Transcript, Hearing November 29, 2017
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date: November 29, 2017
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Attendees and Location
Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale
North York Centre
3450 Dufferin Street
- Hearing Chairperson: Christopher MacDonald
- Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting: Caroline J. Simard
- Commissioner: Linda Vennard
- Legal Advisor: Crystal Hulley-Craig
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Rachel Marleau
--- Upon commencing on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 9:02 a.m
1037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
1038 Madam Secretary.
1039 MS. ROY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and good morning, everyone.
1040 Today we will proceed with the Georgina Market portion of the hearing. We will begin Phase 1 and Item 4 on the agenda, which is an application by My Broadcasting Corporation for broadcasting licence to operate an English language commercial FM radio station in Georgina.
1041 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
1042 MR. POLE: Thank you very much.
1043 Good morning, Mr. Chair, Commissioners.
1044 It is our pleasure to be here today to discuss awarding My Broadcasting Corporation with the privilege to serve the citizens of Georgina with a local FM radio station. Before we present our plans for this new radio station, I would like to introduce our panel.
1045 My name is Jon Pole, and I’m the President and co-owner of My Broadcasting Corporation. MBC started in 2004 and has grown from one radio station with six employees to 19 stations, two repeaters, and 150 employees across Ontario.
1046 In this short time, we have been awarded with business service and Chamber of Commerce awards for our work in each of our local markets. We have been nominated numerous times for Canada’s Best Corporate Culture Award, and we’ve been ranked for seven consecutive years on Profit 500, Canada’s fastest growing companies list featured in Maclean’s magazine.
1047 We are, however, a small, Ontario, main street company, and our head office is in Renfrew, Ontario, which is a population of 8,500.
1048 Personally, I have 28 years of radio experience, including announcing, programming, and sales management.
1049 To my immediate left is Andrew Dickson. Andrew is the Vice President and co-owner of My Broadcasting Corporation. Andrew has a long career in media including television, radio, owning and operating a publishing company for emerging Canadian writers.
1050 To Andrew's left is Shanon Edwards. Shanon has been with My Broadcasting Corporation for seven years, and he’s in charge of our Web site management and our local media -- our social media platforms for the group.
1051 To Shanon's left is Cindy Clyne. Cindy is our Group News Director. She joined us from 580 CFRA in Ottawa in 2006; and under her leadership, we are very proud of our dedication to local news coverage. MBC has over 50 news and sports staff, which makes our news team one of largest radio newsrooms in the province.
1052 Today we would like to present you our proposal for a local FM service for Georgina, Ontario. The planning for this service for Georgina started at MBC in 2014. Our application was submitted to the Commission on April 17th, 2015. While the timeline has been long, we are still very excited about this opportunity.
1053 In choosing the frequency for Georgina, our goal was to find a way to serve Georgina effectively with a technical installation which would both be affordable to install and, more importantly, to operate. There is no attempt to overreach the market or to create a rim-shot into other markets such as Barrie or Orillia.
1054 The most effective way to serve a market technically is from a centrally located antenna with a non-directional (Omni) antenna. If protection requirements preclude running omnidirectional, then a mildly directional antenna is the best solution. The proposed antenna site is midway between Jackson's Point/Sutton and Keswick. It achieves our coverage objectives very well, while requiring a maximum effective radiated power of only 2.9 kilowatts.
1055 Now, another, less technical way to say this is our proposed signal is really only designed to best serve, solely, Georgina; and signal-wise, it will be suitable to only serve Georgina. Our programming and news coverage will reflect the lifestyles of the people living inside those contours; they are our only interest. We believe that we have a winning formula and a track record of success with our approach to super-serving small markets in Ontario. Our formula includes having outstanding local news coverage; a predictable sales and business strategy; and most important, being a strong and active community partner.
1056 Like most of our MBC markets, Georgina sits in the shadows of large markets. Our success in small markets in Ontario has been to offer a local radio choice that keeps residents connected to their community, and protects the rural identity of that community. It is our intent to bring the MBC level of community involvement, support, and success to Georgina.
1057 In 2014, we determined that Georgina could support its own radio station, using our evaluation model and local interviews with key business and community members. Since that time, the Commission and other applicants have validated our position.
1058 At MBC we take financial forecasting very seriously. In building our small market radio stations and determining sales projections since our first radio station in 2004, we have consistently delivered on our numbers submitted in each application. A strong financial plan that is deliverable is one of the main requirements of the Commission. Our team knows how to successfully forecast and deliver. Our group synergies offer the local station more time in the community, and the financial backing to be able to succeed right out of the gates.
1059 I'll now ask Andrew Dickson to give you a brief overview of our findings specific to Georgina.
1061 MR. DICKSON: Good morning, Commissioners.
1062 We feel confident that our proposed station in Georgina will have little to no impact on any other radio markets. As Jon outlined, our technical signal will not over-reach beyond Georgina as our singular goal is to serve only the residents of Georgina.
1063 Unlike most small towns in Ontario, Georgina is actually quite large geographically stretching 25 kilometres east/west by 11 kilometres north/south. It is made up of a number of small communities. These include Pefferlaw, Sutton, Jackson's Point, and the largest centre being Keswick. Georgina enjoys a significant tourism industry as it sits on the south shore of Lake Simcoe.
1064 These facts are important as we determined the financial aspect of our proposal. You’ll see that our financial projections are much different than the other two applicants. Traditionally, the formula of estimating potential revenue for a radio station is a straightforward percentage of retail sales in the market. In this case, there are a number of other factors that need to be taken into account with the retail sales formula being only the starting point.
1065 The fact that there is a significant tourism industry identifies a high level of seasonality to a number of the businesses. We have experience of the impact tourism has in our radio stations’ revenue in Gananoque, Port Elgin, Kincardine, and in Goderich.
1066 The fact that there is only one new car dealership in Georgina and no major furniture stores drastically affect the potential revenue projections. These two retail sectors represent about 23 percent of retail sales and are big radio advertisers.
1067 Georgina is not a typical small market, and small markets operate much different than larger communities.
1068 The fact that the communities are spread across a large geographic area means that the retail businesses are also spread through the different communities and that they are more “Mom and Pop” type businesses. Unlike larger centres with numerous new car dealerships and bigger businesses, radio sales in Georgina is going to be garnered by challenging work, on the street selling advertising to very small businesses. This is not a new challenge to MBC. This is the DNA of our group of stations. We'll be providing advertising opportunities to small restaurants, hairdressers, seasonal tourism operators, vehicle repair shops, jewellery stores, et cetera; something we do every day of the week, 52 weeks a year in all of our other markets across Ontario.
1069 We know what needs to be done; we know the potential revenue for Georgina based on our experience, and we are confident in our revenue numbers. Georgina will not be a big billing radio station, but it will be just like most of our smaller markets where we operate and are able to turn a small profit.
1070 In order for us to succeed with a new radio station in this market, we need to have a team and product that is locally driven and locally focused. Our success in our other markets -- other small markets is based on being more than a jukebox. For example, we believe in impact. Impact is when one of our local teams makes a difference in the market. Two recent examples of impact in similar size markets to Georgina would be raising more than $75,000 with the all-day radiothon in Kincardine for the Kincardine and District Hospital Foundation. And in Exeter, our team raised $40,600 for Jessica's House, a palliative care centre.
1071 Keep in mind; these markets are less than 10,000 people. These all-day broadcasts provided the local community with information about their local health service needs, and inspired them to make a financial contribution to help support the health service needs, and inspired them to make a financial contribution to help support the cause.
1072 These events are not one‑offs, they are part of our regular programming and community connection plans for all our markets. We will have similar events in Georgina.
1073 Our experience and research has shown that Georgina is ready for a station to call their own. 93.7 FM will provide a variety-based music format drawing from GOLD and Today's Contemporary hits.
1074 93.7 FM will succeed because we will do what radio does best -- deliver relevant local news and information, and interact with our community on the street level, something that is not currently available in Georgina.
1075 At MBC we have a term called "touch-points". Our radio signal is only one of our relevant touch points that we will be offering the community as the local station.
1076 To talk about how 93.7 FM will reach beyond just the FM Dial, I'd like to have Shanon Edwards talk about our digital assets and how they will impact Georgina.
1078 MR. EDWARDS: Good morning.
1079 Andrew mentioned our touch points. I want to share a little more information about how that works. But I want to first talk about digital.
1080 93.7 FM will obviously have a website, an app, live streaming, and Facebook and Twitter feeds. We use all of these platforms to connect with our audience, and generate revenue. At the end of the day, these platforms are just that, platforms. It's the content you place on them that drives the engagement and value to the consumer, both reader and client.
1081 With the launch of the new 93.7 FM, we will also launch a full service local news web portal that will host local news, local events, and promotions. Our website and mobile version will be a daily go-to hub for local news, pictures and audio in the community.
1082 If you look at our touch points, you will see our radio signal, our website, our social media, our email blasts, and our community involvement. Each touch point in our programming is designed to lead a listener to the next one. While we use this system for promotions of contests and events, we primarily use it for local content that matters to the community.
1083 We realize that not everyone will love our music, but by using touch points they may use our web portal, or they may subscribe to our email blasts, or any other combination. The goal is to be able to reach as many citizens as possible with both daily news, and breaking news.
1084 Let me give you a recent example using a market similar to Georgina. Renfrew, which is about the same size.
1085 On Friday, October 27 of this year, we had a terrible car accident that involved four local hockey players in their teens. Two were killed. Two were injured. This story was on our radio news, on our website and as a breaking news email alert. Our social media platforms featured the story and updates and offered the audience the opportunity to share the stories and offer condolences.
1086 Further to this, we hosted a special pre‑game ceremony on the ice at the arena in front of a packed crowd to honour the players and raise $10,000 to help the families with medical and funeral costs. Our play by play team then covered the game itself, and our morning team and newsroom produced a special 30‑minute tribute to the players that aired before the game. That special was then placed on our website as a podcast, and promoted on-air, online, and via social media platforms.
1087 That podcast has been played close to 2,500 times so far. That's how touch points work. It's about relevant content, and moving the audience from one to the other. This is how you become an important member of the community -- not a jukebox.
1088 We use this system in all markets and formats. Georgina's 93.7 FM will use our digital resources to create and move content that matters to Georgina from the on‑air signal to and from all our platforms.
1089 I mentioned that platforms are only as good as the content, and to speak specifically about our local news is Cindy Clyne.
1091 MS. CLYNE: Thank you. Good Morning Commissioners.
1092 So since 2004, and each year since, for every MBC market, we do research and we ask our listeners, "why do you listen to your local station?" And every year we get the same answer -- local news. Local News out ranks music, contests, and announcers. So, since 2004, MBC has invested heavily in local news. While other groups cut back, we have expanded, and when other groups cancelled Canadian Press subscriptions, we invested. The importance of local news has never been lost on us. Why? Because when we ask our listeners, they tell us what they want, and we deliver.
1093 A study released earlier this month from NuVoodoo Media Services found that people trust local radio to provide timely and accurate news. From a choice of 20 media outlets, local radio was the most trusted news source. This study was not a surprise to our newsroom, it simply supported what we've been doing, and validated why we do it. We're excited to provide this level of dedication to the residents of Georgina.
1094 93.7 FM staff in Georgina will attend and report on local events, they'll attend local meetings of the Chamber of Commerce, municipal meetings, business improvement meetings, school board, and more. Our newscasts will be primarily driven by local news and information that impacts daily life in Georgina.
1095 This access is key as Georgina is unique as it's made up of pockets of population. There's no daily newspaper, no local radio, no local TV. Georgina's 93.7 FM will fill this void both on-air and with our local news hub online.
1096 Local news and information is the foundation of this proposed service. We'll provide a full local news service with full-time and part-time news staff. The 93.7 FM newsroom will also be supported with the resources of the MBC news team for added regional and provincial coverage and the Canadian Press for breaking national news.
1097 I do want to mention the benefits we've discovered in our newsroom by having such a specific focus on small and medium markets across the province. While our individual newsrooms cover their specific market, we're always collaborating as a team.
1098 For example, the news team in Napanee may discover an issue facing their local hospital on spending cuts. Well, Napanee will share that information internally, and then our other markets investigate and determine if their local hospital is experiencing the same issue.
1099 All of our markets are unique; however, the challenges in small and medium markets are often similar. Also, our scale gives us the opportunity for improved local coverage.
1100 We had a small plane crash near Calabogie, Ontario, so our Renfrew County stations had complete coverage of that. It turns out the pilot was from Goderich, Ontario, so now both of our markets had better coverage and could contribute to the story 360 degrees, even though geographically those markets are far apart. These types of news links happen daily. So while Georgina will benefit from this unique MBC group resource, our entire group will also benefit from the added resource of the Georgina team.
1101 Our news schedule for 93.7 FM will include 92 newscasts each week with over 80 percent of the information being local. 93.7 will also be active in the sports community, as the arena plays a key community role in many small markets. When you turn on 93.7 FM, there will be no question that it is a Georgina Radio station interested only in Georgina. We intend to be a part of the community on-air, on-line and on the streets.
1102 And Jon is now going to summarize our application.
1103 MR. POLE: Our entire team at My Broadcasting Corporation is committed to building local small market radio stations that are involved and interactive with the communities that we serve. Our goal in 2014 when we started preparing our application for Georgina was to provide the market with their first local radio service. We are excited to have the opportunity to bring the residents of Georgina a local radio station.
1104 Georgina's 93.7 will be owned and operated by a company that has experience, financial resources, the skills and the systems to succeed specifically in the small market environment. Our entire small market radio group has been successfully built this way, by serving markets like Georgina.
1105 93.7 FM will provide news diversity to Georgina by providing daily local news coverage that is currently unavailable in the market and reflects the daily life in Georgina. The news coverage will extend beyond our signal and include multiple digital platforms and streams.
1106 The addition of 93.7 FM to Georgina will have little to no impact on any other radio market. This station will live and survive in Georgina. The programming will fill a void and focus on Georgina. Technically, our signal has been designed to only serve Georgina.
1107 Georgina deserves its own local radio station, and we hope you agree that it is in the citizens of Georgina's best interest that My Broadcasting Corporation is awarded this license. MBC will keep local radio in Georgina strong for many years to come.
1108 We'd now be happy to answer any of your questions. Thank you.
1109 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, and welcome.
1110 I do have a few questions, but thanks to your presentation this morning you've addressed some of them.
1111 But let's just start off with the local programming. You know, you're clearly of the opinion that there is a gap in locally relevant programming in this market right now, even though there may be a wealth of listening options in the region from a music standpoint. I’m just curious as to –- if you can expand a little bit more upon how you intend to fill that gap?
1112 MR. POLE: Yeah, our position has always been specific to small markets, and if you look at –- I can just bring up the map here –- if you look at where all of our stations are geographically located, many of them are in the shadows of large markets. And certainly with today’s technology, any market anywhere in the world you could say there's no doubt a lack of music programming. Anywhere you are in the world now with this device, every format you could ever want to hear is available to you.
1113 And what we found, and our success has been based on, is that in markets specifically that shadow large markets, there is definitely a lack of local news coverage. So for Georgina for example, the only time they make the news is when something bad happens. Yet, there are hundreds of great stories that are taking place in that community every day that the local residents may or may not know about, so that's really the void that we fill.
1114 We mentioned –- Cindy mentioned the news survey we do every year, and we’ve done it every year since 2004, this year we had close to 8,000 people fill it out, so we know statistically it’s pretty much on the mark. But that survey since 2004, every year when we ask our listeners what do they want, local news is always number one. It’s never the music, it’s never the context, it’s never the announcers, it’s always local news.
1115 So while we view ourselves as radio stations and we would be similar to a major market radio station in the sense that we play music, we play news, we play commercials, we’ve always felt that the programming specific to a market like Georgina, in order for it to win, it has to have great local information. And that local information is a mix of news, events, interviews, community happening, contests, live streams and all the different things that we do. And that's really the backbone of the success of a station like this.
1116 It's easy to put a station on and play music, and it’s easy to say, “I can program the music better than you.” But we found that what makes our station different is the local news, because it has to also come back to the business model. And the business model is, if I sell a small business in Georgina a flight of commercials, the people that have -- are going to shop at that store have to be interested in what we’re talking about.
1117 So they can –- right now in Georgina you can hear in classic rock, you can hear, you know, Shania Twain on a bunch of stations, you can hear Taylor Swift. What you cannot get, is to find out why the school is closed because there's asbestos or why, you know, Main Street is torn up and when that project is going to be done. There is no local daily link to that information.
1118 And we find by providing that, what happens is the audience that is specifically interested in that information, they listen. And some of them like our music, I mean our format is always, you know, it’s safe for a dentist office, so when you’re getting your root canal you can enjoy some great sounds and information. And our audience usually defines our format as, “I don’t maybe like this song, but I know I’ll like the next one.” But they stay because they want the local information, so that's really what drives our format. We spend a lot more time on the local news and information than most other broadcasters, because in our markets that's what’s missing.
1119 If I was sitting here talking about a radio station in Toronto, my opinion might be different. I might be more focused on quarter hours and hit songs and researching the music more, but for us we spend our time on news and information. And Cindy’s -- the point we brought up earlier -- and Cindy gets full credit for this -- we have built a large radio newsroom. Rogers Radio, which has two major market news stations, they're the only group that has more local radio and news people than us, and those stations are in Toronto and Ottawa. And here we are in Exeter, Gananoque, Napanee, Brighton, investing heavily in news. And I could save a lot of money and I could buy a lot more nice shoes and have a nicer car, if I didn’t have those news people. But the reality is, it’s that part of our business that drives our success, because it's what makes us different than every other station that pours into the market, either over the air or on this device.
1120 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that. And I think you're right, it’s probably fair to assume that the music would be the only thing a person would enjoy, but not getting the root canal.
1121 On the topic of, you know, continuing topic of trying to quench that thirst for local news and local information, you’ve said in your application that you would have 14 hours of spoken word programming, including five hours of news, of which 80 percent would be local or regional. Can you educate me on where and how that news and other programming would be produced? Will it all be produced in Georgina or will it be scattered among different stations?
1122 MR. POLE: Sure, I’ll let -- I’m going to let Cindy talk specifically to the news because that's her forte. But the majority of the programming that will be produced in Georgina for Georgina will take place in Georgina. Obviously, as a group with resources scattered not only in the region, but across the province, there are times where other news people will step in and help whether there's breaking news -- and let me give you an example.
1123 In Goderich when the tornado hit a few years ago, it was on the weekend, so on the weekend we have centres that handle the news from multiple stations to make sure they're being watched, and if there's breaking news they put it on. After the tornado hit in Goderich, we were on the air within four minutes with information. Now, that information was being provided by their regional hub so that their local Goderich/Exeter/ Kincardine news team could go immediately to the site, versus coming to the station and repeating information that we could get on the air from anywhere.
1124 So the answer is yeah, it’s being produced locally, but sometimes somebody from outside the market might be helping out. But the day-to-day -- and Cindy can answer this a little bit better that I can -- the day-to-day normal workday of the majority of the information for Georgina is produced and curated in Georgina.
1125 Cindy, do you want to just talk about how we do that?
1126 MS. CLINE: Yes. So we will have morning news and afternoon news done from Georgina. Our reporters are very boots on the ground type of journalist, they're out at municipal meetings, they're covering events. And as John said, there are times where we call in a group announcer to read a Georgina newscast, but that's simply to free up that Georgina reporter to go and cover something. So the resources of the group is more of a benefit than it could ever be a hindrance. There's certainly no concern that we would be, you know, doing the Georgina news from the Renfrew newsroom. We like to have our people local, because we know that that's what it takes to succeed.
1127 MR. POLE: And the content of our newscast -- one of the greatest compliments I get is one of my friends from the big cities come and they listen to our news and sometimes they chuckle and they go, “Is that all really news?” And I say, “It’s not to you because you don’t live here and you don’t care, so it’s not news to you. But the people that live in town, they care about these little news stories.” Because keep in mind –- and I say this with great respect of our news team –- we’re not CNN. We don’t have major breaking news stories happening in our market that make those terrible newscast on all the major networks, they're not happening. So our news is very real world, very impacting you, what's going on today in town, what do you need to know about and how can you help someone else today.
1128 And to their credit, when we do have breaking news, whether it ‘be the Goderich tornado or some of the other terrible accidents we’ve had, our news team does a tremendous job stepping up and actually covering that news really well. And they can do that because the local people have the flexibility to get out in the market and know that the group will then step in and cover the task that they can cover and let them be out there, so it really works as a huge benefit. Because again, a lot of these markets are small markets.
1129 I would argue that most other operators if they owned our markets probably wouldn’t have as many news people as we do, and that's just a personal preference that Andrew and I had when we started, which is we believe that's what makes the radio stations great, so we’ve invested heavily in it. But in a lot of these markets, you know, our news staff -- I’m sure that if a CFO of a major publicly traded broadcasting company had a pen and pencil, they would start scratching out those positions. But we believe in them and we found a way to make them be impactful on the air, online, but also working to a financial model that makes the stations profitable.
1130 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I take your point about, you know, people sharing resources from neighbouring stations so, you know, individuals in Georgina can be dispatched to cover something local. But would you see scenarios whereby there’d be sharing of perhaps an interview in Renfrew that might for whatever reason be very locally relevant in Georgina, perhaps a local politician, perhaps ---
1131 MR. POLE: For sure.
1132 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- an accident that's going on?
1133 MR. POLE: Yeah, I mean I can give you a few examples. Prime Minister Trudeau went to the plowing match in Exeter, so obviously our Exeter news team covered that event and they provided coverage that was relevant to the group, being that it was the Prime Minister, to the group. And some markets maybe chose to use that story because it was relevant to their market and some maybe didn’t. But I can give you a good example –- and Cindy, you can correct me if I’m wrong on this, but there was a fire executive -- I can’t remember if he was a fire chief or an executive fire chief in Peterborough that left Peterborough to go to one of our other markets. So we had the story in Peterborough because it was relevant to Peterborough and got information and interviews, but the market where he was being hired to go and work, now all of a sudden they had that information and we actually had it before the other town had actually, you know, announced that he was coming.
1134 And it’s amazing, in our group frequently stories happen where something’s taking place in Napanee and it might be relevant in Renfrew because the person being interviewed might be originally from Renfrew, or maybe they’re moving to Renfrew, or they have a Renfrew connection. And those stories are all shared in -- on our internal network and then the newscasters in each market determine whether they feel that they’re relevant. But the information is there.
1135 Cindy, I would say it’s probably reasonable that the new team also communicates quite frequently about things that they working on and ask the other news, “Is there anything you need from this?” So let me give you a good example, can you just share how we communicated with the news this week of the newspapers being shut down?
1136 MS. CLYNE: Yeah, like immediately, as soon as we heard we started brainstorming on ways to cover the story. We had several markets affected. I believe Quinte West, and ---
1137 MR. POLE: Peterborough.
1138 MS. CLYNE: --- Kingston lost a paper.
1139 MR. POLE: Yeah.
1140 MS. CLYNE: Which is near one of our markets, Peterborough, and ---
1141 MR. POLE: St. Thomas.
1142 MS. CLYNE: --- on in West Carleton, which we cover with our Empire station. So it was a huge story for us, so we shared ideas on different angles we could take on it. I think that we do share stories if they make sense regionally. For instance, if there’s a big weather event, Georgina may share, you know, that story with Alliston and Orangeville because that kind of makes sense; they’re getting the same weather system.
1143 But you know, primarily, 80 to 90 percent of the stuff is just specific to the market. But we do enjoy that benefit of this large network of 50 news people that can work together, and it really is a big team and they do work together daily.
1144 MR. POLE: Yeah, so -- sorry; going back to the news story. So there we have four or five of ours being affected by newspapers closing. So instead of having six news people call them, one newsperson would call for comment and then share that comment with all the other markets. So one person would do the work, so that means four other people have time to do something else in their market.
1145 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. On the topic of your team, and I ask this because you noted in your opening remarks that, you know, your application was made in 2005, and here we are ---
1146 MR. POLE: Two thousand fifteen (2015).
1147 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, sorry; 2000 ---
1148 MR. POLE: It’s not that -- yeah.
1149 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, 2015. Okay.
1150 MR. POLE: It’s been a while but ---
1151 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, good. We’re not that slow.
1152 MR. POLE: Yeah.
1153 THE CHAIRPERSON: But it has taken some time to get here. So I just want to confirm that your estimated staffing levels have remained unchanged, approximately five people?
