the station and adjust it to meet our community needs.
2994 MR. SINGH AULAKH: Mr. Vice-Chairman, Commissioners, staff, look, we get it, you have a very tough choice in front of you. Does the Surrey and Lower Mainland area have room for another radio station? Should it be in English or in a third language? Do you boost one of the existing stations or do you bring a new voice to the conversation?
2995 What I can tell you is that the citizens of Surrey need a radio station that is local, that is rooted here, that wants to talk to them about what is going on in their lives and that they can understand. A thousand newcomers every month need to connect.
2996 The Surrey Connect FM project has proposed to do that in a couple of ways. They will reach 19 ethnic groups living in this area, using 15 different local languages, and they will form an Advisory Committee with 8-10 members representing the various local communities and actually have a representative of the Committee hold the tie-breaking Board seat on Akash Broadcasting itself. That representative will not be South Asian because they have to represent a community other than those already represented on the Board.
2997 These are serious mechanisms and serious commitments. They are one of the things that have impressed me about Akash's commitment to make Surrey Connect FM a local project that speaks to Surrey citizens, not just different ethnic groups.
2998 MR. SINGH SAINI: Of course, the best example of that is our programming. We have talked about our music programming and our special efforts to target youth and women in Surrey, but we also have a couple of unique styles of content that we want to draw your attention to. One is literature and storytelling. Another is amateur sport.
2999 Storytelling is something that's been left behind on radio. It's not part of the mainstream music formats. Even radio drama isn't on radio much anymore. We're going to build on an online spoken word story service we run and bring literature back. Commissioners, we are going to captivate and delight our listeners by bringing life to great works and radio dramas, including translated works from other languages.
3000 We will encourage and engage local writers to produce literary pieces in the form of short stories and dramas that start from the local issues our communities face. At the end of each show, there will be a call-in segment for listeners to discuss the story, plot, characters and issues raised in the piece. Those works will be made available on demand as well as online and through the Surrey libraries. This is local talent creating content available to consumers on a range of platforms.
3001 MR. SANGHA: Commissioners, I have coached youth sports teams for more than 25 years in this community. One of the things that really excites me about Surrey Connect FM is the opportunity to reach local citizens with amateur sports programming.
3002 This is not about following professional sports teams or building their fan bases. This is about connecting with local citizens around the largest social participation activity that there is in this community.
3003 Soccer, cricket, field hockey, lacrosse, skating, badminton, hockey, swimming, martial arts: something like 90 percent of Surrey families are engaged in some amateur sport in terms of players and parent volunteers.
3004 We are going to be the radio station that a father can tune into to hear about what's happening in his daughter's cricket game or that a mother can phone into to discuss how to react to parents behaving badly at their son's soccer games.
3005 We are going to run two and a half hours every day on amateur sports and athletes, healthy lifestyles and what's happening with our local sports. It's time someone did it and I really hope that we get the chance to.
3006 MS FERRE MARZO: I will be helping with that. I will hold down the fort for local and sports news stories. I will create templates to help our weekend hosts in every language to run local and sports coverage relevant to speakers of those languages.
3007 Almost 14 of our 50 weekly hours of spoken-word programming are going to be news, even before you get to the sports content. So I expect to be very busy.
3008 MR. SINGH SAINI: Mr. Vice-Chairman, Commissioners and staff, we bring an experienced team and a diversified broadcaster to the table. We already run a digital radio station that broadcasts to the world and a unique online on-demand spoken-word literature service that provides access to the world's treasures.
3009 Surrey Connect FM will be able to leverage the administrative, human resources and other fixed costs that we have already invested in those services. At the same time, Surrey Connect FM will be something entirely different because it will be profoundly local.
3010 On top of running our digital services, I have also worked as a broadcast journalist in this community for more than 12 years. I am on the Shaw Multicultural channel every day doing news in Punjabi. I know what it takes to build a broadcast team that will stand the test of time and connect with audiences. I believe that our application does that.
3011 I also believe that showing is just as important as talking. So what I'd like to do is to show you what Surrey Connect FM will sound like -- with a little bit more English than usual.
--- Video presentation
3012 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioners, we are asking you to license us as an ethnic radio station so that we can be part of the mainstream for Surrey. We will be part of the local social infrastructure for the constant stream of Surrey newcomers, for newer Surrey residents and for all those longtime citizens who go out and seek radio in their mother tongue but will now be able to get it in a way relevant to their lives in their community.
3013 We are local to Surrey. We know local businesses very well and we know these communities very well. We will offer a fresh Canadian alternative that is rooted here, applies your rules, promotes your priorities and repatriates listeners to a new voice for Surrey.
3014 We will be glad to answer any questions you have.
3015 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
3016 Commissioner Simpson.
3017 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
3018 In your video, in the jam session, was that someone playing a Mohan Veena in the --
3019 MR. SINGH SAINI: I'd like Dr. Bruce to actually answer that.
3020 MR. HARDING: That is actually a very unique instrument. It's the Vaidya Veena. It's a local artist in the area who developed his own instrument. It's much like a Mohan Veena. So it's similar but it's his own particular invention. He's one of our local artists who lives in the central city area.
3021 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thanks. I'm familiar with the Mohan Veena and I've tried to play one, very unsuccessfully, but it looked like a hybrid and that's why I was asking. I'm sorry, that was a personal question but I appreciate you indulging me.
3022 In doing some of my research, I was trying to understand where the word "Akash" came from and when I googled it the first thing that came up was that it was a surface-to-air missile in the Indian military and I don't think that was the inspiration for your name.
3023 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I understand it's Sanskrit for "sky." Is that correct? Yeah. Okay.
3024 I'm going to be all over the map this morning because your presentation covers a lot of bases and covers those bases very differently and it's going to cause me to sort of redirect a lot of my questions from the norm.
3025 The first thing I want to ask you is with respect to programming, as an ethnic application you have indicated that you would be 100 percent devoted to ethnic programming and 96 percent would be devoted to a third language. So the last part of your presentation dwelled on what seems to be the remaining 4 percent, which is English. Is that -- am I correct in understanding --
3026 MR. SINGH SAINI: We actually had English because if we had a third language, Commissioners and staff would not have understood what we really -- the spirit of what we wanted to do.
3027 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Now, I understand.
3028 What percentage of that 96 percent will represent South Asian languages? It's a two-part question. I'm thinking again Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi and so on. What percentage of that 96 percent is going to be South Asian versus other languages such as Russian and so on? I should know that. It's buried somewhere in the file.
3029 MR. SINGH SAINI: No, it is right there. It's in Form 101 --
3030 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
3031 MR. SINGH SAINI: -- section 8.13.
3032 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
3033 MR. SINGH SAINI: So we have a total of 51.4 percent that is Punjabi --
3034 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3035 MR. SINGH SAINI: -- 15.5 percent is Hindi and 10.7 percent is Urdu.
3036 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3037 MR. SINGH SAINI: But we also have like a few other South-Indian languages that are .4 percent, 0.4 percent.
3038 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. As I said, it's buried in my notes but I appreciate you bringing it forward for me.
3039 Okay, let's get into a few things. I've been listening to Akash as it exists now online and admittedly, it's been, you know, at various day parts and it's seemingly to me a very music-heavy program offering. Now, given that it's an unregulated service, because we don't touch that aspect of program distribution on the Internet, you've chosen, I presume, a reason for being music-heavy, and yet, in your program proposal here on a regulated medium, it's much more talk-oriented.
3040 And I'm curious, if we weren't here regulating radio, would you be as talk-focused as your proposal indicates or would you be more music-focused? Are you having to work our rules and do our rules reflect what the marketplace wants or needs?
3041 MR. SINGH SAINI: Thank you, Commissioner.
3042 Prior to the call of this application, Akash, Radio Akash was actually started and as we didn't know there will be a call coming in, predominantly the focus was to target South Asians across the globe because an online service is something that is not quite reflective of anything that's happening locally.
3043 And when the application came in, we actually had the service as something for us to learn about, for us to leverage our experience about and bring that thing into the Surrey Connect FM application that we do.
3044 But this application is all about us local here. It is for Surrey and it is by Surrey.
3045 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So Akash as it exists online would remain as a separate service and the two would not be conflicting in terms of cannibalizing your audience or your revenues?
3046 MR. SINGH SAINI: I think what Akash -- it will actually be an existing service but I think it will likely pick up all the good programming that we think South Asians across the globe would like to do and we'll actually have that programming also aired on -- streamed on akash.com.
3047 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm. Let's talk about programming. You brought it up.
3048 You're very ambitious in your percentage of Canadian content commitment, both in category 2 and category 3, and I'm curious about why you chose to do that.
3049 It's impressive but when you tell me now that you're running something like 20 percent Canadian content on Akash and it's predominantly like 90 percent, 95 percent music, 24 hours a day, where are you getting the content from?
3050 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, sir, it's right here in Surrey. There are lots and lots of Surrey artists who are actually on the international stage on the music side. We have Jazzy B, Harbhajan Maan, Sarbjit Cheema, KS Makhan. Lots of people have actually used Surrey as a platform to launch themselves and then they went out. And the same is actually true with artists coming from Toronto and Calgary.
3051 So South Asians and Punjabi listeners are actually interested to hear good songs and most of the artists are actually from Surrey, and that -- I won't say Surrey but from Canada, and that kind of like already actually brings that thing, you know, of having that 20 percent music that's happening on the online streaming service.
3052 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So, this is the ballot question, I suppose. Given that, you know, I presume you fully understand that our regulatory expectation is 7 percent Canadian content and you're way overshooting that, are you confident that you can meet those quotas if we were to ask you to make that a part of your condition of licence?
3053 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, sir, I think yes, we are quite confident of actually doing that thing. Interestingly, as you have heard over two days that Surrey is growing, Surrey artists are also growing and I think in order to have that 12 percent of our commitment for Canadian content, that's very doable and it's practical.
3054 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Following on that theme, would you, taking what you've just said and adding to it, use these arguments to tell the Commission why you think your music offering as part of your total programming is going to create not only a unique voice or a diverse voice in the ownership structure but provide something that is going to be uniquely different and will serve the needs of the Surrey market, given your commitment to music from the market and to Canadian music as a whole?
3055 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, sir, I think yes, our music offering will definitely make a difference. We already talked about our Canadian content percentage commitment for that.
3056 We're also using music to connect to communities, actually different communities.
3057 Like we have -- from 9:00 to 12:00 every evening is where the music comes up. It's South Asian, it's hip, it's pop.
3058 And then 10:30 to 11:00 is our period where we're actually fusing two music genres. It's Russian music and it's South Asian music, where a Russian host joins a South Asian host. Now, they're playing songs that have similar themes. The touch of the music is the same.
3059 Now, if a South Asian is actually concluding, okay, 10:30, I'm basically done with my programming, but there's a Russian song that comes and has a very nice theme to it, they will listen to it and then comes another song from South Asian. And if we actually look from the Russian side, they're actually tuning in and they will see that there's a Russian song and there is a South Asian song also. But that good fusion is for half an hour and after that the South Asian host leaves and the Russian song actually keeps on playing.
3060 Apart from that, we have actually, as we did in our presentation and also in -- we are actually presenting ourselves as someone who is promoting local music. We are not having a direct integrated system where we are the record label holders and we are also the radio station. What's happening is we are actually trying to have the local artists develop their content, hold their music rights and also then take on and promote those rights not just on our station but everywhere else.
3061 We also have something that's more unique from music is that we have not just Punjabi music coming in, it's Hindi and it's Urdu. I'll say it's more like Indian subcontinent music that we'll be actually offering to the major communities that I think will make us different from -- in our programming.
3062 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you.
3063 Going back to the source of music and the percentages, you've explained to me where this new Canadian content music is coming from, but in what languages would the Canadian category 2 music be broadcast? Just in terms of Cat 2, would it be in --
3064 MR. SINGH SAINI: English.
3065 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In English, okay.
3066 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes.
3067 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Great.
3068 Moving over to the spoken word side of your programming, you've -- no, actually, I want to go back.
3069 In your programming there are obviously expectations under an ethnic licence to other languages but you've singled out two that really caught my attention, Russian also integrating more with the Jewish culture, and I think I understand why but I'd like to hear from you why you picked these two out.
3070 In my experience, nobody was more surprised when I was going through Kerala to -- I was in Cochin and I ran into a Jewish synagogue and, you know, I thought I had seen it all. But I was also experiencing a lot of Russian tourism up in the north and I wondered if that's for those reasons why these are more important segments to you.
3071 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, sir, yes. It's the culture integration of two different languages and cultures. Russia and India have been quite integrated. I'll actually have Mr. Sanjay give you more because he has actually spent time in Russia and he'll provide you more details on that.
3072 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Please. Thanks.
3073 MR. GULABANI: Thank you.
3074 I lived there for almost 15 years and there was -- I still remember there was once a question which was asked of Mrs. Gandhi that why, in spite of the fact like millions of Indian people are living in the West, but still India continues to be so close to the Soviet Union.
3075 Now, at that time I was living in Russia and the answer that came to my mind was I think it's thanks to the music.
3076 I was really surprised during my stay there -- that was way back in 1994 when I was travelling from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and I wanted to catch my flight out of Uzbekistan to Moscow. Because the border was closed between Azerbaijan and Russia, well, I went to and requested like if there's a possibility because there were certain leniencies which were acceptable.
3077 So then I said like, "I have to catch my flight back to Moscow. Is there any way that I can be allowed?" So the immigration officers who were there, like about four or five of them, they said, "Where are you originally from?" I said, "I'm originally from India." He says, "Do you know Raj Kapoor?" I said, "Yes, I know Raj Kapoor." He says, "Do you know any song of his?" And trust me, I was made to sing the song and I was allowed to leave. I could cross the border.
3078 So all these years did I realize what an impact the music has made to the minds, in spite of the fact, from what I could see, that they do not understand the language. Okay, most of the movies get dubbed but the music cannot be dubbed.
3079 So it was accepted in its original form and still sung not only in Russia. Very popular in Armenia, in Georgia, in Turkmenistan, in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, literally in the whole of the Eastern Bloc, the Eastern European Bloc, which includes Poland, Romania, Ukraine, that side.
3080 So when I was talking to Tejinder, then I said like, you know, "We should make a fusion out of that because by that we'll be covering a lot of the countries of the Eastern Europeans and of course the CIS countries where, if not the first language, but a primary language continues to be Russian.
3081 MR. SINGH SAINI: And also, another reason for picking Russian was I had Sanjay with me, who understands Russian and has been on Hollander Radio doing these songs, and one of the directors, Armanjit Singh, he was actually in Turkmenistan for three years on a cultural exchange program. So he has done lots of fusion, lots of work with Russian artists and is fluent in Russian.
3082 So we'll have a team that can really design a program that can actually open up new possibilities of two different language-speaking communities to come together.
3083 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
3084 MR. SINGH SAINI: And your second part was Jewish Cultural Centre. I'm actually a dancer, I have been dancing since 1986 and I have found dance as again a platform -- arts and music is everywhere -- as something that connects to different communities and individuals.
3085 So what happened was, a couple of years back there was a phone call from Debbie from Jewish Culture Centre here on Oak and 42nd and she says, "I have been following Bhangra for quite a while, it's a good dance and nice music, can you actually use that thing as a platform of getting two communities together and just building that understanding?"
3086 And then we actually did two years back-to-back a Jewish and Bhangra music. We actually took both of them as a base and built that up and then dance and then we performed at different venues in Metro Vancouver area.
3087 This year it never happened because the funds were not available. And when the call actually came in I actually made sure that Surrey in the Arts Club, who has been actually doing this thing on a practical and realistic way, they have some money sitting aside that they can use to create that music so that the dancers and communities can come together. Jewish this year, Spanish next year, Korean maybe next year, and that's the reason and that CCD money sitting there comes from.
3088 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you. Now we will move over to spoken word.
3089 In just doing some rough math on your spoken word programming, you have something like a 50-hour commitment to spoken word, but what stood out for me -- and again, I was perhaps looking at this in contrast to my first exposure to Akash, which was so heavily into music, and your commitment of 13 1/2 or almost 14 hours by my math works out to almost 5 minutes an hour, just in terms of pure math, not in terms of the programming commitment.
3090 But that's a whack of news and, as you said I think in your presentation, and that's before you deal with sports. So how are you going to generate that kind of newsworthiness and content given that, you know, it appears to me that you are coming from much more of the music and cultural background?
3091 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, Sir, music and culture background is definitely what my passion is, but I have been 12 years as a broadcaster locally and I have been actually doing twice a day news on Shaw Multicultural Channel, that's a 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. newscast.
3092 I understand how to put together broadcasting teams that can actually create news, get the content. For us the division was actually, you can say it, like look at it and break it per hour, but there was one focused newscast news hearing in the morning and then another one that is coming in the evening.
3093 We also have news about sports, amateur sports that's actually happening here, also on national level and international level. So those are like two big blocks where you can see like a core concentrated focused approach is there, but then we also have like three minutes of news that is on top of every hour, that's about local and how things are actually generating within the community.
3094 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And is a lot of that going to be coming through community contacts and volunteerism, or is it -- you know, I'm trying to get a sense of how robust your newsroom is.
3095 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes, sure. It's actually both two approaches. We will actually be subscribing to newswire services, there is a vendor here in Burnaby, we have talked to them also even about the pricing also.
3096 News, when it is actually about sports on national/international level, we will definitely have a subscription to that, but within the City of Surrey it's a big group of volunteers that will -- and lots of clubs and organizations, they will actually be starting to work with us to provide us all the local news. In fact, the City of Surrey's Outdoor Sports Advisory Board, I actually went out and told them, like I'm actually trying to bring amateur sports in forefront. I think that's a platform where I can help communities connect together. And they were on board with us.
3097 The Outdoor Sports Board actually has 12 games that they actually outside and there are equivalently similar games in the indoor side. And everyone representing that board for those games said we are actually here to help you with all the news that is locally generated for the sports content of it.
3098 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
3099 MR. SINGH SAINI: So that way it's a group of volunteers and organizations that are locally working and also like for national/international, we have something of a news subscription, newswire.
3100 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. We had some discussion this morning about dialect. Given that 50+ percentage of your spoken word is going to be Punjabi, could you tell us, enlighten me as to whether it's going to be traditional language or more modern dialect as we have been hearing with respect to Punglish?
3101 MR. SINGH SAINI: I will say ours is --
3102 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Be bold.
3103 MR. SINGH SAINI: No, it's Punjabi. Yes, it is traditional, it's the language that people understand. It is something that we have worked on, we know that's how it works. We actually -- just on a side note, we have another online literature service that's called IDEON(ph) and where we do is we actually record audio books and have them streamed.
3104 The reason to do that was threefold. The first thing was, in our communities, the young kids, they understand Punjabi. It's actually reading the script, that's where the challenge is. The other thing was, today people don't have time to read books, so have something in their car, they can still actually read a book while going to Abbotsford and coming back here. The third thing was, within Indian subcontinent there are languages that we understand but we couldn't read it. Like for personally, you ask any South Asian he'll say, like I know Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, but I don't know how to read it, but I can understand it, right.
3105 So taking that on is that people understand when it's spoken and it's spoken as it should be and that's what we actually picked up, rather than some other version or hybrid of the language itself.
3106 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Well, given what you have just said, it could be argued that in terms of both music and spoken word content there are broadcasters in the market right now that are doing the same thing. So, could you give me a bit of an insight as to how your programming as proposed by you would not be in direct conflict to an incumbent broadcaster like RED FM or CJRJ, but how you would complement or differentiate yourself from those two services, given that they are focused on traditional Punjabi language and Punjabi programming?
3107 MR. SINGH SAINI: Sure. Commissioner, Sir, we are actually bringing in five hours of new, fresh content that is actually not on any other ethnic radio station that are serving the Surrey market.
3108 There is 2 1/2 hours of programming that is on amateur sports, health and fitness. We have one hour of programming that is literature and audio books. We also have one hour of English talk show that is about our youth, and we also have a fusion of, as we have talked earlier, about Russian and South Asian music.
3109 This is something that is definitely not out there and it is something that is something new that is coming in. Apart from that, we won't say like we will be 100 percent differentiated in our format. When we play the music, it will still be the music of the same language, but it's the energy, it's the way hosts are actually going to pick it up and present that will add on the more uniqueness to what existingly is out there.
3110 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. With respect to -- I'm seeking an understanding of the importance of your commitment, but also a reaffirmation that your proposal to be 100 percent ethnic in your programming direction and 96 percent third language, would that commitment be such that you would be willing to adhere to that if it was made a condition of licence?
3111 MR. CHOPRA: Yes, Commissioner, Sir, we will adhere to that.
3112 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. This is a housekeeping question, so my apologies for reading it, but would you also be prepared to accept a condition of licence that is reflective of the ethnic programming contained in your application for service to a predominant language?
3113 Specifically, would you be prepared to accept a condition of licence that a minimum of 51.5 percent of all ethnic programming broadcast each week would be in the Punjabi language?
3114 MR. CHOPRA: Yes, sir, we do.
3115 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you. So much for housekeeping.
3116 I would like to ask a clarification for all of us up here and staff. You have made an application prospectively for two different frequencies and it has come to our attention that -- well, one frequency has a much better audience performance; in your financial forecasting the other frequency has better revenue performance, and I'm wondering why that is and if you could explain to us for the purpose of understanding?
3117 MR. CHOPRA: Yes, Commissioner. It's just because of the population in that area. So we based our revenues on the contours we have, like the 107.7 frequency is much better area coverage, so we have more revenues coming into that stream because more people will be coming into listening, we will have more listenership in that, so we will have more popularity and more advertisement in that area. So that's where the difference was.
3118 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And you are willing to accept, if we so choose, either of the frequencies as being optimal to your --
3119 MR. CHOPRA: Our first preference would be obviously 107.7.
3120 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3121 MR. CHOPRA: But if not, then yes, because we have a passion we will definitely go for the second.
3122 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. In your all-night programming, is it safe for me to make the assumption that what you are doing with IDEON. How do you pronounce it, your --
3123 MR. SINGH SAINI: IDEON.
3124 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- that this content would be drawn from for the all-night programming; is that correct?
3125 MR. SINGH SAINI: The programming that will actually generate out of Surrey Connect will actually move on to IDEON so that it can serve other audiences across that --
3126 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So it will be the other way around?
3127 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes. And we also had an initial talk with Surrey Public Libraries, we would like to do is something that's like you heard it on radio, now where do you get it again?
3128 And audio books are something that we will -- because for us, like again, literature is connecting people. It's like I have a Spanish neighbour, I don't know how to even initiate my dialogue with him, but there are books that if I actually read and I can -- that's probably where I open up. It's like I have read the Spanish book, I will translate into Punjabi; right.
3129 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
3130 MR. SINGH SAINI: So we want this thing to be accessible to everyone and that's why for us it's actually putting that thing online, on-demand, IDEON, and Surrey Public Libraries is quite a viable thing and also something that people -- the consumers will actually like it.
3131 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. You have placed a significant importance on the establishment and the role of the advisory committee and I was wondering if you could first describe to us, you know, what the ongoing role -- I mean, I understand what the objectives are of the advisory committee, but what would be their ongoing role and the mandate that you will give them to work with?
3132 It's impressive that you want one member on the board in a time-making role, we will see how that works, but I would like to understand operationally and on an ongoing basis how they will input to the guts of the station.
3133 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, Sir, advisory committee, the need was not just to have an entity there on a piece of paper, the advisory committee is something that is more dynamic and living and have an input rather than meeting three times a year, have some samosas and off you go. It's for us it's kind of like bringing the feedback from the community back into what we are doing and tweaking it.
3134 One of the reasons for us actually having a more proactive role of advisory committee in the programming suggestions and feedback actually came from our online experiences were, when we started doing Akash.com there was some music that we were playing and as we started actually putting it out to people they are actually coming up with ideas. That in turn actually helps us in tweaking our programming and getting more listeners.
3135 In a similar way, on a local level advisory committee is actually the mechanism that can really do that thing and for that I will actually have Dr. Aulakh to give more details on that, but for us it's like an integral part of the station itself.
3136 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: What is the process by which you are going to draw candidates and who is going to make the decision as to who sits on the committee?
3137 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, Sir, we already have Dr. Paramjit Aulakh as our inaugural head of that. What we have actually asked him is like because he has been working with different community groups, is to like start going out and talking with people and getting those different people from our community.
3138 Also, one of the great examples is our own Kwantlen Polytechnical University. There are journalism students that are out there, we went to the campus, we talked with them and they are excited. They said like if there is an opportunity we would definitely like to be on that advisory committee, and other cultural groups.
3139 So, based on the recommendations of what Dr. Aulakh is actually going to bring us we will have our first advisory committee in place.
3140 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Will that committee have a balance that reflects the total audience expectation for the station? I'm not talking affirmative action here, but I'm trying to understand whether there is an ambition to have a culturally balanced board.
3141 MR. SINGH SAINI: That's exactly the ambition, because I put it up front. It's like we want to have something that actually gives us a feedback overall from City of Surrey and the communities that are living there and having a South Asian heavy advisory committee, that defeats the whole purpose of actually putting that advisory committee in.
3142 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And in terms of the feedback that you are seeking in terms of performance review, what do you have in -- what will you have in place, will it be a very public process to evaluate the advisory committee, or will it be just internal? How will you measure the performance of that committee?
3143 MR. SINGH SAINI: It will actually be an internal process. The people from the advisory committee are from our own communities, living where they have the feedback that is actually coming from the community, but when they start getting together it is because they will have an experienced background in what they are actually doing. They can really assess and figure it's okay, on a practical level this is definitely that we can be able to do it, and then as we get together we start actually brainstorming and say it's okay, so this is how we will probably be tweaking changes for, say, Korean programming or for literature.
3144 There will be books that will be recommended, these you should actually take on because this is an author or probably a new writer who's in the town that is a local talent for us.
3145 So, that's where the advisory committee starts coming in and we start evaluating what the recommendations and feedbacks are.
3146 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But when you say "we start evaluating", the "we" being the...?
3147 MR. SINGH SAINI: The advisory committee.
3148 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3149 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes.
3150 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But in terms of measuring their effectiveness, is what I am most concerned about. I think you may have answered it, but I think it went by me.
3151 One more time, the advisory committee is going to be inputting to the operational -- the guidance for the station in terms of its community relevance and practices, but how do you evaluate the effectiveness of the advisory committee?
3152 You know, is that going to be an open process where the audience will also have a say in it, or is it a more private process? Explain it to me one more time.
3153 MR. SINGH SAINI: It's actually like both ways. Say, who's ever actually bringing the suggestions in, they will also bring the feedback as, like what the recommendations or what we have talked and discussed it has been implemented, but overall the listener engagement is definitely -- that's actually going to reflect that thing is that what we are actually doing, because sometimes it may not be exactly what had come up, but then that's what we are actually doing, trying to tweak programs that actually caters to the need of the community itself.
3154 And, so, advisory committee's internal feedback and the listeners' feedback will be the both mechanisms for that.
3155 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So what you are saying is that if the advisory committee is not doing its job because of the critique of the station's performance, it is then a critique of the advisory committee itself. Is that what you're saying?
3156 MR. CHOPRA: Basically, actually the advisory committee people will be coming in from different spheres of life, but they have experience in their own field. Like, let's say Dr. Aulakh is there, so he is a professor, like he is a medicine doctor, and then somebody coming in from youth, Kwantlen University, he is coming from that sphere.
3157 So, there will be a consensus among the committee which will help us to guide us through this process. Because it is a commercial aspect, definitely we have to see that the need of the community, the need of Surrey, so they will definitely help us and then there will be a consensus among them.
3158 It's not like one person will be saying something and we will be adhering to that, but obviously their say will be independent and it will be in effect.
3159 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I'm going to -- I would like to move on to the issue of spoken word again. From my understanding of your programming policy, you are looking for listener engagement with call-in with dialogue with the listener?
3160 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes, there are certain programs where we will actually be doing that.
3161 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And with that comes a whole pile of issues and responsibilities, not the least of which is the selection and management of the content.
3162 I'm thinking -- I'm just looking at my notes here -- you know, the ability -- the need to moderate and select content to be discussed and to moderate the -- keep the focus of that content and the quality of it is all part of an overhead and ongoing responsibility, so you understand that and are prepared to accept those requirements that include some technical aspects of program delay and other things?
3163 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes, we do understand.
3164 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Now, going back to the advisory board, will the advisory board have any input directly to how you conduct yourself with respect to the talk portion of your programming; you know, will it be preoccupied with programming per se or just operational issues of the station?
3165 MR. SINGH SAINI: When you say "direct input", it's like not on a day-to-day basis, but definitely --
3166 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, guidance.
3167 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes, that's exactly. Create a healthy dialogue is what we are actually looking for and that is probably something we would like to have leverage of the feedback coming in from advisory committee.
3168 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Assuming you are not going to be wanting to wade into some of the more extreme issues of controversy within the community, but still want to be relevant, how are you going to handle the complaint process?
3169 We have heard a variety of programming scenarios and we have also seen some issues that come from existing stations that have had varying degrees of success or failure in managing issues as they sort of boil over from on-air into the marketplace. What is your complaint resolution process going to be when you hit a hot button and a lot of people don't like it?
3170 MR. SINGH SAINI: We would -- the first thing is, like doing our own housekeeping is probably the most important thing, not take it to a point where the hot button is actually pressed. And there is a -- and you have mentioned and alluded to some of them earlier, like there's a four-step approach for us, it's topic selections are done wisely, the host has prepared his homework, it's a balanced point of view is what a talk show actually should be rather than having something thrown out and, say, "Catch what you can".
3171 Also, there will be screening of calls that the people coming into and calling in for the talk shows. We will also have an employee training program, so that's like how they really can actually handle those calls. There are open line policy guidelines that we'll actually develop, right. And then the fourth thing is the technology itself.
3172 But now the next question comes in is, so with all this thing in place there can still be possibility of someone coming in and actually doing something that should not have been done.
3173 For us, the resolution actually is getting on and working with both the parties who have two different points of view and see if that is actually resolved. Also, we know that there are regulations in place that we have to adhere to and follow of how such resolutions should be brought to a proper end.
3174 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I'm at the end of my questions here. Just going back to your online services right now, and it could be argued that your application, you would be a stand-alone operator without any synergies you can draw upon from a second operation, be it a newspaper or another radio station or another media type.
3175 But is that a fair statement to make, or do you feel that you have synergies that come from your existing online operations that will help the viability of the station?
3176 MR. SINGH SAINI: Oh yes, there are definitely synergies with what is currently happening. We have our equipment in place, that's definitely -- we can actually bring that thing on. We have expertise and experience that we really picked up from there that would definitely be coming onto what our next step is going to be.
3177 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And with respect to generating revenues, you are substantially reliant on local advertising. What do you have in place now with your online offerings -- I understand that they are more global in their perspective, but do you have any kind of a head start with respect to a sales force from those other two operations, or are you starting from scratch with respect to sales?
3178 MR. SINGH SAINI: With that thing, we don't have much of revenue coming off, but that was not the intention of the project itself at this point.
3179 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3180 MR. CHOPRA: We wanted to have a feel of the water before coming into the water, so that's what the online station was for. So, we didn't have a commercial aspect for that online station, it was just that, you know, we wanted to step into this so we just wanted to have a feel of it, so that was our purpose.
3181 And then, you know, we already have everything in place and we have, you know, initial hiccups, housekeeping problems and all, so we already have some part of that covered so that, you know, it is a smooth transition into this. This is a big media and it will be a commercial aspect.
3182 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Last two questions. With respect to those waters, a question we have found it necessary to ask is if your projections for turning the corner to profitability are not quite what you expected, is there the resolve and the resources to help fund cashflow requirements within your ownership structure?
3183 MR. CHOPRA: Yes, Mr. Commissioner, this is a very good question actually. We already are established business owners, the management is there to help us, and we foresee no problem at all.
3184 But yes, we need to have contingencies on that. We already have SWOT analysis done over this, we know of our strengths, we know our weaknesses and we know where the opportunity is and the threats also.
3185 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3186 MR. CHOPRA: But for that, we already have in place for extra contingency funds if need be.
3187 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Last question, and again it's one we have been asking everyone -- is that there is the possibility that more than one licence would be granted as a result of this hearing because of lack of mutual exclusivity -- if there was a second station licensed, have you in your SWOT analysis contemplated what it would be like to have even more competition than there is now?
3188 What would it do to your business plan if there were two licences granted?
3189 MR. CHOPRA: Well, on the programming front definitely Tejinder has already touched the uniqueness of our programs. While competition, healthy competition is very good for the community, people will have different platforms, and then, you know, I have seen people coming into our office saying that, you know, there is a time lag between an advertisement.
3190 If I want to advertise today, let's say tomorrow is my D-Day, like I have some inauguration tomorrow and I want to announce something on the radio station, but if there is not enough platform for us, so probably it will be a time lag.
3191 But my D-Day has gone, I cannot advertise on the existing station because there is a time lag, there have already been -- people been calling for. Like there is already a saturation point wherein that's where the need is actually. That's where the second station has to come up and there's a need, there's a growth, there's a population growing up.
3192 And Surrey is a vibrant, you know, city, and there are businesses coming, in every year 3,000 businesses are coming in and the new businesses are there, and people they have lag, time lag. So that's where our main thrust is.
