ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing September 27, 2016
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Date: September 27, 2016
© Copyright Reserved
Attendees and Location
Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre
4520 76th Avenue NW
- Chairman: Peter Menzies
- Members: Candice Molnar, Yves Dupras
- Legal Counsel: Valérie Dionne
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Émilie Godbout
--- Upon commencing on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 9:01 a.m.
1 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs. Bienvenue, Susri akal, Magandang umaga, and welcome to this public hearing.
2 At this hearing, we will be considering 11 applications to operate new ethnic commercial AM and FM radio stations, as well as an application for a new French Language community radio station, to serve Edmonton.
3 Several of these applicants are competing for the use of the same frequency.
4 These applications will be examined in light of the objectives of the broadcasting system set out in the Broadcasting Act, as well as the CRTC’s Policies and Regulations.
5 I would like to make a few introductions before we begin.
6 The panel for this hearing consists of: Candice Molnar, Regional Commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan; Yves Dupras, Regional Commissioner for Quebec; and myself, Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications. I will be chairing this hearing.
7 The CRTC’s team assisting us includes: Émilie Godbout, the Hearing Manager; Valérie Dionne, legal counsel; and Jade Roy, the Hearing Secretary.
8 I will now ask Ms. Roy to explain the procedure we will be following.
9 Madam Secretary?
10 THE SECRETARY: Thank you and good morning.
11 I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of the hearing.
12 When you are in the hearing room, we would ask that you please turn off your smartphones as they are an unwelcome distraction and they cause interference on the internal communication systems used by our translators.
13 We would appreciate your cooperation in this regard throughout the hearing.
14 We expect the entire hearing to last four 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.
15 Please not that we intend to start every morning at 8:30 for the remainder of the week, but we will let you know of any schedule changes as they may occur.
16 You can examine all documents on the public record of this proceeding, in the examination room which is located in the networks lounge.
17 Interpretation services is available throughout the duration of the hearing. English interpretation is available on channel 1 and French interpretation on channel 2.
18 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.
19 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.
20 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 transcript of each day will be posted on the Commission’s website the following business day.
21 Just a reminder that pursuant to section 41 of the Rules of Practice and Procedures, you must not submit evidence at the hearing unless it supports statements already on the public record.
22 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.
23 Finally, 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.
24 For the record, the panel has approved the filing of a revised document submitted by Harmon Bal, OBCI, to correct an error in the total of its proposed CCD contribution. These documents are available on our website.
25 And now, Mr. Chairman, we will begin Phase 1 of this hearing and Item 1 on the agenda which is an application by VMS Media Group Limited for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial FM specialty radio station in Edmonton.
26 Please introduce yourselves and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
27 MR. SIDHU: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and CRTC Staff, and a special hello to our listeners and supporters listening online on the CRTC Web site.
28 My name is Ranjit Sidhu and I am President of VMS Media Group. I am very excited to be here today to demonstrate how VMS Media's proposed service will best serve Edmonton's ethnic communities.
29 I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my dedicated team. To my left is Vivek, our Head of Finance. To his left sits Dory, our Filipino Programming Advisor and Community Liaison. To my right sits Jaspreet, Head of Music Programming. To her right is Jagjit, our Head of Programming. To his right sits Shar, a journalist with The Epoch Times and lead on our Chinese-focused programming.
30 In the back row, from left to right, sits Vince, our Head of Sales; Navdeep, our youth representative; Pal, Vice President and a shareholder in the company; Brian, our research consultant; Peter, counsel; and finally, Yazmin, Chair of our Community Advisory Committee.
31 I want to acknowledge some guests, Mr. Alnnoor Mitha, shareholder in VMS; Mr. Gurinder Heer, founder of Radio Sursangam.
32 MR. VIRK: Mr. Chairman, Commissioner, you are going to hear a lot over the next few days about how other applicants will serve Edmonton if granted a frequency. In the case of VMS Media, you don't have to guess, we are already here. We have already spent years establishing ourselves in the DNA of Edmonton. To demonstrate that commitment, I invite you to watch this short video, please.
33 (Video Presentation)
34 MR. SIDHU: While you will be presented with many impressive applications this week, Commissioners, no other applicant can match the unique combination of our offering, including our established business and advertising relationships in Edmonton; a substantial commitment to newscasts; dedicated programming to communities abandoned by the incumbent; and a CCD commitment that will truly make an impact in these communities.
35 MS. AULAKH: When it comes to assessing the quality of our application, no applicant can match our broad service commitment. Programming will be broadcast in at least 22 ethnic languages that will target, at minimum, 24 ethnic communities.
36 Morning programming will be focused on Cantonese and Mandarin programming for the Chinese community. Afternoon programming will be focused on Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu programming targeting to the South Asian community. Evening programming will serve other ethnic communities.
37 Beyond the ethnic communities served, we will serve a broad and diverse audience within each community. Older generations and new immigrants will, of course, form the core. They have real curiosity about Edmonton and needs to be met, best done in their native language.
38 But as you saw in the video, we will not ignore youth and second- and third-generation immigrants, who value their third language programming to connect with their elders and their heritage.
39 Hundred percent of our programming will be ethnic with at least 90 percent broadcast in a third language. The schedule will be balanced between spoken word at 60 percent and music at 40 percent, with a focus on news programming.
40 The vast majority of the music, which is 85 percent, will be category 33 music, world beat and international, of which at least 10 percent will be Canadian, exceeding the regulatory minimum for ethnic radio services.
41 It's our long-term hope to discover local artists in our talent contests that can ultimately be played on our station.
42 MR. DHILLON: While our programming will be predominantly local, a maximum of six hours weekly will be served for national ethnic programming. This is an exciting new concept that we are prepared to pioneer in order to better our listeners.
43 We believe there is an opportunity to produce programming of national interest to both our listeners as well as those other ethnic broadcasters. Such programming would likely be event based and centred on regional and national discussions that would best be broadcast in conjunction with other stations.
44 We hope through this programming to inform important conversations that all Canadians should be having regarding cultural community policy discussions of note. This could include electoral debates, cultural celebrations, or national holidays such as Canada Day.
45 MR. SIDHU: Our programming commitments are not based on wildly optimistic financial projections either. Our projections are fair and relatively conservative for the marketplace; they are reflective of our experience in operating Edmonton and what we know we can accomplish with a mainstream frequency. They are also based on independent research that we conduct into the market itself.
46 MR. OWEN: Commissioners, in 2014 and 2016 VMS Media contracted with our company, NRG Research Group to conduct research into advertisers, advertiser satisfaction and audience interest.
47 On the advertising side, we confirm that VMS has a small but loyal advertising base. They’re advertisers that only advertise -- or these are advertisers that only advertise in mainstream radio as a last resort. They tend to be long-term, repeat buyers, and they intend to increase their advertising buy in the future if VMS Media’s application is approved.
48 We also completed two listener surveys that indicated a strong desire in the ethnic communities for a new ethnic station, particularly one operated by people with depth of knowledge and experience with ethnic broadcasting in Alberta.
49 So we have indicators of both strong listener demand and advertiser support for a new ethnic radio station as proposed by VMS Media Group.
50 MR. VIRK: Commissioners, our support for the ethnic communities of Edmonton will extend well beyond our programming commitments. Our Canadian content development package is robust yet targeted to provide meaningful assistance where it’s most needed. The centre piece of our proposal is already spoken to by my colleague Jaspreet who talked about talent shows, which are already been established by the existing service run by Mr. Sidhu.
51 We will provide vital exposure for artists and musicians of these communities, in addition to bursaries and instruments. We will also provide support for CKUA, Canada's original public broadcaster, with whom we have a tremendous working relationship and for whom we have a great deal of respect, and as a grad of the University of Alberta, someone that I’m very proud to support.
52 This funding will create incremental programming that will stabilize CKUA and ensure a place for additional news & current affairs programming on that service as well.
53 MS. JUAREZ: All of the affirmation activity will be supplemented by the input and support of an Advisory Board. As the first Chair of the Advisory Board, I am excited to work with our target communities to create programming of interest to them and build meaningful relationships that will ensure the station is the first voice to which people turn when seeking credible, reliable and accurate news and information programming. This may not be easy. While we have already established relationships with the largest ethnic communities in Edmonton, many of the smaller groups have been abandoned or ignored by the incumbent.
54 We’ll need to begin meaningful outreach immediately, encourage those interested in broadcasting to join our Advisory Board, and most importantly, establish open communications between communities, the program directors and the producers themselves to ensure their input is reflected on screen. It will take time, but we are committed to ensure the accurate reflection of all our target 24 communities. That means a dedicated and effective complaints process, constant surveying and research, and continuous feedback. These will be the focus and goal of the Advisory Board. But what better demonstration of our commitment can there be than to actually hear from our new programming partner.
55 MS. GONZALES: Commissioners, my name is Dory Gonzales and I am the President of the Filipino Retiree Association of Alberta and advisor to the Filipino Women's Association of Alberta. We represent a group of men and women dedicated to building and preserving a sense of community amongst Filipino immigrants and Filipino-Canadians in this great city of ours.
56 When VMS Media approached us about this application, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute. Through this new station, we can continue to foster a sense of unity in our community, create a focal point through which news and information may be disseminated in our native language and share our unique perspective and opinions of matters of local importance. For too long now our only media outlet has been CKER. VMS is bringing a fresh, new, young voice to the market and we couldn't be more than excited.
57 MR. DHILLON: Our commitment to a minimum of 18 hours weekly of news programming is almost highest in the proceeding. All of this news will be locally produced. We will air over a hundred newscasts a week in a variety of languages, including Tagalog, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Cantonese and Mandarin.
58 News will be sourced from local and foreign agencies, including from journalists currently employed with Sur Sagar. When it comes to news, Commissioners, we take quality and accuracy very seriously. We have been in the business of news since launching both our ethnic newspaper and our SCMO service in Calgary in the early 2000s. All of our journalists adhere to strict codes of conduct. We have a strong network of news collection and dissemination from which our new Edmonton station will benefit.
59 MR. SIDHU: While we have been authorized to carry on SCMO undertaking in Calgary and Edmonton, this will be our first licence and we are prepared to accept the obligations that come with licensing. News and information programming is part of the obligation. In the case of Edmonton, in particular, the need for this programming is acute. For decades now, the choices for ethnic communities when it comes to news programming have been limited to third language newspapers and CKER. The older generation does not go online to find news and information; it relies upon local sources. VMS has been providing that voice for the South Asian community on SCMO for years. We now look to take the next broader and deeper step with a powerful new frequency.
60 MS. CHEN: Commissioners, the unique benefit of licensing VMS Media is that it will still be a familiar voice in the market because of its SCMO operation. Our current listeners will be our future brand advocates. We have learned what the communities of Edmonton want through operating our newspaper and SCMO assets. This station will represent the next step, a natural evolution to a more mainstream frequency.
61 MR. KUMAR: In terms of market impact, the Commission has already noted that Edmonton's low ratio
62 of ethnic radio revenues per third-language population compared to similar markets suggests potential for revenue growth. We agree. Over-licensing should be a non-issue given there is only one licensed ethnic broadcaster in Edmonton and the significant growth of third language communities there in the last fifteen years. Despite what the incumbent may argue, Commissioners, the impact of our licensing will be minimal for four reasons.
63 MR. TRIPATHY: First, VMS is already operating in the market as an SCMO undertaking. We have a sales team in place and have established both advertising and listener relationships. Much of the impact we could have on CKER has been felt and been absorbed. If VMS Media is granted a mainstream frequency with significantly improved coverage of the market, the
64 advertising base will not only follow but grow to include new advertisers.
65 Second, VMS Media will be expanding its SCMO-based radio service from a focus on only 3 languages to a mainstream ethnic radio service focused on 22 languages. This restrains advertising and programming inventory on the more profitable ethnic programming, the abundance of which would be a direct threat to CKER. Moreover, we will largely be targeting local advertisers because, to be frank, we could never hope to compete with Rogers Broadcasting for regional and national advertising dollars.
66 Third, we will serve on the order of 10 more communities that CKER has either abandoned or never served at all. We will be active in communities in which the incumbent has no presence.
67 Fourth, our counter programming strategy will ensure that minimal programming language overlap will occur with CKER. This means that of those listeners who follow both our station and CKER, they should never feel conflicted as to which station to listen because their programming of interest will be broadcast at different times. Our licensing will be a complementary piece to the ethnic broadcasting mosaic of Edmonton rather than a competitive one.
68 In short, Commissioners, our new service will be readily distinguishable from that of the incumbent and designed to target different audiences and advertisers.
69 MR. VIRK: More importantly, for the purposes of CRTC policy, VMS will represent a truly independent voice in Edmonton, a new voice to many and one that can offer credible news coverage at a time when newspapers and local over the air television are reducing news coverage across the country. VMS is making news and information programming a cornerstone of our application. We believe it will be the differentiating factor in the marketplace between CKER and ourselves. We're prepared to fill the void of meaningful news coverage in third languages on Edmonton media.
70 MR. SIDHU: Lastly, Commissioners, you will note that we have applied for the use of 106.5 but have also submitted alternative frequency as well. Let me be clear, our strong preference is for 106.5. That said, we would be prepared to accept one of 93.3 or 580 AM in the event you are of the view that 106.5 should be awarded to another broadcaster.
71 Operating an SCMO has been a rewarding and, at times, profitable experience but, over the long term, having an audience limited to only 25,000 receivers in a marketplace will limit our future prospects.
72 MR. PAL VIRK: If there is one take away from this presentation, Commissioner, it's this; we're ready for the big league. We have done our time in the minors. So we've operated SCMOs for years here, built the necessary relationships and proven, unlike other applicants, we are truly dedicated and committed to Edmonton as a marketplace and community.
73 MR. SIDHU: We respectfully ask the Commissioners to reward a player who has done the hard slogging and proven themselves as ready for the next challenges. Please license VMS Media Group.
74 Thank you for your time. And this morning, we would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
75 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
76 I have a number of questions and feel free to assign them to whoever you feel is best suited to answer.
77 First of all, could you give us a little bit of background on your SCMO history. You mentioned that you’ve operated SCMOs multiple in this city for a number of years; so how many and for how long?
78 MR. SIDHU: We have two SCMO stations; one in Calgary and one in Edmonton.
79 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, so when you were referring to ---
80 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
81 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- your history with it, that’s the Calgary one -- that’s the Calgary one included.
82 So how similar is the programming you currently offer on your SCMO in Edmonton to what you plan to offer with this application?
83 MR. SIDHU: The similarities, we can say may be spoken word. We try to provide more spoken word on our SCMO radio and also news. We have also serving four-hour news, every day, on SCMO radio, and that’s our planning. Maybe if we get that new licence, we will try to put more news, like 18-hour news, on the new radio.
84 And Mr. Jagjit can more explain on it.
85 MR. DHILLON: Mr. Chair, our programming, even in the SCMOs, have largely been focused on the challenges faced by the new immigrants. Other than the challenges of the language barrier they face when they land over here, the biggest challenge is to settle down in a job, which keeps them afloat.
86 Finding a job because of language barrier and on top of it, the availability of job is there, how to approach it, how they can show their skills. And convince the person that they are fit to be hired has been rated, even in the Stats Canada Report, that 49 percent plus face challenges on finding the jobs.
87 So our programs have been designed in a way, have been put in place in a way where we have brought special guests who have specialized knowledge about a particular field in the industry. They -- on the radio, we interview them. We tell them what are the skills required, what are the basic qualifications, how to go about it, and stuff like that.
88 And second, our biggest challenge has been in addressing the social issues, which the new immigrants have been facing. The social issues, I would start with the isolation which they feel because of not having the knowledge of the place where they are and the history attached with the things that are happening.
89 So what we have been doing is providing them the platform where they can understand the events that happened in the past vis-à-vis something that is happening currently that they’re witnessing. So they can relate with faster and easy, and it makes them fully aware of the circumstances.
90 When it comes to the targeting of the news, it’s not just the news that we provide on the current, this is that what’s going on today in the city and in the national level and international level.
91 What we have been intending is to keep the new immigrants apprise of the situation of -- even on the political front, if the elections are there on the province part or something, that they are kept aware of what’s going on.
92 That has been our base, so we will continue that over here as well.
93 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, and your SCMO, how many languages is it broadcasting?
94 MR. SIDHU: On SCMO, we are serving three languages; Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
95 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Seventeen (17)?
96 MR. SIDHU: Three languages, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
97 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sorry; I was thinking there would be others. Punjabi, Urdu?
98 MR. SIDHU: Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
99 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
100 So the new operation would be, if approved, would be a considerable expansion on that in terms of the new communities -- language communities being served. Correct?
101 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
102 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thanks.
103 So one of the things I notice looking through this is that really with the exception of Urdu, in your application, you’re offering 10 hours versus two hours for the incumbent. There’s a lot of similarity between your target audiences and those being served by World FM right now.
104 So I recognize that the communities have grown, but I want you to convince me that this isn’t just a duplication of service to those groups. I understand it would be competitive, it would be a new voice, and that sort of thing. But it seems there is a lot of duplication in terms of the major language groups being served, and I’d like you to address that.
105 MR. SIDHU: The CKER is serving 12 languages only, and we are promising 22 languages; Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and a few other languages maybe they are serving, but the timings are different.
106 They are serving Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu in the morning time and the late night. And we are thinking we can provide the service all day, like 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. So we will provide Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu languages services.
107 And there’s no services on weekends, Saturday and Sunday, for the South Asian languages. And this week, CKER are starting services for Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu languages on Saturday and Sunday. This week, they announced they will start it, but they are not -- have any news or any programming on the weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, for these languages.
108 And we are giving a few hours to these languages. There are only a few hours for the Chinese language on CKER, and we are promising we will have a morning time, like 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., to Chinese program.
109 And then we have a Filipino program. They are only offering three or four hours only Saturday morning. And we are offering two hours, every day, Monday to Friday.
110 And Shar maybe can more explain on it.
111 MS. CHEN: Currently, there is only like World FM 101.7 for the Chinese program right now.
112 So we felt like there is a need for more content and you know, like, there’s only limited news for the current program. And they’re scheduled only in the afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 for Mandarin, and it’s 3:00 to 5:00 for Cantonese.
113 So I think there is a need for, like, more cultural programs, for news, for community events, education, immigration, life, things like this.
114 So I think that VMS’s application will really benefit the Chinese community.
115 MR. TRIPATHY: Mr. Commissioner, if I could add just a couple more points to what my colleagues have suggested.
116 You’ll recall in 2013 with the licence renewal for CKER, there was an adjustment, an amendment from 19 licences down to 12. At that time, CKER had stated a couple of things as far as their philosophies in approaching third language in the Edmonton market.
117 One of those points was a focus on profitability for their radio station which, from a business standpoint, makes sense. But it also meant a focus on a limited number of -- I’ll call it P-1 or higher -- higher listenership audiences.
118 The other point that was made during that renewal and amendment by CKER was a focus on quality versus quantity. And in interpreting the comment and in reviewing the transcripts, that comment seemed to refer to the fact that better serve less and do a better job.
119 We don’t believe at VMS that this application that they’re mutually exclusive. There can be a really nice balance between quality and quantity, and that’s the reason for 22 languages, and some of the programming guidelines that we put into place.
120 MR. SIDHU: And I would like to add that we have a survey; 67 percent of people say they never listen CKER. I’m not sure -- maybe the programming timing or the quality of the programming. And we will be -- their program more focus on music and we will -- we’ll be more focused on talk and the news.
121 We will be more focused on talk, and the news.
122 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, well that sort of segues into my next question, which was apart from languages, and what I -- you can correct me, but what I more or less just heard you say was that you will be serving these major language groups, the South Asian groups and the Chinese language groups at times of day or during the week when World FM is not?
123 MR. SIDHU: Yes, if you see our schedule ---
124 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
125 MR. SIDHU: --- we are trying. We checked their schedule and we are making our programs maybe ---
126 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
127 MR. SIDHU: --- they are not overlapping, so maybe if they are --
128 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you won’t be competing for the same language groups at the same time of day?
129 MR. SIDHU: No, we are not.
130 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So having dealt with the language groups in terms of that, obviously language is a key feature but when you’re looking at diversity there’s more than that, so what is the -- what are the core elements that will distinguish you from CKER in terms of -- in terms of your overall tone, your use of music, your style of programming? Are you going to be upbeat, more upbeat than them; are you going to be happier; are you going to be funnier or are you going to be more serious; are you going to be more sad? Tell me what it would be that I would -- if I was listening to the two why I would tell -- be able to recognize yours?
131 MR. SIDHU: As I told, like, we are more focusing on talk shows, and on talk and news, and also some new music. We want to be involved in the community, like, we want to understand, that’s why we have an advisory board. And we want to listen from the community what they want to listen, and we want to fill their needs. On experience on SCMO from last 15 years, and I have personal experience more than 18 years in the South Asian media.
132 We try to be involved in the community. Like, as SCMO we have a big events in Calgary and Edmonton. We approach to the people, like, I will give the example, like, we have a Wesaki prayer here in Calgary and 40,000 people reached there.
133 We are -- we are running SCMO, we are a very small station but we reach there to promote our SCMO radio approximately 15 to $20,000 gift we just distribute to the kids, and the people we asked the simple question on Canadian history and we just distribute there. And we tried to -- we tried to involve with the community and Mr. Jagjit can more explain on it.
134 MR. DHILLON: Mr. Chair, as you said, regarding being comic and being sad, I would say that when you know your audience pretty well, you can tickle when they -- you want their giggle to convert into laughter, and you must know when to provide shoulder when they are sad so that they can rely on you, look up to you for their problems and the challenges they are facing, and that’s where I think we master. We are led by Ranjit, who has 18 years of experience out of which 15 years has been in Alberta, both in Calgary and Edmonton. I think that is a valuable source and guidelines that we get from him, and he knows the -- also the market and understands our target audience, what to come up with, when, at which time, and address the concerns of the targeted audience. That will help us in relating with those guys, and I would request our colleague, Vince, to further sum up.
135 MR. TRIPATHY: The only other point that I might add on the diversity, aside from the talk versus music comment, the community relationship is obviously VMS versus an entity -- a very good entity in Rogers Broadcasting -- is they’re two different scopes of businesses.
136 Our business is designed, really, around relationships. It’s relationships with our listeners, relationships with our customers, and ultimately what’s going to allow this licence to do what -- what we believe it will do over time is going to be the relationships with our communities. That’s best reflected, I think, in our advisory board that we’re looking at, which will have a group of between nine and 11 members, reflective of the various communities that are a part of Edmonton, and again our way to suggest that we -- we do believe we need to be in touch with what is going on in the -- in the community, and that’ll apply not only now but in the future as well.
137 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, go ahead.
138 MS. GONZALES: If I may add to what Vince said. We will be offering balanced programming that is familiar and that people in the communities can relate to.
139 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, there’s a lot of talk. What do you talk about? You’re talking now, right?
140 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your SCMO is talking. There’s -- talk is a very popular format within this genre and I’m just trying to get a sense of how you are choosing your talk conversations for the day, and what’s in the news and how that would make you different from the incumbent or other places. Why would I -- why would I want to go and listen to people; do they phone in to argue or do they phone in to -- or are they quizzes like you said, a history quiz? What do you talk about?
142 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we have very good experience for the talk on SCMO. Like, we are serving as from last 15 years. People -- in these days people get music very easily on music apps. They want to listen talk. If they’re turning on the radio they want to listen somebody’s talking. Maybe is there is any news any talk show there, so that’s why they are thinking they will tune the radio. They want to -- they want information; they want knowledge.
143 So we are thinking we will -- we will do so many interviews on it with a specialist. We will do -- providing the news, international news, national news, Canadian news.
144 What we are doing on our SCMO -- we have some challenges because we are a very small station, with our newspaper and our radio, we try to provide Canadian news bulletin. It’s very hard maybe to get the news, collect the news, what is happening in Calgary and Edmonton, in Alberta and Canada and translate and make a news bulletin, but we are doing it in our newspaper and in our SCMO station.
145 So people -- people want to listen. They’re -- we have so much competition in Calgary and in Edmonton. There is two FM stations serving South Asian community and ethnic communities in Calgary. Same thing in here; like, there is a FM station serving here but we are on SCMO. People still want to listen as people are still purchasing our radios from the grocery stores, they are downloading our apps.
146 They want to listen to us because we are providing different programs. We have four hours news. Like, we are also getting news from BBC. There are half hour news bulletins in the Urdu. People -- people love to listen it because on other station maybe there are three minutes or four minutes, maybe five minutes news bulletin. People -- people want more information. If they have time they like -- they like to listen it, and Mr. Jagjit can more explain on it.
147 MR. DHILLON: Mr. Chair, I recall one example when we had federal elections last year, and before the Election Day and the results day there was a run up to elections. We contacted all the political leaders and we had discussions on the radio which kept the listeners updated with the views each party had on specific topics.
148 On the specific day when the results were out and we were up there in our radio station till, I think, way past 1:30 in the morning and people were still calling and were interested in knowing what the final score is. They want to -- they were not only curious, they were interested in knowing the trend, which they -- which they were looking forward to. And even at the early morning hours they were involved in asking what’s going on, so that shows that people want to have the awareness of things happening in and around them which are going to directly affect their life in the coming days.
149 MR. SIDHU: And, I want to add it as SCMO, and Mr. Jagjit talk about the news on -- on the Election Say, we checked the mainstream media even, like, after 10:00 p.m. their Web sites are not updating; they are not providing the new news, they said maybe in the morning you will get updated, and as the SCMO we are sitting there in our studio at 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. people still calling us, and we checked maybe, “Are you listening us? Do you want to listen us?” And they said, “Yeah, please -- please provide the news. We want to listen in we don’t want to wait till morning. Who is winning?”
150 And, I will mention about 2008 there is a terrorist attack in Mumbai. People -- people want to know the news what is happening there. Maybe that in 2008, three days we continuously provide the news for the terrorist attack, and the Metro newspaper also mention about it because people are worried that time. They want us to stop all the other programmes, the regular programmes, and just provide the news, and we just continued to provide the news.
151 MR. VIRK: Mr. Commissioner if I could also add something else? We’ve -- you’ve been commenting on what type of talk, and obviously there is different types of talk in which we’ve heard about news, we’ve heard about debates but I want to bring to the Commission’s attention something as a result of Mr. Sidhu’s SCMO that we had an opportunity.
152 We operate a small law firm in Edmonton and for the first time, to the best of my knowledge and I’ve been practising for 10 years, our firm had an opportunity, in the Punjabi language, to talk about domestic violence in the Indian community. That occurred very recently and as a direct result of a very small audience base, we were contacted by, I would say victims. People that have been quiet for a long time that didn't know about methods that were available to them.
153 That particular information, the ability to disseminate information using the radio in an ethnic language, to the best of my knowledge, was not achieved before using Mr. Sidhu's program.
154 And so when we're talking about talk and awareness; yes, there's history quizzes that have been talked about, but the ability for professionals, optometrists, dentists, lawyers, now that have become second generation in Canada, the ability to provide greater information, it's a tremendous resource for us.
155 And I can advise that it was through Mr. Sidhu's radio program that we were able to do that.
156 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So the talk is about useful things for the most part is what I'm getting at. How do you manage open line -- is it open line talk that you're doing?
157 MR. SIDHU: Yes, there will be open line. We are -- on SCMO we are also doing talk shows. We ask that -- we train our staff and we ask the people don't use any wrong languages on it. And maybe -- and maybe Jaspreet can more explain on it.
158 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you have a delay; and you're aware of the CRTC Guidelines around ---
159 MR. SIDHU: Yes. If we get a new licence we will put the delay system on -- a five-second delay system on our talk show.
160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, than you. And you will work to ensure it is of good standard?
161 MR. SIDHU: Yes. Because running a radio -- SCMO Radio we do so many talk shows, and in last 15 years we don't have any complaint from the people when we do the talk shows because our staff is trained. We tell them not to talk about any religion, any colour or any caste. So they are trained. So we don't have any problem from last 15 years.
162 And mostly, when -- if -- there's new FM station in Calgary a few years ago, they hired so many staff from our staff it mean they think they are good staff.
163 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And just -- we'll move on after, just deal with the talk.
164 The talk is primarily about local issues? And I'm just -- to help explain, particularly in terms of brokered programming. We've run into, over the years, some issues from time to time about some of the topics that are dealt with tend to be -- I'm not saying all of them, but from time to time -- old country issues that get brought up which can be controversial.
165 So I'm just trying to get a sense of how you would manage that and how much of your focus will be on Edmonton as opposed to national and international.
166 If you just give me some sort of -- if I was listening to it out of five days a week, if I was listening to one person's talk program, how much of the content would I expect would be about Edmonton?
167 MR. SIDHU: Like, as we promise 18 hours news we are focusing -- we are -- will try 10 hours local news, four hour international and four hour national news. We will -- we believe maybe people want to know what's happening in their local communities. That's what we are doing.
168 And like we have so many newspaper here in Calgary and Edmonton. Our newspaper is different because we try to translate the news, what's happening in Edmonton and Calgary. That's what we are doing in -- on SCMO Radio.
169 Like we run almost five-year program for -- on drug awareness. There is a Drug Awareness Foundation Calgary. Their specialist came to our studio. We'd talk about the youth, why they are involved in the drugs. We try to tell the parents what they should learn about maybe how they can maybe teach their kids how they can avoid the drugs, and maybe there is a Canada-wide walk from coast to coast and we participate in it.
170 And that's the type of program we were looking for it and maybe Jaspreet can more explain on it.
171 MS. AULAKH: To add onto that, we have an advisory committee which will advise us as to what kind of programming people want to listen to. At the same time, they have a dedicated email and a phone line where people can call in and explain, like, what are the topics they want to be discussed at the radio, which is to their importance.
172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
173 In terms of that advisory committee, it...
174 First of all, dealing with something Ms. Juarez referred to in your presentation. There is a large number of language groups. Other than the Chinese and South Asian groups, there's 17 other language groups. And you mention difficulties or challenges in terms of -- or reaching out to them.
175 How big a problem is that? Is that a -- or is problem the wrong word? How big a challenge is that to get those 17 other groups participating in a meaningful way on the air?
176 MR. SIDHU: Like, when we applied for this application or I tried to approach the different communities, I get a very good response from all other communities, like especially Chinese, Filipino, and other small communities. They want their voice on the radio. And maybe Miss Yazmin can more explain on it.
177 MS. JUAREZ: Yes. So our plan is to work with community leaders that are active within their own communities. And make -- to make sure that their voices and they're being reflected in a manner that they would like to be reflected in the radio.
178 So currently we have reached out to many of these community leaders who are interested and willing to come on board in order for their communities to also be presented.
179 Currently the Latin America community, we do have some station -- or some air time at CKER. But like you had said, it's more about music, not so much about education. So this is what the Latin America community would like to do, like many of the other smaller communities.
180 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. How big do you see that advisory board being?
181 MS. JUAREZ: Minimum of nine; ---
182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is it ---
183 MS. JUAREZ: --- maximum of 11 people.
184 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. How would you manage who's on and who's not?
185 MS. JUAREZ: So we would ---
186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Especially 24 different communities and less than half would be -- well, maybe half could be on there. How do you negotiate that problem -- challenge?
187 MS. JUAREZ: So right now we have reached out to the communities and to see who is active and who's involved.
188 Once we get those leaders involved, and they would be the direct voice from the committee to the -- to their communities and back to us. So it's scooping up who are those community leaders.
189 THE CHAIRPERSON: How often would the committee be meeting?
190 MS. JUAREZ: So our goal is to meet three times in a year, and a minimum commitment of two years.
191 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry; I -- something happened and I -- how many times a year?