1154 MR. POLE: Yeah, it would be approximately the same. What we’ve found over the years is what changes that number is not necessarily the financial part of the business; it’s actually the people part. We have found, especially now that we’ve gotten to the size that we are, that there’s the odd time where we might find someone that’s from Georgina that’s really awesome and they want to work for us. But we don’t actually need them in Georgina, but we can put them there because they live there and maybe they provide us some other benefit. They’re traffic -- they do traffic; they do accounting; maybe they’re really good music schedulers.
1155 So that would be the only thing that would change it is if we found somebody that just happens to live in that market, it would go up. They might not be specifically directly to Georgina; they might work for the group. But that would be the only thing that would change it.
1156 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
1157 You’d also said that you would be broadcasting five hours of non-local wraparound programming each week. And I’m just wondering if you can unpack that for me a little bit; tell me what that’s going to be and why you feel that that is the -- of interest and benefit to the residents of Georgina.
1158 MR. POLE: Yeah, you know, and that programming, those are guestimate numbers, and if we did a real hardcore analysis we might find it’s actually substantially less than that. But let me give you two examples. On Friday and Saturday nights we run a program called The Weekend House Party, and The Weekend House Party is hosted by Shannon and another one of our announcers, Jessica. And they produce that show in Renfrew and it airs on all the stations, and it runs from Friday night at 7:00 until midnight.
1159 And how many breaks do you guys cut for that, maybe 10?
1160 MR. EDWARDS: Ten (10) to 12.
1161 MR. POLE: Ten (10) to 12 breaks. And it’s really just a, “Hey, it’s Friday night” you put it on if you’re sitting on your patio. You’d put it on if you’re playing poker with your buddies, and it’s kind of a variety of music. It’s a little bit wider a music list than we normally play. And it’s just to have a show instead of not having content.
1162 In that show, though, there is lots of local content that is being disbursed in between those breaks. So a listener listening to it would probably not have any indication that it’s not local, because it’s not like the entire span is just packaged and sent. Only those 12 breaks are being sent. So if you look at the hour, if three breaks were running in an hour, how long are those breaks? I know they’re too long. I know they’re too long.
1163 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: They’re too long.
1164 MR. POLE: They’re about a minute or something?
1165 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We try to keep it under a minute.
1166 MR. POLE: Yeah. They’re probably two minutes. Every announcer doesn’t think they’re too long. But if they’re two minutes, so six minutes of that hour would be those tracks that were sent from Renfrew where Shannon and Jessica host the show. But the rest of that hour is played 100 percent from Georgina and it features local coming events, local weather, obviously local commercials and hopefully lots of them, and all the music is coming off the hard drive specific to Georgina.
1167 On Sunday mornings we have a very similar program called the Sunday Morning Music Vault, and that’s actually hosted out of our Simcoe station by Gerry Hamill, and again, it’s the same. It’s a four-hour show hosted by Gerry. It features hits of the sixties and seventies, and Gerry’s show is specifically about the music. He’s telling stories about the songs and the artists, flashing back to this day in history, that kind of thing.
1168 So his 12 or 14 breaks are, yes, produced in Simcoe and shared with the group, but the rest of the hour is 100 percent local. So it has local news. On Sunday’s we do a week -- this week in the news in review where we highlight some of the stories we covered. So, again, the audience listening just hears Gerry talking specifically about music, whereas during the week they’re talking more about local events. And again, it’s Sunday from 8:00 until noon.
1169 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1170 MR. POLE: So that’s an example of where we just do one simple show and they don’t do anything -- Gerry doesn’t do anything specific for each market. He just does a, for lack of a better term, a generic show,
1171 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
1172 You have a large number of stations. I’m just wondering if you can explain to me what, if any, synergies you expect to be created between the different stations. When I look at the breakdown of the employees that you expect to have in Georgina, I don’t see, you know, an IT person; I don’t see an HR person, finance. Are those the areas of your operation where you think you’ll be able to realize synergies, and has that been reflected in the financial projections that you submitted?
1173 MR. POLE: Yes. I’ll let Andrew speak to how we actually divide up the expenses. But, generally, how we like to operate the station on a very simple viewpoint is everybody who works in the station is working for the community.
1174 So the salespeople are dealing with business owners and out going to local events; in a lot of cases getting clips and pictures for the news department as well. The news people in that market are working specifically in that market going to events. The General Manager is usually part of Rotary, and you know, helps out the schools and the hospitals.
1175 All of the stuff that doesn’t need to be done there, that’s the stuff that we synergize. So for example, all of our music scheduling for My FM is done from Napanee; all our music scheduling for our oldies stations is done from Coburg. Our HR -- a lot of our stuff -- we always felt when we started in 2004, we tried to spread the duties out so that we didn’t ever have this headquarter island. So that if you worked in St. Thomas, you would be saying, “Oh, well in Renfrew they get everything because that’s head office.” And we’ve done fairly well at that. However, there are some things that have just naturally happened.
1176 So, for example, Shannon is a good example. Shannon is originally from Los Angles, somehow found a woman in the Ottawa Valley and married her, and showed up at our door. And he’s an example of we hired Shannon because he was the right guy and he just happens to live in Renfrew. If he lived in Georgina, he would be in Georgina. He just happens to live in Renfrew. He handles all of our Web sites. So our news people, while our news people are posting their local content and they’re driving that, if they have a problem the go to Shannon. They don’t have a local guy.
1177 Our IT is headed out of Renfrew and Gananoque and our IT guy, on a daily basis, is making sure all of our systems are running smoothly. The advantage of our group having started in 2004 versus, say, other broadcasters, is -- and some people say this to me like they think it’s a -- it’s an insult, but it’s actually a compliment. They’ll say, “Oh, well, you’re like McDonalds.” I’m like, “We’re exactly like McDonalds,” because if you go into the studio in Gananoque it’s the exact same as the studio in St. Thomas; same equipment, same board, same everything so that we can solve the problem quickly.
1178 So one IT -- or one head IT guy with two support, they can -- you can call and say, “Here’s the problem I’m having.” You’re running the exact same system as we are so we can solve the problem quickly.
1179 Obviously we share resources with some announcers that are more regionally located, but synergies wise, most of the boring stuff, billing, receivables, making sure everyone gets paid, IT, we do all the promotional ware from one place, backend stuff that really doesn’t make a difference to what’s taking place in the market.
1180 Andrew, can you speak to how we spread those expenses out?
1181 MR. DICKSON: Yeah. So when you’re looking at the four categories, programming, IT, admin, and sales, so all the admin stuff is generally spread out across. It’s part of the expenses of every market.
1182 So, for example, traffic would show up in there, and it’s all derived from a percentage of sales, so I just split it up based on the percentage of sales for any market, and that’s the amount of allocation we put towards administration for traffic, for example.
1183 Same thing with IT, all the executive expenses as well, HR. All those types of back office issues are synergized across all 21 markets.
1184 MR. POLE: I think the other interesting thing is, we find a lot of times our markets -- you know, Georgina would be a good example where you have, you know, five or six people working there, they wouldn’t normally have an HR person. We certainly didn’t when we only had six employees when we started in Renfrew in 2004. But what the nice thing is now that we have 150, we have an HR -- two HR people that can specifically deal with problems, and help them, and whatnot.
1185 So anyone that’s sort of a resource is generally spread across the group.
1186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And just so I understand the level of independence that all of the local staff at each of the individual stations have, notwithstanding you may have a few corporate employees scattered in a particular community, does everyone in the station report to the general manager and then the general manager is the conduit back to the mother ship?
1187 MR. POLE: That’s a great question. And it’s -- if we had a flowchart it can often get very confusing.
1188 Cindy handles all the news people and she has a right-hand man, so to speak, in Andrews Buttigieg, that they coordinate all the news people. So I view Cindy as a news consultant. So Cindy and Andrew train all the news people. Cindy will go to the market and show them how to do it, train them, make sure they’re set up right, and then Andrew sort of follows up and makes sure they’re following the systems.
1189 But if they have a daily problem with news, so, for example, say they want to have a question about should we use this person’s name in a news story, is that going to cause us a legal issue, they would refer to Cindy. But if they have a problem about should we cover this news story they would refer to their general manager because it’s the general manager’s responsibility to make sure we’re covering all the things in town that need to be covered.
1190 So it’s a bit of both. Like Cindy works on the style and the sort of systems, and the general manager deals with making sure that when you turn on that radio station it sounds local. It sounds like it’s 100 percent all about that market. So it’s a bit of both.
1191 But there is a lot of -- we kind of view ourselves as one big station instead of a bunch of little ones, because everyone works so closely together.
1192 How our markets work is on Monday mornings every market gets together and has a meeting and they go through everything that’s going on in town and makes sure that we’re covering it in sales, we’re covering it in news, and then that report comes back and is sent to everybody in the company. So by Tuesday afternoon everybody in our company can go through and go okay here’s what they’re doing in Georgina, here’s what we’re doing in St. Thomas, here’s what we’re doing in Renfrew, and that document often is the catalyst for other ideas. So a general manager might go oh they’re doing this in Gananoque, I wonder if we’re -- do we have this problem here in Georgina, and they can follow it up.
1193 So there’s a lot of checks to make sure that we’re doing the right things in the markets, but everyone’s working together.
1194 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
1195 I guess outside of the doctor’s office you really haven’t discussed music.
1196 MR. POLE: M’hm.
1197 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you’ve put forward a proposed format, adult contemporary and gold music blend. And I’m just wondering how you settled on that. Why did you decide that was the best for Georgina versus other popular formats like classic hits?
1198 MR. POLE: Sure. In 2014 when we started putting this application together our myFM brand was, and still continues to be, sort of the foundation of our company. And we’ve always chosen to go that route because one, in operating the group it offers us synergies. We can make sure that the music being programmed is researched, tested, and it’s the right songs at the right time when you have someone that that’s all they do versus having four or five people that just hit a button on a computer and let the music schedule. So we’re very proud of the music we play and the amount of time and effort we put into playing it.
1199 But we found specifically in small markets the hole is the news. So once you fill the hole of the news then you go to the music and you go okay which format would make the most sense. And we have always found, and again in the research that we’ve done in all our other myFM markets that have, you know, similar type audience sizes or population, the easiest format in the world is adult contemporary. It’s by and far, you know, the music format that drives the majority of audience in every market in North America. So when you have to choose you choose the one that’s the winner.
1200 And what we’ve found with adult contemporary is one of the reasons it’s a winner is it offers you flexibility. So as times change, as music research comes in, and hit music is maybe getting tired and you want to go to a more gold based format, you have that flexibility with AC because you can go from playing, you know, maybe 15 or 20 currents to bringing it down to 12 or 14 currents, and you can bring up your 80’s and 90’s category. It’s flexible.
1201 As I kind of said, we view it as the format that you might not like this song but you’ll like the next one. It’s the format that if you put it on and work everyone generally isn’t offended by it. You know, country music, for example, is a format that if you love it, you love it, if you don’t, you don’t want to have anything to do with it. Rock is either too hard or it’s not hard enough. Whereas adult contemporary offers you the widest appeal possible.
1202 Because again if you look at our touchpoints, our goal is to bring in as many people as possible to the radio signal and then once we have them with local news they stay for the local news, or they’ll check back in, or the reason we offer those other touchpoints, there might be people in the marketplace that just don’t like our music, they’re a hard core country fan, they’ll never change, and -- but they will get our daily emails and they will go use our website every day. So if we can find a way to get them to use us outside of the music that’s a win.
1203 But specific to the format, it’s just based on the popularity, researched music, as the majority of the songs are all winners, they’re mass appeal, they’re non-offensive, and they’re office friendly. Because in our world the office tuning is what drives the success of our radio station, because people have it on all day, because they want to know when news breaks they want to be in the know.
1204 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, I mean, to your point, it gives you a certain amount of flexibility ---
1205 MR. POLE: Yeah.
1206 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- to change the lineup.
1207 When you’re making those decisions, do you also look at other out of market stations to try and ensure that you’re not duplicating? Obviously there’s going to be a certain amount of duplication.
1208 MR. POLE: Sure-
1209 THE CHAIRPERSON: But to try and develop your own distinct sound so that, you know, people would notice a difference between your station and maybe CIUX-FM as an example?
1210 MR. POLE: Yeah. I have always maintained that Taylor Swift doesn’t sing better on your radio station then she does on mine it’s what’s in between that makes that difference.
1211 And you can even use our station as an example, if you listen to Nappanee and then you listen to Renfrew, there are obviously things that are the same, you know, Taylor Swift sings the same on both of those radio stations, we’re both doing news, and we have the same imaging guy, and our jingle package is the same, but when you listen to those two stations they sound completely different, and they sound completely different because the news and information, the commercials, the local voices, you know, the interviews that we’re doing.
1212 So while some of the systematic things are the same the content itself and how it comes out of the speakers it sounds completely different to the audience.
1213 Now, a radio person might be a little bit more critical of that comment, but the reality is -- and I get it all the time, where I’ll get someone -- because people in Renfrew, and that’s where our head office is, were I live, they’re kind of familiar with that we’re the local station, and some of them think that they’re in on the secret that there’s multiple of them, and they’ll come back from driving down the 401 and go “I heard myFM in Cobourg. It was so exciting. It sounded so different.” You know, and those are the words of people that are in the radio industry, and they’re like “It was just cool that it was called myFM.” That’s the only thing they thought was the same, but the reality is the website mechanics are the same, the HR is the same, the news department’s the same. Like there’s a lot more same then there is different, but coming out of the box what makes it different is that local content.
1214 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
1215 Just to change gears for a moment, when I’m looking at the financial projections that you put forward, they are both conservative and optimistic at the same time because the revenue numbers that you're forecasting are somewhat lower than the other applicants that are applying for this market, but you're also optimistic in believing that you'll reach profitability quite quickly.
1216 So I'm just wondering if you can unpack that for me a little bit and why you think these revenue projections are actually accurate for this market.
1217 MR. POLE: Sure.
1218 I'll start by saying when we started this company we had to go to the Royal Bank which is on the Main Street in Renfrew. If you took 99 percent of the applications that you guys read from radio broadcasters and their financial plans, the Royal Bank in Renfrew would laugh you out of their business. They would give you no money, because the business has to make money. That's what we're here for. In fact, it's one of the key elements of an application, can you build a financial model that will be stable.
1219 So on the revenue side, we are conservative. But in being conservative, if you look back at the history of any application that we've put in, we're never far off, and if we're off, it's by a few percent.
1220 Historically, it's usually to the good. There has been the odd time where it's to the bad, but if it's to the bad, we internalize it and they go, "Oh, we had the wrong manager, we had the wrong people". There's a reason for it. It's not that the numbers were wrong. It's that we didn't execute right.
1221 Small markets, everyone in radio loves to just do radio projections. We bought a radio station in Kincardine that did a presentation and was ordered a licence and made awesome revenue. They were going to sell three times as much and make less money and promised a whole bunch of CTD. The reality is none of that came true.
1222 We think the truth is in the numbers and in the consistency of what we do. I have a radio sales background. So my sales team will tell you that, you know, there is no fool in the fooler. We know how it works. So our numbers that we forecast, I would certainly be happy to have a side wager that those will the numbers will be hit.
1223 Georgina is not a simple market where you can simply look at some financial data that was reported by StatsCan or the Financial Post and go, okay, here is how much it will do. It's not that. It's three simple markets that make one market. It's not one set of population; it's three different centres.
1224 You've got to understand how the tourism will impact the market, and you've got to understand that the clients aren't going to be furniture stores, which is the majority of business that a lot of radio broadcasters make a lot of money from. A lot of radio broadcasters make a lot of money from career dealers. We do, as well.
1225 That's not in Georgina.
1226 So you've got to have a financial plan that identifies, when we take the big spenders out who is left, and how do you go get them.
1227 Well, that's what we do every day. Every one of our radio stations, that's what we do every day. So if you take Brighton or Gananoque, or Napanee or Exeter, they are very much similar to Georgina. So, on a revenue side we're very confident.
1228 On the financial side, conservative turn side, that's where our synergies come in, and that's where our operating skill in small markets comes in. We don't start radio stations to lose money. Some of these markets don't make a lot of money. They make tens of thousands of dollars, but they contribute back to the group. They're a positive asset.
1229 You know, we're not going to retire off of the returns of Georgina, but it's going to add to the group, it's going to add employment, it's going to add a newsperson that maybe covers a story that benefits the other markets, it's going to give us the opportunity to train someone that maybe eventually will move up to one of our bigger markets or, as happening more and more, gets scooped by the bigger broadcasters.
1230 So I don't know, Andrew, if you have any thoughts on it but we feel very confident in the numbers.
1231 MR. DICKENSON: Yeah, we've done -- this is ---
1232 MR. POLE: It's not our first rodeo.
1233 MR. DICKENSON: --- we've done this ---
1234 MR. POLE: This will be number 20.
1235 MR. DICKENSON: --- and we analyze them regularly as to what we provide as a business plan to the Commission. I go back and review it regularly to make sure how we're engaged along that.
1236 The key thing is your earlier question about the synergies. That's how we can manage expenses. So all the local stuff that's happening in that town, the news, the general manager and the salespeople, that's all applied to that station, but then all the back office stuff is spread amongst all 21 markets.
1237 MR. POLE: Yeah. I can give you a real world example, because Andrew used to own a printing company, so we were laughing about this on the way up.
1238 Here is a good example of a real world synergy: Christmas cards. So we send Christmas cards out to all the key businesspeople and, obviously, all the newsmakers and all the markets.
1239 Last year, we spent $1,300 for 2000 Christmas cards. Today, or yesterday, whenever it was black Monday or whatever it is called now, I got the same amount of Christmas cards for $600 because I put in a promo code online. Now, most markets probably spend in and around that money just for one market.
1240 It's that kind of synergy and that kind of cost saving, times 100 events over the course of the year that give us the ability to still have the flash and the wow, but because we are mindful of how the money is spent, and we also have the volume to get certain discounts on things, that's how we can do it.
1241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You've obviously been looking at this market for a long time and are very close to it. You've been doing your due diligence. You noted in your opening comments that there is one car dealership, and there is no major furniture store, and typically that drives somewhere in the vicinity of 23% of revenues.
1242 So given your intimacy with this market, is there anything that we should be aware of that would lead us to believe that the financial situation or employment levels or anything going on in Georgina has significantly turned for the worse over the last year or two?
1243 MR. POLE: It was interesting. This morning we were talking about the last time we were at a hearing and it was for St. Thomas. The moment we walked in to sit down at this desk, all the commissioners were reading The Globe and Mail and the front page was, "Factories Closing Down in St. Thomas". So we didn't feel overly confident that that was going to turn out very well for us.
1244 However, in the case of Georgina, one of the things that we like about Georgina is it's a long term game.
1245 You know, Brighton is a good example. When we applied for Brighton, some of the other intervenors tried to make the case that, "Well, it doesn't even have a Tim Horton's. How can it have a radio station?" Like, somehow Tim Horton's is more important than local radio service.
1246 You know, Georgina is very much like that. But we look at the long term game. It's on the water. It's easily commutable to Toronto. Obviously, we know that major markets like Toronto and Barrie are going to have people retiring and looking for it. We know that in the long game it will come, and if we're there doing a good job, we will benefit.
1247 Brighton is a great example. Our first couple of years, it was not, you know, lighting the world on fire, but in the last couple of years it has. And what's happened? Well, now, McDonald's has opened and they've talked about Tim Hortons and they've talked about all these other things that are coming. So we look at the long game, not the short term game.
1248 During the last financial downturn in 2008-2009, our company still grew. We just did that because we had a staff meeting and said, "There is a recession. We choose not to participate. Everybody with us?" Everyone was like, "Yeah". So we just did it.
1249 Again, it's the long term game. It's, "How can we get in?" If we do the right things, if we serve the people, if we provide them the service, the business will come.
1250 The only wild card that I see is really on us. That's there are some things we don't know about Georgina yet. So let me give you an example.
1251 In Gananoque, one of the biggest tourism things in Gananoque is the boat lines. Everyone knows the 1000 Islands boat lines, which is right outside our radio station. They spend zero dollars with us in Gananoque, but they do buy our other markets. So our Gananoque rep services them and takes care of them, but they buy other markets because it's interesting. They want to bring people from the Ottawa valley or Brighton or Napanee or Peterborough to come and use the boat lines.
1252 So with a tourist market like Georgina, we may discover opportunities like that where there is businesses in Georgina that don't want to advertise in Georgina but maybe they would use some of our other regional stations because it makes sense to them. And we might have other markets that have an interest specific to Georgina to pull out.
1253 But I don't know what that number would be and, historically, it's not very high. It's tens of thousands of dollars for the entire group.
1254 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, thank you for that.
1255 I'm actually from a very small rural community with no Tim Horton's and with no gas station, so rest assured I never apply the Tim Horton's test to anything.
1257 THE CHAIRPERSON: I always ask this question, so don't think of me as a glass if half-empty guy. But can you comment on your willingness and ability to absorb financial losses if the financial picture is not as rosy as you've projected?
1258 MR. POLE: Yes. I mean we probably come from a very conservative place because in 2004 when we launched myFM, the very first one, we took -- our building is actually -- was a woman's fitness place before we took over it. So we had pink walls for a very long time because we chose to be very lean. That's just sort of in our DNA because when we had that first station we just didn't have the resources.
1259 That being said, our team has done a tremendous job building a phenomenal company. At any given time when you have this many radio stations, there is someone that's not performing. Luckily, for us, in most of those cases it's been people issues like any other business. Someone gets sick, someone decides to move, someone wins a lottery, they get divorced, the life changes. And all of a sudden in a small market when you have a staff of five people, if one person gets sick and the other person decides to resign or retire, it dramatically changes the culture of that operation.
1260 So we're used to that change because it happens a lot because of the small nature of our markets. So -- and we've built a company again that -- only a few markets are usually only -- are struggling a little bit; the majority of them are actually overperforming. So we've got a very stable group of stations, a very solid track record of performance, a very healthy financial position that if, for example, we were wrong, or something was not going as planned we would certainly be committed to not only absorbing it but making it right.
1261 MR. DICKSON: Well, maybe I'll just -- further on.
1262 We were experiencing challenges in Peterborough. When we had a little station in Peterborough starting out, an extra, and we were losing substantial numbers on that one, and then ---
1263 MR. POLE: I blocked that right out of my mind.
1264 MR. DICKSON: I thought you may have. And then we bought the other Peterborough station and it was having similar challenges, and we've now with the synergies, it's now at least a break even. We're going to be a little ahead of the game on that -- those two.
1265 But what -- our perfect day would be -- a perfect month would be if all markets were performing 100 percent, all well. That's never happened. So we just -- we're used to that. We know that there's always going to be a market that we're having some challenges with. And if it happens to be Georgina for a month or two, we'll make the tinkering changes to make it go, and then that's when Pembroke will have a problem, or -- anyway.
1266 So there's always somebody out there that's -- that we're having, sort of having a little challenge. So we're used to that, and we're completely prepared to just weather whatever storm comes at us.
1267 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1268 That deals with my questions on the revenue projections, but I notice that you also project spending less on programming than some of the other applicants that have applied. And I'm just wondering how you would answer anyone who might be of the view that by spending significantly less on local -- on programming that that will lead to a inferior quality of what you're able to provide to local residents?
1269 MR. POLE: Sure. And, I mean, I think you could make that case. Our proof would be in the pudding in the sense that how we -- it comes down to what you value.
1270 Some radio broadcasters have a lot more value in having a big announce staff. Some broadcasters have a bigger value in having a bigger street team. That just comes down to your personal preference.
1271 I don't do personal preference; I do audience preference. We do a survey every year. We ask people what they want. Local news is always Number 1, music is Number 2, contests Number 3, announcers Number 4. We staff accordingly. It's just that simple.
1272 And in our rated markets, in Pembroke, for example, it has been a dominant ratings winner for years. Peterborough, since taking it over, we've gone from fifth to third. You know, Coburg's always been strong, Simcoe's always been strong.
1273 So our analytics streaming-wise, our analytics -- when there's breaking news do we see that there's an increase in traffic on our stream, do we see there's an increase of traffic on our website. On all our markets the answer's always yes, it works.
1274 So in a small market like Georgina, I would argue that the product we put out for a market like Georgina is a million times better than it should be because it's a small market.
1275 Like in Exeter, for example, the Exeter market is the most honest market in the world. When we were putting it on the air I was walking down the street and a guy came up to me and he said, "Hey, are you putting that radio station on the air?" I'm like, "yeah." He goes, "Why? Why here?" And I was like, well, that's not encouraging.
