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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
VARIOUS BROADCAST APPLICATIONS /
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Westin Edmonton Hotel l'Hôtel Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street 10135, 100e rue
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton (Alberta)
June 19, 2006 Le 19 juin 2006
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
VARIOUS BROADCAST APPLICATIONS /
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Michel Arpin Chairperson / Président
Barbara Cram Commissioner / Conseillère
Rita Cugini Commissioner / Conseillère
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseiller
Stuart Langford Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Chantal Boulet Secretary / Secrétaire
Joe Aguiar Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
Anne-Marie Murphy/ Legal Counsel /
Shari Fisher Conseillères juridiques
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Westin Edmonton Hotel l'Hôtel Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street 10135, 100e rue
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton (Alberta)
June 19, 2006 Le 19 juin 2006
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
1097282 Alberta Ltd. 8 / 41
Allan Hunsperger 81 / 454
Newcap 154 / 982
O.K. Radio Group Ltd. 216 / 1413
Edmonton, Alberta / Edmonton (Alberta)
‑‑‑ Upon commencing on Monday, June 19, 2006
at 0930 / L'audience débute le lundi
19 juin 2006 à 0930
1 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.
2 My name is Michel Arpin and I am the Vice‑Chair of Broadcasting for the CRTC. I will be presiding over this hearing.
3 Joining me on the panel are my colleagues, Barbara Cram, Regional Commission for Manitoba and Saskatchewan; Rita Cugini, Regional Commissioner for Ontario; Ron Williams, Regional Commissioner for Alberta and the Northwest Territories; and Stuart Langford, National Commissioner.
4 The Commission team assisting us includes Hearing Manager Joe Aguiar; Manager, English Radio Applications; Legal Counsels Anne‑Marie Murphy and Shari Fisher; as well as Chantal Boulet, Hearing Secretary. Please speak with Mrs. Boulet if you have any questions with regard to hearing procedures.
5 At this hearing, we will first study 10 applications to operate a new English‑language commercial FM radio station in Grande Prairie, Alberta. We will then look at nine applications to operate an English‑language commercial FM radio station in the Fort McMurray market.
6 The panel will examine the applications in the order in which they are listed in Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2006‑4. Some applications are competing technically for the use of the same frequencies in the Grande Prairie and in the Fort McMurray markets.
7 The panel will study the proposals to operate a new radio station in light of the cultural, economic and social objectives defined in the Broadcasting Act.
8 The panel will base its decision on several criteria, including the state of competition and the diversity of editorial voices in the market, as well as the quality of the applications. It will also look at the ability of the markets to support new radio stations, the financial resources of each applicant, and proposed initiatives for the development of Canadian talent.
9 I will now invite the Secretary, Mrs. Chantal Boulet, to explain the procedures we will be following.
10 Mrs. Boulet.
11 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
12 Before beginning, I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of this hearing.
13 When you are in the hearing room, a reminder to please turn off your cell phones, beepers and BlackBerries as they are unwelcome distractions for participants and commissioners and they cause interference on the internal communication systems. We would appreciate your cooperation throughout the hearing in this regard.
14 We expect the hearing to take approximately one week. We will begin each morning, starting tomorrow, at 8:30 and finish approximately around 7:00 p.m. We will take an hour for lunch and a break in the morning and in the afternoon. We will let you know of any schedule changes that may occur.
15 The Centennial Room, which is located immediately outside the hearing room, will serve as the examination room where you can view the public files of the applications being considered at this hearing. As indicated in the agenda, the telephone number of the examination room is 780‑493‑8957.
16 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the court reporter at the table across the room from me. If you have any questions on how to obtain all or part of this transcript, please approach the court reporter during a break.
17 Please note that the full transcript will be made available on the Commission's website shortly after the conclusion of the hearing.
18 For the record, I would like to indicate that the Commission has approved the request of Sun Country Cablevision Ltd. on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, which is item 6 on the Notice of Public Hearing 2006‑4, to amend its application by removing the letter and attachment from target broadcast sales dated June 27th, 2005. The letter and attachment no longer form part of the application before the Commission and will not be taken into consideration by the Commission in its deliberations.
19 In addition, with respect to the applications by Cogeco Cable Quebec Inc., which are items 26, 27 and 28 on Notice of Public Hearing 2006‑4, the Commission has advised the applicant by letter that paragraphs 17 to 27 and 45, as well as Appendix 1 of the applicant's reply, will not be considered by the Commission during its deliberations. The Commission's letters and related documents are available as part of the public record in the examination room.
20 As indicated earlier, we will begin the hearing by considering the competing applications for the Grande Prairie market, followed by the competing applications for the Fort McMurray market.
21 We will be proceeding with a four‑phase process as follows.
22 First, we will hear each applicant in the agenda order and each applicant will be granted 20 minutes to make his presentation. Questions from the Commission will follow each presentation.
23 In Phase II, the applicants reappear in the same order to intervene if they wish on the competing applications. Ten minutes are allowed for this purpose and questions may follow from the Commission.
24 In Phase III, other parties will appear in the order set out in the agenda to present their appearing intervention and 10 minutes will be allowed for each presentation. Again, questions from the Commission may follow.
25 Finally, Phase IV provides an opportunity for each applicant to reply to all the interventions submitted on their application. Applicants appear in reverse order and 10 minutes are allowed for this reply. Again, questions may follow by the Commission.
26 Mr. Chairman.
27 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. In order to keep peace during this first day of the hearing ‑‑ (puts Edmonton Oilers cap on).
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
‑‑‑ Applause / Applaudissements
28 THE CHAIRPERSON: The members of the panel have agreed to sit until 5:00 p.m. today in order to allow you to go and watch the game.
‑‑‑ Applause / Applaudissements
29 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know that my buddy Mr. Williams will also want to add something about it.
30 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chairman Arpin. It is my pleasure to invite the Wayne Gretzky of broadcasting up to the podium to help me officially welcome you all to Edmonton, home of the mighty Edmonton Oilers and Stanley Cup contenders.
‑‑‑ Edmonton Oilers sign put up /
Enseigne des Edmonton Oilers érigé
‑‑‑ Applause / Applaudissements
31 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You are now officially in oil country and that is okay.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
32 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome around the ring and let us start the hearing. If I am wearing headphones, it is not because I am getting the translation, it is because it helps me to better understand what you say. The sound around the place is very dim and so it enhances things when you are talking. So don't think I am looking to get the translation of what you say.
33 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I thought you were getting the soccer scores.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
34 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, Madam Secretary will introduce the first applicant.
35 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
36 We will now proceed with item 1 on the agenda, which is an application by 1097282 Alberta Ltd. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Grande Prairie.
37 The new station would operate on frequency 96.3 MHz (channel 242C1) with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts (non‑directional antenna/antenna height of 265.5 metres).
38 The Commission recently approved the application (2006‑0257‑5) for the transfer of all of the issued and outstanding shares of 1097282 Alberta Ltd. held by Mr. Edward Tardif and Mr. Remi Tardif to Radio CJVR Ltd. The letter of approval (L2006‑0028, dated 11 May 2006) has been added to the public examination file.
39 As well, the applicant has provided the Commission this morning two letters that will be placed on the examination file as well, one which is dated June 15th from the President of Radio CJVR Ltd., Mr. Gene Fabro, as well as another letter dated June 1st from Mel Wang, Account Manager. These two letters will be available on the public examination file of this application.
40 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Gene Fabro who will introduce his colleagues. You will then have 20 minutes to make your presentation. Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
41 MR. SINGER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and commissioners, and go Oilers.
42 My name is Ken Singer. I am Vice‑President and General Manager of Radio CJVR Ltd.
43 Before we begin our presentation, I would like to introduce you to the members of our team.
44 On my right is the President and owner of Radio CJVR, Gene Fabro.
45 To my left is Kevin Gemmell, General Sales Manager of our company and a former Grande Prairie resident and broadcaster in that market.
46 To Kevin's left is Remi Tardif. Remi and his father Ed prepared the application before you as the principals of 1097282 Alberta Ltd., a company now controlled by Radio CJVR Ltd.
47 It is our pleasure to appear before you this morning and tell you about our broadcasting company and our plans for an exciting new radio station to serve Grande Prairie and area.
48 Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, Radio CJVR is pleased to appear before you today seeking approval of our proposed new Classic Hits station on 96.3 FM to serve Grande Prairie and surrounding communities.
49 If licensed, CJVR will provide Grande Prairie and its more than 43,000 residents with a dynamic new FM radio station whose unduplicated Classic Hits format will add significant diversity and listener choice to the local marketplace.
50 Approval of 96.3 FM will result in many key public benefits accruing to the following:
51 ‑ the diverse array of urban and rural communities across the region;
52 ‑ those underserved listeners within the 18‑54 demographic spectrum hungering for more musical choices on local radio;
53 ‑ local businesses seeking an alternative radio advertising vehicle to better reach and serve their customers on a cost‑efficient basis;
54 ‑ local Canadian talent in need of financial assistance and on‑air exposure;
55 ‑ cultural and performing arts organizations who support and promote local Canadian talent;
56 ‑ Alberta's private commercial radio sector; and
57 ‑ the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole.
58 As well, approval of 96.3 FM will establish competitive balance within the local radio spectrum by providing a distinct alternative news voice for the benefit of Grande Prairie and the surrounding area residents.
59 In addition to enhanced programming diversity, added listener choice and competitive balance, CJVR brings important ownership diversity to Grande Prairie's radio market.
60 As an independent career broadcaster solely dedicated to radio, CJVR and its Albertan owners, the Fabro family, firmly believe that smaller independent radio voices have an important role to play within Alberta and Canada's private broadcast sector amidst today's increasing ownership concentration.
61 Mr. Chairman, as you know, Radio CJVR is the licensee of CKJH‑AM and CJVR‑FM in Melfort, Saskatchewan, and most recently CIXM‑FM in Whitecourt, Alberta.
62 We wish to thank commissioners and staff for the prompt manner in which they processed the application to transfer all of the issued and outstanding shares of 1097282 Alberta Limited, licensee of CIXM. Commission approval of this transaction which was conducted under difficult circumstances was very much appreciated by all parties and has well served the public interest of Whitecourt's radio listening audience.
63 In regard, I am pleased to say that upon receiving Commission approval on May 11th, 2006, CJVR hit the ground running and will have CIXM on the air and serving the listening needs of Whitecourt residents by mid‑September 2006.
64 The relevance of the above‑noted share transfer to this Grande Prairie proceeding is directly tied to the fact that several months prior to the transaction, 1097282 responded to the Commission's call for applications for Grande Prairie as per broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2005‑30 of April 12th, 2005. Accordingly, 1097282, under the leadership of Remi Tardif, filed its Grande Prairie application on July 12th, 2005.
65 Hence, in addition to acquiring CIXM Whitecourt as a result of the approved share transfer, CJVR has assumed 1097282's original application filed in pursuit of a new radio broadcasting licence for Grande Prairie.
66 Given the circumstances leading up to our appearance here today seeking approval of 96.3 FM, CJVR would stress that we stand firmly behind this application and if approved will fulfil all of the commitments made by 1097282 and adhere to any conditions set out by the Commission in its licensing decision.
67 Mr. Chairman, CJVR is grateful for this opportunity to compete for 96.3 FM and we are mindful of the Commission's rules of procedure relative to an applicant amending their application after the fact.
68 In stating that, I would underline that should we be approved, CJVR will carefully review all of 96.3 FM's proposals with a view to further enhancing and exceeding any aspect of the station's operations from technical to programming to talent development that we feel will better serve Grande Prairie residents and further the public interest.
69 I might add that under the Fabro family's approach to broadcasting, they have a habit of turning minimums into maximums. As Vice‑President and General Manager of Radio CJVR broadcast operations, I found this to be the case in Melfort and now in Whitecourt as we build for the long term.
70 CJVR believes that in all of our applications, we bring a level of programming strength, broadcast experience and understanding of small markets and a sensitivity to the broadcasting needs and aspirations and a total commitment to Canadian talent development.
71 MR. GEMMELL: Mr. Chairman and commissioners, Grande Prairie is important to CJVR as it represents another cornerstone in our company's strategic broadcast plan to increase our critical mass in western Canada.
72 As an independently owned career broadcaster of 40 years, CJVR is totally committed to furthering the growth of our dedicated radio company through acquisitions and the pursuit of new licensing opportunities for Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, Regina and other initiatives as they arise.
73 Commission approval of the share transfer of 1097282 to Radio CJVR and the subsequent acquisition and imminent launch of CIXM Whitecourt was an important first step in growing our critical mass of radio stations beyond our joint AM‑FM operations in Melfort.
74 We are excited by the potential opportunity to establish a new FM at Grande Prairie, a dynamic growth centre whose expanding economic activity and population has outstripped the city's ability to keep pace with all of the service demands that such development creates, including the need for additional local radio programming choices.
75 While Grande Prairie's two existing local radio stations, CFGP with the Hot AC format and CJXX offering a country music format, do a good job in serving their respective listening audiences, they cannot be all things to all people as clearly evidenced by the need and demand for a Classic Hits format to help meet the musical preferences of the underserved 18‑54 demographic.
76 Essentially, CFGP is the most listened to local station in Grande Prairie with its hot AC music format skewing towards a younger 13‑34 demographic, whereas CJXX's country music format is most attractive to the 35‑54 demographic and in particular the 55+ age group.
77 Based on 1097282's music survey of Grande Prairie's market, Classic Hits of the 80s and 90s followed by Classic Rock were the two music formats of choice among the 18‑54 year olds. Broken down, the largest percentage of respondents indicated the Classic Hits format would be their first preference.
78 Classic Hits 96.3 FM will add fresh diversity to Grande Prairie's local radio market by complementing rather than competing with CFGP's hot AC and CJXX's country music formats.
79 Radio CJVR, in programming 96.3 FM musically, will specialize in playing Classic Hits featuring artists such as Bryan Adams, Fleetwood Mac, Glass Tiger, Santana, Amanda Marshall and Bachman Turner Overdrive.
80 We would also note that in keeping with CJVR's dedication to supporting and exposing Canadian artists, we will program to a minimum level of 40 per cent Canadian content and will gladly accept that commitment as a condition of licence.
81 As we have done in other markets, Radio CJVR, as a matter of course, in creating greater musical diversity and enhancing the careers of both established and developing Canadian artists, will further enhance 96.3 FM's regular program schedule through the development of special musical program initiatives.
82 MR. SINGER: Mr. Chairman, across four decades of broadcasting, CJVR has consistently provided its listeners with spoken work initiatives that focus on where they live and on those local elements that influence and shape their daily lives and activities and impact on their communities.
83 Given that 96.3 FM's 2 mV coverage contour encompasses some 57,000 persons and its .5 mV contour includes 74,000 persons, CJVR will ensure that its spoken word programming is inclusive, locally relevant, community‑driven and reflective of the daily news, events and activities that are happening in urban and rural communities throughout the coverage area.
84 In all, a minimum of 14.4 hours of 96.3 FM's weekly broadcast schedule will be devoted to spoken word programming, of which nearly 7 hours of news will be presented via 134 newscasts across the week and on weekends.
85 CJVR will also employ a number of initiatives to meet the demands of Grande Prairie residents in their quest for more information on weather, traffic, road conditions and school closings.
86 MR. SINGER: Mr. Chairman and commissioners, CJVR brings to Grande Prairie and 96.3 FM a proud legacy of excellence, achievement and commitment in the area of talent development that has had a significantly beneficial impact on the careers of many Canadian artists who have gone on to achieve national and international success.
87 Part of that legacy is derived from the fact that CJVR Melfort has been recognized six years in succession as Canadian Country Radio Station of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association and 11 years in a row as the Saskatchewan Country Music Station of the Year by the Saskatchewan Country Music Association.
88 The success that CJVR and its Canadian artists have enjoyed is in no small way due to the corporate resolve on the part of the Fabro family, who are totally supportive and talent friendly.
89 With respect to Grande Prairie, 1097282 has committed to $315,000 over the term of the licence in direct expenditures. That is $45,000 per year as follows: $20,000 for Mission Grande Prairie Talent Search; $10,000 to FACTOR; $10,000 to the Alberta Recording Industries Association; and $5,000 to Broadway Live Music Productions Inc.
90 In addition to these direct expenditure initiatives, 1097282 will contribute $5,000 annually to CKRP‑FM, a francophone non‑profit community radio station in Falher, also serving Nappa and Peace River, Alberta.
91 We would underline the fact that the direct expenditures of $45,000 per year or $315,000 over the licence term on Canadian talent initiatives are expressed as minimum expenditures.
92 As well, CJVR would note that it always includes as part and parcel of any of its Canadian talent development proposals an indirect on‑air expenditures budget that is designed to complement its direct expenditures programming by providing free air time to groups and organizations engaged in supporting and promoting local Canadian talent.
93 MR. GEMMELL: Mr. Chairman, from CJVR's perspective there is little doubt that the Grande Prairie market is capable of supporting one or more new private commercial radio stations.