3193 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So what I think I hear you saying is that patience will be its own reward because the market is growing and it may take longer to share in the growing audience, but you have the reserves and the resolve to stick it out.
3194 MR. CHOPRA: Mr. Commissioner, we need to adhere to some regulations as well. So much you can solve in an hour, so that's the saturation point.
3195 So if there are enough advertisers -- which there are actually --
3196 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
3197 MR. CHOPRA: -- because we are -- I personally am meeting so many clients every day and, you know, we know their advertisement costs and we know they want to advertise, but they want the media. That's the space that has already been saturated, so they need another platform to advertise for.
3198 And then there is a uniqueness in our program which is there and definitely there will be a little shift, a very, very minimal shift from the existing stations, but most of that would be cross-border shift. Because the programming, the contents which we are having -- like, at last point there was another thing which we want to add on was that there will be a call delay in our program. Let's say if there is something steaming coming out, so we will have a call delay on that. So that point was missed on that.
3199 So those kinds of things are there, which the regulatory body is here, so that's where the cross-border stations would be discouraged.
3200 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Good. Thank you, those are my questions.
3201 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Simpson. Commissioner Shoan...?
3202 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Good morning. I had a few questions following your oral presentation. Just to pick back up the discussion around the advisory board following Commissioner Simpson's questions, I saw something in your presentation that I thought was very interesting. You noted that the advisory committee will have eight to 10 members. It then said:
"A delegate of the Committee will hold the tie-breaking Board seat on Akash Broadcasting..."
3203 I'm not sure I have actually seen that before. Can you flesh that out for me? What would that look like, in what context with that tie-breaking vote be exercised? What was the rationale for giving that degree of power or influence to a member of your advisory committee?
3204 MR. SINGH SAINI: For us that was a next step further in how advisory committee really plays the role of having a proactive feedback and suggestion mechanism built in.
3205 The person from the advisory committee board who will actually be sitting on Akash Board Of Directors, when I say like tiebreaker, it's more on from the programming decision point of view as to, this we should go ahead with and this we should probably not.
3206 It in turn actually gives the advisory committee, like whatever they are capturing they are giving us. It is not something gone in vain. As I said, like it's not a meeting in three years. We have a representative that can actually be -- further pushes, like what we are thinking can really be benefit for the station and for the community is somewhere out there that can be implemented by someone and Akash just doesn't take the input and have it in the trashcan, right.
3207 So that was for us the reason of them actually having a more active participation. And another step in active participation would have come from them sitting also, one of them as the Board of Directors for Akash Broadcasting.
3208 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And in terms of the issues the board itself deals with, we are speaking about financial issues, operations issues, programming issues?
3209 MR. SINGH SAINI: Programming, format issues is where we actually see the input coming in from the Board of Directors that actually is from Akash -- sorry, advisory committee.
3210 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3211 MR. SINGH SAINI: Rest, everything will actually still be within two directors.
3212 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So, it's confined to that one particular area?
3213 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes.
3214 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: The programming or the format?
3215 MR. SINGH SAINI: It's the programming format.
3216 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3217 MR. SINGH SAINI: The tweaks in the programming and the feedback, what's the direction that we really want to go in to represent our community in a better way.
3218 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And so just to -- and I'm trying to envision it in a specific example. The advisory committee makes a recommendation with respect to a program that you are broadcasting, it goes to the board, there is a representative of the advisory committee on the board, there is a discussion which ensues with respect to the communities or the advisory committee's input with respect to the program, the board decides that it's going to go in one direction.
3219 The board is split. There are two possible directions, the board is split and the advisory committee member could tiebreak that and say, "In my view, as a representative of the advisory committee, we feel that this direction is more in line with the perspective of the community"?
3220 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, Sir, that's exactly what our vision is.
3221 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. I have a question for Ms Sandhu with respect to the youth and women's issues aspect. There has been actually quite a bit of discussion this week with respect to youth in Surrey and the particular challenges they face in terms of integrating into Canadian society, and it has been interesting hearing the applicants discuss that is a major issue and the steps they will take to incorporate them, integrate them into Canadian society and the steps they can do as a radio station.
3222 And I take your point in terms of the lack of engagement of Surrey youth and the steps you would take to engage them.
3223 The specific question I had really stems about how you would address these issues, women issues and youth issues. We had an application or an applicant yesterday approach us and their intention was to engage the Surrey community on some very difficult topics, culturally-sensitive topics.
3224 My question for you is: Is it your intention first and foremost to discuss, to engage the Surrey South Asian community about the same difficult culturally-sensitive topics and what approach do you intend to take in order to engage them?
3225 MS SANDHU: Thank you for the question. That is actually something I have thought even more about since being at the hearings.
3226 The approach that I feel that we are going to take is we want to engage, we want to connect, but we don't necessarily want to go straight into those hot topics, you know. Like yesterday there was a talk about abortion and domestic violence. Those are big issues and we feel like we can't -- we want to approach those issues, we want to build a relationship with our audience as well enable -- to facilitate these discussions you have to have a relationship with your audience, you have to have a bond with them; that is, being the host and as well as bringing on guests and different experts.
3227 So, my approach would be not to immediately jump into those topics right away, but rather talk about everyday issues, talk about -- for example with youth, one of the issues that we wanted to discuss what was democracy, you know, talking about like what that is for youth, what does it offer, you know, how does voting in an election change the course of your life as far as education and careers and resources in your community.
3228 Another topic that we want to talk about his volunteerism, you know, what are youth doing in Surrey, how are they engaged, how are they giving back to their community. And we want to invite students and facilitators in the community to talk about these activities that youth are engaged in.
3229 And one of the great things about our youth program is that we want to target it to all ethnicities in Surrey, because we believe youth really can make a change, they are leaders of our community.
3230 And another thing that came up over the last day was, there is not enough engagement between the different pockets within Surrey, so different ethnic communities, and we think by targeting the entire population of our youth that are in these 19 secondary schools, and we have two post-secondary institutions in Surrey as well, if we target these youth as a whole, that is a way to bridge our communities together, you know.
3231 So, you start with youth and then the next generations to follow because the discussions they are having in our one-hour program will give them confidence and motivation to actually take some of those topics back into the home and build that relationship with their parents or their grandparents. So, there is lots of engagement in that way.
3232 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3233 MS SANDHU: And just bringing in a lot of experts as well. You know, I sat down with a youth worker in Surrey who has been working in Surrey for the last five years and he was saying to me that, you know, Selena, all the youth are facing similar issues, even though they have different cultural backgrounds. So, there is a lot of common ground and that is one aspect we want to explore in our one-hour youth program.
3234 And then, if I can go a little bit into the women's program for you --
3235 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: M'hmm.
3236 MS SANDHU: -- is that, you know, we see women as the communicator, the leader within the household. And yeah, there is domestic violence and there is abuse issues within our community, but there are so many other positive things that are happening in our community as well, we want to put that at the forefront as well.
3237 So, talking about like entrepreneurship, business. There are so many women that are professionals, but there are a lot of women that are going back into the workforce. You know, they have stepped back, they are moms, they have spent time at home with their children and a lot of them are starting businesses.
3238 So, a topic is: How do you do that? If you want to start a cake decorating company, how do you do that, what resources are there? And within Surrey there are tons of resources and one of them is being the Surrey Board of Trade Resource Centre, they have coaches, they have resources for women as far as their business needs.
3239 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: M'hmm.
3240 MS SANDHU: And I hope I'm touching on the right points for you.
3241 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You are actually. But I wanted to follow up with respect to the youth portion a little bit earlier.
3242 MS SANDHU: Sure.
3243 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You mentioned in the oral presentation that a third of the advisory committee would consist of youth between the ages of 18 and 35.
3244 MS SANDHU: Yes.
3245 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Will you be selecting those representatives? How will you go about selecting that group?
3246 MS SANDHU: I definitely would have a role in that because I am the Youth Programming Coordinator. And, you know, I have been working in media for the last seven years, prior to that I was a student, so I was one of those engaged students as well. So, I can see from my experience what the expectations would be.
3247 You know, they would be people that are positive influences in the community, they have experience, they have that volunteer aspect to them, they have a good resume, and I want to see a mix, I want to see a diverse, you know, male/female from different cultural backgrounds.
3248 I definitely want to play a big role in that and I think that's something we can all agree on.
3249 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, Sir, let me touch youth on another way of how we are actually approaching today and that is through sports. Let me give you a perspective.
3250 It's a usual thing of how things actually end up where we have that thing as the news. There are parents, and I think Narinder can actually give a very good -- what he has actually seen over 20 years of how youth has not been engaged properly in a practical and realistic way and it actually went the other way around.
3251 Narinder, can you please?
3252 MR. SANGHA: With my experience, I have seen in the past years we have been talking to parents that -- I have been talking to parents that you should put your kids into sport and their answer was that my kid watches TV all day, where they going to go, what are they going to do, he's not going to be a bad guy. But then -- when they are seven or eight years old, well then we wait, they become 14, 15 and now they start walking to the corner store. That's where they get picked up by, you guys, everybody knows who.
3253 So they get offered, maybe we'll give you $50 to deliver this bag and now where they're gone. But if that kid was in sports, then that kid would have been going to the field. If he got upset at home, where does he go, to the field.
3254 So we need this radio station for an avenue to get to the kids, to get to the parents, to get to the grandparents that you need to put these kids into sport. And we don't have anything right now where we can go, where every sport can go. We can't even go somewhere that we can say they are registering, the registrations are open for the sports, but if we have this avenue we can get to the listeners that we want to get to.
3255 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3256 MR. SINGH SAINI: And also, there are lots of youth role models within sports. Recently our Canadian Surrey girls, they were in Malaysia for the world weightlifting championship and has actually broken some records also. Those are the youth -- apart from like discussions and debate that we will have on Friends Nextdoor, that's an evening show -- but those are the youth that are our role models that we should actually be bringing on radio stations that parents can learn, youth can get motivated on.
3257 So for us that's three approaches, having them engaged in sports, something that's more positive that can give them skills that they can use later on; have them engage in a dialect with Friends Nextdoor and also actually bring them on using music as a platform that is from 9:00 to 12:00 in the evening.
3258 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you very much. I just have one final question, or a couple of questions about your online international radio service, Radio Akash.
3259 You noted that you were hitting 20 percent of Canadian musical selections even without any rules in place. Can you tell me what comprises those 20 percent Canadian musical selections? Are they English selections, are they third-language selections?
3260 MR. SINGH SAINI: Commissioner, Sir, we are actually a South Asian music radio station, so it's predominantly South Asian.
3261 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And I was looking at Radio Akash's schedule online in terms of the different programs that you have and comparing it to the one you have proposed for your service here, and it appears there is only one program that actually overlaps and that is "One Light"; is that correct? Is that going to be the only program that may overlap between those two services, your online and a potential --
3262 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes, it's actually devotional music, so we have the same name.
3263 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3264 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes, that's it. But devotional music that is being played on that day on Radio Akash may be different than what is actually on Surrey Connect.
3265 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Oh, I understand.
3266 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes.
3267 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So there would be very little or perhaps no overlap between Radio Akash and this service?
3268 MR. SINGH SAINI: Yes.
3269 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Those are my questions, thank you.
3270 MR. SINGH SAINI: Just on the last thing. Programming from Surrey Connect can come onto Radio Akash.
3271 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right. Okay.
3272 MR. SINGH SAINI: That's there.
3273 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3274 MR. SINGH SAINI: So we can see an overlap, but not from that way this way.
3275 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, great. Thank you.
3276 MR. SINGH SAINI: Thank you.
3277 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Shoan. Thank you. Mr. Saini, I just want one last point, just following up on one of the questions that Commissioner Simpson put forward on financial issues.
3278 Can we ask you to file in confidence with the Commission a financial statement and all that is encompassed in said, because we don't have -- you are a 20 percent shareholder and we don't have that information.
3279 And, you know, finances are not central to licences, but they are important. You understand that there are sort of undertakings and there is a ramping-up period, as has been the tradition in this country and elsewhere, from the day you launch to the day you are in the black, if you will. Would you agree to engage in that undertaking?
3280 MR. CHOPRA: We would be glad to do that.
3281 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Anything else, Madam Pinsky?
3282 MS PINSKY: When would you be in a position to file those?
3283 MR. CHOPRA: Financials?
3284 MS PINSKY: By tomorrow afternoon?
3285 MR. CHOPRA: By tomorrow afternoon, yes.
3286 MS PINSKY: Thank you very much.
3287 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you all very much.
3288 MR. CHOPRA: Thank you, sir.
3289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3290 MR. CHOPRA: Thank you.
3291 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would like us to take a five-minute break. The next presenter can come and present their presentation, we will break for lunch and then we will come back to examine that presenter.
3292 Is that all right, Madame la Secrétaire?
3293 THE SECRETARY: Yes, it is.
3294 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Five minutes then. Thank you. 12:15, eight minutes, there you go. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1207
--- Upon resuming at 1217
3295 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
3296 MS SEKHON: Good afternoon.
3297 THE CHAIRPERSON: We're already into the afternoon of day two. Thank you so much.
3298 Madame secretaire.
3299 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
3300 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see you've made good use of the time.
3301 THE SECRETARY: I created that notice.
3302 Okay. We will now proceed with item 9 on the agenda, which is applications by South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the ethnic commercial specialty radio station CKYE-FM Vancouver by adding transmitters in Surrey and Abbotsford to rebroadcast the programming of CKYE-FM. The applicant also submitted alternate FM proposals.
3303 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation. Thank you.
3304 MR. SEKHON: Thank you.
3305 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon, Commissioner Simpson. Good afternoon, Commissioner Shoan. And good afternoon to all the CRTC staff.
3306 My name is Bijoy Samuel and I am the vice-president, general manager of Red MF. I'm also the president of the Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey's business organization that works to further the interests of businesses in Surrey.
3307 I will now introduce my team. On the right by the end of the table is our prime time talk show host and news director Harjinder Thind.
3308 Sitting beside him is our news reporter and talk show host Pooja Sekhon.
3309 And sitting beside me is the president of Red FM, Kulwinder Sanghera.
3310 Sitting on my left is our consultant and legal counsel Mark Lewis from Lewis Birnberg Hanet.
3311 And sitting right beside him is Michael Pedersen. Michael is responsible for producing ads, on-air contests, and social media.
3312 In the second row right behind Michael we have our engineering consultants, Jim Moltner from Teknyx Limited and Kerry Pelser from D.E.M. Allen & Associates. D.E.M. Allen & Associates conducted extensive subjective listening tests and field tests for us.
3313 Sitting right beside Kerry is another Kerry, Kerry Wicks. She is from Mediastats Information Services. Mediastats conducted a consumer survey and business survey.
3314 Sitting beside Kerry is Almin from StyleLabs. StyleLabs conducted a consumer survey, sound quality brief survey, business interviews, and five focus groups, along with a youth focus group.
3315 Beside Almin is Larissa Horne, an independent producer responsible for producing a Russian show.
3316 Now I'd like to begin our presentation.
3317 Nine years ago when we appeared before you we had a major challenge and that was to repatriate tens and thousands of Canadian listeners who were tuning to U.S. stations broadcasting into Canada.
3318 In the first term of our licence we believe that we have excelled in repatriating both radio listeners and advertising revenue. Today we have a new challenge and that is to retain our audience in face of severe HD iBLOC interference from another U.S. station. Today we would like to talk about the best use of 107.7 and 107.9 megahertz. We believe the CRTC should licence 107.7 and 107.9 as repeaters of Red FM's programming because it is in the public interest to restore service to thousands of Red FM listeners impacted by the HD broadcasts of 92.9 KISM.
3319 In our presentation we will provide evidence giving clear indication, first, of the HD iBLOC interference and its effect on the South Asian radio listening market, and, secondly, substantiate that repeaters are the only solution. We will then build our case to prove that our applications provide important reasons that confirm the best use of these frequencies and fulfil the important criterias CRTC considers while evaluating applications.
3320 From the beginning, due to short spacing, Red FM has had weaker field strengths when compared to its first adjacent channel 92.9 KISM. The green numbers indicate locations where Red FM has stronger field strengths and, hence, reception is acceptable to our listeners. The red numbers that you see define areas where KISM has higher field strength and thereby potential for interference.
3321 Most radio receivers are able to reject first adjacent interference. That's why for seven years Red FM listeners enjoyed clear reception. Whereas when KISM broadcasts in HD iBLOC mode, things change. HD iBLOC broadcasts impact Red FM and its listeners.
3322 Let me explain this through a personal experience. Last November on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver I was sitting squished in my seat because the person next to me was very healthy and actually was spilling over into my space. Similarly, when -- with KISM when it goes on HD iBLOC, it spills over into the FM space of Red FM.
3323 Technically speaking, HD iBLOC injects additional RF energy into the side band of 92.9 KISM, creating an upper sideband spike that falls directly into the spectrum of Red FM. The upper sideband is what causes the interference in areas where KISM has a strong signal. KISM's HD broadcast put co-channel interference on top of Red FM's signal. These same radios that could reject the first adjacent channel interference previously are now unable to reject interfering co-channel portion of the KISM signal. The result is that thousands of Red FM listeners are now unable to enjoy a clear signal of the station they love.
3324 Since September 2012 Red FM has worked with engineering consultants D.E.M. Allen, Teknyk Limited, CRTC engineering staff, Industry Canada, and has been in contact with KISM to investigate the HD iBLOC interference. D.E.M. Allen & Associates conducted extensive FM field strength measurements and subjective listening tests and here are the results: The impairment ranged from loud constant static that would drown out the audio to a constant hissing sound that could be heard in the background. For example, here is how the audio sounds at a location in Vancouver.
--- Audio clip
3325 MR. SEKHON: And here is how it sounds at a location in Surrey.
--- Audio clip
3326 MR. SEKHON: Both locations are well within the 3 millivolt service contour of Red FM.
3327 Industry Canada independently conducted extensive field investigations. In December 2013 we received a letter from Industry Canada confirming the situation, and I quote:
"The addition of KISM FM digital iBLOC signal may have increased the level of interference compared to the analog only operation. This can be observed by the degradation of the received Red FM broadcast signal in the interference-free zone."
3328 So, Industry Canada's confirmation of the HD iBLOC interference and test results by D.E.M. Allen & Associates are proofs that substantiate the interference and degradation of the Red FM signal.
3329 This brings us to the question: How is this interference affecting majority of the South Asian radio listening population? We have complaints from our frustrated listeners across our coverage area, from Vancouver to Abbotsford, and here is what our people are saying.
--- Video presentation
3330 MR. SANGHERA: This brings us to the question: What is the solution? For the first time -- the first step was to work with KISM to find a solution. Unfortunately that exercise was short lived. For seven months, from September 2012 to April 2013, KISM temporarily disabled HD iBLOC transmitter to jointly conduct a field test in April 2013. However, in May, just one month before the filing deadline of this application, KISM abruptly and without notification to Red FM restarted full time HD iBLOC broadcasts. Since then KISM has closed all doors of cooperation and in fact opened a complaint with FCC seeking a reduction of Red FM transmitter signal into the direction of Surrey and United States.
3331 We then evaluated solutions like Red FM power increase, using a high directional antenna, relocation of Red FM transmitter site frequency change. After considerable technical testing and a review, Red FM's engineers determined that licensing and implementation of a rebroadcast transmitter is the only solution.
3332 Our proposed solution is also backed by Industry Canada. A letter from Industry Canada states, I quote:
"Industry Canada recommends a technical solution be found by the Canadian and U.S. operators, or, failing that, CKYE-FM seek approval to rebroadcast from an alternate site."
3333 We also looked at 91.5, but the shortcomings of this alternate choice are very clear. The audience loss for 91.5 exceeds 76,000 residents, as it only reached our service in Surrey, whereas we serve a diverse number of ethnic communities who resides or work outside of Surrey and are spread across Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. So restoration of service only to Surrey by 91.5 would not provide a complete solution to all of the ethnic listeners.
3334 MR. PEDERSON: We will now provide the reason why we believe our application makes the best use of the two frequencies, 107.7 megahertz and 107.9 megahertz, and are in the public interest.
3335 The first reason is these repeaters will benefit the majority of the South Asian radio listening population. How do we know this? Research conducted in May 2013 proves that a majority of the South Asian radio listeners tune to Red FM, 74.4 percent tuning as per the Mediastats consumer survey and 81.85 percent tuning as per the StyleLabs consumer survey.
3336 Research also proves that these listeners experience interference, 48.3 percent as per the Mediastats consumer survey and 44.14 percent as per the StyleLabs survey, and we continue to receive many complaints to this day.
3337 Red FM's applications are backed by strong public support. During the intervention phase Red FM received the highest amount of public support through more than 8200 petitions and more than 3100 letters. Such strong public support demonstrates that granting repeaters to Red FM is in the public interest.
3338 The second reason is South Asians use regular -- radio regularly. Repeaters will bring back their desired user experience by restoring the sound clarity they were used to for seven years. StyleLabs conducted five focus groups wherein respondents emphasized clarity and quality of sound are the most important components of a user experience. Content, reputation, and community engagement are all secondary to sound quality. In today's high-tech world, people are used to high sound quality and clarity, so why not from their favourite radio station?
3339 The third reason is people are losing their patience. Repeaters will help them. A 2006 survey discovered that most people take -- sorry, take an average of 17 minutes to lose their patience while waiting in line and only nine minutes while on hold on the phone. So how about on a radio with sound interference? 51.92 of the complainers surveyed by StyleLabs switched immediately. 40.39 percent indicated they were very likely to leave Red FM if the situation continued. It is clear to us that unless this problem is solved there will be significant listener loss.
3340 The fourth reason is our advertisers are very important for Surrey. They employ people from this community and contribute to Surrey's economy. With high market penetration and audience loyalty, Red FM is unmatched -- is an unmatched catalyst in their business plan. The in-depth interviews conducted by StyleLabs concluded for Red FM advertising campaigns, and I quote:
"Advertisers boast returns unheard of with other South Asian or mainstream alternatives."
--- Video presentation
3341 MR. THIND: The fifth reason is: That our application best fulfils the licensing criteria which the CRTC considers while evaluating applications: the quality of the application; the diversity of news voices; the competitive state of the market, and the level of market impact.
3342 In terms of the quality of the application, Red FM is rich in consumer value through its programming, local talk shows, news and music and community involvement. Unlike U.S. competitors, we adhere to the Canadian Broadcasting Act, CBSC requirements and related to broadcast codes. Local reflection has been a hallmark of Red FM. We are the Surrey station. Right from our first day of broadcasting we have been providing live local programming from our Surrey studios 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Let me give you an example. In the last year more than 50 percent of on-air guests and experts were from Surrey. Listeners find Red FM's spoken word programming investigate helpful and our listeners are facing difficulties.
--- Video presentation
3343 MR. THIND: With our proposed repeaters, Red FM will continue to achieve the objectives established in the Broadcasting Act and in particular to the broadcast of local programming.
3344 MS HORNE: Two important values that Red FM will be able to continue are Red FM's ability to bring community together and encourage community capacity building.
--- Video presentation
3345 MS HORNE: To date we have raised more than $6 million through annual food drives, annual runs, and annual radiothons that benefit Surrey Food Bank, Surrey Memorial Hospital, and Peace Arch Hospital, amongst other charities.
3346 Red FM uniquely advances the broad service requirement by according smaller ethnic communities with an on-air voice at no air time cost to them. We serve a diverse number of ethnic communities that are spread across Greater Vancouver. We submit that restoring reception to those listeners is in the public interest and in the interest of ensuring that there is a healthy, vibrant Canadian broadcasting system catering to ethnocultural communities.
3347 MS SEKHON: Let's look at Canadian content. Red FM has successfully fulfilled its CCD commitments of $400,000 over the first license term. Red FM proposes a results-oriented CCD plan by taking an additional over and above commitment of $210,000.
3348 In terms of the diversity of news voices, our applications for repeaters serve to maintain the diversity of news voices available in the market, as our local Canadian news provides a counterbalance to news programming covered by U.S.-based radio stations. We exemplify local ownership.
3349 In order to assess the competitive state of the market and the impact of a new station, we conducted extensive consumer and advertiser research of 1800 people through three surveys, business interviews, and five focus groups. The mainstream Vancouver and Surrey radio listeners are well served through a wide variety of music, news, and talk format radio stations.
3350 For the South Asian community the market is supersaturated with six stations, including three Canadian, devoting collectively close to 600 hours a week of ethnic programming targeting residents of Surrey. This level of programming is unprecedented in Canada and completely disproportionate to the size of the population. Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, and Malton combined have three times the population but significantly less hours of programming. The market is satisfied with existing radio services. 88.1 percent of the Mediastats consumer survey respondents and 87 percent of StyleLabs' focus groups respondents were satisfied with Red FM's programming.
3351 MR. SAMUEL: If a new radio station is licensed, then here's the danger for existing Canadian stations like Red FM: All the market research clearly shows that a new radio station, irrespective of the format, will have a direct impact on Red FM. In terms of listenership, 43.9 percent of the listeners, StyleLabs consumer survey respondents, will switch to a new station if it has better signal quality.
3352 In terms of financial impact, almost half of the Mediastats advertiser survey respondents might migrate part of their existing budget. Only 6 percent would increase their advertising budgets. Simply stated, the population and business sector of the advertisers is not large enough to support a new entrant. It will be at the cost of the station that has the most to lose, Red FM. On the other hand, if Red FM's applications are licensed, they will not have additional impact on existing Canadian stations, as these repeaters will be simulcasting the same programming. Licensing of repeaters will not increase Red FM's advertising inventory and will be revenue neutral to Red FM, RJ 1200 and Fairchild.
3353 If Red FM's applications are denied, the larger South Asian radio listening population will be affected. Independent program producers are certain to lose their audience base and revenue base. USA stations will get back their audience and revenue share that Red FM has worked so hard to repatriate. Red FM's business plan will be adversely affected.
3354 You recently affirmed in the two Ontario decisions that the market area of an FM station is within its 3 millivolt contour. We have demonstrated today that the interference to Red FM is severe and well within the boundaries of the 3 millivolt service area. Given that there are multiple frequencies, you have a number of different licensing scenarios that would increase the diversity of programming in this region. We will comment on this during phase two.
3355 In conclusion, today we have provided evidence of how our applications make the best use of 107.7 and 107.9 FM and why it is in the public interest to grant to restore service to thousands of Red FM listeners impacted by HD broadcasts of KISM. Please grant 107.7 and 107.9 as repeaters of Red FM's programming. Thank you.
3356 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
3357 At this point, as announced, we're going to be breaking for lunch. Let's try and do a 1:35 start time. Okay? Thank you all so much.
3358 MR. SAMUEL: Thank you.
3359 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bon appétit.
--- Upon recessing at 1240
--- Upon resuming at 1334
3360 THE CHAIRPERSON: Everybody had a good lunch?
3361 MR. SAMUEL: Yes, thank you.
3362 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great.
3363 Commissioner Shoan will certainly have some questions for you. Thank you.
3364 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Good afternoon.
3365 Thank you for being here.
3366 MR. SAMUEL: Pardon me?
3367 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Good afternoon.
3368 MR. SAMUEL: Thank you.
3369 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I have a couple of questions following your presentation and then I have some other questions I'd like to address as well.
3370 I just wanted to confirm with respect to the letter you received from Industry Canada on December 20 '13 the language -- and you quoted the letter -- was the addition of KISM FM digital IBOC signal may have increased the level of interference.
3371 Is that as definitive a statement as Industry Canada has made with respect to the interference?
3372 MR. SAMUEL: I'll get Jim and Kerry to answer this, please.
3373 MR. LEWIS: I'll start off.
3374 We've had a great deal of correspondence and discussion with Industry Canada on this file from the day the interference started and to get them to put anything in writing has been like pulling teeth.
3375 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3376 MR. LEWIS: They certainly have conceded that there is interference. I can back up and say that.
3377 And I don't want to jump ahead in terms of your questions but there was an issue as to whether they would process the Category A application. They came to a determination, I would say, in early October before the last set of tests that the circumstances were extraordinary. The interfering circumstances were extraordinary.
3378 I don't have correspondence to that extent, but we have been keeping them apprised.
3379 I'll let the engineer's comment that they -- one of the difficulties that the Industry Canada people had in most recent tests were the full lack of cooperation with KISM and KISM management. They wouldn't turn off the IBOC because Industry Canada was trying to check the spectrum, do spectrum analysis and various other things and there was just no cooperation. So given --
3380 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Turn off the IBOC after the initial seven month shutdown?
3381 MR. LEWIS: In October of this year Industry Canada did another set of tests.
3382 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3383 MR. LEWIS: And the reason why they did those, that set of tests was I guess there was direction from Ottawa to go out and make a further investigation.
3384 So they went to RED FM and RED FM was instructed -- and Mr. Sanghera went up to the transmitter site. They turned the transmitter on for CKYE and they did readings and spectral analysis of the occupancy of the KISM interference.
3385 What they weren't able to do was to confirm power levels of KISM. There was an issue previously with a test done in May or April of 2013. KISM was running what was called asymmetrical IBOC, which meant there was less power on the side, the side band towards CKYE. This is a special authorization.
3386 When Industry Canada came back in October to do the tests they weren't even able to find out what power level KISM was operating at. They had no cooperation whatsoever.
3387 So I don't think the tests were incomplete, but we don't have a letter that goes any further than that.
3388 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Mr. Pelser, do you have anything to add?
3389 MR. PELSER: We did some tests in May of 2013 when we still had the cooperation of KISM. Those were probably the most revealing tests in the sense that during that time KISM was cooperating with us.
3390 In fact, they came up. We spent several months with them working towards a test procedure and in spring a representative from KISM came up albeit only for a part of the day. But during that time they did turn their IBOC on and off and allowed us to make distinct before and after tests.
3391 A lot of those were listening tests. We did do extensive field strength measurements but we did do also extensive listening tests.
3392 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Just a second, Mr. Pelser.
3393 I'll certainly get to the question with respect to those tests, but was Industry Canada involved at that time in the testing?
3394 MR. SANGHERA: Yes, on May 17th we received an email from Industry Canada. They took their own vehicle called "MIRS vehicle" and they drove in Vancouver area, main drive, and some other areas and they said where the interference was observed and took some measurements:
"CKYE file claim number does clearly display a digital signal both ends of KISM."
3395 This was observed by Industry Canada on May 17th.
3396 MR. LEWIS: And so throughout the testing period both where we had the cooperation of KISM we were sharing the data with Industry Canada. In fact, they asked us to provide them with locations, files, et cetera so that they could make their own investigations. But we've never seen what I would call a final report or anything more definitive than that letter.
3397 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3398 And I recognize a lot of the -- some of the questions I will be asking you, have been answered in the course of your submission but the chronology is quite extensive. So I may want to simply flesh out the record at the public hearing today for those who probably have not read your submission.
3399 With respect to Slide 23 of your presentation you quoted another letter from Industry Canada which stated:
"Industry Canada recommends a technical solution be found by the Canadian U.S. operator or, failing that, CKYE FM seek approval to rebroadcast from an alternate site."
3400 Is Industry Canada saying there that you should seek a rebroadcaster for your signal or that you should vacate your present transmitter location and find a new tower?
3401 MR. SAMUEL: It's just the same letter but for the presentation purpose what we had done is --
3402 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Separate --
3403 MR. SAMUEL: -- accepted the problem in the first half and in the second half they say that we should either find a solution with the U.S. broadcaster or alternate -- broadcast from an alternate site.
3404 It's the same letter.
3405 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, fair enough.
3406 So the suggested solution, apart from working it out with the U.S. broadcaster, wasn't necessarily to seek a rebroadcaster. It was perhaps to find a new transmission site? Is that accurate?
3407 MR. PELSER: If I may speak to that?
3408 If you read the wording, it says that "failing that CKYE seek approval to rebroadcast from an alternative site".
3409 Industry Canada, typically, if they would tell us to move our site they would tell us to broadcast from another site. A rebroadcaster is always a second facility.
3410 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3411 MR. PELSER: Rebroadcasting the programming in the main facility.
3412 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Pelser.
3413 I want to dive a little bit more deeply into the various options that you considered over and above an FM repeater for the record today.
3414 So I'll go through the various options you considered and if you can give me a brief summary of how deeply you investigated that option and why you ultimately disregarded it in favour of an FM repeater.
3415 So I guess the first option obviously is a power increase. Did you investigate that and why did you ultimately decide that all was well?
3416 MR. PELSER: The existing CKYE RED FM frequency is very limited in protections to other stations. While we thought there may be some room, very small room to implement a big or small power increase, largely they are limited in their existing power.
3417 So we knew that in order to overcome that interference we would need a significant power increase and that's just not available to us.
3418 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
3419 What about using a different antenna setup, using a directional antenna as opposed to an omnidirectional?
3420 MR. PELSER: Again, what we thought is if we could improve or change the CKYE antenna to buy us more signal into those problem areas that might help us. But, again, much the reason as the other -- the power increase -- the CKYE signal is well limited and Industry Canada is imposing a number of limitations on it to fundamentally the existing antenna pattern.
3421 In other words we couldn't -- there's no way we could feasibly implement a new pattern that would put more signal into the problem areas.
3422 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
3423 MR. LEWIS: Sorry, if I could just jump in?
3424 Specifically, Surrey, because of the protection south towards the U.S. and the U.S. border on 93-1, we cannot increase or redirect the power on 93-1 because of the KISM and the U.S. agreement.
