ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing May 16, 2016

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Volume: 1
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Date: May 16, 2016
© Copyright Reserved

Attendees and Location

Held at:

Vancouver Convention Centre
1055 Canada Place
West Meeting Rooms 205-207
Vancouver, British Columbia



Vancouver, British Columbia

--- Upon resuming on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 9:01 a.m.

1 THE CHAIRPERSON: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait. Order, please.

2 Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this public hearing. Bonjour, Mesdames et messieurs et bienvenue à cette audience publique.

3 Before I begin I would like to acknowledge that we are meeting here today on traditional territory of the Stó:lō First Nations. I would like to thank them and pay respect to their Elders.

4 At this hearing we will begin by considering applications to operate new ethnic commercial AM and FM radio stations in the greater Vancouver market, including the city of Surrey.

5 In addition, we will study an application by South Asian Broadcasting Corporation to amend the license of the ethnic commercial radio station CKYE-FM Vancouver to add a transmitter to rebroadcast its programming in Surrey. Some of these applicants have proposed the use of the same frequencies as well as alternative frequencies, which will also be under consideration.

6 These applications will be examined in light of the objectives of the Broadcasting System set out in the Broadcasting Act, as well as the Commission’s Policies and Regulations flowing from it.

7 In the second phase of the hearing, the Commission will be addressing three entities that appear to be operating radio stations in Canada without a licence or not pursuant to an exemption in contravention of the Broadcasting Act. These entities have been called to appear before the Commission pursuant to Section 12 of the Broadcasting Act.

8 Two of these entities, Surrey Myfm Inc. and 89.3 Surrey City FM Limited operate stations in the Surrey market. They claim to be operating low-power tourist information stations, further to Broadcasting Order 2014-447, the Tourist Exemption Order. And the third entity, Sur Sagar Radio Inc., claims to be operating a low-power house of worship station, further to Broadcasting Order 2013-621, the House of Worship Exemption Order.

9 In these Orders the Commission exempted low-power stations from the requirement to hold a broadcasting licence, given that their niche programming and limited appeal would not have -- would not have an undue impact on other stations in the market.

10 However, in order to operate without a licence and further to an Exemption Order, an undertaking must fully comply at all times with the terms of the Exemption Order.

11 Further, to a Commission investigation, it would appear that the entities called to this hearing are not operating their stations in compliance with the terms of the Exemption Orders pursuant to which they purport to operate.

12 In particular, their programming appears to be inconsistent with the terms of the Exemption Order. As well, it appears that two Tourist Information Stations have not taken the necessary steps to implement the Emergency Alerting System.

13 Moreover, it appears that Surrey Myfm Inc. and Sur Sagar Radio Inc. may be broadcasting at a higher power than authorized by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the former Industry Canada, and that 89.3 Surrey City FM Limited may be operating without the necessary authorities from this department. The Panel expects Surrey Myfm Inc., 89.3 Surrey City FM Limited and Sur Sagar Radio to demonstrate why the Commission should not issue mandatory orders requiring them to cease and desist from operating a radio station unless they are in compliance with the Act.

14 Now I would like to make a few introductions before we begin. The Panel for this hearing consists of, to my right, Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications; and to my left Chris MacDonald, Regional Commissioner for the Atlantic and Nunavut; and myself, Jean-Paul Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. And I will be chairing this hearing.

15 The Commission’s team assisting us includes Joe Aguiar, the hearing manager; Shari Fisher, legal counsel; and Cindy Ventura and Sonia Gravelle, the hearing secretaries.

16 Now, I’ll ask Ms. Gravelle to explain the procedure we will be following.

17 MS. GRAVELLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning. Sorry.

18 I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of the hearing. When you are in the hearing room we would ask that you please turn off your smart phones as they are an unwelcome distraction and they cause interference on the internal communication systems used by our translators. We would appreciate your cooperation in this regards throughout the hearing.

19 We expect the entire hearing to last five days. Participants are reminded that they must be ready to present on the day scheduled or, if necessary, the day before or after, depending on the progress of the hearing. Please note that we intend to start every morning at 9 a.m. for the remainder of the week, but we will let you know of any scheduled changes as they may occur.

20 You can examine all documents on the public record of this proceeding in the examination room, which is located in the west meeting rooms 208 and 209.

21 Interpretation services will be available throughout the duration of the hearing. English interpretation is available on channel 1 and French interpretation on channel 2.

22 We would like to remind participants that during their oral presentation they should provide for a reasonable delay for the interpretation while respecting their allocated presentation time.

23 Le service d’interprétation simultanée est disponible durant cette audience. Vous pouvez vous procurer un récepteur auprès du technicien à l’arrière de la salle. L’interprétation anglaise se trouve au canal 1 et l’interprétation française au canal 2.

24 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the court reporter sitting at the table to my right. Please note that the full transcript will be made available on the Commission websites on the next business day.

25 Just a reminder that pursuant to Section 41 of the Rules of Practice and Procedures, you must not submit new evidence at the hearing. If you wish to introduce new evidence as an exception to this rule, you must ask permission of the Panel of the hearing before you do so.

26 Please note that the Commission will also be tweeting the documents during the hearing at CRTC hearings using the hashtag number sign CRTC.

27 Veuillez noter que les documents seront disponibles sur Twitter sur le compte du Conseil à @CRTCaudiences au pluriel, en utilisant le mot-clic dièse CRTC.

28 Please note that if parties undertake to file information with the Commission in response to questioning by the Panel, these undertakings can be confirmed on the record through the transcript of the hearing. If necessary, parties may speak with Commission legal counsel at a break following their presentation to confirm the undertakings.

29 And finally, please note that the Commission has received separate requests from Radio India Limited, item 5, and from Akash Broadcasting Inc., item 6, seeking to change their first and second frequency choices related to their Surrey new FM application which have received technical approval from ISED.

30 Copies of their requests have been added to their respective public files and copies are also available in the examination room.

31 Both applicants will have an opportunity during their phase one appearance to present their requests and the other parties will also have a chance to comment in phases two and three.

32 And now, Mr. Chairman, we will proceed with the Vancouver Surrey market portion of this hearing. We will begin phase one and item one on the agenda, which is an application by Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial AM radio station in Vancouver.

33 Please introduce yourself and your colleague and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.


34 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Good morning, Chair Blais, Commissioners, Commission staff. My name is Gurdial Badh, the COO of Sher-E-Punjab. And I’m here with my team to present our application for new incarnation of our station.

35 Present with me today is Prabhjot Kahlon, at my far left. Prabhjot is a veteran news person having worked at Omni for years and is a trusted voice in the South Asian Community in Vancouver.

36 Next to Prabhjot is Indira Prahst, Chair of our Advisory Committee. Indira is an instructor in Sociology at Langara College and past chair of Sociology and Anthropology Department at the college.

37 Next to Indira is Jasbir Singh Badh. Jasbir is an accountant by trade but also General Manager of the proposed station, the author of our business plan and a business leader in Vancouver.

38 Next to Jasbir is Jas Gill, our Program Manager with decades of experience as a broadcaster in this market. To my right is Debra Mclaughlin, President of Strategic Inc. who provided our research.

39 In the back row is the next generation of broadcasters in the Badh family. Amardeep is on the left and Jusdene is on the right. Both have been involved in family business for years and experienced in community outreach, a key component of our day to day activities. I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize my father who has joined us in the audience, Mr. Ajit Singh Badh.

40 We are here for Sher-E-Punjab; a station that grew out of community's needs for a dialogue and defied the odds to become a beloved part of the fabric of the South Asian community in Greater Vancouver.

41 A history of Sher-E-Punjab is outlined in our application but parts of it bear repeating. The station came to be when my family leased a portion of KRPI programming day. This is a U.S. station that had been providing programming as Radio Punjab and plagued by several issues.

42 My parents had the experience in media having published the first magazine for the South Asian community and having launched the first South Asian radio and television program in Merritt, B.C. Dad had been serving as advisor for Radio Punjab and did not want to see these challenges result in a community losing a voice so my parents took over and Sher-E-Punjab was born.

43 The year was 2004 and until we ceased operation in October 2014 we worked to make the station a reflection of the South Asian community in all its complexities. We represented these groups through language, news focus, perspective, cultural celebrations, inclusiveness of gender and age.

44 The station contributed to the building of the infrastructure of the community raising money for charities, services and organizations that made the transition to life in Canada easier and the preservation of our culture attainable.

45 Our goal was to provide to the South Asian communities a place for ongoing dialogue and discussion, which is something that most Canadians enjoy. A station where they could see themselves reflected and hear their stories in their own language.

46 While there was an audience being served south of the border, the lion share of our listeners was clearly from Canada. Twice we attempted to become part of the Canadian Broadcast System but were denied.

47 In 2014, the Commission requested that we cease operations and we complied without hesitations. Sher-E­ Punjab went silent and we immediately applied for a new licence which has culminated in our appearance today.

48 We’re here because of our deep commitment to being of service to our community and here because of demand for Sher-E-Punjab has not abated.

49 As a real estate agent active in all parts of Vancouver and the lower mainland, I am frequently asked the question why Sher-E-Punjab no longer operates and what can be done to bring it back. The community interest in our programming remains strong even 18 months after it ceased to be produced.

50 MS. GILL: Our proposal for a new version of Sher-E-Punjab is similar to the old in several ways. First, our ownership is unchanged. Surinder Kaur Badh was among the first females to operate a media company in Canada and one of only two South Asian female owners. Her values, insights and direction will continue to guide the station.

51 Secondly, we will still make a strong commitment to the South Asian community. The audiences to Sher-E-Punjab when it was on the air reflected the South Asian communities themselves.

52 Cab drivers had it on, school teachers relied on it for relevant topics for their classes, law enforcement used it to get their messages out, and the community at large depended on it to keep them abreast of local issues.

53 The new Sher-E-Punjab will be this, and more. Our vision encompasses more languages and serves a broader cross-section of the population. We're committing 21 hours to non-South Asian languages. For example, we have added Portuguese, Tagalong, Farsi, Korean and Spanish, among others.

54 MR. GURDIAL BADH: The choice of AM 600 allows for service to more groups, as it is a clear signal, which means the coverage is greater, and the interference from other frequencies is less.

55 AM 1550's obligation to reduce power after dark result in significant areas of Canada losing access to Sher-E-Punjab for a majority of the day. And in the winter months, that meant a loss of signal during the important afternoon drive to almost the entire Canadian audience.

56 Even during the day, the interference was deterrent to listening in some parts of the lower mainland. With a clear signal, we will be able to reach the heart of the language communities and reach new Canadians wherever they work or live in Greater Vancouver.

57 Our choice of AM 600 utilizes spectrum that is increasingly being left unused, that is, the AM band. The choice of this frequency creates an opportunity to use what is conceivably the last multi-cultural licence to incorporate third language groups into the system.

58 In the case of where some of these groups enjoy some service, our proposal improves a variety of voices they can access. It also adds to the content they will hear.

59 MS. GILL: Our proposal is for a predominantly news talk format that mirrors the former Sher-E-Punjab. The service will offer programs hosted by experienced broadcasters who are from this community.

60 The content will cover current topics and interpret world events through the eyes of new Canadians. All of our programming originates here, and none of the regular programming is a rebroadcast or streaming of content from another country.

61 We will oversee the production elements in all languages, preferring to keep the content creation in-house rather than act as a brokerage. In this way, we can ensure that we are, in fact, building bridges by sharing information from within the cultural communities across our entire program offering.

62 Our intent is to use a central news-gathering system that will enhance the quality of information and consistency across the entire schedule. We will better monitor content, and play an active role in developing talent within each group we serve.

63 Our research shows that it is the local reflection that is in the shortest supply and of highest demand. The studies conducted by Strategic Inc. both before and after Sher-E-Punjab went off the air confirm the service met the demand.

64 In fact, Strategic Inc. anticipated, based on their findings, that in the absence of Sher-E-Punjab, listening hours in the community would decline.

65 Our review of programming schedules of radio in this market, combined with the census and population projection studies conducted by Strategic Inc., have identified 17 unique languages and 19 differentiated groups that Sher-E-Punjab could serve. This is an increase of 12 languages and groups in our service profile.

66 MS. KHALON: News and information is very important to new Canadians. Whether you have been in Canada for 30 years or three months, keeping abreast of what is happening is something you are committed to doing. It is a practice that crosses ages, gender, cultural lines.

67 Breaking news, changes in law, policies or simply event in our community is of great importance to us. Sher-E-Punjab has built a reputation of covering not only the important local stories, but of giving a South Asian perspective on regional, national and international news.

68 They are known for being fair, balanced and inclusive.

69 Sher-E-Punjab were thought leaders and never shied away from the topic, tackling difficult issues such as gang violence, domestic abuse, senior care, honour killing, drug, fraudulent marriages and problems unique to our culture. Because of this, the management and the Badh family retains the respect of the community, and Sher-E-Punjab the devotion of its audiences.

70 No one has successfully stepped up to fill this gap since Sher-E-Punjab stopped operating.

71 MS. GILL: Our commitment is for 65 hours or more of spoken word. This will include a minimum of 8.5 hours per week of newscast, with 6.8 being pure news. Of this, 70 percent will be local news, with "local" defined as Greater Vancouver. In total, we will have four reporters.

72 MS. McLAUGHLIN: The studies conducted on behalf of this application are consistent in their findings. Prior to the cessation of the Sher-E-Punjab broadcasts, the market had achieved a type of balance.

73 RED FM served the younger audience and English languages. Radio India served people more tightly connected to India, providing significant international content, while Sher-E-Punjab served an older audience as well as those seeking local information.

74 The differentiation in programming was understood and appreciated by listeners. The tests of the market conducted just before and immediately after Sher-E-Punjab went off the air suggested there would be an effect on the use of radio if this programming was to stop.

75 Eight out of 10 respondents identifying themselves as Punjabi had listened to Sher-E-Punjab at some point in the prior month. Among this population, 37 percent stated that the removal of the service had or would result in them spending less time with radio.

76 Respondents report tuning less or tuning out of radio altogether.

77 These results cannot be projected to the larger population because of the sample size. However, it is reasonable to conclude that if Sher-E-Punjab returns to the marketplace, a balance within listening options would be returned, and hours of tuning lost to the system would be created.

78 MR. AMARDEEP BADH: To be truly reflective, our efforts will continue to centre on outreach to our audiences. Our station has raised millions of dollars to B.C. institutions such as the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation, the University of Fraser Valley for a Chair in South Asian Studies, the Surrey food bank, Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, which is a Sikh temple in Surrey delta, and research and nation-building endeavours as providing additional funding needed to send the entire Canadian field hockey team to the Beijing Olympics.

79 Frequently, Sher-E-Punjab has stepped up to help many sports organizations, putting action to our belief that amateur sports fill an important role in society.

80 We have also engaged in disaster relief, raising over half a million dollars for Haiti. We also worked to support the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan and the Philippines.

81 All of our fundraising is done without fees, and we guarantee the community that 100 percent of what they give goes to whatever initiative we are assisting.

82 We have even gone as far as to hand-deliver funds, as we did when we presented the President of Pakistan with $1 million from the South Asian communities.

83 Our family's involvement in an advisory capacity to several organizations connects the station at the most senior level levels in Greater Vancouver, and our contributions to festivals, charities, cultural community events makes us part of the daily lives of our audiences.

84 MS. BADH: This connection and commitment will continue with the new incarnation of Sher-E-Punjab and will be reflected in the content on the station.

85 One of our proudest moments is hearing people describe the station as "my Sher-E-Punjab". We know when we hear this phrase that we have set out what we have done -- set out to do.

86 The brand of Sher-E-Punjab is quality information programming is quality information programming, but the value proposition for the listener is much more personal.

87 Listeners strongly identify with the station hearing the voices of their community on air, learning from the frank discussions and engaging in programming that both educates them on Canada and celebrates their heritage. It is why it is their Sher-E-Punjab. They take ownership.

88 And while they listen to us, we listen to them. The feedback they give us is incorporated and they can hear it.

89 Our audience knows that we not only speak to them and for them, but also that we are listening to what they tell us.

90 MS. PRAHAT: To demonstrate their commitment to community feedback, the management of Sher-E-Punjab have invited me and six others to participate in an advisory committee. None of the members of the Council are station personnel or relatives of station personnel, and each of us represents a cultural view that is distinct from the others. It is our plan to meet as a group twice a year for consideration of the station's performance in the areas of compliance, the substance, the handling of complaints, community outreach and inclusivity, the fairness and balance in coverage both in the news and community events.

91 Committees of this nature provide invaluable insights into the issues facing new and established Canadians. They work effectively as a conduit for both parties. My role as chair is to bring various perspectives represented around the table together and to share knowledge with station management. It is also to give context to the issues and opportunities that should be informing in content.

92 I look forward to working with the Badh family in this capacity.

93 MR. BADH: Our business plan is based on first-hand knowledge of this market. For 10 years we filled a gap for local programming to the South Asian community giving 12 advertisers a means to promote their products and services to the growing South Asian population. This experience is reflected in the details of our projections such as the recognition of the limited role national sales will play in the total revenues. Our estimation is that it will account for less than six percent of total revenues.

94 We also have appropriate levels of investment in brand re-launch and promotion. Even with an established brand like Sher-E-Punjab we know that the world offers many choices for news and information and we will have to raise awareness of our return and what we can uniquely provide the consumer. We will create new means by which audiences will access us. We have planned a substantial promotional campaign which is going to be critical to the success of any new broadcaster. Gone are the days when word of mouth alone was all that was needed.

95 Our business plan also returns close to $1.8 million over seven years to the system through an investment in CCD. This is the highest "over and above" and the total investment of all of the applicants before you.

96 We are also among the highest in total revenues, knowing as we do the true value of the U.S. market and having established relationships with the advertisers who place promotional dollars south of the border.

97 Even with all of these advantages, we recognize that profitability will not be achievable for a few years and we have the resources to fund the operations for as long as it takes. Our experience in working in this market gives us the confidence to make these projections, the level of commitment to CCD that will have a meaningful impact on the Canadian Content development in the system.

98 MS. GILL: Based on our projections, our required CCD amount will result in $42,574 over the course of the licence. We will devote 60 percent to FACTOR, with the remaining amounts going to the Community Radio Fund of Canada {CRFC).

99 The over and above portion of our commitment is $250,000 per year. We propose that this amount be divided across several initiatives each of which has been selected for their unique value and opportunity. We will further our support for FACTOR in the over and above as well as the CRFC.

100 For the development of the next generation of broadcasters we are proposing a substantial investment in education. We have selected BCIT, UBC, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Langara College.

101 We will also invest in the development of musical talent and content through an annual competition resulting in a concert where we will provide access to emerging talent. To accomplish this we have allocated $100,000 per year for each year of our license to the "Sher-E-Punjab Rising Star Initiative". This amount will be spent entirely with third parties, essentially stage, lighting and sound rentals and direct payments to the artists performing. We estimate the artist costs to be

102 $60,000 and staging costs of $40,000 per annum. Any promotional costs will be above and beyond these payments and will not be included in the $100,000.

103 We will hire a third party to run this program for us and we will use the Internet and on-air to solicit tapes from artists from all of the communities that we serve. We will play their tapes at least once in the pre­judging period and their MP3s will be available online and promoted on our website and social media platforms.

104 Based on listener reaction and the expertise of our hosts, we will narrow this down to a maximum of 12 acts. They will be hired to play at a "free-to-consumer" concert giving them both exposure within their communities and beyond. We are very excited by this initiative and our preliminary discussions have netted a very strong favourable response.

105 In total, as Jasbir said earlier, we have committed to a content development investment that is just under $1.8 million over the seven year period.

106 MR. BADH: We are quite proud of Sher-E-Punjab and of what it has accomplished over the decade it served audiences in Greater Vancouver and the rest of the world. We are quite optimistic about what we can do for a larger community across the Lower Mainland if granted a license to provide service to a larger subsection of New Canadians. Our application has been carefully thought out and offers the following:

107 - Service in 17 languages meeting the needs of 19 of the largest current and future cultural communities in the Greater Vancouver;

108 - $1.8 million in CCD investment that develops content in two streams, news and spoken word programming and music;

109 - A sound business plan built on years of working in this market and predicated on reasonable and properly-sourced revenues, appropriate levels of expenditures and reasonable levels of required investment;

110 - The Sher-E-Punjab proposal certainly provides a trusted voice, continuity and one that is currently missing from the spectrum;

111 - Proof of the demand for what we offer, a concept that has been tested and succeeded in the market, and a clear understanding of the needs of the communities we propose to serve;

112 - A reputation of community service that has resulted in connections to all levels of daily life in Greater Vancouver;

113 - A sound technical plan that has the support of the municipality;

114 - Use of the AM band which is increasingly being underutilized.

115 We believe what we have proposed represents the best use of the frequency and the optimal solution for the service gap that exists in the market. Sher-E-Punjab will repatriate the News/Talk format. We will offer a high quality alternative on a crystal clear signal to listeners who tune to News/Talk currently being broadcast into Canada from the U.S. Because the formats will be similar, we will provide the absolute best opportunity for repatriation of the Canadian dollars flowing to the U.S.

116 Over the decade Sher-E-Punjab operated on a sub-par signal, we demonstrated not only our commitment to excellence and but also a talent for community development. If we did that with an impaired signal and none of the advantages of being in the Canadian system, imagine what we could do with a clear signal and coverage of more communities.

117 That concludes our presentation and my team would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Thank you.

118 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much for that presentation.

119 So we have some questions and, of course, our questions focus on the areas in the application that may be less clear. So the number of questions is proportional to the areas we need to clarify, but I do remind every -- your panel and the other applicants, that you know the burden was on you to provide a complete file that convinces us that your particular application is in the public interest.

120 Mr. Badh, because you spoke first I am going to assume you are going to be the quarterback for this panel?

121 MR. BADH: Yes.

122 THE CHAIRPERSON: And when I ask questions you can refer to whoever you think is in the best position to answer. Is that okay? Okay.

123 So my first question, set of questions relates to programming, your programming strategy. You seem to want to -- and it's clear from your presentation that you want to enter the FM market here in Vancouver, but that market is already served to a certain degree by a diversity of music, diversity of language. For instance, CJRJ and CKYE-FM already offer some Punjabi and Hindi language programming. So what would you add to the diversity of the radio market?

124 MR. BADH: That's an excellent question, Chair.

125 Our format which is news talk which is totally different to what RED-FM offers -- RED-FM offers to a younger audiences a music station, where RJ 1200 is also a similar format as a music station with basically Bollywood background/Bollywood music.

126 Ours has proven in the last 10 years. We co-existed with these other stations. Ours was news talk and people in the South Asian and every other community wants news talk to be able to communicate with others.

127 And I will ask Jas, our Program Director, to be able to answer other additional questions.

128 MS. GILL: Also, it's the local programming and local content. There is -- the other two radio stations that are currently in the market are part of the Canadian broadcast system and don't provide that much spoken word to the depth that we would. So it's been tested. We were in the market as Dale said.

129 And then not only that, there is going to be some languages that are added that both stations don't carry. We looked and did more research to find out which communities need to be supplemented because they have grown in population numbers. If we were -- if we are thought to be one of the last multilingual stations that are going to be licensed in this market for a while, then these other communities definitely need either more programming or they need programming because there is nothing available at the moment.

130 THE CHAIRPERSON: So your diversity if I understand you correctly, is both for, to a certain degree, the Punjabi-Hindi communities in terms of talk content but also for the other communities that are not being served?

131 MS. GILL: Yes. And eventually we -- we have talked to some of the producers already in the newer language, like the 21 hours of non-South Asian language programming we are going to have. The other smaller communities like Bengali and Napoli which we didn't have before either, a lot of those producers are excited to have more of a local content-type of driven program as well where we are not going to be doing brokerage.

132 So being a news talk format we have the ability so if we had an interview with Premier Christy Clark or, you know, any other English-speaking prominent person or expert, we can take that interview where are going to put it into our Burli system and make it available for other producers.

133 So the capability of taking news to these local other smaller communities becomes that much more important because, as you know, local programming is what is in highest demand for even the smaller communities to connect them. They can go get music and such on the Internet or back in their home countries, but that's what's missing in their own native language.

134 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. The challenge of course of non-brokerage programming and a high level of local programming, it's the costliest ---

135 MS. GILL: Yes.

136 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in many respects to deliver.

137 And we'll get to revenue projections in a moment, but it seems to me that if you are coming to the table and saying, "This is what we really have to deliver in terms of diversity" that will be a financial challenge for you, will it not?

138 MS. GILL: We have done it in the past. So we are fully capable for the major partisan news talk that is going to be in the languages we are already familiar with and we have done and executed, and getting that content which is already available because we have already done expert interviews and we have a Burli system we invest in which aggregates news from various RSS feeds and et cetera and CP. So it's already in English. It's already available. It's already there. We have already invested in it in the past.

139 So now it's just making it available and making sure the newer producers are fully trained and also be able to train them on how they can use that in their programming for whatever latitude they need because we want to make sure that they are using the best information for whatever they need for their community. We don’t want to predicate them on, "You have to do this" but we want to make it available. They were already excited about it when we talked to a lot of the producers. So we know it will be done. They will be sharing it.

140 THE CHAIRPERSON: How do we make sure, though, that this diversity which, you know, you are trying to convince us is the best option for us and is really key to your vision and pitch here, gets maintained because it may be that later down the road the revenues may not be there? Yet, it is the deciding factor potentially.

141 MS. GILL: As we have mentioned also in the application, but Jasbir can speak to the finances a little bit more, the family is willing and capable of, you know, taking the cost on personally to make sure it happens.

142 And our business plan is made on realistic values and all the revenues and everything that we looked at is based on things that we have done in the past and that are capable of doing. So we are pretty confident in making sure that we will be able to commit to everything we have said.

143 THE CHAIRPERSON: And were we to just want built-in suspenders type, I take it that you're so confident based on your past experience that you would be willing for us to impose conditions of licence to ensure that that diversity is maintained?

144 MS. GILL: Oh, yes, 100 percent. Remember -- to keep in mind we were on a signal that didn't work after like five, six p.m. halfway through the year. So adding a clear signal and adding new languages in communities, yes, we know that right away in those communities we may not get those revenues, but we will be able to support them because we have done it in the eight to five section was our time that we were making the revenues.

145 So that what we based our realistic ---


147 MS. GILL: --- values on. So it's possible.

148 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you acknowledge that it would be a little bit more complicated because your past history is of a certain nature and here you are proposing a broader service obligation in terms of language and various ethno-cultural groups?

149 MS. GILL: Not so complicated because our main language of communication has in the office been English with the various different languages.

150 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm. Well ---

151 MS. GILL: So our producers will be able to communicate with us.

152 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- it's not so much that. It's just, you know, building an audience, making sure the programming finds traction with the various linguistic and ethno-cultural groups that you are expanding in your proposal.

153 MS. GILL: Launch promotions; yes, definitely. We will definitely have to spend good coin there to make sure that we are promoting.

154 THE CHAIRPERSON: So beyond what you just talked about what -- and maybe the answer is you have covered it all but I want to give you a final chance -- is there anything else that you think you will be providing to the community that the other incumbents are not currently providing?

155 MS. GILL: Well, we are in the best position to repatriate the U.S. dollar since the two American stations that are coming into Canada are trying to do a similar format to what we did. KARI; PI essentially hired a lot of our talk anchors and, as you know, when you are a talk station, talk anchors represent your brand. They are so interconnected. And so there is still a little bit of confusion as to we are in the market but we are not in the market but those anchors that we had, they have.

156 So that makes us -- and a positive is that we are in the best position to repatriate the dollars and possibly even get that talent back. We are on good terms with a lot of the people on the market.

157 And then since we are talk format that's where the majority of our revenues will come, and there is nobody else that is in our competition here that is doing a full news talk program as we are. There is a few other little applicants but not to the degree that we have done with our experience.

158 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. In your presentation you talk about -- I'll just make sure I am quoting you correctly -- you know, 6.8 hours of pure news.

159 MS. GILL: Pure news; correct.

160 THE CHAIRPERSON: What do you mean by that?

161 MS. GILL: That's the hard news where we talk about local, international and national news, but 70 percent of that is still local news and headlines.

162 THE CHAIRPERSON: Headlines, stories, journalism, interviews?

163 MS. GILL: Yes.

164 THE CHAIRPERSON: That sort of traditional news format?

165 MS. GILL: Yes. Yes.

166 THE CHAIRPERSON: Citizen reporters as well or is it very much a traditional newsgathering model here?

167 MS. GILL: It will be traditional because we need to verify citizen news.


169 MS. GILL: To make sure that it is verified.

170 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you refer to four reporters. I assume those are fulltime?

171 MS. GILL: Yes.

172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have they -- you know, are these people that you may make stars out of them and you may lose them? So what's your strategy to maintain? That's four journalism folks or newsgatherers. It's quite the challenge to keep in a very dynamic marketplace, isn't it?

173 MS. GILL: Not from our experience. You know, when you are an ethnic media that's what we worked with before.

174 It's amazing with technology. A lot of the press conferences and stuff are now done even by the government via phone. You can call in and participate. So it was the travel time that took the reporter out of the office by the time they filed. So a lot of that happens now in-house when a lot of the big news like that happens. There are some still that happen within the community which we usually had one person that was or two reporters going back and forth, doing.

175 So it's fully capable. We have done it before with four news reporters to gather news and make sure it's happening.

176 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you are persuaded that that will not create a challenge to fill in with four people the content, because the potential risk ---

177 MS. GILL: Yeah.

178 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- would be that one would go and use foreign sources or national sources or wire sources. I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, but at one point if your four fulltime reporters can't actually feed the local wishes or proposal that you are putting forward that at one point it could be cost-effective to provide other types of content.

179 MS. GILL: That's why we have got to remember we are a news talk format. So aside from our hard news that we are looking at, the 6.80.5, we have -- we are a news talk format. So there is news that is created on the station within the news talk portion when you are interviewing someone, an expert.

180 Take it, you know, this week we are going to have a Komagata Maru apology in the House of Commons, that might be a topic with various different political analysts over the years. It could have, you know, other local experts that have been part of trying to get this apology or whatnot. We are well connected and so it's possible to all do. It has been done.

181 And local news is the most important. That affects people here, but it's national news. So it -- and then the local news that happens here. We are well connected. It will happen.

182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me more broadly about your programming strategy. I know -- obviously we’ve been chatting about it ---

183 MS. GILL: M'hm.

184 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- that it’s going to be talk, talk radio, news, local, you will have some music, obviously you're having a CCD commitment. So tell me more about the programming mix that you envisage.

185 MS. GILL: Sorry, I didn’t understand the question.

186 THE CHAIRPERSON: The programming mix you envisage globally for the service, the balance of news and non-news and music.

187 MS. GILL: So I can go through the programming schedule with you if you’d like, just to kind of give you an idea ---

188 THE CHAIRPERSON: The problem with the programming schedule ---

189 MS. GILL: It’s very long, but ---

190 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, I know, and we’ve seen it.

191 MS. GILL: Yes.

192 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so, you know, programming schedule we ask it, it’s on the file, but ---

193 MS. GILL: So ---

194 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- I’ve never seen anybody actually launch with the programming schedule that they’ve actually provided in the hearing. I mean -- and that’s entirely normal because as you operationalize you realize that you can't do it, and plus you have to adapt to the market.

195 So tell me more about the -- your vision of it, why those particular elements in that -- in that document reflect sort of your vision of the programming?

196 MS. GILL: Yes, well I’ll start with the South Asian languages that you see in the Monday to Friday from pretty much 8 to 7:30. That is something we have done in the past and we can commit and we know we can get good talent there. So that will probably look very similar, there's going to be no changes to that.

197 Most of the producers in the smaller languages, obviously that’s a tough thing to do, you always want to give them a good spot so they can get the most amount of listeners within their communities as well. Obviously it’s based on numbers and you've got to make sure your business plan works, so we can also facilitate and provide them with information and training and et cetera.