1276 But a lot of people in our markets, they feel lucky to have a radio station, so they don't necessarily worry about the bells and whistles and the flash, although because of our group synergies we can bring them to them.
1277 Because keep in mind, Renfrew, Simcoe, Milton, Orangeville, all these radio stations compete with some of the best radio stations in the country. We had to get people to switch from Magic 100 in Renfrew to MY FM. We needed to get people to switch from CHFI in Milton to our station.
1278 So I think if you asked the average listener when they listen they would say there's no difference, MY FM is the exact same. They have contests, they have promotions, they just have more local news.
1279 And -- now, a radio company might put more value in having a four-person morning show versus a two. They might put more value -- clearly, in the Canadian broadcast industry, the majority of applicants and broadcasters put more value in non‑newsrooms. We are one of the few that put a huge value in it, and maybe that's just because of the DNA makeup of the markets is different.
1280 So I don't feel -- you can spend as much as you want. We spend as much as necessary to get the job done, do it well, provide a very tangible deliverable to the market, which is, at the end of the year, does the market feel we've done a good job for them.
1281 And I'll give you a really good example: When we were approved for Orangeville, I have a list of about 100 people spread out in Ontario that are mayors, politicians, business leaders, that over the years have just always been supportive of us. So whenever we get approved for a license or something good happens in our company, I just send them a note and say, "Hey thanks very much. We -- I just want you to know we're doing this exciting thing, and you've been supporting us, so thank you."
1282 When I sent the note out about Orangeville, I had three separate emails from different parts of the province, and they all said the exact same thing. "Lucky Orangeville". Because they realize that when we come to the market we bring value to them.
1283 If you go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Ontario where they get all the Chamber of Commerce's together, every year they have this meeting, and every year after that meeting I get two or three calls from different markets where they'll say, "I was just at the Chamber of Commerce Ontario meeting, and I was talking to so‑and‑so from St. Thomas, and so‑and‑so from Napanee, and so‑and‑so from Orangeville. How do we get a MY FM? How do we get one?"
1284 And that, I think, is the greatest compliment to us. The people that are listening to the stations every day that are consuming the product see a huge value in it. So that's where we put the dollars.
1285 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just have one final question before I turn to my colleagues.
1286 You've been very clear today, and in your application, that you have, you know, technically designed this application to, you know, prohibit going into other markets so you can best serve Georgina. But I did want to give you the opportunities we've given to everyone to comment on the intervention from Corus suggesting that should the Commission license a new service in Georgina that such a service be prohibited by commission of license from soliciting advertising in Barrie. So I just wanted to give you the opportunity to comment on that.
1287 MR. POLE: Yeah. And I'll be very frank with my comment. I thought it was a very strange intervention on their behalf. I've never seen someone intervene talking about how poorly they're doing. That doesn't inspire confidence in me as a Corus shareholder. However, it's fine with us.
1288 And my point to the Commission on this question anytime I've been asked is I think it's fair to ask for that condition of license. We would be happy to accept it. But it should go both ways. So when they're licenses come up for renewal, they should not be allowed to sell advertising in Alliston or Georgina or Orangeville.
1289 So if we believe that's a condition of license that's required, it's not going to change my world because it's not part of my business plan. I'll take a conditional license not to sell in Toronto, Newmarket, Uxbridge, because that's not my business plan. And if you look through our performance, we've never done that, that's not what we do, so I'm happy to accept it.
1290 I do always feel when broadcasters ask for that it's kind of a weird thing because they never volunteer to do it in return. So I think if it's good for the goose it's good for the gander, but we would happy -- be happy to accept it as a condition of license. If it was a condition of license, it wouldn't phase us in the least.
1291 MR. DICKSON: Just a little clarification. I think their intervention also went beyond that, saying that accepting -- even accepting advertising out of Barrie, and that's a little different than a previous request.
1292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, that's more broad.
1293 MR. DICKSON: And so what -- as opposed to soliciting, they're going soliciting and accepting. And if we -- if there is somebody in Barrie, if the Mercedes dealer in Barrie wants to advertise to his -- to Georgina, how is that policed? I mean, the whole thing doesn't make any sense from my perspective.
1294 MR. POLE: To give you a real-world example, Alliston, which has a lot more synergy and commonality with Barrie, because there's not this huge lake in between, like I would think the people in Georgina probably don't think about Barrie very often because if they're -- they're going to go south before they go down and around. But Alliston is -- you can hear our station in Barrie, you can commute to and from Barrie and listen to MY FM, and if we've ever gotten a thousand dollars from Barrie I would be surprised, and if we've gotten it it's because someone in Alliston moved to Barrie and opened a business or -- and tagged "and in Barrie" on their ad.
1295 But we would be happy to accept it, I just thought it was a very odd request.
1296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that.
1297 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Good morning.
1298 MR. DICKSON: Good morning.
1299 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you for your presentation. I have a couple of questions.
1300 So first of all, I would -- you well described the market of Georgina, but I would like to know, from your perspective, how this market is different from the others that you serve -- that you already serve? So is there like one main difference ---
1301 MR. POLE: Yeah, the ---
1302 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: --- apart from the tourism?
1303 MR. POLE: Yeah. I mean, the tourism is not that different because obviously Gananoque, Brighton, Goderich, Kincardine, Port Elgin are very tourism-driven the same.
1304 The number one difference of Georgina is the fact that Georgina sounds like one place and it’s really three. You know, it’s made up of three different communities that are spread out, you know, not very far apart, but it’s not one hub; it’s three different hubs. So no matter where you put your studio, there’s going to be two others that are like, “Why didn’t you put it here?”
1305 And as much as governments have liked to -- we see it in Alliston, for example -- we call Alliston Alliston, but on the air we call it New Tecumseth because everyone -- it’s the same. People get offended if you say -- you don’t say Tottenham or you don’t say Beeton and you say Alliston because they’re used to living in their town, not Georgina, so to speak. So if you live in one of those three spaces in Georgina, we need to make sure that we are catering to them all. So that’s the main difference, and that’s a little bit different.
1306 And again, now to be able to do that in a small centre is even more difficult because you don’t have -- you can’t have three buildings and pay rent in three locations. So we’ve got to come up with creative partnerships and creative ways to make sure that all three feel that they’re loved and covered effectively as well.
1307 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And which of your existing radio stations is the most similar to, you know, actually like the market that will be served in Georgina?
1308 MR. POLE: Probably Alliston because it has the Beeton/Tottenham/Alliston feel under the NewTek umbrella. Kincardine is very similar because we service Goderich and Port Elgin, and they’re similar in -- Gananoque and Exeter are probably the most similar revenue-wise and operational-wise. So it’s a little bit of both of those. None of it scares us, but the reality is is if you look at our group of radio stations, Georgina is not going to be the station that all of a sudden becomes our number one biller or the most -- biggest impact to our group. It’s going to be one of our smaller ones that we go in and we provide a great service, but it will never be the big dominant big dog on the list. It’s going to be probably closer to the bottom, but we take as much care the guys at the bottom as we do the top.
1309 I mean, we have a saying that came from M&M Meats years ago which is “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” So we take as much time and effort into our small markets as we do our big markets.
1310 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
1311 And my last question is that, as you know, all the applications are very good applications.
1312 MR. POLE: M’hm.
1313 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So if we -- if there was a crystal ball, how would you envision the future of your proposal and, more specifically, how it would be different from, you know, this outcome compared to the other two applicants?
1314 MR. POLE: So just so I make sure I understand, you’re asking if we are approved, why is it better for the market or how do I feel about the other two applicants?
1315 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: For the market and for your business, like in terms of the outcome.
1316 MR. POLE: I’ll start with the market. I believe what separates us from the other two applicants who -- I know one of them fairly well and I respect both of them -- I think what’s different from our application is we’ve really gone in with an angle to provide another service that we already provide in other markets. We know how to do this market. We know how the movie ends. If we go in and we follow the same systems and we provide the same level of service as we do in our other markets, we know that we’ll get some raving fans because it’s what we do.
1317 The difference would be we’re really more hardcore focused on the local news. So we’ve had a long change in news coverage in Canada in the last six or seven years. Newspapers dramatically changed. You know, even radio has changed and we’ve seen TV change in the last little while. But we have sort of stuck to those values that we’re going to provide that and we keep seeing a positive return, and that positive return is not only in financial success but it’s in the letters, cards, people that come in and say “How can you help us?” And we get that every day. I get a thank you card on my desk every day from somewhere in Ontario where I’ll call the manager and go, “Hey, John Smith just sent me a thank you card. What did we do?” And the answer is usually the same, “I don’t know.” We just did what we do. We didn’t do anything extra special. We just do what we do.
1318 So I believe where the market benefits is they get a company that a) puts their news and information first as a priority and 2) is backed by a company specifically that has grown and succeeded in markets like that. We know the small-market environment.
1319 For our company the benefit is, you know, obviously a little bit of extra revenue is always nice. The dollars that we’re going to make at this radio station are not going to be the make or break as to whether or not we’re an outstanding company, but we always like to be moving the ball down the field and growing our business.
1320 But for me, the benefit will be the people because our group is strong, because we have great staff in all our markets that bring things to the table that make us better.
1321 So in the news environment, Georgina’s news people will not only be -- people will be training maybe for bigger markets or maybe to be Cindy’s replacement someday when she decides to retire. You know, they’ll be an important part of our team, but they will bring something back to the group, whether it’s someday when someone’s child is sick and they can’t make it to work or they’re snowed in, they’ll jump in and help. So having that extra help is important. Having those extra ideas are important.
1322 And the other thing that we found hugely beneficial from a business standpoint is the sharing of ideas. So Gananoque and Brighton and Exeter and Port Elgin, because they’re similar in tourism, they’re sharing ideas not only with each other but with the local businesses. We often have conversations with business owners because radio in a small market, it’s exciting but it’s also scary because they’re like “We’ve never had to do this before” and most business owners are like “What if I do it and make a mistake?”
1323 We can give them the confidence because we come in and we go, “Hey, there’s a tire dealer in Gananoque, same population, same size, deals with tourism. Here’s some of the ideas that they’re doing and you can call and talk to that guy or to that woman and get their feedback.” And so we create this little network of business owners that not only can share ideas amongst themselves, but they can also have the confidence that what they’re doing is right so that they can spend the dollars and get the return that they want.
1324 So adding more into that sort of pile is beneficial for the entire group. That would be the benefit to us.
1325 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
1326 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions.
1327 We’ll take just a short 10-minute break and return at 10:30 to hear the next application.
1328 MR. POLE: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 10:19 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 10:32 a.m.
1329 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
1330 Madam Secretary?
1331 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1332 We’ll now proceed with Item 5 on the agenda, which is an application by Frank Torres on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial FM radio station in Georgina.
1333 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 20 minutes for your presentation.
1334 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission and Commission staff. My name is Ed Torres. I’m the President and co-founder of SkyWords Media and the Chief Executive Officer of Torres Media, licensee of radio stations CIDG, Rebel 101.7 in Ottawa, CKOD, Max 103 in Valleyfield, Quebec and CIUX 105.5 HITS FM in Uxbridge Ontario. Thank you for hearing our application for a New FM radio licence to service the neighbouring Town of Georgina.
1335 Seated to my right is my brother and business partner, Frank Torres.
1336 To my left is Yves Trottier. Yves is the General Manager of Max 103 in Valleyfield.
1337 To the right of Frank is Kim Elliot, Sales Manager for Torres Media.
1338 Beside Kim is Todd Bernard, General Manager and Partner at Rebel 101.7.
1339 To the far left of the front row is Dan Pollard, General Manager for 105.5 HITS FM in Uxbridge, Ontario.
1340 We think that our new station will fulfil many important objectives of the Broadcasting Act. We believe that our hyper local focus on news, weather, sports and local programming will be in the best public interest for residents of the Town of Georgina. We have committed the most number of local hours per broadcast week, 126 per week, substantially more than competing applications. This station will strengthen our broadcast company and assist it to grow in the Canadian broadcast system. The synergies from our nearby Uxbridge operation will allow us to leverage existing clients into advertising campaigns on the new station.
1341 Lastly, our signal strength and pattern has been engineered to reach the largest number of Georgina residents, particularly those residents in the northern parts of Georgina, and as such, we maximize the scarce spectrum in the congested Toronto CMA.
1342 MR. FRANK TORRES: Our company is a family business and a radio business exclusively. Our SkyWords business, which celebrates its 26th anniversary this year, is the backbone of the Torres Media Group. Today SkyWords serves over 160 radio stations with traffic reports, business reports, weather, news, snowmobile trail conditions, and entertainment reports.
1343 In 2008, our company was awarded a broadcast licence to serve Ottawa and Gatineau. In 2011 we applied to the CRTC and were subsequently licensed to launch a first service FM radio station in Uxbridge, CIUX.
1344 Today CIUX is an extremely important resource and a source of civic pride in Uxbridge. It provides the only local daily news voice, as newspapers have long ago disappeared. It also fills an important role as an emergency notifier and breaking news voice for the residents of Uxbridge.
1345 We believe strongly that a station in Georgina will complement our existing operations in Uxbridge and create a local radio service that is able to exploit synergies from operations that will be less than 30 kilometres from each other.
1346 In 2015 we acquired French language radio station CKOD FM in Valleyfield, Quebec. The station was off air when we acquired it. The building that housed the studios was condemned, and the community was in danger of losing the heritage station that had been on air since 1961.
1347 A mere four days after taking over the station, we made it operational again. We moved the station to bright, new facilities on a main street, replaced the automation and music scheduling computers, and we added a logging system and emergency alerting system to bring the station into compliance with CRTC policy.
1348 Recently we've added a new transmitter and antenna cabling to improve the signal and continuity of programming. We hired local announcers, news reporters, sales representatives and personalities. Today the City of Valleyfield relies on our local station to notify residents in the event of emergencies and other noteworthy events.
1349 MR. POLLARD: Good morning, Mr. Chair and Commissioners and Staff. I do apologize; I have a Halls in my mouth, so if there's clicking sounds -- we're all fighting this cold.
1350 Our station in Georgina will be hyper local. All of the programming will be local to Georgina. We have committed to produce 100 per cent local programming, 126 hours per week, and that is the most of any of the applicants before you.
1351 News, weather, and traffic will be driven from our studios in Keswick and supplemented by stringers in northeastern Georgina to reflect the entire town, including Sutton and Pefferlaw.
1352 Weather is a very important component of life in this area. Dramatic changes occur in both summer and winter as a result of the lake effects of Lake Simcoe, and a local presence is key to getting that message out.
1353 Power outages can be very localized, and without a presence in the area they can go unreported. Our station in Uxbridge has already provided updates for Georgina in the past. A dedicated presence in Keswick is even more immediate and essential for providing true hometown radio.
1354 Sports is often a linchpin to link a community. Local sports scores will be supplemented with interviews from local athletes. The new station will be a platform for the accomplishments.
1355 Our station will be there to report on every home run for the Bulldogs and every goal the Blaze score, and will include updates from all our sports clubs and associations in our updates.
1356 Our station in Keswick will provide a strong link between the arts and the local community, giving local artists the opportunity to grow their craft. Many young artists will be able to hear themselves on the air on a regular basis. Interviews will also allow those artists to spread their word and will provide regular updates for shows involving local artists.
1357 It's important that residents in northern Georgina be included and reflected in the station’s coverage. It's our experience in Uxbridge that because we are in the most northern part of Durham Region, that sometimes the community feels detached from the centralized decision making of our regional government in the south.
1358 It is for that reason that we have engineered our pattern to point towards Sutton and Pefferlaw, not the more populous Barrie. A signal that does not cover all of Georgina and that provides service only to those residents in the southern part of the town will alienate residents in the north.
1359 At 26,000 watts, our signal is the strongest. It will reach the most number of Georgina residents and as such provide the best service to Georgina. We have further planned for a news stringer to cover Sutton and Pefferlaw and the northern-most parts of the town.
1360 We feel that our hyperlocal approach to programming will provide Georgina with a station that will reflect the daily lives of the community.
1361 I was hired by Torres Media because I was born and still live in Uxbridge. My previous experience at CBC, TSN, and Q107 was actually secondary to my ability to connect with the community and to create a local radio station that the residents now rely on and tune in repeatedly to get their local information.
1362 Our station in Georgina will have the same values and create a hyperlocal sound. The morning show will draw heavily on local news stories and include interviews with local politicians following their weekly meetings.
1363 Local business people, civic leaders and the like will be asked to cohost the morning shows during the week. The community should have a sense of ownership. The station should be a go-to information source for the community.
1364 The station will produce a community events listing that will air on the station daily and inform residents of bake sales, fundraisers, Council meetings, Chamber of Commerce meetings and other local events.
1365 Local charities directly will benefit through local radio. We've seen the success that local radio can have. In Uxbridge, the first year the radio station participated in what has now become an annual November food drive, donations tripled from the previous year.
1366 Radio puts a face and a name to those who need a hand up. Charities work on limited, if not non-existent, budgets. Local radio offers the opportunity to reach deep into the community.
1367 Other local programming will include the Green Home Minute with local advice on how to lead healthy lifestyles and minimize environmental impact. This is vital to an area like the one the radio station will cover because of its proximity to Lake Simcoe.
1368 Our station will feature an interactive digital presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on our Web site and through our mobile app. The multi-layered approach will ensure that local messages are received on all platforms.
1369 All of our programming initiatives will be driven by a local program director and news director. These crucial decision-making processes will rest in Georgina, not in a distant regional office.
1370 MR. TROTTIER: Our new radio station will not be a cookie cutter format. All aspects of the station, the music and programming will be hyperlocal.
1371 As with 105.5 HITS FM in Uxbridge and our other radio stations, we will build the playlist from the ground up. We will carefully select our music to differentiate ourself from the other corporate station that filter into the market.
1372 Our positioning statement will be fresh; our imaging will be new. Our news and spoken word features will also be constructed to suit the Town of Georgina. We will also react to our listeners and program the station to their taste.
1373 Our new station will target an adult 25, 54 audience. The music will have a familiar and comfortable feeling and focus on popular music from the last 30 years, with an emphasis on classic hits.
1374 The playlist will include Canadian artists such as Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams. Emerging Canadian artists will also be featured predominantly in all day parts, as will Indigenous artists.
1375 As with the launch of CIUX, we will launch the station with a song by an emerging local artist. Our existing partnership with local recording studios and our CCD commitment to fund live music will complete a triangle of production, performance and media, and create career advancing opportunities for emerging Canadian talent.
1376 MR. BERNARD: The Town of Georgina is also known as Getaway Country. Nestled on the southeast shore of Lake Simcoe, it’s close to Toronto and provides a rural lifestyle for commuters with easy access to Highway 404.
1377 The 2016 Census shows a rate of population growth of 4.4 per cent. The Town of Georgina estimates population in 2016 at 47,000 persons, with Keswick being the largest urban centre, having a population of 25,000, which accounts for over half of Georgina’s population. Population growth is projected to reach 57,900 by 2021 and 70,300 by 2031.
1378 As the cities of Toronto and those in the Durham Region expand, Georgina provides country living close to the GTA. Census data shows that the average income in Georgina is higher than the provincial average, and that the median age is slightly lower than the provincial average.
1379 To help facilitate growth, the town has recently designated 550 acres of land just north of the 404 Extension, known as the Keswick Business Park, to be used for development of employment-generating land uses. All zoning for this project has been completed and the area is ready for development.
1380 This vast business park will in the future be additionally served by the Bradford Bypass, a 16.2 kilometre four-lane highway connecting Highways 400 and 404 that will facilitate the movement of goods between Simcoe and York regions.
1381 Georgina has seen healthy growth in recent years, with increases in building permits for new dwellings up by 80 percent from 2013-2014 to 2015-2016. Similarly, the total value of construction has increased 81 percent from an average of 69.2 million in 2013-2014, to an average of 125.2 million in 2015-16. Despite increased construction numbers in recent years, housing remains affordable in Georgina with single detached homes averaging 50 percent less than York Region as a whole, and townhomes averaging 45 percent less than in greater York Region.
1382 Georgina’s key industry areas are sales and services, construction, business administration, manufacturing, agriculture, and the professional, scientific, and technical sectors. The town’s local economy is largely driven by small business, 82 percent of all businesses have nine employees or less. It would be of great economic benefit to the region to have a first-service radio station to help these small businesses sustain, grow, and thrive.
1383 In its recently produced Corporate Strategic Plan, the Town of Georgina identifies four main goals: one, retention of existing business; two, attracting new business; three, increasing local employment, which is persons living and working in Georgina; and four, improving town visibility and identity. Our proposed station would help achieve all of these goals, notably with increasing visibility and identity amongst local residents and tourists alike.
1384 MS. ELLIOT: Our organization is well positioned to take advantage of a number of synergies in sales, back office and HR functions. A majority of the staff at Torres Media average over 10 years with the company. We’ve worked together for many years and we’ve grown three radio stations together. We have landed on a successful formula for growing our brand and sharing synergies between our original station, our newer stations and with our core business SkyWords.
1385 When it comes to programming, creating new content and sourcing new content, we are experts. Our SkyWords business pioneered content creation for radio - traffic reports, business reports, weather, and more. And we were granted a licence to operate DAWG FM in Ottawa, we created a brand new one-hour show called Howlin’ Blues to run on that station alone. But because the show sounded great, it flowed well, it was interesting and it had a high percentage of CanCon, other stations wanted it. So we did what we do and we syndicated the show through SkyWords to several stations across the country.
1386 And just as we were able to create and share programming content, we are able to source and share news information between our four news departments. We’ve done it with interviews from newsmakers, and we do it with breaking news. This alliance we have with all four Torres Media properties is something Georgina would greatly benefit from.
1387 Georgina is not considered a ranked numeris market. As part of the Toronto CMA, national advertisers will not have data that will allow them to buy the market. The market will be considered a spill market, so it will be difficult for an operator to receive agency buys. To solve this problem, we use our combined sales efforts, and leverage our existing relationships to approach national and regional agencies to have additional budget created for this market. It’s worked in Uxbridge and we expect similar results in Georgina.
1388 With our existing relationships, we have been able to create additional budget dollars in Uxbridge for accounts such as Tim Horton’s, Wal-Mart, Hakim Optical, Wendy’s and many others. Now that we have done it once, we’re confident we can do it again in Georgina.
1389 Because Georgina and Uxbridge are so close geographically, the opportunity for sales combos with these two stations is unlimited. We have businesses, both big and small, in both towns that would benefit from a combination radio campaign on both stations.
1390 MR. FRANK TORRES: As with other parts of our application, we believe that our Canadian content development over and above commitment is superior. Not only is our commitment of $65,000 far and away the largest of any applicant, we are the only applicant with a local CCD commitment.
1391 Our partnership with the Ontario Lumberjack Championships to create the first annual Georgina Music Festival will see $56,000 go directly to local Canadian artists to perform at the festival.
1392 But our commitment to Canadian content development goes deeper. With our festival expertise we’ve partnered with the Ontario Lumberjack Championships to create funding applications with provincial bodies that would triple our annual investment and lead to an annual investment of over $25,000. Further, we are making intangible CCD investments of an additional $25,000 in media support to the music festival to drive attendance using our nearby Uxbridge radio station. The combined contribution, both tangible and intangible to the organization, could exceed $85,000 annually.
1393 A further $14,000 over the course of our first licence term will go to FACTOR to assist Canadian talent on recordings.
1394 I’m speaking about CCD because it’s one of the areas where we can have a significant impact on the careers of local Canadian musicians. I’ve seen it first hand in our other radio markets. In Ottawa, we have two music festivals that we’ve produced over the term of our first license. And we’ve produced over 170 live music performances to this point.
1395 In Uxbridge we’ve partnered with Celebrate Ontario and the Uxbridge music and arts festival to create HITSFEST, a festival which provided an opportunity for local artists to share the stage with Canadian rock icons Platinum Blonde.
1396 As an ownership group, my brother and I are hands on. My day starts at 6 a.m. at our SkyWords office in Markham. At 10 a.m., I move to Uxbridge to perform my various oversight and management duties there. If you award Georgina, I will be on site every day to offer my support.
1397 The proximity of Georgina to Uxbridge means that our family business stands to be the most impacted by our station in Georgina. We’re excited at the prospect to grow our business by adding a new station nearby. The new station could provide a valuable advertising opportunity to our existing clients. Conversely, if the station is awarded to another group, we believe that our existing station in Uxbridge would be substantially weakened.
