ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 14 May 2014
This page has been archived on the Web
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
Volume 2, 14 May 2014
TRANSCRIPTION OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
To consider the broadcasting applications listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-102, 2014-102-1 and 2014-102-2
Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale
3450 Dufferin Street
14 May 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 2014-102, 2014-102-1 and 2014-102-2
Joshua DoughertyLegal Counsel
Joe AguiarHearing Manager, English Radio Operations
Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale
3450 Dufferin Street
14 May 2014
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
5. Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc.263 / 1727
6. WhiStle Community Radio328 / 2120
1. 105.9 FM Ltd.371 / 2383
4. WorldBand Media (OBCI)378 / 2415
6. WhiStle Community Radio387 / 2454
1. Tamil Entertainment Television390 / 2476
2. Jayaraman Vadivelu413 / 2649
3. Rukshian Balasubramaniam420 / 2684
4. Filmi Dunia Inc.424 / 2706
5. Canadian Multicultural Radio432 / 2760
6. CFMS, 105.9 The Region445 / 2837
7. Sivakkumaran Sivapathasundaram463 / 2952
- v -
PAGE / PARA
Undertaking324 / 2093
--- Upon commencing on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 0906
1722 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, everyone.
1723 Madam Secretary...?
1724 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, and good morning.
1725 We will now proceed with item 5 on the agenda, which is an application by Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the English-language specialty commercial radio station CKFG-FM Toronto, Ontario.
1726 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation. Thank you.
1727 MR. GORDON: Good morning, Commissioners. I see that I see that you are all bright and early, probably looking forward to the Montréal Canadiens victory tonight.
1728 MR. GORDON: My name is Fitzroy Gordon, I am the Founder, President and CEO of Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc. G98.7FM and we go by "The Way We Groove."
1729 Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to explain the merits of our application for a technical amendment to our Toronto licence by adding a transmitter site in Scarborough. This is a continuation of our efforts to adhere to the Commission's mandate of providing programming to the Black and Caribbean population of the entire GTA, the Greater Toronto Area.
1730 On behalf of the Black and Caribbean population of the Greater Toronto Area and other Canadians who love the rich and diverse sound of our World Beat programming we now present a strong case as to why granting this technical amendment would be the best use of the 102.7 FM frequency.
1731 Let me now introduce you to the members of the panel before you today:
1732 - to my immediate right is Mr. Delford Blythe, Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer;
1733 - on his right is Mr. Stuart Hahn, our Engineer;
1734 - on my left is Mr. Wayne Williams, our Program Director; and
1735 - to his left is Mrs. Adriana Steele, General Sales Manager.
1736 IBN's objective here today is in keeping with the Commission's advice to applicants for technical amendments that:
"...a licensee must unequivocally demonstrate how the increased coverage will:
- firstly, secure the financial viability of the station and/or
- secondly, solve interference or reception issues affecting the community it is licensed to serve."
1737 We want to commend the wisdom of the Commission in licensing IBN with a signal, although, I must say, it was limited from the outset. We are proud of the fact that we have taken this limited signal and have developed it into a viable frequency in the Toronto market where there was none before. We are grateful for the opportunity the Commission has granted. So while others were resigned about the lack of frequencies, we were proactive, not just for the Black and Caribbean population but the entire GTA population.
1738 Granting IBN the technical amendment to use 102.7 FM will enable it to fulfil its approved mandate to provide programming not only to those living in the central and western part of the Greater Toronto Area but to those living in the east as well.
1739 I will tell you a little bit about the journey.
1740 I want to sincerely thank the Commission for entrusting us, a small independent broadcaster among the giants of Canadian broadcasters, with a licence in June 2010 to bring the first ever World Beat formatted station to the Canadian airwaves after several attempts.
1741 With the granting of our licence, the Commission gave a clear message to our community that we were a priority and we felt very good about that. I am proud to report that your decision to grant us a radio licence, although on a limited channel, is already exceeding expectation in our community as we provide spoken word, World Beat music, international sports and other culturally specific programming that they so adamantly wanted. Oh, how I wish the over 1 million people living in Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, even Oshawa and area, were able to listen to our program without interference.
1742 Commissioners, everyone knew that the 98.7 frequency would not give us the full coverage that would be required to meet the entirety of the audience. We always knew that the signal had limitations. However, it was the only choice that we had. We had to accept the "bird in the hand rather than hope for the two in the bushes." We absolutely had no choice; no other frequency was available.
1743 In our 2010 application, we recognized the technical limitations expected of 98.7 and we advised Industry Canada and the Commission in our Technical Brief that:
"...the coverage achieved is the best possible at this time; some important parts of the applicant's potential market are not well served, particularly Scarborough. ... The applicant intends to improve the availability of the station's programming ... and will pursue opportunities to improve the coverage as they become available through regulatory and technological developments."
1744 Commissioners, now, the opportunity has arisen again. Our application before you here today is another attempt to fulfil our intentions to the Commission and Industry Canada as stated above in our 2010 approved application and to finally fulfil the long awaited promise to the thousands living in Scarborough and area to improve a clear radio signal.
1745 MR. WILLIAMS: Good morning, Commissioners. Thank you, Mr. Gordon.
1746 I would like to give you a brief synopsis of G98.7's unique and diverse programming. Consider for example MC Bonde, the host and producer of The African Groove Sundays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. He immigrated to Canada from Zimbabwe in 2001 with a passion for radio but found that no commercial radio station offered any programming to the African community. He is now known as "The Voice of Africa" due to his radio show targeting the African continent.
1747 Before G98.7, the African community, comprised of people originating from 50 countries, never had a mainstream outlet to showcase the beauty of its culture. His show is the first African music program ever on commercial radio in Canada and it has been the source of tremendous pride for Toronto's African community. In fact, Africans living across Canada, and indeed the world, listen to his show via our website at G987FM.com.
1748 In addition to his show, we offer a number of specialty programs that are totally unique on Toronto radio and add diversity to the commercial radio landscape:
1749 - "Soca Grove" provides a concentrated three hours of Soca and Calypso music hosted by Canadian and internationally renowned DJs Da Enforcas;
1750 - "Riddim Track" is a three-hour show hosted by award-winning Toronto DJ Spex, dedicated to the various styles of the Reggae genre, from Ska, to Rock Steady, to Lover's Rock, to Dancehall;
1751 - "Grapevine," hosted by our President Fitzroy Gordon, is a live and interactive call-in show covering current affairs, politics, health, finance, youth, legal matters and other topics of particular relevance to our core Black & Caribbean demographic audience;
1752 - "Gospel Morning" is Toronto's most popular gospel show on commercial radio every Saturday and Sunday morning;
1753 - we provide major newscasts throughout the day, with emphasis on news from the Caribbean, Africa and local news of importance to the Black and Caribbean community. The news also covers entertainment, local and international sports that are unique to the population that we serve;
1754 - "World Beat Sports" is a two-hour interactive sports program covering sports of particular interest to our core audience, such as cricket, soccer and track and field.
1755 The following audio clip showcases the diversity that our programming has added to the Toronto airwaves in our two and a half years of being on air.
--- Audio clip
1756 MR. BLYTHE: Good morning, Commissioners. I am Delford Blythe, the Vice President and CFO for Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc., although I just call it G98.7FM.
1757 Let me address the interference or reception issues affecting the Black and Caribbean population whom we are licensed to serve.
1758 From Burlington and Oakville to Milton in the west, from Brampton, Vaughan and York Region in the north, from Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa in the east, and of course the City of Toronto, we are the third largest ethnic group in the Greater Toronto Area and the last to have a dedicated radio station.
1759 Unfortunately, the Black and Caribbean population in the former City of Scarborough and extending eastward are not able to benefit from IBN's programming. The total affected population is over a million individuals, of which Scarborough comprises approximately 600,000 or about 60 percent. Those who self-identified as Black represent about 165,000 or 16 percent of the total affected population. We respectfully submit that the number is more like 200,000 when those with multiple backgrounds from the Caribbean are included.
1760 This is a community that is growing at a much greater percentage -- up to 20 percent -- than the average overall population growth rate. As required by our broadcast licence, IBN is determined to serve the local Caribbean and African communities across the Greater Toronto Area. However, 165,000 or approximately 28 percent of the Black and Caribbean population in the GTA cannot receive programming dedicated to their needs.
1761 After 10 years of struggle to provide a voice in the GTA we had no choice but to accept the 98.7 FM frequency because something is better than having nothing at all. We were all very encouraged by the Commission to "explore other technical solutions" to the limitations of the 98.7 frequency.
1762 The application before you is our second attempt at "fixing" our interference issue in the east. We simply followed the directive by the Commission in Broadcast Decision 2006-135 to "find a frequency." The 102.7 FM frequency will greatly enhance our ability to reach the 1 million listeners in Scarborough and eastern GTA who are not able to receive 98.7 FM programming without interference.
1763 But let's focus on the uniqueness of Scarborough. Currently, only a small part of Scarborough receives the 3 mV/m coverage and parts of Scarborough are not within the 0.5 mV/m contour. By adding a transmitter on 102.7 FM, most of Scarborough will receive the 3 mV/m service and all of it will be well within the 0.5 mV/m contour.
1764 The Scarborough 3 mV/m population will increase from 72,900 to over 284,000. This is a substantial improvement which will significantly alleviate our documented coverage problems and listener complaints in that area. Also, many within our core target demographics who live in the suburbs of Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa will finally be able to receive the signal without interference.
1765 The objective of adding a transmitter site in Scarborough is to be able to increase the coverage to CKFG's principal targeted market in the GTA east and northeast communities. Again, those living in the Eastern GTA comprise about over 1.1 million or one-third of the principal market area.
1766 An analysis of the demographics between 98.7's current coverage and 102.7 FM's proposed coverage area reveals the following:
1767 - Total population in the interference-free contour is expected to increase significantly by 40 percent or 1 million, from 2.3 million to over 3 million, compared to CKFG's current restricted contour map.
1768 - Total listeners in the new CKFG and CKFG-102.7 FM, 0.5mVm interference-free contour, increased to 61 percent of total population compared to only 50 percent for CKFG. This represents approximately 927,000 more potential listeners in the GTA East.
1769 - The number of households able to receive CKFG programming increased to 1.3 million from 1 million. This represents a 30-percent increase in the ability to reach the targeted audience and businesses in the eastern part of the GTA.
1770 The demographics of Eastern GTA are an extremely critical part of our targeted market and our financial viability depends on being able to reach them with our signal. However, the key factor which must be considered is interference from other stations.
1771 Most of Scarborough is beyond the 98.7 FM interference-free coverage. As I said, over 72,000 people in Scarborough, or 12 percent of the total population, cannot receive our signal at present. In contrast, 102.7 provides interference-free coverage to all of Scarborough.
1772 Let me talk about the economic challenges.
1773 The concentration of the Black and Caribbean population in the Eastern GTA is significant. This is the core market, both listeners and businesses, that we must be able to reach in order to have long-term financial sustainability.
1774 We were always aware that the technical limitations of the 98.7 frequency could impact on our economic viability in this competitive Toronto marketplace. We never anticipated it would be so severely negative. The potential portion of the Toronto Market in the 102.7 FM interference-free contour that we are not reaching is approximately $35 million or 14 percent of the $250 million reported for all stations.
1775 The ability to reach the full targeted population as outlined in the proposed technical amendment is very, very crucial to the financial viability of the station. CKFG's current interference-free contour, as stated, currently excludes 927,000 listeners. We have determined that this translates into a potential loss of over $600,000 in annual advertising revenue.
1776 Our effort here today is to have a level playing field. We are not asking to start a new station, we are asking to ensure the viability and success of the one you have licensed us to be able to reach the listeners you have licensed us to reach.
1777 Thank you.
1778 MS STEELE: Good morning, Commissioners. Thank you, Mr. Blythe.
1779 Listeners, advertisers and advertising agencies have complained severely about the inadequate coverage of CKFG 98.7 FM signal in the eastern part of the GTA. National advertisers and national advertising agencies have stated that:
"if they can't hear the station ... it causes advertisers to question your full reach potential."
1780 In other words, for national chain brands if you cannot be heard in the entire GTA you will not receive advertisement.
1781 We have one major client that cancelled their live broadcast with the station because the patrons in the east could not receive the programming. This represented $130,000 loss of revenue.
1782 We have received many complaints about when are we are going to fix the problem. For example:
"I live in the Scarborough area, Morningside and Old Finch Road, I am unable to get any signal in any area of the house. Sometimes I get a fairly decent signal in the car, but it's usually interrupted by a station that sounds like some type of talk radio. It would be nice to be able to hear G98.7 clearly on my house and car stereos! Please tell me this is an issue that can be resolved."
"I am very frustrated by the interference faced in the East. I praised the station, told all about my family and friends and spread the word like crazy. I was elated that there would finally be a station I could relate to and lock into my radio. Unfortunately, since the launch my excitement has slowly diminished as a result of the interference."
"I reside in Pickering, but work mostly in Oshawa. I have also experienced static in Scarborough as well, Brock Road and 401 West to McCowan. During my drive from Pickering to Oshawa, I hear in-and-out music from G987, but mostly signals from another radio station overpowering G98.7. A lot of static as well, but mostly interference from the other stations. There is an overwhelming need for us in the East to be able to enjoy what those in the West and other parts of the city experience. I can honestly say there is a HUGE difference. I travel to Mississauga and quite frequently I am shocked at the difference. Please give the listeners what they want and need ... ORIGINALITY. G98.7 gives a sense of diversity, tranquillity and uniqueness in the music that is played. Who would want to rob anyone of that?"
1783 As a commercial broadcaster CKFG is measured by BBM on its proprietary monitors all across the Toronto CMA. Almost one-third of those monitors are located in the Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa regions. This means we are rated on only reaching two-thirds of the total Toronto CMA while others are reaching 100 percent of their target audience. Ratings are derived from listeners and ratings directly affect our ability to compete in the marketplace where 70 percent of the revenue is based on our ability to demonstrate listenership.
1784 Our research has shown that Black family household spending in the GTA is a $6.5 billion market. Advertisers are anxious to have a direct commercial radio station targeting that market. We have the unique opportunity to offer local and national advertisers a targeted approach to reach this audience. As an independent small broadcaster, IBN needs the ability to reach the full market to be able to compete.
1785 MR. GORDON: Thank you, Adriana.
1786 Commissioners, I conclude.
1787 Most of the applicants before you during this hearing have made a claim that their proposed program would best fill a void in the Toronto radio market. We respectfully submit that the needs of the audiences served by those applicants do not surpass the needs of the Black and Caribbean community.
1788 While we currently call ourselves a Toronto radio station, there is a significant portion of our audience that cannot access our signal within the heart of the 416 area code. This is not the case with other applicants.
1789 There are stations broadcasting from all the way in Hamilton in the west and Peterborough in the northeast that can reach listeners that we are unable to, despite the fact that we hold a Toronto licence and they don't. We look forward to the day that we can truly call ourselves a Toronto radio station serving not only those in the western areas like Mississauga and Brampton but all Canadians who live in the Scarborough area as well.
1790 The Black and Caribbean community, and hundreds of thousands more Torontonians, regardless of where they live or work in the GTA and who appreciate our new and vibrant World Beat programming, deserve to be able to listen to the only station that has given them a voice to their music and culture.
1791 We strongly believe that as an incumbent broadcaster licensing IBN to be able to fully serve this demographic would fulfil the public interest in its broadest sense. We should be given priority preference to meet our mandate to serve all the people we have been licensed to serve two and a half years ago. I also strongly believe that the Commission should seek to ensure, as a priority, a vibrant and strong Black and Caribbean listenership all across the GTA.
1792 Before I thank you, Commissioners, I'll say this, it is better to fix that which is needed to be fixed now than to put a new one in place and G98.7 FM, our frequency, needs fixing badly. We are presently only operating half the signal and if the Montréal Canadiens operate in this style tonight they will be beaten by Boston hands down.
1793 Thank you, Commissioners, for the opportunity to deliver this presentation. We would be pleased now to answer your questions.
1794 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
1795 Commissioner Simpson has some questions for you.
1796 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much. Good morning.
1797 MR. GORDON: Good morning.
1798 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm going to start my questioning on some of the points you made in your oral presentation this morning so that we can better understand your position, not that your position with respect to what you are attempting to do is not understood, it's the language you used to try and describe the severity of the problem and, to a certain extent, imply that it is the Commission's responsibility to solve.
1799 In your opening paragraph you said that this proposal is a continuation in your:
"...efforts to adhere to the Commission's mandate of providing programming to the Black and Caribbean population of the entire GTA."
1800 Now, I find that an overstatement, an overstatement to the extent that you seem to be saying that in the wisdom of our previous decision to give you a licence for a commercial undertaking that we were in essence saying that we are acknowledging and applying our will and our force to recognizing that there is a mandate that we are licensing you to go out and fulfil.
1801 Now, if you just bear with me, I'm sorry, I don't mean to be lecturing here but I find it really tough for a commercial undertaking to say that in the process of a competitive licence call, in the course of the decision we take that we have essentially endorsed a mandate to serve a community.
1802 What we did is we granted a licence on a competitive basis for a commercial undertaking and it was your business decision, and perhaps a personal choice, to undertake to provide a product and deliver a cultural product to a community that had not previously been served.
1803 But I take issue with you and I would like to get into a debate as to why you think it is a mandate that we gave you as opposed to a licence.
1804 MR. GORDON: Commissioner Simpson, I don't know if you were around at that time but --
1805 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I was.
1806 MR. GORDON: He was, wonderful. So thank you very much for your vote of confidence.
1807 It's true that when we were granted this licence, it was not only granting a commercial radio licence, it was granting a licence to people that had no voice in the GTA.
1808 We had meetings with the Commission after we were unsuccessful in our first bid and we were encouraged by the Commission to try again. We did. We had meetings again after and several meetings with Industry Canada.
1809 This is more than just a giving out a commercial licence like a competitive -- there was a competitive hearing. It was not. It was granting a licence to people that had nothing and we were told -- after we complained about the poor quality of the signal, we were told by the Commission and by Industry Canada that we should keep looking at ways to improve the signal. That to me is a mandate: Look for ways to improve the signal. This is all that we can give you. That's all that we have.
1810 We accepted it but we were also encouraged to go and work on improving it and so we did because the Commissioner told us that we should work on finding ways to improve the signal. So that is where we are coming from.
1811 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Are you referring to -- in your original application you had made an application for a piece of spectrum and because of technical difficulties we gave you an opportunity to go back and find another piece of spectrum for your application. Is that what you are referring to?
1812 MR. GORDON: No. When we received this, when we did our test and we submitted --
1813 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
1814 MR. GORDON: -- 98.7, we know the engineering brief showed that it would be inadequate. They had a problem, problems because CBC would not cooperate with us --
1815 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
1816 MR. GORDON: -- in order to allow us to operate across the GTA.
1817 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
1818 MR. GORDON: Because the CBC's frequency from Peterborough and Owen Sound, 98.7 keeps bleeding into the GTA as they do their repeat programming on 99.1 and we were asking the Commission, we were asking Industry Canada to help us to get the CBC to cooperate.
1819 Of course, the CBC refused and so what Industry Canada and the Commission told us is to "continue to seek ways to improve your signal."
1820 We consider that an advice, friendly advice: We understand your plight. This is all we have to give you. You can continue to work on making it better.
1821 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I will give you -- no, I won't.
1822 MR. GORDON: I think you should.
1823 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I will have to say that I think what we were trying to do is to encourage you --
1824 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1825 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- from a technical perspective --
1826 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1827 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- but not from a cultural perspective.
1828 This market, like a lot of markets in Canada, because of our proximity to the United States and the fact that we have half of what other countries have to offer with respect to available spectrum, makes it very, very difficult to have the amount of spectrum available to serve the needs of all communities. We acknowledge that.
1829 And I also acknowledge that we do, when the situation allows and dictates, try to be as accommodating as possible so that as many communities can be solved as technically feasible and possible, and so I will give you that.
1830 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1831 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But I still have problems with the issue that -- let's say the language of the hearing at that time, or correspondence, said that we will always encourage you to find ways to optimize --
1832 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1833 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- the spectrum you have --
1834 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1835 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- but I think you crossed the line in your argument, not anything untoward --
1836 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1837 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- but I think you crossed that line when you take that to mean that (a) there is a mandate --
1838 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1839 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- to serve and (b) that mandate then means that you go for any other piece of spectrum possible based on that mandate rather than the best application against competitors in an open hearing.
1840 MR. GORDON: But there was not an open hearing.
1841 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: This hearing, I'm referring to.
1842 MR. GORDON: All right. This one, okay.
1843 Consider this, Commissioner. Here you are very anxious, trying to get a station -- a frequency. Your people have no voice. Can you imagine hearing from the Commission: "Take this." It's like the parable in the Bible where you are given a talent, you take this talent and you go, you can either bury it and do nothing about it or you can go and work and increase it.
1844 So can you imagine, it felt like a candy in my mouth when the Commission said: "Hey, this is what we can give you. You can examine other ways in order to improve your frequency." That's great news to me, excitement.
1845 So let's separate the cultural from the commercial here. I think that's where we have a little problem.
1846 We applied on a cultural heading and of course we are operating as a commercial, both the commercial and the cultural coming together. So our approach was strongly cultural.
1847 And because we had none before, when I heard those statements, "Find ways to...," I got very excited. I mean I just need to score goals. I need to bring this home for my people.
1848 So the wording could be a little bit strong, Commissioner, but it is -- it is one that came out of excitement, one that came out of, yes, the CRTC understands, the government understands and cares about these people being licensed. And so we did.
1849 And so I would -- I don't know, I don't want to debate you, you know, all the way to next year because I don't think I can beat you in that debate. You are too eloquent for me to --
1850 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm not so sure.