3425 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3426 What about the option of relocating to a new transmission site?
3427 MR. PELSER: Yeah. Right now RED FM is in a very beneficial -- like all the other Vancouver broadcasters who have a frequency, they can operate off Mount Seymour. You know, it provides tremendous coverage.
3428 Any other site that would be available would not provide that Vancouver and Lower Mainland wide coverage. So there really exists no other site to do that.
3429 MR. SANGHERA: Can I add to that?
3430 We are 15 languages. We do a program in Farsi. We have about 40,000 listeners in North Vancouver that depend on RED FM.
3431 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3432 What about operating your own HD IBOC service to potentially cancel out the interference from the IBOC service from the south?
3433 MR. PELSER: Yeah, that was considered. That won't in any way -- basically, us putting an IBOC signal in there won't overcome or overwhelm the incoming KISM IBOC signal. So we can't really block them or prevent them or stop them by --
3434 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So Mr. Pelser, why wouldn't that work?
3435 Why wouldn't an HD signal for CKYE at sufficient power -- I understand HD IBOC in very basic terms. If you can explain it to me on a technical level why an HD IBOC signal of the CKYE wouldn't block out or overcome the American IBOC signal?
3436 MR. PELSER: Basically, it would be a similar situation to what we're in now where, as we show in our slides, the IBOC works by putting the energy or the new spectrum outside the FM signal.
3437 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3438 MR. PELSER: Well, now, that we have KISM sitting there with a relatively strong signal with a relatively strong IBOC signal of their own, they would just all basically overlap and be unable to overcome each other.
3439 MR. LEWIS: And if I could add, it's -- putting an IBOC signal on CKYE doesn't help all of the listening audience who have analog radios because the analog radios wouldn't switch over to the CKYE IBOC. They would still switch over. They would get that co-channel interference from KISM because the field strength doesn't increase the analog signal when you put an IBOC on.
3440 MR. SANGHERA: The majority of the radios in a car and at home are analog radios.
3441 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3442 MR. SANGHERA: So the analog problem doesn't get solved.
3443 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right, absolutely. I suppose particularly if you're in transit.
3444 Listener's receivers, to get to the point of receivers, there was some evidence or arguments made in your submission with respect to the fact that older receivers were experiencing the problem more acutely or have I misstated that issue?
3445 MR. SANGHERA: When I started getting calls from listeners and I wanted to try -- I drive a brand new car, a Jaguar. I drove in some of the car in areas where people wanted me to go and listened. It tells me how this area -- I go there. I can still listen to it but less disturbance.
3446 Then the calls won't stop. People keep calling us from the same areas. Then I decided -- I took my brother's car, a Lexus, and I drove in an an area and there is a lot of interference.
3447 Then I took another Honda car. It's worse.
3448 Then I took the GM van and I couldn't hear anything.
3449 So we realized every car radio is different, but that is the reason we went to the ICBC for the insurance company. We want to know how many vehicles are Honda, Toyota, Nissan, GM. We want to know how big this problem is.
3450 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3451 MR. SANGHERA: So when we received the data from ICBC we realized this problem is a huge problem for our listeners.
3452 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right, but is it not the case that with the simple passage of time as people upgrade their receivers, devices, cars that the newer receivers within those devices will be able to receive your signal in a clear way?
3453 MR. SANGHERA: No. The analog problem is the same.
3454 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3455 MR. SANGHERA: In every vehicle you can notice some vehicles it is less or more, but unless the extra band is on an analog signal that's the one causing problems. No radio station will be able to reject that.
3456 At first we were, like, first adjacent. Now, the extra band comes into our space acting like a co-channel and what we are hearing from our engineers is no radio can reject that.
3457 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3458 MR. LEWIS: One of the things that we did because it was a wild card, certainly, because it varied across vehicles.
3459 So when we got, as Mr. Sanghera referred to, we got the ICBC information regarding the cars that are registered on the road in Surrey -- and it was one of our supplementary brief filings. We also did -- and Mr. Kassamali can refer to what he did testing, focus group testing of the age of vehicles people own. There's two things that jumped out at us.
3460 One is the average age of cars in Surrey is 10 to 13 years of age and they are not being replaced very quickly. Part of that is the economy. Part of that is the ethnic community. They don't buy new cars that often.
3461 But even so, when we looked at the radios and the brands, Honda is one of the top selling cars in Surrey, in Vancouver. And across brand new Hondas, and we used for our tests a 2012 Honda and it suffered more from the IBOC interference than other brands. So it's across new cars as well.
3462 Something -- and I sometimes do this at hearings with show and tell -- I bought this. This is a state of the art IBOC table radio. So this is as good as you can get today in consumer electronics. This is from Best Buy. And in parts of this hotel, many parts of this hotel even though it's an IBOC radio it cannot receive CKYE. It has a perfect signal of two HD signals from KISM.
3463 Similarly, this is a sister radio. It's a small portable radio. Same results.
3464 And then this radio which is the old, very old analog radio, probably eight or 10 years old, the reception is just as bad on each of these models in this hotel and throughout Surrey and Greater Vancouver.
3465 So just to finish off your question, even if you buy a really good radio, it doesn't solve the problem.
3466 MR. SANGHERA: And one more thing. South Asians live as joined families. Like, my parents used to listen to my radio at home. Now, where I live they cannot hear it. Every day I go home my dad says, "Well, you're not doing anything about it. Buy me a new radio". But they don't understand.
3467 During intervention I must have visited about 15-20 houses in Abbotsford area. Same problem from seniors. Radio is their life. The kids go to work and the radio is the one thing they rely on the information the parts of it and the talk shows.
3468 When I went there what happened is, you know, during intervention -- our complaint section, when a complaint happens I talk to them. I said I'm doing something about it.
3469 Now, during intervention six or seven months I went late to them and see them. It was "No, we don't want to talk to you. We gave you this situation six months ago. You have not done anything about it. How do we trust you? You come back and now you want us, our support. We don't believe you". They were so frustrated at us.
3470 MR. SAMUEL: And if I can add, if it's about replacing receivers that are stationery maybe that's something to think about. But what we have found with StyleLabs researchers, 50,000 plus is where people are listening to radio in vehicles which are moving. So 50,000-plus are people where radio listening happens more in vehicles.
3471 I think I'll ask Almin to talk about that.
3472 MR. KASSAMALI: Yeah, absolutely.
3473 So when we ask people where they listen to RED FM 46.67 percent said it was only in vehicles and then 24.86 percent said vehicle and at home, 2.52 said vehicle and office.
3474 And when we further probed them and asked them where they were when the interference or the incident actually happened they said 71.7 percent were in a car, 10.38 percent in a truck, 0.94 percent in a taxi and so on.
3475 So these people are definitely in vehicles and listen to it predominantly over there.
3476 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you very much.
3477 In your original 2004 application you acknowledge the limitations of the 93.1 frequency when you applied for it, given that it is first adjacent.
3478 So why should -- to be blunt, why should the Commission now remedy your signal deficiency when you were originally aware of it when you applied for its use?
3479 MR. MOLTNER: In 2004 there was no IBOC. What we accepted -- we did not accept an interference zone. We accepted a crosshatched area on a map per Industry Canada rules, first adjacent analog interference, theoretical.
3480 You can ask any consultant engineer. They will tell you that first adjacent analog interference is nowhere near as bad as the Industry Canada rules would have you believe.
3481 Evidence of that is if you look at the map there is no business plan there. And there were a lot of applicants for that frequency including the "big boys". Rogers and Chum, I believe, applied.
3482 And the third point is they have been serving these people for seven years with no interference or very little interference, not reflected at all by that map.
3483 MR. SAMUEL: And on that if I can add, if I can take the parable of, you know, when a person gave talents to people, he gave five talents to one person, he gave two talents to another and he gave one talent to someone else.
3484 Similarly, CRTC gave us this frequency which we have taken and made best use of for the largest radio listening population. So we have gone back to the community, repatriated the listeners and the revenue, made the best use of what you've given us.
3485 We want to continue doing this. We are passionate about radio. We are local. We have a Surrey station.
3486 Thank you.
3487 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
3488 Can you tell us to what extent HD radio is -- the HD radio signal, pardon me, is impairing your broadcast signal and your interference-free zone coverage?
3489 MR. PELSER: I guess we originally -- and continuing where we left off, Commissioner Shoan, I was describing we did a listening test back in May of 2013 where we went up and down a number of the streets and did -- I think we're going to bring up the dots where we went up. We did a number of things.
3490 We drove up and down. We did before and after listening tests. In other words, we asked. We listened to RED FM with KISM HD on and we listened to them with it off. That's where we really saw at Allen and Associates the interference that was coming in.
3491 One of our earlier slides showed a number of red dots.
3492 Now, that doesn't precisely correspond to the interference to RED FM. What it does show is that the areas where the measured field strengths don't meet Industry Canada's second protection ratios or first adjacent channel protection ratio.
3493 What we found in those areas were -- and here I've got to get a little complicated -- where the field strengths had a ratio of zero DB or less we found there was a high probability of their being HD interference to RED FM.
3494 The other way of quantifying --
3495 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So just to be clear. I'm sorry, Mr. Pelser.
3496 MR. PELSER: That's all right.
3497 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: But on this map here, the red dots indicate interference. Is that correct?
3498 MR. PELSER: According to Industry Canada's rules, yes.
3499 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. According, to Industry Canada's rules the red dots on this map indicate interference.
3500 MR. PELSER: According to Industry Canada's protection ratio, correct.
3501 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right. Is there -- and just to be clear, the interference here, according to Industry Canada's ratios, is it distinguishable between the normal analog interference that you would have had when you originally were licenced for the station or does it distinguish between that and the HD radio interference?
3502 MR. PELSER: So this would be based on Industry Canada's analog to analog protection ratios.
3503 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3504 MR. PELSER: And the reason we did this, and sorry to go off track a little bit, is that when we first started talking to Industry Canada and the interference was coming in, this was in the fall of 2012. They were very emphatic that if we could -- we were looking for reasons to get KISM to shut down. We looked at all the international agreements.
3505 One of the things that Industry Canada suggested that if we could demonstrate there was interference to RED FM within their non-interference area we could take that up with the FCC perhaps. So we went through all these tests to document those areas.
3506 What we're seeing here too is that the area that RED FM originally accepted was based on the theoretical curves and gave us the nice lines.
3507 What we're looking at here is realistic measurements. The areas where RED FM is experiencing a lot of this interference is areas where the RED FM signal may have some blockage off of Mount Seymour but the KISM signal sitting in a Gulf island south is booming in and giving us the interference.
3508 So this is -- just to maybe repeat. I'm sorry -- is not maybe a map of HD interference but is the area of potential analog to analog interference.
3509 MR. LEWIS: But if I could add we did -- and it's in the brief of D.E.M Allen materials.
3510 They then went out and investigated during the two tests, the early tests -- I'll call them the April tests -- and then the May tests -- locations that listeners have reported. There was a lot of coordination with listener.
3511 And even within the -- I'm going to use the term -- interference-free zone there are many, many locations documented in the technical report from D.E.M. Allen where the IBOC interference is severe and there is no analog interference.
3512 So that's how pervasive it is. It's just not those dots on that map. So you have to drill down a little bit into the report.
3513 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3514 Mr. Pelser, we don't -- I believe the Commission doesn't have the audio clips from your field strength measurements conducted in April 2013.
3515 MR. LEWIS: Yes. Yes, we filed them on DVDs in June.
3516 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Oh.
3517 MR. LEWIS: On June 14th.
3518 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3519 MR. LEWIS: Of last year. They were in the Vancouver office, I know, as recently as the end of October.
3520 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, we'll double-check with them, thank you.
3521 MR. LEWIS: Yes. But we can resupply them if you wish.
3522 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That would be great. Thank you.
3523 I'd like your perspective on the best use of frequency issue. If your applications are approved you'll have three FM frequencies serving the Greater Vancouver area. Is this really the best use of these frequencies, three FM frequencies for one broadcaster?
3524 MR. SANGHERA: They're not big frequencies. They are very small frequencies. If you see the salutation, people are on Lower Mainland from Mission to Abbotsford. There is no frequency available that will cover the entire South Asian, our other communities' population. We would love to do with one frequency but I don't think we have that choice today.
3525 The reason we are asking for the other two frequencies, that -- those frequencies are within our listening -- our coverage area. Our listeners have been listening to us for eight years.
3526 We want to fulfil their demand or their need, what is best for them. If you, CRTC, could find us -- make us available one frequency that would cover, we are more than happy to take that frequency.
3527 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Can you give us an update on KISM FM's FCC complaint against you?
3528 MR. LEWIS: Well, I've spoken to Industry Canada, and it's political one-upmanship, is, I think, IC has term it.
3529 The intent was two things. One is that IC and FCC had an initial consultation. I can't tell you the month, but I know that it was prior to October. And then the U.S. government shut down because of the lack of funding.
3530 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3531 MR. LEWIS: And when the FCC people came to that meeting, I was told anecdotally that they had no knowledge, they'd made no inspection of KISM. They were simply there to ice the puck.
3532 They didn't commit to any investigation or anything else.
3533 Probably that was because the complaint had come in, but they didn't even disclose the complaint to IC. We had to do that.
3534 So there's a lot of game playing on the part of the FCC at this point in time.
3535 The FCC, I think, intention is -- and they're being lobbied very hard by SAGA -- is just make this go away. And since we're doing a tit for tat and KISM has put in a complaint, it neutralizes the CKYE complaint and neither government will get involved.
3536 I can tell you as well, and this is the thing that troubles me, we thought when we started this dialogue with Industry Canada that we had an advocate in our corner, and particularly as Mr. Sanghera talked about, that they would go to the mat for us, particularly on the interference-free zone.
3537 And then, as time went on, we had a shuffle of Ministers. We wrote a number of letters. We made many calls. We tried to get meetings with Minister and Ministerial staff and Spectrum people. And they just declined.
3538 It wasn't because of this proceeding, by the way. It was just simply their eye was on other bilateral issues.
3539 And I think, to wrap this answer up, Industry Canada just -- or perhaps government policy doesn't really have the will to go head to head with the FCC on this.
3540 I know in another forum because I'm involved in the telecommunications area, and particularly Spectrum auctions and Spectrum allocation on telecom, you can have a meeting and somebody had a meeting in 24 hours with Industry Canada and telepresence and teleconferences on alleged interference.
3541 So this is just not a priority for Industry Canada, unfortunately.
3542 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. But in terms of where the process stands with the FCC --
3543 MR. LEWIS: Well, the FCC has punted this back to KISM and said, "We're not going to do anything". I think that they've got the same message that the FCC won't take action.
3544 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So the FCC has told KISM --
3545 MR. LEWIS: They're not going to -- they're not going to intervene --
3546 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- they're not going --
3547 MR. LEWIS: -- to force our signal -- shut our signal down at this point in time.
3548 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Have they sent you any official correspondence or statements indicating that the complaint has been --
3549 MR. LEWIS: Just the complaint.
3550 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Is over? They're not pursuing any action?
3551 MR. LEWIS: As far as I know, I think it's -- it's done what they sought to do, which was to neutralize Industry Canada on the file. In other words, the FCC, by receiving the complaint from KISM, says checkmate, we're not going to do anything vis à vis KISM and CKYE in Canada.
3552 And where this was -- my last conversation with Industry Canada, which would have been late October, perhaps November, there was no dialogue between the two governments. And they had never received -- IC had never received the file from the FCC.
3553 So the FCC, I don't think, is pursuing this at all for KISM or relative to Industry Canada.
3554 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you very much.
3555 MR. SANGHERA: I think that is the reason why Industry Canada said the best solution is to rebroadcast because we -- this problem is from May to December.
3556 In December, when we received the letter from Industry Canada, it's a clear indication that go back to CRTC and do rebroadcast.
3557 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3558 MR. LEWIS: I'm sorry. Just one more thing.
3559 I think that -- I don't want to leave the wrong impression that we're ungrateful in terms of the work IC has done here because there's two elements to it.
3560 Number one is the fact that even as late as late October, they were still making measurements and doing investigations which led to the December letter, so it's not as if the -- as the field office level they haven't documented this.
3561 But at this point in time, the recommendation is a rebroadcast as a solution, not a bilateral government-to-government negotiation. And I just wanted to get that on the record because I don't want anybody later to say we're not grateful and that we don't think they've cooperated to some extent.
3562 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Given the full use of the FM spectrum in Vancouver, there's a possibility that many FM stations, including whichever station is eventually licensed at 107.7, could suffer from HD radio interference in the future.
3563 So even if you were granted 107.7 or found another frequency, what steps have you taken to mitigate that possibility of future HD radio interference?
3564 MR. LEWIS: Well, if I --
3565 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And generally speaking, what steps do you think broadcasters in the marketplace should take to mitigate the impact of HD radio?
3566 MR. LEWIS: Perhaps I can have the engineers --
3567 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Sure.
3568 MR. LEWIS: -- answer.
3569 But I just want to clarify something, and that is, every Washington State radio station right down to the station that operates on 91.7, so we're talking about 91.5 -- 91.7 is 120 watt radio station. They've all gone HD.
3570 So the damage is not yet to occur; it's already occurred. In other words, everybody in Bellingham has implemented HD. Everybody in Seattle has -- and every community, Everett, et cetera, et cetera.
3571 The same holds true in western New York, Michigan, any border state with Canada. All of the stations have gone HD. I can't think of one. And I have the printout, by the way, from iBiquity.
3572 So there are three --
3573 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And if I may interject there.
3574 MR. LEWIS: Yes.
3575 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And that's a fair statement. But as I recall from your submission, there are right now only reportedly three potential --
3576 MR. LEWIS: There's three.
3577 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- three potential instances of HD radio interference --
3578 MR. LEWIS: That's right. So --
3579 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- out of potentially hundreds of HD radio stations?
3580 MR. LEWIS: Yes. And that's exactly the case. There's three.
3581 Two of them are my clients, and one was a former client, so I can tell you that -- I'll be very brief.
3582 One is CFMZ Toronto 96.3, which has -- it's in a first adjacency situation, so it's a situation analogous to ours here. It broadcasts from the First Canadian Place, so it's one of the tallest towers in the country. And it has a very small pocket of HD interference from a station called JOY in Buffalo in the Niagara peninsula.
3583 And they've never pursued that with Industry Canada because it just is not a major issue for them. Their market is Toronto, and they've never had a great signal down there.
3584 The second one is CHHR, which is Shore 104, which is -- which has been recently owned by Astral. And I was involved in that case before the HD.
3585 And it's an interesting case, and I'll just be very brief.
3586 We did extensive testing, and Mr. Pelser can comment on it because -- two things. It shares the antenna with CKYE. The transmitter power is almost identical, and the pattern is identical.
3587 And it's a co-channel to a station called Café in Washington, also in Bellingham.
3588 And the interference is very slight. It has been reported, but it is very slight.
3589 The reason why it is very slight is Café is also owned by SAGA Communications and transmits for virtually the identical transmitter site just outside of Bellingham. And when CHHR signed on a number of years ago, Café broadcast at 60,000 watts and had a very massive signal into Vancouver. But a company called First Broadcasting, which wanted to slot in another station down in Seattle, paid both CHHR and Café to change frequency. And part of that negotiation because the Canadians -- I'm going to say myself and the owners -- had leverage at that point because it was a trilateral win/win for everybody. And so that's how we got them to reduce power to 10 kilowatts or less than 10 kilowatts in the direction of Vancouver.
3590 So that -- those are the only three. And I'd canvassed these engineers, who are the pre-eminent engineers in FM radio, and we know of no others.
3591 And iBiquity has already sailed throughout the States.
3592 So there is the possibility with 91.5 of some interference if the Rogers station, I believe it is, in Victoria implements IBOQ, but there won't be a raft of IBOQ interference problems with other Vancouver area stations. It just won't happen.
3593 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So they tend to be very isolated cases.
3594 MR. LEWIS: Very isolated. Three in Canada.
3595 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, great. Thank you.
3596 In your presentation, you emphasize your Surrey programming offering, but you have Vancouver-wide coverage. So my, I guess, preliminary question, do you consider yourself a Vancouver or Surrey station?
3597 MR. SAMUEL: We consider ourselves covering the entire region right from North Vancouver up to Abbottsford. We reflect the needs and aspirations of people across the area.
3598 So we are very much a Surrey area station. We -- our studios are located in Surrey. But here's what we do.
3599 We have two reporters, one reporter for Surrey covering the issues that are in Surrey, and one reporter in Vancouver. So we very much represent both areas.
3600 We did something on -- I'd like Mr. Thind to add as well.
3601 MR. THIND: We are a Surrey radio station, as Bijoy said, that our studio's in there.
3602 We are covering Surrey news, every small news which is worthy of news, we broadcast that first. And even that Surrey news that we broadcast mainstream media asks us, they approach us to give the information that can be verified.
3603 You know, I'm very much troubled by the -- I've been listening since yesterday from our opponent or our competitors, the applicants, that we are not covering Surrey. We are the only station that's covering Surrey. And every news, every problem we have in the community, it's on our station first.
3604 I mean --
3605 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So Mr. Thind, can I -- and thank you for making that statement. That was actually going to be my follow-up question.
3606 In your view, then, Surrey has a dedicated radio station, and it's RED FM?
3607 MR. THIND: Well, RED FM, like he said, that RED FM is a regional. We are serving the entire region based in Surrey. Surrey is our primary focus.
3608 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3609 MR. THIND: And Surrey is the station that -- our station is the station that covers Surrey's entire area, Newton in particular. Any problem or any news comes out, we have been informed, either our reporters go -- we have dedicated reporter in Surrey. I live in Surrey. I cover areas, and I also broadcast news bulletins.
3610 But don't listen to the sob stories that other applicants are saying that we are not covering Surrey. Surrey is entirely covered by us.
3611 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. -- we'll get into those issues at later phases. Just stick to your application for the time being.
3612 Thank you.
3613 MS SEKHON: Just to add to that, I'm the reporter who covers Surrey. I live in Surrey, I work in Surrey, and this is my community.
3614 So you know, we can give you examples of the stories, the kind of stories that we have covered, but not to ignore other cities. I mean, we have a reporter who covers Vancouver, too.
3615 And as and when there is an important story that's in Abbottsford or Richmond or Burnaby because that is our service area, so we do not ignore that area, of course. But Surrey-Vancouver, we have two reporters. I'm one of them.
3616 Last couple of weeks, we have covered -- I mean, we cover City Hall meetings every Monday.
3617 But last couple of weeks there have been public safety issues that have been brought up in Surrey, so I mean, because a result of that was more RCMP officers patrolling Surrey streets. That was the result.
3618 Surrey accord that the Surrey MLAs presented for public safety, that was covered.
3619 Yesterday, there was an accident of Surrey RCMP officer. We covered that.
3620 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3621 MS SEKHON: So examples of, you know, any story that is newsworthy, we cover that.
3622 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3623 And so you have a dedicated journalist in Surrey and a dedicated journalist for Vancouver.
3624 MS SEKHON: Yes.
3625 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Are those the only two --
3626 MS SEKHON: We are two full-time reporters, yes.
3627 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3628 Do you draw advertising from the non-Surrey businesses?
3629 MR. SAMUEL: Yes, very much. If I can show you our advertiser map, which is right here. Just going to that, please.
3630 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3631 MR. SAMUEL: The question is, yes, we have many advertisers located across the entire region.
3632 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3633 And the reason why I wanted to started off asking about your relationship with advertisers is because I want to segue a bit into financial impact --
3634 MR. SAMUEL: Sure.
3635 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- on RED FM in the event that a competing application was approved.
3636 So in the event that a competing ethnic application was approved, can you quantify the impact upon RED FM?
3637 MR. SAMUEL: Yes, certainly. And I'm going to start, and I'd like Mark to add in as well.
3638 So if RED FM is -- let me take you through that. We have different scenarios.
3639 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3640 MR. SAMUEL: And we've provided projections and deficiencies as well as in our original filing of the impact on RED FM if a new ethnic station is licensed on 107.7 and if we are granted a 91.5 whereby the new entrant will have a clear signal in Surrey, whereas we would have an impaired signal in parts of Greater Vancouver or parts of Surrey.
3641 We filed detailed financial projections, and the impact would be a reduction in our profit by $632,000 in the second year and, subsequently, it will be $842,000 in the third year.
3642 So definitely there will be an impact in that scenario, and --
3643 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And that's where you have 91.5?
3644 MR. SAMUEL: Yes, if we get 91.5. If someone else gets 107.7 --
3645 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You get --
3646 MR. SAMUEL: -- and we get 91.5, what happens with 91.5 is a major portion of Vancouver doesn't get covered, 76,000 listeners loss happens.
3647 So that's one scenario, and Mark can continue with the --
3648 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3649 MR. LEWIS: So we had filed some other financial projections in deficiencies, and I'll just give you the other scenarios because you actually have them on file.
3650 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3651 MR. LEWIS: We would -- in the event an English language station was licensed for 107.7 and RED FM was licensed to broadcast on 91.5, there are a couple of other financial scenarios that we didn't comment on before. But I'll give you the quick answer.
3652 If it was 100 percent English and not targeting the South Asian community, we don't see any financial impact in terms of the revenue base of RED FM, but we've provided the fallout from having the lesser signal, and that's in the filing that we did.
3653 There is another scenario if we got 91.5 but someone got 107.7 and did 15 percent ethnic programming, which they might do under the currency policy. We're projecting they would take out at least $385,000 a year, probably out of RED FM's advertising funds.
3654 And the reason why is that -- and the numbers I'm using, I think I'm hearing the number around $30 rate card, 12 minutes an hour.
3655 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, Mr. Lewis. The initial number was for what?
3656 MR. LEWIS: So the initial number is at the 15 percent. A non-ethnic station is allowed to do 15 percent ethnic programming, and that's 19 hours a week.
3657 So running through the numbers at around a $32 rate card, $30 rate card, 12 minutes of advertising an hour, that's about $385,000 a year.
3658 The other scenario is if a station was able to go well above the 15 percent, I won't comment because I don't want to go into interventions. But if you were at 30 percent or more but not a full ethnic station, it could be as high as $1 million a year relative to RED FM's sales.
3659 Now, we don't think there would be an impact because you asked us licensing scenarios, any impact on RED FM if RED FM got 107.7. We don't see a significant impact, depending on what frequency the other station is.
3660 RJ1200 -- and we've scoped that out in our projections, I think, that we filed in deficiencies. RJ has a number of different frequency scenarios. If RED FM got 107.7, we do not believe that there would be any economic impact relative to RJ1200, or significant, because they're already a player in the market.
3661 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: May I ask whether you've experienced any revenue declines due to the reported interference?
3662 MR. SAMUEL: If you look at the year over year percentage, we have lost 13 percent of our revenue. And of course, I cannot pinpoint and say is it because of -- what is the reason, but what I can definitely tell you is the fact, the numbers, 13 percent revenue has gone down for us.
3663 And tough economic times, it could be the play that advertisers are getting responses not coming.
3664 Let me tell you an example. Just before coming here two days ago --
3665 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Before you get into your example --
3666 MR. SAMUEL: Sure.
3667 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- I just want to be clear. Which period are you referring to with respect to the 13 percent decline?
3668 MR. SAMUEL: Yes.
3669 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Because I do believe from your preliminary financial filings for 2013 there doesn't appear to be a negative financial impact. But if there's --
3670 MR. SAMUEL: Two thousand twelve (2012), 2013. If I compare -- here, if I can give you 2010-2011, we had 13 percent was our increase in revenue.
3671 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3672 MR. SAMUEL: And then when I go to 2011 and 2012, our increase in revenue was 18.3 percent. Come 2012 and 2013, the increase -- there was no increase. It was just 5.1 percent, so there was 13 percent decline in our revenue.
3673 MR. SANGHERA: He's talking about the profit.
3674 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3675 MR. SANGHERA: So we have a 20 percent continuously, but last year was 13 percent drop.
3676 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: From 18.
3677 MR. SANGHERA: Yeah. This is just little bit from the revenue side. We know we are affected. We do a radiothon for last seven years. We do $1 million a day, 900 a day, 750 a day. This year was only $488,000.
3678 So that also gives us a signal there is a problem with RED FM signal.
3679 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Well, there's --
3680 MR. SANGHERA: That we can say that we are feeling that a lot of listeners were unable to listen to us on that day.
3681 MR. SAMUEL: And the example that I'd like to give you is advertisers are feeling the loss in listenership as well.
3682 I had one of our advertisers meet my salesperson and say, "I'm not getting the response I used to get from RED FM". He said, "I don't know what's the reason, but I'm not getting it".
3683 He said, "A U.S. station" -- and I won't name them; they're in the room -- "they are giving me much more response than I am -- than what RED FM is giving me".
3684 That hasn't been the case before. It's changed now.
3685 MR. KASSAMALI: Can I add something to this?
3686 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Yes.
3687 MR. KASSAMALI: So when we were putting together this application, one of the things we did was we did in-depth interviews with friendlies. So friendlies are businesses that have been with RED FM throughout, with the exception of one or two outliers, and they're the most loyal to RED FM to a point where some of them basically said that they -- despite anything, they would not compromise their -- their budget with RED FM, what they spend there. Okay.
3688 So then we started talking about sound. Every one of those people -- and again, loyalists -- said that they would stop advertising with RED FM because if they can't hear the message, then what's the point in advertising, right.
3689 Now, these are all people in the interview that have already indicated that they have a severe concern about the quality of the broadcast. And one of the reasons why things are still -- you know, that they're still maintainable is because there's promise of solutions.
3690 But once that promise goes away, if there's any -- if there's -- if this continues, they're going to leave. The qual and the quant has both proven that over and over again.
3691 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
3692 One final question. As you know, the CRTC has the ability to license more than one station, so it could potentially be multiple licences.
3693 You alluded a little bit earlier to the potential impact whether -- as to whether it was an ethnic licence or an English licence.
3694 If it's both, can you quantify that potential loss?
3695 MR. LEWIS: Commissioner, if I could ask, if -- I don't want to repeat what we went into, but are you suggesting one of the recipients would be RED FM in your scenario, or none of the above? Because I think the results are very different in the different scenarios.
3696 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Let's do both, first one, then the other.
3697 MR. LEWIS: Okay. So again, if RED FM was to be granted a licence and it was an English language service of some sort, we don't believe -- and there are many different permutations of English language -- we do not believe that there would be significant harm to RED FM or revenue erosion as long as it is able to remediate its signal.
3698 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3699 MR. LEWIS: If there is a radio station licensed for 107.7 that's ethnic and RED FM has 91.5, there would be some revenue erosion, and I think that's in the scenario.
3700 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
3701 MR. LEWIS: And then the last one is if we get nothing and there is an ethnic station and an English language station licensed, if the English language station isn't targeting the South Asian community with programming, we don't think that would have a major effect on RED FM, but the ethnic station that is slotted into 107.7, which would have a superior signal, the results would be devastating in terms of the -- and that's one of the revenue scenarios we -- that's on the file.
3702 We also -- just for your reference, we provided a confidential filing which provides all of the programming costs and other costs that would be part of that projection.
3703 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Great. Thank you very much, Mr. Lewis.
3704 With respect to my request earlier for the field strength measurements, it appears we don't have the audio clips from the seventeen locations of reference. Is it possible to get us that information, Mr. Lewis, or Mr. Pelser?
3705 MR. PELSER: Yes, we can.
3706 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
3707 MR. PELSER: For the record, yes, we can.
3708 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Great. If you could file those in the next -- by tomorrow, the end of day tomorrow?
3709 MR. PELSER: Yes, we will.
3710 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Great, thank you.
3711 Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
3712 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Shoan.
3713 Just briefly, just to get back on the financials, I'm always very sensitive when we're discussing financials, but it was raised and it was brought up and it wasn't profits, it was revenues, Mr. Sanghera, if I read the document correctly.
3714 And your revenues -- I'm not even going to go to the profits -- are still growing. It's just in the last year the growth is not as healthy as it was in the previous year?
3715 MR. SANGHERA: If you also see it another way, the revenue has not, because the interference started in May, so there was only three months in the financial year-end.
3716 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm. I understand that.
3717 MR. SANGHERA: I think that's another reason right now, was, that you don't see much in revenue or difference.
3718 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. So consequently, you cannot really make that causal link at this point, which was a part of your presentation earlier, is that correct?
3719 MR. SANGHERA: So sorry, I don't understand the question. Would you repeat it one more time, please.
3720 THE CHAIRPERSON: The point was made by Mr. Samuel that your profits, your revenues are being affected, that there's a negative tendency there. Clearly, your revenues, and again I understand the sensitivity, but the figures are still growing, is that correct?
3721 MR. SANGHERA: Year over year? Yes.
3722 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
3723 MR. SANGHERA: But not to the --
3724 THE CHAIRPERSON: Secondly, you've only had interference for a three-month period, when looking at these numbers, is that correct? Because there was a period when there was collaboration. There was a seven month period where things were working out a little bit better in terms of the collaborative effort that was put forward by the station in Washington State, is that correct?
3725 MR. SAMUEL: That is correct. Yeah.
3726 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, we can't say with any degree of certainty that we've been impacted by this interference, that our revenues have been impacted by this interference?
