Transcript, Hearing November 6, 2019
Location: Gatineau, Québec
Date: November 6, 2019
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Attendees and Location
140 Promenade du Portage
- Chairperson: Ian Scott
- Commissioner, Quebec: Alicia Barin
- Commissioner, Manitoba and Saskatchewan: Joanne T. Levy
- Legal Advisors: Ricardo Wicker, Joshua Dougherty
- Secretary: Lynda Roy
- Hearing Managers: Marie-Lyse Lavallé, Peggy Nebout
--- Upon commencing on Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 at 9:02 a.m./ L’audience débute mercredi, le 6 novembre 2019 à 9h02
1025 MS. ROY: We are ready to start, Mr. Chairman.
1026 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci, Madame la secrétaire.
1027 Bonjour et bienvenue à la deuxième journée de cette audience publique. Good morning and welcome to the second day of this public hearing.
1028 Avant de commencer, je voudrais souligner que nous sommes rassemblés sur le territoire traditionnel des Premières Nations. Je tiens aussi à remercier le peuple Algonquin et à rendre hommages à ses ainés.
1029 Today, we will be examining the licence renewal applications for radio stations in British Columbia and an ownership transaction regarding two of these stations.
1030 The licensees have been called here today because each of these services appears to be in non-compliance with its regulatory obligations.
1031 The Commission is also concerned with the local programming offered by these stations.
1032 In addition to addressing the apparent non-compliance, the licensees will have to demonstrate at this hearing why their licence should be renewed and not suspended, revoked, or renewed for a shorter term, with or without the imposition of mandatory orders.
1033 Each instance of apparent non-compliance will be evaluated on the facts of each case.
1034 First, the Panel will consider the application to renew the licence of CFPV-FM Pemberton. The station appears to be in non-compliance with its regulatory obligations relating to the filing of complete and accurate radio monitoring materials, Canadian content development contributions, and broadcasting of on-air announcements regarding its non-compliance.
1035 If found to be non-compliant, this would be the third consecutive licence term in which the station would find itself in that situation.
1036 The Panel will then continue with the application to renew the licence of CKPM-FM Port Moody. The Commission was informed that this station was taken off air on June 27, 2019. According to our records, it appears the station is in non-compliance with its regulatory obligations relating to Canadian music selections and specialty music selections, the filing of complete and accurate radio monitoring materials, and Canadian content development contributions.
1037 Again, if found in non-compliance, this would be the second consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
1038 The Panel will then consider the application to renew the licence of CIMM-FM -- and I'm going to get a correction or I hope get it right the first time -- Ucluelet. The station appears to be in non-compliance with its obligations relating to the filing of complete and accurate radio monitoring materials.
1039 As well, it appears that it did not devote the time required for Indigenous programming and did not broadcast on-air announcements regarding its non-compliance.
1040 If found in non-compliance, this would be the third consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
1041 Next, we'll examine the application to renew the licence of CHMZ-FM Tofino. It appears that the station is also in non-compliance with its obligations relating to Canadian musical selections, the filing of complete and accurate radio monitoring materials, and broadcasting on-air announcements regarding its non-compliance.
1042 If found to be non-compliant, this would be the third consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
1043 Lastly, the Panel will study an application to change the ownership and effective control of CIMM-FM and CHMZ-FM. We'll seek to determine if the transaction is in the public interest. And in this regard, we will consider, among other things, the applicant's commitments to programming and the benefits that such programming would bring to the community served.
1044 We'll also consider the financial contributions and tangible benefits that would be generated for the broadcasting system.
1045 The Commission reminds the licensees who have been called here today that having a broadcasting licence is a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities and obligations. This hearing will help assess their compliance and commitment to adhere to their obligations, as well as whether the licensees should continue to benefit from this privilege.
1046 The Panel and the licensees will also discuss, in the event that the licences are renewed, whether measures should be imposed to ensure future compliance.
1047 Avant de commencer, permettez-moi de vous présenter quelques personnes. Let me present some of the people with us today.
1048 Le Comité d'audition de l'audience publique est composé de madame Joanne Levy, conseillère régionale pour Manitoba et la Saskatchewan, Alicia Barin, conseillère régionale pour le Québec, et moi-même, Ian Scott, président du CRTC. Je présiderai cette audience. I am chairing this hearing.
1049 L'équipe de conseil qui nous prête assistance comprend les personnes suivantes: Marie-Lyse Lavallée, gestionnaire de l'audience; Joshua Dougherty and Ricardo Wicker, conseillers juridiques; et Lynda Roy, notre secrétaire de l'audience, our Hearing Secretary.
1050 J'inviterais maintenant notre conseiller juridique à expliquer davantage les résultats possibles et leurs conséquences, ainsi que ce que l'on attend des titulaires lors de cette audience.
1051 I'll invite legal counsel to explain certain obligations and potential outcomes.
1052 With that, counsel?
1053 MR. WICKER: Thank you. Good morning.
1054 I would like to take a few minutes to expand on some of the outcomes that the Commission is considering during this hearing.
1055 As a result of this proceeding, pursuant to sections 9 and 24 of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission may choose not to renew the licences of this licensees, or to suspend or revoke the licences. Or if it chooses to renew the licences, it may choose to issue a short-term licence.
1056 In addition, the Commission may choose to issue a mandatory order under section 12 of the Broadcasting Act requiring the licensee to comply with the regulations and its conditions of licence.
1057 Under section 12 of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission may inquire into, hear and determine a matter where it appears that a person has failed to do any act or thing that the person is required to do pursuant to any regulation, licence, decision or order of the Commission and issue a mandatory order to ensure compliance with any such regulation, licence, decision or order.
1058 If a mandatory order is issued, the Commission has the ability to register the order with the Federal Court, upon which it will become an order of the Federal Court.
1059 If the licensee named in the mandatory order subsequently fails to comply with the order, the Commission could provide evidence to the Federal Court of the failure to comply and a show cause hearing for contempt of court would take place before the Federal Court of Canada.
1060 The person would be entitled to present a defence and, if found guilty of contempt, would be subject to a fine or other remedy as set out by the Court.
1061 The licensees are reminded that the Notice of Consultation indicated that they have been called to this hearing to show cause why the Commission should renew their licences and why the Commission should not revoke or suspend the licences or implement one of the other described measures such as the imposition of mandatory orders.
1062 To show cause means that the burden of convincing this Panel that the licences should be renewed and that the other described measures should not be pursued is on the licensees.
1063 Please confirm that you understand the severity of the situation and the implications of the possible revocation or suspension of your licence and/or the imposition of mandatory orders?
1064 MR. McBRIDE: I understand.
1065 MR. WICKER: Thank you.
1066 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary?
1067 MS. ROY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning, everyone.
1068 Before we start, I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of this hearing.
1069 When you are at the presentation table, we would ask that you please turn off you smart phones as they cause interference on the internal communication system used by our translators.
1070 Interpretation services will be available throughout the duration of the hearing. We would like to remind participants that during their oral presentations, they should provide for a reasonable delay for the interpretation while respecting their allocated presentation time.
1071 Le service d'interprétation simultanée est disponible durant cette audience.
1072 Nous désirons rappeler aux participants d'allouer un délai raisonnable pour la traduction lors de leur présentation à vive voix, tout en respectant le temps alloué pour leur présentation.
1073 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the court reporter sitting at the table to my right. Please note that the transcript of each day will be posted on the Commission website the following business day.
1074 Just a reminder that pursuant to Section 41 of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure, you must not submit evidence at the hearing unless it supports statements already on the public record. If you wish to introduce new evidence as an exception to this rule, you must ask permission of the hearing panel before you do so.
1075 Please note that the Commission will also be tweeting the documents during the hearing @CRTChearings using the hashtag, #CRTC. Finally, please note that if parties undertake to file information with the Commission in response to questioning by the panel, these undertakings can be confirmed at the -- on the record through the transcript of the hearing, or if necessary, parties may speak with Commission legal counsel at a break following the presentation to confirm the undertakings.
1076 And, now Mr. Chairman, we will begin with items 2 and 3 on the agenda, which are applications by CKPV-FM Radio Ltd. to renew the broadcasting licence for the English language commercial radio station, CKPV-FM Pemberton, expiring 31st March, 2020, and application by CKPM-FM Radio Ltd. to renew the broadcasting licence for the English language commercial radio, CKPM-FM Port Moody, expiring 31st March, 2020.
1077 At the presentation table, we have Mr. Matthew McBride, licensee. Mr. McBride, you can go ahead. You have 20 minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
1078 MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you very much. Good morning, Commissioners, Commission staff and the many observers in the audience for this hearing today. The Commission has allocated 20 minutes for opening remarks, but I will not need anywhere near that time.
1079 I am here at the request of the Commission to discuss various licence renewals and the transfer of licences as part of a long-running attempt at consolidating my business affairs. Both I and Mr. Dennison, who will appear later, have powerful, compelling and dramatic reasons for seeking a very rapid decision to renew and transfer the licences under this combined hearing’s consideration. Some of those reasons, the most powerful of them, do not belong and cannot appear on the public record.
1080 The length of time it has taken to arrive in this room today has caused enormous stress on the proposed sale, to the point of frustration. The uncertainty created by the regulatory process has stalled and eliminated revenue flow as the local markets question whether they will have a radio station in their communities. I can safely say that Christmas, our most lucrative season economically, is a bust.
1081 Times are very challenging for broadcasting at any level, and indeed media in general. The Commission will note the recent introduction of bail-out money to selected media outlets by the federal government as proof of that. I can assure the Commission that none of the licences contemplated here today are beneficiaries of such greatly desired manna from heaven.
1082 The very, very small financial size of these micro-enterprises have extreme difficulties in dealing with even very tiny variations in cashflow or expenses, to the point where even the expense of appearing, as we are obliged to travel from the farthest edge of the country, is very keenly felt.
1083 Speed in business today is critical, non-operational delays have real and serious impact. I therefore request the Commission expedite this process here today so that we may return to our ventures with the speculative hope that we may both be able to move forward with our lives, our initiatives and hopefully a positive future for our stations, our community service and ourselves. Thank you.
1084 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for your opening comments. We have some questions for you, but before we turn to those questions, I need to address one of the statements that you just made in your opening remarks, specifically in the third paragraph where you say that some of these reasons do not belong and cannot appear on the public record.
1085 I have to be sure that you understand that the Commission can only make decisions based upon information that is indeed on the public record. We can’t rely on anything else. There is provision to file information in confidence what the Commission, and I can ask counsel to explain how that would -- how that would proceed and under what time frame, but I do have to emphasize that it is not possible for the Commission to render a decision on information that is not before it.
1086 MR. MCBRIDE: I understand that and I have filed confidential information to the Commission in the past, so I am comfortable if that arises, then we can go through that procedure. The point that I make is that much of our business experience has been affected by things in our private lives -- in both of our private lives, that are significant, that if they became public, would leave us to exposure from the chatterati on the internets of which we are both already victims of. And, that should a question arise that might relate to that fact, I would at that point ask for a confidential filing.
1087 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, what I would suggest you -- and I’ll turn to counsel in one second. I believe the date is November the 12th for undertakings; is that correct, counsel?
1088 MR. WICKER: That would be November 14th.
1089 THE CHAIRPERSON: 14th, pardon me. Thank you for the correction. So, if you have further information that you wish to file, whether it be in confidence or not, it would have to be filed by the 14th and I would like to put -- understand from you whether you will accept an undertaking to file further information relative to the statement you made today.
1090 MR. MCBRIDE: I will accept that.
1091 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Counsel, is that sufficient?
1093 MR. WICKER: Yes.
1094 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you. Then, I will ask my colleague, Commissioner Barin, I believe she has some -- a number of questions for you.
1095 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Good morning, Mr. McBride. Thank you for your ---
1096 MR. MCBRIDE: Good morning.
1097 COMMISSIONER BARIN: --- comments this morning. I appreciate the fact that you have travelled a long way to come here and we are interested in hearing about the challenges that you are facing with your stations.
1098 As the Chair indicated, you have been called to a hearing on the licence renewal of the stations because of multiple instances of apparent non-compliance which the Commission takes seriously. I will be dealing with questions relating to the licence renewal for CFPV-FM, the Pemberton station, and then I will pass it onto my colleagues for questions on some of the other stations. But, before we discuss the apparent non-compliance, I do want to have a better sense of your reality, of the station’s operations and of the station’s programming.
1099 So, to start, I would like to ask if you can explain how your -- the CFPV Pemberton station is operated. Do you have employees? How many full-time, part-time? Where do you operate the station from? If you can just give us a picture.
1100 MR. MCBRIDE: Stations in the market of that size are lucky if they have two employees. The margins out there and the revenue flows are extremely small, sometimes it’s common to experience $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 in gross revenue before any deductions. That doesn’t, in British Columbia, allow you to hire an employee. So, you look at using either volunteers or using resources from multiple stations. In other words, one employee might work for two or three different stations, and we find ourselves in situations like that. And, in Pemberton, I am the principal employee and I don’t pay myself anything.
1101 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So, you are operator of the station?
1102 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1103 COMMISSIONER BARIN: It is you who is making the decisions for the station, you don’t have any part-time employees, no ---
1104 MR. MCBRIDE: None that make decisions for the station, no. I have another person that works with me in another location that provides me with voice and some services, but they are not in a decision-making capacity.
1105 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Can you maybe more fully describe your role, what exactly do you do at the station?
1106 MR. MCBRIDE: It’s remotely operated, which means I operate it from a remote location in the suburb of Vancouver, and I transmit all of the data required to operate a system over the internet. So, the controlling systems are not local, they’re outside of the market itself, and all the audio is shipped in via internet as well.
1107 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Is the station run on a standalone basis or ---
1108 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1109 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And, with respect to the other stations that we’re hearing today, are they in the same set up or is this a particular set up ---
1110 MR. MCBRIDE: No, they are operated differently. They are operated differently. They have a different economic environment.
1111 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you for that.
1112 Next, I would like to get some clarity on the programming offered at CFPV Pemberton. You may be aware but in public -- Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-158 -- the Commission specified that regular licensees must incorporate spoken word programming direct and particular relevance to the community served.
1113 Can you describe in your words how CFPV Pemberton complies with this?
MR. McBRIDE: Spoken word, to my interpretation, is largely about communicating information of the day, things like weather, traffic.
1114 Out in rural or British Columbia the weather is a critical issue, road conditions are critical issues, climate in general. To me those speak to a small radio environment as some of the most important things that you can convey -- and flight information, any sort of civic information regarding local politics, which is not much in small towns, I can tell you, that not a lot happens there.
1115 But that to me is the kind of local information that small towns are most likely to appreciate, the very simple day-today elements of programming.
1116 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So you mentioned that you are operating the station remotely.
1117 MR. McBRIDE: Yes, this one, yes.
1118 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So how are you -- how are you ensuring that this information is relevant to the community?
1119 MR. McBRIDE: British Columbia has an extremely sophisticated information system for its highways and its weather. Every community has its own local weather station and they are all available on the internet. The highway system throughout British Columbia has cameras that are easily accessed at any time and because of our dependency on climatic information, we do have a sophisticated system of communicating that information that's run by the provincial government and is easily accessible to any individual, so that's where we get our sources from.
1120 So you could be anywhere in British Columbia and know extremely accurately what the climate or the road conditions are anywhere else in the province.
1121 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So that takes care of road conditions, weather. Do you cover community events, activities?
1122 MR. McBRIDE: Yes. Yeah.
1123 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And again, you're sourcing information off the internet?
MR. McBRIDE: Either off the internet or through the phone communications. I still talk to people, you know, or people send me information. I get -- you know, not all information is captured by me and sent out again. Information is also sent to me from actors in the community. And typically, I would run a minimum of one such announcement per hour. It makes it easier to not just do any math if you run it every hour, right.
1124 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I'm going to ask you some detailed questions that Commission staff had sent to you previously but we didn't receive any answers. And for the purposes of having your answers on the public record I am going to go through them.
1125 The first question is if you can indicate, please, the number of hours that you devote or plan to devote if your licence is renewed, to spoken word programming, so the news, coverage of community events, et cetera, on a weekly basis.
1126 MR. McBRIDE: I thought I had already responded to the Commission in writing on that.
1127 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I don't think we have an answer on the public record and maybe you can just tell us what the answer was.
1128 MR. McBRIDE: It was -- I think it was five hours a week. I don't want you to hold me to that but I think that's what it was of news programming.
1129 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Of spoken word in total?
1130 MR. McBRIDE: Well, the total, I think, was closer to 12. But again, I'm pretty sure I responded to the Commission on that, 12 hours per week. That's over a seven-day period.
1131 COMMISSIONER BARIN: The second question: If you can provide detail of the periods of the week that are dedicated to live local programming.
1132 MR. McBRIDE: As opposed to voice track local programming?
1133 COMMISSIONER BARIN: As opposed to pre-recorded.
1134 MR. McBRIDE: Because my understanding is voice track is live programming. If you're tracking a show on Monday you would voice track that sometime earlier on Monday and then that first broadcast would be considered live. And to that extent, the programming in that regard would be a minimum of four hours a day and six hours a day on weekdays.
1135 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you.
1136 In your description of the station you specified that you do not have any fulltime or part-time employees other than yourself.
1137 MR. McBRIDE: Correct.
1138 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And the last question that Commission staff had asked for a response on is how many hours or minutes will be devoted to newscasts during the broadcast week?
MR. McBRIDE: That was five hours.
1139 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you.
1140 Now, Mr. McBride, in the renewal application you indicated that the station broadcast 126 hours of local programming in each broadcast week. Would you be willing to accept a condition of licence requiring the station to broadcast 126 hours of local programming per broadcast week?
1141 MR. McBRIDE: My preference in every situation in every station I operate is exactly that. I prefer only local programming. I don't import outside satellite or third-party programming. So that would be an easy yes for me.
1142 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So you would be willing to accept a condition of licence to that effect?
1143 MR. McBRIDE: I will be willing to accept as a condition of licence 126 hours of local programming.
1144 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you.
1145 To continue on the spoken word content then, staff had some concerns regarding spoken word content during the weeks that they monitored at the station, particularly there were news and weather reports that were rebroadcast on multiple days. Can you please elaborate on any measures that you've taken to ensure that the Pemberton community receives accurate weather and news broadcasts?
1146 MR. McBRIDE: Those hours were caused by not updating audio files. That's what it is. Sometimes audio files get updated. And in that particular operating system that I was using at that time, which is not a very good one, I can assure you, it would occasionally pick up the wrong audio file or I may have entered the wrong code in that audio file.
1147 Pending licence renewal, because you know I don't feel like there is -- there is a risk in investing in a station without a licence renewal because those things can cost money -- it would be an upgraded audio delivery system with a more proven quality to it, something a little better than the operating system that I'm using. That would allow for much better control not only in the audio files but in the reporting process or the exported-out logs of the automation system.
1148 So the way to solve that is to get better equipment. It's a risk to renew a licence or to invest in a licence without knowing that you're going to get it renewed.
1149 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So you have not yet invested in the equipment that's required in order to ---
1150 MR. McBRIDE: No. No, I haven't.
1151 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So I am to understand that your investment in that equipment is contingent on your licence renewal?
MR. McBRIDE: Yes, it is.
1152 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I would like to move on now to some questions on your Canadian content development contributions, or CCD. And before that I want to make sure that you understand the rationale behind the Canadian content development contributions, which are imposed by the Commission to help develop and advance the careers of emerging Canadian artists and to, therefore, increase the amount of high-quality Canadian music.
1153 Is that your understanding as well?
1154 MR. McBRIDE: In 72 hours from now in Perth, Australia my daughter will be appearing at her first international women's jazz festival. She has been performing and recording since she was 10 years old under the great benefit of FACTOR and the Ontario Council for the Arts. She records and performs basically out of Toronto. I am totally aware of the benefit to the Canadian music system that arises from Canadian content development because she has been the beneficiary of much of that.
1155 So it's a yes, to answer your question, but I am proud of my daughter.
1156 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you.
1157 I note then that during CFPV Pemberton’s first licence renewal, which started in 2006, and for which the requirement was to spend $2,000.00 annually, there was a shortfall of $9,183.00 at the end of that licence term.
1158 Then, in your licence renewal decision in 2013, the Commission imposed a condition of licence to expend that shortfall which was not expended. And then in the next licence renewal decision in 2017, you proposed to lower the amount, and the Commission lowered it to $1,500.00 in each of the next two broadcast years. And, so far, these amounts have not been expended.
1159 So, forgetting about the two licence terms, can you explain why you did not expend the amount that you proposed in this last licence term, which was to compensate for the harm that was caused to the broadcasting system for the years that your contribution was not fulfilled?
1160 MR. MCBRIDE: It’s simple cash flow, that particular operation. None of my operations, actually, makes money to speak up. The cash flow is very, very difficult to generate enough to pay the bills.
1161 It was at that point that I started considering selling off some of the properties to finance other properties and rebuild. And so, that’s why I’m trying to sell off to radio stations right now as to pay back the balances of the other two radio stations, and move forward with them. So, that’s why I haven’t paid that. First of all, cash flow; don’t have the money.
1162 When this licence renewal was originally contemplated, the Commission did ask me if I was prepared to make that payment by August 31st, and I was until a public hearing was called. Because, at that point, again, with the question of whether or not a licence is going to get renewed, it’s hard to determine whether or not one should be making an investment in that regard to spend money on a property that they’re not going to be able to operate.
1163 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. So, I take it that the payment that you committed to make by August 31st was not made and neither was the subsequent payment for 2019; is that correct?
1164 MR. MCBRIDE: That is correct.
1165 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Can you, I guess, then, if you can elaborate on your plans for expending that remaining contribution? Am I to understand that, again, it’s contingent on the renewal of a licence?
1166 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes. And, contingent on the renewal of the licence and hopefully on the sale of two of the properties -- two other properties; although, they are not necessarily tied to each other.
1167 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So, if the Commission determines that you didn’t expend the $1,500.00 in the broadcast year 2017/2018, and the $1,500.00 in the 2018/2019 broadcast years, it could impose a condition of licence requiring you to pay the total shortfall of up to $3,000.00 in the next licence term. Can you please comment on that possibility?
1168 MR. MCBRIDE: My math has that at $4,500.00. Presumably, any licence renewal would be of a relatively short term. I can foresee the possibility of a renewal as early as to August 31st, 2020. For whatever the short term that might be, I can make a commitment to the retirement of $4,500.00 which would equal the $1,500.00 payments for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
1169 COMMISSIONER BARIN: You understand that this could be in addition to any future Canadian content development expenditure requirement that the
1170 MR. MCBRIDE: I do understand that.
1171 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I would like to move on now to talk about some of the monitoring materials. As you’re aware, or -- you know, for the record, I would like to kind of point out that the Radio Regulations require that licensees keep accurate program logs and self-assessment reports.
1172 Following the monitoring exercise by the staff, it appears that CFPV Pemberton is a noncompliance in regards to those obligations, which are found in subsections 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3)(a) of the Radio Regulations since there were inaccuracies in the reports and inconsistencies in the dates of the audio recordings and the programming logs that you submitted.
1173 So, can you please update us on the measures that you have taken to address the noncompliance regarding the submission of monitoring materials?