192 MS. JUAREZ: Three times.
193 THE CHAIRPERSON: Three times a year?
194 MS. JUAREZ: Yes.
195 THE CHAIRPERSON: How would you measure the success of that organization?
196 MS. JUAREZ: Hopefully we'll be able to keep these board members for longer than two years, and at the end of maybe a five-year period or even shorter we could start to record some of the statistics.
197 So how many people called in to maybe not only complain but also to encourage different programming or if they want to see a difference and we can kind of have the statistics, how many people call, what was done about it, how fast it was done, their complaints or any other changes, how fast we met them.
198 Like he was mentioning we're going to have a direct email and phone that these people can connect with us right away.
199 THE CHAIRPERSON: And who would they be connecting to?
200 MS. JUAREZ: Right now it would probably be myself. And depending on the urgency of the discussion, then we would call a meeting or we would bring it up on the next meeting.
201 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you would essentially be the cat shepherd in terms of ---
202 MS. JUAREZ: Yes.
203 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- moving that forward and reporting to management in terms of the feedback?
204 MS. JUAREZ: M'hm.
205 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So how would you -- just to go back to the original, how would you measure the success of that in terms of -- I mean, people meet three times a year; they bring forward issues. That goes on for a couple of years.
206 But how would they -- how would you measure the effectiveness of that board or would it just be something built into the overall performance of the operation?
207 MS. JUAREZ: The goal is to come up with solutions and take the people's feedback and actually put it into action. So my job would definitely be to bring these issues forward into the station, the programmers and everybody there to make sure that there's changes being met.
208 THE CHAIRPERSON: and you would be able to track that then and report back on your success?
209 MS. JUAREZ: Hopefully, yes. I'm pretty sure maybe Ryan could talk to ---
210 MR. TRIPATHY: Actually if I could just comment on that very quickly. I apologize; it's Vince.
211 Mr. Commissioner, I think ultimately what you'd see happen over the duration of the licence, the ultimate goal if we're reflecting what is going on with the community and building those relationships up, if we're listening, if we're programming properly, it's probably no different than a mainstream radio station in that ultimately the goal will be growing -- a growth of listenership, and that if we're not reflecting what's going on in the communities, if we're not sensitive to what is going on, we're not going to garner that listenership over a period of time. So I think ultimately that would be it, along with, obviously, interaction from the communities with the radio station.
212 MS. AULAKH: To ensure the efficiency of the advisory committee, we have in place third-party surveys and Internet, like the social media feedbacks.
213 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
214 How would you monitor your decision to have 60 percent spoken word and 40 percent music, or maybe could just unpack that for me a little bit? Is it -- will there be strictly spoken word programming and strictly music programming, or will it be mixed in between?
215 MR. SIDHU: There will be different programs for spoken word and for the music, but some programs maybe we designing like that maybe the host maybe can speak few minutes about some information and then we can -- then he can play some music in it.
216 And Mr. Jagjit will more explain on it.
217 MR. DHILLON: What we have been doing in the past, and that we are going to continue, is that when we are talking about music, which attracts the younger generation, we'll be focusing more on the employment aspect. We'll be focusing more on the issues like drug awareness that now we are confronted with. We are going to focus more on the other social evils that exist.
218 So when we have that target audience listening to us, we would like to convey those message along with that so that they are drilled down and proper reserves are met.
219 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What -- I guess a little bit of what I was trying to get at is whether it's a -- when you say 60 percent spoken word and 40 percent music, whether that's really a ratio used to describe the nature of your programming or whether it would be, for instance, something that you'd be comfortable putting in as a condition of licence?
220 MR. SIDHU: We can take it as a condition, but we are -- program will be like that, maybe they will be 60 percent spoken word and 40 percent music on the radio.
221 And Jaspreet can more explain on it.
222 MS. AULAKH: That will be more like nature of our programming, because we are -- we want to target what the audience want. The music program -- like, for example, if we have Cantonese programming for two hours, so it is one hour of music and one hour of talk by the host.
223 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you would be -- so for the record, you'd be comfortable taking -- should the Panel decide, you'd be comfortable taking that as a condition of licence, 60 percent spoken word, 40 percent music?
224 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we can take it.
225 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What about other conditions of licence? A condition of licence locking you into 100 percent level of ethnic programming; would you be comfortable with that?
226 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we are comfortable with that.
227 THE CHAIRPERSON: And a condition of licence committing you to 90 percent third-language programming; would you be comfortable with that?
228 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we are comfortable.
229 THE CHAIRPERSON: And a condition of licence committing you to 30 percent of all ethnic programming in Punjabi, Hindu, and/or Urdu; would you be comfortable with that?
230 MR. MILLER: Mr. Chair, is that a minimum or a maximum?
231 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, what would you like? It could be either. There could be a floor or a ceiling. So it could be -- that's part of the discussion with you here today.
232 So we could -- would you like to take it as a minimum or would you be comfortable taking it as a maximum? Either or both, there is ---
233 MR. MILLER: On this one, can we come back in reply?
234 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
235 MR. MILLER: Thank you.
236 THE CHAIRPERSON: And another condition of licence; basically, you may wish to do that within that, whether you take a maximum level and/or minimum level in the South Asian languages, which I described, and the Chinese languages as well.
237 And I'd also like your view on whether conditions of licence such as those might be restrictive, in terms of your ability to respond to shifts in the marketplace over the course of a seven-year licence. Some language communities may grow, for instance, some may shrink or stay steady. And you can address all of that when you come back, if you wish.
238 MR. MILLER: Why don't we do that, Mr. Chair? I will just make one observation now.
239 The one conditional licence you didn't ask about, which we would accept, is the minimum number of languages. That's, you know, a typical one that the Commission applies.
240 But we'll review this and any other factors, and the reason we want until reply is we want to get a sense of the hearing as to what your concerns are, whether you're concerned that certain communities are overserved or underserved. But as a matter of principle, I don't think the MSB has any problems with these conditions of licence.
241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So in terms of your financial forecasts, to what extent are these forecasts informed by your SCMO operations? In other words, I mean there's a description from your study that -- regarding your advertising group was small but loyal, but also an indication that they didn't use mainstream medium for advertising.
242 So what have you learned -- I guess what I'm trying to get at is to what extent did you extrapolate your financial plan or your financial operations with your SCMOs to come up with your plans that you've presented here?
243 MR. SIDHU: We are running the SCMO in Edmonton from last -- almost now four years. We have a very good advertisers right now; there's advertisement with us, but maybe they are not advertising any other media. Like, there is so many advertisers local and so many there are national advertisers. If I see in the national advertisers, Save-On Food and the Walmart and McDonalds, Shoppers Drug, they also like use our media.
244 And we have so many local advertisers here. They are big developers, like Dream Developers, United Developers; they call us on weekend for the radio remote.
245 And, like, two weeks ago, we were on that radio remote with the united communities and we are on the SCMO radio, very limited listeners, and we ask the feedback from our client. Are they happy or not? Maybe if they are not we can make some changes in it. Maybe our style, maybe or how to -- how -- their advice or how their advertise can reach the people.
246 And they get 40 clients from us and they booked, actually, one day with us, SCMO Saturday, and the other day, they booked the mainstream radio for the radio remote. And, surprisingly, they are very happy with our services.
247 And same thing happened in -- with the Brick. Like, Brick, we are serving them from last 10 years. Sometimes they try mainstream media also but they are very happy with us. They are there -- they are dealing with us from last 10 years with the SCMO and the radio.
248 Maybe Mr. Vivek can more explain on it.
249 MR. KUMAR: The total market share, as on CRTC's Web site, is $92 million from the last year's revenue, and we are asking just one million. That is not more than 1.5 percent of the total market share, and we are confident that we can achieve that.
250 Having said that, 25 percent of our revenues are already coming from our loyal advertisers who are already advertising with us. And from our advertising survey we have noted that many of the local advertisers are not advertising with anybody in the market, and they will be more than happy to advertise with us.
251 Maybe Mr. Vince can fill in with you more.
252 MR. TRIPATHY: Thank you.
253 A couple of comments, I guess, just referring back, Mr. Commissioner, to the research piece that you were touching base.
254 There were -- there was a focus on two areas; one was on the listener's side of who was going to be following our radio station, the other piece was more direct.
255 And on the audience side, to start with, in general terms -- and it's not an exact science, as everybody on the Commission knows -- potential audience looks to be somewhere between 1 to 2.5 percent for the VMS Group, as far as where the radio station can grow to.
256 Based on a $92 million market, $93 million last year, those numbers are, you know, are comfortably in that 1.5 to 2.5 million. You'll see year one revenues we projected in that $1.1 million range.
257 Secondly, on the other piece of the research, which was more advertiser-focused, what we found amongst the 75 individuals that are current clients of our SCMO was that eight out of 10 of them saw themselves continuing on with our radio station as we moved forward. In addition to that, we actually attributed some dollar amounts to them as far as what they would be prepared to spend on a monthly basis.
258 So the suggestion was that 8 out of 10 of those 75 advertisers would spend on average $1,000 per month or $12,000 per year for each of those advertisers. If you do the math on that, that core piece of business alone puts us in the area of roughly about $750,000.
259 The second piece of that advertising had to do with our secondary but very important advertisers who maybe would have a smaller budget of roughly $500 a month or $6,000 per year, and based on their response that added additional revenues of $84,000. The combination coming out of the SCMO alone was $813,000 roughly on a first-year budget of 1.1 million.
260 We also expect to have growth and revenues from the licence. Obviously, we’re going to have a larger audience than 25,000 that we currently have with the SCMO which add on additional revenues. And then our relationships that we’ve got with the Punjabi newspaper, Epoch Times that will be doing some work as well should also add additional revenues.
261 So we actually feel the numbers that have been presented to you are conservative. And if we do our work right with our advisory boards, our news talk and that which is going to allow us to add premium rates and understanding that we’re now targeting 22 languages and that we’re going to generate more revenue off of our P2 listeners than maybe some of the other people in this marketplace as well.
262 Long and short of it, it’s a very achievable number.
263 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Would any of that -- would any of the programming be brokered?
264 MR. SIDHU: What we are planning we will try to serve all the languages. We will hire the host. But if we find any independent broker, like if we feel they are good and they want to take care for their programs, we can do the brokerage for a few programs for the small languages.
265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And just to confirm, my understanding is that if you were successful in this application that the SCMO would cease to function once this launched?
266 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we have some technical issue here with our SCMO frequency. It’s not very clear. And maybe it’s from last -- maybe I can say from last year there is just some static. Like I check in with the CKUA engineering team and sometime people have a hard time to listen it. Maybe we are asking them to listen on website and maybe download our app on their phones, but some old people, maybe like they -- our generation, they have a hard time to listen on online or on the apps. So we are thinking if we get a new FM station we will cease the SCMO service in Edmonton only. We will keep it in the Calgary. And our -- all advertisers will move to new FM station.
267 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. On your financial projections, I notice that for your alternative AM frequency you allocated more for expenses, which is obviously sensible. I’m not quite sure why you also allocated for greater revenues on that AM -- in that AM -- the alternative AM frequency plan. I know that the reach is wider, but conventional wisdom in the industry seems to indicate that broader reach doesn’t necessarily equate to higher revenues.
268 MR. SIDHU: Just, Mr. Chair, we are running on SCMO. It’s a very limited listenership. And if I -- I have experience in Toronto. I have experience on FM and AM station in Edmonton and Toronto radio six years. And I see successful radio running in Vancouver and Toronto, South Asians radio running very successfully there. When we see high number on AM station here, like in South Asian community, we have very big numbers of truck drivers in the South Asian community. They are driving every day like two to three hours maybe from Edmonton to Red Deer. So many advertisers want to target them.
269 Like right now we have a big trucking company, the Volvo is advertising with us, the Mack is advertising with us. They want to target these type of communities like the truck drivers. So we are thinking if we get the AM station, we can cover them, also maybe we can get the more revenue from that type of advertiser and they want to target these type of groups. And Mr. Vince can more explain on it.
270 MR. TRIPATHY: Yeah, the only other thing I would add on it, I would agree with you, Mr. Commissioner, an AM signal doesn’t necessarily translate into X amount of dollars and -- in additional revenue, and particularly in this case, thus the preference for the FM licence that we’ve applied for ideally.
271 The AM audience is going to be larger to a certain extent. I think the challenge that we’ve got is, again, monetizing it and that -- and we can to a certain degree. I don’t think it’ll be to the same level as you would an FM licence, as an example. Don’t know if that answers the question or not exactly but ---
272 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is --
273 MR. KUMAR: I want to ---
274 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- there is no right or wrong answer --
275 MR. TRIPATHY: Yeah.
276 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- in terms of that. I just have something I need to clarify.
277 MR. KUMAR: I want to add something, Mr. Chair. We are reducing a significant number of languages in our AM application. And all that time is going to be devoted to main frequency, the main languages that are six languages. And if you see, the rates are higher for the main languages. And for the secondary languages, we are serving them but we are not charging them much. And our occupancy of slots for the smaller secondary languages is not as full as our primary languages are. That’s why our revenues are getting a bit higher number because our slots are full and our rate is a bit higher for the primary languages, which we are serving more on AM rather on FM.
278 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I just want to clarify one thing. I think in your application you said 20 percent of revenues would come from SCMOs, and I think somebody just said 25 percent. So I just want to ---
279 MR. SIDHU: It said 25 percent but we also say maybe there will be a very small amount from other stations. So maybe I can say 20 to 21 percent from ---
280 THE CHAIRPERSON: So 20 percent from your existing and then --
281 MR. SIDHU: Yeah.
282 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- another 5 percent. So that’s --
283 MR. SIDHU: Yeah.
284 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- clarifying. Thank you.
285 So your revenue projections are at the high end of the applications we’ve got here. Do those include online revenues or will you have an online operation?
286 MR. SIDHU: Just we are thinking we will get some more revenue from the website also. And because currently, people -- we are connecting the social media and websites with the radio right now. People like to see their radio, TV station or newspaper with the social media also. So we are thinking we would use these type of techniques to catch some revenue from it. Like we have a one very special programming we are focussing “When to Donate”. That is connected too with the social media and Jaspreet can more explain on it.
287 MS. AULAKH: The When to Donate program is -- it is kind of a program which we want to have where we’ll ask a question on a daily basis from our listeners and whatever -- and no matter if the question is right or wrong. So if any listener goes to our website to answer the question, 15 cents from that -- and for every question answered we will give 15 -- we will keep 15 cents on side and every question answered on social media 10 cents. And by -- and we have a cap to it. So the purpose is that by the end of the day $115 would be given to a winner, whoever gives an answer to that -- right answer to that question. And 115 will go to food bank.
288 MR. SIDHU: And it’s the main focus maybe people will be involved with the social media and our website. So maybe we will -- we will encourage them to donate to the money maybe if they just put something on the social media or on websites, so they are donating indirectly.
289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What would you say to somebody who said that your revenues are overly optimistic and your business plan, which shows a very swift profitability in year three which is unusual to see in a radio application? It’s not unheard of, but it’s unusual to see people forecasting profit -- profits in year three. So how would you address that if somebody were to say that that’s overly optimistic that you could be up and running that quickly and be profitable that quickly with revenues ---
290 MR. SIDHU: Like we are in the market from like last 15 years. We are serving Calgary from last 15 years. We are serving Edmonton with the same SCMO and newspaper we are started in 2010. So we are serving Edmonton from last 16 with the newspaper and almost 4 years in -- with the radio. So we meet the advertisers. We know that they want to advertise, but they don’t have a proper channel.
291 So our service show, maybe they like to invest more money on the advertisement. And like we have a completion here, CKER and other station, but still people choosing us on SCMO. Like say one choose us, all Alberta governments, federal ad -- government ads and I will say the big -- Walmart, all Shopper Drug Mart, the big advertisers and the local advertisers. They are there. They want us to go on FM or AM. Maybe they like to advertise with us and Mr. Vivek can more add in it.
292 MR. KUMAR: Mr. Chair, our profits are starting from year 4, and year 3 we are still in a bit of loss and it's around $200,000 for the fourth year. And as I said previously also, we are just taking around 1.5 percent of the total market share and that is easily achievable. We believe so.
293 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just so we're having the same conversation, I'm looking at a chart here that shows in year 4 with the 106.5, a profit.
294 MR. KUMAR: Yes, sir.
295 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're just talking about ---
296 MR. KUMAR: Year 4 will be a profitable year of around $187,000.
297 THE CHAIRPERSON: One hundred and...?
298 MR. KUMAR: Eighty-seven thousand dollars.
299 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That's different than what I'm looking at.
300 MR. SIDHU: There are three predictions, for 106 and one for 580 and 93.
301 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, okay, you're talking -- okay, 93 you're ---
302 MR. SIDHU: Ninety-three (93), okay.
303 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. The number you're talking about is for the 93. I was talking about the 106.5.
304 MR. SIDHU: Maybe Vince can more explain on it?
305 MR. TRIPATHY: What I was going to say, Mr. Commissioner, I think you are looking at the right numbers. So there would be losses incurred in years 1, 2 and 3 of approximately $250,000. Year 4, a profit of $187,000.
306 And what it speaks to, just to go back to your original question, is quite frankly the strength of the applicant’s history here in the marketplace, history with the advertisers, history with listeners, strong background with the Punjabi newspaper to fall back on as well, the support is both on a news talk situation as well as an advertiser base.
307 And so this application is a little different than you might see from a normal applicant who maybe has not been privy to some of the situations we've had with our broadcasting history.
308 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Just to back up for a second on something else, which of your two SCMO operations is the healthiest financially, is the most profitable; Calgary or Edmonton?
309 MR. SIDHU: Right now, Calgary is more healthier because we have some technical issue with the Edmonton one and we are -- we are taking -- because we don’t want to apply a different SCMO right now because we are already in process with AM and FM stations and there are some -- like there is -- we have two SCMO also in Edmonton. We have a competition in SCMO in Edmonton and we have some technical issues with our SCMO frequency here in Edmonton and that's why we are -- I can say maybe the Calgary one is more wealthy than the Edmonton one.
310 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
311 Your financial projections show that you will be quite profitable once you find profitability. And while your expenses tend to increase on an inflationary basis, your profitability grows to be handsome and there's nothing wrong with making money. Don’t get me wrong there, but some might look at that and say, “Well, if they're starting to make money, they should be investing more back into the community”.
312 And I know there's a variety of ways to answer that but that might be a criticism you might get. So I wanted to give you the opportunity to address it.
313 MS. AULAKH: At this time, we have -- we have allotted $100,000 a year to CCD contribution. At the same time, as our revenues increase, there has been so much we have been doing in the community for years. I think maybe Ranjit can talk about the donations we have incurred.
314 MR. SIDHU: Yeah. We have so many, over $1 million on SCMO we collected for the different organizations for the -- if there's a disaster, like we are always there to help the people.
315 Like last time there's a fire in Fort McMurray, we collected the food and we donated to the Edmonton Food Bank and there are so many tractor trailers coming from British Columbia with the food and they ask our help, how we can maybe divide this food to the Fort McMurray evacuees and we help them. We -- and also on our radio, we put on our social media Facebook page and so many volunteers come to help them.
316 So on SCMO station, we raised almost more than $1 million for the Alberta Children Hospital, Red Cross, Calgary Food Bank, Edmonton Food Bank. We're helping them and we are also sponsoring so many seminars.
317 Like there is a walk across Canada. There is Drug Awareness Foundation in Calgary. They want to do walk coast-to-coast and their expenses are very high and we help them and they did five -- a five-years program with us to educate the people and then they leave. Maybe they need to serve on the FM frequency to reach more people, then they brokerage the time on Fairchild Radio for a couple of years and we give them money to do the radio show on Fairchild to educate the people for the drug awareness.
318 So we are ready. If we get the profit, like I have two partners. They have so many businesses right now. They have a hotel. They have a transmission big shop. They have a nursing home. So they want to be on radio to serve the people, to serve the community. I am serving with the 15 years on SCMO. So our main goal is not the profit in the radio. We are -- we want to be an industry. We want to serve the people.
319 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Is that -- in terms of those good works, wouldn't that be part of your expenses prior to profitability or is that how you plan to spend the profits, just so I'm clear?
320 MR. SIDHU: Like if we get a big profit, we can distribute -- the CCD contribution is already there. We are thinking we can maybe do more for the community but we believe if we can get some more profit, we would like to serve the communities and Mr. Jagjit Dhillon can more explain on it.
321 MR. DHILLON: Mr. Chair, it’s not just about serving the community. It is -- our focus has been on developing the new talent that exists within our communities.
322 So we have been continuously engaging the communities in various seminars where we have been media partners as some of the things have been highlighted like drug awareness campaign. There are platforms where we partner as media partners where the ethnic writers come offer their writings and they recite in front of the audience and those sessions are totally free. Those expenses and other stuff continue to go.
323 At the same time, when I talk about the new talent, we have been involved in getting the big, big names already there in the industry to come and perform in Edmonton and in Calgary.
324 I will refer to one case in Calgary when we last year organized a TNT Punjabi national mailer in which one of the most sought-after star Amrinder Gill was performing and on the same platform we give the opportunity to the young talent existing in Calgary and Edmonton to come and perform and we bring them on the stage to give them the confidence. And when they share the stage with an established star, that further boosts their morale.
325 So that part is also going on and as Ranjit had mentioned about our promoters, they have been specifically contacted by a few stars when they go and they say that we are in the process of coming out with their own album, but they have restrictions of financial nature and they come up with a plan to them. They have been in the forefront for the last, I will say, 25 years in one way or the other. They have been coming out and promoting these talents.
326 So those issues will continuously come up and we will continuously support the new immigrants who are in the process of coming up and integrating with the mainstream Canadians.
327 MR. SIDHU: I’d like to add maybe. Alberta has also sent us a specialist almost biweekly on our radio, SCMO radio, and provide us translated articles for our newspaper. We are not -- we don’t charge them for the radio and for the newspaper because we think this information is very important for the community and we request them, “Please send a specialist. We will provide the free time to the specialist and send us the articles. If you can translate it, it's fine. If you cannot, we will translate the article and print it in our newspaper.”
328 So we’re providing the time to the community.
329 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. In terms of your survey, your survey indicated a very high level of dissatisfaction with World FM. And yet, your business plan says only 5 percent of revenues would likely come from there.
330 So I need to -- that caught my eye because I thought, well, if people are that unhappy with the incumbent, and you’re going to produce the level of programming that you believe you’re going to do, and with the level of revenues you’re going to get, I would have anticipated more revenue loss for them, it going to you.
331 So how did you come to the 5 percent with a dissatisfaction level of, I think, two-thirds for World FM?
332 MR. SIDHU: Yeah, there’s a big number of people not -- actually 67 percent of people not listening the CKER and -- because we have different clients and different advertisers that we want to target them. There are so many advertisers currently advertising with the Radio Sur Sangam. We want to move -- we want to -- our services, we want to move them, and they want to pay more for the services.
333 There’s a big market available we want to target. There is so many different communities.
334 Like, we have 22 languages and 24 groups here. When there’s some big advertisers, like, I will say like Walmart, when we will approach them, we will tell them, maybe, we have a 22-languages program. We have a big listenership. We will give you -- provide you this rate for the primary languages; and we will provide you some subsidiary rate for the other languages. Maybe they want to reach for the communities. Maybe the main target will be the new advertisers and Mr. Vince or Mr. Brian maybe more can add in it.
335 MR. TRIPATHY: The only comment I would make, if I could, is in looking at the application, we’ve tried to be sensitive, I think, to what the Commission is looking for with a new applicant.
336 In referencing back to programming, as an example, you’ll see that there certainly are a core group, a third-language group that we could go out and do.
337 A traditional way would probably have us counterprogramming in the same time blocks, with a competitor and trying to move audience over. VMS has chosen to approach this in a different manner and say, you know what, we recognize that there’s a core group but they’re going to be better served by more content. And they’ll find us, if that content isn’t necessarily up against the CKER but in a different time slot.
338 The result is CKER is in a position of retaining their current revenues. And what we would suggest, over a period of time, is that it’s going to allow us to grow the revenue within those particular ethnic communities.
339 The other factor coming into play that helps to, I guess, support where CKER is and the 5 percent number is again the number of languages.
340 There was a decision in 2013 by CKER to move from 19 to 12 languages. There has been a conscious decision by this group, understanding that there was a trade-off in revenues and profits in order to go out and reach out and do community work and do some of the things that we want to try and achieve with this licence.
341 And by reaching out to some of the smaller groups that are not necessarily being served in the community right now, we are certainly going to generate some revenue, but it’s not going to be at the expense of CKER. And therefore one more supporting point for why that number is a little bit lower than it might normally look.
342 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thanks.
343 I have two or three more questions and then my colleagues may have some as well.
344 What would be -- we have the option here of many things, one of which would be to grant more than one new licence. What would be, if we were to do that, what would be the impact of that on your business plan?
345 MR. SIDHU: There will be, for a couple of years, there will be some competition, but we think maybe Edmonton market is very strong.
346 So if the Commission grants the two stations, they can survive.
347 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And in terms of that, Alberta is in recession, and I understand that radio revenues in Edmonton have been in decline for a couple of years and would not be surprised if that continued into a third year.
348 What has been the impact on your current operations of Alberta’s current economic circumstances?
349 MR. SIDHU: We don’t have any very big impact actually on our SCMO and newspaper.
350 Actually, I will say it’s vice versa because when we approach some big developers when the market is very hard and when we ask them to advertise with us, they say they don’t need advertisement right now because they’re selling homes -- because they cannot supply the homes right now and maybe they don’t need a lot of advertisement.
351 But right now, the big trucking companies, big builders, they approach us and they -- they ask, like, in Calgary, I have like three or four big builders. They are continuously advertising with us and the same thing here, in Edmonton. The big builders, they want to sell their homes and they are advertising with us.
352 I can say maybe in immigrants’ media or ethnic media, it’s a very strong community and maybe it’s not a big impact about Alberta’s recession right now on these types of stations.
353 And Mr. Vince maybe can more expand on it.
354 MR. TRIPATHY: The only other comment I would add on top of what Ranjit said is with third-language programming, the ability to specifically target an audience is something that’s very appealing to an advertiser.
355 And also, the other thing I might suggest, and this is more anecdotal than anything, is the make-up of that third-language audience is maybe a little bit different than some of the areas that have been hit economically here in Alberta. Not to say that everybody is immune, but there are first generation immigrants that are coming in that maybe aren’t at a point right now where they’ve got certain types of careers that might be impacted by what is going on in Alberta.
356 And then to backup what Ranjit said, my background is 32 years in radio, 25 in sales, and I always found it amazing how advertising did go up when things were a little bit off economically, because people all of a sudden realize that maybe they didn’t have the systems and structures and everything in place in their businesses to achieve everything that they wanted to get done and, therefore, needed to go to advertising to help achieve what they wanted to get done with their businesses.
357 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. How many people would you -- quick question -- how long would it take you if you got the licence to be on the air?
358 MR. SIDHU: If it will be a FM station, maybe we are planning maybe three to four months, we can start the station maybe in 2017.
359 If it’s a AM station, then maybe it will take a little longer.
360 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How much -- how much longer?
361 MR. SIDHU: One year, I can say.
362 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: One year for an FM and you said four months ---
363 MR. SIDHU: No, three months for ---
364 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Oh, sorry; one year for an AM.
365 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
366 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And four months for?
367 MR. SIDHU: Three to four months for an FM station.
368 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Three to four months for FM. And just to confirm again, the SCMO then would -- in Edmonton, would be shutting down?
369 MR. SIDHU: Yeah, we will shut down SCMO.
370 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How many people would you employ?
371 MR. SIDHU: On the new station, we are expecting maybe we will hire 34 people.
372 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thirty-four (34)?
373 MR. SIDHU: Thirty-four (34) people.
374 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And can you break that down for me a little bit; how many would be in marketing, how many…
375 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we are thinking we will hire six main-time -- main languages or so and 16 will be for secondary languages. And then there will be eight translators and there will be some clerks and some will be there for the producers.
376 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
377 MR. SIDHU: We will -- we have hired one news person. And then there will be one receptionist, we will hire, and two sales persons we will hire.
378 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Of those 34 people, those would not be full-time equivalents. Some of those would be part-time. Is that correct?
379 MR. SIDHU: Some will be part-time. Like, if we are serving small languages, two to four hours, so maybe we’ll hire them part-time.
380 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. Okay. Those are my questions.
381 Commissioner Dupras will have some questions for you.
382 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Good morning.
383 MR. SIDHU: Good morning.
384 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: You were just saying in your people employed, there will be some technical people. And you say it will be also for smaller language that they’ll be used.
385 Why do you call them “technical people”? Are they going to be people that are going to do some spoken word in the programming to the smaller secondary languages or it’s more technical in the sense that they will be the ones, I mean, doing technically the programming?
386 MR. SIDHU: Maybe we can hire some technical people if we need it, but when I'm talking part-time host, like they are for different languages because we are serving 22 languages. So because some languages are only two hours, maybe, in a week, so we will hire them to produce the program for these languages.
387 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes, well this was my question ---
388 MR. SIDHU: Yeah.
389 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: --- originally. How much in these programming to the secondary languages that are, like, an hour and a half per week ---
390 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
391 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: --- is going to be spoken word and --or is it going to be just music? What is it going to be?
392 MR. SIDHU: We will discuss with the community organizations. We will also discuss with the host and maybe we will also get some help from our advisory board. Maybe Yazmin can more add in it. Or Jaspreet.
393 MS. AULAKH: So when it comes to that type of programming that the community would want, we would probably go out there and survey these smaller communities and see what they would like to see, what they would like to hear.
394 Because it is a shorter time, then we would cater to whether they would like spoken word more than music or it would be half and half. So definitely go out there and see what they want to listen to.
395 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. So you -- in the case it would be more spoken word, I mean, do your projection and expenses take this into account? I mean, you don't seem to know what kind of programming the secondary language will want as of now.
396 MS. AULAKH: At the moment, the target is spoken word. But we would also go out there and see what they would like to do.
397 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: So you will hire people to do the spoken word in all the different languages?
398 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we will hire 16 host for the -- like we will -- if there is a two-hour show we will pay them at least four hours so they can prepare if they want to do the news, or if they want to do any talk show we will train them.
399 And if they like to do -- play some music, they can. So we will -- when we'll -- we'll get the station, we will discuss with different community organizations; we will see the people that want to do the radio host.
400 Maybe -- what the people want to listen. Maybe we will ask them to -- because the 60 percent we are saying the talk we are more focusing on our primary languages. We will request them to do more talk, but if they want to listen some music, they can play it. But we will provide them with time. We will pay them for four hours; like, if there is a two hour show we will pay them for four hours. They can prepare their programs. We will provide the news to them and maybe they can play the news or maybe they can do the talk shows also.
401 MR. TRIPATHY: Mr. Commissioner, if it adds any clarity, the host of those one hour, one-and-a-half hour shows, excuse me, from those particular third-language groups will have the flexibility to either play music or do news talk.
402 So there won't be a separate individual that's required to provide a news talk component. That'll actually be done by the host themselves. And therefore, they can adjust, depending on the needs of the communities that are involved.
403 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And if it's to be music, how will it be local programming?
404 MR. TRIPATHY: Well, if it's on a musical front there's a condition as far as Canadian content that's involved that comes into play.
405 But as far as local content, most of that will have to come off the news talk and as a condition of licence, we've addressed the comment as far as news talk and what we're prepared to adhere to. They may ---
406 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: But for the music programming, have you envisaged that you will wrap the music programming with some spoken word?
407 MS. AULAKH: Yes, that's what ---
408 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. And how do you think, with the secondary language, you are going to be able to reflect the realities and needs of the populations in these languages?
409 MR. SIDHU: We did some homework when we're picking these languages. We'd see the Statistics Canada population chart, and we try to serve them according to their population. And we see maybe there are so many languages they are not served by the CKER and we will pick them according to their population.