198 We work with -- most of these producers have already -- we’ve already have informal discussions with them and they're okay with the programming. There's some that might get changed here and there once we launch, because there's about two producers that are hoping to get a little bit of a different time, and we can work those little things out. But most of this, what you see is going to be very similar to what we have already planned based on realistic again ---


200 MS. GILL: --- a realistic plan because we’ve done this before.


202 MS. GILL: And again, we’re going to be -- it’s just working with the smaller communities that -- making sure their times are good. But aside from that, we understand everybody wants to be in a drive-time or a good time for your community, right?


204 MS. GILL: So that’s why we also invested in our website portion, we’re going to have Podcasts because that’s going to have the local content in it, which is different than what's available on the internet for other communities. So we’ll podcast those as well and make it available so you can, you know, listen to it via your phone, on our aps and online. So we looked into that depth as well.

205 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, so it’s a multi-platform strategy fed by the main channel, which would be the radio channel?

206 MS. GILL: Yes, it has to be this day and age, otherwise you will not be successful.

207 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me more about the target audience. Obviously there’ll be a challenge of finding the right linguistic audiences, but in terms of age groups, you talked about podcast, I mean I've seen some interesting numbers about how many podcasts are listened by younger folks as well. So you know, in terms of age groups and so forth based on your experience ---

208 MS. GILL: So ---

209 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- what type of audience are you looking for?

210 MS. GILL: Yeah, so based on our experience with the South Asian languages that are in the major 8 to 7:30 or 7 to 7:30 -- rather 5 to 7:30 is -- will be -- about 40 to 65 will be our average age, except for the one show that kind of comes in the middle of 3 to 5:30 afternoon drive, it’s going to have a little bit more English in it than our traditional show.

211 We want to bring in a little bit of a skew of a younger audience, not too young, about -- just bring in the ten years -- a decade younger, about 30 to 40, the younger parents. That generation understands and speaks Punjabi and they're still -- but they want to hear a little bit more English. So other than that that’ll be our -- sorry, I forgot your question.

212 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, it’s about -- you're doing fine, don’t worry. It was about -- I know you’ve probably prepared a lot and it’s -- it’s very stressful, so we should just relax, it’s good.

213 MS. GILL: No, I have a toddler at home that doesn’t let you sleep sometimes.

214 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was, you know, interested about the challenge of demographics, because as you know younger audiences tend to be the ones that advertisers sometimes go for, especially in commercial. Your experience may be different in the ethnic reality.

215 MS. GILL: Yeah.

216 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the Commission’s always concerned about making sure that from a diversity of audiences that we don’t lose sight of younger demographics. And I'm wondering to what extent -- and I understand the specific challenge of generational loss of linguistic ability ---

217 MS. GILL: Yeah.

218 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- that’s all fine. So how do you -- how do you stickhandle all that?

219 MS. GILL: Well, in a previous reincarnation how we got even younger people a part of our station was not the core listener but their children or their relatives’ children, et cetera, was with our community initiatives. So yeah, we’re an older demographic but they all have kids in that age where they want to be doing something with the community. And the Punjabi community and the South Asians are really focused on Seva, which is working and helping.

220 So when we had community initiatives where we were doing a fundraiser or we were at fun events such as -- like the Cloverdale Rodeo or Surrey Fusion Festival ---


222 MS. GILL: --- that’s what engaged the younger audience to connect with the station. The events like the Star Celebration we used to have had, the largest groups were the youth from ages 5 to 25 are our largest groups -- no, ages to 30, that ended at 30. So it was 5 to 30 were our largest groups and participants where you had groups of like almost about 5 years apart. They participated in the celebration and they -- that’s how they were connected, the events, the arts, the signing. We did a lot -- we had a lot of local artists, emerging artists that are -- stages, Vaisakhi stages, we had a lot of emerging young talent. We had a kid -- Saint Soldier from Abbotsford who raps in English but was rapping about the culture in English.

223 So those are the things that we have done in the past that connected the younger audience. They weren’t our core listeners but they connected to us via social media, our website. They listen to some of the podcast if we had an artist on air, if we had someone like Saint Soldier or a big name like Gurdas Mann or someone, that’s when they would tune in. But they're not our everyday news talk format listener.

224 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so your experience although you were -- if I understand you correctly, you were successful in engaging them in events, but it did not necessarily translate in listenership?

225 MS. GILL: Not in the core listenership, no, but our social media engagement and podcasting, whatever they did like. They're an on-demand type of audience, the younger audience. So if we give them something they liked and it was posted on our social media or Twitter or if we went -- like we were partners of Vancouver Giants, so we were covering their games, they would follow that on Twitter, oh, who scored or who’s there. And you know, they had special events with former NHL players, they’d be excited about that. That's where the families -- we almost were bridging in some ways bridging the families with the kids and the adults together with events and stuff, but they were not our core listeners.

226 THE CHAIRPERSON: And do you expect your experience from the past to translate -- with this proposal as well -- that it would be difficult to get those folks -- those younger folks to engage other -- in more direct listenership?

227 MS. GILL: In core, yes. I mean, you know, when you do something like if you're going to -- like our afternoon drive that's so close in age, that’ll be easy to do, that’s why we know it could work. But yeah, if you have something that’s just going to be driven for a specific demo especially on a AM, it tends not to work.

228 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So ---

229 MS. GILL: I would ---

230 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the fact you're on AM I take it also influences the type of programming you're proposing because they're may be some music, you're proposing some CCD, but you're realistic that that sound will not necessarily reach ---

231 MS. GILL: Not the younger demo.

232 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the finicky ears?

233 MS. GILL: Yeah, but you know, we do have young people on our panel if you would like them to kind of give their perspective on what they listen to, what they do. Jusdene and Amardeep would be happy to --- should I -- would you like to hear from them?

234 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure, it's your application, so you can answer the question by -- the way you want.

235 MS. GILL: Okay.

236 MR. BADH: Thank you, Jas. So just to reiterate your question, you're asking how are you trying to engage the younger audience?


238 MR. AMARDEEP BADH: Perfect. So being of the younger audience I have a lot of experience working at Sher-E-Punjab. For 10 years that’s what we’ve -- that’s what we used to do. So maybe to give you some background, I worked with the Vancouver Giants as a sports reporter, I worked for the Vancouver Whitecaps as a sports reporter. And I also went to events like the Fusion Festival, the Cloverdale Rodeo. So in terms of engaging the audience we’re very much sort of on-demand as Jas said, but the thing with the younger generation is that when they see people like our -- of our same generation that intrigues us to like have -- to promote that curiosity.

239 So with myself and my own personal experience I learned that, you know, what worked for my -- for people our age and what didn’t work. So the thing with the AM frequency and with our application is that it isn't the AM frequency that deters our listenership, like the younger demographics. It's the fact that it's not presented in a manner that resonates with us. So having this experience and having the knowledge that I have with my friends and just being out in the community, that's something that we plan on implementing and allowing us to act as a conduit and to further allow the youth to make that transition into using AM -- the AM frequency as a means of gaining information as they want, right.

240 So I can pass that on to my sister, Jusdene, and she could probably do a better job further elaborating, if you wish.

241 Thank you.

242 MS. BADH: It'll just be brief.

243 So just to kind of conclude your question, I would just like to say that, as the youth of the community today, we do have the experience and the tools necessary to keep the youth connected.

244 So whether it's through our entertainment, our volunteering, the podcasts that we do post online, our job as the youth is to make sure that we are keeping our community connected. And the youth is a huge part of that.

245 We are the next generation, so we do believe that it is a big part of moving forward with this, so we're here to keep everybody connected.

246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Look, I'm well aware that it's not a unique challenge in your proposal.

247 We travel around the country. We know that younger Canadians are certainly not listening to as much radio as they may have 30 years ago, and that's just a normal reality of technology and other offerings.

248 MS. GILL: In brief, we do have Indira with us, who's also a sociology prof and has been teaching for a very long time with students, so she can also share her perspective.


250 MS. PRAHST: Yes. I think, today, what we do need to consider -- my capacity is 16 years of teaching. I also have a columnist that I write for in The Voice Asian Pulse Television and forums and communities.

251 Actually, one of my major tasks has been bridging the inter-generational gaps. And I think we're pre-supposing, often, that youth aren't interested.

252 The new genre and the renaissance of the mindset today is awareness of social issues because what's going on in the global world, Canada is not immune to it.

253 So there is actually a desire for social awareness, and I think this is where Sher-E-Punjab, in its news, fills gaps.

254 When we did forums on gangs, they transmitted to youth, violence against women themes. Music is not just pop culture.

255 There is a shallowness in the music today, and there is a whole generation that the music industry is not tapping in on, and it's the social events.

256 And I know from youth themselves that are doing projects where are -- we are mandated, at the university and college levels, to be inclusive with the new diaspora and communities to do projects that involve local issues. And they have challenges accessing that information in the current that is credible, and having expert individuals speak on panels and interviews has been very, very useful.

257 So I think this is a gap, and I think part of the solution of this cultural intellectual gap needs to be filled because it will be a social problem in the future.

258 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So you see yourselves contributing to greater social cohesion in this way.

259 Okay. A few more regulatory questions.

260 So your application states that you would be willing to do 100 percent ethnic programming. Are you ready to commit to a condition of licence to that effect?

261 This is 100 percent ethnic programming per week.

262 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes, sir.

263 THE CHAIRPERSON: And your application also provides that 85 percent of the total programming would be devoted to third language programming. Would you also be willing to commit to a condition of licence calculated on a weekly basis?

264 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes, sir.

265 THE CHAIRPERSON: And this is despite the fact that, in Section 8.11 of your application form, as I read correctly, you had 98 percent third language.

266 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes, we did, but I'll ask Jas to elaborate on that.

267 MS. GILL: We said -- we would have done 98, but 85 just because we have a little bit more English in the afternoon show. We have Afro-Caribbean show weekly for an hour that also is going to be done in English.

268 And as mentioned, those interviews with experts, sometimes you can't get that language of expert, so we want to make sure we're in compliance and we can commit 100 percent to whatever we commit, so 85 percent will give us that flexibility.

269 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. You may not like this next question, but when we ask questions about conditions of licence, as you know, conditions of licence are part of the regulatory regime we have.

270 And you do have a bit of a history of, as a group, not to respect our broadcasting regulatory framework. In fact, we had to take the additional step of bringing you to a Mandatory Order hearing.

271 So what assurance can you give to us that once we impose conditions of licence, were you to be licensed, that they will be respected?

272 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes. Yes, Your Honour.

273 We had come to an agreement prior to that Mandatory Order.

274 THE CHAIRPERSON: I realize, but we were already down a path that had lasted a number of years. I'm glad you finally saw the light, but the point is, it took quite a while and resources on the part of the Commission.

275 You know, we're not in the business of running after people to comply with our regulatory regime, so I'm asking you, if you want to come within the regulated licence system, will you comply, and what assurances can you give us that, despite past behaviour, that you will actually meet regulatory obligations?

276 MR. GURDIAL BADH: We will meet the regulatory operations, whatever you request, sir.

277 But if I can say, we never thought we were not in compliance because I can -- if I go back to the hearing in 2005 where Commissioner Langford asked my brother at that time, if you were not granted the licence, what are your plans, and my brother's plan at that time was to carry on broadcasting on AM 1550.

278 And Commissioner Langford's response was, "I don't expect you to do anything otherwise".

279 So our opinion at that time was we were not out of compliance, so -- and once the Commission -- CRTC had indicated to us and, as in our opening remarks, we complied immediately.

280 And we'd be willing to work with the CRTC in compliance from now on moving forward.

281 THE CHAIRPERSON: The best course, by the way, when -- if somebody -- many of the parties in this room could get licences is that until your licence is up for renewal, it is best not to have conversations with the CRTC because that usually means that you aren't meeting your regulatory obligations.

282 But in any event, thank you for your answer.

283 You're committing to a broad service obligation, a lot of languages. And I take it from your application, though, that it will be predominantly in Punjabi and Hindi, mostly?

284 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes, sir.

285 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would you be willing to adhere to a condition of licence that no less than 67 percent of all ethnic programming per week would be in Punjabi and Hindi?


287 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, let me talk a little bit about -- and you'll decide who gets to answers this question. It's about how you make sure that you continue to be connected to your community.

288 And you know, you've spoken to this in your presentation. It's clear that, in your view, you will be able to serve the community, but it's a more diverse community than you've had in the past.

289 So certainly I saw in your deck presentation, you talk about trust. And certainly you have credentials with respect to South Asian community.

290 What about other groups? How will you maintain that relationship to make sure that you're responding to them?

291 MR. GURDIAL BADH: One Of the mechanisms that we have is the advisory committee, and the advisory committee will have the members from all the other communities that we will be serving.

292 And also, myself being within -- being a realtor, I'm involved throughout the lower mainland and through selling and also a Rotarian, so I've been involved with people from the Philippines, from Tobago. And also in Rotary, we did a kaleidoscope festival where we brought enrichment -- we brought all together almost 30 groups, 30 nations together.

293 That initiative was taken by the Richmond Sunrise Rotary. So you know, we are well connected.

294 From my father's point of view, from him within the South Asian, myself, my brother and the family, plus having the advisory committee chaired by Indira and members from all the other communities, we will reach out to each and every one of them.

295 MS. GILL: I would like to add, there is also, when I was the program director at Sher-E-Punjab, at that time, the previous reincarnation, there was a lot of local newspapers, the Korean and the Filipino and Vietnamese that also wanted to work with some radio stations to have a voice as well.

296 And we were -- that's where we found some of our producers as well that have journalism backgrounds.

297 So there is some of that connection with the community that's already built with our producers, so that was -- that's one way.

298 And the other is like events and things. We want to be present at their events, at the New Years, at the big festivals for each community. And that's where you build -- when you're -- you have to be consumer-based radio station when you're in ethnic radio, so that was a similar experience for being with the South Asian language.

299 You have to do some similar things with the other communities to bridge the gap, to make sure you're a part of them. You're at those events, you're sharing the same thing.

300 That's why having not a brokerage system, you are shared on your social media, on your web site. Everybody's going there.

301 That's what's going to make our multi-cultural event with the emerging artists successful because, you know, when we put the podcasts on our web site for their mp3s, it doesn't limit just their community. Their friends can go on our web site and vote, you know, for them. So it really opens that up.

302 And working as a news talk radio, we've had experience where are we -- we've worked with even -- you know, been on main -- English language television or radio stations on certain perspectives.

303 So that's a big way. And then, obviously, you've got to advertise and stuff, too. You've got to be really -- you've got to push your promotions.

304 But on grass roots level, you've got to be involved in the community.

305 Indira can also add to this because ---


307 MS. GILL: --- she's a key part of the advisory committee and she's done things like this in various different communities.

308 MR. PRAHST: Yes. In terms of the advisory council, this is new, and so the projection is seven persons. They've been very well selected.

309 For example, we have a professor who is connected with the youth, Dr. Periwall. We have Camilla Singh, who's been in the media for 20 years who's very connected with the Fijian community.

310 We also have Waldrun, who's with the Caribbean community.

311 But what we plan to do is to have two meetings a year, and each member of the actual committee that is connected with the smaller communities is going to connect with some of the issues to ensure that there's representation if there are any problems.

312 Of course, there's also, online, a section where complaints can be made.

313 And depending on the severity of it, although we don't predict it, but you have to be open-minded, those issues will be taken very seriously.

314 I'm very familiar that there is a CRTC mandate. It's still in the working. But in terms of compliance, that's important.

315 Every year, we plan to actually provide a written report to the actual management, and there will be one representative of the management of the radio station present, and we will follow up that there's actually a response based on the report that we require in terms of recommendations.

316 So there's been a lot of thought been put into it.

317 I have been in the advisory for the -- Vice-Chair of the City of Vancouver for Multi-Culturalism and in many other capacities, so this is taken very seriously.

318 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned that the advisory committee is not related to the owner and the family, so how were they selected? Why these people, how long will they -- I mean, an advisory committee's not decision.

319 MS. PRAHST: No.

320 THE CHAIRPERSON: It advises.

321 But how independent is their work? Will they be resourced to do the work? And will their services be ended if the advice they're giving is not welcomed?

322 MS. PRAHST: I think what's important is, the first question is, what is the function of an advisory committee. And it reflects the language. That's what is mandatory here as well as knowledge in terms of community and news.

323 So we have a professor who's connected. Again, they take their own neutral position of expertise and are connected with Punjabi communities.

324 Camilla Singh, for example, was connected. She's an obvious candidate, having won several awards within mainstream and in local media, has her own independent connections also with the Fijian and Hindi communities.

325 And then we have a member of the Caribbean community with the Rotary and in engineering, so different capacities are selected.

326 So all of us were given an opportunity to provide some input.

327 In terms of their own independence, that's exactly the key, and that is that they have a role of dissent if there are issues. Otherwise, there's no value in an advisory committee.

328 THE CHAIRPERSON: And how long do you expect them to be sitting on the advisory committee?

329 MS. PRAHST: What we have planned is two years.

330 THE CHAIRPERSON: Two years.

331 MS. PRAHST: Yeah.

332 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then with a turnover, everybody ---

333 MS. PRAHST: Yeah, with renewal if they choose so.

334 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That could be a big turnover and you lose continuity if everybody turns over after two years, couldn't it?

335 MS. PRAHST: That's -- that is always a challenge. We're dealing with human subjects. But I think what was put into thought here are people that are committed to issues.

336 These are not just individuals that don't have passion and desire and concern, so that was taken into account as well. The continuity is key.

337 THE CHAIRPERSON: So this committee meets a couple of times a year. How, in between those annual meetings, do you think you can act?

338 Is that two is a minimum number of meetings, or could they meet more often?

339 MS. PRAHST: Well, this is what was written. Two is the minimum.

340 However, as -- we will have to see what the issues are. But I think it's also important that, hopefully, there could be three or four.

341 Many of us live within the same areas. There are community issues. Our goal is also to represent social issues and events and ensure that their voices are brought in.

342 So twice a year is the minimum. However, if there's a need, three or four times. And that's not unrealistic considering the radio stations, the university and my ability to be mobile is possible.

343 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, what efforts will be made to make sure that the broader community that's being served by this proposed station knows of the advisory committee?

344 MS. PRAHST: Well, the transmission of knowledge of that, it would be on the web site and I think Jas and some of the management, we also will have an advisory -- a community advisory group that will be acting as the administration that we can rely on.

345 And so in terms of the knowledge of that, that's a new addition, so that would be online.

346 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I guess -- so what will be the nature of the promotion of the advisory committee, is what I'm asking.

347 MS. PRAHST: In terms of who they would be?

348 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no. To tell to the broader community that the committee exists, that this is a ---

349 MS. PRAHST: Oh, I see.

350 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- mechanism --- MS. GILL: We will have that on our web site.


352 MS. GILL: Yeah. And then we're going to have an email that, if someone wanted to share a complaint, not only does it go to CBSC, but it comes to us and the advisory council and it gets looked at immediately.

353 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. It's interesting. You're assuming your advisory committee will only have complaints and bad news. Hopefully, you'll be getting some good news as well.

354 MS. GILL: You know what, social media and going to events, like good news is easy. It's the bad news that usually -- right.

355 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me about it.

356 MS. PRAHST: But I just want to quickly add, I think the voices of the smaller Farsi, Fijian, Caribbean communities are important, their events that we may not know.

357 There's a monopoly, of course, of certain communities, so that advisory will be inclusive, which is mandated in the application.

358 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the committee would look at things to make sure that, you know, the programming continues to reflect local issues and local concerns? Is that correct?

359 MS. GILL: Yes. Yes. That's very vital.

360 Being in -- you know, a third language programmer, local is key. That was in our format last time as well.

361 If we went just international, we wouldn't have had the following we had if it was just international topics. Those are covered.

362 There's lots of newspapers back home anybody can read. There's -- you can get television streaming from back home, any of the countries these days, with lots of technology available.

363 So local is what people want to know in their own native tongue. And that was our success in the past, and that's what we're going to -- we would continue on with.

364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. As part of your news talk format, I take it you'll have what we call open line programming, or call-in shows. Is that correct?

365 MS. GILL: Yes.

366 THE CHAIRPERSON: And how much do you expect of that to be like globally on a weekly basis?

367 MS. GILL: I haven't worked out exact percentage, but usually there's about five to 10 minutes, almost, in a show in an hour that usually goes to open line, approximately. So -- and not all of our shows are serious ones that open line is going to be -- that's when like you really have to be careful.

368 But some -- like our afternoon drive -- or mid-day show, which is Hindi with riddles and music and stuff, it's usually someone answering a riddle or something funny or tell us a story what you did with Mother's Day or something kind of, you know, emotionally attachment type of thing.

369 So on the average, it's been that much, but Debra can also add to this for ---

370 THE CHAIRPERSON: But it’s not insignificant.

371 MS. PRAHST: No, it’s not insignificant. It’s usually a vital part of that.

372 THE CHAIRPERSON: And as you mentioned, sometimes open line, perhaps not for jokes and riddles, but sometimes issues of public concern, the Commission’s experience has been that sometimes one has to work particularly hard to make sure there’s balance and they’re properly managed.

373 MS. GILL: So we have protocols for that. First of all, as a PDA I used to do air checks all the time before they go to air and even after. Most of the programs, as I’ve talked about experts and things, were very structured. Like we would have the Better Business Bureau talking about certain things on certain days, or there’s hard news that comes in, obviously, there’s something big that happened today and we try to get that either a government person on or whoever’s involved, an expert that can talk on that.

374 So the actual -- so it was very structured shows. Not only that, we have a delay system. We have a kill switch. We have our CBSU rules and regulations, even though we weren’t a part of it in the past and code of ethics were up in our studio and were signed off with every anchor before they got to air. We did 30 to 90 days of training pre-hand before they went to air. Quality was very important to us and still is. And that is, again, testament to trust and building those relationships. Because when you’re talk, that anchor is your station.

375 So and not only that, like our just corporate culture of using good language. And so if there was anything that was going to be a little bit controversial we would know beforehand. We’d be screening those calls. If there’s going to be something that we think could be a little bit too much, like there’s a lot of people that just doesn’t like this person that’s going to be coming on air because they’re coming here for a conference, then you know what? Those calls might be pre-recorded.


377 MS. GILL: They would have to be just in case someone goes and --

378 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you -- yeah.

379 MS. GILL: -- shares something negative. So ---

380 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can adjust the kill period as well, I take it?

381 MS. GILL: Yes, of course. And then sometimes you just do a call in line, just leave your messages on your thoughts on this topic. And then we just do an overall.

382 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So you are aware of the Commission’s policy regarding open line programming? It’s public notice 1998-213?

383 MS. GILL: Yes. All of us are aware of that.

384 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you commit to respecting those guidelines?

385 MS. GILL: Yes.

386 THE CHAIRPERSON: So how will you ensure balance on questions of public concern?

387 MS. GILL: So we ---

388 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the context of open line programming, obviously.

389 MS. GILL: Again, structured programming is key. So if there is going to be a topic on, for example, for LNG, well then there might -- we have to talk about the no LNG. We would like to have the guests on the same day, preferably back to back. So then someone listening to that topic can get both perspectives right away and then comment.

390 If it’s not available that day because the other expert was unavailable or such, we promote that and we say it in the show saying that they’re going to be coming on the following day. And that even becomes even more important to podcast because both of those perspectives were not on the same day, making sure that’s -- the balance is there so we’re covering both sides, we’re covering all angles of any story.

391 And getting feedback from the community on topics is important. So if it can’t be on air it’ll be social media. Similar policies. Kill switch, delay mechanism is still there to make sure that the balance is retained.

392 If our host need further training we also subsidize their costs to go get another course at any of the post-secondary institutions that provide more on investigative reporting, or more on how to have a little bit more of a structured show, or et cetera, whatever they may need.

393 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And if somebody had a complaint, how would you respond to a complaint? Somebody alleging that, you know, your programming, open line programming was not balanced or was not of a high standard, how would you deal with that?

394 MS. GILL: Well, we would go listen to that program right away. We would sit down with the host. We would contact an advisory council. Have them also have their opinion and listen to the programming. And then look into it. See what the issues were, what was said, what was done, what was -- what -- where did we go wrong or what happened correct or was it misheard? And we would correct it right away on air. And make sure if there’s something incorrect done there was an apology or whatever that needs to be done. The protocols and guidelines are to correct whatever the issue was --


396 MS. GILL: -- immediately.

397 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I take it you will have a protocol that actually operationalize the broader policy concerns the Commission has with respect to open line?

398 MS. GILL: Yes. The advisory council has worked on a guidelines. It’s not fully finished yet, but if you would like, we can give that to you.

399 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again, you know, our policy is there. It’s up to you to make sure you’re complying with it.

400 MS. GILL: Yeah. The -- providing you the guidelines.


402 MS. GILL: We just, you know, so you know what we are structured and going to definitely do.

403 So don’t forget, air checks are very important to handle these issues.

404 In the past we haven’t had a formal complaint to FCC or CRTC against our programming. Issues that -- if there was concerns and stuff we dealt with it right away. Ajit Singh Badh was always an ear to listen if someone had a complaint about a [sic] issue or a program or element and we did miss. We’re all human. Sometimes you do miss something. That we make sure we get that angle on air --


406 MS. GILL: -- if there was another one.

407 THE CHAIRPERSON: What’s your experience in electoral periods? And we have lots of elections, particularly in this area of the country where there’s a lot of municipalities. There’s provincial elections, federal elections. How do you make sure that you have a balance on online programming in sometimes the days before an election?

408 MS. GILL: Usually we have debates where we try to get all the parties on. If we can’t get more than one person, then usually it’s very difficult to share that balance.

409 Again, if there’s a electoral person that’s available today but the other person’s not available tomorrow, then there might be a chance where we say, okay, we can only allot a short amount of time because we can’t do a full debate. So you can come on and talk about your issues in your platform today but tomorrow we’re going to have so and so on.


411 MS. GILL: And we leave that open and we share that information on social media. And, again, we’ll podcast those because they couldn’t happen in the same day, we want to make sure that everybody sees that all the guests were there and this is what they were saying.

412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But the challenge of elections is that if you misbalance the day before the election, the consequences ---

413 MS. GILL: Oh yeah. The rules and regulations with that we’ve always followed. So no ads, no interviews. We don’t talk about all that kind of stuff.

414 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because it’s hard to correct course.

415 MS. GILL: It’s just -- yes, yes. Yeah. We’ve done that in the past as well. We followed all those rules and regulations so.

416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me now turn to your business plan. Now I noticed your cost structures and your operating expenses. Are your projections, they seem higher compared to others, particularly in sight in terms of your operating expenses than some of the other applicants. Could you help me understand why that might be?

417 MR. GURDIAL BADH: For the answers to those, I will ask my brother Jasbir to -- he’s our business manager.

418 MR. JASBIR BADH: Yes, Commissioner, the cost factor, firstly, they are on a more often a realistic experience basis. Secondly, because in order to produce high quality programming you need to have high quality talent, and that doesn’t come cheap. So we, from the past experience, we’ve been experiencing that we have to pay good and to have a good educated employee that can have the best quality programming.

419 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I take it the fact that you’re doing more of the production in a traditional yourself producing it as opposed to a bartered system that drives the cost? Is that one of the major reasons?

420 MR. JASBIR BADH: Well, the one reason is that they -- because it’s a news talk and we have to -- and yes. Yeah.


422 MR. JASBIR BADH: It’s a news talk because the quality of the programming, the quality of the host and plus we are producing in house all the different languages also. And that’s going to have a higher cost.

423 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now the studios that you used to have, are they still currently in use?

424 MR. JASBIR BADH: They’re not in currently use, but, yeah, they’re still available.

425 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the assets are still there and could be used?

426 MR. JASBIR BADH: Could be used.

427 THE CHAIRPERSON: But they’re not being used at all at this time?

428 MR. JASBIR BADH: No, they’re not being used as broadcasting, no.

429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your -- are they being used for non-broadcasting activities?

430 MR. JASBIR BADH: No, they’re still available there. It’s just that it just can -- no.


432 MR. JASBIR BADH: The company still exists so.

433 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, your revenue projections as well appear to be very optimistic if you -- one compares to the other applicants. Why do you believe them to be reasonable?

434 MR. JASBIR BADH: Reasonable meaningly [sic] the -- why we’re optimistic?

435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, you seem to be thinking that you’ll be able to get much more revenues than some of your -- the other parties in this hearing.

436 MR. JASBIR BADH: Because I can’t -- Commissioner, I can’t speak for the other, but we can talk from three different scenarios. Because first is, the realistic what we had the past experience. Secondly, I worked it on top bottom, top to bottom upper approach and how many slots we got. Like we figured that there’s a four breaks in an hour and there’s a -- we are putting six slot in each block and that works out to about 24. And then we worked out the calculation for daily about 432 spots that we can cover. And then based on the cost factor or based on the charges that we had in the previous, we were able to achieve the similar scenario. But then again, we also realized that they're not -- there were not -- we won't be able to sell all the spots and in the year -- sorry, in the day, and so we -- our past experience tells us about 70 percent is the medium that we can use based on the daily slots that spots are available.

437 So we calculated. It came to the same calculation.

438 And then we also went with the top down approach, and based on the Vancouver market and based on the possible share that we could get from the Vancouver ethnic market, and we came up with the similar figures.

439 And this also was our experience with the additional growth in the community that these figures are attainable and they're more realistic.

440 MR. GURDIAL BADH: And also, if I may add, our format is news talk, and we were successful when we were doing it with a sub-par signal. Now our aim is going to be going after the two U.S. stations. That's where we're going to be getting our revenues from.

441 We know we can do it. We know we've done it in the past with a crystal clear Canadian signals where our advertisers know will not be shying away because they cannot write off the expenses, where they know that their message is going to be heard throughout the lower mainland, and they know that they're dealing with a trusted organization that they've dealt with in the past.

442 The family has a reputation, and we are in the community. We are here to serve the community.

443 So we are very, very confident that the revenues we're going to get from there, and also, you know, the hosts that we're going to be able to get from there, so I think Sher-E-Punjab comes back on the air, and I think this is the best, you know, opportunity for -- to eliminate the two U.S. stations because we've trained those hosts.

444 We know what it was going to take for us to succeed with a sub-par signal, and we did that 10 years, and now with a top signal. And I'm very, very confident -- 900 percent by 1,000 percent, we're confident that we're going to be very, very successful given the opportunity.

445 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned the deductibility of advertising expenses.

446 I take it you're referring to the fact that, under Canadian law, if you're a businessperson in Canada and you advertise on a foreign non-Canadian service, that that's not deductible and, therefore, in fact, it's quite a risky endeavour for Canadian businesses to be advertising and trying to deduct their expense for income tax purposes in Canada because they could be reassessed.

447 So is your view that that is something people are -- some of your potential advertisers are worried about?

448 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes, they were worried about it, so that's basically now -- it's going to give them free reign to come to Sher-E-Punjab and freely advertise with us.

449 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if they're already worried about it, tell me how you think that your arrival will result in a repatriation of 90 percent of the revenues that are currently on the U.S.-based stations that are targeting the South Asian community of Greater Vancouver?

450 MR. GURDIAL BADH: You've got to keep in mind, we have the same format.

451 The format that we have is what they're trying to mimic, and they haven't been successful. And the format that we -- we started this format. We invented this format for the South Asian, and others tried copying Sher-E-Punjab, but there's only one Sher-E-Punjab.

452 So we're very, very confident that we'd be able to get their revenues. Once we get their revenues and also their on-air personalities and then I think they will have a challenge to stya on the air.

453 THE CHAIRPERSON: What happens if you can't get 90 percent of that retuning?

454 I mean, it's important to your business case, is it not?

455 MR. GURDIAL BADH: I'm a real estate agent, and I've been at it for 29 years. When I go into a ---

456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, but the Vancouver real estate market is very special.