1174 MR. MCBRIDE: One of the questions that the Commission had asked me, and I think this caused some sort of a disparity or a perceptual difference in what those materials are, was the request for the music logs and the request for the program logs which, in an automated environment, are essentially the same sort of thing.
1175 But, on reflection, I understand that the Commission was actually asking for what we might call a skeleton or a framework of a log prior to being sent into automation. So, I will acknowledge that I did not submit that skeleton or framework to the Commission, and I suspect that that’s what they were looking for. One of the noncompliance areas was not in submitting a pre-execution log as opposed to a post-execution log, which is generated by a computer. Those I did submit.
1176 The -- I guess there is, like, a two-phase process. One of them is the log that you think you’re going to play, including all the scheduled elements, like weather, news, traffic, and things like that. And, the subsequent log, which is the one that I did report to the Commission, is the post-execution automation log. After everything has been played, it gives you the detail of what actually run.
1177 I did not submit the first one under the assumption at the time that the second log, or the post-execution log, would be sufficient. I now understand that that is not sufficient, and will be submitting the pre-execution log as part of any future requests from the Commission.
1178 Regarding the disparity in date slugging, some of the audio files, they get moved around a lot electronically, and sometimes they get parked, and sometimes they have to be restored or refreshed, and sometimes that modifies the date stamp on the logs, like whichever date it was last handled. So, some logs can get that -- an incorrect date stamp.
1179 That is also the fact that I’m not using a particularly sophisticated automation system in that regard. And, should the licence be renewed, I would get a more efficient one. I’ve got my eyes set on a couple of good products out there right now.
1180 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So, if you did update the system, your view is that these inconsistencies and reporting issues would be solved?
1181 MR. MCBRIDE: That would be the primary reason for updating the system, is to allow for better reporting and monitoring.
1182 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. As of today, however, you...
1183 MR. MCBRIDE: No.
1184 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Nothing has been implemented.
1185 MR. MCBRIDE: That is a high risk in investing in a licence you don’t know you’re going to have.
1186 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I would like to move on now to the issue of the on-air announcements, which was a condition of licence imposed by the Commission in the last licence term. Because of the serious and repeated nature of CFPV’s previous noncompliance, are you familiar with the condition of licence that I am referring to?
1187 MR. MCBRIDE: I maintain that I did actually run those broadcast announcements, and I believe I filed the supporting documentation with the Commission.
1188 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I would just like to read it so we’re on the same page about what the requirement was. So:
1189 “The licensee is required to broadcast on-air announcements three times a day within the 14-day period immediately following 1st of January, 2018, and to provide to the Commission the audio recordings for the broadcast days during which the announcement was broadcast and file a completed and signed attestation document by no later than 14 days following the final broadcast of the announcement.” (as read)
1190 Now, I understand that you filed an audio recording of the announcement, but not an audio recording for the broadcast days during which the announcement was made.
1191 MR. MCBRIDE: You’re correct.
1192 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Can you explain the circumstances under ---
1193 MR. MCBRIDE: Misinterpretation of that directive. And, when I see “audio recording”, my understanding was that you wanted to hear a copy of the announcement not -- you didn’t want to entire the entire day’s log. That’s my -- was my interpretation at that time.
1194 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. But, I understand that there were several exchanges dating from December 2017, which is before the announcement was to be made, where Commission staff contacted you and explained the process, and confirmed your understanding. But, then, those logs were never produced.
1195 MR. MCBRIDE: Okay. Again, I’m going to take responsibility for that.
1196 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Have you taken any measures to ensure that you will be in a position to ensure full compliance with any future requirements to broadcast on-air announcement if the Commission chooses to impose such a condition again?
1197 MR. MCBRIDE: I am currently in a position to comply with that request and I have a much better understanding of what the requirements are.
1198 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you. At this point, I want to discuss some possible sanctions for the non-compliance relating to the CFPV Pemberton station.
1199 So, you know that the Commission can impose mandatory orders. Do you understand from a legal’s definition what they are?
1200 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes, I do.
1201 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So, I would like to
-- for you to tell us why the Commission should not impose mandatory orders requiring the licensee to comply with the following three regulatory obligations. So, the first would be to comply with Sections 8(1), 8(2) and 9(3)(a) of the regulations relating to the submission of monitoring materials. The second would be a condition of licence requiring the licensee to broadcast on-air announcements. And, the third would be the imposition of new conditions of licence setting out the Canadian content development contributions that the licensee will be required to pay. So, can you tell us why we should not impose mandatory orders for those three conditions?
1202 MR. MCBRIDE: A mandatory order is at the extreme end -- close to the extreme end of the range of enforcement options available to the Commission. The only reason that I would suggest that it wasn’t, you know, desirable to do so would be because of the bane; right? I’m interested in getting a licence renewal, I am confident that I will be able to meet all of these requirements, pending the outcome of the remainder of the day’s hearing and a suitable renewal term in order to ensure for my confidence that I can meet these requirements
1203 So, you know, a six-month term is not going to cut it. A nine- or a ten-month to the end of the year probably will. In which case, I would say I would be happy to accept a mandatory order, you know, I have no problem with that. I understand the depth and the seriousness of a mandatory order, but if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.
1204 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. So, you know, in addition to mandatory orders, the Commission can also consider recourse to other measures such as suspension, non-renewal or revocation of the licence. Can you discuss why we should not suspend, revoke or not renew the licence?
1205 MR. MCBRIDE: It would certainly cut into my ability to make CCD payments for one. Who benefits from the denial of service? Nobody does. I mean, communities don’t. This is not financially viable enough for anybody to say, “Wow, this guy is making a pile of money off of that licence. He’s living off the fat of the land,” because that’s just not true. So, revoking a licence in this case does nothing but make me a little poorer, or a lot poorer, makes the community a lot poorer, and pulls $4,500.00, $6,000.00 out of the CCD fund.
1206 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Mr. McBride, I’ve gone through my technical questions, but I think the real big question that I would like to ask you is, what do you see as the future for these stations? I’ve heard you say that they are in small markets, that economically it’s difficult to make them financial viable, that there are compelling reasons in your personal life that are making your situation more difficult. What is the future that you see for these stations given this context?
1207 MR. MCBRIDE: It is extremely difficult to be a remote operator of a local radio station in small town British Columbia. These are isolated markets that are removed by distance, but also by psychology from the larger market where I live. I -- I can’t leave the lower mainland because I need to be near the medical facilities for personal reasons in that area. So, I can’t live in Tofino, or Ucluelet or Pemberton because I need that access.
1208 What I see is I would like to consolidate my affairs. It’s been a very rough road out in Tofino and Ucluelet to operate the radio stations from a distance. I have over the past several years been working with somebody who has been loyal enough for me to be able to rely on them, but that has not always been the case in these small markets. We often come across people who simply will not cooperate with you in operating on your behalf, so it leaves you in a very difficult position to maintain compliance, operational direction, those sorts of things.
1209 The outcome that I see in all of this is the liquidation of two licences that frees up me from, sort of, a labour burden and a time expense burden, and frees up enough capital for me to reinvest in the other properties and point them in the right direction. That is what I see as, hopefully, the outcome here.
1210 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And, do you feel that you are serving the local community well? I understand they’re operated remotely.
1211 MR. MCBRIDE: One of them is, the others aren’t. The answer to that is yes. I don’t import programming from outside, I don’t re-broadcast a Vancouver radio station. Every person that goes on the radio in these markets, particularly Tofino and Ucluelet, which you’ll hear more about later, is all local people. Now, these are people who, in many cases -- in every case, have zero broadcasting background or experience.
1212 So, we have to find local people, teach local people and hope that the magic of broadcasting will take root in their soul. It’s very rare when that happens, but that’s the only way we can possibly serve our local communities, is by dealing with local contributors, and I don’t see any other way to do it. The only better way to do it from being a remote operator or a remote owner is to sell it to a local operator. I see that as the best outcome.
1213 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And, can you maybe discuss the economic outlook for the stations in terms of the revenue potential, the ability to generate a profit? I understand they are small stations, but maybe you can talk about their future economic viability?
1214 MR. MCBRIDE: I use outside resources right now to prop up the radio stations when they lose money, which is quite often. Spreading that outside income over four radio stations is less efficient than spreading it over two. And, the financial outcome for the two stations that hopefully will be transferred to the direction of Mr. Dennison is that he has done a wonderful job out there building good relationships locally with clients, but pending this regulatory process, they have -- you know, his revenue has dried up out there or our revenue has dried up out there.
1215 I would no longer worry about that. I would be redirecting both the generated revenues and my external revenue sources to two stations that I don’t have to take a plane or a ferry to get to, and I can more effectively manage them. And then hopefully with Pemberton is to, sort of, rebuild it into something, and reinvest it into something and having the capital to do that.
1216 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I don’t have any further questions. I’m going to turn to my colleagues and see if there’s any questions that they might have.
1217 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps one, it really follows on Commissioner Barin’s last questions. I think we have a much better sense of the challenges that you are facing in the context of operating small stations, but was this not apparent to you at the time that you sought the licence? And, if so, this question will extend to the other stations that we’ll be discussing today.
1218 MR. MCBRIDE: Every one of these licences was originally issued before 2008. In 2008, I had private income resources well into the six figures that allowed me to finance these ventures for a long enough term to make them viable.
1219 There was a financial dissolution of markets in 2008 that cost me all of my income literally overnight. And so, now I found myself of four radio stations and not enough capital to continue operating them in the way that I had intended to. And, it was in 2009, 2010 that I started considering divesting some of the properties in order to salvage the other properties.
1220 It has taken me to this point. Mr. Dennison and I have been trying to execute a sale for a little over two years now. But, at that point, I started looking for possibilities to get out of the Tofino and Ucluelet market in particular because they were the most challenging ones for me to operate.
1221 And so, did I contemplate this situation I would be in right now? No, because my financial situations were much different. I had been working from that time, 2010, 2011, to find a way of exiting two markets economically, and it has taken me this long to get to that point.
1222 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, and thank you for your candor. Counsel, do you have any questions at this point? Okay. Then, I’ll turn it over to the secretary in a second, but I think it might be a good time to take a 10-minute break before we resume with the next phase. Madam secretary.
1223 MS. ROY: Yes, we will need to reach the intervener.
1224 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Then, we’ll recess for 10 minutes. Thank you.
1225 MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 9:53 a.m./
--- L’audience est suspendue à 9h53
--- Upon resuming at 10:13 a.m./
--- L’audience est reprise à 10h13
1226 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam, la secretaire.
1227 MS. ROY: Yes, we are ready to continue. Thank you. Just a second please, Mr. Chairman. Well, we are continuing Phase I, so I believe panel members have further questions regarding the other station, CKPM-FM, Port Moody. So, we’ll now proceed with the questions from the panel.
1228 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you, Madame Secretaire. Ms. Levy.
1229 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Good morning, Mr. McBride.
1230 MR. MCBRIDE: Morning.
1231 COMMISSIONER LEVY: When you got the licence for CKPM-FM, you have referenced in your comments earlier that that was in 2008. We all know what happened in 2008 and 2009 in the world economy, and I gather that had an impact on you as well.
1232 But, since then, the station has been renewed once, and I wonder what did you assess as the economic potential of the station to begin with? And then once it was renewed, what was your vision for how this station was going to make it in the market?
1233 MR. MCBRIDE: I think, conservatively, the station should be able to bill about $300,000.00 a year, and that’s a very conservative estimate. I have had other professional advisors, people in the industry who know a lot of things about this, that it could be closer to a million dollars.
1234 I try and operate towards the bottom end of the likelihood budget because that’s where you get into the least amount of trouble. That said, that was the going into it. When we were signing on, I was thinking about $30,000.00 a month would be realistic.
1235 It has never been anywhere near that because it’s signed on right in the middle of that colossal global thing which, in some cases, to the local advertiser, the response was more hysterical than based on reality. But, nonetheless, when every newscast is talking about financial collapse, everybody thinks, “Well, I better, you know, keep my coins together here.”
1236 So, three ---
1237 COMMISSIONER LEVY: However, just to interject, you didn’t actually launch during the midst of the crisis because you didn’t launch the station
1238 MR. MCBRIDE: 2011.
1239 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You got the licence in 2008.
1240 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1241 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You launched in 2012. So, there were four years of recovery, at least partially in that period of time. But, still in all, the economic vision that you had was not realized. And, even after the renewal, you still didn’t see anywhere near the economic potential of the station?
1242 MR. MCBRIDE: No.
1243 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Because?
1244 MR. MCBRIDE: My personal financial situation did not improve with the rest of the economy. So, that income that I lost in 2008, gone forever. I have never been able to replace that. So, that was one handicap.
1245 Modifying my expectations and trying to reinvent that financial model has been a challenge to the point we get here today where I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to make this work. It will involve, I think, a re-engineering just to sort of improve the quality of the signal a little bit, for one thing.
1246 A better investment this time around in local marketing. I think I spent more money on equipment than I did on marketing, and I think that that was probably the wrong choice at that time. As well as the attraction of key anchor clients. In the same way a shopping mall wants an anchor client, I didn’t identify that as a possible business tactic, although I have now identified a couple of key clients who have expressed an interest in participating with me in what I am comfortable will be in around the $180,000.00 to $200,000.00 a year financial profile should we get rolling.
1247 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I’m going to move now to instances of noncompliance, because we want to make sure that we have some information on the record. And, there are about eight different specific areas of noncompliance that I’m going to be asking you about.
1248 But, you know, overall, our thrust this morning is to look at the four main areas which is the apparent current off-air status, the issues regarding local programming, repeated apparent noncompliance with several items and apparent noncompliance with several other items.
1249 So, let’s begin with the issue of the off-air status. You recently informed the Commission that CKPM-FM was taken off air on the 27th of June, 2019. You expected a temporary fix in late September and a permanent fix by the 31st of December of this year. Is the station still off air?
1250 MR. MCBRIDE: It is still off the air. The introduction of the public hearing has, of course, stalled any possible advancement because I can’t move forward without knowing that I’ve got a licence to move forward with.
1251 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So, have you gone anywhere towards securing a new transmission site, which I gather was one of the difficulties?
1252 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes. I have identified three locations, and I have tentatively contracted a professional broadcast engineer to work on the solution there.
1253 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, all things considered, when would you expect the station to be on air again?
1254 MR. MCBRIDE: From this date, I have to take in when there is a likelihood of, you know, approved renewal. And, from that point, it’s going to be, I would guess, two months to engineer, another month to get that through Industry Canada, so that’s three months there. Probably another one to two months to construct. It’s going to be five months after renewal would be a realistic expectation.
1255 COMMISSIONER LEVY: In a letter in May, Commission staff asked you to identify any other period which the station was off air other than the one period raised in December 2018. You didn’t respond to that specific question. Does that mean that there were no other off-air periods since September the 1st, 2015 for CKPM-FM?
1256 MR. MCBRIDE: There have been periods of off the air of a nature basically to power or service interruption. Those are the off air types of things that we experience out on the coast there. When the power goes down, it goes down everywhere. And so, occasionally off the air rarely for any length of time in Greater Vancouver. So there were fairly minor experiences.
1257 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Do you not have any kind of backup generation to obviate those regular occurrences, it seems?
1258 MR. McBRIDE: No, I don't, but that's something that I will certainly be looking at in the future.
1259 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Are you -- because one of the issues that arises is that a lot of stations are counted upon by listeners for public alerting. If you go off the air you're not very helpful.
1260 MR. McBRIDE: No, but I'm realistic that when people are -- there is a station out there that has for 75 years been serving the community and they do a very, very good job of it and I know because I worked there at one time -- that when there is trouble afoot everybody dials into the station.
1261 And notwithstanding that that doesn't absolve me of the responsibility of providing a service but I'm comfortable that GVRD would not be without effective radio service in the case of an emergency.
1262 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Now, according to an intervener and various other sources of information, it looks as though the station was continuously off air since April 2018 and not June 2019. Would you care to comment on that allegation?
1263 MR. McBRIDE: Misinformation.
1264 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Okay.
1265 Let's talk next about your operations and local programming before it went off air. Can you explain how your station was operated before it went off air, specifically where was the station operated from?
1266 MR. McBRIDE: Operated from studios in the city of Port Moody with staff and production facilities onsite. It was essentially a full service radio station but not the size that you might expect in a major city. We have about four offices in the studio complex, including an on-air booth, a production booth, a music booth and a general office area for business operations.
1267 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And are you relocating all of that as part of the changes or is it just ---
MR. McBRIDE: You may have heard that there is a bit of an issue regarding the cost of real estate in the Greater Vancouver Area. I am not immune to that.
1268 I have identified, since we went off the air -- have relocated the studio to a place that is a little more economically viable in the city of Port Coquitlam.
1269 I continue to look for any option and, ideally, it would be one where the studio is located close to the transmitter site. But until we nail down that transmitter site I can't really commit to that. But there, in this case, will always be a local office of operation.
1270 COMMISSIONER LEVY: The Commission has some concerns with regard to local programming that was offered before you went off air.
1271 Specifically, in a letter dated November 5th, 2018 the Commission noted that in monitoring 63 hours of programming from the 15th to the 21st of October, 2017 that the station only offered 30 minutes of spoken word programming and, yet, during the proceeding in a competitive hearing in Vancouver in 2008, your local programming initially proposed was a commitment to broadcast about 14 hours and 32 minutes of spoken word programming each broadcast week.
1272 Could you comment on the significant reduction in spoken word programming aired on CKPM?
1273 MR. McBRIDE: By the time that that monitor occurred, it was economically impossible to maintain the staff necessary to produce that level of programming. So I was operating on one full-time, one part-time and myself to deliver the audio content and there just was not enough money to create that level of content.
1274 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You have stated that you actually devote or plan to devote 10 hours, 54 minutes of spoken word programming, which includes news, weather, surveillance and community events each broadcast week, which excludes another six hours of seasonal sports.
1275 Would you accept that the Commission impose a condition of licence requiring you to broadcast a minimum of 10 hours, 54 of local spoken word programming per broadcast week?
MR. McBRIDE: Yes, I would.
1276 COMMISSIONER LEVY: In your renewal form, you indicated the station broadcast 126 hours of local programming in each broadcast week. Would you accept a condition of licence requiring the broadcast of 126 hours of local programming per broadcast week?
MR. McBRIDE: Yes, I would.
1277 COMMISSIONER LEVY: When asked how your local programming provides sufficient and pertinent information to the community, you responded that you acknowledge the weakness in this regard and you are prepared to file a comprehensive 12-month program plan to address the issue.
1278 Can you explain how you will make sure if the licence is renewed that the local programming provides sufficient and pertinent information to the community of Port Moody?
1279 MR. McBRIDE: The key to all of that is human resources. So in order to be successful in that regard, I need to have sufficient human resources to deliver that content.
1280 The program plan, if designed properly, should easily do that and so when the resources are available the content gets developed. That has to come from a successful financial plan and I need to have a good launching pad from which to begin to develop that. Hence, the desire to sell two properties to create the necessary capital to give me the buffer I need to re-establish the radio station, develop the relationship with the anchor clients that had expressed a strong interest and rollout from there.
1281 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So have you prepared a 12-month program plan yet?
1282 MR. McBRIDE: Yes, I have. And like many of my other plans when we go to a public hearing it increases a level of uncertainty, so I have not filed that. I thought I would wait until I experienced the wonder of Gatineau.
1283 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Would you undertake to file that plan no later than five days after this hearing?
1284 MR. McBRIDE: November ---
1285 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Fourteenth (14th).
1286 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1287 MR. McBRIDE: --- 14th. I would be pleased to file that by November 14th.
1288 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you.
1289 Let's move now to questions on your content development contributions, otherwise known as CCD. You are in apparent non-compliance with two conditions of licence relating to CCD contributions, specifically Conditions of Licence 2 and 3, set out in Broadcast Decision 2015-372.
1290 First, you failed to devote the total amount owed of the over and above CCD contribution required for 2014-2015 to the 2017-2018 broadcast years. That shortfall is $21,526. This CCD contribution was a commitment you made as part of the competitive hearing that led to the original licence.
1291 And, secondly, you failed to devote the required $600 CCD contribution in the 2015-2016 broadcast year. This is the contribution that was imposed by the Commission at your last renewal as a remedial measure to address the harm caused by your non-compliance.
1292 These two apparent non-compliances are not only severe in their nature but are very serious in light of the circumstances in which the CCD contributions were imposed.
1293 We note that you agreed to pay the $21,526 and the $600 shortfalls within 60 days and within 30 days after the publication of the decision, respectively, as well as up to $22,126, no later than the 31st of August 2020, in order to compensate for the harm caused to the broadcasting system for the years the contributions were not fulfilled. This would represent a total of up to $44,252, which would be allocated within approximately one year.
1294 What measures have you taken to be able to pay the required amount, the up to $44,252, in the prescribed deadlines, in light of your station's financial performance?
1295 MR. McBRIDE: That contribution was intended to come out of the proceeds of the sale of two of the radio stations.
1296 So, that would be paid out on completion of the sale of the stations.
1297 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You committed to prepare a comprehensive budget that specifically addresses the non-compliance issues and file it with the Commission by the 31st of August, 2019. That date is now passed, it appears you have not filed the budget. Did you prepare such a budget?
1298 MR. MCBRIDE: I have.
1299 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, if so, would you commit in an undertaking to file the budget you prepared with us no later than five days after this hearing?
1300 MR. MCBRIDE: November 14th?
1301 MR. WICKER: That’s correct.
1302 MR. MCBRIDE: I commit to that.
1303 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1304 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you. And, this is a follow-up on the payment for the 2018/2019 years -- broadcast year rather. In accordance with the condition of licence relating to outstanding commitments to CCD, you were required to make a contribution of $8,258.00 in the 2018/2019 broadcast year. In June, you confirmed that all contributions will be made no later than August and proof of payment submitted no later than 30th of November. Can you confirm that all contributions, $8,258.00, were allocated to factor and to eligible initiatives by the end of August of this year?
1305 MR. MCBRIDE: No, they weren’t. The payment process for that was interrupted by this hearing.
1306 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So, you have specifically confirmed in June that you would devote the entire amount to CCD by the end of August. Are you saying that the call of this hearing is the only event that made it impossible for you to respect the commitment? Why didn’t you expend it?
1307 MR. MCBRIDE: Because I wanted to see what the outcome of this hearing would be. Again, if I’m going to be stuck without a licence, then I want to minimize my financial exposure.
1308 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So, what -- do you have any plans for expending the CCD contributions?
1309 MR. MCBRIDE: I do expect the proceeds of a sale of two radio stations to address my financial details -- my financial challenges.
1310 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Given that you didn’t expend the money and the shortfall incurred in the 2014/2015 to 2018/2019 broadcast years is now $30,384.00, the Commission could impose a condition of licence requiring you to pay the total shortfall. Could you comment on that possibility?
1311 MR. MCBRIDE: That would take a bit of time. I can certainly commit to addressing that once this licence is renewed and I can get the property generating revenue, but I think the timeline or the horizon to address that is going to be critical.