1851 MR. GORDON: But if you can separate that cultural from the commercial I think that you would have a different understanding than the one you have right now.
1852 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I take your point, but I also have to say that these hearings are based -- are usually fact-based --
1853 MR. GORDON: Yes.
1854 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- not emotional-based. We try very hard not to be excited up here.
1855 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But it was just a point that I had to explore with you and I appreciate your indulgence because I am not trying to be combative or argumentative, I am trying to understand your position and you have done a very good job of explaining it.
1856 MR. GORDON: Mr. Blythe.
1857 MR. BLYTHE: Thank you, Mr. Gordon.
1858 I think we have to go way back to 2001. There was an Order in Council to the Commission. In terms of looking at where we draw inspiration as to why we see this as a mandate, the Order in Council basically stated, if I can paraphrase, that should a frequency be available in the Toronto area the Commission will give licensing priorities to those that meet the linguistic needs, the cultural needs of the diversity of the City of Toronto. I'm just paraphrasing.
1859 That inspiration said to us the submission is focused on making sure the citizens, the listeners in the Toronto area get priority who aren't served. We understood that to mean that the mandate of the Commission was to license new stations that are going to target those demographics.
1860 Our demographics at the time did not have a dedicated station. As we said, we are the third largest and we never had a dedicated radio station. So when we applied in 2001 under a hearing which was essentially for ethnic radio and we were mystified that the signal we identified which no one else actually identified, which was the 105.1, was awarded to a Francophone community. We virtually lost all that. So we were encouraged, again as Mr. Gordon said, to reapply because your community still has not been served.
1861 And keeping with that principle of linguistic cultural need for Toronto in terms of diversity of voices on the radio station in the market, we continued and pursued. At that time 105.1 was the last clear signal available. There wasn't any other clear signal available. And so we searched and developed 98.7 out of, you know, nothing really, but we had a major goliath that we were facing.
1862 So we see all the -- you know, the Commission's own wording, as a sort of saying we want to licence stations that are targeted in the community. And for us it meant if you are serving that community, you know --
1863 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
1864 MR. BLYTHE: -- we are giving you that.
1865 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
1866 Just for the record, all I'm trying to establish is that if there is a mandate that the Commission upholds it, is from the Broadcasting Act and it's for the official languages of this country. And where we try to comply to the service of other ethnic or cultural or linguistic minorities is in having a fair and balanced hearing where applicants come forward with their desire to serve that community.
1867 And our job is to try and ascertain the best use of spectrum given the applicants that are in front of us. I'm trying to just balance the scale here so that all applicants here feel that they are being heard in a fair process.
1868 Now, if I may, because we're running out the clock here, and I take full blame for that, one more item on your presentation. And, again, it's just to try and understand your perspective.
1869 You were talking about people meters and BBM and this was on page 8 of your oral presentation. I am trying to understand the thinking behind the statement when you say that, you know, you have this piece of spectrum that services part of the GTA, but not all of it, which is why you're here today, trying to solve that issue.
1870 But you comment that in the distribution of the people meters a third of them approximately are in areas that your spectrum doesn't serve. And so therefore that distorts the viability or the marketability of your station with advertisers.
1871 If you're not in that market -- I mean that would be like CFPL in London saying, "We don't have our signal extending into Toronto. So therefore, it's hurting our figures".
1872 Would you explain to me what your position is on that and why you make that statement because you're not serving Scarborough right now? So why would the fact that people meters in this market disturb your financial and marketing viability?
1873 MR. BLYTHE: The BBM is used by national -- by all advertisers to determine --
1874 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I was in the --
1875 MR. BLYTHE: Oh, and you understand so I don't have to explain.
1876 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, it doesn't hurt.
1877 MR. BLYTHE: But we are being judged -- we are being judged on our performance on the BBM across the GTA which includes those areas we're not reaching.
1878 So as a result, our numbers are not as great and as a result the agencies are not prepared to buy us or if they do, they want a significant discount. So we are being assessed on two-thirds of the meters.
1879 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But you're bought on CPMs or cost-per-rating points. So it's all relative, you know, based on your audience delivery. And the spot cost is based on audience delivery, not on market potential of a portion of the market you don't serve.
1880 MS STEELE: That's correct.
1881 However, when a buy is made it's based on the Toronto central area and, therefore, the stations that they are buying they are expecting for the station to be able to cover those areas.
1882 With us having an inability to reach the monitors, obviously it affects our ability to rank, you know, in those demographics that they are purchasing the Toronto central area. And then it puts us in a position where we're either below the top 10 so we don't even get considered for the buy, and those agencies or national advertisers that recognize the need to reach our listeners will then, as you say, take into consideration of CPP causing us to have to drastically reduce our rate.
1883 So, therefore, where we're selling to another advertiser at a much higher rate when we do business with those agencies, essentially we are doing it at one-third of the rate that we're doing with other businesses.
1884 So by having those monitors we then have the ability to effectively deliver Toronto central and therefore we can charge a fair rate for our product when we're dealing with the agencies that expect us to deliver that area.
1885 MR. GORDON: And just to --
1886 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Mike, please.
1887 MR. GORDON: Yeah.
1888 And you mentioned about the radio station in London complaining that they are not reaching a certain area. We are a GTA radio station. The areas that we're talking about, Commissioner, is also a part of the GTA and a big portion, almost half of the population that we serve live in that section that we are not reaching by BBM.
1889 It's not that we're saying we want to reach Barrie or we want to reach Bowmanville or those areas; no.
1890 We are a GTA radio station. You can't tell the listeners or the business people that you are -- oh, you are a GTA station. We all live and work in the GTA, but they can only hear you in one-half of the GTA and not another half.
1891 This is where our dilemma lies. We have to serve the entire GTA. So we're not asking to get outside of the market that we're licensed to serve. We're licensed to serve the people of the GTA.
1892 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: What is the percentage of your advertising revenue that comes from national or from agency buys?
1893 MS STEELE: 30 percent of our advertising.
1894 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: 30 percent?
1895 MS STEELE: Right, versus 70 percent directly, which is upside down compared to other stations.
1896 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So what you're saying is you're losing out not on the local advertiser who is in your signal area but a Canadian Tire, for example?
1897 MS STEELE: Yes.
1898 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Or a Brick or --
1899 MS STEELE: And essentially, we are forced to go out and find new radio advertisers to compensate for that.
1900 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
1901 MS STEELE: This year alone we've brought $600,000 in revenue with brand new advertisers to radio. That's what we're forced to do.
1902 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Let's keep on the financial theme. I'm on the clock here. Otherwise, I'm going to be in the penalty box, to continue with your hockey metaphors.
1903 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In your confidential filings what I felt interesting is that the argument you're putting forward with respect to this licence application is to gain access to another 600,000 to a million audience to fully serve the GTA.
1904 And what I find interesting is that when I look at your financial projections for the three years going forward should you be successful, it doesn't come -- your financial -- your revenue doesn't come anywhere close to reflecting by percentage the increase in the market that you would be getting if you had the second licence.
1905 What I'm looking at is revenue figures that go up 2.5 to 5 percent. You know, I'm respecting the confidentiality of just your financials but when I look at your revenue projections they don't seem anywhere close in the short, medium or long term to reflect the increase in audience.
1906 So could you explain that?
1907 MR. BLYTHE: Well, the financial projection that is in the application in terms of the before and after scenario is basically a conservative projection based on if we are successful in generating -- in getting the application approved -- the actual amount of revenue that we think we will generate.
1908 We're talking about the potential loss of 600,000. We are just saying that is the amount that is available. In terms of our projection we are being conservative saying we certainly need that 600,000 to be at least available to us. Right now it's not available.
1909 So in our, you know, forecast we may have been, you know, conservative in saying we hope to get some of that 600,000 but it's worse -- much worse if we don't.
1910 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But you are not conservative in your anticipation of losses if you don't get the licence. And this is where the math doesn't work for me.
1911 Because when I look at your financial projections that are on the record you're looking, as I said, at 2.5, 3 percent increases in your first year going through to perhaps a 7 percent increase by Year 3 based on your projection -- based on your actual revenues now. Yet, if you don't get this licence the bottom falls out.
1912 Now, what happens there? Why wouldn't you stay on your current revenue projection from Years 1 and 2?
1913 MR. BLYTHE: I think the difference, Mr. Commissioner, if I might point out, is the projection in Year 1 should we receive the application --
1914 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
1915 MR. BLYTHE: -- is actually about 600,000 more than if we don't.
1916 So we're saying the difference in terms of revenue if we receive the application will jump significantly but the annual projection -- in other words, annual rate of increase going forward is conservative to 5 percent.
1917 But when I still look at before and after the projection is -- right now we are projecting without this improvement about, you know, a $600,000 less revenue. So I would say it's more about the before and after and not in terms of going forward because inflation and all the other things will probably --
1918 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So the 600,000 you're talking about is Year 3, not Year 1.
1919 Yeah. What I'm looking for -- you know, we ask you whenever you're doing an application like this, to give us an approval scenario and a denial scenario on revenue. That's what I'm looking at. Those are the figures.
1920 And I see a $600,000 increase, but I see it in Year 3 of an approval scenario. But in Years 1 and 2 I see a very nominal increase and, frankly, no improvements until Year 3 in your PBIT.
1921 But when I look at the denial scenario I see you losing 800,000 bucks in your first year.
1922 And I don't understand why your revenue would collapse if you don't get the licence based on the fact that in Year 2 you're actually slightly ahead on your forecasts in today's realistic scenario.
1923 What am I missing here? What happens if you don't get this licence that it causes you to lose three-quarters of a million bucks?
1924 MR. BLYTHE: Well, you see the cost of operating the station is more or less fixed after a certain time. So you have certain fixed costs --
1925 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sure.
1926 MR. BLYTHE: -- which you will have. But the projection for is if you have improvement in your revenue it will improve the bottom line.
1927 So it's that extra $600,000 in the revenue that is needed because your costs are basically going to be fixed. To help reduce the collapse in terms of the loss on the --
1928 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So did your original -- did your original -- sorry, I'm just trying to be efficient. I do not mean to interrupt. I apologize.
1929 MR. BLYTHE: Sure.
1930 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm just very mindful of the hearing timing.
1931 Did your original seven-year projection, when you were granted this licence, therefore contemplate an $800,000 loss in Year 3? Going back to -- were you around then for that application?
1932 MR. BLYTHE: Yes. Yes.
1933 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And did your Year 3 projection based on your original seven-year scenario contemplate a $600,000 to 800,000 loss?
1934 MR. BLYTHE: No, we did not because of --
1935 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And at that time you had no idea that you'd be here today applying for a second transmitter?
1936 MR. BLYTHE: At the time we had no idea the significant limitation we would have in really advertising from the east. So the projections were made assuming a certain amount of advertising dollars coming in.
1937 Now, what we have experienced is due to the limitation. We are, as the sales manager said, upside down. We are only getting 30 percent of the national business.
1938 So yes, we need the increase in revenue because the costs are fixed. And so we need the increase in revenue to help to reduce the significant loss we will face --
1939 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, you have to take my word on this which is a terrible thing to say in a hearing. But you know, I get a certain amount of staff information and their analysis, and I am led to believe that based on your existing scenario, this last year of 2013 was actually marginally better than you expected.
1940 So it seems to go against -- your 2013 financials were slightly better than your original projection at licence application time a few years back. And so it doesn't seem to be pointing to this imminent collapse that you're speaking about.
1941 MR. BLYTHE: We are experiencing less revenue --
1942 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
1943 MR. BLYTHE: -- than we are expecting. We may have improved in terms of reducing our costs but what we are not able to, Mr. Commissioner --
1944 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
1945 MR. BLYTHE: -- is some of the normal things like to promote the station.
1946 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
1947 MR. BLYTHE: Like other stations can. We cannot. We have to reduce in certain areas because of the limitations. So we do need that revenue to be able to spend.
1948 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, thank you very much for that segue because that lets me get into the next area that I wanted to talk to you about.
1949 And it has to do with some of the compliance issues. You knew this was coming. I'm sorry.
1950 But, well, I'll just deal with the housekeeping of annual returns first of all. I read significantly your file and come to understand your pleadings that it was a pretty tough couple years of startup and there were a lot of unexpected issues and your resources were challenged. We fully understand that. We've seen that happen many a time.
1951 But some of the bad things that come out of it are pretty basic, including the filing of your financial returns. This is sort of like dealing with the tax department. You know, even if you get it in late you're still penalized.
1952 In 2011-12 you were almost a full calendar year out of whack in terms of filing your financial returns; nine months to be exact.
1953 And there was a lot of discussion with the Commission about this and we heard back then that, you know, you were delayed in getting your startup. Fully appreciate that, but 2013 improved on that and you were only three months late going into the next year.
1954 So my first question is, understanding your explanation that you were challenged, what measures have you taken to correct this so that next year you will be filing your financial returns on time?
1955 MR. BLYTHE: We have added additional resources.
1956 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
1957 MR. BLYTHE: That again due to the limitation of our finances, we are unable to really afford certain things that a major station have. We are a small independent advertising -- I'm sorry -- station and we tend to try to keep our costs down because of the fact that we are, you know, not experiencing revenue. We are experienced-- we expect it. So it's been tough going, I can tell the Commission. It's been very difficult.
1958 You know, Mr. Gordon and myself, we can't afford to hire the consultants and to be able to, you know, outsource some of the things like the majors. We don't have the efficiencies of a large organization to be able to pass things across.
1959 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
1960 MR. BLYTHE: So you know, we faced that in getting ourselves going. Now, we understand. Now, we know what we have to do.
1961 We have undertaken to fulfil all of those requirements and we are on schedule and we'll meet all those going forward.
1962 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
1963 MR. GORDON: Let me say, Commissioner, we have learned from those and we are on track. We don't expect to see that again.
1964 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Who is -- do you have someone now who is tasked with the responsibility of your regulatory requirements? Do you have someone inside or outside?
1965 MR. BLYTHE: I have taken on that responsibility. So not only I'm the CFO but basically I'm the CRTC -- we can't hire a regulator person like we dealt with when we were negotiating with the CBC. They have tonnes of people who were just hired to deal with that. So we are just ourselves.
1966 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Lucky you.
1967 MR. BLYTHE: Yes. We have going forward --
1968 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
1969 MR. BLYTHE: -- retained and, you know and will, you know, some additional resources to assist us.
1970 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Fine, I understand. I accept your answer.
1971 Will you care to comment if at licence renewal time, will you care to comment on what your reaction would be if there was to be an imposition on your renewal with respect to these and any potential further compliance issues?
1972 Would you be prepared to comment on any impositions on your condition of licence as a result of these compliance failures?
1973 MR. GORDON: Well, I don't think that perhaps that's going to be necessary because we're not going to --
1974 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You're not going to do it again?
1975 MR. GORDON: No.
1976 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
1977 MR. GORDON: We'll see what happens.
1978 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You're going to --
1979 MR. GORDON: We're going to think positive and --
1980 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'd like to deal with CCD now. You talked about your commitment to the Black and Caribbean communities and I would like to address first the issue of your basic CCD.
1981 It doesn't sound like a lot of money to some people. There is $2,419 outstanding on your basic CCD as applied to FACTOR, your commercial community radio fund -- sorry, the commercial -- the Community and Campus Radio Fund and a discretionary amount.
1982 Is this $2,400 on its way?
1983 MR. GORDON: Yes, Commissioner.
1984 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And when will we expect this?
1985 MR. GORDON: It should be received, I would think, anytime soon.
1986 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You heard the post office is not delivering anymore?
1987 MR. GORDON: I will drive it to Ottawa.
1988 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. You don't have to do that.
1989 But your intention is not to -- because you have an application before us with respect to adjusting the payment schedule for your over and above CCD. So this $2,400 is not included in that amount. It's separate and will be paid separately?
1990 MR. GORDON: Correct.
1991 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
1992 On the over and above, you had made some very admirable commitments to over and above. And in understanding that with the delay of the station coming on the air there was a pro-rating of the amount of money that was to be paid in the 2011-12 licence period, some $26,850.
1993 And sitting here in May of 2014 we have also a shortfall of $37,027 for your over and above for 2013.
1994 Now, we have and understand and will decide on your application for us to consider refinancing that commitment over the remaining licence period. But I'd like to dwell on what happens if we decide that we will not allow that.
1995 Specifically, I'd like to know, given that there is a drop dead date of August 31st on this money, should we deny your appeal to restructure your CCD over the remaining licence period would you be in a position to pay that by August 31st of 2014?
1996 MR. BLYTHE: We have already undertaken all the requirements of meeting the August 31st deadline. In fact, we have had activities of CCD.
1997 The first one was on May 1st and we have one scheduled for the end of May and June.
1998 So if you could speak to that, Wayne?
1999 MR. WILLIAMS: M'hmm.
2000 The next one will be May 29th. We're doing CCD showcases, artist workshops, working with individual Canadian up and coming artists, a bevy of activity happening right now with CCD to uphold.
2001 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2002 MR. BLYTHE: So we will be meeting the requirement to make or over and above.
2003 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So the program is -- the wheels are starting to turn?
2004 MR. BLYTHE: Is in place and --
2005 MR. GORDON: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, they're in motion. In fact, we just had a --
2006 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: If you don't mind, I'd like to discuss that aspect later and we'll just deal with the money issues first.
2007 MR. GORDON: Okay.
2008 MR. BLYTHE: Okay.
2009 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: All right. Can you give me some insight as to why this money had to take a backseat to other expenditures? Was it not part of your initial financial forecast or is this part of the unforeseen issues that you find yourself dealing with?
2010 MR. BLYTHE: Yes, Commissioner. You're correct. It is a consequence of the difficult times we faced financially. We did not anticipate we would have such a difficult time getting those national advertisers and our revenue did not materialize.
2011 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah. This question is going to be a little out of turn because you have already made a commitment to payment should we decline your proposal, but at the time of licensing it's always a practice of the Commission to ask the principals of a new licence undertaking that if there should be a scenario where there are unexpected shortfalls that they would be prepared to inject additional liquidity into the business to make up those shortfalls.
2012 Why did you not do that before you got this badly out of compliance?
2013 MR. BLYTHE: The prospect of generating additional liquidity is something that we have tried, but we haven't been able to generate that. We've also explored other means of financing, but we have not been successful so far.
2014 We are constantly looking at that and that's something that we will have to deal with. However, now we are committed that no longer will we not meet those financial commitments that we have given to the Commission.
2015 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
2016 MR. BLYTHE: And so I can assure the Commission that priority has been given and will continue to be given in those commitments.
2017 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. This is going to seem terribly unfair to ask, but it has to be asked. If you should not be successful in this particular application -- this question goes to available funds.
2018 You indicated it was difficult to find additional liquidity to meet your CCD obligations, but there seems to be additional funds for engineering, research, feasibility studies and a new transmitter and a new tower lease.
2019 Is that money one in the same, or is that separate money, because if you are telling me there were financial difficulties and you corrected them to be able to satisfy the CCD, if you do make that commitment and fulfil that payment in August, does that put you back into a financial situation with respect to your go-forward plans on this new spectrum?
2020 MR. BLYTHE: No, Mr. Commissioner, we will still -- if we are not successful, we will still have difficulties. The limitation of the frequency is harkening back on how we are viewed in terms of trying to raise funds.
2021 The feeling we -- the feedback we received is, you reach the Greater Toronto Area fully and not only will we find those who are prepared to come onboard because they see the financial situation better, but of our own, in terms of our own sales forecast, we will be in a better financial position.
2022 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2023 MR. GORDON: Ah...?
2024 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, sir?
2025 MR. GORDON: Commissioner Simpson, a lot of the money that we seek lies in the eastern corridor, in Scarborough an area where a very large portion of our business resides. We can't get those funds out of there because our signal is not strong.
2026 It's not only about getting the financials, it's about providing the service to the people. I don't want to lose, you know, that. That to me is the strongest point. The people in the area cannot hear the station and if the people hear the station, then of course, then business people are also people, then it will improve the financials also.
2027 So improve the listenership to the area -- to the people and it will improve other things, so we don't have to worry about what's going to happen later on because the money will be there.
2028 And just to add, when we started up, because you know we went through a recession, but of course Canada wasn't hit that hard, but getting our equipment, you know, from the U.S.A. and all that, everything tripled and doubled, so instead of spending a hundred dollars, it became $500 that we got to spend.
2029 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
2030 MR. GORDON: Okay. So we were faced with, you know, a huge problem in starting because everything just went up because of the financial -- worldwide financial situation that we faced.
2031 So we came in at a time, and perhaps in Toronto we're the only radio station that came in during that time, that big worldwide recession and breakdown. So because of that it hit our finances very, very hard and believe me, we had to be strong and resilient to even get back up to where we are now.
2032 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. Now, sir -- thank you -- we can get back to what you had started. The award talent shows that were planned had to be suspended and I'm wondering if you can just touch very briefly on why that happened, and then tell me more about what is going forward with respect to that component of your emerging talent commitments?
2033 MR. WILLIAMS: The talent shows weren't suspended. They were planned, they've been planned over the last -- for the course of this summer up until August 31st.
2034 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Hmm... Okay. Keep going. I'm just going to go back and review my notes. So you were going to tell me what the plans are going forward.
2035 MR. WILLIAMS: All right. So, going forward we have planned showcase performances between four and six over the course of the summer --
2036 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
2037 MR. WILLIAMS: -- showcasing different genres within our Worldbeat format from R&B to Reggae, to Soca, African, Zouk --
2038 COMMISSIONR SIMPSON: Yeah.
2039 MR. WILLIAMS: -- everything within the core Worldbeat. On top of that, too, we've also planned specific artists' workshops with emerging artists. So we are not just showcasing them in terms of a performance scenario, but actually bringing them into the radio station.