94 A brief snapshot of various economic indicators reflects Grande Prairie's dramatic growth and development across a number of sectors in recent times.
95 With a diverse local economy that is fuelled by an abundance of natural resources ranging from forestry and agriculture to oil and natural gas development, Grande Prairie residents can look to the future with a great sense of optimism.
96 In terms of population, Grande Prairie recorded the strongest growth rate among Canadian cities at 18 per cent between 1996 and 2001. Its current population of 43,000 represents a growth rate in excess of 9 per cent since the 2001 census and the city projects a population of 55,000 by 2013, a 35 per cent increase from the last census.
97 Other key economic indicators for Grande Prairie include:
98 ‑ an average family income of almost $70,000;
99 ‑ projected 2006 retail sales at $1.08 billion ‑‑ that is well above the national average;
100 ‑ the April 2006 regional unemployment rate of 2.9 per cent is less than half the national average; and
101 ‑ 2005 housing starts at 1,231 are up from 975 the year before.
102 Grande Prairie is home to a growing number of national chains and retailers, numerous major shopping centres and other commercial outlets serving a market area of more than 200,000. Despite such continuing economic growth and expanding population base, Grande Prairie is still served by only two private radio stations.
103 A comparison of other cities of similar size shows Grande Prairie with fewer private radio stations per capita. For example, Penticton, B.C. and Timmins, Ontario are served by three and four private stations respectively.
104 MR. SINGER: Mr. Chairman, in bringing musical and spoken word diversity and listener choice to the marketplace, 96.3 FM will strengthen Grande Prairie radio while further enhancing Alberta's private radio broadcasting sector.
105 First, by establishing its unduplicated music format, 96.3 FM will convert former listeners into active listeners again by drawing them away from various other alternative audio options like the internet, satellite radio and portable music devices.
106 In the absence of their musical preferences on local radio, people tune to other sources to satisfy their listening needs. With 96.3 FM's musical offerings and locally relevant spoken word programming in place, those former listeners will come back to Grande Prairie radio.
107 As well, 96.3 FM will be attractive to new residents moving to Grande Prairie from other areas where they had access to both Classic Hits and Classic Rock.
108 Ultimately, all of these factors will rekindle interest in local radio and translate into increased hours of local tuning and an overall strengthening of the Grande Prairie market.
109 Commission approval of 96.3 FM will also yield important benefits to the Grande Prairie business community by providing a highly cost‑efficient alternative local advertising vehicle to target and serve the 18‑54 listenership.
110 Public interest in the proposed new FM station coupled with the commercial appeal of its Classic Hits format will also attract new advertising dollars to Grande Prairie's radio market, with minimal impact on existing local stations.
111 MR. FABRO: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, my family has owned CJVR since 1991. Over the past 15 years, we have contributed stability and business acumen along with our financial and moral support to management and staff.
112 As an owner, I am proud of our accomplishments in Melfort both in terms of quality of service that our radio stations provide to over 150,000 residents of some 100 communities throughout northeast Saskatchewan and the success that CJVR has experienced in our support, promotion, exposure and development of Canadian talent.
113 Needless to say, today's broadcast industry is facing many competitive challenges from different quarters as new technologies evolve and the manner in which people receive their audio entertainment becomes more diversified in keeping with their changing lifestyle.
114 In spite of such ever present challenges, my family remains bullish on the future of radio broadcasting and we want to do more. CJVR has a wealth of broadcast experience, the financial strength, the human resources, the creative entrepreneurship and the corporate will to play a larger role in western Canada's private commercial radio sector.
115 From my perspective, it is critical that motivated, independent broadcasters like Radio CJVR be given the opportunity to grow our critical mass in order to further enhance the level of programming services to our listeners, strengthen our competitive ability and provide a credible alternative to other broadcast organizations.
116 The Grande Prairie opportunity is of central importance to CJVR as it represents an integral part of our strategic broadcast plan.
117 MR. SINGER: Mr. Chairman and commissioners, included among the many important benefits that approval of CJVR's proposed 96.3 FM will yield for Grande Prairie and surrounding communities are the following points.
118 96.3 FM's unduplicated music format will add significant programming diversity and listener choice to Grande Prairie radio.
119 Through its one of a kind music format and locally relevant spoken word programming, 96.3 FM will meet many of the listening needs and preferences of Grande Prairie's 18‑54 underserved demographic.
120 96.3 FM's diverse musical and spoken word programming will strengthen Grande Prairie radio by attracting new listeners and drawing lost listeners away from alternative audio options resulting in increased hours of tuning to local radio without impacting on existing stations.
121 The public's desire for more choice coupled with the commercial appeal of a Classic Hits format will result in new radio dollars being attracted to the Grande Prairie market with minimal impact on existing stations.
122 The establishment of a new Classic Hits FM station will provide local and national advertisers with a highly cost‑effective alternative advertising vehicle to better serve the maturing 18‑54 demographic.
123 The addition of Classic Hits 96.3 FM will establish competitive balance within the Grande Prairie radio market by providing among other important elements a distinct alternative news voice.
124 Approval of CJVR's new Classic Hits station will increase ownership diversity within Grande Prairie and Alberta's private commercial radio sector.
125 Approval of CJVR's new undertaking will ensure continuance of a strong independent radio voice at a time when many smaller broadcast entities are disappearing through increased industry concentration.
126 The addition of 96.3 FM to Grande Prairie's local radio spectrum will result in a series of Canadian talent development initiatives involving a minimum direct expenditure of $315,000 over the licence term.
127 96.3 FM will optimize the utilization of the 96.3 frequency by extending its unduplicated musical format to meet the programming needs and preferences of the underserved 18‑54 demographic within Grande Prairie and surrounding communities.
128 96.3 FM through its daily musical and spoken word programming will reflect the cultural and racial diversity within Grande Prairie's growing population. Approval of 96.3 FM will result in the creation of 15 full‑time employment equity opportunities.
129 MR. FABRO: Mr. Chairman, it is for these reasons that we firmly believe that approval of our proposal for 96.3 frequency will best serve the public interest and we respectfully ask the Commission to approve our application.
130 On behalf of the owners, management and staff of Radio CJVR, I wish to thank the Commission for this opportunity to appear before you and your colleagues. We will be happy to answer any questions the panel may have.
131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Fabro.
132 I am asking Mr. Ron Williams to ask the first questions.
133 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Good morning, Mr. Fabro, Mr. Singer, panellists. Is it most appropriate that I perhaps direct my questions to Mr. Singer and he can redirect them?
134 MR. SINGER: I thing that would be fine, yes.
135 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. In your opening remarks you stated that smaller independent radio voices have an important role to play within Alberta and Canada's broadcasting sector amidst today's increasing ownership concentration. Could you please elaborate on that statement?
136 MR. SINGER: Well, I think, Mr. Commissioner, obviously frequencies are becoming more and more rare. We are looking across Canada and seeing that the larger markets, the choices are getting tighter and tighter for frequencies.
137 What we see in many instances is that the big players in the broadcasting industry in Canada are now turning their attention to the smaller markets. So there has never been a more important time to us as small market broadcasters to up our stakes a bit and acquire more licences to remain competitive in the broadcasting industry as a whole.
138 We also feel that a small market radio, which we specialize in, is something that is very locally driven and certainly something that would fit the markets that we are applying in in terms of offering new diversification and a new level of local service that we know so well, that we have practised for over 40 years.
139 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: What special competitive edge can a smaller broadcaster bring in a marketplace that may have a national broadcaster presence?
140 MR. SINGER: Well, I have been in the radio business all my life ‑‑ and I guess you could say most of that activity was in smaller markets ‑‑ and I really feel that the level of talent is certainly commendable. One of the great things about the business that I have come to love is that in those markets we aren't just a voice in the box.
141 Our broadcasters are known by everyone in the community. We involve ourselves with everything that is going on and not just from the point of view of promoting it. Our people are on committees. They take part in the activities and they are organizers and their families participate in those communities.
142 I think that that is where radio is. I mean the small market radio can still do that. I think one of the real competitive edges we have is that when a decision has to be made about any of our operations, we can quickly make that decision, sometimes within minutes or within hours. We find that the bigger broadcasters don't have that turnaround time because they are driven largely by head offices in larger centres.
143 I just feel that radio's immediacy is probably even more effective because of the way small market broadcasters or smaller stations can operate.
144 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Can you as a small broadcaster, Mr. Singer, compete with a larger organization for on‑air talent or other radio station staff and resources given their economy of scale compared to a smaller broadcaster?
145 MR. SINGER: That is a good question, Commissioner Williams. I guess one of the reasons that we have developed our strategic plan to expand is so that we can compete for talent and better talent because it is one of the challenges of small group operations such as ours that currently operate three radio stations to attract the level of talent that sees opportunities for growth within our company as opposed to working for one of the bigger operations that have many, many opportunities available to them.
146 I think from a calibre of talent that we attract, however, we do very well at that. We have within our company a handful of people that have spent more than 25 years with us and are sought after but they choose the kind of radio that we offer.
147 Without question, if we are successful in any of our applications, it is just going to strengthen our company and enable us to recruit and develop that much better calibre of talent.
148 MR. FABRO: May I add a few points there, Commissioner Williams?
149 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Of course, Mr. Fabro.
150 MR. FABRO: I was just reflecting on Mr. Singer's comments with regards to our staff. We have nine persons that have an average longevity with us of 19 years. These people aren't in the market at all for the money because we are somewhat restricted in terms of what we can afford to pay but they are certain broadcasters of longevity and very, very involved in the community and that is the community type of radio that we do. I don't believe that the larger broadcasters can deliver the same type of community service that we do in terms of our being in touch with the local community.
151 Also, our love of the business, I think, is so much more ingrained because a lot of our on‑air staff and back room staff are from the local area. They understand what the problems are and it just flows through the way we deliver radio because they are from a farming community and their roots are in the farm and they understand how to deliver the message to their fellow citizens where they grew up.
152 I think our brand of radio is much more sincere than the larger chains that deliver the messages from afar. I think our brand of radio is something that the Canadian broadcast system needs and I think that in order to have a better broadcast system we need smaller independent operators like ours to survive.
153 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: On page 9 of your opening remarks, Mr. Fabro, you stated:
"In spite of such ever present challenges, my family remains bullish on the future of radio broadcasting and we want to do more." (As read)
154 What would cause you not to remain bullish? Like are these licences that you have applied in this hearing and in others essential to your survival and your interest in the radio business?
155 MR. FABRO: Commissioner Williams, that is absolutely true. It is a matter of survival. Like the small orphan broadcaster can't really compete. You have to have certain economies of scale in order to survive the vagaries of the market. Especially where we are at in Saskatchewan when we have downturns in the agriculture economy, it is almost like we are farmers because we feel the effects directly.
156 In order to diversify the risk we need more licences. We need more licences to survive, to give a return to the investors and to service the public. It is not just a matter of obtaining licences just to put a notch on our belt, it is a requirement that we actually need licences to move forward to survive as an independent broadcaster.
157 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Fabro.
158 Mr. Singer, when you were preparing your application for Grande Prairie ‑‑ I think we know it can be described as a higher cost area, a lower unemployment area. What are your thoughts regarding the high cost of living within Grande Prairie and the effect it would have on attracting employees and do you have unique plans to deal with these challenges in such a community?
159 MR. SINGER: Mr. Commissioner, we certainly are aware of the ups and downs of the Alberta economy. Without question, the costs of operating a radio station are going to be significantly higher than they are in Saskatchewan but also we feel that the revenue opportunities are that much greater in Grande Prairie, so it certainly offsets that.
160 We are here today ‑‑ as mentioned in our presentation, we are not amending anything that was presented by Remi and his father Ed in this application and we will adhere to the business plan that is in there. However, we do have the resources to invest perhaps heavier in the programming expense side and we recognize we likely will have to.
161 But at the same time we see tremendous growth opportunity in the Grande Prairie market and we are prepared to deal with that and certainly recognize, as Mr. Fabro alluded to, that we have to grow our operations to acquire talent that is maybe a notch above what we have been doing in smaller markets in the Grande Prairie market and that is going to cost more money but we are prepared to deal with that most definitely.
162 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: How, as business owners, do you reconcile the fact that you may have to in fact pay a higher wage in Grande Prairie than your employees are currently enjoying and how do you explain that disparity within the company?
163 MR. SINGER: Well, Mr. Commissioner, I don't think that is entirely that cut and dry because, as Mr. Fabro alluded to, we have a lot of long‑term employees with our company that are currently making the kind of salaries that we would be paying in the Grande Prairie market, for example.
164 So we are not ‑‑ our staff is probably ‑‑ about half of our 32 employees are what you might called starters. The other half are approaching 10‑, 15‑year veterans and definitely they have ‑‑ the salary costs for those people is fairly substantial in relationship to the revenues that we can attract in a smaller market.
165 So we are used to that kind of a balance and definitely we ‑‑ as I say, I go back to our business plan. We see opportunities here with some revenue growth that is substantially higher than what we can do in our Saskatchewan operations.
166 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Given the higher cost of living, rents, housing prices, et cetera, do you feel that you will have any difficulty attracting employees to work in Grande Prairie should you be successful?
167 MR. SINGER: Mr. Commissioner, we deal with that in Saskatchewan and have been for 40 years. I mean broadcasters have opportunities from coast to coast and in spite of us being in a smaller market ‑‑ Melfort is 6,000 people but we serve a large rural audience, over 100 communities ‑‑ we have a type of radio that does attract good talent.
168 We have a great Program Director in Bill Wood who has been with us 32 years. Bill is a tremendous teacher and we are proud to see many of the employees that we have recruited in much larger markets, in fact even major markets, just years after they work with us. So we know going in that ‑‑ you know, we hire talent ‑‑ we like to think we hire talent that somebody is going to want someday and then we know we have got somebody good.
169 We are very locally driven. When we have an opportunity to hire someone from the area, someone that grew up in the market, someone who knows people already, we will definitely focus on that person over someone that comes from a great distance because we really do believe they are going to do a better job on the air.
170 And what is it going to cost us for that person? Well, we accept the fact that good talent costs a little more money than perhaps someone whose first job is going to be their last job. We are just not interested in that kind of a broadcaster.
171 MR. FABRO: Also, part of it is we are lucky that we have a broadcast signal that all these people hear and they hear good broadcast radio. We are a big market station in a small market community and we sound big market and these young people that hear us, they want to work and learn from a small market broadcaster that sounds like a big market broadcaster.
172 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you. I will move into a new area of questioning now.
173 The objective of this question is to formalize your new ownership structure on the record, so Mr. Tardif may be involved as well. Mr. Singer, I will direct the questions to you though.
174 We note from your presentation this morning that Radio CJVR now controls 1097282 Alberta Ltd. following a recent transfer of shares transaction approved by the Commission. For the record, can you confirm the following? Is the transfer of shares transaction complete?
175 MR. SINGER: Yes, it is.
176 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: The new ownership structure of 1097282 Alberta Ltd., we need to have those documents filed on the record.
177 MR. SINGER: They have been filed with the Commission and a copy of those documents are here today.
178 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay.
179 MR. SINGER: A copy was filed with your secretary.
180 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Very good, thank you.
181 Further, with reference to your Grande Prairie FM application, do you have available to you today documentary evidence to support the financing of the proposed new service?
182 MR. SINGER: Yes, we do and a copy of that letter has also been filed today and also with the Commission.
183 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Presumably, in deciding to continue with Alberta 1097282 Ltd.'s application for a new FM in Grande Prairie you had the opportunity to assess and review the contents of the proposal. Now, you alluded to and recognizing that in a highly competitive new commercial radio proceeding as this one, the Commission generally prohibits the addition or amendment of any aspect of an application that could be interpreted as serving to improve the application.
184 How comfortable are you with the program offerings and the overall business plan set out in the application by Messrs. Tardif?
185 MR. SINGER: Mr. Commissioner, we certainly reviewed that application and we appreciate that this is kind of a difficult situation that the Commission has and so do we in terms of the architect of that proposal and application is here with us. While we agree that all of Mr. Tardif's ideas are doable, as we alluded to in our presentation, we will strive, if we are successful with this application, to not only meet those commitments but improve upon each and every one of them.
186 We definitely recognize that there are deficiencies in the application, that perhaps we may have done things a little bit differently had we prepared that application ourselves but we are comfortable with the end result of it in terms of identifying a format that will work in the marketplace.
187 From a business point of view on the finances, we are comfortable with the projected sales revenue. We do, however, feel that the operating expenses are a little conservative compared to what we would propose that it would cost us to operate this radio station.
188 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So can we put you down as being comfortable with the original application?
189 MR. SINGER: Yes, you can.
190 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
191 Mr. Singer, you describe your proposed music format as offering Classic Hits that would serve Grande Prairie in the 25‑44 demographic which you have identified as being underserved by local radio.