1312 COMMISSIONER LEVY: As is often the case, in order to compensate for the harm caused to the broadcasting system for the years the contributions were not fulfilled, the Commission could determine additional CCD contributions would be appropriate. You would then be required to pay for the first broadcast year of the next licence term, additional annual CCD contributions equal to the potential shortfall, that’s the $30,384.00, to be allocated in the manner set out in Section 15(5)(a) and (b) of the regulations. Could you comment on that possibility?
1313 MR. MCBRIDE: I understand it’s a possibility. I would also put forward to the Commission that in every business environment, there are cashflow realities and that one cannot just manufacture money from out of nothing. And so, the volume of money that may very well be imposed has to be considered against time and the capacity to generate that revenue.
1314 As you know, in order to restart the station, it likely won’t be on before March 31st. And, if you’re setting a condition of licence that this income -- that this expenditure be retired by August 31st of 2020, for example, you know, that’s going to be pretty tight. You know, tighter than I think would be possible. So, the amount of any subsequent penalties, in addition to the principal amount, and the duration with which the Commission expects to be retired, has to be considered in light of that fact, is that this station is not currently generating revenue and won’t for several months.
1315 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I would ask legal to give me some assistance on how we might craft, if possible, an undertaking that sets out a negotiation or a plan for this. Is that appropriate?
1316 MR. DOUGHERTY: Perhaps we could have an undertaking to set out what a repayment plan would look like over two scenarios, one with a two-year licence renewal and another with a three-year licence renewal in light of the 12-month budget that you are providing to the Commission. Would that meet the -- Commissioner? Fair? Okay.
1317 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you.
1318 MR. DOUGHERTY: Yes. And, provide that to us by November 14th.
1319 MR. MCBRIDE: I can do a two- and a three-year forecast, because I’ve got the 12-month plan kind of ready to go. I can just incorporate the numbers that flow from this hearing and take a look at those scenarios and submit that all by November 14th.
1320 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can make a suggestion just while -- while the Commissioner completes her questioning. Perhaps counsel can just formalize the undertaking, and then you can ask Mr. McBride at the end of the questioning and we can give him a little more precision about what he is being asked to undertake. Thank you.
1321 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Let’s move onto the questions about the radio monitoring material that you have provided. You are in apparent non-compliance with subsections 8(1), 8(2), 9(3)(a) and 9(3)(b) of the regulations relating to the submission of a complete and accurate program log, of an accurate self-assessment report and of a complete and accurate music list for the broadcast week of the 15th to the 21st of October, 2017.
1322 In a letter that you sent us on November 23rd, 2018, you indicated you would upgrade the monitoring and data collection system in order to better reflect the subcategories. And, a few months after, you indicated you did install a new automation system, but that it didn’t meet the requirements, and you added that you were, at the time, evaluating other options and you would be ready to deploy a new system and plan immediately upon licence renewal. Can you provide an update on the process of the installation of a new automation system?
1323 MR. MCBRIDE: I have identified an automation system that we are prepared to purchase and install, that has the robustness to calculate the many different categories of music that this station is required to monitor. As you know, this licence is complex in its musical structure and, you know, a common place musical system just doesn’t have the capacity to manage this in an effective way.
1324 But, I have identified and I am prepared to acquire an automation system that solves a number of operational issues, primarily of course the delivery of good product, but also the ability to measure accurately the specific content requirements for this licence.
1325 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Do you care to specify a date by which the software might be installed?
1326 MR. MCBRIDE: Upon relaunch.
1327 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Can you describe any other measures that had been or will be put in place to ensure future compliance with these sections and regulations?
1328 MR. MCBRIDE: This licence has kind of a complex musical requirement with Category 2 and Category 3. There’s a number of different layers of it. And, it’s hard for your average broadcaster, I think, to sort of get their heads around that, because it’s not just one number or two numbers, it’s number over number, Category 3 and Category 2 here. And, I don’t think that I was as effective in training the programmer that was delivering this product in understanding that and I probably wasn’t as effective as enforcing it. In the self-assessment report that I submitted, in which the CRTC has found me to be in apparent non-compliance, is where we should have been playing Category 2, we were playing Category 3. So, those numbers got kind of swapped around.
1329 And, I think part of it is a training to have a better understanding of what number should show up where, and then having a music management/automation system that is capable of being designed to deliver that, and then managing that machine.
1330 COMMISSIONER LEVY: But, you do understand the importance of providing those lists and making them accurate?
1331 MR. MCBRIDE: No, I do, and I’m under the impression that I did supply the lists, all the music lists. I mentioned earlier -- I addressed earlier the program log itself, the pre-log, as opposed to the post-log, and I acknowledge that I did not submit the pre-log, which I believe is what the Commission was after to compare against their monitoring. But, that’s a simple case of doing it properly.
1332 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Let’s move on to questions of the broadcasting of Canadian content. You’re apparently in noncompliance with Section 2.2(9) of the Regulations requiring that you devote between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in any period beginning on a Monday and ending on Friday, at least 35 per cent of musical selections from Content Category 2 to Canadian selections broadcast in their entirety. And, this is the second consecutive licence term in which you have been found in noncompliance.
1333 At the last licence renewal in 2015, you stated you had retained a programming consultant to manage and ensure compliance. Was this consultant hired?
1334 MR. MCBRIDE: Hired and no longer working with us for economic reasons.
1335 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So, who is now responsible to ensure that the station is in compliance with its programming requirements?
1336 MR. MCBRIDE: I have one full-time employee -- when we’re operating, I have one full-time employee who will be subordinately responsible. I will take responsibility for this number.
1337 As I had mentioned earlier, it’s a transposition of numbers. What we -- we’re supposed to play 25 per cent of Category 2 and, in fact, we played Category 3. So, we played CanCon that equals that number. It was just the wrong category.
1338 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Commission staff has addressed compliance with Canadian content at length with you. So, I don’t have any further questions on that specific area, but would you like to add any information on the public record in regard to this specific noncompliance?
1339 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes, I would. Compliance against statistics or numbers is one thing. This station, during a moderate period, like 40 per cent Canadian content, a good portion of that is content that gets played nowhere else, or there is no access to it. The Category 3 material is almost entirely jazz and blues musicians from Toronto.
1340 As mentioned earlier, my daughter performs there, so she gets on our playlist. The only radio station in Canada outside of the CBC that plays her music is me, and many of her peers in that area. The other factor is that we play an enormous amount of local talent that has no record label.
1341 Many of the cuts from the local talent weren’t even identifiable by the Commission analyst staff as being Canadian content. We would play local artists from Port Moody and Coquitlam in Vancouver, and I have a policy of heavily supporting local, unsigned artists because I think it is a differentiating factor.
1342 So, while it might appear that we, you know, we’re noncompliance because we’ve got 25 per cent of Category 3 instead of 25 per cent of Category 2, the offsetting factor about that is that we do give airplay to emerging talent on a significant basis, and I would like the Commission and the public record to reflect that.
1343 COMMISSIONER LEVY: We are going to move now to questions on your broadcast of musical selections from those same subcategories. You’re in apparent noncompliance with your Condition of Licence 5 set out in the renewal in 2015 relating to the requirement to devote at least 25 per cent of your music selections to that Content Subcategory 34, which is the jazz and blues that you just alluded to, and Subcategory 33, which is world beat and international. And, this is the second consecutive licence term in which you have been found in noncompliance.
1344 In the last licence renewal in 2015, you stated that the station introduced a two-day long weekly feature that air gold selections from those two categories, and the station hired a music expert to host a weekly three-hour program. Is the music expert still working at the station?
1345 MR. MCBRIDE: Until we went off the air.
1346 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, is the station offering the jazz, blues and R&B program that you had committed to at that time in your renewal?
1347 MR. MCBRIDE: It is my intention to do that. I thought that was a very well done program. It was exclusively a Canadian jazz program with some other sub-influences of music. I mean, it’s really hard to categorize music as Category 34 or 33 without some subjective opinion.
1348 But, you know, I think we have managed to certainly nail down the jazz component of that, and that three-hour program was quite well received. We have considered on relaunch converting that into a regular seven-day programming element starting at 7:00 p.m. to be a much more jazz-oriented sound. So, you know, we do take that category pretty seriously because I think it works from a market differentiating point of view.
1349 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I want to ask you some questions on some issues that we have had with requests for information. You are in apparent noncompliance with several sections of the Regulation, specifically failing to properly notify the Commission when Ethnimark Advertising Inc. and Grad Holdings Ltd. became the owners of 24.75 per cent of the voting shares of CKPM-FM Radio Ltd.
1350 In addition, despite our repeated requests, you appear to have failed over a period of almost three years to file ownership documents required to assess compliance of -- with the Commission’s policies and regulations in this regard. Can you explain why you didn’t provide the ownership information requested for almost three years, despite five requests from Commission staff?
1351 MR. MCBRIDE: I’m comfortable that I responded to the Commission much earlier than three years. And, in any case, the Commission has all that information. And, I don’t know. I mean, I responded to the Commission. I may not have done it in a timely manner, but it has been done.
1352 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Can you elaborate on measures that you will implement to ensure full compliance with your obligations to respond for requests for information by the Commission?
1353 MR. MCBRIDE: I’m not sure how I can answer that question. Yes? That’s kind of a tough question to answer. You know, when I get an email from the Commission, I tend to review it and respond as quickly as possible. There are times when I will set it aside for dealing with at a later date, but I usually make a note of a deadline arise, and then try and respond to it by that time.
1354 I would think that by reducing the amount of traffic that I get from the Commission by the consolidation of my enterprise, it might make it a little easier for me to manage the correspondence. I know that you don’t communicate with me a lot, but there is a volume of communication that goes along with operating these things, and sometimes it gets caught up in the clutter.
1355 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I have some questions on possible sanctions because this is the second consecutive licence term in which you have been found in noncompliance with your regulatory obligations.
1356 Can you discuss why the Commission shouldn’t impose mandatory orders requiring you to comply with the regulatory obligations: Sections 2.2(9) relating to the broadcast of Content Category 2; Sections 8(1), 8(2), 9(3)(a), 9(3)(b) of the regulations relating to the submission of monitoring emails; Section 9(4) of the regulations which requires you to -- licensees to respond to Commission requests for information; new condition of licence setting out the CCD contributions that you would be required to pay; condition of licence requiring the station to devote each broadcast week at least 25 per cent of its musical selections to the selections from Content Subcategories 34 and 33, broadcast in their entirety. How would you feel about that? A mandatory order on all of those issues.
1357 MR. MCBRIDE: I would refer to my previous comments from the earlier station interview is that I understand it’s at the extreme end of the enforcement process from the CRTC, but if that’s the route that the Commission takes, then I will accept hat.
1358 Ideally, one does not want multiple mandatory orders hovering their head that causes sleepless nights, but I’m confident, if I can consolidate my business and re-deploy the available resources, that I will be capable of meeting all of these requirements and therefore will accept a mandatory order or orders.
1359 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You understand that this is a show cause hearing, and can you discuss why the Commission shouldn’t consider recourse into additional measures, such as suspension, non-renewal or revocation of that licence?
1360 MR. MCBRIDE: I’m a small broadcaster. At some point, sanctions, restrictions or interventions in business operations, primarily financial, will become unbearable for the enterprise. It’ll just make it unviable. I do not have large margins. CKPM has never actually made a profit. So, to impose additional losses, which is, you know, at this moment speculative. But, imposing additional losses to some extent I’m going to have to accept as a condition of licence, how much loss would I be willing to bear will depend on the size of it. You know, if it becomes unbearable, then I guess that the ultimate solution would be to just shutdown the operation. So, whatever the Commission decides in the way of sanctions, if you will, I think the Commission should take into account that this is not a gigantic operation with millions of dollars in resources.
1361 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you. Those are all my questions.
1362 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commission Barin?
1363 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. Mr. McBride, I just have a few follow-up questions. You just mentioned that the station was never profitable, but I note that you have made profit in certain years, specifically in 2018 based on the financial -- the data that you submitted to the Commission.
1364 MR. MCBRIDE: I had worked very aggressively by that point to minimize our operating expenses. So, you’ll notice that the profit margin is not anything to celebrate, but what I had done at that point was I had paired off as many operational expenses as I could.
1365 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. And, I’m also hearing that the Port Moody station has a lot of potential. I mean, you spoke about having had an assessment made and that there was a significant potential to monetize that market. But, you also speak about requiring a lot of investment in the station and you’re making that investment contingent on the sale of two stations. My question is, if the Commission decides not to approve the sale of the other two stations, what happens to the Port Moody station?
1366 MR. MCBRIDE: There is more than one way through this for me. This is the way that I have chosen right now, as to liquidate two stations in order to bring some capital back into my side of the venture. But, there are other interested actors or players out there who may -- who have expressed an interest in supporting the Port Moody venture. I don’t bring them forward at this stage because this is the path that I want to travel down.
1367 You are correct that Port Moody has potential and that alone, with a renewed licence, I’m sure, will generate enough interest from the business community to be able to say, yes, I can participate in your future success. In terms of capital, without selling Tofino and Ucluelet, then I have to look for some other capital. You know, that might be a challenge, but I’m sure it can be done. So, there’s path A and path B; right? Right now, I’m really only focused on path a.
1368 COMMISSIONER BARIN: But, why hasn’t that path happened before? You’ve had the licence for a long time. The station is off the air. You seem to have a plan B option to get capital elsewhere. Why have you chosen not to go that route?
1369 MR. MCBRIDE: I kind of got it in my head that I want to minimize my business operations right now. I have other things going on in my world that are quite demanding. And, I want to be able to focus more energy on less outlets, because I think I would be better at that than I will scattering myself over four stations. I think I would rather scatter myself over two. And, it would be easier for me personally, and I think that would be a -- I would be more affective at focusing on the Port Moody station for sure.
1370 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. So, if I’m to understand, if you’re able to consolidate your affairs, you feel confident that you will be able to run the Port Moody station in a profitable manner in the future, provided you can put the required investments into the station?
1371 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes, I am.
1372 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. My last question relates to Port Moody station having been granted, as Commissioner Levy mentioned, in a competitive licensing process. So, at the time, there were different parties that were interested in providing service to that local community. The licence was awarded to you. And, been through two licence terms where there were severe issues of non-compliance. And, at each point, there are commitments that are made when the licence is renewed. So, I’m asking the question on why we should have confidence this time that your commitments are going to be upheld?
1373 MR. MCBRIDE: During that competitive process, I was in fact the only applicant for the Port Moody or North Fraser region. The other applicants were all focusing primarily on the Vancouver market. I chose to go the North Fraser region because I identify it as a unique market -- or it could be a homogenous market in its own right, like a suburb of any major city.
1374 The failure to realize the success that I had hoped for -- a number of factors. I think, you know, it all stems from economics, because if you have economics, you have success. And, launching the radio station in November of 2011 was probably not -- you know, we had just gone through that financial issue. It was not the best time to launch a radio station, but it was the time that I had, right, because I was going to run out of time to get it any further.
1375 Why would it look any different in the future? I think I’ve learned a great deal about that market and the operations. I have made friends along the way. And, while it has been a struggle, I think that there is a certain amount of, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. And, in the letters of support for this renewal, you’ll notice that the Mayor of Coquitlam, which is one of those communities, very strongly indicates that they miss this radio station. You would get strong indication of support from local people. So, renewing the radio station, putting it back up -- I think by not being on the air, it has actually convinced the market that there is a value in having a radio station there.
1376 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I have no more questions.
1377 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I don’t have any further questions, but I think counsel may have one or two, and we’ll just confirm the undertaking we discussed earlier. Thank you.
1378 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just want to -- regarding the question that was raised by Commissioner Levy earlier regarding the financial capacity of the licensee to take on additional CCD obligations. So, I’ll just read the undertaking. And, as with all the other undertakings, it’ll be required to be filed with the Commission by the 14th of November.
1379 So, if you could provide two plans for making CCD contributions that include both the CCD shortfall, as well as an additional CCD contribution for a possible total of $60,768.00 over a licence renewal term of either two or three years. So, those would be the two plans, one for two years, one for three years.
1380 And then just as a further clarification on another discussion you were having with Commissioner Levy regarding the communication with the Commission staff regarding ownership changes. From what I understand, there was some communication back and forth, but what was missing consistently was the actual change in ownership plan. So, while there was some communication with staff over repeated emails, the ultimate plan wasn’t actually filed with the Commission; is that correct?
1381 MR. MCBRIDE: I would have left that to Mr. Dennison to provide.
1382 MR. DOUGHERTY: Okay. But, in response to the Commission staff request earlier for that plan, it wasn’t -- you ultimately didn’t file that with us?
1383 MR. MCBRIDE: No, I didn’t. No, Mr. Dennison will likely address that this afternoon.
1384 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1385 THE CHAIRPERSON: We -- I think you’re aware that there is an intervenor in relation to this phase of the proceeding. We will hear that individual this afternoon, and then Mr. McBride, you will have an opportunity to reply specifically to any comments that individual has in relation to these proposed renewals. And then we’ll proceed -- you would also have, obviously, an opportunity to reply with respect to the matters we’ll address this afternoon. Is that understood?
1386 MR. MCBRIDE: Understood.
1387 THE CHAIRPERSON: In that case, we’re a little ahead of schedule, but what I’ll suggest is why don’t we break for lunch. We can return at 12:30, would that be agreeable? Thank you.
1388 MS. ROY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1389 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
1390 MS. ROY: So, just for the record, this completes item 1 -- item 2 and 3 of the agenda, and we’ll start with item 4, 5, 6 after lunch. Thank you.
1391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just -- sorry, Madam Secretary. Complete, save for the intervention that we’ll hear this afternoon and reply.
1392 MS. ROY: Yes, exactly.
--- La séance est suspendue à 11 h 02
--- Upon recessing at 11:02 a.m.
--- La séance est reprise à 12 h 34
--- Upon resuming at 12:34 p.m.
1393 MS. ROY: We will now be ready to start, Mr. Chairman. And, we’ll now proceed with items 4, 5 and 6 on the agenda, which are respectively applications by CIMM-FM Radio Ltd. to renew the broadcasting licence for the English language commercial radio station, CIMM-FM Ucluelet, expiring 31st of March, 2020. Application by CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd. to renew the broadcasting licence for the English language commercial radio station, CHMZ-FM Tofino, expiring 31st of March, 2020. And, applications for authority to change the ownership and effective control of these two stations.
1394 So, we’ll hear Mr. McBride first, owner of CIMM-FM Radio Ltd. and CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd., followed by presentation from Mr. Cameron Randall Dennison, currently manager and proposed purchaser of those two stations. Please go ahead, gentlemen, you have 15 minutes each if you wish.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
1395 MR. MCBRIDE: Commissioners, I would like my remarks from this morning to stand on the record.
1396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1397 MS. ROY: Mr. Dennison.
1398 MR. DENNISON: Hi, everybody. My name is Cameron Dennison and I live in Tofino and Ucluelet on the west coast of Canada, where the radio stations we’re talking about exist. I think my role here today is just to introduce myself. My hope is that you will get to know me, and through what I’m about to tell you and explain, you’ll see what I’ve done and hopefully that will go a long way towards answering the questions you may have for me, as well as to address my competency.
1399 I would like to start off by saying that I really do appreciate and realize that it is a privilege to operate licenses like this and have a radio station in communities like the ones where I live, because it’s -- obviously it’s about the radio, it’s about the programming, and in the end it has really given me an opportunity to be a part of a community that I’ve grown to love and care for, and I really see the value of it, so I do perceive that it is a privilege and an honour to do it, and I hope that will come across.
1400 Here’s a bullet point form with some explanations of some of the things that I’ve done in the past 10 months to eight months to come into complete compliance, and address the specific issues that are laid out in the letters that I’ve received. One of the main tools that we have acquired for both the stations, both the licences, is the acquisition of the Zetta and GSelector operating systems through RCS -- a company called RCS. These are state of the art operating systems that are very well known in the industry through my research.
1401 I looked at about four major companies and we were operating on an outdated iMediaTouch system for as long as I’ve been involved, which goes back almost 16 years when I started actually working with Mr. McBride in the capacity of manager of CHMZ. So, it’s been a while that I’ve been involved. I haven’t been involved entirely that whole time as a manager, I spent many years volunteering as it went through different iterations. And, I have learned a thing or two -- I have a lot more to learn, but I’ve learned a bit in those many years of volunteering and operating the station.
1402 So, Zetta and GSelector have allowed us to operate a very clean system. I got to take the information from the old computers, clean it up and put it into the new system, so I am able to do many things. The very smart people at Zetta and GSelector decided that it would be great to have an actual CRTC function that provides and prints exact CRTC reports for all different categories. I’m very happy to tell you that in the past months, many of our hours of operation have been 50 per cent plus Canadian content. I haven’t quite figured out how to determine the Category 3 yet, but I know that I’m well over the 10 per cent. I realize we were just shy -- I don’t remember the exact figure. I think it was actually 9.8, but we are -- I know that we’re well over that and I’ll explain how I know that. I am working on making sure that I do have that accurate reporting as well, as a function of GSelector.
1403 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hope you weren’t suggesting they had a button that replaced the CRTC.
1404 MR. DENNISON: Certainly not. I would never make a joke in this environment. Just kidding. So, this has helped us to do that.
1405 I’m really, really proud of those numbers actually. I still have a lot of education and learning. And, one of the things I’m finding with the system is it demands a massive amount of time and programming. I do have other jobs that help me pay for the privilege of running the radio stations that help me to facilitate acquiring these things, and so it’s just a question of time. I also have a lovely five-year-old and a three-year-old, so I’m a busy person.
1406 We really haven’t had any glitches since the new system went on our -- in the beginning, we did accidentally play a lot of Christmas carols and some things like that, but all those bugs are worked out and we’re operating a really clean and smooth system. I have programmed a lot of Category 3, I already mentioned that we were just shy of that and I know that we’re over.
1407 We have many shows that are regular and range from entertainment to news, to language, to comedy, to natural health, as well as a gardening show called Dirty Talk. We have all of the federal party leaders who recently ran for election. Each of them came in and did an interview for probably an hour and a half each.
1408 We’ve had, often times, our municipal candidates. We just had a municipal by-election where all six of those candidates came in. I actually livestream all of the federal candidates all candidates meeting, as well as the municipal all candidates meeting live on the radio, so that both of our communities can hear all of these voices.
1409 We have a one-hour weekly show called Talking Tough that we did most of this on. But, for example, yesterday, while I was travelling, I was listening on the plane, and we had the Tofino Rate Payers Association on talking about the tax hikes in Tofino which are on people’s minds. We’re really current and have a lot of local people.
1410 And, we have both the mayors of the communities on once -- usually once a month, sometimes more, just to come and give us local information and tell us what’s going on, just as a fun check-in with the mayor. Actually, the mayor of our community, Josie Osborne, is going to do -- start to do an interview show called A Date with the Mayor, which I think is very funny, and it really does allow us to be part of the community and communicate what’s going on in both of our communities with everybody on an everyday basis.
1411 I, myself, go in every morning at 7:30, sometimes earlier, and I often spend three to four hours during the morning show where I do news. I interview people. I play live local musicians. I play live music. I talk about international news, international affairs. And then I go do my other jobs. And, I usually come back at about 4:00 to 6:00, and I do a drive home show, which is only about 20 minutes because that’s how long it takes to drive home usually, but I hang around and I do like late news, and we do -- often times, performers will come in and promote a show for that night; so any local live musician or somebody who is touring from out of time.