2040 We just did our first one last week where we promoted this on our airwaves, we instructed them on how to submit, how to get a plan for going forward in terms of, you being now an independent artist, in terms of labels changing their direction, in terms of how to create your own brand, online distribution, things of that nature.
2041 So we're going to do a second one in June and that will be part of our CCD for the summer.
2042 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You have my apologies, I either misspoke or misread, or both which is more likely.
2043 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I understand though in the briefing notes that I had that the shows had to be cancelled because of the late start of the radio station --
2044 MR. WILLIAMS: Late start.
2045 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- getting on the air.
2046 MR. WILLIAMS: Oh, okay.
2047 MR. GORDON: In fact, Commissioner, we have done two already in the month of May and one very successful workshop.
2048 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
2049 MR. GORDON: That was a whole whammy, the attendance, the turnout and one of the things that we had to do from the beginning because we came in with a new format, and previously the people that we serve, the artists, they had no way to play their music on commercial radio. What we had to do was to train them, teach them, work with them, get them, you know, to start doing, you know, proper CDs.
2050 A lot of them who were sending CDs in, they couldn't play them on radio. ARTica played them, so now we're getting them to do the proper thing. We had to be like a school, a college to get these people up to par and now we can proudly say the last year over 70 of them did proper recordings.
2051 And now, so two -- one workshop went a week ago and we had two talent programs and by the compliance date you will see that we would have even exceeded what we said we would have done.
2052 MR. WILLIAMS: On top of that, too, we brought in, you know, viable artists in the industry to talk to the emerging artists as well, to record label representatives to tell them, you know, what they're looking for in this new age of distribution in terms of the recording industry. So it was very successful.
2053 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. This is my last question, and then I'll turn it back to the Panel and to the Chair.
2054 In your last comment on your oral presentation, and again, I'm trying to understand the nature of service and the intended audience.
2055 In your last paragraph you said:
"The Black and Caribbean community and hundreds of thousands more Torontonians, regardless of where they live in the GTA." (As read)
2056 I appreciate the vibrancy and the energy of your music format. I understand that this is not an ethnic radio station licence, but you've spoken so strongly about the cultural imperative and the mandate you spoke of, but it seems that you also recognize that this is more of a mainstream product than that cultural drive is fulfilling.
2057 Could you describe to me why this service is the best use of spectrum, given the broader nature of your audience?
2058 MR. GORDON: Well, No. 1, the Black and Caribbean population had nothing like this before and, Commissioner, what you have to understand, the music for example that we play, it's accepted worldwide, for example Reggae.
2059 The people that love Reggae music, you think, oh, it's only Black people; no, we had a program out in a park and a gentleman called me over and he said, I want you to come over here and meet my friends. There were about 120 Jewish folks. He said, I'm a 70-year-old Jewish man and Reggae is my music and they were all dancing up a storm.
2060 And if you look at people coming in to collect their prizes, it's not only Black people or Caribbean people. And again, the Black and Caribbean population is not only made up of people whose colour is black.
2061 In the Caribbean, it is -- the Caribbean population, it is made up of Africa, East India, the Chinese, the Portuguese, the Italian. It is just a large mixture. So we know that in having this station that we have to make sure it is programmed so that everybody can enjoy it.
2062 We've got the core audience is the Black and Caribbean population, but it has spread out to those who love the music. Taking the Black and Caribbean culture mainstream, that is taking it mainstream so that everybody can enjoy it.
2063 And that's what is happening right now in Toronto.
2064 MR. BLYTHE: If I might add, Commissioner, the question really is a very important one, why we think it's the best use of the frequency.
2065 The 102.7 frequency, it's small in terms of it's concentrated in the eastern area and as a stand-alone it would be quite a challenge.
2066 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
2067 MR. BLYTHE: Certainly as an existent small broadcaster, we have experienced the difficulty of trying to run a station across the entire GTA with limitations.
2068 So for us we see it as the best use of a repeater to reach the -- you know, to expand the range of our existent station which will, in effect, allow us to another 700, 900,000 people rather than a concentrated 15, 20 or 30,000 people. That to us a better use of that, you know, as a repeater for us so that we can extend the programming to the rest of the GTA that is now being deprived.
2069 And I think from a small point of view as a small independent station, you know, a market like Toronto, I think it will be best used as a repeater from that point of view.
2070 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
2071 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Shoan...?
2072 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Good morning, Mr. Gordon, good morning to your colleagues. I just have one question and it's a policy-based question but it follows along the lines of the last line of questioning that my colleague, Commissioner Simpson, just conducted.
2073 So you've positioned yourself as a GTA/Toronto station that's trying to improve your signal. We have other Applicants before us who have positioned themselves as a first service station to Scarborough.
2074 So from a policy perspective, in a sense, if we look at just the market of Scarborough, the choice that we have is between a service that will provide dedicated local programming to the Community of Scarborough, or supplementing the signal of a "out-of-market station" that's serving Scarborough.
2075 And apart from the nature of the format and the programming you're providing to these communities, there's a great deal -- radio is a local medium and there's an argument to be made that one could argue that the provision of local programming should be a priority in proceedings such as this.
2076 Do you have a position on that? Can you comment on that?
2077 MR. GORDON: Yes, I do. Commissioner Raj, Scarborough is now part of Toronto. It was by itself once, but not anymore. After the megacity alignment, Scarborough is now a part of Toronto.
2078 And so, other Applicants who are applying in Scarborough, they're not applying in Scarborough for general population of Scarborough, they're applying in Scarborough to reach the particular ethnic populations in Scarborough.
2079 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: M'hmm.
2080 MR. GORDON: So you know, these particular population, but not the general. We, therefore, we're reaching the Black and Caribbean population and also the general, all those who would like to listen because we are an English population and Scarborough is Toronto. We are a Toronto station and we cannot reach all of Toronto.
2081 And I believe that with this small signal it is going to be problematic for people -- you now, just like we're having problems now with this station to reach all we would like to reach, if this is given to someone to use on its own as a standing station, they're going to have difficulties also with the reach of their signal.
2082 So I honestly think that using it as a repeater to reach the eastern part of Toronto, which is Scarborough, it is very important and I think that it is essential that we are given the opportunity to do so.
2083 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, great. And your answer is very clear. Thank you very much.
2084 MR. GORDON: Thank you.
2085 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I have a couple of quick questions. One is, in your oral presentation this morning you made the point on page 5, you say:
"The total affected population is over 1.03 million individuals of which Scarborough comprises 610,000 or 60 percent. Those who self-identified as Black represented 165,000 or 16 percent of the total affected population. We respectfully submit that the number is more like 200,000 when those with multiple backgrounds are included." (As read)
2086 What is the source for that number?
2087 MR. BLYTHE: The source is Stats Can and, interestingly, I had to go to various -- through Elections Canada, demographics by riding of those area, they do provide details of the demographics for those areas.
2088 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Would you mind providing us with that --
2089 MR. BLYTHE: Sure, I will.
2090 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- as an undertaking for --
2091 MR. BLYTHE: I can provide the Commission with the analysis as to population by riding as --
2092 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be very helpful. Thanks. And that would be by end of business next Friday, May 23rd.
2093 MR. BLYTHE: Will do.
2094 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks. And one other question, just to clear up confusion, in my mind anyway. Part of your argument was that you can't reach -- you can't increase your national advertising the way you'd like to, and your national advertising typically looks at your forecasts at about 10 percent of your overall revenue; right.
2095 But under your approval scenario, and I know it was conservative, I don't really see that you're projecting national to increase as a percentage of your overall revenue. And so, I don't understand that, I don't understand that if it's necessary, I mean that was a good argument, made a lot of sense, you know, to capture national advertising through the bigger agencies to have a bigger reach and I don't see it in your forecasts. There's an inconsistency there and I wanted to give you the opportunity to clarify it.
2096 MR. BLYTHE: The definition on national for us is different from what we call agencies because 70 percent of the buy is through agencies and they buy local advertisement but they are run through agencies.
2097 So it's not just the national that we are hoping to increase, but it's the agency portion of the business and they buy both for local as well as national.
2098 MS STEELE: Essentially -- I'll just add to that, essentially --
2099 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, then I must have misunderstood. You were talking about agency money, not national money?
2100 MS STEELE: Right.
2101 MR. BLYTHE: Correct.
2102 MS STEELE: I'll break that down a little for the -- so, in total, all of the agency, be it through local agency or national agency, currently we're bringing 30 percent of our business in from those areas and having that signal would then translate to the increase in revenue and perhaps the projections were only specifically to that --
2103 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, that's fine, you've cleared it up. I mean, I'm glad I asked the question because I'm smarter for having asked it.
2104 MR. GORDON: May I say something here, Mr. Chairman? Because I came up also, but in talking about advertising and national and all with the agencies, let's take -- you mentioned, Commissioner Simpson, let's say Canadian Tire.
2105 Canadian Tire, you know, is right across the country. Let's say there are 20 Canadian Tires in Scarborough and, of course, we have several across the western part of Toronto. The problem we're having here is that if agency -- you know, we try to get the agency money, because we can't reach where the 20 Canadian Tires are in the east, it limits the money that we get and sometimes they don't want to buy us because we don't reach the other 20 Canadian Tires that are in Scarborough.
2106 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any correspondence from agencies to that effect that might be of interest to us that --
2107 MS STEELE: We get verbals.
2108 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- that you wouldn't mind --
2109 MS STEELE: We get verbals from the agencies on a regular basis, not that they've documented for us in writing.
2110 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2111 MS STEELE: But both from our national representation firm with the challenges that they have -- they face in selling the station, from the local agencies that we deal with that are local reps deal with. We do get verbals from them on regular basis with the challenges of purchasing the station.
2112 They see the benefits of it, they understand why it's important to reach that listener, they simply can't justify spending the money when there's a huge portion of the Toronto central region --
2113 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand your point and I need to wrap things up. So thank you very much for your presentation and for your time and the efforts you put into it.
2114 We will take a 10-minute break.
2116 MR. BLYTHE: Thank you, Commissioner.
--- Upon recessing at 1033
--- Upon resuming at 1045
2117 THE SECRETARY: We will now proceed with item 6 on the agenda, which is an application by WhiStle Community Radio relating to the community radio station CIWS FM Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario.
2118 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
2119 Thank you.
2120 MR. DONALD: Good day, Chairman Menzies, Commissioner Shoan, Commissioner Simpson, CRTC staff, those attending this important hearing regarding the future utilization of the 102.7 frequency in the GTA.
2121 My name is Bob Donald. I am the designated spokesman for WhiStle Community Radio. I am on-air show host who served on the Board of Directors for the past four years, last two of which as Vice-Chair.
2122 My responsibilities encompass membership, our CRTC applications plus sharing overall station management with the Chair.
2123 Present today are Dianne Cook on my right, our current Chair, to my left, Don Maitland, a Board Director.
2124 Insights into Whitchurch-Stouffville. The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is "country north of the city". That's what our signs says. Actually, now two cities, Toronto and now Markham.
2125 We're located about 30 minutes northeast of Toronto, immediately north of Markham. Our town is comprised of various communities, including Gormley, Wesley Corners, Lemonville, Ballantrae, Vivian, Cedar Valley and Stouffville.
2126 Within our town's 200 plus square kilometres, we have three distinct areas, rural, urban and an environmentally-protected moraine.
2127 Whitchurch-Stouffville is small town Ontario, and that is its appeal. Residents are open, friendly and welcoming.
2128 WhiStle Radio is very proud of our market brand, 102.7 FM CIWS, the voice of Whitchurch-Stouffville, a volunteer community radio station serving the residents of Whitchurch-Stouffville, "About people you know by people you know".
2129 We are a vibrant, volunteer-based non-profit public access community-based broadcaster. We are totally and fully community service focused. That community is Whitchurch-Stouffville, more often simply referred to as Stouffville.
2130 If community radio is defined as and is required to be an integral part of community, then WhiStle Community Radio has done just that, and within six years.
2131 We are very proud of what we have accomplished to date. We have far more that can be accomplished, but only with an increased broadcast coverage range.
2132 The station is located in the heart of downtown, on Main Street, beside the landmark clock tower in the lower level of one of the oldest buildings in town, currently a furniture store.
2133 The station has a practical and efficient setup, with three studios and two editing stations. Our larger studio facilitates multi-host and group shows, including live musical performances, which we do frequently.
2134 At the station, you would observe an assortment of individuals, including our production manager, a trainee operator, at least one show host with a guest or two, our sales specialist, a director, and up to six intern co-op student trainees, all working together.
2135 Our walls are decorated with our show and event posters, recognition and other award plaques and successful grant awards, all of which we are very proud to have received.
2136 Two situations directly and negatively impact our ability to have our signal reach much beyond the very small area in the downtown core within blocks of our transmitter. Those located outside of this small downtown core area have to listen to the station on the internet, which is not our intent as a community FM station.
2137 One situation is that our current lower power of 50 watts ERP average and maximum is not sufficient to reach our residents. The other is that our transmitter is located at a lower height than the majority of the town, thus blocking our signal.
2138 This was definitely not the broadcast coverage area that was projected in our original application and for which our licence was granted.
2139 Therefore, we're applying to the Commission to address these serious situations by granting a power increase to 175 ERP average watts, 1,000 watts maximum, taking us to a protected status and allowing us to relocate our transmitter and antenna to a higher, more favourable elevation, but remaining in the downtown area close to our studios.
2140 With the Commission's approval of this application, we anticipate a three millivolt per metre signal coverage area that will encompass approximately 67 percent, or roughly 29,000, those resident in what are called Wards 5 and 6 of our town's current 42,800 residents, a major improvement in providing this key service.
2141 At present, with the existing limitations, we estimate that our coverage is roughly 14 percent, or 6,000 residents, a considerable shortfall from the original licence projection of 28,000.
2142 Based on the town's forecast residential distribution, we estimate that with the approved power increased and transmitter relocation that almost 95 percent, or over 40,000 residents in our town, will be able to receive our signal in the .5 millivolt per metre area.
2143 With this increased coverage area, our advertisers would know that there is a larger listening audience than what exists at present with our limited range. Local advertising, as explained in our application, is seen as the major source for our financial continuing viability and sustainability.
2144 Local businesses have stated that they will advertise at such times as our broadcast range is greater than at present. Therefore, this increase is very important to our continuation as a community radio station.
2145 Our listenership and popularity continues to grow as our community presence and visibility increases. We have attracted increasing numbers of residents to join our station in a variety of roles, two of which are seated beside me.
2146 We invite guests, including notable community residents, business and local officials on to our shows, both live and recorded. We also air birthdays, anniversaries, Fire Service messages as well as free PSAs to any local service organization.
2147 WhiStle Community Radio offers our residents and listeners a full slate of choice and flexibility that is unrivalled in the entire GTA.
2148 We offer a variety of talk shows of topical issues and informed commentary featuring local residents, businesses and politicians. These discussions are intermixed with community-specific weather, news, traffic, events, history, interesting stories not offered by any other GTA station.
2149 These shows span a very wide range of topics such as current community affairs, automotive, technology, children's library stories, poetry, short stories and music, beauty techniques, inspirational and art. All of these are hosted and produced by local area residents.
2150 We also offer a wide range and eclectic mix of music shows, not simply one genre. This includes jazz, blues, pop, gospel, rock and roll, country, big band, world beat international, vinyl originals, gospel, contemporary, soul, international dance and French as well as emerging Canadian and local artists.
2151 Again, all of these are also hosted and produced by local area residents.
2152 We provide opportunities to host and/or produce a radio show to roughly 50 different on-air announcers, eight technical producer operators, six interns, co-ops, RTA graduates at any one time, one contract production manager and one sales specialist. Again, all local area residents.
2153 Overall, this is remarkable and noteworthy, particularly for a 99 percent volunteer run operation.
2154 I'd like to highlight some of our many accomplishments for you.
2155 We have a comprehensive, active 11-member Board of Directors that includes volunteers plus independent local residents and business representatives. To ensure that accepted financial practices are in place and being followed, our financial accounts and procedures are reviewed annually by an independent third party local professional accounting firm.
2156 To become less dependent upon membership donations and grants and to maintain continued financial sustainability with essential advertising revenue, we now have a dedicated sales specialist to maximize the generation of local advertising and sponsorship.
2157 Following a direct request from the Mayor and the Council of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, we now air, unedited, all Council meetings for the listening benefit of residents.
2158 The Mayor also has his own show where he directly responds to the town's residents. To quote him:
"Whitchurch-Stouffville is one of the fastest-growing communities in Ontario, not only in population but also in diversity, making it more important than ever to keep our residents informed and connected."
2159 WhiStle Radio is an important component of this vital communication.
2160 Our local MPP, Dr. Helena Jaczek, is a regulator guest on our shows and personally presented one of our Ontario Trillium Foundation grants.
2161 Our local MP, Paul Calandra, is a regular guest on various shows, is a supporter and an advertiser. We're also pleased to provide a live broadcast of his annual successful fundraiser, "Hockey Night in Stouffville". And recently, Mr. Calandra rose in the House of Commons to pay tribute to and personally recognize the former Chair of WhiStle Radio, Halvor Moorshead, who unfortunately passed away suddenly in March of this year.
2162 We broadcast live the last municipal election all-candidates meeting, an interesting evening of which I was a part.
2163 We are the only community radio station that broadcasts live all 55 games, home and away, plus play-offs, of the Ontario Junior Hockey Stouffville Spirit team. This has resulted in our reputation as a top quality hockey broadcaster across Ontario.
2164 Family members and former team members who have progressed to the OHL, AHL and NHL listen to these hockey broadcasts via the internet.
2165 Via this OJHL venture, a local businessman, who happens to be an RTA graduate, although that's not his line of work, has realized his dream of doing live hockey play by play. Our broadcast team also includes amazing hockey knowledge, colour and play by play skills of three other key volunteers, a lead female talk show host, also one of our Directors and Vice-Chair at present, plus two teenagers, aged 13 and 19, who travel -- all travel with the team.
2166 We have trained, from scratch, dozens of local residents to work in all radio station functions for live, remote, recorded and edited broadcasting.
2167 We have provided community service hours for local area students from York and Durham regions as well as practical, hands-on experience for students and graduates of RTA programs from a variety of different Ontario colleges and universities.
2168 These co-ops, interns and new grads don't simply watch, they learn, then accurately perform the various functions at the station.
2169 One intern is now interning with a Toronto commercial station, one is commencing a Broadcasting College program and one is waiting to enter such a program. Via their experience with us, they got the radio bug.
2170 Our dedicated volunteers range in age from eight to 80 plus. A few have extensive radio experience, a few have some previous radio experience, but the largest group, by far, had absolutely no previous radio experience. We trained them, all of them.
2171 All of these local residents have one keen interest, providing a quality radio service dedicated to the residents and businesses of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
2172 We feature new and emerging Canadian artists in our programming. Some of the local artists have become show hosts, and to my left, a Director.
2173 We have received three honourable mention awards from NCRA, National Campus Community Radio Association. One of these shows was broadcast live weekly from a local restaurant featuring only local talent.
2174 The "Stars of Stouffville" was a successful gala of local artists and their original songs that resulted in a CD of these showpieces. None of these artists would be heard on commercial stations, yet, including a 12 year old Stouffville girl who had written an inspiring song and wanted it to be heard and recorded. WhiStle Community Radio made this happen after a number of commercial stations rebuffed her.
2175 We have partnered with a local venue, 19 on the Park, which happens to be the old Town Hall, and pioneered major show events involving such renowned musicians as Rik Emmett and Jack De Keyzer.
2176 We partner and support a wide array of local community events and do live broadcasting when appropriate with the Stouffville Annual Strawberry Festival, which is on Dominion Day, July 1st, the Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade, the Multicultural Association's World Music Festival, a number of class and antique car shows, one of which was last night, Minor Hockey Association playoffs, Doors Open, the Stouffville Food Bank-Lafarge Weigh-In and a program called Scripts and Scores with the Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, which is a unique blending of local musicians and artists with local writers, authors and poets.
2177 We have been asked to MC the Whitchurch-Stouffville Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Night, and WhiStle Radio is a proud former winner of the Chamber's not-for-profit award.
2178 We have become a recognized media outlet and fabric of our community.
2179 In two specialty shows, The Golden Years and New Horizons, we interviewed long-time residents celebrating their historical and ongoing contributions in our area and seniors over 65 for their recollections of Stouffville's past. This was yet another unique program offering.
2180 Having recorded and aired these shows plus making copies available to the local library and museum for key historical preservation has ensured that these stories will not be lost.
2181 We reached out l'Association des Francophones de la Région de York, who arranged for two local fluent teenagers, a brother and sister, to develop and produce our all-French content show.
2182 WhiStle Community Radio is the only radio station that truly broadcasts local weather, news, traffic and events that are fully focused on our community, Whitchurch-Stouffville.
2183 Taking the initiative, we established and have demonstrated our emergency broadcasting capabilities. This very important service is recognized by the local Whitchurch-Stouffville Fire Service as well as York Regional EMS and police.
2184 It would be a tragic consequence of this hearing for WhiStle Radio to lose the significant momentum and community spirit that has been achieved and to demoralize the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, not to mention our dedicated cast of volunteers. We are very proud to be the radio station serving Whitchurch-Stouffville.
2185 As stated in our opposition interventions to the other applications at this hearing, who are to be complimented for their presentations, WhiStle Radio is here to protect our continuing existence as a community radio station and what we consider our frequency.
2186 The current number of applications for 102.7 which resulted in this hearing indicates the interest in radio in the GTA, but as an existing station, we have developed a niche in our community and that is not served by any other radio station, nor would be by any of the other applicants at this hearing. Our residents want to be able to access our signal where they cannot at present.