192 Newcap is also seeking to serve the same general demographic group with music that would seem to fall under your music range description. As an applicant in a competitive process, I assume you have reviewed the Newcap application.
193 Could you please explain how you think your format differs from the Newcap proposal and can you give us some examples to demonstrate this difference, please?
194 MR. SINGER: Well, I will speak to this and also ask Remi Tardif, Mr. Commissioner, to participate if he feels because Remi certainly started the ball rolling on this whole application.
195 But just generally, I would just like to say yes, we have reviewed our fellow competitors' applications and the Classic Hits and Classic Rock definitions seem to be rather interpretive here because there are certainly similarities in the music lists in terms of just looking at, you know ‑‑ I see Classic Hits as primarily music of the 80s and 90s and Classic Rock being the older genres, the 60s and 70s.
196 However, when I see the applications and review the applications I see that everybody is looking at kind of a melding of Classic Rock and Classic Hits. Some are identified as just Classic Rock, although there are selections from the 80s and 90s as part of it. Some are identifying themselves as a Classic Hits station whose music mix is going to encompass some 60s and 70s music. And there is a lot of crossover here.
197 I guess, you know, when you really get down to it, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Remi's research ‑‑ and I will turn it over to him in a moment ‑‑ certainly suggests that both of those formats are top choices in terms of bringing something to the Grande Prairie market that isn't readily available.
198 MR. TARDIF: And that is what we see, we do see a crossover. Unfortunately ‑‑ you might have seen a statistic somewhere; there are always statistics everywhere ‑‑ in any given market, 70 per cent of the music that you see is essentially from the same pool and you are seeing lots of formats being developed and being called one thing when they could be crossing over into another.
199 When you look at the Newcap application their definition of Classic Hits seems to focus in on the 70s primarily with groups like Led Zeppelin and the softer of the Classic Rock that would cross over into the Classic Hits.
200 This application really likes to put the focus on the 80s and 90s, and sure, there will be elements of the 70s one could argue Classic Rock but mostly in the Classic Hits format of the 80s and 90s with more range on the artists. Many Classic Hits formats will keep it limited to a certain time frame from a certain artist and a genre.
201 An example of this would be Madonna. Everyone knows or many people have heard the song "Like a Virgin," and "Celebrate." These are all songs from the 80s. In Classic Hits many stations don't play the Madonna songs as she always reinvents herself, songs that were hits in the 90s such as Madonna's "Ray of Light" CD where we have some contemporary tunes from 10 years ago that you don't hear on Classic Hits stations from today.
202 So I guess the difference between our application and Newcap's would be our flair for more of a contemporary Classic Hits if we were to segregate it and analyze it in that form.
203 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Tardif.
204 Mr. Singer, I guess if we focus now on your demographic which you have identified as being 25‑44 age group, this age range suggests listeners with varying tastes and entertainment needs. How do you propose to fill these needs and can you give us some examples to demonstrate these programming offerings?
205 MR. SINGER: Well, certainly from a musical point of view, we feel that the median age is in the mid‑30 range in Grande Prairie and to be playing a large mix of music from the 80s and 90s certainly has appeal to that demographic.
206 We also feel that involving those listeners in the radio station in terms of loyal listener clubs ‑‑ we have proposals on our other applications that do include things that appeal to the listeners. We definitely have a lot of spoken word that relates to things going on in the community that appeals to that demographic.
207 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: That is this specific application we are speaking about; is that correct, Mr. Singer?
208 MR. SINGER: Correct. But as I said at the outset, what is in this application is what we are limited to do. As I say, our kind of radio is not to provide a jukebox. We think that to compete against the new forms of audio, iPods, satellite, we have to be more than that personality radio and we have to talk to our listeners. We have to involve them in our radio station.
209 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. Now, within this broad 24‑44 demo, do you have a core age group that you will be targeting? Would the 32 that you referred to be ‑‑
210 MR. SINGER: I would say 25‑44 would be our core audience.
211 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So 25‑44, you wouldn't segregate it further?
212 MR. SINGER: Certainly, Classic Rock and Classic Hits do appeal to both ends of the spectrum. I think the older spectrum has probably the greater potential than the younger spectrum with both of those formats.
213 Again, just looking at the types of artists that Remi just alluded to, they are timeless and in talking to people in the market who know the market well, they miss that mix of music, a pure classic mix of music. So definitely if there was some growth outside the 25‑44, I would say it would be on the 45+ side.
214 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Singer.
215 In your application, you indicate you would program a weekly Canadian content level of 40 per cent. What would be your position if the Commission were to impose upon you a condition of licence that as a minimum 40 per cent of your weekly Category 2 music would be devoted to Canadian selections?
216 MR. SINGER: We would be very fine with that, Mr. Commissioner. No problem.
217 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Do you intend to provide 40 per cent Category 2 Canadian content between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and if so what would be your position if the Commission were to impose this commitment as a condition of licence?
218 MR. SINGER: Mr. Commissioner, that would not be a difficulty. That is the way we program our current radio stations and it would be the same in Grande Prairie.
219 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you.
220 In the area of spoken word programming, you are proposing an overall weekly level of just over 14 hours. Could you please identify some of the programs to be produced and the relevancy to the local Grande Prairie community? You might want to talk about who will be responsible for producing these programs and given your plan to target a broad 25‑44 age group whose tastes and interests vary, which challenges you may face in successfully serving all of these potential listeners.
221 MR. SINGER: Well, I will answer part of that question, first of all, who will be responsible for that. That will be our Program Director and our News Director, and under them certainly the newspeople and the announcers will be guided and coached in both the journalistic side and also the on‑air side of spoken word.
222 But to talk about the specific plans as per the proposal that is on file, I will turn it over to our architect, Mr. Tardif.
223 MR. TARDIF: As you identified, there are challenges in trying to serve the 25‑44 age range. In the seven hours of non‑news spoken word, I tried to incorporate as much diversity within the format to allow as much diversity for the format within the area of Grande Prairie and all potential listeners in that age range.
224 On a musical level, we do have a variety within the Classic Hits format trying to pinpoint times and be retro, be nostalgic at certain times of the week. Such examples would be the Backtrack Countdown on Saturday which includes revisiting a certain year and a certain chart and making it sound like that point in time in today's standards, so something unique on that front.
225 I have also included Sports Shop Talk for Sunday mornings. Although radio is primarily motivated musically for listeners via music, Grande Prairie is buzzing with activity on a sports level. You have a Seniors Hockey League for the entire Peace country. Grande Prairie has 13, the Grande Prairie Athletics.
226 You also have numerous volleyball teams, numerous basketball teams in surrounding communities including in Grande Prairie that reach notoriety on a national level, very talented people.
227 I think this one‑hour Sports Talk contributes to the diversity in the spoken word for the station on that level within the Classic Hits format.
228 MR. SINGER: Mr. Commissioner, I could also add, and again, as pointed out in our presentation, we certainly would adhere to those points that Mr. Tardif has raised about programming plans but when you look at the type of radio we provide at our stations ‑‑ and soon will be in Saskatchewan and soon will be in Whitecourt ‑‑ you will note many spoken word elements that we know will work in those two markets and we definitely would be employing them in the Grande Prairie market.
229 Offering our listeners opportunities to access to our airwaves, we do a tremendous amount of on‑location community broadcasting because in Saskatchewan if it wasn't for those over 100 communities that we serve we would have a very, very small market.
230 On any given month, we are out on location in those communities broadcasting from Main Street or from the Town Hall or the Library and we talk to the local people. We put them on the air with us, talk about what is going on there and certainly that is our connectivity with our listenership.
231 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you.
232 As part of the Grande Prairie Talent Search you plan to spend $20,000 annually, including $15,000 (sic) to the winner which will be used towards recording, producing and distributing a professional CD.
233 Could you please take us through this budget distribution? For example, will the budget portion allocated to CD recording and production involve third‑party facilities or would this be an in‑house activity?
234 MR. SINGER: I will turn that over to Remi and I can jump in if you want.
235 MR. TARDIF: Sure. The Mission Grande Prairie Talent Search would cost about $20,000. Now, you mentioned the winner would receive $15,000. It is actually $5,000.
236 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you for correcting that.
237 MR. TARDIF: And the remaining funds would be for the production costs and promotion of that. So if you say that there are third‑party costs, that is what the $15,000 would be, in terms of the assembling of the compact disk, the LP if you will, and the packaging and the slight distribution of it.
238 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: All paid to a third party?
239 MR. TARDIF: Yes.
240 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
241 I would like now to discuss with you your proposal to direct $5,000 annually to Falher French‑language community radio station which broadcasts in the Peace River region, CKRP‑FM, and I would like to remind you that under the Commission's CTD policy, qualifying initiatives involve those that are earmarked for the direct development of Canadian creative or artistic talent.
242 Based on this, how will this contribution fulfil the eligibility requirement for Canadian talent development?
243 MR. TARDIF: I do have it as an initiative in the application but it is not included in the $315,000. It is, I guess, an appendix ‑‑ an appended initiative that I put in out of the goodwill of the application.
244 I am from that area. I am from Falher, recently of hockeyville fame, and the station has been on the air for about 10 years now. Recently with the economic hardships in that area, lots of people moving out ‑‑ agriculture, of course, is the main industry in that area ‑‑ the station has been seeing some financial difficulties.
245 Being a new player in the area, although Falher is an hour and a half northeast of Grande Prairie, any new station in Grande Prairie will essentially affect the bilingual listeners of the Falher area who listen to this French station and potentially any other new station.
246 On that level, I feel kind of bad for a little community radio station having some troubles. So out of goodwill I threw that initiative in there as an extra in order to be able to help. Charity starts at home and coming from that area, I felt it was a good way to help out my good broadcasting friends at CKRP.
247 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So this is a contribution over and above your CTD initiative?
248 MR. TARDIF: Yes.
249 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
250 Mr. Tardif, you are from the Grande Prairie area and, Mr. Singer, you are interested in working in that area. How many new radio stations do you believe Grande Prairie could support at this time?
251 MR. SINGER: Well, Mr. Commissioner, first of all, let me say that I wish I had the knowledge that the CRTC would have of what the revenues are in that market for current broadcasters.
252 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: We just gather most of that from the broadcasters.
253 MR. SINGER: Yes.
254 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: So don't feel bad.
255 MR. SINGER: Okay.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
256 MR. SINGER: I hate to turn it back to you but I say you have the opportunity to make the best decision in that regard.
257 Let me say that our business plan was certainly developed on the granting of one more licence in the marketplace. At the same time we feel that the growth of the market by the time the successful applicant has that station on the air, that market may be that much more viable than it is today.
258 Yes, we would prefer to be approved and be the only one approved but let me tell you this, if there were two licences handed out, we wouldn't turn one back.
259 So I certainly believe that the Commission will thoroughly evaluate the potential of the marketplace. We have presented our financial projections and certainly are prepared to deal with any level of competition.
260 As we noted in our presentation, similar size communities in Penticton and Timmins, Ontario have three licences and four licences respectively and we don't feel that either of those markets is enjoying the economic boom that Grande Prairie is. So I guess it is back to you.
261 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you. We will certainly deal with that.
262 In the event that the Commission decides not to license you for the frequency for which you have applied, have you considered the use of another frequency, and if yes, which one, and if no, why not?
263 MR. SINGER: First let me say, Mr. Commissioner, that looking at the selection of applications and the number of various frequencies that have been applied for, we don't feel that we are hamstrung with the frequency that the Tardifs applied for.
264 If we were granted approval but had to seek out another, we would turn that over to our engineering consultants who I am confident would find a good alternative for us.
265 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: If a licence was issued to your group for Grande Prairie later this year, when would Grande Prairie see a new radio station from your group?
266 MR. SINGER: It would be our intention to put this radio station on the air as quickly as possible for the very reasons that Mr. Fabro alluded to. We have to increase our critical mass and do it quickly. So there would be no point in delaying this.
267 I would say as quickly as we could get studios built and equipment installed, we would be on and at the outset perhaps 8‑12 months and possibly earlier depending on, again, the availability of our technical resources to be able to put this operation on the air as quickly as possible.
268 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Anecdotally, I have heard in Edmonton it can take up to two years to get a house built just because there is so much demand.
269 Mr. Fabro, you are in the construction industry, I understand. Do you anticipate any form of difficulty in Grande Prairie?
270 MR. FABRO: Having not studied the housing market in Grande Prairie, I can't really comment but given our interest in home‑building, both single and multi‑family, I think I would probably have a better chance of providing accommodation for any of our employees than other broadcasters that don't have that ability.
271 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: And would your construction company be preparing these studios or would you be leasing or have you determined that?
272 MR. FABRO: In the projection it is actually leased. The option to purchase is probably something we would favour because we are long‑term investors in real estate. So we would have to look at that when we get the licence if we were so lucky.
273 MR. TARDIF: To add to that if I may, when we put in the application, considering that we are from the area and when people from the Falher area move to a bigger centre, three out of four times it is to Grande Prairie.
274 So I do have the resources in terms of knowing people and knowing businessmen in the city of Grande Prairie that would be able to lead us to a tip if we were stuck for a place to lease or build. I can definitely contribute to Gene's efforts on that one.
275 MR. FABRO: And in our Whitecourt operation we have purchased the studios there, a standalone building that we will occupy and own for our station there.
276 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you, Mr. Fabro, Mr. Singer, Mr. Tardif, panel.
277 Mr. Chair, those conclude my questions at this time. Thank you.
278 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Williams.
279 Mrs. Cram.
280 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, gentlemen.
281 Mr. Singer, you said in your initial 20‑minute talk this morning, and you repeated it again with Commissioner Williams, when you were talking about radio stations per capita and you referred to Penticton and Timmins and I think you referred to other ones in your supplementary brief.
282 Can you tell me about the ownership issue though in Penticton and Timmins? How many ‑‑ is it two and two owned by one company? Is that the kind of configuration or what is the configuration?
283 MR. SINGER: I am really not certain of that, Commissioner Cram, but perhaps Remi, who gave us that information in the application, would know that.
284 MR. TARDIF: Right. I do believe in Timmins it is two and two. I believe it is the Haliburton Group out there. In Penticton, it escapes me at the moment but I do believe it is a two and one operation with a corporate owning the two and the other one being either an independent or a smaller operator.
285 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And I think you referred to Brandon in your brief, did you not?
286 MR. TARDIF: Yes, I did.
287 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. And that, again, is ownership of two and two, right?
288 MR. TARDIF: Right.
289 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I wanted also, Mr. Tardif, to ask you specifically, at Appendix 4.4 under your financial assumptions, you refer initially to "appropriate above average compensation for on‑air and news staff."
290 MR. TARDIF: Mm‑hmm.
291 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And I then divided 15 into $47,000 ‑‑ I am the mathematician on the panel sometimes ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
292 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ not a good one ‑‑ and I come up with a little over $3,000 average salary.
293 Can you tell me what your calculations were in that? Like did you add a percentage, 10, 20 per cent, or how did you do that?
294 MR. TARDIF: I took the staff of 15 ‑‑ and having to remember as well that at the time the application was put together there would be doubling up of managerial duties as the owner had we continued with me and my father under 109 and continued that way.
295 So there would be doubling up of salaries and allowing for, I guess, leeway on that level. So if the numbers look a little off from what you are used to seeing, it would be based on the doubling up for those responsibilities.
296 In achieving those numbers, the positions were listed off and given an amount for each salary and then added all together. So the $47,936 you see for the salaries is the addition of the unique positions added up as opposed to an average and then given a certain percentage for bonuses and such.
297 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So for example, if you used an announcer ‑‑
298 MR. TARDIF: Mm‑hmm.
299 COMMISSIONER CRAM: ‑‑ you looked at what you paid them in or were going to pay them in Whitecourt and you added a percentage or something or how did you do that?
300 MR. TARDIF: I essentially had a list of the staff. For an announcer, for example, if he is an evening guy, I had an amount, whether it be $2,000 or $2,200, and I added the salaries together.
301 If the Commission wishes, I can provide them with a list of the specifics on that later on today.
302 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Well, I was just wondering how you found the appropriate above average compensation.
303 MR. TARDIF: Mm‑hmm. This probably goes back to the recruitment appeal that Gene and Ken were talking about earlier, how bigger operations are sometimes having trouble in today's world of broadcasting because there are people that just don't want to work for a big operation but have trouble working for a smaller operation due to the financial restrictions being offered by a smaller organization.
304 So I am aware of the salary ranges for Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray and northern Alberta as I have worked in many northern Alberta markets and I based on my experience a list of appropriate salaries ranging within what the norm is and added a certain amount to take care of the appropriate above average compensation. So it wasn't a percentage, it was more of an extra amount onto every salary.
305 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And is this one of the expenses, Mr. Singer, that you think are conservative?