457 MR. GURDIAL BADH: I live and breathe and -- I live and breathe that market, Chair, so I know how to get that revenue. I know how to get those advertisers.

458 Those advertisers are very, very loyal to Sher-E-Punjab. They know the family. They know our business plan. They know what -- you know, they're going to be able to take what works.

459 And like I said, this is not something -- we're not coming into something that's new. We've already done that.

460 We've had our hands tied behind our back with a poor signal, but we excelled. It's a family shared determination.

461 My father's anticipation was to do something for the community. This is what we're doing.

462 I'm a very successful real estate salesman. It's taken a lot of time. My brother is an accountant. So this is a passion for the family, and this is where we started. And the community's backed us 110 percent.

463 When we did the Star competition, it's a turban-tying competition, we started after 9/11. We started that to make awareness. And now, all over the world, there's the Star competition from all over the world.

464 You go to New York, you go to Australia, anywhere, it's awareness. And that's the whole idea.

465 When I'm working in with the Rotary Club and we have people from the Philippines, from the -- you know, Caribbean, all over the place where we're sending out food, we're sending out hospital supplies and stuff. We don't look at it to see if they're different nationality.

466 When we raised funds for Haiti, I had one of the local reporter ask me, "Why Haiti?" And I said, "Why not Haiti?" Because they wanted to see a connection.

467 You know, they didn't see a connection there. They knew when we raised million dollar for earthquake in Pakistan, and my father and the host, they went and hand-delivered that money to the President of Pakistan because we did not want that money to be distributed by third party where they kept most of the funds, and yet our competitor raised funds and, to this date, nobody has been accountable as to where the funds went.

468 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again with respect to your business plan, your revenue projections, in addition to your very optimistic prediction on repatriating foreign tuning, you're proposing an AM station. And we all know that AM has, in other markets in Canada, not necessarily been the easiest. Most AM stations are not making money in this country because they're not very attractive for music.

469 You're operating on a -- you'll be operating in a stand-alone basis without -- many other groups in the country often operate with an AM/FM combo, at least.

470 You're entering in a highly-competitive radio market. And you know, granted, there may be some positive growth in the market. You're entering in a very difficult market, so pretty challenging circumstances.

471 So why are you so confident and optimistic about your revenue forecast?

472 Is it just because you're a real estate agent?

473 MR. GURDIAL BADH: No. We've done it before. We've done the broadcasting before on a sub-par signal, and we know we can do it again given the opportunity on a Canadian soil, Canadian signal and clear signal where our listeners from, you know, all of Greater Vancouver would be able to listen to us, not have to tune us out because, you know, the poor signal.

474 So yes, I'm a real estate agent, and I'm optimistic, but also realistic.


476 MS. GILL: Also, third language programming has been proven to do really well on AM across the country. And not only that, we're news talk. We've done it, so ---

477 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Which is a -- which is more adapted to an AM signal.

478 MS. GILL: Right. And we use our social media and all the other tools to make sure it works, so we've been there/done that.

479 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, building on that, if you think you're going to be that successful, if I were an incumbent, I might be worrying.

480 So what's your assessment of the impact you would have with your optimism on other players that are currently already in the marketplace?

481 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Well, we don't have any ---

482 THE CHAIRPERSON: Licensed or legally operating ones.

483 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Well, we don't really have anybody that would be -- we co-existed with the other AM 1200 and RED FM. Their format is different.

484 Our format is news talk, and our audience, you know, is different. So we're not going to be, you know -- yes, we will be another player in the market, but at the end of the day, we co-existed for 10 years, so our audience is different.

485 And yes, we're going to have a major, major impact on the U.S. and possibly on these low power stations that -- you know, that are broadcasting right now. But otherwise, we have co-existed, so it will not be an issue.

486 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. My last question before I turn to my colleagues and to legal counsel to see if they have some questions.

487 Now, you know that not all the applications in this proceeding are technically mutually exclusive when the Commission does have potential scenarios in front of it where it could, hypothetically, licence two or more new stations.

488 What impact would that have on your business plan were we to do that?

489 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Well, we're news talk station, so we're hoping that Sher-E-Punjab gets licensed, and if the Commission wished to license some other format besides news talk and, you know, we would have no objection to that.

490 But news talk, we've been there, we've done that. And I think it would be an excellent choice for Sher-E-Punjab to get the licence and if -- and have the other, you know, non-talk that would be the ideal situation.

491 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So you're confident that your format protects you from the competition that you might potentially, hypothetically, face.

492 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Yes, we -- we’re very, very confident and we look forward to a challenge.


494 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Every day I wake up as an unemployed real estate agent, so it’ll be challenging.


496 The Vice-chair has a question for you.

497 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Are you concerned at all with an AM signal about interference -- you get -- Vancouver is one of the markets and Calgary comes in, Toronto from time to time -- that AM signals are not very good around tall buildings, condo buildings and that we get concerns raised with us from time to time regarding AM?

498 MR. GURDIAL BADH: That’s why the AM 600 frequency was recommended and was chosen because of the clear signal throughout the lower mainland.

499 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And it would be -- okay, of the interference issues that ---

500 MS. GILL: It’d be similar to what it was when Jim Pattison was using 600 AM, similar, same pattern.


502 MS. GILL: Yeah.

503 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And I just wanted to revisit -- and it might have been my years that missed it -- regarding this repatriation of money going to the American signals and that your -- you indicated your format was the same as theirs so you’d be able to get it back. But if there's Canadian money going there now that is not concerned about the fact that that expense is not a valid tax deduction in Canada, if they're not afraid of it now, why would they suddenly -- how do I put this -- if they're comfortable doing it now, why wouldn’t they be comfortable doing it in the future?

504 MR. GURDIAL BADH: They ---

505 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Why wouldn’t we be just looking at this as an endless cycle of ---

506 MR. GURDIAL BADH: At present time -- at the present time they don’t have a choice, because the two news talk stations that are serving the South Asian community are south of the border. So this is what we’re going to be in there when they can have a Canadian broadcaster, Canadian signal, being able to deduct those, why would they go south of the border?

507 Right now the other two are music, to a different demographic, so they’re targeting the audience that Sher-E-Punjab will be going for, and we know the advertisers that are there and they were with us when we were there, so we will have no issue bringing them on to Canadian soil and they will be more than happy because they’ll be able to write off their expenses.

508 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So is there a growing awareness in the business community of the tax issue with the expense?

509 MS. GILL: Yes, but as an entrepreneur you might take a risk if you know something works. So if you know -- being an ethnic radio ---

510 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That was kind of my point, I mean ---

511 MS. GILL: Yeah, so ---

512 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- people don’t advertise because ---

513 MS. GILL: Some do, there were some advertisers that ---

514 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- they like you, they advertise with you -- they advertise with people because they make money when they do it.

515 MS. GILL: Some do.


517 MS. GILL: Some do, some are really “No, I don’t want to take the risk.” There was a good 20-30 percent that didn’t want to take the risk at that time when we -- when this was starting to happen in the news and stuff -- was starting to say, you know, “Tax is also an issue” before the actual formal letters and agreement was signed with CRTC, so when we were still operating. About 20-30 percent of the advertisers did stop because of that.

518 The others, as an entrepreneur, as a business, hey, you might take the risk if the results -- you're live on location, are still the best or really high in numbers, you like what you're getting as results and there's no one else doing talk.

519 Again, if -- likes someone at KRPI who hired most of our anchors at the talk radio, they like the anchor, talk radio that’s what's it’s about, if they like the anchor they stay. They say, “Well he’s bringing me results, I like the way he does his show.” And if we have that opportunity of a good signal and we have those relationships, the anchor will most likely come with us and with those revenues.

520 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, I think I understand that. And again, apologies if I missed it, but are you doing brokered programming?

521 MS. GILL: No.


523 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And did you mention that you were going to be members of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council?


525 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.

526 Your advertising in terms of that, what are the largest categories again that you would look at, automotive or real estate or ---

527 MS. GILL: There's a mixture.

528 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Usually advertising you look at certain segments, you know, real estate, key accounts, you know, automotive, that sort of stuff. What are the -- what are the major drivers?

529 MR. GURDIAL BADH: In the South Asian you're looking at a lot of the clothing boutiques and automotive is there, and you know, it’s a broad -- similar, you’ve got -- financial planners are there. So same thing what you're going to be seeing in the mainstream, that’s more or less what you're going to be seeing in the South Asian plus the national advertisers.

530 MS. GILL: But not as much.

531 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Except with sort of a distinct cultural retail sector?

532 MS. GILL: There is some things that happen that English language radio station won't get that are industry-specific, like transportation. Well an ethnic radio -- from our experience, if you're hiring a driver or owner/operator, they’ll advertise on radio, that won't happen on English language radio station.

533 So there's some little things like that that are cultural-specific and I guess community-specific, but other than that it’s very similar except for -- nationals are usually very less because we don’t have a rating system, we’re spot buy, and that was always a challenge. So national is never very high, but everything else is usually right from the community, usually like mortgage specialist, you have your finance guys, you have you know, your automotive, et cetera like we were mentioning.

534 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.

535 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well thank you very much, those were all our questions. So we’ll see you in the future phases of the hearing.

536 So why don’t we take a short 15-minute break till 10:55? Thank you.

537 MR. GURDIAL BADH: Thank you.

538 MS. GILL: Thank you.

539 THE CHAIRPERSON: So we’re adjourned until 10:55. Thank you.

--- Upon recessing at 10:41 a.m.

-- Upon resuming at 10:56 a.m.

540 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s’il vous plaît. Order, please.

541 Madame la Secrétaire.

542 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

543 We will now proceed with Item 2 on the agenda, which is an application by Spice Media Group Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial AM radio station in Surrey. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.

544 Thank you.


545 MS. GHAG: Good morning Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission.

546 Before starting our presentation in chief, I would like to introduce our team. As a courtesy, we have included a short bio page with our oral presentation. I am Amrita Ghag, I’m a principal of Spice Media Group and sit on the board of directors. To my immediate right is, Tom Bedore. Mr. Bedore has 30 years of experience managing small, medium and large radio enterprises, most recently for Rogers ethnic station in Edmonton, WorldFM. He will be joining Spice Media Group as the station General Manager if our application for a broadcasting licence is approved.

547 On Tom’s right is Dr. Shani Sidhu, a family physician from Surrey with over 40 years of medical experience. Ms. Sidhu is a director and shareholder of Spice Media Group. On Dr. Sidhu’s right is Sonya Thind, a child, youth and family counsellor with 10 years of experience in the Lower Mainland. Ms. Thind is also one of the founding shareholders of Spice Media Group, where she also serves on the board of directors. Next to Ms. Thind is Stuart Hahn of Hahn Engineering. Mr. Hahn is a professional engineer with over 30 years of experience working in the Canadian broadcasting industry. Mr. Hahn will speak to any technical matters regarding our proposed use of the 900 AM frequency.

548 On my far left is Baljinder Bhandal. Ms. Bhandal has several years of experience in radio and television broadcasting. Ms. Bhandal has acted as an advisor to Spice Media with respect to programming and content selection, and will continue to do so going forward. Beside Ms. Bhandal is Jatinder Sandhar. Mr. Sandhar is a CPA and financial advisor for Spice Media Group. Mr. Sandhar has 15 years of accounting experience and will be advising Spice Media Group on financial matters.

549 To Mr. Sandhar’s right and next to me is Ms. Puneet Sandhar, a lawyer based in Surrey who is actively involved with mentoring youth and social issues facing immigrants, which is a prime focus of our proposed service. Ms. Sandhar also sits on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for the City of Surrey and was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award for her community service.

550 In the back row to my far right are Sam Thind and Narinder Ghag, family members who are here today to speak to financial matters.

551 Finally, next to Mr. Thind and Mr. Ghag is Stephen Zolf, a partner at Aird & Berlis in Toronto and our regulatory and legal counsel.

552 The specific focus of our proposed station will be on ethnic audiences, with an emphasis on female listeners aged 12 to 40.

553 As a young lawyer, I am continually struck by the fact that many members of the ethnic community are unaware of their legal rights. South Asian women in particular are often unaware of the rights that they have in the context of family law and the scope of protection they have in situations of domestic abuse and violence.

554 We saw the Commission’s June 2015 Call for Applications, in particular for new services targeting ethnic communities. It was obvious to us that there was a growing audience that is currently not being adequately served by any of the existing ethnic radio stations.

555 When we spoke to various stakeholders in the community, the feedback we received was remarkable. Surrey residents want to hear an ethnic station covering local issues, and especially issues affecting ethnic women.

556 Surrey has emerged as a dynamic hotbed and diverse community, with rapid population growth and a prominent place in Vancouver’s municipalities. Surrey’s diverse cultures and multilingual character makes it a preeminent influential region in Canada.

557 Surrey's population is projected to increase by nearly 50 percent over the next 30 years, to nearly three-quarters of a million people, with much of that growth being led by the Punjabi community. This was recently witnessed during the 2016 Surrey Vaisakhi Parade, which was the largest of its kind outside of India. Over 350,000 people celebrated the diverse religious, cultural, culinary and musical mosaic found in Surrey.

558 MS. SANDHAR: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission, I immigrated to Canada in 2002 and have been practicing commercial law in BC since 2006.

559 I am also actively involved in the local community. My primary focus has been in developing mentorship programs for young South Asians and educating immigrants and ethnic women on their legal rights. In this regard, I serve on the board of the Legal Services Society of BC, the organization that provides legal aid in BC. I also provide expert advice on legal and political issues on the radio. I will bring my community experience to Spice Media by advising on pertinent local issues and some of the proposed solutions to these issues.

560 The South Asian community faces challenges on a broad range of issues that are often considered taboo or embarrassing, particularly among first- generation immigrants. Spice Media’s format will provide the community with a reliable and stable media platform for new immigrants, professionals and other members of the Canadian ethnic community. We will address social issues that are not currently being addressed on local ethnic radio.

561 Spice Media’s diverse and multigenerational staff will focus on local issues that are relevant to the everyday lives of Surrey residents. We know our community. We have spent our careers interacting with Surrey’s residents and dealing with community issues, such as health, mental wellbeing, legal and cultural matters.

562 As Amrita indicated, part of our focus is on female listeners. This ethnic group faces challenges that are rarely openly addressed and they are generally unable to easily get access to the solutions to these challenges.

563 A recent high profile report highlighted the prevalence of some of these issues in Canada, particularly in B.C. The report found that:

564 - Immigrant women were more likely to be unemployed than their Canadian-born counterparts, especially recent immigrant women. They are also less likely to be employed than male immigrants;

565 - Fewer immigrant women speak English or French and immigrant women are less likely to participate in organizations and associations.

566 These and other barriers faced by immigrant women often result in fewer social connections in Canada, making it difficult to integrate into Canadian society. Spice Media will become one of these social connections. We will proactively help immigrants access work, legal and health information, and ultimately help them to integrate themselves, and their families into Canada.

567 DR. SIDHU: Good morning, Mr. Chair.

568 I was the second female physician of South Asian heritage practicing in Surrey, beginning my career in 1982. I have been essentially involved in the Surrey Hospital and maternity ward and emergency department. My profession has enabled me to become closely involved with hundreds of immigrant families of many ethnicities.

569 As an immigrant myself, I am well aware of the cultural values and impact of those on health issues, especially for women. We highlighted some of these issues in our application. Please allow me to stress how vital access to information is for these women.

570 South Asian immigrants, especially women, lack awareness on necessary health and safety information that is available in Canada; hence the delay in accessing this information. This has resulted in delays in diagnosing various diseases like breast and cervical cancer which could have been easily detected by some of the screening tests done in early stages. The failure to diagnose these diseases in early stages makes a significant difference in mortality and morbidity.

571 Information on these health issues must be provided to immigrants through an accessible medium. Current media is not sufficient in reaching out to immigrant population. Pamphlets on the walls of hospitals in Punjabi will not do. The information needs to reach out into immigrants' homes and their lives. The radio is an excellent medium for doing so.

572 The Spice Media group will spread awareness about the importance of screening tests and information will raise physical and health issues. I believe that doing so will have a significant impact on the quality of life of new Canadians from all regions.

573 Thank you.

574 MS. THIND: I have always had a passion to help others. I have been able to fulfill this passion through my practice as a counsellor. I have provided support to families, children, and women suffering from domestic abuse.

575 What we will focus on at Spice Media are the issues that are not being adequately addressed on ethnic radio, including domestic violence and youth crime. We highlighted some of the issues relating to domestic violence in our application. Allow me to give you a glimpse into what is happening on the ground:

576 - South Asian women suffering from domestic abuse can be alone in Canada and may be left without any family or financial support for themselves and their children.

577 - South Asian women are frequently turning to transition homes. We can provide them with the best counselling and community resources that we have. However this is often not enough. These women also suffer from some of the issues that Ms. Sandhar mentioned earlier. They are often not employed. They have no local support and are not equipped with the knowledge needed to independently thrive in our community. More often than not they return to the abusive home, only to endure abuse further. This is what we in the counselling field call the “cycle of abuse”.

578 Spice Media wants to break this cycle and to give immigrant women another option. We want to proactively inform them about how to access work and language information, integrate into Canada and build the support networks that they need to live happy and safe lives.

579 In addition to domestic violence, the South Asian community is struggling to address and overcome youth crime. Just this past weekend Surrey marked its 39th shooting of the year. That is more than one shooting a week to date.

580 B.C. is among three provinces in Canada with the highest percentage of reported active youth gangs:

581 - Data shows that South Asian youth are over-represented in youth gangs;

582 - Youth from racialized groups have higher levels of social and economic disadvantage and have an increased risk for social exclusion, negative physical and mental outcomes, and joining gangs.

583 Some of these issues can be attributed to a lack of positive role models for young immigrants. Some have to do with a conflict at home between the parent’s traditional values and the more Western values that their children are adopting in Canada. Others have to do with immigrant parents' traditional method of parenting versus the type of active parenting that may be required in these communities.

584 In my experience as a counsellor, I know that we need to educate both the children and their parents. We believe that the radio should proactively address youth crime. Radio can provide young immigrant Canadians with positive role models. It can educate young South Asians and their parents on means to avoid involvement with gangs. It can also provide a way out for those involved in gangs.

585 Our programming will include initiatives identified in youth violence reports that have been proven to be effective in preventing membership in gangs. These include mobilizing community leaders and residents, identifying cultural issues that may steer young immigrant men to crime, and educating parents on how to better integrate into Canadian society and positively reinforce Canadian values.

586 Ethnic groups, specifically women, young audiences and their parents is our target audience, whether they are listening in their homes, cars or kitchens. In this regard our proposed format will strongly promote the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy.

587 It will help to integrate immigrants into Canadian society;

588 It will foster opportunities for greater understanding among people with different cultural backgrounds;

589 And it will also reflect local issues and concerns that speak to the hearts and minds of Surrey audiences.

590 I am eager to apply my background and experience to the radio sector by helping the Spice Media team address these issues.

591 MR. BEDORE: As Amrita earlier explained, Surrey is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and one of the most ethnically diverse. As we have just heard, with this growth comes a distinct set of problems facing the ethnic communities in Surrey. The vision for Spice Media was created by Amrita, Dr. Sidhu, Sonya and Puneet. These four women are in unique positions in the Surrey community and, as we just heard, have seen and dealt with many of the negative issues impacting ethnic communities on a daily basis. They believe in change and they believe that Spice Media can give people the tools to improve their lives. As the creators of Spice Media, these individuals will provide guidance to our programming department on creating the most effective programming to deal with relevant local issues.

592 Spice Media will provide a new, innovative radio format that will address issues in the South Asian community that have been viewed as taboo subjects on most ethnic radio stations. This will include open line programming and specific one-hour weekly shows that will deal with the social problems in our community.

593 Spice Media will also provide unique programming for the younger demographic. We will have a Director of Social Media who will be responsible for connecting with the younger demographic through social media and hosting a one-hour weekly show that talks directly to young immigrants.

594 Although Spice will have a primary focus on the Surrey population who regard Punjabi as their most common mother tongue, other languages will receive the same approach. We will have show hosts from the various communities in Surrey whose primary languages include Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, Russian, Tagalog and Tamil. These hosts will be trained to take the same focus as our Punjabi programmers in dealing with issues of gang violence, domestic violence and other issues that tend to be prevalent in a significant portion of the ethnic community.

595 All of Spice Media programming will be produced locally. At least half of the broadcast week will be devoted to spoken word in order to provide the informative and interactive programming to immigrants in Surrey that we have promised in our application. We will have 53 hours of non-Punjabi programming.

596 We are mindful of the need to maintain local programming and to promote Canadian programming. Spice will contribute $600,000 to Canadian content development over the course of its licence term. Most of the money will be given to FACTOR and some will go towards a journalism scholarship at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

597 In addition to our financial contribution, Spice Media will promote emerging artists from our target audience and hopefully trigger new local artists. To do so, we will invite emerging artists to come to the studio for interviews and to perform live on air. Additionally, we will provide new artists with information about FACTOR and how to access the resources that they may need to grow their talents through FACTOR. This will increase Canadian content generally and will further diversify the scope and impact of FACTOR.

598 Details about specific proposed programming can be found in the materials filed with our application.

599 MR. SANDHAR: As Tom has indicated Spice Media has a unique and new format. This unique formatting will have a minimal impact on existing radio services and will likely be complimentary to these services. Our advertising services will cater to businesses that presently cannot afford to advertise with the existing stations or are unable to do so because of a lack of availability.

600 Spice Media respectfully submits that the status quo is not tenable. The existence of cross-border stations indicates that there is a demand in the Vancouver listener and business market for additional ethnic radio programming services. We urge the Commission to take active steps to license a new player within the ecosystem of the Canadian broadcasting system. Such a step will repatriate significant revenues from these unauthorized services. This is the way to move forward and the right direction for the Vancouver/Surrey radio market.

601 MS. GHAG: We believe that it is important to note that we have proposed a transparent corporate structure. As set out in our application, Spice Media Group will be overseen by its board of directors. Our corporation is made of stakeholders that are independent and new to the local broadcasting market.

602 We bring a team of highly educated professionals who are knowledgeable of their community. We are not simply an arm of an existing station operating here or abroad.

603 As we are conscious of maintaining the best quality programming that focuses on local issues, we will maintain and refresh an independent advisory committee comprised of five prominent persons from the various local ethnic communities to meet at least quarterly. The committee will inform the station on the means of better reflecting our community on an ongoing basis.

604 We submit that there is clear evidence of the need for a dedicated ethnic station in Surrey. The question before the Commission is which of the applicants best meets the policy objectives of licencing.

605 Spice Media’s format is new and unique. Above all else, the format captures the spirit of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, while focusing on contemporary and local issues.

606 Spice Media will offer quality programming that reflects the local community, including Surrey’s diversity and distinctiveness. We have a diversity of voices from all major ethnic groups in Surrey.

607 We are distinct from existing stations and applications that have existing ownership interests in Surrey or cross-border stations. We are an independent voice with no other media interests, which will promote a diversity of new voices in our market.

608 Our market impact will be minimal as our target audience is presently not being served. Further, the market has ample space in audience and economic revenues to allow for a new ethnic station. We have reasonably projected that 70 percent of our revenue will come from new sources.

609 We seek to complement the existing Surrey broadcasting radio market, not to upset it. Spice Media will offer new programming originating from and for Surrey.

610 We have a well-financed plan that ensures long-term viability. Our principles reflect deep ties to the community and a history of public service.

611 Finally, we will encourage strong listener engagement through our programming, our music and our news and spoken word commitments.

612 As the Commission previously found in relation to the Surrey market, it is “young, ethnically diverse (primarily South Asian) and growing quickly”. Surrey not only needs a dedicated ethnic station, it needs one that is operating within the law, respects CRTC policy, promotes integration into Canadian society and discusses the real issues facing the local community. That station is Spice Media.

613 We hope that the Commission will support the significant contribution that Spice Media can make to the Surrey radio market. We thank the Commission for considering our application and we look forward to answering your questions.

614 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I will put you in the hands of Vice-Chair Menzies.

615 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you. Good morning.

616 I think we can all agree that we want a station that is operating within the law. That would be a good place to start. I just have a few regulatory questions and then we will work through and go into your business plan and programming and that sort of stuff, hopefully in some kind of order.

617 I'm curious that the -- about your application in that it contained -- the study was the one commissioned by a competitor, Cache Broadcasting.

618 MS. GHAG: Yes, it was.

619 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And I found that somewhat unique. So why did you choose to do that particularly when that -- a study used by that previous applicant was not successful?

620 MS. GHAG: Thank you for that question. Ms. Sandhar will be answering that question.

621 MS. SANDHAR: Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chair.

622 Well, that is correct. We did use the stats from the survey by NRG in our materials as you have indicated. In reviewing the public record and when we were determining whether a new survey was required or not, we identified the NRG survey which evidenced the need for our specific format. So the things that were identified in that survey met -- matched with what we were viewing or visualizing our radio station to be.

623 For example, the report highlighted the need of an ethnic station and increased listenership among new immigrants and lack of female youth programming. So we used that as a jumping-off point for us.

624 With our experience in living in the community in Surrey for all these years we felt that, you know, whatever that survey indicated matches completely what the requirements that are shown in the Surrey with what we think we need to do at our radio station and that was the reason why we thought we needed to, you know, apply for this radio station.

625 So we kind of thought about it and we realized is there -- you know, do we need to do another survey just a year or two years later which will come up with the same stats? Then what we decided was we would use the experience we have from living in the community. It echoed with what the survey had already identified.

626 So we went and talked to the community. We discussed it with the people who lived in the community in addition to our experiences. You will note that we have, you know, supporting letters from various members, numerous members of the community who said that, "Yes, we think -- we support this concept and the issues that you think your radio station will raise".

627 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And thank you for that.

628 I assume from your oral presentation that some of the social issues that you wish to address with this operation have not got better and particularly struck by your mention of the 39th shooting of the year. But for the record, do you think that because that study is about three and a half years old that is -- are those social issues status quo from then? Have they -- are they getting worse? Are they alleviating in any way, again from your conversations through the community and your supporting intervenors?

629 MS. SANDHAR: Yeah, well, with the current scenario and the current stats in terms of youth and gang violence; yes, that has gotten worse and, as we had indicated in our oral presentation.

630 I must also put some focus on that the reason we have come up with this application and why we feel so passionate about addressing these needs is it's not just because in the last little while this has happened. It is because this is a community which has so many new immigrants that come into the community at the time. It's a community which has so many, you know, female residents here as well. And in any community and specifically in ours because it has new immigrants as well, these issues will be ongoing.

631 What we will feel is that the current approach is more reactive. We talk about things when something happens which is important, but the reason why this group got together and we realized that we needed to address this and what better way of doing this, you know, than through the medium of a radio station, is because we do feel -- I mean we would be really excited if these stats get better.

632 But I think the reason we are here is to be more proactive. These issues will always be there in any community but, you know, it would be good to have them, the numbers, go down. But our approach is we want to address these proactively so that these numbers get better and then they don't happen.

633 So in essence, in answering your question, even if the stats had not gone, you know the stats have gone worse but say, even if it was status quo, our reason for being here is to deal with them first so that this doesn't happen. And I think in any community that especially the immigrants will continue to come, there will be issues with immigrants integrating into the society. The youth will always be there in any community.

634 But because these issues that are happening in ours, we want to be addressing them proactively. We want to do things which would help in these things not even happening in our community.

635 MR. BEDORE: Commissioner Menzies, if I can just add to that, these four women, their professional careers deal with these issues from legal to counselling and so on. So they see these issues all the time and because they take the professional approach which is getting to the root cause, they have decided that we could create a radio format that would take the same approach.

636 Radio has dealt with issues -- these issues in the past and it does tend to be reactive. Something happened today. Someone was shot, so our talk show will deal with that today.

637 That's not what we are planning to do. We are planning to deal with these issues on a weekly basis, a daily basis so that we can impart the information on how the residents of this community of Surrey can deal with them in a proactive way.

638 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So what is it about the existing providers, CJRJ and RED-FM, that they are not meeting this need? I mean they do a lot of talk programming and they are -- for their commercial viability they need to be in touch with the communities and that sort of stuff.

639 So what is it that -- I mean I'm not asking you to bash them, but what is the gap in service that leads you to believe that you can build a large audience?

640 MS. SANDHAR: Mr. Bedore, you can add onto it, but I'd start.

641 I think, again, we are not here to bash on any radio stations. I think everyone is doing a fantastic job. We are here to talk about our strengths. And I think the other radio stations are more music-based and as we feel as residents, as the members of this community, that it is more proactive. It is talked about. It is talked about when it happens.

642 There is -- you know we talk about news and we talk about international news all the time. The reason you see us, you know this team here on this table, is because we feel through our experience -- as I am a lawyer and meet with many, many families on a monthly basis. Out of them, lots of them are young, you know youth and lots of them are new immigrants. I also have mentored many, many children in school. I have chaired many youth mentorship programs. I have mentored new immigrants. We all through our experiences felt that this was not being addressed adequately enough.

643 Again, on a proactive basis we do address this for a short time when something happens in the community. But what we feel is we feel these things need to be addressed. For us, when the call came in it was the best way of addressing them is through this media, through a radio station.

644 MR. BEDORE: As the applicant prior to us mentioned, I think when you asked some questions about the talk show and so on and they said, "Well, you know, we will have jokes, we'll have riddles". That's not going to be our focus, not to say that it couldn’t happen in a talk show.

645 Our focus is going to be the real hard issues that exist in the Surrey community that we are going to want to talk about on a regular basis, and not just talk about but provide solutions.

646 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So that's a reasonable jumping-off point to give you the opportunity to enhance my understanding about the nature of the community we are serving.

647 Both the two stations I just mentioned, and most of the applicants and your application has a preponderance of programming in Punjabi -- I think yours is 70 percent -- and then Hindi. And it's common in these things for all of us to refer to people of South Asian descent as if that's actually a homogenous group; right? I mean South Asia is a very large place with very, very many people from very, very many different backgrounds and faiths; traditions and histories.

648 So in terms of the Punjabi and the Hindi communities that we are talking about, help me understand that nature of Surrey in terms of its cultural groups and how they interact. Are you trying to -- and why is it 70 percent Punjabi? What does that group look like in terms of its histories, its cultural breakdowns, versus Hindi? Is there something that we should know in terms of differences?

649 MS. SANDHAR: If I understand your question correctly, Mr. Vice-Chair, I think the question is that when we say South Asian community what reality comprises Surrey of?

650 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah. I mean how is the Surrey South Asian community constituted?

651 MS. SANDHAR: I don't have the exact stats but I can mention some that I have in front of me. For example, in 2007 alone 21.3 percent of Surrey's population had Punjabi as their mother tongue.

652 So definitely, Punjabi-speaking, you know we generally call them South Asian or simply people from North India are comprised of the main percentage of the ethnic community. There is other parts, you know, elements to the ethnic community as well. There is lots of Chinese people now that are immigrating, are moving into Surrey. There is lots of Philippines who speak Tagalog and that's why we have covered that in our programming as well.

653 A lot of residents of Surrey are also from other adjoining countries; Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. But you know people from Pakistani background, for example, all understand Hindi and Punjabi, so that is pretty much covered in that -- in that aspect.

654 But if -- generally talking about it in absence of me having exact numbers in front of me, it is primarily Punjabi community.

655 When you talk about ethnics, I think 80 percent of that is Punjabi community.

656 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that's primarily of Indian background, that the Pakistani community would be part of the listening audience for Punjabi and Hindi programming?

657 MS. PUNEET: Yeah. Anyone who speaks Punjabi understands Hindi. They're very, very similar to speak and understand.

658 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there a Tamil community? For instance, in -- Toronto has a very large Tamil community.