3727 MR. SAMUEL: Actually, it does the revenue. I have calculated this and it's a handwritten scribble that I have here because I thought this question would come up.
3728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3729 MR. SAMUEL: And it is the revenue that is -- it is -- the drop of 13% is the revenue. I just wanted to correct that.
3730 THE CHAIRPERSON: The growth of the revenue is not 18%?
3731 MR. SAMUEL: But just five.
3732 THE CHAIRPERSON: But it's 5%.
3733 MR. SAMUEL: 5%.
3734 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. You still have growth in your revenue, is that correct?
3735 MR. SAMUEL: Yes, true.
3736 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. And can we make the causal link between the interference and the impact on your revenues? And if I understand Mr. Sanghera's answer, we can't at this point. Is that correct?
3737 MR. LEWIS: Yeah.
3738 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Mr. Lewis?
3739 MR. LEWIS: That's correct, yeah.
3740 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's correct. Great.
3741 MR. LEWIS: It was a short period of time when they resumed and the advertisers hadn't cancelled the contracts or anything like that. They threatened but not cancelled.
3742 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, again, we cannot make the casual link at this point?
3743 MR. LEWIS: I would agree with that.
3744 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. So let's take that off the table, okay. It makes it easier.
3745 MR. LEWIS: Yeah.
3746 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3747 I just want to add something, the listener, the potential loss in listenership, the 45% figure that was put out, is that on your principal contours or incidental contours? Is that sort of your potential listenership that you'd lose 45%?
3748 MR. SANGHERA: When we got the interference complaints, 85% was within 3 millivolt contour and 15% was --
3749 THE CHAIRPERSON: How much was it through the 3 millivolt, sorry?
3750 MR. SANGHERA: 85%. 85% of the complaints were within the 3 millivolt area.
3751 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3752 MR. SANGHERA: 15% was from Abbotsford area.
3753 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is this an Abbotsford issue?
3754 MR. LEWIS: Well, we have two applications.
3755 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. Go ahead.
3756 MR. LEWIS: Sorry, Commissioner. We have two applications and Abbotsford is suffering from significant interference from IBOC as well.
3757 Just to be -- for full disclosure, we had an Abbotsford application prepared well before and submitted before the call, but it was withdrawn, it was sent back to us. But Abbotsford was certain surveyed and documents.
3758 But the -- so, in the analysis there were respondents from Abbotsford, but the predominant number of respondents that were surveyed were from within the 3 millivolt in Surrey, Van, etcetera.
3759 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Some might also argue -- unless you want to add something to that, Mr. Lewis, or someone in the back row?
3760 MS WICKS: Sorry, I just wanted to add to that in the part of the research that we conducted we actually asked people specifically where they were experiencing problems and three of the areas noted were Langley, Surrey and Vancouver itself.
3761 THE CHAIRPERSON: And back on the question that was so eloquently asked by my colleague Commissioner Shoan, is RED FM) -- can we, by any definition, and maybe Mr. Lewis can sort of attack this question given his experience and his background. Can we qualify RED FM as a Surrey station given its 3 millivolt range in the initial license that it received? Would you qualify it as a Surrey station?
3762 MR. LEWIS: Oh, absolutely.
3763 THE CHAIRPERSON: You would?
3764 MR. LEWIS: And, Mr. Vice-Chair, the reason why is, when the competitive hearing was held back in 2004 most of the applicants, or many of the applicants were from the Surrey area because that's where the highest concentration of the South Asian community is.
3765 From the get-go, from the day we submitted that application the studios were going to be in Surrey. There was always a very strong, at that hearing, Surrey element to it.
3766 So, it isn't a situation, and I know the Commission has had difficulty with some licensees who were licensed for one community and they move --
3767 THE CHAIRPERSON: Backdoor to another place.
3768 MR. LEWIS: Well, they often go to larger communities.
3769 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Right.
3770 MR. LEWIS: But from the outset this was always a Surry focussed station, but serving Greater Vancouver because of the number of ethnic groups served who are not all clustered in Surrey.
3771 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And would there be any discomfort, objectively speaking, with RED FM -- some might use the words sort of hogging the last three frequencies to serve this market and in effect eliminating any possibility of competition in the near and -- in the near future?
3772 MR. LEWIS: Oh, no. I just want to clarify and --
3773 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
3774 MR. LEWIS: And I'm cognizant of Phase 2 so there are lots --
3775 THE CHAIRPERSON: Without getting into Phase 2, just --
3776 MR. LEWIS: Yeah. No, there are licensing scenarios that look to be perhaps viable -- you'll be the judge --
3777 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3778 MR. LEWIS: -- for other ethnic and non-ethnic services and would expand diversity of content whether it's Surrey or the focus is Vancouver.
3779 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
3780 MR. LEWIS: So there is a great deal of discomfort and I'll be honest with you, when the call was issued was a couple of months before the full-time resumption of IBOC, and before the test. And we did extensive market testing to see if a second FM station with a different programming mix was (a) viable, and, (b) what we should be applying for. There was always an intention to respond to the call.
3781 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3782 MR. LEWIS: We were not happy with the results, the engineering results we got, because this was the worst prognosis that we could possibly get.
3783 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3784 MR. LEWIS: That was not our preferred -- so, I think that to say --
3785 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's the only viable solution for you?
3786 MR. LEWIS: -- it's the only viable solution.
3787 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
3788 MR. LEWIS: And we are very cognizant of the fact that it does take up -- well, 107.7 and 107.9 can work in concert, so there you can't use 107.9 in Abbotsford possibly for another licensee as we're at relatively low power. But, we're not happy about the solution. It's not --
3789 THE CHAIRPERSON: It was your last -- best last-case scenario for you?
3790 MR. LEWIS: That's right.
3791 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
3792 MR. LEWIS: Because, it also entails listeners having to tune from 93.1 to 107 or 91.5.
3793 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. Yeah. Not an idyllic situation, I understand that, without getting into the subsequent phases.
3794 Mr. Sanghera, do you want to say something?
3795 MR. SANGHERA: It's going to be -- it's going to be a lot more work for us, again, re-branding everything, but we are not happy.
3796 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand the situation.
3797 MR. SANGHERA: Like Mark said, we are not happy with it.
3798 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I know. Commissioner Simpson, do you want to add something?
3799 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No.
3800 MR. SAMUEL: If I could add, the reason we have two repeaters is because if you look at the original coverage area of 93.1 --
3801 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I get it.
3802 MR. SAMUEL: Yes.
3803 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think the Commission gets it. We understand where you're coming from.
3804 Okay. Anything else? We'll see you in Phase II.
3805 Great. Thank you all so much. It is 2:34 by my count. Let's reconvene at 1445, a whole eleven minutes. Madame la secrétaire, c'est bien?
3806 THE SECRETARY: C'est bien. Oui.
3807 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's fine? Great.
--- Upon recessing at 1434
--- Upon resuming at 1447
3808 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
3809 MS DATT: Good afternoon.
3810 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, just give us a second to close that door. There we go.
3811 And we'll have people take their seats so they don't interrupt you during your presentation.
3812 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la secrétaire.
3813 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We will now proceed with Item 10 on the agenda which is an Application 2013-0883 by IT Productions Ltd. to amend the broadcasting license for the Ethnic Commercial AM Radio Station CJRJ-Vancouver, to add an FM transmitter to serve Surrey.
3814 The applicant also submitted an alternate FM proposal, Application 2013-08924.
3815 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have twenty minutes for your presentation.
3816 Thank you.
3817 MS DATT: Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, and Commission Staff.
3818 My name is Shushma Datt and I am the owner and president of IT Productions Ltd. which holds the license for RJ1200-AM in Vancouver.
3819 We are applying for a technical amendment to enable rebroadcast of our AM service on either 107.7 FM or 106.9 FM, and our presentation deals with both of those applications.
3820 I would like to introduce our panel to you before commencing our formal presentation:
3821 To my right is my son Sudhir Datta, who is the General Manager and Program Director of RJ1200-AM.
3822 To Sudhir's right is Ms Rosanne So, the Senior Marketing Manager at the station. Rosanne has worked at Telus as a Communications Manager in charge of multicultural marketing, and as a Senior Manager of multicultural and cultural segment marketing at HSBC.
3823 To my left is Mr. Bernie Merkl. Bernie is our General sales Manager and has worked in radio sales in British Columbia for over 30 years when he joined us in September last year.
3824 Behind me, to my right, is Mr. Ray Carnovale our technical consultant who can deal with any technical questions you may have.
3825 To Ray's right is Mr. Chris Weafer of the law firm Owen Bird, based in Vancouver. And, I have worked with Chris for over 25 years, and I know that while you may not like to hear from lawyers, Chris is very familiar with our very long history and I hope you will not mind if I turn to him to add some comments if I have missed anything so that we can ensure we provide you with the full picture of our station.
3826 To Chris' right is Mr. Steve Mossop who is the President of Insights West. They conducted the market survey which was attached as Appendix D2 to our two applications.
3827 And, to Steve's right is Mr. Gurpreet Sian, our Punjabi and evening host at RJ1200-AM.
3828 Mr. Chairman, with your approval, we will now commence our presentation with a short video production which provides you with the background on what we have been doing in Vancouver for the past 25 years.
--- Video presentation
3829 MS DATT: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission, we are here today to ask you that you enable us to stabilize our service by putting us on a level playing field in the Greater Vancouver market with our primary Canadian license competition RED-FM operated by South Asian Broadcasting.
3830 Of even greater importance, we hope you will enable us to compete from a stronger position against the three US cross-border stations that are presently programming into Canada causing serious economic harm to our ability to deliver our service to Canadians as a Canadian licensed service.
3831 I will now ask Sudhir to speak to the criteria you have set out in in Public Notice CRTC 2013-149 to show how we meet those criteria.
3832 MR. DATTA: Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware the criteria you have asked applicants to address in these proceedings are:
3833 1. Quality of application;
3834 2. Diversity of news voices in the market;
3835 3. Market impact; and,
3836 4. Competitive state of the market.
3837 We will deal with each of these criteria. But, before doing so, it is important to emphasize the key difference of our applications for either 107.7 FM or 106.9 FM and all of the other applications before you.
3838 We are the only stand-alone CRTC licensed AM ethnic radio service serving the South Asian market in Vancouver. We exist today and our programming service is already well received and accepted in our community. We submit that we already provide a significant and valued service and our priority should be given to ensure the viability of our service through approving our technical amendment to add an FM rebroadcaster.
3839 The ability of our station to survive for the past 30 years, firstly as an SCMO service, and more recently as a stand-alone AM service in a market served by three US stations and a well-capitalized FM service is clear evidence of the quality of the application we have put before you.
3840 Our company has withstood unique competitive and economic pressures and, as demonstrated by our video, has made significant contributions to the community for 30 years.
3841 I am proud that my mother is, to our knowledge, the first woman to be granted a radio license in Canada. She also happens to be a single mother and a visible minority. When you look to the over 1300 letters of support and the contributions our company has made to the community as reflected in our video presentation, we believe we have demonstrated the high quality of our application. We provide a unique perspective and diverse programming that is enjoyed by our audience and valued by the community. We provide a radio service in 17 languages to 11 ethnic communities in Greater Vancouver and we provide all this to create a service that is inclusive, not divisive, and which promotes diversity and tolerance within our community and province.
3842 What sets our application apart from the others is we have been providing a service in the community for 30 years. Ours is not a proposal of what will be done, it is what we are already doing. We are applying to continue and strengthen our service through access to the FM band.
3843 In terms of the quality of our application, we would highlight to the Commission that at least three of the other applicants in effect acknowledged the quality of our service. Idea Broadcasting, South Fraser Broadcasting, and South Asian Broadcasting each indicated in submissions they do not oppose the Commission granting us 106.9 FM, recognizing we are the only applicant which applied for that frequency. We appreciate their comments.
3844 While our preference is for the 107.7 FM frequency, and we believe the challenging circumstances we face justify the award of 107.7 FM to us, we, as the only applicant for 106.9 FM offer the highest quality application for the utilization of 106.9 FM. We are the only runner in that race.
3845 Turning to the Commission's stated second criteria, Diversity of News Voices in the Market, as indicated, our company is, to the best of our knowledge, the only editorial voice serving the Vancouver market, mainstream or otherwise, which is 100 percent owned by a female visible minority. This application is committed to sustaining and strengthening that editorial voice.
3846 As our video demonstrates, that voice is strong and longstanding. The reflection of a strong voice from a South Asian female radio personality has had a disproportionate positive impact in the community. I have seen my mother receive commendations, as well as serious threats, for her courage to cover news issues in a professional manner.
3847 In 25 years, our station has not been the subject of a single verified complaint to the Commission, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council or the courts. Approval of our application will help preserve a unique voice in the Vancouver market that has provided a responsible, balanced, professional news service for over 25 years.
3848 In 2010, my mother was named one of 150 of B.C.'s Most Fascinating People by the Royal B.C. Museum. Awards such as the Order of British Columbia and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, as well as commendations from the Royal Columbia Hospital, Surrey Art Gallery, elected officials, cultural organizations, and BCIT are indicative of the high-quality news service we provide. An FM frequency will enable us to maintain and improve this service.
3849 The third criteria identified by the Commission is market impact. Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we submit that a complete answer to this test was provided in our licence renewal process last year in your decision Broadcast Decision CRTC 2013-164, dated March 28, 2013.
3850 However, the Commission notes that CJRJ is experiencing severe financial difficulties due to its unique operating circumstances. CJRJ is a standalone AM service in a highly competitive ethnic radio market in Vancouver where ethnic stations not only compete directly with other Canadian ethnic services but also face the added difficulty of competing with programming being offered by American stations located near the border. The Commission notes that CJRJ's revenues have not met the projections as set out in its original application and that the station has been operating primarily at a loss since it commenced operations.
3851 The Commission takes seriously the commitments made at the time of licensing new stations and, as such, considers that CJRJ must fulfill its original commitments to CTD. Nevertheless, the Commission recognizes the unique circumstances under which CJRJ operates and is of the view that granting the licensee the ability to distribute the remaining contributions over the course of the next licence term is appropriate in the circumstances.
3852 In this proceeding, the Commission is faced with volumes of subjective market studies which argue for the potential economic viability of an additional standalone AM or FM station to serve the Vancouver or Surrey market.
3853 The facts of the matter are clearly demonstrated by our real experience over the past seven years on AM. One Canadian licensed station, ours, is losing money in the market. Adding another Canadian licence will make matters worse. U.S. cross-border stations will continue to operate under differing economic conditions then Canadian services. Even if you choose to license the operation of a cross-border service who commits to shut down their U.S. service, the high probability is another will commence operations.
3854 Therefore, as you look at this market, you must assume there are still three services in the market plus RED FM plus our station plus a new entrant. The market impact will be significant and negative.
3855 Our real market experience is clear evidence a standalone existing AM is not economically viable against three U.S. services and RED FM. Another standalone licensee will also not be viable and the addition of a new service will weaken both our station and RED FM to the benefit of the three cross-border U.S. services. This is not in the public interest under the Broadcasting Act.
3856 In recent years, the Vancouver radio market for mainstream standalone stations has not proven profitable for new entrants. In 2008, the Commission licensed Shore FM, a well-financed mainstream applicant with significant resources and expertise. That service was up for sale and subsequently sold within its first licence term, with the reluctant approval of the Commission, to Astral, which is now owned by Bell Media.
3857 We would highlight that entry of a standalone applicant in a complex radio market such as Vancouver is financially challenging even with broad experience. We have certainly found that to be the case, but we have stayed committed and we are not for sale.
3858 We submit that the addition of a new service targeting the South Asian market is not viable and should not be approved by the Commission. Conversely, granting us an FM rebroadcaster will have a positive impact on the market.
3859 In terms of your fourth criteria, the competitive state of the market, this process poses unique circumstances in that the possibility of enabling cross-border ownership of stations exists. As a long-term licensee operating under Canadian broadcast legislation, we submit it is contrary to the public interest to award a Canadian licence to a related U.S.-based service.
3860 We are a standalone Canadian AM service which is yet to achieve profitability. Awarding us an FM frequency will strengthen our competitive position in the market, as reflected in the market study we have provided and as more clearly reflected in the financial success of our FM competitor, RED FM. This is clear evidence we need to have an FM frequency to fairly and effectively compete.
3861 Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, having addressed your four key criteria, we would like to highlight why an FM frequency is critical to our survival.
3862 Here I would like to turn the microphone to Steve Mossop to summarize the market research we conducted to support our position that the Lower Mainland does not need an additional radio service and that our service will be viable if we are available on an FM frequency.
3863 MR. MOSSOP: Our research shows as its key finding that:
3864 1. The survey methodology that we used for this study is the most robust and most demographically and geographically representative. We are the only research firm that used a combined online and in-person survey methodology approach to ensure the most representative sample of South Asian radio listeners. We conducted 400 interviews in 13 different Lower Mainland communities, which has a margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percent, 19 times out of 20. The results were weighted using StatsCan Census data for age and gender among South Asians in the Lower Mainland.
3865 2. South Asian radio station listeners do not see the need for an additional South Asian radio station in the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley. Two-thirds of South Asian radio listeners believe there is the right amount of South Asian programming and stations in the region.
3866 3. There is an opportunity for CJRJ 1200 to increase their overall listenership by moving from an AM to an FM dial. More than half of South Asian radio listeners feel that poor signal quality has an impact on their decision to listen to CJRJ 1200. If they had a better signal, 29 percent of current listeners would listen more often, 7 percent of non-listeners would definitely listen and 52 percent of non-listeners would probably listen to CJRJ 1200.
3867 4. There is a strong interest in CJRJ 1200's new FM radio station, with 59 percent of South Asian radio listeners saying they would listen to CJRJ 1200's new station.
3868 5. If CJRJ 1200 launched its FM radio concept, 26 percent of those interested in CJRJ 1200's new FM station would decrease their listenership of the U.S. South Asian stations.
3869 MR. MERKL: Members of the Commission, as an experienced salesperson I can tell you ethnic radio broadcasting is no different than conventional radio when it comes to the attractiveness of an FM frequency. This is more emphatically shown when the ethnic service, as is the case with RJ 1200, has a heavy music component. In recent months I have worked to make the buyer community more aware of RJ 1200 and I consistently face the block of "I would be interested if you had a better signal." I am fully convinced RJ 1200 could improve its viability if granted carriage on FM.
3870 I would add that it is particularly important to enable effective competition with the three U.S. cross-border services which broadcast in AM. These services are deeply discounting the value of radio service in the market on AM, and the only viable competitive response for our station is to be positioned on the FM dial to improve the quality of our signal beyond that provided by the three U.S. stations.
3871 The research filed in this proceeding demonstrates the attractiveness of FM to the South Asian audience. Each of the applicants filed research that showed varying levels of listenership to incumbent stations which can be attributed to differing survey methodologies. However, one point was clear. RED FM, with its FM frequency, dominated the market and is the most listened to station over all AM stations, ranging from 66 percent to 93 percent. The research also showed that the U.S. stations have a sizable market share that ranges from 23 percent to 53 percent. It is clear that the FM signal is fundamental to the success of a South Asian service seeking to compete with AM cross-border services.
3872 MS DATT: In summary, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we believe sustaining an existing longstanding voice in the community is the best use of 107.7 FM, or alternatively 106.9 FM. We have filed a high-quality application for each frequency.
3873 We will, if approved, sustain a strong diverse news voice. We will impact the market by providing a technical quality of service on FM which will repatriate revenues from AM cross-border stations. We would highlight the broad community support for our service and note that competitive applicants in this proceeding do not oppose us being awarded 106.9 FM.
3874 We thank you for the opportunity to apply and look forward to answering any questions you may have.
3875 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for your presentation.
3876 For the record, lawyers are very important, are essential.
3877 MS DATT: Thank you.
3878 THE CHAIRPERSON: No self-interest there. I'm just saying.
3879 Look, thank you. Let's get started.
3880 Maybe look at your criteria. It wasn't sort of the approach on the questioning that I had thought about, but given your presentation, let's kind of follow that along and look at, first and foremost, the quality of the application. You've got the four criteria there.
3881 Yes, you've been providing a service in the community for 30 years, but for numerous reasons it doesn't seem to be a profitable service. Is that a problem with the signal or is that a problem with the programming?
3882 MS DATT: Very good question and I think that the --
3883 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sometimes lawyers do that.
3884 MS DATT: You know, we know that when you are in a service where there is an AM and a competing FM, everybody is going to go for an FM. So the main reason is FM versus AM.
3885 We know through our experience that it is very easy to expect success based on research. However, the reality is often quite different. This is not just for ethnic services, as the Commission witnessed. You know, we talked about that, the collapse of Shore FM.
3886 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Datt, I don't want to go through the whole recent history of --
3887 MS DATT: I won't.
3888 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- radio in Vancouver.
3889 MS DATT: I just want --
3890 THE CHAIRPERSON: That being said, back in '04, you applied for this licence.
3891 MS DATT: Yes.
3892 THE CHAIRPERSON: You knew what the parameters of the frequency offered.
3893 MS DATT: Yes.
3894 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you came forward and committed to provide service, to provide CCD contributions and so on and so forth, right?
3895 MS DATT: Yes.
3896 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Has anything changed in the strength of that frequency technically since you launched?
3897 MS DATT: No. When we applied for a licence, we were under the impression and our application was that there would probably be one licence awarded.
3898 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3899 MS DATT: There were two licences awarded at that time in 2005.
3900 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
3901 MS DATT: We already had competition from cross-border.
3902 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
3903 MS DATT: Two stations were there.
3904 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3905 MS DATT: And before we started our service, we had to build our towers. And I think it was 20 years prior to us building the towers -- the last towers built in Vancouver were 20 years before we started building towers in 2005.
3906 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3907 MS DATT: It took us a year and a half to do that and we went on air a year after RED FM, 11 months after RED FM. So RED FM started on an FM frequency in the market where we were still continuing on our SCMO and at that time we realized -- when you awarded two licences we could have come up to you and said, well, you know, our projections are different now that there are two competing applications.
3908 THE CHAIRPERSON: That question was not asked at the time?
3909 MS DATT: We did not ask that question and that's our fault.
3910 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Commission did not ask that question?
3911 MS DATT: The Commission did not ask that question either, to the best of my knowledge. Don't forget I'm getting old, so I might have forgotten that.
3912 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, no, no. Not at all. And the only reason that RED FM is profitable and you're not is because they have an FM frequency?
3913 MS DATT: I believe that is the main reason. Also, don't forget that there are eight ethnic services competing for the dollars.
3914 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
3915 MS DATT: There are five services, three cross-border, RED FM and ours, and then there are three Chinese services.
3916 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I understand all that.
3917 MS DATT: Yeah.
3918 THE CHAIRPERSON: But simply put, the only reason that RED FM is profitable and you're not is because they're on an FM frequency and you're an AM frequency?
3919 MS DATT: I believe that, yes.
3920 MR. DATTA: Yes.
3921 THE CHAIRPERSON: Programming and the attractiveness of the service is not an issue?
3922 MR. DATTA: Our programming is a music-based format, and of course music on AM went away a long time ago. Most AM services are now talk-based services. We do realize that that was the service that we were given. Up until that point we were -- historically, AM had been done for ethnic -- AM was mostly for ethnic and so we took on --
3923 THE CHAIRPERSON: Talk, ethnic.
3924 MR. DATTA: Talk, ethnic and ethnic music.
3925 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
3926 MR. DATTA: Then of course RED FM took the 93.1. We didn't go for 93.1 because we felt that it was too impaired according to our technical surveys that we were given, and our technician said, you know what, 1200 AM is --
3927 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
3928 MR. DATTA: And that's fine. And good on RED FM for taking the risk and they've done really well with it. When you say you're a music station on FM, that makes more sense to advertisers. When you say you're a music station on AM, it doesn't make sense.
3929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. But nothing has happened to change the strength or weakness of your frequency since you received the licence?
3930 MR. DATTA: No.
3931 MS DATT: You mean to say quality-wise?
3932 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Quality, yeah.
3933 MS DATT: No.
3934 THE CHAIRPERSON: What percentage of your broadcast day is devoted to music and what percentage is devoted to talk?
3935 MS DATT: We only have one talk show and that's one hour a day, and the rest of the day is music.
3936 THE CHAIRPERSON: Music, okay.
3937 When you talk about -- back to the quality of the application and you would highlight that other regional broadcasters or broadcasters that want to be broadcasters have highlighted the quality of your service. The fact that they would support your application for 106.9, and I refer specifically to Idea, South Fraser and South Asian --
3938 MS DATT: M'hmm. Yes.
3939 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- would that automatically mean that they think you're a high-quality broadcaster?
3940 MS DATT: I'd like to think that.
3941 THE CHAIRPERSON: You'd like to think that. Okay. Is that specifically -- would they indicate that in their letter of support?
3942 MS DATT: I think they wrote that, if I'm not wrong.
3943 THE CHAIRPERSON: That they thought you were a quality broadcaster?
3944 MR. WEAFER: Mr. Chair, I think the point being made is other broadcasters in the room aren't saying don't license RJ1200-FM or they're saying give us 107.7, but they have no opposition to RJ1200 being licensed --
3945 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. And all I'm saying is that no opposition -- there's a difference between no opposition and support and a vote of confidence that the service is of high quality. Would you agree with me that there's a distinction to be made there?
3946 MR. WEAFER: I think they're not opposing the applicant in opposing or commenting negatively on their service, and I would think if they weren't believing they would be a broadcaster who should be in the market, they would oppose it and that's not what they've done.
3947 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's move on then.
3948 MR. WEAFER: Mr. Chairman, may I also just address the earlier question in terms of what's changed or what's different than when --
3949 THE CHAIRPERSON: Technically. Yeah, in terms of technical.
3950 MR. WEAFER: Technical, yeah. I think it's a fair comment to add to the record that nobody anticipated the RJ signal to be as impactful as it was. It was considered an impaired frequency at the hearing and it turned out -- in credit to them, it worked out well. It turned out much better than was expected in terms of --
3951 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're talking about the RED frequency?
3952 MR. WEAFER: The RED FM signal, yes, sir.
3953 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3954 MR. WEAFER: Mr. Carnovale --
3955 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I'm not talking about that frequency. I'm talking about your frequency. Nothing has changed?
3956 MR. WEAFER: No. I understood the question to be the competitive position of the frequency in the market. Sorry if I misunderstood the question.
3957 THE CHAIRPERSON: The quality of the signal.
3958 MR. WEAFER: But clearly, the quality has to be relative to whatever else you're competing with in the market would be my submission and I don't think anybody expected RED FM's signal that they were being licensed to compete against to be as impactful as it was. So that clearly has a relative impact on the success of 1200 AM or the value of its frequency.
3959 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that. The quality of your signal has not been impacted since you received the licence but the quality of RED's signal seems to be improved from what was originally thought?
3960 MS DATT: M'hmm. That's right.
3961 MR. CARNOVALE: With regard to AM, I think --
3962 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
3963 MR. CARNOVALE: -- it's a fact that there's a general deterioration of the ability to receive AM signals in built-up urban areas.
3964 THE CHAIRPERSON: I agree with you wholeheartedly but is that the case in this part of the world? I understand Toronto. I understand Calgary. I understand --
3965 MR. CARNOVALE: Well, certainly, Vancouver --
3966 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- cement and steel don't work well with AM signals.
3967 MR. CARNOVALE: And that's what happens here. And case in point, a few years ago you licensed CBC for a rebroadcaster on 88.1, which is now running a full 100 kilowatts --
3968 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
3969 MR. CARNOVALE: -- and they continue to simulcast on 690. And back then -- and I was presenting at that hearing -- there was a ton of AM interference right in the hotel where we were. You've got the high-rise buildings that can absorb the signal and in fact can be resonant at the AM frequency.
3970 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Carnovale, do we have any evidence that this signal has been weakened since 2005?
3971 MR. CARNOVALE: We have no measurements.
3972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Let's move on
3973 MS DATT: Commissioner, I would like --
3974 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Madam Datt.
3975 MS DATT: I would also like to add -- and I think I didn't answer your question properly. You said, did any -- you know, is it programming or is it your frequency?
3976 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
3977 MS DATT: I say it's frequency.
3978 When we entered into the market and there was another station licensed, our original idea was to take our SCMO service to an AM --
3979 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
3980 MS DATT: -- which we did not. We felt that there was a need to provide programming for a different demographic, which was a younger demographic and that was one demographic that was not looked after. And this is 2006, so we launched the station with a Top 40 format. That was a risk we took at that time and that risk, I bore all the cost for that.
3981 Seven years later, that service is popular. It's making a difference. But for us to continue, because we are a music format, we really do need to be on FM. So that was my answer.
3982 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. No problem.
3983 The second criteria that was raised was the idea of diversity of new voices --
3984 MS DATT: Yes.
3985 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and I guess part of that idea is that we bring new players into the system and we add voice to the communities that they are supposed to serve.
3986 So, on the diversity of voices front, wouldn't you be looking for something new and different to add to the mosaic of the region?
3987 MS DATT: We cover Surrey really well.
3988 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm. M'hmm.
3989 MS DATT: There are many programs that we sponsor. We talk about Surrey in all our programs.
3990 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm going to get to Surrey, but on the diversity of voices question?
3991 MS DATT: Yes. In this area, yes, we do.
3992 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. Wouldn't you want to --
3993 MS DATT: Add some more --
3994 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- add something new if you're going to make the diversity of voices argument?
3995 MR. DATTA: Well, as Steve Mossop and with our market research that we've provided, this market is quite saturated with services for the South Asian community and, you know, this is very clear and this has been talked about numerous times throughout this hearing, that there are already five services, three from the States and two licensed AM and FM services in Canada.
3996 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
3997 MR. DATTA: There is enough voice for the South Asian community.
3998 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So you're talking about -- you're getting more into issues of market impact than diversity of voices. I've tried on two occasions. I'm going to move on to another line of questioning in terms of diversity of voices.
3999 A lot of what I heard under the diversity of voices chapter --
4000 MS DATT: Yes.
4001 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- is that, and rightfully so -- the words here are "My mother is a highly respected member of the community."
4002 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4003 THE CHAIRPERSON: No one can argue that. An honoured member, and again, rightfully so. Some might call her a legend for a lot of reasons, right, first woman, first woman of a visible minority and so on and so forth, honourable all of them, but how does that go to diversity of new voices?
4004 MS DATT: When you say diversity of new voices --
4005 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
4006 MS DATT: -- our station provides programming for many different languages. That is diversity. We have an Italian program that was not -- that was almost finished. When I first came here in 1972, the Italian program used to have about four to five hours a day of programming, and slowly and gradually when Fairchild or CHMB took over, the programming went to one hour a day and eventually ended.
4007 So when we got 1200 AM, we promised that we would look after communities that still need service. So Italian service is there, Tagalog service is there, Farsi service is there.
4008 These are services that are reached through our AM service and every Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to midnight our programming is all in diverse voices, along with our own languages which are from South Asia.
4009 That is one component of diverse voice. In our office we have diversity in people who work with us. We have a multicultural --
4010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4011 MS DATT: -- multilingual office space where people from the South Asian community work, as you saw, Rosanne and I go back many years. Rosanne is Chinese, Bernie here is -- we call him "Gora", he's white, and so that's another part of --
4012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that white "Gora"?
4013 MS DATT: "Gora".
4014 THE CHAIRPERSON: "Gora". Okay.
4015 MS DATT: The poor guy, he has to be called that every day, I'm sorry. It's meant out of love.
4016 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, certainly. I understand. I understand your answer.
4017 MS DATT: So that's one diverse. Am I on the right track or have I missed your question completely?
4018 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's fine.
4019 MS DATT: Are you sure?
4020 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm as sure as I'm going to be.
4021 MR. DATTA: I would like to talk a little bit about our programming that we do do. Over the course of the many years, during our phase with SCMO --
4022 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4023 MR. DATTA: -- and also with RJ1200 AM, we have tackled many issues that face the community on a regular and consistent basis. There have been topics of family abuse, children witnessing abuse in the home, even to sex selection through, you know, abortion and all these other topics.
4024 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4025 MR. DATTA: These are topics that we have raised over the course of our time.
4026 THE CHAIRPERSON: Notwithstanding the fact that you are a music station?
4027 MR. DATT: Notwithstanding --
4028 MS DATT: No, not -- with SCMO.
4029 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, back in the SCMO days, okay.
4030 MS DATT: Yes.
4031 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Okay.
4032 MR. DATTA: With SCMO and all the programming. Yes, sorry, it's jumping back and forth.
4033 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4034 MR. DATTA: But we also do still cover a lot of these topics.
4035 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4036 MR. DATTA: Even with our talk show, we have a one-hour talk show. We make the most use of that time because of the fact that we are experienced broadcasters --
4037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4038 MR. DATTA: -- we know how to pick the topics, we know how to talk about the topics, we know how to make them --
4039 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because you do have 32 hours of spoken word --
4040 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4041 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- right now and that is going to continue and those are the kind of questions that you raise during that time?
4042 MR. DATTA: Yes, yes.
4043 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We gave you -- and it's funny, you know, the Commission -- you have to be careful what gifts you give because they come and sometimes they are used against you, but we did give you relief, the Commission did.
4044 MS DATT: Thank you.
4045 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4046 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's all well and good, and I didn't see an offer made if the Commission were to acquiesce to your request and allow you a rebroad under 106.9 or 107.7 that you would accelerate the payment of those CCD contributions.