306 MR. SINGER: I certainly do and I know Gene wanted to offer a comment as well.
307 MR. FABRO: Yes. I guess with Remi's estimate of expenses, some of the categories that he has listed there are low, some are high, but we weren't overly concerned on the detail of where he placed his funds in the budget categories but we thought the overall estimated amount of expense was reasonable, perhaps slightly low but not unreasonable. So that is why we thought that this was a reasonable application.
308 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Because of the $100,000 contingency?
309 MR. FABRO: Part of that, yes.
310 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. Because it is not ‑‑ So in your estimation of the costs, what would the true staff cost be for 15 FTEs?
311 MR. SINGER: Commissioner Cram, I don't have that specifically but I do have, I guess, a total figure that I think that perhaps we would have to inject somewhere in the neighbourhood of another $200,000, maybe up to $300,000 here ‑‑
312 COMMISSIONER CRAM: In expenses?
313 MR. SINGER: ‑‑ in operating expenses in comparison to the Tardifs' submission.
314 If the Commission would like us to do so, we certainly could offer you a financial projection on that basis and file it at a very soon date.
315 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What, Mr. Fabro, would you say is the cost of commercial space in Grande Prairie now?
316 MR. FABRO: I am guessing but all in gross it would probably be in the order of ‑‑ annual per foot would probably be in the order of $15‑$18 lease rate.
317 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. And in a year's time, what do you think it would be?
318 MR. FABRO: Well, that is the annual rate per foot.
319 COMMISSIONER CRAM: All right, okay.
320 How much of your programming will be voice‑tracking?
321 MR. SINGER: I believe that is on the submission. Remi, I will let you refer to that.
322 MR. TARDIF: As indicated in the deficiency reply, the indicated amount of voice‑tracking ‑‑ I guess it wasn't in there. It was in the original application.
323 MR. TARDIF: I do have 101 hours, I believe, and 125 hours; 101 would be live, 24 would be voice‑tracked ‑‑ oh, here it is on page 31, Appendix 7.6. Live‑to‑air 105 hours and voice‑tracked would be 21 hours.
324 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Twenty‑one?
325 MR. TARDIF: Twenty‑one, yes, for a total of 126 hours per week.
326 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Will there be any other programming not produced locally?
327 MR. TARDIF: No, 100 per cent will be.
328 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
329 Thank you, Mr. Chair
330 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
331 Mr. Langford.
332 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
333 I want to ask a few follow‑up questions as well on the subject of programming.
334 It may be me. I looked over your application and supplementary brief, I listened to your responses this morning and I am still not quite sure, in fact I am not even close to sure, frankly ‑‑ as I say, that may be my problem but you will help me with it ‑‑ how you get to 14.4 hours per week which seems to be the total number. I see 6.9 hours of news. I assume that is news, weather and ‑‑ I don't know how much traffic reports you need in Grande Prairie but whatever.
335 MR. TARDIF: You would be surprised at the number of accidents on a daily basis in that town.
336 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Probably all in the same place though.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
337 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Can you help me through it? Can we just break the 14.4 hours ‑‑
338 MR. TARDIF: Sure.
339 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: ‑‑ so I have a better understanding of how you are going to fill it, please?
340 MR. TARDIF: In the 14.4 ‑‑ as well, I have it broken down in Appendix 10.4 for the news and it breaks down the number of minutes per newscast and the overall scope of what the news will look like. The remainder would be 6.9 per cent ‑‑
341 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: 6.9 hours for the news, right?
342 MR. TARDIF: 6.9 hours for the news.
343 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I got that part.
344 MR. TARDIF: Okay.
345 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It is the remainder I don't quite understand.
346 MR. TARDIF: The remainder, part of that, as mentioned before, is the Sports Shop Talk which takes care of one of the hours of the remainder and the rest is guaranteed talk, if you will.
347 If you are live, have people announce, not stick with two breaks an hour and have at least ‑‑ and that is what I did. I went with a minimum of three breaks per hour at a minute break ‑‑ I am not saying that it has to be limited to three minutes ‑‑ and five minutes in the morning show and the afternoon show and with that I mathematically did the entire week and that is where I came up with that number.
348 And the spoken word content of that, on top of the sports, on top of the news, would include the traffic reports, would include information on the artists and the music, would include what people have done over the past week.
349 As you have heard, Grande Prairie is in the Peace country. The Peace country is a vast area. I drive 500 klicks around the Peace country on a daily basis when I am up there just to get from point A to point B and weather being very important to the verbal content of the station, many people do many different things due to this vast variety of activities that you can do. You can go fishing at the pond.
350 So the announcers under the leadership of Radio CJVR, where they excel at talking locally about events, local people doing extraordinary things, would be the primary source of the verbal content of the spoken word.
351 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I don't want to be critical here but this could be categorized as what we call happy talk, right? I mean how about those Oilers, didn't they do great, and where were you, I was fishing in the pond this weekend.
352 I am trying to nail this down in the sense of spoken word programming because for us the notion of local reflection, true local reflection is very, very important and to hear you in your opening statements that seems to be something that you agree with, the spirit of that sort of subject, and are carrying out in your other stations.
353 Yet, wouldn't you agree that it is pretty tough for us to take on faith that essentially half of your spoken word content is just trust us, it will be there, it will be relevant, we are talking back and forth among the announcers, we are perhaps having a little monologue if there is only one announcer on?
354 But I am having trouble nailing that down. I mean I am sorry to go on but this is a highly competitive process you are in here today, this week. There are a lot of people who want this prize and I hope the rest of you are listening ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
355 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: ‑‑ because it is a little hard. You guys are the first to go ahead. We will be tougher on the next bunch because they get to hear me rant at you now.
356 But this is a big prize and I for one would like to know precisely, more precisely what you are going to do with half of this spoken word commitment.
357 MR. TARDIF: Mm‑hmm. And it would be representative in a section ‑‑ as I mentioned, the formula that I created, three minutes per hour and in the mornings and in the afternoons five minutes per hour of talk, and you are going, well, what are you going to talk about for five minutes other than the Oilers and what is going to happen two days from now after everybody wakes up with a hangover.
358 The community in Grande Prairie is filled with many organizations and although in the application it is not indicated, in the last half of every hour, the last minute of every hour, we will talk with Joe Blow from the Canadian Diabetes Association, Grande Prairie District, on the growing number of people with diabetes in the city.
359 The CRTC, of course, demands a certain percentage of vocal content and I am not saying that you have to go with blind faith but there is, I guess, a history with Radio CJVR in ensuring that their announcers continue to reflect their community in their spoken word.
360 MR. SINGER: Mr. Langford, could I just ‑‑
361 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Absolutely.
362 MR. SINGER: Could I interject here?
363 I agree. I understand where you are going with happy talk but on our radio stations, on any given hour, I mean what we are really talking about here is about another four minutes an hour over the broadcast week of meaningful spoken word. I can give you an example of four minutes as a minimum on our stations of meaningful spoken word.
364 First of all, we do probably half of that in weather information, again, for the reasons that Remi related to. We have a very mobile audience in these markets and certainly weather is very important to them. At times in Grande Prairie I am sure traffic is important to them as well.
365 But beyond that, these are logged features on our radio stations where we not only do community events and talk about things to get people participating in the community, these are logged and produced features in many cases and often include interviews with the organizers of those features.
366 We do health and fitness features a number of times a day. We are in a very agricultural community. We do a great amount of ag reports and so on. These are things that are meaningful to our listenership and in Grande Prairie I don't think we would be ‑‑ the list would be very short of things that we could not put into our programming that would be other than happy talk.
367 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, gentlemen, I am going to give you some homework and I am going to give it to you with a little caveat, as we used to say. This is a competitive process and it is not fair to allow you to change your application, obviously. So if you come romping back with some homework with whole half‑hour blocks of new programming, I think we are going to have to take that with a grain of salt.
368 But I would like you in one of the upcoming phases ‑‑
‑‑‑ Ping sound / Bruit de sonnerie
369 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I don't know, somebody just scored somewhere ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
370 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: ‑‑ or an angel just got his wings depending on whether you remember that movie.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
371 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I would like you, in one of the upcoming stages as appropriate, to give us a little more hard and fast detail on the sort of things you just listed, community events, health and fitness, ag reports. If this is actually part of your modus operandi, if this is the way you run your radio stations, I think we would like to know just a little more about that.
372 Because essentially what you are saying to me today ‑‑ and I don't mean to be critical ‑‑ but what you are saying could be reduced to this, there is enormous scope out there for local information, and we agree, but I would like to know a little bit more about how you might present that to us and how much time because really you have presented us with only a 50 per cent breakdown of a promised amount of local programming and it is simply not enough to leave it to our imaginations.
373 So we will leave it there now. We have a long agenda ahead of us today but I for one would very much like to hear more about that.
374 If I could just give you one more caution. You mentioned on‑location broadcasting. If there is going to be meaningful spoken word in there, I would like to know more about it. Simply because you are on location at a Ford dealership, an old person's home, a community hall, a county fair doesn't necessarily mean your morning show or your drive‑home show is going to be any different, it is simply going to be somewhere else.
375 So if that does give you an opportunity in your other types of broadcasting to present something in the sense of unique local programming, I for one would like to hear about that, other than the fact that you are just coming from a different location.
376 Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
377 Thank you very much, gentlemen
378 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Langford.
379 How long will it take you to prepare a document to meet the requirement of Mr. Langford?
380 MR. SINGER: We would be able to file that to you by next week.
381 THE CHAIRPERSON: By next week.
382 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, that is not going to ‑‑
383 MR. SINGER: Okay. Well ‑‑
384 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I would like some ‑‑ personally, to be fair to the other applicants who are here and might want to respond or have some sense, can you do it by Phase III?
385 MR. SINGER: I understand. We can do it. We will work on it today.
386 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You don't have to watch the hockey game.
387 MR. SINGER: No.
388 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Come on!
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
389 MR. SINGER: We know who is going to win.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
390 THE CHAIRPERSON: So can you file it as soon as it is ready? We are planning to have Phase III sometime on Wednesday.
391 So if you can have the document filed with the secretary as soon as you can, say, sometime by tomorrow then so other participants can consult it and the members also. When we come to Phase III, they may have questions and they will be capable to ask questions.
392 MR. SINGER: We will be happy to do that.
393 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
394 I have a few questions. My first one has to do with ‑‑ and you already answered if the market could support more than two new stations. Obviously, I remember that you said that the financial numbers were not healthy regarding Grande Prairie and you said that if it was to be the wisdom of the Commission to grant more than one licence, then you will hold to the licence you have been granted.
395 If the Commission was to license more than one, what would be the impact on your business plan and can you describe the adjustments you will have to undertake in order to be successful?
396 MR. FABRO: I guess, as Mr. Singer pointed out earlier, we believe there is room for one station in the market. If the CRTC were to grant two licences, we certainly wouldn't turn down the opportunity if we were one of the licensees, and then that would probably be predicated on your knowledge of the market and given that you were to grant two licences, we could probably compete in the market. We would be able to compete in the market based on what was assumed to be a larger revenue figure than we actually estimated
397 THE CHAIRPERSON: Will you need to make some adjustments to your business plan in order to meet the challenge of having another competitor? If that competitor ‑‑ if the Commission were to grant Newcap and yourself a licence, you are both for the same format, what will happen?
398 MR. SINGER: I think if the Commission was to grant two licences and they were identical formats, I would be very surprised, first of all, because of the intent to bring some diverse musical choices to the market. But because format is not a part of regulation we certainly anticipate that that could happen to us any place at any time.
399 I think our option faced with head‑to‑head competition, same music format, is that we would have to pursue a different music format and certainly I think there are other choices. I mean we have offered our best choice. We would have to do further research and determine what is going to work in the marketplace because no one is going to win splitting a format down the middle.
400 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if I remove Newcap as a group that has been granted a licence but if we were to grant a licence to any of the other applicants, which one will have the most negative impact on your business plan, which format, which group?
401 MR. SINGER: That is a difficult question to answer. I could tell you one which would have the least impact would be one that isn't going to be doing a similar format and certainly perhaps a lower power or a specialty format wouldn't have the same impact on a mainstream format.
402 From the point of view of being competitive in the marketplace, as I mentioned at the outset, I don't think there is any level of competition that we can't compete with. I think we can offer a product that will give us a reasonable share of the market.
403 Given that the market would change substantially from what we see there now, we would have to regroup and say what is our best strategy to compete against now another new radio station.
404 So I think those are answers that will come after we kind of know the marketplace in terms of what we are up against.
405 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, I want to focus more on the demographic that you gave, the 25‑44. Say that you are the Program Director of the new station and you are meeting your on‑air staff, what will you tell them? What is the listener that you are looking for? Is it a man or a woman mainly? Obviously, it is going to be both of them but overall it is going to be more male, I think. It is located more towards male, I would suspect.
406 MR. SINGER: I will let Remi start on that and then I will join in.
407 MR. TARDIF: Okay. If you look at the current situation in Grande Prairie you have got a country station and I guess a rock‑leaning hot adult contemporary station.
408 If you look at those two stations on the scope, you have one format on one end and the other format on the other. Normally, rock is more male‑oriented, country is more female‑oriented, but seeing the largely agriculture sector of the province Grande Prairie sits in, I would say it would be 50‑50 on the country side.
409 Seeing those two formats on both spectrums, I think that Classic Hits has a prime opportunity to sit right in the middle at a 50‑50 looking at the potential for diversity in the Grande Prairie market. Seeing CFGP station and CJXX being there, the Classic Hits format would be a nice little fit on a 50‑50 level. I do believe the research indicates Classic Hits is a 50‑50 split in most cases and that would cater to a nice section of the demographic
410 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what would be the median age of that listener?
411 MR. SINGER: We anticipate in the 30‑33 age group would be a median age
412 THE CHAIRPERSON: So thirty‑one and a half?
413 MR. SINGER: Mm‑hmm.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
414 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
415 Legal counsel, any questions?
416 MS MURPHY: Just to confirm the date at which you will submit the breakdown of the spoken word. By the end of the day tomorrow, would that be ‑‑ is the agreed date?
417 MR. SINGER: Yes.
418 MS MURPHY: Thank you very much.
419 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
420 MR. FABRO: Mr. Chairman, can I just clarify something or add to our comments with regards to the market size?
421 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
422 MR. FABRO: We can give you a little bit of a breakdown of how we determined the market size and why we think there is opportunity for one station. Unfortunately, we don't know, we can only estimate what the two operators are taking out of the market now. So it is difficult for us to know for sure the room in the market and certainly we trust the CRTC to decide that because you have some "inside" information.
423 But let Mr. Gemmell please outline to you what our rough‑cut calculations are for the market.
424 MR. GEMMELL: When we determine the advertising dollars that are available, we use basic formulas for all the markets we have been investigating.
425 Total retail sales for Grande Prairie for 2006 are estimated to be $1.08 billion. Four per cent of that determines the total advertising pool for all forms of advertising and then we take between 10 and 14 per cent to create the radio ad pool.
426 So in the case of Grande Prairie, again, the Financial Post total retail sales is estimated to be $1.08 billion. That leaves a 4 per cent advertising pool of $43.2 million and we estimate that the radio pool for Grande Prairie is probably in the 12 per cent ‑‑ take the middle point ‑‑ or about $5.2 million. I think we are low based on what we have seen in some of the applications as well.
427 We feel the minimum amount that the Pattison Group and the O.K. Group combined are taking is at least $3.5 million, which still leave a million and a half dollars on the table potentially for one or even two more new operators.
428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
429 Mr. Singer or Mr. Fabro, I am giving you now two minutes to tell us why the Commission should grant you a licence to serve Grande Prairie.
430 MR. FABRO: Maybe I will ‑
431 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is going to be your conclusion remarks.
432 MR. FABRO: Pardon me
433 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those will be your concluding remarks. There will be no further questions.
434 MR. FABRO: Okay. Perhaps I will just start and let Mr. Singer finish.
435 As you know from when we started in our dissertation here today, my family has all Albertans, all born in Alberta other than my father who immigrated from Italy. We have a very strong work ethic. We believe in the things we do. We have a very good reputation in all the businesses we run.
436 We are not large market broadcasters but we do believe that our small market brand of radio is the radio that is needed in Grande Prairie. We can deliver something that large market people don't do. We deliver local fabric of the community type radio.
437 We are committed to our listeners in Saskatchewan and we have put a lot of improvements into our operations there, almost $3 million since we invested in that operation in 1991.
438 We have great long‑term staff with us that can grow our operations and we rely on those staff to hire further staff to create a small broadcast organization committed to the type of broadcasting we do in Saskatoon.
439 Buying versus building, it is a lot cheaper. Anybody that is in business knows that when you buy a business you have to pay certain multiples of cash flow. It is a lot cheaper for us and for small broadcasters to build and that is the way we have to go. We don't have deep pockets. We are not a public company. The big broadcasters that come from the outside that are public or have huge shareholders, they can buy.
440 I think that in these small market opportunities where we play the best, we would like to build and we would like the new licence in Grande Prairie.