2187 Approval by the Commission of any of the other applications would have a highly detrimental effect on WhiStle Radio. To our minds, it appears that all of the applications are mutually exclusive in their scope, power size and transmitter locations. Based on what we understand, WhiStle Radio could be pushed off the air and that, to us, would be a tragedy.
2188 Although there might be commercial merit in what the other applicants are proposing, WhiStle Radio is not taking any position on that except as just noted.
2189 Approval of any of the other applications could eliminate our station, and this is very unsettling to us and to our community, particularly after we have created and now provide a key broadcasting outlet in the town. We're fully committed to continue to provide this service.
2190 While concentrating on continuing to effectively and fully service our community, expanding our programming with quality shows to meet its growing size and diversity and further solidifying our market penetration, we've also been required to respond to notifications from the other applicants for 102.7 and obtaining professional expertise on how each application would impact us. This has been both time consuming and costly.
2191 As we are not a commercial enterprise, but a non-profit community FM station in the GTA market, we seek help from the Commission at this hearing to keep our frequency and to remain on the air without signal interference from stations on the 102.7 frequency.
2192 If the Commission has to choose between increasing the number or coverage of commercial stations where numerous commercial stations already exist versus supporting the only local non-profit community station, we strongly suggest the Commission chooses the latter.
2193 As stated by the Broadcasting Act, the three pillars or components in the Canadian broadcasting system are public, private and community. In determining the best use of frequency, if private broadcasters are given priority over community broadcasters, particularly where a community would not otherwise be served by any community broadcaster that arguably would not give proper effect to the terms of the Act.
2194 From our 2011 application to the Commission, we did learn some important things.
2195 The first thing that we learned was that, somehow, even though we believed we had properly filed all of the necessary documents with the Commission, we were in non-compliance. We immediately took the necessary steps and submitted what was reported as being missing.
2196 We subsequently received confirmation that everything had been successfully addressed and that we were there in full compliance.
2197 We also put in place tracking and reporting procedures to ensure future compliance with designated Board members being responsible for these matters. This improved process has ensured that we have remained in compliance with the required reporting requirements ever since, and we are confident this will continue in the future.
2198 WhiStle Radio's go-forward strategy is to focus on a power increase and transmitter relocation that would enhance and expand, in the best way possible, our coverage of the greatest possible number of residents within the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. This is our community for which our original licence and subsequent renewal licence until 2019 were granted.
2199 We sourced a new transmitter location and reduced our proposed power wattage so as not to impact neighbouring communities or other stations. This strategy resulted in the application that is being reviewed at this hearing, which we are very hopeful will be granted.
2200 WhiStle Radio is a market brand radio station and provides a vital service to the town. Our objective has always been and continues to be support and service our growing community.
2201 From what we know and what we've been told by our listeners, no other radio station provides similar service to this community. We are also aware, when compared with other community stations in Ontario, that our diverse combination of live and recorded programming is quite unique.
2202 As a town that experienced 54 percent growth from 2006 to 2011, according to the 2011 census, we are now projected to become a town with over 60,000 residents by 2031.
2203 WhiStle Community Radio wants to be the radio station that serves this growing community. We reside in and know this community, and will continue to respond to its needs and wants.
2204 To effectively accomplish this task, we require a stronger signal, improved authorized contours and an improved location for our transmitter.
2205 In conclusion, we appeal to the Commission to grant our application so we can continue to provide this important high quality and diverse programming service to our community. The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville deserves the full flexibility of choice that only WhiStle Radio provides.
2206 We are very proud that many of our shows are of excellent professional program quality, even though we're not professionals but community-minded citizens with a focus and synergistic talents.
2207 We offer the most eclectic and diverse music mix in the GTA as well as informative talk shows. This diversity of programming offers full choice and flexibility to our residents and listeners. These offerings need to be preserved.
2208 To our residents in town, WhiStle Radio 102.7 CIWS is their local community station. We want to continue to provide this radio service.
2209 Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, thank you for your interest and allowing us this opportunity to directly appeal to you in our efforts to preserve WhiStle Community Radio's existence and future.
2210 Before we close, on behalf of WhiStle Radio, we would be remiss if we did not extend our appreciation to the excellent staff of the CRTC, who have been so helpful and friendly when dealing with our many questions and information exchanges.
2211 I would like to particularly recognize Sonia Gravelle as well as Jade Roy, plus the CRTC point of first contact and IT team representatives.
2212 We'd be pleased to answer any questions you might have. Thank you.
2213 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2214 First of all, my condolences on the loss of your former colleague, Mr. Moorshead.
2215 MR. DONALD: Thank you.
2216 THE CHAIRPERSON: In terms of that, I have a few questions to ask you involving, obviously, two different scenarios.
2217 One is that if your application is granted, you'll be -- your coverage will be for a much broader area.
2218 The format and programming and structure you have right now is -- seems nicely designed for the area you're serving right now, but you would -- chances are, people within the broader coverage area would have an expectation that you would serve their needs as well, and they would perhaps wish to have access to programming and that sort of stuff.
2219 Have you considered what the expense of that might be or do you have any plans to broaden the service or be inclusive of those new areas that would be covered?
2220 MR. DONALD: We feel at present that many of our outside the downtown core listening area listens on the internet. Three of our Board of Directors, maybe four of our Board of Directors, live outside the downtown core and they can only get the signal on the internet.
2221 So we have those listeners at present because we know -- we talk to our neighbours.
2222 I live just off the downtown core, so I can get the station in my house on the -- whatever station -- whatever radio I've got on.
2223 We continue to look for new programming. As individuals come forth who say, "I've got an interest. I've heard the radio station or I saw you broadcasting live on the street at the Strawberry Festival or broadcasting the Santa Claus parade. I'd be interested in doing a radio show" or "I'm going to Centennial or Durham or Humber or Ryerson; I'd like to get some experience because I'm -- my career is going to be in the broadcasting industry".
2224 And you know, "Le coin Francophone", our French program, was two students who they're simply fluently bilingual in the French immersion program and they do an excellent show. And it's all them, and they're teenagers.
2225 The gentleman is 18 and his sister's 19, okay.
2226 We will continue to look for new programming.
2227 The cost will be no different because -- I've heard the reference to brokered programs. We produce. I believe right now we only have three syndicated shows in our programming, so the additional cost that you referenced, Mr. Chair, would be simply in our technical equipment, an enhanced transmitter, an extension to the antenna that currently exists and, you know, a cable to connect them.
2228 So we do not anticipate an increased cost -- an increased operating cost. One-shot capital cost, yes. But we think we've got a pretty good broad range.
2229 We've got some time that we consider music mix, which is, you know, easy listening music. The rest are specialty shows that are all produced.
2230 We have room to add more specialty shows as they come about.
2231 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So expansion -- I'll take it from that that expansion doesn't add any increase to your operating costs.
2232 MR. DONALD: No. Our operating costs, our revenue targets are basically to cover the operating expenses.
2233 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But not-for-profit doesn't mean -- it also means it's not-for-loss; right?
2234 MR. DONALD: No, it's not for loss. We are not for-profit.
2235 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2236 MR. DONALD: You know, we like to run in the black --
2237 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2238 MR. DONALD: -- and that's our objective and have a little bit of reserve if something is broken and needs to be replaced.
2239 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of course. Yes, that's just sensible. But part of that becomes -- in looking at this and granting this frequency becomes sort of a discussion about the future sustainability of your operation.
2240 Most of your -- you indicate in your application that, you know, you would get more advertising because most of your revenue is coming from grants and those are declining, so that is of concern I'm sure for you and obviously of interest to us.
2241 Do you have any -- like you indicate that advertisers -- first we will deal with the advertisers. Advertisers have indicated, you say, that if your coverage was bigger they would advertise.
2242 Do you have any firm commitments from people? Because maybe they just find that the nicest way to say no to you, right, by talking about the extent of your coverage, and if you had bigger coverage they would find another way to say no to you. So do you have anybody, anything you can go with, something firm?
2243 MR. DONALD: Hard core to produce and show you, no.
2244 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2245 MR. DONALD: I think the example that I use -- because I'm going to say I have sold advertising but none of us are particularly excellent in that process and our veterans from the trade are either on-air producers, show hosts, veterans or long-term CBC/BBC employees -- not salespeople -- businessmen, retired businesswomen.
2246 But the story I use is we broadcast live from the local Farmers Market. Every Thursday afternoon from 2 o'clock to 7 o'clock, we would broadcast live. And one of the residents was driving somewhere and heard that one of the local beekeepers had, I don't know, maybe buckwheat honey or something on the radio because he was being interviewed, and she turned around and drove back into town to buy the honey because she thought it's new honey and there is something about new honey.
2247 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2248 MR. DONALD: We have used that story and, you know, have been able to capture, you know, the best-known jewelry store in town, our landlady who was the furniture store owner has advertised, an insurance company, a restaurant or two, Canadian Tire.
2249 We do not deal through agencies and I guess that's a clear point. We are not a national -- we don't go after the national advertising to pay the commissions that are required and the reduction.
2250 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Right.
2251 MR. DONALD: We go after the local business owners. So when we go into Stouffville Cleaners and say, "Would you like to advertise?" "How many listeners do you have?"
2252 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2253 MR. DONALD: And, "Well, if you had more listeners" -- and many of them live in Vivian or Musselman's Lake or somewhere and they only get the Internet signal. So they might get it in the car -- and part of our terrain, you know, for those who don't -- it's much like British Columbia.
2254 Here is the town, here is Musselman's Lake and here is the other side of town, and Musselman's Lake is basically at the bottom of this major incline right in the centre. So our antenna is down here going right into the back of the buildings on Main Street.
2255 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2256 Have you ever -- so I'm not sure I really got an answer to that question. I mean I understood more about you, but advertising is more -- it's reasonable that advertising would be more likely with broader coverage.
2257 Have you ever tried, I guess, a fundraising drive? Like I guess the modern term would be crowd sourcing, but people used to call it fundraiser.
2258 MR. DONALD: Crowd sourcing has a risk. Yes, we have had fundraisers, we have had events. We get donations from local businesses who don't particularly advertise. They don't advertise with any of the local media, any of the newspapers. They just give us money. They believe in it, they have been longtime supporters. All of our studios were built with lumber and supplies donated by the local Shell Home Lumber outlet.
2259 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2260 MR. DONALD: But maybe to answer your question, we now have a dedicated full-time sales specialist who is a salesperson --
2261 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2262 MR. DONALD: -- and his initial success, you know, has been knocking on doors. I believe the brochures that you should have had that came with our presentation have been very successful in showing people that say, "Well, I know there is a radio station in town but, you know, I can't get the signal."
2263 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2264 MR. DONALD: So we are confident that based on our commitments, our verbal commitments -- and these are people we know. We shop there, we -- you know, our cats and dogs are serviced there, our dry cleaning is done there, we're looking them right in the eye, it's one-on-one. So yes, we are successful that the revenue will come.
2265 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right, okay. But the grants, you are forecasting them to remain in decline. What has happened with the grants and why are you forecasting decline?
2266 MR. DONALD: Regrettably, I can say, one, our Chair, past Chair, was our grant writer.
2267 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2268 MR. DONALD: He has gone on to another world. None of us have that particular skill. He was excellent at it.
2269 The other thing was a strategic direction by the Board that said we should not be dependent upon grants. If we can get them, great, but we should not be focusing on them. We should be focusing on -- and the question was asked at a session, "Where should our revenue come from?" Local businesses.
2270 So how do we stay in operation, how do we pay the bills became we need advertising revenue. So the whole focus shifted from -- you know, if there was $20 in the bank and we needed $30, you know, somebody pitched in the other $10 to pay the bills. That was the early beginning.
2271 Part of it was also the expansion of our commitment to activity in the town and our presence in the town, and part of that was to focus on advertising -- local advertising, I should say. That should be the source and therefore we need to be more visible, our brochures need to be out, a regular article in the local monthly newspaper, using social media, which has generated increased volunteers, increased volunteers have families and they work in town. So it was a concerted effort to switch to a different revenue source.
2272 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I take it then that you have a good plan in place and if you are getting the -- if your application is approved you obviously have every intention and you are in sound financial condition to continue operation?
2273 MR. DONALD: Yes.
2274 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
2275 So the other scenario. If your application isn't granted, what is Plan B?
2276 MR. DONALD: Struggle, one word. It is known that our signal doesn't reach a kilometre and a half past -- to the west of the downtown core where our antenna is. We think we can probably, with our local advertisers that we have in place and the new ones we have achieved, we will be able to break even. It will be tight but we will break even.
2277 We are not looking for the $150,000 or $200,000 revenue that some of the other Ontario community stations generate in revenue.
2278 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So you are not anticipating having to vacate the frequency?
2279 MR. DONALD: No.
2280 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2281 MR. DONALD: Absolutely not.
2282 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you did mention that some of your supporters and board members are -- so that you are available on the Internet, right?
2283 MR. DONALD: Yes.
2284 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are able to reach the community in that way.
2285 A lot of community -- I'm just asking that question because a lot of community radio listeners are -- first of all, there aren't a lot of them in terms of the overall market but the ones that are there tend to be pretty hard core and will listen whatever way they can.
2286 Has that been an opportunity for you to expand in that?
2287 MR. DONALD: I think one of the -- we know from our OJHL hockey broadcasts that our listeners are around the world. We know how many we have, we can see them, we can track them. They call us. They call us from Texas, they call us from Australia, they call us from Vancouver, they call us from England because they are listening to the hockey game. We know that our communities to the North can only get the signal on the Internet, they can't get it in their car.
2288 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2289 MR. DONALD: So the only way they would get our signal is on the Internet. And would we lose them? No, we have listeners who love, you know, the inspirational words to live by on a Sunday morning because they can't get outside and, you know, someone gets them on the Internet in their home and they listen to it, okay.
2290 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2291 MR. DONALD: But yes, we are aware that we have Internet listeners but that is not our primary focus.
2292 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's not a growth area that you are looking at?
2293 MR. DONALD: No.
2294 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because I mean in the future at some point, probably sooner than we think, people will have Internet capacity in their cars and they will be listening to radio stations online in their cars.
2295 MR. DONALD: Absolutely. And they are MP3 and iPod and USB stick compatible. Mine is. So I still listen to the radio.
2296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I'm going to you -- I think you addressed this in your oral presentation but just for the sake of our record I would just like you to summarize, if you could, your argument as to why granting your request is the best use of this frequency.
2297 MR. DONALD: I appreciate that we are last because I have heard that question asked.
2298 We are an existing station, we were granted a licence, maybe a little shaky start, and one person cannot run a radio station, and, unfortunately, our founder, great vision, great idea, but only had two hands.
2299 New board constructed and we were dismayed, disappointed -- some of the interventions, you know, and the assumption or the presumption that because we are low power at 50W and we are only a community station, we happen to be in the GTA. If we were somewhere else in Ontario or other parts of Canada we wouldn't have some of the issues that we are dealing with and this hearing is dealing with this morning.
2300 We are 102.7, we have been 102.7. We have cooperated with Vista Radio 102.7 in either Caledon or Bolton, which are not a problem, we have cooperated with CHOP or CHO-FM, the Pickering College Station in Newmarket, and so we consider that -- you know, we took responsibility, we took ownership, if you want, of 102.7 in our community. And we have a population of 42,800 now, going to 60, and we are the radio station for town.
2301 So our best use of frequency, we are in a competitive GTA marketplace, unfortunately, and the commercial interests certainly have their opportunity, but we are community and the community stations are part of the pillars of broadcasting and we just think that is the best use of frequency.
2302 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are all my questions.
2303 I know Commissioner Shoan has some questions. Commissioner Simpson may as well.
2304 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Hello. I just want to follow up on a couple of questions that my colleague, Vice Chairman Menzies asked.
2305 When you reference the Internet, having listeners on the Internet, do you mean desktop PCs or do you mean a mobile application or do you mean both?
2306 MR. DONALD: We would know -- if someone tunes into one of our shows, it shows on our screen. So if we are doing a live show or if we are doing a recorded show, anyone who is logging in through any portable device or desktop, it will show.
2307 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right. When they are logging in -- and I appreciate that it is possible that your digital person is not here, so you don't necessarily have the answer.
2308 But when they are logging in, are they going to the website, an actual website and clicking "Stream this service" --
2309 MR. DONALD: Yes.
2310 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- or is there an actual application for your community radio service that's on an iPod for example that you can click the application and a separate program pops up?
2311 MR. DONALD: Website today --
2312 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
2313 MR. DONALD: -- application almost finished.
2314 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Application almost finished.
2315 MR. DONALD: Almost finished, yes.
2316 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
2317 MR. DONALD: Yes. Yes.
2318 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you for that, for clarifying that.
2319 My second question is a more basic one. Given that there are so many applicants for this particular frequency, why didn't you consider applying for another low-power FM frequency that served Whitchurch-Stouffville?
2320 MR. DONALD: I am a business owner, I am not a broadcast engineer. When we consulted with our engineer, when we consulted with the NCRA, when we looked at the distribution of channels and who was on what frequency and who was co-channelling and who was adjacent frequencies, it became initially obvious to us that there didn't appear to be any that were sitting vacant, and that was confirmed.
2321 So the question was, absent an alternate frequency, stick with what you have. All our branding is 102.7 FM, okay. We say it -- we say it in all our PSAs, we say it in all our station IDs, we say it in everything we do, all of our literature says WhiStle Radio 102.7 FM.
2322 So part of -- to answer your question why didn't we look at another frequency, we did, we considered what we could be, but -- and some of the other applicants have suggested we should move to another frequency so they can have 102.7. Honourable, good business plan, but again, we take the position that the CRTC granted us 102.7 and we have it and we take ownership, we take pride in it.
2323 So that's what our approach was. There wasn't an alternate frequency to apply to.
2324 And it's really nice that the commercial stations say, "Well, we will help you get another low-power alternate frequency." Well, there are two conundrums in that.
2325 One, alternate frequency is not available and, two, low power totally contradicts with our challenge and our opportunity and our target market, which is to service the town as opposed to, you know, a couple of thousand people.
2326 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So if I understand your answer correctly, your broadcast engineer indicated there were no other options frequency-wise and of course from a branding perspective all your literature and all your branding is associated with 102.7, so your preference is to hold strong on that frequency?
2327 MR. DONALD: Correct and correct.
2328 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
2329 And I take your point with respect to the fact that you were granted this frequency, it's your frequency, you wish to hold strong to it, you have built a brand around this frequency, but I can't help but wonder -- I note that there might be a bit of a disconnect there.
2330 On the one hand, your engineer is saying there is nothing and yet you have applicants coming to you saying, "We will help you find something better." While I can appreciate 102.7 is "yours" for Whitchurch-Stouffville, you know it's interesting to me with the help of a broadcaster you could potentially get a frequency, a signal that is significantly stronger than 50W. With a little assistance and a little co-location, a little elbow grease, it's probably something that could happen.
2331 It's unfortunate it didn't come forward in this proceeding because I think that would have been an interesting discussion, but be that as it may, your answer is on the record and I thank you for it. Thanks.
2332 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson?
2333 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Just a few questions to help me understand some of the issues of geography and demographics.
2334 How long would it take to commute from Main and Ninth Line to where we are today?
2335 MR. DONALD: One hour door-to-door.
2336 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Stouffville is an hour away. What is the density like between Markham, Scarborough and Stouffville? Are you getting caught up in the urban sprawl?
2337 MR. DONALD: To a point, yes.
2338 Markham is not quite saturated --
2339 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
2340 MR. DONALD: -- but it's bulging to the borders. We have either -- and there are two views on this, Mr. Commissioner.
2341 One is it is great to have an environmentally protected Moraine that sort of slices right through the centre, which will prevent any construction of any kind in that strip, but it also divides the town almost in half, with the downtown core sort of -- and we are tucked -- the downtown core is geographically in the most northeast -- no, southeasterly corner of the town, whereas the residents sort of spread north, northwest and west.
2342 So our expansion will be to a community like Ballantrae, Musselman's Lake and the smaller communities that make up the town --
2343 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
2344 MR. DONALD: -- with a little bit more in the downtown -- I call it downtown core, it's Wards 5 and 6 as opposed to 1, 2, 3 and 4, which are spread out there. So that impacts, again, signal range, demographics, et cetera.
2345 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes. So your growth as a community is north and the northwest, and I notice that Gormley, Wesley Corners, Lemonville, Ballantrae are all north or northwest of Stouffville pretty much, but are you --
2346 You know, we faced a similar situation with markets like Chilliwack and Abbotsford, which at one time were farming communities separated by vast expanses of undeveloped land and now they are becoming bedroom communities, and I'm trying to get a sense of whether Stouffville is under that kind of pressure.
2347 MR. DONALD: Yes and no, to be honest. The Moraine will significantly impact where growth can and cannot take place.
2348 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
2349 MR. DONALD: I don't have a percentage, but certainly outside the two downtown Ward 5 and 6 it is rural. You know, Gormley has a combination of businesses. Lemonville might have one plus a church. Vivian is a really, really small community, nice people, but --
2350 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: A crossroads, yeah.
2351 MR. DONALD: -- it's a crossroads, okay.
2352 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
2353 MR. DONALD: Ballantrae is major one acre lots backing onto golf courses and a really nice community, as opposed to, you know, townhouses and semis and smaller semi-detached, or detached homes.
2354 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Last question.
2355 Yesterday, we had the presentation from Multicultural Broadcasting and at the end of their oral presentation -- I'm next to certain that it was not part of their written submission, but they had made an inference that they had a technological solution that if they were to be licensed it would somehow preserve the integrity -- let's keep your skin on in some way. Have they talked to you about this?