410 Maybe if their population will increase in future and we will increase their time. Maybe it sometimes happen like -- like, I see the chart of Statistics Canada last year, the Filipino community is the biggest community like that migrated to -- from Philippine to Canada. It mean their numbers are increasing.
411 In the future if we feel that maybe this language need more time, so we will increase it. We will keep in touch with the organizations. We will also do some surveys in future and we will -- the advisory board will also help in this one.
412 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Thank you.
413 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Molnar has a question.
414 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. I actually have two questions. And my first question is for Ms. Gonzales.
415 I note that you have a very important role to play within the Filipino community as the head of the Women's Network. There are many different entities coming before us seeking to provide new stations within Edmonton. And I wonder; do you have an existing relationship with VMS or are you looking at a new relationship?
416 MS. GONZALES: Currently I'm not aware of any relationship that exists. That's the reason why we're excited about this when we were approached by VMS Media Group, because that's an opportunity for us to contribute and be active, and it's a way for us to stay connected with our community through the radio.
417 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And they were the only one of the proposed licensees that contacted you and your community? Or in the organizations you represent in your community.
418 MS. GONZALES: We were actually approached by other groups, but looking at the application and we were comfortable with VMS Media because they are known in our community and they're respectful and trustworthy, and we are very confident that they would do a very good job of it. That's why we are putting our support behind VMS.
419 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Well, thank you for that.
420 My other question is financial related, so probably needs to go back to the President.
421 I wonder -- I know there was a bit of a discussion about the potential for losses and how long losses may or may not occur. I wonder if you could provide us with more details as it regards your capacity as an organization or individual to be able to cover any sustained losses over time.
422 MR. SIDHU: Yeah.
423 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Did you file that information?
424 MR. SIDHU: Yeah, the net worth is already filed and -- for the shareholders. But if -- if we believe if the losses go more than three or four or maybe five years, we can sustain. We have funds to sustain the station.
425 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So are you able to provide additional details to provide us with greater confidence that you can ---
426 MR. SIDHU: Yes, we can provide it.
427 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
428 MR. MILLER: Sorry, if I can interject, Commissioner?
429 So we have provided in accordance with the options the Commission provides net worth statements; because of their nature, they're provided in confidence for the Commission. We have one of the shareholders here that could speak to his own dedication to the applicant.
430 But I'm just not sure what it is that you'd like to see. If you're looking for traditional bank statements, we're not alone in finding that if you're not already in the mainstream ethnic business, it's very hard to get banks to back you. They'll back you after you've got a licence, but it's very hard to get those kind of traditional instruments from banks.
431 So I'm just wondering, just so we can help you, what it is you're looking for.
432 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I appreciate that you're saying getting traditional types of letters of guarantee or so on could be difficult, and so if it is reasonable; I'm not going to define for you what evidence I want.
433 I think I want you to provide what you can to us to provide assurance that you have the financial capacity, should losses continue longer than projected, to cover those. You have provided, as you said in confidence, the net worth projected out. See what else you have. I would say it's obviously a confidential undertaking.
434 MR. MILLER: Well ---
435 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Do what you can to provide us that assurance.
436 MR. MILLER: We’ll certainly do that. I think, again, you’ll see and we indicated that the network statements indicate that -- that we can more than cover anticipated loses. So if those loses, for example, double we can, but I’d also like Pal to speak as -- as a key shareholder because that might be useful, too.
437 MR. VIRK: Well, we can provide you any information you need so no problem. We can -- you can give us all the statements if you want.
438 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Again, just to be clear in -- attempt to be clear in an unclear question, I understand, because I’m not prepared to tell you to file this or that; the issue that I’m asking about is the capacity of your organization, with the shareholders you have, to be able to sustain losses of a greater nature or a more continued and longer term than you had projected ---
439 MR. VIRK: We --
440 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- so assurance that this would be an ongoing undertaking even with losses. Go ahead and take it away. I think a lot of the information we’d speak of now would be confidential and we don’t have to speak about that on the record; we can do that as a confidential undertaking, if you’d like.
441 MR. SIDHU: Okay. Yeah, no problem. Thanks.
442 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
444 (SHORT PAUSE)
445 THE CHAIRPERSON: So just to confirm the undertaking the date would be October the 4th, end of business day. Yes? Understood?
446 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
447 THE CHAIRPERSON: If somebody can say something with the mic on so, it helps with the transcript.
448 MR. SIDHU: Yes. Thank you very much, Commissioners.
449 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
450 MR. SIDHU: Yes.
451 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will -- thank you very much for that.
452 We will now take a break until five minutes after 11:00.
454 (SHORT PAUSE)
455 MS. ROY: We will now proceed with Item 2 on the agenda which is an application by Netti P. Ray on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial FM specialty radio station in Edmonton.
456 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 20 minutes for your presentation.
457 MR. RAY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. Let me introduce our panel.
458 I am Neeti Ray; I am President of and owner of CINA Radio Group. To the far left is Papiya Das, who, I am delighted to say, that she has agreed to play a leadership role in our proposed advisory council.
459 Papiya is an Edmontonian for the past 35 years who has a lifetime’s experience as a professional social worker and community activist engaged in Edmonton’s diverse communities.
460 Next to Papiya, on my left, is Will Tomlinson, the founder and President of Consumer Perspectives Inc., which we engaged to conduct our market survey. To my right is Joel Fortune, our legal advisor. To the far right is Stuart Hahn. Stuart is our broadcast engineer and consultant from Hahn Broadcast Engineering.
461 And now my presentation.
462 We are appearing before you today seeking approval to establish a new ethnic radio station on 106.5 FM. If approved, this station would operate with the call letters CINH FM as part of the CINA Radio Group and would be branded as CINA Edmonton. The CINA Radio Group includes three other existing ethnic radio stations serving Mississauga, Windsor, and Montreal.
463 If I may start on a personal note; this application is especially significant to me because I began my radio career right here in Edmonton in 1980 at CKER. I worked there as an on-air host, account executive, and technical assistant until 1989 when I moved with my young family to Toronto. I’m excited to have this opportunity now to return to Edmonton and to propose a new ethnic service that I sincerely hope will provide a valued and important new source of radio programming for this city.
464 Our goal: To create a station that meaningfully reflects Edmonton’s diverse multicultural communities and gives those communities a new radio voice.
465 If licensed, the new station will reach out in 12 different languages, in 12 different heritage languages to serve 22 unserved and underserved communities in Edmonton. We have proposed 1650 AM as an alternative frequency.
466 The larger proportion of our programming, just under 60 percent, will serve Edmonton’s Arab, Filipino, and South Asian communities, including Punjabi and Hindustani, and Urdu-speaking communities. These language groups represent over 10 different communities.
467 We see these communities and language groups as providing the largest proportion of our audience and the core support for the station.
468 To ensure financial liability it is important for ethnic stations to focus on a few large -- a few larger third-language communities who will provide that station with its key listener and advertising base. The population of Edmonton’s South Asian communities grew by 50 percent between 2006 and 2011, and is now in excess of 62,000 people. Edmonton’s Filipino population grew even more rapidly in this timeframe doubling from 21,000 people in 2006 to more than 42,000 in 2011.
469 Edmonton’s Arabic speaking community is also well-represented. In 2006, 16,000 individuals identified themselves as having Arab origins. In 2011 this community had grown by 40 percent to approximately 23,000 individuals or more. These groups are well-established in Edmonton and are more than ready for a new radio service.
470 As part of our application we engaged Consumer Perspectives Inc., who surveyed Edmonton’s potential ethnic radio listeners focusing on South Asian, Filipino, and Arab communities.
471 MR. TOMLINSON: The findings are quite definitive. A large proportion of each language group indicated that they did not believe that their needs were being met by Edmonton’s radio stations. Most Arab and Filipino respondents felt their needs were not being met, and most South Asian respondents thought their needs were only somewhat met or not met.
472 There is very strong support for a new ethnic station; 73 percent of South Asian and 88 percent of Arab and Filipino respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they should be able to listen to more radio programming in their heritage language. Further, 69 percent of South Asians and 75 percent of Arabs and Filipinos agreed or strongly agreed that they would listen to a radio station in their heritage language offering a mix of popular music, news, traffic, weather, and community information, and showcasing local Canadian ethnic talent.
473 Even more respondents, 75 percent of South Asians and 79 percent of Arabs and Filipinos, said that they would definitely or probably listen to the station if information were included about their own ethnic communities.
474 Finally, an overwhelming majority, 84 percent of South Asians and 93 percent of Arabs and Filipinos, thought that the proposed new radio station would be a positive addition to the Edmonton radio market.
475 With these strong survey results we are confident that we have established a strong base for the proposed new station with programming blocks directed to South Asian, Arab, and Filipino communities.
476 MR. RAY: An ethnic radio station has -- also has a responsibility to serve other smaller ethnic groups and languages. Given that this would be only the second ethnic radio station in Edmonton, it is important for this station to reach out to unserved communities. We have allocated just over 40 percent of the schedule to serve smaller language groups. These include seven different languages that are currently not heard at all on Edmonton’s air waves: Vietnamese, Korean, Persian, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, and Malayalam. These seven languages are spoken among nine different communities.
477 We will also offer English programming 10 hours a week directed to Jamaican, Trinidadian, and West Indian audiences.
478 CINA Edmonton will provide high quality and locally relevant programming directed to the different target communities in well-defined programming blocks. We have attached the block programming grid that we included with our application for your reference.
479 Most programming with consist of a blend of news and information, talk, and music programming directed to the different culture and language groups. There is a blend of music and spoken word content is familiar in other markets in Canada, and well-developed in ethnic radio, including on our other CINA radio stations. Our survey results indicate that this is a popular format for ethnic audiences.
480 It is important that the core audience communities be presented with programming in regular daily time slots each day during the week. Listeners develop radio habits and tune in to programs that they know are available at regular times during the week.
481 Given the existing scarcity of programming choice, listeners should not have to forgo third-language content on one station to hear it on another. This is why we have proposed to schedule our South Asian programming blocks at different times than the programming that is currently offered on Edmonton's existing ethnic station. There is little or no overlap, we believe, with any of the other programming blocks we could offer. Very little, if any, programming is currently available to serve these other groups.
482 All our programming will be ethnic programming, and the very large proportion -- approximately 90-percent -- will be in third languages. All of our programming, 100 percent, will be local programming.
483 MS. DAS: Our spoken word programming will include open line shows, interviews, and question and answer programs with community members, professionals, and others. Community conversations of this nature are very popular radio programs and help listeners identify with the station.
484 On‑air hosts will regularly provide community and civic information to our listeners, such as information on municipal services, health and education programs, voting information, and other relevant local information. Recent immigrants and many seniors in ethnic communities are more comfortable in their heritage language, so providing access to this type of information will be important for our station.
485 MR. RAY: You can see from our survey results, which we mentioned earlier, that listeners are very interested in hearing about their own communities in Edmonton. We are especially focused on offering a substantial level of hard news content to contribute to the diversity of news voices in Edmonton.
486 We will offer six hours, 30 minutes of news content each week, three hours and 15 minutes of local news, and three hours and 15 minutes of national and international stories. News content will be provided -- news content will be produced specifically for the station.
487 In addition to hard news, the station will provide local weather, traffic, sports, and community event information; all of the particular relevance to Edmonton's different communities.
488 Our formal CCD initiative reflects our focus on providing meaningful local news and relevant national and international content. We will contribute $105,000 over the licence term in the form of scholarships to students from diverse ethnic backgrounds taking broadcast journalism at Edmonton's Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
489 We wish to encourage students from Edmonton's diverse communities to acquire the skill, knowledge, and professional attitudes that are essential to create high-quality content reflecting their own experiences and backgrounds. In today's digital online world, this type of training will become more important to create trusted and reliable news sources.
490 Music on the station will be drawn almost entirely from category 33, world beat and international music. We will exceed the minimum level of Canadian content by ensuring that no less than 10 percent of musical selections from this category are Canadian selections, in excess of the required 7 percent.
491 Just as important, we will promote local ethnic talent, and local concerts, performers, artistic programs and other events to air provide -- on air to provide greater exposure for Canadian ethnic artists. We have proposed an annual minimum budget of $50,000 each year, $350,000 over seven years, in indirect costs relative to the on‑air promotion of ethnic artists.
492 We recognize that this is not a qualifying CCD initiative, since it involves the use of the station's own resources for the promotion of local talent and artists. Nonetheless, as has been demonstrated time and time again in broadcasting undertakings throughout Canada, indirect on‑air initiatives can have a profoundly beneficial impact on a radio station's ongoing efforts to promote and develop Canadian talent. It is often said that what gets measured gets done. This is the purpose of this commitment.
493 In addition to our own promotional content, we will aggressively encourage individuals, groups, and organizations to use airtime on the station -- usually 30-second promotional spots -- to raise awareness of local concerts and other events featuring local performers and artists.
494 We recognize that all of this could not be done without a well-developed business plan. We have set out a realistic and sustainable plan. We are estimating total revenues for the new station of just over $500,000 in the first year, and rising to $800,000 by the end of the first licence term. These revenue levels are definitely achievable given the limited existing radio advertising inventory available to Edmonton's South Asian advertisers, and the even more limited opportunities for other language groups.
495 Our business plan reflects our years of experience in ethnic radio, including CINA's recent experiences with launching two new stations in Mississauga and Windsor, and acquiring a third financially stressed station in Montreal.
496 We are intimately familiar with the ethnic advertising market and radio's attractiveness to that market. We are also familiar with the limits and challenges of that market.
497 MR. TOMLINSON: The key business challenge for CINA in Edmonton will be to show businesses that radio is a viable medium to reach their target audiences. The Edmonton market is currently underdeveloped in this area.
498 Our audience survey indicated that the target audiences in Edmonton are less likely to listen to radio than the general population. On average, Canadians listen to 2.4 hours of radio per day. Our consumer research found that 51 percent of South Asians and 66 percent of Arabs and Filipinos listen to less than 30 minutes a day. In our view, this reflects the limited existing ethnic radio content in the market directed to these target groups.
499 With increased programming hours, we are confident that the level of listening among these groups will increase, and the value to advertisers will become apparent. A large proportion of the respondents to our survey said that they would definitely listen to a new station that offered local news and information about their own communities; 42 percent of South Asians and 46 percent of Arab and Filipinos. We are confidence -- we feel our confidence is well-grounded.
500 MR. RAY: While advertising revenues provide a kind of direct feedback as to how well a station is serving its target communities, we know that it is just as important to encourage directly with -- to engage directly with our listeners. It is very important not to become complacent.
501 We will establish a formal advisory council which will meet on a quarterly basis, at a minimum. The council will provide guidance on programming scheduling, including both programming duration and time slots; advise on program design and development; give feedback on how the station is perceived and how well it meets communities' needs; and assist with community outreach to establish effective two-way communications.
502 Community engagement does not stop with the advisory council. Producers for individual programs will be trained and actively guided to ensure that programs include substantial local content.
503 Brokered programming producers will also engage in direct training. They will have access to the station's library and facilities, and will be fully informed of all the station policies. In many ways, they will function in the same way as staff producers.
504 All programming will be overseen by CINA Edmonton's Operations Manager to ensure that it is rooted in, and speaks directly to, the needs of local communities. Engaging with local communities and ensuring that our programming actually reflects day‑to‑day events and occurrences will be CINA Edmonton's overarching objective. This is not a commitment that -- this is not just a commitment that we make to you, the Commission; it is the guiding principle of our business and, we sincerely believe, the key to success.
505 Thank you very much for this opportunity to present this application for a new ethnic radio station to serve Edmonton.
506 To recap: A new ethnic radio station for Edmonton would represent an important step forward to address the large imbalance that exists between mainstream radio programming services and ethnic services. Our overall programming strategy reflects the composition and size of Edmonton’s different third language communities.
507 We will offer programming in 12 different heritage languages, targeting to 22 multicultural communities. All of our programming will be local programming and we will provide substantial radio news content, adding greater diversity and local news for third-language communities.
508 We will make direct contributions to Canadian content development through our support of scholarships directed to broadcast journalism students at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
509 We will ensure that at least 10 percent of all Category 33 music selections are Canadian, in excess of the required 7 percent.
510 We will provide significant indirect support for local artists and events through on-air promotions and other support at the station, which we will measure and track, at the level of $50,000 a year.
511 Our programming format will be popular in nature and will feature a mix of spoken word content and music, with ample opportunities for direct community engagement and a format that our experience and consumer research says will engage our audience.
512 We will work with local communities through our Advisory Council and by ensuring that our producers have management direction, knowledge and tools that they need to seek out relevant feedback.
513 We think our experience in providing ethnic radio services in three other markets, my personal experiences in working in radio in Edmonton, and the synergies of the CINA radio group, will also help to ensure the success of our proposed station.
514 Thank you, once again, for this opportunity. We would welcome any questions you may have.
515 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Commissioner Molnar will begin the questions.
516 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Good morning. I expect some of these questions are going to sound very similar to the ones you heard our Hearing Chair asking of the party before you, but let me just begin with a couple easy ones for you, I think.
517 MR. RAY: Thank you.
518 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: It should be an easy one for you anyway. From a programming perspective, and you mentioned that a new ethnic station would represent an important step forward. As you know, there’s many groups here today wanting to provide that new station. So can you tell me from a programming perspective, and particularly as -- the fact that you are looking as many of the applicants are at targeting a large amount to the South Asian community, could you tell me how your station’s programming would differ from those of the other applicants and why it might be best for this market?
519 MR. RAY: Well, I believe that the programming proposal that I put forward is balance. It would provide the components -- it will address the components that make programming high quality and adequate amount of spoken word programming, including news, information. And from my experience at my other radio stations, I know that over the years the programming on my -- especially the Mississauga station has evolved through -- from the communities through the advisory council and directly from individuals and organizations. And we -- and I believe that from that experience is what the programming proposal stems for Edmonton.
520 I am pretty sure that the other applicants have put forth very good proposals too. But I can tell you, even though it may not be vastly different from most of them, except in the proportion of perhaps the musical and spoken word programming, the total spoken word programming on this proposed radio station will be approximately 15 percent. But I have heard another applicant who said that his -- they’re proposing 60 percent.
521 So this is going to be a bit less of a talk station. It’ll be more music-oriented. But interspersed in the musical programs would be vital information that we will be able to relate to the audiences that are of direct relevance to them, particularly given that many people within these communities are not well versed in either English or French. And any information that we’ve been imparting on my other radio stations have, I believe, vitally important for them because information that they have not been aware of because of lack of proficiency in the mainstream languages.
522 So I believe that even though, as I said, it’s not going to be entirely or vastly different, but the manner in which I believe that we have implemented our programming in our other stations very successfully, I guess this -- I would say that this proposal represents a balanced programming to serve the Edmonton audiences.
523 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, that was a softball that I tossed you. And here’s another one. That I asked you to compare your programming and what would be available to the audience relative to the other applicants. And now I’d like to ask you to compare that to what is available with the existing ethnic radio station, and particularly to those groups who are predominantly served, again, it’s -- South Asian is a large part of the existing ethnic audience. So how -- you had made a comment about how you would -- your programming would be scheduled at different times so you wouldn’t be targeting the same audience at the same time. But how else would it sound or be different to the audience that you would propose?
524 MR. RAY: Let me first tell you though our ways in which it will not be again vastly different is the musical content will not be much different from what’s Radio CKER is broadcasting right now, except that I believe that they have a greater amount of Punjabi language programming, Punjabi language musical selections than what I am proposing. The programming will be at different times than those of CKER Radio.
525 The one distinction that I can probably mention first here is the universality of the language that I propose to use for the South Asian radio programming. I know that CKER has programming in Hindi, but also with a predominance of Punjabi programming. The station that I’m proposing, the South Asian programming will be in Hindustani. And Hindustani is the lingua franca of South Asia, just like English is to the rest of the world. So you could be speaking Bengali, Gujarati or Tamil or, you know, all the radio -- dozens of language. But there’s one language that is common to all of them is Hindustani. It’s a combination of Hindi and Urdu. So if I go to Pakistan, I speak Hindustani, they can’t make out that I’m not from Pakistan or vice versa. So the language of the program is very important in distinction.
526 The language is really no different from the Hindi that CKER Radio broadcasts, but the Hindustani is more inclusive. It has -- it inculcates many Urdu terms. It -- even though -- I hope it’s not confusing to you that I’m talking about Hindustani and then I’m saying Hindi and Urdu. They all the same language but there is a difference. Urdu is spoken more in Pakistan, but Urdu is no different from Hindustani. Just like in American or Canadian English, there’s a fruit -- vegetable called “eggplant”. But in England, it is called “brinjal” or even “lady finger” in some places. Similarly, okra in here, but over there they call it a different name. But both are English and both understand each other equally well as they would to their own natives.
527 So Hindi, Urdu are two different languages but so similar that can conversing with each other you can understand 100 percent. But Hindustani is a combination of the two.
528 It's the most common language. It is a language of Bollywood. All the Bollywood movies are in Hindustani. All the Bollywood songs are in Hindustani.
529 So I chose Hindustani because of its universality. Punjabi is a regional language and it is understood by those who come from the State of Punjabi in India or Pakistan. But if you are a Gujarat or if you're a Tamil or a Bengali, you can’t relate to Punjabi very much but every Punjabi-speaking person can understand Hindustani a 100 percent.
530 So that's one distinction that I must mention.
531 Other than that, I believe that there's a structure that I have given to the spoken word programming. You know what to expect. That would be five minutes of pure news every hour and, you know, approximately seven minutes of interviews and not including the hosting hours.
532 So much of that answers your question but if you want further clarification, you can ask me.
533 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No, I mean that's fine. It was your opportunity really to say what you felt would be the key elements that would add diversity and distinguish you from the other existing incumbent ethnic stations.
534 So language is a large part of that in your view?
535 MR. RAY: Yes, yes. There’s a subtle difference but then the difference is significant I believe because of the universality, universality of Hindustani.
536 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Would you see that there might be a distinct tone or anything else to your station relative to the existing station?
537 MR. RAY: Honestly, I don’t think that I would claim to be entirely different from them. The distinction that I expressed to you, plus the fact that it will be at a different time, so it will add more listed choice, well a list of choice only in that -- they don’t have anything. South Asians don’t have anything, do not have anything in the afternoon and this radio station will provide them what is missing in the daytime and in the afternoon and early evening.
538 MS. DAS: If I may just interject a little bit here, just talking about the spoken word part of it, one of the things that I was having in mind in the spoken word program would be that there is a lack in the community when it comes to mental health concerns.
539 And as part of this radio program, I was thinking it would be an opportunity for people to ask questions and because I specialize in that field, I was thinking it would be a good forum for people in that part of the spoken program to ask questions to get some relevant information that they cannot get when they go to the hospital or to any other clinics.
540 Some of the elderly people in the community don’t do that. So this would be a forum that they could and this I feel will be different from the other radio stations. This is one thing that I envision.
541 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
542 A little bit of legal cleanup if you will here on some questions. As you know, as ethnic station licensed as an ethnic station, there would be conditions of licence around the number of languages that you would serve and the communities you would serve and those are standard and you would accept those?
543 MR. RAY: Yes, I will.
544 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. In looking at the Edmonton market, the Commission has in the past where there has been more than one ethnic station or where perhaps -- and I will ask you later about this again, but perhaps at this point we don’t know if perhaps there may be even more than one ethnic station licensed through this process.
545 So the Commission has in the past added additional conditions of licence to ensure folks are in fact going to maintain the -- their areas of focus that we're speaking of here today.
546 So under sort of those conditions, you have made a commitment here, a proposal for a 100 percent ethnic programming and at least 90 percent -- 92 percent third language programming.
547 So would you be willing to accept that as a condition of licence?
548 MR. RAY: Yes, I will.
549 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And as it regards your commitment to the predominant languages listed, would you be prepared to adhere to a condition of licence that a minimum of 41 percent of all ethnic programming broadcasted each week would be in the Hindustani, Punjabi, and Urdu languages?
550 MR. RAY: Yes, I will.
551 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. So that's the minimum and now we're sort of speaking on the other end to ensure that there is also available room to represent some of the less represented ethnic groups.
552 Would you be prepared by a condition of licence to have a weekly maximum level of South Asian and Chinese language programming to be broadcast each week?
553 MR. RAY: First of all, I'm not proposing any Chinese. It's only South Asian.
554 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Sorry, I added that in because that ---
555 MR. RAY: Yeah, okay, sure.
556 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- that is the groups that are targeted by the incumbent. So...
557 MR. RAY: And once again, the question is if we would accept a maximum?
558 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: A maximum amount that would be targeted to the South Asian and Chinese ---
559 MR. RAY: Oh, Chinese, okay. Okay. Yes, I will.
560 However, may I comment that if circumstances change in the future and if there is need to make some changes especially to reduce or increase certain language groups with the programming, it would be restrictive but, yes, if the Commission feels that in order to protect the integrity of the proposal itself, if in the Commission’s wisdom it is necessary to do that, I will accept that as a condition of licence.
561 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. You can do this as an undertaking? I would like you to let us know at what level you would accept that as a condition of licence.
563 MR. RAY: We shall take that. I'll take that undertaking, yes.
564 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Take that away and, you know what, all the groups that are coming before you can expect the same question. So perhaps it doesn’t need to be an undertaking for everyone else.
565 MR. RAY: All right.
566 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But it is really the integrity of the proposal you're putting forward. So some minimums and maximums to stay in there and as you know well because you're an existing broadcaster, there are ways if it's absolutely necessary to come before the Commission seeking changes to terms and conditions of licence, whether it be through a licence term or certainly when a licence term expires.
567 But for the period of this licence, given the proposal you’ll put forward, it's just a way of providing some assurance that, you know, the commitments being proposed are maintained.
568 MR. RAY: Yes, yes.
569 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
570 And I'm sure as you looked forward and you built a business case for I believe the seven-year revenue projections, you had made some assumptions over the languages and the communities and the ethnic communities that you would serve, could serve, and I assume that's aligned with what you're telling us today. So...
571 MR. FORTUNE: Yeah. Commissioner Molnar, we talked about that briefly when you were -- when the Commissioner was asking the previous applicant a similar question and we're completely aligned with the principle, underlying principle. This is the second ethnic station in the market and so therefore, it's quite important that a broad range of groups be served. We recognize that and it's just a question of getting the math right.
572 So we have to take it away and give it a little thought, that's all, but the principle is perfectly accepted.
573 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. Yeah, great, and as we spoke, you can provide that as an undertaking then. Good.
574 I would like to ask about your brokered programming, just to understand that a little better.
575 You have -- you have mentioned that 100 percent of your programming would be local.
576 MR. RAY: Yes.
577 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So I'm trying to understand as it regards the brokered programming. Are -- can you confirm that that also would meet the Commission standard or Commission definition of local programming?
578 MR. RAY: Absolutely, yes.
579 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, it does?
580 MR. RAY: Yes.
581 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So is this programming that would be exclusive to your station?
582 MR. RAY: Yes, it would be; to a new station in Edmonton, yes.
583 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: It would be produced locally in ---
584 MR. RAY: Absolutely.
585 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- Edmonton ---
586 MR. RAY: Yes.
587 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- for the Edmonton market and exclusive to your station?
588 MR. RAY: Yes.
589 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.
590 And I think you touched on it a bit here but maybe giving you another opportunity to speak to this. How will you ensure that this programming is of direct and particular relevance to the local ethnic communities here in Edmonton?
591 MR. RAY: Well, through training and workshops for the on‑air hosts, including the brokers -- the broker host, and to emphasize the commitment that we -- and the importance of local programming, and to develop an insight into what would contribute to high-quality local programming.
592 So part of the training would be to constantly be -- keep oneself aware of what is happening within the communities locally at local news events, and also other matters of importance and relevance to them, including issues.
593 Like Papiya, she mentioned that there are, you know, a number of issues that certain ethnic communities, more than others, face, but most of them do to some extent. And, for example, especially those who are not proficient in the mainstream languages, would be less aware of the local rules, regulations, the services available, and the fact that things are different in this country from where they come from originally.
594 So for example ---
595 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I think, if it's okay, maybe I'll ask my question again just ---
596 MR. RAY: Yes.
597 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Am I right, do I remember correctly; approximately 40 percent of your programming would be brokered?
598 MR. RAY: Yes, 54 hours, yes.
599 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yeah, yeah.
600 So ---
601 MR. RAY: Well, are you talking only about the broker programing when you asked me ---
602 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I ---
603 MR. RAY: --- first?
604 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Right. I am speaking ---
605 MR. RAY: My apologies.
606 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I am speaking now just what this broker programming is.
607 MR. RAY: Okay, okay. My apologies.
608 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: It's a relatively large part of your ---
609 MR. RAY: Yes.
610 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- overall commitment, and I'm just questioning how, from a governance standpoint, if you will, you can ensure that this will meet the needs of the communities that are intended to be served?
611 MR. RAY: Okay. Thank you for clarifying.
612 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
613 MR. RAY: Yes, the broker programming -- well, actually, the program as we operate, in the same way is tough on a host. In other words, the brokers also would have to attend the workshops to understand what our commitments are and how they're expected to meet those needs of local programming.
614 And how will it be monitored? By the radio station itself, the Operations Manager will be monitoring. The advisory council will be meeting every quarterly and will give us feedback as to whether these programs are meeting the expectations of the communities, and whether it is also meeting the expectations that we've laid out for them, for their programs.
615 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And can I just ask you, because I know that you have other licensed stations; do you have this relative size of brokered programming on your existing stations?
616 MR. RAY: Yes, I do. Just about 40 percent, 56 hours per week is brokered out in Mississauga, less number of hours in Windsor because it's a much smaller market. But, yes, I do have the experience of the 56 hours. That is consistent with my original proposal for the radio station, which was 56 hours.
617 We have monitored the programs very carefully on an ongoing basis and we have had no issues. We are quite happy. We’ve been quite -- and even if there were any issues, we always got together to correct them, to make sure that it meets the expectations.
618 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.
619 So this is something that you have experience with managing and governance?
620 MR. RAY: Yes.
621 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
622 MR. RAY: Yes.
623 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I'm going to move on to the business plan a little bit.
624 First of all, just on the issue of revenue and advertising revenue. You have spent quite some time in your opening remarks speaking of the audience or the communities' needs and wants and desires for additional programming in their ethnic languages, a little less time speaking of the advertisers' needs and wants.
625 And I think you used some words here of you -- you are hopeful, I think, "With increased programming we are confident that the level of listening will increase, and the value to advertisers will become apparent."
626 MR. RAY: Yes.
627 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So do you have any other -- besides doing a survey or gathering evidence of the audience, anything else on the revenue side, anything on the advertiser side that gave you this confidence that you're going to be able to garner that value for advertisers or be able to extract the revenue levels that you projected?
628 MR. RAY: Yes. First, from the experience in the GTA, the Mississauga station, because I know that only about maybe 2 percent or less of total businesses -- South Asian businesses in the GTA are advertising on my radio station, and I guess the same is true with any other radio station in the GTA, only 2 percent.
629 In Edmonton, the number of South Asian businesses, and also some other languages, like Arab, the Arabic-speaking community, and the number of businesses that are advertising on CKER. And to me, CKER sounds as if it is sold out, if they had to set an inventory, say, of 10 or 12 minutes per hour, it sounds as if it is sold out. I do not have the exact numbers.
630 But given that, the demand that it demonstrates to me -- CKER itself is a good source of information to me and perhaps the other applicants; that, combined with my experience back in Mississauga, I believe that there's a tremendous amount of untapped businesses within the South Asian and Arabic’s -- with the Arab community, the Filipino, and some other communities. And given that, even if I garner a very small percentage of those businesses we'll still be viable.