1398 Another broadcaster, only 30 kilometres away would send confusing messages to advertisers. Sales reps could undermine each other to get scarce ad dollars. National advertisers would question the veracity of claims by different stations. Savvy retailers would pit station against station. The end result could be two weak stations that would cannibalize programming and promotional budgets to achieve break even. In a changing and dynamic landscape where more audiences are turning to online services that do not pay royalties, tariffs or CanCon requirements, a strong, regional, financially vibrant broadcaster, we believe, is in the best public interest.
1399 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Our company will be the most significantly impacted by your decision in Georgina. We’re a growing radio company with a successful young station in the township that borders Georgina. We stand the most to lose, but also the most to gain if there’s a new radio station 30 kilometres away.
1400 We approach this application convinced that we’ve provided the Commission with a quality application. Our CCD commitment in real and intangible dollars is the highest at this proceeding. Our signal strength and coverage is the largest at 26,000 watts, nearly triple that of the nearest competitor, and it’s a signal that will ensure Georgina residents can hear their radio station. Our synergies with our nearby Uxbridge and Markham operations will ensure the commercial success of the station. Our hyper local approach to programming will ensure that the station is a true reflection of daily life in Georgina. And our local and engaged ownership will personally oversee operations.
1401 We have the support of the Mayor of Georgina, the Mayor of Brock Township, the Mayor of Uxbridge, but I would close with words from Julia Munro, the Member of Provincial Parliament in her intervention, and I quote:
1402 “As you are aware, Keswick and Georgina as a whole, does not have a local radio station. I think that having a truly local station will be a value added in terms of local employment, local news, local driving conditions, local weather, and local sports. After having been approached by several candidates for this radio station, I am convinced that Mr. Torres’ commitment to keeping the station local is genuine and in the best interest of my community. Uxbridge benefits greatly from having a local radio station under the leadership of Frank and Ed Torres, and it’s my hope that Georgina would benefit from a similar arrangement.”
1403 Thank you, and we can now take your questions.
1404 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much and welcome. I will leave you in the hands of Commissioner Vennard.
1405 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good morning and thank you for your presentation. I have a series of questions for you, not surprising. I want to talk a little bit about your programming. I’m quite curious about your satellite news bureau, and then onto some of the synergies and a more general discussion as you -- as we go along as well.
1406 So, the first set of questions that I have for you have a fairly specific objective, and what I want to do is to better understand how the station’s programming would best meet the specific needs and interests of listeners in Georgina, and understand how the satellite news bureau would further benefit the listeners in Georgina. So that’s the purpose of asking the question.
1407 We’ll kind of just unpack some of that by first of all talking a bit about your local programming, okay. So, what I’d like you to do is elaborate on the 19 hours and 10 minutes of spoken work programming broadcast each week, including the four hours and 22 minutes of news programming, and the other programming segments that your propose in your application. You’ve got I think about eight of them that you –- that you mentioned in your supplementary brief, so what I’d like you to do is tell us about those and just elaborate on them, and I leave it to you.
1408 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Okay, I’ll start the answer and then I may ask Dan and possibly Yves to chip in. We are committing 19 hours and 10 minutes of spoken word. Like that’s the highest of any applicants here at this hearing. The local programming really starts with news but it also starts with the spoken word announcers speak.
1409 One thing that we do very well in Uxbridge, and also in our Valleyfield market, is we interview decision makers, politicians, civic leaders, as part of our morning show. So it’s not a music intense show. It’s music really fills in the parts between the interviews. It’s what makes our local markets really click.
1410 So that differentiates us at this hearing I think from some of the other applicants. But news will be entirely local. Sports, weather -- as we’ve discussed in our presentation, sports ---
1411 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Before you move on, could you tell me a little more about your -- about what you mean with that? Because of that 19 hours you’ve got over eight hours of announcer talk I believe. You could refer to it.
1412 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Sure. And maybe I’ll ask Dan to talk to that point.
1413 MR. POLLARD: Well, our format in Uxbridge, for example, last week we did a story on -- it was one of our clients who was having an event that was called “Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, and Beer” so -- which was interesting, and I thought well that’s fascinating let’s do an interview. So we did the interview, which generated five minutes, six minutes of just straight talk. That was then cut into news as well and became a news story during the week. And then we later attended the event and we ---
1414 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: What was it about anyway?
1415 MR. POLLARD: It was literally ---
1416 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I’ve got to ask that question.
1417 MR. POLLARD: It was literally bacon, Brussels sprouts and beer. They brought in craft brewers from the area and they harvested the Brussels sprouts. And what the interview actually produced -- and I received a text from a local farmer saying thank you for focusing on local farmers -- was the fact that Brussels sprouts were still in the field. I had no idea they were still in the field. And they said “No, no, we harvest them at this time of the year. We usually start in August but there’s still some and we can use them. So what we want to do is introduce it to people.” And they had five different things that they could eat. But it sparked interest from people who had no idea what happened in farming.
1418 And in Uxbridge, and Keswick, and those areas -- and I grew up in the area so I know the entire area. There are a lot of people who move in from the city have no idea that farming is the leading industry in those areas because there’s still a lot of farmers. And I had people ask me, you know, a farmer, what do you do for a living, he said “I’m a farmer. It’s not a hobby farm.” And those kinds of messages are important to get out.
1419 So what happens is in that interview it’s produced, you know, a news story, and it’s produced five minutes, and then there’s another local story, so over the week you’ve got a lot of local content.
1420 MR. EDWARD TORRES: So when other stations are talking about Trumps tweets we’re leading with Brussels sprouts in Uxbridge.
1421 MR. POLLARD: And bacon and beer.
1422 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And bacon and beer. Don’t forget that.
1423 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yves, maybe ---
1424 MR. TROTTIER: Well, just to give you an example, for Valleyfield, which, you know, in Quebec in the last month was the municipality elections, so all the municipalities were, you know, in the election at the same time, so we had interviews every morning with all the people who were, you know, presenting for the -- so we did I think around 100 interviews with all the people throughout the region. Like just not Valleyfield but all the region of the southwest region of Montreal.
1425 And after that we put these interviews on our website as a podcast so people who were missing the interviews in the morning they were able to listen to it on our website. And that generated a lot of Facebook comments and some fights between people, and even somebody who represent in Saint-Eustache, you know, have problem at home, like somebody, you know, very -- like called at his house, so because of the -- not because of us, but what he said on the radio.
1426 So it’s a big impact. Like news it’s one thing but you have -- you know, in regional radio station news is not everything as well because you have to create the news as well. Because in Valleyfield or the small town of Uxbridge, what’s really important, like the real news you have one per week, one every two weeks, that’s why you need to be involved really in the community to have interviews and create news at the same time, you know, to be part of that community at the same time.
1427 MR. FRANK TORRES: Having news come from announcer talk segments, which we commit to in our application, it’s a much more genuine and much more easy to relate news piece, so it’s very important.
1428 We do subscribe to and believe to traditional news gathering and disseminating formats, but what makes our Uxbridge station different is that the news sounds a lot more genuine. It seems to be happening all across the morning show day part not just at the top of the hours when the fancy stinger comes on and the big voice comes on to announce the news. So it’s through our entire day parts because of our announcer talk segments.
1429 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Who makes the decisions on that? Because eight hours is -- it’s much more than what you refer to as actual news. So how is that -- is that done local -- will that be done locally?
1430 MR. TORRES: Yes, that’s ---
1431 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And what are your plans for that part of it?
1432 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah, the announcer talk segments, we try not to box them into a matrix. So really the guidance that the general manager will give is to be local, to be hyperlocal, to cover anything that if it moves, if it -- any bake sale, any church benefit. So that’s kind of driven by the GM but not in a sort of regimented way. But certainly there’s -- ownership also helps guide the general manager. Again, the parameters of the station are to be hyperlocal.
1433 MR. POLLARD: If I may add too, it’s the knowledge of the area. It’s knowing that Ravenshoe Road someone’s going to get killed because people are speeding still too much, and there’s a new extension off the 404 and people who live in the area, you know, are afraid that their dogs or their kids are going to be out on the road and someone’s going to get clipped by a car. It’s knowing that people are frustrated because the main street’s been torn up for so long and it’s still not done. Those kinds of things.
1434 And you can give directive to a news reporter and/or the news director at that point, have you checked into this. And then local council also drives a lot of the news because they’re making decisions that affect everybody in that area.
1435 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: There seems to be a little bit of a -- actually, quite a lot of blurring of that idea of the announcer speaking during that eight-some hours and some-odd minutes and news. Is there -- how are you going to differentiate that, or do you plan to do that?
1436 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Well ---
1437 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And will that -- and will it be local or will the announcer be on saying “I heard something interesting was happening”, you know, Trumps tweets or whatever?
1438 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah, it’s 100 percent local. And there is some blurring. Again, the -- it is possible that announcer will talk about a music selection or an artist. So if we just played a Katy Perry song you may back sell that by news about her latest concert.
1439 But, again, what we do is we’re not setting a matrix for our announcers but we are -- and the success of our radio station hinges on it being local. So given the opportunity to talk about Katy Perry or, you know, a construction site downtown, pick the local story.
1440 Do you want to add to that?
1441 MR. TROTTIER: Yeah. Radio 101 like as a program director you’re saying to your announcer “You’re doing four breaks per hour, three of them will be, you know, about the local subject.” That’s how it works.
1442 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1443 MR. TORRES: It’s Radio 101.
1444 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So you provide the guidelines and the parameters?
1445 MR. TORRES: Yes, the guideline. But the thing is if the announcer have a story about Katy Perry after Katy Perry’s song he will talk about Katy Perry and maybe do the local announcement or whatever like 15 minutes later, or maybe at the end of Katy Perry he will say “Stay tuned; I will talk about the Christmas event that will come in the next week. Stay tuned; we’ll talk about it in 15 minutes.”
1446 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
1447 MR. TORRES: That’s how radio works. Like as a programming point of view, most of the time you’re saying okay 75 percent you’re talking about local subjects and one time you’re talking about promotion of the radio station. That’s how it works in general.
1448 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, somebody’s got to introduce the song, somebody’s got to introduce the news that’s coming up or, you know, the weather report, traffic report. But that’s quite a lot different than having eight hours of announcer talk. That’s quite a lot. So I -- the purpose of my asking those questions was to get a better understanding of how you’re going to -- you know, what that actually will look like.
1449 MR. FRANK TORRES: I think when -- in the actual execution the lines become much less blurred. And the reason why that is is because when an announcer comes on and yes tells you that that was Katy Perry’s latest hit and that she’s sold these many CD’s and that she’ll be in Toronto in concert on such and such a date, then the next segment he may do is an interview with the local dog groomer to discuss the tick infestation that’s just occurred in town. And people will know that dog groomer, they’ll say oh, that’s Jane, I take my dog there, I know her; right?
1450 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
1451 MR. FRANK TORRES: Or my daughter goes to school with her daughter, and it becomes a total -- totally different distinct bit of programming that just alerts people's awareness to the fact that it is completely relevant to them. And I think in that sense, in the actual execution, the lines are much less blurred than they appear on paper.
1452 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Okay. Well, we can just leave it at that.
1453 Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your other segments as well?
1454 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Sure. Weather is extremely important, as Dan has outlined, and it's not something that we could create in Uxbridge and run in Georgina. It has to be local to Georgina. We need someone on the ground.
1455 Even in different parts of Uxbridge, we can get different variations on the weather because of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
1456 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.
1457 MR. EDWARD TORRES: So Dan, do you want to talk to that, being a lifer?
1458 MR. POLLARD: Well, yeah. Lake Simcoe, as I mentioned, plays a huge role in that area, whether it's a snowstorm or in the summer. And I remember being out on a boat and the concerns of the weather could change like that on one side over in Keswick and people in Sutton didn't realize that things were happening on the lake.
1459 So having someone on the ground, as Ed mentioned, is vital for that area. I mean, you could pull an Environment Canada weather report, but it's not the same as, you know, as being there and the proverbial open the window to see what the weather's doing and ---
1460 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: In Calgary, we say that all you have to do is just wait 10 minutes, everything will change.
1461 MR. POLLARD: (Inaudible), yes.
1462 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I get it.
1463 MR. POLLARD: Exactly.
1464 And part of that too is the incorporation of the announcer being local and integrating themselves with the local people, and the local people become your stringers. They'll call you. They will text you. They will -- hey, well you know what, in Sutton's it's not doing that, but in Keswick we're getting snow. Oh, really? And suddenly, you know, you're on top of a news story and you've got people who are right on the ground and are part of it. And that's part of that ownership of what the radio station should be about as well.
1465 MR. EDWARD TORRES: My brother and I are commercial pilots and weather nerds, and -- so we've gone to a fair amount of detail training, we've done a fair amount of detail training with announcers, not just at Skywords on the traffic side, so that people can understand how to read a weather radar. So weather is extremely important to us.
1466 MR. FRANK TORRES: Todd Bernard is a commercial pilot too. So not to (inaudible).
1467 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. How about your -- the local sports, traffic reports, how -- tell us about that too?
1468 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Sure. And when we launched Uxbridge -- we'll start with traffic -- the first feedback we received on our website portal was, we're so excited that we get local traffic. So that was a real surprise for us. We didn't think that the first comment on the station would be I'm so happy now I get my local traffic and I know what's happening on Regional Road 47.
1469 So again, for Georgina, that's going to be a similar traffic report but it's going to be a different traffic report. Georgina is going to lead with the 404 every day. Ravenshoe Road, as Dan's mentioned, is a pretty important connector.
1470 So the focus of Georgina with 25 percent of the population travelling to Newmarket is also going to be focused on Newmarket. So how is our Newmarket traffic doing?
1471 So the Georgina report is probably going to start in Georgina, take you down the 404 to the commuter sheds of Toronto, Newmarket, focus on Stouffville, and maybe talk about the 401. So that's an entirely different report than our Uxbridge report.
1472 Sports is -- sports, again, we are not necessarily going to lead with the Leafs. Correct me if I'm wrong, Dan.
1473 MR. POLLARD: No. The lead story this morning was North Durham Warriors in Uxbridge, and that's the idea to do it there as well. Why -- I mean, if somebody wants to know the Leafs' score they're going to go and listen to one of the radio stations for more in depth. They want to hear the local scores.
1474 There are no newspapers to give those local scores for kids these days. And part of that ownership of the radio station, we found in Uxbridge, is we went to the Minor Hockey Association and said tell them that they're scores are going to be here. All the rep scores are on in the morning. So when they fail to report, somebody gets on to a parent saying, you're supposed to put that up, so they can have it on the sports the next morning.
1475 And again, it's that idea that people are stringers as well. They're involvement in the radio station so their kids' scores get on the air. And that covers a big section of our sports.
1476 And then there -- our other, there's Junior C sports, which is integrated in the area as well. The Georgina Ice play against the Uxbridge Bruins, play against the Little Britain Merchants, and play -- and we report on their scores in Uxbridge as well and then to be part of that. Those are usually the first couple of stories, or swimmers, or what amateur athletes have done in the area, then you talk -- oh, by the way, Super Bowl was last night. That kind of thing.
1477 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm. So you've got the community cruiser, and you've got an event calendar. Give us some information on what that looks like.
1478 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Sure. The Green Minute, just to keep kind of going down in order here, is an environmental feature. Again, we produce that, built it into our plan because of the proximity of the lake, and beaches are extremely important in Georgina. If you live in Uxbridge and you want to go to a beach, the closest beach is in Georgina. So that Green Minute will provide daily tips on how to protect the environment, how to lead healthy lifestyles.
1479 Our events listing is something we do in Uxbridge, we create specifically for Uxbridge. In Georgina, it will have its own listing. And that's usually chock-a‑block again of bake sales, fundraisers, at this time of year, Christmas concerts, all of the carol services, Brussel sprouts, bacon and beer.
1480 The community cruiser is a great way for us to connect with our community, and we really work in collaboration and in partnership to receive a lot of the news and a lot of the events listings. So we'll contact the organizations, like the swim club, so -- and we've made them and incorporated them into the part of the imaging of the station. So in Uxbridge, we say we're the home of the…
1481 MR. POLLARD: The local USS or the high school swim team but also the local swim club.
1482 And one of our I.D.s is actually the fact that, you know, they've had some national champs or been in national championships, and we'll incorporate them into I.D.s and things like that.
1483 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Right.
1484 MR. POLLARD: Again, it goes back to community ownership and involvement in the station. Because most people will stand and -- it's radio. I can't be part of that. Sure you can. You are, every day. And bringing that back to radio and bringing that message back out.
1485 MR. EDWARD TORRES: So out of those partnerships, we'll get opportunities to take our cruiser. So our cruisers is badged up. We usually give away t‑shirts or hats. We'll go to the event, we'll mention it on the air. So if the swim club is having a fundraiser because they need to send someone to a championship, that's how we would incorporate that spoken word back into the programming.
1486 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So Georgina would have its own community cruiser then? They wouldn't be sharing it with Uxbridge?
1487 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Absolutely. Yeah.
1488 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. Okay.
1489 Okay. Then you've got your business reports as well. So that would, I would presume, be local business reports that you're thinking of?
1490 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Well, what we do is we do -- I mean, the numbers are the numbers. So we'll report on the DOW, the NASDAQ, and the TSX, but then we'll do stocks of local interest.
1491 So as Todd mentioned, there's a number of sectors that are important to Georgina. So we would, you know, mention stocks of local interest in that business report. So again, it would be local to Georgina.
1492 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1493 So what sort of research did you do to arrive at this programming?
1494 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Well, we did 26 years of research. We started Skywords 26 years ago, and we've run our radio business successfully in Uxbridge for the last 3 years.
1495 So the research also, in terms of on the ground, we have salespeople in market already, in Keswick. We have advertisers in Keswick. We have advertisers from Sutton. We have advertisers from Brock Township.
1496 So we talk to the business community on a regular basis. We've also talked to the civic leaders, because events that happen in Uxbridge -- Uxbridge shares a border with Georgina, which is about 30 kilometres long. So if you live in Udora, which is a community in the Town of Uxbridge, your neighbour lives in Georgina. So our research is really that we own the closest radio station to that market.
1497 In terms of coming back to how that – our experience in small markets, we have the experience from Valleyfield and the experience in Uxbridge, to let us know that we need to be local to the community for this station to be successful.
1498 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So your programming will be locally produced?
1499 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes, 100 percent, 126 hours.
1500 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: One hundred (100) percent.
1501 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes.
1502 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1503 Okay. Well, let’s talk a little bit about your satellite -- oh, before moving on, do you have any plans -- do you have any plans related to serving communities within your secondary contour?
1504 MR. EDWARD TORRES: In terms of serving the community, we’re going to be a Georgina station, first and foremost. But as I just mentioned, in these rural areas what happens in a neighbouring community may be of interest to residents in Georgina. So the Brock Fall Fair attracts 5,000 people a year, a significant number come from Uxbridge Township and come from Georgina Township. So people travel.
1505 So in terms of serving those communities, we’re going to make sure that we reflect things that are important to Georgina residents. If they happen outside of the region, then we’ll cover those as well.
1506 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
1507 So let’s move on to talk about your satellite news bureau. Would the programming originating from the satellite news bureau and broadcast by the news station in Georgina be produced separately and exclusively for the new station, or would it also be broadcast in your other station in Uxbridge?
1508 MR. EDWARD TORRES: The idea of that station -- that satellite news bureau is to complete a news triangle to fill in the northern parts of our existing contour with the Uxbridge station. Again, those people in Udora have to travel to Uxbridge, which is about 25 kilometres, to do an interview on the station. So our idea is that that station would serve the residents of Sutton and Pefferlaw primarily, but it would also provide some synergies to our Uxbridge news department.
1509 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So I don’t think that you -- so you’re going to be sharing the news? Would you call that sharing the news?
1510 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Well, it -- no. It’s going to be -- that content is going to be developed primarily for Georgina. But if there are news interests, stories of interest, we will share information between the three bureaus.
1511 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1512 MR. FRANK TORRES: And the way we -- each one of our bureaus has an absolute local final say as to the relevance of any particular item, as to whether they will use it or not. So it is a great synergy to be able to present stories across all of our properties, but in the end it’s decided locally whether or not it’s useable. So it’s ---
1513 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1514 MR. FRANK TORRES: --- a great resource, but it’s not mandated that you must use information that’s produced in Georgina in Uxbridge or vice versa.
1515 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So you don’t have -- you’re not conceptualizing this as a -- or actually operationalizing it as a central location with satellites going out, or is it more like a distributed news network? How would you ---
1516 MR. FRANK TORRES: It is more like a standalone distributed news network.
1517 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1518 MR. FRANK TORRES: Yeah.
1519 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So could you specify -- and here I’m asking you to, you know, try and speculate, I guess, might be a word that we should maybe use; specify the number of hours of programming per broadcast week originating from the satellite news bureau that would be broadcast on both stations.
1520 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah, it would be speculative. The idea is that 90 percent of that content to 95 percent of that content would be specific to Georgina, with possibly 5 percent of use to Uxbridge.
1521 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Could you also explain how the proposed satellite news bureau in Beaverton will further benefit the population of Georgina? Anything else you want to add to that?
1522 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes, I do. I mean, the -- we put the application together and we had consultation with a number of civic leaders, including the MPP, as we’ve discussed. And she was quite -- quite emphatic that a radio station should serve the entire town of Georgina and not exclude Sutton and Pefferlaw, and that she heard constantly during her campaigns that the people of Sutton and Pefferlaw felt excluded from greater Georgina. So, really, that -- the idea of that satellite office is to make sure that we’ve taken care of that objection.
1523 And as you’ve heard before, business -- the business community in Georgina is spread out over three cities and close to 30 kilometres. So we don’t want to alienate the businesses of Sutton and Pefferlaw because their brussel sprouts and bacon didn’t make it onto the air, it’s always Keswick, Keswick, Keswick.
1524 Sometimes the challenge is physical. We bring a lot of people into our studios in Valleyfield and we bring a lot of people into our studios in Uxbridge to do interviews. But if you throw in a 30-kilometre trip on a snowy winter’s day, that’s going to be hard to execute. So, really, that satellite office gives us the ability to make sure we reflect the entire community of Georgina.
1525 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And this question is probably a little redundant, but I’ll ask it anyway; we could just move on but I want to get it on the record. To what extent would the news produced from the satellite news bureau cover the Georgina Township?
1526 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Ninety-five (95) percent of it would cover Georgina.
1527 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
1528 Okay. So now I want to move on and talk a little bit about your format, okay? So, really, what I want to do is -- you know, again, I have an objective for this particular question. And what we’re looking at here is how the classic hits -- classic hits music format and target audience would differ from, compete, and/or complement the -- your station in Uxbridge, okay?
1529 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Frank, do you want to lead that?
1530 MR. FRANK TORRES: Sure. I think the station in Uxbridge is more contemporary hits and starts from the eighties to present time.
1531 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.
1532 MR. FRANK TORRES: And our station in Georgina would be classic hits, so it would start in the sixties, really get more intense in the seventies.
1533 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Your Uxbridge was originally classic hits and seems to have shifted over a bit?
1534 MR. FRANK TORRES: Correct. In our application we had indicated classic hits, but there was an objection brought up in that process that there might be duplication with another classic hits format in that. So as part of that process we adjusted it to more contemporary hits. So -- and so with the older demographic, we’re stretching out the listenership from the existing format in Uxbridge to the new format in Georgina.
1535 But one of the most striking differences will be that in Uxbridge we have up to -- at any given time we have up to 15 local artists in high rotation that are local to Uxbridge alone. And the same will happen in Georgina. With our presence in Georgina, we will have -- we will emerge artist from before the day that we launch the station in Georgina, and those will be artists that are not presently being played in Uxbridge.
1536 So a big difference in our format is -- between our format and any other classic hits format is that you will hear contemporary local artists as well and local emerging artists, and that will distinguish that sound from any other format.
1537 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: That was something that, you know, I was kind of wondering about that. You’ve got a classic hits format, but yet you’ve got promotion and encouragement of emerging artists too. They don’t seem to really fit together, you know, kind of hand in glove. So maybe you could enlighten us ---
1538 MR. FRANK TORRES: Absolutely correct.
1539 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: --- as to what you’re thinking of there?