441 MR. SINGER: Mr. Commissioner, I would like to just close by saying thank you for the time here today and the opportunity, especially under these unusual circumstances.
442 Just let me say that I believe that Grande Prairie needs the kind of radio station we could bring to that market and as importantly, I think Canadian broadcasting needs players like Radio CJVR.
443 I certainly sometimes question where our business is going. It is all I have done all my life and I see the big getting bigger and I wonder what the future of our business is if new players such as Radio CJVR are not allowed opportunities to grow their critical mass.
444 So I ask you to consider that and I thank you again for your time
445 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Fabro, Mr. Singer, Mr. Gemmell and Mr. Tardif.
446 We will take a 15‑minute break. We will get back at 20 past 11:00.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1107 / Suspension à 1107
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1126 / Reprise à 1126
447 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
448 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
449 We will now proceed with Item 2 on the agenda, which is an application by Allan Hunsperger, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial specialty radio programming undertaking in Grande Prairie.
450 The new station would operate on frequency 96.3 MHz (channel 242C1) with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts (non‑directional antenna/antenna height of 256.6 metres).
451 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Allan Hunsperger, who will introduce his colleagues.
452 You will have 20 minutes for your presentation.
453 Mr. Hunsperger.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
454 MR. HUNSPERGER: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Members of the CRTC staff, thank you for allowing us the privilege of coming before you today to share with you why we would like to have an FM Specialty radio licence for the City of Grande Prairie, Alberta.
455 With me today are, to my far right, Bev Gillespie, our Business Manager; and next to her is Jamie Moffat, our Edmonton Sales Manager.
456 To my left is Malcolm Hunt, our Network Program Director, and next to him is Hollie Taylor, one of our on air staff members.
457 Seated behind Malcolm is Dionne Smith, Shai Awards representative, and next to Dionne is Chris Ferneyhough, Ipsos Reid representative.
458 Attached to the end of our presentation document is a seating chart for ease of identifying members of our panel. Also attached is a typical program schedule and a chart illustrating our plans for our extended news coverage.
459 As you know, we have been in the radio business since April 3, 1994, when we turned the power back on at AM 930 CJCA here in Edmonton. Its previous owner had shut down the station. Since then you have granted us additional licences for FM stations in Edmonton, 105.9 CJRY, and in Calgary, 88.9 CJSI.
460 When we first started out we quickly discovered that there was a very loyal audience for our niche Gospel format. We are very thankful that we are here today, not only to tell you that financially the business is seeing light at the end of the tunnel but also that we are committed to establishing Gospel music stations in as many cities as possible right across this great country.
461 This is why we are here applying for licences to serve Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray. We have also filed applications in response to the Commission's recent calls for Regina and Saskatoon.
462 In July 2004 Mr. Peter Teichroeb of Grande Prairie and a group of local businessmen were researching the possibility of bringing contemporary Gospel music radio to their city. They were looking at everything from low power applications to repeaters. Touch Canada, Mr. Teichroeb and the local businessmen got together and collectively decided to begin to work on giving Grande Prairie Gospel music fans a 24/7 full power FM Gospel music radio station.
463 We are proposing Grande Prairie Radio Ltd., a shareholders partnership of Mr. Peter Teichroeb and Touch Canada Broadcasting, Inc.
464 Peter is a very successful businessman in Grande Prairie. He owns Happy Trails RV, which is the number one Jayco dealer in Canada. We are extremely pleased to have such a prominent Grande Prairie resident providing us with an element of local ownership in this venture.
465 I would now like to call on Jamie Moffat to share with you a little about our marketing plan for Grande Prairie.
466 MR. MOFFAT: Thank you, Allan.
467 We have conducted a half dozen sessions with business people in the past two years in Grande Prairie and as a result of that developed our marketing plan. Most of those that have been in these pre‑planning sessions are companies that are looking forward to having another media outlet in the City of Grande Prairie to market their goods and services. We are confident of our ability to sell advertising in the Grande Prairie market.
468 To be part of our start‑up, Grande Prairie retailers have been presented with a package of advertising featuring four ads per day, seven days per week, for a year. These packages have been met with very favourable response. This plan will give them something that is affordable, yet has enough frequency to bring results.
469 All of the people that have been part of the planning to bring a Contemporary Gospel music station to the city are some of the most successful businessmen and women in the area. So we are very excited about this and can hardly wait to have the opportunity to work with these people. We have never had so many companies involved at a start‑up before, and Mr. Teichroeb is an example of those who want to help us make this station a business and Contemporary Gospel music listening success.
470 Many residents of Grande Prairie have been looking forward to this day for some time. To prove this point, we commissioned Ipsos Reid to do a marketing survey for Grande Prairie and Chris Ferneyhough from Ipsos Reid is here today to share with us the process of this survey and the result.
471 However, before I ask Chris to give us the final results of the survey, I need to share that we commissioned two separate surveys for the Grande Prairie marketplace.
472 With the first survey, we combined random calling with pre‑selected individuals. In case of a possible skew, we felt it prudent to commission the second survey which was completely random.
473 Ironically, the second survey results were even more in favour of Contemporary Gospel music radio than the first.
474 MR. FERNEYHOUGH: Ipsos Reid conducted 300 telephone interviews with a random sample of adults 18 or older residing in Grande Prairie. The interviews were conducted between March 10th and March 16th 2006.
475 The margin of error on a sample size of 300 is plus/minus 5.7 percent, 19 times out of 20. What this means is that if 50 percent of respondents said "yes" to a question, we could expect this percentage to fall between 44 percent and 56 percent 19 times if we repeated the study 20 times.
476 The research found that:
477 1. Currently, two out of every five Grande Prairie adults listen to Christian music, but only 7 percent of those are very satisfied with the amount of Christian music on the radio, indicating that the vast majority of Grande Prairie residents who listen to this type of music want more of it to be played on the radio.
478 2. As such, 37 percent of respondents said that they would listen to a contemporary Christian music radio station either regularly or occasionally if it was available to them.
479 3. Among those who would listen to this station, 24 percent said that they would listen to the radio more often if this station became available to them.
480 4. Those who would listen to the Contemporary Gospel station indicate they would listen for an average of 67 minutes per day.
481 As part of this study, we also asked for interest in a Southern Gospel music radio station.
482 1. Twenty percent of respondents said that they would listen to a Southern Gospel music radio station either regularly or occasionally if it was available to them.
483 2. Among those who would listen to this station, 12 percent said that they would listen to the radio more often if this station became available to them.
484 3. Those who would listen to the Southern Gospel station indicate they would listen for an average of 54 minutes per day.
485 In summary, interest in both types of music formats is strong among Grande Prairie residents, but more interest was expressed for the contemporary Christian music radio station. A significant proportion of adults indicate they would listen to this station, most likely because only a small minority of adults who listen to Christian music say they are very satisfied with the amount of this type of music available to them on the radio today, indicating there is currently a void in the market.
486 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you, Chris.
487 I would now like to ask our Network Program Director, Malcolm Hunt, to give you a brief description of our spoken word programming, programming staff responsibilities and, most importantly, our plans to address the issue of balance.
488 MR. HUNT: Thank you, Allan, and good morning, Commissioners.
489 I have been involved in Gospel music programming since Touch Canada Broadcasting began back in April of 1994. I have witnessed the growth of this format first‑hand and I have had the privilege of providing a product that fulfils the needs of our listeners and strengthens the Canadian Gospel music industry.
490 I would like to give you a brief description of what 96.3 Shine FM Grande Prairie will sound like.
491 In a nutshell, the programming approach will be very similar to our current Calgary operation. Our core music will be a mix of Adult Contemporary and CHR styles of Gospel music. We will provide blocks of weekend programming targeting listeners who enjoy Rock and Hip Hop as well as Southern Gospel. This programming will be a combination of syndicated and locally produced shows.
492 We will provide in year one an average weekly total of 31.4 hours of spoken word programming. This will include 6.6 hours of news, weather and sports, 8.3 hours of local reflection and announcer content, 1.5 hours of comedy and human interest features and 15 hours of brokered programming.
493 In our application we had indicated a total of 29.6 hours of spoken word programming, but that did not include the 1.5 hours of comedy and human interest features.
494 Shine FM will feature live morning and afternoon shows produced in our Grande Prairie studios. The midday, evening and weekend air shifts initially will be voice tracked using current Touch Canada staff. We will hire one morning drive announcer who will also serve as the assistant program director, one afternoon announcer who will also assist with production and one part‑time morning co‑host who will also have duties as our local news reporter.
495 Touch Canada Broadcasting is also planning expansion in our commitments to news. Attached to our opening remarks is an outline of our proposed news network. Albeit simple in structure, the plan can only come to fruition with the addition of more licences. We will provide a full slate of news programming using our own staff in Grande Prairie, supplemented by our Edmonton centre and the services of "Radionews", a Canadian News Service that provides fully produced national and international newscasts.
496 Touch Canada prides itself on our community involvement, and I will ask Bev Gillespie to comment on this further.
497 MS GILLESPIE: Thank you, Malcolm.
498 The successful fundraising efforts of Touch Canada Broadcasting have resulted in over $3.3 million raised for the local community and charities since we have been licensed.
499 We teamed up with Kids Kottage 12 years ago, even before they became an association. Kids Kottage is open 24/7 as a place where parents without a support system can take their children for up to 72 hours while they deal with the pressures they are facing. It is an organization that helps prevent child abuse and neglect. It currently operates at capacity and through the fundraising efforts of Touch Canada Broadcasting, the everyday expenses are covered to keep their doors open to our community.
500 Touch Canada also partners with The Mustard Seed, which provides assistance to those residing in the inner‑city, offering food, clothing and shelter. Year‑to‑date $900,000 has been raised for both Edmonton and Calgary, combined, with the help of local businesses and listeners.
501 Another partnering charity, The Dream Centre, provides a safe housing environment while developing skill sets to residents supporting their development towards a self‑sufficient lifestyle. $500,000 has been raised for The Dream Centre since its collaboration with Touch Canada Broadcasting.
502 We primarily use a radio‑thon format to raise support for partnering charities, but we also execute other creative fundraising activities throughout the year with the most recent being an auction of hockey playoff tickets. We are very proud of Touch Canada's fundraising efforts to date and hope to be even more supportive with the addition of new licences.
503 MR. HUNT: In regards to Canadian content, we continue to exceed our licence requirement of 10 percent on our existing stations. For example, last week Shine FM in Edmonton aired 16.9 percent while our Calgary FM achieved 16.3 percent. We will continue to exceed the required level in Grande Prairie and all future licences.
504 We recognize the importance of Canadian Talent Development. We believe the stronger the Canadian Gospel music industry becomes, the better sounding our radio stations will be.
505 We propose a commitment of $112,000 over the licence term. That money will go entirely to "The Shai Gospel Music Awards", which are the awards given by "Vibe Gospel Music". Dionne Smith, the executive director of the organization, is here today and I would like her to share a little about how they assist aspiring Canadian Gospel music artists.
506 MS SMITH: Thank you, Malcolm.
507 The Shai Awards are Canada's only awards dedicated to Gospel music. "People's Choice Gospel Music Awards" for the last five years has been held in various locations across the country, laying the foundation for a now growing Gospel music industry here in Canada. Gospel artists across Canada are depending on Shai as we have filled a very important role providing support, advocacy, education, promotion and recognition of the Gospel music artists and their industry.
508 Shai Gospel music with our awards, seminars and events offers a unique platform for the Gospel music industry, the listeners and the artists.
509 These awards are open to all Gospel artists throughout Canada and each year gather more than 20,000 votes from Gospel music fans across the country via online voting. The public votes for Canada's best Gospel artist in 23 categories including Contemporary Pop, Rock, Rap/Hip‑Hop, Aboriginal, Francophone and Instrumental, just to name a few.
510 There is a need for the Shai Awards to continue to be a vital component of the music industry here in Canada and also to have radio stations continue to support the effort of Canadian Gospel artists.
511 As a result of exposure through the Shai Awards, artists like Jake, Greg Sczebel, Toronto Mass Choir and Amanda Falk have gone on to win Juno Awards, Canada's highest music award and honour. All these artists currently are aired on Touch Canada Broadcasting's radio stations.
512 Since the inception of the Shai Awards, Touch Canada has supported our endeavours each year. The addition of further radio stations across Canada will only provide growing support and inspiration to our artists, the music fans and the Gospel music industry.
513 MR. HUNT: At the Calgary hearing the Commission asked us about the provision of balance in our programming, given the amount of spoken word in our schedule. We are not sure if we were as clear in our response as we should have been and would like to take this opportunity to clarify our position.
514 We recognize the Broadcasting Act requirement for opportunity for expression of differing points of view on matters of public concern and the Commission's expression of that concern in the Religious Broadcasting Policy. As we have mentioned before, we do not believe that we are a religious station as defined in the policy but rather that we are a Gospel music station that carries some brokered programs that do contain religious content, just as some country music, ethnic and talk stations.
515 When it comes to adding programming to our lineup, we take special care on the quality, presentation and content of the programs. We have a daily cue sheet on each show and we know in advance the material that is going to be covered before it goes to air. I would also like to point out in our twelve years of broadcasting the Commission has never received a single complaint about balance or any other matter.
516 We take this requirement seriously. Our understanding of the policy is that the Commission does not object to broadcasters taking positions on controversial matters as long as there is an opportunity for listeners to hear and contribute other points of view.
517 To ensure this happens in Grande Prairie, we will set up a dedicated phone line and voice mail that will record the opinions and views of our listeners. We will review this listener input and air the comments. If necessary, we will seek out other points of view to ensure that we meet this requirement.
518 We fully understand, as the licensee, that we are responsible for all the programming that is broadcast over our airwaves, including brokered programming.
519 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you once again for allowing us this opportunity to apply for a Gospel music FM radio station for Grande Prairie, Alberta.
520 As you have heard, we believe Grande Prairie is a growing community that can handle more radio stations in its market. In fact, we believe the economy could support one or even two new conventional stations, along with Touch Canada Broadcasting's niche Gospel format. This is particularly true for our format since we are targeting new advertisers different from those of existing or future conventional format stations.
521 We believe that our niche application is in keeping with the spirit of the Broadcasting Act that stipulates the system should be diverse, balanced and representative of all Canadians. While our Gospel format may not attract a large audience, this audience has the right to be served.
522 We are ready to answer any questions you may have.
523 Thank you.
524 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Hunsperger.
525 I will start my questions by going through your oral presentation. First I will start with the paragraph that Mr. Hunt read on page 14 and following.
526 First, I will make a statement by saying that the Calgary hearing is a closed hearing. I know that you are not the only applicant here that also appeared at the Calgary hearings. Obviously, there is no consideration of trying, and I will expect all the applicants here not to try, to influence the Commission regarding the Calgary hearing. That process is closed and there is no way we want to hear more about it.
527 Following on what Mr. Hunt was saying by saying that you never had any complaint since 1991 regarding balance in the programming, could I read into it that you have no problem accepting a condition of licence regarding relative programming?
528 MR. HUNSPERGER: That's true.
529 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you agree with me that while the call for comments and the agenda are referring to this application to be by Alan Hunsperger on behalf of a company to be incorporated, the reality is that the applicant is Grande Prairie Limited, an undertaking to be jointly owned by Touch Canada Broadcasting and by Mr. Peter Teichroeb, originally of Grande Prairie, and that that corporation at this stage is not yet really incorporated?
530 MR. HUNSPERGER: That's true.
531 THE CHAIRPERSON: And there is no representative of either Mr. Teichroeb or any representative of his group, if he represents a group, that is at the table today.
532 MR. HUNSPERGER: That's true.
533 THE CHAIRPERSON: So could I read that Mr. Teichroeb is an investor into the project but not a player in the project?
534 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes. He is a shareholder/partner in the project, along with Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc.
535 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you commit to file with the Commission the corporation's statute and the bylaws, as well as the shareholders' agreement, before entering into operation if the Commission grants you a licence?
536 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
537 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am referring to your Memorandum of Agreement, Section D.
538 Am I right to understand that whatever is the situation, the control of the station will be in the hands of Touch Canada?
539 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes. Touch Canada appoints the Chairman of the board, which would have a vote in the aspect of there would be a tie with the shareholders.
540 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that means at all times Touch Canada is the ultimate deciding body in Grande Prairie Radio Ltd.
541 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes, sir.
542 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is the current Memorandum of Agreement the only document that is binding Touch Canada and Mr. Teichroeb or are there other documents?
543 MR. HUNSPERGER: That's the only one at this time.
544 THE CHAIRPERSON: At this time there have been no amendments to that document.
545 MR. HUNSPERGER: No, sir.
546 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for that.
547 We will now move to programming matters.
548 As part of your March 31, 2006 application deficiency response, you submitted two pages titled "Programming Map for Fort McMurray" that outlines some weekday and weekend programming content.
549 Was this material appended to your Grande Prairie deficiency response in error, or is it an accurate reflection of some of the programming content that will be broadcast on your proposed Grande Prairie station?
550 MR. HUNT: It obviously was our error that we put Fort McMurray on there. Very similar to what we are doing in Grande Prairie will be in Fort McMurray.
551 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the map should have read Grande Prairie?
552 MR. HUNT: It should have, yes. Our apologies.
553 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's no problem. I am here to clarify.
554 In your supplementary brief you state that the proposed specialty FM Gospel music will serve an adult audience. You propose your station's core audience was identified as the 25‑44 adult with a more or less equal appeal to both female and male.
555 In reviewing your programming map information, I see that you will also offer seven hours of syndicated youth‑oriented Christian music programming.
556 Could you elaborate on why you are including youth‑oriented music programming as part of your adult‑oriented Gospel music format?
557 Are there plans to offer more youth‑oriented music programming beyond the seven hours indicated in your programming map?
558 MR. HUNT: Basically it's our experience in having run stations in Calgary and Edmonton ‑‑ and I personally have been involved in stations in Winnipeg as well.
559 Obviously targeting our main core of music is going to be targeted to adults, but the seven hours is something that we have developed over time, that we recognize the need of the youth in different communities. Grande Prairie will be no different from that, we believe.
560 I have had the experience of seeing the type of youth concerts that have gone on in Grande Prairie, and there is a large segment of the youth there that are very active in the community and we want to be able to serve them with music that is more targeted to them, although it is just a small portion on the weekend.
561 THE CHAIRPERSON: Based on your experience in Edmonton and in Calgary ‑‑ sorry, I was told I have to speak closer to the microphone, otherwise you will all need some headsets.
562 What has been your experience? Are you capable of attracting the young audience?
563 Obviously it is an issue for all broadcasters in North America. The youth audience is leaving radio to listen to other means. I'm not saying they are not listening to music but they have found other means to listen to music.
564 You said that you already have the experience of youth programming in both Edmonton and Calgary. What are the results? Are you attracting the youth?
565 MR. HUNT: I don't have anything to give you on paper today. But I can tell you, having talked with all of the hosts and the producers of those programs that are on our programming map, they all get lots of phone calls from Alberta, and actually all parts of Canada that they are broadcasting on and I think we are targeting. We tell them when to listen and they do listen.
566 Our experience is that we are targeting the youth in those specific times.
567 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are there.
568 MR. HUNSPERGER: Mr. Chairman, if I could also add, we also have requests from parents who are our target audience who want some specialty programs for their young people to listen to the station as well so that it just doesn't become a "mom" station.
569 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see.
570 You have stated in your proposal Gospel format will appeal to the 25‑44 age group, equally split between female and male listeners. I suspect, also, that the format may have some appeal to the 45‑plus adult listener as well.
571 Does the 25‑44 age group represent the core target demo that you will cater to with your service; and if so, why have you opted to focus programming on this adult age group rather than say a broader age group?
572 MR. HUNT: Once again, it is our experience in the markets that we are currently in. We fully believe that the majority of people that will listen to our radio station will be within that target demographic.
573 As mentioned with the youth programming, we believe that we need to cater somewhat to them in certain areas of our programming and also to the upper end of our demo through some of the southern gospel programs that we are going to be airing.
574 We do this in Calgary on our current station as well.
575 THE CHAIRPERSON: As you heard me before when CJVR appeared, I was trying to focus more directly to the median age of your listeners.
576 You are still maintaining it is going to be a 50:50 split male‑female, but what will be the median age of your listener?
577 MR. HUNT: I would say 33 to 35.
578 And I will point out, too, that in our experience it does skew slightly higher female. That just seems to be the experience that we have had.
579 To give you an exact amount, it sort of hovers around a 60:40 split, I would say, in terms of male and female.
580 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have conducted two surveys. Are they complementary or is the second replacing the first one?
581 MR. HUNSPERGER: They are complementary. As Jamie was saying, the second survey we wanted to commission just to make sure that we had a fair random survey of the market and it came out even better than our first, which we were more than delighted with.
582 So they are basically complementary.
583 The only thing that we did add the second time around, is we did ask the question: If we started a Southern Gospel music station, what was the interest there? We also tested the market just to make sure that we were correct that it was a Contemporary Gospel format; that that is the greatest need.
584 We also feel that the Southern Gospel is the second need.
585 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hunt referred in an earlier response that your experience is showing that the format is skewing more female than male and the two surveys are surely confirming that.
586 I refer to page 2 of the first survey and page 11 of the second one, that are clearly identifying female as the main target.
587 So are you changing for the sake of this appearance ‑‑ I am trying to do a map of what all the applicants will look like.
588 So you will be 34 and you will be more ‑‑ well, if you maintain that you are going to be split 50:50, I will take your word, but the Ipsos Reid survey seems to indicate that it will be more likely skewed toward female.
589 So will you agree in doing our map we put you more for a female format?
590 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
591 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of the ten competitive Grande Prairie applications, I see that yours is the only application for a specialty FM Gospel music format.
592 The other nine competitive Grande Prairie stations are proposing conventional FM music formats, including Classic Hits, Classic Rock and Soft AC. Further, I note that your application is technically mutually exclusive with a Classic Hits format filed by 1097282 Alberta Ltd. to use a frequency of 96.3 megahertz.
593 The nine other Grande Prairie applicants have characterized Grande Prairie adult listeners as being underserved by the incumbent stations.
594 Do you also consider that Grande Prairie adult listeners are underserved in the market? And if so, could you elaborate as to why you feel they are underserved.
595 MR. HUNSPERGER: Well, we do feel that they are underserved just because of the request that we had by the residents of the community who were already in the process of trying to get some kind of a Gospel music format radio station up in the Grande Prairie market.
596 They could not hear it anywhere else, and when we came along we were able to help put their dreams to paper and help them that we can add this to the Grande Prairie market.
597 And yes, we do believe that the Grande Prairie market is underserved for the population, particularly the young married families that dominate that market.
598 THE CHAIRPERSON: As a follow‑up question, could you explain to us why you feel that a proposed specialty FM Gospel music format represents the best choice to provide musical and programming diversity in Grande Prairie?
599 MR. HUNSPERGER: Because no other station is playing our music. So when we go up there, we are going to be adding a whole total new artist and music genre that is not in existence in Grande Prairie today, nor would be in existence with any of the other nine applicants that are applying for Grande Prairie.
600 THE CHAIRPERSON: You choose to apply for a Contemporary Gospel music format and you also refer, both in your supplementary brief and in your oral presentation, to Southern Gospel music.
601 Would you be mainly Contemporary Gospel music or will you also have Southern Gospel music on your station?
602 MR. HUNT: It will be all Contemporary except for the blocks of programming that we have proposed on the weekends.
603 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be Southern Gospel music?
604 MR. HUNT: We will have two sections on the weekend that will be Southern Gospel, and the rest of it will be Contemporary and CHR.
605 THE CHAIRPERSON: For the record, could you explain the differences between the two ‑‑ other than say that one is for FM and the other one is for AM.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
606 MR. HUNT: I guess you could classify the Contemporary and CHR style of music no different from any other Contemporary and CHR stations that you would have before you today. The only difference, obviously, is that they fall under the Gospel category. The lyrics are different; the artists are different, completely different.
607 Now in comparison from Contemporary to Southern Gospel, I would say Southern Gospel would be closer to an older style quartet‑type of music, more closer to Country, older country, to give an explanation as to how the two differ.
608 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know that Southern Gospel music will also have choirs. Will the choirs qualify more for southern?
609 MR. HUNSPERGER: No.
610 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm a Montrealer. The only Gospel music I hear is my choir.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
611 MR. HUNSPERGER: Well, Southern Gospel is usually quartet or trio. Once in a while it's a single vocalist. But most of the time it is four, five people singing.
612 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the choirs, where are they?
613 MR. HUNSPERGER: We don't have any choirs, although we do play ‑‑ like the Toronto Mass Choir does get airplay on our Sunday mornings where we do our praise and worship section. That, of course, is more of a church oriented type of music. But that is only Sunday mornings.
614 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will speak about local spoken word and local education.
615 I note that in your oral presentation you mention that while your supplementary brief indicated 29/26 hours of spoken word, that did not include 1.5 of comedy and human interest.
616 Is that something that you are adding this morning or was it part of your schedule but you didn't do the mathematics?
617 MR. HUNSPERGER: It's a part of it. We just missed it when we filed.
618 THE CHAIRPERSON: You just missed it.
619 Based upon the programming map that you filed ‑‑ so it was on your March 31, 2006 programming map.
620 You are saying that you are going to have 6.3 hours per week of scripted local news and related surveillance; 15 hours of brokered spoken word, which I assume to be religious spoken word programming; and 8.3 hours of non‑scripted announcer to which I have to add 1.5 of comedy.
621 Could you confirm that those 31.1 hours of spoken word are the numbers that we have to consider for this hearing.
622 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
623 THE CHAIRPERSON: Apparently I am the cause of the feedback. It is not equipped to do radio.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
624 THE CHAIRPERSON: Pardon me if I have to put my hand over my ears, but I have some problems to hear your reply.
625 Did you reply to the question I asked you while they came and told me that I was the cause of the feedback?
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
626 MR. HUNSPERGER: Mr. Chairman, for example, where Mr. Hunt said on the oral that this would include 6.6 hours of news, weather and sports, in our brief we originally said 6.3. That was a miscalculation because on the map that we had given you, if you actually add up those hours and minutes, it comes to 6.6.
627 So that is where we have the 31.4 hours of spoken word programming instead of the 31.1. That is what we are talking about.
628 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fine.
629 Based on the information that you provided in your programming charts, you indicated that the Sunday's "Power of Praise" music program will be produced by TCB, which I assume is Touch Canada Broadcasting.
630 You have designated this program as being a locally produced program on your program chart.
631 Will this program be produced out of your Grande Prairie studio?
632 MR. HUNT: Currently it is being produced in Edmonton for both our Edmonton and Calgary stations. So we will basically add it to our programming line‑up.
633 THE CHAIRPERSON: And it will remain being produced in Edmonton.
634 MR. HUNT: Yes.
635 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it will not be local programming, but it will be more or less regional programming.
636 The reason why I am asking the question is that obviously if it is produced out of Edmonton, the Commission will have to reduce that period of time from the local origination. That doesn't mean that it is not spoken word. That means that it is not a local program.
637 Will any of your brokered religious spoken word ‑‑
638 THE CHAIRPERSON: Will any of your brokered religious spoken word programming qualify as local programming under the Commission's current local programming definition, or is it all coming from various sources but not Grande Prairie productions?
639 MR. HUNSPERGER: So far when we talk about local, we are talking about what is produced by Touch Canada Broadcasting here in Edmonton. But I can tell you that we have already had several breakfasts and meetings in the Grande Prairie area, and we always try to encourage local people to step forward and get involved in some locally produced programming.
640 So that encouragement will continue to be so.
641 THE CHAIRPERSON: And will they be produced at your station and other Grande Prairie facilities?
642 MR. HUNSPERGER: It will be produced in our facility in Grande Prairie.
643 THE CHAIRPERSON: And will they be available for your other existing radio stations?
644 MR. HUNSPERGER: Absolutely. That is what we try to encourage.
645 For example, some of the local programming here in Edmonton, they are so excited about what is happening here in Edmonton that they have come to us and said we want to now be on every one of your stations wherever you get a station licence in the country.
646 We would hope that the same thing would happen.
647 The biggest challenge that we have had since 1994 is getting Canadians encouraged that they can use now radio and not leave it up to the Americans. So we have tried very hard to encourage that. Sometimes we have succeeded and other times we have failed.
648 For the most part, we continue to put out that encouragement to local people.
649 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your revenue projections, more than 50 percent of year one revenues are generated by brokerage and other revenues.
650 How did you arrive at this level of revenue?
651 MR. MOFFAT: Brokered spoken word programming, because we have a history of relationships with providers, we anticipate that adding brokered spoken word programming to a new station in Grande Prairie is much like ‑‑ we won't be starting from scratch.
652 With the local advertising revenue, we are starting a brand new radio station and we will be starting new relationships.
653 However, that being said, we have already begun establishing those relationships with our local partnership in Mr. Teichroeb.
654 THE CHAIRPERSON: As you said in your oral presentation, you have presented packages to some businessmen and those packages were attractive to them.
655 But that specifically will be advertising revenues.
656 MR. MOFFAT: That is correct.
657 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I am talking about brokerage revenues, those are for the airtime that is bought by various groups and those groups are religious‑driven organizations.
658 MR. HUNSPERGER: That's true. And like Jamie has said, we have ongoing relationships with those people. They have tried to get some of their programming in the Grande Prairie market and have been turned down, so they are very excited at the possibility of a licence to us; that they could then get their programming in Grande Prairie.
659 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are they ready to pay premium to be in Grande Prairie?
660 MR. HUNSPERGER: Pardon me?
661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are they ready to pay a premium to be in Grande Prairie?
662 MR. HUNSPERGER: We have already talked prices that they agree with.
663 THE CHAIRPERSON: You also indicated in your March 31 deficiency reply that programming staff at Grande Prairie will consist of three fulltime and one part‑time person. You go on to say that synergies and staffing will arise in the remaining departments operating out of the head office location, as well as the centralized programming staff consisting of production, creative writing and network programming manager.
664 Would you elaborate on the staffing synergies in the area of programming.
665 What roles and responsibility will the centralized programming staff, creative writing and network programming manager have in creating content for your Grande Prairie station? What type of content might this be and will you consider any of this content to qualify as local programming?
666 MR. HUNT: The synergies that we will have with our programming staff, a lot of it will be obviously the production and the writing, as you pointed out.
667 The reason for centralizing is obviously that the cost of having those people in multiple markets is too expensive for us to do that. As a niche broadcaster we have to be very careful about our costs. It is easier for us to synergize those particular areas in order to maintain a proper bottom line.
668 We will also use our current staff for voice tracking.
669 Although this stuff is being produced in Edmonton, it is being inputted into the computers, into our software, in Grande Prairie to be broadcast there. It is not originating ‑‑ if I understand the question correctly, it is not originating in Edmonton. It all originates from ‑‑
670 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is produced in Edmonton but it is only aired in Grande Prairie.
671 MR. HUNT: Correct.
672 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are considering that material to be local Grande Prairie programming.
673 MR. HUNT: Correct.
674 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you ‑‑
‑‑‑ Background noise / Bruit de fond
675 MR. HUNSPERGER: What seems to happen, Mr. Chairman, is when we have our microphones on and we turn them off, we get that hum. So I think it's us, not you.
676 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It's Commissioner Williams practising for tonight's game.
677 MR. HUNSPERGER: I'll leave our microphones on.
678 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think that's better. We will see.
679 In your supplementary brief you stated that 80 percent of the total weekly programming, or around 100 hours, will be locally produced. Obviously you just spoke about voice tracking and I suspect part of the answer will be that a good part of the material is voice tracked.
680 Anyhow, I am going with my curiosity. How are three staff and one part‑time capable of producing 100 hours a week of locally produced programming, which includes 6.6 hours of news per week and 8.3 hours of announcer ‑‑ how could you make up with only three fulltime employees and one part‑time?
‑‑‑ Background noise / Bruit de fond
681 MR. HUNT: Perhaps this is just a misunderstanding from our part.
682 When we consider of what we consider to be local in terms of the voice tracking, when we voice track, regardless of where the person actually physically talks into the microphone, it is specific to that radio station.
683 So we consider that programming to be local programming, even though the person might not be necessarily in that particular studio. They are completely devoting their content to that radio station, talking about local events, talking about the sports teams, and whatnot.
684 I just wanted to make sure that I was completely clear that that is what we were considering to be local programming, even in terms of voice tracking.
685 It perhaps down the road might be Grande Prairie people doing it, but initially it will be our Edmonton staff.
686 THE CHAIRPERSON: To start with, on day one will you have staff in Grande Prairie?
687 MR. HUNT: Yes.
688 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who? Sales people or programming people, or both?
689 MR. HUNT: Both. We will have a fulltime morning host who will be the assistant program director; a fulltime afternoon host, who will also serve as the producer to input a lot of the content that we were talking about earlier; the people that will take care of our local news; and of course we will have sales people and administration staff, and what not.
690 THE CHAIRPERSON: So fact gathering will be done ‑‑ you will have people capable of collecting events, collecting information regarding events, regarding news, even if that information is kept locally for some part of the programming but also provided to the other people that are working out of Edmonton.
691 MR. HUNT: Yes.
692 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will speak about Canadian Talent Development.
693 I had a series of questions regarding religious programming, but it is part of your oral presentation and the first questions that you answered. I think that will suffice for the sake of this part of the presentation.
694 When asked in deficiency how your $16,000 annual direct CTD contribution will be used by Vibe Gospel Music to support the development of Canadian talent, you responded by indicating the funds were a cash donation and directed staff to visit Shai Awards website.
695 However, aside from the mission statement and descriptions of the awards show gala, no specific information was given concerning how your CTD funding will be used by the organization to develop Canadian Christian music talent and meet the CTD eligibility requirements.
696 I heard earlier in your presentation Dionne Smith speaking more about the Shai Awards, but I may need more detail.
697 Can you tell us how Vibe Gospel Music would use your annual $16,000 contribution?
698 For example, will it be used to run workshops for aspiring Christian musicians or be used to underwrite showcase events during the awards week?
699 We need some assurance that the funding will not be used by Vibe Gospel Music to underwrite day‑to‑day administrative costs or administrative costs related to the award shows, since these types of expenses are not eligible to CTD.
700 MR. HUNSPERGER: I think I will ask Dionne to answer this question for you.
701 If I can just help a little understanding, it used to all be called Vibe Awards and then they changed it to call it Shai Awards. Dionne can tell you when they changed that terminology.
702 So that is where we get caught from the deficiency versus where we are today.
703 She can tell you what happens with the finances and how her organization helps Canadian music.
704 MS SMITH: The Vibe Awards was actually five years ago. Two years ago we changed the name to Shai Gospel Music due to conflicts with another award down in the U.S. with the name "Vibe Awards".
705 We use the funds that are contributed through Touch towards numerous things. We have events such as workshops that we do put on with education for our artists to enhance their music, to enhance their production of the music.
706 We also have scholarships for our artists that are available to them to enhance their music so that they can go out and produce more albums, of course to further the growth of the industry that we are trying to produce.
707 We also use the funds for showcases and launching new artists that we are looking for and to develop the up‑and‑coming artists that are in the nation of Canada by doing showcases throughout Canada.
708 THE CHAIRPERSON: What types of mechanisms do you have in place to ensure that the funding is used as directed?
709 MR. HUNSPERGER: We have been involved with Dionne from basically day one. With her we have even been some of the judges on her panels and part of her organization from day one, although it's arm's length. We aren't connected in any way. But we know her quite well.
710 When I picked her up from the airport today, Dionne was sharing about the time when we started talking about my feeling that we need some Canadian Gospel awards to really start to raise the level of some of these Gospel artists.
711 Dionne had been doing on her own, having kind of a weekend ‑‑ maybe it was a one‑night thing, Dionne, I can't remember. But it was a time where she got as many Gospel artists as possible and they all sang a couple of songs. She invited people to come and hear these Canadian artists because she really wanted to elevate the Canadian artist.
712 So then we sat down and said come on, let's elevate this thing. Let's make it national. Let's have an awards, Gospel music organization that is going to increase the level of presentation for these artists. So that is what we did.
713 We are quite assured that what Dionne does is very real to the artist. And of course we have that ground level to the artist as well.
714 And we are excited about the future as well. They have gone through struggles, the Shai Awards have, but their future is bright and we are very thankful that the Shai Awards have even been played on Global Television and are starting to get national recognition.
715 We know that Dionne is working even more with CBC and other television areas and hopefully we can get more and more recognition for these artists.
716 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now move to the more business aspect of your application.
717 How was the survey conducted regarding advertising availability for Christian music radio? Is there a link between your survey results and the level of advertising revenues that you are anticipating?
718 I know that in the first survey that Ipsos Reid did for you there is a section about discussions with or a survey of potential advertisers. I suspect they were not a random survey. It was a survey directed to some identified potential advertisers that had an interest in Christian music.
719 Am I right?
720 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes, you are. But our business plan and our financials of our local sales are directly related to the businesses that we have approached on this plan that Mr. Moffat was talking about of four spots a day, seven days a week. We know that if we sell out on those business packages, that represents 100 percent of the business plan in the budgets.
721 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the budgets.
722 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
723 THE CHAIRPERSON: So there is no tie between the Ipsos Reid survey and the research Mr. Moffat did on his own in the market.
724 MR. HUNSPERGER: No.
725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Walking through the market.
726 MR. HUNSPERGER: No.
727 THE CHAIRPERSON: Obviously implementing a station in Grande Prairie today is probably more expensive than implementing in other markets.
728 Is your business plan taking into consideration the high cost of business in Grande Prairie? And where will I find in your financials that you have taken that into consideration?
729 MS GILLESPIE: Yes, our estimates are pretty much the averages of what is going on in Grande Prairie right now. Actually, we have been very conservative in over‑estimating our costs. Our increase in rent goes up 10 percent a year, our utilities up 10 percent.
730 They are a little higher than expenses, so we would rather be more conservative if we can, to take into account any fluctuations in the economy.
731 THE CHAIRPERSON: And in terms of staff, recruiting and keeping staff. We hear that in Grande Prairie the staff turnover is very rapid. People seem to find jobs fairly easily.
732 That means that you are going to be under pressure salary‑wise to keep your own employees. Have you taken that into consideration?
733 MS GILLESPIE: Not necessarily with our niche market. The employees that we have right now, I would dare to say almost more or the majority of them are already working well below regular levels.
734 Pay does not necessarily attract our programming people. It's the belief in our format that we attract a lot of employees. Therefore, our pay schedule is not necessarily higher in Grande Prairie. Most of our employees do work below the averages.
735 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mrs. Taylor, do you agree with that?
736 MS TAYLOR: Yes.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
737 MS GILLESPIE: They are very loyal and very qualified, as well.
738 MR. HUNSPERGER: And how do you feel about that?
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
739 THE CHAIRPERSON: What is the level of audience tuning that you project your proposed service will garner in the Grande Prairie radio market?
740 MR. MOFFAT: We are surveying a weekly reach in the 26,000 persons range.
741 THE CHAIRPERSON: 26,000 person range.
742 MR. MOFFAT: In percentage?
743 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, market share.
744 MR. MOFFAT: Generally speaking with this format, we look at about half of what the survey would suggest. So we are thinking in that 4 to 5 percent of the overall hours tuned.
745 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even if the survey is saying 37 percent of the Grande Prairie respondents will more than likely be listeners, so in terms of market share, using BBM as the base, you will say 4 to 5 percent is the reasonable market share that you can expect?
746 MR. MOFFAT: we certainly like to err on the side of caution.
747 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is easier to live with better numbers.
748 MR. MOFFAT: We like to under‑promise and over‑deliver.
749 THE CHAIRPERSON: In this area I understand what you mean.
750 What impact do you believe your proposed service will have on the incumbent radio service, both in terms of revenues and audience?
751 MR. HUNSPERGER: We don't believe that we are going to have much impact, because as we have found out, even in other markets, we attract new advertisers to our station. Many of them are even advertisers that couldn't afford advertising on some larger conventional stations but we are able to get them in on our niche station.
752 We always feel that we have very little impact when it comes to coming into the market against other broadcasters.
753 As far as the audience, many of our core listeners who would be listening to us are listening to very little of the other radio stations now. So we believe that we also bring new listeners to the radio market because they now can have their favourite artists and don't have to rely on CDs and things like that.
754 So we believe that we bring a newer audience to the radio industry as we continue to open up, because this is such a new genre.
755 THE CHAIRPERSON: How many new stations do you think Grande Prairie can support at this time?
756 MR. HUNSPERGER: We had mentioned in our opening statement that we believe that Grande Prairie can support one, and perhaps even two, new conventional stations plus ourselves in the niche market.
757 THE CHAIRPERSON: Among the other competitors, if we were to grant a licence to any of those who are applying today, I would suspect being a niche station you don't feel any of them will have a significant impact on your plan because you are so niche.
758 MR. HUNSPERGER: That is correct.
759 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did I forget to ask you what will be the median age of your listener?
760 No, I didn't forget?
761 MR. HUNSPERGER: No.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
762 MR. HUNSPERGER: Do you want us to say it again?
763 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
764 MR. HUNT: 33 to 35.
765 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
766 I know that Mrs. Cram has questions for you.
767 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
768 I wanted to go into your spoken word programming just a little more.
769 The news, weather and sports, 6.6 hours a week, that is going to be produced in Edmonton. Yes?
770 MR. HUNT: Not entirely.
771 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Not entirely.
772 MR. HUNT: A portion of it. We will have local people in Grande Prairie, and they will have the local aspect of it from Grande Prairie.
773 But the national and international aspects of it will be done, as it mentions on our News Network that is on there.
774 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. Will it be done exclusively, then, for Grande Prairie, that national/international part, or would it be done for all of your stations?
775 MR. HUNT: It would be done for all of our stations.
776 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Then how much of the 6.6 hours would be produced locally?
777 And when I say "locally", I mean Grande Prairie.
778 MR. HUNT: Right. Our breakdown would be 60 percent national and 40 percent local, and 50:50 national/local when it comes to sports.
779 So to answer your question, 40 percent would come from Grande Prairie.
780 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
781 The comedy and human interest, 1.5 hours, that is syndicated or something like that, is it?
782 MR. HUNT: We do produce some of our own, especially with our morning shows. We have "Adventures of Charlie and Tera", which happens to be our morning show in Edmonton. We will produce something very similar to that in Grande Prairie, and some syndicated stuff as well.
783 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So how much of it would be actually produced in Grande Prairie out of that 1.5 hours per week: for Grande Prairie in Grande Prairie?
784 MR. HUNT: The one feature I mentioned, the Adventures or whatever it might be, that would likely be the only one that would be produced in Grande Prairie.
785 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The announcer content, how much of that 8.3 hours would be in the voice tracked part?
786 MR. HUNT: Our breakdown of voice track to live, it breaks down that we would have 35 hours ‑‑ and I am going to get there. Just give me one second.
787 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
788 MR. HUNT: So 35 hours of our week would be live; 53 would be voice tracked. Then we have the syndicated and TCB‑produced program and then the brokered programming.
789 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You said 35 hours live?
790 MR. HUNT: Correct.
791 COMMISSIONER CRAM: How did you get that?
792 MR. HUNT: Morning drive and afternoon drive.
793 COMMISSIONER CRAM: That's three hours.
794 MR. HUNT: And afternoon drive.
795 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And that's five hours.
796 MR. HUNT: Correct.
797 No, it is actually more than that, because the afternoon drive is five on its own.
798 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Pardon me?
799 MR. HUNT: The afternoon drive is five hours. We have a long drive.
800 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Plus three, that's eight hours.
801 MR. HUNT: Correct.
802 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Times five.
803 MR. HUNT: My mistake. That's 40 hours.
804 COMMISSIONER CRAM: My God, I thought I had actually really blown my math. Thank you.
805 So it is 40 hours. Let's get this straight.
806 How much voice tracking did you say?
807 Now I've blown your whole math; right?
808 MR. HUNT: I'm a radio guy. I am not into math.
809 My apologies. Give me two seconds.
810 MR. HUNT: I'm just going to double‑check.
811 MR. HUNT: It will be 52 hours of voice tracked.
812 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And that is 52 hours of the broadcast week?
813 MR. HUNT: Correct.
814 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Of the broadcast week.
815 MR. HUNT: Yes, yes.
816 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. So 52 hours voice tracking. Then that 8.3 announcer content will be in proportion; 40 over 53 would be within the 40 hours of local programming per week.
817 MR. HUNT: Correct.
818 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And it is your position that voice tracking from Edmonton/Calgary where somebody mentions the Grande Prairie Prairie Dogs is what we would call local programming.
819 MR. HUNT: I would consider it that, because they are specific breaks to the music that we are playing on that radio station. We are talking about the local events, as you mention. We are giving station call letters.
820 From our perspective, the only difference would be live versus prerecorded. The content would be much the same.
821 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Let me get this together.
822 You would have the same music for all of your stations. The program breaks would be specific to Edmonton, Calgary ‑‑ or have I got it wrong?
823 MR. HUNT: Just to clarify, our music style is the same across our radio stations.
824 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
825 MR. HUNT: But the actual rotation is different from market to market.
826 The rotation that we have in Edmonton, as I mention, with our Canadian content, it does vary slightly. So when we talk about ‑‑ the log for Grande Prairie will be completely different.
827 If you were to tune into the radio stations in the different locations, you are not going to hear the same song at the same time. That might happen periodically.
828 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I am having a difficult time understanding this.
829 You know that our policy is that you can't solicit advertising unless you have 42 hours of local programming. The purpose of that rule is that you actually concern yourself with the community and you are involved in it and you are giving them what they want.
830 I am having a very difficult time seeing your voice tracking as being local. So help me out.
831 Then otherwise your advertising plan is not going to work at all, because you will not be able to solicit any advertising.
832 I need to figure out how you have 42 hours of local programming if I don't count your voice tracking.
833 MR. HUNSPERGER: To us, the difference between voice tracking and live is more of an economic scenario. But as far as the programming scenario, there is no difference.
834 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I am saying from the community's point of view.
835 MR. HUNSPERGER: Right.
836 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You are going to be talking about news that is at least as old as when it was voice tracked, you are going to be talking about weather that may or may not be in or out of date. You are talking about sports that are old in terms of when it is voice tracked.
837 What service are you giving to the community?
838 MR. HUNT: I just wanted to clarify the difference between our news programming and a voice track on our radio station.
839 Our news programming is as up to date as any other news programming. Our news is, as we mentioned, on the half hour during the morning shows. Those sports reports are accurate.
840 They are all produced day‑of. Those newscasts are done. The local stuff is done live during the morning show.
841 You mentioned the sports and the ‑‑
842 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Say you are voice tracking at night and you are saying "well, it was a nice day today. It went up to 30 degrees" ‑‑ and in fact it rained ‑‑ "and the Prairie Dogs are up for a game tomorrow" ‑‑ and that's been cancelled.
843 I mean, what kind of a service does voice tracking provide? What kind of local programming service are you giving to the city of Grande Prairie?
844 MR. HUNT: We have the ability with our network ‑‑ and we do this currently ‑‑ to update anything that happens to change. We utilize the local people to be able to instruct the others within their network that they will be able to update those at any given moment.
845 I can give you an example.
846 We do some voice tracking on the FM station here in Edmonton. The voice tracker sends some updated tracks because The Oilers won on Saturday night, although the previous tracks had been done earlier in the week. But the updates were created so that we could remain topical and relevant to the community that we are in.
847 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And with three staff and a part‑time local reporter/anchor, who does that?
848 MR. HUNT: A lot of that stuff can be done remotely. In fact, I did it from my kitchen table, the voice tracks for the weekend.
849 Technology is a wonderful thing.
850 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And confusing.
851 I again wanted to get to your position that this is not a religious station but a Gospel music station.
852 Predicated on the fact that a religious station is playing Christian music, isn't Gospel music just a subset of Christian music?
853 MR. HUNSPERGER: We have always declared, ever since 1994, that we are not a religious radio station; we are a Gospel music radio station.
854 COMMISSIONER CRAM: My question?
855 MR. HUNSPERGER: The answer to your question is yes.
856 COMMISSIONER CRAM: It is a subset.
857 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
858 COMMISSIONER CRAM: There is no such thing as Muslim Gospel music or Jewish Gospel music.
859 MR. HUNSPERGER: No, but we don't know the faiths or the denominational backgrounds of individuals that are singing the music.
860 COMMISSIONER CRAM: It is fair to say that it is all Christian, though.
861 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
862 COMMISSIONER CRAM: There was one thing I didn't understand in your brief.
863 There is the agreement Mr. Teichroeb and yourselves. It is at page 5 of that agreement, paragraph (q).
864 MR. HUNSPERGER: Sorry?
865 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Do you have that agreement with you?
866 MR. HUNSPERGER: No, we don't have that in front of us. I'm sorry.
867 Maybe I can answer the question.
868 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I will read it to you:
"The Venture shall be terminated upon the happening of any of the following:
(a) the written agreement to the termination of the Venture prior to the incorporation of the corporation; or
(b) the denial of the application by the CRTC; or
(c) the Venture determines from the Ipsos Reid report that there is not a big enough market for a Gospel format; or
(d) upon reviewing the financial statements of the existing broadcasters and determining the market is not at least $8 million annual revenues."
869 What does it mean by market of $8 million? The radio ad revenue?
870 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes.
871 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
872 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
873 THE CHAIRPERSON: How have you been capable to review that the market was at $8 million revenues?
874 The other applicants are all saying ‑‑ the applicant we heard this morning was talking about somewhere between $4 million.
875 MR. HUNSPERGER: We have a report here from Statistics Canada for Grande Prairie that basically says for 2003 the total revenue coming in in 2003 was $9,960,558.
876 MR. MOFFAT: I would like to add, Mr. Chairman, that this report came from the Radio Marketing Bureau. It is quoted as a Statistics Canada for Grande Prairie radio revenue statement.
877 It is my understanding, as well, when we researched these numbers further on down the road that we are under the impression that these numbers are for Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and all points in between, which is why the probably more accurate estimate of the marketplace would be in that four to $5 million.
878 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you comment on what Mrs. Cram read to you regarding particularly the last section of subsection (q), which says that if the market is not at least $8 million annual revenues, the agreement between Touch Canada and Mr. Teichroeb will be terminated?
879 MR. HUNSPERGER: That has already been answered by this report.
880 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see.
881 MR. HUNSPERGER: We had written up that agreement before this report came to us. When this report came to us, that is null and void now.
882 We are full bore ahead for Grande Prairie.
883 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mrs. Cugini.
884 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
885 Good morning. I have just a couple of questions to follow up with the conversation you had with Chair Arpin earlier with regard to your youth‑oriented programming.
886 I suspect ‑‑ but in this job I've learned to have my suspicions confirmed or denied.
887 Is that the Saturday night block of Rock, Hip Hop and Rap?
888 MR. HUNT: Correct.
889 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: In that block, will those artists be exclusively Christian Rock bands, Christian Hip Hop and Christian Rap artists?
890 MR. HUNT: Correct.
891 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Will those artists also be scattered throughout the rest of the schedule?
892 MR. HUNT: Some of them will, yes.
893 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Some of them.
894 MR. HUNT: And some have a harder edge to some of their music and a milder edge; so, yes, a lot of them will be sprinkled ‑‑ not necessarily the same song.
895 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Right. And will that Saturday night block be live or voice track?
896 MR. HUNT: It is syndicated and the majority of it is live syndicated programming.
897 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Syndicated with your other radio stations?
898 MR. HUNT: No. It is actually syndicated from the U.S.
899 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So there won't be any Canadian content in that block?
900 MR. HUNT: There is always Canadian content.
901 The Canadian music industry is growing, and yes, there is going to be Canadian content during that period.
902 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Ms Smith, you talked earlier about how the Shai Awards and the activities around the Shai Awards are also contributing to identifying new Canadian artists that would comply with this format.
903 Are they in the Rock, Hip Hop and Rap genres and/or are they also in the other types of Gospel music that will be featured on this radio station, if licensed?
904 MS SMITH: Within our awards we have 23 categories. Those categories range from Rock, Hip Hop to Contemporary Pop to Francophone to Instrumental. They vary, as with any other music that you hear on a radio station. We have all those various genres.
905 So it fits within numerous genres that we are working with with our artists.
906 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: One final question and it really goes more to marketing and promotion and therefore hopefully attracting an untapped audience perhaps to your radio station.
907 The context of this question is, I don't know, three or four years ago The Blind Boys of Alabama opened for Peter Gabriel, exposing perhaps an untapped audience to that music.
908 Between your efforts as radio broadcasters and perhaps in collaboration with the Shai Awards, what are some of the things you are doing to expose a new audience that wouldn't otherwise tune into your radio station?
909 MR. HUNSPERGER: That is a good question.
910 As I had mentioned before, we bring a new audience to the radio just by virtue of our genre. We also know that the more Canadian artists that we can add to our content and our playlist, the more people we bring to the radio. People start listening because they go, "Oh, that girl is from Edmonton" or "that girl is from Fort McMurray" or "that girl is from Grande Prairie", or guy, or whatever.
911 So we automatically start doing that, the more we can build up artists in that.
912 We had one of our artists who had won a Juno and several Shai awards, and now he is actually starting to do some commercials and some commercial work.
913 So what is happening is that some of our people, our artists that are in this genre, are starting to get a bit excited and they are starting to say maybe I can make a living in this genre, because most of them can't. Most of them sing on weekends or do whatever they possibly can. But that is starting to happen.
914 I wish I had a better answer to your question, but I believe that we are bringing new people by that very virtue.
915 MR. HUNT: I would like to add, as well, the concert aspect of the music, that exposes our music to a lot of people.
916 I will use the example in Calgary, coming up at the Calgary Stampede this year. There are going to be three of our artists performing on the final day of the stampede. One of them is a Canadian artist, which is Starfield.
917 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: I don't mean to interrupt you, but just to clarify, when you say "one of our artists", do you mean these are artists that you as a radio broadcaster have developed or have helped to develop, or that you have exposed on your radio station or have sponsored?
918 What do you mean by "our artists"?
919 MR. HUNT: We consider the music that we play ‑‑ I mean, it is one big happy family. Our artists are the people that we play that you are not hearing on any other radio station. That is what I mean by that.
920 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay.
921 MR. HUNT: Not specifically that we are supporting them with direct funds or anything like that.
922 But when I consider our artists, we are not playing mainstream Rock or any of the other artists.
923 And back to the point about the concerts, that is exposing our type of music to a lot of people. And by being in a market such as Grande Prairie, being able to have this music available to them on the radio and then be able to go out and see a concert with a lot of these artists, I think that would be, hopefully in answer to your question, that we will be able to promote that and further that in that market.
924 MR. HUNSPERGER: I think another thing that is an interesting part of this, this is the second year for the Calgary Stampede. It became so successful last year that they have now done it another year in a row.
925 And then last December, which was kind of an exciting thing that also seems to start to develop into an annual thing, Michael W. Smith came up, which is one of our artists with the Edmonton Symphony, and did a Christmas program.
926 It was so successful, he did two shows because they all sold out. I think all of us were blown over with joy to start to see those kinds of responses to our artists.
927 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Ms Smith, did you want to add?
928 MS SMITH: I just wanted to expand.
929 I also sit on the screening board for the Juno Awards for Gospel music. I sit on the board and watch 40 submissions come in each year for all of Canada for Gospel music. And within our awards we have over a thousand that submit.
930 In saying all that, what we have created and what we are creating is a platform for the Gospel artists that aren't given anywhere else. They see that they have an opportunity through this awards to be recognized. We are aired on Global and we have been since we started five years ago, which has given our artists a platform.
931 In giving them this platform through the Shai Awards, being recognized as an artist that has won a Shai Award nationally by the Canadian people, has given them now the way into the Juno Awards to be nominated for the Juno Awards. With that title as a Shai Awards winner for all of Canada, the Juno Awards now takes recognition of those artists.
932 So that is how we are actually helping to promote a national awareness of these artists across Canada.
933 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
934 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
935 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Langford?
936 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
937 I just have one question for you. It is on the notion of balanced programming. You discussed that with the Chairman and I think we are fairly clear on the way you want to kind of oversee the brokered programming; to make sure that if balance is required, somehow you will get it there.
938 I wonder if we could firm that up a little, though.
939 A good many Christian programmers try to actually formalize this by having a program every week or some aspect of a program every week, bring in the kind of spokespeople that can bring a balanced view to it.
940 Have you given that any thought?
941 I know program is expensive and you folks aren't sitting on bags of money, but have you actually thought of formalizing this kind of approach to balance programming so that you have it done on a weekly basis?
942 MR. HUNSPERGER: We have thought of it and we have discussed it thoroughly, to the best that we are trying to come up with what is the very, very best that we can do in this issue.
943 We want to heavily promote this dedicated line where even after our religious content brokered programming, we are going to ask people to call in their comments. Then we are going to play these comments on our morning show and our afternoon shows, and people are going to be able to express their views.
944 We are hoping that that is going to do a better job than even what we could do in producing some kind of a program.
945 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: My problem with that ‑‑ and you guys are the experts; I am just here trying to get a sense of it from listening to you.
946 The problem with that is that there are no guarantees that what you will have, possibly, is a good deal of uninformed comment, quite frankly ‑‑ and we are all uninformed about many things. So I don't say that critically.
947 But people will phone in perhaps and say I really liked the show, or I didn't like the show and I was glad to hear whoever, or I wasn't glad to hear whoever, or I hated whoever.
948 But that doesn't add the next really important element, which would be that the priest or minister or spokesperson who was on some show giving a Christian point of view, and giving it correctly and soberly and in a conservative way, still wasn't giving the other sides of the picture, the other viewpoints.
949 For example, wouldn't it be preferable to somehow bolster this sense that the community can contribute with an element of your programming, maybe just two or three minutes after an hour or two, or whatever, a block of brokered programming, maybe five minutes of some spokespeople from other faiths getting together and saying well, that was interesting and it's mirrored in what we do in this religion, or unfortunately it doesn't reflect what we do in this religion?
950 It seems to me that kind of informed approach to balance really meets the spirit of the religious balance policy that we have.
951 You might get it, if you are lucky, with people calling in and e‑mailing in, but you very well might not get it.
952 Do you see where I am heading?
953 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes, sir. And we have said that if we don't get it, we will then produce something so that it is got.
954 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am going to give you some homework, because I don't think you should watch the hockey game either.
955 You don't have to do this in written form. You don't have to hand this in written, so there will be no marks for neatness. But maybe you could flesh that out in your minds a little and when you come back to us in Phase III, which I think will be Wednesday, maybe just give us a sense that if you feel the need for this type of commentary ‑‑ I have given you one way that it might work ‑‑ this is the way we see ourselves doing it.
956 From what I am hearing here, I think you are struggling with this and you have come a long way in the struggle. And I feel a real genuine sense from this group that you want to meet this challenge.
957 I wonder if I could push you just a little farther saying if this open line stuff doesn't work, if we are not getting real balance, and just not getting complaints isn't enough, you know. Sometimes if you are not getting real balance, here's how we see ourselves perhaps meeting that challenge.
958 Could you do that for us?
959 MR. HUNSPERGER: Yes, sir.
960 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
961 MS MURPHY: Just to clarify, that would be in Phase IV.
962 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you.
963 MS MURPHY: Thank you.
964 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hunsperger, I am giving you two minutes to tell us why the Commission should grant you a licence to serve Grande Prairie.
965 MR. HUNSPERGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
966 We really appreciate once again, like we said before, to be able to come in front of you. We know that there are a lot of people in the Grande Prairie area that have dreamed for this for a long time.
967 Like I mentioned to you before, way back in 2004 when I got together with Peter and some of the businessmen in Grande Prairie, we realized that these people had been struggling with this issue for a long, long time.
968 When we came to them and said look, we could actually have a full power Gospel music radio station 24/7, they were excited. And when we started to put together a business plan that made sense both to them and to us, they were also very excited about that.
969 In our humble opinion, we have never come before the Commission with an application so ready for an area as we are with Grande Prairie.
970 These business people that we talk about and that have looked at this business plan are more than excited to be here. Mr. Teichroeb brings a lot of things to us, and we are very thankful for that.
971 We are ready to serve this market in the best way we possibly can, with as much local content as possible. And we will always strive to be the very best Gospel music radio station Grande Prairie has, or will ever have. We believe that we bring that balance and diversity and representation to an audience that is looking for our station to happen in Grande Prairie.
972 We thank you so much for this opportunity.
973 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We will break now and come back after lunch, at 2 o'clock.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1300 / Suspension à 1300
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1410 / Reprise à 1410
974 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
975 Madam Secretary.
976 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
977 We will now proceed with Item 3 on the agenda, which is an application by Newcap Inc. for a licence to operate an English‑language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Grande Prairie.
978 The new station would operate on frequency 98.9 MHz (channel 255C1) with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts (non‑directional antenna/antenna height of 238 metres).
979 Appearing for the applicant is Mr. Robert Steele, who will introduce his colleagues.
980 You will have 20 minutes for your presentation.
981 Mr. Steele.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
982 MR. STEELE: Thank you.
983 Mr. Chair, members of the Commission, Commission staff, I am Rob Steele, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newcap Radio.
984 Joining me today, on your right, are David Murray, VP Operations; Rob Mise, Director of Programming for Newcap, based here in Edmonton; Glenda Spenrath, Assistant GM of Newcap's Alberta Radio group East, based in Lloydminster; and Mark Maheu, Executive Vice‑President and Chief Operating Officer of Newcap Radio.
985 And next to me is Al Anderson, GM of the Alberta Radio Group, also from Edmonton.
986 Thank you for considering this application from Newcap for a new FM radio station to serve the radio listeners of Grande Prairie, Alberta.
987 Radio listeners have, of course, always been the reason we have a business but as we all know, things are changing rapidly. Many broadcasters, Newcap included, are quickly rethinking our propositions to listeners. It is not enough any more to pick the right format and play the right songs. Today's listeners have an increasing number of listening options and they are exercising their right to choose like never before. Markets like Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray are no exception to changing listener tastes and expectations.
988 As you heard in Ottawa last month, there are varying degrees of concern from private broadcasters about the future of radio. At Newcap Radio we strongly believe that radio's best days are still ahead of us as long as we take the time, the energy and resources to create compelling and engaging local radio.
989 That is why we are here before you today looking for a licence to serve the community of Grande Prairie, Alberta. If approved, Newcap intends to bring a new, local listening choice to Grande Prairie. A choice that includes a lot more than music.
990 MR. ANDERSON: When you stop and think about it, it is an extraordinary thing that Grande Prairie faces the same ever increasing degree of competition from non‑radio sources as large market radio stations. Licensing the right new station or stations to serve Grande Prairie could have a very significant and positive impact on the ability of this radio market to remain strong and relevant.
991 The City of Grande Prairie has 45,000 people and will exceed 50,000 within five years.
992 Grande Prairie is the regional centre of the Peace Country, and effectively the central hub of Northern Alberta, serving a market area of more than 100,000 people and a radio market of around 70,000 people.
993 Among other things, this makes Grande Prairie the shopping capital of the north. Estimated retail sales for 2006 will exceed one billion dollars or $25,000 per person ‑‑ more than double the national average. Retail sales are projected to grow by 51 percent over the next five years.
994 Consistent with its history, resource base and regional status, Grande Prairie's economy is incredibly diverse with other key sectors including agriculture, forestry, oil and gas and regional facilities such as the Grande Prairie Regional College, the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and the Crystal Centre ‑‑ a sports, entertainment and convention facility.
995 The region was built on agriculture, which continues today as one of the leading economic sectors. Discovery of the Elmworth/Deep Basin fields has also resulted in substantial petroleum and natural gas development in the region.
996 Not surprisingly, job growth, housing starts and other local and regional economic indicators are all very strong, well exceeding the national average.
997 All this in a market with only two local, private radio stations. Clearly, the opportunity for Grande Prairie to sustain more is definitely there.
998 MR. MISE: In Grande Prairie we commissioned Mark Kassof and Company to determine the radio format that residents there are searching for. Kassof conducted 250 telephone interviews with radio listeners in the 18‑64 demographic. We evaluated eight format options ‑‑ '80s/'90s, Active Rock, CHR, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country, Hot A/C and Soft A/C. We described each format using artist examples and music montages.
999 Our research suggests that the single best format opportunity for a new FM in Grande Prairie, Alberta, is Classic Hits.
1000 Classic Hits is generating more interest than the other formats we tested. Twenty‑three percent express strong positive interest ‑‑ i.e., they would listen to it all of the time.
1001 With the two incumbent private radio stations in the AC and Country format, it is not surprising that most of our respondents did not associate any station with Classic Hits.
1002 As a result, Classic Hits represents the biggest unserved listening need in Grande Prairie radio. Twenty‑six percent of those surveyed expressed positive interest in Classic Hits and cannot associate any station with the format ‑‑ what we call "Percent of Format Void".
1003 The potential listeners for a Classic Hits station are less satisfied with their radio choices than are Grande Prairie listeners as a whole.
1004 We project an 18‑64 share of 27 percent for this format. Overall, the station will rank third, close behind CJXX‑FM.
1005 As is the case in every community that Newcap Radio serves, we take great care to ensure that our service meets the needs of the market. Each city and town is different and has its own nuances and tastes. And in each market we customize our format to reflect the desires of the community.
1006 For example, our Classic Hits station in Halifax is different from our Classic Hits station in Wainwright, Alberta. Each one is designed to best serve the needs of the community.
1007 While the vast majority of the music we will play will be from the 70's, 80's and 90's, about 10 percent of the music will be from today and most of that will be Canadian.
1008 MR. ANDERSON: While the focus of Grande Prairie‑FM will be music, we are proposing a radio station to serve the residents of Grande Prairie on an equally, if not even more, important level: the community.
1009 Grande Prairie‑FM will strive to provide a strong local news and community presence and act as a fresh radio news voice that is not simply present in Grande Prairie today.
1010 When we were researching our application, we went to Grande Prairie and spoke with many residents, business owners and public officials.
1011 The same themes kept coming up: more local news, more local information was needed from local radio.
1012 With these needs in mind, Newcap is proposing an increase in information service to Grande Prairie. This will include:
1013 (1) frequent updates on traffic and road conditions, especially in the winter months;
1014 (2) frequent weather updates and long‑range weather forecasts important to industry and agriculture;
1015 (3) regular, daily updates on Agri‑business and Agri‑news; and
1016 (4) regular prime time business reports focusing on energy, oil and gas development for the many thousands of people whose livelihood depends on these businesses.
1017 We will present 53 weekly newscasts ‑‑ both during the work week as well as on weekends ‑‑ all of them sourced and presented by our staff in Grande Prairie. We will offer our listeners 75 percent local content in all newscasts, with the remaining 25 percent being relevant news and information from Alberta, the rest of Canada and of course the world.
1018 Regular announcer and personality talk on everything from topical issues to community events will bring Grande Prairie‑FM's total weekly news and spoken word programming to in excess of 14 hours per week.