1412 In Tofino and in Ucluelet, we’re very fortunate that a lot of people want to come and visit us. So, I actually get to do some really amazing things on air; from the Adonis Puentes Cuban band from Victoria, which is a 12-piece Cuban band that I’ve had in. I’ve had the best of the Jazz Festival -- Montreal Jazz Fest two years in a row come in and play live. Just an absolute plethora of local musicians which I encourage to come in all the time. We are working on a good news program which focuses on local community good news which happens every Monday.
1413 I have many -- as we progress down our path of, hopefully, the transfer and the successful sale, or however it will work, there seems to be a general feeling that things are going very well for the stations in our communities. And, I’ve had a lot of amazing people come out of the woodwork to begin volunteering and helping me in a way that I’ve needed.
1414 I have been doing this by myself for five years, including writing, programming, sales -- well, I mean, obviously with Mr. McBride, but I just mean on the ground in Tofino and Ucluelet. Actually, to be really clear, in Tofino, I’ve been doing it on my own for that long; and then Ucluelet for the past, approximately, one year.
1415 So, we do every -- the machine has now been programmed to do every hour, marine, surf, weather, marine weather, traffic, all of the reports including a surf report and a community calendar spread over two hours so that it’s not -- we’re not inundating people. But, every hour, one of those -- or four of those reports play every hour, then they rotate throughout the course of an eight-hour day ending at 7:00.
1416 And, as I mentioned before, some of these things I’m in the process of programming. I do, do the live reports every day. Traffic especially because I don’t know if anyone is aware, but they’re doing a massive highway renovation on the way to Tofino, and it’s ongoing for two years. So, there are rock slides. There are floods, all kinds of things. The roads have been washed out. So, it’s extremely important to keep that information going on a daily basis.
1417 I’m very, very happy to say that over the past couple years I have worked closely with the Districts of Tofino and Ucluelet to really increase our ability to broadcast during the potential of a tsunami or earthquake. We have some, I think, really amazing technology that will allow us to broadcast in any situation as long as we’re, of course -- somebody is there to run it. We live in a very amazing and beautiful place, but there is a price to pay for that. So, we always are cautious of earthquake and safety information.
1418 Of all the DJs, I’ll tell you a few of the shows. I already told you the gardening show. We have a holistic healing show that runs about an hour-and-a-half every Thursday. The political show. We have a jazz show going on Monday’s. That’s about two hours. We have a classical music program that is just about to begin. It hasn’t run this year. It ran about two years ago. That’s every Sunday morning from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. sponsored by the Botanical Gardens.
1419 We have a really, really amazing reggae show from a lovely man from Jamaica and his friend who is Polish, and they bring all kinds of international music on Sunday nights. We have a modern music show on Tuesday nights that focuses all on new Canadian indie artists that goes about two to three hours. There are other artists in there. It’s not 100 per cent Canadian, but it’s in the high 80’s.
1420 Really great eclectic information and fun on Thursday nights. Heavy metal shows. I do a show with a 15-year-old student from the Ucluelet Secondary School on Monday’s called 15 meets 50, where she kind of schools me about what is going on in the world of people that are 15, which is a very popular show.
1421 Every Friday, we have some Nu-Chal-Nuth elders come in. And, last week on Friday, I had my very good friend Tommy Curley come in and sing me songs in Nu-Chal-Nuth. We are greatly focused on language programs.
1422 A friend of mine told me a little while ago that, in Hawaii, local radio was a big part of being able to save that Indigenous language. And, of all the things that I think excites me about running a radio station, or having the privilege to have a licence is to be able to be a part of this. And, I dedicate a great amount of my energy to having people come in, speaking Nu-Chal-Nuth, being a part of language groups.
1423 Four times an hour, we have a Nu-Chal-Nuth word of the day that’s intro’d by a song with a young lady named Tsimka Martin. So, every hour she says, “Na-ha-ta-nee” (ph) which means listen up, and then she says, “The word for Tofino is ‘Na-chucks’ (ph).” And, she’ll teach you the word of a place that we would call something else.
1424 I think that’s amazing, and we’re going to do a lot more of that as we progress. We’re working on some funding. And, my main thing is I have been recording all the elders as they come in to talk, and we’re increasing that every Friday. So, that’s three hours.
1425 We have two Nu-Chal-Nuth DJs usually Wednesday nights who do to two to three hours each of a night. And, including the voice -- things that I just told you about, we’re probably looking about seven or -- probably closer to 10 hours a week of Nu-Chal-Nuth focus and I want to increase that more.
1426 I’m putting it out there to encourage young people to do their own music show. I’m finding that nobody is really kind of jumping up. I think there is a confidence thing that I want to work on and really support them to get there, but I know that it will happen and I’m really dedicated to making this happen on a continuing basis.
1427 Our team basically, as I told you, has been me, for many years, and my wife who is extremely supportive. Thanks, Kim. I know she’s listening. The crew of volunteers I have around me are very energetic and young. We have a real hopeful scene going on.
1428 I already mentioned the upgraded technology. We have new monitors, new systems, new on-air processing. I have ensured -- we used to have a real trouble with power outages, and I have done a lot ranging from generators and shovel places to battery backups. I put a lot of work into making sure that the consistent and constant -- the power outages are a real challenge out there.
1429 A car hits a pole, and you’re down for three days. It’s crazy. And, if it rains too much, poles fall. So, it’s a very unique place and I have done a lot of work to ensure that this is the -- I think we haven’t even had a blip for six months of no power now, so I’m pretty proud of that as well.
1430 We do a lot of work with non-profits. Surfrider Canada, the CARE Network. I try to donate as much time as possible to that.
1431 We live in a place where, recently, there was a bear in my backyard, and there was a cougar about a block away. There are wolves, constantly bears, walking down the main street in our community. So, it’s really important to be on the radio to say, “Hey everybody, there’s a bear just over there. So, if you’re walking your kids, maybe hike up another street.” I mean, it maybe even sounds cute, but it’s actually really serious. I live in a place called “Cougar Alley”.
1432 I really believe in what we created. I’ve worked with the fire chiefs. I’m not sure what level of -- you know, how many of the letters of support you have read, or who they’re from, or anything like that, but I feel very well supported in our communities. I have done a lot of work.
1433 It has been a real physical effort on my behalf even to get the station up and running, and keep it running after all these years after many of the challenges ranging from weather to human-related things.
1434 I think that’s about all I have to say at this point, other than of course answering your questions. I would ask that -- I would kind of second Mr. McBride’s comments that, in whatever capacity you might consider, to expedite the process would be of great benefit to me and to keep everything going financially, energetically.
1435 People are challenged in supporting me financially until they know that I have ownership of the station. That has been my experience recently. I just wanted to kind of end with that request. However realistic that is, it’s just a request. And, other than that, it’s nice to meet you and I’m happy to be here.
1436 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for your presentation. Your enthusiasm and commitment is evident from your introductory statement, but it won’t surprise you to know that we do have a fair number of questions that we would like you to help us with.
1437 So, maybe to begin, and I guess you could look at it as a big lob ball or a challenge. I mean, a very broad question, which is notwithstanding the significant history of noncompliance issues of these stations. Why should we approve your application for ownership?
1438 MR. DENNISON: It’s an interesting thing to consider me trying to download my experience to you in a short period of time, or to sell you on something that I’ve done, or how much effort I’ve put into it.
1439 I don't know that you would find -- I kind of want to own -- I want to be confident about what I’ve done too, you know, and say that I’ve given it everything for many, many years. And, I think a lot of people -- like I brought up those letters. A lot of people see the effort that I put in.
1440 I, just last week, was at the finish line and start line of the Ucluelet, the 20-year anniversary of the Edge-to-Edge marathon. Before that I was in Ucluelet at the Soap Box Derby, playing music and running. I told you about the politics.
1441 I have a real concern and love for our communities, and supporting the information, as well as being very entertaining, funny, lighthearted, and using the radio waves for the spreading of positive vibrations and uplifting the community.
1442 I think, to answer your question, I’m a good individual for the job because I really care about it. I’ve learned a lot. I have a lot to learn. And, I’m very dedicated. I take it seriously. I take comedy seriously. And, I think I have the ability to demonstrate, like, you know, 45 per cent Canadian content. I will be way over the 10 per cent.
1443 I have set up a system of automatic reports. I think that the compliance issues that I’ve demonstrated I’ve handled will also reflect who I am as an individual, and how I will run these businesses.
1444 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You’ve talked quite a bit already about the role that the stations play in the communities. And, I think I will ask you to add a little more.
1445 You have indicated that these are the only commercial stations serving these two markets -- or communities, I should say, along with CBC. And, that the stations and you play an active role. Can you tell me a little more about how you will see that going forward, and how you see it being able to contribute both you to the success of the community, but the community to the success of the station?
1446 MR. DENNISON: I think I’ve addressed a little bit of that, so I don’t want to repeat myself. And, some fun things going on in a town, in a community, Ucluelet and Tofino both that are fundamentally based on tourism is that I’m finding that we’re getting, I think some of the numbers are 1.2 million visitors a year come through the parks.
1447 That’s about 800-some thousand, and maybe a little higher, in Tofino. And, 500-some thousand, in Ucluelet. Now, I’m being very -- I’m pretty close, but I’m ball parking because I don’t have those numbers in front of me. But, when people come, they’re taking the radio home with them.
1448 In the past couple months, I’ve received letters from Los Angeles, Colorado, Texas, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, New Jersey. People are listening. I’ve had people in Morocco, Egypt. It’s becoming a very fun thing to see how we are being able to represent the West Coast all over the world via the internet.
1449 What excites me about that is back to the language programs, that we’re able to spread that information and perhaps generate a bit of interest, which hopefully will engender a bit of confidence, which will just hopefully get this ball rolling and rolling to get some of the younger speakers fluent and more energized about the process. That’s one thing.
1450 I really love bringing the young people in. I oftentimes have classes of, say, grade 5’s or grade 6’s come in for field trips. They sing a song. They get to learn. They get to be on the radio, do little shout outs to their friend.
1451 The Girl Guides came in when it was time to start selling cookies to let people know what they were up to. And, I say that partially because, sure, it’s cute and everything, but it’s a real community thing. I really believe that we have an opportunity to build -- kind of be that heart of the community where you do get all that local information and you get to support all the little groups that maybe could become big groups.
1452 I think the local politics is key; keeping people informed as to what’s going on and allowing them to hear. We also had, now with the new board -- I don’t know if I mentioned that, but we also have a lovely new board. We never had the opportunity for people to call in.
1453 Now, we have the opportunity for people to call in. So, people can call in and say, “Hey Mare, what about this? What about that?” I think that’s a really key thing, is to bring the voice the other way as opposed to just always projecting, other than unless, of course, you are in the studio.
1454 Local events, I’m oftentimes at -- supporting local businesses at different events, whether that is a fundraiser for the CARE Network, or a fundraiser for Fishing for the Future. We recently did a hospital -- a play, a murder mystery, where we raised $25,000.00 in a night. I got to be a big part of that.
1455 The radio station really, really does have the ability to serve the community. And, I think when we started I don’t know that I had such a mind. I was kind of thinking this would be a great business and, you know, I’m going to have some fun and meet lots of musicians. I’m a musician as well, and I just -- I saw it from a little bit of a different perspective.
1456 But, you know, all these years later, particularly in the last three years, I’ve really seen the opportunity for service, and what it really looks like to be part of my community in a way that I didn’t know that I could be. And, I think that I’m going to be able to keep going on that path.
1457 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s very helpful. And, you certainly have told us a lot about how you connect to the community. I guess the other part of my question really was, and how does that community connection go full circle and come back to providing the necessary revenue and financial support for the station?
1458 And, that may be a segue into kind of my next question. It’s really a question, something we have to think about importantly, is your financial capacity to absorb losses if it’s not as positive as you expect it to be. So, if the revenues -- your projected revenues don’t materialize, what is your strategy? What is your view about the financial uncertainty around these markets?
1459 MR. DENNISON: I think you have my numbers from 2018/2019. I’ve generated revenue in years of uncertainty and literally being off air for periods of time. I’ve generated even in really tough times.
1460 I’m experiencing right now a sort of -- I don’t really know how to describe it as, other than as Matthew kind of addressed it, as a psychological block, where people are kind of like, “I’ve had enough of this uncertainty with the radio, and I will support you.” I have many, many verbal commitments from a lot of the businesspeople there because they know what we do.
1461 I’ve proven myself time and time again in the community as being a solid business provider. I know I will be well supported. It’s just a question of being able to say that I’m the owner. So, when that happens, I’m very confident that the support that you’re asking about will come.
1462 To answer the second part of your question, what will I do if it doesn’t? Well, to this point, I have been relying on my own good efforts in my other businesses to prop up the business. I wouldn’t move ahead with a business that I didn’t know was going to be financially successful, or at least to the point where -- I want to take a different track.
1463 My goal is to release my other companies and do this as a full-time job. That’s why I wanted Ucluelet and Tofino because one market necessarily wouldn’t be enough for me to provide for my family on a full-time basis, so I wanted both. Because with both, when I do the numbers, it will provide me with enough income to be totally focused and only do the radio as my career for however long it is.
1464 And, other than that, if it works -- if it doesn’t happen, then I need to keep working the way that I do. I make a sufficient income to protect myself and keep things running.
1465 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You mentioned your business plan and the revenues. That maybe presents a good opportunity to look at a document, I believe the Hearing Secretary gave you at the break, or if not will momentarily.
1466 MR. McBRIDE: That was provided to me, Commissioner.
1467 THE CHAIRPERSON: Pardon me?
1468 MR. McBRIDE: That was provided to me.
1469 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And you've agreed that because the certain information would have been in your annual returns and would have been filed in confidence? You agree that ---
1470 MR. McBRIDE: Yes.
1471 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- to share that information with Mr. Dennison?
1472 MR. McBRIDE: I am quite happy to share that information with Mr. Dennison, yeah.
1473 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'll give you a second, Mr. Dennison, to just look at it. It's not very long but I would like you to have a look at it. There is no -- it's not going to come as a great surprise to you what I am about to ask.
1474 And that really -- well, actually I'll take a step back. Bearing in mind your numbers may have been for calendar years, not broadcast years, nevertheless, if you look at that exhibit you'll see that the annual return revenues and expenses for both stations are considerably different than those that you have filed with your business plans. And I need some help understanding the differences.
1475 MR. McBRIDE: Mr. Dennison and I have been talking about a transfer of ownership for several years now and the small market dynamic of tiny, tiny, town dynamic of -- you know I am after 16 years of broadcasting out there, considered an outsider. Mr. Dennison isn't. And people in those communities want somebody that they can see and touch and say hello to locally, which I can't provide that.
1476 So when the word trickled out in those towns, which it doesn't take long to trickle out, that there was a possibility of ownership, there was a sort of a retention of a desire to purchase because they don't want that money going to what they perceive to be a big city guy who is just pulling the money out of the town. And so that caused a dramatic effect on our revenue.
1477 Mr. Dennison has managed to keep things together there moving forward in the expectation that one day there would be the reward of ownership, but that's where you see that dramatic shift in revenues over the course of that one particular year that you're referring to.
1478 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm still having a little trouble understanding how the annual return for the company for either of those two years is different than the revenues stated in Mr. Dennison's business plan. Which are the correct numbers?
1479 MR. DENNISON: Well, if I'm to understand my -- this is ---
1480 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand. You don't have to quote the specific numbers on the public record.
1481 MR. DENNISON: It's okay. My business plan was a projection, right.
1482 Or in my business plan did I -- I don't have it in front of me. Did I provide my previous years' numbers?
1483 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
1484 MR. DENNISON: I'm assuming that I did.
1485 THE CHAIRPERSON: You did.
1486 MR. DENNISON: The only thing I can think now, are these numbers that you got from Mr. McBride or from me -- from my business plan?
THE CHAIRPERSON: The document that I just put in front of you has the numbers that we have from Mr. McBride's annual returns and the numbers that we have from you in your filings with respect to your business plan. But not looking forward to projected revenues but actually to those specific years, you'll note there is a significant delta between the numbers. So it's helpful for the Commission to try and understand what the starting point is.
1487 MR. McBRIDE: Those business plan numbers were actually drafted in 2015 and '16. So those just remained on the business plan without being updated to reflect the 2017 returns.
1488 So Mr. Dennison at that point was working on a business plan in preparation for application, not necessarily getting my feedback on the annual returns. Those are in fact, speculative numbers from our planning process.
1489 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, so to be clear, the annual returns -- and again, I don't need to cite the specific number -- if we take 2017, for example, with respect to both revenues and expenses for the two stations, 2017 in the -- if you are looking at the same document, the third column or under the 2017 column under "Annual returns", those are the actual and accurate numbers.
1490 MR. McBRIDE: Are those the numbers that I filed with the Commission? Yes, sir. And they are the accurate numbers off of my recordkeeping.
1491 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
1492 Mr. Dennison, did you have anything to add to that?
1493 MR. DENNISON: I can't address -- at that time I wasn't involved with CIMM so I can't address that. I do know -- is your question -- are you wondering why 2017 is so much lower than 2016, for example?
1494 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I'm trying to understand why I have two different sets of numbers for 2016 and 2017.
1495 MR. DENNISON: Yeah, well, from my perspective I have submitted -- I don't honestly know why these numbers are different.
1496 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1497 MR. DENNISON: I mean I've submitted all mine through bookkeepers and I've been very transparent about that.
1498 THE CHAIRPERSON: So we can move on.
1499 But for Mr. Dennison, can I just say to you, on the basis of what you have in front of you, you don't feel the need -- I take it from your comments -- to make changes or otherwise seek -- file different documentation. You have a business plan and you are happy with it, so to speak?
1500 MR. DENNISON: I am going to look at this because I have just seen it. And if you're asking me if I'm confident in the go-ahead with how the business will run in the plan, if I am fortunate enough to get the licences I'm very confident in my business plan.
1501 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's an answer to a slightly different question.
1502 I think what I might ask and counsel may want to add -- perhaps what you can do is take the opportunity to look at these numbers. If you believe you have to file any amended information with respect to your business plan, would you undertake to do so by November the 14th?
1503 MR. DENNISON: Yeah, I would like to talk about specifically what that would look like because I feel like I've -- all the documents I have submitted are all that I have. And I don't mind getting further into that.
1504 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. I'm not suggesting you need to or have to. I'm simply offering you the opportunity, having seen that document, if you feel that you need to provide the Commission with additional information, I'm asking if you would undertake to do so by the 14th ---
1505 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1506 MR. DENNISON: I will.
1507 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in relation to the exhibit that we put in front of you.
1508 MR. DENNISON: Absolutely and I will always be transparent.
1509 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.
1511 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1512 Just for our understanding the record, Mr. McBride, you just said that the business plan was based on a 2015 plan that is suspended, had been created and looking to go towards purchasing the station. However, the business plan that we have is dated at 2018.
1513 So can I just have confirmation as to whether the business plan is in fact up to date and whether the business plan is -- what the intention -- the one that's filed with us is in fact the 2018 plan going forward?
1514 MR. McBRIDE: I can understand the discrepancy between these two numbers here. The plan may have a date of 2018 in your hands but it originated much earlier. So I think what we've got here is two different sets of numbers that have not been freshened based on 2017 data.
1515 I understand the Commissioner is asking should we consider submitting updated information in the business plan and I think Mr. Dennison has agreed to that and I will be happy to support him in developing more current numbers by November 14th.
1516 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1517 MR. DOUGHERTY: Okay, thank you.
1518 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that will be up to you. We have what we have on the record. If you have something else to file, as I said, please do it by November the 14th. And this is not an opportunity to redo your plans but, rather, respond to the questions I have just asked you about the numbers that I put before you in the exhibit, just to be clear.
1519 MR. McBRIDE: I understand.
1520 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1521 So Mr. McBride, perhaps I can go a little bit further while I'm on the subject of undertakings.
1522 Could you provide a breakdown of programming and production expenses for these two stations over the past five years?
1523 MR. McBRIDE: I didn't bring my financial statements along with me but I can tell you that we really only fall into three major categories.
1524 The first one is rent, which is about $13,000 a year typically. Sometimes in a small town like that we can bend and weave our way around the landlord if necessary.
1525 And then the remaining expenses are almost entirely in production and programming. You know, we spend approximately $500 a month on engineering cost which is the transmitter cost and that sort of is how it works out.
1526 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. I’m not interested in the moment at the non-programming and production expenses, but if you could provide us with some further detail? If you would undertake to do that by November the 14th?
1527 I can repeat it or counsel can repeat it at the end of the questions, but we can do it now if you would like. So, for the past five years, from 2013/2014 to the 2017/2018 broadcast years, provide a further breakdown of programming and production expenses for the two stations.
1528 And then Mr. Dennison, if I can ask a related -- for a related undertaking, if you could provide seven-year financial projections for the two stations in the case that the licences are renewed and the application is approved including a similar breakdown of projected expenditures on programming and production. So, looking forward -- well Mr. McBride looking backwards; Mr. Dennison looking forward for seven years.
1529 MR. DENNISON: Beginning 2018 or 2019? Sorry, 2019 or 2020?
1530 THE CHAIRPERSON: 2019. You’re looking forward, so it is ---
1531 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1532 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- assuming licences are renewed and transferred.
1533 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1534 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you can provide, looking forward, what seven years’ expenditure on programming and production, pardon me.
1535 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1536 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1537 THE CHAIRPERSON: In a document entitled, “1193833 B.C. Limited” and “Cameron Dennison Offer of Financing Letter 2019”, you have provided certain financial information relating to financing. $75,000.00 is a loan, and $100,000.00 is labelled as “Owner’s Investment”. I wonder if you could breakdown or provide supporting financial statements, or proof of financing and a breakdown of the sources for “Owner’s Investment”.
1538 MR. DENNISON: Personal savings.
1539 THE CHAIRPERSON: You need not -- I mean, you -- I’m happy to hear an answer, but you could -- I would ask for an undertaking for you to provide those ---
1540 MR. DENNISON: Oh, yes, sure.
1541 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- details.
1542 MR. DENNISON: I’ll tell you. Well, yes, it’s personal savings and family. To me, like I said, it’s transparency, so I don’t mind. And, the $75,000.00, I was never able to manifest because that’s your -- an organization, a very helpful organization, called Community Futures. And, because I am not the owner of the licences, I was not able to secure that funding until such time as I can prove that I have my name on the licences.
1543 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Based on that, I don’t think you need to respond in the form of an undertaking. I think I’ll come back to you at the end of the questions if we think we need further information on that specific point, but I think you have answered the question.
1544 So, back to you, Mr. McBride. A little bit more about the station and its current status. So, the Radio Regulations stipulate that a licensee shall obtain prior approval for the Commission -- from the Commission for any act, agreement, transaction that would result in a change of ownership. I think you’re aware of that.
1545 And, in the applications, you indicate that Mr. Dennison has been involved with the station since 2011 and had an agreement since 2014 to take over the management and lease of the licence to operate the two stations. Mr. Dennison, for his part, has registered the Tuff City Radio name and business number, and provided a lease identifying Mr. Dennison as the tenant for what appears to be the office space used to operate CHMZ dated August 13th, 2015.