2356 MR. DONALD: Yes.
2357 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And...? Would you be more comfortable --
2358 MR. DONALD: I was going to say something in Phase 2, but if I say it now I won't repeat it, but --
2359 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Your choice.
2360 MR. DONALD: Allow me to say it now and if it needs to be said again I will.
2361 Multicultural Broadcasting came up with a revised coverage area which would reduce their interference with our approved -- this is to approved stations now, subject to the Commission -- which would minimize, almost eliminate interference with our enlarged signal, co-channelling with 102.7 (274A).
2362 In the tight GTA market we have to be receptive to that. We are not particularly thrilled with it because we currently have interference from another 102 -- a new 102 station at 6.5W who keeps interfering with our signal in our protected area and far beyond.
2363 So we are a little, if I can say, gun shy that getting into other agreement which engineering-wise -- and again, I'm not an engineer -- engineering-wise looks good on a map --
2364 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
2365 MR. DONALD: -- but I'm in my car saying, "That's not the music I want to listen to. Like where did my station go?"
2366 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I will just -- we are time starved here, I will let you answer more fully in the next round, but I just essentially was curious as to whether you had been approached and you have given me that sense, so thank you.
2367 MR. DONALD: Yes. We were approached, we did have the discussion, no commitments were made, but we said we would be if the Commission sees that as a viable alternative and we can work with them. I will address that in Phase 2 though, okay.
2368 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. We will take a 10-minute break. Thanks.
--- Upon recessing at 1138
--- Upon resuming at 1150
2369 THE SECRETARY: Please take your seats.
2370 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2371 Before we get under way I just want to remind everyone -- and I have a little text to read so everybody is clear on the process for this next phase.
2372 We are now beginning Phase II of this oral hearing. During this phase the panel will hear interventions in response to applications filed as part of this proceeding.
2373 Applicants who are appearing as interveners at this stage are reminded that the purpose of this phase is to allow applicants to address issues and concerns with other applications, not to make additional submissions in support of their own applications in response to other interventions.
2374 Applicants will have the opportunity in the reply phase, Phase IV, to address issues raised during the intervention phases, Phase II and Phase III. Therefore, presentations in this phase must focus exclusively on any issues and concerns regarding specific applications. If interveners discuss their own applications or attempt to respond to other interventions, they will be asked to stop by myself or counsel.
2375 Thank you very much.
2376 Welcome. Go ahead.
2377 THE SECRETARY: Sorry, Mr. Chairman. Just before you begin, for the record, I would just like to say that Multicultural Broadcasting Company, 8041393 Canada Inc. and Intercity Broadcasting Network have indicated that they will not appear in Phase II.
2378 Therefore, I would ask 105.9 FM to intervene on the competing application. You have 10 minutes and please present yourself before you begin. Thank you.
2379 MR. ROGERS: I'm sorry, that wasn't totally clear. That we are not supposed to talk about those other ones that are not appearing?
2380 THE SECRETARY: Yes, you are, it's just that they will not be appearing and making a presentation.
2381 MR. ROGERS: Oh, okay.
2382 THE SECRETARY: You are to talk about those.
2383 MR. ROGERS: Sorry.
2384 Good morning, Mr. Chairman and fellow Commissioners.
2385 Very briefly -- we are going to be very brief because there are a lot of things that we can complain about other applicants and that's not our style, okay. We are just going to say a few points that they have raised and also that was in their original applications and so, as I said, we are going to be brief, taking into account that we are not going to be talking about ourselves.
2386 In reply to MBC application and comments made also at this hearing, they claim that they are going to have 49 hours of spoken word and that they are going to be way different than all the other applicants. Yet, they kept referring to their SCMO and the number of hours, which is a lot, that they have on.
2387 So, in conclusion for the MBC, they are basically going to take their SCMO and put it onto an FM dial, which is going to be close to talk radio. Yet, they did not justify why the people, especially of the Tamil community, would be interested in listening to 49-some-odd hours of spoken word.
2388 Regarding 8041393 Canada Inc., which is East FM, we find it very hard to believe that they claim since -- they are claiming that they have lost 80 percent -- correction, they said 60 percent of their revenue since another radio station came on the market. You notice I didn't mention who it was.
2389 And we find it very difficult for the rationale of East FM. If they have lost that much revenue, why would they go to an 18-24 genre when even within the Tamil community, several large commercial Toronto stations, they are assuming do not cover any of the youth of the Tamil market, which we know that to be not true.
2390 Regarding Intercity Broadcasting, they kept calling themselves a Toronto market radio station and they wanted to expand, but all through their presentation and the facts they kept saying they are a Toronto station. Then they referred to a GTA station.
2391 Well, Ajax, Pickering, Whitby and Oshawa is a lot more than the Toronto stations and putting a repeater in this area would knock off several radio stations. Many other radio stations would like to have the privilege of putting repeater stations in.
2392 I can't remember many years with the CRTC, dealing with the CRTC, there wasn't -- the only radio station I ever remember getting a repeater station was CHIN Radio and they don't even need it now either.
2393 So we question why they would want an extension all the way -- Ajax, Pickering, Whitby and Oshawa, increasing their population of over 1 million.
2394 Now, I pass it over to Samy Appadurai before I will close off on another station.
2395 MR. APPADURAI: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Panel, co-applicants and ladies and gentlemen.
2396 I would like to add a little more to what Frank said about the SCMO, MBC and East FM. So they have been in operation for quite a long time and they were catering to the first generation of ethnic Canadians and if they couldn't make it for the second and the third generation, I don't know how they will be able to make it if they get 102.7.
2397 The second thing is that WorldBand has portrayed more on generating revenue and I don't see substantially the development of the communities or the contribution for the communities as such. So as I have seen, the purpose is to serve balancedly. Generating revenue is one part of the programs and the other side is community-oriented programs and it has to be dealt appropriately.
2398 So what I would like to say is that it's not having too many ethnic groups that are inclusive of the programs, rather, how intensely we address their issues and make them be part and parcel of this great nation and work hard and to the full level of participation so that it will serve the purpose of CRTC well and it will serve the purpose of this country's objectives.
2399 This is what I would like to say. Thank you.
2400 MR. ROGERS: Now, to the big one and I don't envy the Commissioners in any point on this one.
2401 WhiStle radio, CIWS, we totally respect the accomplishments that WhiStle radio has been doing in the past, but the true area of what they are asking for and the increase in power is something we have to strongly object.
2402 There is a way around this. I respect the Chairman saying that they are not going to look at other frequencies, this is a 102.7 hearing, so what I was going to say about the other one I am withdrawing and we are only going to talk about the 102.7.
2403 There is a way around this. We object and I don't know their engineering but there was engineering studies done, and when they argued about why they should remain a community station with increased power, what we object to is the fact that they would knock off not one, but two 102.7's.
2404 Whitchurch-Stouffville, as Mr. Simpson was saying, it goes pretty far up. As a matter of fact, the dividing line of Whitchurch-Stouffville is Highway 9, which happens to go right across into Newmarket and it is CHOP FM's area. So therefore, if this power is granted, the increase granted, therefore we are going to lose not only 102.7, us, but we are also going to lose CHOP FM.
2405 As other radio stations said, commercial -- and I understand they are gun shy, but as other radio stations said, there is a way around this.
2406 (a) There is another frequency available for sure. I mean it might not be exactly what they want, but it will give increased power and protected status.
2407 And I guess this is what we are going to say about this matter which is very, very important. There is a possibility that all three 102.7s can live together. Our engineer did the maps and everything else on 102.7. So it can be done. It should be done. I don't want to see any radio station go off the air. I mean we know how that feels like, so why would we want another radio station to go off the air?
2408 So what I am saying is that what we object to is the fact that they are sticking to their guns for 102.7. And again, I don't think technically they explained it to the Commission. They are saying, "Well, we talked to CHOP FM." Well, we also talked to CHOP FM and the engineers are saying technically if they get their power increase and the other two don't, we are all off the air.
2409 So that's how I end that one with WhiStle radio.
2410 I guess the fact of what we are saying with all the applications -- and, as I said, they are all very good applications, but I think it's now almost becoming a difference between genre and the community station and I think the Commission has to take a good look at that and see what would be the best use of the frequency.
2411 I think that's it for our interventions regarding -- as I said, we could sit here and talk about, oh, he said this and he said that and he said this. I don't agree with that. I agree you put your best foot forward and you try to show the Commissioners what you want to do instead of just fighting back and forward.
2412 Thank you for your time.
2413 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
2414 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask WorldBand Media to come to the presentation table.
2415 MR. LEWIS: Chairman Menzies, Members of the Commission, for the record my name is Mark Lewis, I am counsel to WorldBand Media. I am joined by Mr. Prabha Selvadurai of WorldBand, Ann Ariyadasa and Dr. Gerry Wall.
2416 You have heard three other ethnic applications and two English-language applications. We will first address the ethnic applications.
2417 WorldBand submits that the best use of the Scarborough frequency for an ethnic radio service should reflect the real and comprehensive ethnic makeup of Scarborough as it exists today and, more importantly, where it's going.
2418 The mass migration of Tamil-speaking residents to Scarborough from Sri Lanka slowed to a trickle almost a decade ago and, as you have heard, immigrants settling in Scarborough recently speak a wide variety of languages: Bengali, Farsi, Afghan dialects, and of course the fastest-growing segment, Filipinos who speak Tagalog.
2419 So any applicant who proposes a predominance or preponderance of weekly hours of Tamil-language programming programmed in key time slots does not address the current and future demographic makeup of the immigrant population of Scarborough where two-thirds of the underserved ethnic community do not speak Tamil. And where most newcomers will speak an ethnic language other than Tamil, Scarborough is an immigration recipient community, as you heard yesterday.
2420 105.9 FM, the current licensee of CJVF, proposes a predominance of Tamil-language programming. They also propose a radio service to only four other languages, four other language groups, and even then the service provided to the smallest language groups is paltry.
2421 105.9 claims that they would provide a high-quality radio service, but with total programming costs of only $150,000 a year, according to the financial projections they filed at section 6(3) of the application form.
2422 We do not believe that any applicant can provide a radio service with high-quality spoken word programming, including local news and community reflection, on a total programming budget of $150,000 per annum, not in Scarborough or any other major metropolitan area in Canada, and yet, they suggest that their current FM radio service provides a superior service.
2423 105.9 FM filed no research studies that would in any way support the high level of Tamil programming that is proposed, nor did they file any data that would provide any basis for failing to adhere to the broad service requirements of the Ethnic Broadcast Policy.
2424 This is a competitive licensing proceeding and 105.9 FM fails to meet the licensing standards, the licensing criteria that the Commission has used in many other licensing proceedings all across Canada.
2425 In summary, the applicant had the opportunity to put forward its best proposal in terms of an application, and given its experience on the air in Scarborough for several years, one would have expected a fully developed proposal, which has simply not materialized. Licensing 105.9 FM would in fact represent a repudiation of the broad service requirement of the Ethnic Broadcast Policy.
2426 With respect to East FM, we had some difficulty yesterday trying to discern who would be served by the radio station and which language groups. They were asked to unpack East FM so the Commission could identify linguistic groups to be served.
2427 It appears that East FM might provide service to as many as nine language groups. What is certain, based on East FM's application and the answers provided yesterday, is that East FM would primarily target second- and third-generation Tamil listeners, focused on the 18-25 audience.
2428 East FM's core audience for their World Beat music format is a very small demographic segment of the Scarborough ethnic audience. East FM provided no consumer research whatsoever that would validate the demand for the unproven World Music or World Beat music radio service they propose to offer.
2429 And what's more, the second- and third-generation Xers and Millenials are least likely to embrace radio, a medium that many have forsaken for music streaming services and purchase music that they listen to on their electronic devices. If licensed, East FM will face a very difficult task to repudiate the most infrequent listeners to radio.
2430 Then there is the matter of 19 hours of English-language programming in prime listening periods. The difficulty that we foresee is that daily English-language programming will not attract a sizable ethnic audience.
2431 English-speaking listeners have dozens of stations to choose from, including many stations that target the same English-speaking younger demographic. There are just too many other attractive English-language radio options that are well marketed and well programmed in the GTA.
2432 But East FM also suffers from a similar shortcoming as 105.9 FM. They stated that they will provide over 25 hours a week of high-quality spoken word programming, but their entire programming budget is a mere $175,000 in the first year, rising by only $8,000 in year two.
2433 In summary, we don't believe that the Commission should roll the dice and license the World Music Tamil-centric East FM application.
2434 And finally, the applicant referred to synergies that it expects to derive from its associated SCMO service, but in its letter to the Commission of February 20, the applicant confirmed that its SCMO operations had sales of only $78,593 and total operating expenses of only $76,736 in 2012. In the context of this proceeding, we submit it's hardly a broadcast operation from which to leverage any significant synergies.
2435 Now, we come to MBC, another Tamil-centric application. The applicant's consumer research was only carried out with Tamil-speaking radio and SCMO listeners, so it is no surprise that there is a predominance of programming that would provide Tamil 70 hours a week.
2436 The service that is proposed is neither balanced in terms of hours devoted to the newcomers to Scarborough, nor in the placement of programming directed to ethnic groups other than Tamils. That leaves only 37 hours a week to be devoted to all the other ethnic groups who remain underserved.
2437 You also heard yesterday that MBC has proposed significant programming commitments, including 49 hours of spoken word programming each week, but all of the programming, English language, ethnic languages, would be provided with a total programming budget of only $300,000 a year.
2438 This programming budget, in our view, is insufficient for a major metropolitan market radio station with that level of talk programming. The large blocks of English-language programming, some 19 hours a week in prime listening periods, are unlikely to break through in the GTA, which has so many English-language talk-based programs in morning drive.
2439 In summary, applicants who have a history of providing SCMO services have brought two of the ethnic applications forward, but it is a very major leap to go from low-budget SCMO narrowcasting to the highly competitive world of FM radio.
2440 There were some laudable programming ideas presented, but given that the 2011 census data shows us that two-thirds of Scarborough's underserved ethnic population is other than Tamil, there was no research study to justify the preponderance of Tamil-targeted programming by the three other applicants, particularly in the face of the large immigration of other newcomers to Scarborough and the fact that those underserved groups make up two-thirds of the underserved ethnic population.
2441 We submit the quality of English-language programming and the quantity of English-language programming proposed by MBC and East does not address the needs of the diverse, underserved ethnic populations. English-speaking listeners are certainly super-served in the GTA.
2442 We now come to Intercity Broadcasting Network's application to occupy two prime FM frequencies in Toronto, 98.7 and 102.7, with identical programming.
2443 Although some anecdotal listener emails have been filed, what we found curious is the lack of any technical measurements by qualified broadcast engineers to document the level of signal impairment or to document the interference from other stations and assess other technical options that might be available to the licensee.
2444 Granting CKFG-FM a second frequency would deprive residents of Scarborough of any local radio service and deprive new immigrants who are underserved a radio voice. We submit this is not the best use of a very precious frequency.
2445 Further, although the applicant professes financial harm, no consumer or advertiser surveys were filed that demonstrate a demand in Scarborough for this station, let alone overall market demand for the station, its programming and format.
2446 And finally, we note from Intercity's February 19th, 2014, letter to the Commission, at page 7, the following statement:
"Developing a new World Beat format in the most competitive radio market in Canada has strained our limited resources and focus." (As read)
2447 Strange! It seems that only yesterday several applicants were extolling the virtues of new World Beat radio formats. It would seem to us that the World Beat music format may already be occupied by CKFG in the GTA and that's perhaps a cautionary note that even the best- intentioned broadcasters have difficulty attracting sufficient audience to make this new World Beat format work in the GTA.
2448 Finally, we come to WhiStle Radio, Stouffville. We have reviewed their application and it's clear that the total potential population they would serve with a power increase would only be 42,000 residents. There may be other technical solutions that would allow the station to coexist with World Band on 102.7. We'll deal with that in Phase 4.
2449 In summary, we believe the greater public good would be to licence World Band for 102.7 given the vast number of underserved listeners would enjoy a diversity of third-language programming.
2450 We're ready for your questions. Thank you.
2451 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We have no questions.
2452 THE SECRETARY: I would now ask WhiStle Community Radio to come to the presentation table.
2453 THE SECRETARY: Please reintroduce yourself for the record, and you have 10 minutes. Thank you.
2454 MR. DONALD: Bob Donald, WhiStle Community Radio.
2455 I will be brief because we already touched on it.
2456 One comment was made by one of the applicants. Now that an opportunity has arisen our concern and our impression is -- and we are an existing low-power community station -- is the frequencies available, and that's disturbing.
2457 Certainly, all of the applications, all of the engineers, a number of whom we know from past dealings, past experience and our original application, they are representing other stations. So it's as if commercial has preference. That's our impression. That's all I'm going to say, okay?
2458 It's not, and I know it's not but being bombarded by application after application, after application, it's sort of like, okay, we're just trying to run a radio station, do the best job we can, provide a service to our community and here is another application. And it wasn't, I suppose, the expression a "public call" for the frequency. It's a hearing on 102.7, and that's what we're here to talk about.
2459 Specifically we reply to CJVF 105.9. We did not put together a video. Theirs was impressive but I have two comments.
2460 One is their target market is Scarborough-Ajax-Pickering. Yet, the Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, is in the video and the signage with one of their individuals is "Major MacKenzie". Major MacKenzie is in Markham, just south of Stouffville, which, interesting that they would use those things.
2461 I will come back to this point which I made in our presentation. If WhiStle Radio gets 102.7 two stations go off the air, are knocked off the air.
2462 I addressed that, yes, it would impact CJVF but that is a condition of their existing licence which was an extension of their temporary licence which immediately caused impact and concern from our listeners who kept saying, "Why did you change the music so dramatically? What am I listening to?"
2463 CHOP-FM, Pickering College, we filed with our application our letter to them and their response. We've assured them that they will not be impacted and we will do everything in our power to ensure their signal continues. We buffer each other now. They are 5 watts. They are a campus station. And I'm sure the NCRA will speak to that tomorrow.
2464 We are still dealing with interference. Industry Canada is looking into it, continuing to look into it and we've made our concerns known and will continue to as interference occurs.
2465 To the NBC comment suggestion of co-channel existence, we have it currently with CJVF. We were not -- we filed intervention. They were granted the licence. So be it.
2466 We're not totally comfortable with the situation of a co-channel based on our current experience. We're spending time trying to explain to listeners that we haven't changed our music format that it's still the same.
2467 We would be open to considering a co-channel arrangement if assurances were in place to ensure that any interference would only be in the outside fringe area of our .5 area and in the event of a problem it would be corrected promptly to our satisfaction. And to our minds that's not an unreasonable request as opposed to, well, you've got a problem, not us.
2468 Thank you. That's all I have.
2469 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2470 We will now break for lunch and we will resume at 1:30.
--- Upon recessing at 1218
--- Upon resuming at 1333
2471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please, everyone.
2472 Madam Secretary...?
2473 THE SECRETARY: We will now proceed to Phase III in which interveners appear in the order set out in the Agenda to present their intervention.
2474 We will now begin with a presentation by Tamil Entertainment Television. Please introduce yourself for the record and you have 10 minutes to make your intervention.
2475 Thank you.
2476 MR. ARASARATNAM: Good afternoon. My name is Prem Arasaratnam.
2477 I am the CEO of Tamil Entertainment Television, Canada's First HD Tamil TV service.
2478 I am also the former executive producer of Hello FM, a Tamil radio program that ran from December 2013 to March 2014 on 105.9, The Region.
2479 So I speak to you from two perspectives, a successful broadcaster operating in the Tamil market and a failed broadcaster working in the same market.
2480 Our national television service is doing quite well meeting our quarterly projections, receiving good feedback from subscribers and consistent support from advertisers.
2481 Our radio service however, is now no longer operating. In November, we were pre-selling the market in advance of the launch of 105.9 and receiving unit rates in the area of $25. By March we could not give away the airtime at $8 per spot.
2482 We had great listener reviews and our request lines and call-in segments were fully used. We were talked about in the community so we know we had awareness and listeners. We also know that the advertisers realized value because the few we did get were repeat customers.
2483 The change in our circumstances was brought about by a large amount of Tamil inventory entering the system and being controlled by a single broadcaster who could then set the market price. Vanakkam FM offers an almost full day of Tamil inventory each and every day of the week. By contrast, we offer two hours per day and five hours on the weekend.
2484 Realistically, we could not apply meaningful discounts to any part of the schedule because we would have devalued all of our time. With their volume of inventory, Vanakkam was and is in a position to discount which meant we could not effectively compete.
2485 We were selling airtime at a third of the value we built our business plan on in an industry where the margin for producers is about 20 percent. It was not sustainable and eventually even the discounting could not compete with prime and off-time inventory.
2486 Our frustration with this was increased when we realized that their condition of license did not permit this amount of Tamil programming and further inflamed when even after the Commission discussed this with the management in 2012 they continued to schedule and brand themselves as Toronto's only 24/7 Tamil service. This is one of the key reasons we intervened. It is hard to compete in a system where not all feel compelled to follow the rules.
2487 The second reason we intervened was that the Vanakkam signal covers a large portion of the Northern GTA. While our full power signal covered Markham and Scarborough where 70 percent of the Tamil population lives, their low power signal reached as far as Brampton. This allowed them to access the smaller clustering of the Tamil population located across the northern GTA, giving them a further edge.
2488 t is a well-known fact that within ethnic communities, consumers will travel to access products and services from someone from their culture. This makes a Tamil living in Brampton every bit as valuable as a Tamil living in Markham to a Scarborough business. That they can deliver both markets gives them another edge.
2489 How their signal gets there is a confusing matter to all I have spoken to, given that they operate a 6 watt station. The broadcast engineers I have consulted suggest that the only way this is possible is if they are increasing their power. If they are doing this then in a second area they are non-compliant with their conditions of license.