631 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: This question isn't on my list but I'm going to ask it anyway because you've used the GTA as your example; your experiences in the GTA. And I know you mentioned that you lived in Edmonton for nine years, I think, 1980 ---
632 MR. RAY: Yes.
633 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- until 1989?
634 MR. RAY: Yes, I did. It's the birthplace of my broadcasting career.
635 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, and while some of us remember the eighties fondly, others would say that that's a very long time ago.
636 And so do you have more current relationships, experiences in the communities? You have -- you speak of targeting three communities, particularly, for the bulk of your revenue. What is your relationship? How are you building those relationships with the ethnic communities here in Edmonton, or how do you propose to build those with -- and I'm not just really speaking of the communities as much as a financial question with your advertising community?
637 You don't live here. You know, what are your ties that give you the assurance that you can build these advertising revenues in the advertising communities here in Edmonton?
638 MR. RAY: Well, I have been connected; I remain connected with Edmonton ever since I left. My best friends live here. And that also brings me to Edmonton from time to time. But recently, more recently I’ve met businesses. I -- no, did a feeling, a kind of feeler, if we start a radio station. Some of them, not all, were still there when -- in the ‘80s, either in business or they just lived here and they remembered me. And they said that, “Look, if you are going to do the programming here or direct it, then we believe the programming will be of high quality and we certainly will advertise with you.”
639 So I can’t give you the exact number. I just went around to some businesses. I’ve spoken to them. So there’s not much relationship, honestly, with the business community as such. I’ve connected with them only to a limited extent, but I’m much better connected with the community at large, the South Asian community. The Arab businesses, I have only connected with a couple of them just to ask them questions and that is it.
640 Yeah, I may like to mention that I have a radio station in Windsor and that is predominantly Arabic-speaking radio station. And the radio station I have in Montreal is also predominantly Arabic-speaking. I don’t live, obviously, in those cities, but the stations have run well, especially Windsor is well-established, is doing very well. And Montreal is on its way. It has challenges. I acquired that radio station which was financial not doing well. But I’m hoping that that will turn around. And these experiences tell me that Edmonton, I believe, is a better market for me, given that there is a greater void here than perhaps Montreal or GTA. So I believe there will be less of a challenge here than I had to face in the GTA and I’m facing in Montreal, and to some extent Windsor because it’s -- the very fact it’s a very small market. But the station still has been viable.
641 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you. I’m going to go back on script. And I say “script”, these are the questions that are perhaps more common amongst groups here so. And I’m not sure that this one is necessarily, but your financial projections, you did not include any different financials for an AM versus your FM station. Can you explain why that is?
642 MR. RAY: Yes. A couple of comments I can make on that, first of all. And I believe that an AM would do not as well as FM if FM is a direct competition, that’s number one. Number two, an ethnic station caters to a very niche market to whom not much is available. So there are not many choices. To go back, the South Asian programming, for example, is going to be in the afternoon. So there’s no other South Asian programming at that time. So even if I’m on the AM, I do not expect to have less people listening to my radio station than if it was FM. So the -- if the audience is no different, then the advertisers would have similar exposure of their business, whether it is on AM or FM. Therefore, the projections I have are the same for both.
643 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And cost differences are not material?
644 MR. RAY: The cost of establishing is substantially different for AM than for FM. And also, cost of ongoing maintenance of AM is substantially more than that of FM. FM is, of course, not only good quality, but also easy -- cheaper to run. It’s -- makes viability more possible.
645 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. We spoke a little bit about the fact that you do have other stations in the GTA and Windsor, Mississauga, and Montreal. And I know in your supplementary brief you spoke of the synergies and what that might do from a cost perspective for you. Can you tell just here briefly what you consider to be the most significant synergies that would add value to this Edmonton station?
646 MR. RAY: There are certain areas where the costs would be shared with CINA, the other CINA radio stations. The general manager would be the same general manager managing all the stations. The accounting firm will be the same.
647 There’s another synergy that I foresee and that is because of the similarity of format between the proposed station in Edmonton and my existing station in Mississauga, which is predominantly South Asian, I would be able to provide 2 hours per day of programming Monday to Friday, a total of 10 hours, which will be produced at negligible additional cost in Mississauga, produced for broadcasting for airing exclusively on the Edmonton radio station, which then would qualify as local programming, according to Public Notice 2006-158. I’m forgetting the page number. I think 219 or something. That if it is produced exclusively -- for exclusive use on this radio station, it will be local programming. But then in turn, that 10 hours will save us programming costs.
648 These are the areas that I can think of where we hope to save because of the synergies.
649 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: We had spoke just before this question of synergies about the AM versus FM and the fact the AM would cost more revenues or the same. Can you tell me, if we were to licence two or more stations in this process, how would that impact upon your business plan if it was you and someone else or you and others plural? And it --
650 MR. RAY: It depends on ---
651 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- you can -- let me break that down into two things. Give me your views on whether or not you believe there would be capacity to licence more than one. I’m assuming since you’re in front of us you firmly believe there’s capacity for at least one more. So give me your views on whether you think there would be capacity for more than one additional and what impact that would have on your business plan.
652 MR. RAY: When I see the growth that the ethnic communities have undergone in the past 36 years, ever since the first radio station was licensed, obviously, it represents a growth that is not, you know, 50 percent more than it was then. It was -- it’s a few hundred percent, a few times it has grown. So would these communities be -- and especially the South Asian community, be able to sustain more than one additional radio station? I think it can. So the answer would be, yes, I think it can.
653 But may I tell you what my take is on whether it should be done or not and why not or how? If the Commission were to licence more than one radio station, then my position would be that it should be done in two phases. So licence one now, let it -- give it time to settle down before licensing another one down the road. That would be one.
654 What impact it will have? If two were licensed together -- And I was thinking about it, and I said to Joe yesterday, “You know something? If two stations are licensed together, it reminds me of two aggressive dogs put in the same cage, who don’t know each other.”
655 And I mean all that will happen is, you know, they’ll cannibalize each other.
656 Will they survive? I think perhaps they will but with a lot of difficulties.
657 That’s what my answer would be to your question.
658 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you didn’t say “a cat fight” you said a “dog fight.” But if you were one of those dogs, would you continue to pursue your business plan?
659 MR. RAY: Absolutely.
660 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Absolutely?
661 MR. RAY: Yes.
662 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes. We have ---
663 MR. RAY: One thing I must mention is that if two were to be licensed and if both were not to be FM or both were -- well, if both were not on the same band, then the one that is on the AM definitely will have a disadvantage.
664 So something to keep in mind. But will he survive -- he or she survive? I would say yes, would survive with some difficulties at the outset.
665 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And if you happen to be the one on the AM band, you would, understanding that it’s not your preference, but you would launch?
666 MR. RAY: I would definitely launch, yes, even if it is on the AM, even if it is ---
667 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Under the business plan you’ve provided us with the programming you’ve provided us, with the conditions of licence over your targeted community groups and languages and so on?
668 MR. RAY: Yes, I would say, yes. The projections that I’ve made are conservative. It’s worst case scenario.
669 So the worst-case scenario would be that if you give me an AM and you give someone else the FM, I’ll be able to reach that projection, yes.
670 Don’t forget that I have an AM station in Mississauga and when I launched, my main competitions were FM, and I survived.
671 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I just really have two more questions on this financial stuff.
672 First of all, you mentioned that these are conservative -- you put forward conservative estimates. So the changes that have occurred in the Alberta economy lately, you feel comfortable that with the financial projections and so on that you put forward, it is still reasonable, given what has been going on with the economy?
673 MR. RAY: Yes, I do and once again, the projections, being pretty conservative, takes that into account. And let’s also keep in mind that the projection that I’ve made represents less than half a percent of the total revenue that this city -- the radio stations made in this city.
674 So will that be achievable? Yes, absolutely.
675 As far as the economy is concerned, I know that there has been a slight downturn. It seems to be settling down and leveling up.
676 So my answer would be, yes, it is achievable with those kinds of numbers.
677 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And although I promise to only a couple more, I do want to ask, the projections you made, you had projected that 35 percent of the revenue would be from other media. Could you explain what that is?
678 MR. RAY: The other media would be mainly newspapers, and I’m afraid it could be some from SCMO and the internet, the other print medias, like flyers and pamphlets distributed by businesses who want to attract customers.
679 I guess they will find radio to be more cost-effective and will help them much more in garnering revenue than any of the print medias.
680 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. My final question, and it was a question I asked of the party before us.
681 There’s seldom a concern for the Commission when the economic conditions are good and there’s, you know, limited competition and so on. But we spoke of a couple of situations that might put some strain on achieving your business plan.
682 And you mentioned it was a conservative plan but nonetheless, if there were conditions, be it economic conditions, be it competitive conditions, be it the frequency that you ultimately, you know, might be awarded, that would put a strain on the business plan. That would potentially cause losses to occur for a longer period of time. You have committed that you would launch under various conditions.
683 But could you provide us some additional details about your capacity to sustain any sort of financial losses over an extended period of time?
684 MR. RAY: Thank you. Yes, as part of my responses to deficiency questions and my response letter dated May 19th, and I think it is to deficiency questions dated the 12th of May, I have provided confirmation from RBC Royal Bank of my capacity to invest an amount of money, which is available to me in my personal capacity, which is liquid funds, and it is there on record.
685 And that amount, I believe, is more than sufficient to cover any kind of losses. I have projected about $50,000 loss in the first year. But if we have $50,000 loss, God forbid, throughout the term, which is $350,000, I still have more than about three times that money confirmed here from my personal sources.
686 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions and if there’s a need for greater details regarding that, I’m going to let staff cover that, if there is something further that they’re requiring on that.
687 MR. RAY: Okay.
688 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. Those are my questions.
689 MR. RAY: Thank you very much.
690 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I just have one point of clarification. Commissioner Molnar asked you for an undertaking on conditions of licence.
691 MR. RAY: Yes.
692 THE CHAIRPERSON: The date for that undertaking would be October the 4th.
693 MR. RAY: Yes.
694 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would also like to state that, as VMS got a similar question and offered to bring an answer forward in reply, they may also, if they wish, take it as an undertaking with the same October the 4th.
695 So it will be up to them. If they wish to deal with it in reply, that’s fine, but if they too wish to do it as an undertaking for October 4th, that would be only fair.
696 The other matter is, in terms of those -- just to clarify on the maximum percentage level portion of the question. Minimums were asked as well. That’s separate but just in terms of the maximum levels of programming to be broadcast each week by a condition of licence, that relates to the South Asian and Chinese language programming, which are the core languages served by the incumbent station.
697 So everybody ---
698 MR. RAY: Yes.
699 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- understands?
700 MR. RAY: Yes.
701 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Great. Thank you very much.
702 We will break for lunch and return in an hour, at 1:20.
703 MR. RAY: Thank you very much, Mr. Commissioner.
--- Upon recessing at 12:22 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 1:21 p.m.
704 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Everybody grab a seat.
705 Madam Secretary.
706 MS. ROY: Thank you.
707 Nous allons entendre l’article 3 qui est une demande présentée par Antoine Karam au nom d’une société devant être constituée, en vue d’obtenir une licence de radiodiffusion afin d’exploiter une station de radio FM commerciale spécialisée à caractère ethnique à Edmonton.
708 S'il vous plaît, vous présenter et présenter vos collègues, et vous avez 20 minutes pour votre présentation.
709 MR. KARAM: Mr. Chairman, Madame la Commissioner, Commissioner, Commission's staff, ladies and gentlemen, hi, my name is Antoine Karam. I am the founder and CEO of Middle East Radio, operating an ethnic radio station in Montreal.
710 With me today, to my right, Ms. Ida Fayad, Programming Consultant and future Host of our planned FM station in Edmonton; and to my left, Mr. Antoine Chelala, our Executive and Marketing Advisor.
711 We are pleased to be here today to present our plan for a new ethnic radio station in Edmonton. Should you approve our application, Edmonton would be our third point of anchor in Canada, forming a triangle of stability and diversity with our Montreal and Halifax operations.
712 We want to bring our broadcasting experience to Edmonton for the benefit not only of our Arab-speaking audience, but to the entire community.
713 Middle East Radio is the first station to broadcast 24/7, an Arabiclanguage programming in Canada. We started our business in 1996 after the CRTC decision 96-634 on an FM sub-carrier in Montreal. In 2006, following the CRTC decision 2006-82, we started broadcasting on the AM band. Then in 2015, after CRTC decision 2015-424, we started broadcasting on FM in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
714 Our existing team consists of 28 people, hosts, DJ's, journalists, social media specialists, sales and marketing, accounting and management, perfectly split on the 50/50 line gender-wise. Our offices and studios are equipped to meet the technological requirement of today and the cutting-edge technology of tomorrow. Moreover, we provide the Arab community in Canada and around the world a unique website which deals with purely Canadian subject in Arabic, to enable them to better know this beautiful country.
715 The population of Edmonton is representative of most major Canadian cities. Its demographic landscape changes rapidly and it wants to share its history with its new neighbours.
716 Globalization, political and economic turmoil and armed conflicts in other continents, urges ordinary people to seek a better, more peaceful life.
717 Canada then becomes a destination of choice for people who need, want, and wish a chance for a better start.
718 Our country is recognized as stable, prosperous, and opened to immigration. Communities of different ethnicities and faith, which may have been torn apart in their country of origin, find themselves reunited in Canada.
719 The first generations, those who undergo the change of country, culture and often temperature, are most likely to feel this as a shock. The Canadian broadcasting system allows them to find information and entertainment, and to express themselves in their mother tongue.
720 Our radio station will allow them to keep in touch with their native culture and language, transfer it to the new generation, while helping these newcomers integrate their welcoming society smoothly.
721 At Middle East Radio, we dedicate our work to two main objectives. The first one is to inform newly arrived citizens about the Canadian social, political, economic, cultural landscape. And the second one is to keep these new citizens in touch with their native culture and the international developments which relates to them.
722 We have been doing this on Montreal for the Arabic-speaking community for over 20 years now, have just started in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and are now asking to do it in Edmonton.
723 Here in Edmonton, we are aware that the South Asian communities are the biggest ethnic groups. These groups may count on existing broadcasting services as CKER, the World Radio 101.7 that allocates a large majority of its programming to these community. We’re talking about more than 60 hours everyweek. We have the Sur Sagar Radio on SCA, which is purely South Asian, and the Radio Desh Punjab, which is also an SCA addressing the majority of its programming to the South Asian population.
724 According to the 2012 Census of Statistics Canada, immigration in Edmonton has increased between 2001 and 2011 by 40.5 percent, while the Arab-speaking population has gone from 19,350 to 34,920 during the same period; a pure 80 percent increase.
725 So 34,920 Arabic-speaking people in Edmonton in 2011, and the 2016 Census data breakdown by language spoken is not yet available but we expect they will show the 50,000 mark has been reached, if not surpassed.
726 So while the exact number of Arabic-speaking citizens of Edmonton today is unknown, Edmontonians know that this community is growing, very active and productive on different levels; social, community, cultural, economic, and political in Edmonton, Alberta.
727 Unfortunately, these communities are almost ignored by existing media. CKER World Radio is currently providing around 2.5 hours a week in Arabic and other platforms that are representing today their plans of even less.
728 Middle East Radio wants to fix this. We propose from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. a service and schedule with a rich program and great quality that will enable new immigrant communities and refugees from Arab-speaking countries to better integrate into the Canadian society.
729 For the second half of the day, we will offer airtime to other communities -- we're talking about 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight -- to present alternative programming and a variety of choices to the listeners of Edmonton.
730 I would like now to ask Mrs. Ida to explain why this choice of scheduling is so important for the listeners, and hence, to the success of a radio station. But before she starts, let me introduce her briefly to you.
731 Mrs. Ida Fayad is a Lebanese-Canadian who has graduated from the Lebanese University in Beirut in 1990 with a Bachelor's degree in journalism, majoring in TV and radio journalism. She had worked in the media industry for 25 years, and has been living in Edmonton for the last 26 years now, and we are pleased that she has accepted to join our Edmonton radio station team should the CRTC approve our application.
733 MS. FAYAD: Thank you, Tony.
734 Indeed, I have been living in Edmonton for over 26 years, but my radio experience precedes my arrival to Canada. In 1991, while working towards my Bachelor's degree, I was a news anchor at a local television station in Lebanon, and I also hosted an entertainment program on a local radio station there.
735 Here in Edmonton in 1992, I volunteered as a presenter on Arabesque, a weekly Arabic television program that aired on Videotron Community Channel, now known as Shaw. This program was dedicated to provide Arabic-speaking Edmontonians with local and international news and entertainment.
736 I then volunteered for 10 years on the radio Arabic program which aired Saturday mornings on CKER. I came across the CKER radio program in '93 and faced the challenge of modernizing the hosting approach and improving the journalistic quality of its programming. Tremendous efforts were put into this with a reward at hand.
737 The results were astounding. Listenership skyrocketed, ad buys boomed, and the Arabic-speaking community was buzzing with enthusiasm. However, after enjoying 10 years of continued achievement, the program not only lost its prime Saturday noontime slot when it was moved to early Sunday morning, but it was cut down to only one hour of air time.
738 Around the same time, we experienced the social media boom. All of a sudden, news was available at the click of a button and people did not have to wait a week to get their Arabic news and entertainment.
739 As a result of these massive blows, listenership dropped, enthusiasm sagged, and people expressed frustration at the loss of a local program that connected them to their local community.
740 The lesson to be learned here is that you need to be present locally and all day long to create a long-lasting relationship with your audience. With already a substantial number of Arabic-speaking citizens in Edmonton, and the enormous influx of Arabic-speaking refugees and immigrants to Edmonton, the need for an accessible, relevant, local, and modern program is paramount.
741 I believe that Radio Middle East will achieve this in Edmonton if its radio application is approved.
743 MR. KARAM: Thank you, Ida.
744 Approval of our application will not have a -- will not -- will have no significant impact on the business of existing broadcasters. Rogers’ media station, CKER, exists since more than 10 years in the Edmonton market, and has reached its maturity, audience-wise and financially wise, and the CRTC has stated that the Edmonton market can sustain a new ethnic station.
745 We believe that since our program is mainly geared towards Arab-speaking communities, and since these communities are very minimally served by CKER, we believe that our arrival in Edmonton will represent no negative financial impact to CKER, as our advertising revenues would be generated mainly by traders and companies from the Arab communities.
746 The main reason for our existence is to help ethnic communities feel at home in their host country, and facilitate the integration process through a variety of programs, including the local, national, and international news, interviews and open-line shows dealing with community issues, political, social, cultural, artistic, health, consumption, weather, sports, traffic and others.
747 Our programming has enabled hundreds of thousands of our Montreal listeners feel at home, and especially to get involved in the social, economic, cultural, and political life in Montreal. And that's why -- that's what we intend to do here in Edmonton.
748 Since 2006, Middle East Radio plays a key role in promoting any cultural community event, and especially the ethnic festivals in Montreal, and since 2016 in Halifax, providing media coverage, visibility, and financial aid. Moreover, Middle East Radio played a very important role in community economic development in Montreal, expect to do so in Halifax, and this by allowing small ethnic businesses to grow and to become known by advertising their products and services in a medium that target their customers at costs lower than those requested by large conventional radio stations.
749 I will admit that Montreal and Halifax are far away from Edmonton, yet we believe that we can add value to the broadcasting system just as much here out West. To help convince you, I will let Mr. Antoine Chelala, owner of CDCO Construction and a proud member of the Arabic community here in Edmonton, explain how our proposed radio program will introduce the positive change within the community.
751 MR. CHELALA: Shukraan, Tony; merci, Tony; and thank you, Tony.
752 And thanks to the Commission for giving us the chance to share with you today our thoughts on how operating and broadcasting a fully integrated Arabic radio station in Edmonton will benefit the Arab community in particular, as well as all Canadian Middle Eastern communities.
753 I speak here today as one of the 34,000-plus Canadian Arab-speaking Edmontonians. I will not be so presumptuous as to believe I am speaking for all the businesses and organizations that count on us to represent, support, and appreciate their workforce, but I will tell you what I expect Radio Middle East to achieve, and will achieve by making a dream come true; a voice for every single soul among the largest Arabic-speaking Edmontonians. That is what its audience also will try for.
754 Radio Middle East will be an educator, a newscaster, trainer, and entertainer for them in their respective living areas.
755 Recognizing that our recently immigrated families will bear the brunt of the language barrier, our radio station will present naturally and professionally the Edmonton city as their new home, new workplace, and eventually, their kids' new future.
756 Yes, I will become, and it will become, an educational stream, displaying the richness of Edmonton, the opportunities; for all to excel, prosper, and exchange culture, customs, traditions with their new and long-term neighbours.
757 Radio Middle East will be the voice of Edmonton in Arabic for Edmonton and for Edmontonians.
758 A local radio station speaking the language of a specific community, offering insight about all the local issues by tell me what, when, why, where, and whom. Tell me the story. Tell me the truth. Please, in my own language, at home, at work, in my car, at a tablet, computer or a mobile.
759 Respected Commission, knowing means understanding, and understanding means contributing, and contributing means sharing, and sharing means integrating. Of course, integrating means you have come home and you are home.
760 Now let's talk reality, how to get this done.
761 Radio Middle East must exist in Edmonton so we can plan, assist and contribute to this community’s specific projects because, as citizens, we need them and relate to them.
762 Radio Middle East will meet the needs of Arab Canadians in Edmonton. Our programs will be planned well in advance so that every listener is pleased by its dedication and persistency to strive towards better service as so to become a leading Edmonton radio station in Arabic.
763 We know what is expected of us is to serve and meet these expectations.
764 Ladies and gentlemen, Radio Middle East will report on mainstream cultural events to its Arabic audience, and we expect then the mainstream media will start reporting on the Arabic cultural events as well.
765 Edmonton is an important economic driver in Alberta. Let's also make it an important cultural and integration model. Last but not least, asking to let Radio Middle East be part of that model.
767 MR. KARAM: Thank you, Antoine.
768 Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude this presentation, we have a video presentation to present our current operations in Montreal, please.
769 (VIDEO PRESENTATION)
770 MR. KARAM: We thank you for your attention and I will be pleased to answer all your questions, and if I may answer some of the questions in French so we can give a break to Mrs. Translator.
771 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
772 Commissioner Dupras will begin our questions.
773 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes. All our briefing material was prepared in French. Since you said to us that you’d like to appear in French at first, so we'll examine you in French.
774 M. KARAM: O.k.
775 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors, bienvenue.
776 Un point pour commencer, je pense qu’il est important, c'est la population qui parle arabe à Edmonton dont vous parlez cet avant-midi -- cet après-midi dans votre présentation. Vous parlez d’environ 35,000 personnes et vous faites référence au recensement de Statistique Canada de 2011.
777 M. KARAM: M’hm.
778 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: On n’a pas les même chiffres que vous là-dessus. On a pour vous le dire ceux dont c'est la langue maternelle, il y a 11,815 personnes à Edmonton et ceux qui parlent cette langue le plus souvent à la maison, 6,825 personnes.
779 Alors, pouvez-vous nous expliquer comment vous êtes arrivé à votre chiffre de 35,000 parlant arabe à Edmonton.
780 M. KARAM: Nous avons fait des recherches dans Statistique Canada. Malheureusement, j’ai pas imprimé toutes les -- tous les rapports mais dans notre présentation, on se base sur les -- sur les données de Statistique Canada. Et dans ces données, on mentionne la source exacte ou le formulaire, le nom du formulaire. Je les ai pas devant moi maintenant mais je peux vous les présenter plus tard si vous voulez.
781 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, si vous pourriez déposer ça auprès de nous pour nous renseigner davantage sur la source de votre chiffre.
783 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon, vous avez un projet de radio à Edmonton principalement dans la langue arabe et si on regarde vos projections financières, vous avez peu de revenus et peu de dépenses pour réaliser ce projet, ce qui nous amène à vous poser des questions sur comment est-ce que vous espérez réaliser cela.
784 Alors, si vous pouviez nous en parler un peu plus comment vous allez réussir financièrement à faire cela.
785 M. KARAM: Nous avons basé nos projections financières sur une base vraiment très conservatrice. Nous savons que le pays passe dans une période de récession.
786 Surtout quand on parle d’Alberta et d’Edmonton, il y a beaucoup de gens qui sont sur le « unemployment ».
787 Ça fait que nous avons basé nos projections financières sur une réalité, sans faire des promesses ou sans faire des choses vraiment extravagantes. Nous avons décidé de commencer avec vraiment le minimum, vu la situation financière de la province et de la ville d’Edmonton.
788 Sur ce, nous avons calculé les parts du marché et les parts d’heures de marché ont été basées sur le pourcentage de la population ethnique visée par notre station, qui est 1.3 pour cent. Et puis les revenus publicitaires sont basés sur une estimation conservatrice de vraiment un petit montant de 8 000 $ par année avec une augmentation de 2 pour cent annuellement.
789 Ça fait que nous avons vraiment pris le pire des cas pour être sûr qu’on est sur la bonne voie sans faire des promesses, sans faire des projets qu’on ne peut jamais réaliser.
790 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: En vous basant sur une population de 35 000?
791 M. KARAM: En se basant sur une population minime quand même et sur une autre -- d’autres groupes qui aimeraient cibler cette population, d’autres groupes de commerçants ou de business qui ne sont pas nécessairement issus de la communauté arabophone mais qui désirent cibler cette communauté qui n’est pas ciblée d’une façon ou d’une autre.
792 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et si les chiffres, quant à la population, sont plus bas dans la réalité, disons qu’on fait les vérifications qui s’imposent, comment est-ce que ça porterait préjudice à votre projet?
793 M. KARAM: Nous pensons que nous avons déjà fait l’expérience à Halifax. Nous avons commencé presqu’en mai 2016 à Halifax. Même si nos projets à Halifax étaient aussi très conservateurs et très minimaux, rendus en septembre 2016, donc quelques mois après nos débuts d’opération à Halifax, nous sommes rendus à couvrir, jusqu’à date, nos dépenses. Pourtant, nos expectations étaient beaucoup moins que ça.
794 Nous savons que les gens savent apprécier la qualité de la programmation qu’on offre. Et puis je suis sûr que même si financièrement on ne réussit pas -- si vous voyez dans nos projections budgétaires, on commence à faire du profit à partir de la quatrième année. Ça, c’est dans le pire des cas.
795 Mais dans le pire des cas financièrement, nous sommes capables de subsister et de supporter une station pour au moins la première période -- la période de licence, financièrement à tous les niveaux.
796 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Et quand vous dites que vous êtes capable de supporter la station, c’est la station de Montréal qui ---
797 M. KARAM: C’est la station-mère de Montréal avec une compagnie de holdings qui détient les stations proposées; celle de Montréal et celle de Halifax, qui va détenir aussi celle d’Edmonton et qui va supporter financièrement la station.
798 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Et celle de Halifax, vous l’avez déjà lancée?
799 M. KARAM: Elle est déjà lancée depuis mai 2016.
800 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon. Et elle aussi, ça prend quelques années avant de devenir rentable?
801 M. KARAM: Oui.
802 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et là, vous allez avoir deux -- vous auriez deux stations à supporter avec les opérations de Montréal?
803 M. KARAM: Bien, déjà la station de Halifax, elle n’a pas besoin de support. Déjà, on est rendu en septembre 2016, elle -- les revenus, ils supportent toutes les dépenses actuellement; pas de profit mais actuellement ça couvre toutes les dépenses, déjà quelques mois après son lancement.
804 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: D’accord.
805 Vous dites que vous avez 107 heures de programmation locale.
806 M. KARAM: M’hm.
807 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais vous allez compter, je crois, beaucoup sur les opérations de Montréal pour la programmation? Comment cette programmation réussira-t-elle à être locale?
808 M. KARAM: Bon. Selon les lois du CRTC, une programmation qui est produite à l’extérieur mais qui cible vraiment un marché, c’est considéré comme local.
809 On sait tous que Montréal compte le plus grand nombre de gens arabophones au Canada. Donc, les données qu’on a, le personnel qu’on a qualifié à Montréal en nombre et en quantité, il excède beaucoup plus qu’est-ce qu’on a dans les autres villes canadiennes.
810 Ça nous permet -- avant tout, parce qu’on a des installations très solides à Montréal et des infrastructures très solides, on peut fournir de la programmation de très haute qualité qu’on va dédier spécifiquement pour les marchés désignés, comme le marché d’Edmonton.
811 On va avoir des programmes qui vont être faits spécialement pour le marché de Edmonton avec des lignes de téléphone qui sont dirigées vers les studios de Montréal pour le minimum de programmes qu’on va faire de Montréal qui sont dédiés à Edmonton.
812 Et en parallèle, on va avoir aussi des studios ici avec des animateurs et une équipe qui va travailler pour la production locale qui va être faite ici.
813 Mais le fait d’avoir plus de gens, plus de professionnels à Montréal, vu le nombre plus grand d’arabophones qui sont là-bas, ça nous permet d’offrir une programmation de très haute qualité. C’est ce qu’on fait déjà entre Montréal et Halifax et ça a prouvé que nous sommes sur la bonne voie à tous les niveaux.
814 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vous allez avoir 64 heures de création orale. Combien de ces heures-là vont être spécifiquement pour Edmonton?
815 M. KARAM: Je peux vous dire qu’une grande majorité va être pour Edmonton, parce qu’il y a des choses qui sont spécifiques à Edmonton. Quand on parle de la politique locale, quand on parle -- quand on interview des sportifs ou des gens politiciens, des gens -- des travailleurs sociaux qui travaillent dans la communauté ici, des gens qui reçoivent des immigrants, des gens qui aident les gens, les familles à s’intégrer. Mais il y a certains sujets aussi qui touchent chaque personne qui parle -- qui est issue de notre culture et qui se trouve partout au Canada. C’est des sujets qui peuvent toucher tous les gens.
816 Ça fait qu’il y a des sujets spécifiques qu’on va vraiment s’adresser aux gens qui vivent ici.
817 Et ici, Mme Ida, peut m’aider aussi parce que, elle, elle va être une animatrice qui va offrir des programmes ici. Ça fait 26 ans qu’elle vit ici. Elle sait plus que moi c’est quoi les besoins des gens de la communauté ici. Si elle peut s’exprimer aussi.
818 Mme FAYAD: S’il vous plaît poser la question en anglais.
819 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: The question was out of 64 hours of spoken word, how many hours will be -- I mean spoken word for the local market here?
820 MR. KARAM: She would rather speak about the content. I already answered that the majority of our program. I can give you, if you want, an exact percentage of how much -- how is the percentage.
821 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes, well, this is what I was looking for.
822 M. KARAM: O.k.
823 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Si vous pouvez me donner ce que vous avez de local dans les créations orales. Bon, il y a des nouvelles, il y a des lignes ouvertes, il y a d’autres genres de programmation.
824 Qu’est-ce qui va être ---
825 M. KARAM: Local.
826 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- qui va s’adresser vraiment aux auditeurs d’Edmonton?
827 M. KARAM: Absolument.
828 Je vais préparer la -- je vais préparer les réponses et vous donner des chiffres exacts. Je vais voir avec la programmation qui est déjà préparée pour Edmonton, discuter avec mon équipe qui se prépare ici à Edmonton. On va vous répondre aux questions avec des pourcentages très exacts là-dessus.
829 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: D’accord. O.k.
831 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: On continue dans la programmation locale. Vous nous dites que vous avez 47 heures qui vont être produites à même les studios d’Edmonton et 60 heures qui vont être produites dans les studios de Montréal.
832 Pouvez-vous nous dire quels vont être -- de quelle nature va être la programmation produite à partir des studios d’Edmonton?