1546 So, back in 2012, we reminded CHMZ that it must remain in compliance at all time with regulations, and that it is expected to seek prior approval for any future act, agreement or transaction that, directly or indirectly, would result in the change of control of the station.
1547 So, given the information I just described or summarized with respect to the current involvement, or the involvement up to this point in time by Mr. Dennison in the operation of the stations, can you elaborate on the current ownership and control of these two stations?
1548 MR. MCBRIDE: Of course I can. CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd. and CIMM-FM Radio Ltd. are controlled by myself. I am the 100 per cent shareholder, and they are the licensees. The idea that the radio station, CHMZ, was leased to Mr. Dennison is an error. That never was a fact and no lease was ever entered into.
1549 He has an employment agreement with me that is customized to allow him maximum amount of flexibility to operate out there, but has never been given the authority to make structural or organizational changes without my authority, and I have never given that.
1550 Regarding the lease of a studio out there, it is very hard for an outsider to lease anything in those communities, especially, you know, the perception that I’m a big businessman from Vancouver looting the till out in the community. So, we found it more convenient to execute local agreements with Mr. Dennison representing himself as a separate company in order to get tenancy space. I couldn’t lease anything out there under my name or my company.
1551 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, I guess for both of you, in response to a question from Commission staff, you provided a letter dated, again, July 19th, 2012 which invites Mr. Dennison to assume the role of station manager. Are there any other agreements between you and Mr. Dennison that relate to the direct or indirect transfer of control?
1552 MR. MCBRIDE: No, there isn’t. I have worked with Mr. Dennison to build up his skill sets and sort of a consciousness about the industry for the eventual date that we would be able to transfer the licence. But, there are no agreements in place outside of the document you see regarding his engagement with CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd.
1553 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And, who owns the transmitter and the lease? I guess the licensee has to own and operate the transmitter. For the two stations, are you the owner of the two transmitters?
1554 MR. MCBRIDE: I’m the owner of all of the equipment in both locations. In Ucluelet, I am also the lease holder for the antenna structure. The District of Tofino would not lease a transmitter space to me, personally, so we worked through Mr. Dennison’s proximity in town there to get a lease established for the antenna site.
1555 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You’ll understand, I think, why I’m asking you these questions. There is a longstanding and considerable degree of cooperation and activity between the two of you. And, I just am trying to make clear for the record and for ourselves the issue of effective ownership.
1556 So, maybe I’ll turn to you, Mr. Dennison. Similar questions. I assume you’re familiar with the Radio Regulations I referred to earlier. And, can you describe your role in a little more detail with respect to the stations over the past few years and currently?
1557 MR. DENNISON: I just have to agree with Mr. McBride. There has never been any situation where I leased. I did use some of that language in a business plan I wrote, and I think that’s where this kind of confusion came from is my misuse of that language in that business plan. But, it has never been any other way.
1558 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, registering the Tuff City Radio name, the business number, all of those things are in preparation for a transfer?
1559 MR. DENNISON: I started to ask Mr. McBride to buy the station, I think, six or seven years ago, and we have been working on that goal ever since. So, yes, all these things were in preparation.
1560 And, as we progress down the path, too, and as I became better able to comply and learn how to act and how to operate these businesses, it just made sense for us to continue on the path. But, Mr. McBride has been in charge the whole time. And, I wasn’t running CMMI. CIMM, sorry.
1561 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. Just on the Tuff City Radio issue, I just want to be very clear for the record. So, there is no -- your statement is that there is no affiliation between Tuff City Radio and either CHMZ or CIMM?
1562 MR. DENNISON: Other than my personal involvement, no.
1563 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, similarly for the lease of facilities, there’s no ---
1564 MR. DENNISON: No. I mean, I did that on behalf of Mr. McBride, if that’s what you’re asking me.
1565 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We may have some follow on questions at the end from staff and counsel on this issue, but we can move on perhaps to some other areas.
1566 So, again, Mr. Dennison -- so obviously you’re aware of the significant history of non-compliance with the regulatory requirements of the stations you’re seeking to purchase. So, do you feel you have in any way contributed to or are responsible for those non-compliance -- for that non-compliance?
1567 MR. DENNISON: I think by the very nature of me being involved the whole time that I must be on some level. I think in the -- in the beginning, I really didn’t know as much about what was expected of me as I do now. I think my demonstration now is above the levels of compliance and I think that will be the go-ahead.
1568 There have been many obstacles that we have faced, and Mr. McBride and myself have worked through over the years, ranging from the aforementioned power to running off antiquated gear for a long time. There was a time when some -- the power went off for quite some time and I literally ran the station -- the machine thought it was August 21st, 2017 for almost eight months, and I literally went in every single day and programmed the music myself. It took an hour and a half to do it, just to make sure that there was programming and that the radio stayed on.
1569 So, yes, I’m a part of it. I think I’m more a part of the solution though.
1570 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, you’ve given us some of the reasons that you think we can be confident that you are willing and able to operate it in compliance. Do you want to add anything? You have made several statements already, but I should ask you the more pointed question and let you answer it, if you will, why should we be confident that you are indeed willing and able to operate it in full compliance?
1571 MR. DENNISON: I think the only thing that I could say is that you need to just look at what I’ve done. It’s not about what I say, it’s just what I’ve done. And, the actual example of what I’ve done exists now and it is more than in compliance.
1572 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. You also -- you mentioned earlier some of the new gear and some -- a number of the steps that have been taken recently to change the situation at both of these stations. Is there anything else you want to add in terms of what specific measures you intend to undertake to ensure future compliance, if the Commission were to approve your application?
1573 MR. DENNISON: As more people become involved, my concern was how -- I think probably just like Mr. McBride’s concern is about how am I going to find the people that have the same care and consideration that I do. Right now, that kind of looks like me spending even more time there as I bring new people on and train people, to add new voices, and I would monitor -- at the end of everybody’s show, I literally go online and I draw up their stats and I phone them and say, “You were at 34.6 per cent, that’s not good enough. Next week, I want to see 45, just until you figure it out.”
1574 I don’t know that I’m prepared to let go of that at this time, at least for another year or however long you decide to give a licence for. My intention is to be as aggressively on top of that as I possibly can be to ensure full compliance. And, everybody that steps in there has to understand the rules. This is precious to me. I’ve put a lot on the line.
1575 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1576 MR. DENNISON: It’s not a game, it’s not a lark. It’s very important.
1577 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. Thank you for the answer. So, moving on, changing subject a little bit. Some of these questions go more to the issue of the value of the transaction.
1578 First, you should just note, leases taken over by a buyer are part of the elements to be included in a calculation of the value of any transaction. And, our practice is to include their value for a period of five years even if they expire within that period or are replaced by another lease. The practice is intended to be consistent and predictable, recognizes an ownership operating leases constitute a significant portion of the assets used in broadcasting.
1579 You’ve already provided what appears to be the lease for CHMZ’s offices which, by our reading, seems to have expired in 2017. Can you confirm if it has been renewed?
1580 MR. DENNISON: It has been.
1581 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, is the agreement the same as it was?
1582 MR. DENNISON: The rent has gone up.
1583 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could I then ask that you file a copy of the current lease and any more
1584 MR. DENNISON: Yes. I’m laughing, because I think the landlord actually just took the old lease and crossed out the number and wrote the new number on. But, yes, I will.
1585 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.
1586 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1587 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then, we’ll take the one with the old rate crossed out ---
1588 MR. DENNISON: It was very Tofino style.
1589 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m sure he or she, or the corporation, isn’t the first one to redo a lease that way. I seem to remember doing that for my children in university.
1590 MR. DENNISON: So, just a copy of the new lease?
1591 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, if there are any other agreements relating to the offices or studios.
1592 MR. DENNISON: I don’t think there are. And, other than phone bills, and insurance and things like that.
1593 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
1594 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1595 THE CHAIRPERSON: This relates to the lease and any other ---
1596 MR. DENNISON: It’s just that.
1597 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- relevant documents.
1598 MR. MCBRIDE: Commissioner, I will work with Mr. Dennison to make sure you get updated copies of all the lease agreements on all the properties.
1599 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And, I know it sounds repetitious, but we do this for the record, and you’ll undertake to provide that data by November the 14th? And, I assume counsel is keeping score so that I don’t lose track of the undertakings. Thank you, counsel.
1600 MR. DENNISON: Also, I say “yes” to that.
1601 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1602 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. So, what else can you tell me about the current status of the lease for CIMM?
1603 MR. MCBRIDE: We have a non-financial agreement with the District of Ucluelet for the hosting of our transmitter facility. In exchange for hosting our -- the transmitting plant, we built an emergency broadcasting centre inside the same location, so that in the case of emergency, a tsunami, fire, anything like that, it would be possible for public safety officials to simply flip a switch and basically announce, “Run for your lives.”
1604 THE CHAIRPERSON: Hopefully that’s not the message, but I hear you.
1605 MR. MCBRIDE: Well, it’s the west coast. And so, in exchange for that, they have agreed to host the transmitter facilities on a non-cash basis. I can produce the agreement.
1606 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that agreement in force? And, if so, until when? What’s the current status of that agreement?
1607 MR. MCBRIDE: It doesn’t have an end date. It’s a perpetual agreement. But, I’ll be happy to document that for you.
1608 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1609 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would appreciate it, if you would. It would help the Commission. Thank you.
1610 MR. DENNISON: If I may add, those relationships are very strong as well. I realize that’s not something I can necessarily put in writing, but I do work closely with the new Fire chief, Rick Geddes; as well as our Fire Chief, Brent Baker, and both of the districts’ safety coordinators.
1611 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And, again, if some of these questions seem redundant, please bear with me, I just want to make sure we have all of the necessary detail on the record.
1612 So, I asked you about the -- for the office and studio. Now, perhaps, same questions with respect to the transmission facilities for both stations. So, are there leases in place for both stations?
1613 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1614 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again, would you file a copy of the current leases, please?
1615 MR. MCBRIDE: By November 14th.
1616 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1617 THE CHAIRPERSON: By November the 14th. We’ll soon be just exchanging words. We can finish each other’s sentences.
1618 And, I guess -- well, this one we won’t -- you’ll answer. I won’t answer for you. Can you comment on the possibility that the Commission adds the value of those leases in the calculation of the value of the transaction?
1619 MR. MCBRIDE: As you've just explained to me, that is going to be -- it is a standard practice for the Commission. So, yes, we will accept that.
1620 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1621 Now, when I looked at the financial statements for CHMZ, as of 31 August 2018, Mr. McBride, you owed a considerable amount to CHMZ-FM Radio Ltd. Can you comment on the status of that loan? And, comment on whether it had any influence on the purchase price set for the shares of this entity?
1622 MR. MCBRIDE: That dollar value loan amount shouldn’t actually show up there. That was never properly accounted for on my part. That was the opening investment done 16 years ago, and it has just never been taken off the books. But, it has been paid in.
1623 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, to answer the second part of the question, it has no bearing on -- no influence on ---
1624 MR. MCBRIDE: Correct.
1625 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the purchase price?
1626 MR. MCBRIDE: It has no bearing.
1627 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, it is not being forgiven in the context of the transaction?
1628 MR. MCBRIDE: No.
1629 THE CHAIRPERSON: You’re saying it is not ---
1630 MR. MCBRIDE: It doesn’t exist. Yes.
1631 THE CHAIRPERSON: It doesn’t exist. I’m trying to think how I can formulate a request for you to demonstrate to the Commission that it doesn’t exist.
1632 MR. MCBRIDE: Perhaps we can update our financial statements, in particular the balance sheet.
1633 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be helpful.
1634 MR. MCBRIDE: By November 14th?
1635 THE CHAIRPERSON: Indeed.
1636 MR. MCBRIDE: Okay.
1637 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1638 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, back to you, Mr. Dennison. I feel like it’s a ping pong match, but you’re sitting together. Not a match so much as ---
1639 MR. DENNISON: Am I winning?
1640 THE CHAIRPERSON: We’re all winners.
1641 So, one way to ensure public interest is well served in a transaction is to expect the applicant to offer a financial contribution in the form of tangible benefits. And, we normally do this, and it’s proportional to the size and nature of the transaction.
1642 When radio transactions occur, the minimum required value of tangible benefits is generally 6 per cent of the value of the transaction. Now, I understand that this is not a Rogers or Bell buying multiple stations in a major metropolitan market. But, the policy holds true whether it is in small markets or large markets.
1643 Given that, you haven’t proposed any tangible benefits, nor requested an exception to the imposition, or accepting such an obligation. Can you clarify why and inform me?
1644 MR. DENNISON: My first answer is that it was something that I was learning about when I was reading the contract and understanding what the procedures of the CRTC were in relation to it. And then my consideration was, because I think it has been a while since we generated revenue due to some power issues and restructuring, I guess you could call it, I haven’t really generated a lot of revenue recently, and it just was an intimidating addition to the overall cost of the transaction, when I’ve to a lot of output from my other businesses supporting, and not a lot of income from the licence.
1645 That’s my brief answer. In the end, I wouldn’t have a problem. I would like not to do it, not because I wouldn’t like to give the CRTC money, but just due to the nature of my particular situation at this time. Getting everything going, and how much I’ve invested in getting everything compliant and off the ground, it would be extremely helpful to not have an additional output.
1646 And, nothing will get in my way at this point. So, if you told me that’s the case, I would accept it. If you are willing to be forgiving of that, I would accept that, too.
1647 THE CHAIRPERSON: I need to make a clarification as you are not giving any money to the CRTC. But, you are indeed, through the Tangible Benefits Program, providing important financial support for the Canadian music industry and Canadian artists.
1648 I guess I need to put it to you slightly differently. I think you have two choices. You can either propose tangible benefits, consistent with the CRTC’s policy, or you can request an exception to the application of that policy. Those are really the choices in front of you. And, we really need to have one or the other.
1649 If you’re requesting an exception, then you should note that, according to the Commission’s policy, and you’ll find that in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2014-459, our, and I say this word guardedly, simplified approach to tangible benefits and determining the value of the transaction, the onus is on you, the acquiring party, to demonstrate that an exception is in the public interest and meets certain criteria. I’ll give you a sense of the criteria.
1650 The undertaking to be acquired is not in its first licence term; the undertaking has suffered significant financial losses over an extended period of time; and the purchaser demonstrates that there is a public interest, either to the broadcasting system as a whole, or for the community served in maintaining a failing undertaking.
1651 So, you should review that policy. If you wish to make -- as I said, you will have to choose for yourself whether you wish to put in front of the Commission a proposed tangible benefits package, or whether you are requesting an exception. And, if so, provide support consistent with that policy.
1652 MR. DENNISON: And, I will do this by November 14th?
1653 THE CHAIRPERSON: You would indeed.
1654 MR. DENNISON: I will -- I need to do some research. I need to read about it. So, yes, by the 14th. I accept.
1655 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1656 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I guess one last question I have -- well, perhaps before I go there, if the Commission -- still for you, Mr. Dennison, and bearing in mind you want to study the issue. If we require tangible benefits of 6 per cent on the value of the transaction, can you give me a sense of what would be the financial impact? I understand you just said you would prefer not to. Obviously, that’s understood. But, what kind of financial impact would it have on your plan?
1657 MR. DENNISON: Well, actually I do want to clarify that. I would never not want to give money to musicians or to support the industry. So, of course ---
1658 THE CHAIRPERSON: It was just the CRTC you didn’t want to give it to. I understand.
1659 MR. DENNISON: Well, yes, also not exactly. Of course I would like to, it’s just the current situation, with the way things are, it would just be a challenge.
1660 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand. I wasn’t suggesting that it was -- that you wouldn’t like to. If I made it sound that way, that was not my intention. I just wanted to -- and I understand your preference. I just wanted to get a bit of a better understanding of, in your view, would that be an insurmountable, or particularly onerous obligation, were the Commission to require.
1661 MR. DENNISON: It would be of benefit to me to find other ways to serve that entity other than through the financial remuneration. And, in the end, I will handle whatever I need to.
1662 And, if that could look like a payment plan, or any sort of thing like that, I would accept that. I would even consider doing other things. Like I said, I need to do better research, but I would do anything to support that organization in a different way. All kind of stuff is possible.
1663 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think we would probably leave the answer there, and let you review the policy ---
1664 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1665 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and understand what is required and what you could put in front of us, if you choose to propose, tangible benefits.
1666 MR. DENNISON: I’m very willing to find the win-win and obviously do whatever I need to do to make it happen.
1667 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, perhaps one last question in this segment, and then staff -- counsel may have some follow on specifically with the ownership issue -- or on the ownership issue I should say.
1668 Mr. McBride, if we were to refuse this particular transaction, do you still want to renew the broadcasting licences for CIMM and ---
1669 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes, I do.
1670 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- CHMZ-FM?
1671 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes, I do.
1672 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I’m going to suggest that we take a 10-minute break at this point, and then we’ll move -- sorry, not at this point. Pardon me. Once staff and counsel ask any outstanding questions, and give us a score card on the numerous undertakings I have imposed on you or you have agreed to accept. After that, we’ll take a 10-minute break before we deal with the renewal applications. Staff, are there still -- are there further questions?
1673 MR. WICKER: Yes.
1674 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please go ahead.
1675 MR. WICKER: Okay. So, I have questions for both of you. I want to start with Mr. McBride. So, I have a series of factual questions, there’s going to be a bit of overlap, but we need your answers to have a more complete record.
1676 So, Mr. McBride, could you tell us what are your current tasks and responsibilities in the Tofino station?
1677 MR. MCBRIDE: I handle the national advertising booking; I handle all of the high-level administrative activities, such as communications with the CRTC and other external agencies; and I delegate the day-to-day operations to Mr. Dennison.
1678 MR. WICKER: Okay. And, would that be different for the Ucluelet station?
1679 MR. MCBRIDE: No.
1680 MR. WICKER: Okay. On the public record, you submitted an (indiscernible) letter dated 19th of July, 2012, addressed to Mr. Dennison. That’s your agreement letter?
1681 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1682 MR. WICKER: So, in that letter, you state that he will be responsible for Long Beach Radio’s operations in general, including music programming, promotional direction and imaging, and that active (indiscernible) and revenue management would be a key factor in Mr. Dennison’s role.
1683 So, just to clarify, is this offer for the Tofino station only, or both for the Tofino and Ucluelet stations?
1684 MR. MCBRIDE: The expectation was for both stations at that time.
1685 MR. WICKER: Okay. Now, in the letter, could you explain what do you mean by the terms “operations in general”? What are all the tasks that fall under that term, “operations in general”?
1686 MR. MCBRIDE: Paying the rent, paying any employees, paying any of the local expenses, like the hydro, the utility bills, that sort of thing, from an administrative point of view. And then managing local client development and business development.
1687 MR. WICKER: Okay. Now, could you tell us what are the tasks that Mr. Dennison is not authorized to do on behalf of the stations, that fall under your strict responsibility?
1688 MR. MCBRIDE: He’s not authorized to bind the company in any fashion whatsoever. He is not authorized to communicate to the CRTC on behalf of the businesses, or to any high-level agency.
1689 MR. WICKER: Okay. And, who establishes the budget for each station?
1690 MR. MCBRIDE: Collaboratively. We both work on it.
1691 MR. WICKER: Okay. Who hires volunteers and employees outside -- like, outside talent for each station, who does the hiring -- the interviews, the hiring?
1692 MR. MCBRIDE: Mr. Dennison does that.
1693 MR. WICKER: Okay. And, I just have one particular regarding equipment and repairs for each station. Could you tell me who authorizes and pays for the repairs and the equipment?
1694 MR. MCBRIDE: Repairs and maintenance?
1695 MR. WICKER: Yes.
1696 MR. MCBRIDE: I authorize repairs and maintenance, and that’s paid out of our operating cash or our revenues.
1697 MR. WICKER: Okay. You authorize it. And, in the particular case of the Zetta and GSelector operating systems that were mentioned earlier, who decided to acquire them and who paid for them?
1698 MR. MCBRIDE: That was paid for out of operating revenues from CHMZ, and Mr. Dennison did the research on that on my request to discover a new operating system to replace the old one, and I approved that purchase.
1699 MR. WICKER: Okay. I don’t have any more questions for you. The next set of questions is for Mr. Dennison.
1700 So, earlier today, you mentioned that you had more responsibilities in the Ucluelet station during the last year. I’m just trying to understand, like, what is the difference between what you have been doing during the last year and the period before that. Like, what happened that you took more responsibilities for Ucluelet?
1701 MR. DENNISON: Can’t Mr. McBride answer this question?
1702 MR. WICKER: Well, I would appreciate it if you would give us your point of view, and then Mr. McBride can also ---
1703 MR. DENNISON: All right. Long Beach Radio morphed into something that became two separate entities -- or that’s maybe not the best way to say it, but someone else was managing Ucluelet.
1704 MR. WICKER: Okay. So, that was the year before you took over the management of Ucluelet? That was the scenario? There was somebody else managing? Like, what happened?
1705 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1706 MR. WICKER: Okay. Is there something Mr. McBride would like to add?
1707 MR. MCBRIDE: Well, this falls outside the scope of his authority, it’s personnel issue.
1708 MR. WICKER: Okay.
1709 MR. MCBRIDE: There was a separate manager in Ucluelet that did not live up to the expectations that we required, that time particularly in the compliance area ---
1710 MR. WICKER: Okay.
1711 MR. MCBRIDE: --- and there were some other conflicts, and so I asked Mr. Dennison to take a look at representing both stations simultaneously.
1712 MR. WICKR: Okay. It was roughly a year ago that ---
1713 MR. MCBRIDE: It’s changed a little bit over time. Some days there’s somebody there available, some days there isn’t but, you know, there were some aspects that we agreed to Cameron looking after in 2012. But, generally assuming overall responsibility for both stations evolved over the time after he had filed his application to purchase.
1714 MR. WICKER: Okay. I just have a couple of last questions for the record. Who authorized the signature of the lease dated 13th of August, 2015 between Tuff City Radio and the landlord?
1715 MR. MCBRIDE: I authorized that signature.
1716 MR. WICKER: Okay. And, just to clarify for the record, Mr. Dennison does all the programming for both stations?
1717 MR. MCBRIDE: I hope that he listens to me when I give him some advice, but I -- I’ve worked with Mr. Dennison to develop his competencies and skill sets in broadcasting, and a lot of that is allowing him to take a strong hand in programming and promotion. Maybe not necessarily what I’d do, but it works out there, so I’m loathed to kind of get in his way.
1718 MR. WICKER: So, in general, the programming is on your hands, Mr. Dennison, just for the record?
1719 MR. DENNISON: Yes, in general now. I inherited a system that Mr. McBride had programmed, and then I’ve just been cleaning it, and cultivating it and ensuring higher compliance.
1720 MR. WICKER: Okay. I don’t have any more questions. Thank you.
1721 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. As I think you’re both aware that there is a transcript and you would be able to see each of the undertakings you have agreed to. If you needed to see the details separately, I could also ask counsel to repeat them at this point, if it was helpful, but I don’t know if you want to hear it over.