2490 Both our television and radio services offer full Tamil and Tanglish-language programming. Tanglish, for those who do not know it, is a sub-language that has evolved from combining elements of Tamil and English and is spoken most often by younger people in our community. Like Spanglish, it is what results when cultures co-exist.
2491 While Tanglish has been perfectly accepted on the TV service, it was found to be a problem on the radio side. Right after the launch of the radio station, The Toronto Star noted that we offered Tanglish on radio and a few in the community reacted. Incited by discussions on Vanakkam FM, older listeners demanded we stop. They themselves admitted to not listening but nevertheless wanted the station to pull the programming. They insisted on silly things like us providing a Tanglish dictionary writing volumes on how we were single-handedly destroying a culture and demanding that the station be taken off the air. They even demanded we remove the English-to-Tamil translation on the radio website because they considered it to be less than perfect.
2492 I bring this incident up to give you a sense of how divided this community can be. To me and many of my age in this community, we are connected to our culture and fiercely proud of our heritage.
2493 However, as in all matters, the world is changing. We want to have a voice that represents our experience and what we believe is the future. We had that in Hello FM. This voice has been silenced and not for the correct reasons.
2494 The Tamil population is not unlike other radio listeners. Regardless of age they would like diversity in the voices they hear and variety in the programming and views provided. The advantage that a station like Vanakkam has is that by virtue of branding themselves as the only full day Tamil service they can out schedule, out price and outsell their competitors.
2495 We, as the new broadcasters in the market, were the first casualties of their approach to business. If Vanakkam is given a full commercial license there will be other casualties because no multilingual station, established or otherwise, can compete with full service and the rates that a full schedule allows you to offer.
2496 If we were put out of business, it is unclear to us how any of the other largely Tamil services being proposed before the Commission can compete. It is not that we have no knowledge of the market, were doing a bad job from a consumer perspective, or did not have the support of the station.
2497 105.9 waived their fees to help us compete and fully supported us when the Tanglish controversy arose. Without Vanakkam or a new entrant there is a sufficient amount of Tamil programming already in the market if the Tamil programming is re-instated on 105.9. Any new entrant will have to compete in what is already a fully served market.
2498 We had the advantage of being known because of our TV service and to have a product that was differentiated. The proposed licenses do not have this, and their broadcast contours replicate that of 105.9, who will in all likelihood re-introduce Tamil programming in the near future. They have no choice as I understand, as Tamil-speaking people form a significant portion of the market they are licensed to serve.
2499 For the Tamil community, the borders between Markham and Scarborough are blurred. While they are different postal codes and tax bases, the market that the applicants are proposing to serve; example, Scarborough must include Markham as well. This puts 105.9 at a distinct disadvantage as directly in their primary market new competition will be introduced.
2500 I am not sure if a new Tamil producer on 105.9 will fare any better than we did in this scenario. If Vanakkam FM is allowed to continue, I believe, despite the support of 105.9 any limited time Tamil program will be wiped out. Eventually so will much of the other Tamil programming on the other stations as well. If it is one of the other predominant Tamil services being proposed, both the new entrant and 105.9 will struggle.
2501 We found our niche and we carved out our audiences. However, in an environment where companies do not compete fairly or abide by regulation it is likely that even good ideas will fail. We were that failure.
2502 So, respectfully, we urge the CRTC to not ignore this lesson by giving a full power license to broadcasters who have shown such a flagrant disregard for the process and rules. They have built their business at the expense of the community which is less well-served by having fewer voices and at the expense of the credibility of the system.
2503 Further, we urge the CRTC to recognize that Scarborough is not a distinct market. It is actually a part of Toronto and unlike Markham has no distinct municipal government or charities or even infrastructure. An address in Scarborough is identified on a letter as Toronto.
2504 In terms of the Tamil and other ethnic markets, to make a station work you would have to tap into the population in Markham. For those of you who do not know, on one side of the street you are in Markham and on the other side of the street you are in Scarborough. That is the proximity of these communities. So identifying the market as Scarborough only slightly disguises the fact that the real market is the ethnic populations in Markham and Scarborough. A comparison of the proposed broadcast contours with that of 105.9 clearly shows this.
2505 If this misbehaviour of Vanakkam FM can be cleared up, we would very much like to return to the airways to continue to provide service to the younger portion of the Tamil market. We will not be able to do this if the CRTC introduces more Tamil programming into a full market and sets up a direct competitor to 105.9 in their own market.
2506 Thank you for your time and I look forward to answering any questions you might have.
2507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead, Steve.
2508 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
2509 There's quite a lot here and I will need your help in separating out your thoughts so that I can be a little clearer ---
2510 MR. ARASARATNAM: Sure.
2511 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- as well as the Commission can be clear on exactly what your opposition consists of.
2512 First off, in your first paragraph you speak or you mention that you're speaking from two perspectives -- that of a successful broadcaster. I presume that to mean as a television broadcaster.
2513 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2514 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And as a failed broadcaster.
2515 What is the failure?
2516 MR. ARASARATNAM: The failure is I bought the Tamil programming on 105.9 The Region at time of launch.
2517 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
2518 MR. ARASARATNAM: And we're not on air anymore.
2519 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So you were providing programming to 105 --
2520 MR. ARASARATNAM: I was providing the Tamil programming.
2521 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- the Tamil programming?
2522 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2523 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And so in the failure to complete that arrangement you had with them was that a failure, was that an audience failure, a market failure or a contract failure between you and 105.9?
2524 MR. ARASARATNAM: It was a market failure because our competitor, Vanakkam FM, was marketing itself as a full Tamil service.
2525 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I see. So essentially they were marketing against you, is your claim?
2526 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes
2527 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So you were a sub-component of what turned out to be a Tamil-focused radio station. And you thought you were the exclusive provider of Tamil programming?
2528 MR. ARASARATNAM: Not exactly exclusive. There's of course CMR to the market, right?
2529 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
2530 MR. ARASARATNAM: We thought we were the second ones, since after the licence change of 105.9 we were expecting there wouldn't be another Tamil competitor, but we were wrong. When they got back their temporary licence our business plan failed.
2531 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I'm still a little unclear.
2532 So when 105.9 and you got together, your proposition was to produce programming for them and you would pay for the programming and have the right to sell advertising?
2533 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes. So we bought the airtime. We did -- we produced programming targeting the Tamil population in York region.
2534 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
2535 MR. ARASARATNAM: And parts of Scarborough.
2536 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. So you were programming to a segment of their --
2537 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2538 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- of their overall?
2539 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, that's correct.
2540 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And you're contending that your plan failed because you were being sold out from under, essentially?
2541 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, correct. We --
2542 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But they would be selling advertising also to the Tamil community but for the rest of the programming day outside of your programming block?
2543 MR. ARASARATNAM: "Them" as in the competitor or us?
2544 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, what I'm trying to understand is if you had a programming block of so many hours --
2545 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2546 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- that you had time to sell.
2547 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2548 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You're contending that you failed because they were selling to the same advertisers in that segment.
2549 MR. ARASARATNAM: Advertisers as a full day service.
2550 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2551 And so when you say the service is now no longer operating you're not -- what you're saying is 105.9 is operating, but you're not?
2552 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, but our production is not.
2553 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2554 Were you operating the TV component at this time as well?
2555 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, yes.
2556 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. So even with that additional leverage of having the ability to bundle and tie together sales between radio and television, you still were finding that you didn't have anything to offer?
2557 MR. ARASARATNAM: No, because when we approached the client, the client would reply to us saying, "I get a cheaper, better rate on a full day service than your service".
2558 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And when you fully came to understand what you're purporting was happening, what was their answer to the fact that you had -- you had already purchased and paid for programming?
2559 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, I had already --
2560 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And what was their contention as to what was happening? What was their side of the story?
2561 MR. ARASARATNAM: The client?
2562 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No, the broadcaster.
2563 MR. ARASARATNAM: The broadcaster --
2564 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Probably you're intervening against the broadcaster?
2565 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yeah, the broadcaster just ignored. They just kept -- the broadcaster --
2566 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Did you sit down --
2567 MR. ARASARATNAM: -- the broadcaster you mean as in 105, The Region?
2568 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, your issue is with 105.9, not with your clients?
2569 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2570 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So I'm trying to understand what you did to try and remedy the situation and what their response was.
2571 MR. ARASARATNAM: We couldn't remedy the situation because if we're selling a spot at $20 per hour, the competitor will sell the spot for $5 an hour and --
2572 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I understand that, but what was their response when you confronted them with --
2573 MR. ARASARATNAM: They ignored.
2574 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. On your contention that they were operating outside the condition of their licence, you say that -- when you entered into an understanding with this broadcaster, with 105.7(sic), what was your understanding of what their programing day was to be constructed of; some portion of Tamil and...?
2575 MR. ARASARATNAM: It was -- for The Region it was --
2576 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, you're contending that they were out of compliance or outside of their condition of licence.
2577 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2578 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm wondering on what and if you specify?
2579 MR. ARASARATNAM: Because they were licensed in Scarborough only, right, not in York Region.
2580 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, they're licensed to serve the audience that their signal will penetrate to.
2581 MR. ARASARATNAM: M'hmm.
2582 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: It's not necessarily always a specific geography, the geography is defined by the contour of the spectrum they have.
2583 MR. ARASARATNAM: So --
2584 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So my question is with respect to the percentage of content that was in Tamil, were they -- at the time that you entered into a contract with them, did you already know that they were Tamil 24 hours a day?
2585 MR. ARASARATNAM: No, at the time we went into contract with them they were actually off air because we took -- The Region took --
2586 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
2587 MR. ARASARATNAM: -- the frequency, right?
2588 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, right.
2589 MR. ARASARATNAM: So we scheduled ourselves accordingly so there wouldn't be the same air -- we wouldn't be on-air the same as CMR.
2590 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. So there were a lot of unknowns at that point.
2591 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, there was.
2592 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But what you were doing was having a negotiation with a broadcaster who had the intention of going back on the air at some point with a different frequency, and the conditions under which you entered this agreement changed on you.
2593 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2594 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. The issue with respect to the nature of your agreement is really a commercial agreement outside the framework of the Commission, but I just want to understand that it is your contention and on the record that they were branding themselves as 24-hour a day, 7-day a week Tamil service and this is something they said they were doing, or this is something you know they were doing?
2595 MR. ARASARATNAM: This is something they said and we know, I know.
2596 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: How do you know; is it verified? Did you monitor it, do logs?
2597 MR. ARASARATNAM: I have been in the community for a long time. We have a print media running for 20 years and then, we know the market well, we know what our clients say, what our advertisers say, what the community says.
2598 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Again, I'm just --
2599 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yeah.
2600 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm trying to get all this on the record so that your reaction is heard. Now, on the issue of Tamil versus Tanglish, you know, this is something I'm not familiar with from the Tamil standpoint, but I certainly am coming from Vancouver with respect to Punjabi because we have Punjlish and it is often contentious, but not necessarily to the extreme that you're indicating here.
2601 What I'm interested in knowing is, you mentioned that the Toronto Star had weighted into this and noted that Tanglish was being offered on the radio and a few of the communities had reacted, that's topical understanding.
2602 MR. ARASARATNAM: M'hmm.
2603 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But when 105.9 or Vanakkam as you call it, they demanded you remove the English to Tamil translation, now how did they demand it?
2604 MR. ARASARATNAM: No, they made viewers -- their viewers, their hard core viewers e-mail and give us phone calls and complain.
2605 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Listeners you mean?
2606 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yeah, their listeners, sorry.
2607 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Say that again, so they...?
2608 MR. ARASARATNAM: They made their listeners, their hard core --
2609 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: They appealed to their listener audience.
2610 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, and which caused 105.9 The Region to get complaints by e-mail and phone messages.
2611 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And did you choose to do what they do to you, which is to ignore it, or did you respond to it, or what happened?
2612 MR. ARASARATNAM: No, we responded to it because we didn't want any backlash, so we took it off the website and we did apologize.
2613 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Do you feel an apology was necessary?
2614 MR. ARASARATNAM: From the e-mails we got, yes, because --
2615 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And why were you doing it? Just out of curiosity, you're an experienced programmer and I'm just curious; did you misgauge the audience reaction, or...?
2616 MR. ARASARATNAM: We have to keep all audiences happy, at one point they will listen to us as well, right.
2617 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm almost finished, Mr. Chair. With respect to the overall intervention that you put forward, am I correct in understanding that you're not only intervening to 105.9, but you're basically cautioning the Commission that in licensing of another Tamil-focused radio station that it would be disruptive to the existing market?
2618 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2619 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And that's from the perspective of you as a television broadcaster?
2620 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yeah, and as a radio producer.
2621 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Are you producing radio --
2622 MR. ARASARATNAM: Not now because -- the message I'm trying to say is, even if the community -- the Tamil community is at a portion, right?
2623 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
2624 MR. ARASARATNAM: The advertisers -- every media in the Tamil community all pitch in through the same bucket.
2625 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
2626 MR. ARASARATNAM: It's the same advertisers everybody uses. So there is no more room for extra media -- Tamil media to come in. It will just make all the other medias --
2627 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So if this Commission was to award -- because all of the applications are mutually exclusive, if this Commission or the Panel were to award a licence to another Applicant, it would in all probability cause 105.9 to go off the air, which removes that competition, but what you're saying is, if we license another Tamil radio station we'd recreate the problem; is that what you're saying?
2628 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, because it will hurt The Region 105.9 because they are licensed to do Tamil as well.
2629 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So finally, and this I think is my last question. So you're saying that this Commission in its wisdom should not license any Tamil radio station?
2630 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes, that's correct.
2631 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Sorry, did I cut you off from something?
2632 MR. ARASARATNAM: No, that's fine, sir.
2633 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I think those are my questions, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
2634 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Shoan has a question.
2635 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just one follow-up question following that line of discussion you had with Commissioner Simpson.
2636 If your view is that the Tamil market is well served in Scarborough and/or Markham, do you, in your view, feel that a licence should be awarded to Intercity Broadcasting which, like you, claims that Scarborough is part of Toronto?
2637 MR. ARASARATNAM: Any of the two, whether it's Churchill or Intercity, it doesn't -- that should be fine because anything that has Tamil it will hurt, it will just backfire because, like I said, the community is still small --
2638 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Yeah.
2639 MR. ARASARATNAM: -- advertising is small.
2640 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. So to be clear, you support the community application Intercity, you oppose the rest?
2641 MR. ARASARATNAM: Yes.
2642 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
2643 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We're going to take a quick break and be back in about five or six minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1356
--- Upon resuming at 1401
2645 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
2646 Madam Secretary...?
2647 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation of Jayaraman Vadivelu. You have 10 minutes to make your presentation.
2648 Thank you.
2649 MR. VADIVELU: Commissioners, thank you for the opportunity to appear today. I was the former financial controller of CJSA FM hired by the Applicant Mr. Selvadurai in 2004, January.
2650 Contrary to what the Applicant has stated to you, I tendered my resignation as Chief Financial Officer in November, 2011.
2651 For the record, I filed an intervention against CJSA FM's renewal application based on numerous violations of CRTC regulations and financial irregularities by Stan Antony who currently alleges that he is the owner of CJSA FM. My resignation letter is attached in Appendix A.
2652 I oppose this application as the Applicant's credibility and conduct while he was operational CEO of CJSA FM has demonstrated he will mislead the CRTC when it comes to the facts.
2653 In the early part of 2000, World Tamil Movement, also known as WTM, now a banned organization in Canada since 2008 because it was identified as a front organization of Tamil Tigers who wanted to create visual and audio media companies. Mr. Selvadurai was a senior member of WTM at this time.
2654 WTM appointed Mr. Selvadurai to lead the creation of media companies on its behalf. The result was TVI and CMR.
2655 Mr. Selvadurai's deception of CRTC started with the application of Tamil Vision Inc. in 2001. TVI was formed by Mr. Selvadurai with nine trustee shareholders organized or approved by WTM. The control and operations of the company was in the hands of Mr. Selvadurai. Most of the funding of the fledgling operations of TVI were generated by WTM and financial sacrifices made by the employees of TVI.
2656 When CJSA FM's application for 101.3 FM was filed in 2000 (sic), April, three shareholders, organized or approved by WTM, were named as shareholders of the CMR Holding Company which would be the controlling entity of CMR. In reality, CMR was under the control of Mr. Selvadurai on behalf of WTM.
2657 It was identified to the CRTC that Mr. Antony was going to invest $500,000 for 51 percent of Hold Co and Padmini Selvadurai, the Applicant's sister-in-law, was going to invest $250,000 for 34 percent and Dr. Gnanendran was going to invest $250,000 for 15 percent.
2658 The Hold Co was going to hold 67 percent of shares of CMR. A non-Tamil party, Mr. Pannu, was going to invest $600,000 for a stake of 20 percent of CMR.
2659 On a deficiency question, the CRTC asked why there is a disparity in shareholding compared to the money that was being invested. CMR stated in its reply that CMR Hold Co is getting a higher value for their investment only because CMR Hold Co was taking higher risk as their investment was made towards the cost of the application.
2660 This is farther from the truth. None of the shareholders of CMR Hold Co invested any money towards the cost of the application. In fact, almost all the monies for the CMR application costs were invested by WTM through the services of Mr. Vaheesan, a senior member of WTM at that time.
2661 In January (sic), 2004, Mr. Antony loaned CMR $200,000 to finance the purchase of equipments. Mr. Antony was going to get 15 percent interest for this $200,000 loan according to the document executed between Mr. Antony and Mr. Selvadurai. Mr. Antony was also going to get paid from CMR a further 15 percent interest on investment Mr. Antony made in another WTM controlled company, Canadian Tamil Radio or CTR.
2662 All in all, Mr. Antony received interest of $4,250 per month on consolidated WTM undertakings. Appendix B explains that.
2663 Also in that agreement, Mr. Antony was to receive 3.3 percent preferred shares of CMR for investment of $100,000. This loan and preferred share arrangement was the true picture of Mr. Antony's CMR ownership, not the information provided to the Commission or CRTC. Under this agreement, Mr. Antony had not invested or loaned any monies to CMR.
2664 In August, 2004, under Mr. Selvadurai's direct instructions, Mr. Gary Jessop, the legal counsel from Blakes and Cassels, filed corporate ownership and documentation to the CRTC stating that Mr. Stan Antony and Dr. Kandiah Gnanendran and Dr. Padmini Selvadurai were shareholders of CMR Hold Co. Appendix C, which I'm filing.
2665 Even though CMR Hold Co was incorporated at that time, no corporate paperwork was done to formalize the ownership of CMR or CMR Hold Co, thus effectively leaving CMR Hold Co without any ownership over CMR. At this point Mr. Kumaradasan was the only registered owner of CMR.
2666 Information provided to the Commission and the real control and operational realities of CMR and CMR Hold Co were different.
2667 When Tsunami hit the Indian Ocean in 2004, December TVI and CMR embarked on fundraising to help those affected by the Tsunami. Close to $680,000 were collected by this joint effort. Mr. Selvadurai was visiting Killinochi, the headquarters of LTTE at this time. On his return, Mr. Selvadurai made the decision that the collected funds were to be given to TRO Sri Lanka through CAFTARR, the Canadian Foundation for Tamil Rehabilitation. Tax receipts were issued to donors through CAFTARR.
2668 Mr. Selvadurai directed CAFTARR to transfer the funds to TRO in Sri Lanka. These actions were the prime reason why the CRA cancelled the charity status of CAFTARR. CAFTARR Report, please see pages A3/15 of my initial intervention.
2669 In 2006, WTM became suspicious of the Applicant's conduct and the management of CMR and TVI and instructed Mr. Antony to investigate Mr. Selvadurai's motives and actions.
2670 Mr. Selvadurai provided answers to various questions raised about his various activities related to CMR and TVI and provided his reply which is attached in Appendix 3 of my original intervention.
2671 During the period of dispute with WTM, Mr. Selvadurai did not recognize Mr. Stan Antony as the controlling shareholder of CMR and to this day his legal claim states that. Mr. Jessop, if asked by the Commission, will verify that he received instructions from the Applicant.
2672 The fact is that the real owner and the shareholder is another individual, Mr. Kumaradasan at the point of dispute in 2006 and Mr. Jessop is aware of this discrepancy. Appendix D clearly shows that Mr. Selvadurai resigned from TVI and CMR in November, 2006 through the efforts of WTM.
2673 In the reply submitted by the Applicant through his counsel, they have stated I had a personal animosity towards Mr. Selvadurai. That is not true.
2674 Without debating this point, the central question is whether the Applicant's past conduct with the Commission has been truthful. How can the Commission, in all honesty, grant a licence to the Applicant who, after the Commission issues a licence to CJSA, files a lawsuit that states he is the creator and founder of CJSA?
2675 Surely if you read his Statement of Claim, he should have disclosed this to the Commission from the outset and, if not, the Commission should ask, why did he not state that to you despite now claiming that in court?
2676 I would also like the Commission to request copies of Mr. Selvadurai's discoveries under oath in the litigation matter which will clearly show discrepancies with information provided by Mr. Selvadurai to the CRTC.
2677 The simple fact is that both he and Stan Antony were nominees for the World Tamil Movement.
2678 My objective today is that no person should use community's monies, efforts and dedication to unfairly enrich themselves. This applies to Mr. Selvadurai and to Mr. Antony and I urge the Commission to scrutinize both CJSA, also known as CMR, and this Applicant's past conduct to maintain integrity of your own process.
2679 I also appear today to place this on the record as you Honourable Commissioners cannot afford to ignore these fundamental issues as it will impinge on your legacy as Commissioners.