659 MS. PUNEET: Yeah. Not as predominant here, and definitely not that much in Surrey. Yes, in Toronto, the South Indian community, they're from -- Tamil is South Indians. It's very, very large.

660 So if you compare that with Surrey residents, it's very -- like the difference is huge.

661 MR. BEDORE: And just further to that, the reason we are closing in on the Punjabi community is because of the significant population in Surrey.

662 The New Vision application in the 2014 CRTC hearing cited that Punjabi as mother tongue was more than 50 percent of the population of Surrey.

663 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I mean, one of the reasons I ask that is because -- and this can happen from -- and does, frequently, occur or occurred from time to time with folks is that I've had -- over the years, I've had occasional, not formal complaints, but feedback in terms of some of the evening and brokered programming and that sort of stuff from prominent members of ethnic communities, primarily in Calgary where I was, regarding the nature of some of that programming and that some of it was bringing baggage from the old country in that didn't necessarily -- wasn't necessarily helpful in regards to that in the same sense that one could have said 30 years ago about the Irish from time to time.

664 So as you are doing a lot of online programming and that sort of stuff, do you have plans to manage those sorts of issues?

665 You've talked about sort of forward-looking programming in terms of assisting people in transitioning in Canada while maintaining their cultural heritage.

666 So in terms of your open line programming and that sort of stuff, what plans do you have around managing those sorts of issues should they arise?

667 They certainly don't sound like the topics you want to talk about, but others may on evening programming.

668 MR. BEDORE: They could be the topics we want to talk about, though, Commissioner Menzies.

669 In my previous experience with ethnic radio managing World FM in Edmonton, those issues did come up. And that was -- sometimes it tended to be a fairly significant part of my job to deal with those issues, complaints from one language about another language.

670 That can happen. It's the nature of the beast. And you know, we can decide to shy away from having open line shows and dealing with difficult issues, or we can deal with them head on. And as long as we are giving everybody the opportunity to voice their opinion, their concern, I think we'll achieve the goals of the broadcasting industry in this country.

671 THE CHAIRPERSON: So as part of your -- in terms of your proposed programming, you would have what sort of safeguards in place, technically, and in terms of -- and managerially?

672 MR. BEDORE: The delay system that is, you know, pretty prevalent in -- on any talk radio station. We'll have the delay system.

673 I mean, if a situation ---

674 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, you've got experience at World FM. I mean, would you be using that as a template to -- because this is sort of for the record, kind of need to know what your plans would be around that sort of stuff in terms of open line programming.

675 MR. BEDORE: Well, as I say, the seven-second delay is one thing we would use, but in certain circumstances, we may bring an end to the programming prematurely that day ---


677 MR. BEDORE: --- because things appear to be getting out of hand.

678 Now, are we going to close the book on the issue? No, we're not. And we'll be back with it, but perhaps -- you know, perhaps we had a guest -- a guest expert who, you know, just wasn't able to deal with, perhaps, some of the prejudices that he had, so you know, we may have to do some coaching there.

679 I mean, it can be a difficult -- a difficult thing to deal with, but it's important.

680 THE CHAIRPERSON: So give me some -- I mean, I've spent a lot of my life in media, and I'm very aware that people can get passionate when they hear things they disagree with, so it's important for media organizations to be able to manage that.

681 So how would you respond to complaints, and would you be a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, for instance?

682 MR. BEDORE: Oh, certainly. That goes without question.


684 MR. BEDORE: Yeah. And you know, often, that's where complaints will come in, through the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and then ---

685 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then referred to you.

686 MR. BEDORE: --- then I would reply to them and copy the person who filed the complaint.

687 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. I mean, ideally, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is bored because things are managed at the local level before they elevate there. So I'm just, again, trying to get a sense of what your internal process would be.

688 MR. BEDORE: From my standpoint, we look forward to getting this input to adjust our programming.

689 The way we have set up the radio station, we have the main shareholders, the Board of Directors, and then we'll have an advisory board made up of the community.

690 The advisory board will be five, perhaps six people rotating, so we'll drop one off every couple of years and bring someone else new in.

691 This advisory board will be based in the various languages. It won't be Punjabi, solely Punjabi. It will -- you know, we'll have someone from the Russian community.

692 What I, as general manager, would do is -- one of my most important jobs is getting out into those communities and letting them know that I look forward to understanding better the issues so that we can present them on air in an effective manner.

693 In addition to that -- so if there is a show today that we air and, you know, we receive a number of complaints from listeners, it's going to be a long day, but I'm going to talk to all of those listeners, find out what their complaints are, find out how we can resolve this to -- and perhaps it's to have a talk show in their language.

694 And Mr. Vice-Chairman, if I could just add, from a regulatory standpoint, I mean, the licensee will comply with Commission policy, at the very minimum, to have internal guidelines and policies and other mechanisms in place in accordance with the current policy to address those kinds of open line issues, so that would be a minimum starting point.

695 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

696 As you brought up, the advisory committee maybe can just unpack that a little bit more for it.

697 I think you described its role a little bit, but who would select -- you mentioned in your application advisory panel of five.

698 Who would select those?

699 MR. BEDORE: That will be created by the Board.


701 MR. BEDORE: And the reason it will be created by the Board is that the Board, these four women, have come up with this concept for a new approach to ethnic radio in Canada, dealing with the issues that are in our community. So they're going to give the vision and the direction to this Board.

702 This is what we're looking for. What we want from you, our advisory board, is to give us the information that our programming team can then take and put in place on our radio station.

703 I know advisory boards have been used in radio for many, many years, and certainly in mainstream radio, sometimes I wonder how well they work.

704 In ethnic radio, particularly the format that we are planning, I think it is a crucial part of our application that we have an advisory board. We need the information coming up. We need to know how we're doing.

705 Are we dealing with the subjects in your specific language that need to be dealt with? How is our host doing? Everything.

706 We look forward to that information and using it. It's a critical part of our business plan.

707 THE CHAIRPERSON: And those advisory committee members, they would have a fixed term, did you say?

708 MR. BEDORE: Yes.

709 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of what, three, four, five?

710 MR. BEDORE: Well, initially we'll -- you know, we'll have a five-person board and, at the end of two years, one of those people will drop off and we'll bring a new one on.

711 So every two years, we'll have a fresh face, a fresh language group. And that'll be one thing that we will focus on, is if we haven't had someone from the Russian community yet, okay, we need someone from the Russian community to be on that board.

712 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And how would you measure the success of that committee? If you were to get this licence and launch next year and five years later we were to meet and I were to say how is it going, is that committee a success, would you have some sense of how you would measure that? Or is it just a -- I mean, I know it’s difficult to do empirically, but non-empirically what would be -- what would you be looking at in terms of --

713 MR. BEDORE: Well ---

714 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- deciding whether it was a success or I mean, you know with these things you can sometimes set them up and they have a lot of energy for a year, year and a half, two years, and after that it kind of becomes can somebody else take that meeting for me and it just kind of fades away and ---

715 MR. BEDORE: Well, for me specifically, I don’t speak any of these languages. I only speak English. And so I need input from these communities. So I suppose it will be anecdotal.

716 You know, we could talk in five years and you could ask me that question, how are they doing? And if my -- I believe my answer will be beautifully. They are providing me the information I need to work with the programming department and they’re providing me with information that I didn’t even realize that I was going to get. I mean, that could be a suggestion of a new talent in that community. Have you ever thought about using this person? Do they have any experience? No, they have no radio experience. Are they passionate? Yes, they are. You think they can learn? Yes. Okay. Yeah. We’ll take a look at them.

717 And you know, because the issues are so -- and I think we mentioned in our oral presentation that some of these issues are taboo on other radio stations. I’m sure we’re going to get some comments from people that say you should not be dealing with that. And that’s where we go to the advisory board and they can help me make a decision then, an informed decision on whether we should continue going down this road. Because maybe we shouldn’t.

718 MS. SANDHAR: And if I could add on to Mr. Bedore’s comments, Mr. Vice-Chair. In answer to your question and how -- I mean, how will we come up with who’s going to be on the advisory committee? We will -- what we are trying to do is we’re trying to make it very -- not just interactive, but this is to serve the public. And so our -- one of the discussions we’ve had is we’ll make public service announcements on our radio inviting people that this is what we want, you know, or through our website before even the station comes up is that this is -- we need input and we need people and we plan that our advisory committee is not just going to be people speaking Punjabi. It’ll be people representing other ethnicities as well.

719 So yes, the board will make a decision on who sits on the advisory committee, but it’s not the board who picks the people. It’ll be the feedback from the people. It’ll be we will invite people from the public to come in and say, you know, offer if they want to sit on the advisory committee. And then, you know, from the pool that we have pick the best who could serve the station and serve the needs of the station best.

720 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I have a few technical sort of clean up questions now and then we’ll come back and talk about your programming and business plan a little bit.

721 One is I need to clarify just a little inconsistency. In your application I believe you put in for -- you indicated 600,000 in -- over and above CCD contributions over 7 years and you mentioned that again today. But in one of your -- in I think it’s January 22nd reply to deficiencies it -- the numbers you gave us in year 3 -- I think the difference was in year 3 for some 90,000 was plugged in as opposed to the original 75,000 was plugged in so that actually gave us $615,000. That can just be a typo of just, for the record, is it 600 or is it 615?

722 MR. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-Chair, the number that we’ve committed is the 600,000.


724 MR. SANDHAR: And ---

725 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And that would be 50, 75, 75, 90 --

726 MR. SANDHAR: Ninety (90).

727 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- 90, 110, 110?

728 MR. SANDHAR: That’s correct, yes.

729 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you.

730 And are you willing if your application is successful to have your proposal -- your levels of ethnic and third language programming entrenched as conditions of licence that’s 98 percent ethnic programming and 98 percent third language every week?

731 MS. KAUR GHAG: Yes, we do.


733 And does that mean 72 percent in Punjabi and Hindi languages?

734 MS. KAUR GHAG: Yes, that’s correct.

735 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Would you be further willing to have conditions of licence determining 70 hours Punjabi and 20 hours Hindi per broadcast week or is that a problem for you?

736 MS. KAUR GHAG: That’s not a problem. We agree to that.

737 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And -- oh, and in terms of your over and above, does that -- can you confirm that that applies equally to your AM 900 and your alternative 106.9 FM proposals?

738 MR. SANDHAR: Actually, for FM station it actually goes down because we projected that our revenues will drop with the FM station.


740 MR. SANDHAR: So it actually goes down and the number that we proposed is 500,000.

741 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Five hundred (500)?

742 MR. SANDHAR: Yeah.

743 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That would be ---

744 MR. SANDHAR: Thirty thousand (30,000) year 1, 55 year 2 --


746 MR. SANDHAR: -- 65 year 3, 75 year 4 and 5, and 100,000 year 6 and 7.

747 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And I believe in a response to an earlier question you kind of indicated this, but again for the record, can you confirm that you will adhere to all industry codes as detailed in Section 8.14 of your application regarding advertising to children and the equitable portrayal code?

748 MS. KAUR GHAG: Yes, I agree.


750 Okay. Now, the business plan. And we’ll deal with the AM 900 proposal first.

751 You propose to make $631,900 in year 1, which is -- we’ve just been talking about the over and above which is more than that in a single year. And I’m really stretching to understand that, to be honest. That seems like your financial projections and overall the revenue you’re looking at for the first seven years for that is almost twice as high as the next most aggressive number anyone’s given us.

752 So I’m skeptical when I look at that and I expect others would be. But I’m also open-minded and prepared to -- wanting to give you the opportunity to dispossess me of my skepticism that you’re capable of finding that sort of revenue with your AM 900 proposal. Because it’s more than -- to be honest, it’s more than I’ve seen anywhere for an ethnic proposal. And it’s actually almost more than -- I mean, most commercial I look at folks are planning on losing money for three or four years before they break even, let alone find profit.

753 MR. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-Chair, our financial model is based on, you know, advertisement slots that are split into 80/20, 80 percent for the local advertisers and 20 percent for the national advertisers. And the rate per time slot is $15 for the local and 35 for the national.

754 Then when we were building our financial model we did a market research and extensive market research. And two things that we found that there are a lot of small business owners that are willing to advertise with the radio stations, but right now they cannot -- either they cannot get a time slot or they cannot afford it and they do not want to go with the cross border, the radio stations. And the reason as pointed out that, you know, you cannot claim for the tax deductions.

755 So when we were building our financial model we projected to sell 50 percent of our advertising time slots in year 1, and then we have the incremental growth, and maintaining a per time slot price.

756 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How does that -- how do those rates compare to what’s being charged in the market right now?

757 MR. SANDHAR: Our understanding is that different radio stations have different prices based on their programming. Some programs are higher than the other programs. Whereas, our model is focussed on a flat fee of $15. Yeah.

758 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So from a business point of view, help me put together your advertising -- the advertisers that you're going to approach. And I mean working with advertisers is something that’s -- it’s -- it doesn’t work unless it’s mutually beneficial. Your target demographic is primarily female from 12 to 40 -- and setting aside the laudable social goals you have -- from a commercial point of view 14-year old young woman don’t have any money to spend other than what their parents give them. So they're traditionally not -- I mean they may be attractive to advertisers for certain things because they can certainly talk their parents into buying things, but from a commercial point of view most people look at markets a little -- beginning a little older, this is one of the reasons why sometimes younger demographics are underserved by media, because they're not very attractive to advertisers.

759 So help me put that together, is the buying power of women in the older end of that demographic so powerful that it overwhelms the weakness of the buying power of the younger women?

760 MS. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-chair, I’ll actually start with answering that question and I’ll let Mr. Sandhar deal with the numbers part of it.

761 No, our target audience is not just female listeners, our target age group is yes, 12 to 40, but there's a lot of factors involved in there. Our programming and our concerns that we want to address through our programming is addressing -- youth is one and then females and new immigrants.

762 Now, keeping in mind immigrants are all age groups. Immigrants could be -- immigrants are young, they're young families, they're -- you know, so I think there may be a bit of a misunderstanding. Our listeners are not just going to be young people, our listeners will be listeners who can connect to the issues that we need to address through our programs.

763 So one issue for example is, you know, helping new immigrants integrate, that’s a broad range of age group. The second issue is dealing with youth violence. Yes, youth violence has a youth part to it, ben then a major part of that is talking to their parents. You can't deal with youth violence, mentoring the youth unless you talk to the parents, so that would be our audience as well. And our audience will also be second and third generation immigrants.

764 So although our target, you know, age group of the issues that we want to discuss is that age group, but the people who are affected with that issue is all the age groups, and so we anticipate every age group listening to our programs.

765 And then because of that, anyone who wants to advertise on our program will, you know, there's absolutely no problem with -- or question or concern as to why should I advertise on this radio station because only 12-year olds are going to listen. No, it’s going to be listened by, you know, listener in every age group because they are the ones who can connect with the issues that we’re going to raise in our radio station.

766 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, so it’s -- because you did say in your oral presentation today that the emphasis would be on females age 12 to 40.

767 MS. SANDHAR: The emphasis on one issue is on females, but I think it may be misstated, it’s -- the age group is 12 to 40 ---

768 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, that’s fine. I mean that's what this is for ---

769 MS. SANDHAR: Yeah.

770 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- is to clear the ---

771 MS. SANDHAR: Yeah.

772 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- is to clear that -- those sorts of misunderstandings. And let’s just stay with the programming for a little bit because ---

773 MS. SANDHAR: Right.

774 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- it’ll -- if we’re clear on some of that it will help me with some of the business questions ---

775 MS. SANDHAR: Right.

776 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- going forward.

777 What you described in terms of your programming in your oral presentation today was very sincere, and obviously it has significant social value behind it in terms of addressing these issues about health issues, domestic violence. The doctor said women’s awareness of breast and cervical cancer issues and testing and those sorts of things, I think I’ve heard people mention diabetes in the past as being another vital issue.

778 And all that said, it’s not really very entertaining; right? Like people don’t like to listen about cancer a lot; right? They don’t -- I mean they want to be well informed on it but they really don’t want to dwell on it; right?

779 So as sincere as this was, I need to know that -- help -- more fully inform me about the nature of the programming that these matters will be dealt with in a fashion that will build audiences that will receive that information as they're ongoing as necessarily what might be a little challenging in terms of building commercially-viable audiences.

780 So maybe you can take that apart a little bit for me and help me with that.

781 MR. BEDORE: Thank you, Commissioner Menzies. I agree 100 percent, when you look at it in that fashion and we’ve talked about that. However, these issues do need to be dealt with and it’s not like that’s going to be all of our programming. But a part of dealing with whether it’s gang violence or domestic abuse, is -- part of it is providing information. And I think if we, you know, use promos on the air to let people know that the show is coming up, although it is difficult -- difficult material to deal with, these people want the information, they want to integrate into Canada, they want to learn how to do various things, they want to get a job.

782 So there's no question, some of it is going to be, you know, a little difficult to digest for some people sometimes. And we’re aware of the fact that there might be some advertisers who may not want to be attached to that program because it’s too -- too radical, too, you know, it’s a subject that they don’t want to be. We’ll be aware of that and we will make adjustments to that to ensure that they're not attached to a program like that if they’ve let us know about that.

783 As far as the listeners go, you know, we’re going to be, you know, we know these issues exist and we know they -- for that matter they exist in more than just the city of Surrey, I mean there are immigrations across this country, it’s been a huge issue as we -- as we all know in this country. So it’s the only way to make the world a better place, to make our city of Surrey a better place, is to deal with them head-on.

784 And again, you know, we’ll look to our Advisory Board to provide input on that. If our Advisory Board comes to us and says, “You know, I think you're going to have to lighten things up a bit”, maybe we will look at, you know, a talk show that deals with lighter, fluffier material than gang violence. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to deal with those issues.

785 MS. SANDHAR: And if I could add onto that, it’s -- half of our programming is spoken word and half of it -- Mr. Bedore, if you could elaborate -- is still, you know, it’d still be covering the music and the entertainment part of it.

786 MR. BEDORE: There will be laughing and dancing as well.

787 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, that’s exactly ---

788 MS. SANDHAR: There will be laughing and dancing, but I can tell you from experience -- I mean I completely understand that these issues are, you know, hard to deal with and not everyone may want to listen, but I think you’d be surprised. Talk about a young person who’s immigrated to Canada with his family, he’s finding challenges trying to mingle with the kids of the same age at his school. So if there is a programming addressing that and the host is someone who’s that age, I'm sure his parents and the child himself -- I shouldn’t say “child”, but the youth himself would be interested.

789 So as stark and grave and dark or the topic sound I think they're -- I think we can all relate to it and every age group can relate to it. They may not be -- I mean they're not always sad per se to talk about, they're very informative generating. So if a young person, a young child who’s immigrated with his parents can find information that -- it may not be, you know, a very heavy discussion, it might -- it would be a very light show, but something that addresses the concerns we think need to be addressed.

790 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not critiquing the social merits of the contents.

791 MS. SANDHAR: No, absolutely not.

792 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I’m just trying to understand how it fits into if I was tuning in to this station, what I would be listening to on a daily basis and why I would want to be a faithful and loyal listener.

793 And part of that, can you just help inform me a little bit better in terms of the nature of the issue -- one of the issues you’ve mentioned in your oral presentation about fewer immigrant women speak English or French, and therefore -- I mean I think it follows, you said immigrant women are less likely to participate in organizations and associations. I mean language can be socially isolating to a certain extent and it can also be community reinforcing.

794 But it’s always been my understanding that you have to have some facility in English or French in order to immigrate. So I’m -- and it doesn’t mean it’s vast, but how is this developing? How big an issue is this that -- particularly for women, that they are linguistically limited like that?

795 Because one of -- the reason I say it is because one of the critiques I've had from time to time regarding the nature of these stations from, again, senior leaders that I've known from Punjabi and other South Asian communities is that it doesn't help by having -- when you create a Punjabi radio station for somebody who only speaks Punjabi, it actually makes her life easier to stay in Punjabi.

796 And that's not a bad thing, but it reduces the incentive to learn English.

797 MS. SANDHAR: I completely agree with you, Mr. Chair. And being a first-generation immigrant myself, I completely echo with what you say.

798 I'll readdress that problem.

799 So yes, let's assume, you know, a young female immigrating to Canada, you're absolutely right, we don't want her to confine her to the areas where she could only communicate, be able to do everything in Punjabi for her to integrate with the rest of the mainstream community. She needs to understand English.

800 But what we intend to do through the programming is provide her the first initial steps of guidance to how to take her first initial steps.

801 I, myself, from my, you know, personal experience can tell you I have been an immigrant myself. I have -- English is not my first language, but fortunately, I have not had any challenges, you know, with English. But there were so many other areas where I needed help.

802 I mentor new immigrants who want to pursue their career, so when we say, you know, we want this programming to be in Punjabi, it's not because we want them to just be limited to Punjabi. It's to be able to connect them to other sources and how they can improve on their English, give them guidance and where they can go, what they can do.

803 You know, new immigrant professionals guide them on what needs to be done, empower the women to be able to take that step beyond their hesitation and help them to then integrate into the main community.

804 So our intent is not to limit them to just Punjabi, but because most of the immigrants, you know -- and because we are dealing with Punjabi immigrants, Punjabi will be their first language. This is the first step, the immediate help that they need.

805 It's not to stop them from learning English or to be able to -- you know, to integrate into the mainstream English community.

806 MR. BEDORE: And Commissioner Menzies, in order to do that, you have to speak in their language to get them comfortable, to understand there's a way out. There's a way out of maybe not leaving your house on a daily basis because you're afraid of the mainstream society.

807 Ms. Bhandal, who is on our panel here, I think, is a pretty good example of that.

808 She arrived here, I don't believe could speak English, and -- I'll let her speak. I'll let you tell her the story.

809 MS. BHANDAL: Mr. Chair, at the age of 17 when I moved here to Canada, I don't speak English at all. Like I speak Punjabi. And the first thing, my friend is a radio. It's a small box, wooden box, like back then, like 1991.

810 So I start listening the radio and then, slowly, slowly, I just get connected, get all the information where I get more information and all that. It's in my language, in Punjabi, and it's very easy for me.

811 Since then, now it's 2016, and I'm a radio host with a few different radios and a TV host, TV broadcasting and director and everything, so I'm an example of ---

812 MS. SANDHAR: This is a good example of how radio as an outlet could empower a new immigrant who has, you know, difficulty in understanding English, but now she's a radio host. She -- you know, she's aired many radio programs. And she said she learned from the radio. She knew where to go from.

813 It wasn't disabling her. It empowered her.

814 MR. BEDORE: And by the way, she's a link for me, too, in how this radio station will work.

815 We have our Board of Directors who provide the vision to the advisory board, who provide me with the information on how we can program this, and then I go to Ms. Bhandal to actually help to implement it because she does it. She knows how to do it.

816 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was going to ask you at some point how your Punjabi was coming along.

817 MR. BEDORE: It's getting better, surprisingly.


819 So back to your business plan now that I have a better understanding of your programming. And we might touch on it again.

820 Yeah. I was looking at your national advertising projections, and I think we're talking about growing, eventually, to 1.5 million in year 7.

821 Have you had any conversations with agencies regarding projected income, advertising opportunities through them?

822 MR. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-Chair, it was based on our extensive market research that we did at that time. And some of the things that we factored in and that might -- that are part of our revenue, you know, as I said, that we had 80-20 split to begin with and the national revenue is higher.

823 What we've done is there are some national brands, for example, a car dealership, you know, if we have a Mercedes dealership and they have the national advertising and then there are local dealerships that want to advertise. So that revenue might be allocated to wrong revenue bucket, so you know, we need to understand that.

824 Further to that, we are planning to have two sales representatives, and our goal is to dedicate one of those two to grow national revenue.

825 We've seen from first-time -- first-hand experiences that there is a lot of national revenue that has not been explored at this point of time, and it was quite evident during the last federal elections where national parties wanted to create a brand, but somehow had a difficult time venturing into ethnic radio stations.

826 THE CHAIRPERSON: But isn't the national advertising revenue pool in a bit of a decline as more and more of it moves to online?

827 MR. SANDHAR: The recent stats, I guess, that it is actually growing in ethnic media.

828 I think when we look at overall industry, it's probably declining, but there's some growth in the ethnic media.

829 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So help me understand who these advertisers are because you say 70 percent of them are going to be -- are people who -- you say new advertisers, but I want to clarify, first of all, that that doesn't mean they aren't people who don't advertise, but they are people who don't currently advertise in radio. Is that ---

830 MR. SANDHAR: Most of them will actually be absolutely brand new advertisers.

831 There are two components to that. One is that one that are absolutely brand new, and the second that are advertising with cross-border radio stations.

832 So we put them in a brand new category just because, right now, they're not contributing to Canadian system, either in the form of taxes.

833 THE CHAIRPERSON: How much revenue do you think there is to be retrieved from the U.S. stations?

834 MR. SANDHAR: In our projections, we -- I would say it's a 40-30 mix. Like we said, 70 percent new revenue, so 40 percent of that would be absolutely brand new, and 30 percent of ---

835 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. I should have been clearer on my question.

836 How much money do you think they make, and how much revenue do you think is turning into ads that are broadcast from the U.S. back to Surrey:

837 MR. SANDHAR: So Vice-Chair, I do not have the exact number, but what I understand is that those -- they pay significant leave fees to operate the cross-border stations, so I assume the number would be significantly high.

838 THE CHAIRPERSON: A million dollars a year?

839 MR. SANDHAR: Sorry?

840 THE CHAIRPERSON: A million dollars a year, two million?

841 MR. SANDHAR: Maybe upwards of million dollars a year.

842 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.

843 Now, when you talk about these new advertisers and some of the old, like what sectors are they in? Where's your sales team going to work?

844 Is it real estate, is it automotive, is it retail clothing, shopping? Is it Canadian Tire? Is it Walmart? Is it independent retailers of specific interest to the Punjabi and Hindi audiences, food stores, clothing, that sort of stuff?

845 Do you have a -- kind of a breakdown for us on that?

846 MR. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-Chair, you pretty much covered everything, but you know, it will include the restaurants. We've already heard about the real estate market which has various components to it.

847 You know, you have the real estate agents, you have the mortgage brokers. You have the lawyers and the notaries. Construction industry is directly linked with that.

848 Automotive is also a significant part of that. And the bunch of small businesses that are opening up every day. The growth of small businesses is significant.

849 And you know, I just want to tie it back to your earlier question about the demographics as well.

850 When we talk about South Asian household, you know, the decision's not just made by one person. It's a combination. And you know, we had Mr. Badh talking about his real estate business, and he can probably vouch for it when the decision's made, who the real decision-makers are.

851 And just to tie it back to, you know, how kids can influence the decision, so decisions related to the food constantly. They hear an advertisement for a pizza shop and they want to have that particular pizza. That's how kids would influence that.

852 MS. SANDHAR: And if I could add onto that, Mr. Chair, in our application we have shown that all the support of the people who have already agreed to advertise with the radio station and Surrey, a growing municipality, I think it's growing towards being one of the biggest municipalities of our province, there is lots and lots and lots of small and new businesses that thrive in our community. There is only 24 hours in a day and the current radio stations there is so much demand that the current radio stations are not able to cater to all of that. The fact that the Crosswater radio station still exists, despite the huge carrying costs that they have, shows you how much of demand there is.

853 So this was how we have targeted our business model. There is those existing customers and there is lots more who want to advertise. One can't advertise because enough space or time is not available at the prime slots that they need or the advertising, its costs -- it is getting costly because there is so much demand and supply doesn't kind of manage that right now.

854 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: All right. But that sort of advertising market, that requires an awful lot of shoe leather on the part of salespeople to reach out and get those folks especially at $15 a spot. So it brings me to your -- this sort of sales team that you would have involved in. You talked about two people there.

855 One of the things that struck me when I was looking at your application was when you were talking about, I think, sales expenses. I am trying to find the chart.

856 Anyway, what it looked like was in terms of your budgeting was your cost of sales expenses were increasing roughly with inflation over the seven years and your revenue was increasing much faster than that. My understanding of being a salesperson was that you worked on commission, and I would be very disappointed as a salesperson to realize that I was growing revenue from, let me see, from 1.7 million in the first year to 23.3 million in the next year and I was only getting a 3 percent raise each year in terms of that.

857 So I am trying to figure out what your business plan is around your salesforce and how you plan to compensate and motivate your salesforce in terms of that.

858 MR. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-Chair, our sales expenses we have split into three categories. One is salary and benefits and the other two components is advertisement expenses and other expenses.

859 And other expenses we will put that in, keeping in mind that as the station grows we will have to come up with a better compensation plan.

860 What we ultimately expect is as the station grows our advertisement expenses will be less and we can be -- we will be able to compensate our sales team for that expense.

861 Because if -- you know, you're absolutely right that consumer price index increase is actually based on 3 percent year over year. But our advertisement expense starts with $24,000 in Year 1. It also continues to grow with that but as get into the second or the third year I think the radio station itself would be advertising. The name would be recognized and we will have a minimum expense on that then.

862 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, I understand that. I understand too that these are preliminary plans.

863 MR. SANDHAR: Yeah.

864 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But I was curious to test your assumptions in there because if I was a salesman and I was working for you, I would be bringing that to your attention in terms of that.

865 So how does all this differ when we go to the 106 FM plan which is obviously a much smaller reach and it seems to be perhaps much more challenging as a business plan? Is that -- do you think this -- I mean we have had the discussion about the aggressive revenue figures for the AM. The FM gets even trickier, I think.

866 So can you give me an overview of the major differences that you see in terms of audience reach whether this is a viable setup?

867 MR. SANDHAR: Mr. Vice-Chair, yes, it is still a viable project even if we go with FM frequency. We factored in the audience gets shrunk once we move to FM.

868 And as far as our revenue projections are concerned, when we did the projections for AM that was based on selling 50 percent advertising slots in Year 1. For FM it's 30 percent in Year 1, and that is something to do with the programming as well.

869 You know, there is an understanding amongst the community that FM is getting more towards the music and AM is more towards the talk shows. And we have seen generally the revenue for the talk shows is higher than the music. So, yes, we factored in reduced revenue but it's still -- our financials are still so robust that the station will still be self-sustaining.

870 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, if your financial, your revenue projections could be off by quite a bit and it appears you would be sustainable, in the AM, why specifically did you pick the 900 frequency?

871 MR. BEDORE: If I could answer that question, Commissioner Menzies, because we are going to broadcast primarily spoken word to achieve our goals in improving the community and dealing with these difficult issues, we don't need the FM frequency which obviously music sounds considerably better than that -- better on FM than AM. I mean the additional advantage, I suppose, with the AM 900 signal is that it does go farther which, in our focus, is selling advertising to the Surrey market. It's an advantage for those Surrey businesses if it goes farther. So the 900 frequency will go farther than our secondary choice on the FM dial.

872 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It certainly would. There might be -- maybe you could address this. Somebody might look at that and say there is a little bit of risk because it's so extensive that it might be difficult to maintain a Surrey focus, for instance. I mean that would be -- I think that you could pick that up in Victoria, the 900 and that sort of stuff that it would become more a Pan-Lower Mainland channel than a Surrey channel.

873 So what is it that would keep your feet anchored in Surrey as opposed being tempted to move out? And move out is -- the thing that strikes me is that Surrey is the heartland of the Punjabi community, right. Am I correct?

874 MR. BEDORE: Absolutely, and that is the reason -- that is the reason we will continue to just focus on Surrey.

875 However, the issues that we deal with they are similar issues no matter whether you live on the island or, you know, Vancouver or wherever you are. The issues are really the same. Obviously, when people listen to us they are going to hear us make obviously references to things that have happened specifically in the city of Surrey. But those listeners if they live on the island and can hear us, they will be able to relate and, hopefully, we will be able to provide them with information and help to improve their lives.