1722 MR. DENNISON: I’ll read it.
1723 MR. MCBRIDE: I’ll be pulling it off of the transcript, thank you.
1724 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel, is that -- are you in agreement?
1725 MR. WICKER: Yes.
1726 THE CHAIRPERSON: You don’t feel compelled to read them into the record.
1727 MR. WICKER: That’s great.
1728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Then, Madam Secretary, we have...
1729 MS. ROY: Did you want to take a 10-minute break?
1730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let’s take a 10-minute break now, and then we can deal with the intervenor ---
1731 MS. ROY: To continue with the questions? All right.
1732 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. Pardon me. Before we take the break, I have omitted to ask my fellow members if they have any additional questions. Please.
1733 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Mr. Dennison, thank you for all the responses. I have one -- just a question in my mind about how the two stations are separate and distinct in terms of their programming. You described how onerous it is to run one station, and I’m wondering how you’re proposing that it would work with the two stations.
1734 MR. DENNISON: I’m going to answer what I think I hear. So, previous -- in my presentation before, once a month, the mayor of Ucluelet would come in; once a month, the mayor of Tofino would come in. I am down in Ucluelet standing live at the Edge to Edge marathon, or I’m in Ucluelet at the Soap Box Derby, or I’m at a -- supporting a restaurant or -- I spend a lot of time there physically.
1735 I perceive the whole coast as a community. I don’t necessarily perceive them as separate entities. Having said that, I do believe there is an opportunity for a -- for Ucluelet radio to have its own separate identity. I also am excited, as a business prospect, to brand it a little bit differently.
1736 I have some future goals of the -- I don’t know if this is possible, and please this is just me having a fantasy, of applying for a larger signal so that both communities might be able to have both radio stations, and then make them both a little bit different to provide all kinds of music for people just to fancy that I have no plans in the works actually.
1737 But, I do think I did research the system with Zeta and GSelector so that I literally can do the morning show for the coast, click a button and Ucluelet becomes its own entity with its own separate programming. Unique liners, unique tags, unique voice, because Ucluelet is a very distinct and Ucluelet is a separate community, and I think I does deserve its own voice. So, that’s a plan I have as we progress, of course depending on getting permission to do so.
1738 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So, I understand right now they are being operated jointly and, in the future, your plan is to brand them separately?
1739 MR. DENNISON: Not entirely -- first of all, yes, they are being run jointly. Secondly, yes, separately and a little bit of inclusion. I really think the inclusion thing is important for everybody. So, I will do my morning show -- my plan is to do the morning show for everybody, and then flip a switch, and then it would be unique programming all day.
1740 One of the lovely things about Zeta is they have a new thing called Zeta-to-go which, formerly, in radio was called -- well it still exists, but Tieline Kodak where you can do -- go do shows anywhere. I could even broadcast from here if I chose. It’s really, really amazing technology. So, I can go anywhere on Long Beach or Ucluelet and bring the communities together.
1741 I don’t want to go too much down that path, but it is important for me to work towards including everybody on the coast and making the one West Coast community and not just having the perception of us and them. Although, I do believe it is important to have individual representation, if that makes sense.
1742 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay, thank you.
1743 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Levy.
1744 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Just briefly. What is so you unique about Ucluelet and Tofino as communities that they would warrant reflection in separate entities?
1745 MR. DENNISON: That’s a very interesting question. Having lived there for about 20 years and spending a lot of time in both communities, they’re just kind of like different people. They have different characters. They draw different sort of tourism. They share. I think they share more than they are different.
1746 If I were to really answer your question, I would say it’s more just a marketing opportunity than it is really about the differences. Tofino has a different sort of face on the world stage; I think Ucluelet is coming up, and I think they’re going to only grow and increase. I’m very excited about that.
1747 It just excites me to, again, represent them a little bit differently. Some of the land. Like, Tofino has a lot of the beaches; Ucluelet has a lot of the black rock and the entrance into the sound. Subtle differences, but I think worthy of being pointed out and honoured for their differences.
1748 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I don’t know whether it’s the same now but, to me, they are quite unique communities having travelled there a few times. There is a different vibe, if you would like, in each one.
1749 One of the things that’s extremely important in coastal areas in particular is to have good information on weather and tides, and so forth. And, I appreciate that a lot of this information is now available online and via the internet, and so forth. But, I think it sounds as though it’s still a very critical part of the kind of information you want to have on these stations.
1750 How do you ensure that what you are putting out is up to date, especially since it sounds as though a lot of things are pre-recorded, and then rotated through the day?
1751 MR. DENNISON: Tide reports stay the same for the day. They’re always the same. And, they’re recorded once every day, so they’re always accurate. If something happens like there is a torrential down pour, I rip into the station. If there is a rock slide, if I’m at work, I go into the station and say, “Hey everybody, there’s a rock slide.”
1752 It’s current because I’m current, because I’m there and I act immediately. And, generally, you know, if there is a tsunami warning, or a tsunami siren, or something like that, I’m there and I just make sure people are in the moment, brought up to date.
1753 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, you are part of the public alerting system?
1754 MR. DENNISON: Yes. I have worked with both districts to make sure that that’s a thing.
1755 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, is it different in each place, or there is a public alert? Does it generally apply to both at the same time?
1756 MR. DENNISON: There are different systems in place with the dishes, but they communicate with one another. And so, for example, in the case of an emergency, let’s say something happened to all my broadcast gear, there are independently possible ways to broadcast in both communities that are separate from the main broadcasting system.
1757 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you very much.
1758 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madam Secretary, then, at this point, let’s take a 10-minute break. We’ll resume at 10 after 2:00. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1:58 p.m./
--- L’audience est suspendue à 13h58
--- Upon resuming at 2:15 p.m./
--- L’audience est reprise à 14h15
1759 MS. ROY: We will be ready to start, please. Thank you.
1760 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, again. Welcome back. Some of the -- so we’re moving on now to the renewal applications, and I have some questions on local programming and some others. Again, it will not come entirely as a surprise to you, the nature of the questions, as we discussed several of these this morning. But, I will also have some questions for the proposed purchaser, Mr. Dennison.
1761 So, let’s talk about CIMM-FM, about its operation and about its programming. So, we have heard some of this, but I will ask you a more pointed question which is, Mr. McBride, can you just explain for me, for the record, exactly how CIMM-FM Ucluelet is currently operated. Where it’s operated from and how it’s operated.
1762 MR. MCBRIDE: Ucluelet is a broadcast from the fire hall down on the main street, Peninsula Road in Ucluelet. There is only one main drag there. The current audio feed is actually coming out of Tofino.
1763 After the audit and the self-assessment report was done by the Commission, I had developing problems with the local manage of CIMM-FM who had a very similar agreement to Mr. Dennison. And, some of that included a deteriorating level of cooperation, or response to the direction that I was given.
1764 When I announced that Mr. Dennison had made a purchase offer that I had accepted, the relationship between myself and that local operator deteriorated further. And, at some point, I had to prevent that operator from controlling the broadcast signal. And, the only way to do that was to remove the broadcast capability from Ucluelet and transfer it to Tofino.
1765 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you. In response to a Commission staff letter from 14th of May of this year, you indicated that the station devotes four hours and 10 minutes to newscast for broadcast week. And, you added that the four hours will be devoted to the local and the regional news, 30 minutes to national news and 30 minutes to international news for a total of five hours.
1766 Can you clarify these discrepancies by confirming for me the total number of hours -- we’ll do this one first, if you can, the total number of hours and minutes of newscast per broadcast week?
1767 MR. MCBRIDE: The desired number is five hours.
1768 THE CHAIRPERSON: The actual -- that’s a desired number or an actual number?
1769 MR. MCBRIDE: That’s the desired number. I wasn’t getting that level of performance from the local operator.
1770 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, the total number of -- if you know the breakout of local and regional, national and international?
1771 MR. MCBRIDE: The local would be three minutes. Provincial/regional would be another 60 seconds. National and international would be another 60 seconds.
1772 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
1773 MR. MCBRIDE: So, sort of like a five-minute package.
1774 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right, thank you. Similarly, in a letter dated November -- the preceding November, 5 November 2018, Commission staff raised some questions concerning the relevance of the information broadcast given that segments related to surf, tide, weather, were repeated all day, weren’t updated and, therefore, didn’t give updated information to listeners. You have then and, again, now indicated that a local station employee has been terminated and a new supervisor has been working at the station. I understand -- know who the new supervisor is, from our earlier discussions today, but exactly when were you hired in that capacity? A month is ---
1775 MR. DENNISON: It seems like 10 months ago, approximately. Ten months, I think.
1776 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, you’ve already outlined your responsibilities. Anything to add? I was going to ask you what are your responsibilities, but they are effectively the same as those in Tofino.
1777 MR. DENNISON: They are the same. And, I just would add it’s really important for me to make sure that I spend a lot of time physically in Ucluelet and represent fairly.
1778 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, how are you ensuring -- I guess this is more for you, Mr. McBride, although it may seem like a facile question at this point. How do you ensure that the new supervisor is providing accurate information related to weather, and surf, and so on?
1779 MR. MCBRIDE: Well, Cameron and I have worked together for a very, very long time, so there is a high level of trust in each other. You know, so I am going to take his word for what he says if I give him instruction on what you’re supposed to be producing. He can take care of actually doing the execution of that, and I trust him to get it done. So, that’s how I’m ensuring that.
1780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, fair enough. So, Mr. Dennison, Mr. McBride has explained that you have been developing plans to offer a minimum of 50 minutes per day of spoken word programming and that you anticipate to offer 35 hours per week of live, local programming. Since you have been managing the station, can you explain why the station’s programming plans weren’t developed in the last few years?
1781 MR. DENNISON: Looking at the past, I would say that has been a technological issue. The implementation of the new gear has helped me, you know, bring everything beyond compliance, as I said before. I did some numbers, I think we’re at 46-plus hours now, of spoken word. So, to address why it wasn’t previously, I would say that was mostly a technological issue. It was a power issue, and a gear issue, which all have been resolved.
1782 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, if the transaction is approved, when will the listeners of CIMM expect that programming to be aired? I take it from that
1783 MR. DENNISON: This is already occurring. I do think that, for example, let’s say at the end of today you say, “You’ve done such a great job, you just go right ahead”, it would take me ---
1784 THE CHAIRPERSON: Hope springs eternally.
1785 MR. DENNISON: It sure does. It would take me -- I think it would take me six months to implement what I told you before about having a more specific branded entity. And, depending on how things flow, it may be that the situation we currently have is working well. I need to see how things pan out, to be honest. And, to answer your first question, they are already getting local coverage, local news, local evens, my personal presence. All those things are happening already on a regular basis.
1786 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. And, I take it from your responses to this point that you would accept a condition of licence requiring CIMM-FM to broadcast a minimum of 5 hours 50 minutes of spoken word programming per broadcast week that is exclusively produced for the Ucluelet station?
1787 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1788 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1789 MR. DENNISON: I do believe that’s occurring already, and yes. And, my goal is actually a lot more than that.
1790 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You also indicated in your business plan that you would like to twin -- the goal for the twin stations, rather, is to provide local news, entertaining, culture and music content. And, you had a brief discussion with Commissioner Levy about that. But, what is your sense of, going forward, the actual level of local news? Will it continue to increase? Will it be maintained at current levels?
1791 MR. DENNISON: I’m excited to bring new voices into the mix. I really am hoping for a Nu-Chal-Nuth show. As I mentioned before, if I can encourage people to take that up, I’m very willing to train and help people. So, I’m excited for that.
1792 I know we’re starting a new “good news” segment on Monday about the good things that are going on in our communities. Service groups, volunteers, a dog ran away and now they’re found, whatever it may be. And, serious stuff as well, not just lighthearted things. But, I hope to continue to increase that.
1793 I don’t want to oversaturate and make it a total talk radio station, but I do think that it’s important to be consistent and have as much information as possible. So, yes, my goal is to increase that all the time.
1794 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Now, we’ve already talked about this somewhat today but, again, I’d like to put it to you in more direct terms. You’ve explained to us how you would run both licences from one spot in Tofino and create local content but, at the same time, offer specific Ucluelet and Tofino content at different places throughout the day. But, can you confirm for me that the programming created for CIMM will be entirely local and exclusively produced for CIMM, and not just shared with its twin station?
1795 MR. DENNISON: Well, I am smiling because I have a very talented man named Chris Johnston, as well as many other talented people that live in Ucluelet and represent Ucluelet. And, when they come, they are Ucluelet on the radio. So, yeah, that’s very specific for Ucluelet, because it is Ucluelet.
1796 And, also, as I also mentioned, when I spend physical time down there, whether it’s at, you know, doing a six-hour stint at the marathon, playing the radio station while I’m there, or at different charity events, or whatever it may be, I spend a lot of time there. So, it’s a lot of representation.
1797 THE CHAIRPERSON: That probably answers another question I had, which is how will you ensure that its relevant to the Ucluelet community specifically, but I think you probably just answered that.
1798 MR. DENNISON: If I may ---
1799 THE CHAIRPERSON: You certainly may.
1800 MR. DENNISON: I’ll tell you that as a businessperson, it certainly wouldn’t serve me to not represent them. That’s a huge part of why I’m choosing to do this. So...
1801 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again -- I shouldn’t say I assume -- I should ask you. Will you then accept that the Commission impose a condition of licence requiring the station to broadcast a specific amount of local programming per broadcast week? And, if so, can you indicate a minimum amount that you would devote to local programming for Ucluelet?
1802 MR. DENNISON: Is this a different number than the number that we just mentioned that was approximately five hours-plus?
1803 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not if that’s your answer. The question is will you accept an undertaking
-- sorry, now I’m answering undertakings. Would you accept the condition of licence requiring?
1804 MR. DENNISON: Absolutely.
1805 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I guess, on a more general level, and maybe your answer is that you’re already doing it, but how will you ensure that going forward the station is indeed providing accurate and relevant weather, tidal, surf information?
1806 MR. DENNISON: I love surfing. I’m not that great at it. So, I make sure that when I want to talk about surfing I bring somebody who actually surfs and knows what they’re talking about.
1807 I am able to get accurate weather information on my own. I’m able to do the drive report quite effectively, as I’m in communication with the construction company, as well as the Ministry of Transportation. I’ve established those relationships. It’s just my dedication is really the answer, and my ability to bring others in that are experts when I am not an expert in a certain area.
1808 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. Now, we have had one intervenor, Mr. Hillerby, who takes the position that as two separate and distinct coastal communities, Ucluelet and Tofino must maintain their respective radio identities. Further, he pointed out since the takeover of CIMM by the owner of CHMZ, that that is no longer the case and suggests that local Ucluelet artists, businesses and the community issues are no longer adequately represented on CIMM’s airwaves. Can you comment on that allegation?
1809 MR. MCBRIDE: There was a strong concern about the operation of the station prior to the removal of the local operator over there. I mean, this is about protecting the signal and protecting the licence, and so for the time being, there is a temporary -- we’re going to shift in our programming capabilities to resolve that issue. This is not about a choice of ours to consolidate broadcasting, but an inability to get cooperation in Ucluelet from the local operator.
1810 MR. DENNISON: May I just also ---
1811 THE CHAIRPERSON: You may.
1812 MR. DENNISON: That’s just not accurate. I have the mayor of Ucluelet on, I’m in Ucluelet. I think this -- maybe that comment from Mr. Hillerby was maybe from some time ago, but that certainly is not the case at all. I have local DJs from Ucluelet, I have constant news from Ucluelet, I’m in Ucluelet. That is -- that’s not accurate.
1813 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. So, moving on. Radio monitoring material. So, Mr. McBride, we’ve had this discussion this morning. You’ve indicated that a more responsible employee is now in charge. We have met him. I guess, in your view, will this address the issue of the deficiencies with respect to radio monitoring material going forward?
1814 MR. MCBRIDE: Absolutely.
1815 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, you have -- have you diligently examined your colleague’s work to ensure that that is indeed the case?
1816 MR. MCBRIDE: I think that I understand what Cameron is doing and the role that he is taking to address those issues, so I would say yes.
1817 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And, for your part, Mr. Dennison, I know it’s odd to be asking questions about how well you do in your job, but...
1818 MR. DENNISON: It’s all right. I’m super humble.
1819 THE CHAIRPERSON: What else might you add? Are there any other steps that you were planning to take to ensure compliance with respect to radio monitoring materials?
1820 MR. DENNISON: I think it goes to the overall -- my overall goal of creating a situation where my only focus is the radio and I don’t have to do the other things I do in my life to generate finance. With my overall and complete focus. And, as I get to know the Zetta and GSelector systems more and more, I’ll only get better at what I’m doing.
1821 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. So, again, shifting gears a little bit. A little bit about Aboriginal programming. Again, it would appear that there is non-compliance with the condition of licence requiring CIMM to devote each broadcast week a minimum of three hours to programming in Aboriginal languages, and an additional three hours to be used by local First Nations groups.
1822 Mr. McBride, in correspondence with the Commission from 23 November, 2018, you at that time indicated that no Aboriginal programming had been created. Has the station, at that point, broadcast any programming in Aboriginal languages at any time for the use by First Nations groups?
1823 MR. MCBRIDE: Not for several years. The intent to address that issue arose with an initiative from Mr. Dennison here, which is the feature of short language instructional initiatives of 30 to 60 seconds. And, I thought that that was a good enough idea, that if it were transposed into Ucluelet and broadcast at the frequency that we do it in Tofino, then it would absolutely meet that material requirement in terms of time, that would address the -- part of the Aboriginal languages issue.
1824 The foreground programming or block programming for Aboriginals is extremely difficult for a remote operator to acquire, and I did not get any developmental support from the local operator.
1825 THE CHAIRPERSON: But, you do understand, as the licensee, it’s your responsibility to ensure compliance with the conditions of licence. Weren’t you aware that they were failing to meet those requirements?
1826 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1827 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, did it -- I’m still a bit puzzled. I mean, you could have notified the Commission of the difficulties experienced in obtaining programming, yet there was no communication with the Commission on this subject, other than responding to Commission requests for information.
1828 MR. MCBRIDE: You know, turning to the Commission is not really the sort of -- the first thing that would have popped into my mind in that regard, so you know -- I mean, I haven’t even considered that as a possible recourse.
1829 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are the ones that issue the conditions of licence and give you both the opportunity and obligation.
1830 MR. MCBRIDE: Understood.
1831 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, shifting gears somewhat. Mr. Dennison, you’ve said that three prospective First Nations broadcasters have been identified and they’re being trained to deliver content. Can you just give us -- you told us a little bit about it earlier. Can you give us an update ---
1832 MR. DENNISON: Well ---
1833 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- on that? And, if you think that is a sufficient measure to ensure that you’ll be able to meet this obligation?
1834 MR. DENNISON: --- two of the DJs have been doing it for years, and that’s been about six hours once a week. That’s been an ongoing thing for years. And, actually, Elder Tommy Curley would always do Fridays, usually from 10:00 to 1:00. He started to have some trouble with his eyesight and decided to go into retirement. But, I pulled him out of retirement about three weeks ago, and we have been now adding the additional Fridays from 10:00 till about 1:00 in the afternoon, which is -- he teaches me to speak Nu-Chal-Nuth -- well, that’s the goal. I’m not very good at it.
1835 And then now he’s going to bring his -- I think there are maybe between six and 14 fluent speakers left, and they’re going to start to invite them in every Friday to have conversations. We’re also going to invite youth in, Nu-Chal-Nuth youth to come and talk to them, so they can dialogue together. We’re also recording all of this for posterity.
1836 And then I am putting it out there to people, whether it’s Ucluelet, or Atkatsu (ph), Opitsat, or Ahousat or Hot Springs to come and do -- I’m really actively pursuing to do more. And, when I go back, I’m hoping there are some responses for me. So, there are many opportunities, and I’m very open to continuously creating them and I’m actively pursuing them. I’m not just waiting for them to come to me, I’m going to find people.
1837 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s comforting. Now, you’ve -- it’s good to hear that you’re interested in doing more. You’ve indicated you would like to produce full language programs that would run an hour a week in the future. When would you expect the station to begin to devote -- to meet or devote capacity to meet that, specifically a minimum of three hours to programming in Aboriginal languages, and an additional three hours to be used by local First Nations groups as required by that condition of licence?
1838 MR. DENNISON: Well, as I mentioned, I already have approximately, for sure, five hours a week. I know I’ll get that number up. In terms of -- I have a question for ---
1839 THE CHAIRPERSON: For which -- sorry, there were two different categories there.
1840 MR. DENNISON: Well, I don’t really understand. For example -- you say full Nu-Chal-Nuth programming for example, does that mean -- like, if someone comes in and they’re talking to me -- and I’m speaking English and they’re speaking Nu-Chal-Nuth, does that count? Or do you mean full completely in Nu-Chal-Nuth?
1841 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, to use the language from your documentation, I believe it indicated that you would liaise with First nations to produce full language programs that will initially run an hour a week with planned expansion.
1842 MR. DENNISON: Yeah. That will be and finding people like Tommy Curley, Giselle Martin, Joe Martin, Tsimca Martin and whoever or whatever other people that I can invite to come and have conversations amongst themselves, to do new shows that they want to do, to talk about community events that they are having, that sort of thing.
1843 So I am working on implementing that right now.
1844 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And you don't distinguish that from broadcast hours to be used by local First Nations groups?
1845 MR. DENNISON: It is different because, for example, the Wednesday night DJs, they do their own shows. They don't always speak in Nu-Chal-Nuth.
1846 The first show -- I don't know how much information is too much information -- the first show he just loves to play rock and roll.
1847 The second show is more political about what's going on in Indigenous communities around the world in relation to travel parks, in relation to the ICC, in relation to language. He's got guests coming on that are different chiefs from different regions. Like, it's really fascinating actually.
1848 So that's what they do. They can do whatever they want. They've been given the time and the platform.
1849 And then the other content that I'm producing with the Elders and their recordings, I do think they are different things.
1850 I hope I'm answering the question.
1851 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think so but let me just make sure I'm understanding the answer. So you are saying that you will provide a minimum of three hours of each of those categories of programming?
1852 MR. DENNISON: My answer is yes. I'm not finding any resistance to the second aspect of producing the hour-long show. I'm not finding resistance. It's kind of like -- boy, I don't know how to say this in the right way. It's like I'm really excited about it and I'm working on making sure I can share that enthusiasm with everyone else that need to be involved.
1853 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess the question -- there is a requirement by condition of licence and I'm hearing that you are prepared to meet it. You just don't know exactly the format it will take?
MR. DENNISON: Yes. And yes, I will meet it.
1854 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that is a total of six hours?
1855 MR. DENNISON: Yes, a week.
1856 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then the other sort of piece of the question that I think fell off the table is when would that begin to be the case?
1857 MR. DENNISON: I already think I'm at nine hours, so now. And when I go back up -- I mean even while I'm here I've been -- well, I'm obviously in the room but while I'm on my travels I'm still discussing with people, like, "Come in Friday. Let's organize this. Let's get together". I'm doing it now.
1858 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess the last question in this area I have for you is it's encouraging to hear that it's happening now, but you have been involved with the station for a number of years. Couldn't these things have been implemented earlier?