2680 For the record, I am prepared to appear under oath as well. Thank you.
2681 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We have no questions.
2682 THE SECRETARY: I would now ask Rukshian Balasubramaniam to come to the presentation table.
2683 You have 10 minutes to make your presentation. You may begin.
2684 MR. BALASUBRAMANIAM: Good afternoon, Your Honour. This is an intervention to application No. 2012-1384 filed by Multicultural Broadcasting Company.
2685 This radio mentioned above consisted a radio show targeting Mr. Smitherman by Mr. David Loganathan produced this advertisement, scripting and voicing the advertisement. In my intervention, I raised the same issues also worth noting number of others who raised the same issue.
2686 In response to the intervention, Pastor David Loganathan has stated:
"I was personally responsible for a paid advertisement that referred to then candidate George Smitherman's sexual orientation."
2687 Please note further Pastor Loganathan has stated "there was a lot of pressure for me to air it since time -- since it" --
2688 MR. BALASUBRAMANIAM: "There was a lot of pressure for me to air it since it was only two days away from the election date".
2689 As mentioned above, this pastor intentionally created this attack ad that then candidate Mr. Smitherman.
2690 Please also note Pastor Loganathan would have had full acknowledgement while scripting and voicing, as it was done by him prior to broadcasting such an advertisement.
2691 It also comes to question if Multicultural Broadcasting Company, MBC, cared about ethics and social values that they would have severised (sic) Pastor Loganathan and his show, noting he is against the LGBTQ community. Even now, MBC and CTBC maintain a strong relationship and proposes to have a programming partnership with Pastor Loganathan.
2692 It is also to note that program, which is stated as a brokered programming which had made such remarks is distributed to various radio stations and they chose not to air this -- that advertisement, yet only CTBC aired this advertisement.
2693 Though Pastor Loganathan takes full responsibility in his response, I would also believe Mr. Kandiah Sivasothy, alias Illayabharathy, is responsible of all advertisements and programs being hosted on their airwaves. In such case, such lack of -- such of his presence I would believe there is to be another who should have been able to make -- take this decision wisely while it will still make CTBC and MBC responsible for their comments made against the LGBTQ community.
2694 I'm not convinced that Multicultural Broadcasting Company, MBC, or CTBC should be granted this licence given the seriousness of the misuse of airwaves to slander the community.
2695 I have also attached the Toronto Sun article which was published on October 24th, 2010.
2696 Coming to my second intervention, it is against World Band Media.
2697 Please note World Band Media had attempted to buy their way to 88.1 just a couple of years ago. According to the Globe & Mail article attached, it states Mr. Selvadurai has donated "about $22,000".
2698 There was also several other stories among the media and the community stating that Mr. Selvadurai was trying to influence decision makers in -- with money to obtain 88.1 licence. Due to his actions, he failed to win the bid for 88.1.
2699 As a community member, I have seen Mr. Selvadurai heavily be a part of operations of CTR, CMR and TVI. At the time of his departure, these companies were left in a very bad shape and suffering to survive. As per my knowledge, Mr. Selvadurai has also filed litigations against two of the three companies, if not all.
2700 Please note Mr. Selvadurai also -- has also stated radio operations in the U.S. under the name of Worldband Media and it has studies around GTA. To my knowledge, I believe Mr. Selvadurai has folded up these operations and many of his staff and professional consultants from these operations have not been paid to date.
2701 Mr. Selvadurai has proven a track record of failure to manage all of the previously-mentioned operations. This raises a question, will Mr. Selvadurai be able to operate this new licence.
2702 Thank you, My Honour.
2703 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We don't have any questions.
2704 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask Filmi Dunia Inc. to come to presentation table.
2705 Please introduce yourself for the record, and you have 10 minutes.
2706 MR. GHUMAN: Good afternoon. For the record, my name is Sharanjit Ghuman, President of Filmi Dunia Inc.
2707 Filmi Dunia is involved in the production of multi-lingual programming and the sale of advertising and programming time on multi-lingual stations.
2708 I am here today opposing all multi-lingual applications on 102.7. This is an unusual position for me to take because I spend most of my time selling and promoting the multicultural market. Opposing the expansion of broadcast coverage of ethnic communities would, therefore, appear to run counter to how I make my living.
2709 But I can say after working for over 26 years in Canada in broadcasting, doing everything from production to hosting to selling, the market is changing considerably, and not necessarily for the better.
2710 First of all, there are many more choices in this market in almost every language, with many of the signals overlapping each other, leaving none with distinct geographical territories.
2711 Secondly, all signals are streamed today and many have apps, making signals from around Toronto, across Canada and even around the world available to everyone. Never has there been this level of competition, and the Commission has to consider in its decision that radio signals are no longer constricted by their terrestrial contours.
2712 Compounding the problem of an unprecedented amount of available programming, new immigrants to Canada are required to speak English or French to come to this country, meaning their need and use of mother tongue radio is less than previous generations. Internet usage is very high among new immigrants, suggesting consumer consumption patterns are changing and so, too, is the demand for third language programming.
2713 CFMS 105.9 is one of my clients. I have been working with Mr. Bola since just after his licensing.
2714 I helped to negotiate the sale of some of the language blocks on the station but have been thwarted in selling all. I am mentioning -- as I mentioned in my written intervention, the Tamil market has been severely undercut by having several signals providing this language and one competitor that can offer 22 hours, seven days a week Tamil programming. It is so unbalanced with supply outpacing demand that the rates have simply become ridiculous.
2715 One advertiser were telling me last week that he purchased a remote for $400, which includes the cost of setup and broadcast plus heavy rotation for two days prior promoting the event. Estimating 30 spots over the two days and a minimal charge for the cost of staff and equipment on site, this equates to less than $10 per spot. You would be hard pressed to find rates this low in even Canada's smallest market, let alone here in Toronto.
2716 But this is what has been happening in this market. With so much inventory, Vanakkam FM can reduce their price because what they can lose in per unit value they can make up through selling more inventory. With approximately 120 hours of Tamil broadcasting, they can afford to deeply discount.
2717 Stations offering 20 hours of programming are forced match rates or have inventory go unused and yet, at rates this low, they cannot pay all their expenses and realize any profit.
2718 My clients were in this position. When Hello FM entered the market, the average 30-second rates were around $22 to $25. This was the rate for almost all Tamil programming regardless of the station, and advertisers had no problem paying it.
2719 When Hello FM ceased to broadcast in March of this year, the rates they were offering was only $8. This is what happens in the market where there is no competitive balance and there is too much inventory available. In Tamil, it has been a buyer's market.
2720 Time blocks that did sell easily for $200 this time last year are now counting unsold at the deeply discounted rate of $40 per hour. We have even offered revenue-sharing options, which were declined.
2721 This has had a ripple effect across the third language communities, who are increasingly less sure that broadcast is even necessary. Two of our negotiated deals actually opted for cost effective, regulations free internet delivery.
2722 None of this is good for existing broadcasters or the system and, in sum, it suggests a market that is not sufficiently stable enough to support a new entrant. As it is today, it cannot support all the stations that are licensed.
2723 So while there is appeal to providing service to each language group, there is a saturation point that we feel has been reached. When experienced and talented broadcasters are not able to sustain programming when they are, in fact, paying nothing for the air time, it points to either saturation or predatory pricing.
2724 In the case of Tamil programming, we believe it is a little of both. Hello FM are good broadcasters, and when they stopped broadcasting, the market, especially the younger end of the market, was unhappy.
2725 It wasn't being unable to compete for listeners that closed their doors. No business entity can indefinitely lose money, so they had no choice.
2726 The thought of introducing even more competition into this market through either a new applicant or allowing Vanakkam FM to have full commercial service with their almost unilingual schedule suggests that, in the not too distant future, the Tamil community will only have one station which to listen. No other competitor will be able to sustain operations at these advertising prices. If this happens, the community and the system loses.
2727 I support and make my living through third language productions and sales. What is happening in Toronto in the Tamil market is a forewarning of what is to come if competition is not managed through licensing and enforcement of conditions of licence. With all due respect, I urge the CRTC to decline any new multi-lingual licences.
2728 Thank you very much for giving me this chance to offer my opinion, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
2729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson has a couple of questions.
2730 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
2731 Your intervention is very clear. I would just like to ask you a few questions from the perspective of your particular business so that we better understand the viewpoint from which you are making this intervention.
2732 Your company, Filmi Dunia, is it -- does it produce programming, advertising or advertising sales? What's --
2733 MR. GHUMAN: It also produce commercials. We even have a small budget for film in this company.
2734 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
2735 MR. GHUMAN: I also -- we sell air times. We, you know, broker air time. Also, I have about 200 client list, they go to different -- I send them to different, you know, stations to advertise their products and stuff.
2736 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So when you referred to CFMS as one of your clients --
2737 MR. GHUMAN: Yes.
2738 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- sometimes you're the client, sometimes they're the client because sometimes you're bringing them brokered programming that's paying to be on the air --
2739 MR. GHUMAN: Yes.
2740 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- and other times, they're the client because you're selling their product.
2741 MR. GHUMAN: That's true.
2742 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And your company works in a variety of third languages, I understand --
2743 MR. GHUMAN: Yes.
2744 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- including Tamil.
2745 MR. GHUMAN: Including Tamil.
2746 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. But not exclusively Tamil, but other --
2747 MR. GHUMAN: No.
2748 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And what you're saying is that -- two parts to the question. There's an over-abundance of Tamil programming which is making it tough to sell because there's too much inventory.
2749 MR. GHUMAN: True.
2750 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Is that correct?
2751 The second part of the question is, should you intervene against the 105 applicant, there's a strong likelihood there might be another Tamil broadcaster to replace it. So have you any comment on that?
2752 MR. GHUMAN: Actually, overall, what I'm saying is with my experience in the community selling commercials, selling time, all that, and I think the Tamil community is well served at this time.
2753 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
2754 MR. GHUMAN: You know, allowing new licence or, you know, granting new licence could be -- you know, community is well served right now. It's going to be a price war selling commercials and all that, and nobody's going to make money, which is my main concern.
2755 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And -- but just to put a fine point on it, and this is the last part of my question, you're really saying that any new multi-lingual licence is not necessary, so the third language ethnic communities are well served.
2756 MR. GHUMAN: Yes. At this time, yes.
2757 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
2758 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We have no more questions, and we'll now take a break for 15 minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1427
--- Upon resuming at 1445
2759 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation by the Canadian Multicultural Radio. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2760 MR. ANTONY: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, Members of the CRTC and CRTC staff. Before we start our intervention, please allow me to present our panel.
2761 My is Stan Antony, and I am the controlling shareholder and CEO of Canadian Multicultural Radio, known as CMR, which operates CJSA FM here in Toronto.
2762 Beside me is Ragavan Paranchothy, our Director of Public Relations and Community Development, and Gary Jessop of Jessop & Proulx LLP, our regulator counsel.
2763 In the audience is Mr. Jay K. Jayanthan, who served as a mediator in one of the disputes that has become part of the record.
2764 Ragavan will start our presentation now.
2765 MR. PARANCHOTHY: Thank you, Mr. Antony.
2766 CMR was licensed by the Commission in December 2003-115 subsequently to a hotly-contested call for applications and hearing. AT that hearing, the Commission considered some 16 applications for new radio services to serve the GTA, and selected our group for licensing
2767 As the Commission is aware, we have been a leader in innovation and have launched an experiment in hybrid digital radio, providing several side channels in addition to the main service.
2768 Our revenues comes from two sources principally. The first is advertising sales in Tamil programming, representing a bit more than third of our weekly schedule, and between 45 to 50 percent of our revenues. The second source comes principally from the brokerage of air time to other South Asian producers, particularly Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
2769 Revenues generated from these two sources allow us to provide air time to a number of smaller linguistic groups at below market cost. These groups include Malayalam, Sinhalese, Tagalog, Somalian, Twi, Macedonian, Tibetan and a number of others.
2770 The estimates of Tamil population in the GTA greatly vary, but most agree that it is somewhere around 200,000. The vast majority of this Tamil population reside in the east end of Toronto, particularly in Scarborough and Markham.
2771 We would estimate that about 70 percent of our Tamil advertising comes from these communities.
2772 The basis of our intention is our great concern about the addition of new hours of Tamil programming that all of the four ethnic applicants are proposing.
2773 We have firsthand evidence of what the impact is and will be. When CJVF FM applied for its licence, we opposed -- negatively, we opposed for some of these reasons.
2774 The station was licensed with many fewer languages and groups than any other ethnic station in the GTA. In fact, as was discussed with CJVF FM at the 2012 hearing here in Toronto, the station launched without any other languages on the station but Tamil. And as they admitted in their presentation yesterday, they have operated in non-compliance in other areas as well.
2775 We felt the impact of the launch of CJVF almost immediately. With the ridiculously low spot rates offered by CJFV FM, there was tremendous pressure on our rates, resulting in a spot rate about 30 percent lower than what it was before.
2776 We oppose this application for two main reasons, its non-compliance and the fact that it has proposed fewer languages and groups than any other application. We cannot offer any conditions of licence which would make it less damaging.
2777 We submit that it would be fundamentally unfair to allow an applicant which proposes essentially 100 percent in one language in violation of the CRTC's established multicultural radio policy to have a protected frequency that which would allow it to reach most of our audience base.
2778 We have similar concerns about MBC, which proposed 70 hours per week in Tamil programming. Again, it will be aiming the heart of our programming schedule and our main revenue source, and should not be licensed.
2779 With the remaining two applicants, our concerns are lessened, but we would point out that either could greatly exceed the number of hours of Tamil programming they have proposed.
2780 Clearly, East FM's proposal is the least likely to impact us, and we note that they have agreed to accept a condition of licence limiting the number of hours of Tamil programming to the 21 proposed in their application. If you decide to issue a licence to East FM, we would hope that you would crystallize their commitment as a condition of licence.
2781 World Band Media will be controlled by an individual who will not be risking a penny of his own funds in this venture. All of World Band's funding will come from one person, with no control and little to no input into the operations of the station.
2782 World Band challenged our statement concerning impact of CJVF FM's launch on our rates or revenues, stating that we provided no evidence. The Commission has the evidence from our annual return information.
2783 World Band also presented our rate card as an appendix to its reply to its intervention, trying to demonstrate that the rates are higher than what we claimed.
2784 CJVF FM's presence forced us into providing bonuses and other incentives in order to remain competitive, which effectively lowered our rates. And you don't have to really just believe us only. Look at the intervention by CFMS FM for further proof of their negative effect on the market.
2785 World Band also stated in its reply that the impact of the Tamil programming will be minimal -- that its impact of Tamil programming will be minimal on CMR, as it will merely replace the Tamil programming currently being broadcast by CJVF FM.
2786 However, this statement ignores the fact that CJVF FM will still have its licence and will be actively looking for a new frequency. It is entirely likely that this programming will be back on air by the time any new ethnic station, if approved, is launched.
2787 World Band's proposed Tamil programming will most certainly be an addition to the existing saturated market in competition with our primary programming.
2788 In the event that the Commission sees fit to license World Band, we would like the Commission to take note of the proposal in their application of 35 hours of Tamil programming per week and to make such proposal a condition of licence, not as a minimum, but as a maximum limit on such programming.
2789 Mr. Antony.
2790 MR. ANTONY: Thanks, Ragavan.
2791 Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission, I now feel that I have no choice but to comment on allegations made about me and CMR by both the applicant, World Band, and in the intervention to World Band by Mr. Vadelivu.
2792 First, I would like to note that, in both cases, the principals are engaged in litigation with CMR. As a result, my remarks will necessarily be constrained so that I do not cause prejudice to my interests in these lawsuits.
2793 Mr. Vadelivu has made similar allegations in his intervention to the renewal of CMR licence. We responded to his many unsubstantiated allegations as part of that proceeding.
2794 However, Mr. Vadelivu subsequently tried to file an additional intervention after the deadline, and this intervention properly did not make it on the public record. Mr. Vadelivu is now trying to get his comments regarding CMR and myself on the public record yet again improperly, in my view.
2795 In addition to Mr. Vadelivu's allegation, World Band Media also made allegations against CMR and me in its reply to CMR's intervention.
2796 In summary, there are five allegations made about me and CMR.
2797 That I did not invest any funds into CMR. That CMR is owned beneficially by a community media trust. That Mr. Selvadurai and Mr. Vadelivu were forced out of CMR by alleged factions allied with the WTM. That CMR knowingly filed false statements with the CRTC.
2798 That I have been accused of acting, in one case, as an agent of the Government of India and, in another, as an agent of the World Tamil movement by Mr. Selvadurai.
2799 These statements are simply not true.
2800 To be clear, I am the first and only controlling shareholder of CMR since its application was filed. I appeared before the Commission in this role during CMR's licensing hearing.
2801 I am the only person who has provided any funding to CMR in its history. I have with me a copy of document signed by Mr. Vadelivu himself that clearly states the funding that I invested in CMR. I am prepared to provide the Commission with a copy of the document if requested.
2802 Neither Mr. Selvadurai or Mr. Vadelivu was fired or forced out. Both wanted control of CMR and did not have the shares to enforce this. So failing in their separate attempts to gain control of CMR, they both left, and then sued.
2803 In the case of Mr. Selvadurai, I have a copy of the document signed by him confirming the amount paid and payable to him on his resignation from CMR. I am prepared to file a copy with the Commission on request.
2804 There are no competing factions at CMR affiliated with any external force. I am the owner and CEO. All others are my employees and colleagues.
2805 As far as I am aware, in Canada just because you feel you should own a business rather than the existing shareholders does not make it so.
2806 Contrary to the statements by Mr. Vadelivu that CMR belongs to a community media trust, there is no such entity.
2807 CMR has never filed false information with the Commission. All of our financial information has been audited.
2808 Unfortunately, the charge of being controlled, somehow, by the Tamil Tigers is one this is made all too easy in our community. This is shameful for our community that these kind of slurs are flung around so carelessly. It not only discredits the person attacked and the person making the attack, it also casts a shadow over the whole community.
2809 Mr. Chair, thank you for the patience with us. I apologize that you have had to deal with this kind of unseemingly(sic) bickering.
2810 Thank you.
2811 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just have a couple of questions regarding what's your estimate of the value of the Tamil language advertising market, broadcasting market?
2812 MR. PARANCHOTHY: Would you like a dollar figure for the entire --
2813 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
2814 MR. PARANCHOTHY: -- market?
2815 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you could, yeah. In sort of current -- just a best guess as to how much advertising through all broadcast media is collected and distributed.
2816 MR. PARANCHOTHY: I would say, on the top end, it could be anywhere between $500,000 to $700,000 in a good year.
2817 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that's divided between how many players?
2818 MR. PARANCHOTHY: Obviously, there's CMR and there's CFMS. And now we have CJVF who's currently on air. These are the FM radio stations.
2819 There are a number of smaller SCMO services as well.
2820 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, we've heard forecasts of growth in the market in terms of the growth of the Tamil population. Would the growth in the Tamil retail market be following that or is there room for it to just become more profitable with more people?
2821 MR. PARANCHOTHY: I don't think it would be -- the growth of the Tamil community is obviously reflected in the Tamil business growth. However, the business growth has been stagnant in the last few years, so we're all essentially fishing in the same pond. Having new players in the market wouldn't make it any easier for anyone.
2822 THE CHAIRPERSON: Any particular reason for the stagnation in the growth of the market, business market?
2823 MR. PARANCHOTHY: Well, the younger generation tend to -- who are now getting into business tend to be more global in their approach as opposed to limiting it to the Tamil community alone, so the second and third generation is more mainstream Canadian as opposed to Tamil.
2824 The majority of the Tamil businesses rely on first generation Tamil population.
2825 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2826 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I just have one question.
2827 The question I had, and I'm sorry I lost it, was that you had essentially said that you felt that -- oh, where is it? I'm so sorry. I'm awash in paper. Here we are.
2828 You had felt that -- you had said that you felt that the comments made against you were essentially inappropriate and you had taken exception to the fact they were being introduced into this hearing at this time because the individual that had made remarks against you had been late in the filing of their application and now that they've made an appearance, you felt that was inappropriate, and I'm wondering why.
2829 MR. ANTONY: When Mr. Jayaraman Vadivelu, when he filed it out there the second time with CRTC, we requested CRTC at that time, because if CRTC requests any answers from us we are willing to give an answer for that. So they did not post it on the site after that because the deadline has passed. That's what it is.
2830 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But you didn't have a basic objection to it being put on the record?
2831 MR. ANTONY: If CRTC requests any answers I'm ready anytime.
2832 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you.
2833 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2834 MR. ANTONY: Thank you.
2835 THE SECRETARY: I would now ask the next Intervener, CFMS 105.9 The Region to come to the presentation table, please.
2836 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself and your colleague and you have 10 minutes. Thank you.
2837 MR. BOLA: Good afternoon, Commission Chair, Commissioners and Commission staff.
2838 My name is Bhupinder Bola. I'm here representing 105.9 The Region, a station licensed to Radio Markham York Inc. With me today is Rosie Ferguson, our Director of Operations.
2839 I'm here as one of Canada's newest radio broadcasters to intervene against the applicants who are seeking to operate on 102.7 to provide multilingual service to Scarborough.
2840 Officially, we launched on February 5th, so our station is less than three months into its first broadcast term.
2841 York Region has been very welcoming and we have managed in a very short time to gain acceptance from municipal governments, regional organizations, charities and a growing listener base. We are realizing the vision we presented in our application of being a truly local service for York Region and, in particular, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.
2842 MS FERGUSON: Our plan to integrate third-language production into our daytime schedule and to resource share with the multilingual producers is working well. We have local news from all communities woven throughout our schedule.