4047 One may have thought that there would be some kind of quid pro quo or some kind of acceleration of that payment and that commitment, an undertaking that you signed on for when you received the licence. You don't have to answer that immediately because you haven't thought about it, but I was kind of surprised that you hadn't thought about it.
4048 MS DATT: You know, Commissioner, we were so eager to launch our 1200 AM that we looked at --
4049 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know that, but today, 2014.
4050 MS DATT: Yes. But I'm just going --
4051 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are asking -- you had your relief, you got the relief and here you are asking for something above and beyond that relief --
4052 MS DATT: Yes.
4053 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and above and beyond your licence in 2005.
4054 MS DATT: You're right.
4055 THE CHAIRPERSON: So right now, why in your thinking did you not say, "Do you know what, we are coming -- the Commission gave us a break given the difficulties we had in launching --"
4056 MS DATT: Right. Right.
4057 THE CHAIRPERSON: "-- and now we are asking for a bigger break and maybe we could put something in return for that bigger break". And I'm just trying to understand why that wasn't part of your memoir, your factum.
4058 MS DATT: I will answer that question --
4059 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
4060 MS DATT: -- in three points.
4061 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4062 MS DATT: We did make a mistake and we are fixing that mistake.
4063 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4064 MS DATT: And we paid for that mistake by getting a short-term renewal.
4065 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
4066 MS DATT: Having said that, when we were doing SCMO we had no conditions of licence, we were raising funds for the community, we were promoting artists and we continue doing that.
4067 I could say right now sitting here, please give me the licence and I will make my payments quickly and economic downturn happens or something else happens, I would look like a fool asking for it and then not fulfilling it.
4068 THE CHAIRPERSON: No problem.
4069 MS DATT: But you have a very valid question, if we are profitable and we do with 107.7 or 106.9, we get that, with your kindness because, yes, we made a mistake, but our misunderstanding was that we were committing $60,000 a year and we were doing over and above $60,000 in-kind. We were not made aware of this until very late in our licence period that we were not making our payments in cash dollars. But having said that --
4070 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, in-kind, okay, I just got it.
4071 MS DATT: In kind, yes.
4072 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, yes.
4073 MS DATT: So yes, we used to give service for over $160,000, not $60,000. Having said that, we have dealt with that in our last renewal period and I will certainly discuss this with our legal counsel and our team.
4074 And I think you've got a very good point, yes, to get something you have to give something back in return, and if we are profitable would we make our commitment to make those payments faster. Bernie, if we are making money, won't we?
4075 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I will let you guys conference on that later on.
4076 MS DATT: He said yes.
4077 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, what else could he say?
4078 MS DATT: Well, he could say no.
4079 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you put it that way -- well...
4080 MR. MERLD: She has a very good knack of putting me on the spot.
4081 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is very hard to say no to Madam Datt.
4082 MR. WEAFER: Mr. Chairman, just to supplement the response.
4083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4084 MR. WEAFER: I think you have seen the financial projections --
4085 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4086 MR. WEAFER: -- and they are not profitable until year three of this term.
4087 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4088 MR. WEAFER: So while the discussion may occur, I appreciate you don't want them amending their application and that shouldn't occur. Looking at the financial projections it will be difficult, it will be 10 years operating the licence without a profit, and that -- I can understand from my relationship with the applicant, that's a challenge.
4089 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4090 MR. WEAFER: So. I think they are trying to be conservative and fair with their forecast.
4091 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. It's more conservative than obviously some other applicants that are calling on -- or expecting to be profitable in sort of year four as an example and you have already got quite a few years under your belt. That's a whole different issue.
4092 When you talk about projections, and I'm happy you sort of raised the question because I look at the projections and I think you would agree with me that you would rather have 107 as opposed to 106.9 -- 107.7 as opposed to 106.9.
4093 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4094 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did I read the financials correctly in that your projections don't change between 106.9 and 107.7?
4095 MR. DATTA: I'm going to be honest here in that I think when we -- that's all we can be, is be honest.
4096 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think that's the idea.
4097 MR. DATTA: One would hope. One would hope. But when we went for our AM licence we gave projections that did not come to pass and when creating these projections we were a little gun shy, and I think rightfully so, from our point of view, in that when we made those projections we didn't think that an FM licence would come into our competitor and even if they were, they weren't going to be as strong a quality licence as they have become.
4098 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4099 MR. DATTA: On top of that, we did not foresee a global economic downturn in 2008. We did not see a third --
4100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I understand all that, but right now, 2014 going forward you would agree that 106.9 is an inferior signal to 107.7?
4101 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4102 THE CHAIRPERSON: Notwithstanding that fact, your projections are identical --
4103 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4104 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- between 106.9 and 107.7.
4105 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4106 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you explain that?
4107 MR. DATTA: To get to that our idea is that these are numbers that we feel that we can attain no matter which signal we get. This is very conservative. If I was to be an entrepreneur and just like throw caution to the wind and, you know, everything is positive and, you know, everything, I would probably say that our numbers, we could probably increase 106.9 by 20 percent, maybe 25.
4108 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
4109 MR. DATTA: On 107.7 we could probably increase those numbers by 25, maybe 30, maybe even 35 percent.
4110 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4111 MR. DATTA: But these numbers that we have here we think are very doable, irrespective of which frequency we get.
4112 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Would you believe that you would be in a position to repatriate some of the revenues going south of the border right now? Did I understand correctly, Madam Datt?
4113 MS DATT: Yes.
4114 THE CHAIRPERSON: You would?
4115 MS DATT: Yes, we would.
4116 THE CHAIRPERSON: These stations, the cross-border stations, especially the one that is acquiring the lion's share of the revenues, if you will --
4117 MS DATT: Yes.
4118 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- Is that a music station or a talk station?
4119 MS DATT: Talk station.
4120 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So how would you as a music station pick up a large share of the listenership and revenues consequently? How does that square?
4121 MS DATT: We do one hour of talk and people don't usually sit and listen to talk all day. I think one hour is more than enough.
4122 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is going to be a surprise to a lot of talk stations.
4123 MS DATT: Yes, I know. Well, one hour at a time.
4124 THE CHAIRPERSON: And a lot of talk station advertisers.
4125 MS DATT: Sorry, one hour at a time. I correct myself, one hour at a time. So I feel that the subject and programs that we would bring in our talk show component would bring listeners to our station. And our station is a very light hearted station and people in today's day and age with the economy the way it is, you need to be a bit light hearted and you need to listen to that music once in a while.
4126 And I think if we were on FM we would get way more listeners that are listening to other stations come to us.
4127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even if they are talk stations and you are a music station?
4128 MS DATT: Yes. I do believe that.
4129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. No problem. Mr. Merkl...?
4130 MR. MERKL: I'm sorry, if I might --
4131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or "Gora"?
4132 MS DATT: The token "Gora".
4133 MR. MERKL: The token "Gora".
4134 THE CHAIRPERSON: Excuse my pronunciation.
4135 MR. MERKL: I'm sorry, the challenge here --
4136 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm better at Canadian Punjabi, literal Punjabi. Go ahead, sorry.
4137 MR. MERKL: The challenge here is when we are talking format, when we are talking AM, or as I have spoken before, the also-rans, RED-FM has a huge competitive advantage on that frequency.
4138 We are an entertainment format, we are a music format and the way that the consumer, the way that the listener consumes media now is completely different than it was 10 years ago, and so you need the best format possible. When it comes down to buyers making decisions, they have to make a decision based on what programs and/or what products are presented on that format.
4139 So, let's say if it's a tiered buy, RED-FM wins by default. When it goes to a secondary buy and they're looking at the AM signals, the challenge then is: What is the product that is being presented on that signal --
4140 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4141 MR. MERKL: -- and what is the best use of my dollars? And the challenge is, really the product is great, it's targeted. When you look at it from a demographic perspective and targeting as far as the advertisers are concerned, it's brilliant. As a matter of fact, I think that has been shown in what the other applicants have presented. Really it's just a question of presenting in the best format possible.
4142 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you look at spectrum at some point and maybe think that there was another AM station that could help?
4143 MR. DATTA: I'm sorry, help?
4144 THE CHAIRPERSON: Help with your issues of the frequency, the strength and --
4145 MR. DATTA: We feel that this isn't really a conversation about the strength of our AM. Our AM is quite strong, but this is really a conversation of AM versus FM.
4146 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4147 MR. DATTA: The sound quality on FM, it's noticeably -- the high fidelity sound of FM --
4148 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4149 MR. DATTA: -- is far more pleasing to a listener than --
4150 THE CHAIRPERSON: Music listeners than --
4151 MR. DATTA: Than AM. I would also like Steve Mossop --
4152 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can I ask a question, if you are going to go onto the technical, Steve Mossop?
4153 MR. DATTA: Mossop. He is our market researcher.
4154 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you look at your station right now, 1200, what population are you reaching now and what population would you be reaching under 107.7 or 106.9?
4155 Okay, that would be Mr. Carnovale.
4156 MR. DATTA: Ray Carnovale will be able to speak to that.
4157 MR. CARNOVALE: The 15 mV per meter day contour is 1,566,365.
4158 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that what you have now?
4159 MR. CARNOVALE: Daytime.
4160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4161 MR. CARNOVALE: And night time is 1,427,914.
4162 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4163 MR. CARNOVALE: And then if you look at the 5 mV AM, which under your correspondence analogies equates to the .5 mV in the FM, it is 2,355,508 day; 1,927,535 night.
4164 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And under 106.9 what happens?
4165 MR. CARNOVALE: Under 106.9, the daytime -- sorry, it's the same day and night. The 3 mV is 124,783.
4166 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, what was that number?
4167 MR. CARNOVALE: It was 124,783.
4168 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Yes.
4169 MR. CARNOVALE: And the .5 mV is 1,197,177.
4170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4171 MR. CARNOVALE: Within that contour it is subject to interference --
4172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4173 MR. CARNOVALE: -- so there are three other numbers relating to interference.
4174 THE CHAIRPERSON: I got you.
4175 MR. CARNOVALE: Do you want those?
4176 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, that's good.
4177 MR. CARNOVALE: Okay.
4178 MR. DATTA: I would like to also pass it to Steve Mossop to talk a little bit about the --
4179 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Mossop...?
4180 MR. MOSSOP: Yes, Mr. Commissioner, we did ask people. Of those who said that they would listen to the new station, so about 59 percent who said yeah, great idea, let's broadcast on FM; about 75 percent say that they would decrease their listenership of various other radio stations and 25 percent said no, it's incremental.
4181 So, of that 75 percent it impacts the U.S. stations about 16 to 19 percent of listeners say that they would listen to them less often --
4182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Yes, I got that.
4183 MR. MOSSOP: -- and 21 percent RED-FM listeners would listen a little bit less often. And another portion, 23 percent is the non-South Asian radio station. So we are picking up a bit of share from the News 1130s and 94.5, all the rest.
4184 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Your station, would you consider it to be a Vancouver-based station?
4185 MS DATT: It is considered a Vancouver-based station, but we go all over.
4186 MR. DATTA: We program to the Greater Vancouver Area, the Metro Vancouver Area --
4187 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4188 MR. DATTA: -- which essentially does include Surrey.
4189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Includes Surrey. Would you say there is a need, given Surrey's growth and given that there is no station serving Surrey -- or few stations serving Surrey per se, if any, that we have a Surrey-based station addressing the needs, concerns and interests of Surrey residents?
4190 MR. DATTA: If you are talking about the South Asian community, I think the South Asian community, as we have said -- as has been said many times, it has been -- it is being looked after by the South Asian services. If you are talking about mainstream Surrey --
4191 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are one of those services.
4192 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4193 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4194 MR. DATTA: Yes, and we are one of those services. If you are talking about mainstream Surrey, I don't know if that is something that we can really speak to, given our ability is all about ethnic.
4195 You know, I think mainstream Surrey, if it feels that it needs a service, then maybe it needs to be there, but I do think that the ethnic services are looking after Surrey's ethnic population quite well.
4196 MS DATT: Mr. Commissioner --
4197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4198 MS DATT: -- I also wanted to add that we do have our studios in Burnaby and our studios in Surrey as well.
4199 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4200 MS DATT: So we do have a presence in Surrey.
4201 MR. MOSSOP: I would also like to add as part of the research that if we break out and look at CJRJ1200 listeners currently, 41 percent of listeners are from Surrey and the rest are distributed across areas like Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, Vancouver and is one of the reasons in our methodology that we said, let's not focus just on Surrey for our method, let's go to 13 different municipalities and pick up all the listeners, all the South Asian listeners across the region. So that's a minority of 41 percent. Big, important, but still draws from the rest.
4202 MS SO: Commissioner, if I may. Also in terms of marketing and event marketing, we participate -- half of our events are in Surrey.
4203 THE CHAIRPERSON: Half your events are. Okay. Commissioner Simpson may have some questions for you.
4204 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. If you don't mind, I would like to go back and ask some programming questions again. And it's not with respect or the intent to pursue this avenue for any other reason other than to understand what our decisions might do to your station, given the financial hardships you are in already.
4205 You are in your eighth year now -- I'm prefacing.
4206 MR. DATT: Yes.
4207 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So at year seven you had the opportunity, which a lot of broadcasters have, to come back to the Commission and say, you know, what we are doing is not working and we have got to look at a different direction and that is always on the basis of a financial decision and a market research decision.
4208 Have you changed ever your programming from day one to try and modify or improve your financial position from where you were when you first went on the air?
4209 MS DATT: Thank you, Commissioner. I believe when you start something new, and RJ1200 was something new, you can't expect success right away and so we needed to give time to the service. And yes, you are right, after seven years we are seeing that although the profitability isn't there, but we have increased our share of listeners in the market, especially the new immigrants that are coming from India and the younger generation.
4210 So for us to stay steadfast on this, because you have seen -- you have got about 11 applications, the majority of them wanting to do what we are already doing, it is a format that will be successful, and that is my belief. And so we would like to continue on this format.
4211 MR. DATTA: If I may, there's a term in technology startups and that whole area, it's "shoot, fire, aim" and that is essentially -- the idea is, launch the product, make tweaks, make it better, make changes, and so on. And that is what we have been doing.
4212 If you listen to RJ1200 today and compare it to what it was in 2006, November 26 -- 25th when we actually launched, it is a very different show, it is a very different programming format and there are little tweaks here and there that we have done to try and make it more viable.
4213 In one of the research that was done by Steve Mossop and his company, Insights West, you will see that when they talk about listening share, we have 16 percent who listen to us every single day, weekly 30 percent, 14 percent listen to us on a monthly basis, giving us a total of 59 percent of the market share.
4214 This isn't -- these aren't small numbers and I think financially, yes, we are not successful, but I think in many other ways we are very successful. I think we are successful in giving our audience something that is sorely lacking up until we came into the -- onto the scene. So I think, yes, we have -- we have made tweaks here and there to make it more desirable to listeners.
4215 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, I'm trying to create an avenue to go back to your argument that it's not the programming but the spectrum.
4216 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4217 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I will make the observation that we have been batting around whether there is five or six competitors in the marketplace, but it is my understanding, not being a listener of a lot of the offerings, although, you know, I've been dialing in and listening from time to time, that of those five or six offerings really only yourself and RED have been fulsome in music programming, and yet RED seems to be wildly successful and you are not.
4218 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4219 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So is that again, one more time with feeling, principally because of spectrum or something that perhaps you haven't tweaked enough in your programming?
4220 MS SO: Spectrum.
4221 MR. DATTA: It's purely spectrum is what we believe it to be.
4222 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So one competitor is hurting your prospect. So going over to the other side of the equation with the other three stations or four stations -- let's say three -- which are predominantly talk?
4223 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4224 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: They've got numerically more competition for the year for that kind of programming, yet they seem to be successful. So I guess the question is: If we were to, in our infinite wisdom as a Commission, decide to license yet another South Asian-focused station that, let's say for sake of argument, was music programming, would that be the nail in the coffin for you guys?
4225 MS DATT: I would say it would be very devastating. It would be a nail in the coffin, then we will have to come to you.
4226 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
4227 MS DATT: I think that ethnic services for the South Asian community, I think there are enough. I think in the English language service for this community, for the Surrey community, because you are talking about Surrey, maybe there is a need for that and we don't have a problem with that, but I think an ethnic service would mean that we have already got an FM competitor. As you know, at Point Roberts there's going to be a huge, big transmitter being set up, that is going to be a new station that will blare into British Columbia in a big way, so we will consider that as a new entrant, because at the moment I think 1550 does have a problem morning and evening. Their morning is okay, and in the winter there evening isn't, but with the new transmitter it probably would make it into a very forceful entrant into the community.
4228 MR. MERKL: Excuse me, if I might. One more obvious challenge is the availability of the revenue resources that have to sustain a new licence as well. The discounting now is a real challenge.
4229 Our American competitors don't play on the same field as we do. We have infrastructure that we support in Vancouver and they don't have those same challenges. To introduce another applicant, those challenges are even going to get tougher.
4230 MR. DATTA: I would also like to talk to the different applications that are being put forward today. There are even applications that are English stations but are not English, they are ethnic, they are kind of ethnic but they're not really and then they are English and then they are not really.
4231 I have literally been in ethnic radio for 40 years and I had a hard time understanding what was going on; I can't expect an advertiser who isn't ethnic, who isn't -- who doesn't listen to the stations to understand what is being put forward. It's already confusing enough when you have three U.S. cross-border stations, one AM, one FM. I wouldn't be surprised if some advertisers just sort of threw their hands up in the air and said, you know what, I don't know what's going on here. Chinese makes far more sense as ethnic advertising dollars, we will just leave that there.
4232 The amount of money that is actually split up for South Asian is very small, it is a lot of conversations that we have to have with advertisers to say come and advertise within the South Asian community.
4233 MS DATT: I know you want short answers and I will give you a very short answer, another one, a very short one.
4234 Whenever an application hearing takes place Fairchild always puts in an intervention that says no more Chinese, make a condition of licence, no more Chinese, and the Chinese community is 300,000 here, we are 300,000 here. They've got three stations, two AM, one FM. We have three cross-border AM stations, our AM service stand-alone and an FM service, so five versus three and the community size is the same.
4235 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Just with respect to your point about tweaking, the population demographic data that I have seen on the South Asian population has been roughly in the area of six to 7:1 to one with respect to Punjabi versus the Hindu population. What is your percentage of spoken word in Punjabi versus speaking to the Hindu market?
4236 MR. DATTA: In terms of our national --
4237 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, I just don't have your COL in front of me, that's why.
4238 MR. DATTA: Yes. Our COL is 78 percent combined between the two of them with I believe a minimum of 38 percent and we are well above that number in terms of --
4239 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But what is the split between Punjabi and Hindi?
4240 MR. DATTA: The split between Punjabi and Hindi, I would probably say it would be about 40 percent in Hindi and the rest coming up in Punjabi.
4241 MS DATT: Thirty-eight percent in Punjabi and 40 percent --
4242 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So Punjabi is a minority compared to Hindi?
4243 MS DATT: Well, our dedicated programming, we do the most dedicated programming in Punjabi.
4244 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
4245 MS DATT: We have dedicated hours in Punjabi, plus throughout the day there are more Punjabi songs playing on our station than any other radio stations. But the ratio, we are an inclusive station, we service the entire community, we are not servicing just the Punjabi community.
4246 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
4247 MS DATT: Some -- and I think Rosanne might have the figures -- some Census figures mentioned that the Punjabi population is decreasing here and the population is increasing. Our programming reflects all that.
4248 MS SO: I think what the Census shows us is that in terms of linguistic in the 2001 Census Hindi has increased from 2006 to 2011 by 44 percent and we don't see that significant increase in terms of Punjabi.
4249 The change in migration as well, the international immigrant is coming in as an immigrant class mostly from India, as opposed to in the past traditionally family class.
4250 And just a bit of correction in terms of the Chinese versus South Asian population, it is 411,000 for Chinese and about 313 for the Province of British Columbia. So, Chinese is -- what's interesting is the Canadian population of Chinese is 1.3 million compared to 1.5 million of South Asian, but in B.C. it's the opposite, Chinese does have the larger number.
4251 MR. DATTA: And coming back to our programming in terms of Hindi versus Punjabi, the reason why there is a larger portion of Hindustani programming is because of the fact that it's a language that's understood by everyone.
4252 If you are Punjabi, there's more likelihood that you were going to understand Hindustani than someone who is Hindustani-speaking is going to understand Punjabi. A lot of the music that we play is Bollywood-based as well which bridges between Hindustani or Punjabi. We do have, like I said, dedicated Punjabi programming, but throughout the day we do play a lot of Punjabi programming -- a lot of Punjabi music.
4253 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And I understand the rationale for that, because when you look at the composition in India you've got, you know, well in excess of 80 percent --
4254 MR. DATTA: Yes.
4255 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- Hindu, two or 3 percent Punjabi, you know, you are quite upside down.
4256 MR. DATTA: Here, yes.
4257 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That was the substance of my question. Thank you very much. That's it.
4258 MS DATT: I wanted to add that I am a Punjabi as well.
4259 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That's inclusiveness.
4260 THE CHAIRPERSON: I couldn't pull that off. I could try, but nobody would believe me.
4261 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all so much. We will take a five-minute recess and we will be back at 4:00 p.m. with 2308739.
4262 Thank you.
4263 MS DATT: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1555
--- Upon resuming at 1604
4264 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon. If people in the back could take their seats and if we could close that front door, that's great. Thank you so much.
4265 Madame la Secrétaire, Mr. Millar is here, and guests.
4266 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We will now proceed with item 11 on the agenda, which is an application by 2308739 Ontario Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial AM radio station in Vancouver.
4267 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
4268 Thank you.
4269 MR. MILLAR: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners Simpson, Shoan, CRTC staff.
4270 My name is Cal Millar, I am the President and COO of Channel Zero. To my right is Bryan Woodruff, the General Manager of BIZ600, and to my left, Chris Fuoco, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Channel Zero.
4271 The premise of BIZ600 and the presentation that we are going to take you through today is based on three core ideas. The first is that there is insufficient business news being broadcast on radio today in Canada. What does exist is superficial and not very meaningful at that. Business news on the radio today is like reading a newspaper that contains just headlines and none of the stories.
4272 The second point is that news gathering and delivery into local markets has become fundamental to Channel Zero and this is how we will continue to grow as a broadcaster.
4273 And, finally, business radio is a proven concept. There are 34 business news radio stations operating in the United States. In fact, just across the border from here there are three broadcasting as we speak in Washington State. We have conducted two separate market research studies that both confirm the viability and appeal of business news radio in Canada.
4274 So let's begin. We are here today to talk about money or, more to the point, how we talk about money. Over the past 24 hours you may have heard a business update on the radio that sounds something like this:
4275 MR. WOODRUFF: At the close of trade the Toronto Stock Exchange is down 135 points to 13,582; New York is off by 41 points at 15,837; we've got the dollar trading up by 2/10 of a cent at 89.95 cents U.S.; and oil, it's up a nickel at 95.77 cents a barrel.
4276 MR. MILLAR: We hear that kind of information every day, but how many of us understand what those numbers really mean? When was the last time you made an important decision based on a market update heard on the radio station?
4277 I'm guessing never. Have you ever committed to a mortgage rate based on a brief radio business update stuffed between the sports and the weather? Probably not.
4278 The business news information Canadians get from radio today is so superficial and sporadic that it is of little value. BIZ600, serving Metro Vancouver, will put real meaning into business reporting and provide useful, consistent and valuable information.
4279 BIZ600's programming will have broad appeal, it is a format that crosses cultures, it reaches out to all communities and virtually all demographic groups. Business news is relevant to the daily lives of millions of people. Household debt in Canada remains at historically high levels. Our debt to income ratio is higher than that of the U.S. and Britain and the Bank of Canada continues to cite this issue as the biggest threat to our economy.
4280 BIZ600 is all about reporting financial news, yet serving it up in a way that is accessible and engaging to the widest number of Vancouverites. BIZ600 will take the news originating on Wall Street and make it relevant on your street.
4281 We have a short video to introduce you to our vision of BIZ600. Please rotate.
--- Video presentation
4282 MR. MILLAR: Canadian consumers are discovering the sobering reality that they must take control of their own finances to secure their future and they need information that is accessible and understandable to help them do so. There is a clear need. We have commissioned several waves of major market research by Harris/Decima to confirm this; 86 percent of respondents said that they had investments, including pension and retirement savings funds. This isn't surprising. What is disturbing is that 81 percent felt they don't have proper understanding of financial matters.
4283 Radio gives us more information about NHL trades than personal finance. We get much more talk about Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus than we do about Vancouver's thriving business community. In Vancouver almost half of all respondents stated that business news was an important topic. That's interesting, because it compares to sports news in terms of information that audiences seek. The sports market is well served with Team 1040 and 1410 and there are significant sports programming blocks on other talk stations, yet despite listeners telling us that business news is of equal importance to sports, a dedicated business station is absent from the Vancouver soundscape.
4284 We have found that in the current Vancouver radio market on existing news and talk stations, less than five percent of information presented on a given weekday is business news and what is provided lacks context and relevance, as you saw earlier. There is, however, ample evidence of demand for the programming format that BIZ600 will offer. David Chilton's "Common Sense Guide To Personal Investing: The Wealthy Barber", has sold over two million copies, making it one of Canada's best-selling books ever.
4285 Canada's practical financial advice magazine "MoneySense" is read by over 950,000 Canadians. When complex financial concepts are presented in an easy to understand and accessible way, people listen.
4286 Half of the respondents to our survey said they were likely or very likely to listen to a business news radio station if one were available.
4287 There is a large potential audience in Vancouver for business news and information. The first group would be almost 55,000 people in Metro Vancouver who work in the financial services business. Business news matters to them because they deal with it every day at work and they face one of the longest commutes in North America. It's almost, as they say, a no-brainer that this station will appeal to them and they will be some of our most dedicated listeners.
4288 Secondly, there are 207,000 small businesses in the Vancouver area. These businesses, as the Prime Minister says, are the backbone of the Canadian economy. These hard-working entrepreneurs are busy and need access to ideas and information that is immediate and easily accessible so that they continue to grow their businesses. This large segment of the market is a second natural audience for BIZ600.
4289 And finally, consumers. Consumers represent the largest audience opportunity for BIZ600 and, as we have been talking about today, there are approximately 200 in the contour area of the 600 AM frequency. BlackBerry was the top Canadian news story back in 2013, last year, and as BlackBerry's story unfolded average Canadian consumers paid a lot of attention. People out shopping for Smartphones took the uncertainty around BlackBerry's long-term outlook into account when making their own personal shopping decisions. This very recent example is why we know the content on BIZ600 will be relevant to every home in the city. The need and potential audience for reliable, credible and timely business information is clear.
4290 MR. WOODRUFF: How will the station work? We will make it our job to go behind the headlines, to take the fear out of finance and the confusion out of market activity and to make it understandable. We will provide information that helps people better to succeed at their jobs, families to better decide their household spending, young people to plan for their education and their careers, small business and entrepreneurs to get ahead and to provide Vancouver's business executives with the kind of radio that is heard in financial centres elsewhere in the world.
4291 Let me take you through a broadcast day. The Drive is about hitting the road and getting the information we need on our way to and from work. It features a fast-paced news wheel along with expert analysis on current breaking and anticipated business news stories, dealing with these topics in plain English and explaining their significance to you and me.
4292 Daytime programming will include talk shows about career advice, small business coaching, family and household finances and retirement planning.
4293 Evening programming will include more in-depth examination of the financial issues facing Metro Vancouver. We will invite the audience to call in and interact with our hosts and our guests. Our programming includes the Entrepreneur, which will feature emerging and high-profile entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and advice with listeners.
4294 And we wouldn't be an effective business news station here in Vancouver if we didn't cover the Asian markets. Our live overnight programming will dive into business issues and market updates originating from India, China, Japan and the Pacific Rim, providing information not found anywhere else on the dial.
4295 MR. FUOCO: The focus of our service will be about business news and information, but it will also be about locally produced and locally relevant information and news. Full up-to-the-minute newscasts will air every 30 minutes at the top and bottom of the clock, with additional headline briefs twice an hour throughout the day. Weather and traffic updates will be on the sixes.
4296 The BIZ600 newsroom will be located close to the newsmakers in downtown Vancouver. We will launch with a dedicated staff of 32 professionals. Our on-air and editorial staff will include experienced business journalists, producers and hosts dedicated to delivering the most relevant stories of the day.
4297 Over the past six years BIZ600's parent company, Channel Zero, has evolved into an independent news organization. We have pioneered innovative and efficient means of gathering and broadcasting very relevant local news content. Continuing to expand our newsgathering capabilities and delivering news into new local markets is fundamental to Channel Zero's growth strategy.
4298 We know a great deal about local news and information. Our station, CHCH in Hamilton, Ontario produces more local television news than any other over-the-air station in North America. BIZ600 will provide the same quality of timely and relevant business news to Vancouver.
4299 At the same time, we know that the scope of business news spans the globe. As evidence of Channel Zero's commitment to this format, we have put in place a new sharing agreement with the Bloomberg organization. Bloomberg is a recognized world leader in creating business news. Bloomberg has over 15,000 employees in 192 locations and through its network of terminals it generates and delivers business and financial information, news and insight from around the world. In Canada, Bloomberg has news bureaus located in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal and employs a team of 31 business journalists and generates more than 250 Canadian business news stories each week.
4300 By combining the global reach of Bloomberg and BIZ600's 32 dedicated employees here on the ground in Vancouver, we will deliver exceptional business news and information to this market.
4301 Local advertising revenues on the station will come largely from advertisers who, at present, do not use radio and to date have used newspaper, magazine and outdoor to reach their target audience. More than half of our projected revenues will come from national advertisers, which is not the norm for the Vancouver radio market, but is the norm for business radio stations that operate in the United States. These two factors combined is why we feel that BIZ600 will have minimal impact on the Vancouver radio market from a revenue perspective.
4302 We should also point out that AM 1300, KKOL out of Seattle is a business format station and it reaches Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and into Victoria. The fact that this station bleeds into this market means that it takes listeners and, to the level that it can be successful, advertising out of the Canadian system, yet, at the same time, it makes no contribution to the system.
4303 We have told you about how the station will work and the audience it will serve. There are other important elements of our application that we should highlight.
4304 BIZ600 will add diversity to the Vancouver radio market and to the Canadian radio landscape and by diversity I mean a new voice in the Vancouver radio landscape and our format will also be new and diverse.
4305 Channel Zero is a stable and growing broadcaster largely focused on gathering and disseminating news and information into local markets. Of all the applications at this hearing, our format will cause the least amount of disruption in the marketplace because our content will bring new listeners and advertisers to radio.
4306 In 34 markets in the United States, business news comfortably coexists with other talk radio formats. The BIZ600 format is ideally suited to online content and multiple applications. Canadians already use the Internet to obtain business news and information, but for in-depth constantly updated business-only information that is focused on Vancouver, the sources of supply are limited.
4307 Our content will be mostly proprietary and, therefore, available for us to archive and exploit on all platforms. This creates more opportunities for interacting with and engaging our audience whenever and however they wish to access our programs.
4308 MR. MILLAR: Not to overstate it, but we think business news on the radio is a big idea. We plan on building out a national business news network and Vancouver has the opportunity to be the first market that we launch in.
4309 In closing, we would like to revisit the three core ideas behind BIZ600. Number one, there is insufficient business news on the radio today in Canada, what does exist is superficial and not incredibly meaningful.
4310 Two, expanding Channel Zero's newsgathering and delivery into new local markets is how we will continue to grow as a company.
4311 And finally, business radio is a proven concept. We have told you that 34 business news radio stations are operating in the United States while Canada has none. We would like to change that.
4312 Thank you for your time this afternoon. We welcome your questions.
4313 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Millar. Commissioner Simpson...?
4314 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. KKOL in Seattle, from what I can see, uses an awful lot of syndicated programming. Is this the case here or -- I know there is a commitment you have made to local programming, but I'm going to be spending quite a bit of time understanding the composition of your broadcast day, if it is together, and given other models in the United States, they don't seem to be as local as perhaps we would like to see here in Vancouver.
4315 MR. MILLAR: I will start with that and then I will throw it off. No, I -- you're right and at the risk of bringing KKOL in is that it does syndicate a lot of programming and that's not the model that we're talking about at all. The reason we've brought -- we've raised it as -- as an example is it is bleeding into the marketplace. And for the dearth of Canadian programmers, people are tuning it in despite the crackling and buzzing.
4316 So to help you with our programming, we tried to do a little bit of an example that you saw in the video but also detailed in our presentation what those parts look like. You know, the morning -- the morning drive show is about getting people there. This is what we do already in a fairly large way. It's -- we call it survival information, for lack of a better term, and it's, you know, local news, local traffic, local weather, and the business stories that hook it together in the same way that a music radio station uses music to sort of give somebody a reason to go there, the rest of the time is all live broadcast. So our business news is about the stories that are breaking in Canada, breaking in Vancouver, or breaking around the world.
4317 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. You have touched in your oral presentation, you know, you put a tone on it that a lot of the financial information that would be coming out of the station would be individual investor oriented, for lack of a better term. Have I got that right?