833 M. KARAM: Toute la programmation qui commence à 6h00 le soir jusqu’à minuit va être produite localement à Edmonton.
834 Ça, c’est des programmes qui vont être produits par des producteurs locaux de différentes communautés ethniques. Ça, c’est des productions qui vont être 100 pour cent locales, produites ici et qui s’adressent aux gens d’ici.
835 On a aussi une heure dans l’heure de pointe, le matin, qui va être produite localement, ici, en collaboration avec des animateurs d’autres villes pour essayer de rejoindre toutes les stations canadiennes.
836 Donc, on a presqu’une heure qui va être une heure-réseau dans les heures du matin et il y a une heure qui va être vraiment purement locale.
837 Ça, c’est des heures qui vont être produites localement dans les studios d’Edmonton. Aucune relation avec le studio de Montréal.
838 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et pour ce qui est de la programmation locale que vous pouvez faire seulement pour la station à partir de l’extérieur, quel genre de programmation allez-vous faire pour qu’elle se qualifie comme programmation locale?
839 M. KARAM: Quand on parle de programmation locale, déjà, juste en partant, je vous dis que c’est une programmation qui s’adresse directement à l’antenne de Edmonton sans passer par Montréal ni Halifax.
840 Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait -- l’expérience qu’on a faite à Halifax, on a deux journalistes qu’on a entraînés pour six mois sur la politique et les enjeux politiques et les enjeux sociaux à Halifax.
841 Ils vivent à Montréal mais ils savent tout ce qui se passe à Halifax sans qu’ils sont -- sans qu’il vivent vraiment là-bas, plus des animateurs et des journalistes qu'on a engagés à Halifax.
842 Mais les animateurs professionnels qu’on a à Montréal, comme j’ai dit tantôt qu’il y a beaucoup de gens qui sont à un grand niveau de professionnalisme qui vivent à Montréal qu’on peut pas trouver dans les autres villes canadiennes malheureusement, ces gens-là, ils vivent à Montréal mais dans la tête c'est comme ils vivent à Halifax.
843 Donc on espère trouver des gens hautement qualifiés comme Madame Ida ou d’autres personnes qu’on va engager dans le futur qui vont être capables d’offrir cette haute qualité de programmation.
844 Mais si on réussit pas à faire ça, déjà on a dans notre staff des gens qui peuvent être formés à plusieurs niveaux à fournir une programmation et à se sentir vraiment comme ils sont ici à Edmonton en train de présenter une programmation ici pour les gens d’ici, comme on fait comme Montréal.
845 À Montréal, on a un studio qui s’appelle le Studio de Halifax. Les gens qui rentrent là-bas, tout est Halifax. Que ce soit l’heure de programmation, que ce soit les nouvelles, c'est comme si vous vivez vraiment dans Halifax. C'est ce qu’on va faire -- c'est ce qu’on va faire ici aussi à Edmonton.
846 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais jusqu’à ce que vous trouviez ces personnes-là, les personnes qui seront familiers avec le marché d’Edmonton, vous en aurez pas nécessairement. Ça va être des gens de Montréal qui vont essayer de faire de la programmation pour le marché d’Edmonton?
847 M. KARAM: Jusqu’à ce qu'on trouve ces gens-là. Déjà dans la communauté, depuis que les gens ont su que nous travaillons sur une licence à Edmonton et y a beaucoup de gens qui nous écoutent sur internet ou y a beaucoup de gens qui ont déjà -- qui sont déjà allés à Montréal et ont écouté la station puis qui nous ont demandé de venir ici, déjà on a eu beaucoup de gens aspirants qui ont présenté leur CV et qui ont présenté leur désir de travailler dans ce domaine.
848 Y a des gens qui sont plus professionnels que d’autres mais on n’a vraiment pas pris le temps d’analyser ces demandes ou ces CV ou de rencontrer ces gens pour ne pas donner des fausses promesses.
849 Si on est chanceux puis on obtient notre licence, là on va faire de la procédure. C'est sûr que nous on préfère que toute la programmation soit ici.
850 Si on compte offrir une programmation de très bonne qualité et si on voit qu’on peut compter sur des gens très fiables pour offrir quelque chose de très fiable ici, on va augmenter -- la majorité on va augmenter beaucoup le pourcentage de programmation locale qui est produite à Edmonton, pas locale produite à Montréal, la programmation locale qui est produite vraiment ici.
851 Si on a vraiment de la chance, on peut minimiser même les heures de -- les heures de programmation réseau à vraiment un minimum de façon à avoir une station purement -- purement locale à Edmonton.
852 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Alors, quel pourcentage vous viseriez éventuellement?
853 M. KARAM: Programmation locale?
854 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.
855 M. KARAM: Moi j’espère viser autour de 90 à 95 pour cent.
856 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Produite à Edmonton?
857 M. KARAM: Produite à Edmonton pour Edmonton, mais sûrement pas la première année.
858 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Pour ce qui est des nouvelles, vous avez 19 heures de nouvelles -- excusez-moi, 14 heures et demie pures par semaine. Combien d’heures de nouvelles strictement locales?
859 M. KARAM: Les nouvelles locales on a -- les nouvelles locales on a trois heures par semaine. Faut noter que quand on a préparé notre demande, c'était en décembre 2014. Depuis décembre 2014 jusqu’à maintenant à la fin de 2016, notre équipe a augmenté. On a mis beaucoup de focus sur le parler et sur les nouvelles locales.
860 Donc comme j’ai dit, nous avons présenté ça en 2014. Maintenant on a doublé le taux, le pourcentage de nouvelles locales sur toutes nos stations, que ce soit à Montréal ou à Halifax, et probablement quand on va commencer à Edmonton, ça va être la même chose.
861 Donc on va parler au moins de sept heures -- sept heures de programmation de nouvelles locales, sept heures de nouvelles nationales et sept heures d’information internationale.
862 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci.
863 Peut-être vous pouvez me donner plus de détail sur les similitudes qu’il pourrait y avoir entre les marchés de Montréal et d’Edmonton dans la langue arabe.
864 M. KARAM: Est-ce qu’on parle similitude marché au côté financier ou bien côté communauté?
865 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Côté communauté.
866 M. KARAM: Côté communauté. Les similitudes, les gens qui ont immigré des pays du Moyen-Orient, s’ils ont décidé de venir à Edmonton ou à Montréal ou à Halifax ou à Toronto, ils ont les mêmes enjeux. Ils ont les mêmes problèmes. Ils ont les mêmes besoins.
867 Les similitudes c'est que dans la majorité d’une programmation, le but qu’on a mis, moi et mon équipe, c'est d’essayer d’aider ces gens-là à se sentir chez eux. La première chose pour aider les gens à se sentir chez eux c'est d’écouter leur langue et de parler du local dans leur langue.
868 Je parlais à ma collègue Ida depuis quelques heures. J’ai rencontré -- la dernière campagne électorale, j’ai rencontré un monsieur de 60 ans qui m’a dit, « Grâce à la radio, c'est la première fois depuis 30 ans que j’aille pour voter et cette fois-ci c'est moi qui a choisi le parti pour lequel je vais voter ». J’ai dit, « Pourquoi? » Il m’a dit, « Ça fait 30 ans je compte sur mes amis pour me dire quel parti il faut aller voter pour mais cette année grâce à vous parce que vous m’avez montré tous les enjeux politiques de partis politiques qui se présentent pour les élections, c'est moi-même qui a fait le choix. »
869 Donc ça ça nous montre à quel point on joue un rôle et c'est un rôle -- c'est un besoin qui existe aux gens qui vivent à Edmonton, comme aux gens qui vivent à Montréal, comme les gens qui vivent à Halifax.
870 La deuxième chose c'est que les gens qui viennent d’autres pays, ils ont une culture, une relation de famille, des valeurs qui sont complètement différentes des valeurs canadiennes. Donc c'est un besoin d’éduquer ces gens qui viennent de partout au Canada parce qu’on vient tous de la même culture. C'est des messages qui vont être uniques et partagés dans toutes les stations qu’on a. C'est le même message qu'on répand. On essaye d’aider ces gens-là à s’intégrer, à sentir vraiment que, ici, c'est leur maison. C'est leur pays.
871 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: J’oubliais tantôt là quand je vous ai parlé de programmation locale, de production -- davantage de production de programmation locale à Edmonton, dans quel délai est-ce que vous espéreriez faire cette augmentation de production?
872 M. KARAM: Si on réussit à avoir les -- le personnel qualifié, on espère -- au bout de la première année d’opération, on espère vraiment arriver à ce grand pourcentage qui est de 90 à 95 pourcent. Sinon, on va l’augmenter au fur et à mesure de façon à atteindre cet objectif-là le plus tôt possible.
873 C'est ce qu’on essaie de faire à Halifax. On essaie d’augmenter. Nous qu'est-ce qu’on a présenté au CRTC, on a présenté vraiment le minimum pour être sûr qu'on donne pas des fausses -- des fausses promesses. Mais on sait que nous on apprécie, les auditeurs apprécient et le CRTC apprécie si on dit -- si on promet un minimum et on est capable d’augmenter ce minimum au maximum possible parce que si on veut que notre radio réussisse au niveau écoute et au niveau financier, on sait et on le sait déjà qu’il faut qu’on soit absolument local.
874 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Parfait, merci.
875 Et pouvez-vous me dire comment vous avez choisi les groupes et les langues? En fonction du marché ou autrement?
876 M. KARAM: Oui. La façon avec laquelle on a choisi les langues à Edmonton c'est qu’on est allé voir les statistiques de Stat Canada et on a vu par nombre de communautés ethniques, par nombre, par quantité, et en même temps on est allé comparer les services radiophoniques offerts. On a vu que la majorité des groupes ethniques viennent du sud de l’Asie mais on a vu en parallèle que y a trois stations qui offrent une programmation presque majoritaire à ces gens-là. On a essayé de voir c'est qui les groupes qui sont moins représentés.
877 Vu que je représente -- je suis -- je fais partie de moyen-orientaux qui viennent du Moyen-Orient et je sais qu’il y a un gros besoin partout dans le pays, j’ai décidé que la plus grande majorité d’auditoire cible que je vais vraiment m’adresser pour ça va être la communauté arabophone. Et parmi les communautés qui sont moins ciblées ou moins servies ou desservies par les radios existantes qui sont CKER et les deux stations sur SCA, on a choisi les autres communautés comme Philippine, sud de la Chine, Vietnam, Hollande, Belgique, Corée, Russie, Portugal, Iran, Somalie, ainsi de suite.
878 Donc ça c'est des communautés qui sont plus ou moins très moins desservies par les autres stations et puis lesquelles on parle aussi de la communauté arabophone qui est vraiment complètement ignorée par ces communautés-là.
879 Puis on voulait en même temps offrir une alternative parce que nous, on a eu une mauvaise expérience à Montréal; un concurrent qui est rentré --- qui ne connaît rien de la communauté arabophone, qui est rentré et qui a offert une programmation arabophone mais qui vient d’une culture qui n’est pas nécessairement arabophone. Ça a causé beaucoup de dommage.
880 Nous, on respecte une station qui est déjà existante depuis plusieurs années, qui a bâti des relations, qui a bâti une bonne équipe, qui est CKER.
881 Nous, nous pensons que le fait d’entrer dans ce marché sans causer de problème à CKER, c’est bon pour eux, c’est bon pour nous. On ne veut pas rentrer, causer des dommages aux autres stations existantes parce qu’on a déjà vécu ça puis on sait que ça fait très mal.
882 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Dites-moi donc, comment votre programmation aux langues, par exemple, cantonais, mandarin, somalien, tagalog que World FM couvre déjà, comment est-ce que votre programmation dans ces langues-là va se distinguer de celle de World FM?
883 M. KARAM: Premièrement, pour ces langues-là, on va compter sur des producteurs locaux, qui ont de l’expérience dans ce domaine. On va leur expliquer, on va s’asseoir avec eux et discuter longtemps avec eux et on va essayer -- on va leur demander, pas essayer, on va leur demander d’offrir un point de vue différent, une vision différente de qu’est-ce qui est offert actuellement.
884 Notre station, on a plus que 60 pour cent de parler dans notre station et 40 pour cent de musique. Puis on espère que toute la programmation offerte à travers tous les programmes, que ce soit arabophones ou dans d’autres langues, que ça parle vraiment de -- on vise plus sur le parler que sur la musique. On veut vraiment établir cette relation amicale et une approche vraiment familiale entre les producteurs et les auditeurs.
885 Maintenant, comment on ne va pas -- on peut ne pas concurrencer avec les stations existantes ou la programmation existante? On va vraiment s’asseoir avec les producteurs qui vont aller produire ces programmes-là puis on va leur demander d’être vraiment distincts de façon à offrir quelque chose qui manque.
886 Dans chaque station de radio, il y a des choses qui manquent, il y a des choses qui sont en trop. On va voir c’est quoi les choses qui manquent. On va leur demander d’offrir ces choses-là.
887 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Les langues secondaires que vous voulez couvrir, est-ce que ce sont des langues secondaires que vous couvrez également à Montréal?
888 M. KARAM: Non, à Montréal, on est strictement arabophone. Cependant, à Halifax, on a une douzaine de langues qu’on est en train d’offrir actuellement. Puis on a la majorité de la programmation qui est de 6:00 à 7:00 en arabe. Puis la soirée, c’est dédié aux autres communautés différentes.
889 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Bon, en termes de condition de licence, est-ce que vous accepteriez les niveaux hebdomadaires par condition de licence de 100 pour cent de programmation à caractère ethnique et 100 pour cent dans des langues tierces?
890 M. KARAM: Absolument.
892 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et également pour ce qui est d’avoir un service spécifique en langue arabe avec un niveau minimal de 66 pour cent de la programmation à caractère ethnique?
893 M. KARAM: Absolument.
895 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et également, est-ce que vous seriez prêt à accepter un maximum de la programmation arabe que vous offrez de façon à donner la chance aux langues secondaires d’être diffusées et si oui, quel serait ce maximum?
896 M. KARAM: Nous sommes prêts à accepter une condition de licence qui va limiter notre programmation selon qu’est-ce qu’on a offert ici, comme la programmation arabe de 6h00 le matin à 6h00 le soir.
897 Nous sommes prêts à accepter une condition de licence de ne pas augmenter ou diminuer ces heures de programmation qui s’adressent à la communauté arabophone.
898 Aussi, nous sommes prêts à accepter une condition de licence qui va nous obliger à diffuser au moins dans les 14 langues qu’on a promis de diffuser, sauf que les heures de diffusion ça peut -- si par exemple, on a promis qu’une langue va être diffusée quatre heures ou six heures par semaine, si on sent qu’il y a une demande plus ou moins ça, on peut s’ajuster mais on va garder un minimum de 14 langues, comme on a promis dans notre demande.
900 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k., alors quel serait le maximum en langues arabes que vous seriez prêts à accepter?
901 M. KARAM: Le maximum de langues arabes c’est de 6h00 le matin à 6h00 le soir. C’est 12 heures par sept jours.
902 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Soixante (60) heures par -- c’est quoi, 60 heures, vous dites?
903 Vous avez 84 heures par semaine.
904 M. KARAM: Quatre-vingt (80) heures. C’est ça. On parle 12 heures fois six -- sept. CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Fois sept, oui.
905 M. KARAM: C’est ça, 84 heures.
906 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: C’est ça.
907 M. KARAM: Maximum. On est prêt à accepter une condition de licence de ne pas excéder ce ---
908 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors, ce qui équivaut à votre 66 pour cent, dont on parlait tantôt ---
909 M. KARAM: Je pense que oui.
910 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- pour la programmation.
911 Quatre-vingt-quatre (84) heures correspond à 66 pour cent de programmation.
912 M. KARAM: M’hm.
913 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Pour ce qui est des artistes canadiens émergents, vous êtes prêts à en diffuser mais le formulaire demandait de fournir un engagement précis, ce que vous avez omis de faire.
914 Est-ce que vous avez un engagement précis à cet égard?
915 M. KARAM: Normalement, on est -- ça fait 20 ans qu’on est -- qu’on aide les nouveaux artistes canadiens originaires des pays du Moyen-Orient. Ces artistes-là ne se manifestent pas en grande quantité dans les médias.
916 Il y a vraiment des rares personnes qui produisent des choses, des CD ou des productions locales. Ces gens-là, on les appuie 100 pour cent. À chaque semaine, on a des -- c’est surtout des gens qui sont issus de la nouvelle génération, comme mes enfants, comme les enfants de mes partenaires.
917 Ces gens-là, ils commencent à rentrer dans le système puis ces gens-là, on offre beaucoup de support à longueur d’année, beaucoup d’entrevues, beaucoup de support quand ils lancent des nouveaux CD ou des nouvelles chansons ainsi que dans les -- dans toutes les activités musicales, que ce soit les festivals que toutes les communautés organisent dans la période d’été.
918 On invite tous ces gens-là à venir se produire sur les scènes et on offre beaucoup de temps d’antenne à ces gens-là parce qu’on croit que ces gens-là, c’est notre futur.
919 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui mais quel serait l’engagement? Est-ce que vous vous engageriez, par exemple, à diffuser toute la musique qui peut être faite par ces nouvelles générations ou si vous avez un maximum que vous voudriez fixer?
920 M. KARAM: On est là pour aider. Déjà hier, j’ai rencontré quelqu’un. Il me disait que sa fille, elle produit localement. J’ai demandé qu’il m’envoie le CD.
921 Donc, on est prêt à aider pas juste les gens qui sont d’Edmonton; tous les gens issus de la communauté au Canada qui diffusent, qui produisent des choses. On est fier de ça. On est fier à montrer à nos enfants que, regardez, c’est une communauté qui est déjà intégrée et la preuve c’est qu’ils commencent à produire ici localement.
922 Ça fait qu’on est prêt vraiment, même par condition de licence, on le fait déjà. C’est pas quelque chose qui nous prend beaucoup d’effort à le faire. On le fait.
923 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors, si on devait, disons, imposer une condition de licence, si on vous prend au mot, comment on devrait écrire cette condition?
924 M. KARAM: Nous, on est prêt à -- c’est ce qu’on fait actuellement. On aide financièrement et en publicité et en visibilité à la radio tous les nouveaux -- les nouveaux artistes canadiens mais issus des communautés qu’on dessert. On le fait actuellement et on est prêt à s’engager aussi si ça prend un engagement.
925 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. parfait. Merci.
927 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Pour ce qui est aussi de faire rapport du progrès de vos initiatives lors du prochain renouvellement, il y a des mécanismes qui peuvent être mis en place comme les comités consultatifs. Est-ce que vous avez des plans de créer un tel comité consultatif pour Edmonton?
928 M. KARAM: Absolument. Qu’est-ce qu’on planifie faire, c’est si on obtient notre licence, on va former un plan consultatif et administratif qui va gérer les grandes décisions dans cette station et travailler à gérer la station d’une façon à ce qu’elle soit productive et qu’elle réponde aux besoins de la communauté ou des communautés qu’on dessert.
930 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et vous auriez combien de membres sur ce comité?
931 M. KARAM: On planifie avoir -- on planifie avoir autour de 10 personnes qui travaillent avec nous ici, minimum, pour commencer. Sur le « board » on pense que quatre à cinq personnes seraient suffisant pour prendre les décisions.
932 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et ils feraient partie du conseil pour une durée de combien de temps?
933 M. KARAM: On va s’entendre avec ces gens-là de quelle façon ça pourrait fonctionner de façon à offrir toujours le meilleur. Je n’ai pas encore des choses préparées mais on va préparer ça en équipe.
934 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Non mais vous ne pouvez pas dire, par exemple, les membres du conseil sont nommés pour deux ans, renouvelables ou non?
935 M. KARAM: On peut faire ça pour deux ans renouvelables.
936 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et qui serait responsable de la sélection des membres d’un tel comité?
937 M. KARAM: J’ai avec moi Monsieur Antoine qui connaît ici la communauté très bien. Je vais assister aux sélections des gens-là, pis je sais pas si Antoine a aussi une idée comment tu -- comment vous pensez engager ces gens-là ou sur quoi vous allez vous basez?
938 What are you going to count on to ---
939 MR. CHELALA: Engage the people?
940 MR. KARAM: Yeah.
941 MR. CHELALA: Well actually, during my work for the past five years with the communities as coordinator between the Archdiocese of Edmonton and the Catholic Social Services, especially on the refugees/immigrants from Syria, plus I'm head of the parish council in our community, as well this would put me in a place where I can see who are the actual people who have the sufficient academic and experiences to become these members of the Board.
942 Vous préférez en français ou bien c'est bien?
943 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Ça va. C'est votre réponse?
944 M. CHELALA: Oui.
945 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: D’accord.
946 Et j’ai vu également que dans votre programmation, vous avez l’intention d’avoir des tribunes téléphoniques. Est-ce que vous êtes prêt à accepter de vous voir imposer nos règles sur les tribunes téléphoniques?
947 M. KARAM: Nous sommes prêts.
948 Je veux juste -- j'aimerais juste attirer votre attention que ça fait 20 ans qu’on fait la radio à Montréal. On n’a jamais eu de problème. On sait comment contrôler l’antenne, pis heureusement jusqu’à maintenant, dans les deux villes, que ce soit à Montréal ou à Halifax, on n’a jamais eu aucun problème d’appel téléphonique ouvert qui a causé des choses qui sont pas belles à entendre.
949 Mais on est prêt -- si jamais vous nous demandez ça, on est prêt à accepter ça. Y a aucun problème.
950 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors, les mécanismes qui sont mis en place autrement, ce sont les mêmes que vous avez pour la station de Montréal et celle d’Halifax.
951 M. KARAM: Absolument. Nous avons -- nous avons compté sur ces mécanismes pour travailler durant plusieurs années et ces mécanismes ont prouvé que nous avons eu beaucoup de succès et on a vu -- nous n’avons eu aucune plainte depuis 20 ans jusqu’à aujourd'hui.
952 Donc on est très -- on offre une programmation de très bonne qualité. On est très bien accueilli dans la communauté et du côté administratif, on n’a pas de plainte. On n’a pas de problème. Donc pourquoi pas adopter cette même politique dans les autres stations? Si c'est une recette réussie, pourquoi ne pas l’adopter ailleurs?
953 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: D’accord.
954 Au niveau des conditions économiques, dans votre réponse aux lacunes, vous avez dit que le marché d’Edmonton peut accueillir une nouvelle station. Est-ce que vous croyez que le marché est capable d’en absorber plus qu’une nouvelle?
955 M. KARAM: Ça dépend de -- ça dépend de la programmation de cette radio, qui elle va cibler. Nous pensons que notre proposition c'est la proposition qui cause minimalement ou presque zéro -- zéro pour cent de dégât, si on peut dire. aux stations existantes. Comparé aux autres stations qui ciblent tous les mêmes communautés ethniques, je pense que le fait -- le fait d’avoir plus qu’une radio ethnique dans le marché d’Edmonton peut faire du mal aux autres stations.
956 Mais si la programmation de cette dernière s’adresse à des groupes qui sont pas engagés dans la station ou dans les stations existantes, ça pourrait ne causer aucun impact négatif. Au contraire, ça peut ajouter un plus sur le marché radiophonique et l’industrie radiophonique du marché d’Edmonton.
957 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et si le Conseil décidait d’octroyer deux licences au lieu d’une avec des propositions qui ajoutent de la diversité, est-ce que vous lanceriez toujours votre station?
958 M. KARAM: Absolument. Nous croyons que les auditeurs ont droit à la variété, puis c'est les auditeurs qui vont être capables de choisir qu’est-ce que -- qu'est-ce qu’ils doivent écouter et qu’est-ce qu’ils doivent choisir, et c'est lequel qui a une programmation de meilleure qualité que l’autre. On est prêt.
959 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vous pensez que financièrement là vous seriez toujours capable de réaliser votre projet?
960 M. KARAM: Absolument.
961 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vos dépenses pré-opérationnelles, c'est qui qui va payer pour ça?
962 M. KARAM: Nous.
963 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: À Montréal?
964 M. KARAM: À Montréal, oui.
965 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Est-ce que vous pourriez nous fournir plus de détails peut-être plus confidentielles là de quelles seront toutes vos dépenses pré-opérationnelles?
966 M. KARAM: Les dépenses pré-opérationnelles qui sont dans notre demande sont par de plus ou moins 100,000$ pour installer l’antenne et le studio. Puis ensuite on va avoir des dépenses mensuelles pour le loyer et tout ça.
967 Là on n’a pas parlé des dépenses d’employés ou des gens qui sont sur le « Board » ou les journalistes et tout ça. Mais juste pour commencer, on parle d’une centaine de milliers de dollars qui est un chiffre très rapproché, très réel et très réaliste. Ainsi que pour les studios, c'est vraiment quelque chose de très réaliste.
968 Puis ça on parle pas de gros montants. Donc la station -- la compagnie holding c'est elle qui à travers la station qui va -- à travers de la compagnie qui va être établie ici à Edmonton, c'est elle qui va avoir assez de fonds pour commencer et pour lancer ce projet-là. Et elle va toujours supporter par la compagnie holding que nous détenons.
969 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et c'est votre intention de soutenir la station même si les conditions économiques ---
970 M. KARAM: Absolument.
971 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- ne s’améliorent pas?
972 M. KARAM: Absolument. On fait un projet pas pour fermer dans deux ans ou dans trois ans. On fait un projet puis on sait qu’à long terme, on va être très bien accueilli, que ce soit par la communauté auditrice ou bien par la communauté de publicité, les sponsors, puis on est sûr et certain que si on réussit pas dans le premier, deuxième, troisième mois, dans la première année, on va sûrement réussir dans les années qui vont venir. On est très confiant de ça.
973 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. J’ai une dernière question sur la programmation. Est-ce que vous seriez prêt à accepter une condition de licence qui fixe une limite sur la diffusion d’émissions de langue chinoise ou d’Asie du sud, qui limite le chevauchement avec la programmation de World FM?
974 M. KARAM: Si le CRTC le demande, on va sûrement accepter. Nous, on s'est engagé à garder un minimum de 14 langues. Si le CRTC même nous dit, « Y a une langue qui est très desservie, on veut pas que vous diffusez ça », on va accepter ça comme condition de licence.
975 Nous, on est là pour faire une station de radio. Ça fait 20 ans qu'on fait une -- qu'on travaille dans ce domaine. On a réussi à plusieurs niveaux. On veut -- comme j'ai dit précédemment, on veut pas être un joueur qui apporte du négatif dans le marché d’Edmonton. Que ce soit pour les auditoires, pour l’auditoire ou pour les auditoires, ou pour les « broadcasters », on est -- en fin de compte, on est des collègues.
976 Nous pensons que notre proposition c'est la seule proposition qui cause aucun dégât sur les stations existantes. Puis sur ce principe-là, on est là pour demander une licence. On est des professionnels. On sait qu'est-ce qu'on fait, puis on sait que qu'est-ce qu'on fait va réussir et va apporter du plus pour le marché d’Edmonton.
977 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et qu'est-ce qui -- je dirais comme dernière question-là, pourquoi le Conseil donnerait plus une licence dans la langue arabe comme langue principale que la langue filipino? Par exemple, y a un autre joueur qui offre plusieurs heures là-dedans là et qui a une -- qui peut avoir une programmation diversifiée, qui est Dufferin que j’ai vu.
978 M. KARAM: M’hm.
979 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Pourquoi est-ce qu’on donnerait plus -- pourquoi est-ce que le Conseil devrait plus donner une licence à la communauté arabe qu’à la communauté filipino à Edmonton?
980 M. KARAM: Nous quand on a fait cette demande, nous on est là pour desservir notre communauté à nous. Je sais que c'est pas la question. Vous demandez pourquoi le CRTC devrait donner cette licence, mais de mon point de vue, moi je pense que ma communauté a très besoin de ce service-là. Mes communautés parce que quand on parle de gens arabophones, on parle au moins de 13-14 origines différentes.
981 Moi, je sais que mes communautés souffrent beaucoup parce qu’ils sont pas desservis ou ils sont ignorés.
982 Maintenant, si vous vous rappelez bien quand on a parlé de conditions de licence, je vous ai dit que je suis prêt à augmenter ou diminuer des heures qu’on a offert pour d’autres communautés. Mais si par exemple on voit qu’on doit -- c'est une communauté, la communauté philippine qui est moins desservie puis qu’on doit allouer plus de temps pour faire une bonne balance, on est prêt à accepter ça si on voit que cette communauté a besoin vraiment de plus d’heures parce qu’elle est moins desservie dans les autres stations. Donc y a aucun problème.
983 Maintenant, c'est le CRTC qui doit décider c'est comment, de quelle façon que la fréquence va être le mieux utilisée, mais nous pensons que nous pouvons apporter un plus et nous sommes très -- nous sommes très élastiques en ce qui concerne les demandes du CRTC.
984 Si vous nous dites on vous attribue une licence mais on veut, par exemple, par condition de licence que vous donnez un petit peu plus pour cette ou cette communauté, on est prêt à s’ajuster en conséquence pour être vraiment, comme on a dit, un joueur positif dans le marché.
985 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: D’accord. J’aurais pu avoir plus de questions mais je pense que vous nous avez donné un bon portrait. Je vous remercie beaucoup.
986 M. KARAM: C'est moi qui vous remercie.
987 M. CHELALA: Merci à vous.
988 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
989 Just a clarification. I believe there were two undertakings or commitments to get back to us with more information in there. One was regarding the discrepancy between the -- regarding the information Commissioner Dupras had and the information you had regarding the Arab-speaking population. And you said it was the Stats Canada but you would get back to us on that?
990 MR. KARAM: Absolutely. I have two points.
991 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s ---
992 MR. KARAM: The first one is to show you difference between the numbers that we have and what you have. So --
993 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
994 MR. KARAM: So source de Statistique Canada à propos des populations arabes.
995 THE CHAIRPERSON: The date for that would be October 4th.
996 MR. KARAM: October is the limit.
997 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
998 MR. KARAM: Okay. And the second ---
999 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thursday on October 4th.
1000 MR. KARAM: Sorry.
1001 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the second one was regarding the percentage of strictly --
1002 MR. KARAM: Local --
1003 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- local ---
1004 MR. KARAM: -- presentation ---
1005 THE CHAIRPERSON: So an undertaking for October the 4th?
1006 MR. KARAM: Absolutely.
1007 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just have one question then, and maybe Ms. Fayad is -- can help me with that regarding the history of service to the Arab-speaking Edmonton community. There are a number of vehicles available to minority language groups. Community radio, there’s a multiculture -- multicultural television, there’s obviously the existing ethnic radio station, campus radio, CKUA perhaps, I don’t know, vehicles that could carry for what has historically at least been -- I mean, it’s obviously growing -- a relatively small population. So why hasn’t the community been able to avail itself of any programming on there, even if it were for, you know, a one, two hour-program every Sunday afternoon to fulfil some of these goals?
1008 MS. FAYAD: Over the past, there was many little programs, like as I mentioned, the two hours that was on CKER between those 10 to 15 years I mentioned since 1993, that’s the time I came here, but also on Arabesque. But again, I will say persistency and being on air more time, like more than two hours a week, people will remember more to keep the station on and listen to it more.
1009 We found a hard time when my program was only once a week to keep the community listening at that time. Only older people would listen, like not the new generation because it was earlier in the morning at one point, then it moved to 12:00 noon. It was better.
1010 But I do believe, like we said -- I said in my letter here that we need to be around longer time to reach more people at -- like we are all eager to show -- to integrate to the community, to show people what we have, to show all the talents, like Tony had said before.
1011 We did reach to some other smaller groups, like at the mosque or some churches and stuff, but we need to -- for everyone to come together and call this radio station home, for everyone to be able to call us. So we will be their 411. We will be their source of information about everything that’s happening. They will relate to us. They will give us lots of feedback. And that’s why I feel like the need to have more than 8 to 10 hours a day to be consistent on air and to give more.