876 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And do you have any concerns about the strength of AM frequency particularly in areas where there is taller buildings? That issue has come to our attention in the past from other operators of AM in markets such as these.

877 MR. HAHN: We expect that in Surrey where we have quite a strong signal and the density isn't as high as it is in Vancouver, we will provide a good quality, reliable signal. In Vancouver ---

878 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: We need a technical director here to fix the mic. It may require some musical chairs. Because we need -- I mean, I can hear it, but we need to have it for the record so and the interpretation.

879 MR. HAHN: So in Surrey itself -- is it not?

880 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: This is ironic. It is happening with our technical director.

881 There’s an idea.

882 MS. SANDHAR: Women always have better ideas, Mr. Vice-Chair.

883 MR. HAHN: Well, in the City of Surrey itself where we have quite a strong signal and the density is less than it is in Vancouver, we expect to provide a good quality reliable signal in Vancouver itself. And the highly built up areas will likely be subject to the same sorts of impairments that other AM stations in the area are.

884 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. While I have you and before you -- and the rationale around the 106 FM signal was -- that was -- technically, why did you prefer that one to anything else? Or was it the only one viable?

885 MR. HAHN: Why did we pick 106?


887 MR. HAHN: I think that was partially due to the site that we had available. It worked better at that site than the other frequencies that were possible.

888 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you.

889 I just wanted to go back to the business plan. You made reference to the studies that you’ve done, marketing studies and that. We’re not familiar with that as part of the record yet. So who conducted that market study for you and that helped you come to those financial projections?

890 MR. SANDHAR: The study was done by the group itself and we reached ---


892 MR. SANDHAR: By our group.


894 MR. SANDHAR: Yeah. And we reached out to more than 200 local businesses in order to get their feedback. And we actually reached way more than 200 but we got more than 200 commitment in terms of that they want to advertise and they cannot advertise and they’re ready to ---

895 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So you took your programming plan to them and said, “This is what we want to do. Will you support us?”

896 MR. SANDHAR: That’s correct.

897 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And those were existing and -- those were people who currently advertise and people who currently don’t advertise or it was the sort of blend that you would be anticipating for your ---

898 MR. SANDHAR: Yeah, it was a mix of both. The ones that are not advertising and some of them were currently advertising.


900 MR. SANDHAR: Yeah.

901 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And you said you talked to two -- you had -- out of that you had 200 people who said they would be willing to --

902 MR. SANDHAR: That’s correct, yeah.

903 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- give you a try?

904 MR. SANDHAR: That’s correct.


906 Is there any brokered content at all in your business plan?

907 MR. BEDORE: No, there are no plans for brokered programming.


909 I think those are all my questions. My colleagues may have a couple.

910 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner MacDonald?

911 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Yes. Okay. Have to love technology at least when it’s working.

912 Just a question with respect to your advisory committee. When -- I would assume there would be a lot of interest in taking part in such a committee on the part of the public. So I’m wondering, and I apologize if I missed it earlier, how will you select from what could potentially be a large number of individuals that want to take part in that?

913 See, if this were a really difficult question that would have been perfect. It’d give you a few extra minutes to think of your response.

914 I’m just wondering how you’re going to rank various different applicants when they’re applying to be on the committee. Is it -- we just don’t want it to be a beauty contest. Are you going to put some criteria around -- or an advanced scoring criteria around who and how you want to choose those successful individuals?

915 MR. BEDORE: Well, I certainly hope that is a problem, Commissioner MacDonald, that we have to deal with.

916 You know, it’s a non-paid position. We are going to be advertising it. And hopefully people do come forward.

917 There will be an interview process, obviously, and we’ll go through that and find out why they do want to be part of our advisory board. And if it fits in with, you know, what we’re looking for which is we want input from your community to help us program the radio station, that’s it. There can’t be any other reasons. That’s the sole reason we want you to help us create this programming that your community is going to tune in to on a daily, a weekly basis.

918 You know, we’ll go through various people. If there’s a situation where we have our five person selected and within two years where we have -- perhaps we have six or seven people that we’d really like to get on the board, we might want to increase the number on the board. Or we may say, you know, we’ve selected a couple of people to be on the board. We don’t have room at this point in time, but we really want you to be a part of this. So in two years, hopefully you still have the same interest and we’ll make you a part of that. However, even though you’re not a part of the advisory board, I want your input. So if you can continue to provide me directly the input on your culture, your language, thank you. And I have an open line. Please, you know, let me know what that is.

919 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So since the line is open, that sort of gives me an opening for a bit of a follow up. And the job of the committee will be to advise you. There are perhaps going to be instances in the future where you don’t like their advice. It’s conceivable you may never like the advice of certain people. Would you see a situation whereby you may have to under a certain circumstance ask for someone to be removed or be forced to remove someone from an advisory capacity on the board?

920 MR. BEDORE: I can’t imagine that happening, but I suppose there is a possibility.

921 I’m -- and the reason I can’t imagine it happening is that these people are in an advisory capacity. They’re not on air show hosts. So they may have views that don’t fit in with our mandate or the mandate of the Canadian Broadcasting System. In our meetings with the advisory board, we’ll let them know we -- you know, we can’t do that. We can’t do that on radio in Canada. That’s just not going to work. I’m sorry.

922 But, you know, maybe they have strong views in one direction but they are providing us good input in other areas. Or perhaps, we have made a bad decision on hiring, on putting a person in this position on the advisory board. And if it’s become completely disruptive, we may look at that option.

923 MS. SANDHAR: And of course, we would have input from the other advisory committee members as well. So the situation that you’ve presented, if the whole of the advisory board is leaning in one direction, then of course they -- you know, we’d be following that. Because it’s -- that’s why we have more than one people on a committee to get viewpoint from everyone and from different perspectives.

924 If it is one person who’s completely leaning in one direction and is not in line with how the radio station or the values of the -- that the radio wants to address is, it’s the rest of the four advisory committee members as well that we would follow. So I mean, that challenge will be in any committee and any group. But I think the reason we have committees and we have groups which is more than one people is to address that.

925 So if there’s a collective decision from the advisory group, it’s very highly unlikely that if something is completely not in line with what the radio station feels is correct, that all five of them would be, you know, going in an opposing direction than the rest of the radio station, you know.

926 MR. BEDORE: And a big part of this advisory committee in compiling them is education, so that education will be in 30 or perhaps 60-second commercial in all of the language saying we have an advisory board, here's what the advisory board does. If you're interested, let us know.

927 So we provide that little bit of information about what we're looking for with the advisory board and then, if people do approach us and say, "Yeah, I'm interested in being a part of that with Spice", then that's where further education goes, okay, I just want to make sure you completely understand what it means to be on the advisory board.

928 And you know, after going through the interview process and so on, I -- again, I feel highly unlikely that we'll have issues with any one person that would make us do the drastic move of letting them know that we don't want their services any more.

929 MR. MACDONALD: Okay. Thank you.

930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. I just forgot to say something. (speaking in other language)

931 Just one final question. I asked this of the previous group of applicants.

932 That one of the options -- not all -- from a technical perspective, not all applications are mutually exclusive so, as a result, it would be possible for the Commission to award more than one licence in the circumstances.

933 So I was wondering if you might be able to discuss the impact on your business plan were the Commission to licence two or more stations as an outcome of this proceeding.

934 MR. SANDHAR: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

935 The way we build our business plan is it's quite robust, and it can deal if there are any deficiencies in our revenues. We do have the financial back-up to support us in case we don't meet our projected revenues in year one.

936 So to answer your question, we are absolutely fine if more than one radio station are awarded.

937 MR. BEDORE: And in addition to that, our programming, I believe, will be unique for ethnic radio in this community, probably across Canada, so if there are additional licences handed out, we don't view that as a problem from a programming standpoint.

938 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So at least from this group of folks, there won't be complaints that we've over-licensed in the marketplace. Okay.

939 MS. SANDHAR: if you allowed us the licence.

940 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, of course.

941 Thank you very much. Those are our questions.

942 I think it's probably time for a lunch break. Why don't we take an hour lunch break and come back at 1:30?

943 Donc, un ajournement jusqu'à 1h30. Merci.

--- Upon recessing at 12:32 p.m.

--- Upon resuming at 1:33 p.m.

944 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

945 We will now proceed with item 3 on the agenda, which is an application by South Fraser Broadcasting Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial FM specialty radio station in Surrey.

946 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.


947 MR. BADH: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Chair, Commissioners, Commission staff. My name is Suki Badh and I am here in my capacity as the sole owner of South Fraser Broadcasting.

948 I am here with my team to present an application for the Beat of the Fraser, a Generations 2.0 and 3.0 version of an ethnic broadcasting service. I am joined today by some very talented people, starting to my immediate left with Cal Koat.

949 Cal has been the architect of our music and parts of our schedule. Cal is not a stranger to the CRTC, having presented the concept of World Music as far back as 1999. He has been talking about World Music, programming and promoting it in the intervening years and is recognized coast to coast as an expert in this content.

950 Next to Cal is Neesha Hothi. Neesha is a communications specialist in Surrey who helps people craft their brand and the messaging around it. Neesha is proudly part of the South Asian community, but understands through her own experience the unique perspective of Gen 2.0.

951 Next to Neesha is Eileen Banting. Eileen is also Generation 2.0, a social media specialist and a mother of three.

952 On my right is Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc. Debra is responsible for our research for this application and has helped to craft both our value proposition for the consumer and our messaging for this hearing.

953 Next to Debra is Salvadore Ferreras, an artist performing in the World Beat format. Salvadore is actually Dr. Ferreras, and is an inductee to the B.C. Hall of Entertainment, a Leo Award and two-time Juno Award nominee. He is currently the Provost and Vice-President, Academic at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

954 Our application for The Beat of the Fraser is unique and takes a far different approach to serving the ethnic communities than others appearing before you in these proceedings.

955 We envision an ethnic station that is distinct in perspective from the mainstream but is much more integrated in terms of language, outlook and positioning than traditional ethnic language stations. The walls that divide and separate cultures are gradually being erased by the next generations, who continually signal that they are far more open to inter-cultural understanding and, in fact, are engaged in learning more about their colleagues and friends. The labels so clearly a part of their parents' generation are not so tightly embraced by these second and third generation ethnic groups.

956 Our experience and our research have shown us that there is a whole group of younger people who are disenfranchised by the silo'ed approach to ethnic radio programming.

957 They also do not hear themselves or their culture reflected in the mainstream English radio. They enjoy the music, but it is only a small part of their broader musical interests, and they cannot relate to most, if any, of the banter. It is not their life or their experience they hear when they tune in.

958 MS. HOTHI: I appeared before the Commission in 2014 making a case on behalf of Generation 2.0/3.0 who are proudly connected to their culture but are much more expansive in their perspective than previous generations. Many of us can understand the mother tongue of our parents, but our education, work and social lives are largely conducted in English. And then there are my peers who do not speak and only partially understand the language of their parents and grandparents.

959 Our connections to our families are strong. Our engagement with cultural traditions and celebrations are evident through our choices. But I do not restrict myself to the experiences of my culture alone. I have a real appetite to experience and understand the multi-cultural diversity of the Surrey landscape.

960 To the majority of us, silo'ed programming that does not result in the removal of barriers is of little or no interest. We are the generations who like to share our experiences, and we want to stay connected 24/7.

961 We're looking for bridges, not divides. We're looking for a radio service that opens the gates to understanding the people who live in this city by using the language most understand in the Surrey region, English.

962 We are not opposed to hearing the language of our parents because even if we do not speak it, we probably understand it. But what we truly want is a station that represents us.

963 We may be part of an ethnic community, but we are also the mainstream. Our culture is a part of us, but it is not how I primarily define myself.

964 I am also connected to the culture of my peers, and I am more likely to call people from all over the world my friends.

965 MS. BANTING: Our generation, like none before it, spends a great deal of time considering who we are and making sure others know what we have discovered by sharing regularly what we are doing and when we are doing it.

966 We post on social media like Facebook and Snapchat. We tweet and Instagram, and we have our own means outside of the traditional media to have a public dialogue with our peers.

967 This clearly distinguishes us from the past generations and tethers us to our friends in ways unimagined even just a decade ago. That is why content strategies that rely on old programming paradigms do not work for us.

968 We are the "on demand" consumer. We are busy and so aware of the many choices we have that we do not waste time trying to figure out how we can make products that do not meet our immediate -- that do not meet our immediate needs work.

969 We sound like a nightmare to program to, but I can assure you we are not. Here is what we want.

970 MS. HOTHI: Programming that respects our culture and the culture of others, but is inclusive of the majority through the use of English and third languages. We want to celebrate what makes us unique, but we also want to be able to share this with our friends and colleagues.

971 MS. BANTING: Programming that is delivered on many platforms such as podcasts, streaming and mobile that allows us to decide when and how we consume content. We cannot be limited to an hour here or there to find out what is happening in our community or that of our friends.

972 MS. HOTHI: We want access to music that is more reflective of the world we live in. There's no shortage of North American pop culture on the airwaves, and we listen to it. What we need a global perspective.

973 We're proud Canadians, but our ties to other cultures give us broader musical tastes. We want music reflective of the diversity we find in Surrey.

974 It is not that radio cannot serve 2.0 and 3.0 generations, but what we keep receiving is the same narrow programming with the expectation of higher levels of engagement, an unrealistic outcome.

975 MS. BANTING: We want to have a station that gives us the opportunity to learn about other cultures and invites us to participate in a way that exclusively third-language services do not. Programming in English would help forge those connections, whether it is through learning of the traditions of a new culture or even learning why the celebrations we practice in our own culture came to be. We need help in forging understandings across cultures and sometimes across generations in our own families.

976 MS. HOTHI: We want a station that recognizes our engagement with both our past, our present and our future. I want in. So, yes I want to celebrate Vaisakhi, Hali, and Diwali but I am also want to know why I should give coins at Chinese New Year, the appropriate gifts to give at Kwanza and the differences between the EIDs.

977 These are not some events taking place a world away. They are right here in my community, in my back yard and they are important to me. They are a part of my friends' lives, they are part of my co-workers' lives and they are part of my life. I want to know what it is all about and I want to participate.

978 MR. BADH: The Beat of the Fraser can deliver on these interests in several ways.

979 First, it will provide a mix of English and third languages in the important drive times, morning and afternoon, giving the highest listening time blocks a new sound and true bridging programming.

980 Secondly, it will combine contemporary North American pop music with World Beat Music and Electronic Dance Music (EDM) in these prime listening times to create a diverse global and fresh sound.

981 Finally, in the specific language blocks we will combine English or French with third languages to invite listeners beyond just those who have the language as a mother tongue to participate. This openness removes the silos that are rejected by Generation 2.0 and 3.0 and yet maintains the ethnic perspective that will encourage a new level of understanding across all groups.

982 MS. McLAUGHLIN: The studies completed for this application builds on a body of research that goes back to the mid-nineties when legacy ethnic radio stations like CHIN in Toronto had to absorb the loss of advertisers like the then popular department store, Eaton's. This annual advertiser reduced their very large advertising budget to a token amount and eventually to nothing because they recognized that unlike their parents, the new generation of Italians were no longer tied to their language. Eaton's had discovered that their ad campaigns in English were reaching these proudly Italian-Canadians through other media.

983 The quest to understand how and when culture remains but language begins to fade, began for me. Over the years and on behalf of a wide range of clients I have revisited this issue in telephone, online and focus group studies. Fast forward to 2014 and CBC was trying to determine their role as Canada's broadcaster in the lives of new Canadians. A national study revealed the following:

984 - Most recent immigrants are highly likely to consume media in their mother tongue but mix in networks like CBC to learn English;

985 - The longer someone is in Canada the less time they spend with mother tongue media and the more likely they are to migrate to services like CTV, Global, and specialty services;

986 - The younger a person is, the less likely they are to listen to media in their cultural language or languages or language;

987 - The Internet is the first choice for news and information from the country of origin for people under 40 years of age;

988 - Connection to and identity with culture does not diminish over time;

989 With this context in mind, the focus groups in Surrey were organized to speak with people who were both younger and older and from multiple ethnic groups. What this research revealed is a strong and abiding connection to the culture of origin that co-exists with an acceptance and interest in other cultures. There was an appreciation of language-based media and an understanding of the role it plays.

990 Equally clear, however, was that third-language programming was not their first choice and mainstream media did not reflect them. They were having no choice but to turn to the Internet to find programming that somewhat addressed their needs and social media was fast becoming the only place they could see or hear themselves.

991 MR. BADH: Using the research and the study on population projection also provided by Strategic Inc., in combination with the research in the public domain, we have determined 12 third languages that we would cover. In total these languages will serve 14 groups. The marriage of either English or French with these languages will expand the potential audiences and, in effect, invite all people who understand either official language to learn about their neighbours and the multicultural city they live in.

992 The music will also be a bridging device. Without prompting or testing specific formats, the focus groups volunteered their interest in World Beat music providing examples of both cultural genres of music and artists who they were currently downloading from the Internet.

993 MR. KOAT: Consumers of World Music feel disenfranchised by the proliferation of Adult Contemporary and Hit radio stations and seek an alternative that appeals to their global sensibilities. These individuals represent a new audience segment for multicultural radio and lend direction to ethnic radio broadcaster for the future of the format.

994 I delivered these words in an address to the CRTC in 1999. Seventeen years later my observation is still the same with one exception. The disenfranchisement extends well beyond just people of direct ethnic origin now. With the introduction of new cultures, and explosion of world influences, the appetite for music from around the globe has grown among mainstream audiences.

995 Internet services that provide access to World Beat music are very popular and in the face of success abroad by artists such as A.R. Rahman and M.I.A. who won an Academy Award for the soundtrack from Slumdog Millionaire, Canadian artists are being encouraged to export because producers realize that the Internet has literally opened up a world market.

996 Oddly though, despite an often expressed appetite by new and originating Canadians, and streaming numbers that speak to an undeniable popularity, World Music is relegated to an hour here or there and usually only on smaller independent stations. The Beat of the Fraser would change all of this, seamlessly blending popular music with World Beat to create a fusion of cultures, melody, lyrics and rhythm that would add much needed diversity into the broadcast system. It is not as you might imagine; a discordant transition from style to style. I have put together a sample so you can see how -- see and hear how delightfully it blends.

997 Can we roll the audio, please?


998 MR. KOAT: Who is the audience for World Beat music?

999 I look at them as four distinct segments. The largest of these is increasingly being lost to radio as neither traditional ethnic nor mainstream formats appeal to them. These are the people you see at this table and on practically every street in Surrey. Second or third generation of immigrant Canadians living in urban centres, educated, probably bilingual with a specific third language spoken often in the home. Globally aware and more technically agile than their parents, this generation operates at high speed.

1000 Their diverse environment opens them to music outside the mainstream, yet they appreciate the cultural touchstones that link them to their heritage.

1001 There are also urban professionals. While older than second gen, they are refined, cultured, travelled and still on trend and hip.

1002 World Beat is not a genre --

1003 THE SECRETARY: I’m sorry.

1004 MR. KOATS: -- unto itself ---

1005 THE SECRETARY: Sorry, Mr. Koats, would you slow down a little bit for translation? Sorry. Thank you.

1006 MR. KOATS: Word Beat is not a genre unto itself but a collection of many genres and provides these disenfranchised youth and music aficionados who possess sophisticated and eclectic tastes a broad palette for their personal daily consumption.

1007 DR. FERRERAS: Thank you. We have been speaking of the listener who was lost to the system. I can also speak to the artists. It is a strange existence when the people who inspire your music, your family, friends, colleagues and community, have no access to it. It is odd when people from other countries are more familiar with your creativity and your performances than the people who you see daily. But that is the case for artists who perform and create under the World Beat banner and live in Canada.

1008 We have little or no support from the broadcast system and our exposure to Canadians has to come through the Internet which, while an amazing connection to the world, is vast and a place where artists can easily get lost.

1009 The CRTC has ensured that new and emerging artists have a place in the system. Now we need to have a format that supports our music and gets us exposure. While I understand formats are not decided by the Commission it would be a huge help to many of us if programming that support World Beat artists were licensed. Thank you.

1010 MR. BADH: The opportunity to provide a service that uniquely addresses those who are tuning less to conventional radio, mainstream or ethnic, gives new artists entry into a system in a major market and connects cultures in a way not done before is the inspiration for the Beat of the Fraser.

1011 We will serve an audience that spans in range -- spans an age range of 15 to 55 with a core audience of 25 to 44. And we will provide at minimum 100 hours of local programming and 65 percent of our programming will be in third languages with 90 percent will meet the CRTC’s definition of ethnic programming

1012 We will provide a fresh take on multiculturalism while making sure that the basic needs for local news, information and surveillance like traffic and weather are covered. In fact, we’ll provide three hours of pure news and eight hours of news and information.

1013 We’ll give a voice to Canadians who comfortably have one foot in each of the cultural divide and reflect the evolution of cultures that occur when we live in close proximity to each other. This culture seamlessly moves between these realities without hesitation.

1014 The voices you heard here today are authentic just like the ones from the focus groups. The message is clear, there is a place for third language programming and there is a place for ethno-cultural content that bridges the gap and connects the generations.

1015 The new consumers were asking to serve is persistent, convinced of their position, and willing to appear before you as many times as it takes until they are heard. Neesha alone is a proof of that.

1016 MS. HOTHI: To say I’m passionate about the need for a new approach of ethno-cultural programming is to state the obvious. It is not just important for my generation but it is for the ones that will follow us that we start working towards a common understanding. Having said that, I do not want to lose touch with my heritage and I do hope someday to share with my children the richness of my culture including the language.

1017 The truth is, that to thrive in Canada you have to speak one of the two official languages. I could not operate the business I do if I was working solely in the language of my parents. And even though we come from different cultural backgrounds my friends, peers and I have had similar experiences. Our connection is that we are the children of immigrants. That gives us a bond and a unique perspective that opens our minds to the potential for sharing and supporting each other.

1018 Yes, we have social media but it is often not local and sometimes there is so much of it that it cannot be thematically organized, consumed or prioritized. Radio can play a greater role in my life. But only if it is responsive and accessible to me.

1019 MS. BANTING: I am not unlike your daughter or the daughter of your friends. I have essentially two jobs, the one I get paid for and the one that seems to -- the one I seem to spend most of my time doing, which is being a chauffeur to my children. I spend a big part of my day in the car and I listen to the radio all the time. The reason I’m here today is because I’m excited by the possibility of a station that connects me and my family to my culture and language that I understand best, English.

1020 My experience of being Filipino is so different from that of my parents but it is just as important to me that I preserve and celebrate my heritage. I love the diversity of Surrey and I would love for my children to grow up in understanding the values, traditions and perspective of their friends.

1021 Another radio station playing one hour here or there of Tagalog or Chinese or any third language is not going to reach the 2.0/3.0 generations. Please recognize that we represent the present and the future of ethnicity in this country. Our numbers are growing and like every other group, we deserve a space for self-reflection on the Canadian Broadcast System. We cannot be forced into English or traditional third language programming models because that is how the regulations have been constructed. We do not fit nor are we ever going to.

1022 MR. BADH: South Fraser Broadcasting has the experience, the resources and the understanding of this market that’ll create programming that will increase the hours of tuning to radio, bring new money into the system and arrest the feeling of being outside the system for an increasing number of sophisticated Generation 2.0 and 3.0 residents in Surrey.

1023 That concludes our presentation and we look forward to answering your questions.

1024 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. And hopefully we’ll be able to fix that mic because it appears to be the Bermuda triangle of bad microphones over there on the edge of that table. So we’ll be able to do that later on.

1025 So thank you. I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner MacDonald to start us off.

1026 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good afternoon and thank you for your presentation.

1027 I’d just like to start by asking your proposed approach is somewhat different than some of the other applicants. I’d just like to understand where the genesis of that idea came from. Did it come out of some of your research with your focus groups and so forth or from another source?

1028 MR. BADH: The simple answer is yes, all of the above.

1029 I -- it’s what I’ve evolved with. It’s starting from my dad who immigrated here, growing up in household that was pretty much 100 percent ethnic. Spoken language is ethnic, food, meals ethnic, cultural associations ethnic, social economic hub is the temple. And when I went outside, I stepped into a world that was completely different; all right? And I spent all my life trying to assimilate into this society.

1030 Then you look at the next generation, right, 2.0s and 3.0s. Now I identified myself as Canadian. I wanted to fit in, et cetera; all right? To answer that question I’m going to get Neesha to jump in a little bit. Neesha?

1031 MS. HOTHI: Speaking on the 2.0 front, I find the -- you’ll often hear the east meets west concept. And that is something that our generation often kind of pushes back on a little bit because it’s not so much that I’m south Asian here and I’m, you know, just a young woman here and I’m trying to be these separate identities. I am one identity all the time, but I seamlessly integrate these pieces of my life into everyday life. This is my norm. This is the reality of my life.

1032 And I think to answer your question though about where did it come from, I think not only does the -- did the research support it, but the interests support it. The interests of groups like myself. I’ve stood in front of the Commission before having this similar conversation in 2014. I think it just comes from the fact that there’s a void. There’s a void. And when Suki was speaking about his application and we had this conversation, I spoke to that void. And so did many, many others, and so does the research. It continues to speak to the void that my generation, the generation 2.0 and 3.0 are not being spoken to on radio and we’d like a voice.

1033 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So when you were commissioning your -- the two reports -- oh, sorry. Go ahead.

1034 MR. BADH: Sorry. Building on that, because I said the answer is yes to all of the above. So that was the evolution part of it. The research part of it, we’ve been experiencing and it was pointed out earlier this morning that the younger individuals, whether it’s ethnic, whether it’s mainstreaming -- mainstream, are tuning away from radio and to other sources. There’s a lot more choices. There’s a lot more opportunities.

1035 Now in preparation for this application we went back to the 2013, 2014 researches. And Sky FM pointed to the same sorts of research that there’s a void out there. There’s a gap. Sordel’s application pointed out to the same thing. When Strategic Inc. was commissioned, I sat in the focus groups. It was the same thing. There is -- this generation, the younger individuals are tuning radio out.

1036 So how do we get them back? Well, they said give us something that's relevant, give us something that we can understand and relate to. They cannot relate to, as was mentioned in the introductory comment, to the banter and some of the music that's going on. This is an on-demand generation we're talking about. So it's a combination of personal experiences, a combination of research and it's a combination of the reality that we live in the Greater Vancouver area.

1037 Thank you.

1038 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: So when you were working with Strategic Inc. and you were structuring your focus groups, I think you had three focus groups of 10 people, in your mind when you were pulling together the individuals taking part in those focus groups, they were in your view representative of your broader target audience?

1039 MR. BADH: Could I get Debra to answer that one, please?

1040 MS. McLAUGHLIN: When we were structuring the focus groups, the only screener we put on those groups was a level of dissatisfaction with radio. They had to be listening to radio somewhat, not high listeners necessarily but they at least had to spend a minimum, I think it was, of three hours with radio in the average week which is well below the market average or the national average for radio usage.

1041 And then we put a screener on in terms of their satisfaction with radio because we weren't looking to duplicate successful models, radio stations that they were listening to. We were looking at finding a format that would work with a group of people who were tuning less and who expressed dissatisfaction. So they are not representative of the population at large. They are representative of a population of people that are tuning less to radio.

1042 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: So they are representative of the people that are tuning less to radio. Are they also representative of the age groups that you hope to target or the specific ethnic communities that you think will have an interest in the service?

1043 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes. The upper age limit was set at -- I believe it was 55. Interestingly, the bulk of them as one would expect when you are getting people who are highly dissatisfied with radio, were younger. So, yes, they did represent that and they did have ethno-cultural backgrounds.

1044 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: With respect to the conversations that you have had with the focus groups and the interactions they had with each other, do you think that everyone came there with a viewpoint of why they were dissatisfied and came and presented ideas of what they wanted to see or what is the situation?

1045 I am sure we have all been in working groups whereby there is one dominant individual or a dominant force and everyone else sort of jumps onboard with what he or she may be advocating.

1046 MS. McLAUGHLIN: No, that wasn't the case. I mean a working group is different than a moderated focus group in several manners.

1047 One of them is that the focus group is generally and, in this case specifically, it was recruited blind. So people were also asked about their use of television, they were asked about what hobbies. So there was a series of questions so someone couldn't necessarily figure out what they should study because it's part of a bias that happens in focus groups. So we did recruit them.

1048 The beginning of those focus groups was just really talking about their experience of being of an ethno-cultural background. We walked them through the process.

1049 The last-half of the group was about designing a service. So we walked them through their experiences; how they felt, talked to them about their media usage, looked at several aspects of it and then said "Tonight, we are going to focus on radio".

1050 And what came out of those groups was the World Beat format. It was the design with English included in it. This wasn't a focus group where we took a specific design to them and said, "What do you think?"

1051 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: If your proposed listeners are predominantly people that have turned off to radio completely, how will you be able to attract them back to radio and how will you be able to market yourselves if they have already switched off the dial?

1052 MS. McLAUGHLIN: I just want to be clear that three hours of radio or less is not completely turned off of radio.

1053 So one of the important aspects of this group identified was that radio rather than anything they got on the Internet or could get through social media was a trusted voice of local news and information. And even if they weren't newsies as in, "I follow stories dedicated. I spend a lot of time watching, you know, news television" they still had an interest in knowing what was going on in their community. So I just want to be clear on that.

1054 In terms of bringing them back, they are social media people and they are highly engaged in that area and that's where they find out about new options, new experiences that they can have. So it's actually easier to reach this generation in some ways than it would be to reach mine. I'm not nearly as dedicated to Facebook.

1055 MS. HOTHI: To further on that, it's not that we don't listen to radio. Again, I listen to Top 40 stations. I listen to a variety of stations but I am constantly -- I am the button pusher. And the reason I am a button pusher is because I hear those same -- I hear the same music over and over again. There is no half-hour span that I can't move through the top three stations in Vancouver and not hear the same songs. It just doesn't happen.

1056 I am happy to get some pop culture news and headlines and things like that from that service, but what The Beat of the Fraser is offering is very different from that and a huge complement.

1057 The other piece to it is that the music we are hoping to be -- you know, the World Beat style is something that I find -- I mean Cal happens to be someone that I know and he will throw music towards me that he thinks I may enjoy.

1058 Or I happen to be -- I happen to have you know DJs and other people in my life who can send me music, but I value my time and I value having to not go search for it. I love the music but I can't always go and find it myself. I wouldn't know where to look. I wouldn’t be able to find everything that I may be interested in hearing and it would be great to have someone who would cultivate and curate that for me and provide it in a format that I could go to. I would love to listen to radio more, but I just don't want to hear the same thing I listen to when I'm walking through the mall all the time.

1059 And in terms of marketing we have spoken on a very high level, but I mean traditional advertising out of home, like those are all promotional avenues we intend to use but social media will be a large part of that because we want to make this accessible. We want to -- we want to have programming podcasted and we want to be able to make it so that I can still time it to tune in and enjoy the content at a time that works for me.

1060 MS. BANTING: I also think that because of social media if we want local news, local news is good but we probably keep track on it just on social media. You just have to put in the right hashtag and put in the right -- put in the right hashtag and you can follow all the news for that particular topic. When it comes to the radio options we have right now it's again, like what Neesha mentioned, it's the same thing.

1061 And so what we are looking for is an engagement. Instead of the constant, like, practice of constantly changing station after station after station, the topics that are being spoken to, what they are talking about on-air to may not necessarily or oftentimes it's interesting but it doesn’t keep me engaged. You know, I want something more.

1062 I want something that I can have -- it's almost like a food -- food for thought. You know, I want to think about something. I want them to ask me questions. I want to hear something and learn something about it instead of just, you know, swipe left, swipe right, here let's talk about Tinder; let's talk about the new dating app. It doesn't necessarily -- I mean it's interesting but I will probably see it in my Facebook feed in about 20 minutes when I'm out of the car.