4318 MR. MILLER: Yeah. It's part of our differentiation, which is that we -- we make a point of saying that market updates are not true business information. They're an important aspect, knowing where the markets ended, where the dollar is or where we think it may end up in the next few weeks are important aspects. But there is a big difference between simply reporting the financial news as it comes in as raw information and translating that so that it's useful to our listeners so that they can make use of it in their day-to-day lives.
4319 So if I could, I'm again freelancing a little bit, but, you know, what does it mean when the dollar is dropping against the U.S. dollar? It has a lot of effects, as you know. It can increase trade. It can cause interest rates perhaps to rise in Canada. It can depress our stock market. Those are the topics that our guests and our commentators will be talking about and really exploring because that's what makes it meaningful to us as listeners and as consumers. But there's a balance. You know, business is still about the big stories. I mean, we wouldn't -- we wouldn't be talking about money to put in your RRSP if Blackberry is imploding on us. We'd be talking about the news stories of the today.
4320 Anybody want to add to that?
4321 MR. FUOCO: Yeah, I can certainly do that, Cal. I think one of the lines that we're most proud of in our presentation says, you know, we're going to take the news that originates on Wall Street, and you can substitute Bay Street or any other major financial capital, and we're going to take that information and translate it into -- into terms that you can use on your street. And -- and we use the example of Blackberry through 2013. I think depending on who you are as a listener, that story has different meaning. If you are managing a major mutual fund, the way you view that story and follow Blackberry is very different than somebody who is walking into a Bell or Telus or Rogers phone centre and deciding I have to buy a new smartphone, do I want to place my bet on a company that potentially may not be around for the next two years? So that same story means different things to individuals and our job is going to be to -- to cover it from those different angles. The core thinking behind the station from a -- from a proposition is that we will -- we will cover all those diverse topics and be able to make them relevant and meaningful to, as I say, not only the folks at work dedicated in the financial industry but also people that are going to treat -- use this information to help them with day-to-day purchasing decisions.
4322 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm. But not to belabour it but to really grasp the programming tone, you're not talking finance for dummies either, you're talking about taking a subject matter that has a global impact, a market impact, and personal perhaps product purchase choice impact and you sort of run the table on that idea. But are you doing this all the time or are you going to do it in segments with different types of programming?
4323 MR. WOODRUFF: Well, I can address that, thank you. I think --
4324 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I love this stuff, so I -- so bear with me.
4325 MR. WOODRUFF: I agree. Me too. Me too.
4326 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4327 MR. WOODRUFF: I think to put it in a clear way, business news is the backdrop. It's the backdrop of the station. It's how we tell the story and then we relate it back to not only entrepreneurs but we relate it back to the consumer. Again, this isn't a business news station directed at the top 3 percent of people on Bay Street or on West Hastings or the financial centres or on Wall Street. It's taking business and then again, as we've said, making it accessible and understandable to the widest -- widest amount of audience we possibly can. And again, if you look at the shows we're doing, we're looking at advice for entrepreneurs, personal finance advice that makes up some of our daytime programming. Again, business news will always be the backdrop for this station.
4328 MR. MILLER: And maybe to put a bow on it, if I can, or maybe, I had an opportunity to chat with Phil Crawley, the publisher of the Globe and Mail, the last week. And he was asking, you know, when the hearing was. And I said, you know, essentially Report on Business is a pretty good proxy, in some ways it's the old technology in print, but we'd like to get that balance. Because I think you can -- you can most days read Report on Business and you can skip a lot of stories because they're of so much value to you and other -- and not, but certain ones will grab you. And -- and there are stories that are consumer oriented. You know, today's was Apple's reporting. There's an angle about that on expectations and the -- why -- why their best results caused the market -- the share price to drop. You know, again, common sense says that's wrong. Even, you know, simple business people like us go why would the share price drop when -- when in fact everything happened? Expectations. So that's sort of -- it's not, you know, investing for dummies or finance for dummies, but there is sort of a other people spend more time thinking about this than we do as entrepreneurs or as -- as people in the media. Having that explained in hindsight seems kind of common sense, but it's helpful to have it explained. So if I can, a bit of a proxy to -- to what you would see in ROB because I think that's a really good balance, as -- as compared to the Financial Post.
4329 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. So let's go a different direction on the programming issue, national versus local. You know, you brought up newspapers. And in my days in not that business but buying that type of medium became very evident over a very slow and painful period of 20, 25 years that people were running out of time and the stuff that they needed to know was more associated with the local issues. It was nice to know who the next president of France is going to be, but I need to know my kid's soccer schedule. And I'm just wondering from a non-business perspective, where, again, you're going to run the table from the big concept down to the product purchase decision, how your programming is going to be faithful to the prime directive, if you want, of what makes radio work, which is locality. So all the other stuff people need to know.
4330 MR. MILLER: I mean, I guess I would -- would start with the fact that -- that one thing in the last six years and we wanted to talk about, it's one of our sort of core themes, is that we've gotten fairly adept at gathering and disseminating local news, but doing it in a way that covers not just the local news, not the hyper local that is only about what's happening in your neighbourhood or your area but all the news but delivered to you with that local flavour. And it's -- it's a difficult concept sometimes for people to see, but that's -- it's -- or to understand right off because it's -- it's the -- as a local media, in this case radio, we're the ones people are tuned into. Having -- having our traffic on the 6s is a given because 10 times an hour it would be -- or, sorry, six times an hour it would be very useful to actually be able to know what's happening on your drive. At the same time the -- the topic most relevant to -- from somebody who's interested in the background of business may be coming from somewhere else in the world or it may be coming, in fact, from -- from your backyard in the case of, you know, on a day where Telus is reporting their earnings, that can have a very serious effect on employment at head office. So there's -- we have a strength in local and business news is international, regional, local, and very neighbourhood.
4332 MR. FUOCO: I think, if I can add to that, Cal, and I think, Commissioner Simpson, part -- how I'd answer your question is that there's a certain amount of just execution of mechanics that you have to put in place when you want to be an all-news station. And I'll kind of walk you through what we do every day at CHCH in Hamilton. Our -- we sign on at 4:00 a.m. We're the -- we're the first morning show on the air in Toronto. But that -- the planning and the preparation for that show starts at about -- just as they go to air with the 11 o'clock the news broadcast the night before, our overnight producer shows up and starts following the stories. We send a crew out to, you know, get out in the field and see what's going on, the overnight reports. By the time we sign on at 4:00 a.m., we've got our news wheel built and then it starts to roll. And as the rest of our staff comes in throughout the course of the day, we just add the stories and follow them as they grow. So -- so there is a -- there is a skill and an expertise that -- that we're fortunate to have that skill set back in Hamilton. We'll take best practices and learning from that group and apply it here.
4333 Again I go back to some of the -- one of the portions I talked about, you know, in the way that we would deliver that immediate local news, the information that people need, it'll be delivered by doing things with, you know, full up to the minute newscasts airing every 30 minutes at the top and bottom of the clock, with updates twice an hour, weather and traffic updates once every 10 minutes. It's -- it's being that meticulous down to the minute to build that schedule. And you do it for two reasons: One, that's what the listeners want. And two, if you're going to be doing an all-day news station, you need to wield that content over and over again in order to just simply fill the air time.
4334 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Getting away from local for a second, you had mentioned, you know, the -- and I totally understand, you know, building your morning cycle with dealing with the overnights, but, you know, in a market like Vancouver, it's interesting because it's sort of like what happens on election night, you know, you turn on the television at 8 o'clock and find out who Eastern Canada had elected as the government and you feel a little bit like that in the morning with the markets unless you're disciplined enough to get up at 5:30 in the morning. There is also a saying that markets chase the sun, not the moon. And this market, while it's preoccupied with Eastern markets, is equally preoccupied with the Hong Kong Exchange, you know, what's going on in Singapore, and following the sun that way. So getting away from the local issue for a second, tell me a little bit about how you're going to deal with the interest of the Pacific Rim investor who looks that way rather than that way, that's East.
4335 MR. FUOCO: Certainly. I'll pass it to my colleague Bryan, who has ample experience in this area.
4336 MR. WOODRUFF: Well, I think when you look at the Asian markets for sure, we all know Asian markets are important, not only to Canadians but obviously for the global economy. From market updates that would cover -- in the same way we do for Wall Street or Bay Street we would cover the Hang Seng. We would cover the markets in India. We would basically bring the stories -- actually, before I should finish I should give you a quote. Warren Buffett said it best. He said that the global economy is like a spider web. When it moves over here, it moves over there. So ultimately with the content that we believe we can provide through Asia Business Live, which again is unique content not only to the marketplace but to the country, having experience that I have in covering Asian markets, and then delivering that back to the audience and making it relevant to them here in Vancouver I think is, number one, mostly important, number two, maybe not as complicated as one might think.
4337 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. But just going back on your own examples, you know, it's ironic (indiscernible) Blackberry and Apple, you know, reside more in the purchasing habits and decisions that are going to be going on in Malaysia and India and China. Just the net effect of it just happens to show up on the NASDAQ or the Toronto Exchange. So I was trying to understand whether you were focusing on the outcome of those activities or you actually had your finger on what precipitates them.
4338 MR. WOODRUFF: No, I think we treat, again as I said, Asian markets exactly the same way. And I think you're bang on in saying if you just did what we're saying don't do, you know, Hang Seng closed up 50 points and here it is, that's not what we want to be. We want to -- we want to go behind the story even -- again, even for Asian markets, say what happened in Asia.
4339 I mean, look at manufacturing, from Apple having manufacturing plants in China, from Lululemon having their issues they had with manufacturing. Those all come back to local stories that happen halfway around the world. And I think as you look at in any given news day how it unfolds and that's the type of information that we want to bring back to the audience, not just where it closes, why is it that, what happened there and what's the impact not only for Vancouver but for the Canadian economy and then, again, bringing it back to our investments and the choices we make with our household finances or personal finances.
4340 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thank you very much, Mr. Woodruff. Again, just trying to stress test perspectives of -- sensitivities to true locality and -- and the uniqueness of this market.
4341 MR. MILLER: No, I appreciate it. Commissioner Simpson, if I could maybe just add to what Bryan was saying. One of the things, and certainly Mr. Chairman will remember that we -- we made a similar pitch to this a couple of years ago and one of the key takeaways for us from that hearing was that, you know, the resources to do this were important to be able to cover the world the way we were anticipating or projecting doing that. When you look at Asia, one of the reasons that we expanded our new sharing agreements from the usual cast of suspects for us, which would be NBC, CBS -- or sorry, NBC, ABC, CNN and to some extent CBC, the reason we added Bloomberg was to do just that, to give us access to news bureaus in more parts of the world who actually weren't just interested in the political news, they were actually focused on business news. So to take your point, when a story breaks in Malaysia, Bloomberg has a news bureau there and we'd have access to that as well.
4342 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Great.
4343 To move off of programming and get into some metrics here and I'm wading into a bunch of data that I think I understand. In your application you offered -- you committed to something like a minimum of 68 hours and 12 minutes of local programming that would be by definition generated from within the walls of your facility in Vancouver?
4344 MR. MILLER: Yes.
4345 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. With respect to the rest of the programming day, in your sample program schedule you had a variety of offerings, some of which were syndicated and I would -- and could you describe to me where -- in total -- in total where that syndication would be coming from? Would they be Canadian syndicated programs or would they be international or what?
4346 MR. WOODRUFF: As -- from our programming schedule, the syndicated programming that we bring would be of interest to the people in Vancouver, but a lot of it or, say, all of it is contained on the weekends.
4347 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4348 MR. WOODRUFF: Obviously Monday through Friday is important to a business news station, and I think on Saturdays and Sundays people want to relax and we're talking about syndicating a travel show, a boat show, re-rolling some of the great things that happened in the Monday through Friday, again specifically focusing on small business, small business advice, personal finance. So some of that content, although we haven't obviously signed agreements --
4349 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4350 MR. WOODRUFF: -- it's available through syndication groups in the U.S. and also here in Canada.
4351 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But something like Top Expert or Investor Success, which is running Monday through Friday would be syndicated.
4352 MR. WOODRUFF: No, that would be -- that would be live, sir.
4353 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Oh.
4354 MR. WOODRUFF: Yeah.
4355 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, it's indicated as syndicated in your program schedule.
4356 MR. WOODRUFF: Well, that would be -- yeah.
4357 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I get two stars this week.
4358 MR. WOODRUFF: Yeah.
4359 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I think by the end of this part of the interrogation we might ask you to do an undertaking and resubmit because I'm going to continue on with some other questions that might require that you do this.
4360 You're -- you've got a couple of blocks in here call Listed radio and paid programming. What is that? This is weekend stuff, Mr. Woodruff.
4361 MR. WOODRUFF: Yeah. Listed radio is a magazine that our minority shareholders, including me in that, I'm the associate publisher of Listed, it is a magazine that's dedicated to Canadian publicly traded companies.
4362 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Ah.
4363 MR. WOODRUFF: It's an award-winning magazine and it's the only one of its kind in the country. Basically what we deal with in that magazine is issues that affect senior executives and managers in corporate companies, in publicly traded companies. And again, information that is currently not available on radio.
4364 So our thought was with the success and, of course, an award-winning magazine and the audience that's inherent in Listed, we'd be able to take that and make it a really compelling radio program and even give small managers, who are, you know, trying to work their way up to be the CEO, a better understanding of what that boardroom is like, as they call it the C-suite, and understanding that there are bigger things in the world than sitting in a big office and a big chair and just ordering people around. There's some really significant issues that are facing publicly traded companies and -- and boards and I think we can deliver that information effectively.
4365 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, I'll buy a subscription. I've got it.
4366 MR. WOODRUFF: Thank you. Thank you. We need it.
4367 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But I want to circle around because this thing is -- and again, I understand everything is still very much in formation, but I think the safest way -- unless the staff have a different idea about how we do this, I think the safest way to nail this whole area down on programming is to ask you to sort of recast that -- I'm looking at page 14 of your supplemental brief, and just sort of recast that programming week and give us a better idea of what is and isn't syndicated, the nature of where the syndicated programming is going to be coming from because this might be -- you know, this would be part of your COL probably. And if you decide that, for example, Investor Success and Top Expert are not going to make the cut and it's going to be an American program, make that sort of rough decision now because we're going to be holding you to some metrics. And then help define the Saturday and Sunday schedule a little better for us. I'm thinking particularly in the area of paid programming and what that's going to look like. Just so that -- you know, I -- to the best of your ability, but as you put it together don't think about having to commit to what actually is going to be in there but the nature of whether it's local, Canadian, or syndicated potentially from outside of the market. That's about the best way I can think of doing that.
4368 Are you happy with that, Joe? Okay. Great. Great. Perfect.
4369 Okay. So I think I can move off that and into ... Now, on the issue of -- staying with local here. Because you're a radio station, not a TV station, you know, again, we're fixated on the marketplace and what service you're going to be providing, not just to a segment of the market who are sophisticated or unsophisticated investors, CEOs and the whole bit, but the market as a whole. Now, you're going to be a news business station but functionally a business station. But can we surmise that in your plan that you're not going to -- that you're going to have some impact on offerings like CBC and WX who have a news talk slant to them? Are you going to be eating some of their lunch and is this something we have to worry about?
4370 MR. MILLER: That's always a difficult question. We don't think that we're going to have a major impact but I think it would be disingenuous for us to say that we'd have no impact. If we start to provide better, more reliable, consistent and all-day news, business news, I think it's inevitable that some -- some viewers and some listeners and some readers who are interested in that topic will congregate to us. In fact, I would hazard to say that's what we're hoping. So -- but I don't think it's necessarily that we're going to have a big impact because we're also looking at bringing advertisers into the marketplace who are currently using advertising, be it newspaper, magazine, out of home.
4371 Chris, did you want to ...
4372 MR. FUOCO: Yeah, I'd say that, you know, our application has been a matter of public record for several months. I'm sure all of the other radio stations in the market, many of which the talk stations are -- are part of large broadcasting groups with diligent regulatory departments that watch every filing, and we did not receive any interventions against commenting that we would have a negative impact on the market. So I think that in itself is a sign that they see -- they don't see -- perceive us as a threat.
4373 I think the other -- and it depends on -- when you want to talk about the impact on the market, I think it depends on how you measure it. And we feel that we will be additive, not disruptive to the market. Adding new voice to the market and bringing new categories of advertisers into radio. Not only in Vancouver but if we are -- if we continue to be successful with our plans, nationally introducing a new format.
4374 And, you know, what we did -- Listed as one example, I'll show you in the Report on Business, but we talk about advertisers, you know, when I -- when I go through the types of national clients that we're talking about, you've got Deloitte offering their services is the type of national advertiser. Cassels Brock, a law firm that operates in Toronto and Vancouver, they are not in radio today, but they're spending money in business publications. These are the kinds of clients we're looking to migrate out of one media into ours.
4375 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
4376 MR. FUOCO: That's not going to be competitive with radio.
4377 Today's report on business, you know, the types of advertisers, Manulife Financial, PowerShares ETFs, opening up a new media for categories of advertisers that don't buy radio today because there's nothing to buy from their perspective.
4378 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm, I understand that. It's not unlike vertical television, you know, a smaller audience but more affordable for individuals that can't get into the messy side of TV or magazines for that matter.
4379 But staying with this for a second, your news offering outside of business, it's in your broadcast day, sort of.
4380 Just give me a flavour as to how you're going to handle your news packages and also would there be anything else with respect to sports, weather and that sort of thing.
4381 MR. WOODRUFF: Well, I think -- I mean I appreciate the question.
4382 Obviously, as a local station we're going to report some form of general news but what we do is we flip it on its head, our top and bottom of the hour newscasts, our business news, and then we will have shorter form general and local news segments. But again the business news will make up the lion's share of our newscasts.
4383 But again, weather, traffic and, you know, not forcing somebody to go change the dial because they didn't hear how the Canucks played or whether they beat the Maple Leafs or not, we do a snow service now to cover it. But by no stretch of the imagination is it going to be to the extent of other general news stations in the marketplace.
4384 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
4385 MR. FUOCO: If I can just add to Brian's point because I think perhaps where you were going was, you know, a particular example of, say, sports talk.
4386 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, what I have to pop out, you know, one of the big problems that stations have is -- particularly in a music and entertainment format -- when you get to a certain age 30-35 years of age and you've got other responsibilities you find yourself, you know, popping in and out of the music format or talk format to go to a source of news to get the stuff that you also need to know and then you have to go back.
4387 And I was curious as to whether you were going to try and retain your listeners for better hours tuning.
4388 MR. MILLER: We spend a great deal of time thinking about how we can maintain audiences through our entire schedule. So we would absolutely want to provide enough information so that they can get the -- as we call it, the survival information they need, the news, weather, traffic, a bit of sports headlines. And then get back into that, into our core programming, the business information.
4389 The thing about the station and the format is take, for example, a few months ago the NHL signed a record ground-breaking broadcasting deal. On one hand that's a sports story that dominated.
4390 It was the lead story on the sports networks like TSN and the Fan590 in Toronto. But that was a significant business story. That's an example pf a story that we would cover in great depth and I'm sure sports talk radio stations would be doing it the same. And then we would move onto whatever the next topic is.
4391 So we believe that in any -- just about any story that you read in the newspaper there is a business angle and that's what we're going to cover. I hope that you'll be listening to it because it sounds like it's something that you're quite interested in.
4392 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Oh, you know, not at all.
4393 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But the answer is, yes, there will be some local news. Yes, there will be local weather. Yes, there will be traffic. Survival stuff?
4394 MR. MILLER: Absolutely.
4395 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
4396 MR. MILLER: And not to minimize, one of our strengths is local news. So that's something that we would be relying on because we know what it does. It keeps people coming back every day, anyways.
4397 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4398 Now, all of this local content is going to be derived from within this operation or do you have -- I'm thinking news services and other outside services that you might employ whether they be drove by you or by others. And even right up to the Bloomberg -- yeah, well, Bloomberg would be nothing more than a ticker for you or is it going to be a content provider?
4399 You know, just flesh all that out for me, Mr. Miller, please.
4400 MR. MILLER: Sure. I mean the simple answer is, yes to almost everything that you listed because we have news generation in the Toronto area in Hamilton.
4401 We're hopeful in the coming months and years that we'll broaden our television presence across the country. And so we'll have some organization here in western Canada in addition to BIZ600.
4402 So there will be that. There will be expertise that comes from that. There will be content sharing.
4403 We currently content share new shares, as we call it, amongst ourselves as broadcasters. The Rogers/Bell/Shaw/CBC share news with us and we share it back and because sometimes somebody has, you know, feet on the ground where someone else doesn't. That's typically augmented from all of us now at this point.
4404 When you go into the U.S. and internationally we usually have new sharing agreements. Again, it's just -- it's the most economical way.
4405 So we trade packages but, you know, we do double-enders. We've got live remotes. We've got satellite hook-ups where we're using -- a good example we were discussing as we were getting ready for this was last year when Pope Francis was elected.
4406 It was an important story, enough that CH sent our six o'clock anchor and a cameraman over. But because of our news-sharing agreement with CNN we had live access to all their satellite facilities, their background news and the very detailed information they were also collecting. It made a really wonderful way to bring an important story from another part of the world back to our home base.
4407 So I recognize that the answer is a little bit "yes" to everything but it is "yes" to everything because that is how news, electronic news is gathered in this day and age.
4408 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Just out of curiousity, given that you know, you're pretty good at pure news, why are you sort of going off of a tried and true formula of what's worked for you and getting into the deep end of the pool with business?
4409 Why are you just -- why hasn't this been done before and why do you think you should be doing it?
4410 MR. MILLER: Okay. Well, so thank you for that question, because one of the fundamental reasons we've applied for this is that there is an absence in the market.
4411 And you know, I suggest perhaps you but certainly me find this intriguing, that when I travel I listen to business news radio stations. I occasionally turn on satellite radio and pick up some feeds there. Unfortunately, of course, there is no survival information, no local information. So I'm forced to jump in and out.
4412 It seems to me that the right place to go for it to build a business that's sustainable and has a chance to be profitable, is to go where the fish are but the other fishermen aren't. That's what business news represents.
4413 I think that we do bring the credibility of having -- knowing and being a news organization ourselves that we're not getting ourselves in too deep, that we're not -- you know, I guess what I would say is that when we do leave here what we're going back to is a business the generates news, gathers it and disseminates it to our local markets.
4414 So it plays to our strengths. Yet, it gives us the opportunity to present a product that is -- we believe it shows us is in demand but that is not being served.
4415 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
4416 MR. WOODRUFF: If I could just add one little thought to that, I think it's passion as well.
4417 I spent 24 years working in radio; 18 of those working in business news. I ran Canada's business news network here which provided updates to CFRB and QR77 CJAD and throughout that time my biggest problem was those pesky, 20-second market updates. It really provided such a -- as we said, superficial meaningless information on the radio for people.
4418 And again, as Cal said, go where the other fishermen are. But when we look at the huge hole that exists in the Canadian radio market and then we look at the success of the U.S. and there's 34 of them.
4419 So again, mixed with passion and logic, we know there is a definite hole in this marketplace and also across the country for business news.
4420 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I'm going to move into the area of CCD and let's talk about your commitment to emerging music. Just kidding.
4421 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But I would like to know a little bit more about your plans. You've got a nice chunk of change that you're committing to spending but I think we need to unpack it a bit.
4422 First off, there is a fairly good chunk of -- you know, with respect to "development implementation of a new course in business broadcast journalism" that sounds intriguing to me, but there's not a number attached to it. So by subtraction are we to figure that out for ourselves or what?
4423 MR. MILLER: Let me -- this is the third star, Commissioner Simpson.
4424 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4425 MR. MILLER: Because when we were asked this on deficiency and we answered it quite fulsomely, but there were a couple of typos and leftover pieces from deficiencies.
4426 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Yeah.
4427 MR. MILLER: So it perhaps is -- and we're only going to talk right now about the above and beyond, over and above contribution, because of course we'd be making the statutory contributions.
4428 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
4429 MR. MILLER: Fair enough?
4430 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, okay, fair enough. Yeah.
4431 MR. MILLER: So it's our proposal that we would have direct scholarships to the amount of $5,000 for a student.
4432 The second -- Bryan, do you want to just pull that up?
4433 And we also -- you know, working from the direction in Decision 2006 and 158, paragraph eight, we wanted to do something. So starting with what we wanted to do, we wanted to do something that was meaningful for the students, the journalism students which is what we focused on.
4434 And because there is not an awful lot of business news journalism, all of our over and above initiatives are concentrated on trying to help develop that very talent pool that there are courses of study on but they usually, you know, don't focus on just business because there is no career path in it. So we wanted to provide both scholarship and a career path.
4435 So the second element that's come to me is the -- we would also provide a summer internship which would be paid that would also be in the amount of $5,000. Again, all of these, the students that would be selected for these we propose would be selected by the schools.
4436 The third element is a larger piece which is for graduating students. So a scholarship awarded to a graduating student and it would be a full year of employment right in the news room and, you know, they might be finishing up courses or starting on graduates but it would also be fully paid and not by the school as a scholarship, as a bursary.
4437 So that's our plan that adds up to $50,000 a year over seven years.
4438 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: $50,000, $350, yeah.
4439 MR. MILLER: So yeah, $50,000 per year.
4440 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, okay.
4441 MR. MILLER: Over seven years.
4442 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And the amount for the development, for the course that you were speaking of is how much?
4443 MR. MILLER: That's why I said the typo is -- that's included in that.
4444 The typo was that the bursary when we first submitted it, we had it as a course development internship paid at $40,000 for a full year for that student. You know, we were given advice that that was -- probably veered beyond what the direction allowed.
4445 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
4446 MR. MILLER: And so that the course itself is really that full internship.
4447 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4448 MR. MILLER: So that's how we've proposed it. You know, we think it works but we're obviously open to some guidance.
4449 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: We love charts and timelines and numbers. Did you see what we put the radio guys through that you TV guys don't have to put up with?
4450 MR. MILLER: I noticed.
4451 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You know, honestly, I get it.
4452 But I really -- and again, this is just me talking, but I think you might want to look at the CCD commitment because to me it's a little vague still. I understand the objective behind it, but what staff is trying to figure out is the amounts of money per year over the seven years and then the totals by category of spending and then another crack at the lead-in paragraphs that help them -- gives them comfort in understanding that these planned expenditures really do qualify for CCD.
4453 I have had -- a little editorializing of my own -- I have had a strong belief that CCD should include, you know, more talent development of the guy behind or the gal behind the microphone and not just what's on the turntable or the DVD player. But, you know, I lose that argument every once in a while.
4454 I think that that would help the presentation and help staff tremendously because you know, we look at the flow of money and we look at, you know, the commitment. We understand what's required in terms of the basic commitment so this would help you out a lot.
4455 So I think -- again, Joe, are you happy with that? Is that good?
4457 MR. MILLER: We'd be happy to do that.
4458 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, I appreciate that very much. It makes my job a little easier.
4459 Can I go back to news for just a second and ask. This is a metric question again, but how many hours of news and, moreover, local news will you wear during the broadcast week?
4460 MR. MILLER: So you know, that's one of the -- we didn't quite add it up that way. I guess that's part of our --
4461 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You need a radio consultant.
4462 MR. MILLER: Yeah. Yeah, our introduction if Don Schaefer is still in the room.
4463 Because one of the things that happens through the news hour and especially as we envision it for radio, is there is a bit of rolling news. You know, if there is -- we wouldn't consider it to be -- if we are in the middle and just -- again, I should probably just flip to the schedule.
4464 Bear with me a second.
4465 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, yeah.
4466 MR. MILLER: I've got it.
4467 So you know, if we were as an example -- if we were at 10 a.m. and into the trade so the training day is going on but you're talking about what's happening.
4468 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4469 MR. MILLER: Trading this one story.
4470 When you are into that we're still going to be breaking for local news, weather, traffic. I'm not going to say sports. Sports highlights. We're going to do just sports, what the other stations do to business news, just give you the headlines.
4471 But we're in the studio creating that show. So on the one hand it's local because we're creating it right here. On the other hand, the content may or may not be focused on local but the insertions certainly are.
4472 So maybe I would ask a little bit in terms of, would you want us to count that as local because it's locally created but it may be internationally focused or could as easily be on that day depending on what --
4473 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, you know the way our tiny minds work is that when we look at a program offering or, you know, a format, regardless of whether it's talk or music or both, there is a set aside usually. It just helps us process data. There is a set aside of news and community information and all that survival stuff you were talking about.
4474 And it just helps us understand because it goes to the locality and the relevance of the station and the local market. So you know, even if you throw a weekly number at us it helps us figure out. If you want to go a little further than that and how it spreads out a bit, that's also helpful.
4475 But no, it's not so much you know what's in it as what -- as how it's applied to the overall broadcast week.
4476 MR. MILLER: Okay. We'd be delighted to do that. We'll essentially provide for you a clock with annotated for local and --
4477 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Do a little chart and pictures too.
4478 MR. MILLER: We can probably do that. Thank you.
4479 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I think you've done a pretty good job of explaining how your experience in television is going to create synergies and develop content as a radio proposal. But did you do any research to give you -- you know, what gave you the conviction that this would work beyond your own business instinct? Did you do research? Did you -- is there anything that you haven't shared with us that we should know?
4480 MR. FUOCO: Well, again, we have the benefit of actually having a research department that is constantly doing lots of research for all of our businesses. And so we've completed two waves of market research on this project. The first was submitted as part of our application.
4481 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That's right.
4482 MR. FUOCO: We've since completed a second study, market-specific to Vancouver.
4483 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4484 MR. FUOCO: Fortunately, the data in the second study confirmed and validated the data that was part of our application.
4485 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So you're doing quantitative testing. Were you doing qualitative and quantitative or how were you --
4486 MR. FUOCO: Quantitative, Harris/Decima.
4487 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, okay.
4488 MR. FUOCO: Large sample size, in-market research.
4489 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4490 MR. FUOCO: So we have ample data that -- and we do that for this particular initiative but for lots of different business opportunities and things that we are pursuing on an ongoing basis.
4491 So to answer your question --
4492 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4493 MR. FUOCO: -- yes, we do have two sets of research data.
4494 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good. You know, my apologies for not having gotten to that.
4495 Did you do some testing with the advertising market? You know, you seem to have a pretty good idea where your bucks are going to be coming from. So I presume you did some anecdotal if not formal on that regard?
4496 MR. MILLER: I really appreciate you asking that question because I was told I wasn't going to tell you my story.
4497 But we've been -- you know, we've had the advantage of this concept being somewhat public for the last two years. And so we've done a lot of acclimatizing our customers.
4498 Without getting into all our financials, we with the products -- I don't know -- achieve a level of about $25 million in advertising strictly from national advertising in our businesses. So we know the ad agencies.
4499 The story is that you may know Sunni Boot from ZenithOptiMedia and Sunni was retiring at the end of last year. We took her out for a nice lunch to say thank you and to really get to know Frank, Frank Friedman, her successor. And we got into a conversation about BIZ600 and they were both very effusive in their praise.
4500 So that's -- you know, I wanted to share the anecdote because that's very real and visceral. But we've been doing this all the time.
4501 As we go out we have a digital department. We have film distribution and we have television properties. We sell advertising on all of them. And each time we talk to our agency partners we're talking about is radio -- because we're committed to it and we know it's just a matter of time and the right market and we hope Vancouver is that.
4502 MR. FUOCO: To add to Cal's point, we're joined here today by David St. Laurent, who is President of Western Media sales based here in Vancouver that one of our sales agencies that will be taking -- there's David right behind us.
4503 And David's company's reps are very eager to have this product to add it to their portfolio as well. So whether it's our agency here, airtime that we work with in Toronto and our plan also contemplates the creation and the building of an on-the-ground retail sales force.
4504 So we feel there is pent-up demand and our reps are looking forward to bringing it to the market and placing some ads and avails.
4505 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Great. And is any part of what you described not submitted that we might get even an in camera look at, in terms of your market study?
4506 MR. MILLER: Yeah, we'd be delighted to.
4507 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Excellent, thanks.
4508 And this is the kind of question that I've done. If we launch a South Asian, probably music station, how badly will that affect your business plan?
4509 MR. MILLER: You know, we submitted our business plan with the full knowledge that you were accepting applications. So we don't believe it'll have any effect.
4510 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, or any other type of station that's been before us?
4511 MR. MILLER: No, or any others. Again, we have the advantage of applying just for 600.
4512 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
4513 MR. MILLER: And we like the contours of 600. It's a Vancouver signal. So knowing the rest of the call was focused on Surrey, we came in with a full knowledge of that.
4514 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen.
4515 Mr. Chair, over to you.
4516 MR. MILLER: Thank you.
4517 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Simpson.
4518 Just for the record on the CCD contribution, it's ineligible the internship under 2006-158. It goes -- it speaks to the sort of -- CCD should be added value and internship should be considered -- is considered to be part of the cost of doing business.
4519 You know, CCD cannot speak to sort of the self-serving nature. It's like a law firm using its money that it's supposed to be giving away to pay for articling students to work for you.
4520 So if I can ask you to sort of give me the logic behind that? So you could maybe take 24 hours and figure out what you're going to do with $45,000 times seven.
4521 MR. MILLER: We would very much like to do that. Thank you.
4522 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great.