2843 We are celebrating the arts in York Region through our emerging artist and arts and culture features. We are recognizing the innovators in the area working with ventureLAB and the Chambers of Commerce to highlight York Region start-up businesses in our programming. We have profiled over 25 local charities in our "The Region Gives Back" series and have hosted no-charge remotes at charity events to educate listeners and develop support.
2844 Over the summer we will be working with the historical and heritage societies to capture the character of York Region to present to our listeners in the fall through a series of 60-second interstitials. We will be travelling throughout York this summer broadcasting live to highlight opportunities and venues that exist in our own backyards but may be overlooked by residents.
2845 MR. BOLA: However, despite all these plans and success at this early stage, there are some serious challenges on the horizon. It is these we wish to discuss with you today.
2846 Launch time in any new business is characterized by negative cash flow and ours has not been an exception to this rule. In addition to all the start-up costs and the expense of unavoidable delays, we have encountered other surprises.
2847 MS FERGUSON: When we applied we knew we were displacing Vanakkam FM, a low-power service providing programming to the Tamil community in Scarborough and York Region. Our business plan anticipated that this station would relocate their signal to another frequency, continuing with a low-power service.
2848 Unfortunately, what we could not anticipate is that they would operate at a power beyond their requirements, serving much of the same geographical area as we did. The signal from this 6W station can be heard in Newmarket, Brampton and in Mississauga. This is either a feat of engineering or this station is operating above their permitted power. This larger signal covers much of our licensed area.
2849 Secondly, after the Toronto hearing in May 2012 where compliance with conditions of licence were discussed with Vanakkam FM, we had expected that the Tamil portion of their schedule would be revised to make room for the other languages they were licensed to serve. However, with only a midday two-hour strip and a couple of hours on the weekend of non-Tamil programming, this station continues to operate on 102.7 essentially as a 24/7 Tamil service.
2850 Operating as a single language service provides many advantages with advertisers and puts every other station at a disadvantage.
2851 First, you provide a broader choice of times; secondly, you can blend off-prime with prime listening times to create a more efficient rate; and finally, you are able to brand in a way that neither the multilingual stations nor our blended service can do.
2852 Our Tamil producers were constantly told by advertisers that they had spent their money with the only 24/7 Tamil service in Toronto and since 102.7 covered the same geography there was no reason to buy from 105.9. The market in our licensed area started to dry up and advertising rates had to be deeply discounted.
2853 To support our producers, we waived our fees for the airtime, meaning that while they struggled to overcome the unfair competition we had to forego the revenues we needed to operate. Eventually, after three months, our Tamil programming was reduced from every day to only on the weekends and is now nonexistent. This is a no-win situation as consumers prefer more, not less, choice.
2854 When our Tamil programming ceased broadcasting we received a great many phone calls of complaint and we still do. In a competitively balanced world, it should be possible for consumers to have choice and the stations the CRTC has already licensed should be able to survive if all keep to their conditions of licence.
2855 The second issue that has arisen is a significant change in the demand for airtime to reach ethnic markets.
2856 Non-Tamil programming on 102.7 was almost given away, setting a new precedent in the community for pricing and reducing our earning potential.
2857 Secondly, producers have opted to use the Internet to deliver their signals because the media consumption behaviour of third-language communities has changed. The Internet has opened an entirely new option for consumers to access programming in their mother tongues.
2858 Use of online, as the InCanada Panel research we referenced in our filed intervention shows, is actually usurping use of radio and television. The recognition of this changing dynamic has softened the demand for radio airtime by third-language producers, which, in addition to the undercutting of prices, has negatively affected our ability to meet revenue targets.
2859 Our third challenge is on the English-language side.
2860 Markham and York may have been without a dedicated radio service but they have not been without radio stations trying to sell advertising time. As a result, unlike many first service markets, the lack of ratings from BBM presents a challenge because advertisers are receiving audience data from stations originating in Toronto.
2861 Our discussions with BBM began before we launched when we thought we would be able to access a basic service to establish our reach in York Region through diary data. We really do not need much more than that.
2862 However, because York is part of the Toronto Area, we are required to subscribe as a Toronto station, which makes only PPM measurement available to us. The expense of being charged the rates of the largest market in Canada notwithstanding, we would pay to be measured if we could receive relevant data.
2863 York Region, proportionate to the GTA population, only gets about 60 PPM meters. This means it cannot be reported on its own. Our coverage area represents less than one-fifth of the total GTA, but to be measured we would be reported as a Toronto station. This not only does not help us, it damages us. Without numbers we are not eligible for many English buys.
2864 As a result of our persistence, BBM is in the process of writing a new policy, but we are into our seventh month of this rewrite and as of last week we have been told that it is nowhere near done. Working it through the system at BBM could take up to a year and even longer to implement. Even with this, we are not guaranteed a solution that works as BBM is an industry-run organization and competitors are not necessarily eager to help new entrants.
2865 MR. BOLA: Applicants have replied to our intervention suggesting that as ethnic programming accounts for only 36.9 percent of our schedule it is unreasonable to expect these time blocks to generate a significant portion of our revenues.
2866 However, a look at our business plan filed with our application in 2011, and our discussions with the Commission in the hearing in 2012, show our revenues were predicated on generating both ethnic and English sales in almost equal amounts for the first three years.
2867 Achieving the ethnic revenues has not been possible because key languages such as Tamil, Tagalog and Arabic have either been taken by a competitor or gone to the Internet. English was always expected to build slower but has been set back even further by the lack of audience data.
2868 Our concern with all of the multilingual services proposed is that they are introducing new competition at a time when the market is unable to sustain that which exists and is in considerable flux because of changes in consumer behaviour.
2869 Our concern with Vanakkam specifically is that their operations when they were 105.9 proved they do not necessarily feel the need to comply with their conditions of licence and since operating on 102.7 they have continued to ignore their COLs, selling ads when authorized only to carry information on an emergency basis, broadcasting well over their power limits and acting for the most part as a unilingual service.
2870 If they are licensed as a full power commercial licence, the CRTC will be sending a clear message that rules do not apply equally and that conditions of licence are open to interpretation.
2871 The coverage maps of the proposed service show an overlap of 80 percent so that any new multilingual service would be directly competitive with 40 percent of our schedule.
2872 We are not suggesting that competition is not good or that we would be opposed to a new entrant in a couple years' time. We are quite willing and prepared to operate in a competitive environment when we are all working within the same enforced and regulated environment, but right now we are struggling.
2873 The Commission asked us when we appeared in 2012: What would we do if a third-language producer did not pay and our revenue estimates fell short? We said we would stay the course. We are doing just that. We continue to invest money into providing the truly local programming we planned. We are, however, respectfully asking that our challenges are not compounded by introducing still more competition into a market that especially on the ethnic side is well served and showing a declining reliance on radio.
2874 Thank you and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
2875 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Shoan has some questions for you.
2876 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Good afternoon. I have a couple of questions about your oral remarks and then I would like to turn to your intervention as well.
2877 MR. BOLA: Sure.
2878 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: On page 3 of your oral remarks you said:
"...producers have opted to use the Internet to deliver their signals because ... media consumption ... has [essentially] changed. The Internet has opened an entirely new option for consumers..."
2879 Are you referring here to the mobile Internet on smartphones and mobile apps and such or are you referring to desktops, PCs? How is this --
2880 MR. BOLA: We are referring to all of those.
2881 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You are referring to all of those. Thank you.
2882 MR. BOLA: Yes.
2883 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You also say at page 6:
"The coverage maps of the proposed service shows an overlap of 80 percent so that any new multilingual service would be directly competitive with 40 percent of our schedule."
2884 It's not clear to me which service you are referring to, number one, and secondly, when you refer to overlap, is that interference-free overlap?
2885 MR. BOLA: We are referring to all four applicants.
2886 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
2887 MR. BOLA: And the point that we are making is wherever a signal goes and reaches for example a Tamil audience, it has impact, because in these communities people will travel to shop at stores and eat at restaurants that provide service in their ethnic background. Any signal that comes into our market can be seen as having an impact.
2888 Further, the difference between Markham and Scarborough is a matter of crossing the street in order that they are seen as being the same community of Tamil, regardless of the change of postal code.
2889 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Yes, I understand that, Mr. Bola, and it's a fair point, but there is a difference between a clean, clear, strong signal and an impaired signal.
2890 MR. BOLA: Right.
2891 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Even if an impaired signal came into the marketplace --
2892 MR. BOLA: Yes.
2893 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- if it's not a good signal, people will not listen to it.
2894 MR. BOLA: The .5mV is a clean signal into Markham.
2895 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay.
2896 MR. BOLA: I'm sorry, is that --
2897 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And you are saying for all four applicants --
2898 MR. BOLA: All four applicants --
2899 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- their .5mV signal --
2900 MR. BOLA: Is clean.
2901 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- cleanly reaches throughout the .5mV?
2902 MR. BOLA: That is correct.
2903 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Actually, that's a great segue into one of the questions I had about whether you could address each application specifically about whether or not -- first of all, whether you oppose them or are neutral towards them. You already said you oppose all.
2904 MR. BOLA: We oppose all four.
2905 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Right. Are any of the applications particularly more detrimental than any others or do you feel strongly about opposing all four?
2906 MR. BOLA: We are opposing all four and they are all detrimental to our business. We, again, take about 50 percent of ethnic revenue from our coverage area.
2907 You know, obviously less Tamil programming, less programming than we are currently required to serve would have less impact, but regardless, all four of them will have an impact on us.
2908 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
2909 I would like to discuss the difference between the Markham and the Scarborough markets and specifically why you feel licensing -- the potential licensing of a station in Scarborough will affect you as a broadcaster focused on the Markham market.
2910 So, in your original application you indicated that your focus was the Markham market. The contour maps that you submitted at the time showed that your station would have no interference-free coverage of Scarborough. In fact, as I recall, the engineering brief you submitted at the licensing process for your station indicated that you would not be serving Scarborough, you were focused on Markham.
2911 So, can you explain to me why a station serving Scarborough would have such an impact on your station?
2912 MR. BOLA: Sure. As I started to point out, wherever the signal is, the signal has an impact. If the signal is in Scarborough, it spills over into Markham since it's the same market that we are (indiscernible). So when we look at the signal overlap there is a significant impact. This means protected or unprotected by policy.
2913 We have direct competition introduced into our markets. Forty percent of programming, which represents 50 percent of our revenue, will be undermined. We think this is significant and especially so as it comes in our first two years.
2914 At some point we will be able to stay in competition, it is just not now, and we ask the Commission to allow us to be established before bringing someone into the market.
2915 The other point, I think, to summarize from some of the applicants from yesterday, i.e., East FM presentation, East FM to serve Scarborough, Markham, Pickering, and East in Toronto, it is clearly stated that they will be serving Markham and that is part of their .5 contour.
2916 If they are serving Markham, then all the other three applicants, you know, they have the same footprint, they have the same coverage. It may be, you know, a Scarborough licence but it is serving both markets, Markham and Scarborough, where most of the Tamil live and the language groups are proposed.
2917 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Mr. Bola, I'm looking at the modified contours of your station and I see the .5mV contour of your station actually goes quite deep into Scarborough. Is your .5mV contour, is that coverage area interference-free?
2918 MR. BOLA: I'm sorry, does it cover into...?
2919 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I understand that your modified contours for your station go quite deep into Scarborough.
2920 MR. BOLA: Yes, they do.
2921 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Is that contour interference-free? In other words, you are saying that the four --
2922 MR. BOLA: Yes.
2923 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: It is?
2924 MR. BOLA: It is. Most of it is, yes.
2925 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
2926 I would like to talk to you about the potential impact of licensing a new station in terms of the impact of licensing a new station on the potential acquisition of brokered programming. You alluded to it a little bit in your presentation, but I was hoping you could discuss it a little bit further.
2927 Can you give an indication about the amount of brokered local ethnic programming that you currently broadcast and the degree to which this might overlap with a new station if one is licensed?
2928 MR. BOLA: We currently have 46 hours that -- in our schedule and those 46 hours are made up of Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Tagalog, Trini and African. So we will definitely have an impact on serving, with the exception of Chinese, the South Asian communities. We will definitely have an impact.
2929 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: You don't see a situation where brokered programming could be provided to both your station and potentially a new station? You expect that they would depart your station and go to the new ones?
2930 MR. BOLA: Well, you know, again, on brokered programming, with licensing one of the four, you know, that's introducing more brokered programming into the market, which will put some pressure on rates.
2931 I think we have seen what it has done to the Tamil community. I think, you know, with our language we are serving we could see a similar kind of occurrence taking place because there is more inventory when it comes to brokered programming. So, you know, we will certainly be challenged to provide the programming that we have promised.
2932 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay, thank you.
2933 I just have one further question, Mr. Chairman.
2934 Do you have any position on the Intercity application or the Whitchurch-Stouffville application?
2935 MR. BOLA: Well, yes, we do. You know, our position is that there has been a -- we think there should be no licence granted, but if the CRTC wants to award 102.7, we would prefer it would be an English applicant or English applicants, either Stouffville and/or in this case Intercity. I think there has been some sort of proposal put here where two could coexist, two frequencies could coexist. I think, you know, that would be certainly a greater use of the frequency.
2936 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. And that's based on the business model which you are implementing, which allows for greater initial revenue from your ethnic programming as opposed to the English-language programming?
2937 MR. BOLA: I'm sorry, could you repeat?
2938 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: And that is based on the business model that you are implementing, which basically anticipates slower growth for English-language programming --
2939 MR. BOLA: Yes.
2940 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- so you could monetize the ethnic programming --
2941 MR. BOLA: Yes.
2942 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: -- while a new English station is absorbed and then you could ramp up the English?
2943 MR. BOLA: Build through time.
2944 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: I understand.
2945 MR. BOLA: Yes.
2946 COMMISSIONER SHOAN: Okay. Thank you very much.
2947 MR. BOLA: Okay, thank you.
2948 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2949 MR. BOLA: Thank you.
2950 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the last intervener of the day. Sivakkumaran Sivapathasundaram, please come to the presentation table.
2951 THE SECRETARY: You have 10 minutes for your presentation. You may begin.
2952 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: Good morning, Chairman Menzies, Commissioners Simpson, Shoan and Commission Staff.
2953 My name is Sivakkumaran Sivapathasundram, known as Kumaran Siva, and I would like to thank the Commission for providing me an opportunity to elaborate on my written intervention.
2954 I was one of the applicants for 88.1 FM in the May 2012 public hearing in Toronto, based on a public call for applications.
2955 In the Broadcasting Notice of Consultation released in March 2014, the Commission announced it had received applications by seven individuals for use of FM 102.7 under a protected class of licence. There was no public call for applications related to this.
2956 On 7 November 2012, CJVF-FM filed an application to change its frequency to 102.7. Following the publication of that application in 2012, I filed an intervention dated December 7th, 2012, which opposed the licensing of CJVF. I also requested that a public call be made for the best utilization of a valuable public asset which is extremely scarce due to the frequency limitation.
2957 The Commission had received several applications for use of 102.7, with the last one filed November 2013.
2958 The Commission, in 2011, announced a public call for applications when it received application for use of 88.1.
2959 The Commission stated:
"The Commission announces that it has received an application by Dufferin Communications Inc. to change the frequency of its station CIRR-FM Toronto from 103.9 MHz to 88.1 MHz, as well as to increase its transmitter power. Given the scarcity of FM frequencies in the Toronto market, the Commission calls for applications from other parties wishing to obtain a radio licence to serve this area."
2960 I feel the same process should apply and a public call for applications for the use of 102.7 should be made by the Commission.
2961 I intend to apply for an ethnic-language service geared to serving the second generation of ethnic communities that are unserved or underserved. The younger generation proportion in the population of the ethnic communities is higher than the younger generation proportion in the population of the mainstream communities.
2962 All the various population growth projections indicate that the younger generation in ethnic communities is expected to grow at a rapid rate and would account for the majority of the growth of Toronto population by 2030, based on Statistics Canada projections.
2963 Serving the second generation is a challenge and opportunity at the same time.
2964 The second generation of ethnic audiences want to maintain ties to their cultural heritage while partaking in and belonging to Canadian society.
2965 The best way to reach the entire second generation would be through an all-English, primarily music-rich, entertainment-based programming, which will provide information on local Canadian issues that affect them directly, in a fast-paced format, with segments on the latest in culture, arts, sports, and events.
2966 The English language ensures the complete reach of second generations from multiple ethnic communities, rather than third-language programming which will only reach a smaller younger generation audience who understand the third language.
2967 The existing ethnic radio stations mainly serve first generations of ethnic audiences through news, politics, religion and other social issues relevant to their country of origin.
2968 Quality of programming currently available in the ethnic market also leaves something to be desired. For example, South Asians in the GTA are receiving an average of 20 to 25 minutes of commercials per hour to 20 minutes of music per hour. This is especially unappealing to younger audiences whose attention is harder to get and hold in our technologically competitive society and, as such, remain out of the ethnic radio market.
2969 Financial viability of second-generation service requires a critical mass of younger generation audiences. This can only be achieved with the second generation of ethnic communities which are larger in size, such as the South Asian and the East Asian communities.
2970 The South Asian audience, which will come from Pakistani, Indian, Bangladesh and Sri Lankan communities, can be commonly catered to through English-language programming with music content from Bollywood, Pakistani Pop and Kollywood, which would also have a Hip Hop, R&B and Dance feel with the addition of World Beat music from the same genre.
2971 Similarly, K-Pop, Pinoy Pop and V Pop and C Pop with World Beat music from the Pop and Pop Rock genres would reach the East Asian communities from China, Philippines, Korea and Vietnam.
2972 These communities have substantial businesses that cater to the second generation and have seen the emergence of media on other platforms that cater to them. The radio platform can finally be relevant to this growing demography. The revenue driver for the service would come from these two large blocks with over 50 percent of airtime dedicated to them in English.
2973 The limitation of the realistic coverage contours of 102.7 to areas of East GTA reduces the capacity of any station to reach smaller ethnic community younger audiences, generations such as Arabic, Persian and Spanish. Service to these unserved and underserved smaller communities would have to be targeted to the first generation audience in a third language for it to be viable.
2974 I believe I will be able to present a unique programming platform which will address the true needs of the unserved and underserved audiences and utilize the best use of 102.7.
2975 The public interest would be best served by the Commission reviewing as many applications as possible through a public call before taking a decision on licensing.
2976 In conclusion, in the interest of procedural fairness, I request the Commission not license any of the applicants for FM 102.7 until the Commission makes a public call which would enable other interested applicants such as myself to apply.
2977 Thank you once again for the opportunity to address the Commission and I welcome any questions the Commission may have.
2978 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Sivapathasundaram.
2979 Your appearance today is here as an individual or -- I know you said on the record that you are intending to become an applicant for a licence but what is your capacity here today?
2980 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: I am here as an individual who is interested in applying for an application.
2981 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. I also understand from your testimony that you had been involved in an application previously.
2982 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: Yes.
2983 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Are you a shareholder, director or employee or otherwise involved in any existing station that is operating here in the GTA now?
2984 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: I'm not operationally involved in any ethnic operations right now. I am kind of listed as a shareholder of CMR and I do have litigation proceedings with respect to that.
2985 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Good. Thank you. I just wanted to understand.
2986 In point 7 of your testimony, your intervention rather, and testimony, your intention to apply for an ethnic-language service is very articulate. Under what process do you intend to make this application?
2987 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: I would like to file an application. My suggestion to the Commission was it's just not for me alone. When I was at -- when we applied for 88.1, it was not myself alone, there was Tosan Lee that applied for a chance to serve the second generation, primarily dedicated to the Chinese community.
2988 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hmm.
2989 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: But my thing is I think if I am going to apply, it would be to my benefit to have a public call obviously, but I think from a public policy perspective, who is going to provide the best application depends on how many applicants come. I don't know how many more people will come. I don't even know whether mine will be the best among that, but sitting here I am confident I will be successful, that's why I'm asking for it.
2990 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Your point is, though, that you -- you are just on the record as saying that you believe that this should have been a call?
2991 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: There should have been a public call.
2992 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. But you are expecting, by virtue of the position you are taking, that if you make an application you expect it will trigger another call, is that correct, given that you are a fan of the call?
2993 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: I'm a fan of a call and I would like to apply to a call.
2994 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Do you have a timeframe for this? I know that's not an unfair question, but is this imminent or is this decades away or --
2995 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: No, it's not decades away. As soon as the call comes in, I think traditionally the calls come for a period of 30 to 90 days.
2996 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah. I understand timing is everything. I don't mean to put you on the spot.
2997 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: And I will be ready. Even if you make the call tomorrow and give us whatever the time that is required, 30 days, I'm sure we could find a way to put it -- I can find --
2998 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No, it's just by virtue of actually putting it on the record, I asked kind of out of the bag, as it were. No, those are my questions, thank you very much.
2999 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why didn't you apply as part of this?
3000 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: There was no call for applications and when I intervened I requested there be a call. I was expecting that the Commission would make a call for applications.
3001 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are just unaware of the process that --
3002 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: I was aware 102.7 wanted to apply for the frequency and I intervened and said I would like a public call. I am expecting a public call since this is pretty much the last frequency. It is going to reach 1 million people within its contours.
3003 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand
3004 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: And it has --from my prior experience, this is -- most of the people here are saying there is about $1 million in total revenue. That is not -- that is a significant amount of revenue. It is a big station and there are no frequencies in Toronto and I would expect the Commission to put it up when it is pretty much the last frequency that can be used.
3005 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand. Thank you very much. Thanks for your time.
3006 MR. SIVAPATHASUNDARAM: Thank you.
3007 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that's it for today. Thank you all very much for your attention and we will resume at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1535, to resume on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 0900
- Date modified: