TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
BROADCASTING APPLICATIONS AND LICENCES/
DEMANDES ET LICENCES EN RADIODIFFUSION
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Triumph Howard Johnson Triumph Howard Johnson
MacDonald-Cartier Salle de bal
2737 Keele Street 2737, rue Keele
Toronto, Ontario Toronto (Ontario)
February 9, 2000 Le 9 février 2000
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Public Hearing / Audience publique
Broadcasting Applications and Licences/
Demandes et licences en radiodiffusion
BEFORE / DEVANT:
A. Wylie Chairperson/Présidente
M. Wilson Commissioner/Conseillère
J. Pennefather Commissioner/Conseillère
A. Cardozo Commissioner/Conseiller
R. Williams Commissioner/Conseiller
C. Grauer Commissioner/Conseillère
A. Noël Commissioner/Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
P. Cussons Hearing Manager and Secretary / Gérant de l'audience et
D. Rhéaume Legal Counsel /
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Triumph Howard Johnson Triumph Howard Johnson
MacDonald-Cartier Salle de bal
2737 Keele Street 2737, rue Keele
Toronto, Ontario Toronto (Ontario)
February 9, 2000 Le 9 févruer 2000
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PHASE III - INTERVENTION BY/PAR
Donald McLeod 1473
CD Plus.com Inc. 1487
Sir Wilfrid's Church 1499
Kemeel Azan 1511
Ryerson Polytech University 1518
Maestro Fresh Wes 1535
Orin Isaacs 1540
Rob Bowman 1552
Salome Bey 1559
Urban Music Association of Canada 1619
The CanDance Coalition 1562
Cheer DJ Pool 1570
Erma Collins 1574
Allison Gloudon 1581
Carol Tater 1588
T. Sher Singh 1598
Susan Eng 1605
Greater Toronto Services Board 1614
Urban Music Association of Canada 1619
The Guvernment Nightclub 1629
Aboriginal Voices Radio Board of Directors 1634
Armenian Community Centre of Toronto 1644
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce 1652
C.V. Devon Nair 1664
North York Sikh Temple 1668
Consulate of Slovak Republic 1675
Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral 1683
T. Sher Singh 1689
Mitra Manesh 1696
Ed Rempel 1701
Sonal Ghandi 1708
Rieko Hagimoto 1718
Consul General of Malta 1723
Toronto, Ontario / Toronto (Ontario)
--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, February 9, 2000
at 0900 / L'audience reprend le mercredi
9 février 2000 à 0900
6987 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
6988 We will now pursue with the supporting interventions
in the Jolly application.
6989 I would like to reiterate, because some of you may
not have been here, that we haven't been asking questions or engaging in
discussions with intervenors, not because of a lack of interest but because we
want to hear as many intervenors as possible during the time that we
6990 We remind you that your oral intervention is
transcribed by the court reporter and forms part of the record, in addition to
whatever you may have filed in writing.
6991 We are interested in hearing you and there will be a
record left of your oral intervention.
6992 Mr. Secretary, please.
6993 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
6994 Good morning, everyone. I would just like to make a
couple of short preliminary announcements.
6995 Again, as we have mentioned a couple of times during
the hearing, we would really appreciate it if people attending the hearing could
turn off their cell phones, pagers and so on, because it can be a distraction
for intervenors and for Members of the Panel. So we would appreciate your
6996 We would also appreciate the co-operation of
intervenors in sticking to our maximum 10-minute rule. Out of respect to other
intervenors, we would duly appreciate it if you could keep your comments within
that 10-minute time frame.
6997 I would just like to say that we have one small
change in the order this morning in terms of the supporting intervenors for Mr.
Jolly's application. Our first intervenor has a very urgent appointment, so I am
going to call him immediately.
6998 I would ask Mr. Donald McLeod to come forward,
please, and present his intervention.
6999 Mr. McLeod.
7000 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. McLeod.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7001 MR. McLEOD: Good morning, Panel. I will try my best
to stick to 10 minutes. Since I am first, I guess I might be setting the
7002 By way of background -- you have already heard
my name; it's Donald McLeod -- I am a partner in entertainment as well as
criminal lawyer at the firm of Hinks, Satchet and McLeod. Some of the
individuals that I represent or have represented in the past in music are The
Dream Warriors, Ivan Berry, as well as Beat Factory, Ghetto Concept, Glen Lewis,
Eddy Bullen, who is a producer, Orin Isaacs, Faith Chorale, Yo, MC&Z, Mikala
Music, Expressions of Praise, and also a group by the name of
7003 So I come by way not only as an entertainment lawyer
but also I am a member of the group of Selections.
7004 Selections is a contemporary gospel group who were
assigned to Attic Records. We then moved on to MCA. We are now in the process of
doing our third album. We were nominated for a Juno last year.
7005 In fact, the groups that I mentioned in the gospel
front, Expressions of Praise, Youth Outreach Mass Choir, of the five artists
that were nominated for the Junos, I represented four of them and then lost to
one of my clients -- which boded well when I had to do their
7006 Selections not only has been part of the Juno
nominees; we have toured extensively. We have been together for about ten years.
The last album played on about 120 radio stations across the U.S., and in Canada
we were played on two.
7007 In fact, in Canada we were played on two, but being a
contemporary gospel group -- we were at the top 12 for about six weeks.
Once we had an interview it was then found out that we were a gospel group and
the next day we were actually dropped from the play list.
7008 It didn't bode well for us. However, it was something
that we took under advisement for the next time.
7009 For the panel I will deal with three issues, some
more extensively than others. One is the necessity for a radio station such as
Milestone; two would be the impact of a radio station such as Milestone would be
able to give; as well as the viability of a radio station such as
7010 In terms of the necessity, I will deal with the
entertainment side as well as the community side of it.
7011 If we look at the entertainment side of what has been
happening in the community, at least in radio stations thus far, most of the
artists, especially in Toronto -- and I will preface this by saying that we
have great talent here in Toronto; probably heads and shoulders above the rest
in Canadian groups, but as well as very much on par with those who are
7012 The difficulty that they have, however, is
recognition. I say this in terms of urban artists, as well as R&B, hip hop,
including all of those.
7013 We have songwriters; and, as a result of necessity,
we have had producers, songwriters, musicians, as well as the singer, all in the
same person. And that is out of necessity. You have had artists who have
actually had to cover all of those areas because they are not able to get the
funds they need to get higher priced people.
7014 As a result, they are going to be making their income
on the radio stations playing their album so that they can get the royalties
that are necessary from the songs that are being played. If you are not playing
their songs, then they are not getting any royalties.
7015 As a result, we have a lot of starving artists in
Toronto because their songs are not being played.
7016 What is happening is that the songs are not being
played. So as a result when I, as a lawyer, go to a record company to say "you
should get this artist, this artist is very good", the record company is saying
"I don't think this is a good idea because this is not popular
7017 Popular music and good music are two different
things, and in order for something to be popular it has to be played. If it is
not played, then it will never be popular. As a result, the artists who are then
putting their songs together are having a difficult time even surviving. We have
artists who don't even have enough money to make bus fare. Yet they are talented
7018 As a result, you have a difficulty when you get to
the record companies. If the record companies are not going to have these
artists on because they are not going to have their songs played on the radio,
then they don't become a viable commodity; and as a result, they are going to be
7019 Yet people with half as much talent as urban and hip
hop, R&B artists, are getting record deals, Canadian deals. They are
travelling all over Canada. I think this is endemic of the fact that we are not
being played on radio stations. There aren't radio stations out there that are
willing to listen to what we have to say musically. As a result of not being
listened to musically, we are not having a voice out there in the community and
these artists are not getting good music played.
7020 On our tour that we had with Selections some years
ago, we had as a person that was headlining for us, a woman by the name of
Deborah Cox. Deborah Cox would complain that she would write all these songs,
but yet she doesn't get any play. No record companies are looking for her. She
is starving. She goes to the States and I guess the rest is history. We have now
seen her on the cover of Macleans, Cosmopolitan, the other Canadian
7021 The adage that one is a king is not a king at home is
very true. However, it is important for us to realize that Milestone will at
least give us a fighting chance.
7022 In terms of the community as it relates to the
necessity, the adage that a voice without a vision is a whisper I think is
appropriate here. It would appear that we are not being heard. Milestone will
give 15 per cent of their radio play towards spoken word. If we are not heard,
then the only thing that anyone ever hears about us is the bad things that they
may hear or see in the papers.
7023 I say that because it is important for us to realize
that although from time to time we may have 15 minutes here or 20 minutes there,
or even an hour, should the radio station that is a community base be so
grateful, we have a little bit of time to give as much information as we can,
remembering that these days young people are learning a lot more from what they
hear rather than what they read.
7024 I say that because before going to law school I was a
teacher, a high school teacher. The best way to teach somebody was sometimes to
either be playing the record -- I remember when I was in high school they
actually had to play Shakespeare over the radio or on the record just so that I
could pay attention. It didn't help, but at least by the end of the day I knew
what they were talking about.
7025 What I am saying is that it is important; that if we
are going to be heard, we have to have a venue to be heard from. If that is
going to be the case, then we have to have something such as Milestone will
7026 In terms of an impact, we have made inroads, I would
say, in terms of inroads in having Rudy Blair on 680 News, Energy 108 from time
to time having Black DJs playing our music. We have had Orin Isaacs, who has
made a significant inroad in terms of being on the Mike Bullard show and having
a band of his choosing that is there doing very well.
7027 But I guard you against saying this: inroads do not
necessarily lead to an impact. We are looking for an impact in the community.
Having one hour here or two hours there does not necessarily help.
7028 When you look at a station such as Milestone and what
Milestone can give, it gives our community an impact. I tell you this as an
individual who comes from this community. As one who grew up in Regent Park and
then left from Regent Park to go to Scarborough, I can tell you that it is a
good thing when you are hearing people such as Maestro on the radio, when you
hear them doing very well; when you hear that people from the same
neighbourhoods that you come from are actually making inroads.
7029 The difficulty that you have, however, is that the
inroads that they are making are in the United States and not here.
7030 It would appear that we as a people are powerless. I
don't wish to necessarily fill this with rhetoric; that's not the point, and I
don't think that is the reason you are here. But I will tell you this: power is
something that is more rhetoric. It is something that will take a people from
where they were to where they need to be.
7031 It is important for us then to realize that Milestone
then gives us a fighting chance in the impact that is necessary. That impact
will then filter down in terms of artists, artists at least being able to be
heard, artists being able to get their records played, get royalties, have
living from this.
7032 In thinking about this as well, I thought that
Milestone was one of those radio stations that covers a lot of things. It
doesn't just cover Black; it covers all ethnicities. It covers gender; it covers
age; and it also covers sexual preference. It is people from all of those venues
or all of those areas who are actually going to be listening to this radio
station. It is all-encompassing.
7033 I ask the Panel to be very careful in thinking that
just because it has been put as a Black station, it doesn't necessarily follow
that only Black people are going to listen to it. This brings me to its
viability, which I think is one of the things that you as a Panel are going to
have to be very vigilant when looking at.
7034 In terms of advertising, it is important for you to
realize that Black people eat McDonald's too; that Black people go to Wal-Mart.
And as a result, those people are going to be wanting to be advertising on your
7035 I am sure that it has been spoken about that WBLK is
a radio station that has a lot of advertising dollars that come from the Black
community. I don't know how much it is, but I am sure that it is a
7036 However, I as a Black entrepreneur, a partner in my
own firm, would never ever -- I say never ever -- advertise on WBLK.
The reason for that is that it doesn't fit with my persona. It doesn't fit with
what it is that I would like the community to know.
7037 I say that because I think it is important for you to
realize that within the community there is the hip hop culture, there is
R&B, there is myself -- who one may not think is necessarily the
biggest hip hop fan, but I do a jig or two in my car from time to
7038 I say that because it is important for you to realize
that the advertising dollars that are necessary, that Milestone can actually
get, is beyond compare. Everyone would want to advertise on this show. Everyone
would want to advertise on this particular radio station because of what it
7039 In terms of where I am going here, it was important
to at least give you a little history lesson; and that is that in the 1960s in
the sort of Trudeaumania era, we had a big influx of Black families into Toronto
specifically. As a result, we had a lot of people here with not a lot of money.
Our parents came for us, to give us a chance.
7040 But now that the us that they came for are here, we
are those individuals who are now upwardly mobile; we are making a lot of money
and we have a lot of money at our disposal.
7041 As a result, we as Black entrepreneurs -- and my
friends range from doctors to lawyers to musicians, you name it. But now as a
result they are able to open their own businesses, getting second mortgages on
their homes, and now able to have that advertising dollar that they need to get
people into their community.
7042 Why do I say that? I think it is important for you to
realize that on BLK they may be advertising this dance, or that dance, or this
thing, or that thing, but they don't advertise me. They don't advertise people
like me, and they don't advertise people that are in positions that I am
7043 Yet I have friends who are actually trading my
stocks, people that are actually working at RBC Insurance, people that are
actually real estate agents, doing all kinds of things. Where do they advertise?
Nowhere. Why don't they advertise anywhere? Because they still want to get the
best bang for their buck.
7044 So I would say that whatever it is that you have
estimated as an advertising dollar for something like Milestone, I ask you to
bump that up in light of the little lesson that I have taught you here; and that
is that we may sometimes forget that there is an unspoken minority or majority
in our community which are waiting to be heard. The reason that we haven't been
heard yet is because we are waiting for the venue to do that.
7045 It is important also to realize that someone like
Denham Jolly -- whom I have only met a very few times; we are not friends
of anything of the sort. But I can tell you this that in the community his name
is well known. If you are going to give something like Milestone to someone, it
is important that it is given to someone where people are going to have their
trust in that individual. It is important that whatever the qualifications are,
that is also something that is important.
7046 It is important for you to remember this: in looking
at the quantity of the Black people in this community, it is important for you
to look at the quality of those individuals. The quality of them may actually
dictate the amount of funds, the advertising, the listenership, and things of
that sort which Milestone would be able to represent.
7047 Denham Jolly, at least from the circles or the
spheres that I have been in, is a name that at least is an elder to me but at
least one that I am willing to give advertising dollars to.
7048 I think that if Milestone is looked at in terms of it
is a necessity, its impact, as well as its viability, it is a good business
prospect. It is one that will yield great returns. It is no mystery to see that
7049 I ask this Panel to recognize that and to see that
there is strength, not only in what they are doing but in what it can actually
7050 It encompasses everyone. It encompasses me when I was
at Regent Park to where I am now. Never forgetting where I have come from is a
very important thing. The community needs to be empowered. It is important for
us to realize that even though we make inroads, the impact is
7051 I ask you as a Panel to consider not only the
importance as it is in terms of necessity and things of that sort, but also take
a hard look at its viability. No one is sitting here saying give us a chance
because we are Black.
7052 As I tell my clients: "You may come to me because you
are Black, but you stay because I am competent." It is not important that I am
Black. It is only important to get you to the door, you may think. But if I lose
your case or don't give you a good deal, you are not going to come
7053 Milestone is more than Black. It is important. It is
something that works and it is something that we desperately need.
7054 I think under all of those three fronts -- and
hopefully within my ten minutes -- I have given you as much as I
7055 Thank you.
7056 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. McLeod.
7057 Mr. Secretary, please.
7058 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7059 Our next intervention will be presented by CD
7060 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Albo, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7061 MR. ALBO: My name is Wayne Albo. I am the Chairman
and majority shareholder of a retail chain of music stores, approximately 150
stores, and an Internet e-commerce site called CD Plus.com.
7062 We are a public company traded on the TSE. I
represent, in my view, the retail music industry. In our industry we sell about
1.2 to $1.4 billion of music in this country, and I think we have a fairly good
instinct as to the needs of our community with respect to music.
7063 I would like to frame my remarks into sort of five
areas: the first being: Why am I here? The second: Is there a need for urban
music and an urban music station? Is there a demand for that music? Does need
and demand, put together, equal a viable business proposition? And lastly, what
happens if we don't have an urban music station? What happens to our particular
7064 I view what we have, being retail, as a partnership,
a partnership with the artist and with the radio station. Artists produce the
music; radio stations play the music; and we sell the music. If any one of those
links in any genre is weak, it doesn't work. If we can't sell the music, the
artists don't get royalty payments.
7065 The strength of a genre is ensuring that each of
those three pieces is strong. We have, in my view, a tremendous distribution
system of music in this country. We have a tremendous number of artists. We have
a very limited avenue of hearing music in this country today.
7066 Our industry basically would not exist without new
artists. That is fundamental to where we go from the retail business future. I
am here because I believe for us to be viable -- us being my own company
and the industry in general -- we must have a more diversified radio
broadcasting system, and we must have additional venues for people to hear and
listen to music.
7067 Is there a need?
7068 We sell urban product in all of our stores across the
country. Our stores range from Halifax to Victoria to Whitehorse. We sell urban
music in each of those cities. Urban music, in my view, is to the youth of today
what rock and roll was in my day. Needless to say, my parents took a long time
to adjust to rock and roll.
7069 From a personal note, it is useful for you to
understand that I earn my living from the Canadian music industry, and it is sad
for me to know that for my two children, 16 and 18, their favourite music
station originates in Buffalo. So here I am putting food on the table, putting a
roof over their heads, and they are attracted because there is not an
alternative in this country.
7070 Do I believe that there is a need? No
7071 Is there a demand for the product?
7072 Urban music is our second largest category of music
sales and by far the fastest growing and by far the most dynamic. It is like
that in virtually every market we service. We have a major music retail outlet
in Timmins, Ontario. We sell a lot of urban product. We have a major outlet in
Grande Prairie, Alberta. We sell a lot of urban product. It is one of the best
product categories that we have.
7073 The urban category, in my view, appeals to a broad
spectrum of racial backgrounds, not just the Black community. It crosses every
7074 I would say that 90 per cent of my stores -- we
have 10, 12 stores in Toronto, and 90 per cent of them are in rural markets. And
urban music is still our number two seller.
7075 I think at this stage from the demand, where are we
filling the demand? Virtually 100 per cent of what we sell comes from the United
States. Virtually all of the acts that are being heard are being generated and
driven by the U.S. media, which obviously through cross borders is read, heard,
and seen in Canada.
7076 The only venue that urban music has in Canada, albeit
small, is MuchMusic. There really is no radio station that supports, backs and
promotes this genre of music.
7077 In my opinion, without question, there is a
significant demand for this product and for this venue.
7078 When you put those two together, is that commercially
7079 At retail, our major market segment is 13 to early
20s. This is the market that urban music, in essence, is the most popular.
Advertising dollars targeted to this demographic group are enormous. We
personally in our own way have run urban music campaigns with Calvin Klein,
Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Sony, Panasonic, Levis and so on.
7080 Without radio we have had to do all of our promotions
either through print and in-store. So there really is not the vehicle we need
7081 Our advertising budget, ours alone, is about $2
million a year. I can categorically state that we would use an urban station to
promote our business, and we would drive cross promotions with our demographics
on an urban radio station, without question.
7082 Do I believe that Milestone or an urban station is
commercially viable? Without question.
7083 Consequences: The music industry is consolidating.
Seagrams bought Polygram. Warner/EMI just announced the merger. Sony/BMG are in
talks. So we are going to go from six what I will call major labels to three.
Globalization is happening.
7084 Without new Canadian talent we will become a U.S.
branch plant. It is happening already. There will be no need, in my view, to
have a Canadian office of one of the major labels if there is no Canadian
talent. All they will do is manufacture, as they do movies, out of the United
States, ship it to Canada, and we will distribute.
7085 We must keep developing Canadian talent. That is
7086 Where is most of the new fresh blood coming in that
the kids are looking to today? It is urban music by far.
7087 That is primarily why I am here. My business is only
as strong as the new talent being generated. We must have more distinctive
venues support our effort of supporting Canadian talent.
7088 I believe that if we don't expand the venues, we will
find, as we are now finding in our music categories, that more and more of the
product is coming from the United States. That is what is currently happening in
the new genres of music.
7089 I think that is a bad thing. I don't think that is
good for us in the long term. And it is certainly going to hurt the Canadian
music industry, both at retail and I believe as a whole.
7090 In conclusion, we must continue to foster the
partnership, I believe, between the artist, radio and retail. With that in mind,
I am here to support the application of Milestone so that we can continue to
nurture, develop, support the complete diversity of Canadian talent.
7091 Thank you.
7092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Albo, for your
7093 Mr. Secretary, please.
7094 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7095 Our next intervenor is Jazmin.
7096 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7097 JAZMIN: Good morning. My name is Jazmin. I just want
to tell you a little bit about myself before I begin with what I would like to
7098 I am a new recording artist with Attic Records. My
album was just released in Canada in October of 1999; in Japan in December of
1999. It will be released in the U.K. at the end of this month and across Europe
in March or April, with very high hopes to go to the United States and the rest
of the territories around the world.
7099 I am 24 years old. I have been battling with the
music industry for approximately nine years and struggling to get to the point
where I could release an album and pursue a recording career.
7100 At a point in time -- I believe I was 20 years
old -- I moved myself to Los Angeles because I found it very difficult to
begin a career as a musician and as a singer and writer in Toronto. As a result
of moving myself to Los Angeles, I joined a musical theatre company for the
musical Asterella, which was executively produced by Michael Jackson.
7101 I performed in this musical as the lead role of
Cinderella in Los Angeles and then on tour in Europe for about a year. When I
came back from my European tour I was invited by the Broadway musical Rent to go
and be an understudy in their Los Angeles company. At the time that I was
invited by their company, they had already filled all the positions for the
Toronto cast, the Canadian cast.
7102 I went to perform in Los Angeles as an understudy and
was promoted to play every single lead role by a Black female in the
7103 I toured with that musical for one year, and then I
spent the following year living in London, England learning about culture and
music in the U.K.
7104 I am here to say that since I have released my album
in October I have two singles that have been presented to Canada, the first of
which is a much more R&B styled song than my second single. I and my record
company hope for high success across Canada, because the United States deals and
the rest of the world deals were depending on my success in Canada.
7105 I have received light rotation and medium rotation
afterwards from the three major radio stations in Toronto and battle daily and
weekly with my distribution company to stay in rotation. My first video was
taken out of rotation only a few weeks after it was added to MuchMusic and
MuchMoreMusic. My second video is still struggling at MuchMusic, Musique Plus
7106 When my record company and I were preparing for the
release of my album in October, we conducted several focus groups with teenagers
and young adults in the Toronto area to find out what our consumer was looking
for in the music that they listened to. What did their artists wear? What radio
stations were they on? What kind of social attributes of an artist were linked
to the consumer, so that we could market myself properly to them.
7107 In the area of our focus group that had to deal with
style of music and where they obtained their music, we found that the students
and young adults who listened to R&B, hip hop, rap music, other styles of
urban music, actually chose not to listen to the Toronto stations because they
felt they were too pop oriented and did not provide them with the updated and
versatile R&B and urban music that is coming from other parts of the world,
and mainly from the United States.
7108 These particular students who were interested in
urban music listened to the American Buffalo station of BLK. I felt that they
could be at no fault for that, because when I was in high school and in
university I listened to BLK as well. The radio stations when I was a teenager,
and at this point, still did not provide me with the urban music that I like to
listen to on a regular daily basis.
7109 I find that I still do that a lot, especially when it
comes to video. MuchMusic and Musique Plus and MuchMoreMusic play a lot of
mainstream pop and alternative music. And even for pop artists and R&B
artists like myself, they get categorized as an R&B artist; or a song that I
would put out, which is not necessarily an R&B song, would be categorized as
an R&B song for many reasons, but I think also because I am a Black
7110 I find that I often go to stations like BET to get
the updated hip hop and urban music videos like I do with the BLK station in
7111 The three main radio stations in Toronto that do play
my music have provided me with the only outlet in Toronto to showcase my music
on a daily basis and to promote my album to the young adults across this city
and surrounding areas.
7112 The reason that I feel that a lot of success in
Toronto is very imperative for the following of my career is that it seems to me
from the short experience that I have, which I think gives me a good idea of
what to look forward to, that in order to get my success across Canada I need to
have success in Toronto and in the major cities.
7113 I have had a limited amount of success in Montreal,
in Quebec, which has also been a very difficult market to bring urban music to
as an English artist and as an urban artist. I am a little bit luckier than the
average urban artist because my mother is French and I learned how to speak
French before I learned how to speak English.
7114 So I was able to cross that line over
7115 But it is still very, very difficult because in order
for me to have this success across Canada, I need the success in Toronto. In
order for me to get the success across the world, I need to have the success in
7116 I would like my album to have a long stay on the
market. However, I feel that with retailers and with radio stations and all the
tools that I have available to me to market and promote my album, there is a
possible failure for the album.
7117 I certainly will not ever stop trying and plan on
utilizing every effort and everything inside of me to be able to push my music
7118 The application for Milestone Radio is very important
for me as a local artist, as a Canadian artist, as an urban artist, because it
would give me this one tool that is not available to me because I am in Canada
and because I am in Toronto.
7119 When I was living in London in the U.K., there were
urban stations for me to listen to. I also listened to the mainstream pop
stations. However, when I moved back to Toronto -- and I had not lived here
for about four years -- I realized that the pop stations and the CHR
stations that I was now listening to were not playing the updated urban music
that I found in the U.K. or that I found in the United States when I was on tour
for a year.
7120 When I was on tour with the Broadway musical Rent, I
was in a new city across the United States for one year approximately every two
weeks; sometimes it was every week. In almost every city that I was able to get
a radio, in almost every city I was also able to find an urban
7121 These are some reasons that I wanted to share with
you as a new artist to the industry, who has spent basically my whole entire
life trying to get to the point I am now. I struggle every day to try and get
further. I have high expectations to get there. I will get there. I hope in
providing an urban station in this area it will make a smoother ride for artists
like myself and artists in the future.
7122 Thank you.
7123 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your
7124 Mr. Secretary, please.
7125 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7126 We will now hear the intervention by St. Wilfred's
Church, Father Lombardi.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7128 FATHER LOMBARDI: Good morning. I ask only one thing:
don't tell my congregation you kept me to ten minutes. I will never hear the end
7129 THE CHAIRPERSON: We haven't been that successful to
date in doing that.
7130 FATHER LOMBARDI: Whatever you do, if you are
successful in it, don't tell them. I will never hear the end of it.
7131 THE CHAIRPERSON: But we expect you, Reverend, to
follow the rules.
7132 FATHER LOMBARDI: Thank you very much for allowing me
to speak today.
7133 Rather than speak about my own experience -- but
I come from a background of born and raised in Toronto; lived for ten years in
the United States; worked from 1964 to 1974 in the United States and came back
to Toronto as social justice director for the Archdiocese of Toronto; as
co-chair of the North York Committee on Racism, which was the first municipal
committee to deal with the issues of racism; and up until last year I was Metro
Police Commissioner for six years.
7134 So I come with a variety of experiences and concerns.
In the last 25 years since I have come back home to Toronto much of my work has
been involved in trying to create understanding and promote harmony in the
community, in this wonderful city that I call home, to avoid the mistakes in the
United States that I saw and continue to see and how the community is divided
along racial and colour lines. That, to me, has always been unacceptable, and I
will continue to work towards that harmony that is really the Canadian
7135 Although Canada has not been without its
discrimination, the brunt of discrimination and racism in Canada has always been
felt more or less on the minorities, the native people, the Black community, and
from time to time ethnic communities as they have come into the
7136 I have experienced racism in the city, overt and
subtle, and recognizing that Canada needs to always be very vigilant on the
question of racism.
7137 In 1974 you couldn't use the word racism in Toronto.
I don't know if you are aware of that. You couldn't use the word racism. If you
did -- and I used to do it all the time -- they would tell me to go
back to the United States where I belong. It is not a problem here; it is an
7138 Governments would not accept the word racism on all
levels, whether federal, provincial or municipal. People would not consider
racism as a problem. Those who experienced it did, but the majority would
7139 The Jewish community, along with a number of us, very
much knew that the problem existed and worked towards trying to eradicate that
in all levels of our community.
7140 Now it went from multiculturalism -- that was
the word in the early 1970s, and then it went to race and ethnic relations. Then
it shifted from race and ethnic relations to racism. And now we hear
anti-racism. So it took 25 years just to achieve that kind of verbal
7141 Now there are anti-racism policies in government at
all levels, school boards, corporations, equity policies, all emanating only
since 1974. And I was proud to be part of that with a very small group of people
that pushed for those policies. That is one of the reasons that I got on the
Police Commission, because I pushed for the first police force to ever have an
7142 The awareness to create a loving playing field; the
ability to hire and prevent people from being discriminated against on the basis
of colour, race or creed.
7143 What does that have to do with this radio station
that I am supporting?
7144 Radio is an ideal vehicle to create the appreciation
of culture, music values, of various countries and communities and to help
understand and create better harmony.
7145 Fundamental access and inroads into the community for
racial minorities and any person. It is a wonderful unifying vehicle. That is
why I support CBC. CBC has a profound influence on Canada and keeps it
7146 I always cringe when I people say they should get rid
of the CBC. I think that would be a drastic mistake for our country to take away
a unifying force like CBC.
7147 Music is an important vehicle to promote
understanding and help bridge the gaps of ignorance.
7148 When I was in Roxbury -- I worked in the ghetto
in Roxbury in Boston -- music brought people together. It dispelled, or
tried to help dispel the myths within and outside the community. It highlighted
the concerns and roles that people could play regarding tensions in the
7149 I remember in 1973 when they were going to riot in
Boston. We manned the subway stations for fear there would be conflict in the
community. But the radio stations played an important role to let people know
what was going on.
7150 Music was a unifying force. People heard music
everywhere. You listened to the radio. People didn't watch television. They were
out in the streets, in the community. In the parks, in the community you heard
radio and music playing. People didn't carry televisions; they carried radios.
And they still do that today.
7151 Music can be heard in public places and gave people a
sense of pride.
Tape 1, Side B
7152 ...values and experience and helped explain the
various concerns that people had.
7153 To draw some analogies, Toronto is not Roxbury, thank
God. The Black community is as diverse as any other community. Maybe, just maybe
the similarity is maybe the colour of skin, but not necessarily. They come from
different cultures, whether they come from French speaking countries or English
speaking countries. You have a variety of cultures and languages that are
represented and reflected in what we call the visible minority
7154 Promoting understanding across these cultural lines,
religious, and helping people bridge the gaps of ignorance is really
7155 There are ghettos in Roxbury. The streets were
barriers from one community to another. But the radio transcends those barriers:
from one Black community to another, from one white community to another. So
there were no barriers when it came to listening to music.
7156 I don't know to what extent the white community heard
the Spanish stations or the Black stations. All I know is that in the colleges,
where I spent a lot of time too, you could hear the music in all the colleges in
the Boston area, and the college campuses were full of urban music. You could
hear it in the corridors, in the dormitories and on campus.
7157 Toronto is no different in terms that it has a very
high concentration of colleges and universities. I am sure that if you go
through the corridors of our colleges and universities, you will hear that urban
7158 Toronto, although I am biased, is one of the finest
cities in Canada. I want to keep it that way with the harmony that is
7159 It is really important that we understand that in
endorsing that would promote racial harmony and understanding through culture
and music and the various concerns.
7160 While I agree and I understand that radio is not the
panacea, I think it is one of the key factors in helping people to be together.
It does that all the time. Radio is still a key factor in people listening to
other people's ideas and concerns.
7161 When we look at who listens to the radio, it is a
variety. But when you think about who listens in terms of young people --
if you want to find out the concerns and anxieties and joys and sorrows of our
country and our community, go to the young people who listen to the radio. Their
anxieties and their concerns about the future, the ability to succeed and not
succeed, their hopes and dreams, are reflected in terms of what they say and
what they hear and the music they listen to.
7162 A good radio station can really develop and promote
values of dignity and respect, to help people to be more concerned about
somebody else, to create forums of discussion, influence and choices young
people make, creating understanding and a variety and scope of choices one can
make and how valuable a vehicle like the radio is.
7163 Identifying where problems are and bringing people
together who have suffered discrimination and who will not tolerate it in any
form; help them to discuss viable options and policies that would go towards
making better harmony.
7164 It gives the opportunities of institutions, whatever
that institution is -- and I know the police force spends thousands of
dollars trying to access the Black community for recruits. We spent six years
trying to access that. I would be quite certain that they would welcome the
opportunity, as would other institutions, to have a vehicle like a station that
would address their concerns and also share their problems. It is really
important to have that.
7165 That is also to do with the question of employment,
housing, need for services, medical, government concerns, to have a community
that would voice those concerns. I don't think there are any stations that would
have that kind of format. If there are, there should be more of them.
7166 When I chaired the North York Committee on Racism,
there were no policies to speak of. I am proud to say that we were responsible
for race relations policies in York University, all the school boards, the
police department and various institutions in the city.
7167 You need a vehicle for access, and I think a radio
station can do that in its own way.
7168 With respect to who owns the station, who manages the
station, I think it is really important that while one can share values and
identity, first the identity has to be personal. If the identity is not owned,
it is not personal. Then it becomes a commodity that can be bought and sold.
That is very fundamental to the personal and collective identity of any group. I
think it is really important to understand that.
7169 My support of the CBC is precisely that. It was able
to access communities which had never been accessed before. In all corners of
Canada, wherever you went, people would hear the vision and the hopes and dreams
and the concerns across Canada, and that is what made CBC such a great
institution and a gift to the people of Canada.
7170 I say that with all due respect and support of that
institution called CBC. Just like CBC is important to the fibre of this country,
I think Milestone and stations like Milestone are important to the fibre of the
7171 I have a parish of 6,000 families; 23 different
cultures, from Africa, West Indies, Europe, Middle East, Far East, Latin
America. What unites my parish is our faith. So I created a symbol for our own
parish. I took a rainbow and cut it in half and made a cross out of it. So my
symbol for my parish is a rainbow cross, and the theme is one faith, many
cultures. That has unified the community: another symbol, another form of
7172 I think it is really important that we find symbols
and institutions and vehicles to unify people. It is very important if we are
going to keep this country as great as it is.
7173 Bush talked about a more gentle society. All you have
to do is look north to find the gentle society. I don't know where else he was
7174 When I was young in Toronto -- I think I am
older than most people here -- I listened to the Buffalo stations --
how many times did my mother tell me to go to bed at night -- because the
R&B music was out of the Buffalo stations.
7175 There was a program there called the Hounds Around
and they played the R&B, the urban music that I couldn't hear when I was a
kid. I would stay up to 12 o'clock, 1 o'clock in the morning. I don't know how
she could hear the music through the wall, but she used to be able to hear it
and tell me to go to bed and close that station. Go to bed; you have to go to
7176 The fact is that I heard the presenters and the same
thing is happening. That is no different than happened in the fifties when we
couldn't hear the music we wanted to hear. It was urban music. It was Black
music, rhythm and blues and jazz in those early years. It came from the United
States and Buffalo. When the signals were very strong --
7177 MR. CUSSONS: Excuse me, Father Lombardi. I apologize
but we are beyond that infamous 10-minute threshold. Perhaps you could summarize
your thoughts for the Panel.
7178 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are just about to become a
7179 FATHER LOMBARDI: For all those reasons I gave, I
would hope that you would approve this Milestone station, because it is very
important to have a station like Milestone in our community.
7180 Thank you.
7181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Father Lombardi, for your
7182 Mr. Secretary, please.
7183 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7184 We will now hear an intervention by Kemeel Azan.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7185 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7186 MR. AZAN: Good morning.
7187 Madam Chair, Members of the Panel, I am here to speak
about or to assure you that Milestone, when granted a licence, will be able to
support itself. But before I go to that, I want to give you a little bit of
background as to who I am and how long I have been in the community.
7188 My name is Kemeel Azan, and I operate a chain of
beauty salons in the city of Toronto, and I have been doing so since 1962. That
is 38 years.
7189 Thirty-eight years ago there were not a lot of Black
people in this community, in this country as a matter of fact, except far east
and the history of those who came through the underground railroad and so on and
so forth. In the metropolitan city of Toronto there were not a lot. Hence, the
only means that Black people could come here was through the domestic scheme.
That was under the government of Diefenbaker, 100 people a year, women
7190 It attracted women who were teachers in their native
lands, nurses, and so on, and they used the route to come to Toronto, and they
worked as domestics. So our clients were mostly Black gorgeous women who were
domestics. They did their year and they moved on to other parts of who they
were. If they were a nurse, they went on to become a nurse; and if they were a
teacher, they applied to the classroom. And whatever their work was at home --
and I am dealing now with that group of women -- they went on to their
7191 Of course, there were Black people here, but they
were few. I don't have the numbers on hand.
7192 Since that time this wonderful city of ours has
developed into the most interesting mosaic of women of colour, who I still deal
with. But our clientele of today consists of professionals: doctors, nurses,
lawyers, politicians, middle management people, bright young women who are
filling the universities.
7193 In those days we had multi-racial people but not to
the extent. Some of the most interesting women in the world today are Toronto's
one parent Black, one parent white; and they identify black, or both.
7194 So we have developed and nurtured a community and a
society where we have become a number to be recognized and a number with which
we have to deal. Accordingly, we need to provide services for them.
7195 For example, I will name a few people that I have had
the opportunity of working with -- their hair, that is. A young lady on The
Young and the Restless; her name is Tanya Williams. She comes every six weeks to
get her hair done. If Maya Angelou is within 300 miles of me, she will come to
get her hair done. I have had the opportunity of doing Dianne Carroll when she
was here. A number of other people, as a matter of fact. As early as yesterday a
handsome tall man walked into the building. I had never seen a man so large. He
said his name was Charles Oakley. Just to tell you the kinds of people that we
have now developed into and the kind of people that we cater to.
7196 Toronto has become an international city, a city
where more movies are made than probably any other city except for Vancouver --
and I think we have surpassed them.
7197 We have sports teams like the baseball teams, the
7198 And while I am here, I want you to know that there is
an event that takes place in Toronto annually called Caribana. Caribana as an
event singularly brings in the largest dollar exchange in the country. The
largest exchange of dollars in this country is brought in by
7199 Unfortunately, the establishment has benefited by
this. Black people from all across the world, as far as England, use this as a
vacation. We have no hotels, no restaurants and so on. Restaurants we do have.
We have no means of letting them know that this is so. You could never advertise
in a paper like The Toronto Sun or The Toronto Star at Caribana time to
extrapolate some of that wealth.
7200 If we had a radio station, we would benefit by
7201 I have no compunction in saying that we need to
benefit by that, because as long as the establishment stays rich and Black
people stay poor there is going to be animosity. It is in equalization of wealth
that there is respect, unfortunately.
7202 I have in front of me magazines -- and I don't know
where the Panel is from. Has any member of the Panel ever heard of Ebony
magazine? One member.
7203 That is a national magazine, probably an
international magazine. I want to show you what takes place when you have
collective bargaining. Black people will support each other by even name of
identification. Unfortunately, whether Milestone was owned by a white corporate,
fronted by Black people, the moment that it is known Black people would adhere
7204 We hope it is not going to be so.
7205 I am going to hand you a few magazines, and please
make sure you hand them back to me.
7206 This is Ebony, a magazine that has been around for a
very long time. I am going to hand you this magazine for women. What I want you
to do is we are going to turn these pages -- I won't be as long as the minister,
7207 You can flip through that -- and please make sure I
get these magazines back.
7208 I want you to flip through the pages of these
magazines. It is a Black magazine by a Black publishing company out of Chicago
called Johnsons Publication. As you look at the pages, you will see it is
probably one of the finest quality -- I think it equals Life or any other
7209 I knew when this magazine was probably about a
40-page magazine. It has grown. It is a vehicle through which a lot of good
articles are written that are very supportive of young people today, to show
them that it can be done.
7210 But as you look at the advertisers, you will see how
multinational they are. You will see the banks. You will see travel agents. You
will see all the multinationals that advertise in all the magazines.
7211 I have great respect for Mr. Johnson. He has held it
together where it is now looked upon as Ebony. It is hardly even Black any
7212 I am going to ask the Panel to grant Milestone a
licence, so that Milestone can become this wonderful baby that we will nurture,
through which the voices of our Black businesses might be heard. And in not too
long they will have to sign an agreement to always remember their Black
supporters, because it will become so inundated with advertisers that maybe very
few Blacks will be able to afford it. So the members of this governing body must
have a percentage for small Black businesses.
7213 My reason for being here is simply to assure you that
when Milestone is granted a licence to operate a radio station, the quality of
this station will be listened to by all people and that there need not be any
fear that our community, and the rest of the world, will support
7214 I have just one other point. I won't be long. Very
few people are aware that Black women are 10 per cent of America's population
and consume 17 per cent of the broad cosmetic market of America and 35 per cent
of the toiletries.
7215 Very few people are aware that one of the most
profitable lines for Air Canada is its flight into Jamaica. These are
7216 Very few people are aware that on a percentile basis
one of the most progressive groups of people in this country are Black
7217 Let us not go by what the media says about
sensationalism in journalism; if a Black man should hit another Black man, it is
headlines in the paper. Hardly newsworthy. We are a people who are earners, a
people who are spenders, a people who can govern ourselves with a tremendous
amount of confidence.
7218 I am asking the Panel to please grant Milestone a
7219 Thank you.
7220 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Azan, for your
7221 Mr. Secretary, please.
7222 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7223 I have been advised that another one of our
intervenors has a pressing engagement. That being the case, I would like to call
Mr. Gordon Cressy of Ryerson Polytech University to come forward and present his
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7224 MR. CRESSY: Madam Chair and Members of the
Commission, to make a grand dream happen, one must first have a grand
7225 I am here today for two reasons. I was born in this
city 56 years ago, and when I was 19 I went to live in Trinidad in the West
Indies. I had never met, in the first 19 years of my life, anybody who was not
white. This city has changed forever.
7226 It is unique to understand now that soccer is more
popular than hockey or football; that cricket is growing; that we have as many
steel bands in our schools as we have orchestras.
7227 I have done a few things. I have been chair of the
Toronto Board of Education. I have been Vice-President of the University of
Toronto. I have been President of the United Way. I have chaired the YMCA of
Canada. I have chaired the board of CUSO. I am co-chair of the National Harmony
7228 But the real reason I am here today is the time is
7229 I want to speak about the Milestone application for
five reasons -- and I am not one who just came here. I have been part of the
three previous bids.
7230 The first is that the need is here and documented. If
the need was big in 1989 and the mid-nineties, it is even more so now. There is
absolutely no question that there is an enormous vacuum that occurs. There have
been two university radio stations that have played the type of music we are
talking about, and south of the border. But the need is great.
7231 The second thing is it is important to understand
that the people from Milestone bring together passion, commitment, competence,
skill, energy, talent and financial backing. So what we are talking about will
be well run and well managed. It is not just old friends, although there are old
friends. As important, they are new friends bringing on board Standard
Broadcasting with a history in this city that is so long with the work that the
Slaight family has done that was very sound.
7232 The third thing that I think is important is that
they have earned it. They have earned it over the long haul. Tenacity is an
7233 But I guess the most important reason of all is that
it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do. We need healing in
this community. We don't need more polarization. We need to fill the vacuums
that are there. What we have learned -- and I think as one who lived on the
south side of Chicago in the mid-1960s and the little story I wrote in my letter
is that my son, who is now 15, when he was 11 and at Deer Park school he became
part of the steel band there. For him it was a profound experience with kids
from 36 countries who played the steel band -- that, as you know, came out of
Trinidad at the end of the Second World War.
7234 And Jessie Ketchum's School went down two years ago
to perform in Trinidad at carnival time. Talk about cross-fertilization,
bringing people together; a healing force.
7235 What seems to be clear is that there was a feeling
last time it was the time. It didn't happen. It was a close vote, as you are
aware, three-to-two. But there was a feeling there then that has only grown and
has brought more and more people together.
7236 So this is a moment in time. It is a time to fill a
vacuum. It is a time to do the right thing. It is a time to heal. It is a time
to build and it is a time to grow.
7237 T.E. Lawrence put it best. He said: All people dream
but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusty recesses of their mind,
awake to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous
people for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it
7238 Milestone are dreamers of the day. You have an
opportunity, that may well not come again and almost past the last time, to do
the right thing. We need more positive role models in our Black community;
that's for sure. What you have in the leadership of Milestone are entrepreneurs
who are successful.
7239 What Milestone will do, in addition to the music that
we have talked about, is promote a dialogue. What Zanana Akande talked about
when she came to you were voices of the community that rise up and inspire and
7240 I guess I am here, in the end, because this city
needs a home for the Black community on the airwaves that goes far beyond the
7241 Last Saturday night I was at the Dragon Ball in
Toronto. There were 1,800 people there. It is our eleventh event. It raises
money for a Chinese senior citizen's home. In the first year the population was
90 per cent of Chinese origin. Saturday night, it was 30 per cent. In the first
years there was no corporate support. Now there is corporate support
7242 Who will advertise? Yes, the Black community will
advertise. And they should. And that is important to promote. But the wider
community understands the marketplace too and they will be there.
7243 This is not just field of dreams, that people will
listen. We know that they will listen. More than that, it will work.
7244 To make a great dream happen, one must first have a
great dream. Milestone is that dream. And I am honoured to support
7245 Thank you.
7246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Cressy.
7247 Mr. Secretary, please.
7248 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7249 We will now hear the intervention by WORD, Philip
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7250 MR. VASSELL: Good morning.
7251 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr.
7252 MR. VASSELL: I would like to say that I am here to
support the Milestone application, but before I get into my reasons for
supporting the application I would like to give you a bit of background about
7253 I am the co-founder, along with my wife, of WORD
magazine, which is Toronto's urban culture magazine, a magazine that is
dedicated to the arts and entertainment, as well as some sociocultural and
7254 It is a monthly magazine that is now available not
just in Toronto, but across the country.
7255 I am also the co-founder of the Toronto Urban Music
Festival. This is a showcase that goes on in the city each summer, dedicated to
providing a showcase at the CNE for approximately 20 artists each
7256 WORD magazine came about after I had spent five years
working at CBC television in a number of different capacities. I was a
researcher; I was a reporter; and I was a producer there. But I always had the
sense that my opportunities, while they were very good at the CBC, were not
going to be the same opportunities for a number of other young, talented Black
and visible minority people. I felt that starting the magazine could be one of
my ways of contributing to that.
7257 And as I said, three years ago -- we are now going
into our fourth year -- we decided that there was in fact also a need for the
showcase that the Toronto Urban Music Festival provides for talented Canadian
7258 I was also the advertising manager of CIUT-FM, the
very first advertising manager at the University of Toronto radio. So I believe
I do have some experience in saying that urban culture has become youth
7259 You have heard a number of people here talk about
urban music replacing rock and roll. That is very real. Soundscan Data currently
shows that hip hop is the fastest growing category, in terms of the billboard
charts and in terms of sales. We also know that here in Toronto, the sixth
largest city in North America, we still do not have a forum for that.
7260 To put that in context, the Black population based on
a study that was carried out for WORD magazine when we started in the early
years shows a number of things, and I will quickly read through that information
for you to give you a sense as to the base which exists for the Milestone
application and for an urban music station here.
7261 We found back in 1993 that the Black population
measured approximately 215,000 people. We found that the economic impact of this
segment of the population had to be considered over and above and the core
population that we researched.
7262 We also found that the estimated personal income was
$2.7 billion. And back then, seven years ago, a city that size would be Canada's
sixteenth largest city, about twice the size of Guelph, Ontario; bigger than St.
John's and Regina.
7263 Another thing we found that was quite interesting was
that with the immigration and the nature of that immigration, the Black
population of Ontario and Canada was significantly younger than the balance of
the population of Ontario. 74 per cent of Ontario's Black community are 15 to
44, compared to 60 per cent of Toronto's population.
7264 By the year 2001, the Black population of Toronto
will grow to approximately 422,000 people. In today's terms, it will be larger
than the market of Kitchener, Halifax or Victoria.
7265 The estimated personal income in year 2001 will be
$5.2 billion in 1993 dollars. And just as important and just as significant, 60
per cent of Canada's Black population lives in Ontario and Toronto's share is
about 42.5 per cent of the Canadian total.
7266 So just on the basis of the Black community alone, we
know there is a market for such a format.
7267 During my own research with WORD magazine in
subsequent years, we found that 50 per cent of our audience identify themselves
as coming from a virtual rainbow coalition; 50 per cent of them identify
themselves as black; the other 50 per cent being the whole range that you can
find here in Toronto.
7268 I think that is a very important point and that is a
key point, because Milestone's application also shows that at least 50 per cent
of the listenership for this station will also come from the larger Toronto
7269 So on a micro level, we can see that the demand is
there. A number of people have enunciated that here to the Commission, and our
own experience at WORD magazine has shown that. WORD magazine is successful not
because it relies solely on the Black community for advertising support, but
because advertisers believe that they are reaching a market by coming to WORD
because of the editorial mix, the music, the film, the theatre, the visual arts,
the entertainment and the news.
7270 I think that one can imagine the tremendous economic
development that will flow from such an initiative and the number of
7271 People mentioned this morning about the impact of the
Caribbean Cultural Committee's annual festival Caribana. Decima Research, back
in the early 1990s, showed that approximately $250 million was spent in a
two-week period during the Caribana festivities. That is a significant sum, and
a large portion of the advertising dollars right now go to WBLK because quite a
lot of these people are not able to access an equivalent radio station here to
7272 In sum, I think we can see that the spin-off effects
directly in terms of music, the spin-off effects in terms of economic
development, the spin-off effects in terms of creating, supporting, providing a
forum for Canadian urban talent is tremendous.
7273 We ourselves have showcased approximately 60 acts,
and that is just a fraction of the numbers that have come forward to us to
participate at the CNE at the Toronto Urban Music Festival which we
7274 I think that WORD magazine has been able to do that
with a minimal amount of resources compared to the millions that I think can be
put forward by a station such as Milestone.
7275 It is also important to note that we have had the
support of MuchMusic in terms of this regard, because that is one of the few
outlets where you can consistently hear that music. They have been there for the
last three years. And I guarantee you that with a station such as Milestone, not
only will we be able to present even greater numbers of people, but I think more
people will want to participate and more people will get the opportunity to
7276 I think one of the things that this does -- if I can
draw your attention to this. In the late 1960s when Rolling Stone Magazine
started in San Francisco, Rolling Stone was not able to do that alone. They did
that with the help of another FM station, that as we know years later led to
what we now know as rock and roll.
7277 We have an opportunity to do that here in Toronto.
WORD magazine in its own way is doing that. I think with the addition and the
economic engine that Milestone is able to provide, we can create our own "made
in Canada" talent; we can create our own "made in Canada" broadcasters; we can
create our "made in Canada" people working behind the table, so to speak, in
terms of technicians, the talent who are going to go out there and assist in
advertising sales; and a whole host of different areas where currently the
opportunities don't exist.
7278 I would like to end here by saying, after having a
number of discussions with Mr. Jolly, I can honestly say that I think that the
team that he has brought forward, the support that he has engendered in the
community, will go a long way towards ensuring that this station is very
7279 Finally, once again I would like to remind the
Commission that we here believe that Toronto being the most culturally diverse
city on the planet deserves an urban format. It is time.
7280 Thank you very much.
7281 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Vassell.
7282 This would seem to be a good time to take a morning
break. We will be back at quarter to eleven. Nous reprendrons à dix heures
--- Recess at 1030 / Suspension à 1030
--- Upon resuming at 1045 / Reprise à 1045
7283 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before we begin again, I would like
to remind you of the time limits that we have asked people to observe. We have a
long day, and in fairness to everybody we would ask you to co-operate. Thank
7284 Mr. Secretary, please.
7285 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7286 Our next intervention will be presented by
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7287 JEMENI: Good morning.
7288 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7289 JEMENI: I have come to this intervention in order to
express my support for Milestone radio and its application to operate radio
station 93.5 FM.
7290 I am a spoken word artist and performance poet. I am
also a radio host and programmer and the former music director of CKLN
88.1 FM. I add the last not because I have come here today to speak from a
radio or music industry perspective on the overwhelmingly obvious need for the
presence of black radio in Toronto, but to clarify that while I am an artist, I
do have an understanding of the music and radio industry in Toronto.
7291 I was introduced to radio as co-host of the longest
running hip hop show in Toronto, and arguably Canada, The Power Move. I first
heard the show as it was then The Fantastic Voyage as a teen living in St.
Catherines. Every Saturday I would pray that the signal would be loud enough for
me to decipher faint voices through the static. I didn't have a proper antenna
so I would fashion a makeshift antenna out of knives and hold it up until the
signal died or until my arms got tired, for up to three hours.
7292 This is how important the show was to me. It was the
only representation of me as a young black woman that spoke to and not of
7293 It was also very ghettoized and underground -- and I
am told that I should explain that. By those terms, I am referring to the fact
that the show was not at all mainstream, with very little funds and resources to
support it. Oftentimes it was a misogynistic representation of the black
experience. But for three hours every Saturday it answered all the questions I
had about being a black woman in North America.
7294 As a radio and television student at Ryerson, I
decided to join the show in an effort to give something back. As co-host of the
show, I came to understand how important it was to represent so many people who
felt they had no voice in our society and to make a place on the dial for
listeners who felt they weren't wanted or represented anywhere else.
7295 I would also like to point out that these listeners
were people of all ages and all races, colours and creeds.
7296 As the popularity of urban music has grown, we have
watched the entertainment infrastructure grow to accommodate it. Seemingly the
only facet of the industry that hasn't made room for the urban explosion is
commercial radio. Labels are backing urban artists, promoters are booking bigger
shows. And while community radio will always be the place to break underground
artists, they don't have the resources to properly facilitate the overwhelming
demands of a very mainstream urban music market. And frankly, we should not have
to be the only resource for exposure for these artists.
7297 As an artist myself, I first began reading my pieces
on community radio and now perform them all around Canada and North America. I
have performed on the air, at concerts, in community centres and in front of the
Prime Minister of Canada.
7298 I was recently featured on a CD anthology of spoken
word poetry called Word Life. It was independently produced and became one of
HMV's top sellers on the indie chart through word of mouth, guerilla marketing
and college radio play.
7299 I am also involved in the biggest anti-racism
campaign ever launched in Canadian history. The project is headed by former
lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander. I am proud to have been featured in my
own anti-racism commercial performing a spoken word piece dealing with racism
that will air all across Canada.
7300 This is an example of the acceptance and popularity
of spoken word poetry in popular culture. It is arguably the next "big thing" in
the arts community as the focus of concerts, movies, TV shows, albums and
videos. While interest is growing here, spoken word is wildly popular in the
States and is becoming in fact big business.
7301 Having to depend solely on community radio with
little or no promotion or funding here in Toronto is unfortunately our reality.
Commercial radio support and exposure would translate to more performances and
access to a wider, more diverse audience and I believe, as is the case of many
urban artists in the city, open the eyes of people at major labels to the
marketability of spoken word.
7302 The more play we can get in both underground and
mainstream radio, the more people will start to see spoken word as more than
just poetry, as it is often merged with music and can be considered essentially
7303 We are changing people's definition of poetry and
attracting new audiences. Exposure to performance poetry has the added benefit
of helping young people to begin to explore and develop their own talents in the
area. It is an important cultural option. More children hopefully can aspire to
become poets and writers, not just rappers or athletes.
7304 Milestone radio has made a significant commitment to
spoken word programming and, to my knowledge, has been the most clear in
defining spoken word, not just as news programming but as poetry.
7305 Milestone's support would help to demonstrate that
performance poetry is commercially viable and at the same time, through on-air
programming and concerts, support the artists who are involved in this art
7306 There is no question as to whether there are
brilliantly talented spoken word artists in Toronto. The question is: Will we as
a community and as an industry take the steps needed to support this burgeoning
art form or will we again wait until our talented artists give up or move to the
States for support before we take notice?
7307 Thank you.
7308 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Jemeni.
7309 Mr. Secretary, please.
7310 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear the intervention by
Maestro Fresh Wes.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7311 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7312 MAESTRO FRESH WES: I am sure that break did everybody
a little justice. I will respect the ten-minute time lag.
7313 THE CHAIRPERSON: At last we have someone scared.
--- Laughter / Rires
7314 MAESTRO FRESH WES: Before I say what I have to say, I
want to give a brief description of my accolades -- which is just not my
accolades, but I am documenting black music history in Canada.
7315 I was born and raised in Toronto. Since 1982 I have
been doing my thing. Jemeni said earlier that CKLN was the catalyst for a lot of
us. I had my antenna as well, listening and trying to do my thing. Ron Nelson
was very instrumental in putting me on the show at 15 years old. Ryerson was
amazed. I was going through there like a little kid, trying to find CKLN and
finally found it. And that was very inspirational for me.
7316 Through those years I developed my confidence, and
college radio did that for me. In 1988 I signed with LMR Records -- that is a
small independent label out of New York City -- and I released my first single
"Let Your Back Bone Slide", which is still the only gold single from an urban
artist in Canadian music history.
7317 "Let Your Back Bone Slide" is on the Juno Awards Top
77 Greatest Hits of All Time, along with Brian Adams, Burton Cummings, Alanis
Morrissette, what have you. So that is a step in the right direction towards
this genre of music.
7318 According to the Canadian Record Magazine, "Let Your
Back Bone Slide" and "Conducting Things", which is another release I had, are
listed in The Top 50 Canadian Singles of All Time.
7319 I have received 11 Juno nominations, including the
receiving of the first rap Juno in 1980. I am also on the 1992 version of the
Canadian National Anthem, along with Anne Murray, Rita McNeil and Alanis
7320 The reason that I did this wasn't only because I am
patriotic to Canada, but also to be ground-breaking. Coming up in this game I
didn't just strive to make hit records; I strived to make a difference and to
make a contribution to up and coming artists. This decision for me to be a part
of the national anthem was to show the up and coming artists how far we can go
with this music. It is not just on the CKLN college radio perspective. We can
branch on and do bigger and better things.
7321 I also performed in front of the Prime Minister. It
was Mulroney at the time -- before he retired. He was in the front row, and his
7322 The reason I am emphasizing this is to show that the
embryonic stage of my professional career, which was from 1989 to let's say
1991, I had 35 commercial radio stations across the country that were supporting
me. That is what compelled my first album to reach near Double Platinum status
7323 The second album that I released was called "The
Black Tie Affair", the first one being "Symphony in Effect" which featured "Let
Your Back Bone Slide".
7324 "Symphony in Effect" was at the height of my
popularity. But at that time we lost several radio stations across the country.
From 35 commercial radio stations, we dropped to six stations that played my
music. So obviously my sales plummeted from my first album.
7325 My second album I was on the mindset of "you know
what, let's get as much artists on as possible". I have done stuff with Carlos
Morgan. He was featured on that album. He has branched off to do his thing
7326 Simone Denny is on that album. Lacel Stevens, who is
one of the co-writers for Deborah Cox, he was on that album too. My attitude was
to get as much talent as I knew on this album to propel it to the next level. If
my first album reached close to Double Platinum status, the next album,
especially with the wealth of talent throughout Toronto, could break down doors
instead of trying to sneak through the back alley, or whatever. This was going
to be a ground-breaking album.
7327 Because of lack of radio, sales plummeted.
7328 What it did was affect me to the point where I had to
reassess my career and I had to consider moving to the States. So in 1992, kiss
moms, kiss pops -- I actually gave my pops a handshake -- and I moved down
7329 From 1992 to 1997 I was in New York, struggling
trying to take my music to the next level; communicating with artists that were
here from that time span. They did their thing and the wealth of talent
definitely improved and is more visible. But at the same time, because of lack
of radio artists were not selling records, and no one has exceeded my first
album, which was released in 1989.
7330 I feel that if we don't do something right now, a lot
of artists are going to leave. I know artists who are recipients of Junos in the
past, close friends of mine, saying Wes, I have done my thing over here; it is
7331 I feel that if we had the opportunity to have radio
over here, it would be more instrumental for them to stay.
7332 Obviously the U.S. market is a bigger and more
lucrative market, but artists should move by choice instead of my
7333 One of our biggest artists is Deborah Cox. She might
not have that much radio play in Canada, but she just won a Soul Train Award,
beating out Lauryn Hill and Janet Jackson. That is an accomplishment and is
symbolic for all of us.
7334 I have known Farley Flex, who is also representing
Milestone. He was also my manager for 12 years. I am confident in the fact that
Denham Jolly, as well as everyone else on the Milestone team, will not only make
a contribution to black music in Canada but also make a difference.
7335 Thank you very much.
7336 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your
7337 Mr. Secretary, please.
7338 MR. CUSSONS: I would now like to invite Orin Isaacs
to present an intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7339 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Isaacs.
7340 MR. ISAACS: I would like to give you a little
background before I get started.
7341 I am Orin Isaacs and I am a musician. I have been the
musical director of the Juno, Gemini, Genie and NHL awards. I have also been
responsible for the production of five Juno award willing albums. Even though I
have accomplished all this, my best and greatest accomplishment is the fact that
I am currently the musical director/bandleader of Canada's only successful late
night talk show, "Open Mike with Mike Bullard".
7342 I am here to support Milestone's bid, because I am
living proof that success stories can and will happen with (1) opportunity, (2)
the right team, and (3) diversity.
7343 The late night format in this country was supposed to
be dead. For 20 years all the broadcasters avoided it. You had Peter Gzosky back
then, Alan Thick. Of recent years we have had Ralph Benmurgi in the variety
category. We have had Rita McNeil.
7344 I think they didn't succeed because they didn't have
the right team and they were not diverse enough to appeal to someone like
7345 Four years ago when the cable stations were coming
up, I remember reading an article in The Toronto Star saying that the hottest
jobs when these cable stations were to come on line were to be producers,
directors, musical composers, and it would also develop on-air
7346 At the time I ran a music production company called
Bassmint Productions, and I thought to myself: I wonder if I will be able to
benefit from these new stations. Little did I know that I know that I not only
benefited from it, it also changed my life.
7347 What these stations did and what television decided
to do was to be more diverse. We had a lot of stations catering to a lot of
people. There were a couple of specialty stations like MuchMusic for music fans
and TSN for sports. But by and large the large television networks had to cater
to their large audiences, meaning they had to be a little bit of everything to
7348 Then came diversity. When the second wave of cable
stations came in, they were called the specialty networks. With that came
specialty programming: Comedy Network -- God bless their hearts -- for comedy;
Life Network; Teletoon; BET; Speedvision; The Food Network, et
7349 If you told me that five years ago I would be hooked
on The Home and Gardening television network, I would have laughed in your face.
But not only do I have a dream home of my own, I can't seem to get it off
7350 With that came opportunity. The Comedy Network took a
chance on a late night talk show called "Open Mike with Mike Bullard", because
they felt we had the right team and they also felt the makeup of the show and
its on-air personalities was diverse enough to work.
7351 When we first went on air, some critics said we would
only last three months. It's funny, we had one of those critics on the show last
month trying to promote a book.
--- Laughter / Rires
7352 MR. ISAACS: Not only did we become The Comedy
Network's flagship show, but we were also picked up by CTV. And the rest is
7353 We are currently beating out all the major U.S. talk
shows in the ratings in Canada because we were unique, because we were diverse,
because we had the right team, and because we were granted an
7354 To me, the problem with radio is that you have a lot
of radio but there is not enough diversity. We did it with the show. We created
a great program. We filled a void. And in turn it was received by a number of
people, not only across the country but in U.S. border cities.
7355 I think one of the best compliments we ever got was
an e-mail from Michigan where a guy says: "Hey, we love your new late night talk
show, but what's with all the Canadian guests."
--- Laughter / Rires
7356 MR. ISAACS: "Open Mike" has helped the Canadian
entertainment industry by creating a vehicle for people to be seen -- I wish I
could get that much laughs on the show.
7357 I would like to see Milestone create a vehicle for
local artists in the urban community to be heard. Radio is a crucial missing
link to having successful infrastructure in the development of Black music in
this city and in the country.
7358 I say this because I started a company called
Bassmint Productions in the early 1990s because I felt there was a lack of
entities to help build an infrastructure. I spent a quarter of a million dollars
on a professional downtown 4,000 square foot facility.
7359 We were recording every day for seven years, with no
place to go and no outlets. 80 per cent of the music I produced was urban music;
20 per cent of that music was for television. That's what kept my doors open. 50
per cent of that 20 per cent was urban music for TV.
7360 Some of the artists who recorded in my studio back
then are still around. A lot of them have spoken today. Some have left for
greener pastures, including myself.
7361 When I saw an infrastructure in place for television
and an opportunity, I shut the doors to Bassmint Productions. I felt it was hard
to live in a city that you grew up in and that you love and that is supposed to
be so diverse, but you can't make a living doing what you want to do.
7362 That is why I love the fact that Milestone is willing
to commit 35 per cent to Cancon. I know the question has been rattled around
about whether there is enough talent here to support that. I don't see that as a
problem. I see that as the solution.
7363 If you look at 35 per cent Cancon, it will probably
create a talent pool of 60 per cent. Then the argument is how you filter that
down to 30 per cent.
7364 MS PENNEFATHER: 35 per cent.
7365 MR. ISAACS: 35; I'm sorry. I am glad to see you are
--- Laughter / Rires
7366 MR. ISAACS: That filters down to 35 per cent, because
people will now feel that you have opportunities. So if you play the business
sense numbers game, wouldn't it be great to have 35 per cent of Cancon rotation
saved for our best homegrown talent. That means they will get more spins. Their
music will have a better chance of being exposed, and they will have more
chances of success.
7367 I know this from experience, because the same
one-hour episode of "Open Mike" is played every five hours. It is an important
ingredient to succeeding in the business.
7368 That is why it is also important to have a radio
station that is Black owned. This will help Blacks and minorities, particularly
youth, see big business ownership as a viable option. They will also see the
opportunities available in broadcasting and the entertainment industry and all
of its spinoff areas. It will become a symbol of success.
7369 So think about the record scene that will happen once
Milestone receives their licence. Artists can get on playlists in a major
market, meaning they can go to other markets and prove that they are a viable
commodity, thus turning out more product.
7370 It is like us with The Comedy Network. When we were
on The Comedy Network we only had a 15 per cent penetration of the market share.
As soon as we went to CTV we had 95 per cent -- and we are where we are
7371 Once you have a radio station that sees that you will
be able to get a market share, you become now a viable product.
7372 The majors have this down to a science. And with a
specialty music station for this music, Milestone can help level the playing
field in favour of our local artists.
7373 For example, there are artists in Quebec that make a
great living because Quebec has an infrastructure set up to support their
culture. You can have artists in Quebec who are huge, huge stars yet once they
leave those boundaries they go unrecognized.
7374 Milestone will have a distinctive sound. Milestone
will help develop that culture that could be enjoyed and celebrated by everyone
who wants it in the extended GTA. I believe the extended GTA has the cultural
diversity to embrace and support it.
7375 Sure, I can turn to WBLK during the day -- which I
often do -- and know what I can expect. I can flip the stations to the 103s, the
108s, the CISS's, but to me they all sound exactly the same. They remind me back
in the day of the television stations trying to be a little of everything to
everyone: a jack of all trades, masters of none.
7376 If I want to hear Shania Twain or Sarah McLauchlin, I
can put on any station. But where do I go for my R&B, soul, reggae or jazz
7377 Currently, I can only listen to these hit, dance,
energy format stations for a maximum of three songs before it sounds like I am
at a 14-year-old's birthday party.
7378 I am a successful 30-year-old professional, and when
I am in my car listening to radio I am not interesting in hearing screaming
16-year-old girls every time they open up the phone lines. I am not interested
in knowing what sale is on at Life Style street gear in Buffalo. I am interested
in things that I feel can be important and useful to my life.
7379 Right now I think I am being dictated a way of life
by radio, because it doesn't reflect the issues and the cultural diversity of
the city I live in. I think Milestone can change that.
7380 There are two essential elements of music, and I
think they are the two essential elements of life: pitch and rhythm. I can go to
CISS and get the occasional rhythm, but I missing the pitch because I couldn't
care less when the Backstreet Boys are coming to town.
7381 There are a lot of genres within R&B that current
Toronto stations will only play the most popular of, because they are hits
7382 Look at Whitney Houston and Deborah Cox. Milestone
would play their original versions the way the artists conceived and created it,
to gain a wider audience. Whitney and Deborah, instead, have to do house and
dance versions of those versions to be played on existing Toronto radio
7383 Deborah Cox, although Canadian, can hardly get any
airplay in Canada unless it is a remix; and yet in the U.S., where they have
urban formats that they embrace and understand, her original single can now take
her to be the no. one R&B artist in the world.
7384 The main point I would like to leave you with is that
with opportunity, you will provide a livelihood and success for artists here; an
opportunity to be the next step in an infrastructure to create jobs and
7385 I guarantee you there will be no shortage of artists,
because Open Mike had the same questions: Do you have enough talent to support
it? We don't see it as enough talent to support it; we just help create talent,
and that's what keeps us going.
7386 My mom used to have a saying: It's better to be
prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be
7387 I think Milestone is prepared.
7388 I laugh every day thinking: Wouldn't it be nice for
everybody to enjoy and help create history, to define an historical moment. I
know that is the feeling I get every time I roll in to the "Open Mike" studio. I
am thankful that I found a vehicle for my talent. I am thankful that i was able
to be a success story and a role model for young Canadians across our nation:
people who e-mail me every day on my website, guys who think "I'm a god; I'm the
god of bass; I'm the best thing that ever happened."
7389 Three years ago they didn't know who Orin Isaacs was.
Three years ago you didn't know who Orin Isaacs was. But because I was granted
an opportunity, I was able to show that I always was a great bass
7390 Now I am considered in the same light as Kevin
Eubanks of "The Tonight Show" or Paul Shaffer of "Late Night with David
Letterman", because I do the same thing. I would like to see that looked at in
the same light as Black ownership, which Milestone will be able to provide. They
will be able to experience the same thing, once given the opportunity to prove
what they can do. They will be seen at the same level as other greats in the
industry because they are doing the same thing.
7391 In finishing, I would like to say that with Bassmint
Productions I proved to my corporate clients that my team can run a Black owned
company that could compete with any other company out there. And since the
product that was being produced was unique, it was ultimately the best. They
gave me the opportunity to prove it, and I did. That led me where I am today --
one of the happiest people, let alone musician, in the country.
7392 I urge you to give Milestone an opportunity to prove
it, so they can play the music that will make tens of thousands of people happy
in the GTA.
7393 Thank you.
7394 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Isaacs.
7395 I understand you have a call to return from Home and
7396 Mr. Secretary, please.
7397 MR. CUSSONS: I would now like to ask Mr. Rob Bowman
to present his intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7398 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Bowman.
7399 MR. BOWMAN: Good morning.
7400 It is kind of funny, in light of the last
intervention, I first heard Deborah Cox when I was in New York City and felt
"wow, this girl can sing". I was embarrassed when I came back and raved about
her to a few friends in Toronto and somebody said "I think she is Canadian". I
had never heard her on Canadian radio to that point.
7401 My name is Rob Bowman. I am a professor of music and
sociology at York University where I have personally pioneered the study of
popular music at the BA, MA and Ph.D levels in Canada. Although I spend a good
deal of my life within the world of academia studying music as a cultural
gesture, I also have a healthy and multi-faceted career within the music
industry compiling, producing and annotating historical reissues, engaging in
freelance radio work (most notably for the CBC) and serving as a consultant at
various time to Harbourfront, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council and
the National Library.
7402 I have been nominated for four Grammy awards,
including one coming up February 23 -- wish me luck! -- and the only Canadian to
ever win a Grammy in the Liner Note category; and presently serve on three Juno
committees, two of which are directly germane to Milestone's application, those
being the blues and world beat committees.
7403 Two years ago I published an award winning book on
the definitive Black soul music label, Stax Records, and for my next book I am
considering writing a history on Black radio in the United States.
7404 I also served for 12 years as a host on community
radio stations in Toronto and Memphis, and it is in this context that I would
like to make the following remarks.
7405 The first entirely Black-hosted and programmed radio
stations in the United States came on board in the late 1940s. The most famous,
and certainly the first most important such station, was WDIA based in Memphis,
7406 WDIA was a success from the word go, as it quite
clearly filled a void in the airwaves of the mid-south. It filled this void in
several respects. Obviously, WDIA programmed music that was not being made
available elsewhere on the dial. By and large, this was the music that mattered
the most to the area's African-American population.
7407 I would like to stress that neither the demographic
that WDIA served nor the music that it programmed was monolithic. WDIA
programmed in varying amounts blues, jazz, gospel, jump, boogie woogie and Black
7408 To my way of thinking, this is one of the strengths
of Milestone's application. Rather than suggest that they would be meeting the
needs of the majority of Toronto's African-Canadian population by mounting a
dance station, Milestone is quite clearly committed to a diverse mix of musics,
including urban, gospel, rap, dance, jazz, reggae, soca and calypso.
7409 Given that if they are successful they will be the
region's only Canadian Black-oriented radio station, I strongly believe that
this diversity in programming is essential to even begin to represent the
variety of Black communities -- African, Caribbean and other -- that clearly are
part of the uniquely rich mosaic of Toronto.
7410 I think of the last intervention, where Orin was
saying that when he turns on the radio he doesn't want to pretend that he is at
a 14-year-old's birthday party. That is what you feel like when you listen to a
lot of the dance stations. There are all sorts of musics that are not being
addressed that Milestone I think will address if they get the licence in this
7411 Filling the void for African-Canadians that exists on
Toronto's airwaves in such a wide-reaching, responsible and effective manner is
laudable enough in and of itself that it would warrant my support, and I believe
a positive decision by the CRTC.
7412 Let me relate the story of WDIA and its parallel with
Milestone's application just a little bit further.
7413 WDIA was about more than just music. It truly became
the voice of the Black community in the mid-south. At its height, it reached 10
per cent of the entire Black populace of the United States daily and became
known, in the antiquated parlance of the day, as "The Mother Station of the
7414 WDIA accomplished this through a variety of means,
the three most effective being: (1) call-in talk shows; (2) highly visible
participation in community-based events; and (3) charity work.
7415 Black Memphians to this day see WDIA as in a sense
belonging to them. It is their station.
7416 I can tell you that one of the proudest moments of my
life was when I was a guest on WDIA promoting my book, which was about Black
music in Memphis. It was astonishing the vibrancy and richness of those callers
calling in, and what it meant for them to be hearing on their station about a
book about music that came out of their community. It was very moving for me
7417 Listeners to WDIA hear friends, neighbours and
colleagues from work voice their opinions on the air. There is truly a sense
that WDIA is an inextricable and important part of the local community whose
function is partially to bind the community through information, education and
7418 Milestone's application includes a variety of
programming slots, as well as commitments to community outreach that make me
believe that they would function in Toronto in a fashion that is analogous to
the way WDIA has worked in Memphis, Tennessee.
7419 Milestone's programming schedule includes dramatic
productions, call-in shows, ample room to air local music, and a spot entitled
"What's On" where minority students will be able to get hands-on experience in
broadcasting and production.
7420 Again it is interesting, in light of the last
intervention, when I turn on my television I can see a number of Black faces
now, where I didn't maybe 10, 15 years ago. There are a number of shows where
Black and other minorities get a chance to be seen. Except for the community
radio stations in Toronto, I don't find that when I dial the airwaves in my
7421 I remember when I first met Isaac Hayes as a central
figure in my book sales for U.S.A. Isaac was 6 years old when WDIA went on the
air. Up to that point he said he had never heard a Black voice on radio. And he
was nearly in tears as he told this story. It is amazing. I was interviewing a
grown man who had been a multi-millionaire and extraordinarily successful. But
the memory for him of what it meant as a 6-year-old boy to hear a Black voice on
7422 The reason it meant so much -- well, there are
probably several reasons that it meant so much, but one reason is that he
suddenly thought that could be me. That could be him when he grew up. There was
a possibility that he could assume such a role in public space, public airwaves,
working with music.
7423 The funny thing is that after becoming the renowned
musical artist he became, he is now a daily disc jockey in New York City.
Actually, he has his own radio show. But when he was 6, hearing those voices on
the air meant so much.
7424 Milestone is also promising $2.1 million to be used
directly for the development of Canadian talent over the first seven years of
their licence and have earmarked additional funds for two annual scholarships to
be awarded to minority students to study broadcast journalism or music at a
college or university in the Greater Toronto Area.
7425 They have also earmarked funds for an annual grant to
Caribana to establish a new competition in the area of mass band performing
arts. It is this sensitivity and deep-seated commitment to the community that
makes me believe that, if given a licence, Milestone will serve tremendously
benefit a substantial portion of the population in Toronto who is currently
woefully underserved by local radio programming.
7426 I urge you, the regulating body of our airwaves, with
every fibre in my bones, to do the right thing and allow Toronto's most visible
minority to finally have a voice of their own on the airwaves. Please grant
Milestone their licence.
7427 Thank you.
7428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Professor
7429 Mr. Secretary, please.
7430 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear the intervention by
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7431 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Bey, it is a pleasure to see
7432 MS BEY: My name is Salome Bey. I am writing to
support Milestone's application, and I am here to appear on behalf of
7433 I grew up in the United States, and I listened to
more than my share of Black radio.
7434 I hate saying Black radio, because how did I know
whether it was black, purple, green or blue. It was in the voice. And this is
something that I don't hear in Toronto, or Canada so to speak.
7435 When I made my residence in Canada, I searched and I
searched, but to no avail, to hear maybe even myself on radio -- because I was
doing some recording. I have got to the point where I still don't
7436 I go to record stores like Sam and do you have "I
Like Your Company", the CD that I recorded with Doug Riley. "Oh, we know Doug
Riley." Great. But I am talking about my CD that I recorded with Doug
7437 I solely support Milestone's application mainly
because it is Milestone. They are not talking about Black Milestone. They are
just saying Milestone. That is very important.
7438 It just so happens that they are mainly Black artists
that you don't hear. But it is Milestone. They are not talking about hip hop,
hop hip; they are talking about music. And it is very important that we hear
this music on radio.
7439 I would like to go into the past a little bit. There
was a gentleman who was recording things or he was writing things, but he
couldn't get anything played in Toronto. He was born in Buxton. I bet you don't
even know there is a gentleman by the name of Shelton Brooks -- do you know
7440 Are you all awake? You have heard of him.
7441 He had to go down to L.A. Before he got there,
everybody was grabbing his stuff. This is away in the past. Sophie Tucker
grabbed one of his songs, "Some of These Days". Do you know that one? Shelton
Brooks, a Canadian wrote that, but couldn't get it played in Canada.
7442 He wrote another one, "I'll Be Down to Get You in a
Taxi, Honey". Do you know that one? He wrote that one too.
7443 I know I am having that trouble myself, getting
things played. I recorded things on Duke Street and everything.
7444 I am trying to keep to my ten minutes. What you do is
you do this to me. When I get to ten minutes, then I will go out this
7445 I have two daughters and they have their own singing
group, called "Blacksom". I know you have never heard of them but Bon Jovi heard
of them. So they are moving out, just like Debbie Cox, who worked with me when I
worked on a thing called "Rainbow World". She was in "Rainbow World".
7446 But when it was time to get her music played or her
CDs played, she had to move out because there was nothing to play it on, no
radio station. If you go to a certain radio station, they would say: "Well, we
don't play Black music."
7447 What in the world does that mean? So she had to go to
the U.S. and she got things happening there.
7448 I am saying it is very important that you support
Milestone. It is more than important. I hate the thought of you sitting there
thinking that I am begging, but I do see you kind of waking up and getting a
little rhythm. You will get a lot of that from Milestone.
7449 As I said before, it is important that you support
it. And let's not have to come here again. Am I right? Let this be it. All
7450 Thank you.
7451 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Bey.
7452 Mr. Secretary, please.
7453 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7454 We will now hear a number of intervenors in support
of the application by Mr. Arnold Auguste. We will start with The CanDance
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7455 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead when you are
7456 MR. MARCUS: Good morning.
7457 Madam Chairman, Members of the Commission, my name is
Elton Marcus (aka Elton le Marquee). I am leading a single group of intervenors
on behalf of The CanDance Coalition.
7458 We are here with great pride and enthusiasm to
support the application by Arnold Auguste for an inclusive urban/dance radio
7459 I am a singer, songwriter, producer, DJ with my own
production company called Edge Productions. My album is currently available in
Scandinavia, Canada and the West Indies.
7460 Members of the Commission, I would like to introduce
the people with me here today.
7461 First we have Deesha. This is a singer of South Asian
descent, who is an R&B performer. She has a current record entitled "Dried
My Eyes", and she quotes:
"Although I have approached every radio station, each one has refused to put
my single in rotation because either it does not fit their format or it is in
their interest to play only those artists signed to a major
7462 Second, I have Juno winner, Mr. Carlos Morgan, who
has self-financed his new single called "Whatcha Got", along with his business
manager and partner, Tracey D. Human of Solroc Music. They both feel that the
absence of an urban dance format in this market has been, and I quote:
"A glaring detriment to the advancement of Carlos and other
7463 Next, I have soca singer and concert promoter,
Elsworth James, who feels that his kind of music -- and he himself quotes:
"...is suffering from a lack of commercial radio
7464 And we have John James, recording fusion artist, who
has experienced first hand the lack of support from radio, despite being signed
to a major independent Canadian record label. I want to quote John James, who
"I have stuck it out here in Toronto while many of my peers have long gone to
the U.S. and
7465 We have producer, performer, and co-owner of Aztec
Records, Matthew Paparella, also known as Levii, who feels that his business
initiatives would prosper with the existence of a station proposed by SHARE
7466 Next we have Sean Alexander from the Black Listed
production with the group Ora, four young ladies who were born in Mississauga of
7467 And last but not least, we have the producer-owner of
Rammit Records, Trevor Shelton, who over the past 20 years has persevered with
his music despite obstacles in his way. He states that SHARE FM would help break
international barriers for urban/dance Canadian artists.
7468 Members of the Commission, we are only the tip of the
iceberg of diverse Canadian talent who work in this broad spectrum of
urban/dance music int his country. Along with the Coalition's intervention, we
have submitted letters from a total of 80 artists, songwriters, producers,
production companies, distributors, independent labels, DJs, managers, promoters
and others. They all believe this city is long overdue for a urban/dance station
to play fulltime, prime time, commercial urban music all day long, all the
7469 Our artists and creative talents have been frustrated
for a long time with the patronizing and indifferent attitudes to our music by
the existing, established order of mainstream radio. We are continuously being
overlooked by radio programmers in this country. Many of us here get more
airplay overseas than we do here in Canada and Toronto, our home.
7470 This is where we live and this is where we call
7471 At one point or another I am sure all of us here have
been tempted to leave because of the many barriers that confront us. But we have
stayed because we love Canada. This is our home, and we live here.
7472 It is time, as we move into the 21st Century to
change this dire situation. We believe it is time that a radio station in
Toronto play urban music regardless of racial, ethnic and cultural background of
its creators, as long as they are Canadian.
7473 Toronto is a diverse city. We are diverse in our
backgrounds and origins, so therefore our music is diverse. However, it is all
urban/dance music and uniquely Canadian and as good as anything else in the
7474 To close, let me reiterate the reasons for supporting
Mr. Auguste's application.
7475 First, we believe the need for a commercial urban
station that plays all our music, every day.
7476 Second, the station will provide support and airplay
and will develop Canadian artists.
7477 Third, it will catalyze our fledgling industry and
help our businesses to grow and expand opportunities for those who love and work
in this industry.
7478 Fourth, it will add diversity to the broadcasting
system here in Canada.
7479 Fifth, SHARE FM will add to the musical diversity of
this city and accommodate the musical demands of the often ignored immigrant
visible minority sector of our community.
7480 Sixth, SHARE FM will strengthen the bonds across
diverse subcultures, raise self esteem, and knit the larger community together
in a meaningful tapestry of music -- urban/dance music.
7481 Seventh, it will repatriate listeners and advertisers
from WBLK, the American urban/dance station that feeds on our frustration and
impotence without giving anything back to our artists and our community. It will
bring back many thousands of listeners who have long stopped listening to
Toronto radio stations.
7482 Eighth, it will give singers, songwriters, musicians,
artists a shot at the spotlight. It will give us a chance at stardom, fame and
7483 Ninth, we know that the SHARE FM team of Arnold
Auguste, Daniel Calderon, Robert Wood and Newcap and others is the ultimate
team. They have the vision. They have the desire. They have the professional and
musical expertise. And yes, they have the money. And I am certain that they have
7484 Members of the Commission, as a group of musicians,
songwriters and producers, we are tired of being back stage. We got into this
music because we loved music. We wanted to make hits. We wanted to be stars. And
yes, we would like to be paid.
7485 Our aspirations and dreams are to be at the top of
the charts, and we have the talent right here in Canada to do that. Just
imagine, Commissioners, one day Deesha, Carlos Morgan, Elsworth, John James,
Levii, Ora, myself, Elton le Marquee, being talked about in the same breath as
Celine Dion, Alanis Morrissette, Shania Twain. What a day that would be for
Canada and Toronto.
7486 Members of the Commission, we have a high-powered
team of artists here right now before you who are ready to take any questions
you may have.
7487 Thank you; merci beaucoup.
7488 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Marcus, and your
colleagues for your participation.
7489 MR. MARCUS: Madam Commissioner, if we could indulge
you for 30 seconds, we would like to go out on a musical note, just to give you
7490 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely. We need all the help we
7491 MR. MARCUS: Thank you.
--- Audio clip / Clip audio
7492 MR. MARCUS: That is Deesha. Deesha is an up and
coming Canadian R&B artist. Thank you very much; merci beaucoup.
7493 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your
7494 Mr. Secretary, please.
7495 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7496 We will now hear from the Urban Music Association of
--- Pause / Pause
7497 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Members of the Commission, Mr.
Sutherland of the Urban Music Association of Canada is not yet in the building.
We would ask you to move on.
7498 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will proceed with the next
7499 MR. CUSSONS: Perhaps I could call Cheer DJ Pool.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7500 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7501 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Good morning. We, Tony D'Agostino and
Marvin Eng, are here as senior representatives of the Cheer DJ Pool to convey
our support for the SHARE FM application.
7502 The Cheer DJ Pool is a nationally acclaimed
organization of disc jockeys which has been in existence for over 20 years. The
membership of the pool has dedicated itself to serving not only the musical
diversity of the community, but its cultural diversity as well.
7503 MR. ENG: Although the membership of the Pool has
changed over the years, the mandate, integrity and vision of the Pool has
remained constant. This has been accomplished by its founder, Daniel Calderon,
in his ability to identify early on individuals who have become, or have the
potential to become, integral contributors to the culturally diverse urban/dance
7504 Like the community it serves, members of the Pool
have various ethnic backgrounds, including members from South Africa, Portugal,
Italy, Asia, Philippines, Angola, to name but a few.
7505 MR. D'AGOSTINO: The SHARE FM application for a new
urban/dance radio station will embrace the diversity, welcome and recognize
cultural distinctions, as well as unite them as the Cheer DJ Pool has done over
its 20-year-plus history.
7506 It is for this reason that we in the Cheer Pool
membership support the SHARE FM application for a new urban/dance radio
7507 MR. ENG: We and the Pool membership have worked in
Toronto and surrounding area nightclubs for years. We can personally attest to
the degree of musical and cultural diversities we cater to. Indeed, one not even
enter a nightclub to ascertain the cultural interaction and contact of
individuals in these venues is inevitable. All one need do is view the long
line-ups in front of these nightclubs to see that this is true.
7508 A perfect opportunity to view this firsthand for the
Commission will present itself tomorrow night. The hotel here is home to Time
Square Nightclub which hosts a successful Thursday night.
7509 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Currently, the community is being
served by several radio stations which only partially fulfil its needs.
University and college radio stations also partially fulfil the needs. However,
their ability to reach a large audience is limited.
7510 The need we refer to is the need for all Canadian
urban dance artists to be heard regardless of culture, which you had a chance to
meet just before us.
7511 MR. ENG: It is our opinion that the SHARE FM
application will help to lay the foundation today for the successful development
of Canadian artists, not only a local community level or a national level, but
on an international level as well.
7512 The SHARE FM application is an integral and
significant part of this foundation. By creating this foundation now, SHARE FM
will help to create the infrastructure necessary for current and future Canadian
artists of the urban/dance genre.
7513 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Currently, many of Canada's
successful urban artists have had to go south or abroad to achieve its success.
You have heard many stories about this happening.
7514 We can attest to this personally from the experience
we have had working with Canadian independent record labels. By having our own
infrastructure to promote and identify urban/dance artists, we can create
internationally successful Canadian artists right here at home.
7515 This infrastructure will help to alleviate many of
the frustrations currently faced by these artists when approaching record labels
and radio stations to be heard. The infrastructure will bring their music to the
mainstream audience where they can enjoy a higher level of success.
7516 MR. ENG: With the successful application, SHARE FM
will have the capability to reach a larger, more culturally diverse audience and
provide them with music which currently cannot be heard elsewhere.
7517 SHARE FM will become the new face of Toronto,
crossing over cultural diversities by musically -- and I stress musically --
uniting people. This station will be a celebration of culture, hope, people, and
most importantly music, the one element which binds people regardless of
7518 MR. ENG: In closing, we urge you to make your
decision in favour of the SHARE FM application and allow the sounds to be heard.
Thank you very much.
7519 MR. D'AGOSTINO: Thank you.
7520 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. D'Agostino and Mr.
7521 Mr. Secretary, please.
7522 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7523 I am going to be deviating from our order just a
little bit. I would now like to invite Erma Collins to present an intervention,
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7524 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Collins, good morning.
7525 MS COLLINS: Madam Chairperson, Members of the
Commission, as you heard, my name is Erma Collins. I am here not because I have
a connection to the radio industry, but because I have an interest in youth,
having just retired from 32 years as a professor of English at George Brown
College, and because I have an interest in community development. I think Share
has demonstrated its commitment to community development.
7526 What are my credentials in the community? I belong to
several organizations. I have always held responsible positions in these
organizations. I have always made a significant contribution, so much so that my
peers have recommended me for all kinds of awards.
7527 I have 13 awards, including the Scarborough
Bicentennial Award of Merit, the Canada 125th Medal and the Ontario Volunteer
7528 In other words, I am saying my credentials in the
community are well proven.
7529 Share has given you statistics, graphs, and all the
technical information you need. Therefore, I am not going to dwell on that. I
want to deal with the effective domain. And because I want to deal with
feelings, I hope you will allow me to be personal for a bit.
7530 When I emigrated to Toronto in 1965 I thought of
myself as a confident, educated, mature 31-year-old individual. I already had a
teaching certificate from a college in Jamaica. I had a BA degree from the
University of Manitoba. I had five years of teaching in my background. In other
words, I had no reason to be lacking in self-confidence. I thought of myself as
a first class citizen.
7531 When I got here, I even found a clerical job right
away and within a year I found a job in teaching. In other words, everything was
going for me -- until I listened to the radio.
7532 Within a couple of years, after exposure to the radio
stations -- and I want to except CBC. Right now all of my radios, in my car and
in my house, are still on CBC because that is the one radio station in which I
7533 I heard my community being vilified so much on these
radio stations that I began to feel like a second class citizen. And when I
would write to these radio stations -- because I am an activist by nature --
what I would get is: They are only doing their job. I am the sensitive one.
Nothing is wrong with their programming.
7534 Even Contrast, a Black-oriented newspaper that came
into being not long after I came to Toronto, even that got me down. Contrast
concentrated on the negative things that were happening to our community or in
7535 Then along came Share -- a newspaper I am talking
about -- in 1978. It was a breath of fresh air. Share's stated purpose was to
report on the wide spectrum that was my community: the successes, the
creativity, the vibrancy, the variety.
7536 Share, the newspaper, has reflected the Black and
Caribbean community as I experience it: a rich quilt, with most pieces blending
in smoothly and only a few discordant pieces detracting from the whole. But of
course the mainstream radio and newspapers dwell on the discordant
7537 Share, for me, has been an antidote to most
mainstream media, an upliftment of my spirit. That is why I believe that Mr.
Auguste's demonstrated philosophy of balanced reflection of the community to
itself will be transferred to the radio station that he is seeking a licence for
from this Commission.
7538 Another note: During my 32 years of teaching at
George Brown College, my students would come to my English classes hooked up to
their radios. Of late it was their cell phones in their pockets as well. They
would have forgotten their dictionaries. They would have forgotten their
textbooks, but they had their radios.
7539 I am saying this to say that the young people can be
more easily reached through media than through print. Although Mr. Auguste's
application is to serve the diverse communities that make up Toronto -- and I am
especially proud that he has included the Aboriginals -- I want to concentrate
on the Black community in particular.
7540 In the Stephen Lewis report of 1992 Lewis told
7541 (a) not only is racism alive and well in Toronto, but
it is fundamentally an anti-Black racism;
7542 (b) there is a great deal of anger, anxiety,
frustration and impatience in the visible minority communities; and
7543 (c) fear is a powerful emotion in these communities
7544 Lewis made recommendations not only in the areas of
the justice system, employment equity and education system, but also in the area
of community development.
7545 As I said, I believe that Mr. Auguste has
demonstrated his commitment to that.
7546 One organization to which I belong -- and I am not
speaking for the organization; I am here as an individual. One organization to
which I belong is the Jamaican-Canadian Association. I have been a
vice-president in that organization and currently chair a fundraising committee
for the organization.
7547 In 1996 we bought a warehouse on Arrow Road that we
wish to convert into a community centre. The councillor in that neighbourhood
was dead set against our getting a permit to do our renovations. Share took up
our cause. We got front-page exposure. People turned out in droves to North York
city council to report our application for a renovation permit.
7548 In short, we got our permit. The centre is up and
running. We still owe a million dollars, but that is another story. The centre
is up and running, and I am saying that is a demonstration of community
development. After Share got into the act and talked about the need for support,
they had to move the meeting with us from a little committee room to the council
chamber so many people came out.
7549 I believe that the CRTC has an opportunity here.
Since SHARE FM could be an agent further in community development by providing
on the radio role models to youth, giving them an outlet and a voice, giving
work to some of them; in short, acting as a countervailing force to the many
ongoing negative experiences which minority communities contain -- negative
experiences that are often perpetrated by the mainstream media; experiences
which tend to devalue us.
7550 I want to move from the effective domain for a while
to the practical.
7551 It is my understanding that there is not much money
to be made in the ethnic newspaper business. Some publishers after a while close
their papers, sell them, move on. Mr. Auguste has stuck with his paper for over
20 years, demonstrating to me that he is motivated more by the need to serve
than by the need to make money.
7552 I am not saying he doesn't want to make money. But I
am saying that despite hard times -- I think he had a fire at one time -- Mr.
Auguste has not sold his paper.
7553 I believe that he will bring the same commitment to
the radio that he has brought to his paper, as a journalist and a community
7554 It is also my understanding that in the
African-Canadian community many people tune into radio stations in Buffalo and
in other U.S. cities and that advertising follows them. A SHARE FM radio station
will have to keep those advertising dollars in southern Ontario, with the
attendant economic spin-off.
7555 In closing, let me say that the CRTC has an
opportunity to help effect the vision of Stephen Lewis: that we build a society
that includes all minorities, especially in a city such as Toronto, teeming with
African-Canadians and other visible minority peoples from all over the
7556 I am depending on you, Commissioners of the CRTC. You
can help to create a more equitable playing field by granting a radio station
licence to SHARE FM.
7557 Thank you.
7558 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Collins.
7559 Mr. Secretary, please.
7560 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7561 We will now hear an intervention by Allison
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7562 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms Gloudon.
7563 MS GLOUDON: Good morning.
7564 Madam Chairperson, Members of the Commission, members
of Commission Staff, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Allison Gloudon and I am a
22-year-old student at the University of Toronto pursuing a double specialist in
finance and economics. I have lived in the Greater Toronto Area all of my life,
and it is with this background that I am here to support Arnold Auguste's
application to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
for a licence to operate a radio station in Toronto.
7565 Today I will address both the need for a mainstream
radio station that reflects the ethnic diversity of our city, and why I feel
that Mr. Auguste, through SHARE FM, is best suited to fill the void.
7566 A radio station with ethnic content would expand the
idea of multiculturalism within Toronto as it would allow many different races
to be exposed to the different ideas and values that exist within our community.
This new window would present the wider society a more balanced perspective and
a more positive image of our community than is currently available.
7567 Based on the assumption that the frequency would have
a powerful range, it would definitely be a catalyst for a stronger ethnic
infrastructure, instilling a sense of pride and integrity in our
7568 SHARE FM would repatriate young listeners, like
myself, from border stations in the United States which we have been forced to
turn to due to the inexistence of a radio station in Toronto that meets our
news, cultural and public affairs needs.
7569 Evidence of the aforementioned U.S. station's wide
Canadian audience is their extensive usage by Canadians to reach our community
through radio announcements. This clearly demonstrates the need for a Canadian
counterpart. Moreover, young people in our urban Toronto community need a forum
where our voices can be heard. What is needed is not only a medium that allows
us to talk amongst ourselves, but also to communicate with the greater
7570 It is important to note that SHARE FM would not only
appeal to the Black community. As the President of the Commerce Students'
Association at the University of Toronto, I have had the privilege of
participating in many inter-university conferences. They include the National
Business School Conference, the Undergraduate Business Games and Roundtables for
business school councils.
7571 Generally, at least 20 universities from across
Canada participate in these events. While we work hard during the day, the
evenings consist of social events at local clubs and bars. Invariably, a
substantial portion of the music played is urban, and it is enthusiastically
enjoyed by the highly diverse group represented.
7572 I am reminded of the first time I attended a
predominantly Asian club in the downtown core with a friend. I was surprised to
discover that an entire floor of the two-level establishment was devoted solely
to urban music, but I was astonished when I noticed that many people were
singing the lyrics from memory.
7573 Urban music and the style with which hit is
traditionally played appeals to a diverse and wide reaching segment of Toronto's
young people. DJs who play urban music well are a hot commodity in Toronto,
evidenced by the long line-ups outside the clubs inside which they play. Yet,
despite its popularity, no Canadian source exists that is a constant source of
7574 When I moved downtown to attend the University of
Toronto, I was devastated to discover that the skyscrapers prevented me from
receiving transmissions from U.S. border stations. For the past three and a half
years I have been forced to search up and down the dial for college stations
playing brief urban segments or listen to mixed tapes purchased on trips to New
7575 Additionally, a station such as this would serve as
inspiration for many artists, speakers and creative minds who have lost hope due
to the inexistence of an outlet for their crafts. I have the pleasure of being
acquainted with a number of Toronto's up-and-coming minority artists and have
spoken with them about how they feel a radio station such as SHARE FM would
have helped their development.
7576 I would like to read a brief quote by Jason Harrow,
who uses the stage name Kardinal Offishall, which I believe summarizes their
opinion. His reply was:
"It definitely would have furthered my career because I would have had a
stronger home base instead of being more successful outside of the country, such
as in the United States and in Europe. Tracking where my music gets played and
looking at the charts in the U.S., I have gone number one alongside many major
international artists and have received a lot of notoriety inside major
international publications, such as Vibe, Billboard and The Source. The key
point is that there is no support in the current Canadian radio industry --
unfortunately, this proves true for many Canadian artists. Looking forward, I
feel that the station would create valid Canadian stars. It would expose many
talented people who never before got an opportunity to
7577 It is my conviction that the environment created by a
radio station such as the proposed SHARE FM would nurture the potential artists,
writers, and public speakers in general within our society.
7578 Nevertheless, the question remains as to who should
be licensed to operate this potentially constructive radio station.
7579 It is my sound belief that Arnold Auguste is the most
7580 As long as I can remember, the Share newspaper has
been a constant source of community information in my home. Over the past 21
years it has firmly established itself as a "staple" in the Black and visible
minority community. From dealing with the more serious issues that affect our
community, to promoting and publicizing events and functions of organizations
and associations, under the direction of Mr. Auguste, Share newspaper has been a
major voice in our community.
7581 My familiarity with Mr. Auguste, however, extends
further than reading his name beside the title Editor in Share. My mother and
many of her friends are very active within the community, and whenever it is
necessary for them to communicate information about the functions and events of
the various organizations that they participate in to the ethnic community, Mr.
Auguste's name is always mentioned.
7582 Over the years he has always responded positively to
their requests and I am certain, given the opportunity to operate a mainstream
radio station, Mr. Auguste would extend the same calibre of service to the
7583 Most importantly, SHARE FM would be a radio station
that is inclusive in its mandate, not monocultural but multicultural. All of my
friends, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, would be able to identify with a radio
station such as SHARE FM.
7584 Thank you for the opportunity that you have granted
me to intervene at today's hearing on behalf of SHARE FM. As a young member of
Toronto's minority community, I strongly support Arnold Auguste's application to
the CRTC for a licence to operate a radio station within Toronto.
7585 Thank you.
7586 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Gloudon, for your
7587 Mr. Secretary, please.
7588 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7589 I have been advised that the Urban Music Association
of Canada, and also Colin Saldanha, could not be here in person today. But we
have their interventions and we thank them for their participation.
7590 I would now like to invite T. Sher Singh to present
an intervention, please.
--- Pause / Pause
7591 MR. CUSSONS: In the absence of Mr. Singh, perhaps
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7592 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms Tater.
7593 MS TATER: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, I
would like to begin by introducing myself. I am Carol Tater, and I believe this
is my fourth appearance at the CRTC hearings.
7594 Each time I have come, though, I have worn different
hats. When I appeared first in the mid-1980s I was serving as the president and
acting executive director for one of the first race relations organizations in
Canada. That was the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
7595 In that capacity I worked with racial minority
communities who were encountering racism in government services, employment,
housing, education, law enforcement and many other areas of their
7596 At the Urban Alliance in the 1980s we began to do
some groundbreaking research in which we documented these realities. The next
few times I came to the hearings I was working as a consultant with some of
these same institutions to develop multicultural, antiracism and equity policies
in programs, again doing a lot of research to try and document and analyze and
present the evidence of racism in Canadian society.
7597 In recent years I have been teaching at York
University and continuing my research and writing texts. The subjects I teach
and I write about are, in a sense, the same subjects that you are really looking
at through these applications; and that is the issues of representation,
multiculturalism, racism, identity.
7598 In each of these areas of study, I try to provide
students with the knowledge and strategies about how to change this world and
how to change the public institutions and social institutions such as the ones I
have named above, including of course systems of cultural production. And that
includes the media.
7599 We are looking at ways of how these institutions have
become more inclusive and representative of the ethno-racial diversity of
Canadian society. But I also teach them something else. I teach them tools of
media literacy, because the media represents one of the most significant
institutions in a democratic society.
7600 Many scholars believe that the mass media represents
the most important social influence in our contemporary era, perhaps outweighing
the state, the school and certainly religious institutions.
7601 As an individual who has been monitoring, analyzing,
researching and working with the media for over 25 years, I believe that the
mass media helps provide the elements, or can potentially prove the elements out
of which we forge our identities.
7602 Radio, television and the print media provide us with
a snapshot of who we are, a sense of what it is to be male or female, black or
white, third generation Chinese-Canadian or African-Canadian. They provide us
with an understanding of who is us and who is them. The media holds up a mirror
in which society can see itself reflected.
7603 But I can tell you from both my cumulative experience
with the media and a recent study that Francis Henry and I have just completed
-- which will be released in two weeks -- on racism in the print media that that
mirror reflections are terribly distorted. There are huge absences, erasures and
omissions. The voices, the sounds, the stories and perspectives of ethno racial
individuals and communities are not there.
7604 The media gives us only a thin slice of our social
world. They construct a social reality that is far different from what we see
all around us in terms of ethno racial diversity.
7605 As Mr. Sadiki, a columnist and former editor of the
Toronto Star has written, the media's law of negativity hits minorities
disproportionately. Non-whites are portrayed as trouble makers, rarely as normal
people capable of the same human emotions as you and I, and the same
achievements as others.
7606 My experience with working with so many social
institutions in Canadian society is that most of them, including the media, are
very resistant to dealing with issues of marginalization and exclusion. Radio
though is, as many speakers have already said, an extremely powerful medium of
7607 It is more portable than broadcast media. One only
needs to look at the people listen to their Walkmans as they walk down the
street, on the TTC, or standing outside the school, or sometimes, as Erma said,
right in the classroom itself, to understand the importance of radio in the
everyday lives of Canadians, especially youth.
7608 The Broadcasting Act acknowledges that radio is
critical for the development and maintenance of a collective national identity.
The long quest for a radio station reflecting the diverse audiences of this city
has been a search for a vehicle to balance the everyday images, words and sounds
disseminated by mainstream organizations that have failed to provide ethno
racial communities with access to the media.
7609 A licence to operate a radio station that understands
that its audience is a mixing and mingling of people whose origins are from all
over the globe, some of whom have been here for generations and some of whom
have only just arrived, is a decision that would finally signal that the CRTC
recognizes and is committed to equal dignity and value of people of all ethno
racial backgrounds; that it welcomes and recognizes the strength of our
diversity; and it affirms the rights of all citizens to contribute to our
country as full-fledged Canadians.
7610 The research I have done in the media, supported by
many other studies over the last 25 years, provides dramatic and very deeply
troubling evidence of the extent to which people of colour are marginalized,
maligned and stereotyped. But of course one does not have to be a researcher to
know this. All any one of us needs to do is to turn on the radio and listen to
the call-in shows that have become such a popular medium. What we will hear from
both the broadcaster host and the callers is all too commonly racist language,
racist images and racist ideas that not only demean racial minorities, but
challenge our very notions of what it means to be a multicultural, democratic
7611 The continued prevalence of stereotypical images and
racist discourse beamed up from radio and television and then encoded in the
print media helps to form and maintain the collective identity imposed upon
people of colour that bears little resemblance to their own
7612 The scripts offered by the mainstream broadcasting
industry are limited in vision, knowledge and understanding of what it means to
be a multicultural society.
7613 It is within this context that an application for a
music/dance station representing the sounds and perspectives that truly reflect
who we are is seen as such a critical issue with such important
7614 We cannot continue to ignore all the signs around us
that many minority groups, and especially Black youth, feel that they exist as
outsiders, experiencing a sense of hopelessness and despair about the future,
about their future as Canadians -- many of whom were born in this
7615 Basically, the sounds of music are an extremely
powerful part of people's lives, particularly young people. I think this is an
important point to underscore, since what we are talking about is Black music,
but it is not only music for Blacks or for Black youth; it is a music that
appeals to a wide cross-section of youth and minority youth within this
7616 Last night when I came home and opened up The Star --
I don't know how many of you had a chance to read The Star last night; probably
not many -- I saw this very point being made in a full-page article on the
Sharing of Youth Cultures Through Music.
7617 The journalist observes that cross-cultural bonding,
the mingling of Black and Asian culture can be seen in all youth targeted media.
It happens through the latest R&B videos, in hip hop music enjoyed by young
Asians and Blacks. Regrettably, though, however this important message was, it
was framed in a racist context.
7618 The article begins with the ubiquitous linking of
Black youth culture, the racialization of the Jane Finch neighbourhood as a drug
transaction centre. The only difference is this time it was four Asian youth who
were reported to be smoking drugs as they take turns rhyming off free-style rap
7619 As I read this article I thought about my students at
York, many of whom are Black and Asian, some of whom live in the Jane Finch
community, and the pain that these pervasive and endemic stereotypes cause them.
I know we will talk about this article tomorrow in class, and we shall talk
about these hearings.
7620 What will I say to them in the context of these
hearings? Can I communicate a sense of hopefulness about the outcome of this
7621 In looking back at the long history of attempts to
gain a licence for a dance/music station reflecting our diversity, going back
almost two decades, it has indeed been a long struggle.
7622 It is somewhat ironic that one of the few times that
The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun and The Globe and Mail have ever agreed on any
subject was the wrongness of the CRTC in failing to award the licence to a Black
dance/music station. Each station has consistently called for the CRTC, as the
guardian of our airwaves, to give a clear voice to the multiracial diversity
that is Toronto today.
7623 I would like to think that this time the CRTC will at
long last recognize and affirm the ultimate goals of a multicultural society:
that is to provide access and equity to all ethno racial communities; to
acknowledge the value of all of our identities; and to provide a vehicle which
will help us to build the bridges to a stronger sense of national identity, an
identity that is based on the understanding that our differences, as well as our
similarities, will be our greatest strength, as it has always been, in the new
7624 The challenge then to the CRTC today is to encourage
and promote a broadcasting system that can and must adapt to the current social
endemic realities of the city.
7625 SHARE FM presents a new vision and new possibilities
achieved through a new format, one that is built on the framework of inclusion
7626 I have come today for the fourth, and I hope the
last, time because I believe that to continue along the path we have been on for
most of Canada's broadcast history...
Tape 3, Side A
...that we will continue to include marginalized groups. We will include the
Anglo white community of Canada and leave out all the others. It is a new
millennium. Let us mark and celebrate its arrival with a decision to give access
and voice to the diverse range of cultural and racial communities that make up
this city and country.
7627 Thank you.
7628 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Tater.
7629 Would this be an appropriate time to break for lunch,
7630 MR. CUSSONS: There is one more that we could perhaps
squeeze in. I understand Mr. Singh is now with us.
7631 I would invite T. Sher Singh to present an
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7632 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr.
7633 MR. SINGH: Thank you, Madam Chair. I apologize for
not having been present when my name was called.
7634 Madam Chair and Commissioners, at the outset I should
explain that even though I am by profession a lawyer, I do not appear today in
anything but a personal capacity. I am not paid by or retained by any party, and
have not been retained ever by the applicant that I am supporting; that is, Mr.
Auguste's application or any of its principles in the past or the present, to
the best of my knowledge.
7635 I should explain to you why I think I should be
making submissions or the basis of my experience in this area.
7636 To begin with, about a decade ago I sat on the
Ontario Task Force on Policing and Race Relations which was struck after a
serious of unfortunate and tragic incidents. Three Black citizens in Toronto or
vicinity had been killed in questionable circumstances by the police in a very
short period, which created a need for such a task force to be struck by the
7637 Subsequently, I sat on the Ontario Police Commission
for three years, and then on the Metro Toronto Children's Aid Board.
7638 I also write a regular column for The Toronto Star on
current national and international issues. I am a host on a show on CFM-TV,
which is a multicultural TV station. I am host on another show on CTS, which is
a multifaith TV station.
7639 I write a weekly travel column, which gets picked up
by the Kitchener-Waterloo Record initially and then by papers across the
country, based on my travels across Canada and around the world on an ongoing
7640 My submissions to you this morning are based on my
experiences culled from all of the above involvements.
7641 I should add, before I get into the two issues that I
want to address, that I am fully aware, fully supportive of the needs of the
various minorities in this country, particularly that of the Black community. I
have been an avid advocate for the need to give priority to such needs of the
Black community. And if anything, everything that I have done in the last 15
years will show that I have not shirked from my responsibility to address the
issues, whether it needed to show support or to criticize.
7642 There has been at least one instance where I have
felt the need to be critical of one of the projects in the community where I
have generally been very supportive of everything that the advocates for the
community have stood for.
7643 With that introduction, I will jump into the first of
the two issues that I do want to address this afternoon.
7644 My concern is based on my abhorrence of the fact that
a mainstream radio station, it is being suggested, be formulated to address the
needs of one segment of the community based on racial lines.
7645 I have read the application by Milestone, for
example, and again it talks about it needs to address the needs of the Black
community. I find that extremely abhorrent as a Canadian, not that the needs of
the community are not there and do not need to be addressed, but everything we
stand for in Canada and everything we have achieved in Canada, everything that
we represent as a role model around the world has been based on not dividing up
the 60 or the 120 communities, depending on how you count them, that make up
Canada, but bringing them together, to putting them on an equal pedestal, on an
equal platform, and letting them interact, hoping that some day this elusive
Canadian identity will emerge as a result -- the way it took a thousand years
for the English identity to emerge by permitting a free interaction between the
Saxons, the French, the Germans, the Friesians, whoever came along. We are going
through that process.
7646 While indeed there is an urgency to reflect the
diversity of Canada, particularly the diversity of Toronto and Ontario, in new
licensing, my concern is that we may go too far in rushing to fulfil that
7647 Yes, there is a need for an urban music station, for
a station that gives focus on what is generally termed as Black music; but to go
further than that and to give a licence to a company that feels that it needs to
address the needs of the Black community and therefore a station should be
licensed for that purpose, raises serious concerns for me.
7648 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Singh, you are appearing before
us in support of Mr. Auguste's application. It is my understanding that you have
not filed an intervention against Mr. Jolly's application.
7649 It would be preferable if you kept your comments to
support of Mr. Auguste's application.
7650 MR. SINGH: Thank you, Madam Chair. I will word it
more clearly, that I support Mr. Auguste's application clearly because it does
not ask for a licence based on racial grounds. It makes it very clear that it is
not looking to serve the needs of one racial community but that it is committing
itself to the diversity of Toronto while recognizing that there is a need for
urban music, Black music and similar formats.
7651 My second point is that I find that the need to
support Mr. Auguste's application because of not just what he promises to do,
but he has for 23 years been involved consistently, steadily, on an ongoing
basis, on a media project, on Share. It is his history, it is his experience
that shows what he is capable of doing and what he is capable of delivering in
response to the promises made in the application.
7652 He has demonstrated the ability to address not only
the needs of the Black community but of minorities. And while dealing with the
issues and concerns of the minorities, dealing with the cross-section or racial
constituents of the community.
7653 To give a simple example, the needs of the Caribbean
community could easily have been narrowed down to that of the Black community or
the way he has addressed through his Share newspaper as the needs of the Asian
components, the White components, the Black components of the Caribbean
community, for example.
7654 I would like to point out to you that at no point has
his work in the last 23 years been a subject of complaints, of having been
insensitive or insulting to Black communities. At no point have complaints been
made against Mr. Auguste's work or the 23 years of the existence of Share that
it has been insensitive to the needs of minorities or the diversity of this
7655 This is absolutely important, and I support Mr.
Auguste's application because it is juxtaposed -- and this is a comment not
against an application but to raise an issue that has not been raised before
this Commission; that in one of the competing applications standing behind the
applicant is Standard Broadcasting, which has over and over again contravened
the spirit and the word of the Commission of this policy.
7656 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Singh, if you wanted to file an
intervention against another applicant, you had that opportunity. We are hearing
you today in support of Mr. Auguste's application.
7657 I remind you that should keep your comments to that,
in all fairness.
7658 MR. SINGH: I will tiptoe back across the line and say
it is important to support applications such as Mr. Auguste's, specifically by
licensing such a project so that the message should go out that people who apply
by licences must abide by the rules, by the policies, by the spirit and the word
of the policy of the CRTC.
7659 If we do not do that, if we do not permit somebody
like Mr. Auguste to show how indeed a radio station can be run without insulting
minorities, without insulting the Black community, and without the need to step
over and contravene the policy of the CRTC, I think it is time that such an
important message be conveyed to Canada at large, to the industry at
7660 If we don't do that, if we reward anything else but a
direct commitment to the policy as expressed by the CRTC, then we are
encouraging contravention of its own rules, its own regulations and its own
7661 Those are my submissions. Unless you have any
questions, that is all.
7662 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Singh, for your
7663 Mr. Secretary, do we have any other intervenors for
whom it is important to appear now? Or is this a good time to break for
7664 MR. CUSSONS: I think we have one person who would
like to be called. I believe it is Ms Susan Eng.
7665 Ms Eng, would you like to present your
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7666 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms Eng.
7667 MS ENG: Good afternoon.
7668 Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak at
this hearing. I am here to support the application by Arnold Auguste for a new
urban/dance station in Toronto. I am familiar with the several applications that
have been made in the past, over the last 15 years, for an urban/dance format,
and I supported them because there was, and continues to be, a real need for
this music to be heard and included in the Canadian cultural mosaic.
7669 More important for me, because I don't intend to be
an authority on popular music, is the need for media, especially in Toronto, to
better respect our demographic diversity.
7670 I personally have been involved in community advocacy
for 20 years as a volunteer, and I have had a particular focus on the role of
the media in improving race relations.
7671 In the late 1970s various community groups were
brought together to respond to unfair and slanderous media representation of
visible minorities. At that time we were not even talking about inclusiveness;
we were protesting in the streets. I was part of a group formed after a national
protest against a W5 program that was blaming Chinese students for taking all
the places in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto that belonged,
as they said, rightfully to Canadians.
7672 I leave you to interpret what those Chinese students
were, if they were not Canadians.
7673 I was one of an original group of community advocates
and media professionals that titled itself the Ad Hoc Committee on Media and
Race Relations which sought to address this problem systematically,
7674 We believed that protest and the inevitable apologies
were not enough, given the attention span of most audiences and viewers. We
believed that the real change in attitudes would come only if the media
organizations could change from within.
7675 But before we had a chance to start our meetings with
the various media agencies, we had an early test. Some of you will remember we
were asked to help mediate a particularly volatile situation involving a Toronto
radio station and the Black community. The announcer's private comments about --
and I quote -- "100,000 niggers jumping up and down during Caribana" was
overheard by his radio audience, because he inadvertently left the microphone
7676 The aftermath was painful for everyone, not least
because the announcer had a fatal heart attack. At first the station refused to
apologize, and when it finally did the damage to the community had already been
7677 Yet despite that tumult very little changed. I seem
to recall that the station hired a person of colour, but that person is no
longer on the air because I can't really say what long-term change came of it
7678 This kind of dialogue was repeated wherever we went
with our message. We went to the Canadian Advertising Council about the need to
feature more visible minorities, the CBC, the Canadian Association of
Broadcasters and the Print Media in Toronto. They agreed with us that there was
a need for Canadian media to better represent a growing diversity in Canada,
particularly in major urban centres such as Toronto. But their actions were
7679 There were a few important hirings of visible
minorities on air, and content has been much more inclusive and the
representation of Canada's diversity is more apparent. However, demographic
change, especially in Toronto, has far outpaced media's achievements in this
7680 In recent years the disparity and the lack of effort
is more apparent than ever, and there is certainly far less progress than what I
and my colleagues would have expected when we began this effort 20 years
7681 In fact, I quipped when I came in during Carol
Tater's presentation that we were rounding up the usual suspects. These are the
same crowd of people who came together to deal with this issue before the CRTC
at that time, before the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and so on, 20
7682 Too much of the attempt made by broadcasters to
reflect diversity is still very self-conscious, usually boring, and the majority
of decisionmakers continues to be unreflective of the communities that they
7683 The media is still replete with negative stereotypes
-- and we just heard from Carol about some of them -- that shape public
attitudes and government policies. The byproducts of this neglect, distrust and
alienation haunt us still.
7684 We have waited a generation, a generation for media
organizations to initiate fundamental change from within. And that has not
happened. Representation of ideas and people not rooted in the Anglo Saxon
heritage has been relegated to the margins of the broadcast spectrum or at least
segmented into individual silos.
7685 This has very little appeal to my niece and nephew
who are just becoming teenagers -- not quite but they are getting there. They
want to watch and listen to whatever their classmates are watching or listening
to, and so far that has meant a homogenous, eurocentric tableau in which they
see themselves represented as spice rather than as part of the core programming,
the main course.
7686 If they were of a mind to tune in when so-called
ethnic programming is aired, they would find it in languages they do not
understand and projecting images that are imported and bear little relevance to
their daily lives. That is not what I and my colleagues asked for.
7687 Canadian media was asked to better represent urban
diversity as its contribution to helping people of all ages and backgrounds
achieve a sense of belonging in Canada. We asked that all Canadians be able to
find themselves reflected in core programming, not only on their own channels or
after hours, and this has not happened.
7688 It appears then to us that point of view does matter.
The ownership and the decisionmakers of any media organization shape the
product. Their cultural viewpoint shapes how people of different backgrounds
will fit into their broadcast schedule and what values are reflected. The
structure of the programming day is a measure of how they think my niece and
nephew will fit in the Canadian construct.
7689 From what I have seen here, they will get along if
they go along with the primacy of one culture, not necessarily their
7690 My support for Mr. Auguste's application is founded
on his fundamentally different approach and what I know of his commitment and
that of his partner Robert Wood to broadening the opportunities for harmony and
7691 This is reflected in how they plan to run their
station, from owners and managers to on-air talent. They understand that
reflecting diversity is not just adding a few people of colour at the bottom of
the ladder, and they understand that point of view matters; that we need to
start covering people from every background as "us", rather than as
7692 Their answer is not to create another monocultural
medium, this time including a previously excluding group, but now excluding
others. My niece and nephew should not be made to feel unwelcome when they tune
into Toronto's newest radio station, nor would they want to support a station
that lets them in but leaves out their friends.
7693 I think the time is past for more cultural solitude.
Our people are already ahead of us. And despite the stereotypes in the article
that Carol mentioned, it detail however that there has been a fusion of
Latin-Asian cultures, especially when it comes to music.
7694 We no longer debate in Canada whether the media has
any role to play in shaping attitudes and behaviours. This is why the CRTC, I
know, takes this issue very seriously. The media does play this kind of role,
and sadly it has not fulfilled its mandate to fully reflect Canadians to
ourselves. What is needed, and what I believe Mr. Auguste will provide, is a
mainstream popular format that will appeal to Toronto's youth and engender a
true sense of belonging for all of them.
7695 When I first got involved in community advocacy, I
did it because it was the right thing to do. I believed then, as I believe now,
that media can be the social glue that builds strong communities. Instead we
have far too many examples of shock talk radio that drives a wedge between us. I
don't think we need to shut them down, but we can drown them out with voices and
values that will bring us together.
7696 For me now this activism is now more than just the
right thing to do; it has become personal.
7697 I have two other nieces who carry within them the
genes of at least two cultures. I do not want them to choose one and deny the
other. They are ten years younger than the other two, but they grow up very
quickly. I would like to think that we would have got it right by
7698 Thank you very much.
7699 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Eng, for your
7700 We have a few more intervenors for the Auguste
application before we move on, but you will probably have a better hearing from
us if we eat first.
7701 We will adjourn for lunch and resume at 2:15. Nous
reprendrons à deux heures quinze.
--- Recess at 1350 / Suspension à 1350
--- Upon resuming at 1415 / Reprise à 1415
7702 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our
7703 Since we will be shortly moving to a new group of
intervenors in support of applications, I want to say again that we have not
been asking questions or engaging in discussion with intervenors in the interest
of hearing as many intervenors as possible.
7704 We are, nevertheless, most interested in what you
have to say. What you say is transcribed and forms part of the record, in
addition to what you filed in writing.
7705 So our silence is not a lack of interest, just in the
interest of hearing as many people as possible during the week.
7706 So that you are all quite comfortable about this, I
like to repeat it before we get into a new group.
7707 We will now proceed with the remaining intervenors in
support of the Auguste application.
7708 Mr. Secretary, please.
7709 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7710 I would now like to call upon the Greater Toronto
Services Board, Mr. Tonks, to present his intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7711 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome, Mr. Tonks.
7712 MR. TONKS: Thank you very much, Madam
7713 First of all, my name is Alan Tonks. I am the
Chairman of the Greater Toronto Services Board. I am not appearing as the
chairman of the board to give a position that has been representative of the
board; I am here in my personal capacity as an extremely interested citizen of
Toronto in the hearings that you are having with respect to these applications
for accessing the radio bands that have been advertised as being
7714 I am in support of Arnold Auguste and his colleagues.
I have known Arnold for probably 25 years, and my association with him goes back
to a period of time when I was the Mayor of the City of York and then
subsequently the Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto. During those over two decades
I came to know Arnold as extremely committed to building strength into our
communities, through his newspaper Share, by providing an opportunity for
7715 Perhaps I might tell you also that prior to going
into politics I served for a number of years as a volunteer teacher in Jamaica
and came back certainly with a sense that if we were building a cosmopolitan
city and if we were building a diverse and inclusive society, we would have to
use all of the communications opportunities available to us to do
7716 Subsequently I came in contact with Arnold and his
colleagues, who were establishing their community newspaper, and I was able to
witness the growth and confidence of the community as they were able, through
his publication, articulate their feelings about their community, about the
needs of the community of interest that they represented as new immigrants to
the city, and could feel the confidence to do that.
7717 Arnold provided that through his newspaper, and the
community has awarded him with their continuing support, through their
advertising, through their contributions in the editorial, in the letters to the
editor, through the community programs of support in the schools that Arnold has
organized. The community has recognized the faith that Arnold put in them by
continuing to support him and his newspaper. Where many have come and gone,
Arnold's newspaper has been a constant on the communications landscape, if you
will, of Toronto.
7718 I am delighted to be here to support him, not only
because he has been successful but he has been successful in representing the
same cause that I, as an elected representative, stood for; and that was to
build an inclusive community, a community of caring, nurturing that kind of
support for each other, to build a sense of volunteerism, to contribute, to put
more into the community than in fact we take out.
7719 Arnold has been the expression of that in building
strength of character of our community here in Toronto.
7720 I am humbled by the magnitude of the CRTC's
challenge. I think it must be an extremely difficult role that you fill with
something as important to our sense of democratic values, our sense of belief in
the nature of our communities, our sense of fairness and balance, our sense of
harmonizing the various parts of our community in bringing them together, to
match that with a sense of balance, and checks and balances through CRTC
regulations and making sure that the match is right between the community and
the opportunity to use communications, be it print or our airwaves, our radio
bands, whatever. It is a huge responsibility that you have.
7721 Having been an elected member for the last 28 years,
I sense that sense of responsibility. In coming here to you today in supporting
Arnold Auguste, it is without equivocation of any kind that I can advise you on
the basis of the commitment he has made I have no hesitation in assuring you
that if he is awarded along with his colleagues, with the principles that they
have demonstrated to me and the values that they also have, they will make an
extremely huge and monumental, and continue to make, contribution to building
the kind of Canadian society in the world order that we can all be proud of, and
that we are proud of.
7722 It is a quality of life that we build in our
interrelationships between groups and communities of interest within our city
and our country.
7723 I thank you for the opportunity to be here. I assure
you that I will continue to share that kind of commitment in my public life that
in fact you are charged with in discharging your public responsibilities, to
match the commitment of those who have made their applications to the very
serious and high order of responsibility that the radio bands in this case pose
as a challenge to our society.
7724 Thank you very much.
7725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Tonks, for your
participation. Do pray for us.
7726 Mr. Secretary, please.
7727 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7728 Before we broke for lunch I had announced that the
Urban Music Association of Canada could not be with us today. Fortunately, it
would seem that they have been able to join us.
7729 So I would now like to introduce the Urban Music
Association of Canada and ask it to present its intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Sutherland, good
7731 MR. SUTHERLAND: Good afternoon. Thank you very much,
Madam Chair and Commissioners.
7732 I always get nervous at hearings like these. I have
been here three times, and it never gets any easier. I trust that this time
around we can see some success come out of it.
7733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Some success came out of it the last
7734 MR. SUTHERLAND: I make that comment because I have
been here speaking to other Commissioners on behalf of an urban music format in
the Toronto market.
7735 Before I get into it, let me introduce myself. I am
Tony Sutherland. I am the president of the Urban Music Association of Canada. I
certainly appreciate this opportunity to share my insights and my thoughts with
you on behalf of our members.
7736 The Urban Music Association (UMAC) was formed back in
1996 by a number of music industry professionals who saw an opportunity
certainly to help create an infrastructure for urban music in Canada. We have
been working to that end by providing a number of seminars, workshops, various
types of functions to help to grow artists, to grow people who have an interest
in the urban music scene.
7737 We as an organization are the voice of certainly
thousands of consumers and fans of urban music, and we certainly are the voice
of artists and other professionals who look to us for support and
7738 In supporting an urban music format in Toronto, we
are certainly not here to throw our weight behind one or the other of the two
competing interests for an urban music format. We are here because we feel, as
our duty, that an urban music format is absolutely necessary and vital for the
music scene in Toronto, and for Canada certainly.
7739 When we talk about urban music, we define urban music
very loosely as the genres encompassing soul, R&B, dance, reggae, soca, rap,
gospel, and jazz. They have all grown out of a particular experience, and they
are performed and are encompassed in all different types of music, whether it be
from Canadian artists, from Italian artists, from French artists, British
artists, people from around Canada as well as around the world.
7740 So we don't feel that this is just something that has
to do only with people in Toronto. We certainly feel that this is a worldwide
culture that we are involved in.
7741 First, we feel that the establishment of an outlet
for urban music is absolutely vital. Radio, as I am sure you are well aware --
as I said, I am a little nervous so bear with me. I will hopefully get a little
less nervous as I go along here. My apologies.
7742 Radio is certainly essential, as you are well aware.
It plays a vital part in news dissemination and cultural dissemination. We all
depend on radio in many aspects. It is a very vital part.
7743 Urban music and urban culture depends also on radio.
I am sure you have had intervenors here who have spoken about the lack of outlet
and the effect that it has had on their growth.
7744 A recent TV show that just aired on Tuesday evening
on CBC, something called "Street Beat" -- I don't know if you have heard about
it or are aware of it. I take it you are. I see some heads nodding.
7745 A friend of mine who works for the CBC called me up
and said: "You've got to watch this show." And I said to her: "I know it is
coming on this evening." She said: "This is great. Finally we have something
like this." There was this pregnant pause on my end. And I had to remind her:
"Why is it in February of 2000 that you are now telling me about a first? Why
aren't you telling me about the fifth or the sixth for the month, or the first
for the week? Why are you telling me about a first?" She said: "It would be nice
for us to have this, you know. We can see where we want to go."
7746 I remember a show called "Downbeat Disco" in 1978 --
I am dating myself a little bit here -- and I remember how enthusiastic we were
about it because it was a first; that finally we could have urban music played
on mainstream television, on mainstream airwaves.
7747 These spurts of urban culture from a music standpoint
have come and gone. We have certainly seen artists who have come and gone in the
same spurts. They start up one year, and five years later, ten years later you
don't hear from them. Another one comes by and you don't hear from them for a
long time. We can certainly attribute that to a lack of an outlet.
7748 Let me quote quickly from an article that was in The
Toronto Star on the weekend. I don't know if you saw this. Michee Mee, when
asked about the hip hop culture, she quoted:
"We don't have an urban music station here. Hip hop is blowing up all over
the world, but Canadian artists haven't been able to benefit from the
independent releases. Why? Because they have no
7749 It is very, very fitting for me to at least know that
there is a lack of this outlet, which in turn does not contribute to the growth
of these artists.
7750 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Sutherland, if I may interrupt
you for a minute, since you are speaking about outlets, I notice that your
written application is in support of both Milestone and Share.
7751 MR. SUTHERLAND: Yes.
7752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that still your
7753 MR. SUTHERLAND: That is still very much our
7754 THE CHAIRPERSON: We seem to have missed the
opportunity to insert it as well in the Denham Jolly application.
7755 I would like the record to show that you are speaking
equally in support of both potential outlets.
7756 MR. SUTHERLAND: That's right.
7757 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
7758 MR. SUTHERLAND: The second point is that the
establishment of an outlet would certainly help or contribute to the commitment
of the people that are in the urban music industry. It would certainly
contribute to their talent, to the growth of their talent, and certainly to the
growth of their careers.
7759 I was watching the Oprah Winfrey biography about a
month ago. We all know Oprah Winfrey. Part of the biography really struck me.
She mentioned that between the age of 15 and 17 she was walking a very fine line
of deviance, if we want to say it that way. At age 17 an urban radio station in
her home town heard about her and brought her in and she read for them. They
liked what they heard. They put her on the air, and from there she was able to
build her talent, build her confidence. And today, as they say, certainly the
rest is history.
7760 Even from my personal experience, having been in the
music industry a number of ways, I wonder how many people out there are like an
Oprah Winfrey, who do not have that outlet to nurture them and to help them
grow. Do you understand what I am saying?
7761 They don't have this outlet to nurture them and help
them grow, because they don't sound like the mainstream, they don't think like
the mainstream necessarily. It doesn't mean that what they are thinking or what
they are saying it irrelevant. It is very relevant from a cultural standpoint.
But maybe they don't sound like Don Danart; hence, we don't want you on our
radio station. But we have people that are equally strong in what they
communicate from a cultural standpoint that have been relegated either to the
ranks of a college radio station or relegated to the ranks of working in a
factory because there is no other place for them to go.
7762 My point here is that with the existence of such a
station, we have an opportunity to grow our talent, to grow our people, to see
them grow into something bigger than what they have the possibilities to grow to
7763 Finally on this point, having been to the CRTC in the
past and presented, and having heard and having to sit through the results
afterwards as to why an urban station should not be licensed here, one of the
key points that came back was that such a station was not financially
7764 I have seen a very small station in Burlington, with
something close to 30,000 listeners, I was told, put on an urban/dance show and
go to over 100,000 listeners, brought on a full 24-hour, seven-day-a-week
program, and grew to over 600,000 listeners. From that we have seen it spawn a
Hits 103. We have seen a CISS-FM, which is a country station, as you are well
aware, flip its format to a Top 40 format that certainly reflects some urban
7765 When we talk about that this format cannot grow and
cannot make it in this market, I say to you: Yes, it can.
7766 If you are thinking from an economic standpoint that
this format cannot make it, I think the proof is definitely there. I don't think
there is a lot of argument about that.
7767 My third and last point is this: There are many
socioeconomic spinoffs from having such a station, from growing our people, and
that is that despite the lack of mainstream support that a lot of our artists
have had, we have still seen a proliferation of these artists or a proliferation
or this culture in this market around the country as well.
7768 As a member, I sit as a chair of the R&B Soul
Committee for the Juno Awards. We have seen that committee go from ten
submissions to that particular genre to 20 and 30 submissions. We have seen rap
grow from five artists to some 30-odd artists who are actually submitting
material. We have seen dance artists grow from five, ten to over 30 that are
submitting material. We have seen reggae do the same thing.
7769 So there is no lack of talent. There is a lack of an
outlet for them to grow, for others to come in with the confidence of knowing
that they have an outlet to show their stuff and to become super stars, to
7770 It is absolutely vital for an urban station in this
market. This Commission has an opportunity to make history. Could you imagine
the headlines: The First Urban Station in Canada to be Licensed in
7771 It is ironic in a sense that here we are, in February
2000 when everyone is talking about globalization and global markets, that here
I am or here a lot of us are still asking to be recognized in our own backyard.
Isn't it ironic?
7772 This is the right thing. I feel this is the right
thing and this is the right time for the CRTC, for Canada, for Toronto, for our
7773 So on behalf of the Urban Music Association and
certainly on behalf of the people here asking for an urban format, it would
certainly be nice for us to look at this next year, or ten years from now, and
instead of having one show that is finally on the air, we can then say we have
another show that is debuting this month. Instead of having a Maestro Fresh Wes,
who was saying that he was the one artist who could sell 100,000 records in
Toronto, we would like to say that we have 20 Maestro Fresh Wes's. Wouldn't that
7774 On behalf of these people, I ask that you do take my
presentation into account and grant a licence for an urban radio
7775 Thank you very much.
7776 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Sutherland, for
coming. We are happy that you did make it.
7777 Mr. Secretary, please.
7778 MR. CUSSONS: Our next intervention is by The
Guvernment, Shelley Wilson.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7779 MS WILSON: Good afternoon. It is actually The
Guvernment Nightclub, spelled with a "u", not an "o".
7780 THE CHAIRPERSON: I thought it was in French. Go
7781 MS WILSON: I am going to start with an interesting
and quite a touching story that I heard late in December 1999.
7782 Some one approached me at the club who was recently
introduced to our Saturday evening, and they mentioned to me about a mutual
friend who had a brother who had unfortunately contracted cancer. In about six
to eight months the gentleman had lost close to 100 pounds and never left his
house. In about the third week in December he was invited to come to the
Guvernment and shied away a little bit at first, but was literally dragged
kicking and screaming to the Guvernment for a night of fun.
7783 This is almost the second week in February. This
gentleman has now gained 50 pounds back. He does not miss a Saturday night at
the Guvernment. And when asked what he is doing differently to look so great,
all he can say is the music.
7784 Something like that really moved me, because a club
like mine, which runs basically because of the cultural diversity of a city like
Toronto, can entertain in excess of 7,500 people every weekend.
7785 Approximately five years ago I was lucky enough to
begin my career in the entertainment industry and work for a record label that
is now non-existent, called Quality Music. I am extremely proud to say that I
was part of the team that led the revolution to what people think of dance music
7786 "Dance Mix 95", the compilation, which I am sure you
are all familiar with, made Canadian retail history. "Ghetto Concept" won two
Juno awards. That specifically was a really rude awakening to how difficult it
was to not only have Canadian music but to have urban music played on a radio
7787 Of course with the U.S. having people like the Puff
Daddies of the world around, things like that have now changed in the radio
world. But what about the Norman Cooks of the world, better known today as
Fatboy Slim, who have been around producing music in the U.K. for in excess of
15 years. They still can't have their music played on a regular radio
7788 Working at The Guvernment Nightclub for about two and
a half years now has awakened me to focus regionally on direct marketing
initiatives. The closest Toronto has to SHARE FM's proposal are the minimally
funded and rarely supported local college radio stations. These kids really know
the future of radio, and music more specifically.
7789 It frightens me to think of all the dollars that are
currently going south of the border to certain U.S. urban stations. With the
likes of Madonna remixing her latest track to follow the recent craze to Dr. Dre
and M&M performing together at the American Music Awards, and of course
Ozzie Osborne performing live on Buster Imes' recent album, this alone should
speak for the diverseness of our musical culture today.
7790 Here at The Guvernment, as I mentioned earlier, we
are lucky enough to host about 3,000 people every Friday and the same on
Saturday nights. It is interesting to note that 20 to 30 per cent of this
clientele are Americans. They drive up here for the weekend, because they can
appreciate what we are giving back to them.
7791 The crowds range on Fridays and Saturdays from Black,
to Hispanic, to Asian, Indian, White, tall, short, 19-to-40, and everything in
between. Our Friday nights, which is our specifically targeted urban night,
there are about half a dozen songs that can be heard on radio, on obscure radio
programs. Unfortunately, Saturday nights can probably claim less than 50 per
cent of that. There might be three songs that are played at our club on a
Saturday night that are currently being supported by Toronto radio
7792 There is not one demographically appropriate FM
station for licensed venues like myself to advertise on. The music is just not
7793 Three or four, I an not really sure, of the top 40
pop radio stations that are currently in existence in Toronto are all competing
for exactly the same market. They are all playing Brittany Spears 40 times a
day. I'm sorry, but that music is for the under 14 and over 45.
7794 Somebody out there needs to wake up and realize what
people are really listening to.
7795 I phoned one of the prominent downtown retail music
stores yesterday and asked them for some quick facts. When I asked them, they
basically said to me that the split is about 60/40 with kids out there today
purchasing dance and urban product. Of course the urban side of things is
pulling heavy weight right now, and that is because they have finally been given
an opportunity to air their music. Dance is showing a very close
7796 I think the common thread that we are hearing here is
an almost equal split of people buying and listening to dance and urban music.
Along with the extreme diverse and multicultural society we live in, this should
speak for itself.
7797 In conclusion, The Guvernment has recently done their
part and put Toronto on the world-class map. We have recently had feature
articles in DJ, Musique and Ministry Magazine from the U.K., Mixer Magazine out
of New York City, and M8 from Scotland. Hundreds of thousands of these magazines
are printed monthly. These magazines are the future of what music is
7798 I suggest that every single one of you go out and
pick up a copy this afternoon and have a look at it, and see what is really
happening out there.
7799 We live in a worldclass city, and it is about time we
had a worldclass radio station.
7800 I would like to finish by inviting everybody here
today to come and experience a night at the Guvernment. As one gentleman
mentioned to me over lunch today, you can't describe it in words. You have to
see it to believe it.
7801 Thank you.
7802 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Ms Wilson, if it is going
to make me gain 50 pounds, I am not going.
--- Laughter / Rires
7803 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
7804 Mr. Secretary, please.
7805 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7806 We will now hear the intervention by Aboriginal
Voices Radio Board of Directors, Gary Farmer.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7807 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr.
7808 MR. FARMER: Bonjour, Madame. Good afternoon,
7809 My name is Gary Farmer, and I appear before you on
behalf of Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) to support Arnold Auguste and Share
7810 Aboriginal Voices Radio supports Share for four
reasons. First, we support the inclusive approach that Share has taken in its
proposed service. In listening to the previous applicant, it is very much in
line with how we feel, especially in terms of our understanding of the world,
the world view, and the medicine wheel concept of four directions, the four
colours -- the red, the white, the yellow, the black -- and of course all the
mixes of those.
7811 For so long in this country, and in North America,
there has not been much communication between all the races of people that
exist. Most of the information that we receive has come from a primary source,
which is often referred to as the mainstream, and it often does not talk of
stories that existed between relationships with the other races of man and our
interpretation of history and story.
7812 So the inclusivity of the Share application is very
strong, in our view.
7813 Share has proposed a visible minority centered
service for a broad Toronto audience, and Aboriginal Voices Radio intends to
serve a broad Toronto community audience as well, with Aboriginal centered radio
7814 As well, both Share and AVR envision a strong
Canadian world music presence in their radio plans.
7815 Secondly, we support the funding commitment that
Share has made in its CRTC application to support the development of aboriginal
radio in Toronto. I can't tell you how much I support that effort. It has never
been done at this level before in the history of broadcasting.
7816 The $2 million over seven years will support AVR in
its plans to develop high-quality aboriginal radio programming. The Share
funding will greatly enhance AVR's ability to train and employ aboriginal radio
talent, and this funding is most dramatic. It will affect AVR's ability to
produce high-quality language programming, aboriginal language.
7817 Third, we support the indirect benefits that Share
has committed to provide Aboriginal Voices Radio, to support and enhance our
professional and business capabilities. As much as I feel qualified, I am not a
professional radio broadcaster.
7818 To have that connection and support of Share and its
infrastructure that it is presenting to you is a vast amount of radio experience
that will really help us in our ability to produce what we are
7819 The professional broadcast expertise and of course
mentorship will allow AVR a much quicker learning curve as it moves into
fulltime radio programming. Should Aboriginal Voices Radio be awarded a
broadcast licence, this would also provide a significant cost savings to AVR's
7820 Finally, we recognize the important symbolism in such
a large financial commitment from a Canadian commercial radio broadcaster to
support the access of radio for Canada's First Peoples.
7821 The Broadcast Act, which all commercial broadcasters
are familiar with, clearly states that Canadian broadcasting must recognize the
special place of Aboriginal Peoples and that Aboriginal broadcasters must be
given access to the airwaves as resources become available. Yet in the hearing
process Share is the only applicant, outside of ourselves, which has offered
significant support and to support our access and assist the Aboriginal Peoples
in radio production.
7822 This is again something I feel extremely strong
about; that no other applicant has provided any support to Aboriginal People. We
are clearly a priority in the current situation.
7823 $26 million is what it will take for radio service in
training for reserves in Canada without any form of current electronic media
outlets. That is just the reserve communities. There are 472 in Canada with
absolutely no radio service at all. If we add the 528 urban communities, small
towns and cities in Canada, as well without any service, that totals about 1,000
communities in Canada without any Aboriginal radio service to our
7824 It comes to a total of $55 million to radio-ize the
Canadian and urban Aboriginal populations and people in Canada; $2 million will
get this ball rolling.
7825 The need for us to build capacity to train our people
and to produce programming --
7826 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Farmer, you have to keep your
comments to the support of the Auguste application. I know there is a linkage,
but you can't use this opportunity to further your own application.
7827 MR. FARMER: Of course.
7828 THE CHAIRPERSON: You recognize the
7829 MR. FARMER: It is all part of it, because this is the
start of it all potentially.
7830 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But we are now speaking about
the Auguste application.
7831 MR. FARMER: Exactly. I was just going to point out
that the ethnic stations here have built their communities economically very
well with radio in this market and that radio infrastructure for us is very
7832 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't want to unduly limit you,
but you understand that as both an applicant and an intervenor you have to play
the roles. There is overlap but they have to be distinct roles. You are now
appearing in support of the Auguste application, and there are various reasons,
which you are explaining.
7833 If you keep it to that, you can use your
7834 MR. FARMER: The Share funding of course will
dramatically invigorate the broadcast and production training centre and provide
a central point where Aboriginal Canadian talent can focus on their talent,
development and production of spoken word and music material into radio
7835 The imaginative contribution truly provides
complementary service to the ongoing efforts to license an Aboriginal radio
station in Toronto.
7836 Aboriginal Voices operated a radio training
production centre from 1997 to 1998 in order to contribute to the establishment
of a separate Aboriginal Voices radio. This centre trained among others three
key members of our current team, and the public benefits which are committed in
Share's broadcasting application would be used to support the development of
Aboriginal radio in Toronto through a newly invigorated broadcast production and
7837 The funding would primarily be used to (1) train
Aboriginal artists to produce program material for radio; and (2) to provide and
produce Aboriginal radio programming for wide distribution.
7838 In addition to the operations, the centre will
provide development of training programs and provide for production of
high-quality Aboriginal programming for the --
7839 MR. RHÉAUME: Mr. Farmer, could I interrupt you for
7840 I think the Chair tried to inform you that at this
time the purpose is not to discuss your own application and the merits of your
own application and the projects that you are involved with in your application,
but rather to discuss why you are supporting the application of Mr.
7841 If there is a problem, we can stop there and you can
come back for a few minutes later, after we have had a chance to discuss
7842 Would you rather do this?
7843 MR. FARMER: No. I think this is all discussion. I
have been asked several times what the Share dollars will be used for, so I am
just trying to explain that now; how we will use the funds. It has come into
question quite a bit.
7844 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Farmer, we don't have an problem
with you praising the Auguste application for its contribution. But you have to
keep within the line of fairness; that you are now using time to support the
Auguste application on its own merits, a part of which is to support Aboriginal
Voices. But surely that is not the main reason for existence of the Share
application, which will be an urban application.
7845 So it is a question of not appearing twice on your
7846 We understand that there is a linkage because of the
benefits that can accrue from the Auguste application, but you have to keep that
as secondary and the value of the merits of the Auguste application as a radio
station should be your primary subject at the moment.
7847 MR. FARMER: Okay.
7848 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chairperson, perhaps I can also
add that we have exceeded our ten-minute deadline.
7849 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Farmer, taking my advice into
consideration, why don't you take five minutes to speak to the Auguste
application in itself on its own merits.
7850 MR. FARMER: Sure.
7851 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you understand what we are
talking about, or would you like a break?
7852 MR. FARMER: No. I just have a small statement that
gives you some information about the history of that. So that might help. And I
will close with that, because I think I have already outlined why I support the
7853 After the Commission's awarding of 99.1 to CBC, AVR
began a serious effort to be an applicant to the next round of licensing, which
was widely recognized as perhaps the last opportunity to bring the voice of
Canada's First Peoples to the largest urban area.
7854 In our initial planning we carefully considered the
frequencies used, and we saw --
7855 During this whole process of us looking for that, it
was brought to our attention by our technical advisors that the attention to
Arnold Auguste, the publisher of Share, who was mounting an effort as well to
apply in the upcoming round and that he seemed determined to provide significant
recognition of Toronto's Aboriginal community in his application.
7856 As a fellow publisher, I immediately felt that this
might be an opportunity to ensure that we would not be a direct competitor with
the Black and visible minority communities in the upcoming CRTC process, which
indeed allowed for two good deeds in one day, as it were.
7857 We reached an agreement and that the commercial
operation of Share could produce sufficient funding to help us through Canadian
Aboriginal talent development. It was later suggested that the $2 million over
seven years would substantially build the capacity of AVR.
7858 I just want to say that the working relationship
between Arnold Auguste and myself has been very cooperative and one of really
trying to community build on all of our communities in all the fronts. I just
want to give my wholehearted support to this application in recognition of all
7859 I am sorry that I always seem to get in trouble with
you. Sometimes I just don't understand all of this.
7860 Thank you very much for your time.
7861 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Farmer. Is this more
complicated than being an actor?
7862 MR. FARMER: I really learn a lot here from you all.
Acting is all about observation.
7863 THE CHAIRPERSON: We assume that you are well meaning,
but we are just doing our director's job here.
7864 MR. FARMER: For sure. Thank you.
7865 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Farmer.
7866 Mr. Secretary, please.
7867 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7868 We are now turning to a series of supporting
interventions for the 914258 Ontario Limited application, also known as Infinity
Radio, Mr. Ray's application.
7869 First of all, I would like to call Mr. Babikian for
the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto, to present his intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7870 MR. BABIKIAN: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and
7871 Let me introduce myself. My name is Aris Babikian. I
am the President of the Armenian National Federation, which is an umbrella
organization for the Canadian Armenian Community.
7872 I am here today on behalf of the communities of
southern Ontario to support the Infinity application.
7873 Before I start my presentation, I will ask your
indulgence if I look sometimes not coherent. I just came from gum surgery, so I
would ask for your indulgence and pardon if sometimes I am
7874 We are a community of over 35,000 in the Southern
Ontario region. We are a closely knit community. We have community centres,
schools and churches, in Toronto, Oshawa, Oakville, Hamilton, Kitchener, St.
Catherines and the Niagara regions. Each of these community centres is the
centre of our lives. We currently depend on information by word of mouth
regarding community activities. We have been waiting for an Armenian radio
program for a long time.
7875 Having this radio program will be one of the most
important gifts for the community. It will help us in the preservation of our
language, the most important part of our culture. If we did not preserve our
langauge, we would have lost the most salient feature of our culture.
7876 We Armenians have a strong attachment to our heritage
that has endured for over 3,000 years. We know how to preserve and survive. Even
as the Armenians arrived in Canada over a hundred years ago with love for our
homeland and thankfulness for the host society, Canadian society did not always
understand dual loyalty. They usually regarded perpetuation of ethnic culture as
a rejection of Canadian values rather than an enrichment of the Canadian
7877 However, a tremendous change has taken place over
time. Canada is an ideal country. It encourages you to keep your cultural values
alive. There is no more of that melting pot theory. Canada believes in the
theory of enrichment, through the preservation and propagation of each group's
traditional values and in particular each group's language.
7878 We also are in the enviable position to be able to
voice our concerns without any fear or hesitation, unlike many parts of this
world. And I am here today to exercise the privilege that I and my community
have been given through a public process that makes me feel so proud of this
beautiful country of mine.
7879 I am here to tell you that our community needs a
springboard to launch a vehicle to carry our message forward: the message of
pride in our heritage that we have vowed never to lose; the message of the
imperative value we attach to our language; the message of the need to practise
our culture at home and teach our children the language we love so
7880 We need a springboard from an entity that is
sensitive -- an entity that understand and can provide a meaningful allotment,
not a sort of lip service. The kind of proposal that Infinity Broadcasting has
made show that sensitivity and understanding. They are proposing a two-hour time
block per week for the Armenian community: one hour on Saturday and one hour on
Sunday. This is a lot more meaningful than a mere 30-minute allotment that a
radio station might offer.
7881 We cannot achieve this very crucial objective of
having a meaningful radio service unless a large group like the South Asian
community, with its huge business and economic base, leads and establishes a
broadcast service. We know that communities of our size cannot by themselves
establish a radio station, as you need that flow of financial backing from a
large community with a strong business base.
7882 Infinity has that backing from the South Asian
community, the only ethnic community of its size and potential in GTA, besides
the Chinese and the Italian communities.
7883 Because Infinity is a new player, a new entrant into
the broadcasting industry, we believe that the enthusiasm, new ideas and greater
sensitivity to the underserved groups will prevail at a much greater degree than
if an existing broadcaster is given the licence for the 740 frequency. The very
fact that Infinity has proposed at least two hours per week to smaller groups,
no matter how small, demonstrates the soundness of their plans.
7884 It is of utmost importance for an ethnic language
program to reflect the local community that it proposes to serve. The inclusion
of Armenian language programming in the proposed station would have been an
incomplete exercise if there was no prior, as well as subsequent, involvement of
the Armenian community.
7885 By proposing to involve the Armenian Community Centre
in the programming aspect of the service, Infinity Broadcasting has further
reiterated its commitment "to make a difference". We are confident that with the
training program under the leadership of Neeti and Renu Ray, and with the many
talented individuals within the Armenian community, the end result will be the
broadcast of professionally produced programs that will be second to
7886 The end result will also be the availability of a
long awaited radio service that will take the Armenian community into a new era
of community development. We shall also be able to connect with the Armenian
communities of Kitchener, Hamilton, Oakville, Oshawa, St. Catherines and Niagara
Falls. We are closely associated with each one of them. On our Armenian language
programming, we would be able to communicate with them and vice versa through
the reports in our sister communities in these areas.
7887 This is an exciting opportunity for us to be linked
and develop community activities around this new mode of connection.
7888 We are also very pleased to note that all programs
will be station produced in co-operation with the Armenian community, and all
sales will be station driven. This will make the Armenian programming a
permanent feature on the station, compared to those programs that are produced
by individuals that lease time from the station. Such leased time slots are
dependent on the revenue generating capacity of the programs and are therefore
vulnerable to the demands of the station owners and high cost of air time. With
the powerful backing of the South Asian community, the Armenian programmers and
the other smaller programs can be supported until such time as these programs
are able to stand on their own feet.
7889 In closing, I would like to make an observation. We
hope that this opportunity to license a newcomer, and to bring a breath of fresh
air in the industry, will not be lost in this competitive process. In this
process you have a choice of either gifting the licence to an existing player
and bringing little diversity in Toronto, or granting this licence to someone
who will bring profound change in a region that itself has seen equally profound
change in the past couple of decades.
7890 There must be other technical aspects of this process
that I do not know. But I still urge the Commission to weigh the prospects more
in light of how the public interest will be best served today and in the future.
I would also urge the Commission to look at criteria that serve the long-term
benefits of the public rather than the short term, including protection of
stations that may be losing money.
7891 In this vibrant, economically prosperous city, if
someone is losing money only more work needs to be done to generate revenues,
not more regulatory protection.
7892 I thank you, Madam Chair, for the time. I can answer
any questions if there are any.
7893 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Babikian. We wish you
a prompt recovery.
7894 Does your dental surgeon know you are
7895 MR. BABIKIAN: No, he doesn't. I could not miss such
an excellent opportunity to make my community's point and to send my community's
message to you that we need this kind of service, because unfortunately our
community is under-served in this area.
7896 We have schools, we have churches, we have community
centres, but unfortunately not all of our community members attend. So radio is
the only way we can reach the whole community.
7897 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are grateful you came.
7898 MR. BABIKIAN: Thank you.
7899 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
7900 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear the intervention by the
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7901 MR. SEETHAPATHY: Madam Chair and Members of the
Commission, thank you very much for allowing me this opportunity to present our
7902 I am the President of the Indo-Canada Chamber of
Commerce and Mr. Neeti Ray and some of his board members are members of the
Chamber as well.
7903 In terms of what we would like to present to you,
Madam Chair, is a kind of talk which starts from who we are and then presses the
point as to why we believe that we should be supporting the application the
7904 The story has both pride and hurt. The reason for our
hurt and the pain that we will talk about has certain historical roots to it.
Therefore, we feel that we are always being asked to play catch-up and never
seem to be recognized that we have arrived.
7905 I think this application is a test of that, Madam
7906 On page 2 I have the overview of the Chamber very
quickly. Who are we? We have about 750 members, about 50 per cent or 55 per cent
as small businesses, and we have substantial financial backing by way of calling
them "influencers", whether they are the brokerage or the banking
7907 We have offices in Toronto and Ottawa. And we have
mainstream support. I have listed the Royal Bank, Sun Life, HSBC, Bank of
Montreal. There are about 20 of them, and they substantially support us with
7908 Because we have a critical mass, we have affinity
programs for our members, such as commercial and financial packages, group
insurance, and the like.
7909 Most of our platforms are through quality
programming, some of which are ministerial speeches. Yesterday we had lunch with
the premier and the awards night that takes place once a year to recognize our
7910 The mission of the Chamber very quickly, Madam Chair,
is to provide information and networking platforms, such that our members become
successful and become role models. We also facilitate trade delegations and
explore trade opportunities, no matter where they exist in the world.
7911 We also create learning opportunities through
seminars, workshops and conferences; and last, but certainly not the least, we
provide input to government policies and programs. Jobs Ontario 2000 was one
where I participated; the Trade Committee at the ministerial level of the
federal government where I sit; and the Economic Development Councils of Ottawa
and Toronto, where I have participated as well.
7912 We also provide policy input to the three political
7913 With that overview, Madam Chair, I would like to take
you to what our community is all about. Very diverse as it may seem, I think
that there are threads that bind all of us together.
7914 From a demographics perspective, it is estimated that
in the year 2000 we will reach about 500,000 people in the greater Toronto
southwestern area. We were only 359 in 1996 and a mere 192 in 1991. We believe
we have reached a critical mass because that is the reason why, in the past, we
were always told to coat-tail on other people's licences.
7915 If that is true, then we have come at par with the
Chinese and the Italians, because they are estimated to also reach a critical
mass of about 500,000.
7916 72 per cent of our members in the South Asian
community are first generation immigrants. I do understand why others would like
to have more English content, but from our perspective our needs are very
different. Perhaps 30 years from now we will also be talking about why
mainstream or English language should be used. But at the moment, our prime need
is the South Asian language.
7917 Most of us understand Hindustani, and I will get to
that in a couple of foils. It is not very difficult to understand that the
binding agent of most South Asians, in fact around most of Asia and the
Caribbean, is Hindustani. And I will get to that in a second.
7918 What are the issues here before us?
7919 First is that the ethnic market itself as a segment
has been the fastest growing market in the GTA and in southwestern Ontario. It
is very hard to believe. But you will find heritage, language, entertainment,
food, and culture has always been the mainstay in double digit growth that we
have seen, even in our own membership, including the famous frozen samosas as
hors-d'oeuvres that are now given through Loblaws. This was not possible ten
7920 If you have to believe that, I will have a quote from
Sir John Templeton, who believes that the next biggest boom in the world is
going to come from the heritage and cultural side. Here is a person who created
the Templeton Fund prior to his retirement.
7921 I think the begging need here is people wish to seek
their roots, and you cannot touch people's roots if you do not give it to them
in the language that they want. That is my submission here as well.
7922 We have about 4,000 retail businesses. I have all
these directories here just in the GTA alone. There are hundreds and hundreds of
small businesses, and they are all crying that we need to market it in the
language that most of our people would understand.
7923 We have entrepreneurs in the making. Many of our
second generation want to issue T-4s and not take T-4s. So that itself is a
business opportunity. I wouldn't be surprised if we have 8,000 retail businesses
in five years from now, which is pretty well a doubling effect.
7924 Marketing opportunities we believe are untapped. Why?
Because there is no opportunity.
7925 If you were to go through and peruse all this, there
are very small businesses basically wanting to communicate in the language that
the customer understands. Look at all the banks. Every major bank, the Royal
Bank of Canada, HSBC, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, all have a director
for the South Asian market. The whole marketing segment in this big billion
dollar industry is going along segmentation on ethnic grounds.
7926 And let's not forget that that has to happen outside
of the mainstream business as well.
7927 From a technical perspective, we have an economic
engine which is revving, but we have no transmission. And if I can speak like a
mechanic, there is no fluid in the hydraulic coupler. We believe that the CRTC
should enable us so that all this engine that is revving is allowed to transmit
and make the community more forward.
7928 What is our current status here? Look at the air time
that we have. We have about 100 hours per week of Italian airtime, with two
licences and a new application before you; 153 hours of Chinese, with one
licence already in existence. And the South Asian bundle, as you call it, has no
7929 We are the first one to be applying for a licence,
but if you go through you will find that about 77 per cent, or 76.5 hours, is
Punjabi. I am not expert on Punjabi, but I do understand and I do enjoy the
Punjabi culture because of my maternal heritage. But I am a South Indian; I am a
Tamil by my paternal side.
7930 Do I not understand Hindustani? Of course I do,
because the majority of the programs that we all enjoy and live with are all
7931 What is the imbalance here?
7932 The imbalance essentially is that we have the Punjabi
dialect understanding -- which is only true Punjabi and not true in sense of the
dialect that is quoted. It is about 25 per cent of our population, and they have
77 per cent of the airtime. We are not asking that that be reduced. And I think
that is requisite.
7933 But on the flip side please do not take off the
shirts and say: Therefore, we have to have a curtailment of the rest of the
segment because the overall bundle has to be limited to 100 hours. 75 per cent
of the balance of the South Asian community has 23 per cent of the airtime. And
we think that that is an imbalance.
7934 Hindustani programming I believe is grossly
underserviced. It has to be recognized that we have arrived and that the
statistics and the numbers speak for themselves.
7935 What is Hindustani? Hindustani is not Hindi and
please don't segregate it on that basis. It is a collective medium of what
common people understand as Hindi. With Urdu in it, it is Hindustani. There are
people of so many dialects in the Indian subcontinent who all would understand
Hindustani. Why? Because the second biggest entertainment industry in the world
is Baliwu in Bombay.
7936 Therefore we ask you, we urge you actually, to take
that into account.
7937 Look at the number of immigrants it serves. We are
bundled as South Asians. But look at Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, immigrants
from South Africa, East Africa, parts of the Caribbean, Guyana. They all
understand Hindustani. They love Hindustani. They dance to its music.
7938 To say, therefore, that Hindustani should be
segmented to one particular segment or region of the world is inappropriate, in
7939 My mother tongue, as I said, is not Hindustani, but I
do love it and my children love it as well. If you put that in perspective,
Madam Chair, Hindustani lends itself to popular film and music, classical music,
poetry, culture, and social and immigrant issues as well.
7940 The programming model as outlined by Infinity is very
justified in the view of the Chamber. It is essentially self-supportable. Look
at all the various inputs and outputs that come through the model. We believe it
is something that will sustain the market of 500,000 customers.
7941 People talk about -- and I think that is a legal
issue. If you look at the track record of the Board of Directors and its
president, they have been there -- and the record speaks for itself.
7942 In 1990 in the U.S.A, they were five hours per week.
In 1991, as Radio India, they went to 14 hours per week. They jumped up 280 per
cent. In 1992 to 1994 they had another jump of 100 per cent, to 28 hours. In
1995 to 1997 they were doing 61.5 hours of programming per week.
7943 So how do we say that this is a brand new
application, or how would somebody contend that they have no operational
7944 Look at the ad revenues. They are $430,000 per year
from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. They were not even in prime time in the day time.
If you can generate $430,000 of ad revenues per year just going from 7:00 p.m.
to 12:00 p.m., imagine what would happen if you give them a licence to come to
the main part of the day as well.
7945 They were running 31 hours per week commercial free;
12:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. And yet the station carried itself.
7946 I think with that background, with that very limited
time they did extremely well. But we sold them short. We collectively, as a
system, sold them short. 610 AM radio was sold, was converted to a news talk
format and it plummeted by 84 per cent.
7947 I ask this question before this august body here:
Where was justice at that particular time when something that was growing in
triple digits was suddenly allowed to collapse?
7948 We feel that is where the pain, the hurt, the wound
still lies in the South Asian community. That should not have happened and it
7949 Subsequently, we know the story. You can't constantly
have a yo-yo in the business, so they discontinued the business as of
7950 Look what happens in opportunity. Canadian failure
has become a U.S. success. South of the border WTOR was five hours as of last
year. They have suddenly bumped it up to 21 hours within a year.
7951 I would think that if you continued to disallow this
licence, Madam Chair, we would have perhaps a lot of programming move south of
the border. And I think that is a shame.
7952 The Infinity proposal on a business case we believe
is strong. Its management track record, as per Radio India's operation, has been
exemplary. It has stood on its own as a business case. It already has 61 hours
per week of track record.
7953 So we are not asking that you allow us a five or
ten-hour week, because we already have 61 hours per week consistently over
several years. We have shown, even in limited cases, $430,000 of revenue on a
31-hour operation. So we are not asking to start from zero. We are asking that
we have come, that we have arrived.
7954 The untapped market potential, I spoke to you about.
They are willing to carry 22 other segmented languages. The gentleman before me
just elucidated on that.
7955 Therefore, the need for the licence I think is
crying. There is no capacity on six other ethnic stations. Therefore, we believe
that this particular licence should be accorded to Infinity.
7956 We already have $459,000 of pledges that have been
placed before you from the members of our community and the members of our
Chamber. The demographic evidence is there, and the popularity of Hindustani
music has also been evidenced.
7957 In closing, Madam Chair, I would like to say there is
a very strong endorsement to this particular application: 80 associations in
support, 1,200 letters from the business community and the members at large. We
have a proven track record, and it makes good business sense.
7958 On a sentimental value, if I can leave you with this
thought, I would urge this Commission to please give this application its due
standing in the community. No more coat-tailing, please, and please put us on
the map. That is all that we ask of you. The wounds of 1997 are still hurting
7959 I thank you for your time.
7960 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your
7961 Mr. Secretary, please.
7962 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7963 We will now hear the intervention from His
Excellency, Mr. C.V. Devon Nair.
7964 THE CHAIRPERSON: Proceed when you are ready.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7965 MR. NAIR: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and
7966 Thank you for the opportunity to speak here on a
subject that merits careful consideration by those who preside over policies
governing public services. Time constraints oblige me to dwell on only on
significant aspect of the proposal submitted by Infinity Broadcasting:
nation-building in a heterogeneous society.
7967 I, too, am a product of the multicultural milieu of
Malaysia/Singapore. More, I happen to be among the founders of modern Singapore,
after enduring five years of incarceration as a freedom fighter, and ended my
career there as President of the republic from 1981 to 1985.
7968 On achieving independence, our first preoccupation
was to undo the imperialist principle of "divide et impera" -- divide and rule.
British imperialism went to the extent of introducing separate electorates for
Hindus and Muslims in India. We too had been told that because our societies
were multilingual, we were incapable of nation building.
7969 Nationalists like the great Gandhi and Nehru thought
otherwise, for they believed in equal multicultural societies. We too fought for
the same ideal -- and won. Our multicultural population were ready to do without
imperial rule and to work in unison for a common future in a common
7970 The best definition of a nation Know of came from the
revolutionary thinker Sri Aurobindo, who was the first to call for complete
independence for India from British rule.
7971 I quote:
"A nation is not made by common blood, a common tongue or a common religion;
these are only important helps and powerful conveniences. But wherever
communities of men not bound by family ties are united in one sentiment and
aspiration to defend a common inheritance from their ancestors or assure a
common future for their posterity, there a nation is already in
7972 Canada is certainly among the most heterogeneous
nations in the world, and can justly claim to be among the most successful in
the process of nation building. Leaders, citizens and residents of this great
country readily profess multiculturalism as a means to assure a common future
for their posterity.
7973 Policy makers and implementors cannot allow
themselves to forget that the foundation of harmonious multiculturalism needs to
be continually reinforced. Radio and television, among other things, can be used
or abused to either strengthen or weaken it. Disruptive fault lines between
different cultures that have been foolishly allowed to develop in less fortunate
nations have, fortunately, not been lost on the political and cultural leaders
of Canada. The quality and content of programs will be the first casualties if
left solely to the private sector. Hence the need for a Commission like the
7974 Commercial considerations are certainly not
unimportant for radio stations. However, of more significant import to quality
programming are the values and aspirations that motivate those who run these
7975 On this score I can personally vouch for the sponsors
of Infinity Broadcasting, Neeti and Renu Ray, whom I came to know and highly
respect during regular informal meetings of Canadian citizens and residents. Not
only do they champion the ideal of human unity, but also wholeheartedly
subscribe to the great truth that the highest attained perceptions and values of
mankind are fundamentally similar. Basic human values are common to all
spiritual traditions -- eastern or western.
7976 I am therefore happy that Mr. Ray has undertaken that
the programs he intends to produce will cater to the needs of 22 different
linguistic groups in South Ontario, and will also include cross-cultural
productions to encourage mutual understanding and respect among a sizeable
section of the region's multicultural inhabitants.
7977 In short, each ethnic group must assimilate the
spirit of the others and yet preserve its individuality and grow according to
its own law of growth. The end result of a gradual process of acculturation in
multicultural Canada is best left to a harmonious evolutionary process that will
take a few generations to accomplish. It cannot be enforced.
7978 Much obliged.
7979 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Your Excellency. We thank
you for your participation.
7980 Mr. Secretary, would this be a good opportunity for a
7981 MR. CUSSONS: By all means, Madam
7982 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will be back at five to four.
Nous reprendrons à quatre heures moins cinq.
--- Recess at 1540 / Suspension à 1540
--- Upon resuming at 1610 / Reprise à 1610
7983 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our
7984 Mr. Secretary, please.
7985 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
7986 We will now hear the intervention by the North York
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7987 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Mann.
7988 MR. MANN: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission,
7989 My name is Gurdev Mann, and I am the president of one
of the largest Sikh temples in Metro Toronto. I have lived in this country for
the past 25 years. I am a Sikh, proud of my heritage, and proud of the role that
the Sikh community has played in Canada since the beginning of the 20th
7990 It is important that I paint a small picture of what
the Sikh community has meant to all South Asians and to Canada for over a
7991 When we arrived here more than a century ago, the
first institution that our people established was a Gurudwara, which means a
Sikh Temple, built in 1907 in Vancouver. This Sikh Temple was erected by the
Khalsa Diwan Society, which is the oldest Sikh Temple Society in Canada. The
Khalsa Diwan Society then helped to build and manage Sikh Temples in Victoria,
Westminster and Abbotsford in British Columbia.
7992 For more than 40 years this Society was the main
defender of not only Sikh interests, but the entire South Asian interests in
7993 Today, we have come a long way since those times. And
as I appear before the CRTC in support of Infinity Broadcasting's application
for a multilingual radio station, I am reminded of the role played by the
earlier Sikh societies in Canada. I am appearing today not just for the Sikh
community, but for the entire South Asian community.
7994 We, Punjabi speaking Sikh people of Greater Toronto,
are fortunate to have so many radio programs in our own Punjabi language that
serve our needs well. In fact, the majority of all South Asian programs are in
the Punjabi language. These programs are well supported by a few hundred small
businesses in the Punjabi community. We are a flourishing community, with a
healthy business base, and living all over the Greater Toronto Area, with some
concentration in the Malton, Brampton and Etobicoke areas.
7995 In the past few years, there has been considerable
growth in the amount of Punjabi radio programs. This growth took place while
another very popular radio program, Radio India, was growing from five hours a
week to 61 hours a week on CKTB AM 610 radio. Radio India had many hours of
programming each night, including three hours of commercially-free programs
daily after midnight.
7996 The difference was that the Punjabi speaking
immigrants from the state of Punjab loved to hear the sounds of their own
Punjabi village language on these Punjabi programs, and the rest of all South
Asians were listening to Radio India, which was in Hindustani. Those from Punjab
have been perfectly at home with these Punjabi programs. The rest of the
Indo-Pakistanis, including a number of Sikhs, have been perfectly at home with
Radio India. There was an overall balance of service to all South
7997 While those from other regions of South Asia cannot
understand Punjabi, the Punjabi speaking people understand Hindustani, and all
movies that we watch here in Toronto are in Hindustani.
7998 Hindustani is the language spoken all over India and
Pakistan. It is the national language of India. All proceedings in parliament,
the courts and government offices are done in Hindustani.
7999 Coming back to the Toronto scene, all non-Punjabi
South Asians were well served by Radio India. There was no match for the quality
of Radio India programs. It was totally professionally presented. Even no
Punjabi program can match the quality of Radio India programs. This does not
mean that the Punjabi programs are not providing good service. They are doing a
very good job of making this place a very homey place for those from
8000 Licensing Infinity will give the listeners a choice
between two different kinds of programs. Many mainstream English radio stations
target the same audience and they give the listeners a choice to listen to what
they want. This kind of listening choice is needed in the South Asian community
8001 In the South Asian society here, I am one of the
community leaders. I feel it is my responsibility to show a clear picture to the
CRTC. I am afraid that you may look at the large number of Punjabi language
programs and think that the South Asian population of about 500,000 has enough
8002 As a listener and admirer of all these Punjabi
language programs, I must tell you that only 20 to 25 per cent of the total
South Asian population is served by Punjabi programs. The rest of the South
Asian population, whether from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka are
without proper radio service. There are some Hindi programs that are half in
English and half in Hindi.
8003 The day Radio India went off air, an era of proper
radio service to the South Asians ended. Everyone depended on Radio India for
the latest news from the South Asian community in Toronto, and from the Indian
sub-continent. The musical entertainment on Radio India made this radio program
a household name in the Indo-Pakistan community. With Radio India gone, there is
a big vacuum that has to be filled.
8004 Radio India was outstanding in its quality and
content. Until today everyone wonders whether thee will ever be a program like
Radio India back on the air again. I do not think any radio station has any time
slot left for such a program, unless you go across the border to find air time.
You need a good block of hours, like Radio India used to have on CKTB St.
Catherines. But this time we reserve it not only during the night, but also
during the morning drive time.
8005 Before CKTB radio they had to broadcast from the USA.
Today there is again another Hindustani program that comes from the USA on 770
AM radio, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Only last week they added one more hour every weekday, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00
p.m. So now they have three hours daily during prime time, 21 hours per week. It
was only five hours per week when the program started last year.
8006 Many people listen to it, just like they used to
listen to Radio India. But we need to have local programming and keep our
listeners and advertising dollars in Canada.
8007 I am a businessman also. I have recently started a
furniture store. I would not hesitate to advertise on Infinity Radio and spend
around $25 to $30 per spot on this proposed radio station if it is licensed.
This will be in addition to any advertisement we would plan for the Punjabi
programs, as they target a specific audience that we would benefit
8008 I request the Commission to license Infinity and
Neeti Prakash. Licensing him will give all visible minorities a sense of greater
pride and will take the history of Canada's multiculturalism one big step
8009 Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson and Members of
8010 I would like to add a couple of comments if you will
8011 Radio India, which I am not involved in operating but
only in listening, there is no doubt that there is a big gap out there. People
have spoken to me. In our Temple a lot of people, even though they speak
Punjabi, they also listen to the radio programs because they were high quality
8012 We feel that there is a need for that program to be
back on the air.
8013 Thank you very much.
8014 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Mann, for
8015 Mr. Secretary, please.
8016 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8017 We will now hear the intervention from the Consulate
of the Slovak Republic.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8018 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
8019 MR. STEPHENS: Good afternoon. My name is John
Stephens. I hope some time that you might find a better word for introducing the
Chairperson rather than Chair or Chairperson. Perhaps even Presider might be
better. It is such an awkward term, and it seems to pervade our
8020 I am pleased to make this intervention on behalf of
914258 Ontario Limited -- Infinity as I will call it through my brief. While the
Slovak Canadian community numbers some 120,000 persons across Canada, a very
significant part, about 35,000, is located in the area to be covered by Infinity
should it be granted the licence it seeks.
8021 I regret that I have not been able to sit in on all
of the applications, but from what I have heard I conclude that the Commission
is being asked on one hand to entrench present broadcasters and on the other to
make room for underserviced linguistic communities. I do not envy your
8022 Infinity has agreed to provide two hours weekly of
broadcast time for the Slovak Canadian community, one of the 23 communities it
wishes to serve. This would serve as the Slovak community's prime means of
communication with its members. For small communities like ourselves,
communication is a very important matter, because it ties the community together
in this huge land of ours while at the same time reinforcing the usage of the
language in Canada. But the expense can often prevent it from
8023 For your information, Slovakia is located in the
geographic centre of Europe bounded by Poland to the north, the Czech Republic
to the west, Austria and Hungary to the south, and the Ukraine to the east. I
say this because we are so often confused with Slovenia, once a part of the old
Yugoslavia, which is quite a way to the south.
8024 I should also tell you -- and you must be aware --
that the Irish are descendants of the Celtic people who in earlier times were
settled along the Danube basin in which is now Slovakia. From this we have
concluded, if no one else has, that the Irish are Slovaks who left home
8025 While some Slovaks appeared in Canada in the late
1800s, immigration from Slovakia came to Canada essentially in three waves:
after the First World War; after the Second World War; and after the Russian
invasion of the then Czechoslovakia by Russia and its Warsaw Pact allies in
8026 The first wave of Slovaks established the
organizations a community depends on: churches, fraternal organizations, social,
cultural and athletic institutions, language schools, folk arts. The second
brought professionals to develop the community, while the third brought career
minded persons to reinforce the use of the Slovak language in the community.
Each wave brought a more developed Slovak language so that the language spoken
in Slovakia today is different from that spoken in Canada, especially by the
elder generations. It is almost like having to learn the Slovak language all
8027 Because Slovaks lived in small groups in many places
-- Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, Welland, St. Catherines, Oshawa, Sarnia,
Windsor -- it was inevitable toward the end of the 1940s and early 1950s that
the need to stay in touch was the impetus for Mary and Paul Vyrostko to
establish the Slovak Radio Club from Welland under strict conditions ordered by
the predecessors of the CRTC.
8028 This, of course, served the Toronto base of the
8029 There was a quota as to how much Slovak music could
be played, how much the announcers could speak in Slovak, and how long before
English had to be spoken again. It could be said the program in those days was
tolerated for an hour on Sundays in the afternoon, in time slots then considered
the least likely to be listened to by others.
8030 The next program was in Italian by the Carenza
Brothers, and we picked up fragments of Italian from them. Buongiorno, miei
amici. Those words stick in my mind.
8031 Nevertheless, the Radio Club provided news of the
community, births, marriages, deaths, religious notes, as well as Slovak folk
music. Because of the rigid restrictions, and as well because under Communism it
was difficult to get popular Slovak music for broadcast here, Slovak culture in
Canada seemed locked in the pre-Second World War era. You can imagine the
cultural shock for Slovak Canadians visiting Slovakia later to find a completely
different genre of music there, one that was modern and included rock
8032 The Slovak Canadian community in Ontario today has
few means of communicating. Its newspapers do not hit the main part of the
community whose members reside far apart. Instead of attending Slovak churches,
the lure of their local churches helps in cutting off attachments to old
friends, losing the sense of community, identity and attachment.
8033 Recently my family moved to Brechin on the east side
of Lake Simcoe, and we were pleasantly surprised to find at least five Slovak
families in the immediate area. Undoubtedly we will find more as time goes on.
But this shows how dispersed our community is in Ontario.
8034 Each of us continues our interest in the
Slovak-Canadian community, its arts, music and other cultural forms. These are
part of our life, and they do not take away from our enjoyment of things
8035 There are maps available which show the footprint of
the broadcast area involved here. It covers the prime area in which Slovak
Canadians are located in Ontario.
8036 The approval of Infinity's application would provide
an incentive for our community to develop a radio service very much needed.
While many of us live with one foot in the Slovak community, participating in
all its events and organizations, the other foot is firmly planted in the
8037 Many of our members have done well in the Canadian
mainstream: the late Stephen B. Roman, Chairman of a uranium mining company;
George Ben, a former Toronto city councillor and member of the provincial
legislature; George Gross, retired sports editor of The Sun; Tony Roman, former
mayor of Markham and a past Member of Parliament; the doctors Sirek at the
Banting Institute; Charles Dobias, first class violinist; myself as a past
Chairman of the York Region Board of Education and now consul for the Slovak
Republic; and so many more who have retained their Slovak heritage while
participating and succeeding in the Canadian mainstream.
8038 It is crucial that our youth be able to listen to
Slovak as it is spoken and sung on mainstream media. Firstly, it reinforces
usage of the language; and secondly, it recognized our language as an accepted
minority language within Canada's framework of multiculturalism.
8039 For Canada's policy of bilingualism within a
multicultural framework to work, it requires Canadians to feel comfortable
listening to languages other than English. The Canadian educational system
produces young people skilled in vocabulary and reading but not in speaking or
being able to understand what is being spoken to them in French or other
8040 Sure, if you can afford to send your children to
French schools, they come out bilingual, for a while, until environmental
factors take over in the English speaking milieu. but what about the
overwhelming numbers of students who live in English speaking communities where
resistance to learning any language other than English is part of everyday
8041 Doesn't it seem odd that learning languages in Europe
is not a problem? There are many reasons for this, none the least that in a
matter of hours one can travel across several different language boundaries, and
the traveller will be adept in many of them. The simple reason is that the are
exposed to hearing these languages and pick up the idiom readily.
8042 In English-speaking Canada, it is my view that there
is a great reluctance to speaking or listening to French. Much of this, of
course, is due to the prevalence of English in the media and daily
8043 The CRTC should, in my view, support bilingualism in
a multicultural framework by encouraging scenarios in which Canadians are more
exposed to French and other languages.
8044 Of course, the CRTC can't do this by itself. But it
is a laugh to have a newspaper described as national, but not a word of French
is in it. Our radio and television stations in the main are solidly either
English or French, and rarely are the two intertwined so that even if a Canadian
wanted to learn French by being accustomed to the intonation of French words,
that is training one's ear, he or she can't because it is not part of the
8045 TVO is aimed at a different audience, so I can't
comment on it.
8046 Would it not be something to have the National news
at 11 o'clock one night in English and in French the next? How else do you make
bilingualism possible in areas solidly English speaking?
8047 You may feel that I have departed from my
intervention, but I see language as a matter of not just learning vocabulary but
of learning the sounds that go with it in conversation.
8048 It is important to the Slovak Canadian community to
have this means of communication at our disposal, not just for our own language
but for the exposition it gives to other languages. And this applies to the
other language groups in Canada.
8049 This is the reason that I have taken this opportunity
to speak on behalf of Infinity. It promises to expand the exposure of other
languages used in Canada. Your policies in radio and television have been of
great help to the French and to the native groups, particularly in the North
through satellite TV. You have also helped major linguistic groups such as the
Italians and Chinese, who today are well served.
8050 I ask you today to think of the other smaller groups
who also need that exposure.
8051 Thank you for your attention.
8052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Stephens, for your
participation in our process.
8053 Mr. Secretary, please.
8054 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8055 We will now hear from Christ the Saviour Russian
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8056 MS DVORIADKINA: Good afternoon. I will be giving this
presentation on behalf of Father Nicholas and myself. My name is Victoria
8057 I have written in the past indicating our willingness
to participate in the Russian language programming proposed by Infinity
Broadcasting. We have a population of about 140,000 in the Greater Toronto Area,
and the need for Russian language programming in Toronto cannot be
8058 Russians have arrived into Canada during different
phases. The most notable are the two phases after the Second World War: first
during the 10 years after the war; and then, from the 1970s to the present time,
under the more relaxed rules of later Soviet government and the almost complete
cessation of restrictions since 1991.
8059 Russian culture has its unique traits that are
prevalent in the Russian society in the Greater Toronto Area. Whenever Russians
gather, they usually try to organize a library, an after-hour school for their
children, and musical and literary evenings that feature the works of composers
such as Tchaikovsky, Mousorgsky and Rimsky-Korakov, or Russian literary giants
such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Turgenev. They also cherish Russian folklore,
proverbs, customs, arts and costumes.
8060 Cultural activities in Canada have been somewhat
hampered because of distances between major centres and to some degree because
of class differences. The urge to retain the Russian identity has been strongest
among the first generation Russians. Each new wave of immigrants has revived
interest in Russian heritage.
8061 That is where the role of Russian radio programming
becomes significant. A Russian language radio program of meaningful duration
will be most beneficial to the Russian population of the Greater Toronto and
other southern Ontario areas.
8062 We have a lot to achieve through this radio program.
This radio program will be for the people, by the people. Mr. Ray of Infinity
Broadcasting has clearly indicated that all programs will be station produced,
in consultation with Father Nicholas and myself regarding the Russian
programming. His concerns regarding a high quality program shows his
preoccupation with the true broadcast quality of the proposed
8063 We have no doubt that under the supervision of an
enthusiastic new owner of ethnic radio, the Russian programs as well as the
other language programs will flourish.
8064 The Russian community has a strong business base. Our
yellow pages list more than 300 businesses.
8065 As far as format is concerned, I cannot imagine 740
being granted to any format other than the one that is most in demand and short
in supply -- the ethnic format.
8066 I understand there are numerous radio stations in the
Greater Toronto Area. Only six of them are ethnic stations. That is less than 20
per cent of the total. The rest are mainstream English stations. The ethnic
population is far more than 20 per cent of the total population of the Greater
8067 There is obviously a service gap that has to be
filled. The 740 AM frequency gives us an opportunity to bridge that gap to
whatever extent the addition of a new station can do.
8068 I would also like to mention that I represent another
group within the Russian community; that is, Russian teenagers. I teach in
Northview Heights Secondary School, where we have a Russian club and numerous
courses in Russian literature and language.
8069 I have heard concerns from Russian teenagers that
they cannot learn true Russian culture being raised in a Communist society or
being raised by parents who have been influenced by this society and propaganda.
They often do not know the true Russian literature, and they do not know the
literature that has been suppressed by this regime.
8070 Having heard of this opportunity of new Russian
programs, they have been very excited and asking me whether they can participate
and have their voices heard. They expressed concerns that they cannot address
their peers and Russian friends. They cannot have a place and stage to discuss
their fears, anxieties, concerns of the different behaviour that they see
around. Especially after the senseless death of a student of mine, Mati
Granowsky, this concern was greatly raised.
8071 Infinity brings new people in the broadcast ownership
position. That creates yet another kind of diversity that we would all welcome.
In short, we would support the licensing of Infinity Broadcasting for the 740 AM
radio. It is our position that the licence for the 740 frequency should be
granted to Infinity in the public interest and in the interest of the
broadcasting system in general.
8072 Thank you very much.
8073 REV. BOLDIREFF: Madam Chairman and Commissioners, I
have been in Toronto for the last 24 years as the rector of a Russian parish,
and it is growing by leaps and bounds ever since Mr. Gorbachev allowed the
borders to be free.
8074 There has been a great change in the fabric of my
parish and of the Russian community at large. When we refer to 140,000 Russian
speaking people, we do not refer to 140,000 Russian orthodox Christians or even
Russian people per se. We believe that these are Russian speaking people of
various backgrounds, such as the Russian Jewish background, who speak Russian in
their homes and to their children. That is why the number is so large. These are
some Russian speaking people who had Russian forced on them by the Soviet regime
as well, and who would like to, due to the new political events, re-learn the
Russian language that they were taught in schools, and so forth.
8075 So there is some interest in those particular groups
also in the Russian spoken program.
8076 The Russian community has not been well served by the
Russian programs in the last 25 years in Greater Toronto, and it continues not
to be well served.
8077 We believe that Infinity will provide a fair and
honest opportunity for Russian voices to be heard in the way that the Russian
present population would like to be heard.
8078 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Dvoriadkina and
8079 Mr. Secretary, please.
8080 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8081 We will now hear the intervention of T. Sher
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8082 MR. SINGH: Madam Chair and Commissioners, I am
8083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back, Mr. Singh.
8084 MR. SINGH: I am back wearing a different hat -- or a
different turban, for that matter. However, I still speak on a personal basis
and not as a lawyer or representative of any organization or group.
8085 I support Infinity's application because it has set
out, if granted a licence, to provide a service to those communities in this
area which remain grossly under-serviced. One of those communities is the South
8086 The difficulty lies in the fact that a large number
of different communities fall within the definition of the South Asian
community, and I will get into that in a second.
8087 The Infinity application clearly intends to serve
these South Asian communities as well as others, many of them, as you have
heard, of European, Asian and other origins. However, because of the limitations
of time, I will focus on just two issues.
8088 The South Asian programming. You heard a lot about
the hours that the community had and now has. It is true that the South Asian
community as a whole has in this general area approximately 99 hours of
programming. Most of it is not during prime time, but that is another
8089 But as recent as March 1998, they had not 99 hours
but 160 hours, approximately; and that suddenly dropped from 160 to 99. The
reason why it happened, very briefly, is that 61 hours was being broadcast from
one particular station. That station was sold by one owner to another. The
purchaser had assured in its application that once given the licence, it would
maintain its ethnic programming.
8090 Approximately half an hour after it took over, it
cancelled the ethnic programming -- and I mean literally half an hour after it
took over the station; hence 160 to 99.
8091 What it did was something quite disproportionate to
the South Asian programming, and I need to explain to you the logistics of the
South Asian setup even though generally I am sure you are aware of
8092 Calling a group of communities South Asian poses a
bit of a difficulty in that it would not be dissimilar to describing all the
European languages or language programs as European or described them as Souther
European or Eastern European or Western European and saying: You already have
English and French? So why do you need Italian? You have 100 hours of European.
Or you have Spanish or you have Portuguese; why do you need Italian because you
have so many hours of southern European?
8093 Comparing South Asian with Italian, South Asian with
Chinese, South Asian with Portuguese is completely inappropriate. South Asian
consists of -- and I do not exaggerate -- at least 25 major languages. And I am
not talking about dialects. The dialects number 500 or more.
8094 Each one of these has a literature as rich as
English, French, Italian, Chinese, et cetera. Each has a Shakespeare. Each
culture has a Michelangelo, and so on. And the languages are all represented
quite substantially in Toronto. Punjabi, of course, you have heard; Hindi, Urdu,
Hindustani, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, and so on and so forth.
8095 The difficulty arose from the sudden overnight
reduction from 160 to 99, in that a majority of the hours that were left
belonged to the Punjabi language.
8096 I am a Punjabi speaking person, and if I listen to
any ethnic programming it is Punjabi. So contrary to expectations, I am not
going to push for Punjabi programming. I am asking you, ladies and gentlemen, to
consider that while Punjabi is reasonably represented, a vacuum has been created
for the remaining languages within the South Asian group, and a major
8097 To give you a simple breakdown, out of the 99 hours
that are easily attributable to South Asian programming, 76.5 is Punjabi. Hindi
is 14 hours, and Urdu is 3 hours. So one can lump it together as 17 hours for
Hindustani. Tamil is 3.5 hours. Bengali is two hours.
8098 And I would suggest to you that if you look at this
breakdown, you will understand that by merely looking at the adequacy of
otherwise of South Asian programming, you will find that that statement in
itself is inadequate. One needs to look at: Are these other major language
groups that contribute large numbers as new Canadians being serviced? Are they
finding services which prove a catalyst for them to move on from their old world
to the new world to go through the process of Canadianization.
8099 It is important in considering the application of
Infinity that you look at this breakdown and not the cluster of South Asian
8100 The second point I would like to make is that there
is a tendency in the new corporate approach to everything to amass companies. We
have some important examples, such as where newspaper monopolies have developed
in many parts of Canada. Fortunately, in the area of radio we have the CRTC to
keep an eagle eye, to ensure that all segments of the Canadian population are
served, not because it is fair, not because it is good, but if we are to move
the process along, if we are to assist new Canadians in becoming full-fledged
Canadians and becoming part of the mainstream, this is so fundamental a process,
so fundamental a stage, so fundamental a vehicle, that it is important that such
amassing not take place.
8101 I would urge you to give weight to the Infinity
application, especially since it means trying a new plan, a new approach, a new
scheme, tested for its viability; as you have heard, 60 hours per week of
programming done by the very people who are putting this proposal
8102 It gives new people a chance. It encourages
initiative, innovation, creativity and competition. It is important that we
bring in new people to see whether something else can also work. Maybe it will
do something better. Maybe it will do something different.
8103 I would urge that in considering this application, it
be kept in mind that the applicant does not already have another station,
another licence, or two or three. It needs such a licence, not only to be able
to serve the South Asian community, or the segments of the South Asian community
that remain underserved, but all of the other communities -- a few of which you
have heard from already.
8104 Finally, I should add that I am supporting this
particular application for a very specific reason. A number of ethnic
communities, but specifically ours, whether it is Punjabi, or Sikh or Indian or
South Asian, whichever concentric circle we want to look at, have suffered
grievously in the last 20 or 30 years with terribly produced
8105 People have generally gone into this sort of
broadcasting because they haven't had anything else to do. If they couldn't find
other work or employment, they thought it would be nice to do this sort of
thing. We have suffered on and on as a result, some merely regurgitating
programming produced elsewhere, produced years ago, et cetera.