4523 Mr. Shoan, anything else? Okay.
4524 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Just a couple of quick questions, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
4525 Incidentally, on the point with respect to local programming, if you want to flesh out that concept a bit further, Mr. Aquiar who is the Hearing Manager can -- we have a definition of local programming which I'm sure he could rattle off immediately. He is busy at the moment. What you described earlier sounded okay, but it's always best to double check.
4526 MR. MILLER: Thank you.
4527 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions following your presentation.
4528 You alluded to the fact there are 34 business news radio stations in the States and, in fact, there are three broadcasting from Washington State. Do any of those three business news stations penetrate the Vancouver market? If so, would that have an impact on your potential station and have you factored that into your revenue projection?
4529 MR. MILLER: Thank you for that question.
4530 We alluded to KKOL, AM 1300 out of Seattle. There is also a station in Olympia and Spokane. In addition there is a fourth one a little further away in Portland, Oregon.
4531 I think to the extent these stations do bleed into this market currently, but they are not what you would call a really easy to listen to signal. But for, you know, somebody who is very interested in the world of business, in finance, works in those, all the people we talked about as being our core audience, they probably up until now have been putting up with an awful lot just to be able to listen to business news.
4532 So I think the opportunity here is that with a signal the size of AM 600 the listeners who have put up with the stations that have bled into the market will find it a whole lot easier to listen to something that's crackle free.
4533 The second part is, to the extent -- Chris touched on this -- to the extent that they've been successful in getting advertising from this market, they will be easy pickings for us and they'll be the first things that we'll be going after to try to repatriate into the Canadian system.
4534 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
4535 You referenced a dedicated staff of 32 professionals. Can you provide a breakdown, 32 professionals in -- how many in your sales team, how many on air host talent?
4536 Can you provide a breakdown of that?
4537 MR. MILLER: Absolutely.
4538 It is in the financials, and we could do it two ways. I could read it now for you on the record or we could agree to put it in as an undertaking.
4539 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Yeah.
4540 MR. MILLER: And if that's acceptable --
4541 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: An undertaking's fine.
4542 MR. MILLER: Absolutely. Thank you.
4543 MR. FUOCO: Just because it's near and dear to my heart, there will be four sales reps on day one.
4544 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Four sales, okay. Fantastic.
4545 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll let you guys fight over that one.
4546 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You mentioned -- and I think you answered this earlier -- with respect to advertisers who were present do not use radio and to date use newspaper, magazine, outdoor, I was curious to who you were referencing in that because a lot of broadcasters will make the argument that they're going to grow the pie and bring in new broadcasters. That isn't necessarily always the case.
4547 But Chris, you had alluded earlier to law firms and a few other entities which typically will advertise in specific media such as business magazines, outdoor advertising platforms and your desire as a business service to bring them on to the radio platform.
4548 Can you elaborate a bit more about how you would approach that?
4549 MR. FUOCO: Certainly. So some of the examples I showed you in listed magazine Report on Business, we would put them into more sort of the national advertising category.
4550 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4551 MR. FUOCO: When we think about the retail advertising category, the types of target customers that we see in the marketplace are some of the high profile real estate agents, local financial planning firms, accounting firms that, you know, you may see them on transit shelters, buses, billboards, sponsoring their own seminars and inviting people to come to, you know, hear about their services that really grow their business today through those types of media and also through networking.
4552 And for that group, again, they're not buying radio today because it's not efficient, and this format would expose them directly to the target audience that they're looking for.
4553 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right. And that's a fair point.
4554 You know, it struck me, and I was thinking about that, that if you're watching an American station, you will see a lot of -- you'll see lawyers advertising all the time, local lawyers, and a few other entities that you'll be targeting that you don't typically see on Canadian channels. So it's an interesting approach.
4555 Just one final question with respect to the Harris/Decima market survey that you commissioned. And one of the results of that survey was that a majority of respondents find their business news online.
4556 And I can certainly say that's the case with me. I get a lot of my breaking news off Twitter.
4557 So I just wanted to get your perspective in terms of what your approach will be in the digital world in terms of interacting with your listeners via social media, whether you'll have an app, how integrated your digital approach will be with your over-the-air approach.
4558 MR. FUOCO: Yeah. I mean, so one of the things, you know, we talk it, but we actually have to live it every day. You can't be a credible news organization if you don't have a solid digital strategy. And that's something that CHCH does real time.
4559 Earlier this past year, knowing that we needed to continue to invest and grow this part of our business, we acquired a small digital publishing company --
4560 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4561 MR. FUOCO: -- ANPOP, and added them to our portfolio and really bolstered our scale in this regard.
4562 So you know, just to give you a very quick example, any time we file a story on CHCH, it goes to air and it's immediately filed to our web site as well.
4563 A recent example -- and any of the Commissioners from the east know that we're sort of suffering through incredibly cold weather this past month. And a week and a half ago, we ran a story on CHCH -- it sounds a bit tragic, but there's a good ending to it -- about a dog that was being left outside and came to the attention of our reporters.
4564 We filed the story and the good news is, the dog is fine. The authorities stepped in and he's no longer in the cold.
4565 But the point is, we aired the story first on our 6 o'clock news and I got some of the statistics 'cause I was thinking that you might ask about this. Within the first 24 hours, we had 20,000 views on the web site. The story gained traction amongst Facebook followers and then it started to get Tweeted amongst SPCA groups and things like that. So it was shared 6,000 times on Facebook.
4566 It drove all the statistics on our web site through the roof. And that's just one story.
4567 So that's that knowledge. And I talked about there's a method about going about being an all news provider. That's just what we do. And we would apply those same principles to BIZ600.
4568 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Great. Thank you very much.
4569 MR. FUOCO: You're welcome.
4570 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Shoan.
4571 I think that wraps it up. We thank you so much for your presentation. Clear. We get it.
4572 Madam Pinsky.
4573 MS PINSKY: I'd like to just confirm the date for the filing of the undertakings.
4574 Could we have them all, not only the CCD specific one, by the end of day tomorrow? Thank you.
4575 MR. WOODRUFF: Yes. Sorry.
4576 MS PINSKY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4577 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you once again.
4578 We will be taking a short recess, and we'll be starting -- I have 5:17 by my time -- 5:30 sharp with Sher-E-Punjab. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1718
--- Upon resuming at 1729
4579 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon. Smiling faces.
4580 Madame la secrétaire, on y a.
4581 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4582 Just prior to beginning, I'd just like to indicate for the record that South Asian Broadcasting Inc. has submitted, further to an undertaking, audio clips. These audio clips have been added to the record of the proceeding, and they can be listened to in the public examination room.
4583 We will now proceed with Item 12 on the agenda, which is an application by Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial AM radio station in Vancouver.
4584 The applicant also submitted alternate FM proposals.
4585 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.
4586 Thank you.
4587 MR. D. BADH: Good afternoon Mr. Chair, Commissioners, Commission staff and members of the public. Thank you for this opportunity to present our application to bring Sher-E-Punjab into Canadian broadcast system.
4588 Before starting our presentation, I would like to introduce the Sher-E-Punjab team.
4589 Sitting in the front of the audience is our founder and CEO and our father, Mr. Ajit Singh Badh. Our mother, Svindaker (phon) Badh, was a controlling shareholder, would liked to have been here, but recently fell and is unable to attend today.
4590 My name is Gurdial Singh Badh, but I'm known to most as Dale. I'm Chief Operating Officer of Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Inc. I'm also realtor in the lower mainland for the past 27 years.
4591 To my left is Sher-E-Punjab's program director and operation manager, Jas Gill.
4592 Next to Jas is my brother, Jasbir Singh Badh. Jasbir is a public accountant with his own practice. He's also our general manager, secretary of the Board and our treasurer.
4593 To his left is our news director, Nimmi Daula. Nimmi is fluent in English, Punjabi and Hindi. She will add hosting a Hindi program to her duties if we are successful.
4594 To my right is Peter Fleming. Peter has been a broadcasting regulatory consultant for 15 years. He will be a member of our Board of Directors responsible for ensuring we stay in compliance.
4595 In the back row, starting from your right, is our regulatory counsel, Robert Buchan of Fasken Martineau.
4596 Beside Robert is Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., who provided the research study filed with our application.
4597 Next to Debra is Joseph Sadoun of YRH, the firm that provided all the technical information we filed with you.
4598 Beside Joseph is my son, Amardeep, known as Amar, who covers lower mainland sports for the station. And beside Amar is Jasbir's daughter, Paven, who serves as administrative assistant, does traffic and bookkeeping for the station and also operates our boards at remotes.
4599 We're proud to note that Amar and Paven represent the third generation of broadcasters in our family.
4600 I would also like to point out my other children, Arjen, Justine and Braj, my wife, Marinder, and Jasbir's wife, Rajvinder (phon), who often work with the station as part of our promotional team, today.
4601 And also, you met my brother, Suki, yesterday.
4602 Many of our hosts and other staff and other children who help out at various public events are also lending their support from our audience.
4603 We will be showing PowerPoint slides along with our presentation. A copy of them is provided in your package.
4604 Mr. Chair, Commissioners, Sher-E-Punjab was founded by our father, Mr. Ajit Singh Badh. He's a proud Canadian who has dedicated his time to making a life -- better life for his immediate and extended family as well as his community.
4605 When there was no service of any consequences to Punjabi-speaking community, he started a magazine called "Sikh Semajar" (phon) in 1974. Since then, he has been involved in a variety of efforts to support the Punjabi-speaking and the South Asian community.
4606 In the early part of last decade, a number of people leased time from Washington stations to provide service to the lower mainland. Unfortunately, the quality of these early efforts was not very good and the stations were also irresponsible.
4607 At the end of 2004, the licensee of KRPI, Mr. Kala (phon), asked my father to take over the lease of 1550 AM. Recognizing the importance of the service to the community, dad asked my brother, Suki, to go in and clean it up, and Sher-E-Punjab was born.
4608 The changes he made shifted the perception of the service to that of a professional operation that put high standards into practice.
4609 Suki then applied to have Sher-E-Punjab licensed to Canada in 2005, but his application was not approved and, in time, management shifted to dad, Jasbir, myself, Jas and Nimmi.
4610 The station grew both in terms of audience and staff. It's now recognized in the community for its high standards and professional presentation.
4611 It is a trusted source of news and talk for the South Asian community on the lower mainland. We are often sourced and quoted by mainstream Canadian broadcasters when insights into our communities are needed.
4612 We have one source of complaint. The 1550 signal cannot be heard everywhere, and it's never heard in Canada in the evenings, a prime listening time for our community.
4613 Let me be clear. We're here today because we want to stop renting time on a Ferndale, Washington station and we want to be licensed to operate on 600 AM.
4614 The remedy we seek will increase our coverage and ensure our contribution and service to Canadian audience are recognized through repatriation of our programming to Canadian frequency.
4615 This will allow Sher-E-Punjab to better serve the community we have been devoted to the past 10 years.
4616 Here to talk about our approach to news and the plans for expansion is Nimmi Daula.
4617 MS DAULA: Thank you, Dale, and good afternoon.
4618 News and information is the cornerstone of our programming. We offer 84 newscasts per week, with news on the hour from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends.
4619 Our newsroom has four full-time people and two part-time sports reporters, and we provide over seven hours of news each week.
4620 What we broadcast starts with a commitment to journalistic standards and practices which have been developed through our own experience and through adherence to industry best practices.
4621 Modern technology has made the world a very small place, and anyone can access news and updates very easily online. Our role, therefore, is to aggregate the news from many sources and prioritize the many stories that break each day.
4622 We take a flood of information and confirm what is true, and then broadcast that which is most important to our listeners. To do this, we use the latest software from Bali, and our in-field reporters have access to state of the art newsroom technologies.
4623 Our primary emphasis is on stories that are developed locally.
4624 A minimum of 70 percent of our newscasts are dedicated to stories that originate in the lower mainland.
4625 We also provide a full range of information services. We are the only ethnic radio station that covers sports.
4626 Amar covers all of the Vancouver Giants, BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps games on location. Our senior sports reporter, Jett Bassi, also works for CTV-2, and covers the rest of the sports, particularly the Canucks.
4627 Those who have lived in the lower mainland know how chaotic traffic can be. Navtej Sidhu is dedicated to keeping our listeners updated on the tie-ups on our many roads, bridges, tunnels, ferries as well as border crossing.
4628 Information is also provided through a wide range of regularly-scheduled features. These include business and health tips, tech talk, consumer advice, crime stoppers, Bollywood and Hollywood entertainment news, and many others.
4629 With the addition of new groups, we will also expand the number of newscasts per week to 98, with a minimum of 8.5 hours of news with 6.8 hours being pure news.
4630 With new producers and communities to serve, we will expand our inputs to include sources for the Farsi, Korean, Filipino and Afro-Caribbean communities.
4631 Producers will have access to all of the stories and create newscasts in their own languages. Our schedule includes a number of interviews, discussions and call-in programs.
4632 Our anchors include a medical doctor, an engineer, a lawyer and a veterinarian. Most speak several South Asian languages and have significant experience.
4633 Here to tell you a bit about our talk shows is our program director, Jas Gill.
4634 MS GILL: Thank you, Nimmi, and good evening, all.
4635 Our anchors provide a full schedule of spoken word programs each week. Each host has his or her particular focus.
4636 For example, Kiran Aulakh and Tajinder Nijjer's programs deal with sensitive and controversial issues in the South Asian community, with a particular emphasis on women's issues.
4637 Yesterday, you heard that South Asian radio does not deal with these issues such as domestic violence, gender inequality and gay issues. Both Kiran and Tajinder deal with these kind of issues.
4638 You also heard that South Asian radio does not deal with issues like youth violence. Mr. Oppal has appeared on many of our programs on multiple occasions, along with Kashid when he was Solicitor-General and various other experts.
4639 Our shows include both interviews and discussions. We also field calls from listeners.
4640 Our approach is based on values, training and processes. Every employee has read and signed the CAB Code of Ethics, which I have with me today.
4641 Our CEO is always clear to us that respect for all is an important value. He often tells us that we must use Parliamentary language, good language.
4642 We screen topics and calls, and we have instituted a 10-second delay mechanism for call-in programs.
4643 MR. D. BADH: An important part of our service to the community is our outreach to raise funds. Our listeners have responded to our programming and they have helped us raise several millions for our own and other communities.
4644 We raised $650,000 for the University of Fraser Valley to endow two chairs for the Indo-Canadian Business and Indo-Canadian Studies.
4645 We raised over 700,00 for the BC Children's Hospital.
4646 We raised 2.5 million for the Five River Funeral Home to enable them to provide the special services needed by the South Asian community.
4647 In 2010, we raised half a million for relief in Haiti.
4648 Every year, we raise tonnes of food for Surrey Food Bank. This year, we've collected five containers of blankets and clothing for the people of the Philippines.
4649 We raised $1 million for Pakistani earthquake relief, which were personally delivered by our father to the Prime Minister of Pakistan in early 2006.
4650 The Punjabi community is generous, and has shown its trust in us by responding each and every time we ask. Every dollar raised goes to the target group. In other words, there are no administrative fees.
4651 Here to tell you about our audience is Debra McLaughlin.
4652 MS McLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Dale.
4653 Measuring audiences for ethnic stations is challenging. Accurate ratings data are not available for ethnic communities, and so we have to look at other ways.
4654 Internet usage. Analytics show us page views, unique visitors and time spent listening to Sher-E-Punjab. These data show a loyal and dedicated audience.
4655 Facebook. There is a strong interest in the station, with more Facebook friends than any other ethnic station in the market.
4656 Intercept interviews. Sher-E-Punjab is entrenched in the community, demonstrated by high awareness and strong satisfaction scores.
4657 Secondly, the community is well served and reports overall high levels of satisfaction with current South Asian radio.
4658 The majority of respondents did not identify Sher-E-Punjab as a service originating in the U.S.
4659 Focus groups yielded the most compelling findings. They told us ethnic radio is at a market equilibrium. Participants identified clear and unique positioning among the current ethnic broadcasters, mapping different market segments for each.
4660 Importantly, they were unable to identify a missing program element that demonstrated either a need or a want for a new service. They were satisfied with the choices in news, music variety and diversity in voices.
4661 There was only one primary concern. Licensing a new service might cause an existing licence to go under. Given the signal problems that Sher-E-Punjab experiences, their listeners show a high degree of loyalty.
4662 MS GILL: Making Sher-E-Punjab officially part of the Canadian system will benefit the market. We will provide service to 14 groups in 13 languages.
4663 We have added a number of South Asian languages to our Punjabi base. A number of our existing staff speak multiple languages, so we expect to be able to make this transition relatively easily.
4664 We will also expand programming to include content from the Farsi, Filipino, Korean and Afro-Caribbean communities.
4665 Another significant enhancement is our commitment to Canadian content development. We already are involved in a number of initiatives for our community, including our signature star celebration, our turban event.
4666 We propose contributions beyond what we do now in the following ways.
4667 We will direct $20,000 annually to FACTOR. As a news talk station, we wish to increase the pool of well-trained news people in the area. We will provide $20,000 annually to four journalism schools in the lower mainland for scholarships for visibly minority students.
4668 We will devote $60,000 to a multi-cultural talent development concert each year that will bring together artists from many of the communities we serve. We have a commitment to produce this concert from a world-renowned concert promoter, with extensive experience in productions in the ethnic markets and the requirements of Canadian content initiatives.
4669 All monies will be entrusted to them, with clear direction that the largest part goes to artists' fees.
4670 In all, we propose $100,000 per year in over and above contributions or $700,000 over seven years.
4671 MR. J. BADH: Our business plan is based upon our knowledge of the market and experience. Of course, we will -- we will have a number of changes in our operation. Our business plan takes them into account.
4672 Some of the groups we are adding have smaller populations and will not be able to draw the same kind of revenue that Punjabi periods do. At the same time, we will not have the power-down after dark, thereby giving us more hours within which we can sell advertising.
4673 National advertisers have been reluctant to buy on a U.S.-based station. We expect to increase our national sales closer to the national average for ethnic stations.
4674 On the expense side, we have included CCD contribution, both the basic amount based upon your formula, and over and above contribution.
4675 We have also increased some of our administration costs such as CRTC fee, performing rights fee and other such fees.
4676 MR. SADOUN: Despite the service strength, Sher-E-Punjab has a very weak signal. The slide on the screen shows the daytime contour of 1550 AM and now you see the daytime contour of AM 600.
4677 The next slide shows the even weaker 1550 AM nighttime contours. Sher-E-Punjab's audience loses the signal as early as 4:30 p.m. in winter.
4678 We also presented three -- we presented three technical plans. Sher-E-Punjab's strong preference is the AM frequency, which will give access to the ethnic communities who live from Squamish to Abbottsford, but we also looked at two FM alternatives.
4679 You asked us to provide a realistic contour map for the two FM alternatives under a number of scenarios. On the screen you can see first 600 AM; then the second choice, 107.7 and 98.3; and now the third choice, 91.5 and 98.3.
4680 When we examined the results of the population counts, it became clear that the third option, 91.5 south of Fraser and 98.3 north of Fraser, was very much less viable.
4681 MR. D. BADH: We will have a minimal impact on the existing Canadian ethnic stations as we already derive significant revenues from the market. With a better signal we believe our major impact will be on the other two U.S.-based stations who already trail us in audience popularity and we have a commitment from our U.S. host station that they will not lease to another South Asian broadcaster.
4682 We are pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you today to present our application to bring Sher-E-Punjab home to Canada. Despite a poor signal, Sher-E-Punjab has provided a high-quality programming to the South Asian community.
4683 We propose not only to repatriate our signal but to expand our service. Our proposals include:
4684 - service to 14 groups in 13 languages;
4685 - an expanded focus on news and continued responsible discussion on a wide variety of issues;
4686 - over 75 hours per week of spoken-word programming;
4687 - $700,000 to Canadian Talent Development;
4688 - minimal impact on the existing ethnic radio market.
4689 For over 10 years, Sher-E-Punjab has provided excellent service to our community through the only means available to it, by leasing time on a Washington State station. Our high-quality programming, dedication to community and support for local initiatives have made us an important and irreplaceable part of the South Asian life in the Lower Mainland.
4690 So we are here asking you that you give us a chance to be part of the system in which we already operate and listeners believe we belong.
4691 Canada has been good to our family, to our community and we have tried to build a better Canada for all of us. We're willing to make the necessary investments to be recognized in Canada for what we are. Imagine how much stronger our contribution could be with an improved Canadian signal.
4692 Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your questions.
4693 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4694 Commissioner Shoan.
4695 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Good evening. I hope you're comfortable. This may take a little bit of time. I have quite a few questions.
--- Sound of breaking glass
4696 MR. FLEMING: Sorry.
4697 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Oh, that's a terrible omen.
4698 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding.
4699 So I'm going to start with some questions of clarification.
4700 In your application and your supplementary brief you reference what you are doing now in terms of your current service and what you do --
4701 THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't worry about it.
4702 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You can leave it, Peter. We'll have someone --
4703 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll pick it up later.
4704 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Yeah.
4705 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the meantime, Mazel Tov!
4706 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Also, you reference what you would do with the proposed service. So I just wanted to clarify what your actual commitments are going forward if your application is approved.
4707 So, are you willing to accept as a condition of licence to broadcast 100 percent ethnic programming?
4708 MR. D. BADH: Yes.
4709 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Would you be willing to accept as a condition of licence to do 80 percent third-language programming?
4710 MR. D. BADH: Yes.
4711 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4712 Would you be prepared to accept as a condition of licence that there would be a weekly minimum of 66 percent of Punjabi language ethnic programming?
4713 MR. D. BADH: Yes, sir.
4714 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4715 Can you confirm your address in Richmond where your studio and offices are located, please?
4716 MR. D. BADH: 1228-20800 Westminster Highway, Richmond, B.C.
4717 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Great. Thank you.
4718 You've indicated in your application that you're targeting mainly the South Asian community with a core audience demographic of people aged 35 plus. You've also provided a description of some of your current programming on KRPI, but, generally speaking, we'd like to know more about the orientation of the programming on your proposed service.
4719 So, can you tell us more about the focus of your proposed programs and your target audience and could you speak to the level of overlap that will exist between the KRPI offering and this proposed service?
4720 You alluded to some of the issues or the topics in the presentation with respect to women's issues as such. Could you flesh that out a little bit more in terms of the topics and the subjects of the programming that you would have on this new service?
4721 MR. D. BADH: To talk to you about the programming I will ask Jas to answer these questions for you, please.
4722 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4723 MS GILL: Just to clarify, so target audience, you want to know what our reach is and who's listening type of thing?
4724 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Who you ideally are targeting as a listener.
4725 MS GILL: Yeah. So our average listener is actually about -- we have a range of 25 to 65. However, the average listener is about 40 plus --
4726 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4727 MS GILL: -- on a day-to-day. And our listener is usually likely skewed a little bit more male, being a talk station.
4728 And we find that even the third generation usually knows about us. The reason being is if we kind of imagine driving in a car, if the driver is the father, 40 plus, the wife's in the car, they have about two to three kids, the grandparents are in the car. Children don't usually want to listen to our station. Usually they're Canadian-born and they have other things they'd rather listen to. But since the father's the driver, everybody in the car usually is listening to us. Parents usually listen to us anyways but that's a typical listener of Sher-E-Punjab Radio. And they're immigrant population, so new and old immigrant population.
4729 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4730 Programming overlap between KRPI and Sher-E-Punjab?
4731 MS GILL: I just want to clarify that. Programming overlap meaning what's running on Sher-E-Punjab Radio.
4732 Well, we only program from 6a to 10p from our lease and Sunday is actually 6:30 to 10:00.
4733 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4734 MS GILL: So, in our programming that we do, we have talk shows, we have a little bit of music shows, but still have a significant amount of spoken word in them.
4735 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4736 MS GILL: And so our last show -- on Monday to Friday we only have two music shows which still have a significant amount of talk. Weekends we have a couple of more music shows, predominantly still talk.
4737 The other times are KRPI. So they do whatever. They have music programming because we have that on our schedule as well on our line because they want that as part of their agreement. So there's music programming they do after 10:00 and then they do other spiritual and other music.
4738 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And in terms of the programming changes you will be making in order to fall under ethnic service policy and the new types of programming which you will be broadcasting, how will that expand the size of your team staff in terms of your programming, your talent? Will you have to do some significant hiring? Do you already have a plan for that? Can you expand a bit on that?
4739 MS GILL: Some of our employees already speak multiple languages.
4740 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4741 MS GILL: For example, our 5:30 to 7:30 anchor, Dr. Raminder Pal Kang, is fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English, four languages for him, and in that case, for example, he would be doing the first part still in Punjabi, the first hour, and the second hour would be in Urdu.
4742 And there is some overlap with that with Nimmi as well. She currently does a Punjabi music show with lots of spoken word, quite a bit of spoken word in there as well, and instead of her doing a Punjabi show, she'll be doing a Hindi show.
4743 Some of those Punjabi-based or South Asian languages are covered. However, we dropped the Tamil. Farsi, we already found a producer. We've already found a producer for the Ismaili community and we found one for the Afro-Caribbean as well.
4744 Actually, Orvis Noel came to us. He was recommended to come see us from CRTC staff. Someone recommended him. So Afro-Caribbean programming is also part of our thing and we have a programmer for that.
4745 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Great. Thank you.
4746 So you're committing to 75 hours weekly of spoken-word programming; is that correct?
4747 MR. D. BADH: Yes, that is.
4748 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So I just want to break that down a little bit further.
4749 So can you confirm the minimum number of weekly hours of locally originated programs that would be aired on your new service that would comprise part of that 75?
4750 MS GILL: All of our programming is locally originated.
4751 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So 100 percent local?
4752 MS GILL: Yeah. We don't originate anything else from outside. Like all of our spoken-word content -- except for one newscast which is done to International Punjab News which is about five to eight minutes long. Other than that, all of the programming, all of our news staff, all of our programmers are here, local.
4753 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
4754 Can you confirm approximately how many hours of music you would air during the broadcast week on the proposed new service?
4755 MR. FLEMING: As Jas mentioned earlier, there is -- oh, there goes that glass again. It's got a life of its own.
4756 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Yeah.
4757 MR. FLEMING: There is already some music programming in the station. In addition, we expect that the more omnibus nature of the programs for the groups that we would be adding, we would also be wanting to include some of their music. Because in many cases they don't have the luxury of tuning to multiple South Asian stations, some of which are music-based, they will be coming to us for a lot of their needs.
4758 So we've kind of figured out that 75 hours of spoken word, if you do the math, it's about 51 hours left. Some of that will be -- those hours will be filled with spoken word as well. So probably somewhere around 40 hours of music a week.
4759 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And, Mr. Fleming, how much of that do you expect/anticipate would be category 2, how much would be category 3?
4760 MR. FLEMING: Almost all of it is going to be category 3 because almost all of it is third-language programming, so World B.
4761 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4762 I just wanted to go back to the programming overlap between KRPI and this new service.
4763 In terms of the actual programs that are broadcast on this service you're broadcasting today, this proposed service is essentially a service you're providing today with a few additional programs to bring yourself in line with the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy or will there be more substantive changes? I'm trying to grasp the level of change that will be required for you.
4764 MS GILL: So level of change if we were to move over from 1550 to 600?
4765 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That's right.
4766 MS GILL: Like, technically and all that kind of stuff and --
4767 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Not technically in terms of programming.
4768 MS GILL: Just programming?
4769 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right, in order to become a Canadian licensee.
4770 MS GILL: Most of it is already in place.
4771 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4772 MS GILL: We have a full running newsroom with four, you know, staff members there, full time equivalent. We already have about 22 -- was it 22? -- 22 full time equivalent staff already working here. The majority of them live in Surrey as well and they're here. But, yeah, so they're -- we're already fully functioning here with all of the staff. So adding just the new languages is the thing. We already had three producers in that as well, so we're almost there.
4773 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Great. So I think you've amply demonstrated the scope and the reach of the 600 megahertz -- or kilohertz frequency.
4774 Given the scope and the contour of this frequency, would you consider Sher-E-Punjab to be a Surrey-focused service or more of a Vancouver-wide ethnic service?
4775 MR. D. BADH: We would be a Vancouver-wide, Greater Vancouver, Lower Mainland service.
4776 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And how would Sher-E-Punjab's proposed Vancouver ethnic programming differentiate itself in the market when compared to the program that currently exists for CJRJ, Red FM given certain overlapping formats and languages? How will you add diversity to the marketplace?
4777 MR. D. BADH: We're mainly talk.
4778 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4779 MR. D. BADH: And as the other stations, their formats are, you know, Bollywood and -- music, and we're generally talk.
4780 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So as you know, one of the primary responsibilities of ethnic broadcasters under our policy is to serve and reflect their communities within the station's local programming. So obviously we've noted your plans to reach out to the community served by the service. Can you elaborate on the specific measures you will take, the mechanisms you will put in place to ensure that local issues and concerns are reflected in your new programming?
4781 MS GILL: We already do that. One, in the newsroom. We have a Burli system, which we use to aggregate news, which we already have various feeds coming in from local, from political. Like, NDP, MLAs, MPs to government, to emergency. We're on the emergency thing if there's a tsunami that comes. The station gets that fax. It also goes to our Burli system. We already get media advisories, press releases, all that kind of stuff to actually drive content as well for the station.
4782 You know, it's amazing to say we've been around for 10 years. And the way that we do our talk programs now have been so successful that if we're looking for content and something big comes up, we're -- we get called and advised by, you know -- like, if -- I'll give you an example. Such as there was a media advisory to attend a Minister of Immigrations call in and we already had that put into our schedule we were going to be calling in, but they called us to make sure we were calling in. That's how important the government has recognized sending that information, making sure that (indiscernible) Sher-E-Punjab will get to the audience. We get them to call us to make sure that we're cov-- we're making sure that we can get that minister on. Usually -- it's tough to sometimes get a minister on. It's very difficult. Especially being an ethnic station, usually you have -- you have less time. They dedicate less time to you when you can go reach masses by going out to major mainstream stations, radio, TV and whatnot. But they come directly to us and they're excited about that because they know how far we reach the audience.
4783 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you.
4784 So we've heard throughout this week about certain advisory committees, advisory boards that applicants will be putting in place. Can you give me your specific -- your perspective on what that board/committee would look like for Sher-E-Punjab?
4785 MR. D. BADH: Believe it or not, we already have that advisory board. My father, he's in the community. He attends the Sikh community events, the Muslim community events, and the -- the Hindu community events and also mainstream. Myself being a realtor for over 27 years, I am in the community. My brother is an accountant. He's got a lot of clients. But we have other ways that ... Just a second. I'll grab my notes.
4786 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Sure.
4787 MR. D. BADH: We stay in touch with the community in a number of ways. The way that my dad has set up the corporate culture for the -- for the station with respect for an open communications. Our doors are always open. He is always at the station to take calls, and Jas is always at the station to take calls. Same with my brother Jasbir and myself. The community can contact the family members anytime.
4788 And also, we're in touching with the new immigrant societies, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., MOSAIC, PICS, and also our community affairs coordinator is in the community with all these non-profit organizations.
4789 And once a year, you know, we basically will have our host do an open line as to see what do they like about our station, about our programming, what changes they would like to see. That's an open, you know, source there. Plus on social media. We're on Facebook. We have over 8,000 likes, you've seen earlier.
4790 And with the measures that we put in place and one of the important things that I wanted to note is we've never had a complaint to FCC or CRTC in the last 10 years in regards to our programming.
4791 MS GILL: And we are going to put two more measures in because we're going to be expanding the communities --
4792 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Mm-hmm.
4793 MS GILL: -- to make sure that we also get their feedback. Such as we're going to have Debra, we're going to ask her to do more research on a regular basis. First also, we don't have BBM or PPM analytics that actually give us right -- or accurate numbers for our community in our reach, so we'll be doing that. She'll also be looking and feeling what do people think in those communities about our station when we serve the new languages.
4794 Those are -- and --
4795 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: On that point --
4796 MS GILL: Yeah.
4797 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- before you go on. So I was actually going to follow up on that one specific point. So, Mr. Badh, I believe, had indicated that there seems to be an informal advisory committee in place, consisting of himself, his brother, and your father.
4798 MS GILL: Yes.
4799 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And that this informal group of three reaches out to the community and -- and takes community input and ensures that it's reflected on the station. Over and above that there's mechanisms, such as open line programming. But presumably that would bring a perspective that's very narrowly focused on the South Asian or Punjabi-speaking community, so is there any discussion, is there any focus on perhaps getting representatives on this -- perhaps formalizing this committee and having representation?
4800 MS GILL: We haven't had the need to do that in the last 10 years and our programming has reflected the community very well. We will also be doing one more thing. We want to do an open house where we can get more of the -- especially the newer ethnic communities that we're going to have on --
4801 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
4802 MS GILL: -- to build those connections and to have them also come in and let us know what they believe.
4803 MR. D. BADH: And if I may add, and if the Commission wished to, we can pursue that avenue. And I'd also actually like to put my niece on the spot because she looks after our live on and the feedback that she gets from the -- from the audience. I'll ask Pavan to speak on that.
4804 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Sure.