1012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. Those are all our questions. Nothing from legal? Thank you very much.
1013 We will take a 10-minute break and return -- let’s make it a 13-minute break and return at quarter to 3:00.
--- Upon recessing at 2:32 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 2:45 p.m.
1014 MS. ROY: Thank you. We will now proceed with Item 4 on the agenda, which is an application by Dufferin Communications Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an ethnic commercial FM specialty radio station in Edmonton. Please introduce yourself and your colleague and you have 20 minutes for your presentation.
1015 MS. LAURIGNANO: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Good afternoon Chairman Menzies, Commissioner Molnar, Commissioner Dupras. My name is Carmela Laurignano. I am the Vice-President and Radio Group Manager for Evanov Communications Inc.
1016 Our company was founded in 1984 with what is now CIAO-AM 530. Since then, we have kept our independent spirit, broadcasting spirit alive and have grown our roster to 18 radio stations located in small, medium, and large markets across the country. It is a pleasure to be with you today to make our case about why we should be licensed to serve Edmonton with a new ethnic radio station.
1017 Before we begin our presentation, I will introduce our accomplished and diverse panel who contribute daily to the success of Evanov Radio.
1018 To my very far right we have, Mr. Chester Pangan. He is our Program Director in charge of the Filipino programming at our Winnipeg ethnic station CKJS-AM 810. Chester grew up very fascinated with broadcasting as his father and hero, Mr. Perry Pangan, is a very popular radio personality in the largest station in his home province of Pampanga in the Philippines.
1019 At 19, while pursuing his degree in Mass Communications, he became a broadcaster and has been a host on Good Morning Philippines on CKJS for 15 years.
1020 Chester has been instrumental in our Winnipeg operation and will be a key player in implementing the targeted -- largest program for our Edmonton station licence, if approved.
1021 Next to him is, Luigi Valente. Luigi is a Group Manager in Montreal managing ethnic CFMB-AM 1280 and its sister station French CHRF-AM. A trilingual Canadian, Luigi has been in broadcasting and been so since fresh out of high school where he was a DJ and Music Director at the Dawson College campus station CHUV. During his studies in Electronic Engineering Technology, Luigi joined CFMB-AM as a studio operator. For almost 40 years he has been with CFMB. During this time he's been a newscaster, a DJ announcer, format finder, production manager, operations manager, direction of IT and engineering. All this has qualified him to be a group manager for our Montreal group. Luigi will also play a key role in rolling out our Edmonton station.
1022 To my immediate right is Bhupinder Toor. Bhupinder is our Program Producer and host in charge of our South Asian programming at our Winnipeg ethnic station CKJS-AM 810. Bhupinder is an active member of the local Asian community with 14 years’ broadcasting experience. He has a very well-established popular radio program called Radio Dhamaal. Together with the station, he organizes an annual event called “Punjab Day Mela”, a multicultural entertainment event that attracts well over 20 thousand spectators at the Forks in Winnipeg. Bhupinder is a great example of how a programming seedling with proper nurturing and support can come to fruition.
1023 To my left is Judy Joo. Judy is our General Counsel for Evanov Communications Inc. Before joining the company executive team, Judy was an Associate at a boutique litigation firm in the heart of downtown Toronto. Judy is an active member of the legal community. She is an executive at the Ontario Bar Association's Entertainment, Media and Communications Law section. In her spare time, she does pro bono work for the music talent community to help those who do not readily have access to legal services.
1024 We had initially planned for -- on Don Kay to be on the panel with us here today. Don is our designated Edmonton station manager. Unfortunately, he could not be here today due to a knee replacement surgery that was untimely scheduled for today. As an Aboriginal-Metis, Don was born and raised in Edmonton. He has a very accomplished 29-year broadcasting career with Moffat Communications where he rose to a VP position. He has done various consulting work for broadcasting industries across the country. Don knows the Edmonton market and is the ideal candidate for this role.
1025 We wish him well in his procedure today and trust that he will be, literally, on his feet very soon.
1026 And, lastly, I bring everyone greetings from our President and CEO, William Evanov. This year marks Mr. Evanov's fiftieth year in Canada's broadcasting industry. He is truly an inspiration to our personnel and to the independent broadcasters worldwide.
1027 Now without further ado, our presentation.
1028 Evanov Communications presently operates 18 radio stations, three of which are ethnic, and are operated by Dufferin Communications Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Evanov Communications.
1029 The three ethnic stations are in highly competitive markets in three different provinces: We have CKJS in Winnipeg; CIAO in Brampton; and CFMB in Montreal. Dufferin was very excited to be able to present to you today our case as to why that number should be increased to four.
1030 Dufferin has a long history in serving Canada's ethnic groups. CIAO was previously known as CKMW-AM and was acquired by Dufferin in 1984. In 2001, Dufferin acquired CKJS-AM from Newcap Broadcasting, adding a second station founded in 1974. And just last year, Dufferin had the opportunity of adding a third ethnic station, CFMB-AM, which was founded in 1962 by Casimir Stanczykowski and was Canada's first multicultural broadcaster.
1031 At the time of the acquisition, CFMB was in a desperate state. It was floundering and crumbling, primarily due to the fact that it was a standalone family operation and had not properly adapted to the changing environment of the competitive media landscape.
1032 MR. VALENTE: I’ve been with CFMB since 1978. When Dufferin acquired CFMB, I noticed the amalgamation and enhancement of Dufferin's wide resources. That allowed us to streamline our programming and our operations. This is greatly beneficial to an independent standalone broadcaster.
1033 With Dufferin coming into play, the infrastructure of CFMB has finally been upgraded to modern standards with state-of-the-art equipment. Dufferin has made it possible for CFMB to finally obtain certain things such as promotional vehicles, upgrades in the studios, and much needed improvements at our transmitter site. This experience and improvement from Dufferin's acquisition of CFMB has been a positive one, and is the true attestation to the importance of synergies.
1034 One of the main benefits of the Dufferin synergies include managerial effectiveness, which allows a forum of shared ideas on what has worked in the past with particular languages, and what should be implemented with the change in the ethnic demographics of a particular language. We are able to share innovative ideas and improve the performance of the entire radio group.
1035 Additionally, we also share our music libraries, voice talent, news stories, programming ideas, IT and engineering operations, just to name a few.
1036 The fact is, all three ethnic stations are viable. Together, with CIAO, CKJS, and CFMB, Dufferin brings 33 different languages serving over 50 different cultural groups Canada-wide. This is a key factor in why the Commission should consider Dufferin to be suitable to bring a new voice here to Edmonton.
1037 Ethnic broadcasting is not a one‑size‑fits-all approach to everything. For example, the recent influx of Filipinos and Syrians is material to designing a program schedule. It is more crucial than ever that an experienced broadcaster in ethnic radio such as us be able to use the existing resources and become a tool in assisting the government and private institutions to be welcoming, accommodating; to serve and inform those individuals who may not be able to do so through conventional channels of radio formats.
1038 Dufferin is also sensitive to the second, third, and fourth generation of European descendants such as the German, Dutch, and Ukrainian, who have assimilated in terms of the English language but still retain the culture and traditional taste in music, arts, and food. Dufferin has provided for these groups by offering programs with English spoken word, and with music and spoken word reflective of their heritages.
1039 MS. LAURIGNANO: According to Statistics Canada's 2011 Census, almost 16 percent of Edmonton's population was born outside of Canada and the vast majority speak a language other than English or French.
1040 Despite the large presence of these ethnic communities in the market and their inevitable growth in between Census measurements, Edmonton is presently served only by one ethnic station, Rogers' CKER-FM or WorldFM. Even Rogers admits that it could not properly serve the diverse ethnic population that lives here within its one ethnic station.
1041 In 2013, Rogers asked for permission to decrease the number of languages in which it was required to broadcast. At the time, Rogers said that the requirement was, "too broad"; the Commission agreed, and Rogers was able to lower the number of languages by seven. The displacement of those seven languages, combined with the potential for others in need of service, leaves plenty of room for another ethnic broadcaster in the market.
1042 We agree with Rogers that the too broad condition requirements can be onerous on a single station market. A hundred percent of our total programming during the broadcast week will be local ethnic, with 84 percent in third languages. We will offer 10 languages serving 14 cultural groups.
1043 We have reviewed other applications and agree that most of them seek primarily to duplicate what WorldFM already provides. Rogers already devotes almost half of its weekly program schedule to the South Asian community, yet almost all the applicants, with the exception of Antoine Karam, who lists 84 hours of Arabic; all others list South Asian community as their number one priority.
1044 While 60-plus hours on WorldFM are dedicated to South Asian languages, the others offer similar or more. For example, VMS, 66.5 hours; Neeti Ray, 80 hours; Radio India, 68 hours; MBC, 56; Harmon Bal, 44; Akash, 56; South Fraser, 44; 1811258 Alberta Limited, 65 hours.
1045 On the other hand, we will dedicate 20 hours to South Asian communities, divided into 10 hours of Hindi and 10 hours of Urdu, with -- and with a differentiated programming schedule from Rogers. Our intention is not to poach Rogers' franchise but to build and develop our own sustainable language programs.
1046 MR. TOOR: None of the languages we propose are token languages. In fact, the least any language receives, five hours per week; the most, only 30 hours. The 20 hours per broadcast week we commit to South Asian languages, we will serve the younger demographic of this community. The younger radio listeners are more tech savvy and are newcomer immigrants.
1047 Serving this subset will complement Rogers who concentrates on the older demographics with the combination of current music integrated with the newer technologies, such as an app to connect, exploring topics by inviting expert guests, and encouraging active and interactive participation. Topics such as health, wellness, lifestyle will be covered.
1048 The programs will be conducted in Hindi and Urdu. We propose to host programs similar to those currently on air in Winnipeg. For example, on Tuesdays on CKJS we currently produce a program in Hindi for the younger demographics highlighting some role models to provide guidance on a choice in career upon graduation. We also have some segments on Mondays bringing doctors, RCMP officers from the community to discuss topics related to drug awareness, transmittable diseases, legal rights, bullying, and crime prevention.
1049 MR. PANGAN: So Dufferin proposes to offer 30 hours of service in the Filipino community here in Edmonton. According to the 2011 Census, there's a very large population of Filipinos, 22,120, making it the largest linguistic ethnic community of Edmonton. We have the proper synergies, experience and resources to make this happen.
1050 Dufferin will offer a fresh and distinct new independent editorial voice to the region with community updates, traffic, sports, weather, emergencies, news coverage, and everything one may need to take advantage of the area's atmosphere and amenities. We commit to serving and reflecting Edmonton's local community by being the voice of those currently without a voice and channel to speak their issues and concerns.
1051 The biggest programming block we offer is Filipino. We are the only applicant who does that. Currently, Rogers dedicates three hours of its programming to Filipinos on the weekend. We propose to dedicate 30 hours of the largest portion of our broadcast programming schedule to the Filipino language, whereas the other applicants propose to serve primarily the South Asian languages.
1052 In Winnipeg, ethnic radio has changed a lot, largely because of CKJS. Our morning show alone has changed that we go head to head, listener-wise, with mainstream radio. This is why we format our Filipino program like a top 40 radio station. We play a lot of Filipino artists breaking ground in the international sphere; even the professional boxer, World Champion Manny Pacquiao, has his album now.
1053 This is why we partner up with local show producers so that we get the artists from Philippines to get a greater attendance for their shows. We also ensure our radio personalities has broadcasting experience, from both local and international perspectives.
1054 We ensure news is broadcast with respect to school cancellations, snow routes, big Filipino social association events, and even big sales events. We are a one-stop shop for news and entertainment, abreast in real-time traffic; our listeners are our traffic reporters on scene.
1055 We are interactive with the growing Filipino community. It is very important for ethnic stations to integrate with the communities it aims to serve, and have actual key personalities to be the bridge between the station and the community. In fact, I can personally attest to the demand of the Filipino community here in Edmonton. With the oil boom, there was a mass exodus in 2008 where many of Winnipeg's Filipinos relocated here. I receive many inquiries on an ongoing basis as to why there isn't anything like us in Edmonton. And to this day, many still have and use our CKJS application to listen to us.
1056 Upon approval, I can deliver the joyful news to the community.
1057 As in Winnipeg, our programming will adopt to the changing landscape so at times, we will use the “Taglish” language, which is a hybrid of Filipino-English. We will be the conduit to the new immigrants, but at the same time, we do not want to alienate the existing and established residents. Successful programs such as ours end up subsidizing the costs of the other language programs that would otherwise not be able to be funded properly, and be of low quality.
1058 Our Filipino programming in Winnipeg has succeeded so much that it does not just rely on the Filipino community for revenue. Over time it has become attractive to mainstream advertisers who want to reach this community. We are a niche market, but a very valuable one, so we want to replicate this here.
1059 MS. LAURIGNANO: As with all of our ethnic properties, Dufferin will rely on members of the communities to provide programming that is of interest to their contemporaries. Our business model is to work with associate producers in conjunction with a standard sales department. The two work in tandem to mine and attract advertising revenues from the particular community, as well as the larger community.
1060 We also have a tremendous success in engaging local audiences, and Edmonton will be no exception. Dufferin has had great success in attracting audiences to promotions designed to appeal, in particular, to cultural groups. We are also able to monetize these. A few examples of our annual events and festivals include, in Montreal, Italian Week, celebrating everything Italian, and Superfantastico, a showcase of Italian-Canadian talent, promoting third and fourth Ital-Canadian generations; in Brampton, the Diwali Festival of Lights, Italian Film Festival, and destination travel promotions to Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic; Winnipeg, we have Punjab Day, Mela at the Forks, Manitoba-Filipino Street Festival, and we are the main station for this and the festival has grown exponentially; and we are the direct link to Manitoba Filipino
1061 All stations do food drives, blood donations, cancer awareness months, Christmas charity initiatives. And very recently we raised over 300,000 for the relief of the earthquake in Italy; this was donated to the Red Cross.
1062 Similar fundraising initiatives were completed in the past for the Haitian disaster relief, and Edmonton can expect no less.
1063 MS. JOO: Over the course of its first licence term, Dufferin is proposing to spend $500,000 in Canadian talent development for the establishment of an Ethnic Radio Fund to help the creation of ethnic music, spoken word content, and artist development.
1064 It is a fact that Canadian ethnic musicians are underrepresented in the opportunities provided to Canadian artists. Without a dedicated approach, it will only get worse. Ethnic broadcasters currently struggle with the very small pool of Canadian music in the various ethnic languages. It is virtually impossible for Canadian ethnic musicians to get financial support to hone their skills and craft their art. Organizations such as Factor and MusicAction serve the English and French music communities tremendously well, but those wishing to make music in a non-official language often find it difficult.
1065 In 1999, the Commission approved the Catalogue of Canadian Ethnic Music proposed by the Canadian Association of Ethnic Broadcasters as an eligible CCD initiative as a means for ethnic broadcasters to source music in order to meet their Canadian Content obligations. This was a cooperative effort over a limited number of years.
1066 In part, under the leadership of Dufferin, the purpose of this catalogue was to develop a resource for ethnic broadcasters to help them meet the Canadian content requirements. However, while this Catalogue was a good idea it was unworkable in practice. We meant well but in hindsight the problem is, and was, that there was scarce amount of content to catalogue. Content was non-existent; production was unsuitable for airplay, or it was lacking availability beyond the local small markets.
1067 Out of need, we and others have often sourced and created our own content; CD projects, showcase talent, et cetera. The main purpose of the fund will be to enable new and emerging artists who wish to produce high-quality Canadian music in any language, and then connect the artist with appropriate ethnic broadcasters across the country.
1068 The fund can be used to help create ethnic music, as well as develop spoken word content for radio to assist third-party producers to create content that is of interest to consumers.
1069 We undertake to implement and fund this initiative with 100 percent of the funds earmarked for it; $500,000 over the licence terms benefiting the talent. There will be no administrative costs associated with the creation of the Ethnic Radio Fund. Dufferin will underwrite administration and incidental costs for the first seven years.
1070 In effect, the benefit will be much greater than the monetary $500,000 commitment. We will oversee the selection of a volunteer committee comprised of broadcasters, music experts, producers, artists, marketing experts and the like who will develop a funding criteria, eligibility requirements, selection process, and awards. The fund will be administered independently with a governance structure modelled after other similar organizations such as Factor, the Community Radio Fund, and the StarMaker Fund. We expect that the CAEB will have a prominent role in its establishment and ongoing operations. For clarity and transparency, we will also ask the CAB to vet all the rules and guidelines proposed by the committee, and offer administration of the fund, if necessary.
1071 A yearly report summarizing the initiatives of the fund will be provided to the Commission, CAEB, CAB, and ethnic broadcasters across the board. It is our hope that the Commission will institutionalize the fund so that it becomes an eligible third-party initiative for the development of Canadian Content Development.
1072 Preliminary discussion with fellow broadcasters indicated that those who spoke with us would contribute to the fund as they see merit in it as an industry-wide asset. We would also seek the contributions from the private sectors to enhance the fund.
1073 MS. LAURIGNANO: In closing, we are confident that the proposal offered by Dufferin Communications offers a complementary service to accommodate the underserved ethnic communities in Edmonton.
1074 We have a realistic business plan and a proven track record of success with our ethnic stations. We will not be poaching WorldFM or try to overload the languages already served by it. We aim to bring a more representative service to the largest Filipino community currently being served with a total of three hours on the weekends by Rogers.
1075 Dufferin being introduced into Edmonton will add diversity in ownership, diversity of voices, diversity in news, diversity in programming.
1076 Dufferin is not proposing to just write a cheque as CCD contribution. We are committed to creating an institution and a framework for the future by way of the Ethnic Radio Fund. We are offering a creative and sustainable addition to the system for CCD.
1077 We believe that any newcomer to the market should be complementary to the existing, and we propose that we are that candidate. We believe our proposal meets the Commission's licensing criteria, as well as the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
1078 This concludes our oral presentation. We thank you for your attention and we will be pleased to answer your questions.
1079 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1080 I will try to be precise with my questions because I have many and if you can find your way to be precise in your answers -- “Yes” works sometimes, and “No” works too -- that would be great.
1081 I noticed -- let’s start off with your -- the German, Dutch and Ukrainian, that that service will be in English, which I find interesting. And I’m very likely out of date, but Ukrainian and -- when I was a little boy in Edmonton, Ukrainian and German were spoken frequently, not -- it was not uncommon, let me put it that way. I don’t want to overstate it. But now the service to those groups would be in English?
1082 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes, it will be primarily in English and interspersed with obviously, because we’re doing the music and we’re talking about the culture. It’s a cultural -- that the design and the program schedule took into account both the culture groups that we’re serving and the languages in which they are served so.
1083 The aim of the program is to really capture those listeners and consumers and potential listeners who have a band in radio because they’ve lost a language. So we’re not talking necessarily about the first generation, but the second and third generation who consider themselves as much German or Ukrainian or Polish, even in the other community, as their parents and their grandparents who were the immigrants who came here -- or the first immigrants, let’s say, in other way it’s not current. So the language has been lost, to a large degree, with the subsequent generations.
1084 So we aim with those program to attract those who don’t necessarily still understand or ever understood or ever learned that language to the degree that it would be comprehensible for them. So that the -- they talk about the culture. They will understand the phrases, the words, this and that, but primarily it will be done in English.
1085 And because the other generation has been here for so long, they have also acquired enough knowledge of English to understand and they will appreciate the talk and the cultural aspects, as well as the music.
1086 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1087 MS. LAURIGNANO: And news and information.
1088 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand a few things have changed since I was a little boy so.
1089 In terms of South Asian languages, no Punjabi but you are doing Hindi and Urdu. So you’re sort of staying in the South Asian game --
1090 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes.
1091 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- a little bit. What’s the thinking there?
1092 MS. LAURIGNANO: Okay. The deal there is we have 10 hours of South Asian programming in Hindi, and we have 10 hours in Urdu. That is the program schedule, which is one hour, two hours per day, Monday through Friday in a regular schedule and a script schedule.
1093 Hindi is -- we chose Hindi because it’s the national language of India and it’s understood by the most people. The Hindi you can -- Bhupinder can explain how that language plays into serving like a broader section of the market rather than relegating it just to a particular area. But by default, the largest groups will be served because they are the likely listeners, more than the others.
1094 MR. TOOR: There’s a younger -- youth are missing there. So we are try to connecting with the youth through the Hindi. And this is a Bollywood style with the informative program, as I told, we are doing in Winnipeg, so same kind of program.
1095 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks. I understand.
1096 So what are some of the distinguishing characteristics of the Filipino community that would be of assistance to gathering advertising? I mean, different communities it can be dress, it can be food that distinguish themselves, but what are the -- what is it that would drive advertising, or is there anything in particular that would drive Filipino advertising for -- to a Filipino audience?
1097 MS. LAURIGNANO: The Filipino ---
1098 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or is it just Walmart like everything else?
1099 MS. LAURIGNANO: It’s actually -- the beauty for us, and in our experience with Winnipeg, which is a very similar community, same sort of immigration patterns from one place to the other, so one can expect -- and we know that there are large similarities, is that it is -- excuse me -- a market that is very attractive to both the local community, mom and pop business, as well as the larger advertiser. I think they also -- and I will ask Chester to expand, but they are a very, very cohesive community in terms of radio listening. They’re extremely loyal. They will make every effort to listen to the radio station. That will be enhanced. And it is not by accident, it’s by design that we put the Filipino into the two-drive programs to really attract the most listeners. So we have those who are at home, those who are driving back and forth.
1100 And the community, as I said, is very cohesive. It does stand together and they will respond to the advertising. So once the advertiser makes the effort to reach the community, the community will respond.
1101 Chester can give you some examples of how that works in our Winnipeg station.
1102 MR. PANGAN: As a matter of fact, we have a radio show done Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. back in Winnipeg. And for 12 years now, we have been going to different sales, auto dealerships and we actually do remote broadcasts there. Filipinos are known to be very hard working. They -- we like to work very hard to have, you know, nice stuff as well so.
1103 It’s a big testament, like what we do in Winnipeg when it comes to -- if you want a lot of people to go to your say grand opening, let’s call CKJS and they’re going to do a live broadcast here. And if you book them and they will come.
1104 THE CHAIRPERSON: So why haven’t more ethnic broadcasters -- obviously, you have in Winnipeg, but why do you, in your view, haven’t more ethnic broadcasters --
1105 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1106 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- reached out to access that community in recent years? Because particularly in Western Canada, I stand to be corrected, but I believe that in recent years at least, Filipinos have been the largest source of immigration and --
1107 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes.
1108 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- on the Prairie provinces --
1109 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1110 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- at least.
1111 MS. LAURIGNANO: Well, it’s happening in markets where there is more than one radio station. And what happened there -- there’s a couple of things. One is that -- and we’re actually broadcasters ourselves, you know. So we’re -- if we’ve got a market that’s developed and we’re happy with revenue and we’ve got that going, then we’re not about to, you know, play around with it too much; right? So that’s one reason. The lack of competition and the lack of perhaps, you know, the ambition to really start from scratch. And that is the difference of why this market’s going to develop and why we’ve picked Filipino.
1112 It was not -- as Chester described it on day one, it took 15 years, you know, to achieve what we have achieved, not, you know -- and not in the 15th year, but all along it was a gradual growth, to the point now where Filipino accounts for approximately 90 percent of our revenue on CKJS. So it really is a matter of building it they will come.
1113 If you look at our revenue projections and financials, you will see that sales marketing and promotion is the biggest line in the financials. And that is because we are going to go out and get every listener one at a time, if we have to.
1114 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You may have heard these questions earlier, but in terms of conditions of licence around language percentages, are -- I mean, you can -- and you can undertake these -- you can take this as an undertaking if you want, or you can do it in reply, or you can answer it now, but would you be willing to commit to your 100 percent ethnic programming in a condition of licence?
1115 MS. LAURIGNANO: We’d commit to 100 percent ethnic programming, yes.
1116 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1117 MS. LAURIGNANO: Would not commit to any number of hours. And for -- I can tell you the reason. Reason for that is that it would be I think to our disadvantage to be bound by such a condition where the competitor is not. So, for example ---
1118 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that.
1119 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yeah.
1120 THE CHAIRPERSON: Like I said, there’s no -- it’s not a hurdle for you to jump over, it’s just an answer to a question.
1121 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right. But definitely ---
1122 THE CHAIRPERSON: And in a sense I’m relieved because I didn’t know what to do with Taglish. You think French local language music is difficult. I can’t imagine what could happen with that one so. We can talk more about Taglish.
1123 So in terms of those other conditions of licence, you’re not interested?
1124 MS. LAURIGNANO: Those would be acceptable.
1125 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Would you accept one limiting your volume of South Asian and Chinese?
1126 MS. LAURIGNANO: I would not.
1127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1128 MS. LAURIGNANO: For the reason I explained that my competitor has a free hand and they could --
1129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. No, that’s ---
1130 MS. LAURIGNANO: -- they could do anything they want.
1131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely. It’s your call.
1132 So I was just looking up Stats Can, Tagalog is 13th on a list of 22 immigrant languages when it comes to language retention. And this may speak to Taglish, I guess, a little bit, but it’s not listed by Stats Can, which is fine. Why do you suppose that is in terms of language retention? Because a number of these ethnic radio hearings, it’s hard not to miss that languages like Dutch and German, for instance, have about a 2 or 3 percent retention 2 generations deep; whereas, Punjabi’s still at 60 percent.
1133 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yeah.
1134 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Tagalog is 13th of 22, so it's in the bottom half.
1135 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1136 THE CHAIRPERSON: What's your best guess on that?
1137 MS. LAURIGNANO: There are a number of factors that I think contribute to that. The most obvious is that a lot of the more recent immigrants come along with, say, a knowledge of English. In fact, that's one of the requirements. So that is also a consideration in determining program schedules and that kind of stuff, so that's one thing.
1138 The other thing is that in the interim, between the new immigrants and the original ones, what I call the originals, which was the large wave after the Second World War, which was you know, the European and such as the German and the Italians and all those, they did not have all the facilities that we have now. There was no, you know, English -- sorry; but like mother tongue as a second language institute in schools or, you know, in private organizations or even the communities themselves setup with, like, language instruction for the young children to go to on Saturdays.
1139 So it's a combination of a lot of things, really. That's our analysis.
1140 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. It's not a threat to your business case, though?
1141 MS. LAURIGNANO: No, it's not because this is one of the reasons why, you know, we have to adapt. So, you know, it's ---
1142 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
1143 MS. LAURIGNANO: --- why the Filipinos' top 40, you know, it's not your mother and father's, you know, song and dance. Because we know that the people who come over today, which like a more recent -- you know, they've got social media, they've got Internet, they've got YouTube in the Philippines as well as they have it here, so we have to be aware of that.
1144 But by the same token, those groups, you know, that have been here for a long time and have assimilated it doesn't make them less Canadian or less German or less Ukrainian, but we have to reach them a certain way, ---
1145 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1146 MS. LAURIGNANO: --- we believe.
1147 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, there are many among us who no longer have the language that our grandparents or great-grandparents brought to this country and we seem to be okay.
1148 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes.
1149 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thanks.
1150 How have you -- what's been your experience so far in reaching out to ethnic communities in Edmonton?
1151 MS. LAURIGNANO: In Edmonton, we -- you know, we would be lying if we said that we've come here, you know, and looked under every corner and every stone. We haven't. We've done like a top-line analysis of everything in determining whether to apply or not, as well as we canvassed those people that we know have connections here or have roots here, including a lot of people who work with our other ethnic stations across the country.
1152 We have employees who come originally from here. Chester has spoken about how the -- part of the Filipino community migrated over here. Bhupinder, and others, have many contacts. We are aware of some organizations because we deal with them nationally because of other connections in their various countries. And, quite frankly, our experience is that, you know, the -- if you build it they will come.
1153 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's still sort of on the to-do list, which is ---
1154 MS. LAURIGNANO: It's on the to-do list just in terms of realizing it, but what we have to do is -- we know what we have to do, and that is, you know, get the programming, the best programming that we can, build it as much as we can, advertise, promote it. You know, go to the streets or get a promotional vehicle, then go to the newspapers and organizations, and vice versa, and it will work both ways.
1155 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand. So how long -- if you were successful in applying for this licence, how long would you anticipate it would be before you launched?
1156 MS. LAURIGNANO: Oh, we could launch very quickly. I know that the limitation for authority is two years but we would be on the air in a year or less.
1157 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. How do you ensure you stay in touch with the communities, both the served and unserved, that -- as you go forward? What is -- what sort of structure do you anticipate having to ensure that you have a feedback loop?
1158 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1159 Well, it would be -- 50 percent of that work is done by the communities and the leaders themselves. They feel a lot -- an obligation and a mission, as well as, you know, an obligation to seek opportunities for their organizations. And once a station, like an ethnic station is on the air saying, you know, we're doing Filipino or Spanish or whatever, they will come. We know that from experience. So that's one way that we stay in touch, they get in touch with us.
1160 And I really know what I'm talking about because that happens even with our existing station on an ongoing basis. That's one part of it.
1161 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, just to stop you there.
1162 Some would argue that the responsibility for that relationship is yours, ---
1163 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes.
1164 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- right, to reach out, and I just want to make sure I didn't misinterpret, or when we go through the transcript, what you just said ---
1165 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1166 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- when you said they will come to ---
1167 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yeah, I ---
1168 THE CHAIRPERSON: You don't have to worry, they will come to us.
1169 MS. LAURIGNANO: I say in part they will, and I'm very confident in saying that because there will be those who will reach out to us.
1170 But, over and above, and the majority of the work will be incumbent on us. And that means that we will advertise, you know, in the -- for example, in print and social media, in anything that is available. We are known to get billboard trucks, you know, like huge billboard trucks and buses with, you know, megaphones, and we will go up and down the street.
1171 We did that in many markets, you know, just saying we now have this program. We will get on existing television programs, any of that stuff. We will have ---
1172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And who within your organization would be accountable for maintaining those relationships?
1173 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right. That would be -- here would be the local station manager, Don Kay that I introduced in absentia today.
1174 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
1175 MS. LAURIGNANO: He's -- he really is the person that we would rely on the most for the local, local thing. He knows the market. He's lived here his life. He knows the broadcasting industry, so he -- it will be his responsibility under the guidelines from head office.
1176 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you anticipate doing open line programming?
1177 MS. LAURIGNANO: We expect some open line program with some of the programs, and we definitely would have a delay system like we have with all our other radio stations, as well as the Gguidelines, and we will also be members of the CBSC, like as with the other stations.
1178 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And for the record, you obviously have to get your commitment to compliance with CRTC Regulations regarding open line programming ---
1179 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes.
1180 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- 1988-237 or 2137?
1181 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes, we are aware ---
1182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1183 MS. LAURIGNANO: --- we ---
1184 THE CHAIRPERSON: I kind of figured you were, but thank you for putting up with me on that.
1185 The Ethnic Media Fund. So obviously that would have to meet CRTC certification standards, and you're aware that would be a separate process?
1186 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes, we are.
1187 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, okay. So can you maybe start with just sort of the genesis of the idea? What -- and to be specific, what sort of research did you engage in to -- when you were developing the concept, and did you consult with stakeholders in the music industry?
1188 MS. LAURIGNANO: We have -- we go back quite a while with this. It goes back to the first call for a review of the ethnic policy, a number -- number of years ago. There was supposed to be another one, that was postponed indefinitely, for which we -- you know, we advocated and we still advocate; we think that it's time for that.