1540 MR. FRANK TORRES: Yes, and that is again where it seems like a blurred line on paper but ---
1541 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
1542 MR. FRANK TORRES: --- when it’s a local artist, and you know that Julien Kelland, the local artist, performed at my sister’s wedding and she’s our star and she’s created a CD, and she’s starting to get airplay on the radio, it gives you license to adjust the format. And, again, any adjustments that you make on a hyper level focus gains acceptance from your crowd because it’s more relevant to them, right?
1543 So they -- yes, if you’re going to play a lot of Katy Perry and a lot of Taylor Swift, then it seems to conflict with the oldies format. But if you’re playing and doing an announcer bit on a local emerging artist that’s just produced her first single, and she’s 18 years old, and it’s a good quality performance, it’s absolutely entrancing to the local crowd. It’s the best thing you could do for radio and for local content.
1544 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Just to follow up on that, Frank, too. And I had someone come into the station in Uxbridge this week and they said, we’d love -- and we’ve heard this before, you know, what’s the difference between CHFI and us, you guys play Taylor Swift; everybody plays Taylor Swift. He said, “You’re playing music. I think it’s great. Who is it?” It was Julien Kelland, and -- a local artist. And she goes -- says, "Well, I don't hear this anywhere else" and I said, "I know that. That's why we do it." And she gets her SOCAN cheque and she said, "Wow, I get a SOCAN cheque now. I never, you know, used to get it. And, yeah, it's $28, but I never had that $28 before."
1545 So that's the idea as well in Georgina because there's so much talent that hasn't bubble to the surface. They may be playing the local bars or whatever and they don't get those opportunities. People are much more forgiving within the community if it's -- for example, we play country artist, Ben Hudson.
1546 And we -- you know, it's not necessarily a hit. We're not a country station. But it's acceptable to the community because, "Oh, that's Ben." And then people will go and follow him from there. So that's the idea of that.
1547 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you. Well, thank you for that.
1548 So would you -- are there similarities and differences between -- in this respect, in your musical format, between Uxbridge and this new station, or are you going to do it the same way?
1549 MR. EDWARD TORRES: The station's going to be -- sound a lot older than our Uxbridge radio station. We don't want to cannibalize somebody who's listening to Uxbridge for the hotter sound.
1550 So -- and to your point, when we put together our application for Uxbridge, class hits was our format of choice, but another broadcaster moved into that space. So we had to make our station younger sounding to be different -- differentiate ourselves from the other station to the south. So with the station to the north, we can carry out our original idea of a classic hits format.
1551 But these are not cookie cutter formats either, like we've said in our presentation. It may sound strange that we would play a local emerging artist, but it works in a small town. We can get away with it. We couldn't get away with it in Toronto or a ranked market where a program director is looking at spins.
1552 In Ottawa, our commitment to local also goes through -- we play a lot of local emerging music.
1553 Todd, I don't know if you want to talk about...
1554 MR. BERNARD: Yeah, sure. So, you know, the corporate philosophy of promoting and supporting local artists, again, you know, if it steps outside the format of class hits in a small market, again, because of the relevance of the fact that it is a local artist, there's automatic acceptance there from the community because they like to see, you know, young and emerging artists being supported in that small market.
1555 But that -- you know, that sort of philosophy of focusing on developing and supporting local talent, you know, applies to our larger market station in Ottawa, too; CIDG-FM.
1556 You know, currently we've got a feature that we've fairly recently put together called Local Brews and Bands. So, again, features a local brewery is the advertising sponsor, it's Big Rig. And what that is, it's -- so 14 spins featured prominently each week and they're, you know, front sold and back sold by the announcer.
1557 And we've also just put together a heavy metal show that airs on Sunday nights and it's repeated on Wednesday, which is a 30-minute show; again, dedicated exclusively to heavy metal emerging artists from Ottawa and from Gatineau.
1558 And that show has been so well-received that we're in the coming weeks going to expand that to 60 minutes. So again, the idea of supporting local emerging talent is, you know, pervasive right across the company's properties.
1559 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So you've basically just answered the question, then, in -- ahead of my asking it, so thank you for that.
1560 And your experience with the classic hits music format in your Uxbridge market was a positive thing, but had to shift?
1561 MR. EDWARD TORRES: We did not launch it at all. So what happened is once we were licensed, the competing station to the south moved into the classic hits format. So we were licensed before we had the station on the air. They moved into that space and we had to make a decision to move into a different direction.
1562 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Okay. I want to move on now and talk about synergies. And we've -- some of this will probably seem a little -- a little bit repetitive because you've already alluded to many of them, and in fact given us some idea of what those might be.
1563 So the objective of this particular -- these particular questions are just so that we can have a better understanding of these synergies that you're planning, okay; that you're proposing.
1564 So what specific areas of operation would rely on synergies; technical, advertising, sales, administrative?
1565 MR. EDWARD TORRES: The -- we've identified a number of them; HR, back office, accounting, training, sales training. We would find synergies again in news sharing, information sharing. We do that across the board, across all our stations.
1566 Sales relationships. We talked about leveraging some of our existing clients onto the new radio station. Senior level management. Those are some areas where, you know, we would find and execute synergies.
1567 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Okay, have synergies been taken into account in your financial projections?
1568 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes, they have.
1569 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Would you like to elaborate on that again?
1570 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Essentially when we built the financial forecast for Uxbridge, we used synergies from our existing operations.
1571 And based on the model and the results that we've received in Uxbridge, which are within about 10 percent of our first two years of forecasts in Uxbridge, we created these financials. So the synergies have all been taken into account.
1572 But maybe, Kim, do you want to elaborate on some of the sales synergies?
1573 MS. ELLIOT: Yeah, for sure.
1574 So while we will obviously have sales reps on the ground in Georgina, we do have the SkyWords office in Markham. So what we do there is provide, as we mentioned earlier, content for radio stations across the country. So we do have a sales team there.
1575 That sales team has built relationships with agencies. So when we moved into Uxbridge, for example, it's not a rated market. We had existing relationships to get additional ad dollars from companies like Tim Hortons, like Walmart.
1576 And being a local Walmart, they never had a radio station before, and they were excited to hear themselves on air through their national agency in downtown Toronto. They booked a campaign and it was local to Uxbridge.
1577 And Dan actually called me the other day to say, you know, "The ladies who work at Walmart heard their ad and they were so excited to be on air local, and they showed up with a bunch of hampers for some local women's shelters." And it meant a lot to them that they could do that.
1578 And so we were able to do that with our synergies from the head office from our relationships with the people who book the Walmarts and the Tim Hortons and the McDonalds and Hakim Optical, and we have those clients and we will -- we're confident that we can do that again in Georgina.
1579 We have promotional synergies. For example, we have relationships with the CN Tower people, with the Ripley's Aquarium people, with hotels in downtown Toronto.
1580 So we package them up and we go into Uxbridge, we go into Georgina at the station and say, "Here is a package. You can win, you know, a night's stay in a hotel and have a dinner downtown, go to the aquarium, go to the CN Tower."
1581 And that's all stuff that we pull from our head office in Markham, which I think kind of benefits both, you know, Uxbridge -- it would benefit Georgina absolutely, and it already benefits our existing stations.
1582 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So you're talking about the synergies that -- really that you're deriving from SkyWords, then?
1583 MS. ELLIOT: Yeah.
1584 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. Okay. And those have all been taken into account in your financial projections?
1585 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes. They have.
1586 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Can you tell us a little bit more about SkyWords and -- you've talked a little bit about it but could you give us -- just kind of flesh that out a bit for us? And how -- in particular, how it relates to what you're proposing for the station in Georgina.
1587 MR. EDWARD TORRES: SkyWords is the backbone of our company, as we mentioned. So it's the company that my brother and I started 26 years ago. So it produces radio content for radio stations.
1588 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: What -- give me an idea of the content. Are you talking ---
1589 MR. EDWARD TORRES: We produce ---
1590 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: --- traffic reports and so on?
1591 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah. News -- we produce news reports, we produce traffic reports, we produce business reports, we produce snowmobile trail condition reports.
1592 We produce all kinds of features, spoken word features, that radio stations can take. All of the content is specifically tailored to each individual station, so it's local programming.
1593 In terms of SkyWords, though, the general managers of each of our markets decide whether they're going to take SkyWords' contents or not. So in Valleyfield, they don't take our traffic. They create their own traffic. In Ottawa, they don't take the business report. They have decided not to take the business report. In Uxbridge, they’re not running, you know, snowmobile trail reports. So the general managers have the final decision of our stations whether or not they’re going to use the content that we create. But the content that we create is created specifically for each one of our affiliate stations.
1594 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And you will do that same thing in Georgina for the new station?
1595 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah, the general manager will have the final say on what content he’s going to air. If he decides or she decides that they’re going to run their own traffic report or their own business reports, then they are responsible for the budget of that radio station and the operations of that radio station.
1596 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: How many dedicated staff would be working exclusively for the new station?
1597 MR. EDWARD TORRES: We have 13.5 individuals.
1598 MR. TROTTIER: Three for news, four announcers full time, one half time, so 4.5, four salespersons, two admin, so it’s 13.5.
1599 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1600 MR. TROTTIER: For the record.
1601 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you.
1602 Now, I want to move on and talk a little bit about the economics, the economic section. And again, I’ve got a pretty clear objective for this set of questions as well. We want to clarify your business plan for the proposed service and the potential impact that licensing a new station would have on the surrounding markets.
1603 So my first question is have you observed any changes in the short to medium-term economic outlook for the market since you filed your application that would impact your financial projections or other aspects of your application, either in a positive or a negative way?
1604 MR. EDWARD TORRES: At the time of filing the application, we didn’t know what the 2016 Census results would be, but we had a pretty good idea that they would come in close to the provincial average, the provincial average, of course, being affected mostly by the large urban centres. But with the extension of the 404 and, as Todd has talked about, some of the development that the city has planned and forecast to hit 70,000 people, we don’t really think that there’s any significant changes.
1605 The housing market in Toronto drives a lot of the movement up north to the rural areas. However, the housing market in Toronto, we believe, is going to continue cooking, or at least most people on this panel believe because they own homes here.
1606 MR. POLLARD: Speak for yourself, Ed.
1607 And just to follow up on that as well, living in Uxbridge, I’ve seen the effects it has because I know people who have gone from Uxbridge to move to Keswick or Sutton and to move to Georgina because they can’t afford to live in the area. So it’s exploded.
1608 One of the interesting things in looking at what’s happened in Uxbridge, what’s happening in Uxbridge and is happening there, I remember Keswick when it had a small old barn for an arena. Now it’s a brand new facility, beautiful facility. They can’t -- they take five minutes to get across town. So it’s changed a lot, and with the opening up of the 404 and now Ravenshoe Road, it’s just going to keep expanding.
1609 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And you see that as a financially good thing?
1610 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah, I think, as Jon Pole said before, it’s a long-term play, you know, but we’re in this business long term.
1611 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you for that.
1612 Let’s see, what else do I want to ask you?
1613 Did you take into account the implementation of the proposed satellite news bureau in Beaverton in the financial projections filed with your application?
1614 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes, we did.
1615 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: You did? Okay.
1616 And given your recently-launched station in Uxbridge, which was in September of 2015 and your recently-acquired station in Valleyfield, which was November of 2015, can you provide more detail regarding your capacity and willingness to absorb losses if your revenue projections do not materialize as you projected?
1617 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes. When we launched our Ottawa station in 2009, we absorbed losses, significant losses. That licence award was subject to an appeal at cabinet level. We actually attended three or four hearings. We invested very heavily in getting that radio station licensed back. We also had a CCD commitment in the neighbourhood of three-quarters of a million dollars, and that was all backstopped by SkyWords.
1618 So fast-forward to now, we have no CCD commitment. The station that we acquired in Valleyfield is profitable. Uxbridge is profitable, about a year ahead of our initial business plan. So we have the capacity.
1619 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
1620 And I just basically have two more questions for you. The second-last one would be can you provide more detail regarding the sources of the other media revenues that you have projected for your second year of operation? I believe it shows as 22 percent?
1621 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Let me just get the breakdown. The other media is sales of merchandise and online revenue.
1622 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Can you tell us, please, about your online revenue, what your presence will be and ---
1623 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Sorry. Right. Okay. I’m sorry, I misunderstood the question.
1624 So our Year 2 projection assumptions, where the other media revenue is going to come from. We’ve identified print, online, sponsorships and outdoor.
1625 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
1626 MR. FRANK TORRES: Outdoors is particularly related to our music festival. So we will drive the music festival, but we will sell sponsorships related to that festival.
1627 In Uxbridge, when we partnered with the existing music festival that was there, they had one sponsor. We brought a total of 10 sponsors to that festival. So it does provide a revenue-generation tool as well that’s quite significant for us.
1628 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
1629 And this is my final question for you, and it’s not really a question. I would ask you to please comment on how your proposal would be affected should the Commission impose a condition of licence prohibiting the solicitation of advertising in the City of Barrie?
1630 MR. EDWARD TORRES: It would not be affected. Our business plan is built on Georgina revenue, although we would like to make comments on the condition of licence that Corus has suggested. There are -- in their intervention, they list 19 other radio stations that are heard in the market. None of those radio stations have requested a condition of licence against soliciting or accepting advertising, and we find it odd that Corus isn’t appearing at this hearing in person to state their case. I mean, we’ve all come here with our proposals. So we’re not sure if they’re truly worried about a station in Georgina. We would accept it as a condition of licence, but we really do not think that our application would have any impact on their operations in Barrie.
1631 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Any other comments to make on that point?
1632 MR. FRANK TORRES: Again, would there be -- there’s no ability to reciprocate that type of an agreement. So would Corus be prepared to not market in Uxbridge, not advertise in Uxbridge? Is it solicitation or is it reception of advertising dollars? Is it just advertising dollars or is it sponsorship dollars? It just seems like it’s a potential mess that had it been brought by all the established operators in Barrie as a genuine concern, perhaps we could have a more serious look at it, a discussion of it, but if it’s just something that’s just being fired out the hip at every hearing as a protectionist issue, then we should probably give it that due regard.
1633 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, thank you. I have no more questions and I thank you for coming to talk to us today.
1634 MR. FRANK TORRES: Thank you.
1635 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Vice-Chair Simard has a few questions.
1636 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So to be consistent with all the -- the questions I have already asked before to the other applicants, I'm going to ask you the same questions.
1637 So what is the main difference between Georgina community and the other communities that you serve?
1638 MR. EDWARD TORRES: The main difference is the town of Uxbridge is 24,000 people living in a relatively compact rural city.
1639 Georgina is 45,000 people living in three population centres.
1640 So the other thing is that they have the shore of Lake Ontario -- pardon me, of Lake Simcoe as a tourist destination. So they have a lot of marina businesses, boating activities, watersport activities.
1641 Uxbridge doesn't have that and so the people of Uxbridge will travel to Georgina a lot for those opportunities.
1642 MR. POLLARD: What we found as well is that because of our traffic surveillance over the last 25 years, which emanated from Toronto, we found that it's almost a reverse order. So people are leaving their homes in Toronto to live in Uxbridge but then working back in Toronto.
1643 For Georgina, it's more of a tourist-based destination, including staycations, where Toronto residents have their boats and boat slips for Lake Simcoe in Georgina and in Keswick. So they're going up there on Friday; they're spending the entire weekend up there and then coming back Sunday or Monday.
1644 So there is a bit of a difference in commuter flow, and it does change how you approach the markets as well.
1645 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: I would have assumed that the Uxbridge market is the one that is the most similar to the Georgina market among the markets that you serve. Is this assumption correct or not?
1646 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yes, absolutely correct.
1647 Again, they share the border. The hockey teams play against each other. The baseball teams travel to play against each other. The residents travel from community to community.
1648 One of our first advertisers in Uxbridge was the Brock Board of Trade, but that was a campaign that was funded by South Lake Community Futures in Keswick.
1649 So there's a connection, as we mentioned. There is a number of communities, not just Udora, but if you cross the street, you're in Georgina. If you cross back the street… right?
1650 So these are political lines that have been drawn on a map. Sometimes, we worry about them a little bit too much.
1651 The residents of Udora, you know, their neighbours are still their neighbours.
1652 MR. TROTTIER: Did you ask about our other radio station; the difference between? Yeah, I think that's what you asked.
1653 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, the other -- yes.
1654 MR. TROTTIER: Okay. I just want to make sure that -- yeah, Ottawa is very different from a regional radio station.
1655 Valleyfield is a regional radio station as well; 45,000 as well, but the region surrounding Valleyfield it's more like 170,000 people. So you cannot compare Valleyfield to Georgina. It's not the same thing outside the fact that it's a French-language radio station, but the market is totally different.
1656 The only thing really that's close between Valleyfield and Uxbridge and Georgina is the fact that we're close to a big city that influences the national sales. Like in Valleyfield, for instance, we don't have McDonald's, but we do have Tim Hortons.
1657 But there's some clients that we don't have in Valleyfield because we're close to Montreal, and it's the same with Uxbridge and Georgina.
1658 MR. BERNARD: The thing that again makes the two most common, I think, which we're touching on here is the fact that they're both rural communities. You know, there's a common mindset there. Again, you know, borders are drawn on maps and in the case of Georgina, it's kind of -- there's a tourism angle and it's very sort of nautical and marine oriented in the summer months. Maybe not so much in Uxbridge but again they're both rural communities. And people in rural, they have rural lifestyles, they do have that common -- common mindset if you will.
1659 So where I live, we're within the City of Ottawa, but it's a rural community and we do -- it's a different lifestyle. So the fact that Uxbridge, again, rural, Georgina, rural, makes those two markets, I think, clearly the most similar.
1660 MR. POLLARD: It's interesting because you do have a couple of different types of people who end up in Georgina. You have the people who are in the City of Toronto all week long and travel for vacation time on the weekend in Georgina. And those are ears you're going to hit as well.
1661 So while you look at the direct population of Georgina, you also have to remember that that increases over the weekend. And those are people you can sell to.
1662 Uxbridge is much more affluent and that's why some people have had to move out to go to places like Georgina.
1663 But there -- I think there's a revenue stream that is there in Georgina. Again, if you look at the straight population, you might question it. But when you see that you can't move on the Lakeshore Boulevard on the weekends because there's so many people coming from Toronto, those are some of the revenue streams that are definitely available there.
1664 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And as you know, all the applications are good applications. So how do you envision the outcome of your proposal in five years from now? And more specifically, how your application is different from the other applications?
1665 So I'm looking for more a question from the perspective of your business and also from a perspective of the community.
1666 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Okay. From the business perspective, in five years, if we own the radio station, we'll have a strong -- two strong radio stations. We'll have the ability to sell combination packages of advertising, which is something we don't have now, and it puts us at a competitive disadvantage sometimes in our own market.
1667 So with two radio stations, we could sell that one car dealer in Georgina because we've got two car dealers in Uxbridge.
1668 So, you know, we can convince that car dealer that not only is he marketing to his people in Keswick, he's marketing to the greater Uxbridge and Keswick.
1669 So we can create a pretty strong sales combination, and I think that that will lead to the financial stability of both stations.
1670 In terms of the community, I think I'm excited for Uxbridge in five years. To this point, we are -- we are the only voice in the community. We are the only -- there's no newspaper, there's no online presence to speak of. Really, we MC every single event that happens. We have our cruiser at every event that happens. So we're really engrained in the community.
1671 And I think with the addition of the Georgina station, it just makes us that much stronger for us to be able to serve the entire needs of that entire region south of Lake Simcoe.
1672 MR. FRANK TORRES: It's exciting that when you -- when you own a radio station, it's something that's going to be multigenerational. It's something that is going to survive you. Right. And it's going to survive everyone in the community as well.
1673 And once the people in the community start realizing that it's there forever, they begin to take ownership of it and it becomes an absolute pillar of the community.
1674 I would like to hear from Yves and Dan how your local stations have become those pillars.
1675 MR. TROTTIER: I don't know what to say. I mean the impact is very important.
1676 You know, the radio station almost died in Valleyfield, and this year the community asked me to be the president of the United Way campaign for all the southwest of Montreal. And we will raise maybe $20,000 more than there was before. That's just one example.
1677 And day after day, we have people calling to say, "Okay, the radio survived. Thank you, My Lord, never thought that you'd be able to do that." Because everybody was thinking that -- you know, even some people in Valleyfield were saying we're kind of stupid to buy that station.
1678 But now -- now, it's a big success in Valleyfield. I've been invited by the Chamber of Commerce to talk about the success of the station in the beginning of 2018.
1679 So that's, you know, local radio station. I've worked around 20 years in local radio stations.
1680 And you know, maybe just one example for Valleyfield, which is really important. I don't know if you remember this big ice storm in 1998 in Quebec. Well, you know, I slept two nights at the radio station. We're talking something on air and five minutes later, there was like 100 people waiting for something; for oil lamps, something like that, or this restaurant is open, they serve food. Then like 200 people were there.
1681 So even though that, you know, in these days we didn't have Facebook, we didn’t have social media, even though, you know, radio is still crucial in community, even though that we're close to big centre like Montreal or Toronto.
1682 MR. POLLARD: Yves touched on it. The affect you could have on charity, and that's what I can see with Georgina and being able to help out with charities.
1683 We had a situation in Uxbridge where the word got back to me that the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, which serves about 100 families in Uxbridge alone every month, they were in dire straits; nothing on the shelves, no donations.
1684 So I knew a local realtor who got hold of me and she says, "Go on the air and put out a challenge." And we raised $5,000 in three days for the local food bank, and that's just in Uxbridge. And I can imagine that Georgina would rally around something similar to that.
1685 It's that, and it's watching these local artists being able to thrive. It's so exciting. We actually have a show called The Bridge on Sundays. It's an hour long and it's done from Ineo Studios in Uxbridge. And that's it; it's just all local artists who have now ingrained themselves in the radio station.
1686 In fact, I've got to answer a text today, "Who was that, you know, person, that sang at 12:35 on Sunday?" So those are the kinds of things that you want to see the radio station doing in five years, and it's definitely -- there's momentum that's already built in Uxbridge.
1687 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. And my last question is a question of clarification.
1688 So I understand that in your application, you mentioned that there would be a minimum of 1.1 percent of musical selection which would be featuring emerging artists.
1689 So is this 1.1 percent linked to the festival? In other words, are those artists be kind of invited to broadcast their music in your station?
1690 MR. EDWARD TORRES: Yeah, the music festival that we're going to support will have artistic control of their festival. So we're just providing funds. But certainly we would, I think, as part of our position in the community, we would certainly want to promote any local artists to appear at that festival.
1691 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So this 1.1 percent is not necessarily linked to the festival per se?
1692 MR. EDWARD TORRES: No.
1693 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: No.
1694 MR. EDWARD TORRES: It's not. What our experience in Ottawa, if I could talk about our blues station. We launched a blues station when we were licensed in 2010, and we created a festival out of that. And a lot of our artists that we played on the station appeared at the festival.
1695 But this is -- we don't have ownership of this festival, so we won't be able to make those decisions.
1696 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
1697 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I have no questions and neither does legal, so thank you very much.
1698 THE SECRETARY: One small announcement. After the questioning of the next Applicant after lunch, we will be starting Phase 2 whereby Applicants appear in the same order as Phase 1 to intervene on competing applications if they wish.
1699 If you know that you are not intending to appear in that phase, please advise me at lunch. If you are unsure at this time, I will call upon you during Phase 2 and you can state your intention at that time. I think that we will now invite ---
1700 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we'll invite the next Applicant to come forward to deliver your opening comments, and after you're done your opening comments, we're going to break for lunch and come back for questions after the lunch period.
1701 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
1702 THE SECRETARY: We will now proceed with Item 6 on the agenda, which is an application by Radio Markham York Incorporated on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a broadcasting licence to operate an English language commercial FM radio station in Georgina.
1703 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 20 minutes for your presentation.
1704 MR. BOLA: Good afternoon, Commissioners, Commission Staff. My name is Pip Bola. I'm the President of Radio Markham York Inc. I own and operate CFMS 105.9 The Region, which serves Markham and Richmond Hill.
1705 I'm pleased to be here to present a new entry into the broadcasting system, a new partnership which will provide a first service for the Town of Georgina, located in the northern part of York Region.
1706 To my right is my partner in Georgina licence, Debra Mclaughlin. Debra is a driving force behind Strategic Inc., a consulting firm that has worked with Bell Media, Corus, Harvard Broadcasting, APTN, AMI Inc., and far too many others to mention.
1707 Debra started her career in the advertising agencies working on accounts like Coca-Cola, Christie Brown, and Labatt. She has experience in both radio and television sales.