1063 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: So because of the age group that you're targeting and they tend to be younger and they tend to be more technologically-savvy, and they tend to use social media more readily than others, you would view that as your main conduit or at least a significant conduit by where you will gain awareness of your new proposed service and how you will engage with the public, kind of go forward?

1064 MS. HOTHI: It is an avenue. It is not the only avenue. A big part of that is just a part.

1065 There's a group that's on social media and some of them may or may not move, like I'll be very frank. But there are many of them who would be interested in the podcasts or many of them who would be interested in the other avenues that the sound will be available. And some will dial in; absolutely.

1066 But I mean community events, traditional out-of-home advertising, you know, bus wraps or shelters, all those things are very important also just because it creates that awareness. It creates that buzz. There is an immediacy with that. Radio has -- you know, I mean there is research that supports that this is how we -- this is how we actually get to a broader range of people and especially on radio.

1067 But we are also engaging with the artists themselves; the community itself. There are multiple sold-out shows. There are multiple events that happen just in the City of Surrey alone, like not even talking about the Greater Vancouver Area.

1068 There are so many events specific to this genre, specific to these styles that there’s a huge part of the kind of grassroots community level that we’ll be involved in.

1069 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to your English cross-cultural program, and I’m wondering, will that be targeted solely or largely towards the south Asian communities? Or do you view it being designed to have much broader appeal than that?

1070 MR. BADH: The cross-cultural component in English is designed to have a broad appeal to the 2.0/3.0 generation. These individuals, they are more interested in the lives of their friends, the cultures, the music. It’s an experience that they’re going to be getting.

1071 MS. McLAUGHLIN: The cross-cultural has been designed to share information about cultures. So the station is committed to serving 14 language groups. But because it’s produced in English with that particular segment, all cultures would be open to it as long as they’re bilingual and, as the data shows, the majority of people in Surrey speak English. So it’s actually has a broader appeal than just the 14 groups that the station is going to serve because it will be sharing all sorts of cultural information.

1072 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So that has broader appeal. I’m thinking about World Beat music and that would potentially have very broad appeal as well. So is part of your strategy to obtain some of those listeners that, beyond ethnic radio, that may be English speaking people just tuning in to traditional commercial stations? Would you be targeting that group as well?

1073 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Not targeting, but perhaps picking up incidentally. This is an ethnocultural program. And so although it’s being delivered in English, the topics, the content, the framing even around the music will be distinctively ethnocultural based. So if they’re interested, they perhaps would tune in. But there’s no expectation that someone who enjoys Sonic, for example, is suddenly going to develop an interest in having World Beat news and ethnocultural programming.

1074 I’m not the best to talk to 2.0/3.0 topics. But in speaking with Neesha and Eileen, they’re clearly different than what you’d hear on mainstream.

1075 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So there’d be a few but you haven’t thought that 10 percent of your listenership, for example, will be coming from that group of Canadians?

1076 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Actually, 10 percent is about the number we were thinking at the high level, high limit, just because of -- the other testing they’ve done not in specifically in support of this application, but I’m in the market all the time doing radio and I have a sense of the interest. So when we were trying to figure that out, I felt 10 percent was the upward limit because of the strong ethnocultural spoken word content.

1077 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to spoken word and topics of conversation and subject matter, what do you envision those topics being on a daily basis? Are there specific areas that you want to focus on?

1078 MR. BADH: You know what? What better person to address that than the 2.0 Neesha and Eileen. Neesha?

1079 MS. HOTHI: I’m going to talk a little bit about what Cal probably wants to say right now, which is that -- so when you’re playing World Beat music, the reality is you have to provide some extra context. It does -- you want to speak to the artist. You want to speak to the instrumentals, the inspiration, the production. There’s more that you want to speak to. It’s not Justin Bieber has a new track. Here you go. It’s not as simple as that, which is a part of its appeal because it’s so vibrant.

1080 Now there’s also inspiration that comes from -- or there’s musical inspirations that come from their cultural backgrounds. And whether it be because it was a song about a cultural movement, because it was about a holiday, because it was about something that it sparks a new conversation.

1081 The other things that we want to speak to are -- the way I’ve positioned is this has been that it’s always with a cultural lens. There are many issues that come up. I mean, we chatted briefly about the fact that, you know, in ethnic communities and families it’s often the eldest son who takes care of the parents. And so, you know -- and actually, Eileen, I’m just going to let you explain it because it was your best example.

1082 MS. BANTING: When it comes to say if we’re going to touch upon the subject of real estate, you know, and where to look for certain properties in Surrey, in the South Fraser, you’re going to, you know -- for a person of colour, if you know that you’re going to have one set of grandparents living with you in about, you know, a 5, 10-year timeframe, then you’ve got to look at it in terms of is there an in-law suite? If we’re going to do a basement suite, what are the permits, you know, surrounding the South Fraser? So, you know, you’re going to talk about real estate. It isn’t going to be just a topic about whether or not it’s a, you know, it’s a hot market or it’s a good investment. We’re going to have to look at it in terms of, you know, the options that it’s going to give you as a, like I guess a -- having multi-generations living in that household, stuff like that.

1083 MS. HOTHI: And another example we gave was, I mean, reality like, you know, young women and you’re getting older and have you gotten married. But you know, talking about well, would you talk to your mom about freezing your eggs? Would you have that conversation? Would you do that? What if you wanted to have a child but you didn’t want to get married? I mean, these are just topics that seem very kind of, you know, well, you know, you might talk about that. Maybe my, you know, someone else would talk about that. But they’re very specifically important to us because of the cultural context because there’s just so much more to consider or the lens that we look at it from. Those are conversations that we want to spark. We want to be able to at least see them on radio.

1084 And radio has a history of being a place to start a conversation. What we know is that this is -- I mean, we’re a music station. The intention is not to become a news talk station or a talk station, but when you spark a topic of conversation -- and mainstream stations do this all the time and they follow it up on social media. And so there’s a new article or there’s a link or a discussion or a hashtag. And we can continue those conversations. Our hosts can continue those conversations. Our social media managers can continue those conversations and really dive in.

1085 And because it’s local and because we can find it in one location -- I spoke to this in the presentation. There’s so much content on social media. It’s difficult, you know -- it’s not thematically organized. It’s, you know, we say that there’s hashtags. But I can’t really just jump into a very serious social conversation. And they don’t even have to be serious. They could be just topical. They could be just relevant. They could be local. I can’t really find a place to have that conversation.

1086 The places that I have those conversations are like wine nights with my girlfriends. That’s where we’re having these discussions in intimate places. But we’re also having them more and more on these kind of one off dialogue based events that are very culturally focussed. And I see more and more interest in attendance in these events.

1087 So along with the World Beat music concerts, along with the fun events, you’re having social conversations. And I think they go hand in hand and I think they’re both incredibly relevant and they fill a void for this specific generation.

1088 MS. BANTING: I’m going to contradict Neesha on this one aspect but it’s because I’m a social media specialist.

1089 I think that when you have a radio station that’s going to discuss ethnocultural topics, you engage the listeners. And if you continue the conversation on say Twitter, at least for our generation, for, you know, just as a topic of conversation, if you are a Filipino girl and you’re 35 and you’re not married and you don’t have kids, you know what, you’re not going to explode. You’re still going to go to heaven. Like all those little different topics.

1090 And it’s a conversation that can be had now that starts on air but continues on social media. And it reaches out to the other, you know, women of the similar age group, similar background. And you can continue that so that you can feel this connection to at least to this community that starts off at the radio station.

1091 So yeah, I’m a big fan of social media.

1092 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So obviously -- sorry, go ahead.

1093 DR. FERRERAS: I just wanted to say as a 0.0 generation, observer of the 2.0 and 3.0, I want to say that back to your point about the spoken word and about how that sort of fits into this format. The spoken word is essentially the newer form of storytelling that’s been with us for generations and generation. It’s a -- in the case of our particular radio station, this is a -- it’s going to be an interactive window that’ll speak to anecdotes. It’ll talk about the push and pull of cultural, you know, dynamics of ethnicity, social commentary, philosophy, poetry and the self-expression of a generation that has found another way to tell a story and to continually connect. And there’s no better connection to other human beings in the community than through storytelling and the voicing of the personal.

1094 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So to be successful, I mean obviously you’ll have to distinguish yourselves from other services already in the market and we've talked about World Beat music, so I understand how that may be different.

1095 But are these conversations that you're discussing, the spoken word conversations, be it holidays, real estate or planning a family down the road, are those conversations already happening on either ethnic or non-ethnic stations?

1096 MS. HOTHI: No, they are not. I say it very frankly because mainstream stations are talking to me about headlines and pop culture and, yes, like topical things. Like if it's, you know, on event adviser, if it's on a main kind of news outlet, yes, it will be talked about. That's fine. I understand that.

1097 But there are so many topics that are important to us and relevant to us and they are not spoken to me from a lens that's specific to me. They're very -- like I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's a huge group of -- there's a huge -- there's a vast amount of issues and discussions that are being had on the sidelines and on the periphery that are not being had on the airwaves and that's important to me.

1098 I think that's a part of the problem. That's why we're losing this generation and why they're leaving radio because the information that they get on radio is banter but it's banter I can find on social media. I don’t need -- I don’t need the host to tell me.

1099 The other piece if it is ethnic stations don't speak to me. Like we are an ethnic station and we're an ethnic station for today’s ethnic generation. I am not listening to stations that are talking of -- the one point is my parents and my grandparents, there's a place for ethnic radio. They enjoy what's there because it's talking about back home. It's talking about things that are relevant to them, things that they want to stay connected to. But I don’t have an interest in the politics of my home country. I do. I want to get the basics.

1100 I'm not so deep into it that I understand the conflict of today. I just want to get -- if I can understand the American system, I should be able to understand the system of my parents’ country. I should be able to have base understand, like these are the parties and this is what happens but I don’t because no one speaks to me at that base level.

1101 I don’t even understand the language at all times and I know Punjabi quite well but there is a -- there is a kind of I guess the traditional usage of language that I am not as accustomed to. I know it conversationally.

1102 I can’t understand everything that's being said. The hosts are not of my age. I will tune in maybe on the Friday night because I happen to know the DJs that are doing the two-hour set and I will listen to that. I might tune in when they have an artist on that I'm interested in, which again speaks to my interest in World Beat. But I mean there are times but not on a day-to-day basis.

1103 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In your application, you proposed offering a third-language program in level of 60 percent and I'm going to read here just because I need you to help me figure it out. You said that,

1104 “That would be composed of a mixture of home languages and English and is based upon the assumption that each program is considered by the majority language in the program rather than measuring exactly English and third language separately.”

1105 How will that be? Can you explain that to me and how that will be calculated and how that will work at a practical level?

1106 MR. BADH: First of all, the explanation turns a lot on how it works. And you know what, funny thing is last few days, Neesha and I had conversation over the conference room tables, we automatically were speaking in English and automatically Punjabi words popped in.

1107 And I'm sure other cultures are the same way at home. When I speak with siblings, nieces, nephews, et cetera, it's a combination of those and that's what -- so that's the evolution of the combination of the languages and that's sort of the 2.0, 3.0 Generation.

1108 In terms of the calculation part of it, I think I'm going to ask Debra to jump in if I can.

1109 MS. McLAUGHLIN: In order to make this work to make sure that each one of those language groups have their own representation in their own language, each of the producers within the program will have to be given a mandate of a percentage. The thought is not an equal division between English and that language. The thought has been to include it as it naturally occurs with a language host starting and being given direction to provide most of their programming in that language.

1110 What we anticipate is that people will call in and they will actually put out questions to the larger community, for example, on social media and let people know on air that they're putting it out. They're asking this question is this your experience or what do you think of this artist. Have you heard this story?

1111 So it's a difficult calculation to make but the mandate is that, for a large part, they will be in their mother tongue or the mother tongue of the group, language group that they're serving. It was to allow that English will come in.

1112 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So you said for a large part. Does that mean if we're talking about one of these services that the majority of the words spoken will still be in English?

1113 MS. McLAUGHLIN: No. There's the ethno-cultural -- the cross-cultural blocks which are in the morning and the afternoon and that's English. And then there are the specific language/cultural blocks that have a mother tongue language assigned to it, a third language assigned to it. And in those, the vast majority will be in the mother tongue.

1114 Did I just confuse you?


1116 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Okay, sorry.

1117 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I'm just wondering would this -- would you apply this level towards your ethnic programming commitment?

1118 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes, because my understanding -- and perhaps it's incorrect but my understanding is that ethno-cultural programming is both spoken in a third language and is themed. And in this capacity, all of these programs will be themed in the culture or the group served or served in the language of that group so that would qualify.

1119 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: If we didn't go with your preferred approach to -- if we wanted you to calculate it strictly based on English versus another language and to sort of do that separately for the broadcast so we know exactly what was being presented, what impact, if any, would that have on the services you offer or your ability to present that information?

1120 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Well, I would, you know, ask Eileen to chime in because Eileen when we get to -- the impact it would have I am not in that situation.

1121 The ethno-cultural programming or the cross-cultural programming that is running in the morning and the afternoon will bring a lot of cultures and groups into it. If you require that the entire program be spoken in a third language, I think we'd be back to the same side load approach that these two 2.0’s are saying alienates them.

1122 I think the goal here of having this programming is to make sure that someone who is deeply connected to their culture but may not understand the language can still hear themselves represented and learn about their culture or the music of their culture on radio.

1123 So to change that to make it specifically or 100 percent third language I think would be a disservice and would change the nature of the service.

1124 MS. BANTING: Can I also add to that?

1125 Even -- let's say for example my cousins who live in the Philippines, this generation even in their home country, English has really become a part of their language too, so much so that, you know, they call it Taglish, a combination of Tagalog English, or my friends who are Chinese they call it Chinglish.

1126 It's still predominantly Tagalog but there's a lot of English words that are spewed in there so that even for myself where I can understand it, I can get by, you know. So if there is, you know, a show where it's in Taglish, I can get a huge part of that but, I mean, I still need -- I would still prefer the whole English thing so I can understand it fully.

1127 But even having the Taglish component to it, you know, for lack of better word, it also gives me a chance to introduce my children to at least some words, start introducing them to some words that are in Tagalog and not have them be like, ah, what's that. You know, and so they can understand parts of it and learn parts of it as well just because they don’t really get as much exposure. But if I were to expose them to something that's full on Tagalog, I'd lose them.

1128 MS. HOTHI: I agree and I just have three examples for you. One, I work in PRO. So I do -- I do have a lot of clients in the ethnic community that, you know, have to do interviews and more often than not, now as, you know, we're in this cultural evolution, they are not really comfortable doing the all in-language interviews. It's tough for them.

1129 I myself when I’m interviewed for -- actually, I was interviewed at the Commission -- at the hearing two years ago for my perspective. And I also gave my interview in Punjabi and English. Like I was going back and forth because you get stumped and you have that moment. And I’m just thinking about myself as a host. Like if I was to host -- I’m not saying I am, but if I was to host, then I would very much feel comfortable saying I can do the show but I am going to be throwing in English words and, you know, I guess common sayings or things that are just easier said in English that I know my listeners are less -- this particular audience would understand best in English. So I think it’s just a fact that this is the way that this generation will understand.

1130 MS. BANTING: And there are some sayings that are just truly Canadian that you can’t even translate. So if you are Filipino Canadian, if you -- like if there’s always that, you know, hyphen Canadian, you’ll get it. You just get it. And it’s too hard for you to switch it over or try to find it. It’s like when you have French sayings, like I mean I grew up doing French immersion and I’m trying to translate certain things -- even from something like the little Prince, when I’m trying to translate that, it’s so beautifully written in French. But when I translate that into English, there’s a beauty there that’s lost. So there are some things that are Canadian saying that when you’re Canadian you get it, but if you translate it into another language, it’s -- you kind of lose it.

1131 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In New Brunswick we call that “chiac” where English words are dropped into a French conversation.

1132 But if we did go down that route and impose some strict guidelines to separate out how it’s measured, would that have an impact on your proposal to have 60 percent third language?

1133 MR. BADH: Commissioner, can I can just go back to the previous question. Is your question sort of centring around how do we calculate it? Or is it centring around can we serve ethnics in English?

1134 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: It’s centred around how we end up at that calculation at the end of the day to make sure that commitments are being met because there could be a condition of licence around some of the aspects of your proposal. So I just wanted to make sure that you can calculate it and we can understand and analyze your calculations.

1135 MR. BADH: That’s one more position I’m going to have to build into the budget. Just kidding. If you would give us time would be sort of give it some more thought, perhaps phase four, we can -- or if you want us to come with the guidelines, I can tell you that the simple answer that if I were to employ it today is I would have guidelines for all on air host personalities. This is the direction that we’re heading, without actually sitting there counting words. So it would be in the guidelines.

1136 THE CHAIRPERSON: We can’t really wait until phase four because that’s not fair for the other parties, but could you do it by ---

1137 MR. BADH: Then we’d have strict guidelines saying, okay, this is what we’re ---

1138 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you could do it through an undertaking if you could return by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

1139 MR. BADH: That would be awesome. Thank you.


1141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Another awesome ruling from the Commission.

1142 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So I just sort of touched on where I’m going to go next and it’s with respect to certain aspects of your proposal. So in your case you propose 90 percent ethnic programming. Would that be something that you’d be willing to adhere to on a weekly basis as a condition of licence?

1143 MR. BADH: Yes.

1144 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And understanding that there’s still -- you’re going to present us with an undertaking to -- with respect to the last topic of conversation, would you be willing to commit to the 60 percent third language programming as a condition of licence?

1145 MR. BADH: Yes.

1146 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Understanding that how that’s going to be calculated is still up in the air at this point?

1147 MR. BADH: Yes, Commissioner.

1148 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I’m looking at the table that was prepared outlining the various linguistic communities and how many hours of programming would be dedicated to each and what that percentage of programming is going to be. So for example, you have roughly 18 percent of your ethnic programming each week would be dedicated to Punjabi and Hindi. Would you be willing to commit as a condition of licence to these programming levels as have been outlined in the table?

1149 MR. BADH: Yes, Commissioner.


1151 Just to change gears over to advisory committees for a few moments, do you have a specific role and mandate already in mind as to what you’ll want your advisory committee to focus on? Because it can go just beyond a body that hears complaints from unhappy listeners.

1152 MR. BADH: Our advisory committee, we have put some thought to it. It will consist of seven individuals. And at least five of them will come from that generation that we’re targeting. And we will probably be looking for at least two that are a little bit older for guidance and experience. They are not going to be sort of your well, we’ll just have it as a it’s a tick off for the Commission. It’s something that we’re very much interested. For us to be successful, right, we must listen to our 2.0/3.0 generations and we must provide the product and what the consumer wants.

1153 And in terms of handling complaints and so forth, they very much will be taken seriously. Senior management will sit with them. They’re going to meet at least twice a year, preferably four, depending on their schedules and so forth. So it’s not a token board that we’re sort of just putting out there.

1154 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: How will those individuals be selected and by whom will they -- whom will do the selecting?

1155 MR. BADH: We’re going to look to identify community leaders. We’re going to select, put a tremendous effort, senior management will, to find the chair. And then the chair will look for the rest of the six members.

1156 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And would you see having, you know, when you’re looking for these members or when they’re applying to be appointed, would you see having a specific set of criteria or an idea that’s laid out in advance as to what type of background, be it linguistic, ethnic, educational, involvement of the community, what sort of parameters are you going to put around making sure that these are the best seven individuals?

1157 MR. BADH: I think you’ve answered my question. All of the above. The education, the criteria, the music, the understanding, the culture, the ethno lens, the experiences. Yes, all of the above. And Neesha, can I get you to chime in?

1158 MS. HOTHI: For sure. Absolutely. On a very high level we’ve spoken about having -- we’d have an advisory committee that supports us in various angles. So one being music, obviously. So we want people who are engaged in the music scene but from across different communities. But if you look at the world music scene in Vancouver, you’ll find that there are some people whose names just rise to the top, Cal Koat being one of them. It’s just the nature of the community.

1159 We also want to look at those who can support us from a 2.0/3.0 generation perspective and to increase engagement because that’s one of our key goals. And we want to ensure that, you know, we’re walking the talk. We want people to be engaged with the station. Are we talking about the right things? Are we talking about them enough? Not enough? Too little? What’s working elsewhere? What’s working in other industries? What’s working on social -- what are all these kind of pieces?

1160 The other piece is community. So it’s not just community in terms of the music community, the actual cultural community. So are there leaders -- there are young rising stars in every single one of these cultural communities in the area. And we want them to be a part of our advisory committee. We want them to be the rising stars who speak to us to say this is what this group is engaging with. This is what they care about. These are the topics that are most important to them.

1161 And then lastly, yes, language is very important to us. We will -- I mean, clearly, even when it comes to talent development and hosts, it’s not just artist talent development, it’s also broadcasting talent. And as we get -- as the generations move on, finding broadcasting talent that will have the ability to speak to the ethnic communities of my generation, the next generation is going to be very important.

1162 And so, you know, this whole idea of Tinglish or Taiglish or, you know, all these things, where is -- where are those hosts coming from and do they have a good understanding and grasp of their current language? And do they resonate with the audience? All of these pieces have a key part in the advisory committee’s conversations.

1163 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And how will you find these individuals and how will you ensure that, you know, they’re continuing to engage with the community? Is that all going to be done through social media? I mean, we discussed that earlier.

1164 MS. HOTHI: No, I don’t think so at all. I mean, very much so looking at it as a -- let’s put it as a job description, I mean, or, you know, a job application. When you -- when I’ve been part of, you know, advisory committees before searches, I mean, there’s a nomination process. There is a process of deliberation and reviewing. And I feel we’ve done a good job of making sure that even on, just not this panel but the others that we've, you know, consulted with and discussed with in preparation for today have been key members of the community who didn't all know each other, who didn't all necessarily have a common kind of interest in the application to begin with but were consulted because they are leaders in these different various spaces.

1165 So I mean, yes, from our beginnings we would be reaching out but I know enough people in certain communities and aspects of this, Cal knows enough, you know, Eileen knows enough that we would at least begin the conversation there. But we would be reviewing the applications. We would be reviewing the names that come forward and ensuring that we have a good cross-section of demographics, abilities, skill sets.

1166 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: And do you have any thoughts on how you are going to renew and rejuvenate these committees? A seven year licence term is a very long period of time for someone to sign up to be on a ---

1167 MS. HOTHI: Absolutely.

1168 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: --- committee of this nature. How do you -- how do you see -- are we talking term limits?

1169 MS. HOTHI: I have been a part of committees before, advisory committees. I sat for two two-year terms for another committee and I know many women and not just women but men and women who are part of committees.

1170 I find that the young professionals of my generation are very actively involved in the community and want to be involved in being a part of committees and steering boards like this because they feel it's a part of their legacy. It's a part of what they are giving back to.

1171 So, yes, we haven't established bylaws as of yet, but we would have terms and we are assuming a two year term. But I don't see the renewal process being a difficult one. We're not expecting a high level of monthly engagement in terms of hours from these people, but we are looking for their insights and their expertise. We are asking them to help guide us and ensure that we are -- you know, we are moving in the right direction.

1172 Again, like I said, we want to walk the talk. This isn't just something we want to throw up and think that we are going to -- you know, we know it all. There is definitely leaders and rising stars who can help us.

1173 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: If you are successful in this application you are going to have the responsibility of serving and reflecting your local community. I'm just wondering, how are you going to measure your ongoing success in doing just that?

1174 MS. HOTHI: A very good question. I guess when I see my friends tuning in and saying that they are not just doing it for me anymore -- no, I joke.

1175 I think that -- I mean listenership is obviously -- is one. You know, looking at our engagement online and offline, like when I say online I mean airwaves but also on social media and engagement levels there is different -- I mean I would get sick of trying to chime in for a revenue perspective.

1176 MR. BADHI: Before I get into the revenue perspective, we have an understanding, an agreement with Strategic Inc. that they will provide us with ongoing feedback whether it's through focus groups, whether it's through online, whether it's through telephone services and, yes, Neesha is correct, at the end of the day the bottom line will reflect it as well.

1177 MS. BANTING: I would also like to add that there is a social media component to it; social media. A lot of things online there is always analytics which constantly tell us how people are engaged. It gives us an insight on what works and what doesn't.

1178 We intend to continue to engage with our listeners online as well through social media. Like we have a rough idea of what's interesting the -- like what has gotten their interest and what doesn't.

1179 So there is also that hard number at the end of every week that we can look at and look over to see, oh, okay, you know, this particular topic, you know this topic really worked. Let's see if we can build on that. Or this topic, no interest at all or let's have a look at it. We presented it in this format. Maybe we need to present it in another format.

1180 So there is always an ability to look at the analytics to see what worked; what doesn't, and to see whether or not we have to, you know, revamp it quite a bit or a lot or nix it altogether. Yeah.

1181 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Regarding financial projections and just began to touch on it and that's where I was going next, I'm looking at your financial projections for the seven years of operation and I am just wondering, some of the revenue projections are more modest than what some of the other applicants in this proceeding have put forward. And I'm just wondering how you arrived at these numbers based on what?

1182 MR. BADH: When I did the calculations I, first of all, looked at the footprint. My footprint is not as to the extent as it is for one of the AM frequencies. We are strictly covering south of the Fraser region.

1183 Secondly, I looked at the number of commercial breaks I will be having; looked at the number of spots; looked at what the market will bear in terms of a rate; calculated that way and I come up with that.

1184 The other thing is I am of the belief based on the call that the Commission will most likely issue an ethnic service or a broader traditional ethnic service and I will be limited to south of the Fraser.

1185 So there is a number of factors that went into the calculation of this.

1186 And last but not least, I have sold in this market and I'm currently selling in this market and I have a pretty good idea of what the market will bear.

1187 Most importantly these forecasts have to be realistic because I don't want to be appearing back in front of you in two years or four years saying, "Commissioner, I have erred. Please forgive me. I can't meet my CCD requirements" or something like that.

1188 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Given that you suspect a large portion of your listeners are going to be customers that you are bringing back that are perhaps listening to content over the Internet right now as opposed to a traditional station, I am just wondering when you outlined your sources of revenue, the largest block was increased budgets from existing advertisers. So can you -- is that people just increasing their advertising budget or is that redirecting dollars from online back to radio?

1189 MR. BADH: When I'm out there selling in south of the Fraser and talking to the various business communities, one of the things that was identified to me going back a couple of years before the last call for ethnic radio or for radio in Vancouver, the drive back then was, "Suki, give me an English audience" all right. "Their ethnic service isn't" I heard the term used "in balance" and are fine with it.

1190 Now, when I talk to the same advertisers, business community out there, they also have recognized that there is a generation -- I mean it's a cultural conversation. There is a generation out there that's turning away from radio and how do we -- business communities also enters in accessing these individuals.

1191 So talking to them they said -- you know, and then I asked them. I said, "If such a service" -- and I explained to them that I am going to be appearing in front of the CRTC and if I were to offer such a service would you advertise? And the answer is "Yes" and "What would you do? Would you change your existing?"

1192 I think they are pretty comfortable with their existing budgets on the existing stations, so they will grow their budget a bit. That's the response I am getting from the business community south of the Fraser.

1193 MS. HOTHI: The other piece to that, I have said before is I mean we are -- we make purchasing decisions. We have the buying power. We have disposable income. We are a -- we are a group that very much is lucrative and of interest to advertisers.

1194 As someone in PR I'm often finding that, you know, I have clients who are -- who do look to radio but, you know, often mainstream radio because that's the only option that they have. But there are many businesses that would be very interested in reaching out to a culturally-focused group maybe lives at home and has a little bit more money and has the ability to influence their parents.

1195 There is a lot more. There is depth there and there is not a whole lot of places to reach them outside of social.

1196 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: With the revenue -- well, I guess with the financial projections in general, both on the expense side and on the revenue side, is this if you are operating as a standalone station or do these revenue projections and expense projections take into account possible synergies with your other newly-opened station in Surrey?

1197 MR. BADH: The business plan is based on some synergies with the existing station. A station such as this, this format, I think I have recognized your concern with this format. How is this going to work? Is this true? Is this tried? Is this tested?

1198 One of the ways of trying and testing this format is using the synergies of an existing service. Give you an example: I have already got office facilities and the studio is already built. The tower is already built. I have space on that. I have permits, permissions on that. I have an engineer in place. I have the back room accounting, et cetera. I have the software. I have a significant amount of the resources already in place.

1199 There will be some shared management duties in some cases. So I think there will be some synergies, yes.

1200 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: You anticipated my next questions because I was going to ask, what synergies?

1201 Given that this is somewhat of an untested model it's possible that the revenue projections could be a little bit or a lot off the mark. We could be looking at significantly less revenue than you anticipate.

1202 What is your interest and capacity in supporting a station that may take many years as opposed to several years to reach profitability.

1203 MR. BADH: First of all, the revenue projections are quite modest in comparison to the -- to some of the other applications that I've come across at this hearing.

1204 Secondly, I have submitted my financials, I believe, and that should let you know. And they were also handed in as part of the previous application, that the station, the business, the organization is well financed.

1205 And third, I'm actually out there selling on the relationships that I've built with the other station as well.

1206 MR. MACDONALD: Is there any possibility or potential that, by you launching a second service, that you're going to be pirating ad dollars from your existing station?

1207 The pie may not grow by two.

1208 MR. BADH: You know what, if I thought that way, I don't think I would be here. I have confidence in my product. I have confidence in the team. And the conversations that I've had with the business community, they're willing to support.

1209 And the number of employees, the added-on expense is also relatively modest because of its add-on.

1210 You know, the infrastructure, when I put together Pulse FM, you're absolutely right. You know what, I wasn't budgeting to spend $350,000 on rooftop, which I ended up doing. I thought for $100,000 I could do it.

1211 I wasn't budgeting on spending $350,000 in studios, and I thought $100,000 could do it.

1212 I initially realistically thought that I could do the whole operation with less than 250, and I'm well into 750,000 into that one.

1213 So I'm very much aware and very much aware of the limitations and things going sideways, and I'm well prepared for that.

1214 MR. MACDONALD: So that's the problem if there's not enough money. Problems can also be created if there's too much money flowing towards the station as well.

1215 Definitely not for the station owner. I'll grant you that. But you know, we talked earlier about sort of the broader appeal that some of your offerings may have beyond just the ethnic community, and with that comes the potential that you may be taking increased ad dollars away from other non-ethnic stations that a more traditional ethnic format might not be a factor.

1216 So if this does take off, do you have concerns that we may be creating some harm to the other stations in the market? Because not everyone in this proceeding thinks we should license another ethnic station in the market.

1217 MR. BADH: Well, let me in and then shut the doors. That's always been the case with us broadcasters.

1218 Commissioner, the Vancouver market is about 120 plus million dollars, and what I'm gaining -- projecting to gain is $196,000. And the market's expected to grow way more than that.

1219 So I think -- and my revenues is not going to come from a particular station. As Neesha and Eileen indicated, these guys are constant channel surfers.

1220 MS. HOTHI: The other kind of point I was going to add -- and this, actually, relates, I think, to a question or two ago -- is that we talked about synergies before and just in our round table discussions in preparation, but we had said that it's more likely that we'll have a few dedicated staff in terms of sales for the Beat of the Fraser that are, you know, Gen 2.0 and 3.0 because they can speak to the audience.

1221 I really -- I kind of feel like that is the advertiser that we would specifically be wanting to go after, also, because they don't have that space. They don't have that opportunity.

1222 Not only would they find it of interest, but I think the audience would find it of interest.

1223 And so I feel like there are many kind of culturally-oriented services and offerings and products that are out there that would really resonate with a younger ethnic audience but don't really have a place to advertise. Like they don't feel comfortable advertising on a traditional ethnic station because they think it's not really quite their audience.

1224 They don't feel comfortable on a mainstream station because it's not -- it's a little bit cost prohibitive. It's not quite their -- they don't think they're going to get their ROI back.