8106 The programming produced by Mr. Ray, the principal of
this particular applicant, brought a sea change in the quality of programming.
You have heard some of the testimony today, but let me assure you that it was
not just a change; it was a quantum leap for a standard general bad programming
to a very high quality programming. Hence, the kind of support that you have
heard from across the South Asian community today.
8107 I would urge you to give as much weight as you can to
this particular element, this particular fact, because it is important to the
community that it be exposed to good programming as opposed to just lots of
8108 Thank you.
8109 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Singh.
8110 Mr. Secretary, please.
8111 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8112 We will now hear the intervention by Mitra
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8113 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Manesh, good
8114 MS MANESH: Good afternoon, Commissioners. Thank you
for saying my name correctly, by the way. Not many people do.
8115 MR. CUSSONS: My pleasure.
8116 MS MANESH: As the gentleman said, my name is Mitra
Manesh. I am an immigrant woman from a non-English speaking background. I am a
Persian and Iranian, however you know it, and I have lived in the Asian,
European, Australian and North American continents. I am a Canadian. I consider
myself Canadian because Canada is home for me. I am a Canadian by
8117 The reason I am here is because Canada not only
tolerates diversity but also celebrates diversity.
8118 I have been a commissioner of the Ontario Human
Rights Commission. I am a member of a tribunal. I have led Canadian
organizations since my arrival eight years ago in Canada. I am also a consultant
to Canadian corporations who want to achieve their full potential in the area of
leadership, communication and image management.
8119 So you can say that I am well settled in such a short
of period of time that I have been in Canada. The reason that has happened is
because I am very comfortable with where I come from. I am very comfortable with
my identity and heritage; yet I feel at home with Canadian mainstream society,
culture and community.
8120 That just doesn't happen on its own. You need tools
for things like that to happen. I don't know if you ever felt completely
isolated in your life. I hope you haven't and I hope you never do. But as a
person who has gone through the experience of war, revolution, emigration,
immigration, separation and many other experiences such as that many, many
times, I had to deal with isolation many times and I know it too
8121 I also know that one of the tools that I talked about
that helps individuals become part of the mainstream society is to be in touch
with what is current, with what is happening, with the law, with the changes,
with events. These things only happen if you are in touch with the
8122 As you know, my community does not speak English as a
first language, and it would be very difficult to access written media. We have
about half an hour of TV programming and a total of two and a half hours of
radio programming, and that is at odd times on the weekend.
8123 What Infinity is suggesting, which is five hours of
weekly program for my community, is what the Iranian community really needs. It
is during the week. It is at prime time, 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock, where people
have gone home from school, from work, and it means something to the community.
A token half hour program wouldn't mean anything to any community.
8124 We need continuity. We need a place that will unite
the community together.
8125 My community does not even have a body that you can
call Iranian community place or house or social agency. So there is no place to
go to call up on the community, whether you have information to share, whether
you have a warning to give them.
8126 I know this because many times I had very important
information for the community, and I had to wait until the next Sunday to give
that information to my community. Most of the time it was just too late, and the
information was too old anyway.
8127 I want to tell you about the experience of the
Iranian community in Los Angeles. I hate to use that as an example, but I have
to because it is a very, very successful story.
8128 The Iranian community in Los Angeles is very
successful because they have interesting access to the media. As you might know,
Los Angeles is very scattered. There is no sense of community there. But the
Iranian community has a 24-hour radio. From heart surgeons, to mechanics and
babysitters, they call in and provide information to the rest of the community.
The Iranian community enjoys a very high self-esteem in Los Angeles.
8129 I think the media, the radio program in particular
has a lot to do with it.
8130 StatsCanada in 1991 indicated that the population of
the Iranian community is about 17,350 in GTA. StatsCanada in 1996 indicated that
the population of the Iranian community in GTA is 28,850. That is about 66 per
cent growth rate.
8131 Even if we conservatively take that growth rate and
translate it into 2000, we will have more than 50,000 people in GTA right now. I
think that will say a lot.
8132 A community that is very new, a community that is not
united, that doesn't have a place to go, needs somehow to come together. I think
what Infinity is suggesting will contribute towards that oneness.
8133 I actually am going to be less than the ten minutes
that I am allowed, not because I want to be kind to you, but also because I have
to catch a plane.
8134 So this is it, if you have any questions.
8135 I just want to tell you and indicate one more time
that I personally have considered supporting this application very seriously and
had to adjourn a hearing to be here on time. But I wanted to tell you that I
wholeheartedly support the application of Infinity.
8136 Thank you very much.
8137 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Manesh, for
8138 Mr. Secretary, please.
8139 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8140 We will now hear the intervention of Ed Rempel.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr.
8142 MR. REMPEL: Madam Chair and Members of the
Commission, my name is Ed Rempel and I am a financial planner in Brampton,
Ontario. I am here during the peak of RRSP season because of the importance of
8143 I am here before you today, Madam Chair, in support
of Neeti Ray's application for a licence to carry on radio broadcast service on
740 AM frequency.
8144 As I said in my letter in support of Infinity
Broadcasting about a month ago, licensing Infinity will bring a new kind of
diversity, that we would all welcome very much. Infinity brings new people in
the ownership ranks within Canada's broadcast industry.
8145 In my opinion, a profound change of direction takes
place when a new, freshly formed entity is given such an opportunity. In this
case, the profound change of direction will take place in Canada;'s ethnic
broadcast sector. Here is a prospective new entrant into the broadcast ownership
position, ready and equipped to navigate and take this proposed new ship into a
new direction towards the Toronto of tomorrow. This ship is loaded with many
other passengers, who could not find appropriate accommodation in other
8146 The ethnically most diverse city in the world,
Toronto, is the epitome of multiculturalism. There are more than a hundred
languages spoken in GTA. My heritage language, German, is one of them. It is
spoken by a considerable percentage of the more than 450,000 Germans living in
8147 Since the coverage contours of the proposed station
encompasses the region extending from London to Niagara Falls and beyond, the
impact of a German language programming will be significant. In fact, in the
Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge regions I know of a good number of Germans who
are not well versed in English. In Toronto, too, there are a large number of
Germans more comfortable in german than in English.
8148 The proposed station plans to set up a stringer
network, thus bringing the communities of the different localities together.
When Oktoberfest is celebrated in the Kitchener area, for example, the aroma of
the festivities will quickly spread to Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa and the Niagara
regions. It will trigger the festive feelings in all germans across southern
8149 That is just one instance that comes to
8150 There are all the other 21 languages that will be on
the airwaves, possibly in 60 to 90 days after being licensed, as Infinity has
said in the application. Each locality within 740 AM's service contours has a
significant ethnic population. The example of the German community I just gave
applies to many other communities that will feel linked through the broadcast
plans of Infinity.
8151 It is also important o note that in order to provide
service to a number of ethnic groups that do not have proper broadcast service,
you need a large community to be the driving force. A critical mass is needed to
support the radio station.
8152 I can cite three examples of critical masses in
Toronto: the Italians, the Chinese and the South Asians. The Italian and Chinese
masses have been utilized to build stations, and in the process many other
smaller satellite groups have been served.
8153 The many ethnic groups that have improper broadcast
service, or no service at all, need another critical mass to piggy back
8154 The South Asian community is next in line. It has a
strong economic base. The wave of new immigrants from South Asia still
continues. New services to fulfil their needs keep growing. The business sector
of the South Asian community, like their increasing population, has grown at a
very fast rate. The thousands of South Asian businesses in the Greater Toronto
Area are testimony to this growth.
8155 There are a few applications for the 740 frequency.
If another applicant, namely CHIN radio, is licensed, it will be at the
exclusion of those ethnic groups that Infinity proposes to serve. The end result
of this public hearing process must be better service to the public.
8156 If the concerns of today's unserved or improperly
served language groups are not addressed during this hearing, it will be
increasingly difficult to address them in the future. Not only that the size of
Toronto's ethnic population will increase considerably, thus enlarging the
under-served groups, but also that there will no longer be an adequate frequency
available to add another radio station in the future. You may have some very low
power frequency not strong enough to serve the Greater Toronto Area, let alone
the rest of southern Ontario where much of the German community is.
8157 We have to build a strong social structure for
Canada. Canadian society, especially in an ethnically diverse region like
southern Ontario, is made up of many components. Each component is equally
important for the overall development of our society. Some components would do
better than others. Some would have less opportunities than others, through no
fault of their own. It is the components with less opportunities that need to be
given the opportunity. It is almost a question of equity and balance of
8158 To license Infinity will mean a step forward in
bringing equity among the less served 22 components of our society. On the other
hand, giving this licence to an entity like CHIN will only mean better service
to the already better served communities that CHIN is currently serving. We need
to look after the needs of those components of our society that need to be
lifted to the level of the better served. If a public process like this one
fails to do that, it will defeat the very purpose of this public
8159 Infinity proposes to provide service to 22 distinct
ethnic groups, to bring them at par with those that are being served well by
other stations. Infinity also proposes to enhance service to some of those
language groups that currently do receive service, but at an inadequate level.
Licensing Infinity will therefore be a corrective measure. On the other hand,
again, not licensing Infinity may mean that these underserved, needy groups will
for a long time remain marginalized.
8160 Even as far as quality of service is concerned,
Infinity's proposal stands out. They propose a very meaningful allotment of air
time to each language program. Let's face it, there is no point giving a
community a 30-minute slot on the radio and say that the community is well
8161 Infinity has proposed two-hour time slots to the
smaller language groups each week: one hour on Saturday and one hour on Sunday.
This is a decent gesture on the part of Infinity.
8162 I am very pleased to see that Infinity has proposed a
two-hour time slot during prime time for the German programs for the coming home
from work crowd. The German population, in excess of 450,000, will for the first
time have prime time radio in southern Ontario. The German population in other
parts of southern Ontario, especially Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph,
Hamilton, and also the St. Catherines area, will find the programs equally
exciting. The listening audience will be very large because of the extended
8163 I speak English, but understand and relate to German
in a special way. The German language is the sound of my culture. I would be one
of the avid listeners of the German programs on Infinity, if licensed. And there
is an abundance of those like me.
8164 I am also aware that the German language programming
in Manitoba is one of the most popular there.
8165 There are also hundreds of German businesses that
would benefit from the cost effective advertising opportunity on Infinity
8166 Finally, if the purpose of this hearing is also to
bring further diversity to Toronto's broadcast world, then licensing Infinity
would create the best example of that diversity. Whether you look at it from the
point of view of ownership ranks or service to be provided to 22 less served
groups, in my opinion, Infinity is the only answer to the diversity question
during this hearing.
8167 I, therefore, very respectfully ask the Commission to
license Infinity Broadcasting for the 740 AM frequency.
8168 Thank you very much.
8169 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Rempel, for your
8170 Mr. Secretary, please.
8171 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8172 We will now hear the intervention by Sonal
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8173 MS GHANDI: Good afternoon, Madam Commissioner. My
name is Sonal Ghandi. I am a third year medical science student at the
University of Toronto.
8174 With the privilege of living in a multicultural
society, I have always been intrigued and concerned by the issues pertaining to
multiculturalism and its ramifications. I have been school Multicultural
Advisor, workshop and assembly co-ordinator, and have attended workshops myself
on the issues of racism and immigrant youths.
8175 From all of my experiences, I have learned one
resounding fact: Culture is who we are. Those who deny their roots likely live
empty and meaningless lives.
8176 I have experienced first-hand the tribulations of
minority youths attempting to integrate into the majority by succumbing to peer
pressure and media influences. Self-esteem and peer acceptance are huge issues
for any youth; for minorities, the battle is greater.
8177 Being surrounded by a culture so different from our
families' is fazing; values can clash and hence damage family life, and we all
know that a stable family atmosphere is vital.
8178 With public examples of our own culture around us, it
is easier to understand and accept that our uniqueness is precious. In order to
instill a strong cultural identity in children, it is important for there to be
a confirmation of who they are.
8179 The medium of radio can aid in doing just that. The
media is so powerful and plays a role in the development of all individuals. For
ethnic minorities, this development must include a validation of their cultures
and backgrounds. We must have a strong identity to be strong Canadian citizens
involved in all aspects of mainstream life.
8180 As a South Asian born and brought up here, I am
grateful for such institutions as Radio India. Our family had been a regular
listener of Radio India since its inception many years ago. As you know,
Infinity Broadcasting aired this program every evening, seven days a week, until
some time ago. It was a part of our life -- the sounds of the language, the
rhythms of the poetry, the melody of the music, brought to us the presence and
vividness of a living culture. It helped me to secure my identity. It helped me
to become one who was comfortable to share my culture with others, and encourage
and enjoy their cultures too.
8181 From my experiences organizing multicultural shows
and assemblies, I was lucky to witness the amazing love and thrill amongst all
the participants. Everyone walked a little taller knowing that their culture was
on display and applauded; everyone walked a little taller because they applauded
another culture's display of pride as well. This is what a mosaic society is all
about. This we cannot deny.
8182 Canada is a multicultural society, as declared by the
constitution, and as clearly outlined in the Multicultural Act of July 1988.
Excerpts from the policy outlined by this Act strongly advocate the preservation
and sharing of all cultures found within this country.
8183 Another station had stated here last week that
English is the essence of Canada's multiculturalism. Madam Chair, in my opinion,
that was a sad day for Canada's multiculturalism.
8184 Think of Canada as a hearty stew: a common broth
consisting of the country and its official languages, most notably English,
serves as the uniting factor in the soup without a doubt. However, the
individual ingredients, carrots, peas, et cetera, are, although swimming in the
same base, still unique and recognizable entities, each with its own flavour.
Now imagine putting this stew into a blender to make a puree. The integrity of
each individual spice and vegetable has been obliterated; there is a melting of
all the flavours into one, so that the carrot no longer is distinguishable from
the pea. The mosaic has been wiped out.
8185 By denying the South Asian community an outlet to
express its flavours, one is turning on the blender for the entire Canadian
society. But we are not a melting pot. How can one ignore the fundamental
structure of Canada?
8186 It is stated in the Multicultural Policy that:
"...the Government of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canadians as regards
race, national, or ethnic origin, colour and religion as a fundamental
characteristic of Canadian society and is committed to a policy of
multiculturalism designed to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of
8187 The South Asian cultures cannot be preserved or
enhanced without adequate outlets. As a second-generation young adult of South
Asian descent, I require such an outlet. As a sensitive Canadian citizen, I
believe that this outlet should be available to all ethnic groups, big and
8188 Infinity Broadcasting is this outlet. Not only will
the station be catering to the large South Asian population which is comparable
in size to such groups as the Italian and Chinese communities, but it will also
be allotting two-hour segments to, for example, as you have heard already, the
Armenian and Ghanaian communities. This is a significant amount of airtime,
which beats by a large margin the token half-hour proposed by other
8189 There is simply a need for such a resource to be
available for ethnic communities.
8190 As I mentioned before, we need a strong cultural
identity. For this, we need a robust, proud ethnic community. For this, we need
to hear our language.
8191 Other South Asians growing up here have expressed
this to me emphatically. We want our children to know our language and to know
our culture. I believe it is of utmost importance to know our own language,
Hindustani, most importantly because it carries in its fold the essence of
culture. Without the language, very simply the culture is dead.
8192 For example, the practice of the main Hindu religious
festival, Diwali, continues today because it was carried from scripture through
our language. These scriptures date back to 5,000 years BCE. Our culture as
portrayed through our music and dance is also carried through the
8193 Quite simply, most of us speak Hindustani at home; it
is part of our lives. Language is the very soul of our culture, and its
preservation and perpetuation is of utmost importance. What binds the South
Asian community together is the Hindustani language.
8194 We have sufficient English language programming in
Toronto. CHIN provides most of its South Asian programming in English. What is
badly lacking is programming in Hindustani. Furthermore, we need positive and
adequate mainstream media coverage. If not mainstream, at least we can get some
ethnic media coverage.
8195 Eighteen thousand people attended the Diwali
functions at the ACC this past fall. There was no mention of this in any of the
mainstream papers. So as you can see, there is a need for our community to have
8196 It is not that we are asking for something new. We
had Hindustani language programming on Radio India. It fulfilled to a large
extent the needs of our community, though the Radio India programs were nightly.
I am aware that thee is ample Punjabi programming. However, these Punjabi
programming, of 75 to 100 hours every week, cater to only about 20 per cent of
the South Asian population.
8197 I also agree, as you heard before, that the Punjabi
community has a business base that can support these programs. But I also must
stress the fact that there are other equally affluent groups with the South
Asian community. For instance, businesses owned by the Gujarati and Tamil
communities match or surpass in number those within the Punjabi community.
Furthermore, we have so many other communities within the South Asian community
that naming all of them would only emphasize the complexity i gauging the real
needs of South Asians.
8198 There are immigrants from 25 states in India and
those from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. A total of 18 regional
languages are spoken within the South Asian community. But the most common
language is Hindustani.
8199 The simple fact is that all South Asians cannot
relate to Punjabi programming. These programs cater to only a very select group
of people who are from the state of Punjab. My own parents are from Punjabi
speaking families but not from the state of Punjab; they cannot relate to these
programs at all. Of course, I cannot either. This is primarily because of the
dialect, which is alien to them, and also because the context of these programs
is the Sikh religion, which is not the predominant religion of South
8200 I am not certain why exactly so many Punjabi shows
have been springing up. Perhaps it is a trend. Nonetheless, the fact remains
that although it may seem that the South Asian community has adequate
representation on the radio, this is largely a misconception.
8201 The bottom line is that the South Asian community,
especially in the absence of Radio India, is so badly under-served that
suggesting otherwise will greatly undermine the actual needs of the
8202 We are one of the largest communities in the
Megacity, and there is an urgent need to re-establish a quality Hindustani
language programming that everyone from the Indian sub-continent can understand.
There must be both equality and choice of service.
8203 I am proud to be Canadian, but I cannot ignore
history, culture, religion or, quite simply, genetics. I need to be able to hear
my ethnic language spoken. I need to be able to have an epicentre of my culture,
where I can have my concerns understood and be understood, period. This is what
Infinity Broadcasting will provide.
8204 Radio India was always there, reminding me that I
have roots in another country, that there is a world outside my own concocted
shell. This shell exists for many ethnic minorities. Be it as a result of
culture clash or racism, it is what protects us from being different, but purees
our integrity and identity.
8205 The Multicultural Policy recognizes:
"...the understanding and creativity that arise from the interaction between
individuals and communities of different
8206 Speaking the same national language is not sufficient
interaction and is not enough to bind us. To be tolerant towards others, we must
be tolerant towards ourselves first. We must understand our heritage and be
proud of it. Only such institutions as Infinity Broadcasting can provide a
positive source of learning for second and third generation
8207 The media is riddled with stereotypes and ignorance.
Once we are fully aware and comfortable with whom we are, we can teach others
and be tolerant to their teachings. The result of such mutual tolerance can only
be positive, giving way to enrichment of knowledge, life, and both literally and
figuratively, more exciting flavours.
8208 Who better to add to this stew called Canada than a
professional, dedicated, experienced team such as Infinity Broadcasting. Mr. and
Mrs. Ray have always been an inspiration to me, to young women, to our community
as a whole.
8209 I love urban music. Urban music is part of who I am
and part of my peers. And that just goes to show that we need an outlet for who
we really are. Urban music is not who we are; urban music is a
8210 Thank you.
8211 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Ghandi.
8212 Mr. Secretary, please.
8213 MR. CUSSONS: I would now like to invite Rieko
Hagimoto to present her intervention, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8214 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms
8215 MS HAGIMOTO: Good afternoon. My name is Rieko
Hagimoto. I have been in Canada for ten months. As a Japanese and proud of my
heritage language, I strongly support the application by Infinity
8216 I know that there are many Japanese like myself who
feel that we are kind of taken for granted. Just because our numbers are not as
high as many other communities, we can settle for a 30-minute per week program.
The truth is that we need a quality radio program in our language just as much
as any other larger language group does.
8217 The Japanese-Canadians have a special attachment to
their culture and history. After the Second World War, and after going through
the most trying time of life in Canada, we have learned that every culture
deserves its own place in a country, and that place has to be protected. The
essence of each culture contributes to the making of a country. Canada is a
country of many cultures. In order to protect the true Canadian identity, we
have to preserve and perpetuate the riches that each culture offers.
8218 It should go without saying that the only language
that can carry our real self forward is our own heritage language. It is the
language that we think in. I do not think in English. I think in Japanese. There
are many Japanese like me in Toronto.
8219 I am first generation Japanese. Then there are
second, third and fourth generation Japanese in Toronto. Many of those that
speak and are comfortable in English know at least some Japanese. In my view,
they would have known more Japanese if they were exposed to the language on a
regular basis. Most of them would like to have some more Japanese around them.
But it is just not possible when you are surrounded by nothing but English.
There is nothing wrong with being surrounded by English as it is the mainstream
language of this country. But the Japanese language cannot be replaced by any
language as far as the Japanese people are concerned.
8220 A Japanese will always be a Japanese at heart and in
soul, whether he or she speaks Japanese or not. But the attachment the Japanese
people have to the Japanese heritage is also an expression of the desire to keep
the connection with that heritage through the Japanese language. The sound of
our language means a lot to every Japanese, including those in
8221 At present I know of a program on CHIN radio that is
only 30 minutes per week. It would be very difficult to even remember to tune in
to a program that comes once a week for 30 minutes. There is not much we can do
in 30 minutes; no talk, discussion or open line show. But the two hours per week
proposed by Infinity Broadcasting would give a good opportunity to the Japanese
people to re-live the sounds of their heritage, and to take the radio program
seriously. In fact, I believe that this program would become so popular because
of the length of time provided that many Japanese businesses that currently
depend only on Japanese print media would switch to Infinity for their
8222 The Japanese population of the GTA and the rest of
southern Ontario is over 20,000. The number of Japanese residents who are
staying as representatives of various trade and business organizations from
Japan is also a sizable one. Businesses owned by Japanese immigrants are in
numbers that should be able to support the station through advertising. I know
that the Japanese yellow pages in Toronto has over 350 Japanese-Canadian
8223 There are also many Japanese talents in Toronto,
including prospective broadcasters who could become professional broadcasters
with some training.
8224 Also, most Japanese automobile companies, like the
one in Aliston, Ontario, would provide a fair number of listeners whose first
language is Japanese. These are well placed, high earners who would in turn
generate further business to the advertiser.
8225 I also believe that licensing Infinity Broadcasting
will result in many other benefits. There are so many other smaller ethnic
groups that Infinity will provide service to. Existing stations do not have any
time slots available; otherwise many other language groups would have been
airing their programs.
8226 To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Neeti Ray would be
the first visible minority to be licensed for a new radio station in Greater
Toronto. that will mean something truly new for Toronto's radio sector. Everyone
will feel that Canada's multicultural policy is being truly
8227 Of course, you would not license someone just because
he is a visible minority. But the fact is that Mr. Ray is truly qualified and
deserving because of his 20 years of experience and the successful track record
in the past many years. I understand he had a successful radio program for nine
years until last year, called Radio India.
8228 There may be a short cut available to the CRTC by
licensing an existing, very experienced radio station. But doing that will not
bring anything new into Toronto's market. What we need is new blood. It will
stimulate the whole ethnic radio sector. Some broadcasters who were taking it
easy will wake up and do a better job. If Infinity is not licensed, it would
mean licensing an existing radio station. That would result in failure to bring
any new diversity to the Toronto radio sector.
8229 For the sake of all the groups that Infinity proposes
to serve, and for the sake of the future requirements of Toronto's fast growing
ethnic population, I strongly urge the CRTC to license Infinity Broadcasting for
the 740 radio frequency.
8230 Thank you.
8231 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Hagimoto,
for your presentation.
8232 Mr. Secretary, please.
8233 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
8234 We have one more appearing intervenor in support of
Mr. Ray's application today, and it is the Consul General of Malta.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8235 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr.
8236 MR. VASSALLO: Madam Chair, Commissioners, good
evening. After hearing all the speakers before me, first of all, like the
representative from Armenia, he came from the dentist. I am suffering from jet
lag. I arrived yesterday, and in the evening I was told that there would be my
presentation on Thursday, and then ten minutes later I was informed that it is
going to be today.
8237 So I apologize to you that I had no chance to prepare
a paper to distribute to each one of you. But I am sure that my presence here is
extremely imperative on behalf of my Maltese community.
8238 Briefly, I will tell you that I have been here 21
years, an I have been appointed Consul General --
8239 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Vassallo, could you push the
mike back. It is difficult to hear you.
8240 MR. VASSALLO: Sorry. Briefly, to let you know, I have
been here for 21 years, and I have been appointed to represent the Maltese
community by the Government of Malta since 1988.
8241 Briefly, the history of Malta dates back to 6,000
years B.C. We have the freestanding temples in Malta which are 1,000 older than
the pyramids of Egypt. We were converted to Christianity way back when St. Paul
in A.D. 60, and on account of our strategic position right in the middle of the
Mediterranean we have always been a bridge between North Africa and
8242 Naturally, on account of our strategic position
throughout the ages all the major powers in Europe have left their imprint in
Malta, going back to the Romans, Carthagenians, the Arab denomination. Then we
were delivered in 1099; in 1530 the Knights of Malta came over; in 1798 Napoleon
on his way to Egypt conquered Malta; and then we became a British colony in 1900
until we gained independence in 1964.
8243 As I said, I represent a strong community of 40,000
Maltese. I am extremely proud to represent such a great community. We are
tightly knit, but naturally we need to hear our voice heard. This gave me the
opportunity way back in September. I kept in touch with Mr. Ray, and the more I
spoke to him, the more I see how dedicated and what a professional person he is.
And I jumped at the opportunity that at last we, as a community, would have a
chance of airing our views, our talent, our culture, our tradition, in this
multicultural great country which we call Canada.
8244 As I said, I came here in 1979 and became a Canadian
citizen, and my wife and my daughter five years later. I am very proud of my
roots, and I am here to plead with you that I sincerely hope that Infinity will
get the licence and that my next presentation will be on 740 AM.
8245 Thank you very much. I know it is short and brief,
but in actual fact I told my wife -- she is at the dentist -- that I will pick
her up at 5:30. And I think the speakers before me made such strong
recommendations and great presentations that I am sorry that mine was perhaps
not as good and as strong as it was meant to be, but as I said, without any
excuses, I only knew about this meeting yesterday evening.
8246 I thank you for giving me the chance, and I sincerely
hope that my plea to you will not fall on deaf ears. Thank you very much for the
opportunity you gave me.
8247 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Vassallo. You see now
if your next presentation is on 740, you will know how to use the
8248 I believe, Mr. Secretary, that this completes our
8249 MR. CUSSONS: Yes, it does, Madam
8250 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will resume tomorrow morning at
9:00 to hear the interventions in the CHIN applications.
8251 MR. CUSSONS: Actually, Madam Chairperson, I have been
advised that Mr. Enzo Gabrielli from A.M.E. Records who was to be with us
earlier this week but unfortunately suffered a loss in his family will be
joining us tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. Following his presentation we will
hear the interventions in support of the CHIN applications.
8252 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I would remind
participants -- although there are not many here -- that we will adjourn for
lunch tomorrow from 12:00 to 2:00 and hear replies after the lunch
8253 Good evening to everybody. Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1730, to
resume on Thursday, February 10, 2000 at 0900 /
l'audience est ajournée à 1730, pour reprendre
le jeudi 10 février 2000 à 0900