1708 After working with the rating service Numeris, Debra then served on their Radio Executive and Ethics Committees. She was head of Technical Committee for Canadian Advertising Research Foundation and the Head of Research for CBC English.
1709 She spearheaded the audience development and reporting on the most viewed Olympics to date, the games from Sochi, Russia.
1710 I am grateful for the expertise she has provided me for the past three years to develop the programming and sales for Radio Markham York Inc. I will ask Debra to introduce our team of leading professionals.
1711 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Pip. To my right is Tina Cortese, Station Manager and News Director at CFMS Markham. Tina is an accomplished broadcast executive, producer, and cross-platform journalist. She was the General Manager and Vice-President of City TV Toronto for Rogers.
1712 Previously, Tina helped launch one of the most widely recognized news channels in the country, CP24. A two-time Gemini award winning producer for breaking news coverage and special event programming, Tina has also served as Executive Producer for Breakfast Television, CityLine, and multiple national New Year's Eve broadcast specials at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.
1713 She is a Professor of Journalism at Seneca College in Toronto and Durham College in Oshawa, where she inspires students to embrace and apply the foundations of journalism across multi-platforms.
1714 To Pip's left is Mike Wixson. Mike was first hired as our Program Director at Radio Markham York Inc. and has worked with us over the past four years developing a sound that crosses cultural divides and delivers a contemporary, rounded program offering.
1715 Mike's background includes a decade in Toronto Radio at CFNY and CFTR as an on-air personality. Mike was the founder of Available Media, a media brokerage firm that represented over 180 media partners around the world.
1716 Mike also ran his own production company producing over 1,000 episodes of Canadian television shows in genres ranging from game shows to cooking and lifestyle.
1717 He was the mind behind a successful podcast network called Pod Almighty which produced and distributed 60 of the nation's most popular podcasts featuring prominent personalities. Mike currently hosts afternoons at CFMS 105.9 The Region.
1718 In the back row to my left and your right is John Stubbs. John is Head of Operations and oversees the technical aspects of Radio Markham York Inc. John has managed both television and radio operations for over 37 years, working with companies such as CFCF and Metro Media in Montreal.
1719 He developed the processes which made described video for broadcast possible, and subsequently was part of the team that conceived of and launched Accessible Media Inc.
1720 Next to John is Tina Daenzer, the Community Outreach Director for CFMS. As a former producer, writer, researcher and social media expert, Tina understands the importance of connecting with audience.
1721 Tina comes to us from Bell Media, where she was the Senior Producer for Canada AM, the national morning television show. She took the studio-based program on the road creating live remotes in all the provinces and territories, bringing that morning show to the people who mattered.
1722 In addition, Tina produced live music events for CTV with performances by superstars like Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Blue Rodeo, Katy Perry, Adele and many more.
1723 In her role as Community Outreach Director for CFMS, Tina has developed the "What's On" Program, reaching out to organizations big and small to ensure that the station and its online platforms are highlighting the breadth of events taking place in York Region.
1724 Beside Tina is John Caragianakos. John is in charge of our promotions and supports Tina with the What's On outreach. John works with organizers to ensure we showcase their events properly and that the station has visibility.
1725 After college, John gained insight into experiential marketing working with clients such as Microsoft, HMV, Coca-Cola, and Walmart. Since then, John has successfully run his own small business. As a prior owner of a small regional business and now as a member of the 105, The Region team, John is able to see radio from two different perspectives, which he has leveraged to create more imaginative and effective promotions.
1726 And next to John, last but not least, is Afua Baah, one of our newest hires at CFMS Markham. Afua came directly to us from school and internships with Corus Radio. She is a news reporter, a trusted story teller, helps develop content for the station and works directly with clients to help them craft their messages. She is one of our youngest staff members but an inspiring contributor to our operations.
1727 And this is our team.
1728 MR. BOLA: Our operation will provide Georgina residents with a place in the broadcasting system that will be uniquely their own. 94.5, The Region, will cover local news and share information that is relevant to the community. It will provide spoken word programming that is tailored to this specific community and long form programming that offers the opportunity for the type of discussion the market has told us they urgently need. I will also -- it will also provide advertisers with an effective -- affordable way to reach their customers.
1729 MS. McLAUGHLIN: We have been speaking to the residents of Georgina since the 2014 Municipal Elections. Even though the CFMS signal cannot be heard beyond south Aurora, the need for coverage of the election in York Region was so acute that the candidates were delighted to have us produce their content. We aired their segments and they distributed the content via their online platforms. Thus, began the relationship between CFMS, the station, and the residents of Georgina.
1730 Our involvement with York Region based charities has meant that over the years CFMS Markham has been present at events taking place in Georgina. Our work with the Festival Alliance of York means we have worked to promote Georgina seasonal events.
1731 MS. CORTESE: When the CRTC asked for comments on whether Georgina could support a new station, we met with businesses and residents, listened to radio in the market and determined a set of needs from these consultations. When the call was issued by the CRTC, we commissioned formal research and then tested these findings with the people who ultimately will choose to support the service by either listening or advertising.
1732 News and information are critical components to our value proposition to listeners in the Town of Georgina. Social media now appears to be the only means that this market has of sharing their stories and disseminating information.
1733 Seventy-two (72) percent of respondents in a Research Inc. survey felt that local voices were under represented on radio in the market. The dissatisfaction with existing radio options is understood when you consider that 9 out of 10 respondents in our survey felt local weather was most important; 8 out of 10 felt news from Georgina was most important and 7 out of 10 felt news from Georgina and York Region was most important.
1734 None of this content is available on commercial radio in the Georgina market right now. Our proposal recognizes a broader definition of local for news and spoken word content.
1735 Georgina is a town unto itself, but it is also part of a larger economic and governance area -- York Region. A great deal of the decisions affecting municipal life are made at the regional government level. This creates a two‑tier system for community governance, and therefore, necessitates a more comprehensive strategy for news coverage.
1736 To illustrate: Georgina has the schools, but it is a York Region School Board that administers them. The Town has a police department and detachment, but it is the York Regional Police that staff this facility, and the buses that service the Town are run by York Region Transit.
1737 To put it in context, the combined budgets administered by the nine municipalities are just 64 percent of that of the budget for York Region. The nine municipalities manage approximately 1.3 billion in tax payer dollars and subsidies while York Region administers 2.1 billion.
1738 This means that for Georgina residents looking for the news on decisions that impact them, a radio service must cover more than just town council. Our concept for local news recognizes that to fully serve Georgina, Georgina citizens reporting news from other parts of the Region is also necessary. Our staffing and resource allocation plans reflect this reality.
1739 We will have five people in the newsroom in Georgina collecting information and preparing local reports, as well as a news director. One of the synergies we are uniquely positioned to provide is the information that is being collected on a regional level by our Markham news team and it can be shared with the Georgina team. Our reporters can file a centralized report with voices from the market which both teams will have access to. We currently do this with our ethnic producers and it enhances the coverage we are able to provide by essentially increasing active reporters in the field.
1740 One of the areas in which CFMS has made quite an impact is with local traffic reporting. The population of the GTA has pushed north causing congestion on the roads. In fact, much of York Region now presents a traffic nightmare for commuters.
1741 Georgina is not exempt from this. During many months, weekend traffic heading north to cottage or ski country creates slowdowns and results in accidents. This temporary population surge is a boon for the economy but a source of frustration to the locals.
1742 Therefore, timely traffic reporting is of critical importance to residents, which is why you will see that our traffic updates do not lighten up after the traditional work week. In recognition of the traffic that flows on weekends, our reports cover Saturday morning and Sunday evenings -- times that we have been told are very trying for residents wanting to simply get around town.
1743 In total, we will broadcast 9 hours and 34 minutes of news programming. This includes 3 hours and 38 minutes of pure news, 48‑and‑a‑half minutes of sports, 1 hour and 53 minutes of traffic and 1 hour and 26 minutes of weather.
1744 We will also offer our York Region news magazine, The FEED. This is a weekly one-hour program of long-form interviews that go behind the headlines and presents the stories shaping current day York Region.
1745 Stories from Georgina have always been included in The FEED but we will ensure that there is at least one in each edition when the programming is shared, and in the case where there are many originating story or stories of unique or limited interest to Georgina, we will produce two editions. Thus far, however, the vast majority of the interviews on The FEED are of interest to the entire Region.
1746 Whether these are understanding the why of a news story, celebrations of emerging artists or sporting achievements, support of charities or the arts, discussions of economic development, matters of governance or policing, health or lifestyle news, the universality of interest in these topics makes them relevant to all of York Region.
1747 Over and above this, we will have our information series such as Mayors in the Morning; York Region Transit updates; Streetbeat, a report from York Regional Police; Business Reports; What's On, and we will continue to invite newsmakers into the studio or to join us by phone to discuss the stories making headlines.
1748 MS. McLAUGHLIN: We expect the bulk of our revenues will be from Georgina and York Region because that will be the thrust of our programming. Rather than limit us, we believe this gives us a competitive advantage, since all the other stations available to Georgina listeners focus on serving listeners in larger markets.
1749 There is a very real cost of being local, which why we have the highest expenditures on programming of all of the applications before you. You need to have people in the station and on the street to develop the trust of the community.
1750 94.5, The Region, will support local businesses by providing a platform to affordably advertise to their community. Businesses in Georgina will no longer be forced to pay large market rates to reach their community, or for a two‑hours drive north of Toronto.
1751 We have also pre‑established relationships with several advertisers who are interested in reaching Georgina, which gives us an advantage. Many people who own a franchise in Markham have other locations across York Region. We would be able to extend the existing relationships with CFMS to this new license.
1752 Further, earlier this year, we launched York 24/7, a news video service which provides truly local news and information anchored by the best of the web and trending stories. It has locally produced content, streams events like the Santa Claus Parade, town council meetings in various centres in York, and gives businesses the opportunities to speak with their trading zone. The Internet is a big place, but we found a way to make it both manageable and relevant to a local business.
1753 To further support our sales, we have worked with the agencies and advertisers to create a methodology acceptable for estimating audiences. This information helps advertisers understand the value of radio as an advertising medium, and as a result, the value of our station. This strategy allows us to compete against major market stations which have the advantage of being measured by Numeris.
1754 It has taken a few years to establish our research but now we can show trended audience data. We would use this same methodology for Georgina which makes our funding model achievable and our operations sustainable.
1755 MR. WIXSON: The which would best serve Georgina is described as eighties, nineties, and now.
1756 After reviewing the available stations in Georgina, we could see there was a high degree of dissatisfaction among listeners. The consumer study from Research Inc. showed that many respondents reported finding little to listen to on the radio. Six out of 10 women stated they would spend more time listening to radio if the programming they wanted was made available. Four out of 10 men felt the same way. Two-thirds felt that there was too much music repetition on radio station.
1757 The eighties, nineties and now version of adult contemporary offers a large playlist, thereby reducing the irritating repetition respondents noted. The variety of eras gives listeners the opportunity to hear their favourite song and sample something new. This format specifically addresses the needs of most dissatisfied radio listeners in Georgina “women overall” and “listeners aged 35 to 54”. They were mostly likely to increase their hours of tuning to radio if 94.5 Georgina offered them the eighties, nineties, and now as a format.
1758 Eight out of 10 respondents stated that they would "likely or definitely" listen. And 79 percent of people who were somewhat or very dissatisfied with radio choices stated they would listen. The eighties, nineties, and today format is ideal for a single station market because it offers a little something to everyone with the range of eras included.
1759 Listeners may choose to tune 94.5 Georgina for their local information, but they’ll likely stay awhile because they also enjoy the music era mix. Have a listen to hear what we are talking about.
1760 (AUDIO PRESENTATION)
1761 MS. DAENZER: Sorry. The key to delivering relevant content is connecting with listeners in a meaningful way. We understand the intimate relationship listeners often have with radio, and one of the ways to establish this is in sharing stories that are at the heart of community building; the stories of how people come together.
1762 Whether it is through our “What's On” Web site initiative where all requests for inclusion will be accommodated at no cost or as part of our on-air calendar and social media initiatives. The What's On Calendar, Georgina edition, will include new events that are hyperlocal and events that are small in scope, as well as the larger regional events we are already promoting to listeners of CMF -- CFMS.
1763 Our What's On programming will also include interviews on the morning or afternoon shows, featuring people with stories to tell, from charities seeking support, new artists and so on. Each week I reach out to organizations and individuals who need to build awareness and work with them to determine how best to showcase their upcoming functions.
1764 I grew up in Georgina, and next year when my new house is finished I will be moving back to the community and I'm looking forward to building even more relationships with my new neighbours.
1765 MR. CARAGIANAKOS: A large part of our marketing efforts is simply being everywhere our listeners are. In the past year alone, CFMS has been onsite at over 80 events, making sure that residents know we are a participating part of their community. Whether it is a Santa Claus Day Parade, Chinese New Year Celebrations, or feasting for Diwali, CFMS is present. A fall fair, fundraising dinners or local sports teams, our team is there. We bring energy and attention, and we put the voices of the community on air.
1766 Our plans for Georgina will continue this approach. And at last count there were over 26 events annually in Georgina; we will be showcasing each one.
1767 MR. STUBBS: Our entire commitment to CCD has been allocated to FACTOR. We will be active in supporting local initiatives, but will do so as part of our content strategy. For example, among our letters of support is one from Connor's Music. Each year they host a festival which showcases local music talent. If licensed, we will be supporting this festival directly through our programming investments.
1768 In our Markham operation, we regularly have new artists and local bands live in the studio. We even incorporate musicians performing in genres that are outside of our format, so they get the exposure they need and the market has a chance to hear talent from their community. Supporting Canadian music is a core part of our content strategy, and our higher commitment to
1769 40 percent Can Con demonstrates our belief in our artists.
1770 MS. BAAH: One of the elements of our content development I am most proud of at CFMS Markham is our outreach to younger listeners. In addition to the coverage we provide young athletes, we have created both spoken word programming and music events that specifically target youth. Our proximity to Toronto means that the Markham station is becoming part of the studio tours for artists who are looking for publicity for new releases. We have had several up and coming new artists stop by our studios, such Letters from Pluto, Amir Brandon, and Bayla.
1771 We create listening events around these appearances, which include social media promotions and invitations to have listeners' questions asked. We can jointly broadcast these new music sessions on the Georgina station.
1772 We have created a program with York Regional Police to engage young listeners in stopping distracted driving, or distracted walking while near traffic. We helped the Health Department of York Region build awareness of the danger of second-hand smoke for young women and promoted civic engagement through coverage of the Youth Mock City Council Event in Markham. And we have received kudos for being a community partner. Even on a news magazine program like The FEED, we have found a way to work in younger voices.
1773 MS. CORTESE: We have worked with the Georgina Mayor, town councillors and businesses when they needed a media voice, which means, if licensed, we would not be starting from zero awareness as we have been supporting York Region services and organizations that work in Georgina as part of our service to Markham and Richmond Hill.
1774 Most importantly, for the Town of Georgina, licensing our application would give residents access to both hyperlocal content tailored to this market and content that connects them to other parts of York Region, areas that impact them daily, but they hear little of.
1775 The synergies we offer in terms of administration, news gathering, technical and sales functions mean that we can be efficient and self-sustaining. In the past four years we have built relationships with many of the businesses and community organizations in Georgina and York Region, which will shorten the time between the launch and the acceptance of the station by residents and advertisers.
1776 MR. BOLA: Licensing our application will have a benefit of strengthening an independent broadcaster. We are the only single-market broadcaster before you; for that reason the most vulnerable to any change in the industry. The Commission has long expressed the view that strengthening existing broadcasters is a desirable outcome of licensing. Without a doubt we would gain the most if successful. The acquisition of Georgina licence would provide significant benefit to our operation and vastly improve our position. It will make more of York available to our advertisers in both our operations. Toronto stations still hold a clear advantage in their coverage, because they can deliver both the north and the southern portions of the area.
1777 Importantly, our research shows that there is a demand for a new, relevant radio service for Georgina, and the extensive support offered by the community confirms that we have already made inroads in establishing the relationship
1778 within the market.
1779 Thank you for the opportunity to present our application, and we look forward to answering your questions.
1780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. We do have questions, but as I said earlier, we’re going to adjourn for a slightly shorter than normal lunch and come back –- so we will return at 1:15, in 50 minutes.
1781 MR. BOLA: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 12:25 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 1:18 p.m.
1782 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Can you hear me now? Okay, perfect.
1783 Madame la secrétaire.
1784 THE SECRETARY: We will now –- can you –- yes, okay. So we will now ask the questions.
1785 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Good afternoon. Thank you for your presentation.
1786 MR. BOLA: Good afternoon.
1787 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Good afternoon.
1788 So like the other applicants, we have here a series of questions and the questions refer to local programming, to Canadian content, to musical format and your business plan.
1789 So the first question is regarding local programming and the objective is to better understand how much your programming would qualify as local programming, and how it would best meet the specific needs and interest of listeners in Georgina. So the first question, in your application Radio Markham have committed to broadcast a minimum of 106 hours to local programming. Could you confirm the number of hours of programming that would originate from the proposed new station or be produced separately and exclusively for the proposed new station?
1790 MS. McLAUGHLIN: One hundred and six (106).
1791 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. Could you confirm the number of hours of programming that would include programming received from another station and rebroadcast simultaneously or at a later time?
1792 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Zero.
1793 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: It’s easy. Could you confirm the number of hours of programming that would include network or syndicated programming that is five minutes or longer?
1794 MS. McLAUGHLIN: We have no plans for syndicated programming per se, but we would be producing -- jointly producing a daytime show from 10 to 2, and we would jointly be producing The FEED, which is ---
1795 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes.
1796 MS. McLAUGHLIN: --- long-form news program.
1797 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So for the record, could you say if this would be produced by the station or in the local community by arrangement with the station?
1798 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes, it would be.
1799 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So it would be produced by the station?
1800 MS McLAUGHLIN: Yes.
1801 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Could you explain how your proposed programming, which includes information about all nine municipalities of the Region of York, should be considered local to the market of Georgina? I’m asking the question, but I understand that you have already answered it in your presentation, so I don’t know if you have something else to add.
1802 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Just the extent of the organizations that operate on a York regional basis, I don’t think we have to pick something that doesn’t go into your 20 minutes, but we served last year –- or worked with 68 charities, 55 of those were York-based charities. They may be located in Markham, they may be located in Aurora or have a head office in Newmarket, but the York Region Woman Centre for example, that’s located in Aurora, but that serves the entire region. So the extent to which outside of municipal government that York Region is treated as a whole, I think it has not been perhaps represented to the extent it should have been in our presentation.
1803 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you for clarifying and providing this example. Could you explain how the broadcasting of news and events from throughout the nine municipalities of the York Region benefit the market of Georgina?
1804 MS. McLAUGHLIN: I’ll have Tina Cortese talk about the news specifically, but I do want to be clear that the news that we are going to be producing for Georgina will be produced in Georgina. Our commitment on Radio Markham York Inc. is for 10 hours of news, and eight of it of pure news. Our pure news in this application is 218 and a bit in terms of minutes, so we have two different proposals.
1805 And we also have a very ethnically diverse market in Markham, so the sharing of stories are possible at a higher level, but not necessarily all of the stories are relevant to a market such as Georgina which does not have a high or large Chinese population. But, you know, we have regional news that, as I say, come from centres around York Region that would be encompassed in those reports. And for Georgina residents, you know, their –- York Region sets the bylaws, the municipalities are not able to override those bylaws. So it’s that -- to that degree that they are connected in terms of York Region. And I’ll let Tina elaborate on that.
1806 MS. CORTESE: Sure. It’s my responsibility as Station Manager and News Director to set the priorities and make sure that we find that local connection to every single story that we do. For example, if we look just at yesterday’s news where the Federal government apologized to the LGBTQ Community, we looked for someone within York Region to get their reaction and comment on that apology and the impact and what it meant to them. So it is my goal every single day to localize every single story, that’s where I came from, it was my –- it is my history at CP24 and Citytv where it was instinctive that you must find that local angle to every story.
1807 MS. McLAUGHLIN: If I could just give you another example, one of the big stories of two weeks ago was that York Region was voting on whether to change the retail shopping bylaws that would have retailers –- give retailers permission to open during holidays. The mayor in Markham stood alone in opposition to this bylaw, and because it’s a regional government and he’s the representative on it, it matters to the people in Georgina what he’s saying. Because while the region –- and Georgina was in favour of it –- thought that this would pass, his arguments became quite vocal and he actually reached out, not only to us but Toronto Radio, and so there was a growing momentum. That’s just one example when YRT, the York Regional Transit, makes changes to their routes, they don't make changes just in one municipality, it's in all nine. Similarly, York Regional Police do not run programs that are exclusive to Georgina or exclusive to Markham, they run it for the entire area.
1808 These are the kind of stories that we are talking about covering as our regional view of what is happening. Not because it's convenient but because it has direct impact.
1809 In our discussions with the residents of Georgina, Georgina is an amalgamation of five areas, and they were, to borrow a word, "forced" into York Region, they had to choose, and so their connection with York Region, because they listen to Toronto stations and Barrie stations, is, I wouldn't describe it as tenuous, but it is more distant than the other.
1810 And so it's really important to them to be connected to what is happening because in absence of a radio station, in absence of a local newspaper that's producing timely reports, they wouldn't know of that story, they wouldn't know that they should maybe call the mayor and say this is where I weigh in.
1811 MS. CORTESE: I also wanted to add that there was a story earlier this month that originated in Georgina where there was an intruder in Deer Park Public School in Keswick, and the intruder was a deer. And that is -- that story is not only relevant, but it's also of interest to people across the region. So yes, of course, it's all about what happened in Georgina, but the people on Main Street, Markham care just as much as High Street in Georgina.
1812 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. You have already answered the next question. So that leads us to the other one.
1813 So we are interested in getting more information on the 9.6 hours of spoken word programming broadcast each week, including the 3.63 hours of newscasts and the other programming segments proposed in the application.
1814 So the first of questions is how would you ensure this programming is of direct and particular relevance to the local community in Georgina?
1815 MS. McLAUGHLIN: I'll have Tina again answer that as head of news, but I would say that if you look at the track record of this management team, you will see that all of the features that we are talking about that would be shared, The Mayors in The Morning, et cetera, are in excess of the obligation, the condition of license, or expectations set out in the Radio Markham Licensing. Those programs developed organically through conversations with the community through learning lessons, some painful, about exactly what the market would require in order to view us as their radio station.
1816 So we have a track record of actually over producing. The FEED was not in the proposal that we put before the Commission for that application. It came out of consumer research where people said the newspaper isn't timely enough, and we feel that we need to know the stories behind the headlines. And some stories that are very impactful just cannot be summed up in a headline.
1817 So The FEED was born out of that, and it became this interview show. We sort of liken it to a MacLean's Magazine, where we have specific sections of the show and we put it all together.
1818 But we have to develop a brand that is local and our conversations in Markham and again in Georgina was really quite simple: if you're simply going to come in here and give us more of the same, that being a lot of music and just a bunch of headlines, we're not going to support you. They were really clear on it. And you can see by the market research that we did, this confirmed our initial conversations with them.
1819 Tina, maybe you can walk them through.
1820 MS. CORTESE: I think, as Debra mentioned, the best way to explain our commitment to spoken word and to news is to look at what we already do in Markham. And we have developed these features, not because we had to but because it was the community who asked us, who required that kind of commitment and content development because they're not getting it on those major market radio stations that seep into our market.
1821 So they wanted to hear directly from their mayor. They want to hear what's happening on their roads, specifically traffic updates. Weather in Georgina is different, frankly, than it is in Markham and how it is in Downtown Toronto.
1822 They want to hear about -- from York Regional Police because these connections, no matter where you live in the region, are vital. And that is part of what we already do.
1823 Some of the features that we include beyond The Mayors in The Morning are Crime Stoppers, whereas the York Regional Police provide us these updates where we incorporate into the content. We have a What's On calendar, where features from across the -- not only the events but charities across the region are featured as well.
1824 So we do these things above and beyond what the requirement is because it is what the listeners demand.
1825 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: How would you go about gathering local news?
1826 MS. CORTESE: Well, I think we have the largest news group in Georgina, and what we plan to do is have a news anchor and a news reporter in the field every single day. That's how important it is to us, it's important to me, because I think that local connection is, as we know, it's happened recently in the media industry, is it's being lost, and that's what people are craving and that's what they need. And we have committed to an anchor and a reporter in the field, morning and afternoon shifts.
1827 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Where your news program, The FEED, be produced?