1859 MR. DENNISON: The two DJs I mentioned have been for years. They have been a part of it for years and actively a part of it.
1860 I've also had Tommy Curley on for years doing his show on most every Friday. So it already has been happening.
1861 I'm just really -- as we -- in my mind as I come closer to being able to have the privilege of having the licences, I’m being more bold in my actively pursuing programming.
1862 And now that I have the new gear and I don't have glitches and I'm not running up to the transmitter or fixing power lines or getting up -- you know all the crazy things I do physically to keep the station on the air, my time is now being more able -- dedicated to programming and bringing together people that I need to make sure that that happens, and it is happening in a good -- a very good way and more people are coming all the time and volunteering and they're hearing it.
1863 When people heard Tommy Curley sing that wailing song to me on the radio I got just inundated with phone calls and they're like, "This is it. You're doing it".
1864 So it's happening.
1865 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1866 So let's move from -- let's move to Tofino, head to the beach, and talk a little more about CHMZ.
1867 So as I began earlier, perhaps, so how is CHMZ currently operated and from where?
1868 MR. McBRIDE: Studios in Tofino and a local personnel -- Cameron Dennison -- run the Tofino operations, so the local studio together.
1869 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You stated that it offers a total of four hours and 10 minutes of spoken word programming which includes new surveillance community events and five hours of newscasts per broadcast week.
1870 Can you clarify the total level of spoken word programming which should include the five hours of newscasts?
1871 MR. McBRIDE: Those are the numbers we -- those are the minimum numbers that we had every week.
1872 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And that is the case currently?
MR. McBRIDE: Yes, it is.
1873 THE CHAIRPERSON: So again, back to Mr. Dennison, on the subject of programming, what will change under your ownership? How will it benefit listeners?
MR. DENNISON: I think those numbers even in the past three weeks have gone up exponentially. I've been taking the time to teach and welcome in new voices. I have got a crew of about 12 people now that all understand the importance of Canadian content.
1874 We shoot for the goal of 40 percent so that we don't ever have to have a conversation about being under the 35 percent. There have been two people that haven't been able to meet that standard and they are no longer welcome. That's how it will be. If you can't do it you're not welcome to play.
1875 As I continue to grow the businesses it's just my dedication to -- of course, it's my dedication to ensuring that I toe the line for the CRTC and I follow the rules. But it's also my personal dedication to my community and the language which, no offence to anybody, but it kind of overrides all that. It's important to do this. That's why I'm doing it.
1876 So yes, I want to follow the rules. How it's going to change with me coming into more of a role of being able to make more choices, I'm just going to keep doing it and make it happen in a good way and make sure I honour and represent my communities. Because it's important for what it is, not just to follow the rules.
1877 THE CHAIRPERSON: And as I asked you in the case of Ucluelet, will you be -- will you accept that the Commission impose a condition of licence requiring CHMZ to broadcast a certain amount of local programming per broadcast week that is exclusively developed for the Tofino station?
1878 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1879 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1880 Now, I understand you intend to increase the current level of spoken word programming. I have here seven to 11 and four to six Monday to Friday and seven till noon Saturday and Sunday if the transaction is approved.
1881 As I asked earlier, would you accept that the Commission impose a condition of licence requiring a certain amount of local spoken word programming per broadcast week that is exclusively produced by the Tofino station?
1882 And again, could you indicate the minimum amount that the station would devote to local spoken word programming?
1883 MR. DENNISON: I can really easily say we're all doing 20 hours. Actually I have -- I did a quick calculation just about the people that are on there now and I'm at 45 hours a week of spoken word.
1884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1885 Let's move on to -- as we discussed earlier, radio monitoring. I'm assuming that many of the responses will be similar to our earlier discussion but, again, for the record, let's go through it.
1886 So Mr. McBride, despite the measures taken during the last licence renewal in 2016, non-compliance has continued to be a problem. It's the second consecutive term in which it was found to be in non-compliance.
1887 Do you understand the seriousness of ongoing non-compliance term after term?
1888 MR. McBRIDE: I'm getting there, yes.
1889 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.
1890 I guess this next question, I guess, applies to both of you and applies, in fact, to both stations. You’ve talked about power outages being a major problem. You’ve also indicated that the transmitting plant for both stations is located inside the local community fire hall and benefits from a power generator backup. But, that’s not the case with the studio plant; is that correct?
1891 MR. DENNISON: That’s correct.
1892 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, what measures will you take to ensure the station stays on the air?
1893 MR. DENNISON: I have generators, two. One at -- where the transmitter is and one at the radio station. I have backup battery power. Those are the two main things.
1894 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, in your view, that would adequately ensure that the stations will stay on the air?
1895 MR. DENNISON: I’m looking at a few other small things like a little bit of a solar solution that would keep things going for up to three days. But, where the tower is located on Barr’s Mountain is a very safe location.
1896 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was just thinking of my brief exposure to Vancouver Island. Solar seems like it might be a challenge.
1897 MR. DENNISON: They’re making a lot of headway. There is some really amazing stuff out there. And, I only need a couple days to make sure it’s going before that I could manually get there with a generator and that sort of thing.
1898 There has been a lot of planning that has gone into making sure that these things are standalone and working in all kinds of conditions. And, there are a lot of good people, the districts of Tofino and Ucluelet, fire chiefs, a lot of people are on top of it, that I work with and work with me.
1899 THE CHAIRPERSON: Moving on, again, and this relates to on-air announcements. So, in the station’s last renewal in 2016, we imposed conditions of licence requiring the stations to broadcast on-air announcements. Mr. McBride, we had this discussion this morning.
1900 You were required to provide the -- to make the announcements three times a day within the 14-day period and to provide the Commission with audio recordings. Is your response to the questions that will follow the same as they were this morning ---
1901 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes.
1902 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- with respect to this subject? I don’t think we need to have it repeated for the record, as long as you understand the question.
1903 And, I guess, for you, Mr. Dennison, were you aware of this obligation and were you aware of the noncompliance?
1904 MR. DENNISON: Yes, I was. And, I recall them being played. I don’t have the specific date, but I do recall playing them.
1905 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, do you recall playing them as was required -- it’s a separate issue then, whether they were reported on, but as required, three times a day within the 14-day period?
1906 MR. DENNISON: To the best of my knowledge, yes. I must admit, at that time I didn’t think I was familiar with why I was being asked to do them at the certain times, but yes.
1907 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, can you comment on what measures or steps you will take to ensure full compliance with any such future requirement?
1908 MR. DENNISON: I will never put myself in a position where you will have to ask me to put that out on the radio.
1909 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be -- I’m happy to hear your intention, but if you were ---
1910 MR. DENNISON: I would, of course, comply.
1911 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, do you think there are any additional steps required to make sure you are able, other than fully understanding the precise requirement imposed by the Commission?
1912 MR. DENNISON: I’m not sure if I understand the question.
1913 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just -- is there anything you think that needs to be done, other than follow the Commission’s instructions?
1914 MR. DENNISON: No, I just need to be given the opportunity.
1915 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
1916 Maybe the last area, and this is significant in relation to the ongoing noncompliance. And, what I want to discuss with you are possible sanctions that the Commission could take in relation with both stations.
1917 In response to the possibility -- this is, I guess, for both of you -- of the imposition of mandatory orders on CIMM-FM, you indicated that any mandatory order that may endanger the proposed transfer of ownership should be very carefully considered as to possible collapse of sale and related legal matters, costs and loss of deposits.
1918 So, can you elaborate on that for me, and explain how the imposition of mandatory orders would endanger the proposed transfer?
1919 MR. MCBRIDE: I’m sure that Mr. Dennison’s legal counsel will have some problem with purchasing that kind of obligation. You know, that’s not the sort of thing that you want to step up and buy, a mandatory order. And, that was my concern in writing that paragraph, is that his legal counsel may very well say, this is, you know, a step too far.
1920 It’s a gamble that, you know, I could take, and Mr. Dennison I’m sure would take. But, I was concerned that his legal counsel might say that that’s not in his best interest.
1921 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is worth recalling that the mandatory order is requiring you to follow the conditions of licence that you are committing to fulfil.
1922 MR. MRBRIDE: I think his counsel will be more concerned with the punishment.
1923 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Commission obviously could impose mandatory orders requiring both stations to comply with the following regulatory obligations, Section 8(5) and 9(3) of the regulations relating to the submission of monitoring materials and a condition of licence requiring on-air announcements.
1924 In addition, for CIMM, the Commission could impose a mandatory order requiring the licensee to comply with this condition of licence requiring it to devote a minimum of three hours of programming in Aboriginal languages and an additional three hours to be used by First Nations groups.
1925 For CHMZ, the Commission could impose, similarly, a mandatory order requiring the licensee to comply with the regulations relating to the requirement to devote at least 10 per cent of its musical selections from Content Category 3 to Canadian selections and a new condition of licence setting out the additional CCD contributions that the licensee will be required to pay to compensate for the harm caused to the Canadian Broadcasting System by the apparent noncompliance of the existing regulations.
1926 If you will, either or both of you, tell me why we should not impose such orders.
1927 MR. MRBRIDE: As the current licensee, I would accept those mandatory orders.
1928 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr. Dennison.
1929 MR. DENNISON: I hope I understand correctly. I think if I were to be given the opportunity, I would like to have a clean slate as much as possible. That’s my answer.
1930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I guess maybe the last question beyond mandatory orders, why shouldn’t -- given the circumstances, why shouldn’t we not consider additional measures, such as suspension, not renewal, or revocation of the licence? And, I think, fundamentally, the question is more to Mr. McBride. But, Mr. Dennison, I’m happy to hear any additional response you might wish to give.
1931 MR. MCBRIDE: You’re asking me to contemplate additional orders; correct? Did I get that right?
1932 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I asked you what you thought of -- I elaborated the possibility that the Commission could impose mandatory orders in relation to the areas of noncompliance and asked you why we shouldn’t, given the history of noncompliance. You’ve answered that. You know, the step further is why shouldn’t we revoke the licence, or not renew the licence?
1933 Mr. MCBRIDE: I hope that over the course of our conversation this afternoon, you’ve discovered that there are challenges in operating tiny radio stations in tiny markets on the West Coast of Canada, notwithstanding that they have been operating they have been operating for 16 years. That is a commitment to hanging on through thick and thin. And, for most of those years Mr. Dennison has been a part of that, in one way or another.
1934 You know, penalize as you see fit, but take into account that thick and thin has been dealt with out there. And, although it doesn’t look pretty at times, they are still operating. They’re still serving their communities. And they, I think, with Mr. Dennison’s ownership, will have a much brighter future, because of his proximity to the markets.
1935 And, an additional hinderance or removal of that puts you in a situation where it is unlikely that, from my experience, anybody in the community is willing to gather up the resources to apply for a licence. It’s not easy to do, and I don’t think there is anybody out there who has the wherewithal, or the ability to do it at this stage.
1936 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr. Dennison.
1937 MR. DENNISON: The short answer to that question from me is, after all this time and after all these challenges, there is a really good thing happening, and it’s taken a long time to get here. And, it would be a shame to stop it when it’s about to flourish.
1938 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And, I appreciate, and we are familiar with some of the challenges. And, no doubt, we’ve learned more today. And, I do appreciate the fact, because you say you’ve been in operation for 16 years, I hope that you appreciate that we are also noting that, during a significant portion of that, they have not been in compliance with the Commission’s regulations and rules.
1939 I’m going to ask my colleagues if they have any further questions. Joanne.
1940 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Just a couple of questions about news in particular. What other local news outlets are there in Tofino and Ucluelet, if any?
1941 MR. DENNISON: The Westerly News is a black rock press outlet that does the local newspaper.
1942 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, it publishes from the area?
1943 MR. DENNISON: To be honest, I don’t know where they actually publish it, but their local writers and newspaper are there, and they’re always area covering events. They do a really good job.
1944 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Do you cooperate with them at all?
1945 MR. DENNISON: I look forward to better cooperation. And, yes, I oftentimes do utilize a lot of their work and yes, we have friendly relationships.
1946 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Do you have a dedicated newsroom, or a dedicated news staff?
1947 MR. DENNISON: I am very dedicated. I’m making a joke because I am the guy; right? I do everything.
1948 COMMISSIONER LEVY: The one-man band.
1949 MR. DENNISON: Yes, I’m a one-man band. So, yes, I am. And, it’s really important to me. Like I said, I take it very seriously.
1950 COMMISSIONER LEVY: How much news experience do you have, actually, in the field of creating and living up to journalistic standards?
1951 MR. DENNISON: In the very beginning, when I started, there was a man named Keven Drews, who has passed away recently. And, he was a great news guy. And, he taught me a lot. And so, I think just literally by doing it -- I have no formal training. I don’t have any training in interviewing people, but I have interviewed hundreds of people at this thing.
1952 So, I just think by doing it, and by learning, and then getting my knuckles rapped if I say something wrong. If I make a mistake on the radio, lots of people let me know. And so, I think it’s just a question of time on tools and acquiring the skills as I go.
1953 And, I do talk to news people. I talk to professional news people. David Wilchar is a friend of mine, and he works -- he is an A-channel news anchor. We talk about news all the time. Hard news -- the difference between hard news, soft news, fun news. I’ve learned a lot, and I have a lot more to learn. And, I’m competent.
1954 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And, I would just like to underline what your commitment is to the amount of news every week. How many minutes of news?
1955 MR. DENNISON: Generally in the mornings I do five-minute segments. Like, I admittedly, when we’re talking now I have had a tendency to stay away from international news as much, because I’ve been focusing a lot on the election and the federal election, and that sort of thing. And, it’s my nature to be positive, so I haven’t always wanted to focus on worldwide disasters, or things like that, because I think people can always listen to CBC. And, I want to offer a different product. So, I do hear, however, that when I leave here I do need to broaden my perspective.
1956 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Well, no, you’re looking at creating opportunities for local
1957 information ---
1958 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1959 COMMISSIONER LEVY: --- and local reflection. So, it’s the local news angle that I’m more particularly focused on. Thank you very much.
1960 MR. DENNISON: Yes, me too.
1961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. If the Commissioners have no other questions, I think legal counsel has a follow up.
1962 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Dennison, just a follow-up regarding a question the Chair asked you regarding local programming. Currently, there isn’t a condition of licence requiring exclusive local programming for either of those services.
1963 But, going forward, would you accept a condition of licence requiring CHMZ-FM and CIMM-FM to broadcast a certain amount of local programing per broadcast week that would be exclusively produced by Tofino and Ucluelet stations, respectively? And, would you indicate how many hours of that programming would actually be shared between the two stations?
1964 MR. DENNISON: Right now I’ve got about nine hours of dedicated Ucluelet content. I look forward to increasing that.
1965 MR. DOUGHERTY: Sorry, just for clarity, is that on a per week basis?
1966 MR. DENNISON: That’s per week. And, I think that number will go up. Which will happen immediately as well. That’s not some future thing. That’s as soon as I find the right people.
1967 In terms of me spending time there -- actually that nine hours I’m telling you is for DJs that I have that are from Ucluelet representing Ucluelet. That’s not including how much time I spend down there. Yes, I don’t have a problem with that at all. I think I’m above the expected amount. And so, yes, both communities will have specific content provided for them.
1968 MR. DOUGHERTY: But, do you have any idea how many hours you would be producing for Tofino, for instance?
1969 MR. DENNISON: Well, I’m already -- I mean, I do a three-hour show every day that is about local events and local news. Well, actually, I include both communities at that time, to tell you the truth. But, in terms of just Tofino related stuff, I mean easily four hours each, respectively, I think. I mean, if we’re talking just dedicated time, because mostly we all talk about living on the West Coast.
1970 MR. DOUGHERTY: Right. It’s just they are two undertakings.
1971 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1972 MR. DOUGHERTY: So, we’re just trying to understand the content that is being created exclusively for Tofino and content that is being created exclusively for Ucluelet, and then how much of that content is being shared between the two of them.
1973 MR. DENNISON: I don’t mean to be obtuse because I’m just so used to -- like I go down there and I spend six hours at the marathon. I mean, that’s all Ucluelet content; right? So, it’s a lot. And, yes, I will continue to represent both communities equally. That’s very important to me. Until I get to the point where I’m able to have the authority to say now I can make it an independent entity.
1974 MR. DOUGHERTY: But, if the Commission were to impose a condition of licence that required a certain amount of locally produced and exclusive to those communities’ content on a weekly basis, you wouldn’t have a problem with that?
1975 MR. DENNISON: I have no problem with that.
1976 MR. DOUGHERTY: Okay. And, as far as the number of hours, you’re saying nine hours Ucluelet and five hours Tofino, as a minimum?
1977 MR. DENNISON: Prior to me making a commitment, I would really want to make sure -- so when I say the hours, I’m talking I’ve got a DJ from Ucluelet.
1978 MR. DOUGHERTY: Right.
1979 MR. DENNISON: That’s three hours. Is that what you mean and does that count? I just want to make sure that I’m answering -- it’s not, “Today in Ucluelet this is what’s going on.” I mean, we do that, too. I just want to make sure I’m answering your true question.
1980 MR. DOUGHERTY: So, perhaps a way to answer that would maybe if you would accept an undertaking to provide us with a proposed programming grid for the two services by the 14th?
1981 MR. DENNISON: Fair.
1982 MR. DOUGHERTY: And, indicate in that programming schedule ---
1983 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
1984 MR. DOUGHERTY: --- which content it speaks to and what is being shared?
1985 MR. DENNISON: Absolutely.
1986 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
1987 MR. DOUGHERTY: Great. Thank you very much.
1988 MR. DENNISON: That’ll be good for me, too.
1989 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1990 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel. Madam, la secretaire?
1991 MS. ROY: So, this would conclude Phase I of Items 4, 5, and 6. We will now proceed to Phase II, in which intervener David Leblanc will present his intervention. He should appear on the screen in the next few seconds.
1992 Good morning -- good afternoon.
1993 MR. LEBLANC: Good morning.
1994 MS. ROY: It’s morning for you, actually. Good morning.
1995 MR. LEBLANC: Good afternoon now. We’re just after here now.
1996 MS. ROY: So, Mr. Leblanc, the panel is here to hear your presentation. Please go ahead. You have five minutes.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
1997 MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Chairman, Madam Secretary, Commissioners thank you for the opportunity to speak at this hearing. My name is Dave Leblanc, and I have a considerable, but sporadic history in radio broadcasting, whether marine, amateur or commercial, I have been a volunteer, a technician, a producer, a manager, an on-air person at several media outlets in Canada.
1998 In academics, I majored in technical electronics and have subsequent O secondary certifications and endorsements. It was a valid restricted marine operator certificate and a valid amateur radio operator certificate. I operate amateur radio station VE7LGD.
1999 I’m a regular contributor to the Provincial Emergency Program weekly, Emergency Network through the Tofino repeater on the Vancouver Island Trunk System. And, on numerous occasions, I have responded to relay or coordinated emergency operations during marine distress, rescue, medical evacuation and environmental incidents.
2000 In 1998 and in 1999, I was a technical consultant for PLM Broadcasting and processed the initial application to the CRTC on behalf of CHOO-FM. At that time, I plotted and notified, then, Department of Communications the currently advertised location of the transmitter and antenna for that and this undertaking under discussion today.
2001 In retrospect, I learned the information represented to me was incorrect. Having been misinformed by licence holder who wrongfully advised having permission from the District of Tofino to install the antenna at Barr’s Mountain. In reality, the tower is owned and managed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
2002 I was also hired by PLM Broadcasting to design, build, install the computers with operating software and network options, and to ensure cross-compatibility with proprietary software. In 2001, Mr. Moffat was foreclosed upon by his business partners, Ma-Mook Development Corporation. By subsequent management, I was invited to rejoin CHOO-FM as engineer, and I remained in that position until the station went dark in 2002.
2003 Following that time, I was uncertain who had effective control of CHOO-FM and filed an intervention asking the CRTC for a clarification. In a subsequent hearing, the renewal was denied and the licence was revoked.
2004 I moved to Tofino in 1981, and I remained here the entire time with the exception of four years. For that time, I was employed with Mr. Matthew McBride working from a studio in Langley, B.C. My duties were mainly technical in nature, but performed routine management tasks on day-to-day affairs. I was also tasked with researching and vetting news relative to the communities we serviced. I produced and uploaded voice tracks and news spots to each station by remote access.
2005 My technical work involved building or rebuilding the studios at CIMM in Ucluelet, CHMZ in Tofino and CFPV in Pemberton, monitoring the signal quality of each transmitter and maintaining a report repairing equipment as it was needed. Mr. McBride’s licence for CKPM in Port Moody was granted during my time with MCMI, but I only had a limited involvement with that operation before my departure.
2006 Mr. McBride’s licence history at all four stations is a legacy of noncompliance and flagrant disregard for the regulations he undertook to uphold. For the earliest renewal applications, his responses and corrective measures were inadequate. Eligibility for transfer and acquisition of assets is dependant on the licensee being fully compliant for the current term without exception. With each successive application, new compliance issues were made apparent and brought to the attention of the Commission.
2007 In February of 2018, upgraded engineers from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation removed the antenna from the tower infrastructure in Tofino causing the CHMZ transmitter to be turned off and service to be interrupted. In fact, all of them were -- the McBride stations had been off the air for extended periods of time. This brings us to the issue of station logs.
2008 I questioned the authenticity and originality of compelled logs from any of these stations. I know this to be true because, during the entire time, the station at CKPM in Pemberton was in operation, there was no log. I had provided a computer capable of the task, but the required operating software was not provided for. Any log submitted during that period would be of questionable origin. Once the station had moved to Mount Currie, I was invited to inspect the station by the band counsellor. At that time, there was also no log installed in studio.
2009 Mr. McBride did not notify the Commission that CHMZ was no longer in service. After several months of dead air, it was my understanding a local tech company performed work on a voluntary basis. I’m not aware of any public process where this was permitted, and this was all done in the complete absence of the technical amendment or CRTC approval.
2010 In his letter to Mr. Dennison on October the 5th of 2018, Mr. McBride alludes to this assertion in his own words:
2011 “Various repairs by Tofino tech require a valid receipt. I note that Tofino tech is not qualified to handle radio-frequency grade electronics. And, any work claimed in this area needs to be scrutinized.” (as read)
2012 Prior to this assertion, Mr. McBride admitted Mr. Dennison purchased the transmitter equipment and, again, demonstrated relocating these assets requires regulatory steps.
2013 Not only did Mr. McBride acknowledge this work had been done, he also refused to pay for it. Again, I quote:
2014 “Offset item for transmitter, $3,350.00, is for a new transmitter. However, an existing and functioning transmitter has been in the Tofino station operations since 2004. Therefore, the purchase of a new transmitter is a going forward purchase, which I receive no benefit from. Therefore, I do not approve of this offset.” (as read)
2015 Mr. McBride is incorrect. The old transmitter had failed. The new transmitter infrastructure is a tangible asset. It’s not a day-to-day expense. Simply put, like so many abandoned payrolls behind him, Mr. McBride is shirking his responsibility and foisting the cost of operations on the backs of his employees.
2016 As to recommendations, the regulatory policies of the Commission provide a transaction resulting in an acquisition of assets requires the issuance of a new broadcasting licence. The Commission is frustrating its own policy in this case.