1189 But putting that aside, there was discussion probably about 15 years ago about reviewing the levels of Canadian content, you know, for ethnic stations. And at that one hearing, there was a joint submission by the Association of Canadian Ethnic Broadcasters, the ACEB, stating that there was a real problem with us meeting that commitment; like, an increase in the commitment, as much as we wanted to do it. And the reason for that was because it was very hard for us to find Canadian content in the ethnic, you know, genre.
1190 And so the suggestion was that maybe the Toronto broadcaster has something or a Vancouver broadcaster had something but -- the Montreal still had something, but there was no way to share this information, ---
1191 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
1192 MS. LAURIGNANO: --- and perhaps it would be best if we all funded, you know, the thing and put together this catalogue of Canadian ethnic music, which was supposed to be, and was, a Web-based instrument.
1193 So we, after much work and research and this and that, we really did our best but in the end we could only identify a couple of thousand titles, you know, that would be like that. And even when we did that and we sourced it, you know, they were on cassettes or they were like on old reels or, you know, or some people -- we'd actually have people come in the studio and play live, you know, to meet that thing. So it's been something that has been gnawing at us for a long, long time.
1194 And when we did that, we realized, really, that there was not much to catalogue. The problem was that we didn't have the content to catalogue, you know, and beyond, like, the regular ones, we had this problem.
1195 And so through all of this, that was really the genesis. Like, what do we do? What can we do to, you know, to create this thing so that it becomes like a central resource for everybody on the one hand, but on the other hand, really, it helps the artist because the other thing that we hear is from the artist saying well, you know, like who was it, Gordon Lightfoot, you know, gets money from Factor, and that’s a fact.
1196 You know, or whoever it was, some big guy and you have the little guy who’s trying to make it, wouldn’t get it. And a lot of times, they wouldn’t know what to do and how to do it and there’s not really ---
1197 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. So how would you structure it to meet those needs?
1198 MS. LAURIGNANO: I’m sorry?
1199 THE CHAIRMAN: You’ve sort of identified where the need is.
1200 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes.
1201 THE CHAIRMAN: So how would you structure it to meet those needs?
1202 MS. LAURIGNANO: Well, the way we would do that is we would provide the fund, we would provide the funding, we would look to the CAEB members and they’re about to strike a committee and like a third-party committee.
1203 We would just be the facilitators and then institute a board, you know, have rules, regulations, all that kind of specific to really -- to develop the criteria and then to administrate the fund.
1204 The idea for the fund would be that we would have the seed money. We’ve spoken to a number of fellow ethnic broadcasters who said that they would, if it were an eligible initiative, they would also contribute their required, you know, contribution into the fund. As you know, different from the other ones, ethnic broadcasters still have the discretion to spend the CCD in other ways, other than the conventional through the policy.
1205 So it’s just an idea that’s really exciting for us. I think it would be, like, very, very good for the industry. It’s going to take a lot of work to do to make it happen, but, you know, we’re willing to do it because I think in the long run, it would be like a great resource for the artist and for the broadcasters and the community at large.
1206 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. So what I’m hearing, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, is that it’s still very conceptual, but you’re very aware of the fact that you would have to construct it to be CRTC requirements?
1207 MS. LAURIGNANO: Oh yes. Yeah, it’s very, very, very -- it’s very conceptual, but very complete in our mind, in terms of what the plan has to be. And even on paper, we ---
1208 THE CHAIRMAN: It’s a complete concept.
1209 MS. LAURIGNANO: The concept ---
1210 THE CHAIRMAN: A finished concept.
1211 MS. LAURIGNANO: But it would be, hey, you know, it would be our pleasure to start doing it tomorrow, you know, if we ---
1212 THE CHAIRMAN: I understand.
1213 MS. LAURIGNANO: --- if we could do it.
1214 THE CHAIRMAN: That’s great. Can you -- sorry, I just noted too, in your May 19th letter, you noted that the fund might also support spoken word content.
1215 MS. LAURIGNANO: M’hm.
1216 THE CHAIRMAN: How do you see that working?
1217 MS. LAURIGNANO: What we see that working, it would be for third-party initiatives.
1218 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay.
1219 MS. LAURIGNANO: The way that would work, again, third-party initiatives and it might serve the need of some, you know, small communities that you have heard about and will hear about in this hearing that it’s hard to reach and to provide programming for them and especially good quality, high quality programming. That’s the other thing.
1220 THE CHAIRMAN: I understand. That’s good. And I just wanted to confirm your CCD plan is six years at 70,000 a year and then year seven at 80? Is that right?
1221 MS. LAURIGNANO: That’s correct.
1222 THE CHAIRMAN: For a total of 500?
1223 MS. LAURIGNANO: Correct.
1224 THE CHAIRMAN: Thanks. How did you develop your financial projections and are they Edmonton specific or are they based on your other operations mostly?
1225 MS. LAURIGNANO: It’s a combination of both.
1226 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay.
1227 MS. LAURIGNANO: They are both. You will note that we are, some would say conservative, but I think we’re realistic. We’re not high, high up there. We know that, you know, that ethnic broadcasters, our undertakings are a little different than mainstream. For example, there is no audience measurements like a BBM and all that thing, so you have to rely really on local retailers and, you know, other forms of, like, non-traditional revenue.
1228 So between an assessment of the market, the number of people in the market and our experiences through the market, that’s how we came to those projections.
1229 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. I read recently newspaper reports or reports that I read online regarding the Alberta economy that described it as the worst in 80 years, which I think goes back before the Second World War.
1230 I don’t know if that’s hyperbolic or not, but it’s not something you like to read. So how can you forecast revenue from increased budgets from existing advertisers and new revenues in the midst of all that?
1231 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right. Well, there are a couple of things. One is that we are very confident in our experience and being able to -- the economy may be slow, but it’s not dead. So if you get up earlier and you work harder and you stay up later, then you can make up some of that ground.
1232 The other thing I -- you know, I think that ---
1233 THE CHAIRMAN: There’s also the phrase that you can’t get blood from a stone too so ---
1234 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right. But these things tend to be cyclical, so I really don’t believe it’s going to last for seven years. But in any case, should that happen, you know, it’s prolonged, we have the ability to sustain and fund the operation.
1235 We are a debt-free company. We have money in the bank. We have real-estate holdings. We have extremely good synergies with the other radio stations, so we were confident that we can stay in it for the long run.
1236 THE CHAIRMAN: So tell me quickly what your staffing structure would look like. How many people would you employ and which departments would they be working in?
1237 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right. We’re looking at approximately 22 people between full-time and part-time. The bulk of which would work in the programming and in the sales marketing and promotion. The administration ---
1238 THE CHAIRMAN: So how many in programming?
1239 MS. LAURIGNANO: I don’t have -- do you have a breakdown?
1240 THE CHAIRMAN: Because that would be most of your part-time, right?
1241 MS. LAURIGNANO: That would be most of the staff, yeah, in the programming. But yes, most of the number of bodies, but most of the part-time, correct.
1242 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. So the FTE count might be somewhat equal?
1243 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1244 THE CHAIRMAN: And sales and marketing?
1245 MS. LAURIGNANO: Sales and marketing and promotion would be also a really good chunk of that staff.
1246 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. And you’re going to synergize -- there would be synergies, obviously, with your existing operations?
1247 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes, there will be synergies in terms of like engineering and technical support. There are synergies for accounting, administration. If you look at our revenue projection, general and admin is very low compared to that thing -- to the rest of the applications.
1248 There are synergies in the operating system, you know, such as software programs, music library, sharing music libraries, traffic departments, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
1249 THE CHAIRMAN: So who calls the shots?
1250 MS. LAURIGNANO: The shots are called ---
1251 THE CHAIRMAN: And from where?
1252 MS. LAURIGNANO: Okay the calls are shot by head office, which is, you know, with Evanov Communications, in terms of setting parameters.
1253 THE CHAIRMAN: Remind me where that’s based?
1254 MS. LAURIGNANO: That’s based in Toronto.
1255 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay.
1256 MS. LAURIGNANO: In Etobicoke. However, it’s a standalone, local, it has its own staff, it has its own manager, it has all of that.
1257 So it’s head on, you know, this is what we want, this is what we need, this is what you have to work, tell us what we need. You need to deliver this quality service to these many groups, that many hours, this type of program, that kind of program. Being compliant and all of that.
1258 But the responsibility is shifted here so that the local office not only should, but has to be responsible because that’s how we grow the business.
1259 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Because in my experience, often for financial reasons or their own reasons, to which they’re entitled, I’ve seen many instances over the years of programming decision-making being switched from local markets to Toronto.
1260 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right.
1261 THE CHAIRMAN: And I have yet to see any evidence of audience growth as a result.
1262 MS. LAURIGNANO: Right. And then -- you’re right. And then, following that, usually there’s a cry about, you know, how the ratings are down or revenues are down and all this because, you know, the local has been ---
1263 THE CHAIRMAN: And then more centralization follows.
1264 MS. LAURIGNANO: No, we believe in less centralization. Where the centralization and the shots come from is that besides the local, we also have corporate heads, right, so we have a head -- a corporate head of sales, a corporate head of like finance, a corporate, you know, head of legal and administration.
1265 So there is direction from the head office for sure. Nobody works in isolation at our other offices, but, I mean, Louie as station manager can attest to how autonomous he really is, you know. There -- as long -- I mean, obviously, the results are, you know, reviewed regularly and as long as those standards are being met, then ---
1266 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. No, that’s fine. That’s clear ---
1267 MS. LAURIGNANO: More power to them.
1268 THE CHAIRMAN: That’s a clear and honest answer and that’s all I -- it’s all I’m looking for.
1269 MR. VALENTE: I’m right in Montreal for the last year that I’ve sort of been given the reigns and I’ve got as much control as you can possibly want with regards to programming and to promotions and sales and these are just guidelines that are being channelled off in Toronto.
1270 In Quebec, we have a general thought process that Torontonians or Ontarians have no idea what we’re doing in Quebec, so they leave us alone.
1271 THE CHAIRMAN: Yeah, that’s been said before. Thanks.
1272 Sort of finally, Rogers, not to put words in their mouth, but my interpretation of their words are is that now is not the time. And new licence essentially puts the existing service and therefore the needs of the communities it’s serving at risk. In a nutshell, what’s your response? I take it that you disagree?
1273 MS. LAURIGNANO: I think you’re a very smart man. Yes, I disagree. I can tell you I probably have one of the longest, you know, running records in the room here about being in broadcasting and being, you know, I’ve heard that since my first hearing since the first public consultation. Anything that came along was always going to take something else out of business. You know, it was like television was going to take radio out of business, and then the internet was going to take us out, and this was going to take us out. And, you know, another station would do this, another station would do that. Well, I don’t know of any other -- of any case really where somebody’s turned back their licence, you know, because somebody else put them out of business. It’s a natural thing to say. You know, we probably even said it ourselves on some occasions. But it’s not always the case.
1274 Competition is good. Diversity is good. There -- we believe that there’s enough and we have to, in fact, you know, go back to the origins and that is to go local and introduce, you know, more local services because that will bring more revenue into the system as well, rather than consolidating these big ownerships, you know, that just have one rate and they cover all these markets and nobody minds that the dollars, you know, that didn’t add up. So that’s my answer.
1275 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.
1276 Colleagues? No?
1277 I believe legal has a question.
1278 MS. DIONNE: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair.
1279 I would like to clarify a few programming matters. You mentioned that you would accept a condition of licence of broadcasting 100 percent of ethnic programming. Would you also adhere to a condition of licence setting out that at least 84 percent of this programming be third language programming each week?
1280 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes, we would. We’ve stated that in the application.
1281 MS. DIONNE: Now, you made it clear that you would not accept a condition of licence setting out a maximum level of South Asian and Chinese language programming. However, can you clarify whether you are willing to adhere to a condition of licence that a minimum of 23 percent of your ethnic programming broadcast each week be in the catalogue [sic] language?
1282 MS. LAURIGNANO: Twenty-three (23) percent? Can you say that again?
1283 MS. DIONNE: Of your ethnic programming broadcast each week be in the Tagalog language, the Filipino ---
1284 MS. LAURIGNANO: The Filipino. Ah, minimum?
1285 MS. DIONNE: Yeah.
1286 MS. LAURIGNANO: No, I wouldn’t. Again, for the same reasons that if I accept a minimum of that, my competitor has if we handed you whatever they want, I don’t believe it’s equitable.
1287 MS. DIONNE: Okay. I wanted your answer on the record.
1288 I also have a question regarding your over and above CCD contributions and the fund, should your application be approved and should the launching of the fund you proposed or the Commission’s determination on its eligibility occur after the station’s launching, how will you ensure in the meantime that your CCD contributions will be directed annually to an eligible initiative? Do you have specific alternatives initiatives?
1289 MS. LAURIGNANO: Yes, I don’t have a specific initiative per se, but as we stated in there, it would be directed to those eligible initiatives that the Commission has recognized and clearly identified.
1290 MS. DIONNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1291 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thanks very much for your presentation and your time. We will take a 15-minute break and return at 5 minutes before 4:00. Well, yes, thereabouts. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 3:43 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 3:57 p.m.
1292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Madam Secretary?
1293 MS. ROY: Thank you.
1294 We will now proceed with Item 5 on the agenda, which is -- which are applications by Radio India Limited for a broadcasting licence to operate English commercial FM specialty radio station in Edmonton. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have 20 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
1295 MS. SHARON GILL: Good morning Mr. Vice-Chair, Members of the Commission and the Commission staff. My name is Sharon Gill and I am the President and the sole controlling officer of Radio India Limited.
1296 Before we start our presentation, I would like to introduce my team. For the records, you will find that my family name comes up more than once. I would like to inform the Commission that there is no family relationship between Ms. Mandeep Gill of my team and myself.
1297 Well, to my immediate right is Mr. Michel Mathieu, also known as Mike. He is our Broadcasting Consultant and has worked closely with me in the preparation of this application. Mr. Mathieu is a seasoned broadcast professional, celebrating 53 years in the industry as an announcer, a producer, a technical engineer and he has owned two radio stations and managed others.
1298 To Mike’s right is Ms. Jacqueline Drew. She is the CEO and principal of Tenato Strategy, who prepared our market study. Tenato Strategy specializes in innovative market research and strategic planning and marketing services and has been in business for 20 years.
1299 To Jacqueline's right is Mr. Juby Joseph of Resources 2 Solutions Inc. He prepared our business plan. Mr. Joseph has qualified as a professional accountant from three countries in two continents.
1300 To my left is Sukhjit Mangat. Sukhjit obtained a bachelor of journalism and started her career in broadcasting as a news announcer. She quickly learned the ropes of broadcasting, hosting live shows, writing and producing ads, selecting and scheduling radio host and dealing with clients.
1301 To Sukhjit's left is Mr. Devinder Benipal. Devinder holds a masters in political science and his career spans over a decade as a song writer, a radio host, an MC, and a wellknown media personality. In previous operations, Devinder acquired wide sales experience.
1302 In the back of Devinder is Ms. Rani Mangat. She will be our station manager here in Edmonton. Rani Mangat is a cherished radio host who is -- who has been with Radio India since 2005 and has conducted talk shows on the weekends and she presented her program “Mulaqaat” from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. She moved to Edmonton in 2014 and continued her program on the side band 104.9 FM. She frequently discusses the topics related to diverse children's issues, such as bullying, suicide, drinking, drugs, and depression, and health and family concerns. Her program is very well researched and is extremely informative. She delves deep into various social issues as well as those that involve health and the overall well-being of individuals. In her show, she invited professionals and experts from different fields related to the topic of her shows.
1303 To Rani's right is Ms. Nandini Aggarwal. She holds a Master’s in Communication and Journalism. Ms. Aggarwal will be in charge of the news, as well as talk shows.
1304 To Nandini's right is Ms. Mandeep Gill. She completed her Master’s in Journalism from India. And since the onset of her career, she has been passionate about reporting news to the masses. And she strongly believes that a well-informed community is a better community. Her talk show will discuss political, as well as social issues, in and around the South Asian diaspora of Edmonton.
1305 To Mandeep’s right is Ms. Emily Estrada. She is someone we are looking forward to welcoming to our team if granted the licence. She will be joining our Edmonton team as the Filipino program director. She has a BSC in biology from Simon Fraser University and she is well respected in the Filipino community.
1306 To Emily's right is Mr. Kerry Pelser. Mr. Pelser is a professional engineer. He’s the Chief Engineer of D.E.M.A. Limited of Winnipeg and he worked closely with our broadcasting consultant, Mr. Mike Mathieu, to prepare all our technical aspects of both our AM and our FM applications.
1307 So now getting started with our presentation.
1308 Well, today, me and my team are here in front of you so that Radio India Limited can move forward in our development.
1309 My team and I have worked hard and we are ready, willing and able to provide the Edmonton ethnic South-Asian community an outstanding radio service guaranteed by Radio India's past years of operation, understanding what this community needs, wants, and how to deliver it.
1310 As I and most of my team learned from my father's experience at Radio India 2003 Limited in the past -- I worked beside my father for 10 years and I am now the sole controlling officer of the applicant, Radio India Limited. I possess the financial and professional resources and capacity plus the willingness to propose and sustain the broadcast service we are proposing today.
1311 We pledge to always seek to improve and expand our level of service. To this end, and in the spirit that our proposed radio station should always reflect local issues, Radio India Limited pledges by a condition of license to have in place an advisory committee composed of members of different ethnic groups of South Asian origins, as well as other groups that our radio station will serve.
1312 To provide our service, we are proposing to the Commission two options. Our preferred one would obviously be the FM station, but the Commission can choose to license us on the AM band.
1313 Radio India Ltd. also believes that Canadian content and Canadian talent are of the utmost importance. We are committed to contribute to the development of Canadian talent, thus Canadian content. Therefore, Radio India Ltd. pledges by condition of licence to contribute over and above the basic
1314 CCD contribution on the first year of our licence, a minimum of $175,000, and for a total of over and above contributions for our first period of licence, a minimum of $1,425,000. And given our financial projections, Radio India Ltd. total contributions for the first seven years of licence will be $1,434,000.
1315 And should our revenues exceed our projections, then of course our basic contributions will be bona fide.
1316 Over and above regulated CCD initiatives, Radio India Ltd. pledges to offer free concerts as well as organizing talent shows to which Radio India Ltd. will directly pay the performers, expenses, hall rentals, sound system, et cetera. This, to expose the talent of emerging and well-known South-Asian artists.
1317 Radio India Ltd. also pledges that all organizations and events that it will finance as CCD contributions will be acceptable to the CRTC guidelines as set out in the Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-158.
1318 Furthermore, Radio India Ltd. pledges by condition of licence to contribute a minimum of 30 percent of our over and above CCD commitments to factor.
1319 The Commission will also note that we pledge to offer a minimum of 80 hours per week, which is 63.5 percent of the total weekly programming to locally produced programs, and at least 50 percent of the remaining programming will be produced in our Surrey studios, produced only for our Edmonton station and, by definition, will also be local programming.
1320 I will now invite Mike Mathieu, our broadcasting consultant, to explain the technical part of our FM and AM applications.
1321 MR. MATHIEU: Good afternoon.
1322 Today, Radio India Ltd. is pleased to present to the Commission two applications; one for the last good FM frequency available in the area, and one on the many available AM frequencies in this area.
1323 The purpose of these applications is to serve the South-Asian ethnic market of Edmonton, Alberta.
1324 Our FM proposal is as follows. We are proposing the use of 106.5 megahertz, Channel 293 B1 at an effective radiated power of 5 kilowatts and an average of 2,200 watts of effective height above average terrain at 144.2 meters.
1325 This situation will provide adequate service to the targeted population of greater Edmonton, providing a 3 millivolt service to 567,053 persons and a 0.5 millivolt service to 992,858 persons.
1326 However, our AM proposal is as follows. We are proposing the use of 1690 kilohertz AM on the expanded band at a power level of 5 kilowatts day and night, omnidirectional. And our AM signal will provide service in our 15 millivolt contour to 900,258 persons and in our 5 millivolt contour, we will reach 1,059,545 persons.
1327 The Commission will appreciate that both FM or AM proposals will provide adequate service to all the greater Edmonton ethnic South-Asian population.
1328 I will now invite Emily Estrada to address the Commission.
1329 MS. ESTRADA: Good afternoon.
1330 When Radio India approached me, I was excited about the prospect of daily programming for our community. I first-hand know that the Filipino community is very underserved in regards to broadcasting, and this is an issue that my community wants addressed.
1331 Filipinos are very active musically, particularly based in our choirs and as such, there is an abundance of emerging talents waiting to be discovered within our community.
1332 That being said, the CCD initiative that Radio India has proposed is very promising and can be a huge asset to my community. I expect this will culminate in a free concert at our Philippines Festivities, and I will be one of the organizers of that event, and our community is excited about the possibilities.
1333 Radio India has also proposed to ensure the active participation of our youth with other visible minority youth in a weekly talk show, and journalism scholarships will be available to all groups they serve.
1334 MS. GILL: Myself, Mike and my team are ready to answer your questions. Thank you.
1335 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Gill and others.
1336 Maybe we can start with just a clarification on the CCD. This might be a minor thing but the number you give here is 1,425,000. That’s seven times 175.
1337 In an earlier -- in your application, actually it’s in response to a deficiency letter that was on June 8th, this is a very small difference, but the figure you gave then was 1,426,000.
1338 So can you just clarify that it’s 1425?
1339 MR. MATHIEU: Actually, sir, I would believe it’s 1426.
1340 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, okay.
1341 MR. MATHIEU: And I know why. It’s because we get confused a little bit, and I apologize, I’m probably the one who made the mistake. When you’re looking at the -- wait a minute here. The first, second, third, after the fourth year, when we start paying $3,000 on the basic contribution, I believe there should be an additional $1,000 paid there. And that’s what made the difference.
1342 In real life, let’s say that the number that we pledge is 1,426,000.
1343 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, and that’s six times 175 and one times 176?
1344 MR. MATHIEU: Well, what’s happening here, on the first year, we’re giving 175,000. Then, it goes up to 184, 193, and it increases year to year.
1345 On our seventh year, the over and above is 235,000 but if you look at the basic contribution according to our business plan, it’s 6,000.
1346 So that’s the way -- like, the last two years, we’re getting into a financial situation where the over and above applies. So this is where that 1,000 applies.
1347 THE CHAIRPERSON: The basic commitment, notwithstanding your financial performance is the 175; right? Plus ---
1348 MR. MATHIEU: No, no. This is the over and above, meaning it doesn’t matter the sales. We’re committed ---
1349 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, sorry.
1350 MR. MATHIEU: --- to pay that.
1351 THE CHAIRPERSON: I misspoke. Yes.
1352 MR. MATHIEU: The basic is a half a percent plus $1,000 over and above $1,250,000 of billing of business.
1353 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so that’s 1,426,000?
1354 MR. MATHIEU: Yes.
1355 THE CHAIRPERSON: And remind me of the source of the 1,434,000 figure.
1356 MR. MATHIEU: One million ---
1357 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your presentation in here, it says:
1358 “…given our financial projections Radio India total contributions for the first seven years of license will be $1,434,000.”
1359 MR. MATHIEU: Okay. That should read, “1,435,000”. Because what that means, it means the 1,425,000 or 1,426,000 plus the 9,000. Because the total contribution, you’ve got the over and above and you’ve got the basic, and you pay both obviously.
1360 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1361 MR. MATHIEU: So this is where we are.
1362 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So it’s 1,426,000 and for the record, the second reference is 1,435,000?
1363 MR. MATHIEU: That’s correct, sir.
1364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
1365 Actually, while I’m here, just under “Oral Presentation”, the 80 hours -- it’s on the same page, a couple of paragraphs down, you said, you pledge to offer a minimum of 80 hours per week to locally produce programs. And 50 percent of the remaining program will be produced in our Surrey studios produced only for the Edmonton station. So it -- that sort of begs the question a little bit or begs the question to be asked that if you can produce 63.5 percent of your programming in Edmonton, why do you need to produce another 13 percent in Surrey?
1366 MR. MATHIEU: Okay. The reason is this, Sharon bought her father’s business.
1367 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1368 MR. MATHIEU: She’s got three studios there and she’s got talent there. And they’re operating right now. They’re operating on the internet. It’s an ongoing business. So our wish is to come here and offer as much local service as we can, in an ideal world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But we got to start somewhere and we got to have the talent. And this is where she’s got a good team and she wants to put these persons, rightfully so, to contribute.
1369 So some person -- some people will be here. The case of Ms. Emily Estrada will reside here, for one example. But there’s other persons that will be stationed in Surrey that may commute to here. But today, with the technology, it’s very easy -- and another applicant even mentioned that you can do program from another city, but it’s still local because you’re addressing the local issue and that program is produced only for that station.
1370 So we’ll have some talent in Surrey --
1371 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
1372 MR. MATHIEU: -- producing program exclusively for Edmonton. But the local programming I mentioned means somebody here and then over and above, because we want to be transparent with the Commission --
1373 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
1374 MR. MATHIEU: -- give you all the tools you need to evaluate our application. We are serious, but we’re also -- we understand the way it works and where we want to be credible as well. So we’re not going to propose that we have talent for 24 hours a day when at the moment it’s not the case. It might be -- very well be the case a year after on air date or two years. And to that end, we’ll do it. But at the moment ---
1375 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I understand that.
1376 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
1377 THE CHAIRPERSON: What would be -- would there be any difference? I mean, who would call the shots on the programming produced in Surrey?
1378 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
1379 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would that be somebody --
1380 MR. MATHIEU: Obviously --
1381 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- from Edmonton doing that or somebody ---
1382 MR. MATHIEU: -- Ms. Gill is the sole -- she’s the boss.
1383 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1384 MR. MATHIEU: Ms. Sukhjit is the operation manager. Then you go down the ladder. And you’ll have some persons here that will make the operation here work. These people will report to Ms. Gill and her team. But again, with today’s technical situation, they can know exactly what’s going on. I mean, Ms. Gill can go to her computer and knows exactly what’s going to happen within seconds of on air here.
1385 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. I just --
1386 MR. MATHIEU: So ---
1387 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- I’m just trying to get a sense of that programming, whoever the producer of that programming, would there -- is there any difference between who’s managing its production between the 63 percent -- 63.5 percent, because we need to be precise, right -- 63.5 percent that’s being produced in Edmonton and the content in Surrey. Is that all under the same management?
1388 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, sir.
1389 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I was just trying to get clear because somebody --
1390 MR. MATHIEU: No.
1391 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- might sort of look at that and say, “Okay. Well, they’re just exporting Surrey content” --
1392 MR. MATHIEU: No.
1393 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- “into Edmonton and they’re going to call it local” and that sort of stuff. So you can dispossess me of that notion.
1394 MR. MATHIEU: As you know, we are awaiting a decision from the Commission on Surrey and Vancouver applications. Hopefully this will work.
1395 We have three studios. So we’ve got all the technical resources to be able to broadcast. Everything could be in Surrey for whatever reason and then even Edmonton could feed back to Surrey should it be -- the reason for that is talent availabilities.
1396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So but the programming produced in Surrey would be being produced for Edmonton at Edmonton’s request --
1397 MR. MATHIEU: Correct.
1398 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- Edmonton’s -- on a day-to-day direction --
1399 MR. MATHIEU: Correct.
1400 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- sort of basis. Okay. Thank you for that.
1401 So to what -- you say the format for your -- a potential Edmonton operation would be the same as the Radio India format that you operate right now. How -- okay. The format would be the same, but I can’t imagine that the content would be the same. So can you tell me how you would differentiate that? Because, I mean, your -- obviously your operation right now is very Surrey centric. I mean, it has -- you go on there and you get the Surrey weather and all that sort of stuff. Would you have a separate website for Edmonton or those sorts of operations? Or just tell me how -- you’ve told us that the format will be the same, so --
1402 MR. MATHIEU: It will be ---
1403 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- the type of programming ---
1404 MR. MATHIEU: Two complete different radio stations, sir.
1405 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1406 MR. MATHIEU: To call --
1407 THE CHAIRPERSON: So why the -- so why the same format?
1408 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah.
1409 MS. SHARON GILL: That’s because that’s a successful format that we’ve used in the past and people really appreciate it and it’s something that we want to kind of formulate. It’s kind of like our brand, like we’re known --
1410 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1411 MS. SHARON GILL: -- for that type of format. So we thought we would kind of emulate it into Edmonton as well and replicate it.
1412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. No, if you’ve got a winning formula, it’s not like you’d be the first radio operators to want to duplicate in that. I guess what I’m trying to get at is where would you find the nuance differences? I mean, for -- let’s pick a topic that might be being discussed or in the news, people in Vancouver and people in Edmonton might have different points of view on oh, say pipelines.
1413 MS. SHARON GILL: Yeah.
1414 THE CHAIRPERSON: Something like that. How do you make sure you adapt to those sorts of more commercial cultural differences?
1415 MS. SHARON GILL: Well, our -- well, every community is different and they have different issues that are specific to them, obviously. So like Mike said before, like our Edmonton station would be very Edmonton centric. It would discuss Edmonton issues. And whatever issue that is being discussed it wouldn’t -- nothing would overlap with Surrey or -- because it’s obviously a separate radio station. So we would be just discussing Edmonton issues or -- and formats of small programming that’s very specific to Edmonton.
1416 MR. MATHIEU: And if you’ll allow me, there will be talent here.
1417 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1418 MR. MATHIEU: There will be talent here and there will be a morning show and a drive show, and the weather is going to be mentioned here. And even if we do a program from our Surrey studio -- and I could say, should we ever need to do that because if we have the talent, it’ll be here, it’s -- we can get the Edmonton weather in Surrey. We have people here and we have means with today’s technology. So that may -- would not be an issue. But when you’re looking at traffic reports, when you’re looking at local news, when you’re looking at local weather, obviously, we will have somebody on site. And if there’s something wrong, the message will go through -- to Surrey, if need be, highly likely that at that thing the talent will be here. So we have to be a local station. There is no --
1419 THE CHAIRPERSON: So ---
1420 MR. MATHIEU: -- two ways, if and buts. If we’re going to succeed, we have to cater to our local people.
1421 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. Have you tested that -- the format that you have in Edmonton at all?
1422 MR. MATHIEU: Well, I understand maybe Sharon wants to extrapolate. They used to do programming on a subcarrier 104.9, which happened to be successful. But unfortunately, through some means of things, the contract didn’t get renewed, but ---
1423 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Radio -- yes, okay. On the ---
1424 MR. MATHIEU: No, Radio India has experience here in Edmonton, sir.
1425 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1426 MR. MATHIEU: Definitely.
1427 THE CHAIRPERSON: How do you -- do you get traffic to your website now from Edmonton? Do you have metrics that can show that or?
1428 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes, we do. But it’s mostly like spoken word. Like not on our website, but like on our app where you can --
1429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1430 MS. SHARON GILL: -- tune in, yeah.
1431 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it’s the spoken word?
1432 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes.
1433 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what sort of spoken word topics ---
1434 MS. SHARON GILL: Well, I mean, if it’s like someone’s doing -- like let’s say like Devinder does the morning show. He’ll talk about it.
1435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. The news of the day, but is it local? It’s -- is it local or is it ---
1436 MS. SHARON GILL: No, at the moment, no. But before that because we were -- the 104.9 was streaming our --
1437 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1438 MS. SHARON GILL: -- programming that was online. So obviously we weren’t doing anything locally-based --
1439 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1440 MS. SHARON GILL: -- then. So but we would be obviously, if we’re licensed. Like everything would be updated and ---
1441 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1442 But in terms of the Web traffic that you’re -- set aside the SCMO experience; ---
1443 MS. GILL: Yes.
1444 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- your Web site right now you’re getting visitors from Edmonton.
1445 MS. GILL: Yes.
1446 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right? And that’s mostly for spoken word?