1828 MS. McLAUGHLIN: The FEED is produced -- it would be produced in both markets if we were licensed. Currently, it's produced in Markham.
1829 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So it would be produced in both markets?
1830 MS. McLAUGHLIN: That's right. There would be contributions.
1831 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Okay.
1832 MS. CORTESE: And as we said in our presentation today, when we started The FEED it was can we do an hour, can we do two hours, and we've had no shortage of stories. We suspect that will be the same path for Georgina when eventually it becomes a singular hour on its own.
1833 I can't imagine us not sharing stories because it makes no sense to go to York Region and find out what they're working on in terms of their health or environment and not include it because it's their story too, but we can see two editions eventually.
1834 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So you just said that The FEED would be produced in both markets. Would The FEED, Mayors in The Morning, York Beat, and What's On be broadcast on both your Markham station and your proposed station in Georgina?
1835 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes, they would.
1836 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Okay.
1837 I guess that you have already answered this question, but how this would meet the Commission's definition of local programming?
1838 MS. McLAUGHLIN: In our response to the deficiency question on this, the part that we focused on was that it was produced for that market. So that's part of the definition of the CRTC. So for and specific for that market.
1839 That two markets share the same interest, does not, in our estimation, and I guess you'll tell me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't necessarily equate that it's not produced for that market. So given that they are regionally, economically, and organizationally connected, a story as I -- we've used on YRT or any of -- that is produced for Georgina, it happens to also be produced for Markham because it's the same story with the same relevancy.
1840 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And in which to do would the (inaudible) performances and interviews with local artists take place? Is this included in your total of 106 minutes of local programming?
1841 MS. McLAUGHLIN: The artist would be counted in the 20 that is not local, unless it was conducted in Georgina. So those artists are not exclusive to Markham; it's for both.
1842 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Could you explain how the 20 hours of programming per broadcast week derived from CFMS FM would best meet the specific needs and interest of the community in Georgina.
1843 That programming, which is mid-day is music intensive. And when I say, "music intensive", we have fewer newscast in that block and more emphasis on providing background music for people at the office.
1844 So the music will serve the market in that it will provide a diverse sound that they're not currently getting from Barrie stations. And it will provide local news cut-ins, so their news is exclusive to Georgina and this news is -- Markham news will be exclusive to Markham.
1845 The jock talk, as with almost all of our programming, is talk that is about the market. So we run 36 minutes of what's on programming, for example.
1846 That's not all we do to talk about what's happening in the community. We hand it over to our on-air staff, and they get liner notes every day to say, "This is what is happening here; a blood donor clinic; the Santa Claus parade is coming up."
1847 And because the communities are aware of each other and if you asked them they would say, you know, we'd rather drive north than drive south to Toronto because the parking bills, the traffic, et cetera. We know that talking about the Markham Santa Claus parade is of interest to them because somebody from Keswick will have sent a float down.
1848 So that's the kind of talk that will happen and I think that would serve Georgina.
1849 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: You have already answered this question but if you want to add your answer about the steps that would be taken to ensure this programming best meets the needs and interests of the local community.
1850 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Well, we're nothing if not well researched. It's my background. So we have in our four short years in Markham, we have produced a research study that is comparable to the data and stats that Numeris produces.
1851 We do that for two reasons; one is to make sure that we're on point, and we can see quite easily if the number shift, and we use it for sales, frankly.
1852 So we are in -- we do that twice a year. In the first three years, we did it three times a year, which is very expensive, but it was very important to do because in those three years we were finding our footing and where we were in the market and what we had to produce.
1853 The original concept for this station, as I said, in Markham was to produce a station that wasn't necessarily creating diversity in terms of the music because if you look at the Numeris data for that market, there is an awful lot of spill from all around, and you couldn't find a wedge in a format to get into.
1854 So we -- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So what we did in that instance is we took the best from the top stations and created the 80s, 90s and now. We didn't come out of the gate with that.
1855 So over that period of time, we were in the market more often than a station our size needs to be, trying to determine that.
1856 So we research it. We are constantly getting feedback from the community. I think Pip has been summoned to the Mayor's office for Markham maybe five or six times to discuss, you know, what we're doing and that kind of service.
1857 If we were successful in Georgina, we would apply the same rigour that we have in terms of understanding how the audience feels. We do that because we can't afford to make a mistake. We're small. We're perhaps the smallest broadcaster in the system. I don't know. I haven't done the stats on that.
1858 But the point being that we need to be really on top of this. And so we have applied it and we've adjusted our programming in Markham and there's no reason to believe that we would now take a different approach with Georgina.
1859 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. The next question refers to the Canadian content. Yes.
1860 So Markham has proposed to commit by condition of licence to dedicate 40 percent of the Category 2 Music broadcast over the broadcast week from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to Canadian selections.
1861 Could you explain whether that commitment would be met Monday through Friday or over the seven days of the broadcast week?
1862 MS. McLAUGHLIN: It would be met over the seven days.
1863 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Could you give me more -- kind of details?
1864 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Well, we're on the record and that's not a question I prepared for. So I'll be quite blunt, but I would say -- and Mike is here and he can attest to this.
1865 I believe we're currently running 40 percent on Markham, Monday to Friday, 6:00 a. to 6:00 p. But I said, "over the seven days," because we do have a new Canadian feature or a new artist feature that runs on the weekend. Our music director actually hosts the show and we have New Music Fridays or "Fri-Yays" and then she actually features throughout her show those artists, again, giving them a little longer profile information.
1866 But Mike, you could answer whether it's seven or the Monday to Friday.
1867 MR. WIXSON: We -- it does happen over the seven-day period. And in fact, where emerging artists show up in studio or have a local artist in, that often happens above and beyond that commitment. But in a regular playlist, yeah, seven days a week.
1868 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. So we are going to talk about the synergies. And the objective, as you may know, is to better understand the possible synergies for the proposed new station and the associated cost savings.
1869 So what specific areas of operation would rely on synergies in your presentation? And I heard the traditional-like synergies. If you have something else to add, that would be appreciated.
1870 MS. McLAUGHLIN: I think that the synergy that, you know, obviously we're emphasizing here is in news, but we have synergies in music production or our music programming. And then all of, as you say, the traditional, the IT, the technical, the backend admin, which includes accounting and trafficking; and as well as human resources. And if I didn't say IT, I should have said "IT", but news as well.
1871 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And have synergies been taken into account in the financial projections filed with your application?
1872 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Yes, they have. Our staff is 16. We have 10 full and part-time accounted in that. And I can have John walk you through what the shared positions would be and what the specific-to-Georgina positions would be.
1873 MR. CARAGIANAKOS: We have a morning show host that will be Monday to Friday and on that same shift will be a newscaster.
1874 Then in the afternoon, we'll have an afternoon host and a newscaster with that host.
1875 Then on the weekends, we have a weekend host for both days and a weekend news anchor for both days.
1876 Then we have two reporters in the field and two sales reps.
1877 And then shared, we have the station manager news director; that would be Tina. And myself, the operations manager and technical director.
1878 Then we would share the music director, traffic and billing services, marketing services, and information programming.
1879 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
1880 In your presentation, just to clarify, it is written on page 7 that there would be four people in the newsroom but verbally you said five so…
1881 MR. STUBBS: That’s correct.
1882 MS. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a typo I made that didn’t get caught.
1883 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Okay. Thank you.
1884 So would the staff of the new station be independent of your existing station’s operations?
1885 MS. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten (10) of them would, six would be shared.
1886 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Now we’re going to talk about the musical format and diversity. So the objective is to evaluate the competing applications in greater detail and determine the level of musical diversity and local reflection to be offered to the Georgina market.
1887 The first question, could you explain the similarities and differences between your proposed format and that of existing signals from out of market stations and/or competing applications, namely CIUX-FM in Uxbridge?
1888 MS. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. So first of all we’ll talk about the existing stations coming in from Barrie, and we are looking at the Numeris data to make these comments.
1889 So Corus has two stations. They have a Hot AC. And if you look at where their principal service is in terms of demographics, they skew female, and they’re really successful in the 12 to 24 age group and then in a narrow band of the 35 to 44. They also have a classic rock and it skews male. And again this seems to cluster at the older end, 50 to 64, although they are successful somewhat in 18 to 24.
1890 The Rock 95 offers an active rock. It skews male and it also skews very young. Their other station is a Hot AC and it skews female but it skews 25 to 49.
1891 So the format that we are proposing is 80’s, 90’s and today. And our research shows that people who like music don’t assign an age to it necessarily. It is possible to provide a goal base within a format, so music from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, and then mix it with the current hits that are coming out. It’s a question of selecting music as opposed to assigning it by era.
1892 If you look at where we would be serving, we’re actually serving, according to the most recent Numeris data, the hole in the market, and that’s women 35 to 64 with really a 35 to 54 focus.
1893 When we conducted our research, what we found out is they also, not surprisingly, given the format of these stations, are the ones who are least satisfied and the ones who state that they would be most likely to tune more to radio if the programming they liked were available.
1894 So when we looked at that -- I mean, obviously we started with looking at what was available in the data and driving up to listen, and we looked at BDS, so that is the system that puts out all of the spins, and we can see for each station what they’re playing and how often they’re playing it. So the format that we are proposing is a bigger format which addresses a concern in this market and every radio market I’ve ever tested, and that is the fact that there’s a lot of repetition. So people complain about going from station to station and hearing the same song.
1895 I don’t think that’s particularly the case in Barrie, but what is the case is they have a very small playlist, so they’re under 800, one of them is under 600, and that’s typical of a Hot AC. So we differ in that we have a very large playlist. I believe we differ from the other two applicants in I believe Uxbridge in that they’re more of a classic hits. So they would also skew older and I would suggest possibly more balanced in terms of male and female, but depending on what they include, a lot of classic hits draw in rock, so that tends to skew that towards male.
1896 So our view was to try and create something that came into the market and offered something different and addressed those who were most dissatisfied, and also, as I said, the people who have the greatest possibility of tuning more.
1897 MR. WIXSON: One of the things that we’ve experienced through the Markham radio station, that I would assume that we will hear, is that the people who listen that are interested in older music also they identify with that, they feel that it’s nice, it’s an ah-ha moment, they enjoy that moment. And I can speak for this myself and from the listeners that we speak to, they love those moments where they’re hip enough to like the new song as well and be introduced to that.
1898 And so both ends of the spectrum are met beautifully by this format. Not a lot of repetition but still moments where you’re introduced to new music and you can still have an enjoyable ah-ha that song kind of moment.
1899 MS. MCLAUGHLIN: And it’s not such an innovative format that you’re not going to find it on other stations. It’s working well for us in Radio Markham, and the reason it’s working well there is because the cross-cultural we have identified a mix of songs that work well with them because they are the -- new Canadians are listening to English radio.
1900 But the 80’s, 90’s and now format can be found on several stations in Canada, and it’s very popular in the U.S., because it takes that classic hits, and that Hot AC, and it puts it together and it saves people from flipping the dial because of repetition or because they want to hear a new song.
1901 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. You have already answered the two next questions.
1902 That leads us to the last section of questions, which refer to your business plan. And the objective of the following questions is to clarify your business plan for the proposed service and the potential impact that licensing a new station would have on the surrounding markets.
1903 Could you discuss any new findings you may have regarding the short to medium term economic outlook for the market?
1904 MS. MCLAUGHLIN: When we applied for this licence it wasn’t in the moment that we decided to apply. As the Commission knows, over the years many of the decisions that have been made in terms of acquisitions and licencing have been to make sure that stations are sustainable.
1905 So we did apply rather quickly for an Aurora station because we recognized right away that we could serve York Region. We were subsequently turned down I think twice. So Georgina was always on our radar. So we have been looking at it for a while now.
1906 And one of the things that we think, even since the 2016 census, that this market is growing much faster than indicated on paper. We -- there’s a large developer in York Region and surrounding -- it’s Flato Developments. And we went to see them very early on in our life to see if they would like to advertise on the station for their developments in Markham, and they were interested. We did work with them. They came back to us and said “You know what we’re really interested in, we’re interested in Georgina. We’re interested in that whole area because that’s where we’re focussing our new building. And if you can deliver that then, you know, we will be able to do business with you in a more heightened way.” Because really Markham is -- it’s development on development. There’s not a lot of space there. But that is there growth area.
1907 So since then I believe they’ve launched two more developments in the area. So we think that the population is growing faster. We know that the Georgina council is looking at economic development as their future growth potential, because right now -- I mean, we have a different count in terms of the number of car sales in the market. There is actually four. Three of them are off lease or used and there’s one dealership that represents Chrysler Dodge Jeep Fiat. But you see that kind of development happening in the market because it is a long game, as the other Applicants have said. But we think in the short game it's really picking up. Retail sales is a lagging economic indicator; so you have population growth and then you have the retailers coming in, which move that number up.
1908 So looking strictly at the retail sales for this market to say, "What can it do now" is to ignore the very real economic factors within the market. And this market is unlike others that we have looked at in that in the absence of the retail sector catching up to the population growth, what has happened is a lot of entrepreneurial businesses have popped up.
1909 And they are not the kind that you necessarily will see expanding to other markets, but they are more formal than a Mom and Pop because the market supports it, the size of the market, but they are not associated with big organizations.
1910 And as we've spent time with that and reacting to those new developments in the area, we have found a lot more of them than we did even before we did the application. So we see that growth happening now, and rather rapidly.
1911 MS. DAENZER: Could I just expand on that?
1912 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, of course.
1913 MS. DAENZER: I grew up in Sutton, Ontario which is in the Georgina area. And when I was growing up there, there wasn't much there except Mom and Pop stores and farmland, and I really couldn't get out of there fast enough.
1914 Now that my kids are grown and I'm looking towards retirement, my husband and I looked long and hard; where were we going to move to? And we drove up there several times to Georgina and the landscape is changing very, very quickly. These are not just young people buying homes there because they can't afford the ones in Toronto.
1915 I actually purchased a house in an adult lifestyle community. These are people 55 and up. And as you understand, we are the demographic that holds all the money. And with that comes a want for more retail and more services that we expect are coming to Georgina.
1916 There's a lot of infrastructure going on up there. And I've noticed, you know, we drive up every month to check on our new house and there's all these, you know, new Sobeys and new Shoppers Drug Mart and LCBO stores, and banks, and so all of that is coming because the need is there.
1917 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. Could you provide -- so it's the same questions that has already been asked to the other Applicants. So could you provide more detail regarding your capacity and willingness to absorb losses if your revenue projections do not materialize?
1918 MR. BOLA: Thank you. Thank you for that question.
1919 I think one of the very important thing is that with Georgina application, we have a new partner, Debra McLaughlin. She's well-diversified in sales, marketing, and she'd be bringing, you know, fresh capital into this operation.
1920 Second, I think, is very, very important is the Radio Markham York Inc. has turned around. And we -- we are growing our revenues going forward.
1921 Plus thank you for your approval for the transmitter location. That will definitely help us to serve our audience in a more meaningful way. The signal is going to be clearer, and we are going to be able to attract more audience as they sample our product. Because product is, the end of the day, is the key, and that will drive sales.
1922 So I think those two key things, and then a third one obviously being the future growth which comes with a tower move. And so we're quite comfortable with what we have proposed.
1923 And I think also most importantly, this approval of Georgina is going to lift both votes. You know, the Markham operation will be improved as well as Georgina because we know this market. We've been working at it for the last four years. And it is a very different market than some of the other markets in Canada. We have been able to build those relationships.
1924 So our -- really, for the last two to three years, you know, we understood the market. We did the surveys. Most radio stations don't go out and put extra money out to be able to sample, get feedback, adjust your business plan, adjust your model to go forward.
1925 So we've done all that and we will continue to do that. And that's why we feel very confident that the -- that what we have proposed is very -- we're very comfortable with it.
1926 MS. McLAUGHLIN: But failing that, we're able to absorb the losses.
1927 MR. BOLA: Yeah.
1928 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
1929 Could you discuss again the same question that has already been asked to the other Applicants?
1930 Could you discuss how your proposal would be affected should the Commission impose a condition of licence prohibiting the solicitation of advertising in the City of Barrie, as identified by Statistics Canada and as proposed by Corus?
1931 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't believe we differ from Mr. Torres in that we think that that's unnecessary.
1932 We have no intentions of selling in Barrie. First of all, Barrie isn't measured in Barrie markets by Numeris, so we would have to create an entirely different survey base to create audience that could even compare.
1933 We are able to satisfy advertisers' need with audience because Numeris is not providing any data. So we wouldn't have the facilities to compete effectively there.
1934 But our one little area of concern with accepting that, you know, stems from what is happening in Georgina and the interest of not necessarily Barrie radio stations but Barrie businesses in Georgina proper.
1935 A case in point is the Red Barn Concert Series. So John referred to the 26 events that take place in the market. One of those, I think it's going into its second year, is this Red Door [sic] Concert Series.
1936 It's actually put on by the Barrie Jazz Festival at Jackson Point. And it's put on in that area because of the unique demographic in that area. Those are 3, $5 million homes. And they have identified this as a real potential for them to develop fans and present artists in this area.
1937 It seems only natural to us that as a station that's serving Jackson Point, as well as the rest of Georgina, that we would be able to advertise for them. But they are a Barrie-registered company, and they participate -- we mentioned that we're involved in the York Region Festival Trail. They actually come down and they register as part of that because they're geographically located. But it would, I think, be a fair observation that if we accepted that money, we would be in breach of that condition.
1938 So, you know, if -- you know, we would accept not soliciting in Barrie. We don't have a team put together that would get there. Georgina, as you've heard this -- today is a very large area with a lot of smaller businesses which require a lot of time.
1939 So we don't have the manpower, so we would accept a condition where we don't solicit. But I would not want to be handicapped by saying we wouldn't accept it because it seems only fair if they're in the market and producing, you know -- and the other thing is, you know, there -- you know, in addition to them, franchise owners are coming from Barrie and buying up, with this growth in Georgina, franchise position. That booking for that Tim Hortons chain, is registered in Barrie. Technically they'd be spending money to get into Georgina, but we've already run into that in talking to people.
1940 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. So again, to be consistent, I'm going to ask you the same question I asked to the other Applicants.
1941 So what's the difference between the community of Georgina and the ones that your company business already serve? I -- the main difference.
1942 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Ethnic diversity. Half, if not slightly more, of Markham is a market of new Canadians. If not within the past 15 years then at some point in life they're new Canadians.
1943 We service a market where almost half have a tongue other than English, or French. Georgina, that is not the case.
1944 Markham is growing, and it's a different type of growth. Markham is focusing on its tech. It's invited York Region -- or York University is launching. Its initiatives are far different. So the businesses they're bringing in they're very interested in getting head offices.
1945 Georgina, on the other hand, is very focused on bringing in businesses that will serve their new population. They're building out infrastructure. Markham has gone through huge infrastructure build out already, so the road closures, the impossibility of getting around this new construction, it's not that it doesn't exist, it doesn't exist to the extent that it once (inaudible). So we have a much more mature developed market in terms of attracting new business and economics than we do in Georgina.
1946 The difference also is simply in things like taste. When we were up there and we were talking to people about the fesitvals, this was two years ago when we started to work with the York Festival Trail, you know, they have a lot more roots music and folk music. They're musical tastes are slightly different. And so you will see that the station in Markham would not necessarily have that, but that would be integrated into the playlist in a Georgina station to reflect their musical tastes.
1947 I think in the top 10 of the stations listened to in the market there's a country station. That is not the case in Markham; it doesn't even make the top 25.
1948 So, you know, it's a difference in terms of the size, it's a difference in terms of the development stage that they're at in terms of attracting business, it's a difference in emphasis on what they're doing.
1949 And I think I've covered it. Does anybody else -- okay. Whatever.
1950 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And the last question. As you know, all the applications are good applications, so how do you envision the outcome of your proposal in five years from now? More specifically, how your application will be different from the other two applications from two perspectives? Again, from your business perspective and from the community, Georgina Community perspective.
1951 MR. BOLA: Thank you. And I think from five years from now, we should be doing very well. And what that allows us to do is obviously enhance the product even further. And I'm going to ask Debra to elaborate a little bit more on that please.
1952 MS. McLAUGHLIN: So in terms of our business, we recognize -- you know, we have been trying to raise the awareness for people who are either national buyers or regional buyers. The awareness that Toronto, it does not -- is not one homogenous market without any variation. Markham is actually more diverse than Downtown Toronto.
1953 So we have been trying to raise this awareness and tell people if you simply took York as a region it would be the seventh largest market in Canada. And it would usurp other markets. And we have been trying to educate that. Five years down the road, and if we had Georgina, that would help because what we're trying to do is create a different view.
1954 We all talk about local radio being very important, we all talk about that's how listeners connect, and that's the kind of message we're trying to take to national advertisers so they relook at these large bulk buys and look at what can be done in the local area.
1955 And we have so many case studies right now that have been getting the attention of the national advertisiers. So five years down the road, if we had a Georgina license, we would have more ammunition to do this with. Five years down the road, we would have been able to develop business that we can't now.
1956 A perfect case is Mr. Lube. He is in the Georgina area and he has two in our Markham area, and he has said, you know, yeah, but like is there more, can you give us more of the market.
1957 Well, the signal in Markham, and Pip can speak better to this than I can, is never going to go there. Even -- it's interfered, we couldn't ask for an extension, we shouldn't be granted it, frankly, but that's it, that's all we can do. So in a world that where big matters when you're doing buys, it would actually help us get him on that station and on Georgina.
1958 In terms of the benefit to the market, to Georgina, we think that we bring something pretty unique and pretty important, and that is that ---
1959 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Excuse me to pause you. So how would this be different from the other applicants?
1960 MS. McLAUGHLIN: Because we already have all of those connections, and those connections were not easy to make. I think the first year we spent our time hearing, well, if you last another year then we'll talk to you about it.
1961 The kind of work you have to do to get into, I'll call it a spill area, to be seen to be credible, to be seen to be people that they want to do business with isn't just what you put on the air. I would hazard to guess that in the past 8 weeks I've probably been to 12 fundraising galas. On the weekends and at night.
1962 I serve -- I now serve on two boards in the area, and the reason I do that is, yes, we want to give back, but you have to be seen to be part of the community, you have to be working there. And we're already there.
1963 So for example, Participation House, on of the board's I serve on, that serves all of York Region. So we are already there with the connections.
1964 In terms of the dollar spending on the municipal level, we talked about the overarching budgets, but in reality, York Region does most of the advertising spent. And if you look at BDS, or, I'm sorry, Nielsen ads spent you'll see that the Number 1 supporter of radio advertising in Canada and in -- if you break it down by province, is government, so government messaging.
1965 Georgina, in and of itself, is not critically large enough. And we have -- we just got a campaign that we have worked on for four years from York Region, and we've done that by having to prove every single time that we actually deliver what we are supposed to. And they need to see more people coming, they take counts, they do all that stuff. We can do that, and we have that track record with them, and we can bring more.
1966 So is it more important for York Region to invest in a area which represents approximately 40 percent of their population or Georgina which represents 5 percent? But we can add that on, and that is service to Georgina because suddenly they're going to get that messaging.
1967 And so it's different because of the connections we have because of the relationships we have established. We can parlay that into things at the national level.
1968 A perfect example is we work with Alzheimer's York Region, we've done it for four years. Sobeys and Bulk Barn both give a month each year to this -- a charity for fundraising, and what happens is every receipt, every customer that comes in is asked if they want to round up to the next dollar and that money is taken and given to that charity.
1969 We were turned down on Sobeys' business, but when we went and met with the media director on it and explained what we were doing in the market, it completely reversed. It was now you're doing something that matters and is truly local and you can get across York -- you can give us the south and, you know, that's the bulk of the population, well, we would add Georgina to that.
1970 So those are the kinds of things you have to do, and it's taken us four years of sleeping outside in the cold for 360 Kids, walking, hiking, biking, golfing, riding, dancing to get to where we are.
1971 They're not easy pushovers. They're not going to -- it's not a case of build it, they will come. You have to work for it, and you have to work hard.
1972 MS. CORTESE: And the work isn't over. As Debra mentioned, this has been a building of relationships that continues to go on. It doesn't just end because we're there, we're not there. So collectively, Georgina, like every other part of this region, is part of the collective. What we're going to give them is that community voice on the air.
1973 We are PSA, as I say sometimes in our newsroom. The people, the socials, the activity. Get in there, get to know them, get them on and that’s why I’m going to listen, because I hear somebody who’s talking about my street, or my neighbourhood or my school or my library.