4805 MS P. BADH: Hi. Good afternoon.
4806 I'm usually responsible for maintaining the remotes from the studio. So basically what happens is I will be in the studio taking calls, ensuring that the broadcasting is -- you know, the signal is getting, you know, out on air, and as well as just ensuring that all the advertisements and music is played on a timely manner. And it's a great response because I do get a lot of phone calls with -- you know, to the station asking for more information. So it's -- it's -- since there is no rating system, it's a good way for us and, more importantly, our businesses and clients to see the response and the effect that we have on the community. So it's -- it's good -- it's an accurate and good way for us to just see how we are reflected in the community.
4807 MR. FLEMING: Commissioner Shoan, as I am going to be the board member who is responsible for compliance, I'm going to also be the one that's going to have to drive an advisory committee.
4808 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4809 MR. FLEMING: So we will probably develop that by reaching out into the various communities that we serve. The idea of an open house is to bring them in to us to see us but also we'll probably want to go to the communities' general -- you know, general representative organizations and meet with them, but we will also bring them in to -- to provide us with feedback.
4810 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Would you be willing to provide an undertaking to give a bit more information, put a little bit more meat on that bone with respect to the mechanisms and the role of the advisory committee?
4811 MR. FLEMING: Certainly. Could we bring it in -- at phase two of the -- of the hearing?
4812 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Actually, that'll be fine --
4813 MR. FLEMING: Okay.
4814 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- absolutely. Thank you.
4815 I'd like to turn now to speak about finances. Can you tell me what proportion of revenues 1550 AM draws from the Vancouver market versus the U.S. market?
4816 MR. D. BADH: To speak on that I will ask my brother Jasbir. Since he is the accountant, he'll be able to answer those questions for you.
4817 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you.
4818 MR. J. BADH: It works out to about pretty well a hundred percent of the Canadian revenues. There wasn't -- Sher-E-Punjab isn't drawing much on the U.S. revenues.
4819 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
4820 You note in your application that with a Canadian license you'll be able to obtain additional market share from the other two competing stations that operate from the U.S. What do you project these additional incremental revenues to be?
4821 MR. J. BADH: We project that we probably take about 10 percent possibility of it and it's -- it's just that because we are in the market and because we will become a Canadian frequency and we are going to -- the major part that we are working on is getting the additional revenues from the national advertisers because those are the ones that were reluctant to come. And since we are going to become a Canadian frequency, it'll be more favourable and in the local market also to give us the revenue. So we -- we expect that it probably go anywhere from 5 to 10 percent.
4822 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I see. So with the additional coverage with 600 AM, you're saying that you'll glean both national and local -- additional national and local advertising, but that you expect to represent about 10 percent of the total revenues for the two U.S.-based stations?
4823 MR. J. BADH: Additional meaning because we all draw the revenues from the same market that 1550 is drawing and the 600 will be offering the same local area. So -- so there wouldn't be -- it ...
4824 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And that's a predominantly local market?
4825 MR. J. BADH: Predominantly.
4826 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Local -- local advertising market.
4827 MR. J. BADH: Right.
4828 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
4829 MR. D. BADH: If -- if I may add, because having a clear -- crystal clear signal with AM reaching from Squamish to -- to Abbotsford, that we would be able -- people would be able to listen to us better, so we should be able to, you know, do much better within the coming years.
4830 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4831 MR. FLEMING: Commissioner, in our supplementary brief, actually you have a question about the source of year two revenues and we indicated that 85 percent of them are essentially being taken from 1550 to 600, about 10 percent from the two American stations and about five percent from new advertisers.
4832 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you. What percentage of your revenues are local?
4833 MR. D. BADH: As I said, they are about 100 percent revenues are local.
4834 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So when you said you weren't going working to get national ad agencies, that would be --
4835 MR. D. BADH: That would be coming.
4836 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4837 MR. FLEMING: Mr. Commissioner, the national average for ethnic stations, based on year 2012 financial information, it's not a huge pot for us to go to. If we go from zero, the national average is about six percent, so it's not what's going to make our day, but it is certainly monies that are nice to have, absolutely.
4838 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So if your application was approved, what would the potential impact on you be in terms of tuning in revenues given the change of frequency and the changes to the programming resulting from the addition of programming segments from the 12 different languages?
4839 I mean, obviously there will be an improvement in terms of revenues. Can you project how much that would be percentage wise?
4840 MR. J. BADH: Yes. Again, we do expect an improvement on the revenues because we will be kind of covering more hours in there, but the situation with having the new groups, because the extra hours that we are going to get that we don't have to power down mostly will be covered by the additional groups that we have.
4841 And in the beginning, as we have seen in the Punjabi language market, it was difficult to convince the businesses to do the advertising on the radio, so it took us a while to bring our customer base to the level we are at, so the other additional language that we are going to have are not going to have much of an impact on the revenues in the beginning, except we will be -- because we got the additional hours to cover, so we will be providing those services in-house.
4842 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: But are you saying that any additional revenues, initial additional revenues to be gleaned from the additional hours, given your increased coverage, will be offset by the programming improvements?
4843 MR. J. BADH: No. What I was saying is there wouldn't be much additional revenues that we might be getting because we are going to be having additional languages that we have to adopt into.
4844 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
4845 MR. J. BADH: And we are not expecting in the beginning there would be any additional revenues coming from these additional languages we are providing --
4846 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4847 MR. J. BADH: -- because the market hasn't been established for these additional ethnic communities.
4848 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And in terms of your sales force, would you begin -- would your staff grow in order to begin tapping into these markets given the new programming?
4849 MR. J. BADH: No, it wouldn't. It would not grow because we do have a staff that has an ability to communicate in more than one language and for the advertising point of view that we got this community or these add-ons will be referred to the current staff from the host of the program for additional languages.
4850 And depending on how the situation goes, we probably at the long term will end up adding two more full-time staff.
4851 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And long term, that's --
4852 MR. J. BADH: The long-term plan, yes.
4853 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- five to seven years?
4854 MR. J. BADH: We are always looking for -- yes, we are always looking for an additional sales staff to increase our sales revenues.
4855 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right, makes sense.
4856 MR. J. BADH: Always.
4857 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: What would be the impact on your application or your service if we were to approve one or more competing applications under consideration here in this proceeding, on your projected revenues and audience share?
4858 MR. J. BADH: If the other application gets approved on a non-ethnic language like English language, it would have no effect on us at all.
4859 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4860 MR. J. BADH: And if the other application gets approved for the ethnic languages, it will not only have an effect on us, it will have an effect on every other ethnic station that's in the market today. And how much of an effect because -- it will be a split because would be kind of driving revenues from -- taking away revenues from all these different stations.
4861 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Does it matter if it was an ethnic music station as opposed to an ethnic talk station?
4862 MR. J. BADH: Yes, it would, because ethnic talk station would be the complete -- competing --
4863 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right.
4864 MR. J. BADH: -- frequency than the music station. And the market currently is kind of limited market for the ethnic advertisers and it runs about 10 million and right now, based on all these frequencies that are operating, it's kind of fairly distributed except the RED-FM's got the larger market.
4865 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you. I would like to switch gears and have a discussion about your current operations at 1550. Just to be clear, given that in your application you indicated Surrey as the studio location, do you intend to move your current studio in Richmond or do you have plans to open up new offices or studios in Surrey?
4866 MR. D. BADH: We will remain at our current location in Richmond.
4867 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Can you confirm whether you lease or own the property where your studio offices are located?
4868 MR. D. BADH: We own and -- we own the property.
4869 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Can you confirm whether all of the current programming broadcast by Sher-E-Punjab originates from the Richmond studio?
4870 MR. D. BADH: Yes, they do.
4871 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And with the --
4872 MR. D. BADH: Except for one newscast that Jas had mentioned earlier.
4873 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right, that's fair. And with the proposed new service, that will still be the case?
4874 MR. D. BADH: Yes, it will.
4875 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Can you confirm the current number of full-time and part-time employees working in the studio and in your offices?
4876 MR. J. BADH: There are 22 at this time full-time equivalent. And if we add the people with the new languages, we will be approximately adding about two full-time equivalent, because they will be the part-time host.
4877 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And forgive me, I know you answered this earlier, the number of people employed on your sales team? I know you said long term you are looking at two more, but presently there are...?
4878 MR. J. BADH: There are four at the present time.
4879 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: There are four, okay.
4880 MR. D. BADH: Four.
4881 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: So do you foresee the number of employees, full-time or part-time, or even contract work, increasing due to the additional programming you have proposed? Have you already absorbed that cost, or do you expect that there will be additional expenses forthcoming in the coming years?
4882 MR. J. BADH: It is already in our projection and there will be at least two full-time equivalent additional.
4883 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. You note in your application that you would likely lease the transmitting plant in Vancouver for an amount similar to what you pay to BBC Broadcasting.
4884 We note in your proposed financial projections for the 600 AM scenario that in the first year this would amount to $260,000 and that includes transmission costs and a part-time salary for a technician person to deal with the transmitter and studio issues.
4885 So, can you clarify what portion of the $260,000 is strictly for leasing the transmitting plant?
4886 MR. J. BADH: Without going into the detail, because we are still negotiating, but it will be the major chunk.
4887 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Oh, I see.
4888 MR. J. BADH: It will be the major chunk.
4889 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: It will be a major chunk, okay.
4890 MR. J. BADH: Major chunk.
4891 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I wasn't aware you're still negotiating, sorry about that.
4892 MR. J. BADH: Sorry, yes.
4893 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That's fine. Once you have finalized that agreement, would you be able to provide a copy of the lease agreement?
4894 MR. J. BADH: Certainly.
4895 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Can you provide a copy of the lease agreement you presently have with BBC Broadcasting? If you want, you can provide it in confidence.
4896 MR. D. BADH: Yes, we can.
4897 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Great. In the case of one of your alternate scenarios, the 98.3 and the 91.5 scenario, why has the CCD over and above commitment of $700,000 decreased by 50 percent to $350,000, even though the decrease in revenues is projected to only be 25 percent less?
4898 MR. J. BADH: I will ask my brother to answer that.
4899 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4900 MR. D. BADH: Yes, this option, after reviewing the deficiency in the contour mV that we have arrived, mind you, it is very unviable because the market share is substantially reduced and there will be more interference on the frequency. So even though this was a kind of proposal in the beginning, but right now it doesn't seem to be a feasible proposal because it will be difficult to -- it will be difficult to achieve.
4901 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you. So you established that Sher-E-Punjab currently broadcasts from Ferndale, but the programming originates from your studios in Richmond, B.C.; is that correct?
4902 MR. J. BADH: Yes.
4903 MR. D. BADH: Yes.
4904 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So can you confirm whether you have any knowledge of the fact that the FCC has approved the construction of five 150-foot radio transmission towers by BBC Broadcasting in Point Roberts, Washington?
4905 MR. D. BADH: Yes, they have.
4906 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Do you have any plans to make use of these towers?
4907 MR. D. BADH: That's KRPI, you know, towers there and they are still waiting for the process to go through with Whatcom County.
4908 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That's fine, but do you have the intention of making use of those towers if and when those agreements or regulatory levers have been dealt with?
4909 MR. D. BADH: We hope to be moving on to 600, with CRTC approval.
4910 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Can you explain how the program is transmitted from the Richmond studio to the American transmitter?
4911 MR. D. BADH: I'm not the technical expert, but the studios here in Richmond transmit to Ferndale by either Internet and then from there they are broadcast through their antennas.
4912 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And is your signal carried on any SCMO channels?
4913 MR. D. BADH: Not with us, but we know it's in other parts of the -- I believe in another province and south of the border there's other people that are maybe carrying the signal.
4914 MR. FLEMING: Mr. Badh is being a bit modest. In fact the signal is being used by people in many places in Canada.
4915 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: M'hmm.
4916 MR. FLEMING: And in Seattle, in parts of California, sometimes with permission, sometimes not.
4917 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you. That was my next question, whether it is receivable anywhere else in North America, but I guess through hook or crook people are taking it and spreading it.
4918 MR. FLEMING: Yes, sir. It's available and in Winnipeg and in Calgary and part of it has been available in Edmonton, there is somebody using it without permission, and then it is also broadcast in a number of places in the United States on SCMO.
4919 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you. Would you accept as a condition of licence to not make use of any additional South Asian service on the Point Roberts Tower in exchange for the 600 frequency?
4920 MR. D. BADH: Yes, we will.
4921 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
4922 MR. BUCHAN: Mr. Commissioner, could I just clarify the nature of the condition of licence because it is not Sher-E-Punjab that broadcasts from the tower currently at Ferndale and it won't be Sher-E-Punjab that would be broadcasting from the Point Roberts Tower, it's KRPI AM, the licensee.
4923 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That's fair, Mr. Buchan. So I guess the question should be -- the condition should be, do you agree not to negotiate a lease arrangement to use the broadcasting facilities of any broadcaster making use of the tower if and when it is put up in Point Roberts?
4924 MR. BUCHAN: Yes, that's fine. Thank you.
4925 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you.
4926 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that affirmative, Mr. Badh?
4927 MR. D. BADH: Yes. As a matter of fact, KRPI has a lot of interest from Seattle sports radios and other Christian radio programming that are interested in doing some broadcasting on that, and also we do have a letter, I thought we did file, from the majority shareholder, KRPI, to not lease KRPI to any other South Asian programming that would be targeting the Lower Mainland.
4928 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That was actually going to be my next set of questions. But before we get there, with respect to that commitment to not lease any additional space -- any space on these towers that may be going up in Point Roberts, I just want to ensure that that commitment extends to any affiliated companies, any related companies that you may have.
4929 MR. D. BADH: Yes, it does.
4930 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, great. So with respect to the letter from BBC Broadcasting in which it agrees not to lease KRPI to any other South Asian broadcaster, can you clarify whether that commitment relates to Ferndale only or does it extend to the Point Roberts locations?
4931 MR. D. BADH: It's KRPI, it would be extended to Point Roberts also.
4932 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: It would extend to Point Roberts as well?
4933 MR. D. BADH: That's correct.
4934 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, great. And just out of curiosity, how would you enforce that commitment by BBC Broadcasting?
4935 I recognize there is a long-standing relationship there, but is there any mechanism in place for you to enforce that commitment?
4936 MR. D. BADH: We do have -- you know, it's a trust, it's a faith. Like I said, we are working early agreement. Also, as you may be aware, I am a 20 percent minority owner in KRPI, so I would be able to try to convince a majority partner to honour that, and which we have 100 percent faith that he would honour his word.
4937 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So in that same vein, could you convince the mystery majority partner to not lease the transmission facilities at either Point Roberts or Ferndale to any service that targets Canadian audiences?
4938 MR. D. BADH: Yes, we can do that, because like he already has interest from radios out in sports stations and stuff from the Seattle area that wish to do, I guess Mariners or Seahawks and others, and there is a lot of interest that he has had from the Christian -- it used to be a Christian radio station before it became an ethnic.
4939 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I see. So the intention is to actually have services pointed towards Seattle and other American cities with a focus on sports or Christian programming?
4940 MR. D. BADH: That's from what he has indicated to me.
4941 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
4942 MR. BUCHAN: Mr. Commissioner, could I just add something to that to clarify? We have had some discussions about this issue, obviously, in preparation for the hearing and it has all been with regard to whether there would be a lease to another South Asian broadcaster or an ethnic broadcaster aiming to serve Canada, and it isn't obviously enforceable through Sher-E-Punjab on what the licensee at KRPI is going to do, but what did make a lot of sense was that if Sher-E-Punjab is licensed to serve the B.C. market using 600 AM --
4943 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: M'hmm.
4944 MR. FLEMING: -- it really wouldn't make very much sense for another South Asian broadcaster to want to use the transmitter at Point Roberts to come into the same market and compete with an established station like Sher-E-Punjab.
4945 Now, how many Seattle Seahawks listeners there might be after next weekend in this market I don't know --
4946 MR. FLEMING: -- but that was the discussions that we had and the nature of the undertaking that Sher-E-Punjab has from the licensee of KRPI.
4947 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And that's fair. Okay. You know, I guess what I'm -- in a nutshell really where I'm going, the ultimate commitment that I would like to hear from you and from Sher-E-Punjab, is to cease participation in any undertaking, any entity that is broadcasting into Canada from a U.S. location and if you can give me a firm commitment that you will not participate in any undertaking that is doing that, I think ultimately that is what we would like to hear.
4948 MR. D. BADH: Of course we would do that.
4949 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you. I think probably legal will have some input on what that commitment looks like, but we can work that out at a later date.
4950 So you confirmed that your ownership position in BBC Broadcasting is 20 percent; is that correct?
4951 MR. D. BADH: Correct.
4952 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Can you explain the relationship between BBC Broadcasting and BBC Holdings?
4953 MR. D. BADH: BBC Broadcasting, I own 20 percent and Mr. Khela owns 80 percent and BBC Holding is 80 percent owned by my brother Suki and 20 percent owned by Mr. Khela.
4954 And there is no working relationship, except BBC Broadcasting is leasing the lands from BBC Holding.
4955 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And with respect to Mr. Khela and yourself on BBC Broadcasting, is there a shareholders agreement there?
4956 MR. D. BADH: Yes.
4957 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Would you be willing to file that in confidence with the Commission?
4958 MR. D. BADH: Yes, we can do that.
4959 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: That's great.
4960 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Mr. Chair, those are my questions. Thank you.
4961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Just a brief follow-up on that. I understand jurisdictional issues and I understand enforcement issues and the second row spoke to that issue, but would Mr. Khela be willing to come in?
4962 MR. D. BADH: Can you repeat that question again, sir?
4963 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would Mr. Khela be willing to come in before the Commission tomorrow? I understand your goodwill, I understand you've got an excellent relationship and you will do your best to convince him to offer the guarantees; you're offering the guarantees, you're speaking in his name. Would you be able to have Mr. Khela come in tomorrow and speak in his own name as to his intentions?
4964 MR. D. BADH: We can ask him and we could check and then get back to the CRTC to see if he is able to come tomorrow.
4965 THE CHAIRPERSON: Given your excellent relationship with him, you will do your best to have that --
4966 MR. D. BADH: We have an excellent relationship. I have to drive down there to pick him up.
4967 THE CHAIRPERSON: He doesn't drive?
4968 MR. D. BADH: His eyesight is not the greatest and his health is an issue.
4969 THE CHAIRPERSON: Someone else can't drive him up? Anyway, I will leave the logistics to you.
4970 MR. D. BADH: Sure. We will work something out.
4971 THE CHAIRPERSON: How do you deal with complaints currently at Sher-E-Punjab?
4972 MR. D. BADH: Believe it or not, we don't get any complaints.
4973 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's fantastic. I saw that in your document and no one has complained to the CRTC or the FCC.
4974 MR. D. BADH: The only complaints I guess is, we do get complaints from our listeners, they would like to have a better signal. That's the frustrating part for them --
4975 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4976 MR. D. BADH: -- is that in the evening when we have to power down and they cannot listen to the station.
4977 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the content per se, you never get any complaints whatsoever?
4978 MR. D. BADH: Mr. Chair, the compliments we get on a daily basis that our hosts are fantastic, they are well educated, well spoken, well-researched topics and our listeners are very, very, very respectful of the topic, they stay in line and I don't recall any time that we have ever had to use the 10-second delay switch at all.
4979 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand the 10-second delay switch, but no one has complained, you haven't received any complaints? Anyone in the front row? Ever?
4980 MR. J. BADH: No, we haven't received a complaint. If there was a minor discussion or something, then it would have been sat down and worked it out as a discussion part, but nothing to -- nothing big on it.
4981 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you don't recall, Mr. Badh, ever having received a complaint?
4982 MR. J. BADH: No, we don't.
4983 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. You must be the only broadcaster in the world that has been broadcasting for 10 years and never --
4984 MR. J. BADH: Well, we do -- as we had earlier indicated, our father is, as you can see, is about 6'2", very well respected in the community from the days in Merritt in '69 until now.
4985 And wherever he goes, as our host knows, that he is only 20, 30 feet away from the studio and he is in his office and he is always listening to programming, and before the host goes into the studio they do meet and greet with him and have a discussion about the thing, and his main focus is to service the community and that's the reason why we are there in the broadcasting business.
4986 I'm a full-time real estate agent also, and so our commitment is to service the community.
4987 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that. Wholeheartedly I understand and the experience here, the proof is in the pudding, and I never wish to put in doubt your father's excellent reputation. He is certainly an honourable man, there is no question there. I am just speaking in terms of complaints and you haven't had any and that's fine for the record.
4988 Do you keep logger tapes at Sher-E-Punjab currently?
4989 MS GILL: Yes, we do.
4990 THE CHAIRPERSON: You do?
4991 MS GILL: Yes. We have to by FCC regulation as well.
4992 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Have they ever been requested?
4993 MS GILL: No.
4994 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you ever had an ask on the part of the FCC to look at the tapes --
4995 MS GILL: No.
4996 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- or examine the tapes? Mr. Fleming, you would agree with me that an advisory board has to be majoritarily made up of not interested parties in the service?
4997 MR. FLEMING: Of course. I have designed a few for other stations and that's the way we always do it.
4998 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So you will speak to your clients on that issue and you will come back with something?
4999 MR. FLEMING: And we will be back, yes.
5000 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Because the answer there wasn't -- I didn't find that satisfactory either. You would agree with me?
5001 MR. FLEMING: Yes.
5002 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. So, we'll get back to that tomorrow.
5003 The music service, just to get an idea, the 40 hours, a lot of that is entrecouper, sort of placed in the middle of the talk segments. How much of those 40 hours are sort of stand-alone? Is there an hour or two hours where all you are getting is basically music and a DJ and there is no real talk radio going on?
5004 MS GILL: No.
5005 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
5006 MS GILL: We have, like for example -- Nimmi is here so she can kind of explain what she does 3:00 to 5:30 on Friday. We also have spoken word on the hour, we also have some features that run on the half, so that takes a significant amount of time from music.
5007 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5008 MS GILL: The other thing is, even in her music show, for example, she does riddles, so she will say -- she will share a riddle, she can give you a sample if you like, and people will call in. She takes the calls off-air and then she announces who the winner is, but in between there are only a few songs that play.
5009 So, on a typical music hour, say you have about eight to 10 songs that play, we get half that on an average, possibly five to six songs because we have so much talk, and sometimes only four songs.
5010 We don't have a lot of music on the station and music does not sound good on AM. And we don't make significant revenue from our music shows at all, it's just something different we offer and it has to be differentiated from the two stations that already do music, one is an FM station, music sounds great on stereo sound, and then RJ1200 already does a lot of music.
5011 So, we really have to stay differentiated. So a lot of our music shows relate to the culture or riddles and poetry and stuff like that.
5012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, that's great. Don't give me the riddle, I'd have a hard time figuring it out in English.
5013 MS DAULA: And that will be in Punjabi, so let's not do it.
5014 THE CHAIRPERSON: My limited capacity. And raising the linguistic issue, and I don't want to touch on anything else, but how would you describe the nature of the language that's used on Sher-E-Punjab; is it literal Punjabi, the Punjabi part of the broadcast, or would you say it resembles more Canadian Punjabi, if that exists?
5015 MS GILL: More traditional Punjabi, even Punjabi in some words that, like I have learned over the years.
5016 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. That raises another issue and sort of you broached the subject briefly and you talked about your demographic being a 40 over demographic.
5017 MS GILL: M'hmm.
5018 THE CHAIRPERSON: And have you attempted to try to bring in the second, third and fourth generations, the younger listener? Have there been any attempts made to bring them in?
5019 MS GILL: We have to approach that differently because you can't be something to everybody. We are a 40+ station. Now, if your brand is talk and you are 40+, you can't expect a youth to tune in to you for an hour if you are going to do a youth talk show or something.
5020 So the way that we have tackled some of these youth issues or gang issues, like we have had Constable Jay Cosa(ph) on with us from CFSEU, it's like some crime division, a big one here, and we have had Bowant Singuera(ph) on who is a part of another youth coalition society trying to prevent kids from getting into these things.
5021 We have to kind of do it the other way around, we have to connect to the parents to have that -- start building that relationship with the kids so there is no disconnect, you know, encourage on that side --
5022 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the target audience are the parents?
5023 MS GILL: Yes. It's very difficult. The only other way that we do get some youth is if, for example, when Nimmi does riddles and the grandparent or the parent are listening to the show, they might get their kids to call in and give the answer.
5024 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5025 MS GILL: They are trying to incorporate that, but they are not our core listening group.
5026 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. So you know your strength, your strength is the 40+ crowd --
5027 MS GILL: Yes.
5028 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and you are sticking to it?
5029 MS GILL: Yes.
5030 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. By the way, things just don't happen that way in my car, but I digress.
5031 MS GILL: Well, now you are in Surrey so you can maybe take a look around.
5032 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe in Surrey I get good luck. Look, what else. Do we have the Code of Ethics that you mentioned and have those been deposited; has that document been deposited with the Commission?
5033 MS GILL: Signed by our hosts?
5034 THE CHAIRPERSON: The actual Code of Ethics that should be signed?
5035 MR. FLEMING: It's the CAB's Code of Ethics.
5036 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5037 MR. FLEMING: This Commission has approved it and reviewed it and et cetera in the past.
5038 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fine. Okay, I didn't get that initially. It was the Code of Ethics, I thought it was a self-produced Code of Ethics.
5039 The licence term, would you agree to a shorter licence term?
5040 MR. FLEMING: Yes, we would.
5041 THE CHAIRPERSON: Anywhere from two to seven?
5042 MR. FLEMING: Ten and up would be fine.
5043 THE CHAIRPERSON: They're pretty rare, those 10 and ups, but maybe in your case, given that there have been no complaints whatsoever, we can start looking at exceptions to those rules.
5044 Commissioner Simpson?
5045 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No.
5046 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're good? Madam Pinsky...?
5047 MS PINSKY: Perhaps I could just follow up on the discussion you had and it was really for the point of just clarifying for the record.
5048 You did state your commitment to cease the involvement in terms of leasing transmission space from the United States with respect to the 600 AM and I just wanted to put to you, should one of your alternate frequencies be approved, would your commitment to cease operations through a U.S. transmitter survive as well?
5049 MR. D. BADH: Our main focus is AM 600 and the other 91.5 frequency is not really viable for us, but we would -- if you want to rephrase the question again, I would...
5050 MS PINSKY: Should the alternate frequency be preferred over the 600 AM by the Commission, would your commitment to cease involvement in a U.S. transmitter be the same; would you commit to that as well?
5051 MR. D. BADH: We would take the -- I mean, if it was the second option on the FM, then yes, we would.
5052 MR. FLEMING: To be clear, the 107.7/98.3 would be a licence that they would accept, the 91.5/90.3, we have already decided if you gave us that licence we probably wouldn't want it.
5053 MS PINSKY: Yes, thank you. As well I, just for the record, wanted to pursue -- I believe the question was put to you in terms of a condition of licence for a commitment to cease operation, were the condition to be a condition of approval, for example, so that the approval is subject to a condition that you first meet, would you maintain that commitment as well, a commitment to cease prior to the approval coming into effect?
5054 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that a legal -- second row, if you will, if you wish, just to...
5055 MR. BUCHAN: Well, I understand the question, legal counsel, but the answer long -- the short answer would probably be yes, but it would depend upon the timing of the cessation because obviously Sher-E-Punjab has a market that it's serving and it has been serving for 10 years and would want to continue to serve, so they want to make sure that the cessation takes place after the 600 AM goes on-air.
5056 THE CHAIRPERSON: If it could be done in a seamless manner, counsel.
5057 MR. BUCHAN: Yes, if it could be done in a seamless manner. I will ask Mr. Badh to respond yes or no.
5058 MR. D. BADH: Yes.
5059 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Just to be clear, what you are suggesting is something akin to a simulcast period such as would occur when there is a conversion from an AM to an FM?
5060 MR. BUCHAN: That's exact -- that's what I was suggesting.
5061 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Perhaps Mr. Fleming and Mr. Buchan, perhaps you could assist in drafting a proposal of how long that period would be and submit that to us?
5062 MR. FLEMING: We have already talked about that --
5063 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
5064 MR. FLEMING: -- and they actually think from the beginning of licensing, so there are two steps, if you will, in this: one of them doesn't involve this licence -- this condition.
5065 The first step is getting on the air.
5066 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: M'hmm.
5067 MR. FLEMING: And although it is from an existing plan IT may need a bit of work, so it may take a few months, and then we would hope for a six-month period of simulcast from the air launch.
5068 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
5069 MS PINSKY: I did want to pursue that other option though. I understand that you agree to the commitment in the event that there is no interruption of service, and that would involve the approval coming into effect prior to the condition having been met, and so I am also wanting to just pursue the option of, if the condition has to be met prior to the approval coming into effect.
5070 Mr. Buchan, do you follow what I'm saying?
5071 MR. BUCHAN: I didn't follow completely. I think I --
5072 MS PINSKY: I just want to know, are you saying yes, provided that there is no cessation of service -- I'm sorry, no interruption of service?
5073 MR. BUCHAN: I can't accept on behalf of my client, but the cessation of service was what bothered me the most, but Mr. Fleming has had more experience with these matters than I have.
5074 Is there usually, Peter, a period of six months of simulcast?
5075 MR. FLEMING: There is almost always a period of six months of simulcast, in my estimation, between and AM to an FM flip or something like that.
5076 In this case, I'm not quite sure how you would construct a condition that would reach that. If the condition is that the cessation of involvement with ownership, that could happen, but I guess at the end of the day if the only way that they can have the licence is that they will have to turn off one and turn on the other at the same time, that is potentially doable. The problem with that is you are going to take -- and that's -- it's a business problem, but it's also a service problem.
5077 There are a lot of people that listen to this radio station. I don't know how many of you have had one of your favourite radio stations go somewhere else or the format change, but it takes a while for people to find it and get there, so that might be a disservice to the listeners, but if it had to be, I guess that is what would be.
5078 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can think about it and come back to us tomorrow, but 1550 would have ample time to advise their listeners that they would be moving to 600, if that were the case, or moving somewhere else if that were the case. But seamless doesn't -- I think seamless -- a six-month seamless sounds a little overly ambitious.
5079 MR. FLEMING: Understood. If you would allow us to discuss --
5080 THE CHAIRPERSON: Seamless is more in the sense of simultaneous and not cohabitation for months, if not years.
5081 MR. FLEMING: Cohabitation.
5082 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Okay?
5083 MR. D. BADH: Our goal, Mr. Chair, there would be, is to get on to the 600 as soon as possible with a clear, crystal signal that would help our audience.
5084 And the biggest thing that we are looking at is our listeners, we don't want to have them, you know, wandering around to say, you know, what happened to Sher-E-Punjab? So we want to be able to make sure that they get the service that they are used to.
5085 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the regulator would like to be sure that some other things happen, so that's where we are at. Think about it and we will come back tomorrow.
5086 Any other questions, Madam Pinsky, that you would like to raise?
5087 MS PINSKY: I did want to --
5088 MR. BUCHAN: Mr. Chairman, could I just add something that might give a little bit of comfort to the discussion we had about the status of that tower for the 600 AM.
5089 Pattison Broadcasting has apparently made it available to whoever might get licensed to use 600 AM and there was a feeling in the discussion we had preparing for the hearing that the tower is, subject to check with our engineer, in reasonably good shape and we are not going to, you know, come back and say: Well, we got over there and they have kicked the tires, in other words, and it looks like it could be driven in reasonably short order.
5090 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would make it even easier to accept a condition of approval and not a condition of licence.
5091 MR. BUCHAN: My client will speak to that, Mr. Chairman.
5092 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can have time to consult and explain the nature of the question to your client, yourself and Mr. Fleming, and get back to us tomorrow. I don't like putting people on the spot.
5093 MR. BUCHAN: No, thank you very much. That's fine. Thank you.
5094 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Pinsky...?
5095 MS PINSKY: I just wanted to clarify the timing for fulfilling the undertakings. You agree to provide the lease agreement with BBC Broadcasting, as well as the shareholder agreement. When would you be in a position to file that with the Commission, by the end of day tomorrow?
5096 MR. D. BADH: Yes, we will do that.
5097 MS PINSKY: Thank you very much. Then with respect to the advisory committee, I believe you said you would file that tomorrow as well, Mr. Fleming?
5098 MR. FLEMING: I guess we are hitting Phase II tomorrow, yes, so we could do it by then.
5099 MS PINSKY: Thank you.
5100 THE CHAIRPERSON: And we will also have news by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning as to the 80 percent shareholder in BBC Holding and 20 percent shareholder in BBC Broadcasting?
5101 MR. FLEMING: Should we just inform the Secretary or the legal counsel about that tomorrow morning? Is that okay?
5102 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5103 MR. FLEMING: Good.
5104 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Khela. I'm referring to Mr. Khela, Mr. Badh.
5105 MR. D. BADH: If you could rephrase that question again, so I can just --
5106 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will have news on when we can expect to see Mr. Khela tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.?
5107 MR. D. BADH: Yes, we will.
5108 THE CHAIRPERSON: And we will accommodate -- the schedule will accommodate his presence, okay?
5109 MR. D. BADH: Thank you.
5110 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even if he is here 9:00 a.m., we will make arrangements.
5111 MR. D. BADH: Thank you.
5112 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, sir.
5113 Madame Pinsky, is that it?
5114 Madame la secrétaire?
5115 Thank you all so much.
5116 MR. D. BADH: Thank you very much.
5117 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you.
5118 THE SECRETARY: We will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. and we will begin with the presentation with 0971197 B.C. Ltd.
5119 Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1850, to resume on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 0900
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