1447 MS. GILL: Yes.
1448 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that would be just -- that’s just talk shows, is it?
1449 MS. GILL: It’s not really talk shows. They’re actually pre-recorded. Some of them are live. Well, I think -- well, yeah, from 8 o’clock in the morning until about 4:00 ---
1450 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1451 MS. GILL: --- it’s live and anyone can call in, but after that it’s just recorded music.
1452 MS. MANGAT: I would like to add on; we do have spoken word and we do have musical programs as well over the Internet. And we are receiving calls from listeners as well, who are listening on the Internet or we have the app.
1453 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
1454 So a critic might look at this and note that your programming is overwhelmingly Punjabi with almost 70 hours of a total of South Asian languages and 31.5 hours of Tagalog. Some would look at that and say that your plan, combined with WorldFM’s current service, would provide lots and lots of service to the South Asian population, but the same could not be said for other communities who might be underserved. I’d like to get your response to that viewpoint.
1455 MR. MATHIEU: According to what I’ve got here, we’re doing 40 percent Punjabi, 25 percent Tagalog, 10 percent Hindi, 5 percent Urdu, 5 percent of English for the South Asian people, and the rest is 20 percent, it’s all spread amongst other languages.
1456 Radio India Limited is open to cater to the number of languages and group that we said we would do. However, things change in broadcasting; things change in the world. Again, the -- and I’ll let Sharon, maybe, extrapolate on that.
1457 We’re going to try to program the radio station, not to compete directly head on with the existing station or another station you may choose to licence.
1458 I think the ethnic population would benefit by having at least one, if not two, more stations. And even if we’re all broadcasting, whether it be Punjabi or Urdu, what counts is that we are serving the people, and this is the goal.
1459 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, but -- so you’re saying that your South Asian programming would not be going to straight up against WorldFM’s?
1460 MR. MATHIEU: No.
1461 THE CHAIRPERSON: You would be doing it in hours when they were not doing it?
1462 MR. MATHIEU: That’s ---
1463 MS. GILL: Yes.
1465 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you’d be comfortable giving them, like, the morning drive show?
1466 MS. GILL: Sure.
1467 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah? Okay. So you’re working in -- you see yourselves as working in concert with it ---
1468 MS. GILL: Yeah.
1469 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- rather than direct competitive ---
1470 MS. GILL: Yeah.
1471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you really think people will change the channel back and forth to follow it?
1472 MR. MATHIEU: South Asian and ethnic people served, by my experience -- I’ve done quite a few ethnic stations in my days and, yes sir.
1473 THE CHAIRPERSON: So they will follow the programming ---
1474 MR. MATHIEU: Absolutely.
1475 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- rather than the station, in terms of that audience? That’s tested, then, from your ---
1476 MR. MATHIEU: Sir, I know very successful ethnic radio station that will do so much in Italian, so much on other languages and they have a sizable audience and they have the sponsors. I could say Montreal there’s an ethnic station that is here today, very successful station, and they have some Asian programs on the weekend that probably last for half an hour, an hour, and I’m amazed at the sponsorship. But they cater to the Asian community; that’s the secret.
1477 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What’s your experience with the Filipino community?
1478 MR. MATHIEU: Personally ---
1479 THE CHAIRPERSON: Putting -- I mean, most of the programming’s in the evening, right; the Tagalog?
1480 MS. GILL: Yes. Yes.
1481 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why is that?
1482 MS. GILL: Well, it’s because we wanted to give them a substantial amount of Tagalog. Like, we could tell -- like, I guess it would be easier for their community to be, like, well, if there's a certain time block that’s set aside for them and it would be easier, rather than, like, trying to figure out our schedule.
1483 But, I mean -- well, obviously, like, trial and error, like, once you get a licence. Like, they want something that’s around, say, 3:00, 4:00; we would still be open to that. Like, we can work -- like, we would be flexible in terms of our programming and timeslot.
1484 THE CHAIRPERSON: And your experience with the Filipino community is...?
1485 MS. GILL: Well, our experience with the Filipino community that -- well, according to Jacqueline Drew -- well, Ms. Drew, she did our market strategy and I think she can add on to that.
1486 MS. DREW: Sure. My research showed that the Tagalog language was the most commonly spoken ethnic language in Edmonton, and growing rapidly. And I think the idea with putting a strongly supported language like that in a regular timeslot in the evenings is that you’re really trying to build habits with people so that if they know that their programming is there in the evening and they can kind of habitually tune in. So it’s nice to give it a regular spot.
1487 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that but the evening is not generally considered primetime for radio.
1488 MS. DREW: That’s probably true but you kind of have to go with the habits of the different markets and when they tend to listen. And our research did show that older markets are more likely to support ethnic radio and so they’re not necessarily driving to and from work at the peak times anyway.
1489 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I asked this question earlier but it’s been -- and you just noted it yourself. The Filipino community is, I believe, the fastest growing immigrant community on the Prairies; last few years, anyways, in terms of that. Why don’t -- why haven’t we seen more people more fully exploiting that opportunity than what we’ve seen in the past? You’re obviously seeking to do so in this ---
1490 MR. MATHIEU: If I may?
1491 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in terms of this application to a certain extent. But what’s your take on why we haven’t seen more of that, and do you see -- would you foresee increasing that coverage in years ahead, if trends continue?
1492 MS. DREW: Yeah. My company is a marketing and advertising agency, as well as a market research firm, in Calgary. And I don’t think that enough business owners really realize the importance or growth of that community, unless you’re in a certain part of town and you realize. Like, for example, one of my client sis a home builder here in Edmonton and they’re locating up on the north side. And as soon as I had chatted to them about the ethnic communities in Edmonton and the affordability of ethnic radio, they were all over it. And they thought this was a great opportunity to really zero in on ethnic communities on that side of Edmonton. But had I not told them, because I hadn’t recently done this research ---
1493 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1494 MS. DREW: --- and I hadn’t been aware, I don’t think you really know unless you live in amongst those communities. So that’s why it’s really important to have someone like Emily on our team who is well-aware of the community and will be in charge of planning the programming for the Edmonton station here.
1495 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that programming, then, for the Filipino community would be produced here?
1496 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, here in Edmonton ---
1497 MS. DREW: Yeah.
1498 MR. MATHIEU: --- by Emily.
1499 THE CHAIRPERSON: And it would not -- is there any brokered programming conceived of in your plan?
1500 MR. MATHIEU: Eventually I believe so. Some of the, let’s call them, smaller languages Sharon may have to use the services. A producer will come in, produce an hour or two hour a week and work on a commission basis.
1501 But for the languages that we’re doing 20 percent or 15 percent or more, it would be a person working for Radio India Limited that’s on site that will do the work or that will supervise the program.
1502 One point I’d like to add to this situation with the Filipino community.
1503 You have different ethnic community, like for instance, the South Asian is vibrant because they all start their own business; therefore, they’re available to buy airtime on a South Asian station.
1504 I’m not so sure the Filipino community yet is that vibrant. Hopefully it’ll get there. And if it does, obviously, yes, the sponsors will follow and the radio station -- do not forget; we’re going to have an advisory board and we’re going to evaluate. Our best evaluation is the results from our sponsor. If we feel that, you know, we’re doing something on the Filipino community and the sponsors are happy and they want more, then we have to look at to increasing the service.
1505 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That was kind of what I was trying to get at that different demographic communities are more or less easily monetized when it comes to a business point of view. Okay.
1506 You’ve probably caught this before, but how willing are you to commit your language percentage plans as conditions of licence? So let’s start with 100 percent ethnic programming, would you take that as a condition of licence?
1507 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes, we would.
1508 THE CHAIRPERSON: And 95 percent third language programming as a condition of licence?
1509 MR. MATHIEU: Yes.
1510 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes, we would.
1511 MR. MATHIEU: I would like to point out it is said in the application that by condition of licence we’re going -- all ethnic -- there will be five percent English for the ethnic people that sometime you may have an interview. But we’re not going to have an English show. It’s only for some time you have a, you know, a politician or intervenors and --
1512 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
1513 MR. MATHIEU: -- and there you go.
1514 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. Understood.
1515 How about 40 percent Punjabi as a condition of licence?
1516 MS. SHARON GILL: We would accept that.
1517 THE CHAIRPERSON: As a maximum?
1518 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes.
1519 THE CHAIRPERSON: As a minimum?
1520 MS. SHARON GILL: Sure.
1521 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or to put it another way, that’s 55 percent I think we agreed on that for South Asian languages, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu?
1522 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes.
1523 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1524 MR. MATHIEU: If you excuse me, I think yes, if you are willing to put a condition of licence like 55 percent and wide like Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu --
1525 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you would --
1526 MR. MATHIEU: -- that ---
1527 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- prefer a 55 percent on the collection of South Asian languages --
1528 MR. MATHIEU: Because ---
1529 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- of those 3 as opposed to a 40 percent on Punjabi?
1530 MR. MATHIEU: It would allow the station more flexibility.
1531 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, understood.
1532 MR. MATHIEU: I believe we had something that ---
1533 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thanks for clarifying. That was important.
1534 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah.
1535 THE CHAIRPERSON: Twenty-five (25) percent on Tagalog?
1536 MS. SHARON GILL: We accept.
1537 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah.
1538 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. As a maximum?
1539 MS. DREW: And I might say, keeping in mind that the 2016 census hasn’t come out yet. That we’d be wiser to wait until that does before we put any ---
1540 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I’m not trying to make you do this; okay?
1541 MS. DREW: Okay.
1542 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m just -- it’s important actually for people to understand. It’s just a question.
1543 MS. DREW: Okay.
1544 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay? This is not a demand. If you think that it is not in your best interests or in the community’s best interest, I’m not saying that it is to put these caps on or minimums; right? These are -- I tried to explain earlier, these are measures that could be contemplated, but I can’t say are being complicated -- contemplated at this moment, that would protect the incumbent, right, in the languages it is in.
1545 So a person could look at taking a cap on 25 percent Tagalog and say what is the business impact on that 7 years from now if you’re still only doing 25 percent and there’s 100,000 more Filipinos living in Edmonton. So it’s up to you; right? We’re actually looking for your advice and not trying to dictate on this at all. So to the extent that I can -- I can’t emphasize that enough. We just want to know what you think is right for you and for the community in terms of that.
1546 So if that gives you pause to reconsider any of the answers you’ve already given, feel free because it’s just -- like I said, it’s just a conversation here about keeping options open. And they’re as important for us to keep options open as they are for you.
1547 MR. MATHIEU: We have had conversation, Sharon, myself and the team on this subject and I think, you know, 55 percent of South Asian, like Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and what, 25 percent Tagalog is what you said? That would make sense. But it would be like a minimum and we could increase the Tagalog or the Filipino whenever it’s -- it comes about.
1548 THE CHAIRPERSON: So when it comes to Tagalog, you would be -- you would take a minimum as a ---
1549 MR. MATHIEU: Correct.
1550 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. I’ve been talking more than anybody else in this room today.
1551 MR. MATHIEU: I know.
1552 THE CHAIRPERSON: My mouth is drying out. So you would take a -- you would commit to a minimum of 25 percent service to the Filipino community --
1553 MR. MATHIEU: Yes.
1554 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and their language but you would not want to take a maximum?
1555 MR. MATHIEU: Well, not at the moment because as it was said, they’re increasing.
1556 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s fine.
1557 MR. MATHIEU: So we ---
1558 THE CHAIRPERSON: That was a good answer. You can just leave it --
1559 MR. MATHIEU: The station needs --
1560 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- at no.
1561 MR. MATHIEU: -- flexibility.
1562 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can just stop there. No is fine. Excuse me.
1563 So you -- I think you clarified this in your oral remarks today because I’ve been confused with -- in your written application. Your advisory committee, can you confirm that -- the composition of that? When I initially read your application, it sounded like it was very -- it was -- that it was restricted to representatives from the South Asian community. But your comments today indicated that you -- that that was not the case.
1564 MS. SHARON GILL: No, it’s going to be inclusive of every language group that we proposed in our application.
1565 THE CHAIRPERSON: And remind me what that number is? So there would be ---
1566 MS. SHARON GILL: Sixteen (16) languages.
1567 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sixteen (16)?
1568 MS. SHARON GILL: Languages.
1569 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And so that’s how big your advisory committee would be?
1570 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes.
1571 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And how often would it meet, and what would be -- how would you track the feedback, how it -- whether it was -- impacted your programming or not, and how would you judge its success?
1572 MS. SHARON GILL: Okay. Well, I can answer that. Well, our advisory committee would meet three to four times per year. I mean, if need be, obviously more. And how would we track the success of the advisory -- well, first of all, we would take the feedback that we get from the advisory committee and implement it in our programming. I mean, if there’s certain issues that are very specific to certain language groups or communities that need to be addressed, we would obviously implement those in our program, like it would be reflected within our programming.
1573 And what else? If there’s like a certain issue that’s like -- that’s very, I guess, a sensitive issue, there could be like an emergency meeting called between the advisory committee and our staff and we could discuss it. And if they think that it’s something that we should discuss -- like let’s say it’s like a case of domestic violence and they’re kind of getting feedback from their community, like with the South Asian community, that’s one of the issues that we’ve experienced. So we could talk about -- well, we could implement that within our programming and talk about the impact of domestic violence or -- I’m just giving an example but ---
1574 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
1575 MS. SHARON GILL: Yeah, so we would implement it.
1576 MR. MATHIEU: As we discussed, Sharon and I, that we are going to have a call-in line with hopefully a person to answer at certain times, but all the time, a high capacity recorder, you know, message taker. And people will be able to call in and give their opinion or their complaints or whatever, number one.
1577 THE CHAIRPERSON: This is not a broadcast line? This is a ---
1578 MR. MATHIEU: No, no, no.
1579 MS. SHARON GILL: No.
1580 MR. MATHIEU: Just to give us -- people call the station, tell us what they think.
1581 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sounds like a fun job.
1582 MR. MATHIEU: We don’t like that record. We want to know because we don’t want to lineate anybody. That’s the main thing in radio.
1583 Second thing, today we’ve got the social media. You’ve got your Twitter, Facebook, whatever. Sharon is -- that is made to good use. Like I said before, the best thing is the sponsor’s response. I mean, you start to worry when you’ve got a sponsor advertising for a week and he never got a phone call. Something’s wrong.
1584 If you have tons of sponsors all of a sudden that wants to advertise on a certain language, I think it’s giving you a bell that maybe you got to bonify that language. The business is there. The listeners are there. The demand is there.
1585 But we’re not going to neglect the listener who can call in or who can write in with emails or whatever and say, you know, we need more programming. We’re -- Radio India will be quite open to that.
1586 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that’s an interesting concept. So this would be just -- while we’re on that topic, your station would be a member of the CBSC?
1587 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes.
1588 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1589 MR. MATHIEU: And we will interact ---
1590 THE CHAIRPERSON: And of course, CBSC asks people to deal with their -- try to resolve their issues with their station first. So this person’s role would be to attempt almost like an ombudsman without necessarily the title? Taking a complaint and trying to resolve it?
1591 MR. MATHIEU: Correct.
1592 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that correct?
1593 MR. MATHIEU: Correct.
1594 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And from multiple language groups more or less? Okay. That’s an interesting ---
1595 MR. MATHIEU: For us, sir, we’d like to emphasize on that eventually, try to make it grow because it's the tool. You see, we don’t have the ratings. There is one ethnic station in Canada that's subscribed to numerous. We cannot get accurate numerous ratings on ethnic station, I'm sorry to say.
1596 So what we need to do is exactly that because that's going to give us the input from our listeners. Therefore, we know what to do to make them tune us. We know what to do to make forced tuning and we know what not to do to alienate listeners.
1597 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. For open-line programming, which you are doing -- correct?
1598 MR. MATHIEU: Yes.
1599 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're aware of the CRTC guidelines about that?
1600 MR. MATHIEU: Very well. My client is not only aware, she is fully equipped. Sir, they have an Eventide delay system. They have a computer delay system using call screeners. And of course, it's not anybody at Radio India who just gets on the air and talks on the phone. Sharon screens the people and, you know, they have people that's got experience. The talk show persons are experienced and that will be so on the ---
1601 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, because I was going to ask how you managed that because I mean Ms. Gill has indicated an openness to deal with potentially ---
1602 MR. MATHIEU: Suicide and violence.
1603 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, contentious issues.
1604 MR. MATHIEU: Yes.
1605 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps taboo issues for discussing in some areas and you may represent you’re fairly multigenerational in your approach.
1606 So I'd like maybe you could expand on that a little bit, Ms. Gill, particularly as to why you appear to be as bold on those topics as you are and how you would ensure a balance throughout your programming and manage your way through? What could be -- excuse the cricket phrase -- the fairly sticky wicket from time to time?
1607 MS. SHARON GILL: Well, so this is in regards to the open-line programming.
1608 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, and your willingness to take on some social issue discussions.
1609 MS. SHARON GILL: Yeah. Well, like Mike said, we would obviously have the seven-second delay system and we would have call screening. So we wouldn't take any unknown callers or any private callers. So I mean even if anyone is calling in, like we would know, like, who they are or like how to screen them. And our host will -- I guess will be -- well, they are well trained in dealing with issues that are very steamy I guess and very controversial or taboo.
1610 MR. MATHIEU: If I may say, Sharon will have some guests in the studio that are expert in the matters. That thing is very important to say.
1611 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that goes to how you ensure balance in terms of that because I mean that's one of the ---
1612 MR. MATHIEU: One of the means.
1613 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's one of the aims of the regulation around open-line is that, well, vigorous debate is always good that it doesn’t turn into a bully pulpit and that there's a variety of viewpoints that get represented.
1614 So that might be a change in -- would that be a change in the current format from what you're running now or are you comfortable that you have that sort of balance in your programming equation now?
1615 MR. MATHIEU: You have it. From what I can see, Sharon is doing it right now on the internet. She's got ---
1616 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, that's what I'm asking, yeah.
1617 MR. MATHIEU: She's got professional guests that are experts in either the suicide or domestic violence or whatever subject and I have to say her talk show people are experienced people and she's got screeners. So it's not anybody who gets on the air and, you know, they make sure that -- plus we have this delay. It's there now. It works.
1618 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would you foresee using any of those folks that you're using right now online for Surrey in Edmonton? Because with ---
1619 MR. MATHIEU: Absolutely.
1620 THE CHAIRPERSON: That sort of talent is ---
1621 MR. MATHIEU: Rare.
1622 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can't find on every street corner.
1623 MR. MATHIEU: No. Well, that's one of the reasons, sir, why we propose to have a studio in Surrey to fill Edmonton to -- “alimenter là” -- to feed Edmonton because we have talent there now, which is not negating the fact that we want to bring talent here as well.
1624 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I noticed that you have -- just on programming, you have seven hours a week of religious programming listed for adherence of the Sikh Hindu and Hindu faiths and the Punjabi Christian community.
1625 Do you plan on offering for any others?
1626 MS. SHARON GILL: If there is a demand for it, we would definitely ---
1627 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry?
1628 MS. SHARON GILL: I mean if there is a demand for it, we would obviously air it.
1629 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. How do you propose to ensure that programming adheres to the CRTC’s regulatory framework on religious programming which -- I mean just to put it in context, that insists upon balance which at times can mean being open to questioning the fundamental tenets of faith, which can be awkward. So are you aware of those CRTC regulations around religious programming ---
1630 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes.
1631 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and do you have plans in place to manage your way through?
1632 MS. SHARON GILL: Yes, we do.
1633 MR. MATHIEU: I am proud to say that I advise Ms. Gill and I was up to recently involved in a religious station in Montreal and I know the differences between religious broadcasting in the U.S. because I engineered a station there, and the difference in Canadian religious broadcasting. I'm fully aware of the religious policy of the CRTC. I believe the year is 1993. I forget the number, please apologize -- I apologize but I'm well aware and I can guide her through this.
1634 And so far, it's programs that are produced for Canada. Thus, the programs are not -- how can I describe it -- against the policy. There are certain things that they may do in other countries that we are not going to do here.
1635 For instance, beg for money and things like that doesn't happen in Canada and it certainly won’t happen at Radio India.
1636 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. On your business plan, how did you develop your revenue projections for national revenue? Your estimates range from, I think, 20 percent of revenues in year 1 to 32 percent of your total in year 7. And I ask because the industry average for national revenue for ethnic stations is more like 5-6 percent range. So that kind of caught my eye.
1637 MR. MATHIEU: I went with what was happening with Ms. Gill’s father who was operating, leasing the airtime on the U.S. station some years ago. This situation doesn't exist anymore but we still have the legacy of what happened of the numbers and we based ourselves on that.
1638 Then I have access to ad agencies, your target radio, and people like that that I have consulted and it is not uncommon in markets like Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto. I'm also involved in a station near Toronto that’s ethnic that I'm just finishing the installation and I'm involved with the owner and the national publicity is there and although the ---
1639 THE CHAIRPERSON: They're getting those kinds of numbers? You’ve seen those numbers?
1640 MR. MATHIEU: Well, not exactly our numbers but our percentage.
1641 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, that sort of --you're getting that sort of percentage so that ---
1642 MR. MATHIEU: I’m confident with those numbers honestly. Maybe Mr. Joseph has some comments or Ms. Drew?
1643 MR. JOSEPH: In addition to what Mike said, I would like to add we have taken about 10 years of data from CRTC website for compound annual growth of the websites. So that's about 11.4 percent CAGR from CRTC website for Edmonton station.
1644 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, compound annual growth for 11 percent?
1645 MR. JOSEPH: Eleven point four (11.4) percent.
1646 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that’s through the website ---
1647 MR. JOSEPH: For Edmonton station, yes, overall total Edmonton station.
1648 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
1649 The other thing that was a little eye-popping was your plan showing 14 and a half percent profit in year 1. It's most unusual to see anybody forecasting a profit in year 1. So I mean good for you but it does catch the attention and perhaps spends disbelief for some.
1650 So maybe you could explain where -- why you would be able to do that when very few, if any, imagine being able to do something.
1651 MR. MATHIEU: There is already a staff there at Radio India. We are explaining to you that some of the programming here will come from Surrey, some will be people that will move here and will have local people here.
1652 All those things are synergies and they work. They work now on the Internet. Stations profitable now on the Internet, otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. So we feel and we’re very comfortable with that.
1653 To reassure the Commission, you have -- and if you want them, I’ve got them here, on a confidential situation, Ms. Gills, financial profile. She’s got the mean to keep that station going for seven years without problems.
1654 So we are confident that -- we’re confident that this will happen.
1655 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. So obviously, I’m taking it from this that if you were successful with your application here, the online Radio India continues to operate. Is that correct?
1656 MR. MATHIEU: Well, it’s going to be the programming of Radio India Edmonton that’s going to be fed online. We’re going to keep going on another site ---
1657 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you still have ---
1658 MR. MATHIEU: --- for ---
1659 THE CHAIRMAN: Would you still have an online entity serving Surrey?
1660 MR. MATHIEU: Exactly, yes.
1661 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. And those companies would be separate companies, but synergistic?
1662 MR. MATHIEU: It’s still Radio India Ltd., as far as I understand.
1663 MS. GILL: But they would be separately operating.
1664 THE CHAIRMAN: Separately operated and ---
1665 MS. GILL: But managed by the same ---
1666 THE CHAIRMAN: And Edmonton would also have an online presence, I ---
1667 MS. GILL: Yes.
1668 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, of course.
1669 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Okay.
1670 MR. MATHIEU: Online and on the iPad, iPhone and all these new technologies.
1671 THE CHAIRMAN: So why didn’t you have a distinct financial plan for your alternate AM frequency?
1672 MR. MATHIEU: Because the way we did our budget, Mr. Joseph and I, we did it wide enough because if you look at the contours, actually the AM situation reaches a little bit more people than the FM.
1673 Reason why we prefer the FM, and maybe Sharon can explain better, we need to cater to the wide demographic of people.
1674 We are going to be a lot of talk. We’re 45 percent talk. We’re going to be 55 per cent music. People would like to hear that music in stereo if possible.
1675 So if the Commission decides to licence us on the FM band, we’ve got the stereo. If the Commission decides to licence us on the AM band, okay, we don’t have the stereo, but we’ve got the reach. So reaching the same people. The coverage is the same. There is no difference.
1676 THE CHAIRMAN: But it costs more. Generally, AM is more expensive to operate.
1677 MR. MATHIEU: Well, I will discuss that this afternoon. I heard a few things here and there. You understand I am a broadcast engineer. I am not a licensed professional engineer. Maybe Mr. Pelser could explain certain things about my experience.
1678 I’ve been in broadcasting for 53 years and I’ve built many radio stations. What is on front of us right now ---
1679 THE CHAIRMAN: I don’t doubt your credentials, but ---
1680 MR. MATHIEU: But -- no, but ---
1681 THE CHAIRMAN: --- I’ve been listening for nine years to people telling me that AM is more expensive than FM.
1682 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah, and you have applications here that are very expensive on AM. We are making use of what we call a Valcom antenna, a fibre glass antenna that’s going to go on top of the building in the industrial park. That’s inexpensive. Antenna cost about $30,000.
1683 If you’re going to go on the CBC side, like we’re proposing on 106.5 or the FM frequency, we’ve got to buy highly directional antenna, we’ve got to do this according to CBC specs. That can get expensive. So one weighs the other.
1684 And for us, there’s not a lot of difference in the game. The game is almost the same, expense-wise. There may be three or $4,000, but ---
1685 THE CHAIRMAN: So the reason there’s no separate financial plan is you just don’t see it ---
1686 MR. MATHIEU: No.
1687 THE CHAIRMAN: --- making that significant a difference in your ---
1688 MR. MATHIEU: No. And we’re very comfortable with that.
1689 THE CHAIRMAN: --- in your pluses and minuses overall?
1690 MR. MATHIEU: Yeah.
1691 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. It also -- so where will the new advertisers, 40 percent of your revenue forecast is from, quote-unquote, “new advertisers”, and as mentioned to others today, Alberta has seen much, much better days than it’s seeing right now.
1692 Edmonton may be less awkward than other parts of the province and that sort of stuff, so what inspires you to think that in a market in which radio revenues have gone down for two years, and we’ll probably -- you know, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a third-year drop and that sort of stuff, that you would be able to get 40 percent of your revenue from new advertisers?
1693 Because there’s a lot of radio stations out there looking for them and they don’t seem to be able to find them.
1694 MS. DREW: I think by having connections in the community, we know who the small businesses are and, for the most part, the immigrants that come into Alberta aren’t -- they’re starting their own businesses that aren’t directly dependant on oil and gas.
1695 So we’ve looked at different magazines and publications like Pakistan Post West and the Weekly Canadian Express and there’s all kinds of other Filipino media that are print and online and it’s almost as easy as going in and looking at those publications and finding who the advertisers are by looking at the ads and calling them up.
1696 So they -- while other markets seem to be shrinking, immigrants are growing, and since that’s a growing market, then we feel that there’s good possibilities for getting those advertisers because they aren’t solicited as often.
1697 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. I understand that. You’re going to get them from print?
1698 MS. DREW: Yeah.
1699 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. I understand.
1700 MS. GILL: And I also just wanted to add that we -- my team and I, we went into the Edmonton community and we spoke with local businesses. Our targeted people that we would target and a lot of them, we had over 200 letters of support from local businesses and they all pledged to advertise, should we get a licence.
1701 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Thank you. That was helpful.
1702 MR. MATHIEU: Those interventions are on file with the Commission, by the way.
1703 THE CHAIRMAN: I’m sorry, I was distracted.
1704 MR. MATHIEU: I said those intervention that Sharon is talking about are on file with the Commission.
1705 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, thank you.
1706 MR. MATHIEU: We did file them as positive intervention.
1707 THE CHAIRMAN: So do you believe Edmonton could support more than one new station?
1708 MR. MATHIEU: Definitely, sir.
1709 THE CHAIRMAN: And if so, if there -- what impact would that have on your business plan?
1710 MR. MATHIEU: Well, when we did the business plan, again, and Mr. Joseph may want to add to that, we know there’s a station here and we were expecting that high of a turnout in these proceedings. The reason is there’s opportunity and there’s a demand.
1711 It costs a lot of money to come here today in preparing an application, getting market study, business plan, engineering plans and whatever. So people are all doing that for one reason: they know there’s a market. They know they can make some money.
1712 There is an existing broadcaster here, and I’m delighted to hear what was said before at this hearing that we are broadcasters. We are to a degree competitors, but we don’t want to stab each other in the back.
1713 If we are intelligent enough to adjust the programming and the targeting, everybody can live and everybody has its place in the sun. And as a broadcaster of 53 years, I’m very happy to say that, sir, it’s my life.
1714 So I think Sharon could comment, but I think you can easily licence us plus another station and we have an existing station and I think it will work.
1715 And if you wish to ask me technical questions, I would love to comment on certain things via the AM band especially. I know in FM, there’s one frequency ---
1716 THE CHAIRMAN: If I were to ask you technical questions, I’d risk looking foolish, and I don’t want to do that. So thank you. And that did sound like five decades of experience in the radio industry.
1717 MR. JOSEPH: I would like to add one -- sorry. I would like to add one, in addition to Mike.
1718 In the executive summary of business plan, I have stated that the company also intends to narrow the gap between Edmonton’s ratio of ethnic radio station per person from the current 795,600 per person per ethnic radio station to about 397,830 per person.
1719 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1720 MS. GILL: And I just wanted to add on and say that any business is competitive. Radio is not any different. You’re better off licensing two stations instead of coming back in a couple of years and having another hearing, because the community and the population of Edmonton is growing.
1721 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Yes, I mean, the reason I asked the question is several years ago, we were in Edmonton in the spring of 2008, when everybody thought the price of oil was going to hit $200. And by October 2008, everybody thought capitalism had come to an end. So things can change very quickly and a number of stations were licensed at that time, and there were mixed results.
1722 So I mean you never know what’s around the corner obviously, but it’s a matter of concern for us that people have the ability to cope with those things.
1723 MS. DREW: Right, and our research show that while the radio market at large was pretty flat, ethnic radio is growing and growing.
1724 And in fact, in Edmonton, immigration continues to be very positive here in ethnic communities, despite the mass exodus of people from across Canada going back to their homes in the Maritimes and those kinds of things.
1725 So we think that, you know, if you’re going to license more than one station, yeah, licensing more than one ethnic radio station makes a lot of sense.
1726 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1727 MR. MATHIEU: If you’ll allow me, I have worked a lot in mainstream and ethnic station, and there’s a big difference between ethnic broadcasting and mainstream broadcasting. And for whatever reason, ethnic broadcasting is specialized and it’s more dynamic, and competition seems to not hurt as much as in the mainstream.
1728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
1729 I believe you addressed in here concern regarding Ms. Gill’s ability, as sort of sole shareholder, I take it, to finance any losses. In terms of that, that you have established, put on the record for us your financial capacities to launch and sustain this project, should it not start making money the first year.
1730 MR. MATHIEU: I have a personal, confidential document that was sent to the Commission. If you wish, we can deposit with the Commission right now.
1731 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry; has that already been ---
1732 MR. MATHIEU: Yes, it was filed with the application, yes.
1733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Then we already have it, okay.
1734 MR. MATHIEU: Okay, but if there’s any problem, we have it, we’ll be delighted to ---
1735 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, that’s fine.
1736 MR. MATHIEU: Okay.
1737 THE CHAIRPERSON: We already have it, we already have it.
1738 Those are my questions. Colleagues? No?
1739 I guess I’ve been comprehensive in that regard. Legal? None.
1740 Thank you very much for your presentation and your ambition.
1741 I believe we are now adjourning the hearing for today. We will resume at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Thank you.
--- Upon adjourning at 5:06 p.m.
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