1974 MR. BOLA: And just to add onto that, I think it’s very, very important to earn the trust, and that takes time, and that’s what we’ve been building for the last four years, is being at these different events, different functions, getting involved at different organizations and working with our clients, having them try out our product and really, you know, working through those processes to establish trust. So that’s where we are different.
1975 MS. McLAUGHLIN: And just so we’re clear, we wrap a bus with York Region Transit. You can’t control where that bus goes. So our switchboard rings regularly with someone from the north part and frankly other parts of the region, asking us why they can’t get us on the dial, like what’s wrong with their radio. Could we help them? Could we come to their place and get the station?
1976 So, you know, the fact that we’re out, we’re already -- people know us and know our brand. And John can speak to our events. We’re everywhere.
1977 MR. CARAGIANAKOS: So as I had mentioned earlier, in this past year we’ve gone to over 80 different events in York Region, and that’s not simply us being there and handing out promotional items. That’s working with the communities.
1978 I was at the Taste of Asia Festival that had over 100,000 attendees, and just simply by virtue of myself being out at these events all the time, I have people coming up to take pictures with me as though I’m a celebrity of some kind, which is a little bit of fun.
1979 At the Markham Ribfest, for example, they needed somebody to step in and be a rib judge. I bit the bullet and I tried all the delicious ribs, which was obviously very difficult.
1980 It’s just different events like that that keep us out in the community. It keeps people recognizing us everywhere we go, and over time, I’ve noticed, as people say, “Oh, I didn’t know we had a radio station” to now it’s like, “Oh yeah, where’s Mike Adam?” or “Where’s Jim Lang? What’s going on?” So it’s really connecting us on a personal level with the community.
1981 MR. BOLA: Just to add again, because we are in the market and, you know, we have established a relationship with Radio Markham, and having Georgina will really help us to cross-sell and share our content. I think those relationships, we can offer, whereas others cannot. I think that’s a very important thing. Because we already are in the market, we have established those relationships. Now we can actually further -- take that further to the Georgina market as well.
1982 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
1983 THE CHAIRPERSON: It would appear those are all of our questions for today. Thank you very much for both your presentation and to responding to our questions.
1984 We’re just going to take a short 10-minute break before we move forward with the next stage of the hearing.
1985 Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 2:19 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 2:30 p.m.
1986 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
1987 Madame la secrétaire.
1988 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
1989 We have now reached Phase 2 in which applicants appear in the same order to intervene on competing applications, if they wish. My Broadcasting Corporation and Frank Torres (OBCI) and Radio Markham York Incorporated have indicated that they will not be appearing in Phase 2. So this completes Phase 2.
1990 We will now proceed with Phase 3 in which interveners appear in the order set out in the agenda to present their interventions. We will begin with the presentation by Mr. Worden.
1991 Please, you may begin. You have five minutes.
1992 MR. WORDEN: Thank you.
1993 THE SECRETARY: Sorry, please open your mic, just the little button right there.
1994 MR. WORDEN: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission Staff.
1995 My name is John Worden. I am the VP of Marketing for Hakim Optical, and I have held that position for 20 years. I have been in the advertising business for about 30 years, and I started off with J. Walter Thompson in radio production.
1996 I am pleased to present my support for the Torres application for a new FM in Georgina.
1997 In my capacity, I place media, including television, radio, print, online and out of home, in major markets, secondary markets, and tertiary markets across Canada. A major component of my advertising budget is radio, and I believe in the ability of radio to reach targeted audiences and brand building and call-to-action messages, and tend to favour radio stations with a loyal listener base that stays tuned longer.
1998 A core target demo for Hakim Optical is adults 25 to 54, a demographic that lines up nicely with the Torres Georgina application.
1999 Hakim Optical continues to grow its business, with over 165 showrooms across the country and 50 years in business. We are one of Canada’s largest eyewear retailers. Georgina is an attractive market for Hakim. It is a market we have listed as a potential location and is within a short driving distance to four of our other existing locations.
2000 Presently, Georgina is a difficult market to reach with radio. Without its own station, I have to rely on Toronto or Barrie stations that spill into the market.
2001 I believe that a local station in Georgina will deliver an audience with higher disposable income and a loyal audience that will not flip from station to station looking for the next hit song.
2002 The Torres application will likely repatriate listeners from Barrie and Toronto stations. I know that I would probably do the same myself if I was a resident of Keswick or Sutton or other parts of Georgina. A station that covers local news and reflects relevant issues in my community will build a loyal audience.
2003 This is exactly the brand loyalty that I am looking for in customers for Hakim Optical. If the listeners associate the Hakim brand of high-quality, affordable glasses with the Torres brand of high-quality local radio, then my advertising dollars are well spent.
2004 I believe this is a perfect case of a new entrant in a radio market providing services that are not currently available in the market. Advertisers like Hakim Optical will not be dividing their current radio budgets to buy the new Torres radio station but will be adding to their existing budgets, thus increasing the amount of spend on radio versus other media.
2005 I have placed media with SkyWords and other Torres Radio stations over the 12 years, and although that started off as a simple traffic report type of sponsorship, Torres has provided versatile formats and features for Hakim Optical to sponsor, including cottage country reports, coffee time flip-to-win promotions, Bluesfest sponsorships, social media promotions, giveaways, and other types of promotions. They are client-focussed and always work hard to ensure that our advertising campaigns are successful and drive ROI.
2006 All of the advertising platforms that SkyWords and TORRES FM provide are available to advertisers in a one-stop type of shop. This is also attractive as it makes the buying process more efficient.
2007 The Torres brothers stress customer service and client relationships as their utmost qualities in dealing with their clients. I have had the pleasure of dealing with them firsthand, and can state that they make good on all of their promises by delivering a quality product.
2008 I don't allocate my radio budgets strictly based on Numeris ratings and I never have. I carefully analyse markets geographically. I look at formats. I like to see the stations involvement in a community, and I use our own data captured at our various locations to execute the Hakim marketing plan. I prefer stations where I believe my commercials will be heard and stand out, due in large part to a loyal listener base.
2009 Hakim Optical was an inaugural sponsor of Torres’ new stations in Ottawa and in Uxbridge. Hakim intends to also advertise on the new Torres station in Georgina, should the Commission award a licence to this application.
2010 It is because of these reasons that I wholeheartedly support the Torres application to bring local radio to Georgina.
2011 Thank you for the opportunity to present my support.
2012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your comments and for being here.
2013 Vice-Chair Simard may have a few questions. No?
2014 Okay. Then thank you very much for appearing.
2015 MR. WORDEN: My pleasure. Thank you.
2016 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
2017 I would now ask Lee Dale to come to the presentation table. You have five minutes for your presentation. You may begin.
2018 MR. DALE: Thank you. I first just want to say thank you very much to the Commissioners and the CRTC. This opportunity could be tremendous for Georgina, my community.
2019 I just want to preface my written statement by saying that I had the opportunity to witness all three presentations today. I thought it was important not just to read them but to take it all in, just for the gravity of the situation.
2020 And of course, at the end of my written statement, if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them.
2021 I’m here today to speak to you as a community advocate. I appreciate the opportunity you have afforded me to give this panel some true insight into the real necessity that a community-minded radio station has in Georgina.
2022 I’m a lifelong resident of Georgina by choice, which I truly believe is important to note. I hold no public office but I’m extremely engaged in the community. I work with residents, support charities and community events. I do this free of financial reward. My goal is and always has been to see Georgina thrive to its full potential. I have watched Georgina grow over time and can attest to the truly diverse influx in population our community has experienced.
2023 One obvious and immediate benefit of a radio station would be to connect old and new residents in a truly meaningful way.
2024 In saying that, we in Georgina have several radio stations that can be heard in town. None truly report on the issues that matter to us, whether it’s local events, traffic, local politics, or regional news. We always know what is happening in Barrie and Toronto. What is missing is a truly dedicated community focused station.
2025 We have a weekly paper, which has left the community and is now located in New Market, and as a result of this social media is the most prevalent means of sharing news and information. The problem with this, of course, is that it is not regulated; groups are generally private so you must be accepted or invited in. This in turn causes rumours in the community and develops -- and a focus that only serves those members of those groups.
2026 I’m here to verify that we truly and desperately need a radio service. More than just any radio, we need and desire a station that is going to be present in the market and be present in the community in a very meaningful way, and at all levels of involvement. We as a community are used to having groups and companies take from our market without returning the benefit to the community.
2027 I’ve had the opportunity to speak with members of the community from all areas, received insight from businesses and average residents alike. We as residents of the community have real faith and desire to see Radio Markham York’s application be successful. We the residents believe that they represent the best opportunity for our community to have the service I have described. They recognized and have regularly demonstrated their connection to the rest of York Region. They importantly provide us with insights and happenings at the regional level.
2028 The thing is, if you could speak with Georgina residents, you would learn that the vast majority of us feel isolated from the other parts of York Region. We don’t have the benefit of getting the current content, or local government happenings, and the benefit of our organizations in turn, lose out greatly because the things at the regional level we can’t access through radio or media.
2029 I believe we most certainly will benefit greatly from the type of programming they offer. And very importantly, they alone can offer this to the rest of our local area.
2030 While this community is definitely underserved, Georgina residents are savvy consumers. We will require proof that service to residents is paramount, not profits. Radio Markham York has been offering service and support to charities in Georgina and York region for four years. Through their service they have become known and have proven that they are committed to community service first.
2031 Georgina is not a robust market in terms of advertising. Inefficient current options for local businesses and a shortage of advertising vehicles means that there’s not readily accessible budgets. This is going to develop a process along with earned trust.
2032 The retail business sector in Georgina is not as developed as other markets and there are real concerns for the challenges these businesses face. This, along with economic development, will truly be at the forefront of next year’s municipal election in Georgina.
2033 Attracting new and meaningful business in support for existing ones will absolutely be paramount. As we operate with a true deficiency in large business in the community, we need a radio service prepared to work hand in hand with us to develop business; likewise, to work diligently with local counsel on attracting and promoting business in town.
2034 Radio Markham York has been proving this day in and day out in another part of York Region for four years now. They know how this area works within York Region and have been doing this work in part. They have helped us promote events to the southern parts of York Region already. They have connections with many of our trading zones with connections to our essential tourism industry. I believe our tourism-based industries will greatly benefit from the increased access to the market.
2035 Radio Markham York have given Georgina a voice through Mayers in the Morning, connecting our plans and interest to other areas. They have been present in the market to generate excitement, attract attention to events like fire safety open houses, and they’ve also helped to celebrate Winterfest at our Rock.
2036 We’ve had local artists perform on the Markham Station. We are a musical community and have prevalent musical leanings in our town. They get what it takes to be local and present in Georgina and to develop those relationships.
2037 They will have people in the market 24/7, and not just a token staff. They are also not heard in the market currently, so it would add a new voice providing a music selection to appeal to young and old. This will most certainly serve the largest portion of the population.
2038 I am extremely excited to support this application and believe they provide the best balance of service to the community. Their business plan recognizes the challenges in the market, but also can uniquely capitalize on a York combo sell. They have and continue to prove their willingness to provide a true local service.
2039 In closing, I’ll leave you with this thought: I am very passionate about my community. The remarkable thing is that I’m just one of many. Our community has what I believe is the highest incidence of volunteerism from all resident brackets. We are a community filled with heart and dedication. We commit to those who commit to us. With that in mind, I implore you to make Markham York Radio Inc. the successful Applicant. Thank you.
2040 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner Vennard.
2041 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I don’t have any questions for you, but I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to prepare the thoughtful comments that you have, and presenting them to us.
2042 MR. DALE: Okay.
2043 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So we appreciate it. Thank you.
2044 MR. DALE: Thank you for having me.
2045 THE SECRETARY: We’ll now here the presentation from Michael Poelman.
2046 You may begin. You have five minutes.
2047 MR. POELMAN: Thank you very much, Commissioners, and everyone gathered here today. I appreciate it.
2048 My name is Michael Poelman; I am the Managing Director of a company called The Ascent Canada. We are 12 media professionals in six cities and two countries that have been assembled to handle national advertising sales for the Radio -- Radio Markham Group.
2049 I come from a -- probably a unique experience in that I’ve appeared before this Commission before, having been a General Sales Manager in a small market, Wingham, for Blackburn. And I have been in, you know, was in radio for seven years and then just spent seven years in charge, with three of my colleagues, in the Ascent Group of multiplatform sales for Quebecor, handling their national sales office in Toronto. Of which we looked after print, digital, television, and almost 200 products across the country in small markets like Georgina, as well as big ones like Toronto and the Toronto Sun, Montreal with TVA.
2050 So I think our group brings a unique brand of experience and perspective to the Radio Markham efforts. So I’d like to kind of talk a little bit about some points of differentiation that the Radio Markham Group bring to their application, that I think are tangible when it comes to, you know, radio revenues that are under increased scrutiny and have retreated greatly at the national a level for a few quarters now.
2051 So Radio Markham invests in the infrastructure and expertise to be compelling from a national sales perspective. Of the three groups, they are the one that seemed to address the fact -- and we get consistent sales support from Debra McLaughlin, in terms of their own research study and sampling, to provide audience numbers to national and regional advertisers and potential advertisers, in lieu of Numeris. And that is really important in a spill market like Georgina and like Markham, where they currently operate.
2052 So knowing that there are limits to Numeris in a CMA the size of Toronto and that Georgina not only comes under the shadow of Toronto, but also of Barrie, the ability to invest your own dollars and your own expertise into creating a sampling and a research based-sales argument is incredibly important and increases the expectations for success at recruiting radio advertisers.
2053 The second point of differentiation is -- obviously, I’ve handled national sales at a local radio station group, and with the Radio Markham folks we have six people that are in field every week working on their national and regional sales. There’s coordinated strategy and coordinated sales efforts that take place on a daily basis. Debra has, you know, detailed some of the efforts on accounts like Sobeys, but that extends to Tim Hortons, Stoney Creek Furniture, the Canadian Cancer Society, and other multi-location, generally franchised operations that have a propensity to spend in radio. But that coordination between local and national sales is highly unusual, to the point that we’ve been on shared sales calls; entire days that have been devoted to developing both local and regional business in person. So I think that that’s a real point of differentiation in terms of just how they manage that process.
2054 I think one of the main salient points is that they have an adjacent relevant market. Markham and Georgina are both part of York Region. And that leverage on municipal, regional, and provincial government spending is something that is a realistic deliverable for a radio station.
2055 One of the main sources, although it's shrinking, of advertising is tied to health units and government initiatives. I think the complementary nature of Radio Markham to Radio Georgina cannot be understated.
2056 It's all about developing critical mass, and I think this is the one commitment that Radio Markham are doing with great dedication. Having a relevant sister station allows for franchise locations that are generally coming from a concentrated number of ownership groups to be able to buy more efficiently.
2057 Mr. Warden talked about that similar situation where Hakim Optical has four adjacent locations to Georgina and looking at operating in Georgina. This actually augments that coverage for the Radio Markham Group.
2058 I've got a prime example. Sun Life Financial which, in Richmond Hill, is currently doing business with the Radio Markham folks. Their next expansion -- they're one of the largest offices in Canada. Their next expansion is into Northern York Region. It will be servicing Vaughan and Georgina.
2059 So, you know, in that scenario I think that where Radio Markham makes its commitment helps provide more service to the most aggressive of radio spender.
2060 THE SECRETARY: I'm sorry. Can you please conclude? Your time is up.
2061 MR. POELMAN: Okay. Sure. Just quickly; they have invested in media innovation, multi-platforming through a leading edge video digital portal that will allow them to do livestreaming of events. That is a relevant digital offering that is unique to them.
2062 And I think there's just some other quick additional considerations. They've got an ethnic connection to the ethnic community due to their current broadcasting in Radio Markham. As Georgina grows, there will likely be an influx of more ethnicity and diversity into that community. The ability to have prewired that or have existing relationships is something that was touched on.
2063 And they've developed strategic partnerships in the tech and smart media space with companies like gShift and Market Focus Direct that allows them to assume some agency positioning with clients above and beyond radio spend and that's -- it's a very smart business in the current environment.
2064 I'll just conclude by saying that the application for Radio Markham as it pertains to Georgina is both compelling and innovative. From a sales perspective it has a real eye on improving the purchase appeal for both national and regional clients.
2065 Radio Markham is looking to develop this by being relevant, by being complementary and by being innovative. And it is as their advocates at the national and regional level that we feel that they are the best served to service and grow the Georgina market as opposed to take ad dollars out of it.
2066 Thank you.
2067 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your comments and for sticking with us throughout the day. I just have one question.
2068 One thing that has struck me over the course of the hearing is that all of the Applicants are presenting very, very strong arguments, very strong applications. They're all responsible operators.
2069 You know, moving forward there's a number of factors that we consider when making our decision; CCD contributions, diversity of voices, impact on stations in adjacent markets, commitments to the local community, local presence. The list goes on and on.
2070 Is there one particular point or observation that you see in the Markham application or in your dealings with them that you want to make sure that you bring to the Commission's attention? So what's the nugget in there that we need to make sure we don't overlook?
2071 MR. POELMAN: Absolutely. It's not without precedent either, from the Commission.
2072 So when I was a sales manager at Blackburn, the Commission approved a series of stations now owned by NBC for Kincardine, Goderich, and Port Elgin named The Coast at the time. And part of the argument was that standing alone, they weren't viable; together, they serviced a viable community.
2073 As someone who has some experience in radio revenue generation, York Region, which encompasses both Georgina and Markham, is defined by a certain amount of characteristics, including government, traffic patterns, a certain amount of news that is insulated from the spill that is Toronto. And I think the defining characteristic of the Markham application is you end up with two stronger products as a result of granting one licence.
2074 And I don't -- you know, with due respect to the other Applicants, NBC is a large broadcaster with multiple locations that can likely fill that void with another application in another market.
2075 And Uxbridge is in Durham Region and, you know, is I think again bolstered by the fact they've got a diverse offering in Torres with SkyWords. And I think it's critical, actually, and really helps develop this new broadcaster to help them better serve a true region. And I think that's the defining point.
2076 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perfect. Thank you very much.
2077 MR. POELMAN: Thank you.
2078 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's the only question I had.
2079 I think we can do without a break and just continue on to Phase 4. So, Madam Secretary?
2080 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We'll now proceed with Phase 4 in which Applicants can reply to all interventions submitted on their applications. Applicants appear in reverse order.
2081 We will begin with Radio Markham York Incorporated. Please come to presentation table.
2082 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
2083 THE SECRETARY: Please reintroduce yourself for the record, and you have ten minutes for your reply.
2084 MR. BOLA: My name is Pip Bola and with me is Debra McLaughlin, my partner.
2085 MS. McLAUGHLIN: We would like to reply to the intervention by Corus. We did have a brief discussion of that with Commissioner Simard, but we want to make sure that we are clear in how we feel about their request.
2086 We would accept a condition not to solicit, but we would not accept a condition not to accept for the reasons that we have detailed.
2087 We feel, as others have stated, that it is unfair, particularly of a broadcaster of this size, that they suggest that given the number of markets that they are privileged to serve, that a sales revenue of, in our case, 10 percent from existing broadcasters, so that's about $50,000 spread over several, would have any kind of a detrimental effect on their operations in Barrie. So we feel that it is unfair that that would be applied to us.
2088 One of the questions that we had hoped would be asked and that is in terms of Uxbridge and if we would accept a condition of licence not to sell in that market, and we would. We offer it up freely because we recognize that small markets all have the same challenges.
2089 Numeris doesn't support them. The agencies, because Numeris doesn't support them by providing measurement, don't necessarily have them on market list. And we need to work together to develop really important markets.
2090 They're not the biggest spenders, but they represent a sizable portion of the population; and in markets like the GTA, the Toronto CMA, they get really overlooked. So we wanted to put that on the record.
2092 MR. BOLA: Thank you. Thank you, Commissioners, and Commission Staff. And we look forward to your deliverance.
2093 MS. McLAUGHLIN: And I just wanted to add, for the record, I wanted to thank Mr. Bola, Pip, for inviting me into the system.
2094 I have worked for -- and I'm dating myself -- 25 years in licensing of stations. I have applied before, obviously not successfully. But Pip offered me this opportunity to actually have a voice in the broadcast system and to actually put at risk some of my capital, but also to test out my ideas.
2095 And for the past four years, he has allowed me to develop a team which you’ve seen here, and we’ve been able to attract some really great quality, so I think some thank and recognition is -- goes to you for creating new broadcasters.
2096 MR. BOLA: Thank you, Debra, and thank you to everyone, thank you.
2097 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you to you both.
2098 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask Frank Torres to come to the presentation table. Please reintroduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your reply.
2099 MR. EDWARD TORRES: My name is Ed Torres, I’m the President of Torres Media, and this is my brother Frank since birth.
2100 Mr. Chair, Commissioners and Commission staff, at this time we want to go on the record and reflect our gratitude to our supporting intervenors. They include –- quickly, the mayor of the Town of Georgina, Margaret Quirk; Karen Stone, the Economic Development Manager for the Town of Georgina; Julia Munro, the MPP for York-Simcoe; Pierre Budreo, the GM of the South Lake Community Futures in Keswick; John Grant, the mayor of Brock Township; 145 individuals and businesses. We also want to thank Mr. Warden for appearing here in person and getting the last minute text that we were moving him up, so thank you, John.
2101 We also want to clarify -- we’ve checked with Commission staff, we just wanted to clarify one of our answers that we may have misunderstood the question. It was about year two revenue. So we expect our year two revenue to come from various other media, including print magazines, online sponsorship and outdoor media. I think we did finally get to that answer, but again, I think I kind of misunderstood the question at first.
2102 So in closing, thank you for your consideration, thank you for your public service and we hope you have a happy holiday.
2103 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, you as well.
2104 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask My Broadcasting Corporation to come to presentation table.
2105 MR. POLE: John Pole, President of My Broadcasting Corporation. Just to reflect on the interventions submitted by chorus just to have it clearly on the record, we would submit –- we would agree to a clause of not being able to sell advertising in Barrie, but as we mentioned in our previous comments, we don’t feel that’s necessary. And without a reciprocal agreement, I’m not sure it would be fair to any broadcaster, whether it ‘be be us or any of the other applicants as well.
2106 Also, we’d just like to point out just for some final points here that we feel we have a strong track record of launching stations and launching them exactly how we present them to you. We don’t promise to have more staff than we currently have in our current operations. We just do as we say and you can look at our track record and we’re happy to stand behind that.
2107 Thank you very much.
2108 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2109 THE SECRETARY: This concludes Phase 4. Finally for the record, there is five not appearing items on the agenda of this public hearing. Interventions were received for some of these applications, the Panel will consider these interventions along with the applications and a decision will be rendered at a later date. This concludes the agenda of this public hearing.
2110 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2111 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, over the last two days we’ve heard from six applicants wishing to establish new radio stations in Ontario. Three applications to serve the residents of Grimsby and Beamsville, as well as three applications to provide service in Georgina. Regardless of the final outcome of these proceedings, the Commission would like to thank each of the applicants for their eagerness to provide local service to benefit these communities, and for the time and resources that they have invested throughout this entire process.
2112 I would like to thank the individuals Canadians who filed comments throughout this process, participated in research or voiced their support for the various applications. I would also like to thank all of the Canadians who were monitoring the discussion over the last two days via our live audio feed. A great deal of work is conducted largely behind the scenes at one of our oral hearings. And we’d would like to offer our gratitude to our stenographer who has made sure everything that has been said is accurately recorded and placed on the transcript. To those that provide translation services, to the IT and technical staff, and of course the hotel staff who have hosted us this week.
2113 On behalf of my Commissioner colleagues, I would also like to acknowledge and express our appreciation to the CRTC staff for all of their hard work and diligence in preparing for this hearing. Your hard work is truly invaluable to our proceedings as we worked away the many complex factors that comprise the public interest.
2114 Finally, I would like to extend a personal thank you to my fellow Panel members, Vice-Chair Simard and Commissioner Vennard, for their hard work, excellent preparation and dedication to this process. I look forward to continuing our discussions in the coming days and weeks as we finalize the record –- as we analyze the record of this proceeding and work towards the final decision.
2115 As the hearing secretary has said, this brings the end of the oral phase of our hearing. Wherever your travels home take you after you leave the hearing room, please accept our best wishes for a safe and speedy trip.
2116 Thank you. This hearing is adjourned.
--- Upon adjourning at 3:03 p.m.
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