1225 So I think that we have a really great niche in terms of advertisers that we can go to, and we'd be smarter and best served to go there and capture their dollars first than try to move dollars.

1226 MR. BADH: Commissioner, if I may.

1227 As we discussed earlier, the footprint of 91.5 does not go into Vancouver, so the Vancouver stations are safe.

1228 And with respect to ethnic services out there, our concept is completely different. These individuals, the niches, the Eileens of the world do not necessarily listen to those. They're channel surfers. They may listen once in a while, right.

1229 So I don't think we're going to harm the existing ethnics, and there's no ethnic service, actually, south of -- Pulse FM is the first licensed station south of the Fraser, and the only licensed service in that region.

1230 Thank you.

1231 MR. MACDONALD: Just one final question before I hand you back over to my colleagues.

1232 There's the potential that we could come out of this hearing and issue more than one licence. We could be struck with a generosity of spirit.

1233 And I'm wondering what impact that would have on your overall business plans.

1234 MR. BADH: I have had a chance to look at all the other applications. And as I indicated earlier, just based -- sort of looking at your -- reading your call, I think the Commission intends to license at least one, so my projections are based on another AM license, targeting an older audience and aims more successful at a news talk format, and if the objective is to repatriate listeners, repatriate dollars, then a format that would probably mimic those south of the border, they'll have very little impact on me, right.

1235 We're going after the 2.0s, 3.0s. There's enough -- even if you license one other station, let's say, on the AM band, our estimates and the CRTC's and following up on historically, the market south of the border is about in the neighbourhood of about $4 million.

1236 Now, looking at some of the projections, even if you did license another AM, they're going to take about $2 million out of that market. That still leaves 2 million that potentially could come north and then the growth of the market, the -- you know, if we can tap into sort of the social platforms and so forth and get some revenues from other sources.

1237 So I think to answer the question, the Beat of the Fraser could very well live with another station on the AM dial targeting, preferably, an older audience, preferably a format that's not music.

1238 MR. MACDONALD: Okay. Thank you very much. Those are my questions for today.

1239 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

1240 Just one question. Today, when you -- on page 9 of your written proposal, you talked about 12 third languages that you will cover. And this was for 14 groups.

1241 In your Reply to Deficiencies of 12 January, 2015, you referred to 14 groups and 14 languages, so maybe you can clear that inconsistency.

1242 MR. BADH: The discrepancy is the English and French for the Afro-Caribbeans.

1243 THE CHAIRPERSON: So they're different groups, but the same language, or different ---

1244 MS. McLAUGHLIN: No. There's 14 groups of languages being used, which includes English and French, serves 14 groups. The Afro-Caribbean are being served in two languages.

1245 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I get it.

1246 So when you're saying third languages, it's ---

1247 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes.

1248 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- 12 third languages, one English, one French, total 14 for 14 groups.

1249 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Okay. Got the math.

1250 Thank you very much. Those are our questions.

1251 We'll take a little longer break this afternoon so we can fix the microphones and so that people who are the end of the table there get to be heard.

1252 So I've got 3 o'clock, so we'll take a break until 3:25. Hopefully that should give them time to fix the problem.

1253 Thank you.

--- Upon recessing at 2:58 p.m.

--- Upon resuming at 3:27 p.m.

1254 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Madam la secrétaire, s'il vous plait.

1255 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

1256 We will now proceed with item 4 on the agenda, which is an application by South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the ethnic commercial specialty radio station, CKYE FM Vancouver, British Columbia by adding an FM transmitter in Surrey to rebroadcast the programming of CKYE FM.

1257 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 20 minutes to make your presentation.

1258 Thank you.


1259 MR. SAMUEL: Good afternoon.

1260 I am Bijoy Samuel, Vice-President and General Manager RED FM.

1261 Before we begin our presentation I’d like to introduce our team.

1262 On my right is our prime time talk show host and News Director Harjinder Thind. Beside him is Chief News Reporter, Pooja Sekhon. Sitting right next to me is the President of RED FM, Kulwinder Sanghera. On my left is our legal counsel, Mark Lewis, of Lewis Birnberg Hanet LLP.

1263 In the second row, on my left, is our engineering consultant, Jim Meitner, from Teknyx. And right behind me is Almin Kassamali. He’s our marketing research consultant from StyleLabs Inc.

1264 In our presentation today you’re going to see three short videos. In that there are moments where we have our listeners speaking in Punjabi. So I would request you to please follow the English subtitle that goes along. We have also provided at the end of the presentation we have these two pages of translations as well for you to follow.

1265 We will now begin our presentation.

1266 Today is a very important day for tens of thousands of listeners of RED FM because we are here seeking a solution to the reception problems people experience when listening to RED FM

1267 RED FM's signal is impaired in certain places within our three mV/m coverage area. This is because of the HD IBOC broadcasts of its adjacent U.S. station 92.9 KISM.

1268 The public needs these reception problems addressed so that they can listen to RED FM without the interference. And our message to you today is we cannot solve this interference problem. Innovation, Science, & Economic Development Canada cannot resolve it. We believe it’s only the CRTC that can facilitate a solution to restore our listener's choice.

1269 Let me tell you why we believe so. Our reasons are there is a compelling technical need. There is no other practical solution except for a rebroadcast transmitter. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada supports a technical solution. Our choice of frequency makes good use of a frequency that accords limited coverage due to protections to other stations. Our application meets the criteria for licensing repeaters. The public is heavily invested in RED FM’s programming and is interested in finding a solution.

1270 To further elaborate, the first reason we believe that only the Commission can solve this problem is there is compelling technical evidence to satisfy the Commission’s policy on licensing rebroadcasting transmitters.

1271 CRTC in its decision 2014-412 acknowledges, and I quote:

1272 “The Commission acknowledges that there is evidence of additional interference on SABC signal in Surrey from the HD signal of KISM, a U.S. radio station.”

1273 Innovation, Science and Economic Canada -- Development Canada independently conducted extensive field investigations. We filed the two letters from December 2013 and June 2015 with the Commission. In the June 5th, 2015 letter, Spectrum Management Officer, Mr. Tandy Thind, writes, and I quote:

1274 “Industry Canada, Spectrum Management, understands and acknowledges the difficulty your listeners are having in receiving the signal in the coverage area of the station. The fact is the interference to 'RED FM' signal is part attributed to the KISM-FM11 changing its operation to hybrid digital system.”

1275 The letter goes on to state:

1276 “The interference affecting RED FM reception and the listeners in Vancouver surrounding area cannot be avoided due to the nature of the first adjacent secondary IBOC (HD digital) signal and the short distance between service areas.”

1277 To illustrate the interference, we would like to play three audio clips of RED FM’s reception recorded at different locations without our three millivolt coverage area. Depending on the location, the impairment ranges from loud constant static to constant hissing background noise.

1278 The first clip is recorded at 8774 147 Street in Surrey. This clip compares RED FM’s reception with CHLG 104.3 FM reception at the same location.


1279 MR. BIJOY: The second clip is recorded at 144 Street and 68 A Avenue in Surrey. This clip compares RED FM’s reception with that of the tourist radio station 106.9 MY FM at the same location.


1280 MR. BIJOY: The third clip is recorded at 152 and 81 A Avenue in Surrey. This clip compares RED FM’s reception with the U.S. radio station KRPI 1550 AM at the same location.


1281 MR. BIJOY: In 2013 we commissioned the engineering firm D.E.M. Allen and Associates to do extensive field tests across 60 points within our 3 mV/m coverage area. The results of these tests validated the interference and the evidence has been filed with the Commission.

1282 In 2013 we have also commissioned research firms StyleLabs and Mediastats to research over 1600 listeners and advertisers. The outcome of this research was also filed with the Commission.

1283 In August 2015 we commissioned StyleLabs Inc. to understand a -- to undertake a listener impact study to understand how the interruption to RED FM signal continues to affect its listeners.

1284 Some of the key findings of the study are RED FM is not simply a channel for entertainment, but rather, an engrained part of many people’s daily routines. As such, the station enjoys unusually high levels of loyalty and market share of the south Asian demographic. Over 85 percent of the inbound survey respondents experienced interruption at least 50 percent of the time they tuned in. Almost 90 percent of the inbound survey respondents indicated that the interruption and clarity has impacted the user experience at least 50 percent. Seventy point seven (70.7) percent indicated they switched to another radio station when they experience a bad signal.

1285 The interruption in signal has tremendously impacted advertiser efficacy. Businesses strongly rely on RED FM’s advertising as a key contributor to the bottom line. Advertisers report shrinking return on investment.

1286 Stylelab notes, although they, respondents, report switching during times of signal interruption, they expect this issue to be addressed.

1287 Since the outset of interference from KISM in 2013 we have received thousands of complaints from listeners and advertisers. We recently hosted a town hall meeting to gather listener feedback. Here is a short video of what our listeners said about the interference.


1288 MR. BIJOY: We don’t have the coverage we had before KISM started HD IBOC broadcasts. In the first term of our licence when KISM was operating in analogue mode, the interference was only theoretical. Listeners enjoyed good coverage even in theoretical zones of interference, which includes the City of Surrey. The limited interference from KISM operating in analogue on 92.9 MHz was "first adjacent" and very limited.

1289 Radios were designed to reject first-adjacent frequency interference. However, the interference caused by the IBOC HD transmissions is equivalent to co-channel interference on 93.1. Radios cannot discriminate as between the Interference from the IBOC transmissions and our transmissions. Therefore, there are many holes in our three millivolt coverage net.

1290 RED FM's listeners and advertisers need the coverage restored within its original three millivolt area.

1291 Pooja.

1292 MS. SEKHON: Having identified the technical need, the next part of our presentation will discuss the solution.

1293 We believe that the Commission's intervention is required because there is no other solution besides a rebroadcast transmitter. As we have detailed in our application, we have exhausted all other remedial options including working with KISM to solve this problem, a power increase at Mt. Seymour, use of a highly directional antenna, relocation of RED FM's transmitter-away from Mount Seymour towards Surrey, implementation of HD IBOC broadcasting on 93.1 Megahertz.

1294 Our proposed solution is backed by Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada. In the June 5th, 2015 letter mentioned earlier, Spectrum Management Officer, Mr. Tandy Thind, concludes, and I quote:

1295 "...Industry Canada is in support of finding a technical solution, as proposed by RED FM application for a low power FM repeater transmitter to rebroadcast programming to reach RED FM listeners in the impaired areas should address your coverage concerns."

1296 While selecting a frequency to restore service in the original coverage area of 93.1 Megahertz, our engineering consultant, Jim Meitner, identified the 89.1 Megahertz frequency, as it is a lower power frequency that is not viable for a new commercial radio operation.

1297 The 89.1 Megahertz frequency is severely limited in operation in Surrey, both in terms of the requirement for a highly directional signal and the limitation to 83 watt average ERP in order to protect CBUX-FM-1. The operator of CBUX-FM-1, Radio Canada, has accepted our technical proposal to use the 89.1 Megahertz frequency.

1298 The use of 89.1 Megahertz frequency, with its limitations, will put this frequency to good use, to remediate interference in Surrey and other areas within our original three millivolt coverage area of 93.1 Megahertz.

1299 Further, the research of all applicants confirms that RED FM has the highest listenership. The public's willingness to consume content on RED FM justifies good use of this spectrum.

1300 MR. THIND: There are more aspects that meet the criteria for licensing repeaters; 89.1 Megahertz is not the last known frequency.

1301 Apart from several AM frequencies, there are multiple superior FM frequencies available, like 106.9 and 91.5, that could be used to provide a new radio service at significantly higher operating parameters.

1302 Approval of 89.1 will not extend RED FM's coverage area outside of its licensed market area, but will remediate signal issues in Surrey. This is where most of our target audience is now concentrated, and this is the area that we have always served. In fact, this is where the radio station has been located since commencing operations in 2005.

1303 It is essential for us to remediate the reception in Surrey; otherwise, RED FM will not be relevant to its target audience.

1304 Yes, when we applied for 93.1, we were aware of the political -- potential for first adjacent analogue interference from KISM. In the original technical brief was stated, and I quote:

1305 "A spectrum search indicates that 93.1 is the optimum drop-in frequency. This frequency nonetheless suffers from a large theoretical interference zone from a first adjacent US operation. Recent measurements conducted by CBC have, however indicated that actual interference is likely less than predicted. In particular Surrey, which is situated just south of the theoretical interference-free contour is anticipated to have adequate coverage."

1306 These statements were accurate, and Surrey had adequate three mV/m coverage during our first licence term.

1307 We knew from the outset that 93.1 Megahertz was not equivalent to the frequencies that had been licensed to English language radio operators in Vancouver, but in order to provide an ethnic service to many under-served communities, we accepted the limitations of the drop-in frequency. Otherwise, we would not have been able to start broadcasting and fulfilling the needs of our under-served ethnic communities.

1308 The signal limitations, as known at that time, were analogue-to-analogue first adjacent theoretical interference and proved to be minimal.

1309 At the time of licensing more than a decade ago, HD IBOC technology was not even invented. We put our heart and soul into making this drop-in frequency work for the benefit of our community of engaged listeners.

1310 MR. SANGHERA: With the evident impact of technological change, our broadcasting system should be willing to find solutions to accommodate and adapt to new conditions brought about by these changes. The licensing of a rebroadcast transmitter is a perfect example of being able to adjust to new conditions and will further the goals set out in section 3(1)(d)(iv) of the Broadcasting Act, and I quote:

1311 "It is hereby declared as the broadcasting policy for Canada, that the Canadian broadcasting system should be readily adaptable to scientific and technological change".

1312 The situation involving CKYE and KISM is unique. HD IBOC radio has been deployed in the U.S.A. by dozens of radio stations along the Canadian border for many years. This is an isolated case of interference.

1313 There is no other documented case of severe HD IBOC interference to a Canadian radio station of this magnitude in any other location near the U.S. border, so licensing a rebroadcast transmitter to our company will not set off a string of IBOC interference repeater applications.

1314 As discussed, RED FM has the highest listenership amongst the existing stations catering to South Asians. RED FM has built a community of engaged listeners. They find RED FM's programming highly valuable to their daily lives.

1315 We will now play a short video to share what a listener and Premier Christy Clark have to say about RED FM.


1316 MR. SANGHERA: We would also like to highlight that RED FM believes in bringing the community together and encouraging community capacity building.

1317 Over the last 10 years, our listeners, through RED FM radio-thons, annual food drives, annual RED FM walk and run, have raised millions of dollars for various charities. The main beneficiaries have been the Surrey Memorial Hospital and the Surrey food bank.

1318 Last week, in just one day, our listeners raised $485,000 at the RED FM radio-thon. All proceeds were donated to the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts for the victims of Fort McMurray fires.

1319 Our listeners are very interested in a solution to RED FM's reception problems. During the two rounds of CRTC hearings, the Commission has received more than 3,500 letters and 9,000 petitions requesting the Commission to resolve this situation.

1320 Here's what our listeners said at the town hall meeting.


1321 MR. SANGHERA: In conclusion, we would like to say that the public needs a solution to RED FM's interference problems.

1322 We have worked hard for a solution. In our view, a lower power repeater is the only solution.

1323 Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada supports our solution.

1324 Now, only the CRTC can facilitate this solution. Approval of our application is clearly in the public interest. It is an excellent example of maintaining the integrity of our Canadian FM signal.

1325 Accordingly, we request the CRTC to licence 89.1 Megahertz frequency as a low power repeater.

1326 Thank you, and our team is ready for your questions.

1327 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

1328 I'll start us off with a few questions. The first one flows from page 8 of your presentation this afternoon, where you played those three clips, I believe.

1329 Do we have those clips, those audio clips on file in every single case?

1330 MR. BIJOY: You have the first one, and the second and the third one were just recently done. We can submit them.

1331 THE CHAIRPERSON: So when you say they were recently done, by whom were they done?

1332 --- (Inaudible)

1333 MR. SANGHERA: Nick from production had quoted them.

1334 THE CHAIRPERSON: By the way, the irony of the technical problems is not lost on us.

1335 When were they -- when did Nick do this?

1336 MR. SANGHERA: Nick from our production team.

1337 THE CHAIRPERSON: But when? What date?

1338 MR. SANGHERA: Last week, I believe either Tuesday or Thursday last week.

1339 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, and is it -- was it Tuesday or Thursday?

1340 MR. SANGHERA: We did the radios on a Wednesday. I think he did it either before or after?

1341 MR. BIJOY: We can confirm the exact date to you.

1342 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, could you do that before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday before ---

1343 MR. SANGHERA: Yes, certainly.

1344 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- okay -- in writing by an undertaking? And maybe provide us Nick's last name as well so we know exactly ---

1345 MR. SANGHERA: Okay.

1346 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- who we're talking about and the date.


1348 THE CHAIRPERSON: And on the second one, am I to understand that that was the tourist radio station, 106.9?

1349 MR. SANGHERA: That's right.

1350 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right.

1351 MR. LEWIS: Well, Mr. Chairman, it wasn't on the air when we did the D.E.M. Allen Study. So it just gives you an idea of what it ---


1353 MR. LEWIS: --- what that frequency sounds like.

1354 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is it possible for you to provide us a copy of those clips?

1355 MR. LEWIS: Absolutely.

1356 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have them now, and could you provide them at the end of your presentation ---

1357 MR. SANGHERA: Yes, we can.

1358 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- to the secretary?


1360 MR. LEWIS: And one other thing, Mr. Chairman, just for the record. The vehicle these were recorded in was a 2015 vehicle, so it was the newest model of the vehicle.


1362 MR. LEWIS: As opposed to something that was several years old.

1363 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Well, presumably it's not so much the age of the vehicle as the age of the radio equipment ---

1364 MR. LEWIS: Correct.

1365 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in the vehicle; right?

1366 MR. LEWIS: Correct.

1367 THE CHAIRPERSON: So one would presume that it was all new?

1368 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1369 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, okay. Great, thank you for that.

1370 So let me get to my other questions, and as I mentioned before, it's just to clarify the record on certain aspects of it.

1371 So as I understand it, and just so I get the sequence of this right, so in September 2012, KISM FM started to implement this IBOC HD radio, and that's when you immediately experienced the interference. Is that correct?

1372 MR. SANGHERA: Yes.

1373 MR. LEWIS: Yes, it is.

1374 THE CHAIRPERSON: And almost immediately, from September 2012 to May 2013, there seems to be a period of cooperation with KISM.

1375 MR. LEWIS: That is correct.

1376 THE CHAIRPERSON: What brought about that high level of co operation?

1377 MR. LEWIS: We contacted -- we retained D.E.M. Allen and we worked with Mr. Meitner as well and we worked with Industry Canada. So we had a series of conference calls with the parties. It took a few days to identify the nature of the interference, because IBOC interference had never been seen or heard before.

1378 So they engaged -- Industry Canada and the engineering companies engaged with KISM's management, and it took several months for parameters for the tests to be negotiated between the parties. And so between October, early October and May, I believe, or late April, there was a détente, at which point KISM stopped broadcasting in IBOC until the tests could be done.

1379 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, but during that period there were different times at which you were broadcasting either in analog only?

1380 MR. LEWIS: No. No, sir. We were -- both stations were broadcasting only in analog between the date of the détente, if I can call it that, in early October 2013 until the tests were carried out in early 2013.

1381 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, so when the tests started being conducted ---

1382 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1383 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- you had different options going on during the test period; right? You did it with analog only ---

1384 MR. LEWIS: Correct.

1385 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- from the U.S. station?

1386 MR. LEWIS: Correct.

1387 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then there were other periods when you had analog plus the IBOC HD operating at the same time?

1388 MR. LEWIS: That's correct, and then there's another scenario or several other scenarios ---


1390 MR. LEWIS: --- that were in the engineering report where a symmetrical IBOC was implemented by KISM.

1391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, and as a result of those tests, I take it there was a report made that I think identifies it as 57602CKYE, Field Strength and Listening Tests Report. It's a May 2013 report. That's correct?

1392 MR. LEWIS: There were two reports. There was one larger report that was filed previously with the Commission and Industry Canada. It has -- it bears the Code A at the beginning. It's almost the same ---

1393 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you say previously with the Commission ---

1394 MR. LEWIS: In 2013, when the report was done.

1395 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you haven't refiled it in this proceeding?

1396 MR. LEWIS: No, we have not, because the -- this report is quite complete with respect to the area that we're talking about.

1397 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's the Code A one, or not?

1398 MR. LEWIS: The Code B.

1399 THE CHAIRPERSON: Code B, but the -- I'll get back to that in a moment, but the advantage of the earlier one that's not on this file, it has, in a sense, a control group because it has measurements when the HD IBOC is not operating. Do you agree with me?

1400 MR. LEWIS: I think this one as well, if I'm not mistaken, has the control group as well. But I can see that certainly the A report did have.

1401 THE CHAIRPERSON: It would have had that?

1402 MR. LEWIS: It had all of that information.

1403 THE CHAIRPERSON: And when was the B report done?

1404 MR. LEWIS: At the same time, around the same -- within a few days of that, the A report.

1405 THE CHAIRPERSON: Always during the test period ---

1406 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1407 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in early 2013?

1408 MR. LEWIS: Absolutely.

1409 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you able to provide that on the record of this proceeding, that A report?

1410 MR. LEWIS: Absolutely.

1411 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have a copy?

1412 MR. LEWIS: We have it with us.

1413 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, so at the end of this -- end of the day -- my friend is just coming up now -- this presentation, can you provide a copy to the secretary?


1415 MR. LEWIS: Yes, and Chairman, just for the record. The B report was filed with the Commission and Industry Canada June 14th, 2013. So it is contemporaneous with the A.

1416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, and do we have that one on ---

1417 MR. LEWIS: Yes, you have that -- the B report.

1418 THE CHAIRPERSON: This one we do have on file?

1419 MR. LEWIS: That's right.

1420 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, right.

1421 So you understand why that original one might be interesting. At least our read of it is that it does have a comparison of just pure analog versus analog plus HD, and that may be interesting to show -- to actually be able to demonstrate that it's related more closely to the IBOC presence ---

1422 MR. LEWIS: Right.

1423 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the interference, anything else; right?

1424 MR. LEWIS: That's correct.

1425 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in June 2013 -- well, first of all, in May 2013, I guess détente ended?

1426 MR. LEWIS: That is correct.

1427 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you tell us more about the circumstances associated with that?

1428 MR. LEWIS: Mr. Pelser (sp?), I guess, is working with another applicant, but during the tests, there was to be an onsite representative of KISM at all times. And the gentleman from KISM, who was in a managerial role, vice-president, attended in Vancouver for the first day and then he literally disappeared the second day. And when we tried to contact him, and tried to have further contact, we were told he was no longer with the company. Within ---

1429 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's starting to sound like a spy movie.

1430 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1431 THE CHAIRPERSON: They taunt and disappearing people.

1432 MR. LEWIS: Within I'm going to say perhaps less than a week -- so we were preparing the report to share it with KISM because those were the terms of the agreement. Within a few days of a test ending or the calculations being done, and the report being prepared, KISM put on the HD IBOC again and ceased communication with us.

1433 To this day --

1434 THE CHAIRPERSON: So is this purely unilateral on their part?

1435 MR. LEWIS: Purely unilateral.

1436 THE CHAIRPERSON: You've got no warning. It just happened?

1437 MR. LEWIS: No. And of course the complaints flooded in from listeners.

1438 One of the things that was also interesting because Industry Canada was conducting its own investigations and Industry Canada was always apprised of the status of these investigations. In fact, they were on conference calls with the engineers.

1439 My understanding and, again, this is anecdotal, sir, is that they attempted to gain access to the KISM transmitter site to do the same sorts of tests turning the IBOC off and on, and they were denied any access.

1440 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right and, yet, Industry Canada as it was then but now, I said, would normally be able to do that even in the United States?

1441 MR. LEWIS: Well, I don't know if they have done it before in the United States but they have worked with U.S. broadcasters in terms of those problems.

1442 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your view it wouldn't have been exceptional?

1443 MR. LEWIS: No, sir.

1444 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in June 2013, as I understand it, there was a report related to measurements made from May 31st to April -- that would be backwards, so it is April 3rd to May 31st, 2013 and it dealt with again, car radio and indoor measurements in Vancouver and Surrey. Is that correct ---

1445 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1446 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- there was a report of that nature?

1447 We noticed that when that report -- you only submitted nine of the 30 locations in terms of the audio clips. Is there a reason for that?

1448 MR. LEWIS: Just brevity, sir. It became apparent in 2013 when we did the first application, when we were at the hearing no one had listened to the audio. We submitted three large CDs with hundreds of clips and, to my dismay or my client's dismay, we found that nobody had audited it or listened to it, so we found there was overkill.

1449 So in this particular case we would note it down.

1450 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand your desire to help us, but you leave us with question marks as to what is on those clips that is missing.

1451 MR. LEWIS: Oh, the clips that are missing have varying degrees of audible interference.

1452 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would it be possible for you to provide them now? Do you have them with you?

1453 MR. SANGHERA: Yes, we can.

1454 MR. LEWIS: Yes, we can. We do have them. We can do them in the next day or so, the CD.

1455 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, if you can't do it right now, I would ask you to do it by nine a.m. on Wednesday morning.


1457 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1458 MR. SANGHERA: Yes.

1459 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now you mentioned in your oral presentation that you explored alternate technical solutions to overcome the interference. And tell me about the steps you have taken; for instance, to do power increases.

1460 MR. LEWIS: Perhaps Mr. Moltner can comment?

1461 MR. MOLTNER: Commissioner, power increase was just one of the many general options that would be available in any given situation so obviously it was looked at. When ---

1462 THE CHAIRPERSON: You go through each one of them. So I am going to assume that they are -- we are going to go -- and you can explain in every case what didn't go well.

1463 MR. MOLTNER: Exactly. They were all typical things that you would look at to resolve the situation.

1464 When CKYE was first designed, it was designed to maximize the signal so basically there is no power increase available. The power that it was designed that is the maximum that it can operate at and be at Industry Canada's rules.

1465 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Tell me more about a highly directional antenna. Was that an option explored?

1466 MR. MOLTNER: That would normally be explored, but in this case we already have a highly directional antenna and it also has been optimized so there is really nothing to be done there.

1467 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what about a transmitter relocation?

1468 MR. MOLTNER: There is really nowhere to relocate it which is equivalent to Mount Seymour. If you relocated it to Surrey you would lose all of your Vancouver coverage and the majority of your overall coverage just because there are no mountains in Surrey.

1469 THE CHAIRPERSON: A geographic fact we have to live with.

1470 MR. MOLTNER: Exactly.

1471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Change of frequency, was that something else that you explored?

1472 MR. MOLTNER: Well, they are just saying that there always another frequency. At the time we applied for 93.1 it was the last, what I could call quote/unquote "large frequency", for Vancouver. There is no frequency that is anywhere near equivalent to it.

1473 Just look at the coverage maps submitted by the various applicants for this hearing and that is self-evident. In other words, there is no frequency anywhere near to 93.1 where we could go.

1474 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, did you attempt -- I realize that détente came to an end and may have made it more difficult, but did you try to negotiate a reduction with KISM in any way to make a commercial arrangement?

1475 MR. LEWIS: They expressed no interest.

1476 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you attempted to?

1477 MR. LEWIS: We had some discussions with our counsel.

1478 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel to counsel?

1479 MR. LEWIS: Counsel to counsel.

1480 THE CHAIRPERSON: What period of time did that occur?

1481 MR. LEWIS: It would have occurred shortly after the situation where they turned the IBOC back on.

1482 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in May 2013 ---

1483 MR. LEWIS: Probably.

1484 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- yeah, May 2013?

1485 MR. LEWIS: June/July around that period of time.

1486 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And what was the nature of the contact? Was it a couple of letters, a couple phone calls?

1487 MR. LEWIS: A couple of letters and a couple of phone calls.

1488 THE CHAIRPERSON: And no traction at all?

1489 MR. LEWIS: No. No; sir.

1490 THE CHAIRPERSON: They weren't picking up the phone, you mean?

1491 MR. LEWIS: They wouldn't even discuss -- they wouldn't even discuss the test results, sir. We had sent them the test results. We had sent them the audio materials. They just refused to discuss them.

1492 Their position was, and I'll just be very clear, their position was that they were doing nothing wrong, they were entitled to broadcast an IBOC and we should leave them alone. When we persisted because there is an issue, and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on this, but there is an issue about the interference-free zone and the Canada-U.S. agreement. You may want to get to that later. And Industry Canada was for a time having discussions with the FCC or I don't know if it was a discussion or maybe a letter went back and forth.


1494 MR. LEWIS: When that occurred, KISM put a complaint into the FCC that we were causing interference to them over a rural part of northern Washington in order to put us -- put a ratchet into the spokes. That's where, you know, any cooperation between FCC and ICC come to a halt.

1495 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And you are of the view that to the extent that the spectrum regulators in both jurisdictions could or might have been able to provide a solution, all that could be done on that side has -- all the avenues have been fully explored and there is nothing else to do?

1496 MR. LEWIS: Absolutely.

1497 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, the use of 89.1 for your purposes, as you know, is technically mutually exclusive with the use of 89.3 in Surrey; correct? You would agree with that?

1498 MR. LEWIS: Yes.

1499 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why is solving your problem, and I don't want to minimize it as a valid problem through the use of a rebroad transmitter the better way to serve the public interest in this particular incidence?

1500 MR. LEWIS: Could I start off and perhaps Mr. Moltner can join in?


1502 MR. LEWIS: But in the 2014 proceeding there were applications for 91.5 and 106.9 which -- and we applied for 107.7 as well as 91.5 at that time. And 91.5 was an alternative frequency and, as you are aware, Pulse FM was awarded 107.7.

1503 In the decision that came out of and that followed that hearing it was very clear to us in the decision that the Commission wished to, I would say, retain 91.5 and 106.9 for the possibility of a future proceeding, a competitive proceeding perhaps for ethnic radio or other purposes.

1504 So at that point in time we liaised again with Mr. Moltner and we discussed with him, are there any other frequencies that would be smaller in coverage area that could be slotted in or squeezed in so as to leave 91.5 and 106.9 available for others.

1505 And perhaps Mr. Moltner can comment on how this frequency was chosen.

1506 MR. MOLTNER: Well, as I said, there’s always another frequency. But I think you summarized ---

1507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Something I’ve learned being involved in this area that we seem to do the last frequency over and over and over again.

1508 MR. MOLTNER: I’ve been doing it for ---

1509 THE CHAIRPERSON: But that’s because there’s very ingenious engineers.

1510 MR. MOLTNER: Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ve been doing it for 20 years, ever since the last frequency in Toronto was given away.

1511 THE CHAIRPERSON: In a number of hearings.

1512 MR. MOLTNER: Yes. And probably a few more to come.


1514 MR. MOLTNER: But I think Mr. Lewis summarized the situation very well. We were basically told hands off on 91.5 and probably 106.9. So let us find a smaller frequency which perhaps is not viable for a commercial standalone station. So I came up with 89.1.

1515 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But my question was more when you have to balance the use of 89.1 for a rebroad purpose versus using 89.3 for a new commercial service, why does the balance --

1516 MR. MOLTNER: Yes.

1517 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- of the public interest fall in your favour?

1518 MR. BIJOY: Yes. If I’m answer it. Many applicants must have told you that RED FM has the highest listenership. In terms of listenership we have thousands of listeners. All these listeners have problems when listening to the radio station. They face this every day. You’ve seen the video. You’ve heard the messages. RED FM provides valuable service to them on a daily basis. They’re -- we have built a connected community of engaged listeners. By being able to provide and restore this user experience to them, I think it will be best used, in my view, of this 89.1 frequency.