2017 In an interview with Mr. Dennison, and through documentation provided by the Commission has demonstrated in a satisfactory manner that he has been the holder of the building leased for the studio since 2015, at his cost. Mr. Dennison purchased the entire studio. The studio took the transmitter link and the RFO equipment operating in Tofino.
2018 There are no other tangible assets to be considered here. Mr. Dennison cannot be certain of the total accumulated debt or the liens incurred against the radio station, or Mr. McBride as owner. The Commission has within its mandate the ability to grant a new licence, especially when the applicant has been shown to act in good faith.
2019 I have difficulty with how this hearing is structured and the manner in which Mr. Dennison was expected to proceed. I find it stressing, if not out wrongful and misleading that numerous supporters of Mr. Dennison should be made to hold their noses as to escort Mr. McBride as though the stations have been brought into compliance when clearly they have not.
2020 In a meeting with Mr. Dennison more than four years ago, I advised him to apply for a new licence rather than attempting to usurp the licence from a negligent licensee. This is well documented. It is my knowledge, on subsequent communications with the Commission, his right to file a new application was arbitrarily denied; instead was steered to find an accommodation with a party who scarcely operated in good faith.
2021 I understand this process has been exceedingly costly and burdensome for Mr. Dennison, and I fail to see how this arrangement benefits him as an individual or us as a community. To me, this has the appearance of upholding and bailing out a merely bankrupted monopoly. We only need to match Mr. McBride’s assessment to the state of the market and its relativity to the sale price to understand that it has been overstated on one hand and understated on the other.
2022 There are not enough hours in the day to list the numerous misdeeds. But, suffice it to say the track record of Mr. McBride’s performance is abysmal at best. Clearly effective control of an entire chain of radio stations cannot be distilled down to remote access and little elves. It’s useless at a time of emergency. It flies in the face of employee relationships and it leaves the community out of the loop. It’s in my view Mr. McBride has not been forthright in his presentation today or in his responses in the past. They do not accurately reflect the operations in the field as described.
2023 Earlier in his presentation, Mr. McBride claimed a response from an intervenor with respect to the station in Port Moody being off the air was misinformation. I take exception to this. It is incorrect. I am prepared to present hardcopies of this evidence to the Commission at their request.
2024 Moving forward, I’m satisfied with Mr. Dennison’s willingness and ability to perform this service, but only under a new premise with a clean slate, independent of the previous licensee. Therefore, I implore the Commission to bifurcate this process by denying Mr. McBride’s application for renewal and to provide Mr. Dennison a fair and independent hearing or a temporary licence under conditions set by the Commission. I believe this to be in the best interest of our communities.
2025 This has not been a simple process for me. This intervention is the result of a culmination of countless events spanning more than a decade, observed or as they have been reported to me by former employees of Mr. McBride and Mr. Dennison himself. While I would make no claim of representation from any group or individual other than myself, my intervention today is from the broader viewpoint rather than how I am personally affected by all of this. I am grateful for the Commission’s time and I thank you very much.
2026 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for your intervention, Mr. LeBlanc. I have a few questions for you, but before I begin, I should just note, if you will, I’ll separate my questions into two parts. The first few questions relate to the licence renewal applications for CFPV and CKPM in Pemberton and Port Moody respectively. And then, secondly, I’ll ask you some questions relating to the ownership transfer -- proposed ownership transfer of CHMZ and CIMM, and that’s just because we would have heard you on two separate occasions, but as we’re dealing with both issues at once, I just want to separate my questions so -- for clarity.
2027 Thank you for taking the time to be with us. So, in your statement and in your intervention, you’ve indicated that you’ve performed routine management in 2009 for the stations owned by Mr. McBride at that time. You’ve given us a little bit of detail in your submission, but could you give me some more insight into what exactly was your role?
2028 MR. LEBLANC: It was a mixed bag of things. I was mainly there for technical purposes, you know, to keep equipment running. I’m quite adept at networking and I, you know, kept the remote access flow working very well. And, I had also worked with each of the employees at each of the stations, whether by providing them with materials for them to use, giving them access, you know, just general guidance and direction and teaching. I also did special events. I would, you know, attend, you know, concerts and, you know, work -- public events as it were.
2029 My description would be special operations director because it was a combination of things. It wasn’t just technical.
2030 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. And, did you have any involvement in -- or familiarity with the regulatory obligations that -- and conditions of licence that Mr. McBride was under while you were working with him?
2031 MR. LEBLANC: No, not from a management standpoint, only as a compliance position, you know, being responsible, you know, for the technical portion of the station and, of course, that -- you know, I keep an eye on, you know, the way the transmitters are operating, you know, the condition of all the lines of -- you know, taking feedback from users, whether our levels are correct. You know, those type of things. But, no, anything that was on a higher business level, I was not involved.
2032 THE CHAIRPERSON: But, were you aware that, in your view, certain licence obligations were not being fulfilled?
2033 MR. LEBLANC: Well, the logger in Pemberton was always a concern, because I built that studio from the ground up. All equipment was provided and it went together quite well, but there was one very vital piece of equipment missing and that was the logger itself.
2034 I had a machine that I actually donated, and brought to the studio, and plugged into the network and all that needed to be done was to have the appropriate software put onto it. But, that never happened. And, the entire time that the studio was open, that computer just sat in the corner unserviceable.
2035 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, did you share those concerns with Mr. McBride?
2036 MR. LEBLANC: Yes, several times. I had asked for the operating software -- the appropriate operating software to operate a logger.
2037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, more generally, how was your experience working with Mr. McBride, forgetting regulatory obligations and the like. What was your experience working with him?
2038 MR. LEBLANC: Initially, it was terrific. It was really actually kind of the dream job. I mean, what more could a person want for than to be working in his field and able to attend places like Whistler, and Pemberton, and Tofino and Ucluelet? It was really quite spectacular. I really enjoyed it. I went about it with pride and we did a lot of things to work together as one group, even though we were all in separate towns.
2039 But, this started to go downhill and everything started to change. And, as things started to change, eventually that started being reflected in the payroll and the duties that were expected of the employees. And, you know, it became actually quite distressing, because basically the revenue stream had just stopped, people started going unpaid. And, the number of employees that I saw drop before it became my turn was quite astounding actually. There was a significant drop in staffing at all of the stations.
2040 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. Now, you’ve indicated that you’re opposed to the renewal for CFPV Pemberton and CKPM in Port Moody, as well as the other two stations that we’ll talk about in a moment. But, if not renewed, these communities will lose their only commercial radio station in those respective markets. So, in your view, what would be the impact of the non-renewal of these stations on those communities?
2041 MR. LEBLANC: It would be temporary. I believe that a new operator would be able to come in and operate accordingly. If anything, the renewal of these licences, especially in light of them being non-compliant each time has catered competition in this market.
2042 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, that answers part of the question. But, what would be the impact of not having a station? Obviously, if these stations are not renewed and the Commission has not yet initiated any type of process for another licensee ---
2043 MR. LEBLANC: I would think ---
2044 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- what would be the impact on the communities today -- or tomorrow, I guess, more relevantly?
2045 MR. LEBLANC: There wouldn’t be any impacts. Definitely in Tofino and Ucluelet because they are more accurate. As far as Pemberton and Port Moody are concerned, if -- they’re just off the air all the time and they never really have any track record of performing during emergency services, then they’re really not missing anything. There is no impact. There is no change because the service just hasn’t been provided and isn’t being provided.
2046 THE CHAIRPERSON: But, a moment ago, you suggested there would be competition or demand to obtain licence and operator service. Do you have specific evidence of that?
2047 MR. LEBLANC: Yes. I myself took out a GCT, I believe, in 2014 because the station in Tofino had been off a year for more than a year. You know it's not a matter of weeks or even days or months. You know we had been off for more than a year.
2048 So it seemed that the opportunity had come up that I would apply for a station licence. But then, after speaking with Mr. Dennison, who had taken it upon himself to acquire the assets from one location and transfer them to another, was in a sense enabling Mr. McBride in that action.
2049 So knowing that the Commission isn't interested in, you know, competition in small markets like this, I knew that if I was to continue the process that it may well be denied simply by the fact that Mr. McBride is still on the air.
2050 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. I just want to understand. We are talking about CFPV Pemberton and CKPM Port Moody. Can you -- I was asking you in that case, are you suggesting that there is interest on your part or others in operating stations in those communities?
2051 MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2053 MR. LEBLANC: I think ---
2054 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because you just mentioned CIMM and CHMZ and ---
2055 MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2056 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the Vancouver Island locations. I just want to keep them separate for a moment. We're just talking about the first two.
2057 MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2058 And again, even in the absence of that the openness and readiness for that, I think, would have been better. But otherwise, you know, carrying on with the way it's been going on is essentially a block in any competition coming into the area.
2059 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
2060 And now let's shift to what I call part two, or this afternoon. Let's shift to the other two stations, CIMM-FM and CHMZ and specifically the proposed acquisition of those licences by Mr. Dennison.
2061 Now with respect to those stations, you propose that Mr. Dennison be granted licences for two years with conditions and suggest that that would be in the best interest of the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet. Is that correct?
2062 MR. LEBLANC: Yes. Yes, I agree with that.
2063 THE CHAIRPERSON: And have you had an opportunity to work with Mr. Dennison?
2064 MR. LEBLANC: Yes, I have. I interviewed him on a couple of occasions and I find him very forthright. I think that he has done an excellent job bringing the station up to this point. If it wasn't for Mr. Dennison, now there certainly wouldn't be anything near to what we're seeing today here in Tofino.
2065 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you have a positive work experience related to Mr. Dennison?
2066 MR. LEBLANC: Yes, very much so.
2067 THE CHAIRPERSON: And Mr. Dennison has been involved in those stations for some time. Do you have a sense of what exactly has been the role or level of his involvement with regards to CIMM or actually either or both of them, or CHMZ?
2068 MR. LEBLANC: Well, initially, it's CHMZ that his involvement was with. He's from Tofino so naturally he would, you know, involve mostly around that station.
2069 His involvement has been on a -- he had a little bit of involvement at one time and then he was out for a while and then he'd be back in again. Over the years it's been sporadic.
2070 The relationship between him and Mr. McBride is not what I would call an open relationship. I think it's you know merely ad hoc when it's necessary. The communication between them is basically non-existent and, you know, the impression in the town for quite a few years is that Mr. Dennison had acquired the licence. Now he didn't go as far as to say that it's official but it is branded. "Tuff City Radio" is the example.
2071 For several months of operation when he had first picked up the ball to run with this there was absolutely no mention of CHMZ or MCMI or Matthew McBride. He was completely branding it as though it was his own operation and he was in effective control.
2072 Now, I think -- I find that very difficult because he's doing everything that he can. He's doing all of the day to day operations, particularly the money. The only thing he doesn't have is effective control.
2073 You know, it's just wrong, I think, to claim a radio station is yours when really it isn't.
2074 THE CHAIRPERSON: But back to the point of my question, though. You have indicated that you support Mr. Dennison's acquisition of the stations?
2075 MR. LEBLANC: Not in the sense of transferring assets because Mr. Dennison, through information provided to me by the Commission, holds a lease on the building.
2076 I have been invited to the station and all of the equipment in there has been purchased by Mr. Dennison. Not only has he bought all of the studio equipment, he also purchased, installed or had installed the station transmitter room and also the transmitter itself. There are no other assets to transfer here.
2077 THE CHAIRPERSON: But sorry, I have to interrupt you for a second because I'm either mis- understanding what you said at the beginning -- so let's take a step back.
2078 So I asked you at the beginning. I said, you've proposed that Mr. Dennison be granted licences for two years with conditions and that that would be in the best interests of those communities.
2079 So if I understand the distinction, you're saying you think he should be granted a licence for two years with conditions but you don't think they should be transferred for Mr. McBride.
2080 MR. LEBLANC: That's correct. It should be treated as a new licence. It's within the mandate.
2081 THE CHAIRPERSON: But a different process. That's not what we have in front of us today. So I would just like to get some -- I understand the distinction that you are granting -- that you are making, pardon me.
2082 But let me ask more generally. So do you believe it would be in the interests of those communities, in the public interest that Mr. Dennison be granted a licence to operate those two stations, CIMM ---
2083 MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2084 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and CHMZ?
MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2085 THE CHAIRPERSON: You do. Thank you.
2086 Why do you suggest a two-year term for Mr. Dennison?
2087 MR. LEBLANC: Well, that's a long enough time to demonstrate performance. Because his performance already up to this point is near exemplary, I must say ---
2088 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's a very ---
2089 MR. LEBLANC: --- and the antenna and the technical.
2090 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood but that's considerably shorter than the Commission would normally grant a -- well, good, performing -- I'm just trying to understand two years in the view of the Commission is typically a term applied to someone where we want to keep a very close eye to see if certain matters are being corrected or problems are being rectified.
2091 You suggested that he's doing a great job but are also suggesting a very short term. So I'm just trying to understand why so short.
2092 MR. LEBLANC: Well, I think the reason would be that for the past 20 years the ownership of the radios -- the two radio stations that have operated here have been sub-par at best. For lack of a better term they were just -- they were horrible. You know I don't think that we should have to go on for 20 years, you know.
2093 I kind of held my tongue and held my breath during previous hearings because I thought, well, let's just hope that new conditions are imposed and that they adhere to them. But obviously that just isn't the case here, you know, the only exception being CHMZ where Mr. Dennison has taken a lot of initiative and his own time and his own finance to bring the station into compliance -- I don’t think that it’s fair that the community should have to suffer through another extended period to see, you know, this issue addressed again.
2094 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you. Now, one last question perhaps. You’ve indicated conditions of licence are appropriate. You didn’t actually spell out what conditions. Can you give me a sense of what conditions of licence you think would be appropriate?
2095 MR. LEBLANC: Any conditions that the Commission sees fit. And, the current regulations, as they stand, are suitable. And, I think that if they were to be imposed, then I don’t see any reason why there couldn’t be a new licence issued ---
2096 THE CHAIRPERSON: So ---
2097 MR. LEBLANC: --- in the absence of (indiscernible).
2098 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you say current regulations, I understand that to mean the current conditions of licence that apply to those stations?
2099 MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, okay. Thank you. Thank you very much. I have no further questions. I’ll ask my colleagues. Commissioner Levy, please go ahead. COMMISSIONER LEVY: Just a little bit of clarification. I believe that in some of the background material, you, in your intervention, talked about you had also done some information gathering on community events as part of your responsibilities in the past for Mr. McBride; is that correct?
2101 MR. LEBLANC: In the sense that people knowing that I am a former employee of Mr. McBride and a former management position of Mr. McBride, quite often these concerns are brought to me. So, much of it came to me rather than me actually seeking it.
2102 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Okay. So, this was information about the operations. That clarifies --- MR. LEBLANC: Yes.
2103 COMMISSIONER LEVY: --- what I wanted to know. And, you talked about having interviewed Mr. Dennison in the past. Interviewed for what? In what capacity?
2104 MR. LEBLANC: For status. When we first discussed licensing, he was interested in applying for a licence on his own. And, he had heard through the grapevine, because Tofino is just that, that I was also considering doing the same thing. So, he called me. So, we decided to, you know, match our thoughts on this. We had an amiable meeting. And, at the end of this meeting we both agreed that we were going to proceed with new licence applications.
2105 And, once I saw what was happening and how the station was being set up again by Mr. Dennison on Mr. McBride’s behalf, it kind of put the squeeze on me, for lack of a better term, that I decided that, well, if they’re going to start up again, it’s just going to make my application process a lot more difficult. I decided to withdraw my application.
2106 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Okay, so it wasn’t like a job interview, or anything like that. It was simply a meeting. That’s all I wanted to clarify. Thank you very much.
2107 MR. LEBLANC: You’re very welcome.
2108 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commission counsel, do you have any questions?
2109 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Just one brief question, Mr. Leblanc. In your statement you suggested that Mr. Dennison purchased the entire studio, studio to transmitter link, and RF output equipment operating in Tofino. I’m just wondering where you found that information.
2110 MR. LEBLANC: I got most of the information from documentation provided to me by the Commission at my intervention. And, I’ve also interviewed Mr. Dennison, who informed me just, you know, exactly what kind of a stake he had, at this point, in the operation.
2111 MR. DOUGHERTY: Okay, just -- so specifically that information you found in the documentation that was filed as part of this application?
2112 MR. LEBLANC: Yes, that’s correct.
2113 MR. DOUGHERTY: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2114 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madam Secretary.
2115 MS. ROY: So, this completes Phase II for Items 4, 5, and 6 on the agenda. And, we will now proceed to Phase III in which applicants can reply to intervention.
2116 As mentioned earlier, Mr. McBride, we’ll start with you, and I would firstly invite you to reply specifically to Items 2 and 3, which are the stations from Pemberton and Port Moody. And then we will hear your reply, if you have any, on the other items.
2117 THE CHAIRPERSON: As well as that of Mr. Dennison, on the second ---
2118 MS. ROY: Yes, absolutely.
2119 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the latter matters.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
2120 MR. MCBRIDE: My reply will be quite brief. The intervener has never held a management position with my company and was engaged to provide piecework for a very brief period of time.
2121 THE CHAIRPERSON: That completes your reply?
2122 MR. MCBRIDE: Yes, it does.
2123 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Then, we’ll move, Madam Secretary ---
2124 MS. ROY: Thank you.
2125 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- to the other component.
2126 MS. ROY: Mr. Dennison, I will also invite you to reply to Items 4, 5, and 6.
2127 MR. DENNISON: Just to clarify, 4, 5, and 6 being everything ---
2128 MS. ROY: Stations from Tofino, Port Moody and the acquisition application.
2129 MR. DENNISON: In response to Mr. Leblanc?
2130 MS. ROY: In response to, yes, Mr. Leblanc. I’m sorry, Tofino, Ucluelet.
2131 MR. DENNISON: Yes.
2132 MS. ROY: I’m sorry, I said Port Moody. I meant Tofino, Ucluelet and the transfer of acquisition application.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
2133 MR. DENNISON: I understand. I have had an amicable, but not very deep relationship with Mr. Leblanc for some years. We did discuss -- many years ago, I have had this goal in my mind, for many years, to acquire licences for the privilege of running and operating these businesses. I don’t recall it being an interview. Had I known that I was in the midst of an interview I perhaps would have handled myself differently. I thought we were just having a conversation.
2134 I did tell Mr. Leblanc that I purchased the gear, but that was just as a result of my natural course of business on behalf of Mr. McBride. I didn’t suggest that I was autonomous.
2135 There are a few other things that I might -- when Mr. Leblanc approached me -- and I actually called him because he was providing content for a website called the Puget Sound, and he was writing that I was running a guerrilla station out of my garage and quite a lot of other misinformation, and just not very factual information. So, I called him and I invited him to the studio to show him the reality of my not garage and to let him know what I was actually doing to be in compliance, and that I was working with the CRTC and with Mr. McBride to make these things happen.
2136 When he did come for our conversation, he had a bunch of -- a folder, quite a thick folder. And, I kept asking him what his intention was, why he was doing this. And, I never got a clear answer to that, which caused me to want to end the conversation because I like to know what people’s intention is. Particularly if they have a nefarious intent, or they just want to muck things up, or whatever it may be. I still don’t know his intent.
2137 But, I did help him clarify a lot of the information that he had in his binder. He had a letter, and then he said, “You know, somebody really likes you out there in the CRTC world.” And, I said, “Well, let me see the letter,” and he showed me the letter. And, he thought it was a letter from you. And, I said, “You know, Mr. McBride wrote that letter about me.” And, as we progressed I was able to clarify some other pieces of information that he had.
2138 So, I personally, while I appreciate his endorsement, I think I will just leave it at that. I appreciate that kind words and his support. I’m glad that he has seen what I’ve done. And, I still question his intention at this time. And, that’s all I have to say.
2139 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr. McBride, do you have any further reply?
2140 MR. MCBRIDE: No, I don’t.
2141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madam Secretary.
2142 MS. ROY: So, this would conclude Phase III, Mr. Chairman. And, for the record, we also have ---
2143 THE CHAIRPERSON: Pardon me, Madam Secretary. There was a question from legal counsel.
2144 MS. ROY: Oh, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
2145 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I omitted to ask them. Please go ahead, counsel.
2146 MR. WICKER: Thank you, Mr. Chair. We just have a couple of questions to clarify. So, this is in relation to Mr. Leblanc’s statement that, at your cost, Mr. Dennison, you purchased the entire studio, transmitter link and RF output equipment operating in Tofino. So, could you tell us who purchased the equipment and transmitter of the Tofino station?
2147 MR. DENNISON: Using the money that we had made through advertising, I took that money and I purchased the equipment with Mr. McBride’s understanding of what I was doing.
2148 MR. WICKER: Okay. And, in relation to this other any expenses related to the operation of the station for which you have paid and have not been reimbursed?
2149 MR. DENNISON: There’s nothing for which I have not been reimbursed.
2150 MR. WICKER: Okay. And, just a final question regarding the branding of the station. Mr. Leblanc mentioned that the station was branded as Tuff City Radio in the recent years. Could you just explain a little bit more about who decided to brand the station like that, what was the process and who made the final call about branding the station, Tuff City Radio?
2151 MR. DENNISON: I made the artistic decision, then I called Mr. McBride and said, “How do you feel about me doing this? I’d like to have my own company as managing,” because I want to rebrand it from when it was Long Beach Radio previously, as well as the Ucluelet station was called Ukee Radio and had a different thing. I wanted to amalgamate and rebrand.
2152 MR. WICKER: Okay. So, it was your
2153 MR. DENNISON: But, I called Mr. McBride, I asked what he thought about the name, I asked for permission to do it and was granted that.
2154 MR. WICKER: Okay. I understand. I don’t have anymore questions. Thank you.
2155 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel. I will turn it back to the hearing secretary, but I do want to thank you both for the time that you have spent with us today, for your submissions and your responses to our questions. Thank you very much for making the trip.
2156 MS. ROY: I simply have a short closing remark, Mr. Chairman. For the record, we also have non-appearing items on the agenda of this public hearing, interventions were received for some of these and the panel will consider these interventions along with the applications, and decision will be rendered at a later date. Thank you very much.
2157 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, I will conclude then, just to say -- to say thank yous, remercier diverses personnes qui ont participé à cette planification et réalisation.
2158 Au nom de mes collèges du Conseil et en mon nom personnel, j'aimerais remercier les intervenants qui ont participé à cette audience, que ce soit par écrit ou en personne.
2159 Thanking everyone who participated in this proceeding, whether in person or in writing. I would also like to extend a thank you to all of those who helped organize and execute the public hearing, the stenographers, the interpreters and of course the Commission staff whose quality of work is always appreciated. It takes a lot of work and you always make it look easy and it’s much appreciated.
2160 I’d also like to thank my colleagues and take this opportunity, one last time, to remind you that you have until November 14th, 2019 to file the various responses to undertakings made to the Commission. And, with that, I say this hearing is closed. Thank you.
2161 Merci beaucoup. Bon après-midi.
--- Upon adjourning at 3:52 p.m. / L’audience est terminée à 15h52
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