1519 MR. LEWIS: And Chairman, one other thing, and I don’t want to dwell on history but I’ve been around this for now going to come up to 40 years for my first CRTC hearing in a few weeks. RED FM and CJRJ were licensed in 2004 specifically to combat the -- I’m going to call it cross-border piracy.


1521 MR. LEWIS: And I think that was a very important milestone in the Commission’s licensing policies. It was one need, community need in this area in terms of ethnic services. But secondly, to create strong Canadian voices to combat the piracy or I can call trans-border flow of money, et cetera. And this station has achieved both creating a Canadian service that people like, they love, and repatriating listeners.

1522 And what we find right now, and this is again the balancing act that you have to do and I don’t envy you, but the balancing act is how do we keep this Canadian station or this Canadian resource strong because we’re still under fire in terms of this repatriation problem from the border station, who are operated, by the way, in Canada by Canadians. And I choked today when I kept hearing “money going south.” No money goes south, sir. It’s all staying in Canada with those operators. So that is the -- that’s the balance.

1523 Given the fact that there are other frequencies and you’ve heard AM, a number of AM frequencies and FM frequencies that are superior, we think that this makes better use of 89.1 because it’s a limited resource.


1525 MR. SANGHERA: If I may?

1526 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, sorry. Please go ahead.

1527 MR. SANGHERA: Since 2005 we worked very hard. Surrey specialty community has done a lot with us together. We achieved a lot of good things. We done it -- we started a lot of initiative with Surrey community. We do an annual run. We do annual food drive. We do annual radiothon. Anything we do with Surrey community the trust factor is there. We always break record. We raise a million dollar in a day. We run -- raise ten tons of a food just in couple hours. We have a special bond with Surrey listeners. They come to us. They cannot hear us. In seven years we enjoyed that relationship. Our anniversary was 10th anniversary. We said we want to celebrate with the community. Two thousand (2,000) people just came in 3 hours to visit the radio station. They feel RED FM is their own station.

1528 We work with the community. And it’s their demand and daily call to us they want RED FM back to their home or in their cars.

1529 RED FM has -- if you check the BBM ratings, we done from 2006 to 2012 3 times almost 80 percent of the community listen to RED FM on a weekly basis. Fifty-four (54) percent on a daily basis. That’s a really high listenership we were able to achieve working with the community, doing the right programming. And RED FM has 37 to 39 employees. Our 65 percent of the advertisers are from Surrey.

1530 So Surrey is very important for us. So to the total service to the community and we will not let CRTC down. RED FM works really hard on seven days a week, works with the community and trying to make a difference in the community.

1531 MR. KASSAMALI: Can I just add something to that?


1533 MR. KASSAMALI: So my job as the researcher was to actually determine how much of an impact this interruption is having to respondents, both on the business side as well as the listener side. And what I found is that RED FM is really -- it’s like the nucleus of the community in a lot of ways.

1534 I’ll give you an example. There was a man with dementia. And he actually walked out of his house and he got lost. And when he got lost, everybody started calling in to RED FM to recover this individual. And that’s what ended up happening.

1535 Another man moved to White Rock to move closer to his son. And when he moved there, there was this interruption. And he was so upset about the interruption because RED FM and the programming and, you know, everything that they do is so important to his life that it was actually disrupting his daily routines. And he was in his -- in the focus group he indicated that he was actually considering moving away.

1536 Now this sounds extreme and almost ridiculous, but the fact of the matter is, that is how plugged in these people are.

1537 And throughout all the research I’ve done, quantitative and qualitative, I’ve found over and over again that, you know, it is substantially impacting their lives.

1538 So you asked about public interest. Well, a new station may or may not succeed. But over here, with this issue, there is a clearly identified statistically quantifiable deficiency. And so this will solve that deficiency.

1539 MR. THIND: To underscore that, you know, RED FM has become the 411 of the community. If the Prime Minister had to make some kind of a declaration or the Premier of the B.C. has to make some kind of announcement, they go to RED FM. If somebody needs a kidney, they go to RED FM. We have developed such a good relationship with the community, now I feel that all of our listeners are becoming the victim of this technological war with the U.S. And I think it’s in your hands. You can fix it. And it’s very, very important that you fix it now.

1540 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. What do you say to those, I mean, even in 2004 you had the possibility of a large theoretical interference, which it had -- if it had panned out, you would have had a great deal of limit getting into Surrey, Cloverdale, Newton and White Rock. Now you dodged that bullet in a sense; right? So what do you say to those that say well, you know, that’s the deal you bought into back then? It’s maybe of a different source, but that’s what you had bought into.

1541 MR. LEWIS: The choice in 2004 was whether there could be an ethnic radio station for the Vancouver market or not. It was that simple. There were no other frequencies that were identifiable.

1542 THE CHAIRPERSON: At that time.

1543 MR. LEWIS: No, at that time. But seriously. And it happened one further time in terms of a larger frequency. The station is now CHLJ -- CHLG FM. But those were the only frequencies that would serve the greater Vancouver area and not just a pocket. So had we or others -- and again, you know, many people in the room this morning were applicants as well. Had there not been that frequency identified and applied for, knowing what the limitations were, potential limitations, there would have been no ethnic radio service to the community.


1545 MR. LEWIS: And so we think, you know, the greater good over that 10-year period was a terrific service developed.

1546 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see some waiting.

1547 MR. BIJOY: I think we should also -- yes.

1548 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does anybody want to add?

1549 MR. BIJOY: Yes. I think we should at this point address the difference between a first adjacent interference, which we knew of at that time, and an equivalent co-channel interference. And I think I’ll ask Jim to explain it better than I could.

1550 MR. MOLTNER: Commissioner, I think you used the term “we bought into something”. What we did was we submitted a map, which is now becoming a very famous map with us, which shows some coverage contours calculated based on some rules and this big, nasty interference zone based on some rules. And that was rules. That was not reality.

1551 At the time, CBC was interested in the frequency. I'm straining my memory, but I imagine it was to migrate their Radio-1 service from AM to FM.

1552 Rogers Broadcasting, in fact, applied for the frequency at that same hearing.

1553 Now, CBC and Rogers do not apply for small, damaged stations, so it was apparent that what that map showed and what the reality of the situation is were two different things. And in my -- I'm not going to say vast experience, but in my experience, adjacent channel interference is very rarely a problem. It is nowhere what is shown on that map.

1554 If you look at the map, you would say what is this. This is not a station, this is not a business plan. This is not viable.

1555 Obviously, it was a station which was very viable, and that's because the inference zone simply did not exist until the day in 2012 or '13 when KISM flipped the HD radio switch, which changed the reality, if you will.

1556 MR. LEWIS: And Jim, could you just explain the co-channel? Because this is -- I think this is important. And this wasn't on the map in 2004. It's a different technological change that wasn't forecast.

1557 MR. MOLTNER: Yes. That famous map was based on first adjacent analogue interference based on rules, as I've said.

1558 HD radio is basically based on putting your HD signal in the adjacent channels, so in the case of KISM, which is -- let me do my math now -- 92.9, they put the digital energy into 93.1, which is our channel, and therefore, the interference is basically co-channel interference.

1559 And one of the rules I've -- rules of thumb I've come up with in my vast experience is avoid co-channel interference like the plague. And so I guess the hens have come home to roost on this one because we have a co-channel interference situation which we could not have envisaged in 2004.

1560 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which was far greater than the original theoretical potential interference that you may or may not have thought was as great as it was.

1561 MR. LEWIS: With the technology that didn't exist. That's really the key.

1562 So how many people, in your estimate, would fall in the interference area now caused by KISM FM?

1563 MR. SANGHERA: If I -- may I have -- I have an election riding couple years old map.

1564 Newton is affected. Fleetwood is affected. In just those two ridings along, South Asian -- just one second, please.

1565 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm less interested in ---

1566 MR. SANGHERA: It's about ---

1567 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- what geography is getting affected than the number of people are getting affected, so that's why I'm asking for your insight on, you know, of the total number of people in your primary contour, how many, in your estimate, are being interfered with with KISM.

1568 MR. SANGHERA: Our primary contour cover the entire Surrey and Langley and Vancouver New West. A lot of people work in Vancouver. They cross bridge every day.

1569 Bridge, New West and part of Surrey is an interference-free area, and the Newton and Fleetwood area is part of Surrey that also get affected. So our prediction is at least 50 percent of the community is affected by the station -- by the interference.

1570 MR. LEWIS: And if I may add -- sorry.

1571 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. Well, what would be -- 50 percent of what so I get a sense of the number of people?

1572 MR. SANGHERA: A lot of people come from Vancouver. The number -- it's very hard to put a number together, but it is a lot of people are affected. The South Asian population ---

1573 MR. SAMUEL: I think the South Asian population is how much; 250,000?

1574 Two hundred and -- 250,000 is the South Asian population right now across, out of which I think 140 is just alone in Surrey itself. Fifty (50) percent of that, you could say 70,000 just in Surrey.

1575 I think what we're -- we won't be able to estimate an exact number because it would not be fair to just guess, but I think what we know is we are a station that has huge listenership.

1576 We found that from the two surveys that we had done a few years ago. And from the radio-thons we do, we get tremendous response. The strength of those numbers that we raise is not our money; it's the people who come forward, and thousands of people who come forward. Those are the people who are listening to us.

1577 So we know that we have very high listenership, but to be able to pinpoint and come up with a number would be hard.

1578 But yes, we do know the geographic areas where we have problems, so -- and based on the research we did, we came to know, for example, the Listener Impact Study, at least 90 percent of the respondents, for example ---

1579 MR. KASSAMALI: Sorry. That's exactly it.

1580 So of the entire listenership, we believe that somewhere between 85 and 95 percent of the respondents are experiencing this interference at some point or another.

1581 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I appreciate it may be difficult to pin it down, but would you agree that it's at least 70,000?

1582 MR. LEWIS: Well over, sir. And the reason why, and I just want to be clear on this, is radio is a mobile medium. And the worst interference zones are in the heaviest-travelled areas in Surrey and Vancouver and New Westminster, particularly the bridge areas where people cross all the time and listen to radio.

1583 So it's very difficult to say of the 250,000 South Asians that live in Surrey, all of them are affected every day. Many of them are affected in their residences, many of them are affected at their places of business. But a high percentage are affected at some point during their traverse between going out for dinner, going to work, going out for social reasons. They hit these zones.

1584 And Mr. Kassamali's research found with the focus groups and the advertiser focus groups that people are encountering interference all over the place, not just stationary interference.

1585 You get on a line because there's horrible traffic jams in this area on the Alex Fraser Bridge, for example, and as the car creeps along, the IBOC interference hits the radio. And so anybody crossing that bridge is affected if they're on that road for very long.

1586 MR. THIND: I can tell you, while in broadcasting in the morning, we have almost 100,000 plus people listening. At 11 o'clock when my show finishes, there hardly few calls used to come now. Every -- after 11 o'clock, 40 minutes continuously calls are coming, how much money Premier declared for Surrey gang war. She declared $13 million. But that time, people who were crossing certain intersections, they missed it, so we had a flood of calls asking.

1587 This doctor was saying something. This medicine, new research has come in, what was that.

1588 I mean, when they miss those pieces of conversation, which is very, very important for them, then they start calling and calling.

1589 The number of calls, Commissioner, has dramatically increased since this interference has come in.

1590 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's move now to the impact this may have had on your revenues.

1591 You mentioned that it had an impact on your ability on advertisers. Can you tell me more on that, exactly -- in concrete terms, exactly what that meant?

1592 I mean, it's one thing to say that advertisers may not have been as present, but could you give us something concrete?

1593 MR. KASSAMALI: Yeah. So we conducted some in-depth interviews with advertisers, and what we found is that the efficacy of their advertising has fallen by 30 to 50 percent.

1594 THE CHAIRPERSON: And do they stay with you or do they ask for a price decrease or do they move to the competitor?

1595 MR. SAMUEL: So what happens is because of -- let's put this way. Their advertising efficacy has come down, which means -- but they still are able to meet the bottom line, the money they're investing into radio to advertise. They're still getting return, but they're not getting the returns they used to get previously.

1596 So they get concerned, they come back to us and say, "You know what, it's not working. It's not the same that we used to get", but -- so we end up doing -- let's put it this way -- making them happy by providing few deals, by providing them some extra bonus spots, by basically maintaining them and saying, "Yeah, we're working on it. We're trying to get a solution".

1597 So we are working harder to keep the advertisers with us. But yes, they're still getting their money's worth. Maybe not as much as they could have, so ---

1598 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you can't grow the pie, but it's not decreasing because you're able to, some other way, sweeten the relationship.

1599 Is that correct?

1600 MR. KASSAMALI: Can I help out with this one? So let me draw you a bigger picture here.

1601 So a business starts. The ROI they get advertising on RED FM could be up to, say, 8 to 1, right. As time progresses, it flattens out at maybe 4 to 1, 5 to 1, right. With interference, what's basically happened is they're getting their money back and then a little more.

1602 Now, in a perfect world where there was no interference, there would be opportunity to grow that relationship and encourage these people to invest more because they are making more. But because there isn't, there are concessions being offered to show value and then on top of that, the opportunity to expand that relationship is not there right now. It's more about salvaging it.

1603 MR. LEWIS: And then in Mr. Kassamali’s report which is filed with the Commission of course, there were scenarios provided to those advertisers as to what would you do if the interference is not cured and another radio station with a clear signal was available? And I think the consensus was unequivocal. We would move our expenditure over to that other station.

1604 MS. KASSAMALI: And see, that's the thing. I mean 100 percent of the respondents that we talked to, we basically categorized them as super-loyalists. These are people who spend a certain amount of money with RED FM and who have been with the station for five or more years because we want to understand what the -- you know, the people with the most tolerance how they would react. And based on their existing situation, 100 percent of the people that we interviewed indicated that they wouldn’t migrate over.

1605 One of the reasons for that is, number one, all the -- there's a couple of AM stations and they have doubled their sales efforts and they are offering more competitive pricing, so the ROI has to be a lot less for them. So they're dangling a very attractive carrot.

1606 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I know it's hard to estimate things such as growth in revenues that you can't get because, you know, one has to do all kinds of speculation, but could you hazard a guess at the growth of, in your view, why revenues you could have had otherwise have dissipated?

1607 Because as one looks at the situation from what I hear and what you've just said, it's hard to make the argument that the revenues had decreased. They may not have grown as much as you may have wanted if there had not been an interference.

1608 MR. SANGHERA: If I could add something? Radio is run by intelligent knowledgeable people. Every time, every year, you negotiate with your staff the salaries. You cannot control your expense.

1609 We are in a situation if you notice, right away when the interference came, the first thing we thought how could we control our expense. We did manage first year to cut down our expense by $200,000.

1610 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but I'm talking about revenues, not on the expense side.

1611 MR. SANGHERA: Okay. I was trying to get into that picture there.

1612 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, we'll get to it.

1613 MR. SANGHERA: If revenue is a key factor for every business in order to look after your staff, if you know you're in a situation if another station comes with a clear sound quality, who is going to get affected? RED FM is going to be affected the most. So RED FM is on the position on the revenue side. If another station comes, RED FM is going to suffer the most.

1614 MR. LEWIS: I think in answer, sir, to your question though, revenues are not growing relative to inflation at the present time and that is -- that is a combination of the make goods that they have to provide. There's a finite amount of inventory on a radio station. So if you give away the inventory to retain those clients, it has an impact and it's starting to have an impact at the present time.

1615 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you been able to put a value to the concessions you've had to make?

1616 MR. LEWIS: I don’t think we can at this point. The advertisers are staying with the station and I think the loyalty again, Mr. Kassamali did the research, because they expect a solution to the interference to be found and resolved and their patience is growing thin at this point.

1617 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So let me point out that at question 6(a) of the application form, you state and here it's in quotes, so I’ll put this in quotes because I think that the exact words you used:

1618 “Advertising revenues have declined due to interference of the signal.”

1619 Is that entirely true? From what you just said, the revenues haven’t necessarily gone down. They may not be growing.

1620 MR. SANGHERA: Right after the interference, the revenue for the following year did drop by almost 30,000.

1621 THE CHAIRPERSON: I won’t give you the number because it's historic and it's confidential but if I look at the historic 2015 number which you have, that number tells a bit of a different story.

1622 MR. SANGHERA: Yeah. From the -- I'm talking about 2014.

1623 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. I'm talking about 2015.

1624 MR. SANGHERA: Yeah, 2015 ---

1625 THE CHAIRPERSON: Where the interference continued, right?

1626 MR. SANGHERA: Yeah. In 2015, I think part of the growth was the provincial elections or the municipal election where we were able to generate some extra revenue.

1627 THE CHAIRPERSON: They just didn't know that people were having difficulty listening to those political ads I guess.

1628 MR. LEWIS: Exactly.

1629 MR. SANGHERA: RED FM is a very popular station during election campaign. We run lot of ads.

1630 MR. SAMUEL: Again, it goes back to the number of listeners that we have. We still have the most highest listenership. So people invest, whether it's politicians or businesses. They still come back to us and advertise with us because they know with one single medium, they can reach the maximum number of people.

1631 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, I wanted to ask a few questions about your projections. I noticed that in Year 1 of your projections, you seem to have the same number whether or not your application is approved, and I'm trying to understand why that would be.

1632 If one follows your logic, if the application is approved, one would think that you would have fewer concessions to make. You would be able to sell more spots. Your inventory would be freed up and plus you would have more loyal advertisers wanting to pay more.

1633 MR. SAMUEL: Well, we thought by the time we get the repeater going and it would take time to actually get it all in place, that's why we took Year 1 as a base year for comparison.

1634 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you would agree that it's just a delay of implementation. It's not -- you would expect, once implemented, an increase of advertising revenues.

1635 MR. SAMUEL: Yes.

1636 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, again with your projections, could you explain to me why your revenue projections declined precipitously and so rapidly in the scenario where your application is denied? Why wouldn’t the status quo just continue?

1637 MR. KASSAMALI: A big part of that is actually based on the research and what advertisers are indicating. So basically like I mentioned, the efforts by other stations to sell has doubled and these RED FM advertisers are now being offered those concessions to move over to those stations, so based on continuous delivery failure. So here's what happening.

1638 There's a lot of people who now understand where they are experiencing these failures and so when they're driving to work, they may not log in to RED FM at the time. So the listenership is becoming hollow. So as a result, the efficacy of the advertising is falling and the advertisers are getting more and more frustrated. So for them to go to an AM station at a much cheaper rate and make their money back, there's some business advantages to it. So as time is progressing, we are seeing that migration.

1639 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, except political advertisers but let's not say that too loud.

1640 MR. LEWIS: There's one other thing that we have to be clear on. This was filed after the call or revised after the call. So it was -- when we applied, there was no call and we believed that we found a frequency that may not necessarily precipitate a call.

1641 When there was a call, it became clear to us that there was a likelihood that one or more licences might be granted for an ethnic service because that was the nature of the call.

1642 So in this scenario where a repeater is denied, we cannot remediate the signal and another station comes on with a clear signal, this is the result of that.

1643 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that reflects a -- those projections reflect a denial of your application and the potential licensing of how many ---

1644 MR. LEWIS: At least one.

1645 THE CHAIRPERSON: At least one.

1646 MR. LEWIS: At least one.

1647 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And if it was more than one, what would your projections look like in that scenario?

1648 MR. SAMUEL: I guess then it will be mayhem.

1649 MR. LEWIS: If people can't listen to the signal, as they cannot now, the new stations would have a great opportunity.

1650 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, let's flip that around. If the hypothetical was your application is approved but other services are also approved, what would those projections look like?

1651 MR. LEWIS: That is the repeater is approved, because again, that was done ---

1652 THE CHAIRPERSON: On the assumption that at some other -- at least one other applicant?

1653 MR. LEWIS: Precisely, precisely.


1655 MR. LEWIS: So that's why the revenue does not spike significantly. It seems to grow now with inflation because there will be more competition.


1657 Is -- we noticed that as well, that in the denial scenario your operation expenses increased rapidly. Can you try to explain to me why that would be?

1658 MR. SANGHERA: Like I said, I negotiated with my staff every year. To retain knowledgeable staff, especially the production/creative/on air, you have to give them a raise. There's a lot more competition. There's five radio stations serving South Asian at this moment.

1659 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're a very generous employer, because in the denial scenario you have us believe that the revenues would be going down, yet you're willing to provide your staff higher salaries?

1660 MR. SANGHERA: I'm in Catch 22 situation. If I don't look after my staff, I would suffer more. It's the on air personality people drive revenue to radio station.

1661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, but is that sustainable, though? I mean, if we're in that scenario, you were saying that you have deep enough pockets to increase your expenses, even though we might deny it. I'm not sure that's the message you want me to be hearing.

1662 MR. BIJOY: In the short-term, yes, but we can do this for two years, we can do it for three years, keep giving, but in the long-term it would not be sustainable.

1663 MR. SANGHERA: The success of a radio is with the on air personalities.

1664 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which necessarily drives the ---

1665 MR. SANGHERA: The revenue.

1666 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- your expenses, and that's the nature of the expenses that you're projecting going higher ---

1667 MR. SANGHERA: That's right.

1668 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- is for the on air staff?

1669 Not advertising? Not anything else of that nature?

1670 MR. SANGHERA: True.


1672 I should have given a signal to my colleagues that those were the last of my questions.

1673 There you go. Apparently, we've gone around. And by the way, the shortness of our questions and the directness of my questions is just the way we do business, not a reflection of our determinations.

1674 So one last question though. Again, I want to give you the opportunity. Why is it more in the public interest to fix your problem than prevent another new station?

1675 MR. LEWIS: If I could comment on that. We're not saying that there aren't applications that may be worthy of being licensed, and we've identified two FM frequencies that could be licensed that would have a superior signal. We believe that that would balance out, certainly.

1676 There's been discussion as to whether there's the capacity in the market. We've taken a position in our intervention that there may not be capacity. As long as the individuals in Canada who operate the U.S. stations continue to operate, and we have the signal deficiency, there isn't the capacity to bring in more stations.

1677 But technically, there is, and using 89.1 would not prohibit you from granting, perhaps, two FM licenses on 91.5, 106.9, and the AM licenses as well.

1678 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, but the hierarchy of needs means that your problem should be fixed as a first issue?

1679 MR. LEWIS: As a first issue, or at the same time. You know, contemporaneously with the licensing of additional stations.

1680 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, well I appreciate the decisions might go out at the same time, but in terms of a rational analysis of it as a first station?

1681 MR. LEWIS: Well, the rational analysis, and I don't want to get into the intervention phase, sir, but the U.S. station situation has festered for many, many years, and we're seeing it again, and it never stopped, of course. It never stopped after the mandatory orders were issued.

1682 And they are coming at us very, very strongly in terms of their marketing efforts, in terms of....

1683 I'll put something on the record because I'm uncomfortable, but we had an intervenor who was to come here in support of our application and he received an intimidating phone call from one of the people involved in the operation of one of the Canadian services that uses a U.S. transmitter, and he's now declined to attend. That's how the war is going on with those individuals operating those stations.

1684 Our first filing with the Commission on the U.S. stations, and I don't want to go off topic, but was in -- I went back to my files -- December 2010. And six years later, they're still there, and they're really coming at us again in terms of the marketing money that they're devoting to, you know, achieve an audience and to take away our advertisers.

1685 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. I, like you, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves in this hearing. There's other phases in this part and there's other parts of the hearing as well.

1686 But the question still is relevant for this part of the hearing as to why yours is in the best public interest.

1687 MR. KASSAMALI: Hi, so as a researcher, I get the opportunity to really connect with these listeners and these respondents. And I guess the question really is, what happens if RED FM doesn't get this repeater? What kind of an impact is that going to have on these people?

1688 So we've established that it's a way of life for these people. They skip work to listen to some of the shows, and it really helps them -- like it really helps these people identify with the Canadian culture through their own cultural lens. Look at the amount of the money that they raise. Look at the connection that they have. Look how many people that they help. So what if that goes away? How much of an impact is that going to have on the population?

1689 So from our perspective, it -- this is more about public interest than it is really about anything else, because there's a lot of people, who where RED FM is an integral part of their daily lives, and if that goes away then these are people are left with a void. And literally, like people have said that it will leave a void and I don't know how to deal with it.

1690 There was somebody on the video that talks about, you know, how it empowers her self-esteem. Well the reason it does that is because at her level it's able to communicate it and empower her with knowledge. So at the end of the day, I think what it comes down to is not how it's going to serve the public interests better but how it's going to save them from losing something that's critical to their day-to-day lives.

1691 MR. THIND: The reason ---

1692 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which is part of the public interest.

1693 MR. THIND: The reason to fix this signal, very important reason is that this station has established that the ethnic broadcasting has some valuable standards. Ethnic broadcasting wasn't as popular.

1694 This station made people aware that radio station can be a source of information; radio station can be a source of changing their life, for their health, their business, everything, from employment to their entertainment. You know, this is very important that this station has established in the South Asian community, particularly, that station -- listening to the radio, if you don't listen to the radio you are deprived of a lot of information that's very essential for their daily lives. That's why I think it's important to fix the signal first, and then continue on whatever the perpetual process of CRTC is.


1696 MR. BIJOY: Following up with what he is saying, Mr. Thind is saying, because of all what we do and what we mean to our listeners, we've built such a huge community of listeners and their choice is RED FM. They prefer listening to RED FM over other options.

1697 So by fixing the signal on 89.1, we would be helping a large amount of people to restore the user experience and get back to the choice of programming that they would like to listen without the interference. So we believe that it is in the public interest because a large number of people will get the user experience, their choice back.

1698 MR. SANGHERA: May I add something?

1699 If you're go into Surrey, talk to people, be a centre for child development, go to Surrey Memorial Hospital, go to Peace Arch Hospital, go to Surrey Foodbank, you will hear from them what RED FM means to them. Because we work with them, we do a lot of things with them, we understand the community. If CRTC has the resources, please check what RED FM means to Surrey community.

1700 MS. SEKHON: And just to add to what my colleagues have been saying. We have been broadcasting impartial, unbiased, and balanced programming for the past 10 years, whether it's news, it's our talk shows, anything that goes on air is totally balanced, it's transparent, it's impartial. Whatever we do is very transparent.

1701 And just to give you an example. I know since morning, everybody has been using this word "connect", connecting with the community. We live that word every day, literally. And just to give you an example, last week or maybe 10 days ago, my colleague, Harjinder, he received a call from this distressed father who claimed his son was probably involved in some gang or drugs activity.

1702 He did not call the police. He did not call the authorities. He called him up. He called up RED FM because they trust us. They trust him. They trust all of us.

1703 Because of our programming, we have earned their trust, their faith, their loyalty. So -- and it is very disheartening when people walk up to us and they say, "Oh, what are you guys doing about this signal distortion?"

1704 They think it's in our hands, but we have to, you know, go over this whole story about it's not in our hands. It's -- it is -- you know, it's authority that has to -- we have to go through a process.

1705 So yeah, as my colleagues have been saying, you know, it is all because of the programming, the quality of programming that we do. We have earned the loyalty and the trust and the faith, and I believe it's totally in public's interest.

1706 MR. THIND: And also, Commissioner, when we took this frequency, at that time, there was no IBOC, there was no, you know, HD, no our innocent listeners and us becoming the victim of this U.S. technology. And we couldn't have predicted at that time at all.

1707 And who knows what's going to happen next three years when this is something to be fixed now. It is in your hands.


1709 MR. LEWIS: Chairman, one last comment.

1710 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please.

1711 MR. LEWIS: You know, your Commission ---

1712 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm glad I pushed you because you're finally showing your passion in this, and that's excellent.

1713 MR. LEWIS: Mr. Chairman, this Commission, you know, under your leadership, you know, should be praised in terms of the energy you've devoted to consumer choice during your term. And that includes telecommunications choice, choice in terms of packages, of cable services and broadcasting choice.

1714 And this is a case where we have a choice that has become immensely popular with the people of Greater Vancouver, and in particular Surrey, because many of them reside in Surrey. And this is really -- if I can characterize it a different way, this is a situation of restoring that choice to those people.

1715 And I think those people will be very grateful if this choice is restored through the remediation of the signal.


1717 MR. SAMUEL: And if I can -- last part, if May say so.

1718 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead.

1719 MR. SAMUEL: Sorry. If I can paint the picture this way. Instead of a number as to how many people, RED FM, through its hard work, if I can take an example and say, you know, a person goes and gives talents.

1720 I've grown up listening to this example of parable which was that a man gave talents to three different people. He gave 10 talents to one, five to another and three to another person.

1721 A few years later, he came back and said, "What have you done with those talents?"

1722 We got a drop in frequency which was what we believed to be the best at that time, and we worked hard with it. We cultivated it. We have an ecosystem that is thriving right now in terms of the listenership, but now that we've built it up, it's at a standstill. It's at that edge.

1723 Something has to be done. Otherwise, it's going to go down.

1724 But in terms of listenership, through -- we've built, if I can say, the Godzilla or the Goliath of listenership. That's the amount of listenership we have.

1725 If you compare our listenership versus the other two, three, four stations that have -- that are there in the market, we are equalling to three stations.

1726 So if that population was listening to us, which is so huge, is having a problem today, is -- has been having a problem for -- since 2012, if they're having an issue now, it's in the public interest to solve their problem.

1727 Thank you.

1728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

1729 I believe, Mr. Thind, you mentioned that people that had missed part of the broadcast were contacting your station for having lost.

1730 By any chance, were you logging numbers of people that -- in those circumstances?

1731 MR. THIND: Well, we ---

1732 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if you haven't, that's fine. But I was just hoping, perhaps, that you had some concrete ---

1733 MR. THIND: Well, if you're asking me exact number, amount of people calling you, no. I can tell you the period -- the time period is 40 minutes continuously when call after call comes in.


1735 MR. THIND: And they ask all those questions because RED FM has broken so many news that mainstream community radio stations, English stations, could not break. We've broken those news.

1736 And our audience, our listeners have been -- they're very, very educated now in so many other ways. And now, when they're missing the part or the piece of the equation -- they're listening to the news. Somebody was arrested. And then they miss the name, they call me right away, "Who was the person arrested?"

1737 I mean, they are quite upset sometimes that what's going on. Some people think we are not putting a normal computer or microphone is faulty or something like that. They blame us for that. But they don't understand what's going on.

1738 Believe me, the number of calls missing pieces of information, they're seeking information, has increased dramatically.

1739 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. But it's essentially, at this stage -- and I'm not doubting your word. It's just a qualitative assessment rather than a concrete quantitative assessment.

1740 Is that correct?

1741 MR. KASSAMALI: In our -- throughout our focus groups and our surveys with super loyalists, we've found that three out of every 10 respondents, at some point or another, do call whether they've missed an ad or some content in a show, or what.

1742 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But I was trying to get precisely to that -- the point the evidence made earlier about -- I'm not disputing what you're saying. I'm just trying to get if you actually had logged calls, but it is not of that nature.

1743 MR. THIND: No. The volume of calls is measured by me with the time. Like five minutes, three, four calls after the show versus 50 calls after the show.

1744 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. And that's fine. It's not bad evidence.

1745 I just -- I was wondering if you had quantitative evidence. But it's more of your impression. You haven’t actually tagged all those calls.

1746 MR. THIND: Because those calls are continuously about the missing information.

1747 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. I get that.

1748 Thank you very much.

1749 Those are our questions. I appreciate you coming here and presenting with much passion and answering our very direct questions, or my very direct questions, so thank you very much for that.

1750 So we will adjourn at this point until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning to continue Phase I of this hearing.

1751 Thank you very much. Have a pleasant evening, everyone.

--- Upon adjourning at 4:54 p.m.


Sean Prouse

Pierre Limoges

Lucie Morin-Brock

Renée Vaive

Lyne Charbonneau

Karen Pare

Jacqueline Clark

Janice Gingras

Marie Rainville

Lise Baril

Suzanne Jobb

Mathieu Philippe

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